“The Imperial Palace feels so empty without the children.”
Aurélie Boutier leisurely commented.
She was savoring the scent of the coffee in her hand.
Empress Frédérique snorted at the Cardinal’s comment while looking over the Empire’s matters while sitting across from her.
“You’re feeling empty because the two of them have left for a moment?”
“We won’t be able to see them for over ten days.”
“It would have been the same even if we were the ones to go to the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.”
“Mm, I guess that is true.”
The Cardinal smiled gently and brought the cup to her lips.
The peaceful silence returned to the Empress’s office.
The Empress would click her tongue and quietly swear while looking through the documents and the Cardinal would respond to the Empress from time to time while flipping through her book.
A sunset similar to their beloved child’s eyes was visible outside the large window.
It was a peaceful May.
This time of year was usually hectic for them, taking portals to go to the Duhem March, but it was a joyous occasion to have a quiet Spring like this for the first time in a long while.
“They should have arrived at that small village by now.”
The Cardinal was the one who started speaking again.
The Empress responded a moment later, without taking her eyes off of the piece of paper in her hand.
“The one with nice villagers and the innkeeper who likes gambling.”
Frédérique slightly frowned.
It was the same frown that would make people think of Imperial Prince Cédric.
Of course, it would be more accurate to say that it was Cédric being like his mother.
“Are there only one or two villages like that?”
“Remember that time when we traveled a few days by carriage because there was a crack in one of the portals? It’s the place we stayed in during that storm.”
The Cardinal added on with a smile on her face.
The Empress finally raised her cherry colored eyes and looked at her contractor.
She was scowling as if she was recalling a moment from the past.
“If it is the place I am thinking about, I remember that the inn owner was taken to the prison in the Lord’s Castle.”
“Ah, that’s right. I forgot about it since it happened so long ago.”
‘Has it already been ten years?’
Aurélie Boutier had that thought as she sipped her coffee again.
It wasn’t a serious topic, so Frédérique looked down at the document in her hand again.
Silence filled the room once again.
For a moment, the only sounds that filled the area between the two of them were of clothes and papers rustling.
“I plan on opening a new wine for dinner.”
“Then who is running the inn right now?”
The two of them spoke at the same time.
Frédérique, who was thinking about calling the Chief of Staff to bring her a wine list and some tasting notes, looked at Aurélie with an extremely disgruntled look.
The Cardinal’s beige colored eyes curled up and she continued speaking, as if to console the Empress.
“It’s where the children will be staying. I am concerned.”
“It’s probably a family member of the person who was imprisoned. I doubt there will be any problems since we have not heard much until now.”
“That is true.”
“Sadie and Élisabeth will soon become sword masters. The prince is a Bishop level priest, and that little Sarnez girl is a Novice Holy Knight. You’re worried for no reason.”
“Okay. I’m feeling a fish dish today.”
The Empress nodded her head and summoned the Chief of Staff.
She was informed that a decent white wine from the south had been offered to the Empress.
The Cardinal knew that the Empress reacted this way not because she didn’t care about the children, but because she trusted them.
She was trying her best to think in a similar way.
She was sure that the two children, no, the four children with Élisabeth and Christelle included, would be fine and come back safely.
They would be able to take care of things cleanly even if something happened along the way.
Prince Jesse, the eldest of the group, wasn’t very young.
She felt guilty; like a noble parent leaving mischievous troublemakers with a single personal tutor as she finished her coffee.
“Wow, that was so delicious.”
“Yes, it was delicious, your highness!”
“It wasn’t bad for me either, your highness.”
I commented first, followed by Ganael, Benjamin, and Demy to show our satisfaction with our dinner.
Honestly speaking, Demy was only eating the flowers from the bouquet the Imperial Prince shoved at me, but I was relieved that he was finding it delicious.
Ordering room service was probably one of the best decisions I made today.
My mind was at peace despite being far away from the Imperial Palace since I was eating while being surrounded by the people I could be relaxed around.
– Knock knock.
