"What is it?" Duke Gordan sensed that Emery wanted to say something.
"Although Miss Claire did not want me to tell you, I think I should still tell you, your grace. The Miss has already secretly returned to the capital stronger again." However, Emery still did not know Claire's true strength.
"What? Claire has already returned?" Duke Gordan was pleasantly surprised for a brief moment before becoming worried. He was well aware of how deeply Claire loved Katherine. Appearing at such a time would leave her in a difficult position.
"Miss was originally living in my residence, but disappeared a few days ago. However, I am certain Miss Claire is still in the capital. The Temple of Light is unaware she has returned," Emery said certainly.
"Good. It is best if she does not appear." Duke Gordan let out a small sigh.
"However, your grace, do you not think Miss will not appear at the public trial tomorrow? She loves the Madam more than anyone," Emery said seriously, frowning.
"Send people to watch the peripheries tomorrow during the trial. Once she is spotted, she must be blocked and taken away immediately," Duke Gordan said, exceptionally serious. "She is the future of the Hill clan. And she cannot witness the backup plan." Even if the crown prince was defeated, the Temple of Light would not lose its power. After this conflict, everything would return to as they were before.
"Yes, your grace." Emery nodded solemnly. However, he was a bit sorrowful. The person before him was the integral reason the Hill clan was what it was today. Large sacrifices were necessary for the Hill clan to stand forever. However, was this the correct decision? If Claire and Roger knew of the backup plan, what would be the result? He only hoped Claire would not appear tomorrow. He did not want that child to be harmed in any way."
The next day, Katherine Hill's public trial started. Naturally, it took place in the royal court.
This day, all the aristocrats in the capital came. They all knew the result of today's trial would determine the next emperor. Those who had been envious of the Hill clan waited in earnest. Those who supported the Hill clan waited in trepidation. Never before had anyone benefited from opposing the Temple of Light.
The court was split into two sides. One was the Temple of Light and the people who supported the crown prince. The other was the Hill clan and the people who supported the second prince.
Emery was worried. Claire still had not appeared yet. This was very strange. With his understanding of Claire, she would definitely appear.
The judges of the trial were ones like never before. The emperor was the head judge while the prime minister was the assistant judge.
Once Katherine was brought out, Roger watched her anxiously. He wanted to stand up, but was stopped by Duke Gordan's cold humph.
Katherine was calm as she walked. Her gaze was clear and her expression natural, not like that of someone who was being mind controlled.
After the emperor sat down, the hall quieted down. Roger watched Katherine nervously, his fists already clenched tightly.
"How is it?" Duke Gordan turned to someone and muttered in a low voice.
They shook their head, silent.
Duke Gordan's gaze turned cold. Since there was actually no way to break Katherine's mind control, then there was only one method left. Only then could they win! Katherine... Duke Gordan sighed, a faint trace of regret in his heart. But this regret vanished immediately. To achieve great things, one must not be burdened by useless emotions! Only the day when Roger understood this would Gordan be able to hand over the Hill clan to him without worry.
Katherine raised her head to face the emperor. Before the emperor asked anything, she already opened her mouth to speak. "Your majesty, I was ordered by the second prince to poison the crown prince. That day, everything was under my control. All food and wine are examined by specialists before being sent into the palace. Everything was under the orders of the second prince. I was merely following orders." The meaning of her words were clear. Before the wine was sent into the palace, the wine wasn't poisoned. However, the wine the crown prince drank was poisoned by her. These words were completely exposing the second prince.
The hall fell into uproar. The expression of the emperor did not change. He only glanced at the pope and Duke Gordan, secretly watching their responses.
The expression of the pope also did not change. He only sat there quietly. Appearing at the trial today already showed his stance clearly, giving the people who supported the crown prince assurance. However, some people were hesitant and unwilling. From now on, royal authority was below divine right. Bowing down to the Temple was something that had never happened before. Many people found this unacceptable.
Duke Gordan remained emotionless. However, Roger lost control of himself.
