In the palace, the second’s prince’s bedroom was brightly lit.
Inside the study, Nancy stood by the window, watching the scenery outside, his gaze a little nostalgic. A breeze lifted the bangs on his forehead. His mind went back to that day, when Claire fell off the horse trying to chase him. He went to visit, but there was no room for him anymore in the bright eyes of that pretty girl. Only now did he realize that from then on, Claire was no longer Claire.
Nancy sighed. From when on did that stunning girl take a spot in his heart? From when on, could he no longer move his gaze away from her? And from when on, did he start thinking and worrying about her?
Nancy frowned and closed his eyes, letting out a long breath. Next time when he saw Claire, what should he say? How should he face her?
“Brother, are you thinking about her again?” Princess Maurice’s voice sounded from behind him.
Nancy didn’t reply, only continued gazing out at the night scene.
“Brother, this time, we had to. There wasn’t any other way.” Princess Maurice sighed gently.
Nancy still kept silent.
“What a had to!” A cold voice sounded abruptly in the study. The two heard it clearly; it was a voice that both of them knew very well.
Nancy and Maurice both felt shivers in their heart as they lifted their heads to find the source of the sound. A cold dagger was already against Nancy’s neck.
“Claire!” Princess Maurice watched Claire nervously, who had suddenly appeared behind Nancy, calling out in a low, trembling voice.
“Your royal highness the second prince, your royal highness the princess.” Claire chuckled, no warmth in her tone, and she didn’t take back the dagger.
Nancy didn’t move, his gaze dead.
“Claire, don’t, don’t harm Brother.” Princess Maurice called out hurriedly, extremely shocked in her heart. How did Claire sneak into the palace? Not to mention the numerous guards in the palace, there were also Tempest Warriors standing outside the door! These Tempest Warriors were much stronger and keener on their senses than royal knights, but even they didn’t notice Claire’s intrusion. Was Claire really just a magician-warrior?
“Your royal highness, is something wrong?” Even though Princess Maurice kept her voice low, the Tempest Warrior outside still sensed that something was off, and asked. It would be bad if it was an assassin sent by the first prince.
“Nothing, leave.” Princess Maurice raised her voice and ordered harshly.
“Yes.” The voice outside didn’t hesitate, moving towards the side.
Maurice then glanced towards Claire nervously. If Claire pressed a little harder, that cold dagger would pierce Nancy’s throat.
“Claire, this was all my idea, it has nothing to do with Brother. If you need to vent your anger, vent it out on me. Brother must be safe. Amparklands needs Brother.” Princess Maurice said hurriedly in a low voice.
“You think I don’t dare to kill you?” Claire laughed coldly.
Just this one sentence made Princess Maurice’s heart drop into the cellar. This sentence, showed everything. Their past friendship, can no longer be fixed, and no longer exists.
“If killing me can melt your hate, then go on. Just, don’t harm Brother, Amparkland can’t be without Brother. We can’t let those hypocrites rule over the crown.” Princess Maurice’s heart was dead as she said dejectedly. She caused all this; if Claire took her life, she had nothing to say.
“Maurice…… ” Nancy’s expression was painful. It wasn’t his original intentions for things to turn out like this.
Just then, Nancy felt the coldness at his neck vanish, and saw Maurice’s shocked expression.
Nancy turned around abruptly, but there was no sign of Claire anymore.
Nancy looked towards the window hurriedly. No trace of Claire in the night.
Maurice walked over slowly and sighed, “Brother, I’m sorry, I caused you so much pain.”
“No, Maurice,” Nancy closed his eyes, then opened them suddenly, saying determinedly, “I have never regretted that day’s decision.”
Maurice looked at the person in front of her with a complex expression, also bitter. Born in the royal family; so much was forced upon you.
The night darkened.
Beneath the seemingly peaceful night were deep waves and currents.
In the morning, the sun’s rays reached every corner in the capital.
Right now, Claire was sitting in a lavish, secret room, sipping the flower tea in her hands and listening gravely to the fat, middle-aged man in front of her analyze the present situation. Xi Shaosi was calmly pouring tea for Claire while Xi Shaoqi tilted his head, puzzled. After Claire found the manager of the Slave Market she immediately called out them brothers by name. What did she want?
“The next step of the Temple of Light would be to make the accusations against your mother true and then use it to oppress the second prince. The Hill clan definitely wouldn’t let that happen. So we need to do something.” The fat man continued, “Right now, the second prince has the support of the Tempest Warrior Regiment and the Hill clan. The first prince has the support of the Temple and the Griffin Squad. On the surface, it seems like the first prince is at an advantage.”
Claire listened quietly. The fat, middle-aged man in front of her was called Phillips, the manager of the Slave Market, also a personnel of the Temple of Darkness. He didn’t have a title in the Temple of Darkness, but was very respected. Even the pope was polite towards him. This person was wise, can see the big picture, and is a strong backing of the Temple of Darkness. Right now, he was assisting Claire under orders.
