Chapter 249 – Feeling Trapped (1)
“Is it my turn to show you what I’ve prepared?”
At the same time, Carlisle’s eyes turned towards Zenard, who was standing by the entrance and waiting for his orders.
“Bring him in.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Zenard gave a low bow and immediately brought in Smith, the head of the Casey family. As soon as he entered, he gave his greeting to the Imperial Family.
“Hail to Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress. Eternal glory to the Ruford Empire.”
The man’s sudden appearance set of a wave of murmuring in the conference hall. Smith, however, acted as if he took no notice of it, and simply strode forwards next to Cesare and handed a file to Sullivan.
“What is this?”
“You are aware that Flower Bridge was constructed by the Casey family. These documents are proof that Her Majesty the Empress tried to destroy the bridge.”
The buzz in the conference hall grew ever louder, and Ophelia’s expression darkened as she watched the situation unfold. She suspected something would happen once Smith appeared on Carlisle’s side, but it was not easy to rectify things as they were happening all at once. Ophelia spoke, attempting to stem the accusations against her before the mood soured against her.
“Your Majesty, this is someone’s trap.”
Smith spoke in protest.
“There is evidence that Her Majesty attempted to replace the bridge’s building materials to compromise it. So far, that evidence is not yet unequivocal…but we know that some time ago, someone tried to blow up Flower Bridge.”
Sullivan, who was listening to the two, spoke up.
“Did someone confess to it?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. The men captured confessed to following the Empress’ orders.”
Ophelia’s brow lifted sharply at Smith’s reply. She would not let herself roll over and lose.
“I have tens of thousands of followers because of my position as empress. While it is my responsibility to manage them properly, there is no guarantee that they acted on my orders.”
She had already planned to place responsibility of the incident to another noble, but avoiding suspicion was not easy, and she had to resolve each issue one by one. She was supposed to be dealing with Redfield at the moment, not the Flower Bridge. However, she maintained her composure in the face of the accusation.
“I request that you reinvestigate the incident at Flower Bridge. It is a great shame at the Empress’ name is spoken in such a disgraceful way. But for now…”
She looked around at the nobles gathered in the conference hall and spoke with authoritative strength.
“I believe we should settle the matter about Second Prince Redfield first, not the one about me.”
Ophelia turned her attention back to Carlisle. Regardless, an investigation of the Flower Bridge would take time to complete. Several nobles rushed to agree with Ophelia.
“Her Majesty is right. Rather than questioning the Empress, whose guilt is not certain at the moment, it is imperative that the Crown Prince be punished for illegally detaining the Second Prince.”
“Your Majesty, please continue!”
Carlisle gave the nobles a cold glare.
“The crime of not officially investigating the Redfield…should I explain why?”
Ophelia and the nobles looked in astonishment towards Carlisle. An ominous feeling hovered over the Empress’ mind.
‘Does he have a reason? What does he have that he thinks he can confidently prove in front of everyone?’
Facing Ophelia’s stunned gaze, Carlisle calmly spoke to Zenard once again.
“Bring me Second Prince Redfield.”
A moment later, Redfield was dragged into the hall by several knights. Upon seeing her son, Ophelia stood up from her seat furiously.
“Prince Carlisle! What is the meaning of this!”
Redfield’s expression melted into relief upon seeing his mother. However, that wasn’t the end of it. Right behind him, other men were bringing in the various herbs and drugs that Redfield favored at his parties. The room’s eyes couldn’t help but turn to them.
Carlisle gestured to the evidence and spoke again.
“These are the illegal drugs that Redfield uses at his parties.”
Cesare burst out in anger.
“There is no proof of that!”
“Of course there is.”
Carlisle had made thorough preparations, and handed over his own documents to Sullivan.
“This is a list of all the drugs that Redfield has used. If you’re curious if they work, then we can mix up a few and burn them here.”
Carlisle’s cool blue eyes slid toward the spectating nobles in the conference hall.
“Well, we may be able to identify which nobles are resistant to the drugs.”
While Redfield inhaled the same drugs as everyone else at the party, he would have developed a resistance to it be able to experience its pleasurable effects. Those who encountered it for the first time would lose control of their limbs, or even their consciousness. If the substances were burned here and any noble was shown to have a resistance to it, it was likely they may have enjoyed the drug together with Redfield. Carlisle’s words caused some of the nobles to stiffen.
Ophelia was more stunned than anyone else. She was skilled at producing and mixing various drugs and poisons. Her son had the same skills as well, and she knew better than anyone that isolating the ingredients of a mixture took considerable time and resources. She expected Carlisle had some small amount of conviction, but she never expected damnable proof.
Ophelia did not know the most important fact so far—that Redfield had invited Elena to a party some time ago, where she had stolen a portion of the powder.
‘…This is not to plan. This one may be difficult to get out of.’
Ophelia was aware of the disaster that was about to befall her. Cesare also noticed that things were getting worse, and quickly retaliated against Carlisle.
“Suppose the Second Prince was using illegal drugs. Why did the Crown Prince proceed to act on his own?”
Carlisle faced the entrance again.
“Bring in the witnesses.”
First, several knights entered the hall, carrying a partition that one could not see through. They placed it in one corner of the room, and then veiled woman began to enter the hall in a line. Sullivan looked on at the curious scene.
“Who are they?”
“These are the victims who had been invited to Redfield’s parties. They only agreed to speak if their identities were hidden. It will not be disclosed in public.”
Elena, who had been silently observing the proceedings, began to look on with even more interest. Perhaps one of the witnesses entering the conference hall was Yulia’s friend. Yulia was sitting nearby, and Elena took her hand. The young lady’s eyes slowly turned towards Elena.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Yulia nodded, comforted by Elena’s warm touch, then turned back to face the front with a more intense look than before.