After that, well… It was quite a mess.
“My goodness, François……”
Cardinal Boutier had a rare baffled look on her face after hearing that Marquis François Duhem put the divine item, the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star, as the winning prize for the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.
She then stopped our lesson abruptly, and quickly left the training ground to meet with the Empress.
The Imperial Prince also left without saying goodbye with a serious look on his face.
I used the dampened mood to my advantage, and quickly returned to Juliette Palace.
I gave a short goodbye to Christelle as I left and she looked as if she was thinking about something again.
It was a lot for me, even though I had transmigrated here almost a month ago, so imagine how shocked the people who were born and raised here were feeling.
Who in their right mind would offer a divine item as a prize for a competition when using a divine item for personal use is believed to be a grave sin?
“Marquis François Duhem…… He is someone who would do something like that.”
Benjamin started speaking in a calm voice. This was our first balcony tea time in a long time.
I petted Demy’s tail as I waited for his explanation.
“The Marquis is someone who puts everything into finding an interesting prize that will be discussed by the masses every year. He is also the person who turned the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts into one of the Empyrean events. He even turned his territory into a tourist attraction to fill his residents’ stomachs. He probably thought that there was no reason he couldn’t use the divine item after learning that the Blessing of the Blue Sea was gone.”
Someone like Marquis Duhem would have heard the details about how the Blessing of the Blue Sea had disappeared.
The Cardinal had personally contacted him so that he could take care of the red pandas.
It would have been difficult to give him another reason as to why they were sending the divine beasts to his territory when the Sarnez Duchy was closer.
There was no need to hide the truth from the Duhem household, one of the Empress’s close vassals, since they had decided to train Christelle as a Holy Knight.
“But still, isn’t this a grave sin to use a divine item like this?”
“It is definitely a big deal.”
“Maybe he thought that it was okay since nobody would be able to take the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star?”
Ganael, who had been quietly listening, offered his thoughts. I tilted my head in confusion.
Demy also tilted his head.
“Why can’t people take it?”
“The Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star is embedded into the ground in the middle of the wilderness outside the Lord’s Castle.”
“Nobody has succeeded in pulling it out.”
‘It is Excalibur……’
“It is said that the Sword of Wisdom chose to embed itself there when the Almighty God bestowed the divine items onto the continent. There is a prophecy that only a chosen person will be able to pull it out and gain the power of fire.”
‘Isn’t it a bit cliché to copy the legend of King Arthur?’
I had that thought as I put a small crème brûlée in my mouth.
The pairing of sweet, moist custard cream with thin, crunchy caramel on top was a masterpiece.
‘It’s so good.’
“Numerous people have attempted to pull out the Sword of Wisdom. Tens of thousands of men and women of all ages, occupations, and identities entered the territory.”
“It might have even been in the hundreds of thousands, .but everybody failed.”
Ganael added on as well.
I noticed that Benjamin and Ganael’s plates were empty,so I put a crème brûlée on each of their plates.
Benjamin was silent for a moment before he pointed to a spot on the divine item map I had out on the table.
A glowing pearlescent black thread was embroidered in the shape of a sword on the southern part of the Imperial Capital.
There were luxurious red threads around it simulating flames.
“So he is putting it on the line for attention since nobody can take it anyway?”
“Yes, your highness. That is exactly right. Marquis Duhem really loves attention……”
Benjamin nodded his head with disappointment at the boy’s mumbling.
“He is very understanding and wise so he is popular with the residents of his territory, but the opinion of him is different in the Beau Monde. He is someone who would do anything within his power for attention. He is very loud…… Of course, that aspect is currently helpful to Her Majesty. However……”
Benjamin’s overall evaluation was that he was someone who seemed extremely frivolous, not meeting his position as a Marquis.
‘Basically, he’s an attention seeker.’
“I’m sure her Majesty and her Eminence will convince the Marquis.”
“I’m certain they will. Even Marquis Duhem cannot be allowed the precedent of using a divine item so rashly.”
I nodded my head and took a sip of Chrysanthemum tea. It was interesting.
If two divine items successfully transmigrated people into this world, was it possible that a third could as well? I would be lying if I said I had not thought about it.
However, I probably ended up here to save Jesse Venetiaan from dying in the future war, so it was extremely likely that I would not be able to go back home until then.
‘Mm, it’s hard for me to get out of the Imperial Palace since I’m a diplomatic hostage. I guess it will be difficult for me to see the Sword of Wisdom.’
“It is a fire attribute item so it is not compatible with young lady Sarnez who wishes to be a Holy Knight.”
I mumbled to myself.
Aether compatibility was pretty simple.
Water was stronger than fire, fire was stronger than earth, and earth was stronger than water.
Air isn’t impacted much by the other attributes but it also did not influence them a lot either.
Furthermore, I read in < Aether 101 - Become a Holy Knight in 6 Weeks > that Holy Knights needed to find weapons that match their attribute to be able to effectively use their abilities.
Having a fire attribute weapon would make it difficult to use water attribute abilities so there should be no reason for Christelle to want the Sword of Wisdom.
“Oh right, I heard that young lady Sarnez has met many bishops the last few days. I think she has also met two Archbishops.”
Ganael suddenly brought up the topic of Christelle.
The young boy was dutifully completing his penance of ‘bring me any news regarding young lady Sarnez and the Imperial Prince.’
“Contacting high-ranking priests must mean that she is looking for a partner as a Holy Knight.”
The two of them agreed with my hypothesis.
I put a piece of kiwi in Demy’s mouth before quietly sighing.
I couldn’t tell, but everybody here has told me that my aether is amazing.
That was why it was hard to ignore the possibility that Christelle will make me her partner.
