Claire frowned, drumming her fingers on the table exasperatedly.
"Perhaps..." Philips suddenly said, his tone incredulous.
"Perhaps what?" Claire hurriedly asked.
"Perhaps it was mind control!" Philips uttered in a low voice.
"Impossible." Xi Shaoqi humphed. "Such a low level technique, anyone would be able to tell. Those mind controlled have unfocused eyes and stutter. Anyone with the slightest bit of strength would be able to sense they are being mind controlled."
"Not always." Philips started to ponder, stroking his chin.
"What exceptions are there?" Mind control was no simple technique. Not only did the controller have to have very strong spiritual power, making a controlled person appear normal was exceptionally difficult.
"Rumors say there is a sub-artifact* that can control minds without anyone detecting it." Philips frowned as he spoke, then shook his head. "But it's not possible. The sub-artifact has already been missing for five hundred years. There is no way the Temple of Light would have it. However, if this sub-artifact was were to control someone's mind, it would take a sorcerer to break through the spell."
*Remember, Claire's sword, the Azure Ripple blade, is an artifact, whereas this item is only a sub-artifact
"Has the Temple of Light ever approached my mother during the time she was imprisoned?"
"No. Because the situation is so serious, no one is allowed to visit, including his highness, the second prince, her highness, the princess, and Duke Hill himself." Philips was certain.
"Humph!" Claire humphed coldly. Not being allowed to visit did not mean they could not reach her mother. She herself was a prime example.
"Divine Princess, what do we do next?" Philips asked.
Claire was quiet for a moment, then stood up. Her voice cold, she said, "Tonight, I will visit my mother to see what really happened. Wait for me to return before making any other moves."
"That's not possible, I'm afraid." Philips shook his head slowly. "Currently, Calou is guarded by Tempest Warriors and members of the Griffin Squad. Even the Temple of Light sent a cardinal."
Claire immediately understood. This time, the Temple of Light was pulling out all the stops.
"I reckon there are not only guards at the door, but also a barrier around her room. After all, the results of this case are extremely crucial," Philips surmised.
"Has the Hill clan made any moves?" Claire's eyes narrowed a cold glint flashing across her eyes. It was unlikely the Hill clan would do nothing after such huge developments.
"Divine Princess, your father was extremely anxious when the news came. He constantly meets with the second prince. However, Duke Hill, who had previously been calm, recognized something was wrong when he heard the news and requested to visit your mother, most likely to check if she was mind controlled. However, the Temple of Light refused him."
"The Temple of Light does not have the right to refuse him." Claire laughed coldly.
"Of course they do not have the right. However, the emperor supported the Temple of Light, saying that prisoners of Calou cannot visit family before trials." Philip's thick brow raised in disdain. "The emperor saying this changes things."
"Wow! Pressuring the Hill clan like this, isn't he afraid the Hill caln will rebel?" Xi Shaoqi cried loudly. "After all, the Hill clan controls the armies."
"The emperor knows where to draw the line." Xi Shaosi shot a glance at Xi Shaoqi. Xi Shaoqi fell silent.
"Tomorrow is the public trial. Divine Princess, what will we do?" Philips asked quietly.
Claire remained silent, her eyes flickering.
"What about my master?" Claire frowned.
"A few days ago, he left the capital with Cardinal Lawrence for an unknown reason." As expected of Philips's vast network. He even knew where Cliff was.
"Are we going to rescue her?" Xi Shaoqi asked excitedly.
"No," Claire shook her head slightly. The situation had developed out of her expectations. Mother actually confessed that she had poisoned the crown prince. This disrupted her original plan. What was Grandfather planning? How would the situation be resolved? How would she rescue mother?
"If you can prove during the public trial that your mother confessed under mind control by either the crown prince or Temple of Light, then the tables will turn," said Philips.
"But what if it is that sub-artifact? Is there a way to break its spell?" Claire frowned.
