– Boom, crack!
There was an odd noise as the thick lumber was split in half. Some of the old people gasped in admiration.
Eva, who was waiting to the side, quickly placed a new piece of wood.
Her smile made it obvious she was finding this to be fun.
The front of our lodging, which Christelle was calling a pension, was full of the Aightz villagers.
They said that the village representative had yet to arrive.
“Remy was right. The blonde young man is as beautiful as an angel.”
“It also looks like he has never struggled. His neck is completely white.”
The elders observed me and commented once I joined the spectators.
I felt embarrassed and just bowed at everyone.
“Young man, your eye color is very beautiful and rare. Is it purple?”
“Excuse me? Yes sir. They are purple.”
An old man squinted as he asked.
I sat down and became anxious.
Thinking about it now, I was the only one on the entire continent known to have purple eyes.
‘Was our lie something that would have never worked?’
“That, that. Isn’t that the color that is said to have received the blessing of the Almighty God?”
“What are you talking about?! That’s yellow.”
“Ah, is that so?”
“Please don’t mind him, young man. That old fogey has probably only been to the temple once in his life. And that would have been during his baptism.”
A grandma I had not seen before commented as if to console me. I just smiled a bit in response.
For better or for worse, the elders here seemed to be in the dark for the details of religion.
Gold and purple were both representative colors of the Church of the Almighty God, but the former represented the Authority of the Almighty God while the latter represented the Almighty God’s blessing.
The reason Prince Jesse’s popularity had been so high in the Holy Kingdom was because he was born with both colors.
“To be honest with you, I was anxious because I heard that outsiders had shown up. But I slept so well.”
“You too? I felt like I had a conception dream for my grandchildren. Did you sleep well too, young man?”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
I politely responded. They probably slept well because of my ether.
“Young man, are you seeing anybody?”
“My goodness, stop pestering him and just watch! The couple up there are both so strong. What a great match.”
Granny Marlene scolded the people around me and handed me a bucket of warm popcorn.
I gave a faint smile and thanked her.
Imperial Prince Cédric’s 15+ wood chopping show had just ended and it was now Christelle’s turn.
I was wondering why there was a commotion from the morning, but it seemed as if the two of them had started a competition of sorts.
I had no idea what might have caused it.
Christelle, who had her hair tightly twisted up in a bun, swung the large axe without any hesitation.
– Boom! Crack!
I peeked at the Imperial Prince, who was perched on a fence and drinking water.
I thought that he would never do something like this, but he probably chopped these firewood so that they would have it for the future as a payment of sorts to the villagers for their help.
Moments like this made me feel like he didn’t deserve the nickname of Crapdric.
He must have sensed my gaze as he looked toward me.
I quickly turned my head and peeked inside my shirt.
‘……Isn’t there too much of a difference in our specs? Do all male leads look like that?’
– Boom, crack!
“It looks like young lady Sarnez needs some strength training.”
Sir Johann, who had been boiling a daube in the kitchen, came out with a ladle and commented.
I looked up at him as Gerrit, Demy, Percy, and the water deer Chestnut all came into my arms.
“Do Holy Knights need physical strength?”
“Of course. Knights need basic strength and physique. However, young lady Sarnez awakened to her powers after living close to twenty years as a regular person, so all of her physical strength relies on her ether. Please take a look.”
I looked back at Christelle. Crack! I had no idea how many pieces of wood she had chopped at this point.
I just thought she was strong and skilled but to a Cardinal like him, it must have looked different.
Her muscles are not flexing at all. Her special ether inside her body is working in place of the muscles. This will bring down her ether efficiency quite a bit. I had been focusing on skills until now because the Holy Knight appointment was top priority, but…… Now that it is over, it looks like I will have to start her back on the basics.”
Sir Johann seemed happy about this.
I then noticed the apron he had on as he asked me to taste the stew to see if it was good.
I immediately gave a thumbs up after tasting the soup.
The soup had a deep flavor despite using small and cheap pieces of beef, probably because the vegetables were fresh.
I felt as if I could eat ten bowls of this.
“Wow, it would be so great if these youngsters lived here with us.”
“You damn fogey, again?!”
