Erna subdued Kalion with magic.
The story had spread quickly throughout the Grand Castle. There were lots of witnesses, so Kalion couldn’t stop it from spreading no matter how hard he tried to control their mouths. Rather, the way he tried so hard to conceal the story let everyone know that the rumor was real, and that only made it spread even faster.
As with all rumors, relaying it from mouth to mouth was bound to inflate it very quickly. And this was one of those rumors.
The rumor that had started this morning as “It was an attack.” had changed to “Erna tried to kill Kalion with an evil spell, and of course Kalion fought back and left a great deal of blood in the hallways of the Grand Castle, and the servants desperately cleaned it up and tried to hide it.” by the evening.
Adelaide, who’d been released from detention, heard the news while the maids got on her nerves, as per usual.
“Say what? Is that true?”
“It is, Your Highness. I’ve confirmed that the main building has become more authoritarian and Lord Kalion has decided to stay in the knights’ building for the time being. And the doctors went to the knights’ quarters after the commotion. At this rate, the wizards of the Grand Castle, too, will go and use their healing powers, but Lady Erna’s order stated that no one goes to the knights’ building.”
The maid giving her the news said, with a proud face, everything she knew.
At first, the servants of the Grand Castle had kept their mouths shut like they were keeping a promise, but when a dead body appeared, they released their anxieties like clams spitting out dirt.
All the handmaidens had to do was hold out on speaking out of fear.
Adelaide told the handmaid “Good job” and called the chief maid to congratulate her on her hard work. Then, the head maid handed to the handmaiden one of the accessories Adelaide had brought with her from Haband. It was a small brooch with pearls on it.
It had been originally made for this purpose.
It was beneath the dignity of a noble royal woman to hand over gold coins as blatantly as others.
The handmaiden had only delivered under loyalty what she had heard, and the princess, impressed by her loyalty, gave her not money but what she had on her body.
When the handmaiden retreated, satisfied after the graceful transaction, the maids standing beside Adelaide opened the windows to air out the room and then sprayed perfume on the spot where the handmaiden had stood.
Adelaide watched the maids’ movements with a satisfactory smile on her face. During the past few days, the handmaidens of the Grand Castle had hovered around Adelaide as if monitoring her. On top of that, they couldn’t take care of anything to her liking, unlike those who served her in Haband, where the maids moved as Adelaide wanted.
A while later, she sent the handmaidens away, and one of the maids approached her and said, “It’s just like the handmaiden said. The Grand Castle’s mood has become chaotic. I’ve come to find out that Lord Kalion’s injuries are unusual. I think he broke a bone. And I think he bled profusely.”
That was obvious. As his body—which still wasn’t fully healed—had been attacked by magic, no way he was unharmed. But how could he have broken a bone? Was Erna’s attack really that brutal?
At this rate, the rumors had to be true. On top of that, hadn’t they said that Kalion had mercilessly laid a hand on her in front of others?
Is he still out of it because of the poison? Adelaide wondered.
Their relationship had seemed secure in her perspective, but a deep valley seemed to have formed at a single dosage of poison. The corner of Adelaide’s lips curved slightly. She had wondered how to create a gap between the two of them, but had never expected this rift.
The chief maid who was tidying up Adelaide’s room brought a book from her bag. “Princess. What should I do with this book?”
It was one of many proverbs. As it was normal for the princes of Haband to read proverbs and maxims in the morning and before bed, it wouldn’t be a problem for her to have it since Adelaide had several copies.
Adelaide took the book from the chief maid. While flipping through it, she tore out a page from the end portion. The paper was darker than the other pages. It would have been hard to notice if not looked at closely.
“Burn it. I won’t be reading it anymore,” said Adelaide.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
At Adelaide’s order, the chief maid tossed the book into the fireplace with no hesitation. The cloth on the cover fluttered in the fire, and the pages started to disintegrate in the flames.
Adelaide lifted her teacup again as she stared at the burning book.
When she was detained, the maids of the Grand Castle had scoured her and her maid’s luggage. They’d done so to find out if there were any clues about the unknown poison.
But they hadn’t found anything. That was obvious. Who would have noticed that one page of a book was a drug? Not even animals could tell, as the entire book had been purposely sprayed with a strong perfume.
On the day Kalion fell unconscious, Adelaide had dipped a section of the torn page in water and pulled it out. It wasn’t poison, but some sort of aphrodisiac that showed no symptoms until taken several times, and it will never be discovered unless mixed with another drug.
After feeding him a few dosages, she had tried to make him sexually excited when a good opportunity came. As it was so weak that it couldn’t be called poison, it didn’t have powerful effects. However, it was easy enough to convince a hesitant person with a pat on the back to take it.
She had tried to work on it in advance just in case it would be helpful, but now she couldn’t use it anymore. If so, it was best to get rid of it quickly.
Kalion had become dizzy when he vomited. And when the knights carried her water bottle, she had broken out in a cold sweat. What if the doctors of the Grand Castle found out what was in the water? They would be so nervous that they would bite their nails, forgetting about etiquette and everything else. But the doctors and wizards clung together and found out that someone had magically changed the contents of it. Oh, how relieved she was at that time, letting out a sigh of relief.