Now they knew that something had to do with pillars and black hounds.
I can assume what the pillars are, Erna thought.
The crest of the duchy of Hessenguard were two pillars—the two pillars from the ancient artifact. They were sure that was what she was referring to. This meant that Chenille and Vanessa knew well about the pillars and its significance.
The black hounds were the problem. Black hounds? Erna thought of the hounds in the castle. She thought of the puppies that have already become full grown hounds. But there was nothing special about them. They were just adorable animals that waved their tail to people walking by for a snack.
The hounds earned lots of love from the people from the castle as they would show their teeth and growl toward the Haband diplomats. Chenille could not be referring to those dogs.
Then what? she thought.
Also, she specifically said the color black. Does that mean there are other hounds, too? All sorts of thoughts rushed through Erna’s head. She then answered in Vanessa’s tone.
Erna had to lure Chenille into talking more about the two things she had mentioned. She needed better clues. But Erna could only answer so vaguely since she knew nothing and had to make Chenille open up.
“Goodness… So, what did the dukes say? Are they going to kill you?” Chenille covered her face with her hands and flopped down on a chair.
Is it so serious that Vanessa’s life is at stake?
“Whatever the outcome, we took advantage of the two. Who wouldn’t be angry after finding out they were used like chess pieces?” continued Chenille.
Erna and Kalion’s eyes turned cold as they listened to Chenille. Used like chess pieces. They could guess several situations from those words.
“Of course, they wouldn’t be happy. But they cannot kill me. They can’t ignore that I am part of the council and all the years we’ve known each other.”
“Well yes, you have served them with all your heart. The duke couple are the pillars. The safety of the two means the safety of Hessenguard.”
Kalion and Erna flinched as they heard the duke couple were the pillars. They recalled the image of the pillars in the underground artifacts. One pillar stood strong but the other was covered in cracks that it looked like it could break any second.
Erna reviewed the genealogy of the dukes until this day in her head. There was not a time the Hessenguard duke position was left empty. Once the dukes reached a certain age, their all-grown children inherited the position. Thus, the dukes gained power at a much younger age than the neighboring nations’ kings who held their position until their death. This could be the reason why Hessenguard adapted to change quicker than other nations. The council was also first formed in Hessengaurd.
Erna had thought that these systems were just characteristics of Hessenguard. However, after she heard what Chenille had to say, Erna realized it was all intentional. Grand Duke Richard who had suddenly collapsed after losing his wife… The two had no child and the duke ended up killing himself before finding an heir. After that, Hessenguard was continuously attacked by monsters and natural disasters.
Erna scoured her brain to find the answer. The ancient artifacts. The pillars. Traces of great sorcery. The first grand duke who was a wizard. The disasters that followed immediately after the duke’s death without an heir. They all had to be connected to each other.
Chenille called her as if she found it odd that Erna was standing still. Erna tried to not panic and let out a sigh.
“Sorry, I was thinking about the black hounds.”
“…Are you going to get rid of it?” asked Chenille.
“What do you think I should do?”
As Erna asked, Chenille replied as if she was dumbfounded.
“How could you ask me? I’m the black hound! Are you asking me to kill myself?”
Erna gained more information from Chenille’s response. The black hound referred to a human. Then… it must be a code name for people working on a certain mission.
I must find out more.
There was a limit to how much more she could beat around the bush. Erna had to ask Chenille directly even if it risked getting caught. She thought of the things she could ask her.
I could get caught.
Well, then Kalion would probably take care of it.