“Then I guess he will be attending for the first time along with me.”
Christelle responded. I was listening without giving it much thought before I stopped eating my bread in realization.
‘So based on what she just said……’
“You’re right. Cédric is not going just to watch. I’m sure his goal is to win.”
Cardinal Boutier gently explained.
I looked at her before turning and looking at Christelle, who was sitting next to me, as well.
“You are participating in the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts as well, young lady Sarnez?”
Christelle’s blue-gray eyes sparkled as she gave a refreshing smile in response to my question.
“Yes. We decided to publicly announce that I am aiming to become a Holy Knight at the Demonic beast Hunting Competition. It will be a chance for me to show off my skills as well.”
It seemed like a good strategy.
It would be much more effective for her to showcase her water power in front of numerous nobles during the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts rather than simply sending a message or making an announcement.
Convincing people to accept her decision would be easier if she started her career with something like hunting demonic beasts with the Imperial family backing her up.
‘It’ll be something like, ‘The First Blessing the Almighty God has Bestowed on this wasteland of Holy Knights.’
I meant it.
The storyline with only Christelle and Imperial Prince Cédric seemed to finally be starting.
Of course, I’m sure they had a great time at the Spring Ball as well but that was their first meeting, so the story of their love and adventure will start at the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.
Eunse always went off about how they needed to break up whenever she discussed them, but in my opinion, I actually felt that they were a great pair.
Christelle nodded her head in response to my congratulations.
“I met with numerous priests this week because of that. I was hoping there would be at least one person willing to be my partner for the duration of the Great Clearance.”
She stopped talking for a moment before looking at me.
“But it is difficult to find someone who meets all the conditions. The Archbishops are generally too busy, the Bishops said that accompanying me would be too difficult for them, and as for the more enthusiastic people…… Well, most of them were more interested in the distinction than actually working with me.”
It wasn’t unexpected.
Archbishops and Bishops would be too busy maintaining the dioceses and handling behind the scene politics, so they wouldn’t want to spend time on a young lady whose path to become a Holy Knight had not even been confirmed yet.
The priests who were willing to invest their aether in Christelle are probably more interested in creating a connection with the House of Sarnez rather than her growth.
“It was tiring because while all of them spoke of how wonderful it was that the Empire was getting a Holy Knight, they were also busy calculating the feasibility of my success.”
Christelle quietly mumbled about how she was tired of dealing with doubtful people like that.
I quickly took a peek toward the Cardinal but she seemed too preoccupied with drinking her coffee to hear Christelle’s complaints.
I was the only one who knew about the main character’s true identity……
“Because of that… if it is okay with you, Prince Jesse, and if her Majesty and her Eminence will allow it……”
I quickly shoved my face into my teacup to hide as I got an ominous feeling.
The sweet anise tea now felt like poison.
“I would like to ask if you would be my partner until next month. I will be able to find a different partner once I am officially knighted.”
“……I am costly to hire. My aether quality and quantity are both high and I am a royal priest even if I may not look like it.”
Thankfully my voice had not been shaking as I said that.
I shamelessly maintained a haughty expression and didn’t even look toward her.
‘Let’s be calm. I can reject her and I can also be rejected.’
“I will buy you with money. How much will it be?”
‘Wait, you know that line? Excuse me, how old is the person who transmigrated as Christelle……?’ (TL Note: This line is from Autumn in My Heart, a Korean Drama from 2000).
“I need a lot of money.”
“Please name a price.”
“……2 million per month?”
2 million francs was the amount I received monthly from the Riester Imperial family.
That was the largest amount I could think of on the spot.
Benjamin and Ganael said that it was enough to buy a large mansion on the outskirts of the Imperial Capital, and enough for a house by a lake if I built it myself.
Even the daughter of Duke Sarnez should not be able to make decisions regarding such a large amount of money by herself.
“4 million monthly. The condition will be that I must personally come to the Imperial Palace to get aether when I need it.”
