Chapter 23.2

“So, you sought a marriage proposal without knowing anything about me? Today marks our first conversation, given that we’ve never met before.”

“It’s been a distant memory, but I met you over a decade ago at the celebration commemorating the Emperor’s return to the Baruchella Empire.”

“Are you suggesting she has harbored feelings for me since then?” Kennard spoke with a touch of mockery. However, the response he received was unexpected.

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“This is absurd.”

“I need the Duke, the strongest among the purebloods, even among our kind.”

“What do you need from me as a pureblood? What does my blood have to do with anything?”

“While we share distant blood ties, the Blade family is also of noble and pureblood lineage. However, due to the poverty of the provincial duchy, I couldn’t get close to the imperial palace. I do not wish to live stuck in such a rural place.”

“And so?”

“I plan to raise the child of the Duke and myself as the new Emperor of Baruchella.”

Serin audibly coughed.

As Lassino approached, offering him a cup, Kennard’s brow furrowed even more.

A slight headache throbbed in his temples, and with Serin’s coughing, Kennard’s nerves became more sensitive.

“That’s akin to treason, openly discussing rebellion in front of me. Surely, you haven’t forgotten that I am the brother of the Emperor?”

“I would never forget. While I hope for our child to ascend to the throne, what I desire most is for Your Highness himself to become the new Emperor, even before anyone else.”


Startled by Kennard’s call, Serin coughed again, “Yes, my lord.”

“How long has it been since I last visited the capital?” Kennard asked.

“It’s been around 6 or 7 years, since before the war, I believe,” Serin replied.

“Has anything significant happened in the capital within the last decade?” Still keeping his gaze on Hazel, Kennard inquired of Serin.

“Well, nothing major comes to mind. Why do you ask?”

“Since when do nobility casually discuss having a child with a man they’ve just met? And on top of that, talking about planning rebellion. Has the world changed without my knowledge?”

Hazel’s ears deepened in hue, an even rosier shade than before. Her blue eyes trembled subtly, and she nibbled on the inside of her lower lip, adeptly concealing her emotions to a degree that would go unnoticed unless one observed closely.

“Surely… Oh, it’s because I coughed, and I couldn’t properly hear your conversation. What were you talking about?” Serin quickly shifted the topic, likely detecting Hazel’s change.

Regardless, it wouldn’t be courteous to offend a potential representative sent by the Emperor of Baruchella. The Emperor probably didn’t even know that the person he sent was plotting to oust him.

“I was trying to confirm if I misheard because this lady was saying something strange.”

“I apologize.” Serin cleared his throat and took a step back, displaying reluctance to be entangled in this awkward conversation.

Muttering to himself, Kennard redirected his focus to Hazel. He wondered about the message she was attempting to convey, but what unfolded was an unexpected revelation that left Kennard pressing his temples in disbelief.

“What exactly are you planning?” he inquired, deciding it was wiser to comprehend her intentions rather than simply dismissing her. Even if it wasn’t a scheme, gaining a clear understanding seemed prudent.

“I’m merely expressing my honest desire for my husband or son to ascend to the highest position in Baruchella.”

“If that’s your goal, why not aim for the position of the Emperor’s consort? That would be quicker.”

“The current Empress was once the First Prince, so she naturally ascended to the throne. However, she believes it is the Emperor’s duty to perpetuate the lineage of a stronger pureblood. This is a well-known fact among the people of Baruchella. Many believe that it should be you, not the Empress, who should ascend to the throne.”

Hazel’s initially calm tone gained assertiveness. Leaning forward, she pursed her thin lips stubbornly. “Doesn’t Your Highness know this, which is why you’re hiding in this desolate land, choosing it over the flourishing Montefiano?”

“Hiding?” Kennard arched his brow. “I simply like it here. That’s why I fought in wars to acquire it.”

“Is it worth having only snow and cold?”

“I like the snow. And it’s not the only thing here.”

“What is it?” Hazel’s eyes widened, displaying genuine curiosity as she leaned in even further.

Kennard, reclining further in his chair, continued to press his temples with his fingertips. “I don’t see a reason to explain all that,” he said. There was no rationale for entertaining such conversations. If, by any chance, this dialogue reached the emperor’s ears, it wouldn’t conclude as a simple farce.

Kennard stood up from his seat.

“Let’s end the conversation here. We’ll pretend I didn’t hear today’s talk, so leave.” 

Hazel rose as well, obstructing Kennard’s path.

“I cannot do that.” 

Serin swiftly approached, extending his arm between Kennard and Hazel.



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