“Prince, listen to me.”
“When I give you a signal, you run to the princess and hide under the stage together.”
There was a gap under the stage, and the carpet covered it like a curtain.
“Yes, uh, uh…”
Ashmia slapped Alexandrio across the face.
“Get a hold of yourself! Your girl, you’re supposed to protect her!! Understood?!”
“I-I got it!”
“Vanessa! When I give the signal, run! The one with the princess! Don’t protect me and knock them all out!”
“Here we go! One, two, three!”
As soon as Ashmia ran out, she shot her bullets at the men who were nearby.
And the men who were hit by the table Vanessa threw rolled on the ground.
In the meantime, Ashmia bent down and picked up a rifle while it slid across the floor.
Blood gushed as she cut her bare feet against the broken glass, but Ashmia continued to pull the trigger, regardless.
Knowing that Ashmia’s magazine was empty, the attackers raised their guns towards her with an eerie laugh.
At that moment,
Byren Bernando, who finished his ‘transformation’, stood in front of Ashmia.
Who was the ‘strongest man’?
This old question was a topic of discussion, like a snack loved by many people, regardless of country, province, gender, and age.
There were countless talented people mentioned in answer to it, but there was someone who was not necessarily absent from that position.
That was Byren Bernando.
His ability to strengthen his physique as well as healing, was an extremely rare case that broke the immutable law of ‘one ability per person’.
But if it were simply that, Byren Bernando would not have been in the ranks of the strongest.
His understanding of mana, an intangible and clearly existing type of force, and his understanding of his own abilities were also high, and above all, Byren Bernando didn’t neglect his training.
Moving like a beast, transcending the limits of a human being, in addition to excellent interpersonal fighting skills.
Byren Bernando, who rushed towards the enemy from unexpected places and directions, was a one-man army himself.
Frightened by the horrific death of their comrades, with blood pouring out like a fountain and a grotesque, terrifying scream, the attackers opened fire, but they couldn’t be a match for the already fully transformed Byren Bernando.
The roar of the beast echoed through the hall.
The men who attacked the hall didn’t have the level of leadership or combat power as that of mercenaries, but they were still not clumsy with a gun.
Perhaps a hired gang from the back alley.
On the other hand, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the power of the Duke’s enlisted troops were all there.
Because of the Imperial Guard, the majority of which were filled with sons of nobles who came just to avoid being drafted to the Northern Front, had no real fighting power.
In addition, even a few soldiers were attacked from outside and couldn’t come as backup.
Knowing that the last card she could count on in such a situation was Byren Bernando, Ashmia allowed Byren to run wild by throwing herself in the crossfire.
As long as Francesca’s safety is guaranteed, Byren could come out and fight.
Then, the fight was over.
Watching Byren Bernando turn into a half-beast mercilessly tearing apart and killing the attackers, Ashmia fell to the ground as she thought she was really lucky that such a monster was an ally, and only then did she feel the pain in her feet.
“Lady! Are you okay?!”
Vanessa rushed to her side to support her, but Ashmia couldn’t walk on her own even with support.
“I think we should stop the bleeding first.”
Vanessa took off her jacket and tore the sleeve of her shirt, wrapping it around Ashmia’s thigh.
“I’m fine, so take care of the other two first.”
“Don’t worry about the prince and the princess.
I think backup has arrived.”
As Vanessa said, the Duke’s soldiers were seen entering the hall as Byren had cleared the hall and swept away even the enemies from outside.
“They’re under the stage!”
Hearing Vanessa’s words, the soldiers rushed to the place.
‘Is it over now?’
But just as she was about to let out a sigh of relief, Ashmia felt a strange discomfort.
‘Something… is off.’
What were they after?
In the end, it looked like a massacre, but the first target was Francesca.
However, in order to target Francesca, they must first kill Byren Bernando.
There was no way they’d be unaware of that, but at best, their firepower was only enough to tie their feet, not to kill Byren.
In other words, it meant that they didn’t consider failure.
What if the target wasn’t Francesca from the start?
The Imperial Guards, who were quicking collapsing, crossed Ashmia’s mind.
Ashmia shouted, turning swiftly.
“Wait! Don’t come out yet!”
Francesca and Alexandrio, who were coming out from under the stage with the help of soldiers, looked perplexed.
At that moment, one of Alexandrio’s soldiers was seen pulling out a pistol.
‘Damn it! As expected…!’
The target was Alexandrio!
Ashmia extended her arms reflexively, but it was impossible to reach them.
Alexandrio mustn’t die.
Mana swirled around Ashmia’s fingertips, which she stretched with all her might.
In ‘Michael’s 7 years’, Francesca was on the brink of insanity after Alexandrio’s death, before she soon found herself embroiled in an opium scandal.
However, the Duke of Pendragon not only took full advantage of their influence to silence the press, but the following year, to their dismay, forced Francesca to marry the second prince, who became the Crown Prince.
Public opinion swelled with this shocking arranged marriage, but of course, nothing changed.
Francesca, who had been rumoured to be addicted to opium even after becoming the Crown Princess, after the coup failed, was charged with using Fleur to instigate the coup and was sentenced to death.
Those who witnessed the true Francesca said that she was soaked in opium until the moment of her execution, to the extent that they wondered if she really could’ve done such a thing.
After the execution, many people spoke of her like that.
If Alexandrio hadn’t died, Francesca might’ve lived a completely different life.
No opium addiction, two miscarriages, being used in a coup and execution.
Also, a life without loneliness.
As soon as the mana shot out of her hand, Ashmia’s body dropped as if she had fainted.
The man, who suddenly appeared and pointed a pistol at Alexandrio, flew over the stage.
What happened in a flash surprised everyone who was there.
But what was more surprising was none other than Michael himself.
Michael, looking down at his hand, shouted as he saw the Duke’s soldiers pointing guns at him.
“It’s not me, you idiots! Get him!”
Michael pointed at the man laying on the stage before turning his head at Vanessa’s cry from behind him.
Vanessa, pale, rushed out of the hall, her eyes closed and holding Ashmia in her arms.
Michael shook his head as if trying to shake off the confusion.
“He just wanted to kill the Prince—”
But he was knocked down with incredible speed before pulling the trigger, and Michael was the only one around to see the man aiming a gun at Alexandrio.
Suppressing his frustration, Michael raised his hands.
“I won’t resist, so please go and check his identity first.
Go and see if he really is the Duke’s private soldier!”
“If you babble one more time, I’ll shoot you!”
He couldn’t make them understand.
It was then that Michael clenched his teeth.
“Do as he says.”
The soldiers looked at each other, embarrassed by Byren Bernando’s voice from behind Michael.
While Michael was surprised by the unexpected support, a soldier went on stage.
“No dog tags!”
When it was discovered that it was a fake, the men lowered their guns in amazement.
Michael looked back at Byren, lowering his hands.
But before Michael could finish speaking, his body suddenly turned to golden ashes and began to crumble.
“W-What are you?!”
“…Damn, I’m wondering that too.”
That was the only thing Michael could say back to the soldier’s startled yell.
An old mustang jacket, jeans, and faded shoes.
Michael’s body, which had the same appearance as the day he died after being shot by Nikita, quickly disappeared.
Byren Bernando watched Michael silently.
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