Chapter 448. Brief Farewell (1)
Translator: Aura / Editor: Tiny Zebra
“I’m afraid I can’t.”
My answer was determined in advance.
The 4th Commander seemed surprised by my answer. Was he so confident that I would fall for his blackmail?
“Wasn’t I sufficiently clear? It’s in exchange for Grand Duke Lilteang’s whereabouts.”
The 4th Commander spoke in disbelief. It seemed that he hadn’t considered the possibility of rejection.
“I don’t intend to use the 5th Division for anything untoward, Your Majesty. Although it’s not my own division, we are all comrades. I just need help because I’m short-handed.”
“Still, I can’t agree to your request.”
With a sly smile, the 4th Commander asked me a rather clever question.
“Did Commander Langdel warn you about me?”
Of course, I didn’t have to answer that question honestly. Fortunately, he wouldn’t be able to tell that I was lying.
He cocked his head, even more confused by my firm answer.
I mimicked his sly smile in an effort to look as relaxed as possible.
“Before you threaten, you should first find out what methods work best with the other party. Blackmail certainly doesn’t work with me, Commander Angel.”
That said, the 4th Commander got up from the couch and went to the door quietly. But just before he twisted the knob, he turned his head toward me,
“You know what?”
“I would have been disappointed had you agreed to lend the 5th Division.”
Was he trying to test me? Did he want to know if I would betray his comrades if it suited me?
While suspicions arose in my mind, the 4th Commander added with a radiant smile.
“You have made your choice, Your Majesty. Don’t say I didn’t try to help.”
When I awoke the next morning, Heinley was already gone. I summoned one of his attendants to find out the reason.
“His Majesty went out at dawn, Your Majesty.”
“I don’t know the details, Your Majesty. However, he didn’t seem to be in high spirits. I suppose it is something serious.”
The attendant looked worried. After I finished breakfast, I finally discovered the reason for his sudden absence.
“Grand Duke Lilteang was found in a bad state in the middle of the night outside the Eastern Empire’s embassy, Your Majesty.”
The news was reported to me by my attendant, and I instructed him to inquire further. After a pause, my attendant added,
“The embassy contacted Emperor Sovieshu right away.”
“So, is Grand Duke Lilteang with Emperor Sovieshu now?”
“No, he is still at the embassy. But it seems that Emperor Sovieshu demanded explanations from Emperor Heinley.”
My attendant bowed and left the room. My ladies-in-waiting, with whom I had just eaten breakfast, looked at each other. They seemed worried that the Grand Duke had been found ‘in a bad state’. I couldn’t tell them that everything would be alright. It was evident that the situation did not look good.
I couldn’t sit still, so I went to see Heinley, but he wasn’t in his office. Only McKenna was there. He told me that Heinley had gone to his nest.
“You mean the one behind the Twilight Gardens?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Thank you for letting me know.”
“Uh… Your Majesty.”
However, McKenna rushed up to me as I was about to leave the office.
Did he have anything else to tell me? McKenna was hesitant, as if he didn’t know whether to speak.
“Emperor Sovieshu blamed His Majesty for the Grand Duke’s serious injuries.”
McKenna watched for my reaction. Did he want me to comfort Heinley, or did he have more to tell me about Sovieshu? I waited a moment, but he didn’t say another word. So I replied that I understood, left the office and went to the Twilight Gardens.
Atop the jeweled column, Heinley was in his bird form perched on the shabby nest of twigs. He stared blankly into the distance.
What is he thinking? It didn’t look good. His sadness was noticeable even in his bird form.
I wanted to reach out to him to comfort him, but every step I took was difficult. I wasn’t sure what to do. As I pursed my lips, I saw Heinley wrap his wings around his head and then I heard him coo sadly.
Fear overwhelmed me. If I approached him now, would I be reminding him of all he gave up for me? Would he begin to regret it?
I was afraid that his regret would turn into resentment.