“Do you want to forget that day”
He nodded weakly at Apollonia’s question.
It was only natural since he watched his parents die in front of him.
But contrary to her heart, the words from her lips were brutally cold.
Caelion looked at her once again with eyes wide open.
Apollonia gripped his shoulders even more strongly.
She had to imprint this moment forever in his head.
“Don’t forget what happened to your parents, what almost happened to you, and…” She bit her lips for a moment and continued.
“Who saved you.”
Fear once again rose within his eyes.
Apollonia continued, hoping that her eyes wouldn’t tremble the same way as his did.
“If you want to live, don’t forget for a moment that your life is mine now.”
Once again, a long silence hovered in the room.
“…Your Highness.” It wasn’t long before Caelion’s voice cracked in the air.
Unlike his boyish, innocent voice before, his voice was lower this time.
“I won’t forget.” He leaned closer toward Apollonia.
“…I, Evinhart, will give my everything to Her Highness.”
Apollonia smiled bitterly.
Isolation, shock, pain, and fear.
Were those the key to earning his obedience all along
The grand duke’s submission was the most effective weapon against the imperial family.
“What will happen to me now” Caelion asked.
Knowing that Apollonia had a plan, he quickly calmed down.
“I’ll provide you a residence, so stay there for a while to heal your wounds.
You and I still have a lot to talk about.
When your recovery is over, go back to the duchy to announce your parents’ passing and hold a splendid funeral.
In accordance with the procedures, inform the imperial palace of the news.”
“But you said I’d be in danger if I go back.
Shouldn’t we be more careful”
“That was a misjudgment.”
Petra’s persistence was the only thing she learned over the years.
She was completely mistaken.
“If you keep playing safe, you’ll end up dying quietly.
You have to attract everyone’s attention and attain greater power than your father ever had in his lifetime.
Aim for greater honor than just a hunting competition winner.”
“But how can I…”
“Let the whole empire know your abilities.
Show them that you are the descendant of Apollo, and a member of the royal family who resembles the previous emperor.
And lastly,” she paused for a moment to look at his expression.
“You have to rise as Paris’s biggest rival.”
Caelion’s eyes got bigger.
Apollonia’s order was something that his father had avoided all his life.
“You have to do it in an instant so my father can’t expect it.
Quickly gather people who support you, and make it difficult for them to kill you.”
“Your Highness.” He didn’t avoid her eyes, but his lips were shaking.
“From what I hear, you’re suggesting that I should aim for the throne.
I’ve never once…”
“The plan is to create an illusion.
My father and aunt will forget me because they are focusing on you.
But…” Apollonia looked straight into Caelion’s eyes and spoke coolly.
“Even if everyone thinks you want the throne, never set your eyes on it.”
‘The throne is mine.’
Apollonia did not say it out loud, but he understood instantly.
Caelion looked into her eyes and nodded slowly.
“But it takes a lot to build power.
Currently, I have no connections or funds.
The grand duchy is wealthy, but it is not enough to boost my reputation instantly.
In addition, my swordsmanship teacher died a few days ago, so I can’t think of a way to train.”
It made sense.
Even if he was trained by the best teacher out there, it wasn’t easy to rise as the empire’s greatest warrior in an instant no matter how hard he trained.
“I’ll provide you with everything.
I can help you with funds and your education.
You will be the strongest warrior and the wisest lord in the empire.
Even Paris will be nothing compared to you.” Apollonia was oozing with confidence.
She was confident that the boy in front of her would pull off her plan successfully.
She already ascertained his ability and potential.
Once again, he nodded slowly.
He trusted Apollonia even though she did not explain the details thoroughly.
“And when you fully establish your power…” Apollonia began to explain the most important part.
It was something that she was reluctant to say.
‘I didn’t want to do this either.
However, I couldn’t come up with another way no matter how much I thought about it.’
She bit her lips once and opened them again.
“Marry me.” She didn’t know why, but when she said those words, the image of Uriel hugging her as she sobbed came to her mind.
Caelion froze, the silence deafening.
However, Apollonia did not back down and looked straight into his eyes.
“…Do you mean it”