“Welcome, your highness.”
David greeted us as soon as we entered Romero Palace.
Christelle and I were immediately guided to the room next to the Imperial Crown Prince’s bedroom.
Strictly speaking, Christelle was an uninvited guest, but nobody brought that up.
They all silently understood that she was here not to see her friend but to prepare for the potential of the crown prince’s ether overload.
It would be better if Sir Johann was here, but he did not know the details about the crown prince’s ‘body condition.’
“……I presume Dame Sarnez also saw his Royal Highness’s other appearance during the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.”
David asked in a solemn voice in front of the bedroom. Christelle nodded her head.
I looked at the middle-aged man and urgently whispered.
“His condition wasn’t bad enough to turn into Sadie. Did something happen? What about the Sword of Wisdom?”
“His Royal Highness had breakfast and received the final report regarding the Holy Knight appointment on Tuesday. After that, when he took the sword off to take a bath……”
His voice trailed off. We perked our ears to listen.
“This is just my opinion, so please don’t think much of it. I think that his Royal Highness…… He seems to be feeling some pressure at the thought of officially becoming a Holy Knight.”
A memory from a few months ago lit up like a lightbulb in my mind at that moment.
It was the Empress’s voice that I heard during the celebration for the crown prince winning the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.
I definitely remember her saying this while looking at her son.
‘I know that you are not interested in being appointed as a Holy Knight. However, do not think about evading the lessons where you will learn to use your powers properly.’
I was suddenly enlightened. The crown prince never wanted to be a Holy Knight.
Christelle’s face stiffened up. The attendant sorrowfully continued to speak.
“The power his Royal Highness possesses is definitely great and holy. However, he himself did not think that way for a long time.”
He had suffered from ether depletion since he was an infant and had to be imprisoned in solitary confinement while restrained if he ever overloaded.
Liking his abilities was almost impossible after going through such a childhood.
My closed fists tightened.
The crown prince did not talk much and he really did not talk much about himself.
It was pitiful because you could not say anything about the personality he was born with. Nobody wanted him to push himself like that.
I looked toward the balcony.
After confirming the large glass door and the table, I realized that this was the place I had left his birthday present.
David’s explanation continued.
“Furthermore, he has been working on a month’s worth of work at once since August. Although I’ve mentioned multiple times that he needed to get some rest…… He did not listen. It was probably so that he could create some time to spend with his friends.”
I turned my head in shock. I felt as if my eyes would burst out.
Christelle seemed shocked as well as she gasped.
‘What is he talking about?’
“Are you saying that his Royal Highness has been pushing himself too hard since the Crown Prince succession confirmation ceremony?”
“That is correct, your highness.”
“Do Her Majesty and Her Eminence know about this?”
“It is probably correct to think that they are holding themselves back. They should have already received a report that you have arrived in Romero, your highness
The attendant quietly answered. We tilted our heads in confusion because we did not understand.
“His Royal Highness has been extremely stubborn since he was younger. He was the type who stood up on his own after falling down while running, the type who pushed away other people’s hands unless he asked for it himself. As a result, the Empress Palace…… Has developed a pattern where they brush things aside up to two times.”
“Are you saying that even if it seems like he is struggling, they will hold back up to two times and step in on the third?
“Yes sir. It is true that no parent can win against their children.”
David gave Christelle a sigh-mixed response.
If the child doesn’t want it, especially if the child is someone with the crown prince’s temperament, it would have been hard to overcome his resistance.
In the end, the adults had to take a few steps back, leaving him alone the first two times to be able to help him on the third.
I took a deep breath and wiped my face with my hands. The little Imperial Prince really was an idiot.
‘What is bad about a kid acting like a kid? It is their right and their duty.’
Basically, it was to be expected.
“……I’m coming in, your Royal Highness.”
I commented. David asked me to please take good care of him.
Click, the door opened.
Christelle and I stood there for a bit, at a loss for words.
The crown prince’s vast bedroom was as dark as twilight despite it being the middle of the day.
