They passed the border yesterday. The guards were very strict at the boundary and the summer wind was not warm.
The Venetiaan Royal Family’s carriage procession continued traveling through the Riester eastern forests.
There was a question that came from outside the window.
“Your highness, should we look for a place to set up camp for the night?”
“Go ahead, Maartje.”
The crown princess responded.
Maartje, her coachman and right hand woman, immediately ordered the soldiers to look around. (TL: Important people, such as the crown princess, had people they could trust as their coachman)
Elise had not stayed in a proper lodging since the day she left the castle.
It was her wish to not rest until they arrived at the portal.
‘Is the crown princess still suspecting her father? How could a mere Prince Consort like me, someone who does not even hold the throne, manage to aim for the life of a prince in a foreign nation?’
Her father, Prince Consort Werner’s last words echoed in her ears.
She felt as if she could see him covering his pretty face with a fan in sorrow while speaking to her once again.
Elise clenched her fists.
The Prince Consort had been extremely sad and shed a ton of tears when she had used all of her connections in the Vatican to be dispatched to the Empire.
It made her recall the assassination attempt on her younger brother back in March.
Elise had almost lost her mind after hearing that the prince overcame a dangerous crisis.
The thing that froze her mind was her father’s demeanor. It was as calm as the flowing water.
‘Father, Jesse…… Apparently someone tried to assassinate Jesse. I received information that assassins from the Holy Kingdom attempted such an atrocious deed.’
Although her voice was shaking, the Prince Consort’s voice was as calm as usual.
‘Oh my. The prince sure has no luck. He met Holy Knights in the Empire.’
‘……Father, I never told you that they were Holy Knights.’
‘Ah, is that so? Your daddy is getting older and my hearing is not the same as it was.’
His chocolate-colored eyes curled up.
‘How could he be like that?’
Elise fell deep into thought while listening to the horse hooves hitting the ground.
How could the father of two daughters loathe and envy his partner’s other child so much that he would even think about assassinating him?
The four seasons had passed twenty-nine times, yet her father still could not get rid of his animosity for her brother.
In fact, his hostility seemed to be getting greater and greater.
– Clack, clack……
There had been a time when Elise tried to figure out his motivation.
She had even tried very hard to understand him.
She felt as if there was no way for her to handle her disappointment and abhorrence for her father without understanding him first.
It was even more painful because she had loved her father quite a bit as a child.
Since when had he gone so astray?
Was it from when he was born as the second son of a prestigious Duke’s household, endlessly compared to his older sister, Elise’s aunt?
Was it when he was married to the royal family almost as if he was sold off?
Was it when he was disappointed at this loveless marriage and then learned about how his partner had found a lover?
Was it when her younger brother was born from that illicit relationship and was praised for having blessed eyes?
However, nothing could make her understand.
Elise Venetiaan was someone who believed that rational people would not resort to murder in such a situation.
She also knew someone who had acted positively even while being in the same situation.
“We have arrived at our campsite for the night, your highness.”
Elise snapped out of her thoughts. The procession had arrived at the center of the forest path at some point.
Maartje knocked on the carriage door and opened it once her master gave her permission.
The crown princess, with her blonde hair that was as bright as the sun, appeared through the door.
The Venetiaan soldiers bowed their heads immediately.
The Empire’s knights that had come to escort her were awed by her noble demeanor every time.
“The aura she gives off is so amazing.”
“It is not surprising since she is a Cardinal level Holy Knight.”
The knights whispered.
They then started to chat about Imperial Prince Cédric Riester.
Elise didn’t pay much attention to the chatter about the Imperial Crown Prince’s succession confirmation ceremony and enjoyed the breeze with Maartje by her side.
The attendants and royal servants with her quickly set up the tent and prepared the camp.
“Right, I heard that Prince Jesse was supporting the two esteemed individuals with ether.”
“Is there anybody in the Imperial Capital who doesn’t know about that? I was his highness’s escort during the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts. He was so generous and kind to those below him. It is not weird that he caught the attention of his Royal Highness or the House of Sarnez.”
