I was probably the last person to give him a present since his birthday was four days ago.
Who would dare to even think about being ‘late’ to celebrate the Imperial Crown Prince’s birthday?
“For a birthday present, next year, ugh, I’m going to die! It’s fine as long as you give it to them at least by the day before their next birthday!”
Christelle shouted as she continued doing her squats. The main character’s legs were shaking.
Sand and I were worried that she might fall backwards but Sir Johann looked completely calm.
After talking about Christelle doing strength training when we were in Aightz Village, he really did focus on her core muscles once lessons resumed.
“Pierre, keep it up!”
“My thighs feel dead……”
Thanks to that, the outdoor training ground was rowdy even without crown prince Cédric.
The attendants of Juliette Palace, who had originally come out to watch, were shaking while copying Christelle’s movements.
It was also full of animals, with the three red panda musketeers, Percy, and Chestnut, who had followed Agnes to the Imperial Palace, all around us as well.
“Ack! My legs are about to give out. Ahaha.”
“Make sure to keep proper form. You’ll hurt your knees if you don’t, young lady Sarnez.”
Christelle shouted, suddenly laughed, and then staggered.
Sir Johann fixed her form with a gentle yet stern look on his face.
Christelle was listening to his request for her to use only her muscles and not her ether without any complaints.
She was giving it her best after having taken off her blue summer jacket and cravat and pulling up her sleeves.
“I’m surprised that the young lady is listening so well because she really enjoys using ether.”
Sand whispered. I nodded my head.
I had an idea as to why she had no problem doing strength training.
Christelle could not use swords, spears, or bows because of her lack of strength.
The only thing she managed to choose was a magic tool whip with a special ability.
It was to be expected since she had not done any form of exercise for nineteen years and had been in a coma for the last three of those years.
Even now, the strength she had gained from absorbing the Blessing of the Blue Sea was covering up her lack of physical strength.
Christelle probably understood her limits better than anybody else.
She should have felt it while sparring against the crown prince until now as well. Last time……
‘I am going to become stronger. I am going to become the strongest person on the continent if possible.’
She said such a shocking statement.
I picked up Rhea and Perry, who were begging to be held, and smiled bitterly.
I looked to see what the other kiddos were doing…
– Chirp chirp!
The water deer, Chestnut, had Demy on his back and Percy was on Demy’s head as they roamed around underneath the shade of a tree……
I was relieved to see that all three of them seemed to be enjoying themselves.
“Are you preparing a birthday gift for his Royal Highness, your highness?”
Sand cautiously asked. I stopped Perry from spilling a cup of tea as I responded.
“Yes, the item I ordered to be crafted should be done today. But it didn’t seem right to just give that item alone.”
First, I successfully split off a portion of the holy stone that the Empress gave me.
It was thanks to being introduced to the Imperial Blacksmith, Frank, by Agnes!
Frank was a veteran who had worked in the Imperial Palace’s smithy for 40 years, and, despite it being our first meeting, welcomed me warmly asking what an important person like me was doing in a shabby place like that.
I had paid him handsomely in advance as I placed my order.
“You are not just giving that to him, your highness. You said that you were going to put your ether inside.”
Ganael, who was reading a book to my right, raised his head and commented.
Sand cheered me on saying it was a great plan.
“That’s true, but… I feel like it seems insincere because I received something from him as well.”
The crystal bell that his Royal Highness gifted to you does seem as cool as a national treasure, but isn’t your ether more beautiful, your highness?”
The young boy did his best to defend me. ‘Thank you so much, but he said it is actually a keepsake of his father……’
“As long as you are sensible, a birthday present is considered eighty percent successful, your highness. I, ack! Do you know what I gave him?”
“We will stop the lower body exercises for today.”
Christelle and Sir Johann both commented.
Christelle crumbled to the floor like a fallen jenga tower before rolling on the dirt floor.
I quickly peeked my head to check on her.
“Are you okay, young lady Sarnez?”
“Of course! I, huff… I sent him 25 handkerchiefs. I also ordered it so that the flame would be a different color when he burns them. It was my way of telling him not to trash other people’s handkerchiefs and just have fun with his own.”
