Her voice was slightly stiff.
“Oh, Lana. I’ve made you sleep alone for a long time.”
“Not at all. I am grateful that you have asked me to join you this evening.”
He had Lana sit down next to the bed that he was sitting on. The weight and softness of the flesh that snuggled up to him felt pleasant. The scent of her washed hair tilted his nose as he gently put his arms around her shoulders.
“Do you get ready like this every night?”
“Yes. My body is dedicated to you, Milord. It is a mistress’s job to be ready to answer your summons at any time.”
Lana’s eyes were cloudy as she answered. Draco tightened his grip on her shoulder.
“I see. Good… But where is the ‘poison’?”
Lana’s body stiffened and she turned pale, but that was only for an instant. Her face immediately returned to its original lustrous appearance. She was doing her best to bluff.
“What do you mean by poison?”
“The poison that the <Succubus Princess> Palmyra entrusted to you, so that you could assassinate me.”
“I would never dream of assassinating you.”
“I already know. Palmyra sent you to me through the lizardmen.”
Chunon’s investigation revealed the whole story. This had all been plotted by the shapeshifter’s Demon King, the <Succubus Princess> Palmyra. The lizardmen’s Demon King, <Mossy Shell> Killick, was just a transit point.
The previous battle in which Draco and Ri Gudang crossed blades probably aligned with Palmyra’s wishes. Neither side won by a large margin nor lost by a large margin. Palmyra wanted both parties to go down together, but things didn’t go as she wanted.
That enchantress couldn’t have foreseen that both Draco and Ri Gudang would recover quickly. One by strengthening Alunaha’s economy and the other by winning over bandits. Although their methods were different, they were both able to show off their power again as a Demon King in a short period of time, which was rare.
The <Barbarian King> also became a problem.
The <Northern Overlord> may have set this up to attack his weak point, but Palmyra was using it to control the situation. Palmyra had to take orders from the <Southern Barbarian King>, so having Ri Gudang assume the title would only put her at a disadvantage.
But she could never support Draco. This edict was a move by the <Northern Overlord> to bring down the <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco. If she joins Draco’s faction, then she would have to deal with the <Northern Overlord> as well. Palmyra, who was swimming in the middle of the political forces, would believe it foolish to rebel against the greatest power.
That was why she would poison Draco.
She wouldn’t have to deal with the <Northern Overlord> for the time being as long as Draco was assassinated. She would have to confront Ri Gudang afterwards, but even so, Draco was a different calibre.
She probably thought that she could lead Ri Gudang by the nose since he was only uniting bandits right now.
She might have predicted that the <Northern Overlord> would have no reason to appoint Ri Gudang as the <Barbarian King> if Draco was gone.
She was going to have a beauty poison Draco and then take over Alunaha unharmed. She promised to compensate her helper, Killick, after she had taken over Alunaha. Chunon’s investigation had revealed all this.
“… I apologise.”
Draco supported her as she was about to break down in tears. Lana wept as she handed over the large pearl earrings.
“Is the poison in these pearls?”
“It is. The <Succubus Princess> said that this was the contents of her ‘poison storage’. I was told to dissolve this into alcohol and have you drink it.”
This was a shapeshifter legend. Some say that it was a storehouse with hundreds and thousands of poisons while others say it is a small medicine box. The poison storage was shrouded in mystery, but rumours spread of its existence. Draco had been deceived by these rumours and ended up fighting Ri Gudang.
“Did she tell you what it would do to me?”
“… She said you would cough lightly for a few days and then vomit blood. She said it is a slow acting poison, so you would not suspect me.”
“This poison is suited for assassination.”
If the poison had been powerful, then it would have shown effect immediately, so the poisoner would have been obvious.
With this poison, it was possible to pretend that the person had died from illness. The ‘poison storage’ really deserved its name. It was much more frightening than dying from a fully wounded body.
“Hmm, erm…. Milord, what will happen to me?”
Lana asked frightenedly. She was someone who had plotted to assassinate Draco. In the worst-case scenario, she would be tortured to death.
“You still have your uses. Besides…”
“I’m not into punishing my family.”
Even if it was just fake.
Draco had already decided that he would treat Lana as family. He knew that he was being too soft towards someone who had plotted to murder their own lord, but he still decided to treat her as family.
It would be a lie to say that he wasn’t attached to her at all, but more than that, he yearned deeply for family.
He wanted a family. Draco had never spent much time with his family and his desire to have one was akin to envy. Elena had been his only family, but from now on…
He turned to Lana, who was still trembling slightly, and gently brushed her cheek. People who love each other are family but there are also those who become family first then learn to love each other.
He will become this fragile lady’s family, and he needs to remove the obstacles to do so.
“The <Succubus Princess> Palmyra. I must settle my score with you.”
Palmyra sneered when she received news that Lana had been invited to warm Draco’s bed.