“If even you are saying that then it must be true. I’ve heard the rumors quite often as well.”
The crown princess’ chin stiffened with pride.
The uneasiness she had been feeling since two months ago or so seemed to be sprouting.
Her younger brother, who had always been mocked and ridiculed by her father’s subordinates back home, had revealed his ether in the Empress’ land and was being treated properly.
It was as if he was meant for the Empire and not the Holy Kingdom.
“Maybe he will make a celestial covenant since he became an Archbishop……”
“Hey, lower your voice.”
Elise quickly turned her head and looked toward them.
The knights silently looked forward as if they had not said anything.
She felt as if her blood was cooling off.
‘He became an Archbishop?’
“What would you like for your meal, your highness? They said that they have some deer and hog that they caught this morning.”
Maartje pulled up her sleeves as she asked.
Her muscles were firm despite being in her late fifties. She had enough energy to prepare all of the animals for dinner on her own.
Elise looked at Maartje’s good-natured face and focused.
She must have heard wrong. Sir Johann Geens, the man she had sent, was by her younger brother’s side.
Serious trials and tribulations or a significant enlightenment were required in order to advance to an Archbishop.
There was no way something that serious would have happened.
‘Jesse should be fine. I’ll be able to check for myself soon.’
“It would be best to listen to the suggestions of the people who came with us. I am fine with anything.”
Elise soon answered in a low voice. The sun had started to set over the forest.
An old black door opened. Cardinal Aurélie Boutier walked into the dark room.
Although it was a place in the Imperial Palace, the contents of the room were far from beautiful.
Natalie and the other attendants were all standing at the far end of the hallway.
Nobody other than Frédérique, Alexandre, and she had entered this place before.
She decided not to recall that there had been one other person.
It was because that person, just like the rest of them, did not want to remember the events of those times.
“You are resting well.”
Aurélie bent down and whispered.
Johann Geens was silently lying in the middle of the room that did not have any furniture, decorations, or even a source of light.
His long white hair contrasted with the pitch black floor, creating an unrealistic atmosphere.
The ether restraining tool on his neck was completely black as well.
The look on the man’s face was peaceful, completely unlike his surroundings.
He seemed to be having a nice dream, just as she had informed Prince Jesse.
“That child seems to want to help you. I want things to go well, but……”
She simply finished her sentence with a smile.
As the Empress’ Religious Partner, Aurélie always placed Frédérique’s words as top priority and acted accordingly.
That was why allowing this Holy Knight to stay here pain free was the best she could do to be considerate of the little prince.
If it had not been her, but the Empress who had pulled out her sword and acted on that day, Johann would probably have disappeared without a trace already.
‘What will happen at this ‘feast’ tomorrow?’
“May the Almighty God watch over it.”
‘No matter what might happen tomorrow.’
The Cardinal quietly mumbled before turning away from the man.
She needed to leave this place before the master of the palace finished her daily schedule and returned.
There was no need to let her know that she had stopped by the pitch black room and mess with her mood.
Only the sound of the Cardinal’s clothes rustling filled the air.
The door was locked. Johann was once again left alone in his dreams.
Where would she have learned such a thing?
It had already been three days since the young Eva had called me crafty.
There had been a lot of talk since then, but Christelle and Imperial Prince Cédric ended up signing a contract that they would pretend to be lovers.
They successfully managed to secure a feast with her Majesty using that as their justification.
The two of them being contracted lovers made my heart thump wildly.
‘Is this how the Romfan readers feel?’
Anyway, the problematic feast was today. To be more specific, the operation will commence in exactly 20 minutes.
“The shirt is the perfect length for you. That’s a relief, your highness!”
Ganael was happy.
The young boy seemed much more riled up than me, who would be infiltrating Romero Palace.
The clothes I was wearing right now belong to the attendant named Pierre, and Ganael had secretly swiped it from the Juliette Palace’s laundry room.
I had borrowed Benjamin’s extra pair of dress shoes as I was in a hurry. They were a bit small but they didn’t feel as if they would hinder my walking or running.
Benjamin explained while tying a ribbon around my neck.
