The Hiberus Empire was founded by three gods who descended and established it.
The goddess of justice, the god of fairness who stubbornly monitored that justice, and finally the god who rules the water that is the life of the world. The founding legend of the Hiberus Empire, which they established by joining forces, was famous even in other countries.
Severhan’s voice was small but powerfully dominated the nobles. He spoke to Marquis Svena, hiding his bewildered expression.
“What do you think, Marquis?”
“T-This is outrageous!”
“Outrageous, you say? Do you really think you can deny what you see before your eyes?”
“We have to ask Dafen! My son!”
Marquis Svena’s desperate voice echoed through the banquet hall, but no one pitied him. His son had clearly committed a crime.
Whether it was harming the Duke or committing another crime, the fact that the blue flames did not disappear was symbolic.
Thearis couldn’t take her eyes off Dafen’s bruised face. The man who had oppressed and intimidated her with his power had disappeared somewhere, and the punished criminal was right in front of her.
“What on earth….”
“I hope you like it.”
“Yes. It was me.”
Isdante revealed the truth to Thearis. It was a small sound, too small for anyone else to hear, but it sounded louder to her than anything else.
“For your sake, all for you.”
“For my sake?”
He answered calmly. Isdante was sure of it. He wasn’t angry at Dafen. He was angry at himself for not being able to protect Thearis, and he took out that anger on Dafen.
But as time passed, that anger turned into regret, and finally he was able to move on.
“What am I, what am I supposed to be?”
“You’re my wife, the person the imperial family permitted me to marry.”
“To destroy a person like that….”
“Thearis. That’s not a person.”
Isdante answered Thearis without even looking at her.
“That’s just trash.”
“That thing can’t be treated like a person. How could someone like that treat my people?”
His cold voice poured out.
“Didn’t I tell you? You’re the Duke of Navarant.”
“So keep in mind. Until the moment you die, I won’t allow you to step down from that position.”
Thearis blinked blankly at Isdante’s words.
‘The moment I die?’
She didn’t understand his words mentioning the end of her life. His words that he would be with her for the rest of his life were engraved in her heart.
She wanted to believe that.
She wanted to believe that she didn’t have to leave the Duke of Navarant, even if she wasn’t from the Duke’s bloodline.
‘That’s all I ask for.’
To protect the Duke of Navarant she had built up until now. Together with the people who relied on her.
“Isdante, what do you mean by that….”
“I want to become a real couple.”
If Severhan’s declaration hadn’t come, Thearis would have nodded her head.
“The sins of Dafen Svena have been proven by the power of the gods, and I will say no more.”
“Your Majesty! This can’t be! How could our marquis….!”
“In addition, Marquis Svena disregarded the legitimacy of the purification and denied the very foundation of the empire.”
“Marquis Svena will be demoted to Baron, and his property will be confiscated. In addition, since the Svena family, who did not believe in the foundation of the empire, may have done something else, an investigation will begin.”
All the nobles in the banquet hall understood that Severhan’s investigation was not only applicable to Marquis Svena.
“If there is any guilt at any time, I will convene a meeting. Other nobles should also be on standby.”
“We will keep that in mind.”
The nobles gathered in the banquet hall replied.
“Duke Vane and Duke Navarant, please see to me for a moment.”
Severhan rose from the throne and left the banquet hall. Thearis briefly glanced at Isdante before getting up from her seat.
“I’ll go with you.”
“What His Majesty said….”
“I understand. I’ll wait outside.”
“You don’t have to go that far.”
“I, but I want to.”
As Thearis and Isdante’s conversation dragged on, Duke Vane approached and urged them.
“His Majesty’s patience is not that long.”
“Please go ahead.”
Thearis couldn’t shake off Isdante, who was following her closely.
“Congratulations on manifesting the power of purification, Duke.”
“Thank you, Duke Vane.”
Since it wasn’t a public banquet hall, Duke Vane could talk to Thearis comfortably. She didn’t have any complaints either. Although her father regarded the House of Duke Vane as an enemy in secret, he was still her father’s friend whom he had cooperated with for a long time.
The two walking side by side looked friendly to anyone. Thearis remembered Duke Vane, who had been as distant to her as Jeremian.
Before claiming the title of duke, Duke Vane had no interest in her at all. He was like that even when she was close to Infrinte.
[You’re that child. You don’t look much like her.]
That was what Duke Vane said when he first saw her. At the time, she didn’t know what he meant, but now she did.
‘He meant that I didn’t resemble my mother.’
It was a sad thing to say, but she now realized that they weren’t related at all, as she didn’t look like her mother when she was born.
“It must have been a serious enough problem to warrant the use of your powers?”
