Translator: Latte Proofreader: Adulldoll
‘It might be because of the documents I had dropped when I bumped into her!’
The documents consisted of summarized information regarding the revision of the legislation.
Only the vassals were allowed to see it.
But it would be impossible for ordinary people to understand the bill, only those who had studied law since childhood would be able to!
He couldn’t believe it.
‘Did she figure everything out while I was busy picking up the scattered papers? But isn’t she just a ten-year-old kid?! This is absurd!’
But Aria’s card didn’t end there.
“Solicitation, establishment of false institutions, embezzlement, tax evasion, prejudice against women… There’s no end to it. You dare try to deceive the House of Valentine by committing these kinds of crimes?”
Lloyd didn’t raise his voice, but it sounded as if it were completely ruled out of emotion—as cold as ice.
“How dare you?”
The scribe broke into a cold sweat.
Though the vassals were ignorant of the law, they wrote and organized the documents as tidy as possible. But in the end, their corruption still got caught.
It was a ridiculous mistake.
“Are these reports true?”
“I asked if these reports were true, Count Beauport,” Tristan asked while staring at Aria with a strange look.
Lloyd lifted his sword and pointed it to the count’s neck without saying a word.
All of the vassals’ eyes turned to Count Beauport.
The answer was obvious. Since he was the one holding the holy relic, it was obvious that he would be the representative of the vassals.
‘What should I do?!’
The Count looked around desperately, asking for help.
However, the other vassals just avoided the count’s gaze.
In the absence of any hesitation, Beauport gritted his teeth.
He had no choice but to answer.
He already knew the answer from the moment when the holy relic appeared.
“Cough! Baron Stewart, you have committed a grave sin.”
The count handed over the holy relics to the scribe standing next to him.
“What?! I only followed your instructions! Didn’t you promise to promote me to a law enforcement officer if I followed your commands?”
“Oh, and when did I do that?! Don’t make up lies, you sinner!”
Surprisingly, the holy relic had no reaction, which means that the scribe’s words were the truth.
‘He dug his own grave,’ Aria clicked her tongue.
The vassals kept passing bombs towards one another, only to belatedly realize that they were self-destructing themselves.
“Are you aware that you’ve toyed with the Grand Duchy’s law?” Tristan finally spoke.
He continued, pulling out a sword from his knight’s sheath.
“I shall dispose of you all.”
She had felt this killing intent before.
In the Ingo Mountains where she first met Tristan, and when Lloyd first entered the palace.
The overwhelming aura that makes one’s existence feel like a mere ant.
Lloyd was about to pull out his sword as well. However, he stopped once he looked at Aria.
With a short sigh, he raised his hand and put it in front of Aria’s eyes.
At the same time, Aria heard the sound of a blade cutting through the air.
Rather than a sharp cutting sound, it sounded more… blunt.
“Have mercy! Argh!”
“Y-Your Highness, please… Oh my Lord!
The screams of the vassals could be heard, one after another, until it finally stopped…
They breathed their last.
The smell of blood entered her nose.
Suddenly, Vincent approached Aria and covered her ears with both his hands.
Aria stood in confusion. Her vision was covered and now her ears were blocked.
Count Beauport’s final plea filled the basement.
“Your Highness… Please hear this humble servant’s words! In fact, I’m here because I know a great secret.”
The Count could not die alone.
Now that things have come to this point, he was going to bring down the second prince with him.
“D-do you want to know why the second prince wouldn’t tell you the reason for being in the feeding den? Because his mother was a prostitute!”
“Who his mother is doesn’t bother me.”
The Count knew that he would answer that.
But that didn’t matter.
After a moment’s pause, the Count gave Vincent a crooked smile.
The boy’s hand, which was wrapped around Aria’s ear, trembled in fear.
The Count spoke in a more dramatic tone, “He’s the son of a prey.”
This is what Vincent was trying to hide.
Being the children of a prey was considered to be a great disgrace in the Grand Duchy. It was extremely taboo that many children have been banished from the land.
Vincent’s biological mother was a prostitute from the gutter.
In addition, his mother voluntarily cut off her own tongue to become a prey to the gutter rat.
Fortunately, Vincent ran away before his tongue was cut off and headed for the Valentine Palace.
