Apollonia removed her headpiece with a trembling hand.
It was a beautiful, blood-red ruby that her mother gave her as a present when she was a child, saying it matched her eyes well.
Her half-up hair cascaded down her shoulder and waist, but her eyes and mind were fixed only to Uriel’s hand.
Wordlessly, Apollonia took the crystal piece from Uriel’s hand.
Then she scraped the sharpest part of the stone with the surface of the ruby without any hesitation.
“It was true.”
An unsightly mark was left in the center of her mother’s memento, which shone brightly without a spot.
“I didn’t think it was an item that could be destroyed by force.”
“Uriel, do you know what this means”
Apollonia, who held the ruby in her hand as if it had lost its value in an instant, felt no regret at all.
It was no longer important.
“There’s only one thing in the world that can scratch a ruby aside from magic.”
“…Don’t tell me.”
“When he said that Mt.
Calt holds the pieces of the empire, he didn’t mean mana stones.”
Everything made sense now.
“Calt was a huge mine.
The largest diamond mine on the continent.”
The previous emperor did not just leave her alone in the hands of her father and Petra.
On the surface, Gaius seemed to have taken all of her inheritance, but it was not true.
The real legacy was in the devastated and harsh Lishan.
A wealth that could shake the continent’s economy.
He kept it secret and finally gave it to his successor.
“Was the disappearance of the mana stone only a diversion”
Uriel looked at the diamond piece as if he couldn’t believe it.
“No, rather, it was right to assume that the mana stone was here.” Apollonia’s voice shook.
Her beloved grandfather, the great and brave emperor.
How much did she know about his inner thoughts Since when did her grandpa start doubting the people around him Had he ever trusted anyone
“There was no such thing as a curse on Mt.
It was an inaccessible jewel mine because it was full of monsters.
My grandfather happened to know that and used a huge amount of magic within mana stones and incantations to hide it,” she said, unable to control her trembling.
“To chase off the intruders, he made the mountains burn, planted a strange looking tree as a cover, and let the already-devastated Lishan become more desolate and corrupt, cutting it off from the rest of the empire…”
He may have known that leaving the land to the vassals on behalf of the lord would destroy and harm the residents.
That people would die in the process.
‘A true emperor knows how to sacrifice the cattle for the greater good.’
The voice of the Emperor echoed in her mind.
A wise ruler who cared for his people with both warm sentiment and cold rationality.
At the very end, he proved himself to be an emperor with an iron will.
“I don’t understand one thing.” Uriel looked at her gently.
“The mechanism to secure access is also meant to prove the rightful heir”
He looked through at the deep wound in Apollonia’s shoulder that she got from the monster.
The piece of her fabric tied to her shoulder was bloodstained.
His words penetrated Apollonia’s chest even deeper.
“I know.” She swallowed once and continued.
“It was written on the stone earlier.”
It seemed her shaking had grown worse.
“It’s not just a matter of proving eligibility that’s as simple as putting one’s palm on the stone.
Grandpa probably predicted what would happen.
In other words….”
“You can stop talking,” Uriel, who figured something, cut her off.
But Apollonia didn’t listen to him.
“The heir who was killed by monster or fire inevitably cannot inherit the mine.” She laughed bitterly.
She finally found the answer to the questions she had had since she was young, even if it wasn’t one that she wanted to hear.
Why did the emperor who had only been drinking tea that others poured for him all his life, suddenly send people back and hold the teapot himself Why was the emperor’s tea water boiling hot that day Unlike other elderly people, he was healthy and never trembled, yet on that day, he spilled the hot tea on his granddaughter’s arm.
To test if she got burned.
He always tested Apollonia.
Her qualities, her knowledge, her abilities, her physical ability.