There was something definitely wrong with his body.
“At first, I assumed that it was because I didn’t go out and exercise enough. Ever since I started feeling chest pain, I thought that it was my mana acting up. I was also worried that there might be something wrong with my heart.”
It seemed that he was wrong about all of them.
“Then this must be an antidote,” muttered Calian.
“Yes. I made it in a hurry, but I have already confirmed its effectiveness. You should be fully cured by the time that pouch is empty, Your Highness. Once you feel better, I will start looking at your magic.”
Calian’s gaze was glued onto the pouch. Alan stared at Calian for a few more seconds before calmly offering an explanation, as if instead of talking about Calian, he was talking about some other third-party.
“It’s a deadly poison called ‘Tacrimosa’. It is manufactured using a few poisonous plants and the blood and venom of a snake called Crimosa. If a prince who was in perfect health were to die a sudden death, it would seem quite strange. It seems that the perpetrator wished for it to look as if you were slowly falling ill. However, most poison would be cured by the power of the blessing so the only choice they had was to regularly make you ingest small amounts of lethal poison.”
It was truly a cruel move.
Calian was only fourteen. His only fault was his resemblance to Freya.
“Thus, they needed something that is odourless, tasteless, unreactive to silver, symptomatically similar to illness, and able to be produced in large batches. Tacrimosa is the only poison that is fitting of all of these conditions and your symptoms.”
Calian lowered his head, without interjecting.
Alan had gathered his information by sitting in the Mages’ Union Headquarters all day yesterday and coercing the mages residing on Teinansha.
Alan resumed his explanation:
“If one did not have the power of the blessing….one would start to cough as if their lungs were inflamed, vomit blood, and pass away within a week, even just by ingesting a very small amount. Your heart must have been overworking to regenerate the body from such lethal poison. That is why it seemed as if your healing abilities had disappeared, and also why your body started rejecting the use of mana. It is only to be expected that your body would protest in pain when you try to use more power on top of all the work that’s already being done.”
As Calian tried to fasten the pouch, it slipped from his hands. A few tablets of antidotes fell onto his lap. Calian hurriedly picked them up and put them back into the pouch. His fingers trembled as they touched the tablets.
Fear didn’t make him tremble.
Calian was definitely assassinated. His cause of death wasn’t poison.
Considering that he wasn’t able to use mana from the beginning, it’s certainly not the case that he was poisoned due to his acting out of the ordinary. This, therefore, means that Calian was always meant to be poisoned – even in the past.
This realisation brought about another question, which came with uncontrollable rage.
“Why-” Calian clasped the pouch tightly and looked up at Alan.
Why did they have to choke the already dying child to death?
Alan’s shoulders flinched. He saw his student’s red eyes fill up with murderous intent, albeit for a split second. Although it disappeared without a trace, it wasn’t something that a young boy should be able to express.
“I’m truly sorry, teacher. I could never even have guessed.”
“…there is more to sharpness than just a dagger before your eyes. Things that cannot be seen may sometimes bear a larger thorn,” replied Alan, attempting to shake off the chilling glisten that he saw in Calian’s eyes.
Calian took Alan’s words to heart. Swordmasters remained unharmed by poison, and this fact led him to becoming careless. Despite Bern’s copious experience on the battlefield where attempts of assassination of every way, shape, and form were very common, he had been caught off-guard.
He was too preoccupied over the fact that Calian was choked to death that he missed the possibility of poison.
Despite the obvious symptoms, he had not thought of poison. Calian, more than anyone else, could not make such a mistake.
“Am I in a grave state?”
“As far as I was concerned, you seemed to be straddling the line between life and death.”
Calian chuckled. His tension eased a little as he asked,
“If I were to concurrently take the poison and the antidote, would my symptoms get worse?”
Alan’s face crumpled.
“I strongly vouch against that thought. Although the process would be delayed, you would be bound to meet your demise.”
“How much would it be delayed?”
“I cannot say for sure, considering that I am not a healer. Ten days, perhaps fifteen.”
Calian smiled in satisfaction.
“That’s more than enough. I shall take them both.”
“Are you really telling me that you’d take the antidote with the goddamn poison?”
‘Is he trying to insult me or asking me out of pure curiosity?’
“Yes. The symptoms being signs of poison are very different from simply being signs of an illness in that I must react carefully. I cannot just refuse to take it all of a sudden,” said Calian, gazing into Alan’s concerned eyes.
“I believe that the poison was in the tea that I drink every morning. There’s nothing else that I consume regularly every day. However, I always drank it in the presence of everyone else. I don’t want to doubt the maids, but I would rather not overlook things.”
Maybe, just maybe… the Old Calian realised that he was slowly being poisoned. He might have refused to drink poisoned tea.
If Silica had noticed that Calian realised that his tea was poisoned, it was certainly possible for her to have sent an assassin to an already dying child. Knowing Silica, she definitely would have.
If he immediately refused to drink the tea, she would find another way. But since his situation now is different from the situation then… he couldn’t say for sure that they would try to kill him using the same method.
While Calian organised his thoughts, Alan began to speak once again.
“Your Highness, you need not worry about not having enough evidence against the culprit. I have already secured evidence that Brissen Merchantry has been buying an unusual number of snakes-supposedly for their skin. Even as we speak, the Mages’ Union is thoroughly investigating this matter.”
“Thank you. We can leave that as our last resort. However, we will not be able to take down Silica with just that much evidence. We must find a different way.”