I might have tripped over my feet if it weren’t for the candles burning in different places around the room.
I noticed the black marble floor, black wallpaper, and the ink-colored canopy one after the other.
There were some things decorated in gold every so often and the furniture was extremely splendid but it seemed as if they tried their best to remove all the color from this room.
We quieted our footsteps and headed toward the bed.
We naturally slowed down and warily looked at each other.
By the time we pulled open the drapes of the bed, the only sound was the sound of the cloth moving.
We saw a familiar little kid with a wet cloth over his forehead. Black hair and white cheeks…
Christelle whispered to me. The only things on the side table were an elegant water bottle and a glass cup.
There was only one chair as well.
I offered Christelle the seat that David would have been sitting in until a few moments ago and awkwardly put my leg on the bed.
But I could not put much of my weight on it because I was worried that the kid would wake up.
I then slowly released a small Holy Domain, carefully dimming its brightness.
I imagined a stream of water as thin as a thread flowing toward the kid.
The area around the bed became dyed in an awkward shade of gold. The little boy’s nose twitched. After that…
I curled forward. I got dizzy after a significant amount of ether got sucked out of me in a moment.
A shocked Christelle quickly grabbed me by the arm. We looked at the little kid’s complexion at the same time.
His eyes were still closed.
The boy groaned quietly before his breathing settled down and he looked relaxed.
I couldn’t help but scoff in disbelief.
He snatched the ether out of me like a baby snatching a rattle out of someone’s hand.
It must have been an instinctual reaction as he was calm now. I slowly sat up.
My thoughts and words flowed out at the same time.
“Maybe…… I feel like this might be related to his highness, Prince Consort Alexandre.”
The MC silently looked at me. I cautiously added on.
“This is just my hypothesis but I think that His Royal Highness received a significant scar in his heart after losing his father at a young age.”
I then stopped talking. I was not him or his family.
There was nothing else I could say to Christelle about his situation.
The dark room in the basement of Romero Palace and the story that Cardinal Boutier told me echoed in my ears.
‘It has been twelve years since we used this place.’
That was the day before the crown prince’s birthday, so, considering that he is now twenty-four, that secret room had not been used since he was twelve.
A healthy and young Prince Consort Alexandre had left this world after an unexpected incident.
His death had also happened when the crown prince was twelve.
There were too many things that made it difficult to just call it a coincidence.
Finally, I thought of the black-haired archmage I met inside the Ark.
Of course, it was not himself, but ‘Nikky’ seemed to know some things about the Prince Consort.
‘For his son, he……’
I vividly recalled that handsome face, smiling with sorrow. After that, the situation turned dire and I could not hear the explanation until the end.
However, the short comment he left was enough to form a certain scenario in my mind.
‘……Alexandre Riester might have offered up his life to heal his son.’
“That is probably why he became afraid of his powers.”
I whispered after a long moment of silence. It was extremely possible that this was not the truth.
The crown prince could just be struggling with his condition because of fatigue and a sense of burden and not have this emotional scar that he has been carrying with him for so long.
It would be great if that was the case.
“It’s okay. It is a power that can save a lot of people. Big bro will help you.”
I placed my hand on the little kid’s neck and whispered to him.
He still had a bit of fever but it should go down soon if we continued like this.
The cold sweats had stopped.
“The divine beasts really like your flame. Tithé is a water attribute divine beast so he might avoid you, but……”
My tongue got tied up.
‘This was not what I was trying to say.’
Instead of how an elder of the Imperial family might have consoled him in the past, I wanted to say something that friends could say to each other.
But for some reason, my mind was not working very well. I felt a bit sleepy as well.
I raised my head, feeling it get heavier and turned to look at Christelle, who was observing me with a shocked look on her face.
“Is it difficult, Your highness?”
“No, I think it is because the blanket is so soft. I don’t usually nap……”
My eyes were getting blurry.
I suddenly felt dizzy.
I clenched my eyes shut and opened them back to hear the blanket rustling by my head.
