Today was once again a day without a lesson.
However, it was a day with an extremely important task for me to complete.
“Hello, Prince Jesse. Have you been well, your highness?”
“Hello, Agnes. It has been a while.”
I smiled brightly at the mountain keeper, Agnes, whom I had not seen in a while.
Agnes lowered her strong body to bow deeply.
This woman, who had come to confess to me last time because she felt burdened at the thought that she may have harassed a divine beast, seemed much calmer and relaxed than last time.
“Please say hello to this guy as well. I have chosen to name him Demy.”
Agnes seemed to be having difficulties accepting the situation but gently waved her hand toward Demy, who was seated on top of my right shoulder.
Seeing this, Demy slowly moved over to my left shoulder.
The way he was raising and lowering his head to observe Agnes made me unsure as to whether he remembered her or not.
“He’s really going to a good place now, so you can be at ease.”
I told her that so that she could relax. Agnes nodded her head with tears in her eyes.
I had invited Agnes here thinking that seeing Demy off might help Agnes feel more at ease, and I was relieved that my hypothesis was correct.
“Your highness, they are ready to head out.”
Benjamin came over to inform me.
There was a large and luxurious carriage in front of Juliette Palace today.
The Duhem March had sent it to us to transport Demy, our divine beast, and the Marquis’s extremely flashy family crest was next to the door to scare off anybody who would dare to get in its way.
I walked toward the carriage with Agnes.
Demy must not have realized the situation yet as he was leisurely wagging his tail to match my steps.
“You’ll get in trouble if you cause a ruckus over there. Don’t bite sharp things and don’t fool around where people are working.”
I slowly explained things to the red panda.
I couldn’t tell if this little punk was actually listening to me as he was busy biting the piece of fig I put in his mouth.
I could hear the sound of the pulp breaking apart.
I was confused where all the fruit he ate went, as he did not have to go to the restroom even though he ate so well.
“Hello, Prince Jesse Venetiaan, I greet the Moon of the Holy Kingdom.”
I turned my head after hearing an unfamiliar man’s voice.
The person who called out to me was a handsome buff man with black skin.
He was wearing a uniform similar to Vice Captain Élisabeth’s but the decorations were more colorful and he had a lot of medals.
I finally realized the identity of this unfamiliar man.
It would be strange if he did not accompany this carriage on such an important day.
“You must be Captain Hervé Duhem. Nice to meet you.”
“It is an honor to meet you like this, your highness. I’ve heard a lot about you from Élisabeth, hahaha.”
The man laughed out loud and offered me his hand.
It was interesting, as this was the first time I was offered a handshake since coming to this world.
I grabbed his large and thick hand as I greeted him.
Captain Hervé Duhem, the second son of the Duhem March, looked less authoritative and more like a muscleman.
He was one of the Empire’s greatest mages and was featured in the < Biweekly Riester > earlier in the year as one of the ‘Top 10 Most Charming Bachelors in Riester’.
Of course, I am not interested in that ranking at all.
“Will you be escorting the carriage, Captain Duhem?” (TL: Should be Sir Duhem, but I am going to use Captain as I have been using Vice Captain instead of Dame for Élisabeth as this word is used for multiple things in this novel)
“No, your highness. I will only guard it until we reach the boundary of the Imperial Capital. The Imperial Troops and three Clergy level priests will escort it to the territory. The divine beasts are important but Her Majesty’s safety is most important to me.”
I nodded my head at him before stopping after realizing something odd.
“I believe you just said divine beasts……”
“Yes, your highness. The other two are in the carriage.”
“The other two?”
My eyes opened wide while Benjamin and Ganael gasped behind me.
The Captain of the Imperial Guard looked at the three of us with confusion before opening the carriage door.
The three priests sitting inside noticed me and jumped up to show their respect.
I responded to their greeting while being stunned looking at the two red pandas that seemed to be rolling on the floor trying to come closer to me.
They were definitely bigger than Demy and they did not have the white stripe on their tails like Demy had.
