"Your highness, I......" Duke Roman started to say.
Cliff's ice cold gaze flashed over. He said angrily, "Sir Roman, your granddaughter didn't want fight with my disciple, but wanted Claire's life! This is attempted murder, murder? Do you, sir, know what that word means?" Cliff's expression was extremely serious. The word 'sir' was completely sarcastic. Would an esteemed Duke not understand what murder meant?
Alice Roman's expression instantly turned pale. Of course she understood what those murder meant. Once this accusation became permanent, it would be hard to say what going to happen to her next.
Duke Gordan was silent the whole time with slitted eyes. Showing dislike publicly was not wise, and that didn't mean the Hill clan was some kind of pushover. He had already turned a blind eye the duel from last time and this time was actually an attempt to take Claire's life. But it looked like there was no need for him to speak. Cliff, that ultra-defensive person, would force the emperor to deal with it properly.
The emperor glanced at the angry faced Cliff and the others who were cold faced, slightly sighing in his heart. This Alice could have offended anybody, but she had to try and murder Claire. Now with the people from the Temple of Light as proof, if it wasn't dealt with fairly, not only would he not be able to justify for Duke Hill, he wouldn't be able to justify it to the Temple of Light and Cliff.
"After Alice Roman is imprisoned, she shall be hanged." The emperor closed his eyes, not looking at Duke Roman's expression.
Duke Gordan's expression didn't change and the other's were also calm. Alice's eyes widened, then slowly closed. It wasn't anybody's fault but herself for not listening to Grandfather, and instead provoking someone she couldn't afford to provoke. Now even death wouldn't be enough. She just hoped that no other family members would be implicated.
Duke Roman's complexion instantly paled. He knelt down abruptly, "Your highness, please pardon her. I would rather resign my post as the minister of finance, please pardon, your highness." Alice, who had been sitting at the back, instantly looked up, shocked and also torn seeing Duke Roman, seeing her own grandfather actually do such a thing for her.
The emperor's eyes instantly flashed open. He frowned, staring at the old man kneeling before him. A trace of fiery anger passed through his eyes. He actually resigned for this situation!
"Good! Very good! You dare to threaten me now?" The emperor stood up abruptly, staring angrily at the old man kneeling before him.
"Your servant, doesn't dare. Your servant is only hurried to defend the victim." Duke Roman said fearfully, but didn't give any indication that he was going to rise. Alice's eyes flashed with remorse and pain. She wanted to dash up there, but was pulled back by her cousin.
"Very good. Since it's like this, I'll help you. Starting from today, you aren't the minister of finance any more. You're also not a duke any more, but a baron. Alice will not have any titles for her entire life. All Roman officials will drop three ranks!" The emperor seemed to be truly angered now. It was the first time that a minister dared to threaten him.
Duke Gordan squinted without a word. He had worked for the government for so many years, so naturally, he understood the emperor's nature. Nobody was allowed to challenge the emperor's authority. Did Duke Roman really not know?
"Your servant accepts your order. Many thanks, your highness, for sparing Alice." Duke Roman tottered as he got up. It was like he had aged ten years in an instant.
The emperor coldly humphed, then glanced at Duke Gordan and said, "Duke Hill, do you have any objections?"
"None, your servant has no objections." Duke Gordan said quietly with a lowered head.
The emperor glanced at the Duke Roman, who had his head lowered. "Humph!" He left, sleeves flying, without a care that others were still there. Of course, under this circumstance, nobody took offense at the emperor's attitude.
Naturally, Duke Gordan's mood soared. Now there was a vacancy for the minister of finance, he needed to get someone he trusted to that position.
Claire watched Alice rush forward and support Duke Roman, her gaze complex, all sorts of feelings arising. Suddenly, in an instant, she felt a envious of Alice. She had such a grandfather who would protect her at any cost. It was truly praiseworthy that such a situation actually existed in this competitive world.
And so, Alice and her cousin supported Duke Roman as they left slowly. The moment she stepped out the entrance, Alice turned and looked intensely at Claire.
Claire understood the gaze.
Deep hatred, hatred that seeped into the bones!
It was an irreconcilable hatred!
And so, the matter was dealt with.
While Duke Gordan was extremely happy on the inside, he maintained an unsatisfied expression.
"Divine prince, fortunately, you saved Claire today. I thank you with the all my heart. Sir Cliff, you stepped forward bravely for Claire today, I thank you with utmost respect. Sir Lawrence, Divine princess, many thanks for your defence today. If you all don't mind, may I invite everybody to dinner to express my thanks?" Duke Gordan said, exceptionally cordial. Naturally, he was planning something. He had truly gotten lucky today, having the chance to establish good relations with these influential people, especially the people of the Temple of Light. The relationship between royal authority and divine right had always been very subtle. Maintaining a good relationship with them on the outside only had benefits.
