“It made fish appear in the sky?!”
“My goodness. I’ve never seen a divine beast before!”
“It was not a demonic beast. I guess the Almighty God is protecting the Empire!”
The room became bursting with noise. The auction was basically over.
The auction house turned into an active fish market while the auctioneer, Emille, was arrested while looking terrible, and Joanne’s art live broadcast took place on the stage.
I sat between Christelle and crown prince Cédric and observed her painting.
Benjamin and Ganael, who came down with me, handed me a pain perdu.
The two of them made it in the merchant guild’s kitchen as they were rushed but it was warm and delicious as I ate it with milk.
“Then it looks a bit empty over here…… Lightly brush over it. Make it feel like the first snow. Very easy, isn’t it?”
‘I’ve heard this before.’
The nobles were in awe as they watched Joanne’s painting being created in front of their eyes.
Demy was rolling around my knees as if he was amused.
Christelle petted the harp seal in her arms and whispered as I sat there smiling.
“Marquis-nim, I’m sorry.”
“Excuse me? About what?”
“Earlier on the stage, that…… Treatment you received. I didn’t expect you to be down there with this guy.”
Her eyebrows sank down. I smiled and shook my head.
I knew that Christelle and the crown prince had been discussing a lot of things in advance to show me respect ever since we became official partners.
Since I had only told them that the harp seal was a divine beast but not where I would be, the two of them must have been quite shocked to see me on the stage as well.
Furthermore, the reason the little guy sprayed me with water was because he was scared, not because he wanted to mess with me.
I told her that it was fine and her face lit up a bit.
Christelle leaned her head to look at the Imperial Crown Prince beyond my shoulder.
“I’m going to show it off a bit, your Royal Highness. I apologized on your behalf.”
The crown prince to my left was silent. Percy, who was seated on his shoulder, was also quiet.
I chuckled and took a big bite of the bread.
It really was his trap to put the harp seal up as an auction item.
“Why are you all being so stupid and gasping in admiration? I told you that my brother and I schemed to scam you! I’m doing this to show you proof of the scam. I’m not doing it for your enjoyment.”
The nobles laughed out loud as Joanne got annoyed.
I was amused as I had not expected this kind of reaction.
There had never been someone like Joanne before, but I thought that the lofty nobles would point their fingers at the Haas siblings in anger.
But the Riester nobles were, contrary to my expectations, much…… How do I put this, more relaxed.
Was it because the people who came here were all people who lived lavishly?
It felt like they were thinking that they could just get a refund for purchasing the scam auction items and that they were just happy to have found a new source of pleasure.
The fact that the crown prince was leaving them alone, similar to the Empress, played a part in the excited mood as well.
“Get up. You are a criminal of her Majesty now.”
“You will pay for your sins of daring to deceive his Royal Highness, mock the Imperial family and royalty, and put false information on artwork for your own benefit. We will get to the rest slowly after that.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth commented toward the kneeling Emille.
Since free city Haas was a part of the Empress’s territory, the criminals seemed to head to the Imperial Capital as well.
The Imperial Guard grabbed him and pulled him up and the cloth on his head fell to the ground.
However, nobody paid him any attention.
“Did you just see that brush movement?”
“I didn’t, the merchant guild leader blocked my view…… Ah! What a wonderful color choice. I’ve always enjoyed Jansen’s lemon color.”
I could hear some of the nobles talking. Emille had instantly moved out of their interest.
I watched him for a long time as he was dragged away with his head down.
The man did not stay full of anger until the end as young Duke Robert Blanquer had done nor did he start shouting like Le Siffre Inn’s Claudine.
He didn’t even glare at us to curse us.
His handsome face was full of despair, disbelief, shrimp peels, and fish scales.
His yellow buzz-cut hair seemed cold.
“He lived thinking that he was the prince of Haas.”
Christelle mumbled in a low voice. I turned toward her. I quickly looked into her clear eyes.
“Even though there is only one Prince in the Empire.”
The MC smiled brightly toward me.
The harp seal went ‘aarf aarf’ as if he agreed.