Granny Marlene raised her voice at grandpa Remy’s comment.
To be honest, even the great and mighty Prince Consort Werner would probably never find me if I hid out in a small village like this.
I made eye contact with the Imperial Prince as I smiled bitterly at the chattering elders.
His orange eyes were fluctuating oddly.
“Just listen to me, it’s a win-win! The youngsters will be safe and can live at peace while we will have someone who can use their muscles and can read. What do you think about this, handsome young man?”
Grandpa Remy looked at the Imperial Prince and asked.
I thought that he would ignore him but, surprisingly, he responded.
“……I seek to rest, sir.”
“See! The young man has the same ide-”
“That is why I will drag that guy and return.”
His gaze seemed to have fierce flames as he looked at me.
I became at a loss for words and my jaw dropped. ‘Wait, who said that I wasn’t going back?’
Granny Marlene mumbled and looked away.
The Imperial Prince got up and brusquely walked into the house.
I recovered one of his shirt buttons that had fallen to the ground.
I had a pretty good idea about the ‘rest’ that the Imperial Prince desired.
‘His ether is always unstable and he can’t fully control it even with the Sword of Wisdom, so he is probably saying he wants to keep me in the Imperial Palace.
I am also his partner.’
“Are you already heading inside? Then I win!”
Christelle stood up straight and declared her victory.
Eva clapped while the villagers were happy that they got a show and firewood.
The popcorn I got to eat on an empty stomach was delicious as well.
“……It’s done. I figured it out, Élisabeth! Come take a look!”
Élisabeth, who was dozing off inside the carriage, jerked awake. The sun was already setting outside the window.
She was getting a good rest and eating well thanks to the Imperial Order, but the fatigue was not going away easily, potentially because she was tense due to her friends being missing.
She carefully moved Ganael, who was asleep while leaning on her shoulder, so that he laid down on the seat.
The young boy had not slept well for the past two days because he was worried about the prince and had finally received Benjamin’s permission to come out of the Imperial Palace.
Élisabeth gently smiled and kissed her fiance on the forehead.
‘He was always singing about how he has good dreams every night when his highness is here.’
Marquis François Duhem shouted with urgency.
“Yes sir, I am coming.”
Her face quickly returned to that of the Vice Captain of the Imperial Guard as she alighted from the carriage.
She wanted to quickly be at peace after finding her precious friends and return happiness to her fiance, but she was sure that this wasn’t much again.
François was the type of scholar who was overjoyed by even the smallest of clues and would cause a ruckus as if he was already by the Imperial Prince’s side even with the smallest of gains.
She even thought that the soldiers of the Duke’s House of Sarnez or Blanquer would probably end up finding Cédric and the others before they did.
She had heard that they were thoroughly searching the outskirts of the Imperial Capital.
“Did you find anything, mister?”
She calmly asked while entering the tent.
It was a sunny day but they had set up these tents because they never knew when it would rain again in August.
François’s light pink eyes were sparkling as he opened up his arms.
“Cheer in delight! I have finally figured out where his Royal Highness has gone!”
“What did you say?”
The young Countess’s voice became loud. François smirked as this was the reaction he had wanted.
“Are you impressed by the genius, François Duhem? I’m sure you are! Her Majesty will definitely find it to be amazing as well-”
“Let’s get right to the point. Where is it? You guys, prepare the horses immediately. Tell the Marquis’s carriage to get ready as well. All units, assemble!”
“Yes, Vice Captain!”
The Imperial Guard members, who had been protecting François inside the tent, quickly started moving.
Élisabeth headed toward the Marquis as if she was going to grab him by the collar.
“Alright, take a look. Here! The magic formations of portals from the Warring Era are quite complicated unlike modern ones. There are also two or three layers of codes so it was very difficult to figure out the coordinates. However, the fact that it was to the north or south of the Imperial Capital was confirmed from the beginning.”
“You already said all of that yesterday. The location.”
“The results were that it was to the north, specifically, over here.”
The Marquis’s fingertip, which was covered in ink, pointed to a spot on the map.
It was the part that was circled by a quill pen. Élisabeth’s eyes opened so wide they looked as if they might pop out.
“……Are you joking right now?”
