Song Empire, the self-proclaimed nation in the Southern Continent.
The Imperial Family of the Song Empire had been covered in darkness for the past several months.
There were two main causes for it.
The first was, the Emperor had collapsed with an unknown health deterioration.
The officials knew it, and so did the entire nation.
For that, the tacticians from the Kang Ho clans and the wizards from the Northern continent were brought together, but everyone was in vain.
With the attempt to know something, officials brought together ancient monks in the nation to help the Emperor, but nothing had changed.
“What is this?”
“Huh, from what I see, I feel like it was because of the crown prince. All this while, His Majesty had lost a lot of energy because of him, right?”
“Well, the Empress too has grown old with anxiety…”
The Emperor had turned into a man in stasis, he spent his life the entire day in bed, while the great men of the palace were outside as they sighed deeply.
The second in the line of the Song Emperor was prince, Jo Won-ki.
Originally he was a drug addict, he had gone to the Arahan Sungjeong shrine and got himself treated for addiction.
But within one month of returning from the treatment, he once again touched opium.
No matter how much the Empress had begged, everything turned useless.
That soon enraged the Emperor.
After hearing that the Empress wasn’t able to rectify the prince, the Emperor had scolded her which made the Empress hang herself out of guilt.
Many people felt sorry for the lady as she had been struggling for a while trying to fix the child’s addiction.
Eventually, the Emperor had abandoned the prince and fell ill.
Due to that problem between the two, the Imperial palace of Taehwa and the family had a dark and gloomy atmosphere over them.
To the east side of the Imperial palace of Taehwa.
The voice of someone shouting at the people who were upset with the happenings in the palace made the people shocked.
“Yo-you, people! Are-aren’t you going to listen to my orders? I, I am the prince! The next ruler of the Song Empire! Won’t you go and bring me some opium?!”
With his addiction turning severe, Jo Won-ki had lost his sanity and yelled at the people with his hands and feet trembling from the withdrawal effect.
However, the workers and the court ladies, who were inside the prince’s chambers didn’t even make an eye contact with him.
If they passed opium to Jo Won-ki, they would never be treated the same.
“Ugh… you, you people are really!”
Where was the power he previously possessed?
Jo Won-ki rushed over to the court ladies, after overthrowing the table which had vases placed on it.
Startled and scared, the court ladies screamed and scattered everywhere. However, one lady, who was rather slow when compared to the others, got caught by Jo Won-ki.
“Hiik! Pl-please let me go, crown prince!”
Terrified, the court lady kept rubbing her hands and prayed to the man.
Jo Won-ki, who saw that laughed and spoke to the lady.
“Wh-who said that you would be killed? I-I’ll let you go if you give me some opium.”
“Uh, I can’t. I don’t have it with me.”
“What? You don’t have it? How can that be? Kuakk!”
The disappointment led to Jo Won-ki having a seizure.
He grabbed the small pale neck of the court lady and began to choke her.
“Kuakkk! Sa-save me…”
The court lady struggled while her other colleagues looked at her.
However, the workers and the court ladies hid behind the pillars of the room, and no one dared to step out.
Even if he killed the workers, and even if the Emperor had abandoned him, he was still the prince.
It was the moment when he was about the drain the life out of the lady, the body of the prince was wounded.
It wasn’t a deathly one, but still, it was still the prince’s body.
Eventually, the court lady dropped to the ground and coughed up trying to breathe again, surprisingly, the person who attacked Jo Won-ki was in the room.
“Prince, stop it now and let this all go.”
The one who dared to touch the prince was Jo Won-gyun, the second prince.
With a broad shoulders and square chin.
Jo Won-gyun, who was almost like a foreigner, resembled his uncle Hwang Bo-kwang, the man always had a smile on his face.
“Gyun, is it Gyun?”
Jo Won-ki turned his head and looked over at his half-brother.
Jo Won-gyun looked at the man with a sad expression and nodded.
“You recognize your siblings? How did the crown prince, who was so intelligent when young, get ruined like this… this is so unfortunate.”
“I, I am not ruined. Well, I am sick and I need the medicine to get cured!”
Jo Won-ki’s plea made the court ladies sigh.
Who would ever consider opium as a medicine?
Well, sometimes it was used as a medicine, that is, if a doctor prescribed it.
Jo Won-gyun, who clicked his tongue at the words of his brother, looked at the room.
He looked at the court lady who wasn’t able to survive, laid on the floor with her tongue out.
“This looks pitiful… get it out right away.”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
Under the orders of Jo Won-gyun, the workers immediately moved the body.
They didn’t even look at Jo Won-ki.
It was because recently, Jo Won-gyun was more like the Imperial family head.
Before the Emperor fell, he had received the support from the higher officials, and once the Emperor fell ill, he was appointed as the regent.
Jo Won-rak—the 3rd prince—who was always considered to be the most prominent contender, fled abroad as a rebellious sinner for meeting with the opposition.
The rest of the princes were too young to know about the court rulings.
When the people carried out the dead body of the court lady, only the two brothers remained in the room.
That was when Jo Won-gyun revealed his true color.
The former good looking figure, who was looking sad while watching his brother tremble with withdrawal symptoms was no more, he was looking at his brother with a frown on his face.
Well, it didn’t stop there.
He started to stomp off the feet of his brother with the boots made of leather that was created with precious materials that flew from the North sea.
Stomp stomp! Stomp! Stomp!
“Kuak! Ugh! Gy-gyun! Why are you doing this? Don’t do this! Pl-please, let me go!”
Did he know that his life was more precious than opium?
Jo Won-ki begged by grabbing onto the feet of Jo Won-gyun.
Jo Won-gyun, who was stepping on his brother, smiled and said, “For someone who is a trash, the position of a crown prince is too much. Sooner or later, I am going to snatch that position, so live quietly with the opium provided. Don’t go around creating useless issues here.”
Honestly, Jo Won-gyun wanted to kill Jo Won-ki right away.
However, in a state where the Emperor was in stasis, if the crown prince—the one in line for the throne ended up dying with an unknown cause—then his reputation would tarnish a little.
In addition, the most troublesome person, the Red Dragon Lee Yong-mu was still in the military.
Which was why he was going to follow the procedures as closely as possible to expel Jo Won-ki from the royal family.
He spit in the face of Jo Won-ki, who was shivering and went out of the crown prince’s room.
He soon headed to the Emperor’s quarters.