One week has passed since then.
“Hello your highness, first prince Jesse Venetiaan of the Venetiaan Holy Kingdom.”
“Hello Mr. gardener.”
“Prince Jesse, your daily walk is early today!”
“Yes, sir, I was curious to know how the garden would look in the morning.”
I lied as if it was nothing, with a smile on my face to the gardeners who greeted me.
The garden was pretty in the morning, but I did not come here early to look at that.
For the first five days, my morning schedule consisted of eating breakfast, rolling around doing nothing for a while, and then reading the latest issue of the < Biweekly Riester > or past issues in order to learn how things worked in the Empire.
After lunch, I would go out to the balcony and look over the foundation of the Empire from history books Ganael and the attendant children recommended to me, and then went for a walk for about an hour once my body felt stiff.
“Aren’t the camellias beautiful? We pay special attention here because the rear garden of Romero Palace is a place his highness likes a lot.”
“Yes, they are beautiful.”
It sounded soulless to me too.
Yes, that damn Imperial Prince was the problem. Cédric Riester, also known as ‘Crapdric.’
The future Imperial Crown Prince and the main male lead of < I quit my job and ended up as a noble young lady in another world >.
I would have been able to enjoy the fresh air during the usual time I took my afternoon walk if it wasn’t for him coming out to the training ground at that time every day to swing his sword.
“The royal gardeners are very busy right now because it is almost tulip season. I wanted to show you a purple tulip since you are from the Holy Kingdom, but……”
One gardener had a look of disappointment on his face. Do tulips not grow in this garden?
“That’s okay, Mr. gardener. I’m sure there will be an opportunity in the future.”
It’s not like I knew anything about flowers. It wasn’t a big deal not seeing tulips, so I just laughed it off.
The gardeners soon bowed to me and picked up their pruning shears again.
Benjamin definitely said that the Imperial Prince ‘sometimes’ uses the training ground, but he has been swinging his sword in the training ground behind Juliette Palace every day since I saw him out the window.
That guy seems to work too hard. It’s not like the Empire is at war, and according to Benjamin, the Imperial Prince is already one of the strongest in the Empire.
Does he have a lot of stress or something?
Anyway, I had avoided going on my walks whenever he was out there.
I didn’t want to run into the Imperial Prince even as a coincidence because our schedules lined up.
But a few days ago, he started coming to the training ground at the same time as my walks.
I don’t know why the hell his schedule changed, but what else can I do but adjust my schedule to my landlord’s?
The landlord was the boss in romantic fantasies as well.
I decided to be that guy who enjoys morning walks starting from today.
“Your highness, should I prepare the tea table?”
“Ah, thank you very much. Benjamin, all of you come have a cup as well.”
Benjamin had a complicated expression on his face after I said that, but eventually nodded his head.
Ganael and the children were full of smiles as they went off to get the table and supplies.
Benjamin had said no the first time I asked them to have tea with me, saying that the imperial law was strict about attendants and royalty sharing a table.
I argued back saying that Benjamin and the children were from noble households as well, what harm a cup of tea could do, and then said that it was awkward to drink alone with everybody watching.
None of it worked.
In the end, the Juliette Palace’s group tea time was earned by my saying that ‘I did this in the Holy Kingdom as well. You are free to transfer if you don’t like it.’
“Your highness, today’s snacks are Madeleine’s!”
“There are cookies, too. They are fresh out of the oven!”
“Ganael, don’t run. The twins will run if you run.”
Ganael and the children brought a large picnic basket and a foldable table.
I chuckled and warned the children who seemed to get extremely excited about the cookies.
Eunse was just like this when she was younger.
Our three siblings tend to all eat well, but Eunse would go crazy for food since she was young.
The tea table was set up almost instantly. We all sat down around the table.
“Let’s each eat three cookies and two Madeleine’s.”
“Yes, your highness!”
Benjamin looked like a professional pouring some peppermint tea as I put the snacks on the children’s plates.
I couldn’t help it since they would never touch it if I didn’t give it to them like this.
“Thank you very much, your highness.”
“We thank you for your royal favor.”
“It’s just snacks. Royal favor is a bit much, don’t you think?”
The children laughed out loud at my response.
It was both cute yet pitiful to see their eyes glowing for snacks, as was expected of their ages.
They were only in their teens so I wished they could relax at least in front of me.
Other than Benjamin, Ganael who was sixteen years old was the oldest of my attendants. It was extremely uncomfortable to be attended to by children.
I felt guilty seeing the sleepy looks on their faces when they showed up in the morning to wake me up and help me wash.
How early must they have to wake up to get ready to come attend to me?
“These cookies are for the gardeners. Ganael, take it to them later for me, will you?”
“Your highness, you truly are a warm person.”
I just felt guilty that I was being a slacker when people who looked much older than me were doing manual labor in front of me.
But I just smiled since I could not say that.
This morning’s group tea time was pretty good.
Benjamin explained things like the thought that went into building Juliette Palace where I stayed and the Imperial Prince’s Romero Palace.
I just kept it to myself that I thought that the Romero Palace blocked sunlight from reaching Juliette Palace.
The children praised me after eating the cookies, saying that they haven’t had any nightmares since I got here.
It was peaceful.
The past week has been peaceful and it would be great if it could be like this all the time.
“Then I shall go share these snacks with the gardeners.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Ganael completely emptied both his cup and plate before getting up and the other children followed behind him, saying that they would help with the drinks.
Benjamin and I were the only ones left at the table. It was kind of awkward since it was quiet.
