Ch. 103 I Am Sleeping Now (1)
The Crown Prince’s palace was quite large. It wasn’t as vast as the Emperor’s or Empress’ palace, but it was still the third largest on the grounds and boasted an impressive size.
Aside from the largest central building on the Crown Prince’s compound, there were also various small and large buildings next to it, such as training camps, stables, and the servants’ quarters. The same was true of the accommodation that Elena and Mirabelle had been placed in. It was a quiet building far away from the central area to provide the most comfort and relaxation.
“Are some of the Empress’ men still on the grounds?”
Zenard, who was walking a step behind, answered immediately.
“Yes, they are.”
“Put more watchmen over there. They seem to be hiding, but if you find them, take them away.”
“Then armed conflict is inevitable, Your Grace. The Empress won’t let this stand. What are you going to say?”
“Do I have to explain myself?”
Zenard didn’t understand at all. Carlisle then replied quietly.
“Kill them all. If we don’t leave any evidence, they won’t be able to prove that we’ve taken Kuhn in our custody.”
“But even without proof, she’ll know that you’re the one. Is that acceptable?”
“It doesn’t matter. They’ve already gotten away with it too many times.”
Despite the violence in his words, Carlisle was relaxed as if he were merely taking a stroll.
“…They’ll pay the price for recklessly intruding into my palace.”
Carlisle’s was more hard-willed than expected, but Elena didn’t speak out against Carlisle’s judgment. From Elena’s perspective, as someone who had been on the battlefield numerous times, Carlisle’s mindset was that of an excellent general. Society was concerned that this side of him was too cruel, but when he moved into situations of danger like now, he excelled brilliantly. One should never underestimate the enemy, especially on the battlefield.
“I will go watch for the Empress’ men–”
Elena spoke before he could finish.
“I will go.”
Not only was Elena confident that she would leave no evidence, but she knew she could get Kuhn out safely even if the other soldiers found her first. The more important the task was, the more she wanted to deal with it herself. Carlisle furrowed his brow, however.
“Zenard, you go.”
Zenard couldn’t hide his surprise when it was Elena who volunteered to go.
“Don’t make me say it again.”
“My apologies. I’ll go right away.”
With a questioning look on his face, Zenard quickly lowered his head, then fell away from Carlisle’s company and disappeared. When he was completely out of sight, Carlisle turned towards Elena, his icy eyes flashing in the dark.
“…Len, you’re already trying to break your promise.”
Elena gazed at him, and she imagined he looked like a black jaguar on the prowl, a bloodthirsty predator that kept its prey on edge. The other soldiers following behind Carlisle momentarily lost their breath at the pressure he was exuding.
Elena didn’t forget the promise she made.
“You can’t ignore me.”
“I won’t get hurt by this kind of mission. I am your sharpest weapon.”
She had told Carlisle that she wouldn’t get hurt, and that she would be as careful as possible. However, she was not so weak as to get injured by such a mission.
The soldiers’ were astonished at Elena’s words. They had never heard someone speak so confidently. It was not easy to praise oneself even if you were overflowing with skill. Those who talked like this could be divided into two main categories–Either you were really confident in your skills, or you were a big talker…
A small smile spread across Carlisle’s as if he were in agreement with Elena.
“Still, stay with me tonight. I don’t want you to leave yet.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The two were completely casual in their conversation, but the soldiers behind them were not easily convinced. In this situation, was it true that Elena was the best of Carlisle’s men?
Everyone stared back Elena and Carlisle with inquisitive looks. Morgan, who was walking silently behind them, clapped his hands together and murmured in a soft voice that did not fit his big size.
The started to find small clues as they arrived in the northwest direction of the Crown Prince’s palace. It was when Carlisle and his group were following a trail of bloodstains on some branches that someone came towards Carlisle, panting.
“Y-your Highness. Someone from the Empress’ palace has formally asked for permission to search your palace.”
A faint smile hung over Carlisle’s lips.
“After she’s already infiltrated it?”
They have already expelled those who infiltrated the palace once. And now that he had already sent Zenard to surveill them now, it was too late for them to come and get permission.
“Your Highness, what shall I do?”
Carlisle dipped his head and touched his chin in thought for a moment.
They could hear the sound of movement through the forest. His company consisted of highly skilled knights, and even the slightest movement could not be missed.
Elena whispered to Carlisle.
“It seems like the Empress’ men are already in the vicinity.”
While Carlisle was searching for Kuhn, the Empress seemed to have sent more forces. Besides the groups under Zenard’s command, there were others in the palace. Perhaps they had also discovered Kuhn’s trail, and were searching for the blood left in the area.
Carlisle’s eyes were steely. Then he spoke quietly.
“I am asleep now.”
The man who had run to report to Carlisle had an expression of disbelief.
“I’m deep asleep and I cannot be woken. That means I am not able to grant permission for the Empress’ men to search my palace.”
“So now they are the men who trespassed the Crown Prince’s palace.”
The man listening to Carlisle finally realized what he meant and opened his eyes wide. Elena was able to understand the prince’s meaning as soon as he said the first words.
Officially, the Empress had to ask permission from the Crown Prince to search his palace for the fugitive, so Carlisle intended to delay his permission as much as possible. Furthermore, those who infiltrated the Crown Prince’s palace were unidentified men, so they had an excuse to capture and punish them.
Elena suddenly drew her sword from her waist.
On this dark night, her sharp blade flashed in the soft moonlight. The other men in the back were confused at Elena’s sudden behavior.
Elena immediately threw her sword into the forest.
It struck an enemy soldier that had been hiding. The sound of metal piercing flesh confirmed that her aim was true.
There came faint praise from someone’s mouth. Elena turned and calmly spoke to Carlisle.
“I will go and capture all the unidentified men who have infiltrated the palace.”
If the men followed them, they would try to escape. It wasn’t too dangerous, and no one could seriously threaten her in one-to-one combat.
Carlisle shot Elena conflicted glance, but soon nodded.
After this sparse exchange, she ran into the dark forest. As expected, as soon as she moved she could sense the enemy scattering on all sides.
Carlisle turned towards his other men for a moment.
“What are you doing? Are you not going?”
After Carlisle’s words, the other men followed behind Elena to capture the Empress’ men. The sound of countless collisions of steel on steel rang in the dark. Carlisle did not doubt that Elena could capture all of the Empress’ men. Although he did not want to admit it, with her ability he knew she wouldn’t lose them.
Carlisle was observing the battle with his arms folded when he suddenly realized there was still one person by his side. It was the man earlier who informed him that the Empress wanted to obtain permission to search the palace.
“You should go ahead and tell them I’m too deep asleep to get up.”
“Y-yes, Your Highness!”
He had been staring at Elena’s back and came to himself when the prince addressed him, and then rushed away in a hurry. His mission was to tell them that Carlisle was still sleeping.