Lawrence and Artizea did not attend the banquet.
For Artizea, it was not surprising. But when Lawrence did not appear, the guests murmured somewhat.
Everyone knew that he had decided to present the Empress with a red jeweled crown modeled after a carnation. In fact, many of the guests of the banquet hall were waiting for an event about it.
If Miraila appeared and went mad and ripped it off the Empress’ head, it would be the exciting thing everyone wanted.
But Lawrence suddenly left the Luminous Hall.
The Empress wore a simple tiara made of blue crystal, not the red jeweled crown.
Of course, the jewelry is modest compared to the Empress’ status and her age. The tiara was the tiara of the Duchy of Riagan, which she inherited from her grandmother when the Empress was still an unmarried Lady.
It was a young boy, only 14 years old, who escorted the Empress. He was very nervous, and he was not good at etiquette. It was evident that he had never attended small social gatherings, let alone big banquets.
The Empress looked at the boy affectionately.
Rather than being escorted by him, the Empress appeared to protect him and teach him how to escort a noble woman.
It took time to figure out who the boy was.
“Viscount Perscher’s Heir’s son? Is he alive?”
It didn’t take long for the small whispers to fill the banquet hall.
There were others who knew the situation more accurately.
“Because the Viscount Peschers couple committed suicide that’s why their family went missing. The Viscount’s Heir Apparent is probably about the same age as Countess Eunice.”
“Oh my God, so they’re still alive and had a child?”
“How did the title pass along? Even if he did not perform the inheritance ceremony, the inheritance is automatic. It was not returned to the imperial court.”
“How had he not appeared until now?”
The appearance of a descendant from an old family that was thought to have disappeared, not a new nobleman. Even though he did not commit any treason, he was from a family where the couple committed suicide after gaining the Emperor’s anger.
He didn’t just show up, he held the Empress’ hand and debuted in the social world, so it was a surprise.
“Has Her Majesty the Empress been hiding and protecting him until now?”
“Does His Majesty know and acquiesce? Rather, what about Sir Lawrence?”
“What would happen?”
“Isn’t it the same as Her Majesty saying that she has no intention of adopting Sir Lawrence as her adopted son now?”
Few people could have guessed that something much more serious was going on.
Grand Duke Roygar urged his subordinates to hurry up and find out about this situation.
But this case was too big to be covered up. People with strong information networks learned the news one by one.
It’s the Empress’ birthday party. There was no one who could make a racket as a caution.
But there was a commotion under the water.
What Miraila did was not something to be taken lightly.
The Emperor received this report on his way back to the Imperial Palace from the Luminous Hall.
He was not a person who did not feel the fundamental fear itself. He feared that the consequences of what he had done would come back to him.
He spent decades at the pinnacle of his empire, watching the world move. He therefore believed in his karma.
But he was not like Miraila who directly believed in evil spirits, curses, or codes.
Therefore, he didn’t take it seriously that Miraila was trying to curse the Empress.
It’s ancient magic. The Emperor didn’t even think that Miraila would be able to achieve such a thing.
He felt like he wanted to cover it up. But the case was too big to cover up.
Magic is forbidden by the temples. Besides, it has real power.
Therefore, it was different from playing necromancy or asking for a prophecy from a self-proclaimed prophet with a penny.
Above all, he could not hide her attempts to sacrifice human beings. It was Belmond’s reporters who helped Hazel uncover the truth this time.
It is impossible to silence the press. Even if he blocks it over and over again, it eventually leaks out somewhere.
In order to keep it a secret, the people must be completely unaware from the beginning.
The Emperor knew it well.
So he never met Miraila. He didn’t even try to hide the situation.
“Don’t worry too much.”
Sir Keshore said as if consoling the Emperor.
“I will protect you from any inconvenience while Dowager Marchioness Rosan is under investigation. It will not be easy for the temple to hand her over.”
In other words, it meant that this case was under the jurisdiction of the temple, which the Emperor had no choice but to stay away.
“I’m counting on you.”
That’s all the Emperor said.
All he did was let Lawrence know first. It was because it was Lawrence who would suffer the most from this incident.
The temple quickly dispatched a group of priests to investigate the magic circle. The position of the Heretical Inquisitor, which had been infamous for a long time, gained new strength.
The investigation was initiated under the leadership of Bishop Akim, who was well versed in the ancient language.
The Emperor sent scholars. It was to defend Miraila even a little.
Scholars tried to reduce the problem by making the old woman the main culprit and Miraila the victim who was deceived.
But the evidence was so strong.
The words engraved on the magic circle were cursed words to pray for the Empress’ misfortune and to wish her death soon.
And it was confirmed that the texts were from an old history book in the Rosan mansion.
The reason why the magic circle’s sentence didn’t clearly say ‘The Empress will die’ was because it was a copy of the sentence.
Even that was circumstantial evidence that this was Miraila’s work.
The children were bought by an old woman.
The human trafficking case was reignited.
Since the one big human trafficking case last year, it has not been easy to buy and sell people.