Benjamin responded to the knocking.
I watched as a burly inn employee came in to clear the dishes.
The man seemed to be in his mid-twenties and seemed nice.
He was also the person who carried my bags to the third floor and brought our food.
There were some Imperial Guard members with serious gazes behind him. They were here to protect us.
“Thank you very much for the meal.”
“I, it is an honor, your highness.”
I thanked him for the meal because it felt awkward to sit here without saying anything, but the employee flinched and bowed.
The way he quickly and efficiently cleared the table despite looking flustered made him seem quite experienced.
Desserts were then placed on the table.
The desserts were Crêpes Suzette that gave off the sweet scent of oranges.
“I can taste it just by looking at it.”
Ganael chuckled at my comment.
“We had Crêpes Suzette here when we came ten years ago as well. I’m sure you will like it too, your highness.”
Benjamin responded in a benign voice.
He said that he came through before while attending to the Empress and the Cardinal.
I picked up a new knife as I intently listened to what he was saying.
“I remember something slightly unpleasant happening at that time though.”
Everybody flinched and turned our heads toward the noise.
The employee had broken a large dish and was standing there, not knowing what to do.
The Imperial Guard members took a few steps forward and the guy shook like he had been electrocuted before quickly plopping down to the ground.
He seemed to be planning on cleaning the broken pieces with his bare hands.
“Are you okay?”
“Y, yes, I am okay. I truly apologize for this, your highness.”
“You may get hurt, so why don’t we get a broom-”
Red blood dripped down to the ground. I stopped talking and walked toward him.
Benjamin and Ganael got up and followed behind me.
The Imperial Guard members pushed the pieces of glass far away with their feet.
They seemed to be preparing in case something bad happened.
There was a large gash on the man’s right hand.
“The injury seems pretty deep. Should I call another employee for you?”
“No, it is okay, your highness. I can stop the bleeding myself.”
“Then let’s ask them to bring some medicine up.”
“I, it is okay, your highness. Medicine is expensive……”
I tilted my head in confusion.
“I will pay for the medicine.”
The man seemed hesitant. He seemed to be debating on whether or not it was okay to say something.
I calmly waited for his explanation.
“I need to personally pay the inn back for the price of any medicine I use. That is the rule here at ‘Le Siffre’.”
“……The employee needs to pay for medicine despite getting hurt while working?”
“T, that is the case, your highness.”
I looked back at Benjamin and Ganael in disbelief.
Both of them shook their heads at my gaze that was asking if this was the norm for the Riester Empire.
It meant that the inn owner was a weird person.
“Then I guess it’ll be fine if it heals without any medicine.”
“E, excuse me?”
“Please open your palm. I will use my healing power on you.”
The man jumped up after hearing my proposal.
“H, how could someone like me dare……”
“I have learned how to do it but this is my first time using it. Please just think of it as being my guinea pig and feel at ease.”
I calmly consoled him. It was the truth.
Priests need to release a special healing circle when using healing powers that can only be opened if you memorize the shape of the circle.
It was completely different from the Holy Domain that created its own pattern based on the priest’s character and Divine Power.
That was the reason there were specific healing priests on the continent.
It truly was difficult to become a doctor both in this world and the other.
I had been following Cardinal Boutier’s suggestion, drawing the circle on paper and memorizing it.
There were many different types of healing circles as well, but the one I memorized was one of the basic circles used for light injuries and small cuts.
“Don’t feel too burdened. You are helping me by letting me do this.”
I quickly added on.
The man raised his head and looked at Ganael, Benjamin, and the Imperial Guard members before slowly nodding his head.
He then carefully opened his bloodied palm.
“Then I will get started.”
I closed my eyes.
I knelt down, took one big breath, channeled my ether from head to toe, before accurately drawing the healing circle without flaw in my head .
I didn’t forget to recite the incantation either.
[The Almighty God’s tears shall gather your blood.]
As I said that and opened my eyes…
A sky blue circle gently appeared on the ground and surrounded the employee and me.