I was concerned about how the two of us might get entangled since this was a romantic fantasy story, but the wise Christelle seems to be weighing her options before choosing a partner.
I could probably rag on her a bit by asking how many people she previously looked at before rejecting her.
“Yes, it’s pretty. Thank you.”
Demy made an orange Patrinia grow in his front paw and handed it to me.
I wondered if he was interested in the Chrysanthemum tea so I poured some into his plate, but he seemed indifferent.
Raising a divine beast as a companion was not easy.
“I’m sure that my brother is not just doing this for attention.”
Marquis Duhem’s younger brother, Hervé Duhem, Captain of the Imperial Guard, spoke in a serious voice.
Empress Frédérique was silent with a hand against her forehead.
Aurélie Boutier was by her side as usual as she sat at the large office desk.
The Cardinal had a picturesque smile on her face but nothing could be read in her eyes underneath the monocle she was wearing.
“Of course, I cannot say that there was no intention of getting attention at all. However, I believe that all three of you are well aware of what my brother has proclaimed for a long time, your Majesty. The Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star is a fire attribute divine item and his Royal Highness was born with fire attribute aether, so……”
“I was not born with it.”
The person who cut him off was the subject of the discussion, Cédric Riester.
His orange eyes that were full of distant despair were glowing with a penetrating gaze.
“I was cursed.”
“Your Royal Highness.”
“I lose my physical body the moment I use even a bit of that power. How can you call that an ability?”
The Captain of the Imperial Guard shut up. A suffocating silence passed through them.
Houses Sarnez, Duhem, and Moutet were the closest confidants of the Imperial Family who knew about the Imperial Prince’s ‘body condition’.
They had vowed loyalty to their deaths and had watched over the Imperial Prince for a long time. Hervé Duhem knew that he should watch what he says because he knows of the Imperial Prince’s situation, but he could not currently do so.
The Blessing of the Blue Sea had been absorbed into young lady Sarnez’s body.
The most plausible plan for the Imperial Prince had been turned to dust.
Then there was only one decision left in his opinion.
“If you are not able to suppress your fire attribute aether with a water attribute divine item, what about using a fire attribute divine item to fill your aether instead?”
He finally mentioned the idea his family had.
The Imperial Prince was looking at the black glove on his hand without saying anything.
The Cardinal quietly sighed.
There was a crack in Cédric Riester’s soul, his large ‘plate’.
It was a miniscule crack that wouldn’t have mattered if he was born as a regular person.
However, he was born possessing fire attribute aether.
That was the start of his tragedy.
The Imperial Prince had fallen into a deep slumber after birth as a result of aether depletion.
The people who had secretly shown up to take a look at the young Imperial grandchild, the Empire’s noble mages and the Holy Kingdom’s elderly Cardinals, had said that it was a curse the Almighty God had placed on the Empire.
Even high-ranking priests pouring aether into his body until they fainted did not allow the Imperial Prince to stay awake for very long.
It was as if they were pouring water into a jar with no bottom.
He had to sleep 18 hours a day until he turned 12 years old.
There were some miraculous changes after Prince Consort Alexandre’s death, but even then, he was unable to maintain his physical body after he used even the tiniest sliver of his aether.
This was the reason the Imperial Prince, who would be twenty-five years old after his birthday this year, had not ascended to the position of Imperial Crown Prince.
He would instantly turn into a young child as soon as the balance in his aether shifted.
“Your Royal Highness, I understand this may come off as disrespectful but I must say it.”
“Please enter the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts and pull out the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star as the winner.”
Imperial Prince Cédric snorted.
“Only the chosen one should be able to pull it out.”
“It is because there had been no Holy Knights in the Empire until now.”
“The divine item should react if you pour fire attribute aether into it. At least, that is what our family believes.”
“And if nothing happens despite pouring aether into it?”
The young man’s low voice sunk even lower.
“I would be unable to pull the sword out and turn into a child in front of the Empire’s nobles.”
“Do you have a plan for that situation as well, Captain Duhem?”
Hervé Duhem’s head sank a bit. The one who spoke up was the Imperial Prince’s godmother.
“There is someone who can make sure that does not happen.”
The Empress called out after understanding what the Cardinal meant.
However, the Cardinal did not stop.
“That child is pure. He would not push your hand away.”
“We cannot reveal a secret of the Imperial family to the prince from a hostile nation.”
“The Imperial Prince is right.”
The Empress answered almost in a sigh. Her cherry-colored eyes were full of anguish.
“Even if I was not the one who caused the war, the two nations have not been connected for 30 years as a result. The prince came not for an alliance but as a diplomatic hostage. We cannot give him our trust without thinking it through.”
“However, it is true that the little punk has been cast out of the Holy Kingdom. It is also confirmed that his aether level is something even the Cardinal cannot fathom. That is why……”
She removed the hand that was supporting her forehead and pushed back her short silver hair.
“Cédric, do as you wish.”
The Imperial Prince’s eyes opened wide. Frédérique looked right at her son as she continued to speak.
“Decide whether or not you will trust the prince and get his help to obtain the Sword of Wisdom. If not, we will cut off one of the Marquis’s legs when he gets to the Imperial Capital and make him take back the proclamation regarding the prize.”
“I’m sure there are other means even if it is not the Sword of Wisdom. I promise to give you every opportunity in this world.”
“You also don’t have to worry about the prince betraying you. I will take care of it if something like that happens.”
There was no need for a sword master like her to personally step in.
Prince Jesse would turn into a corpse overnight if it was the Empress’s will.
The Holy Kingdom would welcome it with open arms if that was what the Imperial family wanted.
The large office became completely silent, as if someone had poured cold water over them.
“……Please give me some time to think about it.”
Cédric Riester responded. Hervé Duhem let out a deep sigh.