“……I’ve never seen such a big and bright Holy Domain before.”
Benjamin seemed to know something, unlike me who was like a broken toy in this unexpected situation.
It took me about 10 seconds to realize that this ‘summoning a golden circle on the ground’ was my ability.
I was still confused after seeing something that I’ve only seen before in games happening to me, but I had a feeling it would be stupid to ask, ‘what is this?’
[Anyway, the children will not be harmed because of me. That is true for you as well, Benjamin.]
My voice echoed out once more as if I was in a karaoke bar.
The light of the circle on the ground slowly became dimmer until it disappeared without a trace. It seemed to understand that I had finished what I needed to say and disappeared.
“I shall trust you because you used the Divine Oracle, your highness.”
Benjamin seemed the brightest and most gentle I had seen all week.
I did not say anything in response.
It was difficult to maintain my facial expression, and I had a ton I needed to study after going back to my room.
‘Holy Domain,’ ‘Divine Oracle’… And even why Benjamin acted so weird today.
I became as anxious as someone who did not manage to review all of the topics before having to take a test.
* * *
“Ganael, let’s chat for a bit.”
I closed my study material, err, the Theology book, and stopped the young boy.
Ganael, who had seemed as happy as possible this morning, seemed extremely anxious now.
He looked pale while serving me lunch and just awkwardly smiled and mumbled to himself any time I tried to talk to him.
“Y, your highness.”
“Take a seat. Did you eat?”
The boy quietly mumbled that he did. I could see that his large gold pupils were shaking.
He must have heard something from Benjamin or something so big that there was no way for him not to know what must have happened.
Benjamin, who had made me anxious earlier, had been missing since my walk earlier.
He had disappeared without answering any of my questions.
“Benjamin said something weird to me in the garden. Do you know anything about it?”
Anybody would be able to tell there was a lot he knew.
Ganael might be sharp, but he seemed to suck at acting or lying.
Or is he not thinking about hiding it because it’s me?
“I feel like I have a right to know if it is related to me.”
‘I’m sure it’s not a big deal.’
I told myself that and tried my best to suppress the ominous feeling inside my heart.
I had been extremely quiet for the past week and never ran into the Imperial Prince as I had planned.
I had never heard about Christelle, the MC of < I quit my job and ended up as a noble young lady in another world > either.
That meant that the MC, the male lead, and I had never had any overlap at all.
“Umm, your highness… You see……”
I calmly waited for him to explain.
I was old enough to know that pushing children to hurry up and say it would only be counter-effective.
At least that was how it had been with Eunse.
“Umm…… There was a thief.”
‘What? A thief? Not a spy but a burglar?’
I wonder what kind of amazing item was stolen that even I had to hear such weird things from Benjamin.
Ganael seemed relieved to see the shocked expression on my face.
“You really must know nothing about it, your highness. I had faith that that would be the case.”
“Benjamin even brought up martyrs. That’s why I thought I should at least know about it, even if it wasn’t related to me.”
I suddenly had a feeling… An important incident must have happened somewhere I don’t know about.
It might be the event that progresses the story of QNW.
Even if I try my best not to get swept up by the flowing river, a tiny pebble could not become a boulder. It would end up floating along if the current becomes too strong.
In that case, I wanted to at least know how the river that I would have to trust with my body looked and where the currents were fast and slow.
“I heard that a treasure…a divine item had disappeared……”
– Knock knock.
Both of us stopped talking and turned toward the door after hearing a dull knock.
“Please come in.”
Benjamin opened the door and entered. Ganael quickly got up from his seat. I was curious as to what he had been doing until now, but he spoke first.
“Your highness, you have a guest.”
“It is Vice Captain Élisabeth Moutet of the Imperial Guard.”
“I don’t remember having an appointment with her.”
“Excuse me, your highness.”
A young woman popped in behind Benjamin and respectfully greeted me.
I anxiously stood up.
She had short olive-colored hair that was curled in and bright grey eyes.
Her uniform had numerous medals to show off her merits.
