That afternoon, Duke Gordan already made his decision. Tonight, Claire was to temporarily hide in another country. With Katherine's firm urging, Claire had no choice but to agree.
Claire secretly left the manor to contact the Temple of Darkness and inform them not to worry and to send the Xi brothers in Youwusali. Philips warned Claire to be careful, his heart uneasy, yet he did not know why.
The family ate slowly in the dining hall, not knowing when it would be the next time they could do so again. A morose atmosphere descended.
After the meal, they all ascended a carriage to see Claire off. Katherine hugged Claire tightly, her eyes filled with reluctance.
"Mother, why don't I not leave? The Temple would not dare to do anything to me. They would have to think carefully before making a move." Claire was already as powerful as a Sorcerer. How many people were her match?
"No, Claire. Hiding temporarily is the best decision. We should first watch the Temple's movements. If the Temple really does not intend on harming you, then you can return later." But although Katherine said this, her heart was full of sorrow. Was that possible? Claire had already broken all relations with the Temple publically, slapping them in the face. How could the Temple let her go? Katherine's heart clenched and she hugged Claire even more tightly. Lashia kept quiet, her small face gloomy. Roger, sitting across from them, had a sad expression as well. Claire had saved Katherine while he, her husband, had done nothing. He owed Claire and Katherine too much. Only Duke Gordan leaned back relaxedly with his eyes closed, silent the entire way.
The carriage slowly made its way out the city. Emery and Charle's carriage followed from behind.
The night light was resplendent. It was now the beginning of summer.
And so, they continued. Claire leaned on Katherine's warm bosom, not saying a word. She had not felt such warmth in so long.
Katherine wished time would stop.
But that was impossible. After some time, the carriage finally stopped. They were now far from the capital and the darkness had descended.
When the carriage stopped, Katherine stiffened. She hugged Claire even more tightly.
"That's enough, Katherine. This will not be the last time you see Claire." Duke Gordan said softly. "Let's first get out of the carriage."
Katherine was downcast. She slowly let go. Everyone descended the carriage.
Emery's carriage caught up and stopped.
Standing by the carriage, after saying her goodbyes, Claire was going to leave. No one knew how long she would be away.
Katherine hugged Claire again, unwilling to let go.
Lashia also started to sob. White Emperor and Black Feather hopped onto Lashia's shoulders and waited silently.
"Alright, alright." Duke Gordan sighed. "If this continues, even I will not be able to bear it."
Only then did Katherine let go. She advised Claire, eat well, dress warmly, and so on. Lashia held Claire's hand with tears in her eyes.
"Without me around, you must protect Claire. Also, make sure you watch over Little Leopard, will you?" Claire reached out and wiped away Lashia's tears.
But Lashia's tears continued to flow. She could not say anything, only nod her head furiously.
"My little sister, you will definitely become strong. So, don't stop training." Claire felt warmth in her heart. This child was honest and smart. In the future, she would definitely become strong.
"Mhm, mhm..." Lashia could not stop sobbing.
"Claire, come here. I have something to say to you," Duke Gordan said solemnly.
"Yes, Grandfather." Claire patted Lashia's head to console her, then followed Duke Gordan,
The two walked farther and farther away. Katherine and the rest watched them, understanding that Duke Gordan was going to tell Claire something important.
Claire followed Duke from behind. Duke Gordan did not say a word, only advancing forward.
Suddenly, an ominous feeling arose in Claire's heart. She could not quite explain why. Her sense of danger grew. It had nothing to do with killing intent nor hints in her surroundings. It was purely instinct. Claire frowned slightly and started to concentrate. Just as she started to release her consciousness, Duke Gordan's clear voice interrupted.
"Claire, you must be careful. Contact us once you reach there, ok? Don't let your mother worry." Duke Gordan's voice was unusually loud, somewhat forceful.
"Yes, Grandfather." Claire nodded.
Claire knew that as the head of the clan, Duke Gordan was definitely no ordinary person. But as for what Duke Gordan's specialty was, Claire did not know. Claire mused to herself. In her memories, Duke Gordan never fought anyone. The force Duke Gordan had just revealed, was it a warrior's?
Suddenly, Duke Gordan stopped.
He turned to face Claire, his face expressionless.
The inexplicable sense of danger heightened again. Claire watched her surroundings alertly, but nothing was unusual.
"What is it, Claire?" Duke Gordan could sense Claire's vigilance.
"I don't know, Grandfather. I keep on feeling like something is observing me, but I can't find it." Claire frowned.
"What?" Duke Gordan's expression changed. He frowned and started to scan their surroundings. "Perhaps an ambush by the Temple?"
Claire frowned. The Temple of Light would not attack her so brazenly. Even if her current strength had not already far surpass their expectations, she still had the backing of the Hill clan and her master, Cliff. It would not be easy for them to oppose her. If they wanted to bite her, weren't they afraid of their teeth falling out? The Temple of Light would definitely not do such a foolhardy action.
"Claire, what do you feel is wrong?" Duke Gordan frowned, starting to shift to better observe their surroundings.
"I don't know either." Claire shook her head.
Duke Gordan's frown deepend. He walked to Claire's side.
"Is there something strange in front of you?" Duke Gordan's voice was low.
"In front?" Claire looked ahead, her attention completely focused ahead, leaving her back to be completely exposed to Duke Gordan.
Duke Gordan's expression darkened abruptly. With half a step forward, a dagger glinting coldly appeared. It glowed faintly blue, meaning it was smeared in deadly poison!
Duke Gordan stabbed towards Claire's heart from behind.
Claire immediately sensed the different air circulation. She hastily erected a magic barrier and dove away.
But the dagger had already sliced through Claire's clothes and pierced her skin. Before Claire could catch her breath, a heavy fist attacked her. She hastily dove away. The sudden attack was successful because Duke Gordan had completely hid his killing intent and Claire had left her back exposed.
Taken by surprise, Claire backed into a large tree, watching the expressionless Duke Gordan coldly. But Claire began to feel dizzy. The extreme pain she felt from her wounded back indicated something was abnormal with the dagger. Her chest continued to contract and she spat out blood. The blood was blackish! Poison! Deadly poison!