The next day arrived. For reference, we safely recovered the crown prince’s 200,000,000 franc!
We rested all morning in the castle before coming out in the evening to get some sunshine.
“Wow, it’s so pretty! You really chose a great territory, your highness. What a jackpot!”
– Screeeech! Squeeee!
Christelle could not hide her gasps of admiration.
The three red panda musketeers and the harp seal cheerfully cried and rolled around on the grass.
Percy seemed happy as well as he flew around on top of our heads.
I stopped helping the attendants pull open the picnic mat and chuckled.
If you head to the tallest spire of the Lord’s Castle of Sérénité, you could see a large lake and a small hill.
There were not many trees in this territory but there were a lot of plants growing around the lake.
We were out on a picnic by the lake.
I was concerned that the lake breeze would be cold but it was refreshing, potentially because it was located to the south.
Vice Captain Élisabeth, great work yesterday.”
I addressed the young Countess who was opening a picnic basket.
Her pretty short hair fluttered as she smiled.
“I just did my duty. Territory lord-nim, you are the one who is probably burdened by higher food costs as your family has expanded.”
The way she was joking with me like that must mean that things to do in the Imperial Capital had increased.
I smiled bitterly and thought of the people who were temporarily imprisoned in the basement of the Lord’s Castle.
Emille and the merchant guild members who helped with his scam, Joanne and her thugs who were imprisoned once again…
The Empress would take care of the younger brother but the sister’s punishment was still up to me.
‘There is something I have thought about since yesterday……’
“Your Royal highness, Marquis-nim. We are thinking about taking a walk around the lake.”
I heard Lady Isabelle’s voice at that moment.
I looked up to see her and Duke Sarnez asking for our permission.
“Of course, please enjoy your walk.”
“Yes, Marquis-nim. We hope the two of you enjoy your time as well. You as well, Christelle.”
The Duke respectfully bowed toward us, said goodbye to his daughter as well, and then left with his wife.
The couple seemed quite happy.
I peeked toward Christelle, who was putting a cloth down on top of the mat.
She had been smiling since earlier as well.
“Dame Sarnez. Did something good happen in the family?”
I cautiously asked. Christelle’s eyes sparkled as if she had been waiting for me to ask and looked at me.
“I do not need to marry right away.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth asked in shock.
Benjamin, Ganael, David, and Chantal all stopped what they were doing to focus on her as well.
Only the crown prince sat like a sculpture observing the lake.
‘He’s been like that without moving even a finger since earlier, so whatever.’
“That’s great. I’m not saying that arranged marriages are all bad, but it does not guarantee your happiness.”
“How did things get resolved?”
Benjamin and I asked. Christelle’s lips were twitching with joy.
“To be honest with you, I got in a bit of trouble after meeting the Haas merchant guild leader alone. That was why I spoke to them this morning. Instead of talking about my lost memories, I told them the truth. I told them that I am happiest when I am with you, Marquis-nim, Vice Captain Élisabeth, his Royal Highness, and all of my friends.”
The most important one, ‘his Royal Highness’ was said so quietly and quickly. I almost didn’t hear it.
“I would have to focus on my family and husband once I get married. I would not be able to go around with all of you like we did yesterday, so I told them that being unable to do so will make me extremely depressed. And for some reason, my father agreed to my request.”
Christelle smiled and handed me a walnut torte.
“I guess it was different seeing my experiences with all of you in person rather than through magazine articles or word of mouth. They said that they had no idea that we all got along so well.”
I felt proud for some reason. I handed the crown prince a cup of coffee as I observed his face.
There wasn’t even the slightest of movements. ‘He’s like in his own little stoic photoshoot despite no cameras being around.’
“That is why although I will soon become the young Duchess in the near future, I can slowly think about marriage. My mother told me to do as many things as I want with my friends as well.”
“That’s a relief. They are good people.”
I responded. Everybody else congratulated her as well.
It was interesting that we were cheering for a loss of marriage rather than a marriage to come.
We then chatted, ate, and drank for a while.
