< — Negotiation — > (2)
After sharing the joy of reuniting with her husband after a long time, Lucia leaned against his chest and fell asleep in his arms while they were making small talk. After the incident, she had suffered from insomnia that made her toss and turn till dawn, but after his return, all her tension was released.
When Hugo came down from the second floor after properly placing his sleeping wife in bed, Fabian had already arrived and was waiting for him.
“The situation isn’t looking very good.”
Fabian handed in his report. Hugo kept receiving information about the situation on the way back home, so he was roughly informed about it. The only disappointment was the fact that the bitch and the bastard were already dead. If they were alive, he would have given them the worst agony they had ever experienced as a gift.
It had been a week since the incident happened. If Hugo was there when the incident occurred, he would have found any way possible to cover up the incident, but a lot of time had already passed.
The acts that Roy committed had already become an established fact, so it was too late to deal with the rumors. The death of the King’s brother-in-law, Count Ramis, was not a topic that people would easily lose interest in. Rather, people were keeping a close watch on how this case would be resolved. There were also people making half-baked guesses, wondering if it would turn into a war between the two dukes.
The reason why the situation had become so difficult was because it completely excluded the Duchess. Hugo did not want his wife to even be mentioned anywhere in this case at all.
Rumors in the social circle were a tag that followed you throughout your entire life. If they were to resolve the case by using evidence that David and Anita had conspired to harm the Duchess, the harm to his wife would be too big. People would trample her with all sorts of speculative remarks.
“Is there any way to get him out?”
“We have looked through several methods, but it is impossible.”
Roy did not explain the situation at the time nor did he plead his case. He did not give any reason to justify his crime. In order to explain the situation, Roy would have to mention the Duchess, so he could never open his mouth.
‘What to do…’
Hugo thought of the most extreme way. That is, putting a crime on David’s head instead. The only crime that could justify the killing of the Duke’s eldest son, was rebellion.
‘No. The king will not cooperate.’
The scale was too big. If they wanted to steer it towards rebellion, they only had to fabricate the evidence. It just so happens that there was a good prey for that. They would have no trouble packaging the youth’s organization funded by David as traitors wishing to overthrow the country.
However, David was the successor of the Duke of Ramis. David’s rebellion was the Ramis family’s rebellion and it wasn’t an issue that would end with David alone dying. The surrounding people would not be left alone.
Being at the height of his power, the Duke of Ramis had as many political enemies as he had allies. Those enemies wouldn’t let go of this opportunity and would tenaciously drag the Duke towards his ruin. And if that happened, the Queen and the princes would be tied into it. There was no end.
Currently, the Duke of Ramis was a victim. The Duke of Ramis was the king’s father-in-law and right-hand man. Kwiz would not stand aside and let the Duke of Ramis, who had lost his son, be wrongly accused of rebellion.
‘Is there no way to secretly take him out…?’
They could also approach this by assuming Roy’s release was impossible and stealing him away. This method would definitely make him become enemies with the Duke of Ramis. The king would not approve and eventually, he would be standing against the king.
Hugo was not afraid to fight the king. He had more than enough strength hidden in the north.
However, war needed justification. In order to inspire the morale of those participating in the war, you must provide justification for them to fight. That way, they would be willing to bravely fight for the Taran family.
If a war was started to save one of the knights of the Duke that had committed a vicious murder, even if the soldiers externally pretended to follow, they would not be able to accept it, therefore it would definitely end in failure.
Even if he chose to stay in the north and not step foot in the capital at all, Kwiz would not quietly turn a blind eye. It was not Kwiz’s nature to leave an enemy behind his back. His nature was to remove any element that could become unstable by all means.
Hugo could always keep himself safe regardless, but his wife was weak. She couldn’t live a life forever anxious that something might squeeze into any gap in their defenses. He couldn’t do that to his wife.
In order to save Roy, he needed the king’s cooperation. Hugo folded his arms, sat back, and fell into deep thought.
