Chapter 24.2

“Miss Hazel!”

A sudden cry echoed behind them. Swinging around, Hazel, who had managed to remain on her feet until then, crumpled to the ground, and her companion hastened towards her.

Lassino swiftly reached Hazel’s side, assessing her condition by checking her pulse and ensuring she was breathing. “I believe she’s fainted,” Lassino remarked, glancing back at Kennard. Although his tone remained composed, a subtle tilt of his head betrayed his concern.

“Lord Serin, would you assist me in relocating Miss Hazel?” Lassino appealed to Serin, nodding toward a nearby couch. Serin encircled Hazel with his legs, lifting her, while Lassino cradled her head against his chest.

After gently laying Hazel on the lengthy couch, Serin exchanged a glance with Kennard, conveying a sense of obligation.

“Miss Hazel! Miss Hazel!” The woman continued to call out Hazel’s name.

The incessant sound grated on Kennard’s nerves, and a burgeoning headache took hold.

“This is absurd,” Kennard sighed, roughing up his temples in frustration.

* * *

“What’s your plan?” Serin inquired, turning to face Kennard as they strolled down the corridor back to his office.

“What can I do?” Kennard retorted irritably. Despite his steps, Kennard continued to massage his temples. It wasn’t the intensity of the pain that bothered him; it was the way it ebbed and flowed. Perhaps he should inquire with Leto for something to alleviate his headache.

“After all, she’s a duke’s daughter. Do you think you can leave her sprawled on the parlour couch like that? If His Majesty discovers later, he might be incensed at how poorly you treated a guest he sent.”

“What are your thoughts?”

“I believe he’d take offense, so why not assign her one of the bedrooms where she can recuperate for a while?” 

It seemed that Serin misunderstood Kennard’s inquiry.

“Not that.”

“What, then? If not that, then what?” Serin inquired. 

Kennard glared at Serin. At other times, he could decipher his thoughts like a ghost, but now, vexed by his headache, he had to engage with him to comprehend.

“Do you believe that fierce young lady was sent by His Majesty?”

Kennard’s question prompted a contorted expression on Serin’s face as he delved into deep contemplation.

“Do you think she arrived without His Majesty’s approval?”

“Yes. He would never agree to marry me based on Hazel’s flimsy terms; she must have negotiated something else, something hidden beneath the surface.”

“On the flip side, consider this hypothesis.” Serin crossed his arms, his hand gently rubbing the tip of his chin in contemplation. “You mentioned that the Duke of Blade offered his men and a significant portion of his wealth to the King.”

“Yes,” Kennard affirmed.

“Although the Duke of Blade’s influence has grown since the war, without wealth and military support, he is little more than a puppet of His Majesty. Even if such a person is associated with the King, it might not wield significant influence. To the public, it may seem as though His Majesty personally orchestrated a beneficial marriage for Your Highness.”

“Are you suggesting that the King is not cautious of me?”


“Nevertheless, I can’t shake the feeling that His Majesty agreed too readily to this.”

“Considering his disposition, I wouldn’t dismiss that as a possibility,” Serin remarked. “Much like yourself, he tends to focus on the immediate rather than foreseeing the future.”

“Perhaps the puppet in this scenario is not the Duke of Blade, but His Majesty, and if I accept things as it is, I might find myself in a precarious position.”

Serin halted, turning to gaze at Kennard. “Do you have a gut feeling about something?”

“Doubts have plagued me since the banquet invitation arrived. So, I thought and thought and thought,” Kennard admitted, ceasing his pacing to face Serin.

“Have you reached a conclusion?”

“That there might be more to all this talk than meets the eye.”

“Miss Hazel, for instance, harbors ambitions to place your son on the throne.”

“While that’s true, there’s something else.” Kennard pressed his fingertips firmly against his temples. The headache intensified, his eyes burning and threatening to pop out. “You mentioned the Duke of Blade offering hundreds of men to the king?”

“He did,” Serin confirmed.

“How can a provincial viscount amass such a force? I thought the Blade estate solely collected tribute from the peasants.”

Serin’s eyebrows lifted. “They must have alternative funding sources.”

“No doubt.” Kennard shut his eyes and clasped his hands together. “Investigate discreetly.”

“Understood. By the way, take it easy today. You’re not in good health.”

“Yeah.” Kennard waved nonchalantly at Serin and made his way to his bedroom. “Fetch me some headache medicine from Leto.”

“Of course. I’ll also inquire about Elena’s condition while I’m at it.”

Turning back with a furrowed brow, Serin wore a faint smile.

“Don’t do anything unnecessary!”



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