They were exactly as Cédie had described them.
“His Royal Highness brought them to us this morning. Your aether must really be amazing for the three of them to all reside only around Juliette Palace, your highness.”
Captain Duhem laughed as he said that.
Even Agnes, who had been quietly standing there, confirmed the situation by saying ‘Yes, these are the three I saw in the mountain.’
My mind was a complicated mess as I turned toward Romero Palace.
Cédie and the divine beasts had not appeared since leaving my balcony that night.
I had expected the kid to have led them to the March, however, I guess he must have used up his fire attribute power keeping the divine beasts asleep at the imperial Palace.
That would have required a lot more aether than usual……
Demy screeched before climbing down my right arm.
I was careful to make sure he did not fall, and reached my arm out and into the carriage.
“It’s a family reunion. You must be happy, Demy.”
The little punk safely boarded the carriage. The three red pandas sniffed each other and opened their mouths wide as if they were greeting one another.
He then stood on his hind legs and put his body like a blanket on top of one of the other red panda’s heads.
The third red panda screeched before putting its black front paw on the two red pandas in a pile.
The three of them ended up in one giant ball as they rolled around on the carriage floor.
The priests groaned in pain as the three rolled around.
“Your highness, my heart is hurting so much……”
“That’s normal, Ganael.”
It was cute enough seeing one red panda, but the three of them together was just too darn cute.
I quietly observed the red pandas as they had fun together before handing two packages to one of the priests.
I had asked Benjamin and Ganael for them last night.
“This is some fruit, please give them to the divine beasts on your way there. I don’t know about the others but that one over there with the white stripe on his tail likes them a lot. This one here is snacks for all of you.”
The priests in the carriage became shocked and bowed deeply toward me. I felt embarrassed and waved them off.
I had originally thought about a snack for Demy before remembering the people and preparing snacks for them as well last minute. Their reactions were more intense than I had expected.
“Élisabeth told me the desserts from Juliette Palace are amazing. Our priests are very lucky today.”
Captain Duhem, who had been watching, laughed loudly before grabbing the carriage door. It was time to say goodbye.
“Demy, you have to stay healthy when you go there, okay?”
I waved my hand toward him.
I’ve gotten attached to him already and the thought of this being our last moment together made the tip of my nose scrunch up, but this guy had a better environment and a family to go back to.
Demy must have noticed the change in the mood as he stopped rolling around and looked right at me.
I did my best to smile and lowered my arm once the door was about half way closed.
It was at that moment…
Demy screeched loudly and swiftly escaped the closing carriage.
I caught the black ball of fluff on my leg in shock.
I was extremely confused, as I had never seen this little guy move so quickly.
“No, you have to go with your friends.”
“Why are you acting like this?”
Benjamin, Ganael, Agnes, and Captain Duhem all seemed anxious as well.
I put on an awkward smile before looking at Demy who had instantly conquered the top of my shoulder.
Anybody would be able to tell that this divine beast looked upset.
It’s white eyebrows, that looked as if someone had dabbed paint on his face, were frowning viciously.
I could see a pink tongue as Demy opened his mouth wide as if to threaten us.
My heart hurt so much, it felt as if it would break……
“Demy, Captain Duhem’s hometown has a fire attribute divine item. I’m sure you’ll like it.”
I slowly petted the little punk from head to toe and cautiously picked up his warm body.
I was planning on putting him back in the carriage.
Demy twisted his body and gently landed on the ground.
I thought that I had failed, but he did not run away and simply grew vines with sharp leaves from the tips of his paws.
I looked closely and the vines had thorns on them as well.
His face was pout pout while the plants were poke poke.
“Do you not want to go?”
“That seems to be the case, your highness.”
Captain Duhem sounded amused.
The priests inside the carriage looked completely stunned.
I was a bit shocked but also touched as I stood there at a loss for words.
Demy then raised his tail.
“Say that you will raise him, your highness!”