My jaw dropped in admiration.
I was in awe at the fact that she had thought deeply about the crown prince’s present, and the present itself seemed pleasant as it held a memory that the two of them shared only with each other.
Expensive presents were meaningless since the crown prince was the son of the house who had all of the wealth and power in the world.
The main character’s wit was truly different.
“If you have no afternoon plans, how about doing some upper body exercises after a short break?”
Sir Johann said something very scary as his eyes curled down. Christelle shook her head.
“You are trying to kill me on the first day…… Oh right! I gave you tickets to the < Phantom of the Pas de Trois >. Isn’t that today? You need to go watch it with Gerrit.”
“Now that you mention it, I did forget about that.”
Her eyes sparkled as she looked for an escape route. Sir Johann smiled as if he had no choice.
The corners of my lips curled up as well.
I knew that many people were doing what they could to let Sir Johann and Gerrit adjust easily, but there was something special to how our main character treated them.
“Your highness, the attendants of the boutique will be stopping by Juliette Palace in one hour.”
I was looking at Sir Johann when Benjamin, who was to my left, reminded me of my afternoon schedule.
“Yes, I remember that. They are only taking measurements today, right?”
“That is correct, your highness. The clothes you will wear at the territory, your Archbishop robe, formal attires……”
There were many clothes that they needed to make.
This was because becoming the Marquis of the Empire was not that simple.
I was told that it would be better to dress in clothes that were in the Empire’s style when I visit the territory rather than the Holy Kingdom’s that I usually wore.
It was so that the residents would not feel a sense of disharmony or incompatibility.
Furthermore, it apparently took time for the Imperial family to come up with a Marquis’s coat of arms and territory name.
There also needed to be plenty of time for the people in the March to get ready to greet a guest.
Basically, it seemed as if I could enjoy my usual peace at the Imperial Palace for a while.
“Then I guess I can go take confessions after that-”
‘Gasp.’ My eyes opened wide mid-sentence.
“What is it, your highness?”
“Umm…… I just remembered something. I’ll be right back! I need to go to my room!”
I quickly put the divine beasts down and headed toward Juliette Palace.
Sand and Christelle’s eyes opened wide.
Benjamin was cleaning things up while Ganael rushed behind me.
I quickly walked through the back door of the palace and ran up the stairs to the bedroom.
It felt hot very quickly and I started sweating because of the hot August weather.
“Ganael, just stay there. It is tiring. I’m just going to check something in my bedroom drawer and I’ll be right back!”
The young boy, as well as everybody walking through the hallway looked at me in shock, but I just rushed into my bedroom.
I definitely had no recollection of throwing it away. ‘I thought I put it somewhere in the side table……’
It was in the last compartment where I kept souvenirs.
I smiled brightly and picked up the item that was next to Christelle and the crown prince’s one day relationship contract.
It was the decorative rope of the Confessional that had been cut off.
I had kept the piece that ‘Sadie’ had sliced off with his dagger on the first day we met.
Although my only experience with sewing was fixing the school uniform buttons of us three siblings……
‘I should be able to do it if I learn a bit from the boutique’s department head when they come later today.’
Maartje Zijlstra wandered the halls as if she was possessed.
After taking the responsibility of saving Gerrit Geens’ life at crown princess Elise’s orders, she was only able to return to the palace a month after leaving Venetiaan.
She was given fifteen days of break after not being able to rest all this time, but Maartje had run out of the room after opening the present on her bed.
A bundle wrapped in silk was at her side.
The person she had to meet, as usual, was just one person.
However, the crown princess’s crown princess was just wandering the hallway like a lost bird.
Although what she needed to say was clear and she knew exactly where she had to go, she did not have the courage to do so.
She tightly clenched and unclenched her fists and accepted her current state.
She was scared.
She, someone who had been killing demonic beasts with her axe for decades and had even saved the young Prince Jesse from critical danger at one point, was scared.
It was simply because she did not want to tell the crown princess about this terrible news.
She heard a familiar voice at that moment.
She turned to see Jeanine, one of the crown princess’s loyal attendants. Maartje silently bowed.
The middle-aged woman showed her respect as well before approaching her.