"Katherine! How could you say that! Your majesty, Katherine's mind is being controlled! That's why she is saying nonsense! Katherine, wake up!" Roger cried, standing up emotionally.
"Marquis Roger, please mind your actions. You must follow the proper etiquette of a noble. It is not time for rebuttal," the emperor said indifferently. He appeared dignified and just, but secretly, he felt a tinge of satisfaction. The Hill clan had been so powerful that even he, the emperor, had to be respectful, but after this, everything would change.
The emperor signaled to the prime minister to stand up. "Now the highest ranked palace magician will examine if Katherine is being mind controlled. Of course, the Hill clan and the Temple of Light also have the right to examine her."
"Sit down!" Duke Gordan commanded Roger.
Roger watched Katherine fixedly, but Katherine had never so much as spared a glance ever since the trial started. Lashia was sitting on the edge of her seat, watching Katherine worriedly. And Eric, who sat beside the first prince, did not dare to lift his head, afraid to look at Katherine, but even more afraid to look at Roger. Leng Lingyun was silent, his expression dark. Liu Xueqing was expressionless, but secretly, she was disappointed. Claire still had not appeared. If she were, then everything would be much more entertaining.
"Go," Duke Gordan said to the person sitting behind him meaningfully.
The palace magician examined Katherine, then reported, "Your highness, everything is normal."
The hall fell into discord once more.
Roger's expression changed greatly. He stood up to say something again, but was patted softly on the shoulder by Gordan. However, this soft pat made Roger lose consciousness. His body lost all of its strength and he fell down softly.
The Temple sent a cardinal. He reported that nothing was abnormal. No one was surprised. It would only be surprising if they did say something was abnormal.
Duke Gordan was still calm. He had expected this. Now, it was time for the backup plan. The plan was something he could definitely not allow Roger to know. Since they were unable to break the mind control, they would have to destroy Katherine's conscious. The person controlling Katherine would have a backlash and expose themselves. Even just the tiniest sign of abnormality would be enough.
A person at Duke Gordan's side stood up and walked towards Katherine.
Suddenly, there was an ice cold voice. It was not loud, but everyone heard it clearly.
Everyone was shocked. Who would dare to interrupt at such a time? Everyone turned to look at the source of the voice. When they saw who stood at the entrance, everyone froze.
At the entrance of the hall stood a girl with golden hair and emerald eyes. She stood there unyieldingly, her expression cold, her green eyes profound, dressed in black. She slowly made her way forward, her entire body emitting an indescribable boldness, attracting everyone's gaze.
It was the miraculous Claire!
The nobles in the hall started to whisper.
Duke Gordan and the pope's expression finally changed.
Claire actually appeared at such a time!
This mean Claire would have to pick a side and break off her relation with the other! What consequences she would face were crystal clear.
"Reverend, so you've come." Liu Xueqing stood up and greeted Claire with a gentle smile. A flicker of appreciation flashed across the pope's eyes. Liu Xueqing did not disappoint all her years of training. She knew to immediately remind Claire of her identity along with everyone else, including the Hill clan, that Claire was not just a member of the Hill clan, but also a priest of the Temple of Light.
Liu Xueqing smiled as she walked forward. "Reverend, you arrived late. Your seat is over here."
Leng Lingyun frowned, his eyes flashing with loathing. Liu Xueqing was doing this deliberately! And the pope only watched on with narrowed eyes.
Duke Gordan and everyone else watched Claire alertly, their hearts pounding.
The hall was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone waited with bated breath, watching Claire, waiting for her decision.
Would she chose the Hill clan or the Temple of Light?
In the annals of history, many people had broken off relations with their clan to support the Temple of Light for the supposed 'greater good'.
So who would the girl chose today?
But Claire did not give Liu Xueqing so much as a glance. Instead, she advanced forward, her expression cold, directly towards Katherine.
Katherine finally turned around. She faced Claire. However, Katherine's eyes did not show any emotion nor abnormality.