Witch's Daughter And The Devil's Son

Chapter 17: Bring The Culprits

Chapter 17:Bring The Culprits

"Why hasn't Your Majesty seen his own daughter's face ever?"

Martha's question reminded King Armen about the bitter truth about his youngest daughter. How unfortunate he was not to be able to see his daughter's face even once. As her father, it was one of the greatest regrets he had in his life.

He could still recall when he first held her in his arms when she was a newborn, and although he badly wished to get a glimpse of her looks, he never had the chance to. That veil on the lower part of her face had long been there to protect her, and he didn't dare take it off.

All he remembered was that pair of innocent purple eyes. Those were the prettiest gems he had ever seen, and his heart had been captured at first sight. Oddly, those lovely eyes he thought of fondly were the very same eyes that made people curse her and call her a witch.

The innocence in those eyes, seemingly asking for her father's care and love, her soft crying voice, and the way that baby's tiny palm held his finger, those were the best memories he had of his youngest daughter, Seren.

In melancholy, the King said, "I'll tell Cian never to let her be without the veil. He cares for her, so he will obey my wish."

Martha lowered her head as she sighed. "What if my lady takes it off one day? We know who she truly is, and no ordinary power or magic can hold her back for long. She is naive and young now, so she obeys what we say, but a time will come when she will start thinking for herself and do what she wants."

Her words added to the worries of the king. "I don't care who she is. For me, she is and will always be my daughter, and I need to protect her."

"Keeping her locked up and taking away her freedom is not the way to protect her, Your Majesty. It will only make her weak, unable to defend herself when it's time for her to face the difficulties of her identity. Everything had worked out fine when she was young, but now she has grown up and seeks to find the meaning of her life and her future."

"Her future can't be like other ordinary girls," the King of Abetha countered grimly.

"We don't know what her future holds but with the reality of her birth; I am sure her life is meant for a greater cause."

With his conversation with Martha going in circles, the King had to rub his aching temples. "Is there no other way? What do you suggest I do?"

"Your Majesty, please let the Third Princess out and allow her to interact with people," Martha suggested.

The King immediately shot the idea down. "Impossible! What if they harm her?"

"They can't. It's clear from what happened today. Her curses are there to protect her."

The King sighed as his mind recalled his own experiences of his younger years. As someone born into the Royal House of Ilven, the young Armen had met countless people from all walks of life. Even after he had claimed the throne and became the King of Abetha, his life had never been smooth sailing due to the power struggles inside and outside the kingdom. The harsh reality in this so-called human world might be too much to bear for his youngest daughter. "Humans are vicious creatures. They can do anything."

"The solution is to keep her by someone's side, and that someone must be a person we can trust to be capable of protecting her," said Martha.

Her statement puzzled the King. He could never let anyone be by his daughter's side. Martha was an exception.

"What do you mean?" he asked coldly.

"Someone who will be loyal to her just like we are and who will not care about who she is. Also, this person should be ready to sacrifice his or her life for her," Martha replied.

"Where can we find that someone?" asked the King.

"We don't need to find such a person. Let destiny work its course. Whoever it is will find her on their own."

King Armen considered her words for a moment. Martha was someone who cared for Seren more than she cared for her own life, so he trusted everything she decided for his daughter.

"I will think about what you said," the King assured.

"Then, Your Majesty, I ask to be excused. I should take my leave as my lady is alone and scared already," Martha said.

The King nodded lightly, granting her permission to leave.

Bowing to him, Martha left while King Armen returned to his musings about the welfare of his youngest daughter.

After some time, two old officials entered the hall and bowed to the troubled king. One was a grey-haired man in a dark blue uniform, while his much older companion looked scholarly with his long white beard and eyeglasses.

They were the King of Abetha's most loyal men, Sir Berolt, commander of the knights, and Lord Eudes, trusted advisor to the king.

"Your Majesty looks worried," Lord Eudes observed after a light cough.

King Armen nodded lightly and looked at Sir Berolt. "As you said, the King of Megaris saved the Third Princess. Does he know who he had saved at that time?"

"Not sure, but he didn't bother to inquire at that time. Seems like the act of kindness towards the weaker one," Sir Berolt replied.

King Armen gave out a sigh of relief. "Don't let him come closer to the tower again," he ordered.

"May I ask why Your Majesty is so worried not to let him see her?" Lord Eudes asked.

"He is said to be the devil's son, and we all have heard how cruel he is. He is known for his habit of going against others and going after something that he should not. I don't want the Third Princess to be one of his curious playthings. My daughter is not a spectacle for his entertainment."

The two understood the King's worry. "Understood, Your Majesty."

Looking at the worried king, Sir Berolt asked, "What should we do with the fire incident during the Second Princess's engagement ceremony?"

"Did you catch the culprit?" the King asked.

Sir Berolt nodded. "After the investigation, we found the culprit to be a maidservant from the Queen's chamber. She confessed that she hated the witch, so did it all on her own."

The King sighed again and closed his eyes. He could infer clearly the truth, but as always, he had to bury it for the sake of peace. 'Humans are vicious creatures indeed.'

"Punish her with what she deserves," the King ordered.

"Yes, Your Majesty."

"It won't be easy as the royal court members will again blame the Third Princess for what they think she is. If we punish all the involved people, not just the arsonist, the public opinion will go against the royal family with what Your Majesty plans to do," came the honest opinion from the advisor, Lord Eudes.

"This time, I won't mind using this," Sir Berolt said coldly as he gripped the handle of his sword.

Lord Eudes looked at the barbaric Sir Berolt, who just wanted a reason to free his sword out of its scabbard.

"The kingdom is made by nobles and commoners together and not the king alone, so we need to think about executing people carefully. The Third Princess has always been a sensitive topic in court. It won't be good to give an opportunity to those who are desperately waiting to take down His Majesty and take over the throne for themselves."

"Once we clean the dirt from the royal court, no one will ever dare to go against His Majesty," Sir Berolt announced with determination.

"Then no one will ever trust in His Majesty and the Crown Prince Cian. Setting fear is not the way to handle them. If we give them a chance, in the future, they will find a justification to rebel against the crown," Lord Eudes said again, his voice patient and his face calm against the stubborn and cold Sir Berolt.

These two men were both great pillars of Abetha, but they were like ice and fire at the moment, unable to convince each other of the best approach to solve the internal strife within the kingdom.

King Armen went towards the throne and sat on it regally. His face was as frigid as ice.

"I will decide what to do with them. No matter their status, just bring the culprits to me."

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