She had a maid massage her hips as she lay on her bed dressed in a thin layer of silk. It was pointless for Palmyra to get massages since her whole body was soft. No part of her body was tense, but she got massages because that was what the other Demon King’s got. Her purpose was to imitate them.
“I thought the <Dethroned Crown Prince> was a late-bloomer, but he had finally started to bed women.”
There was no trace of hatred in Palmyra’s expression as she taunted Draco with a wicked smile. She was deeply enjoying herself. The <Succubus Princess> Palmyra had lived for a long time and had tasted all the pleasures of the world, so Draco was the finest toy she had obtained after a long while.
A soul-burning pleasure.
Palmyra found pleasure in scheming. It was a grand game to her that used multiple layers of intelligence networks that were spread out like silk fabric throughout the Demon Realm. Scheming involved enemies but she was rarely blessed with enemies that fired her up.
For the first time in a long time, the <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco was growing up to be a schemer capable of making Palmyra put effort into her schemes. If left unchecked, he could grow up to be a strategist who would threaten the <Succubus Princess> in ten years, or even five years.
“But that’s also part of the fun.”
Another of Palmyra’s delights was to pluck something before it had sprouted. She hated those who had developed or were eccentric so much so that it wouldn’t be enough just to get rid of them.
She will kill Draco. That was a given.
Her spies were also doing everything they could. She had gathered all her skilled assassins who were all over the realm here in Pazan in preparation for war. Palmyra was planning her next assassination move. Scheming was all about being prepared. It was the process that was valuable. It was like a sophisticated sexual encounter that stirred her up.
“Has he drunk the poison from the poison storage?”
Mixing poisons was a shapeshifter’s second-best skill after disguise. Some of their poisons make one’s stomach churn, some induce fevers, and some make your heart palpitate. Some of their poisons can even damage one’s heart. The one she had given to the draconis was a slow-acting poisons. The symptoms appear like a cold, makes one weak and eventually kills them. Palmyra was proud of the fact that it left no traces neither in urine nor hair.
Palmyra remembered the name of all those she had poisoned. A shapeshifter cannot forget, neither their cries of despair nor pleas for help.
That was why they got used to it and they wanted something more thrilling.
Destroy, kill, and take a life.
Dark joy was always accompanied by skill. Kill something small and you kill something big; kill something easy and you will kill something hard. Kill the stupid and you kill the clever. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill. She will inscribe Draco’s name in her long, long epitaph. That was Palmyra’s main interest right now.
“How will that handsome boy die? That poison is cruel. It will slowly rob him of his strength, and he won’t be able to move a finger. He will die in a frustrated, and helpless state as he hates everything in the world.”
Then, Palmyra will have complete victory. It brought her great joy to have the heir of the Great Demon King, who had a shining future, come to the frontier, and then he would die at her hands. What could be more interesting than this? She wouldn’t find anything more interesting in the whole Demon Realm, not even in the fief of the <Locust Emperor>.
If she had one complaint, it would be that she had to use that criminal.
Palmyra didn’t like the draconis named Lana. She descended from a race that has been worshipped as gods by the lizardmen. That alone wasn’t enough to make Palmyra dislike her, but her beauty was.
Palmyra was a shapeshifter who could only possess fleeting beauty no matter how beautiful she transformed herself, but Lana’s beauty was real.
Palmyra envied her. It annoyed Palmyra that Lana was not only beautiful but also smart.
That was why she had persuaded the reluctant <Mossy Shell> Killick to use Lana as an assassination tool.
She will tell the chaotic Alunaha about that woman’s deeds if she succeeds in poisoning Draco. She would probably be executed cruelly. Even if she doesn’t succeed, then she will be cruelly torn apart when the plot has been discovered. They wouldn’t leave a woman who tried to murder her own lord alive no matter how kind they are. The deeper their anger the more horrific that woman’s end will be, but Palmyra was frustrated that she couldn’t choose the method herself.
She quietly raised her hand to stop the massage. The maid gently applied a sweet, perfumed oil on her body. She had little time left to enjoy this luxury.
Her joint operation with Ri Gudang will soon begin.
The goblin shaman excitedly said that he would put an end to Draco, but Palmyra didn’t believe that he would be easy to defeat. It was his strategies that made him the <Dethroned Crown Prince> and it was his genius that allowed him to survive the battle with the <Northern Overlord>. Even if he wasn’t a genius strategist, the people around him believe he is and this works as a disadvantage to his enemies and an advantage to his allies.
Ri Gudang wasn’t a genius strategist.
Even if he had some talent, he was leading a group of defeated mercenaries and bandits. Even if they outnumbered Draco’s troops, they lacked the element to ensure victory, and although she was trying to poison Draco, she had no way to know if it would work or not.
It was hard to say whether the dark elves, who have begun to act, are unaware of this.
So, she needed to come up with a plan.
She had to ensure Draco’s demise in a way no one could predict.
<The <Dethroned Crown Prince> Draco. We must settle this.”