“Excuse me, there is something I am curious about.”
I opened my mouth.
I was anxious since it was just the Cardinal and I here, but I had something to say to her as well.
The Cardinal was the one who brought up the Imperial Prince first, so I felt no pressure asking my question.
“Feel free to ask whatever you want.”
“His Royal Highness is Her Majesty’s only child; is there something he needs to do or get to become the Imperial Crown Prince?”
It didn’t seem like something that required a lot of thought.
I was sure that there were many branches of the Empire’s Imperial family, but Imperial Prince Cédric was the only direct descendant for the throne.
That meant that both the Imperial Crown Prince position and the throne were guaranteed to him as long as he didn’t decline the position or end up in a serious scandal to smudge the reputation of the Imperial family.
The wedding with the House of Sarnez wasn’t weird since he would have been able to receive political assistance from them if it worked out, but……
“Does the divine item, the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star, have something to do with the Imperial Crown Prince position……?”
Something connected my mind.
A fire attribute divine item and a little child who uses fire attribute aether.
“Is it maybe for Sadie?” (TL: Author has indicated it is spelled Sadie 300+ chapters in. Thanks to Eve for letting me know! I will eventually change them in the older chapters…)
The Cardinal’s eyes opened wide.
Her usually stoic face was filled with shock and slight anxiety.
“……Is that the name the child gave you?”
“Yes ma’am, that is how he introduced himself.”
Her face turned rather odd at my response.
She seemed entertained, yet also full of disbelief.
‘I remember seeing this sort of expression before. Who was it?’
Of course, that was not important right now.
The Imperial Crown Prince position seemed to be just an excuse for the Imperial Prince to get the divine item for his son who suffers from a lack of aether.
“Is that kid the child you asked me to help in the past?”
I finally asked the question I had been wondering about for days.
The Cardinal pushed her hand to her temple on one side before quietly sighing.
“I also know that he was the one who depleted your aether. I’m sorry.”
I had never heard such a genuine apology from her before.
The aether depletion she mentioned was talking about the first day I met Sadie, the day he looted me for my aether until I fainted.
The Cardinal and Vice Captain Élisabeth had been by my side when I woke up.
I had thought that the Cardinal was there to use her healing powers on me while Vice Captain Élisabeth was there to apologize as she was in charge of protecting me, but……
Looking back at it now, both of them were people who knew Sadie.
“I scolded the kid after that. Nothing similar happened, right?”
“No ma’am…… After that, he took the aether through my circle when he needed it.”
“That is a relief.”
The Cardinal truly looked relieved. However, I was still full of questions.
“Does that kid not have a priest partner?”
“……Did that child tell you how his body ended up with such a condition?”
My mouth closed on its own.
Sadie had never properly answered any of my questions nor had he shared his story.
If it was a private issue, I shouldn’t dig any deeper than this.
The Cardinal must have sensed my hesitation as she smiled brightly and continued speaking.
“I want to tell you everything, but…… I think it would be better if you waited until he chooses to open his heart to you.”
She then added on about how his heart already seemed quite open.
I wasn’t sure about that statement but I couldn’t say anything when someone so close to Sadie and his family was saying that.
I just nodded my head.
“Then it’s my turn now. There’s something I’ve been curious about for a while.”
“Please ask away.”
The Cardinal squinted her eyes as she smiled.
She looked like a young girl who was happy to receive a new toy as a present.
“Has Sadie ever revealed his identity to you?”
“No ma’am, it is just my hypothesis.”
She did not continue to ask what my hypothesis was.
The Cardinal laughed out loud before taking a sip of her coffee.
I quietly organized my thoughts while holding my teacup.
Now that the importance and influence of divine items has been proven twice in the ‘QNW’ world, it was definitely a green light that I got the chance to see the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star in person.
The novel was just beginning. The chances of the divine item sending me back home are extremely low as I have no idea whether or not Prince Jesse will live or die in the future war.
But the only way to walk down a path with no regrets is to at least make an effort before you fall.
In addition, helping the Imperial Prince win the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts and obtain the Sword of Wisdom would be helping Sadie.
I wondered what his plan was, since his chances of actually pulling the Sword of Wisdom out were low, and I don’t think I would be of much help for that damn Imperial Prince anyways……
I also never wanted to do anything to associate with that punk, but…… How can I say no when it is for a child in pain?
“Then I will participate in the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts as well.”
I put my teacup down. My palm cooled down as the teacup’s warmth disappeared.
I knew that realistically I had no choice, but there is a difference between being forced to go and choosing to go on my own accord.
“I will also cooperate with his Royal Highness.”
The Cardinal smiled brightly after hearing my response.
I thought that I was seeing quite a lot of smiles on her face today.
“I didn’t know there was a place like this in the Imperial Palace!”
Ganael shouted in an excited voice. I smiled and nodded my head.
A cool spring breeze was coming from past the hill Benjamin was pointing at, blowing the grass around us flat to the ground.
It was an amazing view. It was so beautiful, but I thought it would be even better if Eunse and my brother were here with me.
“I thought it was just a mountain because it was called the rear mountain. I didn’t expect there to be a place like this.”
“Please come whenever you want, your highness.”
Agnes, the mountain keeper, commented with a smile while walking in front of us.
I moved Demy, who was dangling around my waist, up onto my shoulder.
“Isn’t it nice to come out to an open area like this?”
The little punk squee’d with joy.
I took Demy with me whenever I went for a walk in the garden and spent time with him on the balcony throughout the day, but even that probably wasn’t enough for him to feel comfortable.
Even if he is a divine beast, he is still an animal, so it must be very frustrating being unable to run around.
I petted his fluffy tail with an apologetic heart.
It is currently 11 am on Wednesday.