And like a miracle, he was adopted as the Grand Duke’s second son, despite having very little Valentine blood.
“Everyone knows that their children are the prey’s right-hand. The offspring of a prey are fed to become another prey without a single exception!”
Even if one were to thoroughly erase their traces so that they could hide their tail, one could easily reveal them if their tail was long.
The Count overheard the story in a brothel.
An angel-looking noble boy with blond blue eyes who frequently visits the gutter’s feeding hole.
He only heard of those rumors after bribing a bunch of prostitutes.
‘Cause the deadliest secret is to wander in the darkest place, not the brightest.’
The Count thought this must be the Grand Duke’s first time hearing it.
“Does Your Majesty know that he’s been in and out of the gutter for five years! He plans to sneak out the prostitute, no, the prey, out of the gutter!”
Count Beauport has always regarded Vincent as an eyesore.
‘Even though I’ve married a witless woman from the imperial family.’
The House of Beauport had a long history.
Although the house was very wealthy, the count was not satisfied and so he married the late emperor’s niece.
His wife, the late emperor’s niece, was cherished by the late emperor himself, thus, he was able to establish a relationship with the imperial family.
Nevertheless, he had been completely pushed out of the imperial government since the death of the late emperor.
Vincent, on the other hand, was regarded and praised as a genius for being a distant relative of Valentine.
Why was the world so unfair?
‘Why do people say that only nobles have blue blood? Because we were chosen by God!’
So why is it that the count, his wife and his children live less than the son of a gutter rat?
It was absurd!
“By God’s bones, this young lad is mad! To think of sneaking food out of a feeding den! You want to save her? Or are you bringing your mother to her demise? Either way, I’ll make sure that never happens!”
Even if Vincent blocked Aria’s ears, she could still hear everything.
“Your Highness cannot let this be as the Grand Duchy is at stake! Even if he looks fine, he might have already been brainwashed! Or even if he’s alright now, he might be influenced by his mother someday!” The Count shouted in a voice seething with evil.
Aria felt Vincent’s hands loosened from her ears.
Thus, she placed her hand on the boy’s palm and held it tightly.
As if she already knew.
She wanted him to know that there was nothing to tremble about.
He had nothing to be ashamed of.
The hand that covered her eyes and ears flinched at the same time.
“It doesn’t matter where he’s from,” Tristan spoke as if he had read Aria’s mind.
He continued, “You know, no one has heard me say the same thing three times.”
Then a sharp metallic ring cut through the air.
“Because I killed them all.”
The sound of breathing completely stopped.
And red blood soaked the floor.
Now all that was left in the basement were the three men of Valentine, the Black Falcons, the stunned preys, and Aria.
“Now, move the little ones out of this room,” Tristan said as he forced them out of the basement.
* * *
The Black Falcons escorted the children to the hall.
Then, they bowed down, and stepped back.
Lloyd was stunned for a moment.
Was he kicked out for being a kid?
‘When it’s such a huge family matter…’
He wanted to get back in.
Suddenly, he saw Aria from the corner of his eyes.
He softened his expression.
What? Just now…
Lloyd tried his best to calm his expression, but he still looked sour.
He spoke calmly, “I did what you said.”
From his inner pocket, the boy took out the card that Aria had handed him.
[Is the authority you gave me still in effect?]
The first time he saw the card, Lloyd thought, ‘Of course it is.’
The power was absolute and will never cease to exist. Once she had attained it, no one would be able to defy her orders. It could only be taken away from people of the same power or higher.
“Yes, it’s valid,” Lloyd replied.
He wondered what she was about to do.
[Then do as I say.]
Aria suddenly gave him an order.
It was the most unbelievable thing Lloyd had ever experienced in his entire life.
He couldn’t believe she was using the authority he gave her just to order him around.
Still, he had no choice. So he followed her for the rest of the day, not knowing what kind of order she was about to make.
However, Lloyd expected her commands to be more human-like.
‘Nasty and selfish.’
Of course, he was completely off the mark.
‘I didn’t give her the authority to use it for this.’
Thanks to Aria, Vincent was able to avoid being evicted under false accusation. She even dealt with all of the corrupt vassals at once.
Though, the outcome was good.
‘This isn’t what I wanted her to wish for….’