I was responding like an idiot after being suppressed by Christelle’s spirit when the Cardinal started laughing out loud.
I was bewildered as I had never seen her burst into laughter like this.
She found it so funny that she had pushed up her monocle while wiping tears away with her handkerchief.
“Haha, you must not know anything about the House of Sarnez, little prince. Isn’t that right?”
“I do know that they are extremely wealthy, but……”
“My monthly allowance is 5 million francs.”
Christelle nonchalantly added. My jaws dropped.
I finally felt the vast difference between our transmigration conditions.
She was the precious daughter of one of the wealthiest grand nobles in the Empire while I was a child born out of wedlock, and a Diplomatic hostage imprisoned in the Imperial Palace forever.
Our scales for allowances had no choice but to be different.
“Then do we have a deal? Will you temporarily be my partner, your highness?”
“That is not for our little prince to decide.”
The Cardinal was the one to respond to Christelle’s question.
She had quickly composed herself, and returned to her usual merciful and mysterious self.
“Our little prince came as a Confessional Priest for the Imperial Palace and is dutifully completing his task, making it difficult for him to make deals or partnerships with people from outside the Imperial Palace.”
She then quickly added on.
“I’m sure I told you last time as well.”
I realized that those beige eyes could seem cold as well.
Based on her reaction just now along with the last time Christelle was getting a feel for me, she seemed to be wary of Christelle and I developing a closer relationship.
‘I guess it makes sense since ‘Teacher Au’ was said to have played a big part in Imperial Prince Cédric and Christelle getting together in the novel. She probably doesn’t want the potential wife of the guy she treats as her own son to get tangled with me.’
It would be great for me if the Cardinal would stop Christelle.
“This is not easy.”
Christelle slowly leaned back as she mumbled.
There were no changes to her expression despite her complaint.
Her spirit seemed to be getting even stronger against the obstacle that appeared in her path like the munchkin MC she is.
“Then could you just share a bit of aether with me right now?”
My voice became louder at Christelle’s sudden request. She smiled brightly.
“Even if we cannot make a deal, can’t I at least get a sample of the goods?”
‘Did she use to work in sales or something……?’
I became anxious at her words and had that random thought.
I had no good reason to say no, so I peeked toward the Cardinal. She simply had her head tilted to the side, not showing any opposition.
I would have ignored her or snorted at her if I was that damn Imperial Prince bastard, but I couldn’t do that with my personality.
“……Only for a moment.”
I managed a stoic response to her request.
Christelle’s long boots were shaking with anticipation.
I closed my eyes and opened my Holy Domain.
It felt as if a very small amount of paint flowed out of my fingertips and toes to paint a picture.
The floor of the Cardinal’s office became bright as a golden circle surrounded Christelle and I.
Christelle blinked her large eyes as she gasped in shock.
“I have seen the circles of many other priests, but this is my first time seeing a Holy Domain that feels so pure and clean.”
‘It is not for sale even if you say that.’
I imagined picking up a ball of aether in my mind.
I thought that it would be enough to release one loop of aether.
– Knock knock.
I heard someone knocking on the mahogany door. The Cardinal had quickly responded, and the door swung open immediately.
I stopped trying to release aether and turned my head towards the newcomer. Once I turned around…
“Your Royal Highness.”
“Hi there, my dear godson.”
Imperial Prince Cédric, who looked shockingly handsome as usual, had entered the office.
‘But why? Even if you are not yet the Imperial Crown Prince, aren’t you busy?’
I briefly pondered that question.
This was a Romfan and it was normal for the MC and the male lead to interact.
I wondered if Cardinal Boutier called him over again using the lesson as an excuse.
The problem was that I was here like an impurity in their potential romance.
“What are you doing?”
“I am about to share some of my aether with young lady Sarnez, your royal highness.”
I calmly responded to the Imperial Prince who got right to the point without saying any greetings as usual.
Christelle stood up and respectfully greeted the Imperial Prince. The Imperial Prince simply motioned with his eyes.