"It's nothing, there's no need for his grace to mind. It was only a small effort." Clearly, Leng Lingyun disliked formalities, tactfully declining quietly.
Naturally, the others didn't agree. They also didn't like such formalities.
"Well, in ten more days it will be Claire's birthday. I hope that when the time comes, everybody will do us the honor of coming." Duke Gordan was worthy of being an old fox, immediately adding this on.
"Oh, Claire, your birthday is soon?" Cliff and Lawrence asked at the same time, smiling widely. After saying that, the two turned to glare at each other at the same time.
Claire was a bit at a loss. Birthday? She remembered that there seemed to be a day like that, but it seemed like all of them were celebrated with Mother. She didn't have any deep impressions.
"What does my disciple's birthday have to do with you? What are getting so emotional for?" Cliff glared at Lawrence.
"Claire almost became my disciple. As her elder, of course I care and need to send a gift." Lawrence said nonsense without looking embarrassed.
"Pah! Since did my darling disciple almost become your disciple, say that again!" Cliff grabbed Lawrence.
Then the two left noisily, not caring for everybody behind them.
"I will definitely go to Claire's birthday. Today, I'll just take my leave. I just returned to the capital, so I have some matters to deal with at the temple of Light." Leng Lingyun replied politely.
"Is that so? Great! We will be honored with your presence." Gordan smiled slightly, but was exceptionally happy.
Shock flashed through Liuxue Qing's eyes. She almost thought she heard wrong. Leng Lingyun had agreed to attend a boring banquet? He hated those the most! Many lady nobles had invited him before and he turned them all down, but today he had agreed so quickly. Was this still only because Xuanxuan liked Claire?!
"Divine princess, do you have time to go?" Duke Gordan's words pulled Liuxue Qing back to her senses.
"Of course. I'll come with the divine prince." Liuxue Qing smiled warmly, extremely elegant.
"We would be truly honored." Duke Gordan smiled widely, his mood very obvious.
Claire hadn't said anything the whole time, because she felt uncomfortable. First, when Alice's family dropped in status, second, because of Duke Gordan's actions. Claire knew clearly that their drop in status wasn't because the emperor was overly shielding her, but because Duke Roman did his best to protect his granddaughter that the emperor had been enraged and it had come to this. Suddenly, Claire felt a little conflicted. If her existence became went against the Hill clan's interests one day, then which one would Duke Gordan choose?
From when everybody left the palace to when Liuxue Qing was going onto her carriage, her gaze had never left the furry meatball on Claire's head. As the carriage started, Liuxue Qing drew back the curtains lightly and started at the figure that became smaller and smaller, frowning and pondering, Suddenly, Liuxue Qing's pupils widened.
She remembered! That fur ball was the furball on the black dragon's back who had appeared on the day the goddess of Light's gift!
Liuxue Qing stifled her instinct to to cry out and secretly glanced at Leng Lingyun, who was sitting next to her. She understood that if she told Leng Lingun now, it would only make him dislike her. This matter needed to be told to the pope, if she told Leng Lingyun after confirming, it wouldn't be too late. If it was really related to Claire, that wasn't necessarily good either. Leng Lingyun's attitude towards that girl was getting better and better. If it continued on, there would be trouble.
Currently, Claire was rubbing Little Leopard's head, talking to Duke Gordan.
"Claire, come back home. Since such a thing happened today, your mother will definitely come back to see you. If she knew you and your father's relationship was so bad, she would grieve." Naturally, Duke Gordan knew Claire's weakness, guiding her cunningly.
Claire didn't speak. She didn't want to see that Marquis Roger. That father of hers never qualified for being a father.
"If your mother saw this situation, that you had family you ignored, the she was be heartbroken. Also, your birthday is almost here, are you going to stay at Camille's house continuously and let the guests come to see me, a scruffy old man? When your mother comes back, are you going to let your mother celebrate your birthday at Camille's house?" Duke Gordan said quietly. He knew in his heart that saying this would definitely make Claire go home.
"I understand, Grandfather. Tomorrow, I'll come home after seeing the auction." Claire nodded, comprising.
Duke Gordan smiled and said his decision. "That's fine. When the time comes, I'll send Emery to give you a few golden banknotes. If you take a fancy to anything, just send a signal. Just treat it as my birthday present to you." Claire respected Emery very much, so if he sent him out, how could Claire not go home?
"Understood. But my friend will still stay at Teacher Camille's house because she it's better if she doesn't see Father." Claire said.
"No need to worry, I already scolded him. A situation like that will never happen again. You should bring all your friends back." Of course Duke Gordan was thinking about the black clothed, black haired man.
"Okay." Claire frowned, agreeing reluctantly. Then she mounted onto the wind leopard. "Then I'll be going back to Teacher Camille's house and return the day after the auction.
"Yes." Duke Gordan smiled widely.