The crown prince didn’t say anything but he also did not return to the castle.
He seemed to enjoy the scenery at the lake.
“Ah, this is great. I don’t know how long it has been since it was this peaceful.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth was the first to lay down on the mat.
Ganael put a blanket on her and Christelle mischievously made fun of him for being cute.
Benjamin, David, and Chantal were now down by the water observing the view.
The silence was not awkward and I was petting the sleeping red pandas when Christelle rummaged through something while sitting next to me.
The harp seal seemed curious as he flapped his flippers.
“Marquis-nim, please close your eyes.”
‘What is going on?’
“Yes. You can’t open your eyes until I tell you that you can.”
The crown prince sharply cut her off.
I thought that he wasn’t listening but this punk’s hearing was extremely good.
Christelle glared at him before turning her head away.
The crown prince let out a quiet sigh and looked forward. Huh?
“Did you just have a fight of ether?”
“You felt it, your highness?”
“No, priests are not capable of doing that…… The mood just felt like it. Please be nice to each other.”
I gently scolded the prospective couple.
Priests are not able to detect the flow of a Holy Knight’s ether unless the pressure is strong.
However, having seen the two of them so often made it easier to understand the timing of their battles.
Christelle seemed to sort of ignore what I said as she showed me a basket she brought with her.
‘Is it food? I hope it is delicious.’
“It is disappointing to just give it like this, but…… This is the item I won at the auction to give to you, Marquis-nim. Tada! Isn’t it so pretty?!”
“So this is it.”
Ganael and the young Countess gasped. My eyes opened wide.
My jaw dropped so low that it hurt.
The way it sparkled made it obvious that it was an amazing treasure, so I subconsciously turned toward the crown prince to see if it was okay for me to accept something like this.
I was concerned that this punk would have some useless delusion or get jealous.
As expected, his orange eyes showed quite a lot of discontent.
But he still didn’t say no to me receiving it.
“Really…… Thank you very much, Dame Sarnez. I will treasure it. I’ve never seen such a beautiful necklace before.”
I bowed and received the jewelry.
I really enjoyed the book she gave me for my birthday as well, so I didn’t expect to receive anything this precious.
“It was weighing on me that I only gave you a book on your birthday. This is not a necklace but a headdress.”
My hand that was rubbing the necklace instantly stopped. My cheeks flushed with embarrassment.
‘This thing that had white gold chains and numerous diamonds is not a necklace but a head……
Wait a minute.’ The contents of the catalog I skimmed on the way to the auction house flashed in my mind.
Christelle and I made eye contact.
“Is this perhaps…”
“Yes, this is Julite’s headdress. The real thing! Here is the letter of guarantee from the Baron’s House of Bellang.”
She showed me a card decorated with a platinum leaf. I opened and closed my mouth without being able to say anything.
“Then this is really……”
The price was one thing, but the famous Julite Statia’s holy artifact was in my hand.
Christelle explained with her unique look of confidence.
“It does something to the flow of mana to make it nice. It is supposed to significantly decrease the burden on your body when you use portals. This should be much better than Marquis Duhem’s motion sickness medicine. Now that you have this, you should be able to quickly go anywhere you want.”
“No matter how far it is. With all of us.”
Her blue-gray eyes sparkled like jewels.
A gust of wind made her cosmos flower-like hair flutter before running away.
I was at a loss for words while looking back and forth at her and the headdress.
I knew that Julite’s personal belonging was coming up in the auction but I had no idea that it had such an amazing ability.
I was truly thankful that she thought of me so much while we were all in a state of chaos because of Emille.
I felt like I was choking up.
“……Thank you very much.”
I barely managed to speak and smiled brightly. It was at that moment.
“Get rid of any useless dreams.”
A voice as cold as the fall weather cut through us. Christelle and I turned toward the crown prince.
A cloud happened to move across to cast a shadow on his eyes.
For some reason, the young man was extremely calm while burning up inside.
“We will not allow you to travel across the continent because your mother woke up.”
At least he’s blunt?