“Your highness, you are disguising as an attendant named Geoffrey.”
“Geoffrey was supposed to have the day off today but the story is that he was urgently rushed in because they were short on staff today.”
I answered. He nodded his head and then continued to speak.
“Yes, your highness. You can enter through Romero Palace’s back door at 8:15pm. Walk down the left hallway as soon as you go in and you will see David-nim in the last room of the hallway.”
“And then I will receive a rough map of the palace from David. All I have to do is push the dessert trolley to the dining room where they are having the feast. You said that I should be able to match the schedule if I enter at 8:30pm.”
I commented with determination. Benjamin looked at me with a concerned look on his face.
“Yes, your highness. I wish I could personally escort you, but……”
“That’s okay. I chose to do this and the two of you have done enough already. Plus, you can’t leave Juliette Palace, Benjamin.”
I was speaking happier than normal but his face still was grim.
He must be concerned that I suck at directions.
“I knew that you would do something big ever since you became closer with his Royal Highness and young lady Sarnez, but…… I did not know that the three of you would be so bold, your highness. You thought of tricking her Majesty.”
‘Ah, that’s what he is concerned about. I guess anybody would think that that is the more serious issue.’
I awkwardly smiled.
“I am a bit scared as well. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m almost certain she is going to be furious.”
My heart was beating wildly and I regretted my decision a bit.
‘Did I act up too much? Should I not have said I want to meet the Empress?’
I thought about Sir Geens, his son, and the others whenever that thought passed through my mind.
The reason for what I was doing and the people who were all supporting me in their own ways.
“If her Majesty happens to move her hand to the sword on her waist… jump out the window no matter what, your highness. That will be safer even if you happen to jump out on the third floor.”
‘Is it that bad?’
“You have to go now, your highness.”
Ganael placed his pocket watch in my hand.
It was already past 8pm.
I did not have much time if I considered how long it would take to cut through the garden.
“Thanks for the watch. I’ll make sure to return it.”
“Yes please, that is my engagement gift!”
‘Wow, I have a reason to return safely.’
I excitedly chuckled before hugging each of the red pandas.
The scaredy cat, Rhea, must have felt my emotions as she tightly hugged me.
I gently rubbed her nose to calm her down before petting Percy’s small back multiple times.
I didn’t forget to tell them to be good.
I then pulled out the eye patch that Christelle lent me.
I thought it was for cosplaying as Tom Cruise, but apparently it was a magic tool that allows the user to transform into a designated person.
It was a party item, so it was a one-time use item and did not last very long, but there was nothing more useful than this right now.
It had a strand of Geoffrey’s hair that David got for me, so I should look like him if I say the incantation properly.
I solemnly covered one eye with the eyepatch and said the incantation that Christelle had set……
Well, mumbled it while facing the wall.
“I…… I don’t need Nazis in my Germany.”
‘She can’t let go of < Valkyrie > until the end so why did she call it Verona?!’
Red mana burst out of the eyepatch.
Ganael and Benjamin’s eyes grew wide as they stood a bit away from me.
“The two of you.”
Flinch. Christelle almost dropped her fork.
She had let down her guard because the Empress and the Cardinal were silently focused on their meals across from her.
Christelle’s attention had been focused on the time.
She was hoping that Prince Jesse would enter even one minute earlier to end this hell-like situation.
She didn’t care that it might lead to an even scarier hell after that.
She would feel at peace if he was here.
“Yes, your Majesty.”
Cédric looked at his mother and responded. The cherry-colored eyes he looked at were full of joy.
“You guys are meeting seriously?”
The Empress asked.
The Imperial Prince bastard looked as if he would not say yes even if he was dead, so Christelle answered yes ma’am, in such a quiet voice that it could barely be heard.
She heard a snort from the other side of the table.
“I’m curious because of how sudden this was.”
Her husky voice had a subtle tone of mockery. The Cardinal slightly bit down on her lips.
“Tell me. What do you like about each other?”
The two of them turned pale.
They were both at a loss for what to do because they needed to make up something that did not exist at all.
You two are in trouble now. Better learn how to bs quickly!