“Why don’t we sit down and chat?”
I guided Lady Sarnez to the flowers and the vine steps that Demy had made.
It wasn’t completely clean since I stepped on them to walk down, but there wasn’t anywhere else to sit on the balcony.
Thankfully, Lady Sarnez did not seem to care about that.
I just left that damn punk of an Imperial Prince alone to do whatever he wants.
“Mm, hmm. My last confession was…… Two months ago.”
Lady Sarnez cleared her throat before speaking. I quietly nodded my head and released my circle.
[Now, please share what you are feeling guilty about.]
My voice echoed through the night air. I could feel a small amount of aether leaving my body.
The Holy Domain created a geometric shape as it circled around the three people and one divine beast.
Lady Sarnez seemed to blank out for a moment after seeing the golden glow.
Demy detected the aether and slid down from my shoulder onto my lap.
I quietly waited for her to start her confession.
I planned to gather as much information as possible and then return to Juliette Palace.
“Simon, my husband…… loved his daughter dearly. I loved her just as much.”
Her gaze made it seem as if she was thinking about a moment in the past.
I thought I could see a small smile appearing on her face as she thought about Christelle.
“I realized something the day I became a part of the Sarnez Lord’s Castle after marrying my husband. That child…… Was more like me than I had expected. Although we do not share a single drop of blood, Christelle and I were very similar. We are both quiet, extremely shy, and very bad at expressing ourselves……”
I nodded my head at her.
The original Christelle was said to be that kind of person.
“It was lonely living as the wife of a Duke in that large Lord’s Castle. Simon is a good husband, but he was too busy. I married him knowing that, but it was still very hard…… That child being there made everything okay.”
Lady Sarnez smiled brightly.
She quickly wiped a falling tear with her handkerchief.
I could see her pale face gain a bit of life now that she was speaking about her daughter.
“That was when Christelle was eight and I was twenty-two.”
I barely stopped myself from frowning.
I knew that 18 was considered an adult in this world but it felt too young for a Korean person like me.
I couldn’t even fathom the amount of pressure she must have felt, becoming the Lady of a house at the Korean age of 23. (TL: Korean age starts at 1 at birth, so it is generally ‘older’ than for example, the US age system)
“Every moment I spent with that child was happy. I didn’t leave the Lord’s Castle very much and that led to a lot of people pointing fingers at me, but…… having picnics with just the two of us, creating small concerts, cooking together, those moments we had…… They were all so great that I felt as if I had received a present. I thought to myself that Christelle was a wonderful wedding gift.”
Lady Sarnez wiped away her tears.
Ganael had mentioned two rumors he had heard about her.
One of them was that she was the ‘typical stepmother.’
But this expression was something that a person could not have unless they truly cherished and loved someone.
Either that or she deserves an Oscar for her acting.
“Didn’t you say that you are going to confess?”
A cold low voice interrupted us at that moment.
The Imperial Prince, who was leaning against the ledge with his long legs crossed, was glaring at Lady Sarnez and me.
“I don’t really care for soap operas, madam.”
[Your royal highness.]
“Your highness, it is okay. His royal highness is right.”
I was about to sharply rebuke this bastard of an Imperial Prince for interrupting someone else’s confession, but Lady Sarnez stopped me.
“My introduction was quite long. That…… the incident happened after Christelle went into a coma.”
She was speaking in a choppy manner.
“Her Majesty, with her unending grace, sent the Imperial doctor to our place…… My husband brought famous doctors from all around the Empire for three years to examine Christelle. However, nobody could recognize the ailment or even have a clue about it. They could not get our child to open her eyes. One of the doctors said that she might be like this forever…… That she might sleep for the rest of her life……”
“Is that why you took and used the Blessing of the Blue Sea?”
Imperial Prince Cédric sharply asked.
It seemed as if he threw away all his manners,but he confirmed that he knew about the Sarnez divine item disappearing as I had expected.
“After hearing that it could not be healed with medicine, magic, or a priest’s healing powers…… I thought that I should go make a wish at the ‘Temple of Vigilance.’”
[Are you stating that you have stolen the divine item that was at the border?]
I asked in shock but she shook her head.
“I thought about the legend about how the Almighty God would grant your wish if you made a ‘wish of blood’ at the divine item within the Temple of Vigilance. I told my husband that I wanted to go there, and he…… he came back with quite a bit of demonic beast blood. He said that he would not stop killing demonic beasts until his daughter was saved.”
He probably had no other choice as a parent.
They were so desperate that they chose to believe a legend that could only be found in holy text.
They didn’t care that other people might gossip about them going crazy.
“But we heard about the theft before we could start our journey toward the temple. We heard that the divine item was missing and that nobody would be able to go inside for a while. I……”
Lady Sarnez’s statement was stopped short by her tears.
Demy quietly groaned, as if he was feeling sorry for her. I gently rubbed his back.
“I despaired as if the world was coming to an end. Our plan had to be stopped before we could even try…… The next day, my husband asked me something. He asked if it would be better for us to let her go……”
Imperial Prince Cédric quietly sighed.
If I understood correctly, Duke Sarnez asked her if they should euthanize their daughter.
“I asked him for a day to think about it…… I then stayed by her side all day. That was when I thought about the Blessing of the Blue Sea. If we couldn’t go to the Temple of Vigilance, I thought that I could at least pray to our family’s divine item…… I did it thinking that it would really be my last resort……”
My eyes opened wide. The Imperial Prince frowned.
[Are you saying that you made a wish to the Blessing of the Blue Sea?]
“My husband does not know about it, your highness. I did it alone.”
She quickly added on.
“I secretly switched the divine item with a sapphire I received as a wedding gift. I had just planned on putting it by my child’s side and praying. It was going to be for just a moment. But then……”
Her pupils started shaking uncontrollably.
