Meanwhile, within the imperial palace, Elmar was dutifully reviewing petitions, when an ominous feeling squeezed his heart, making his chest palpitate with worries.
"What kind of premonition is this?"
He wasn't given time to think more before Holger barged in unannounced with a trembling body and eyes full of fright.
He stumbled toward Elmar, falling on his knees.
"What is the meaning of this?"
Elmar barked upon seeing his disheveled little brother. Droplets of sweat trickled on Holger's forehead as he struggled to muster his strength and regain his composure.
"My guard captain…I received news that my guard captain left for house Kracht…on my order."
That simple sentence was enough for Elmar to understand they were getting thrown into a foul ploy.
"Elder brother, please save me!"
Elmar staggered, but quickly, regained his composure.
"Go inform father with the same ardor you've just shown me, and we might be able to come out of this without too much damage. Hopefully, it is not too late."
Elmar turned into a beam of light and flew toward house Kracht. Leaving behind a dejected, crumbling Holger.
Holger mumbled while stepping toward his father, the holy emperor's palace.
Alarmed by the scream, guests and relatives and servants rushed toward the nuptial chambers by the dozens.
"What the hell is going on? Did something happen inside?"
Similar words echoed within all their minds. Before anyone could barge in, a dejected Wolfgang stepped out, dragging alongside him "Iliana" who thrashed and wailed, screaming Anselm's name.
"Elder brother, what is the meaning of this?"
Wulf asked, blocking Wolfgang's path.
"I arrived a step too late…a step too late…ahhh…have some men pull out the bodies and give the boy a proper burial."
Alongside Iliana's screams, those words caused a wave of understanding to flash within the gathered individuals' minds. Clearly, that Anselm boy had been murdered!
And as the servants dragged out the bodies, Anselm's various body parts and head appeared to the public. The gory sight startling many.
It was at that time that Elmar appeared. In a light beam, he descended upon the Kracht soil, stopping right before Wolfgang.
"The crown prince? What is he doing here?"
His appearance took everyone by surprise. No one had expected a representant of the imperial family to appear at this critical juncture. Seeing him, Wolfgang exploded.
"Elmar von Jurgen, you, of all people, have the nerves to appear today?! What? Not content of having my son-in-law murdered, you must also come rub it in our faces? Are you telling us that this is the fate of those who stand in your way?!"
Wolfgang's "righteous" indignation spread across the entire Kracht mansion.
"I came late to offer my congratulations, nothing more. Count Wolfgang, please don't jump on conclusions. Before slandering someone, you must show evidence."
Elmar wasn't so stupid as to not understand the implications of his presence in this particular moment. But if Holger's guard captain were indeed among the assassins, this matter would get traced back to him regardless of what stance he took. The only difference was who would have to bear the brunt of the popular outrage.
If he didn't show up, Holger would. And knowing their father, he would rather sacrifice Holger than stain the family's reputation. If he did show up, then all fingers would fall upon him, the big player, while Holger's involvement would no longer look that important.
Holger had always been Elmar's only loyal and trusted brother. They were born of the same mother; he could not forsake him to save his neck.
Konrad counted on that.
Bring them out!"
The Kracht servants dragged out the assassins' body. Of the five, four could no longer be identified. However, the last one was easily recognized as a paragon spirit, a high-level Transcendent Knight, and the fifth prince's guard captain.
"Everyone knows that the fifth prince only takes orders from his highness, the crown prince. Now that his guard captain is among the assassins, isn't the culprit obvious to all?"
All eyes fell on Elmar, but his remained locked on the guard captain.
"Fortunately, he's still alive."
Elmar thought, ignoring the outraged gazes aimed at him. As long as that man still breathed salvaging the situation wasn't impossible, or so he thought.
"Crown prince, in front of so many nobility sons and daughters, aren't you going to give me a reasonable answer?"
"What answer do you want? That I'm guilty?
If I am, so what? Who here is worthy of putting me on trial?!"
Elmar's high-level Semi-Saint pressure exploded, suppressing all dissidence. Wolfgang was forced back, unable to take another step forward.
"Wolfgang Kracht, to say nothing of your teenaged son-in-law, if I want to kill you, there is nothing you can do to stop me. So, don't employ this high and mighty tone in my presence; otherwise, I might just lose my temper and execute you on the spot!"
No one had expected Elmar to adopt such a firm stance. In the wrong and still boasting his ability to suppress all present? How bold!
Still, the reality was no different from what he said. If he wanted to kill, no one could stop him. Therefore, even if they felt wronged for house Kracht and mourned the loss of such a fantastic talent, those nobles dared not say anything.
"Good, very good. You're right. I can do nothing to you. That being the case, I must bring the matter to the imperial court, and ask for justice!"
Wolfgang spat. But at that time, the sky darkened, and a terrifying figure descended in a lightning bolt.
Naturally, that figure was Olrich, the emperor.
"Greetings your majesty!"
"Greetings your majesty!"
All knelt in his presence.
With a wave of his sleeves, Olrich made them rise from their knees.
"There is no need to investigate. Wolfgang, this matter is as clear as daylight. The guard captain was bribed to frame his master and murder your son-in-law. This is clearly a ploy aimed at destroying the trust and faith between lord and subjects.
Wolfgang, are you going to let those evil schemers succeed?"