Fabian stood, waiting for his lord’s decision with bated breath. Fabian was curious as to how the Duke would resolve this incident.
No matter how hard he thought about it, there was no choice but to suffer a loss by abandoning Roy. If they could settle this incident by abandoning a knight who murdered a Duke’s heir, it was a profitable trade.
The office was silent with a strange sense of tension in the air.
“I will go to the palace. Go and inform His Majesty that I am seeking an private audience.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Fabian first left for the palace and after a while, Hugo also headed to the palace.
* * *
Hugo secretly entered the palace, unseen by others. The fact that the Duke of Taran was back, would soon be known through the mouths of gossipers anyway, but it was better to handle everything quietly if possible.
“Hoho. Did you fly here, Gong? I heard you were at the border not too long ago.”
Kwiz said cheerfully as soon as he saw Hugo. Not being too serious in everything was a mask that Kwiz used. If he displayed a similar attitude regardless of what happened, it would be hard to read his intentions.
“As soon as I returned, I was met with a rather unsavory incident.” (Hugo)
“What are you going to do?” (Kwiz)
Without wasting time, Kwiz brought up the main subject. The situation was at its peak and there was no room left for counter measures. Just the fact that Kwiz did not touch Roy who was locked up in the dungeon so far, showed enough good faith. The Queen was a bundle of tears while his father-in-law visited everyday and expressed his sadness.
After investigating the circumstances, there were a lot of suspicious parts in the situation. Why did the Countess of Falcon have a magical tool owned by the ducal house of Ramis? Why did she led the noblewomen to Katherine’s breakroom? Even if they assumed that the Countess killed the princess’ handmaid in order to steal her clothes, why did she kill the Duchess’ handmaid afterwards? There were a lot of doubtful areas.
There was strong suspicion that the Countess was in some sort of agreement with David, but there was no real evidence. It was also unclear as to what exactly she was planning to do. Even after shaking out the Countess’ house and businesses, nothing came out. David often dropped by her bar but that was not a crime.
The Duke of Ramis claimed that the family’s magical tool was stolen and thoroughly denied any connection with the Countess.
He insisted that David, who had been down at the fiefdom, received special consideration from him, his father, to spend time at home for the founding day, so he came to the capital and purely entered the palace in order to attend the party.
Roy killed all the people involved, and the only party concerned, Roy, was keeping his mouth shut. There was no evidence to refute the claims of the Duke of Ramis. Therefore, David was murdered unfairly, and Roy was a vicious murderer.
“I heard the situation is not looking very good.” (Hugo)
“It is not good indeed. Sir. Krotin has to say something in order for us to piece the puzzle together. Even that is already too late. At this point, it is hard to turn things around no matter what he says. But seeing as Duke Ramis is not steering David’s death as a deliberate conspiracy of Duke Taran’s, one can see that he is holding back a lot. My father-in-law’s request is simple. He wants Sir. Krotin to be executed according to the law. With that, he will let things go. Rather, this King is surprised because he was very cool-headed in the face of his son’s death.” (Kwiz)
“Releasing Sir. Krotin is difficult. There’s also an issue with the fact that Sir. Krotin had a sword in the palace. If we handle the death of his eldest son in a passable manner, my father-in-law will make an issue out of it. If they claim that his purpose was to assassinate this king and they gather public opinion, it will lead to a political controversy and the Taran family will also be caught up in it. This king doesn’t want things to develop that way.”
The king’s anti-opposing forces were still holding their breaths. Right now, when they hadn’t properly sorted them out, if the king’s two greatest strengths were to fight each other, it would be exposing a gap to them. Since that situation would turn into a mud fight, Kwiz would choose to execute Roy.
“Why in the world is Sir. Krotin like that? The incident aside, I’m just so curious, I can’t sleep.” (Kwiz)
“Can I see him?” (Hugo)
 David & Anita