“A blue light shot out of the divine item and fell onto my daughter. I thought the Almighty God really was listening to my wish. It truly seemed like a miracle. I hugged Christelle with joy when she woke, but then…… I realized that I could not see the Blessing of the Blue Sea anymore. And then……”
I quickly organized my thoughts.
The Blessing of the Blue Sea, the item that should have been a wedding gift for the Imperial Prince and Christelle’s wedding. An item that was probably a macguffin in ‘QNW’ that had disappeared in the beginning. (TL: In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself)
It was because Lady Sarnez prayed for her daughter to be saved.
It seemed like a scene out of an old Disney movie, but from the author’s point of view because Christelle was the main character and therefore had to wake up.
Even if the author didn’t want to do it, the handle had to be turned a bit to increase the probability of her waking up.
“My daughter…did not recognize me.”
That was to be expected. She was Christelle, but not ‘Christelle.’
However, Lady Sarnez did not know this.
“At first, I thought that it was because she was still sick. My daughter, who does not have her memories, who does not seem to know a lot of things she used to know…… My husband thinks that our daughter has ‘become more mature’ but I have a different thought.”
Lady Sarnez’s lips were shaking.
It sounded as if Christelle had a hard time adjusting after transmigrating into this body.
It made sense since I already knew that this was a novel but she just suddenly fell into a different world.
“What if…because I made such a difficult wish to the divine item…… What if Christelle is being cursed because I could not understand the Almighty God’s will and was greedy?”
“Are you seriously asking that question?”
Imperial Prince Cédric responded before I could do so.
“The Almighty God’s curse is not a joke. If you are thinking about using that word as a shield to lessen your burden-”
[Your royal highness, please wait.]
I stopped him. The Imperial Prince seemed disgruntled but did not say anything else.
[Lady Sarnez, why do you feel that way? It is possible that the young lady is showing such symptoms because she had been sick for so long?]
“No, my daughter…… is now able to control a scary ability. Water…she can control water with her fingertips. A large drop of water moved according to her will right in front of my eyes.”
‘I guess this part is finally being discussed.’
The Imperial Prince and I made eye contact.
I could see many emotions quickly floating through his orange eyes.
“I told her the following. I told her that I committed a grave sin to save her and that although I should have been the one to be punished, she received it instead…… Christelle then responded like this.”
She kind of scoffed in disbelief.
– Someone who was pretty much dead had come back to life. She told me to stop crying because it was not a curse. She said that she would personally pay the price to the Imperial family if it really was a sin that she absorbed the divine item that should have been given to the Imperial family……”
It was a very bold and understanding response as expected of the main character who Eunse liked.
Lady Sarnez then started crying. She buried her face in her handkerchief.
“Please forgive me, your highness. Many people were harmed because of my extreme greed. Christelle, my husband, and even his royal highness…… I heard that his royal highness really needed that wedding gift, but I still……”
The Imperial Prince had a stoic expression on his face.
I couldn’t tell whether he was thinking that there was nothing to be done about a past happening, or if he was hiding his anger.
I repeated what she said twice in my mind so that I would not forget it.
I then took a deep breath.
[Oh merciful Almighty God, please forgive Lady Sarnez for the lies she has said to me.]
The balcony was quiet. My Holy Domain showed no reaction.
I then smiled.
[Everything you said until now was the truth. Thank you very much.]
Lady Sarnez’s lips opened wide in shock. The Imperial Prince scoffed in disbelief.
Using a confession as a lie detector. I learned how to do it from Cardinal Boutier.
My Holy Domain would have shown an aether reaction and washed away Lady Sarnez’s sin if she had lied, but everything she had said was true.
[I apologize, but I had to account for the possibility that you were lying.]
I smiled bitterly.
[And I…… do not believe that you have committed a sin, Lady Sarnez. You had no intention of destroying the divine item, and simply prayed for your daughter’s wellbeing. It weighs on me that you did not inform your husband about it, but that is something for the two of you to slowly work out.]
Lady Sarnez tightly clenched her handkerchief.
The Imperial Prince then silently handed her his handkerchief when she went to use her wet handkerchief once again.
I was quite shocked, but maintained a poker face as I continued with the sacrament.
[I do not agree that young lady Christelle was cursed. The power of water is an Authority of the Almighty God and is a holy blessing. They say that Holy Knights are only born in the Holy Kingdom, however…… they also could have received their powers after they were born.The Almighty God could be capricious as well.]
Lady Sarnez smiled a bit after hearing that. I could feel the Imperial Prince staring at me.
[Please share the story you shared with me with her Majesty and her Eminence. Make sure to talk with your husband and young lady Christelle as well. This is your penance.]
My Holy Domain slowly lost its glow.
[Please do not worry about your daughter. She will be fine.]
Lady Sarnez bowed deeply after hearing my final Divine Oracle.
I quickly changed topics because she seemed as if she would start crying again while mumbling about how thankful she was.
There was also something else I was curious about.
“By the way, Lady Sarnez, how was young lady Christelle…… how was she planning on paying the Imperial family for it?”
I took a peek towards the Imperial Prince as I said that.
The situation made it feel as if their engagement would be broken, but I was curious to know whether Christelle still had plans to marry this punk.
Maybe it would be the type of romance where she offers herself instead of the divine item?
“It is exactly as you just mentioned, your highness.”
The corners of her lips struggled but slowly tilted upwards.
“She said that she would proudly become the Empire’s first Holy Knight to pay back her debt to the Imperial family. She thought that the weight in my heart might become a bit lighter as well……”
‘Wait a minute. Umm, esteemed author-nim… I think you turned the handle a bit too much……’