Hessenguard also had a conflict of power. The royals who were wary of the council immediately turned to support Elias. Since Elias’s mother was in the center of the royal family, things became easier.
When Richard received the news during the conquest, he immediately headed back to the castle. He then messaged Elias: Do not hurt Isabelle.
To regain his position and wife, Richard fought with all his power. As he did, Isabelle became exponentially weak because Richard’s power came from Isabelle.
Elias was troubled to see Isabelle in such a state. What he wanted was Isabelle, not the duke position. He had thought carefully. He wondered if he should call off everything to keep Isabelle safe.
While the brothers quarreled, the duke finally passed away. Despite the situation, the duke’s funeral was held grandly. The brothers who were in conflict also lowered their swords and bowed their heads during the march.
Only Isabelle coldly watched the march pass by.
After the funeral, the civil war continued. The council gathered all their power to support Richard and secure its existence. The citizens also supported Richard as he had maintained peace.
As a result, Richard was able to re-attain the castle with the help of the knights and the council.
Though it was a civil war, there was no physical damage. Everyone involved were citizens of Hessenguard, and the internal conflict had the risk of attracting invasion from neighboring countries.
“I hope this is not your fault.”
The two had been awkward, yet on good terms. Richard wanted to show grace to his brother. Richard thought Elias had just been deceived by people around him.
Of course, Elias could not avoid punishment. Still, Richard did not wish to take his life. The damage was minimal, and it seemed like Elias had treated Isabelle well.
So, Elias was exiled to a faraway region for life, and it seemed like the short-lived civil war came to an end.
However, Isabelle lost her appetite and frequently vomitted. The doctor carefully told Richard that she was pregnant. The timing showed that she became pregnant while Richard was away.
In agony, Richard asked Isabelle.
“Whose child is it?”
He did not want to blame Isabelle. He thought it was not Isabelle’s intention.
Isabelle then wrapped her hand around her stomach as if it was the most precious thing in the world. She glared at Richard and replied, “It is the child of the one I love and the righteous one.”
Isabelle then explained everything to Richard who was in shock. She also told him about her true feelings.
Richard did not say a word as she told him the truth. And the next day, Richard headed down to the dungeon where Elias was held and killed him.
“Throw it out.”
As Richard apathetically ordered and left, the knights came in and saw Elias, completely dilapidated.
Richard, who had shown mercy to his brothers just the other day, instantly killed them all. He then went to Isabelle and told her about Elias’s death. Isabelle was about to faint. Richard held her and talked to her in the exact same gentle tone.
“There’s nothing to worry about. Everything will be fine.”
Richard quickly took care of business. Even before naming the dead as traitors, the bodies were buried. The council soon regained its function and the citizens returned to their normal daily lives.
Before the other kingdoms could hold a chance to take advantage, Hessenguard returned to how it was before. The only thing missing was a number of the duke’s blood line and members of the royal family.
Richard could not see any problems.
Hessenguard was secure. Isabelle was safe. The one thing that worried him was the future of Hessenguard after Isabelle’s child inherits Richard’s position.
Richard went to the ruins of the forest of Irgis and stayed there. During that time, the council dealt with most of the state affairs. Chairman Vanessa helped Richard as much as she could.
Among many in the castle, she appointed the most trustworthy ones to serve Richard and kept a look on the castle.
The ruins had been constructed along with the castle of Hessenguard. It was the magic axis that protected Hessenguard. It was a place that only accepted the bloodline of the duke. Richard decided to change it from top to bottom.
It would not have the same amount of power than before. But Hessengaurd will be protected as long as someone with magic powers holds the position as duke.
So, even if Isabelle’s first born died, another child of Richard and Isabelle could live in this land and hold power. Even without inheriting the blood of the duke.
By the time he finished everything and returned to the castle, Isabelle’s stomach had completely swollen.
Richard told her what he had done which made Isabelle tremble and wrap her hands around her stomach. She had thought that Richard would let the child live in order to protect Hessenguard. But now he had no reason to. This also meant that she was no longer useful.
Isabelle put on her most beautiful clothes and put on makeup. She then headed down to the cell where Elias was killed. The next day, people found her hanging in the dungeon.
Richard silently watched her body swing. The death of the duchess was quietly dealt with. As Vanessa had helped Richard all this time, she believed that now Richard could find a new duchess, and everything would be over.
Although a man was hurt, the duchy would remain.
However, Richard ended up killing himself. As Hessenguard no longer had an heir, the pillar broke down.
But the pillar was made by magic.
Erna and Kalion arrived as the new dukes, and as soon as they married, the pillar returned to normal and engraved its new owners’ names on itself.
The ruin that Richard had changed was not perfect, which is why Hessenguard was not the perfectly secure land that it once was. Nevertheless, the pillars would be maintained.
* * *
Chenille’s story came to an end, but Erna did not say a word. She could not believe what she had just heard. Her brain froze by the shocking truth of the Hessenguard royalty.
However, there was something else that troubled her.
Right then, Kalion, who had stayed silent, opened his mouth to ask a question.
“Why are you telling us all this?’
“…You are now the dukes of Hessenguard. I’m simply telling you what you must know.”
“Enough with your lies.”
Kalion looked at Chenille coldly. He then turned to Erna who stared blankly in space. Kalion knew what Erna was shocked about. The history of the royalty was none of their business. They were simply dead people that the two had never met. Also, the chaotic past of the former duke had nothing to do with them.
However, Vanessa did not count.
Kalion put his foot on the other wrist of Chenille.
“You hate us, don’t you?”
Kalion added pressure on his foot.
Chenille could have shut her mouth until the end. Although Erna threatened her with her granddaughter in the nearby village, Chenille was trained rigorously enough to not be affected by her family. She had only acted scared and told the “truth”.
The duke’s story was simply a distraction to hide the person that really mattered. Anger and disgust were evident on Kalion’s face as he crushed Chenille’s wrist.
Erna and Kalion had just lost the person they most trusted and followed.