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    “Has His Majesty passed away?”

    Ian muttered in surprise as he looked down at the letter. Honestly, it was unexpected. Because Mariv had shown the seal, not the emperor’s corpse, and considering the records of his longevity in the original history, Ian had assumed he was definitely alive.

    “…He’s alive.”

    Beols answered, glancing at the painting behind him with his chin. His gaze as he said “alive” was dark.

    “But he’s not living.”

    “Please explain in detail.”

    “Last night, Prince Mariv entered His Majesty’s quarters and harmed him while stealing the seal. I was beside him but couldn’t stop it from happening in an instant. As the captain of the royal guard, it’s shameful.”

    The traitorous Liama. The old emperor. The bedroom with no exit. And Mariv, aiming for his father’s life. Ian could easily picture the situation that night.

    “It was written inside the secret passageway. His Majesty considered numerous situations, calculating the possibilities, and one of them came to pass. Therefore, I convey this to Sir Ian according to His Majesty’s command.”

    Ian took the letter. The tightly tied string was thickly stained with blood. It was probably the trace of an aged person.

    “The emperor has-“

    “Frozen himself.”

    “…!”

    “His condition was already poor, and the bleeding was deep. It was His Majesty’s own decision.”

    Come to think of it, Beols’s clothes were also covered in blood. If an old man had bled that much, his condition was obvious. Before the last breath left his body, the emperor had put himself in eternal time. From the moment of birth to the moment of death, he was a person of significance.

    “He was concerned that today’s situation would become uncontrollable. If His Majesty passed away, it would be a true upheaval.”

    “I agree. If they learn that the throne is vacant, even the riffraff will show their greed, taking advantage of the chaos. Even the embers that can be extinguished may completely engulf Bariel.”

    “…He said to break the freeze when His Majesty’s death no longer threatens Bariel.”

    “There are those who use healing magic.”

    “I can’t guarantee it. The moment the freeze is broken, it’s uncertain what will happen to him.”

    Ian thought for a moment and then held his forehead. For now, it seemed best to read the emperor’s letter first.

    “But he entrusted that to me?”

    “To be precise, ‘a third force that doesn’t side with any prince’.”

    They say the emperor was long-lived, but was the reality of the original history like this too? Until the moment his death is revered as death, the emperor does not die. That was the last duty the emperor bore.

    ‘Right. Somehow, even when I saw him at the New Year’s banquet, he looked like he would collapse at any moment, so I was curious about how he lived so long.’

    Beols gestured for him to hurry and open the letter.

    “I also don’t know what’s written in it.”

    “Was it you who talked to me earlier?”

    “Yes, it was. I unintentionally tested you, so I apologize for that. Please understand that it was His Majesty’s will. He was especially concerned about Prince Arsen and Prince Jin getting caught up in the chaos.”

    Swish.

    Unlike the thickly rolled parchment, the content was concise.

    – Thoroughly reveal the rights and wrongs of Mariv and Gale at the trial. In particular, additionally strip Mariv of the imperial family name permanently.

    – Watch over Jin and Arsen carefully. One is light, and one is darkness. In the year they come of age, seek the Galla Temple again.

    It was no different from a will. Most of it was about dealing with the princes, and there were brief instructions to wrap up the various national projects he had been carrying out.

    Ian rolled up the parchment again and looked at Beols.

    “How can you prove that this is His Majesty’s letter?”

    “The seal.”

    “Mariv stole the seal.”

    “There is a personal seal that His Majesty used when sending letters to kings of other countries. It can be verified by comparing it.”

    “What about Lady Dilaina? Will she be informed? If His Majesty is absent, the prime minister and Lady Dilaina will take his place for the time being.”

    “His Majesty said that the decision regarding the heir should be discussed and determined by Lady Dilaina and the third force.”

    ‘Beols will guard and watch over that entire process.’

    Ian put the letter on the table and pondered deeply. Then, after this incident was wrapped up, the confrontation between Jin and Arsen, that is, between Ian and Dilaina, would divide the palace.

    Currently, more power and authority had shifted to Ian, who had saved their lives.

    Knock knock.

    Just then, there was a knock from outside. Ian hid the letter in his chest and nodded to Beols.

    “For now, let’s end the day’s nightmare.”

    “Yes. It’s a big deal just to sort things out. There’s no time to waste. Once the palace is organized, I will move the frozen His Majesty.”

    Click!

    As Ian opened the door, Romandro was startled and stepped back. He clearly heard voices inside, so how come only one person came out?

    Ian wrapped his robe around him and passed by Romandro.

    “I received His Majesty’s letter. We will officially handle the palace affairs, so prepare yourself.”

    “What? His Majesty’s letter? Where is he now?”

    “Romandro. Before that, there’s one thing I want to ask you.”

    “Yes, yes. Please ask.”

    Romandro spoke respectfully, conscious of the gazes around him. He had been curious about it before but had let it slide since it wasn’t particularly important.

    “Where is Dilaina’s family from?”

    Both Mariv and Gale had mentioned Dilaina’s family once each. Although he could guess that their influence was not trivial since she had risen to the position of concubine, today was a day when all the nobles in the center were divided, wasn’t it? But there was no mention of the forces supporting Dilaina.

    “Lady Dilaina? She is the daughter of the Carbo family.”

    “Carbo? Are you talking about the Carbo Temple?”

    “Yes. That’s right.”

