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    “This is my fiancée, Olivie.”

    At Domenico’s introduction, the young woman slightly lifted the hem of her dress and said,

    “Olivie Lamari, pleased to meet you.”

    The moment Seongjin saw her, he knew.

    ‘This woman is an assassin! What the hell is this guy up to?’

    Although her appearance was quite different, as soon as Seongjin faced the woman, he immediately thought of Dasha. The astute eyes, the sociable smile. The quiet gait.

    Above all, the aura.

    Though skillfully concealed, the woman was definitely hiding her aura. In reality, she must have accumulated quite a high level of it.

    However, perhaps wanting to appear as having the aura activation of an ordinary person, she was currently using partial aura concealment. She probably thought that would be more suitable for the identity of a noble lady running a business.

    As a result, it created a slight sense of incongruity, different from when completely erasing one’s presence.

    Of course, if it weren’t for Seongjin, who had recently become adept at aura concealment, it would have been difficult to notice, so others probably didn’t detect it at all.

    “…Lamari, I’ve never heard of that family.”

    Blocking Seongjin’s path, Masain interrogated. He seemed to have a fishy feeling about it.

    His stiffly hardened face looked quite intimidating even to Seongjin, but the woman showed no sign of being daunted.

    “We are a viscounty of Brittany. We operate a small business.”

    It was a modest background for the fiancée of Delcross’ wealthiest heir. Perhaps noticing that thought on Masain’s face, she added,

    “Dominic and I met through business and have maintained our connection ever since.”

    “Hmm. What business are you in?”

    “A small textile business. We cultivate high-quality flax and produce fabrics. Occasionally, we also deal with wool from Carthago.”

    No way. She seems more likely to be in the information or assassination business.

    Seongjin thought to himself, but the woman’s face, with a gentle smile, was as brazen as could be.

    So much so that even the Demon King was confused.

    [Her blood pressure and pulse barely change? She seems to be telling the truth. Lee Seongjin, are you mistaken?]

    ‘No. That woman is definitely a skilled assassin. Either she’s extremely adept at lying, or maybe she really does run a cover business.’

    I should ask Dasha to investigate Lamari later. The tasks he needed to entrust to her kept piling up.

    However, at Olivie’s next words, even Seongjin almost failed to maintain his composure.

    “Since most of it comes through the Milo Guild, the name Lamari is probably even more unfamiliar in Delcross.”

    Seongjin asked back,

    “Milo Guild?”

    “Yes, that’s right. Recently, many goods coming from Brittany pass through the Milo Guild.”

    “I see.”

    Seongjin nodded with a calm expression. He keenly sensed the woman’s gaze briefly passing over him, as if appraising him.

    He was pretty sure the Milo Guild distributed alcohol primarily to Aseins and Rohans, so what was she probing him for?

    “So, are you now trying to trade directly with Delcross through Scarcepino?”

    “Pardon?”

    “I thought it must be difficult to balance the books when doing business through another guild.”

    “…Yes, that’s correct.”

    “I see. Then I suppose we’ll hear the name Lamari in Delcross’ dressing rooms soon. I look forward to it.”

    “…”

    Throughout this conversation, Domenico Scarcepino stood back a step, quietly observing the situation.

    Then Sir Masain gently spoke up,

    “Your Highness, the closing military drill will begin soon.”

    Seongjin brightened.

    “Will Logan be there again?”

    “Yes. There will probably be a solo demonstration by the Lilium Special Forces in the middle.”

    Oh! Can’t miss that.

    It would be great to have a camera. I feel like a parent coming to see a child’s talent show.

    “Then we’ll move a bit closer to the front. What about you?”

    “Yes. Your Highness. Please enjoy the viewing. I look forward to seeing you again.”

    Although Domenico bowed with utmost courtesy as he bid farewell…

    Seongjin gave him a once-over before turning away.

    You bastard!

    How dare you introduce an assassin as your fiancée and even have her probe me?

    No use pretending to be polite now. You’re already on my suspicious list!

    Watching the prince’s party move away, Olivie spoke,

    “Dominic, you might have misjudged this time.”