“There was a serious theft that happened at the border of the Riester Empire and the Venetiaan Holy Kingdom. I asked for this urgent meeting because I had some questions regarding this incident, your highness. Please excuse me for being unable to inform you regarding this meeting in advance.”
I would seem weird or suspicious if I didn’t excuse her for it.
I slowly nodded my head.
I gulped, knowing that I had no choice but to accept this meeting with her even while knowing who she was. It felt as if the thought I had not too long ago had turned into reality and slapped me in the face.
Forget a flowing river… I seemed to have accidentally gotten on a Flume Ride.
* * *
The only thing I have stolen since coming here was the air I used to breathe.
I reminded myself that I had nothing to feel guilty for and sat up straight.
“Ah, you really do drink tea without any caffeine, your highness.”
Vice Captain Moutet was the first to speak. (TL: The author uses the word generally used for knights to address her, but the author uses it for all sorts of things throughout the novel, so I will use titles as fitting for each person. VC Moutet is a knight so I could use Dame, but I don’t really like Dame and VC Moutet sounds so much cooler…)
She tasted the Hibiscus Tea that Ganael had brought over. I now knew what she meant by that.
The priest of the Church of the Almighty God stayed away from stimulants like caffeine and alcohol.
They believed that they could not use Divine Power properly if they were forced awake or could not think straight.
It was written on the first page of < The Rules and Beliefs of the Church of the Almighty God > that only the most devoted priests followed this rule.
The reason Benjamin and the children had been shocked when I had asked for Herbal Tea on the first day was because they didn’t know that Prince Jesse was so devoted to the rules of the church.
It made sense since this guy was known as the scoundrel of the Holy Kingdom.
I just happened to get really lucky, like a bull that happened to catch a rat while stepping backward.
“It smells so good. I should recommend this to his highness, the Imperial Prince as well. He always drinks dark coffee.”
“Umm, you don’t need to beat around the bush, Vice Captain Moutet.”
Her gaze seemed as if she found it odd that I cut her off.
But things like how Imperial Prince Cédric is a masochist who likes Espresso was information I did not need.
“I’m sure you are busy as well, Vice Captain Moutet. Didn’t you say it was a serious theft?”
‘Most importantly, I don’t want to chat with you that long.’
“The Captain is taking care of all the work. My title is pretty much just an honorary title. Please just call me Élisabeth.”
She smiled as she said that. I barely managed to smile back.
Vice Captain Élisabeth was the daughter of a Count and the future heir to the title; her position was in no way just honorary.
“Then please excuse me as I ask some potentially offensive questions.”
The Vice Captain of the Imperial Guard took another sip of tea before slowly starting to interrogate me.
I saw the ring on her left hand shining as she held the teacup in her hand.
“Could you please tell me where you were and what you were doing on the night of March 17th?”
“March 17th…… That was the first day I got here. I only remember washing up and going to sleep.”
I didn’t know for sure since I opened my eyes here for the first time on the morning of March 18th.
But my personal attendant and monitor Benjamin told me that, so that should be correct.
“Did you make contact with anybody outside before going to bed or after waking up?”
“No. But you would probably get better answers asking Benjamin about it. I don’t remember very well because I was very tired.”
“I have already interrogated him as well. He gave me the same response.”
‘That must be why Benjamin had been missing for a few hours.’
I nodded my head.
“Could you please tell me everybody you had contact with on March 24th in order?”
“Yesterday? Mm, Ganael and the twins came to wake me up. Benjamin was with us as well when I got dressed. I met some of the gardeners on my afternoon walk, but I have not memorized all of their names yet.”
“Most people do not memorize their names.”
Her voice sounded as if she was holding back a laugh.
“You are just as Ganael told me, your highness. I was told that you are someone in a high position who is generous to the attendants and respectful even to the gardeners.”
I couldn’t tell her that it was because the attendants were younger than my sister, while the gardeners were my parents or grandmother’s age.
“I feel more relaxed that way.”
