Home Post 1279-chapter-114


In the castle, there was nothing for Akarna to do.

Meals were served on time and were plentiful, and in the evening, warm bath water and attendants were available.

Since Akarna couldn’t always wear the same gown, she received a few other dresses. They weren’t particularly fancy or luxurious, but considering the circumstances of the North, it was a treatment that seemed almost excessive.

For the first week, she worried about what tasks they might assign her. But even after living there for more than a month, no one had asked her to do anything.

She hadn’t seen Grand Duke Leveion since the first day, and the knights who came with her were taken somewhere by the Second Prince and had not returned.

This left Jiwoo alone, except for the castle’s servants.

She learned the language rather quickly, which she thought would be difficult.

By the time she had been in the place for about two months, Jiwoo was able to speak the everyday language without much trouble.

As time passed, she began to feel uneasy for another reason.

‘I’ll have to return soon…’

The temple typically allowed a maximum of three months for each deployment. She had never exceeded this period before, as the accompanying priest or knights were strict about adhering to it.

Now, as she was nearing three months in this place, without the priests or knights who usually decided when to return, Jiwoo wasn’t in a position to initiate anything on her own.

While she hoped the schedule would be delayed further, if she had to return, this mission wouldn’t leave her with bad memories. At least, she was fortunate to have learned the language.

If she met the Second Prince, that is, Aleph, again, she could properly thank him.

On the day that marked three months of her stay in the castle, the feared moment approached.

Grand Duke Leveion came looking for Jiwoo.

* * *

Jiwoo was led to the castle’s reception room. Large windows showcased the outside of the castle through clear, transparent glass. It seemed like the most luxurious space in the castle.

The servants who guided Jiwoo left quickly and left only the two of them.

“Please, have a seat, Akarna.”

“Grand Duke. I expected you would call for me.”

Grand Duke Leveion raised and then lowered an eyebrow, surprised by Akarna who had effortlessly picked up the language in just a few months. But he didn’t point it out.

“The temple gives time for two months for a single deployment, so I thought it might be time to return.”

“My reason for calling you today isn’t that, though it might be related. Would you like a drink?”

As the Grand Duke poured the wine, a sigh escaped him. It suggested he was pondering over some complex issue.

Akarna sipped the wine, glancing towards the entrance. He was half-expecting a particular person to be there if she was meeting the Grand Duke, but he wasn’t.

“Looking for him?”


“My brother, Second Prince Aleph.”

“Ah, yes… He took my escorts somewhere… I need to go with them. And I wanted to thank him.”


The Grand Duke drank his wine in silence while contemplating. As Jiwoo stayed silent, not knowing what to say.

“Are you aware of what happens when you return to the temple?”

“I’ll probably be assigned to a new location for my mission.”

“Before that, you’ll heal someone.”

“I’ve done that many times before.”

The Grand Duke shook his head, indicating it wasn’t a simple matter.

“The current Emperor is terminally ill. Only Akarna’s blood might heal him, but even that would only extend his life by two months.”

Two months was the limit.

Her blood ran cold.

The implication of those words were clear.

“So…. there was a reason you confined me here for three months.”

The Grand Duke chuckled without hesitation. His demeanor even looked slightly mischievous.

“Confined? Was it really that bad?”

“Not really.”

“If there was anything uncomfortable about your stay in the castle, do tell me. That guy would be furious with me if he found out.”

The Grand Duke’s expression turned serious again. It was likely due to the mention of ‘that guy’.

“…Right. I’m puzzled. It’s not known to the outside that the apparently healthy Emperor is dying, and there’s no Crown Prince yet.”

Jiwoo had discovered things while learning the language and writing here.

Grand Duke Neseph Leveion being the highest in succession, chose to stay in the harsh North instead of entering politics. The biggest reason was due to a conflict with the temple.

In the midst of this, the Emperor, who had married three times, favored the third Empress’s son, the third prince. The Second Prince was not particularly high in the line and was not even in the Emperor’s eyes because the Empress died right after giving birth.

The Second Prince Aleph Karbauude was forced into the wars because the Emperor wanted him dead.

Yet, as if laughing at those expectations, he was accumulating miraculous achievements.

It was the same with this battle. If it had not been for Aleph Karbauude, the Grand Duke would have died.

“….It means if I had been left to die, there’s a high chance he would have become the Emperor.”

Jiwoo fiddled with the glass given to her.

She knew everything that was happening, but why tell this to her?

“I guess you don’t know why I’m telling you this?”

“I don’t know.”

“This time, I will have an opportunity to deal with the troublesome temple. Many things will change. Though my position has become somewhat awkward, it’s because I stand to gain the most from this situation.”

It was peculiar. If Aleph Karbauude wished, he could overthrow Neseph and become the Emperor. But he refused, even trying to elevate Neseph instead. Anyone who knew Aleph’s ambition would find this unbelievable.

“And yet, I can’t understand. He gains nothing from this … We weren’t… that close. I wondered if you might know, so I wanted to ask.”

Jiwoo just listened in silence. She didn’t even understand why this was being asked of her.

“Why do you think I would know?”

“Because of how Aleph behaves around you. It’s quite peculiar. You must have noticed.”

Though they only met for a short time, she had indeed noticed.

Aleph’s treatment of the temple and the paladins who came with her was harsh. It was in contrast to his cautious approach towards Jiwoo, Akarna. This attitude was not born out of discomfort or fear. He had even less respect towards Akarna as the God’s watchman.

“Also, if it was just about wanting to destroy the temple, he’s been too cautious around you.”


One thing was certain. He viewed the temple with hostility.

And Jiwoo couldn’t tell if this was good or bad for her. While the temple was oppressive, it also provided protection.

“What’s going to happen to me?”

“If you’re worried about getting caught in the crossfire, you don’t have to be. In this situation, you’re clearly a victim. Isn’t that the truth?”

“…A victim.”

“The temple hasn’t been curing the Emperor’s illness but slowly poisoning him. In such circumstances, accomplices and victims are conveniently created, aren’t they?”

It meant to make up an excuse.

Although Jiwoo was closer to being used, the Grand Duke who was discussing such matters straighforwardly, didn’t make her feel too bad.