Christelle’s shouting felt distant.
I couldn’t even think about resisting and fell asleep.
“You said you wouldn’t do something like this, your Royal Highness.”
Christelle glared at the young Crown Prince as she spoke.
Now that the holy domain was gone, the only thing lighting up the bed was a golden candlestick.
She had kicked the chair away and wrapped one arm around the prince’s back while glaring at the crown prince with an extremely defensive stance.
The young boy scowled after seeing the golden hair on the blanket.
Although he lost consciousness as if he had fallen asleep, it didn’t change the fact that his priest had fainted.
He must have absorbed too much ether in his sleep.
Golden particles were quickly shooting up from his small body.
“……Why are the two of you here?”
“David-nim called us, your Royal Highness. His highness is your partner after all. I am his highness’s partner as well.”
It was a clear-cut response.
She disrespectfully scowled at the crown prince before lowering her head to check on the prince’s condition.
Thankfully, he didn’t show any abnormal symptoms. Christelle grumbled.
“His highness is a person and not a bag of ether. You can’t stick your straw in him like this, your Royal Highness.”
“As a fellow Holy Knight, I understand. I know that you keep wanting to take more and that it is difficult to stop. However, now that you are equal partners, you should try to control yourself……”
She started to look up and stopped talking. Her blue eyes opened wide.
“Are you perhaps growing right now, your Royal Highness?”
The young boy was still a young boy but he was not as small as he was earlier.
Cédric seemed to be about thirteen or fourteen now.
The orbs of ether rose from his body like soap bubbles.
Christelle’s mouth opened and closed from shock and astonishment. The crown prince instantly put an unpleasant expression on his face.
“Is there a show or something?”
“Excuse me? No?”
She immediately responded. The young boy’s voice was changing as well.
The orange eyes scowled as if he was angry. His gaze then moved to the prince.
“I did not wish for that.”
His tone was between a young boy and a teenager.
Christelle clearly understood the meaning behind his words.
The crown prince never wanted this fire power nor a body that shrinks on its own.
He just did not dare to go against it because everything was the ‘Will of the Almighty God.’
She calmly responded back.
“I am aware of that, your Royal Highness. I am the same.”
“I never wanted something like this water attribute ether. I also never wanted to wake up without my memories in a place like this. But I guess that’s life. Things don’t go as you want and get weirdly complicated.”
Her voice was shaking a bit. However, she did not stop.
“Have you been leaving like that the last few days because you were scared of that, your Royal Highness? You were scared of properly accepting your power?”
“Then you got scared that you might burn up his highness,”
The drapes caught on fire. The little boy was now a fully grown young man.
The large gown was tight on his body now.
Christelle shot the water from the side table to the drapes. The flames oddly sizzled before disappearing.
The prince’s body moved after smelling the burning drapes. The Holy Knight energetically walked over the window.
“Even right now, you have made up your mind to burn things up.”
“It is okay to be scared, your Royal Highness. I’m certain that the Prince would say those exact words to you. He would tell you that nobody sees it as bad or something to be ashamed of and that it is okay for you to accept it.”
“Was it really just being scared, your Royal Highness? I would think there were times where that was not the case since the Prince came.”
– Chhhh! Screeeech, clunk, clack!
Christelle opened the curtains and the window with quick movements.
A cool and clean fall breeze instantly filled her lungs.
Bright sunlight started shining into the bedroom. She looked directly at the two men on the bed.
“Your Royal Highness, if you start a fire, I will do everything I can to put it out, so please don’t worry. There is no chance whatsoever of his highness getting hurt. Her Majesty, Her Eminence, and all of our friends as well.”
Her pink hair, which was tied in a high ponytail, was fluttering. Her water-colored eyes were clearly sparkling.
She walked over at some point and extended her right fist toward the crown prince.
“I promise you as the partner of your partner. So please firm your resolve.”
Cédric silently looked at her hand.
A few minutes later, his left fist slowly touched hers.
Aww look at the MCs being all cute.