It was a sudden question. Thearis turned her head towards Duke Vane. Duke Vane, still not taking his eyes off the road to Severhan’s office, spoke again.
“Only then will His Majesty approve.”
It was a subtle remark, but she could read the warning behind it. The power of the gods was not a trivial matter for each family, so it should not be used recklessly.
Not knowing that the divine power had been used on Dafen, Thearis simply nodded without saying anything. That alone was enough for Duke Vane to understand.
“It’s still difficult to handle for the first time.”
Since Isdante had said that he was in pain earlier, it was clear that there would be side effects if he used divine power.
“I’m being careful.”
“This incident must have been an accidental manifestation of that power.”
“That’s the only way to escape His Majesty’s suspicion.”
Duke Vane, who was walking with slightly trembling shoulders, didn’t notice it, but Isdante, who was walking one step behind him, saw it perfectly.
“Are you suspecting something?”
“Yes, I am suspicious.”
She could tell without asking what kind of suspicion it was. It must be about not cooperating with the affairs of the imperial family, claiming that she has not yet accepted the power of the divine relic.
She knew that there could be a problem. She thought that if Severhan found out that Duke Navarant had manifested the power of the divine relic, he would surely take action.
But she didn’t even consider that the fact that the power was used elsewhere could provoke Severhan’s emotions. Thearis’s expression became increasingly serious.
After arriving at the audience chamber and confirming the face of the chamberlain, she tried to hide her expression.
“Your Majesty, Duke Vane and Duke Navarant have arrived.”
“Let them in.”
Isdante stood outside the door without entering. Thearis didn’t care about the fleeting glances from the chamberlain.
The audience chamber always had an atmosphere where one couldn’t even breathe properly. It was always like that for Thearis.
‘He never made me feel comfortable.’
Even when spending obligatory time with Severhan during childhood, it was uncomfortable. He was difficult to deal with, and his strong sense of authority made her unable to act freely.
Severhan called her before she could even respond.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Were you lying to me when you could have used the power of the gods?”
“No, Your Majesty.”
Thearis carefully chose her words. After all, Severhan could have used the power of the imperial family to monitor the dukes.
‘I am an exception.’
A person with the power of the divine relic cannot lie to others. Therefore, the nobles who witnessed the divine power believed that they were guilty of a sin.
“I believe that Your Majesty already knows that the power of the divine relic was suddenly manifested.”
“A while ago, after accepting the divine relic, I opened the door to the secret archive. However, I did not intend to use the power of the divine relic on Marquis Svena’s son.”
Severhan tapped the armrest of the throne. Thearis swallowed her dry saliva, unable to speak to him as he seemed dissatisfied about something.
‘But I can’t reveal my weakness.’
Being a woman was always her weakness. She knew that there were people who claimed that a woman leading the Navarant duchy couldn’t do this or that.
So Thearis worked hard to silence those people. Her efforts paid off, and now no one denies that she is the Duke of Navarant.
The name Trizemon came out of Severhan’s mouth. He was a child born to a common woman with whom Jeremian got drunk with.
‘A young man who is not even twenty years old is trying to take my place?’
When she was eight years old, Thearis remembered a woman carrying a small baby entering the main gate of Navarant duchy. Her mother, who was already weak, collapsed and never got up again.
The reason was that she couldn’t overcome the shock of Jeremian playing with another woman.
Thearis decided then that she would sit in the duke’s seat no matter what happened. She couldn’t hand over this duchy to Trizemon, who wasn’t even recognized as a member of the duchy.
‘He’s still only sixteen years old.’
She didn’t want to kill him, so she left him at a villa. She heard that he was training there, thinking that he should become a duke.
‘I can’t let it be known.’
She couldn’t bring herself to say that she almost fell into Dafen’s trap. Although she avoided the crisis by smashing a vase of flowers, it would be Thearis who would be stigmatized if the fact that she did so got out.
“I don’t think the power of the divine relic manifested without any reason.”
“Marquis Svena’s eldest son caused harm to me.”
“Is that all?”
“I have nothing else to say.”
Severhan cast a slow glance at Thearis, who had her head down. He wasn’t curious about what had happened to Thearis at the hands of Dafen.
What he wanted to know was why she didn’t report that she had manifested the power of the divine relic to the imperial family.
“Let’s skip the introduction, Duke Vane.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“If two dukes with the power of the divine relic want someone else to have that power, isn’t it a policy to report it to the imperial family?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The emperor wasn’t asking because he didn’t know. Thearis tried to remain calm. She remembered the law that she had forgotten.
‘Failure to report is considered treason.’
It was a law made by the imperial family to regulate the power of the divine relic.
“She didn’t try to use the power on her own, and the Duke didn’t have any evil intentions either.”
It was Duke Vane who helped her.