    The Carbo Temple. A place with a long history that was said to have conveyed the will of the gods to the emperor at the founding of Bariel. As a reward for bestowing blessings on the imperial family, it was still referred to as a synonym for holiness.

    “Ah, it started when they adopted war orphans and gave them the surname Carbo. Among them, a man named Roberseid, who didn’t become a clergyman, won a battle against monsters and received a title, and it has continued until now.”

    Romandro added an explanation, thinking that Ian, who was born and raised in the frontier, might not know well. A lineage with a long history and a clear symbolism. To the point where it was understandable that Mariv had said he would spare her life for the sake of her family.

    “The Carbo family has its roots in the temple, but as generations pass, their identity is fading.”

    “The prophecy about Prince Jin and Prince Arsen must have also come from Carbo.”

    “Most likely. What’s the use of having a good maternal family? It was a problem once we received it and found out it was a curse. By the way, did you say it was His Majesty’s message?”

    What was so important about Dilaina’s family? In this situation!

    “And I heard that His Highness Gale is handing over the mana sealing stones. What do you plan to do?”

    Ian’s footsteps stopped as he was heading to the lobby.

    The mana sealing stones, the only means to keep the mages in check. If they brought them, there was nothing that could stop the Ministry of Magic.

    ‘It’ll be safe for now. But that’s not ideal.’

    Checks and balances create balance, and balance creates peace. Ian was a mage, but at the same time, he was an emperor. He knew well how much danger a one-sided power could cause.

    ‘Let’s distribute them-‘

    For now, it was best to gather them all and then divide them appropriately.

    ‘Especially to Jin.’

    “Everyone, attention.”

    Ian called the mages. Those who were doing their own tasks all stopped and turned to Ian.

    “A message from His Majesty has arrived.”

    “What? A message from His Majesty?”

    “Is he unharmed? Where is he now?”

    “…There is no danger to his life. This is His Majesty’s letter, proven by a seal other than the official seal.”

    Clatter.

    Ian held up the letter, covering the bloodstained part with his hand. Sensing the atmosphere of the mages, other officials also began to gather one by one and whisper.

    “From now on, the Ministry of Magic will withdraw from the neutral zone and handle Mariv’s forces that are disrupting the order of the palace. Prepare the amplification magic.”

    “Yes, understood!”

    At Ian’s command, the Magic Tool Production Department ran inside. To bring a magic tool that serves as an amplifier.

    Meanwhile, Ian continued to convey the instructions.

    “Gale will also be captured and put on trial. Ministry of Magic, show no mercy to those who resist.”

    “Sir Ian. We brought it here!”

    A round disc attached to a long stand. Condensed mana was rippling in the small hole.

    Zing. Zing.

    “You can speak right away.”

    “Make sure it’s not heard outside, near the palace.”

    “Yes. No problem!”

    Ian carefully opened his mouth.

    [I am Ian Hielo, the minister of the Ministry of Magic.]

    Wiiing-

    His voice echoed throughout the palace, carried by mana. Fallen soldiers, hidden officials, fleeing people, even unbridled beasts flinched at the unfamiliar sound ringing in their ears.

    [All those who are alive, pay attention. I wish to announce this as I have received a message from His Majesty.]

    Beric rubbed his ears every time Ian spoke. It sounded like he was speaking once in front and then again inside his cochlea.

    [First Prince Mariv is expelled from the imperial family as of this moment. Those who followed him, immediately drop your weapons and surrender. Otherwise, you will be judged as traitors and severely punished. Mariv, whom you trusted and followed, has been captured by the Ministry of Magic and will die before your eyes.]

    He speaks of death calmly. If Mariv had regained consciousness, he would probably be listening to this announcement now as well.

    [And Second Prince Gale.]

    Ian looked straight ahead as if facing Gale.

    [I, Ian Hielo, have lifted your curse on the honor of the Ministry of Magic minister. The destiny of Bariel has nothing to do with you. You will also have to take responsibility for this incident.]

    He declared. That the curse left by Wesleigh was gone. So there would be no more instances of Gale prolonging his life using that as an excuse. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, he would have to bear it.

    [From now on, the Ministry of Magic and the mages will take the lead in restoring the palace. Those who sided with Gale, keep this in mind as well. It’s either surrender or death.]

    “It’s either surrender or death!”

    “It’s either surrender or death!”

    As the mages chanted in unison, the sound gradually spread.

    They were the people of the palace who had sought safety in the neutral zone. It was now time for them to return to their positions and work towards normalization.

    “Move. And bring Gale.”

    “Yes. Understood.”

    “Leave the disposal of the corpses to the mages. Romandro, assess the damaged buildings and submit a reconstruction plan by tomorrow. Disarming the soldiers is the priority. Thus, urgently bring in the high-ranking officials who couldn’t enter the palace from outside.”

    Peace was easy to break but difficult to rebuild. Ian would put his heads together with his staff for the peace of the current palace.

    [The chaos has ended. All those who survived, rejoice and let the present flow into the past. Tonight will be different from last night.]

    Ian took a deep breath and looked at the corpses soaked in blood. A day, the day that Xiaoshi entered Gale’s residence, set off a signal flare, and came running breathlessly.

    [Congratulate everyone on the end of the day’s nightmare.]

    “Demosha!”

    “Demoshaa!”

    They didn’t know what it was, but if it was something to celebrate, they should share the blessing of the gods. Starting with the resounding shouts of the warriors, the mages raised their fists. As the sunset descended on the half-destroyed palace, the gates of the palace opened. As if a new history was unfolding.

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