    If the force that infiltrated the townhouse was really the prince’s men, he couldn’t possibly be unaware of the Milo Guild.

    Didn’t they leave the Dark Cult’s mark at the scene and vanish unscathed? That would mean he was at least associated with the Dark Cult or well-informed about the relationship between the Dark Cult and the Milo Guild.

    However, no matter what she said, the prince, who had seemed indifferent to everything, maintained a dull expression until the end.

    If that was a deliberate effort to manage his expression, the boy must be a born swindler. He could easily deceive even the leader of the organization she belonged to. It was probably an impossible feat for a prince who grew up comfortably in the Imperial Palace.

    But Domenico’s thoughts were slightly different.

    “Well. Wasn’t it after that prince attended the gathering that Riccardo ended up in that state? Besides, the prince has been close with Riccardo all along. That guy wouldn’t associate with just anyone.”

    “That’s true.”

    “And although there’s no evidence, I strangely feel that Isabella’s loss of consciousness is not unrelated to that prince.”

    Adjusting his glasses, Domenico added,

    “That’s not all. Haven’t you noticed that Young Master Siegmund has been quiet lately?”

    The Young Master of Orden Siegmund had noticed the events unfolding in his territory. So he had been clumsily poking around here and there, claiming to investigate in his own way.

    Originally a warrior to the bone, he moved with a limited number of men behind the family head’s back, leading to mishaps.

    But recently, he had become docile without such reckless behavior.

    “Do you know why he suddenly became quiet?”

    “He gave up?”

    “No way. It’s not certain, but there’s information that he entrusted the case to the Monster Special Task Force.”

    “Monster Special Task Force?”

    “Yes. The very department managed by that Prince Morres.”

    Observing the conversation between the prince and Olivie, he was convinced.

    He was definitely more skilled at concealing his true intentions than himself. It was not an ability that a boy his age could easily possess.

    “Olivie.”

    Without taking his eyes off the prince moving away, Domenico ordered,

    “From now on, investigate that prince a bit.”

    ***

    “An Apostle?”

    At the old priest’s astonishment, Clemence nodded.

    “Yes. That’s what they’re all saying. That the youngest princess is an Apostle of God.”

    “And the Orthodox Church acknowledged it?”

    “Yes, apparently so.”

    “Bethel…”

    The old priest rubbed his face with a troubled expression.

    After their grand endeavor for a great harvest had gone up in smoke…

    The two surviving brothers of the Sowing had been hiding in a warehouse on Bertrand Street.

    Originally, they intended to seek refuge with the Milo Guild, which had a connection with the cult, but the bishop strongly dissuaded them. The reason was that it was unsafe due to the increasing number of eyes watching the guild recently.

    “Now of all times? What are they thinking?”

    The old priest looked extremely confused. The content about [Apostle] was a part of the scriptures that the Orthodox Church had long buried together with the underground cult.

    Otherwise, the saint known as St. Bastian would have originally been called Apostle Bastian.

    Of course, the two had never dreamed…

    That the Holy Emperor, who had to further solidify his daughter’s fabrication, would inevitably bring up the concept while arguing with the strict old men of the Holy Council, citing the nooks and crannies of the scriptures as evidence.

    Anyway, Priest Clemence’ face was flushed with anticipation.

    “If they acknowledged [Apostle], they will have no choice but to accept the doctrine of the underground cult someday, right? They won’t be able to denounce us as the Dark Cult anymore!”

    It wasn’t unreasonable for him to show such hopeful speculation.

    Originally, the brothers of the underground cult regarded the archbishops of the four sects as God’s Apostles.

    According to their doctrine, Passion, Sowing, Repentance, and Rest were each different gods and at the same time one god. They explained that they were all different manifestations of God.

    So early in the Holy Emperor’s reign, the Orthodox Church deleted most of the content related to [Apostle] from the scriptures.

    The easiest way to deny the underground cult was to deny the existence of the Apostles who led them.

    “Perhaps all of this is the work of Prince Morres? Maybe his preparations are finally showing tangible results!”

    “…Prince Morres?”

    The old priest asked suspiciously. There was circumstantial evidence that it was actually Prince Morres who ordered Priest Hayes to open the gate unexpectedly.