He was still such a petty punk regardless of how many times I saw him.
“The young lady seems to have plenty of aether already.”
“This is my personal business so there is no need for you to comment on it, your royal highness.”
The Imperial Prince tried to provoke Christelle but she just smiled as she returned a passive aggressive response.
The mood in the office instantly turned cold.
Natalie, the attendant who had guided the Imperial Prince inside, made eye contact with me before swiftly closing the door and disappearing.
I clicked my tongue in jealousy before standing up from the couch.
“We will have other times to do this in the future, so I will just give you some aether next time.”
I then released my Holy Domain. It was my way of asking them to not fight and to get along with each other for now.
I thought that the Imperial Prince might find it annoying for Christelle to receive aether when she didn’t need it as he had a son who suffered from aether depletion quite frequently.
Christelle seemed discontent but quickly accepted my decision.
“Are we not using the interior training ground today, your Eminence?”
The Imperial Prince suddenly changed the topic while addressing the Cardinal.
I noticed that the punk was in a comfortable outfit similar to the one he wore the day he sparred against Christelle in the outdoor training ground.
However, the only consistent thing between the outfits was the pair of black gloves on his hands.
The leather only covered his fingers, so both the palms and the backs of his hands were half visible. It seemed extremely ineffective to me.
“Oh right, we were. I asked Frédérique to leave it empty until 11:30 a.m.”
The Cardinal gently smiled as she answered the Imperial prince while starting to clean up..
She then explained how she told her Majesty, who usually uses the interior training ground before lunch every day, that she was planning a lesson for the kids there today.
With how she explained it, It seemed obvious to me that the Cardinal and the Empress had a very comfortable relationship with each other. She then continued.
“The two of you head over first. I have something to discuss without our little prince.”
“It’s nothing serious. It’ll be a short chat.”
She gently motioned for Christelle and that damn Imperial Prince to leave.
The two of them respectfully bowed to the Cardinal before walking out of the room, glaring at each other with discontent.
I knew they would start dating soon, so I didn’t have to worry about the two main characters. I instead directed my attention to this one-on-one discussion with the Cardinal.
“Your Eminence, what did you wish to talk about……”
My butt was firmly in my seat but my anxiety led me to awkwardly hold my teacup with both hands.
The fragrance of the still-warm anise tea tried its best to calm me down.
“Mm, I mentioned that Frédérique and I are not going to the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts this year, right?”
“As a result, they are missing a priest to take confessions from the field.”
My heart was beating wildly. I raised my head to look into the Cardinal’s eyes.
“Demonic beasts threaten humans and are evil creatures who destroy our homes, but they are still living creatures. There are nobles who will want to confess regarding the murders they will commit or have committed during the clearing. I have always been there to listen to their sins in previous years.”
She was saying all this in a way that resembled singing more than speaking. It suddenly made me think about the butterfly effect.
I guess things ended up like this because I changed directions as Jesse and decided to live as a Confessional Priest?
“I would like it if you could take charge of these confessions this year. If Christelle still doesn’t have a partner then, it would be good for you to go and help her as she fights……”
The Cardinal’s voice became a bit quieter. Her words about Chistelle seemed strange, like she didn’t actually want me to do it.
“It would also be good to help Cédric get the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star and build a relationship with the future Imperial Crown Prince.”
I thought about my identity once again.
I couldn’t say that my decisions had absolutely no impact, but this example of the butterfly effect had actually started a long time ago.
The synopsis for the beginning of ‘QNW’ had gone awry from the moment the divine item inside the ‘Temple of Boundaries’ was used to save me instead of Christelle. (TL: Changed from Temple of Vigilance to Temple of Boundaries because almost 300 chapters later it makes sense).
I was too focused on how this change influenced the main character and I.
It seemed as if there were not two, but actually three people who were slammed by the typhoon caused by the fluttering of butterfly wings.
The Imperial Prince was unable to gain backing from the Sarnez Duchy after their wedding did not proceed as planned.
However, he seemed to have other plans as well.