“Ian! What are you talking about” asked Canillia.
“I didn’t know your brother could be this stupid.
Poison! Although, it might not have been him.”
Lia threw Ian’s hand off her in spite of herself.
Ian bore an odd expression as he gazed at Canillia’s fearful face.
“There will be unpleasant events from now on, Canillia.
So, come with me—”
“No, Ian,” said Kieran who had suddenly appeared.
It was Kieran who had stopped Ian from grabbing Lia’s hand again.
Kieran gave a look and Ian’s guards approached Ian, politely separating Lia from him.
“You have to hide yourself now.
Or else a war will start,” said Kieran.
“You found out who’s behind it Already That Marquis Gliad is something else.”
“Now!” yelled Kieran.
The guards surround Ian near an exit.
Ian was being accused, that was clear.
The Palace was already locked down and the only way to leave was to use the Prince’s secret passage.
If Claude had taken charge, that secret passage would have already been sealed as well.
“You have to move, Prince,” urged Kieran.
Canillia swallowed hard as another man approached Ian.
The man was the same person who had been circling around her house.
He had an open wound on his face.
She was told that he was Ian’s attendant from Geore.
The man quickly grasped Ian’s arm.
Just before Ian was escorted out, he grabbed Lia’s hand.
“I’ll come for you.
So wait for me, Canillia.”
Ian brushed his lips on the back of her hand.
Kieran quickly moved Lia aside.
Although afraid that someone would see it, he gave Lia a brief hug.
They have yet to find the culprit.
The Duke was poisoned instead of the Emperor.
This incident might not be connected to the assassination attempt from the neutral territory.
As Ian receded from her view, Lia moved her blank gaze to Claude.
She was confused as to what was going on.
This was more than she could handle, causing her to feel afraid and sad without understanding why.
Claude stood up and turned.
Droplets of his father’s blood were on the back of his hand.
His bloodshot eyes found Lia.
He gave Ivan an order, prompting Ivan to weave his way past the nobles and follow Ian.
Claude’s cold eyes had a look of insanity about them.
He absently touched the back of his hand to his face, transferring his father’s blood.
He walked slowly.
As he saw Claude approach, Kieran hid Lia behind him.
As if trying to protect her from danger, he kept stepping back with her behind him.
It was as if Claude had read Kieran’s mind; he brushed past them while glaring straight ahead.
Now, unlike when collapsing with the sadness of losing his father, Claude’s strides were perfectly normal.
“It’s Marquis Shelby.”
The Emperor’s face became stern at Claude’s words and he shook his head in disbelief.
“There’s no way Marquis Shelby could do it.”
“I’m not saying that Marquis Shelby is directly responsible for the poisoning, but there’s probably a connection.
He’s the only one that delivers the high-quality tea.
The tea my father drank was the tea imported from the East by Marquis Shelby.”
“Then you mean Marquis Shelby was after me,” the Emperor shouted, slamming the table in anger.
Claude glared at the tea that was in front of him and just couldn’t believe what was happening.
The doctor had said to stay at the Duke’s deathbed, but Claude couldn’t sit still waiting for the culprit to be caught, especially since the most likely suspect—Ian Sergio—had already left the castle.
Claude knew that it was Kieran that helped him get away.
He was enraged by his friend’s betrayal.
If Kieran hadn’t been hugging Canillian, then Claude might have lost his head and attacked Kieran.
Right, if it weren’t for Canillian….
“Young Duke Claude,” said Count Duncan interrupting Claude’s thoughts.
The Count smiled in relief after getting a report from a guard that had just come in.
“We lost Prince Ian Sergio, but arrested one of the guards.
He’s badly hurt and they say it won’t be hard to get information out of him.
Would you like to see him”
Claude grabbed the sword from the table and stood up.
“May I take his life”
“They already stopped him from trying to kill himself.
If you take off the gag, then he’ll bite his tongue and kill himself.
We believe he attends Ian Sergio.
We can guess who the culprit is.”
Claude looked out the dark window with a cold, emotionless expression.
Kieran moved hastily through the crowd of nobles locked in the Great Hall.
In the corner of the red-carpeted hall, stood Canillia, lost in thought.
She looked up at the sound of Kieran’s voice and forced herself to smile.
“It’s dangerous here.
Go back to where you were.
Or let’s get out through another passage.”
“What happened to the Duke What about Ian Did the people from Geore really do it” She had so many questions.
It’s not certain.
But Ian isn’t the culprit, and the Duke,” Kieran faltered, “probably won’t make it through the night.”
She squeezed her eyes and lowered her head.
Kieran felt terrible that she was taking things so hard.
Just take Claude liking Canillia.
This child definitely had special feelings for Claude.
It was obvious even though it was never spoken.
“What are you doing, Claude”
“Because it’s snowing.”
Two years ago, he visited the North after getting away from Geore.
It snowed that day, and Claude was standing outside alone.
Even though Claude knew that the Duke’s servants didn’t know what to do while holding an umbrella, he looked up to the sky and stuck his tongue out.
Then he laughed and shook his head in joy.
“I think about it.
What did that child taste”
Kieran knew exactly who he meant.
He was surprised that the Young Duke remembered his sibling, but was more surprised that he was this happy.
Just like that, every winter, the day after it snowed, a man looking like the Young Duke always showed up at Cosoar.
He would walk, circling Gliad Vale’s mansion, then blend in among the other nobles.
What did Claude want to see at Cosoar
Why did he think about Canillia whenever it snowed