It was obvious why we were climbing the rear mountain of Juliette Palace during my ‘group lesson’ with the Cardinal.
“A field trip? It reminds me of when I was younger.”
Christelle said something rather risky while walking next to me.
I wondered if she thought that it would be okay for the others to find out about her transmigration into that body.
My expression must have been a bit odd, as she chuckled and quickly explained herself.
“I used to have picnics on the hill at the Lord’s Castle with my mother when I was younger.”
I nodded once.
‘What a great excuse. It felt very natural.’
I kept that assessment to myself.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I should come again with Frédérique next time. There are many trees that I haven’t seen before.”
I turned around and took a peek at the Cardinal after hearing her voice.
She was wearing the most comfortable outfit I had seen her in so far and was linking arms with Imperial Prince Cédric at the back of the group.
I recalled the reason today ended up like this.
Two days ago, on Monday… the day that I said that I would participate in the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts…
The Cardinal and I left the office and arrived at the interior training ground a few minutes later than Christelle and that damn Imperial Prince.
It was only about a fifteen minute difference but the two main characters managed to cause an incident during that short time.
We arrived to find the training ground flooded with a layer of water with all sorts of spears, swords, and what looked like cannonballs embedded into the walls and ceiling.
It was a bit amazing that Christelle, who must not have been able to control her power, was drenched while the Imperial Prince was standing there perfectly dry with his hair stylishly kept up.
Cardinal Boutier looked at the two of them and…
‘Who started it?’
She gently asked that question.
Honestly speaking, I would have immediately started apologizing, as she looked like my brother right before he got angry.
I would have immediately said that the other person just got swept up in my mischief and ran off while saying that I’ll start cleaning right away.
But as for our MC and the male lead…
They quietly glared at each other without saying anything.
‘Even if Christelle gets rid of the water on the ground, there are still a lot of damaged areas that need fixing. Frédérique uses this place a lot……’
Christelle finally started to look a bit anxious as the Cardinal mumbled to herself.
‘Please accept my deepest apologies, Your Eminence. I will pay for the repairs……’
‘You use money as if it was water.’
The Imperial Prince cut her off.
I laughed because I thought he was provoking Christelle with a pun about her water ability.
‘I’m sorry, I thought I was chuckling quietly……’
All three of them simultaneously looked over at me. I got scared and shut up.
The Cardinal quietly looked us over before saying…
‘I guess it can’t be helped since you are both hot-blooded youngsters. I was the stupid one for thinking I could teach you all while cooped up somewhere like this.’
She then sighed. After that, she said…
‘Should we go on a field trip next time?’
That was how this had happened.
The Cardinal had been smiling but it was obvious that she was angry and by then, Christelle and the damn Imperial Prince bastard finally seemed to realize that she was upset.
Nobody had been able to oppose her sudden offer.
She was giving off such a scary vibe where we would have had to shut up and follow her even if she told us we were going on a military march.
“This should be a good place.”
Agnes pointed to our side after taking us to a flat area on the rear mountain.
I snapped out of my thoughts and helped Ganael and Benjamin lay out a large picnic mat.
The Cardinal’s attendant, Natalie, and the Imperial Prince’s attendant, David, also got busy unpacking their things to get the drinks and snacks out.
“It feels like we are on a picnic.”
The Cardinal shared her thoughts in a warm voice. Everybody seemed to be silently agreeing.
Keywords such as ‘Dressed in Full Combat Gear’ had dominated my mind until we made our way here but I felt at peace looking at the well maintained pathways and the lush green hill.
The nine people and one animal sat down relaxedly on the mat.
“Thank you very much for the meal.”
I wiped my hands with a cloth before receiving a warm Kouign-amann and a lightly seeped cup of Artichoke Tea.
I bit down on the crunchy bread and the sweet taste of caramel filled my mouth.
The slices of almond added texture and a savory taste while the gooey interior wrapped around my tongue.
“It’s so good……”
I shared my assessment of the food as usual. Benjamin and Ganael looked quite satisfied as they started drinking their coffee and strawberry juice respectively.
Christelle watched all of it unfold before laughing loudly in a pretty voice.
“I thought this last time as well, but you eat so well and look so happy when you eat.”
The Cardinal smiled as she responded.
Natalie, as the person who brings me snacks every lesson, agreed without any hesitation as well.
“……Thank you very much.”
It was a compliment I heard frequently in my original body, but it was the first time someone brought it up in front of so many people like this.
I got embarrassed and reached toward the plate of fruit.
I peeled a lychee and gave it to Demy, which distracted me enough to calm down a bit.
“Did you need something, your Royal Highness?”
I then made eye contact with Imperial Prince Cédric, who was sitting across from me.
He was looking at me with a somewhat disgruntled gaze, and had not even touched the espresso in his hand.
‘Why doesn’t he just add some water and sugar if his coffee is too bitter……’
“Can you not feel it at all?”
He suddenly asked.
I wondered if all the male leads of Romfans left things out of their speech like this, or if this bastard was just a special case.
“I cannot understand what you are saying if you leave details out like that, your Royal Highness.”
“Your mana sensitivity has issues.”
That damn Imperial Prince briskly commented before getting up.
His attendant, David, made swift movements to get his coffee from him.
I was blinking wondering if he wanted to start something, when Christelle also jumped up.
The Iced Americano that she was drinking…… was now in my hand.
“Something is headed this way.”
Ganael became anxious after hearing Christelle’s comment.
She and the Imperial Prince were both looking past the hill.
I looked in the same direction but I couldn’t see or feel anything.
The Imperial Prince called the Cardinal in an extremely low voice.
Her beige-colored eyes looked at me and gently curled up.
“I said that it feels like a picnic, not that we are actually on a picnic.”
I then heard the ground rumbling from a distance.