"Yes, but it is very dangerous," Philips, with his wide range of knowledge, answered immediately. "That would be to control your mother's mind. If you also attempt mind control, there would be would be a clash of spiritual powers between you and the other mind controller. However, if you do not win, not only will they be able to continue controlling your mother's mind, your mind will be heavily damaged and you might become a vegetable." Philips sighed. "If only your master Cliff were here. Sorcerers are capable of breaking the mind control of the sub-artifact."
"Divine Princess, this method is extremely dangerous. If your opponent has the sub-artifact, things would take a bad turn," Xi Shaosi said calmly.
"I know." Claire nodded faintly. "You don't have to do any now. This is my personal business. I promised the pope before that I would not treat the lives of members of the Temple of Darkness as a joke."
"Divine Princess..." Philips opened his mouth to speak, but Claire motioned with her hand. "No need. If I truly need help, I will ask. Bill's teleportation formation is useful, but cannot be used in the capital that is surrounded by Light. The Dark aura is too dense and would expose us. If I need anything, I will tell you."
Before they could say anything, Claire motioned for them to leave. "All of you, withdraw. I need some time alone."
The Xi brothers both opened their mouths, wanting to speak, but Philips silenced them with a glare.
After they left, Claire sat quietly in a chair, pondering.
The god of Darkness could not descend in the capital full of Light power. Master had left suddenly just before Mother had confessed to attempting to murder the crown prince. Was this all just a coincidence?
If she appeared at Hill manor now, it would only make matters worse. At least the Hill clan and Temple of Light were friendly on the surface currently. However, if she appeared now, this calm would be shattered.
Chaos! Her thoughts were a mess!
White Emperor and Black Feather, perched on Claire's shoulders, called out loudly, as if to console Claire.
Claire smiled. She stroked the two little fellows, then stood up and walked back to her room. She was already at the peak of the tenth level of the Treasured Lotus Style, on the verge of breaking through to the eleventh level. Perhaps due to her close brushes with death, Claire was much faster at cultivating the Treasured Lotus Style.
"Father, the trial is tomorrow. Is there no other way? Claire must have been mind controlled, must have!" Roger yelled, anxious and worried.
"Of course I know." Duke Gordan humphed coldly. "How many times have I told you to control your hot temper?"
"I cannot calm down. If Katherine is found guilty, her life will be forfeit. How can I calm down?" Roger was almost hysterical.
"You think I'm not worried? If Katherine is found guilty, not only is her life forfeit, the second prince will lose and our Hill clan will also collapse as well!" Duke Gordan tried to suppress his anger. He too was very exasperated. He had planned to watch from the sidelines quietly, allowing Eric to assist the first prince and Jean to help the second prince secretly. No matter who ascended the throne, he would be a winner. However, the second prince had forced his hand. And he never expected Eric to betray the clan!
Roger gritted his teeth, angry and worried. In his father's eyes, the interests of the clan always came first. If this incident did not affect the future of the Hill clan, Gordan would not try so hard to save Katherine. No! He could not let any harm come to Katherine!
"Leave. I will take care of this matter. I have a plan for tomorrow." Duke Gordan waved offhandedly impatiently.
Roger opened his mouth to speak when Duke Gordan said in a deep voice, "I told you to leave, did you not understand?" The authoritative and impatient voice shut Roger up. Roger shot a glance, but in the end, left with frustration.
After Roger left, there came a knock at the door.
"Come in." Duke Gordan said quietly, a little beaten.
The door opened. It was Emery.
Seeing Duke Gordan's tired appearance, he called out cautiously, "Your grace."
"Emery. How are the circumstances?" Duke Gordan rubbed his temples.
"We did find someone. However, I do not know whether or not we will be able to break the mind control's spell." Emery frowned. After all, if the Temple of Light dared to use this move, they must have something prepared up their sleeve.
"Stay strong. If all else fails, then we will move onto the second plan." Duke Gordan sighed. "Roger, this child. When will he grow up?"
"Yes, your grace." Emery nodded. However, he seemed to be holding back something.