It was as clear as I had read about in the book.
The healing circle slowly turned clockwise and seemed to be looking for something until…
It created a small miracle on top of the man’s injured palm.
Seeing the blue ether pebbles seeping into the long gash made me think of an ad on TV.
The flowing blood instantly stopped and the gash slowly closed.
Even I couldn’t help but to drop my jaw in shock, despite being the person who used the healing power.
The employee blinked his eyes a few times.
He clenched his fist a few times as if he could not believe what just happened in his hand, before quickly bowing his head on the ground.
“T, thank you very much, your highness! You’ve given such a blessing to a commoner like me…… Thank you very much.”
“No, I should be thanking you for cooperating with me.”
I smiled bitterly.
He had a bright smile on his face for the first time since coming into the room, and said that he would bring new Crêpes Suzette.
Demy and I were the only ones left in the room now that it was 9pm.
Ganael and Benjamin were sharing a room next door.
“It was a long day, wasn’t it? That is how it is when you go traveling.”
Demy stretched out across my stomach and sighed. At least, it seemed that way to me.
I was laying at an angle on the bed, consoling the little punk while drawing healing circles on a piece of paper.
While taking care of Morris, the inn employee,’s injury during dinner, I had the idea that it would be good to memorize a lot of healing circles.
“How great would it be if I could have abilities like this when I go back.”
The red panda raised his tail after hearing my mumbling.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at his action. I knew that it was nonsense.
Even if I could use healing powers in the real world, it was highly likely that I would be unable to memorize these complicated circles to activate them.
The more serious the ailments they heal, the more difficult the circles are to memorize.
Slowly building up; starting with the simplest circles is the path down this Royal Road.
“Should we wash up and go to sleep early?”
– Knock knock.
Someone knocked on the door at that moment.
There were Imperial Guard members stationed on the third floor where I was staying, as well as in all of the hallways of Le Siffre.
I had no reason to be wary of a visitor even during the late hours.
I put down the wet towel I was going to use to wash Demy, and got up to open the door.
“Hello, your highness.”
“……Young lady Sarnez.”
I felt the need for a defibrillator. My heart sank.
This was my first time meeting Christelle alone since our initial meeting at the Imperial Palace’s Confessional.
There was at least a wooden window between us at that time, but right now, I was wearing a shirt that had at least two buttons undone.
“Have you had your meal, your highness?”
“Of course. And yourself, young lady Sarnez?”
I brought my right hand forward as naturally as possible and covered the left side of my neck.
I thought that it might help cover myself up a bit more.
I knew that I was being excessively self-conscious, but it was definitely a scary thing to be alone with the main character in casual clothing at this hour.
“Yes, I was thinking about going for a walk because I was full. I heard that the night market at Lucas Village is open today.”
Christelle smiled brightly. I felt my heart grow darker while looking at this smile that seemed to make the whole world brighter.
‘She wants to go out again? Is this a Holy Knight’s stamina……’
“Why don’t you go with Vice Captain Élisabeth? I am a bit tired.”
I quickly declined, not taking a single step from the door.
The corners of my lips felt as if they would start spasming.
“I did ask Vice Captain Élisabeth first but she cannot leave the inn because of work. Apparently it would be difficult unless his Royal Highness or you left.”
‘Vice Captain Élisabeth!’
“Then I guess you can go with his Royal Highness.”
I smiled. Christelle’s eyes scrunched suspiciously.
“You know that his Royal Highness and I are not comfortable around each other. Are you trying to make me not have fun?”
“No, of course not. I will go if his Royal Highness goes.”
‘Did I make a mistake?’
Christelle’s blue-gray eyes sparkled dangerously.
She put a hand up to her chin and seemed to be thinking about something for a moment before bowing extremely respectfully to me and smiling.
She then turned around and walked away toward the stairs.
I quickly closed the door and hugged Demy.
“Ah, that was so scary……”
‘There’s no way she’s really going to bring that Imperial Prince bastard, right?
There’s no way that that bastard would come.
No way, right?