I brought the teacup up to my mouth. Benjamin was the first to speak.
“How was your morning walk, your highness?”
“It was pretty good. It was nice to wake me up.”
I felt so relaxed that I could probably easily absorb the information from books once I went back inside.
Mornings where I could roll around the bed are best, but it wasn’t bad to come out and get some fresh air either.
“I noticed you read a lot of books. Your highness, I heard that you have been reading all sorts of things, magazines, history books, holy text, and even manuals?”
I got the chills because he brought up books just as I was thinking about books.
But it was understandable why Benjamin would choose that topic.
I was like a student studying in their tiny dormitory, except my dormitory was a super fancy palace.
I was underlining each and every book that the attendants brought me, organizing my notes, and quizzing myself to study both the large and small settings of QNW.
Anything that matched what Eunse told me is important and got five stars next to it.
The only thing I could rely on was my brain since I didn’t have any skills or photographic memory bestowed upon me by the author or a system.
I frequently questioned what I was doing, but I kept pushing on remembering that I needed to return home alive.
Other than my hour or so long walk, I basically never went out or worked out and only chatted with the people who worked here.
“I had no suitable hobbies to live quietly.”
“I also heard that you have asked for past issues of the < Biweekly Riester > as well?”
‘Huh? Is something wrong with that?’
The < Biweekly Riester > was a magazine that had gossip and information about the Empire’s Beau Monde, but it was not a third-rate waste of time either.
It was a great source of information for someone like me since there were a lot of interviews and details about nobles and their public contributions.
“May I ask why you are so interested in the Empire’s Beau Monde but are avoiding meeting any of the important people?”
‘Ah, I guess that could cause some curiosity.’
I chose my words wisely.
“I am a bit of an introvert.”
This was the truth.
“I like to approach things via text only.”
I probably should have read QNW too.
“Your highness, that sounds very different from your personality we have heard about in Riester.”
“That is how rumors are. They tend to be exaggerated.”
“You are right, your highness.”
He gave a short response. Benjamin’s wrinkled eyes looked right at me.
“Your highness, my task is to serve you to the best of my abilities. It is not important to me that you are from another kingdom or that you have come here as a diplomatic hostage.”
This was the first time he said the words, ‘diplomatic hostage.’
I suddenly felt as if the atmosphere was getting extremely serious.
“My act of ‘serving’ you also includes making sure that you are safe, your highness.”
“However, it is difficult for me to protect you properly if there is anything you are hiding from me, your highness.”
‘He’s clearly trying to say that I am hiding something from him, right?’
I looked extremely shocked, but Benjamin just quietly looked back at me.
Benjamin knew best that I’ve only been in my room, the dining room, and the garden.
I didn’t have the time or space to cause some secret accident.
“……Benjamin, I am not hiding anything from you.”
‘Well, I am, but that has to do with the fact that this world is in a novel and you are a character in it, so let’s just brush that aside.’
“You know that I’m someone who can’t even get permission to enter the Royal Library. I’ve never been out of your sight either. I’ve never sent a letter to the Holy Kingdom nor have I received any.”
“Yes, your highness, I know.”
“So what are you saying all of a sudden?”
Benjamin finally lowered his gaze.
I peeked and noticed that his face looked much older than usual.
“Your highness, I don’t know if you know this or not, but I am a devoted believer of the Almighty God.”
He suddenly changed topics. I recalled the information I learned.
The Church of the Almighty God was the national religion of the Venetiaan Holy Kingdom, as well as the religion practiced by eighty percent of the citizens of the Riester Empire.
Jesse Venetiaan was a priest of the Church of the Almighty God.
“I did not know. I thought Ganael was the only one.”
“Juliette Palace has frequently been called the ‘frozen palace.’ The attendants here were all relegated to this place. However, it was different this time. It was because the news about your arrival had spread, your highness.”
I could not tell where he was trying to go with this.
Benjamin, someone who was always calm and did not say much, was spitting out words as if he was a busted faucet that could not stop.
“The children from noble households of firm believers almost fought each other to be an attendant at Juliette Palace. Viscount Callamard’s household that had once given birth to a martyr, as well as my own family, Count Girardin’s household, were hoping that someone from our family would be assigned to attend to you, your highness. The other children who are here are all believers who have gone through rigorous assessments to be here.”
I didn’t know why he was telling me this, but I could finally understand why the children have been so friendly with me.
I would have been a mysterious foreigner, a celebrity they read about in magazines, and most importantly, an agent of their faith.
“I have the conviction to become a martyr.”
“Mr. Benjamin, why would you say something like that?!”
I waved my hand in shock.
It was an extremely heavy and shocking concept for an office employee from the 21st century Republic of Korea.
Benjamin looked at me and continued to speak.
“But what would the children know? They would become terribly weak when faced with death. They would not be able to survive even with the powers bestowed upon them by the Almighty God.”
“Benjamin, please calm down. The children will not be in danger.”
I peeked at the teacup that Benjamin drank from.
‘Why is he saying all this as if he had been drinking alcohol instead of tea? Did something happen?’
“Please forgive me for saying this. Please promise me that you will be a responsible priest for the believers.”
“Of course, I promise.”
“Please swear to the Almighty God.”
[I swear to the Almighty God.]
I suddenly shook in shock. My voice sounded as if I was speaking into a microphone.
The table then started to glow gold.
Benjamin was amazed while looking down at the ground. I looked where he had been looking as well.
The source of light had not been the table.
A wide golden circle that was glowing brightly was visible with me at its center.
A glowing golden circle? What could it be?