Chapter 127 – The Keeper Of Secrets (2)
Editor: Crystal Crater
“So the number of mages is actually decreasing?”
“Yes, it has been happening for nearly two decades. The problem is, the rate of decline has increased dramatically in recent years.”
“What is the cause?”
“We’re still trying to find out.”
It was midnight. Sovieshu leaned back in his armchair as he recalled his conversation with the head of the mages office. He laced his fingers together and rested them beneath his chin, and thought about the consequences the situation would have.
The number of valuable mages were decreasing…
The Eastern Empire still had great national strength, with its army being the next strongest force. However, the mages far outstripped them in power. What if the mages disappeared? Other countries would take advantage of this vacuum to strengthen their own nations.
“We’ll need to increase the size and budget of the army.”
As soon as he made his decision, he took out a piece of paper and wrote down a list of directives to be given to his officials. He was about halfway through when a servant came to him, informing him of the arrival of one of Marquis Karl’s messengers.
Sovieshu ordered him in. Marquis Karl knew that he was busy on his inspection tour. The messenger who entered the room look exhausted, as if he had come in a great hurry.
“What is it?”
Sovieshu skipped the greeting and went straight to the point, wondering about the cause of urgency. The messenger bent his knee and held out an envelope.
“Marquis Karl has ordered this delivered to Your Majesty.”
Sovieshu took the envelope and pulled out the paper.
Sovieshu’s eyes swept over the letter as he read it. Then at one point, he froze like a wooden puppet.
The man who delivered the letter looked at Sovieshu concernedly. What was it? As Sovieshu’s expression grew darker, the messenger felt even more awkward. Finally, Sovieshu closed the letter.
“First, save Viscount Roteschu, and then confine Koshar to his home.”
The man looked at Sovieshu in surprise. He had no idea what the letter contained, but it was shocking that the Empress’ brother was to be placed under house arrest. However, the messenger was not in a position to express his opinions to the Emperor.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The man bowed and then hurried out again.
Viscount Roteschu had said he would visit the Imperial Palace, but he hadn’t yet returned. Alan, who had been absentmindedly looking after the baby, began to worry when his father still hadn’t returned the next day.
‘Did something happen?’
Uneasy, Alan dressed himself in his best clothes and prepared to enter the Imperial Palace. It was obvious who his father went to go meet.
Alan would ask her about his father, but he wanted to see her again too.
Before he left home, he clipped off a lock of the baby’s hair, wrapped it in a soft cloth, and tucked it in his bosom pocket.
The Imperial Palace had various entrances, some which were easy to access, and some that weren’t. Alan’s heart beat wildly in his chest as he went in one of the easier-to-access entrances, and waited nervously in the courtyard with the message that he wanted to meet Rashta. Not long after, a maid approached Alan and led him into another small, quiet garden. He was not familiar with the Imperial Palace’s geography, but it was certainly not Rashta’s place.
Rashta appeared and Alan smiled reflexively when he saw her. However, her expression remained stone cold.
“What is it?”
She stopped five steps away and spoke in a low but sharp voice. Alan flinched at her hostility, but after a moment’s hesitation he pulled out the cloth from his pocket.
“I wanted to give this to you…”
“What is it?”
“Is this a joke?”
Rashta slapped away his hand, and the cloth fell to the ground. The fine fabric unfolded, revealing a lock of silver hair that was the same color as Rashta’s.
“Oh…I’m sorry. I thought you’d like it…”
“That child is yours, not Rashta’s. Why would I like it?”
“Right. Yes. I’m sorry.”
Alan apologized, but he couldn’t suppress the disappointment swelling within him. He thought that Rashta arranging a mansion in the capital for them meant something.
“You came here because of this?”
She looked at Alan with annoyance etched across her face. Whatever his intentions were, she considered the man in front of her a threat. The two of them being together would not look good.
Alan made a small noise as he remembered his real purpose of coming here.
“Did you meet my father yesterday?”
“Viscount Roteschu? No.”
Rashta frowned at her reply.
“He didn’t come?”
“He said he went to see you, and I haven’t seen him since…”
Alan trailed off weakly.
Afterwards, Rashta ordered the maid to escort Alan away. When he was gone, she fretfully pressed her lips together.
Viscount Roteschu went to visit her and then disappeared? Any other time she would have assumed he had just changed his mind, but Sovieshu had told her a while ago that someone was tailing the viscount. Was there a connection? Sovieshu was away, and there was nothing he could do here.
Rashta cursed inwardly and was about to leave the garden, but she paused when she saw the cloth and lock of hair that Alan had dropped.
She looked around, and then bent down to pick up the cloth and hair. The hair really was the same color as hers, but it was softer, like a baby’s. Rashta stared at it trembling eyes, then rolled up the cloth and went back to her room.
The messenger arrived at the capital and conveyed Sovieshu’s order to Marquis Karl, who made arrangements to have Viscount Roteschu rescued at the abandoned mansion.
It was left to the Emperor’s Imperial Guard to confine Koshar in his house. It was difficult to control Koshar by pure physical force, and so it was done with the authority of the Emperor.
Koshar regailed what he saw and heard to his friend Marquis Farang, who listened to his story and spouted praises. They were interrupted by a commotion outside, and Marquis Farang went out onto the staircase and observed the entrance hall. The guards were informing Duchess Troby the Emperor’s orders. Marquis Farang hurried back to Koshar’s room.
“The Emperor’s guard are here. They’re placing you under house arrest.”
“Maybe he knows that you threatened Viscount Roteschu and wants to silence you.”
There was the sound of several people climbing up the stairs.
“I won’t stay here. I’ll go to the Empress and tell her about this.”
Marquis Farang opened the window and jumped out.
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I was reading the last book on Rwibt left by Grand Duke Kapmen, when Countess Eliza leaned in close and whispered nervously in my ear.
“Marquis Farang has come to see you.”
“At this hour?”
My eyes fell on the clock. It was very late.
If Marquis Farang had come to visit me at this time, it had to be serious.
“Let him in.”
I closed the book and set it down the window, then stood up to go to the parlor room. A moment later, the door opened and Marquis Farang came in with an ominous expression.