That was all I could really say. It felt like a stoic yet realistic response.
“Did you say that there were twins among your attendants, your highness?”
Vice Captain Élisabeth quickly changed the topic.
“Ah, they aren’t identical. They are children of Baron Bellang, but only their heights are the same.”
I talked to her about the twins. The two boys who always followed behind Ganael were 13 years old.
I told her that I did not see anybody after that.
Benjamin, Ganael, and the Bellang twins were the only official ones attending to me while the other servants only showed up when they needed help.
“I visited Baron Bellang’s Estate when I was younger.”
“The Baron couple were extremely nice people. I should send a letter to check in on them.”
The interrogation must have ended without asking anything important as she was talking about such random things.
She then stood up and respectfully bid me farewell.
It seemed too easy for an incident that made Benjamin almost go crazy in the garden and Ganael extremely anxious all day, especially since Vice Captain Élisabeth called it a ‘serious incident’ as well.
Of course, I felt that this was normal since I really didn’t do anything.
“Until next time, your highness.”
I just smiled as she walked out the door.
I would rather not see the Imperial Prince’s best friend in such an unexpected situation ever again.
* * *
“It must have been tough for you today, your highness.”
Ganael chatted with me as he brought me a cup of water in case I needed it in the middle of the night.
I was sitting on the bed reading Kumon, no, < The Theory and Reality of Controlling Divine Power > as I responded to him.
“You had it tough being interrogated today as well. Why are they questioning us when the theft happened so far away from here?”
“It was really tough, your highness. I was completely shocked.”
The boy sighed.
I heard more about the incident from Benjamin after Vice Captain Élisabeth left Juliette Palace.
The theft had happened at the ‘Temple of Vigilance,’ which was extremely far away from the IMperial Palace.
Apparently, it was a place that would require someone to go through numerous portals and then travel by horse for a week after that to get there.
“Doesn’t that place have extremely tight security as well?”
I read about it in a book.
The Temple of Vigilance was the largest temple on the continent that was on the border of the Riester Empire and the Venetiaan Holy Kingdom.
It was also the residence of the Pope, although the position was currently vacant.
The Pope renounces their nationality once they become the Pope, so the Pope’s residence was located in the Temple of Vigilance, which was on a neutral territory guarded by both the Empire and the Holy Kingdom.
“That’s right. According to the attendants at the Romero Palace, the Divine item just disappeared without any traces or witnesses. If the Holy Kingdom had stolen it, they would have obviously taken it back to the kingdom, so I don’t understand why they were bugging you about it, your highness.”
I found that funny as well. They must think I’m some kind of pushover because I’m a diplomatic hostage.
Even if the prince had robbed the Divine item on his way to become a hostage of the Empire, why would he bring such a treasure with him when he knew he would be searched thoroughly upon his arrival?
“Let’s just think of it as a reference check.”
I nonchalantly responded.
Vice Captain Élisabeth’s words and actions had not been heavy at all.
If she really thought I was a suspect, I’m sure the Captain would have shown up instead of the Vice Captain of the Imperial Guard.
Either that or they would have dragged me somewhere to be interrogated.
“Yes, sir. Please sleep well, your highness.”
“You too, Ganael.”
The boy turned off the light, said goodbye, and left.
I waved at him even though he couldn’t see me and slowly lay down.
I suddenly started thinking about Eunse as I stared at the ceiling. Had she ever mentioned this?
I don’t think so.
She did talk about temples and ceremonies, but she never mentioned anything about a treasure disappearing or how ‘our Jesse’ was framed for a crime.
I must have been airheaded. This was no Flume Ride.
I guess I got agitated too since everybody was antsy even though it wasn’t even an important incident.
Yes, AirHeads is just the name of a candy bar. (TL: Some things were changed to make this joke work in English as the author referenced a Korean snack).
Someone opened the door and entered the room without even knocking.
It was the twin attendants, the Bellang twins.
Even Jesse’s jokes have to do with food. How can you not like the guy?