    However, the hot-blooded young priest was excited for the first time in a while.

    “Don’t you know, Brother? We must not forget the prophecies of the Archbishops.”

    That on the day Prince Morres was born, the four Apostles of each sect unanimously blessed him.

    -Rejoice! The child is [prepared] for the glory of the cult!

    -Freed from long oppression, the underground cult shall flourish once more!

    Toward the apprehensive old priest, Clemens emphasized again,

    “The prepared one is someone upon whom the gods of the four sects simultaneously bestowed a great mission and sent to this land. Therefore, Prince Morres is undoubtedly God’s Apostle! The Apostle of Apostles!”

    As he spoke with an excited voice…

    “…Wait a moment, let me hear more about that.”

    Someone spoke to them from behind.

    “Bishop?”

    The two priests stood up simultaneously.

    When did he enter the warehouse? The bishop, who suddenly appeared from the shadows of the wall, was slowly approaching them.

    “What about Prince Morres? What did he prepare?”

    “Yes, Bishop. As you know, the prepared one is God’s Apostle…”

    Priest Clemence, who was answering like that, suddenly stopped talking. Because the old priest grabbed his arm with a trembling hand.

    “Brother Clemence.”

    The old priest spoke in a tense voice,

    “Since when was he our Bishop?”

    “…Pardon?”

    “How could the brother of [Sowing] not know about the prepared one?”

    Then, as if a bucket of cold water had been poured on him, Clemence’ mind cleared.

    Come to think of it, was the Bishop with them when they hid in Delcross years ago, following the will of the cult?

    Since when did they start reporting every detail of what happened in the Heresy Tribunal to the Bishop?

    ‘Wait a minute! Then what about the great work?’

    Who first told us about that great work?

    Since when have we been [sowing] for the sake of that great work?

    “…”

    Even facing the eyes of the two priests, widened with fear and shock, the [Bishop] remained silent. Only the lips beneath the half-mask curved into a faint smile.

    Clemence asked in a heavily cracked voice,

    “…Who are you? Are you not a brother of Sowing? Since when have you been acting as the Bishop?”

    “That’s right. What the hell was that great work you mentioned?”

    “Hmm.”

    The man in the half-mask, Romaine, clasped his hands behind his back and spoke in a somewhat deflated voice,

    “Although I’ve been a brother of Sowing for quite a long time and thought I had a grasp on most things… A sect that has lasted for over a thousand years is not that easy to figure out.”

    “…What?”

    “And I was really surprised about Prince Morres. I thought the Cult of Rest had done something to him, but to think it was all planned from his birth…”

    Shaking his head, Romaine took a step toward the priests. At the same time, the two staggered back, but…

    [Calm down.]

    At Romaine’s command that followed, they froze as if frozen, stopping their movements.

    [You don’t have to be afraid. Brothers of Sowing. You are still quite useful vessels to me.]

    A voice with a strange, somehow uncanny power that touched the depths of the soul.

    Before they knew it, the two priests were listening to Romaine’s words with dazed faces.

    [I am undoubtedly your brother. So tell me everything. Everything you know about Prince Morres.]

    Beyond the half-mask, a faint yellow light fleetingly passed through the light brown eyes.

    [What exactly is this prepared one?]

    ***

    Achoo!

    In the carriage heading to the banquet hall, Amelia asked worriedly to Seongjin, who suddenly sneezed violently.

    “What’s wrong all of a sudden, Morres? You haven’t caught a cold, have you?”

    “Oh, no. Of course not.”

    Aura users rarely fall ill. There’s no way he could catch a cold, right?

    However, defying that thought, Seongjin sneezed again.

    “Achoo!”

    The startled Amelia meticulously wrapped the shawl next to her around him and said,

    “You must have overworked yourself recently with the banquet preparations. Go in and rest a bit early today.”

    Reduced to a tightly wrapped rice ball in a thick shawl, Seongjin sniffled with an embarrassed face.

    ‘That’s strange. Is someone constantly talking about me? I’ve been feeling uneasy since earlier…’

    While Seongjin tried his best to smile at Amelia…

    In the sky that had already darkened, large raindrops were falling one by one.

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