Ganael became distraught looking at the now cracked ground.
Demy was jumping up and down. It was almost as if he was asking whether or not I am aware of his abilities and to hurry up and receive him, this powerful glorious creature, and serve to his needs.
There was a dull noise as a small sinkhole appeared in front of Juliette Palace.
It was the perfect size for Demy to go inside and take a nap in.
I could hear Benjamin mumbling as he called out to the Almighty God.
I thought about the possibility of someonegetting hurt from Demy’s protest and quickly lowered myself in front of him.
“Demy, big bro was in the wrong. I won’t send you off.”
“I mean it. I promise. Now I won’t send you even if you ask me to let you go.”
Demy shook his head. He still seemed disgruntled about something.
One of the priests inside the carriage quickly delivered the bag of fruit to me.
It was some very quick thinking on his part.
“Thank you very much. Oh look, here are some blueberries.”
I grabbed a handful of the blue fruit and handed it to him.
He pointed his nose and sniffed the fruit before finally climbing my arm.
He didn’t seem to have any desire to eat it right now, but I guess he wanted me to show that I was willing to be his fruit shuttle.
I could see the thorny vines on the ground slowly start to wither.
His tantrum sure was odd.
“Captain Duhem, it seems….. I will need to keep Demy here.”
“Hahaha. Yes, your highness. I will personally inform her Majesty. I got to watch quite a precious sight today!”
The Captain of the Imperial Guard was laughing out loud for some reason. I stood up looking embarrassed.
I could see that the attendants from Juliette and Romero Palace had gathered around the carriage.
‘It’s like a free show for the neighborhood……’
“Then let’s say goodbye to your friends. Say bye bye.”
Demy looked at the red pandas inside the carriage and let out a short purr and the others responded similarly.
“The ‘Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts’ is happening soon so the three of them may be reunited at that time.”
Captain Duhem slowly spoke as he watched.
The coachman must have realized that the incident was over, as he stopped standing around and walked over to close the carriage door.
The Imperial Guard members who had been standing at attention walked over after hearing Captain Duhem’s comments.
“Is the ‘Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts’ the competition taking place next month?”
“Yes, your highness. My big brother is sharpening his magic skills waiting in anticipation.”
The Captain of the Imperial Guard answered my question in a refreshing manner before getting on his horse.
The ‘Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts’ was a competition for hunting demonic beasts that happened at the start of spring in the Duhem March.
This event was famous because Marquis François Duhem, Captain Duhem’s big brother and the organizer for the event, always put up an amazing prize for the winner, and because the Empress and the Cardinal observed the competition every year.
The Empress participated two years ago and took the perks of the victor according to the < Biweekly Riester >.
“I’m sure Demy will enjoy that.”
I felt that her Majesty might let Demy go with them to get some fresh air for an event like that.
There shouldn’t be any concerns of Demy running astray as Cardinal Boutier can use Divine Power.
I nodded my head before thinking of a question and looking up.
“Captain Duhem, are you perhaps coming to my lesson tomorrow?”
“When you say lesson……”
“Her Eminence the Cardinal said that she would invite a mage to teach me.”
I completely left out the part about Christelle, but it wasn’t a lie.
Captain Duhem shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
“I’m not sure, your highness. I have never received such a request. But I have a pretty good idea who it will be if her Eminence is calling a mage.”
He then added on how the title of the ‘Empire’s strongest mage’ was not his alone.
He definitely seemed to be Vice Captain Élisabeth’s superior acting humble like this.
I chuckled and took a few steps back.
“Please be careful, and please take good care of the divine beasts as well.”
He put his index and middle finger to his forehead to respond.
Captain Duhem shouted a few things before the carriage and the Imperial Guard members’ horses slowly started to move.
Agnes took a handkerchief out of her pocket and waved it in the air.
We quietly stood there until the divine beasts and the Imperial Guard were no longer visible.
Demy said goodbye to his friends while in my arms.
I had a quick thought about how the three of them might be siblings.