Princess Maurice's next words came crashing down like a wave. "I too like Claire."
In an instant, Nancy felt his entire body go cold. He stared fixedly at the pretty, yet ice-cold face. Maurice had unexpectedly fallen for Claire!
"Brother. You must become the emperor. Our battle with the crown prince has already evolved into this. If he becomes emperor, you know better than anyone how our fate will end. You must be decisive!" Maurice's gaze became more and more chilly.
Nancy rubbed his temple, his thoughts a mess. He knew better than anyone what would happen if they failed. Death, and not just any kind of death. The first prince would first banish him from the palace to some remote area, then assassinate him using disease as a cover. This was the way of the successor battle. Nancy knew clearly that if he lost this silent battle, it would not only be him who died, but also Maurice, their mother, and anyone else related to him.
Most importantly, royal authority was at stake! He could not let divine right usurp royal authority!
He could not afford to lose!
Maurice watched the changes in Nancy's expression silently, sighing in her heart. Her brother was not ruthless enough! He was not cunning or decisive enough to be the successor! But it was still fine. She was there to assist him. She would help him obtain the highest position, fulfilling the dream she could not fulfill. If women could not ascend the throne, then she would let her brother fulfill her wish for her!
Maurice looked up. "Brother, our only choice is to force that old fox Gordan to publicly declare his stance. The Temple's conditions simply cannot be agreed to. If agreed to, the throne's position will be unstable. I do not want your name to go down in infamy." If the Hill clan took a stance, they would be a strong ally against the crown prince and Temple.
"I know, I will definitely not agree." Nancy sighed helplessly. He was still hesitant in his heart, somewhat bitter. How could he face Claire afterwards?
"Brother, don't worry. I will take care of everything. It will have nothing to do with you. When the time comes, the prince will be the one to face the Hill clan's ire," Princess Maurice said coldly. From the bottom of her heart, she too did not want the golden haired green eyed girl to hate her.
"Is this really fine?" Nancy was still hesitant. He could still remember his promise to Claire clearly and that beautiful face.
"Brother, you must remember, you are the future emperor. You cannot be obstructed by emotions." Maurice frowned. "Once you ascend the throne, you can think of a way to marry her. But right now, you must be decisive, otherwise you won't obtain anything, but lose everything instead."
Nancy gazed at Maurice's serious expression and cold eyes. Finally, he let out a heavy sigh.
"Alright," he said quietly, as if his entire strength had been spent. Nancy closed his eyes and gently leaned back in his chair. He knew that taking this step mean he and that golden haired, jade eyed girl could never be...
Maurice sighed in her heart, seeing how defeated Nancy was. But now, her brother had taken the first step to become the emperor. In the future, he would be a splendid emperor!
"It will be done as soon as possible." Maurice's voice was ice cold.
Nancy's eyes remained closed. In his heart, he sighed. In truth, Maurice was more qualified that he and the crown prince! Her ruthlessness, her way of handling things, and her cunning all surpassed his and the crown prince's by far!
And so, the two made this decision this night. However, they never would have imagined even in their wildest dreams what disastrous consequences this would bring! But by then, it would be too late to regret.
Three days later, as Princess Maurice's head lady in waiting, Katherine was arrested for attempting to poison the crown prince. She was locked up in Calou garden, a place designated for nobles who had committed crimes. This matter was directly linked to second prince Nancy. The struggle for the throne had begun.
A storm had just begun. A tense atmosphere loomed over the capital.
The Hill clan was also ill at ease.
Princess Maurice stood at a window in her bedroom, look up at the sky, laughing coldly in her heart. "Humph! Now that old fox will take his stance!"
But Princess Maurice had heavily misjudged the importance Katherine held in Claire's heart. What later happened left her filled with endless regret!
Hill manor. The study.
Duke Gordan sat at the study desk, his expression heavy. Roger stood at the side, his expression filled with worry.
"Father, what do we do now? This is clearly a conspiracy!" Roger hollered with exasperation.
"I know!" Duke Gordan's voice deepened. Of course he knew what was going on. He was even a little vexed. The second prince actually made such a move! He had thoroughly underestimated him.
"Then father, what do we do? Are we just going to let Katherine stay imprisoned?" Just thinking of Katherine imprisoned drove Roger crazy.
"The second prince is forcing me to take a stance." Duke Gordan sat back in his chair, frowning.
"Then father, we will...?" Roger asked nervously.
"Now that the crown prince has agreed such demands from the Temple, if he ascends the throne, we will never be able to lift our heads." Duke Gordan closed his eyes and let out a long sigh. He knew clearly if the crown prince ascended the throne, people such as he would forever have their heads lowered to the Temple and divine right would forever surpass royal authority. Of course he was already aware of the secret arrangement. Duke Gordan was no simple man.
"Father, you mean..." Roger watched Duke Gordan intently, waiting for his next words.
"There can only be one emperor." Duke Gordan sighed. "The second prince is more worthy of the throne."
"Then... Then father, is there a way to save Katherine now?" Roger said hurriedly.
"Summon Eric. Tell him I want to see him." Now that Duke Gordan had made his decision, they were going to take action immediately. They could not let Eric support the crown prince so blatantly any more.
"Alright, father. I will do so now." Roger nodded and immediately left.
Duke Gordan sighed, his fingers drumming on the table as he tried to ease his state of mind.
"Emery, is there any news of Claire?" Emery had been standing silently behind him this whole time.
"None yet." Emery was slightly worried.
"That is fine. I always knew one day we would contend with the Temple of Light, I just never thought it would be so soon." Duke Gordan sighed, somewhat relieved. Claire's identity was too special. In this silent battle, her position was the most awkward.
"The Miss said she went to cultivate, but she has been gone for so long." Emery was extremely worried. All they had learned from Jean was this.
"That child is special, no need to worry about her." Duke Gordan's eyes flashed with profoundness.
But Duke Gordan did not expect Eric to disobey and stubbornly stay at the crown prince's side!
"What? What is Eric doing? What do you mean to say?" Duke Gordan roared.
Roger's expression was also overcast. Facing Duke Gordan's ire, he suppressed his own anger and spoke. "Eric, that unfilial son, said no matter what decision we made, he will always support the crown prince, even at the cost of his life. Also, he will not come to see you, Father."
"Traitor!" Duke Gordan slammed the table. The table instantly split apart and clattered onto the floor. Duke Gordan's expression darkened as he yelled furiously, "How could he say that? Is someone controlling his mind?"
"No," Roger frowned, shaking his head.
"How impudent! Does he know the consequences?" Duke Gordan's lungs were about to explode.
"He... he said even if he was banished from the clan, even if he were to abandon the Hill name, he would still support the crown prince." Roger's fists clenched tightly. Even though he had beaten that unfilial son half dead, he still wouldn't change his mind. If the crown prince hadn't come over to stop him, he would have taken his life!
"Impudent! Traitorous dog! How could the Hill clan have produced such a traitor!" Duke Gordan's expression became more and more unsightly, his knuckles cracking. It was the first time, the first time someone dared to challenge his authority like so!
"I already banished him from the clan." Roger lowered his head, not daring to look at his father's contorted face. He himself was furious. That unfilial brat did not care for his mother's life and stubbornly supported the prince to the point of opposing his own family! Bastard! Even worse than a dog!
"Humph! Such a traitorous dog doesn't deserve the Hill name!" Duke Gordan was fuming with rage. One day the traitorous dog would pay the price!