It wasn’t completely abolished. A factory that could be run by unskilled workers did not want to pay even the minimum wage.
Some guilds disguised their practice in the form of apprenticeship education, but in reality they bought children and treated them like slaves. As the due date for repayment of the debt approached, many people brought their children and asked how much they could receive.
However, when they learned that they had bought the children not to care for the child but to offer them as a curse sacrifice, public opinion was seething.
Besides, the instigator of this case was Miraila.
Lawrence’s involvement in the last human trafficking and human hunting case was brought up again.
“Burn the Emperor’s mistress and her son at the stake!”
The protests started in front of the Rosan mansion and then spread to the detached palace.
“Did the Emperor really not know that?”
“Drag out the beastly mother-and-son!”
There have been several attempts to set fire to the Rosan mansion. Sir Keshore guarded the mansion by encircling the Guard in layers. Protesters fought with torches and oil barrels.
Miraila was locked in the mansion, terrified. Even her morbidly agitated periods were gone, and now she was only trembling.
“His Majesty, let me see His Majesty.”
Miraila grabbed Sir Keshore and begged him like that.
The Emperor just needed time and opportunity to make excuses. Then the Emperor will surely forgive her.
If the Emperor forgives, everything will be fine.
But Sir Keshore shook his head.
The Emperor could not stop this.
This time, the problem was different from when the immediate blood relatives of the Marquisate of Rosan were poisoned.
At that time, it was a matter between nobles. Those involved were few, but most of them were nobles. With deals and interests, rewards and fears, he was able to solve all the problems.
Moreover, above all else, one direct blood relative called Artizea remained. Even as an Emperor, he was able to get rid of the rough situation by obfuscating it.
If she had rather tried to poison the Empress, he would have been able to protect Miraila with ease.
But no matter how powerful he is, there are two things he can’t completely crush. One was the people and the other was the temple.
The Emperor feared the will of the people. He can suppress protests, manipulate public opinion, and divert the attention of the people, but one day it will return to a weakness of legitimacy. It is causation, and it is karma. A person’s mouth can never be completely closed.
The temple was more burdensome. Even if the temple is suppressed, it is impossible to uproot it. The temples also hold a part of its legitimacy to the throne. The excommunicated king is no longer a king.
Even if it was unlike the formless will of the people, the temple was an organizational power.
And the temple did not intend to take this case lightly. The taboo of magic itself was the same, but this, in itself, was also a great opportunity for the temple.
The sinner was the Emperor’s mistress. As the world’s attention was drawn to it, it was an opportunity to spread the authority of the temple.
Bishop Akim had previously believed that the temple had been overrun by secular power.
Even the Emperor is, after all, just a human under God. He should respect the temple and follow its wishes.
Because the bishops’ decisions are to act on behalf of God’s will. They decided to take this opportunity to publicize this fact.
When asked to see the Emperor, Sir Keshore said so and bowed his head. Miraila had a confused face at first.
But soon, Miraila spoke again with a strangely clear face that seemed to be understanding.
So it is. Miraila was loved by the Emperor, but she was never important.
And the Emperor knew very well what to take and what to let go.
“I can’t even meet Lawrence.”
“His Majesty said it would be better not to do that. For Sir Lawrence, himself. Now, not only Sir Lawrence, but Lady Artizea is in a dangerous situation.”
Miraila just said so. And after that, she never begged to see the Emperor.
The protesters piled firewood in front of the Rosan mansion, took a scarecrow made in imitation of Miraila and burned it.
It was Bishop Akim who calmed the protesters.
Dressed in a pure white liturgical robe, he walked into the agitated protesters alone. And he promised.
“It is, of course, incomparably horrendous to buy a child for sacrifice. But that’s not the only thing that’s happening.”
Bishop Akim took off the embroidered silk robe he was wearing on his shoulder and threw it at the burning stake.
“The corruption of the imperial family has reached its climax. Do you know what kind of woman she is?”
“She is the Emperor’s woman!”
“The Emperor had such a vicious woman by his side just because she was beautiful, who greeds for her own gain by preying on innocent children as victims of evil magic. How could the servant of God just wait and see this reality?”
Bishop Akim then bowed his head. It seemed to be directed towards the protesters, and at other times it seemed to be directed towards the sky.
“The servant will never let this happen. So trust the temple and go back.”
In doing so, he imprinted the temple and his presence on the protesters in an instant.
The protesters prayed and held a simple service together with the bishop that day.
Never since the death of Saintess Olga had the temple been so revered.
Being the target of the temple was something Lawrence and Artizea could not avoid.
The protesters did not attack Grand Duke Evron’s residence, out of respect for Grand Duke Evron’s wise handling of the last human trafficking case.
But the temple was different.
When Bishop Akim led the priesthood to visit, Grand Duchy Evron reacted decisively. The knights were mobilized to protect the mansion like ironclads, and did not allow the priesthood inside.
Artizea called Ansgar and said,
“I will follow Bishop Akim.”