“Is something wrong? What is making you wander around like this?”
“Not at all. I was just wondering where her highness might be……”
The knight rubbed her shaved head as she looked around. Jeanine gently smiled.
“She is currently having a light lunch in the room next to her bedroom. I will escort you there right away.”
“I see…… I guess she is barely eating again.”
“However, she has not missed a meal since returning from the Empire. His highness must have asked her not to miss any meals.”
The prince. Maartje did her best to maintain her composure after thinking about the prince.
The two women did not say anything for a while.
The knight quietly recalled the events that happened in Riester.
‘You stay healthy as well and travel safely, your highness. Please don’t skip any meals either.’
Maartje did think that the Prince’s way of speaking had changed a bit.
Although he was using the same words, his tone had been different from when he stayed in the Holy Kingdom.
However, she did not feel that it was weird.
The young lady, who seemed close to the prince, used the same way of speaking, so she had just thought that the Prince was taking after his friend.
Most importantly, his personality had not changed.
The way he was magnanimous toward the weak and animals and his character that did not allow him to walk past someone in pain without helping them… Had not changed at all even after being taken away as a Diplomatic hostage.
This was the case even if the person was someone who had tried to kill him.
‘Jesse, that person needs to be killed right now. Move!’
‘Your highness! Please, put your weapon away. She is just a child.’
It had been that way when an arrow had been shot toward the prince while he was with the crown princess.
Maartje had rushed in front of him to take the hit instead.
The prince had been nineteen years old at the time and the person who had launched the arrow was a sixteen years old commoner girl.
The young but not delicate prince had pushed the knight’s shoulder to stop the bleeding while stepping in front of the twitching young girl.
His purple eyes had sparkled brightly despite the heavy rain.
‘Dame Zijlstra is bleeding quite a bit. This child’s condition does not seem good either. Her back is sporadically shaking as if she has been whipped.’
‘Sister, I beg of you. Please call the Royal Doctor and a priest.’
Her shoulder still twinged thinking about that time. In the end, Maartje had survived.
However, demonic beast blood and a critical poison had been on the head of the arrow, and the sequelae from it made it so that she could never use magic tools anymore.
Magic tools would react to the traces of demonic beast inside her body and break.
The prince had seemed full of guilt and helped massage her shoulder whenever Maartje suffered from the pain.
He did that despite knowing better than anybody else that it was not his fault.
‘It is not much. I just thought that it must be difficult aiding her highness.’
That was why it was absurd that he gifted her a magic tool, a heat generator, when they left the Empire.
“Your highness, Dame Maartje requests an audience.”
Maartje flinched and snapped out of her thoughts. They were already at the crown princess’s bedroom.
Jeanine silently opened the door to the room next to it.
The knight solemnly looked down at the magic tool in her hand before starting to walk.
This was a cruel and terrible thing. However, she needed to inform her liege.
She had a right to know.
She needed to know that her precious younger brother might have lost his memories and that he was left alone in a foreign land in such a state.
“I gave you a break to recognize your hard work but why are you here on your first day off?”
The crown princess pushed away her bowl of soup as she greeted her coachman with a gentle tone.
Her face, that was as exquisite as the decorations in the temple, looked strong enough not to allow anything to break her.
Maartje bowed, took a deep breath, and started speaking.
“Your highness, I am here because there is something I must say right away. The prince-”
Another one of the crown princess’s attendants pushed the door open and walked in.
Everybody was astonished because this was extremely disrespectful and rude.
The young attendant did not seem fazed as she delivered her news. Her cheeks were full of tears.
“Her Majesty has managed to defeat her insanity and has returned to her senses! She is looking for you, your highness. She is looking for her children!”
“Oh Almighty God.”
Elise jumped up from her seat. Jeanine covered her mouth with both hands and teared up.
The crown princess’s face was full of pure joy as she rushed out the door.
It was rare to see her smiling so brightly, as if she had no worries at all, similar to how she had smiled during her childhood.
Can you tell me whatever it is you need to tell me later?”
The crown princess looked at the knight with teary blue eyes and asked.
Maartje opened and closed her mouth a few times before nodding her head.
Uh oh. Maartje knows.