Not only had Alan discovered quite a lot in just a day, but he had even collected evidence. Calian smiled, not knowing just how many mages had to be rallied in order to gather this much information.
“Until then, we must not let Silica know that I have noticed that my tea is poisoned. That being said, I have been drinking that tea in front of all the maids. Since I have no way of throwing it out without drinking it, I shall continue to drink the tea even while I take the antidote.” Calian continued,
“On top of that, Yan and the other maids will be in deep trouble if word goes out that my morning tea was tampered with. Since they have been giving me poison for quite a while, in no way will they be able to continue working without any punishment.”
“Though the baby elephant would be just fine,” muttered Alan to himself.
“Nothing, Your Highness. In any case, why do you trust that attendant so deeply?”
“He can’t lie. His face tells me everything.” Calian lifted his arm and pointed at his own face. Then, he stared down at his right palm. A small, but clear scar ran across it. It was from back when Franz hurt his hand. He remembered Yan’s face as Yan held his hand and cried like a small child.
“More importantly, I just… trust him. That’s all.”
Alan nodded without adding anything else. Calian continued.
“This poison had to be given to me over a long period of time. Silica must also have kept in mind that there was a possibility that I would notice. The fact that she went along with it despite knowing this must mean that she has a surefire plan to escape any accusations made against her. She had even talked about killing me while I was standing right before her.”
Calian recalled Silica’s attitude during their dinner with Viscount Lennon Brissen. She had acted as if she would never take the consequences of her actions.
“If we make one wrong move, I would only end up losing my people without being able to take down Silica. She most likely would accuse me of false charges. Once that happens, it would be difficult for me to protect myself when attacked by an assassin or poisoned once again.
“So until I have the right hand – at least until I find a way to make her completely give up on trying to poison me – I will ingest them concurrently. One way or another, I will fend off the visible daggers that fly towards me.”
Alan sighed deeply as he stared at Calian, thoughts running across his face like tangled yarn.
Calian smiled and picked up a tablet with his fingers.
“Thanks for the antidote.”
Without hesitation, he plopped the tablet into his mouth and swallowed it.
Alan knit his brows.
“Didn’t I tell you to be suspicious of everything you eat? What if I had given you actual poison?”
“Then that couldn’t be helped. That would only mean that you couldn’t trust me as much as I trusted you, teacher. I would be at fault for not being able to convince you to trust me.”
“You use shuch shrewd words, your highness,” Alan chuckled.
“This is the tongue that managed to win over the famous Alan Manasil, after all.” Calian replied proudly, as if he had just been complimented.
Alan remained silent for a moment before asking,
“As you wish. What else would you like me to do for you, Your Highness?”
Although Alan had already done enough to save his life, Calian still needed Alan’s help. Calian answered quietly.
“Please take me out of the palace tomorrow evening.”
It was more than doable. Alan nodded.
“As many times as you wish, Your Highness.”
As Calian lightly threw and caught the pouch of antidotes, the tablets inside rolled around and into each other. Since Alan left, Calian was breaking his promise to Yan for the very first time. He was lost in thought as he fidgeted with the pouch without even touching his lunch.
Knowing that Calian had been discussing his health with Alan, Yan glanced at his master nervously. However, he stood beside Calian without a word.
The pouch sounded once again.
“Yan,” began Calian.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Do I have anything to attend within ten days where nobles would be present?”
“Since there weren’t any during the month before the celebration, there will be quite a few over the next few weeks.”
That’s a relief. Calian nodded.
“What are they specifically?”
Yan lowered his gaze and organised his thoughts, retracing Calian’s schedule in his head. He began to list the events in chronological order. Occasions both internal and external to the palace flooded out of his mouth. Calian could feel his face droop in exhaustion. That’s kind of… a large amount.
Calian raised his hand to pause the list.
“Alright, that’s great. Thanks.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Calian was currently trying to come up with a plan to make Silica give up on poisoning him. There was one idea that hit him while he was talking to Alan, and it was the only plan that he could carry out within ten days.
This was the reason for his asking Alan to take him out of the palace.
Thankfully, there was one outing with the nobles that was just right for his plan.
However, he knew that it would be quite risky. He had to ponder on it for a while. Suddenly, he was reminded of what Bern’s father – Devlan, the current King of Secretia – had said in Bern’s past life.
- If you wish to take your opponent’s card, you must gamble with your own first.
I guess I am reminded of you during times like this, Father.
Calian finally decided that he would accept the risk.
As he was about to stand up, his eyes met Yan’s. It was as if Yan’s expression was speaking to him: ‘Aren’t you going to eat?’
Calian chuckled and sat back down, placing the pouch on the table. The swishing noise echoed through the room once again.
Naturally, Yan’s eyes traced the pouch. There was no doubt that Yan was very concerned about him. Calian decided to provide an explanation, although omitting a few facts.
“It’s medicine. By the time I finish taking them, I’ll be all better. But you have to promise…” Calian paused.
“I will not speak of it to anyone else. Please do not worry,” assured Yan, reading Calian’s intention.
‘I don’t know if I should call him keen or dense.’
Calian smiled and began his belated meal.
Original Translation: Wordexcerpt
Edited: Tani Andris
Sorry for not updating for a while guys, unlike original novels that I can just type on my phone, translations take a while, with that thought in mind, I’ve decided to just edit Wordexcerpt’s previously translated novels and post them for now so that I can do previously untranslated chapters sooner.