“Would I do something like that when this is regarding the safety of his Royal Highness? I too could not believe it and had to check it three times so I understand your reaction, but…”
“That doesn’t make any sense. No, maybe we should be relieved?”
She brushed her face a few times in shock.
If that was where they were, if it was that kind of place, the situation was not as bad as they had expected.
However, she still could not help but laugh in disbelief.
Élisabeth ruffled her short dark green hair. François calmed her down.
“Yes sir. Mister, you are the genius of the century and one of the Empire’s greatest mages. So please take Ganael and go to the Imperial Palace immediately to inform her Majesty about this. I will go to get my friends.”
The young Countess rattled on like a waterfall.
The Marquis, who looked as if he had not had the time to even shave properly, smiled brightly and nodded his head.
Christelle and the Imperial Prince went to help granny Marlene in her field.
Sir Johann was making jerky in the kitchen while Eva and Gerrit went to a nearby flower field to play.
Nobody was showing any anxiety on the surface.
“……It’s all dry. But they are still not here.”
I could see a mountain chilling in the distance through the hanging blankets.
I was nervously looking around the village with the animals.
Although our clothes that were hanging were dry and the sun was setting, the village representative had yet to appear.
The Imperial Crown Prince’s succession confirmation ceremony was tomorrow. Tomorrow!
The practice run would have already ended and the eve of the celebration was to start soon.
However, the Imperial Prince and the rest of us had yet to return to the Imperial Palace.
I felt my heart clenching and it felt extremely stuffy.
If Empress Frédérique had delayed the ceremony, that would be sinful in its own way.
It would make me wonder what the hell I had done to an event that the entire Empire is desperately waiting to see.
‘I don’t regret my action, but……’
“I’m totally that right now. I’m the character that always causes trouble.”
I quietly mumbled. Chestnut then jumped around in circles next to me.
I couldn’t help but laugh because it looked as if she was saying that I should think positively since I ended up saving her in the process.
I petted her neck before quickly taking the clothes off and sitting on a bench to organize our belongings.
Although I had caused a major incident, I couldn’t sit here doing nothing.
I needed to finish all of our preparations so that we could leave immediately.
“Your highness, look at this!”
I heard Eva’s bright voice at that moment.
Four small hands appeared in front of me.
Gerrit and Eva, who had pushed through the blankets to get to me, were smiling brightly.
There were small flowers the size of a chick’s feather in Eva’s palm while Gerrit had two pebbles about three centimeters wide.
They were completely clear so I could see the lines on his hands. ‘It doesn’t look like glass.’
“What are these?”
“The flower seems to be the medicine Gerrit eats. We found it toward the foot of the mountain.”
I blinked in shock. I asked Gerrit and he nodded his head.
I heard that they had to pay a lot of money for it in the Holy Kingdom so it seemed like a miracle that they could get it somewhere like this.
My mood instantly became a lot better.
“That’s wonderful, Gerrit. Congratulations. Let’s gather a lot of them before we go. I’ll try to grow them in the Imperial Palace if we can as well.”
“There’s also these.”
Eva placed the flowers on my lap before picking up a transparent pebble in Gerrit’s hand.
“This is so cool. Please take a good look.”
Golden ether orbs soon floated out of the young lady’s fingertip.
Demy stuck his tongue out with interest.
The ether particles floated in the air for a moment before being sucked into the pebble as if they had found their home.
They were shining like fireflies as they moved around the pebble.
I got chills from this shocking scene.
‘Something that is not a plate or a divine item can store ether?’
It was at that moment.
It was a voice that I had heard many times before, a voice that was so familiar.
I got the chills for the second time before I slowly turned my head.
I saw a shabby carriage without a top.
The carriage was full of mail, meat, and oak barrels.
The woman seated alone in the coachman’s seat looked at me and the young duchess back and forth and then gasped.
Surprisingly, Eva was the first of us to speak.
The mountain keeper of the rear mountain of Juliette Palace, the person who first discovered the red pandas, the person who had guided Eva in her temple cleaning…
Agnes Ricciotti had appeared in Aightz Village.
Someone give me a fan. Wowee its hot in here. And what the heck is Agnes doing here?