“Continue.” Claire set down her cup, her expression still cold.
“The military parade is half a month away. If they can prove your mother is guilty before that and then make some speeches on that day, everything will be set in stone.” Phillips frowned. A country in which the Temple of Light was the highest ruler was the worst possible thing that could happen to the Temple of Darkness.
“Don’t know what the emperor is thinking!” Xi Shaoqi humphed, “As an emperor, how could he let the Temple reign over the crown? Why does he permit such actions?”
Claire chuckled coldly and asked, “How old is the current emperor? How’s his health?” These people have never read Chinese history, so they couldn’t possibly understand the true intentions of emperors. If an emperor like Tang Gaozu Li Yuan1 had appeared on this continent, then they should understand the true purpose of the current Amparkand emperor.
“The emperor? Not yet fifty and very healthy.” Even though Xi Shaoqi is confused as to why Claire would ask this, he still answered.
“If usually you eat three delicious meals a day, and then one day on someone suddenly only lets you eat one meal, that is leftovers, would you be willing?” A sneer appeared on Claire’s lips as she asked.
“Rubbish, only fools would be willing.” Xi Shaoqi retorted.
“Then do you think the current emperor is a fool?” Claire replied calmly.
The three other people in the room all froze.
Xi Shaosi understood and set down the teapot, frowning, “The current emperor is in control of everything, can order anyone around, and everyone needs to watch his temper when doing things.”
“If he abdicates the throne to the crown prince, he wouldn’t have any power in his hands anymore, and no one would live by his breaths. This is the delicious meal and the leftovers.” Phillips was shocked, his heart cold. Shocked at the deepness of the current emperor, shocked at the frightening wisdom of this young girl in front of him.
“But, if the emperor lets the two princes fight it out, isn’t he afraid Lagark might take advantage?” Phillips asked, his brows knit. He didn’t dare overlook this young girl in front of him anymore. Before, he thought that it was only by chance that she made a contract with the god of Darkness and became the Dark Princess; but now, it seems that this you girl definitely wasn’t an average person, actually seeing things so clearly.
“The two princes’ fight has not really affected the strength of the country. The Tempest Warrior Regiment and the Griffin Squad are only for protection of the royal family; they’re not armies. The real strength of Amparkland hasn’t changed. Lagark also knows this, and right now Lagark doesn’t have the strength to fight Amparkland, not to mention the long time needed for war preparations.” Claire explained slowly.
“Then isn’t the emperor afraid of having no descendants? What if both princes perish?” Xi Shaoqi frowned and asked.
“I can only say that your IQ is depressing me.” Claire spoke slowly.
Xi Shaoqi momentarily paused, then twitched his lip. Even an idiot knew this remark wasn’t something good.
“Sigh.” Xi Shaosi looked exasperated.
“The current emperor is healthy, and giving birth to a few new heirs is easy.” Phillips said meaningfully, his gaze changing as he looked at Xi Shaoqi.
Xi Shaoqi twitched his lip, his face turning a bit green.
“Dark Princess, the most important thing right now, is that those hypocrites of the Temple of Light will think of any possible way to make the accusations against your mother become true.” Phillips stroked his double chin and thought about it, “They would probably create witnesses to testify against your mother, that all the beverages that day were completely controlled by your mother. With a large population and if the price is high enough, someone would jump out and make up some ‘truth’.”
“Grandfather would have thought of this.” Claire wasn’t worried about this at all.
“The shamelessness of the Temple of Light is far beyond what you can imagine, Dark Princess. It’s better to stay on the safe side. The trial of your mother should be soon.” Apparently Phillips understood clearly the true face of the Temple of Light.
“Thank you, Phillips!” Claire nodded, her thanks heartfelt.
“No, this is what your servant should do, Dark Princess,” Phillips replied with a smile. After their conversation, Claire’s place in Phillips’ heart had already changed. Maybe this young girl really can change something.
“But right now, I will stay here. I haven’t recovered from my injuries yet,” Claire continued, “I need a quiet place to recover.”
“No problem, Dark Princess. Please follow me. Request anything you’d like. I will report to you all news.” Phillips promised solemnly.
“Sure.” Claire stood up and walked out with Phillips.
Xi Shaoqi rubbed his nose and spat at the door: “Why do I shiver whenever she appears?”
Xi Shaosi kept silent, cleaning up the tea set and leaving the room. Xi Shaoqi hurried to catch up. Their job right now was to gather information and report back to Phillips.
So Claire started resting in the quietest room in this mansion. The Treasured Lotus Directory repaired Claire’s damaged veins, and just after three days, Claire was as healthy as normal. Now, Claire had started on the tenth volume of the Treasured Lotus Directory.
1. Tang Gaozu Li Yuan: 唐高祖李渊. Li Yuan was an emperor from the Tang Dynasty, and his title was Gaozu. He guided his sons to fight for the throne, and finally gave the throne to Li Shiming, who killed all his brothers.↩