I was grinding my teeth but still carefully put my hand on the kid’s forehead.
At least his fever seems to have gone down quite a bit. His breathing seemed quite settled as well.
“You seem quite used to looking after a child, your highness.”
Christelle commented in a light tone.
I was feeling embarrassed despite her seemingly uncaring tone.
An excuse burst out from me like I was a vending machine that had been fed some coins.
‘This is not because I helped this punk out a few times already.’
“I have a younger sister.”
“Ah, I heard about it. You have an older sister and a younger sister.”
“That is correct.”
I didn’t think that Prince Jesse and the two princesses had a good sibling relationship, but it was the perfect excuse for this situation.
I mean, it is true that I have a younger sibling.
I checked the young boy’s condition with a side glance as I hugged Demy, who was climbing onto my lap.
“Now that I think about it, earlier…… You seemed to be having a hard time. It was the same for Demy. Are you okay now?”
I asked the question this time.
I recalled how Christelle had retched and stumbled down as soon as the Imperial Prince’s fires burst out while Demy squirmed out of my arms and ran away to Christelle.
The two of them seemed to have naturally recovered once the flames disappeared.
“Yes, I am okay, your highness. My stomach churned for a bit because his Royal Highness’s ether overpowering was too much. It was probably something similar for Demy.”
Ether overpowering…… I had read about such a concept occurring between Holy Knights.
I had only skimmed through it as it didn’t affect me as a priest, so I had no idea it would affect a divine beast like Demy as well.
‘Do I need to read through it thoroughly when I go back to the Imperial Palace?’
Christelle observed my expression before smiling and standing up.
I did not stop her from walking out of my Holy Domain.
The Imperial Prince had killed all of the demonic beasts on the mountain.
“The overpowering ether was incredibly strong but his control is amazing, being able to target only the demonic beasts. It is lighting up my competitive spirit seeing that his Royal Highness is so strong.”
‘A competitive spirit should be a good thing, right?’
I nodded my head at her comment.
Some sort of emotion, whatever it may be, has to be the foundation if the two main characters were to start dating in the future.
They do say that the opposite of love is indifference.
I would happily welcome anything as long as they weren’t indifferent towards each other right now.
“Wow, it smells good too. Demy, you could grow your own orchard in the future.”
Christelle admired Demy’s work and pulled off the remaining four apples from the apple trees.
The mountain was peaceful and completely fine. I could even hear some birds chirping nearby.
Nobody would believe that there had been a fire here if we got rid of the few rocks that had been charred black.
Christelle returned to the Holy Domain with the apples and continued speaking.
“There is something I am curious about as well. You did not seem to have seen an illusion, your highness……”
“Yes, I find that part to be odd as well.”
It was shocking that the circle that is supposed to nullify all powers did not have an air purification portion, but the thing that I was more concerned about were the effects of the illusions
“His Royal Highness was the first to react to the fog. You were next, young lady Sarnez. Demy didn’t have much of a reaction because I covered his face with a cloth…… Or it might be different for him because he is a divine beast. However, it did not seem to have much effect on me. I’m sure that I must have breathed in the fog as well. This is just my hypothesis, but…”
Christelle pushed forward three apples.
I broke one of the orange apples in half and handed one to Demy.
He grabbed it with his front paw and started eating happily.
– Crunch, crunch.
“Thank you very much. Anyway, I wonder if having high mana sensitivity makes it easier to fall under that bastard’s illusions.”
That was the only explanation I could come up with about the differences in the three of our reactions.
My mana sensitivity was at the bottom in terms of sensitivity, so it was possible that I could not see the illusion despite the demonic beast shoving it in my face.
I should be relieved about it, but it was a bit sad.
“That seems possible. His Royal Highness is a mage so…… It is possible that his illusion might have been more vivid than mine. Then it makes sense why he became so angry.”
She nodded her head and took a big bite of a blue-gray apple.
“What should we do if the same bastard comes down again?”
“I doubt it?”
“There’s nothing saying it can’t happen. That bastard’s family or friends might chase after us for revenge.”
Christelle pointed toward the end of the valley.
A demonic beast that seemed to be a mix of a centipede and a scorpion was dead on its belly, scorched black while lying between the two apple trees.
It was the size of a large door even looking at it from here.
I scowled and turned back to look at Christelle.
“I think it is best to temporarily push the fog back using your explosion magic tool, young lady Sarnez.”
“Yes, your highness. However, it will probably only be momentary. The magic tools being sold at the Legault Central Commerce Center have all been inspected and…… They are all only for party use.”
“Excuse me? Party use?”
“It would be dangerous if they caused large explosions. They do not sell weapons.”
‘That…… Seems weird.’
“Then what happened in Lucas Village? You pretended to burn up the whole inn. You said that you bought a fake flames magic tool.”
I scrunched my eyes. Christelle smiled and moved her shoulder back.
I quickly looked down at the sleeping boy and then back at her.
A thunderbolt-like realization smacked me in the back.
‘These little punks!’
“Did his Royal Highness use his abilities at that time? Then the one who sucked out my ether that day…”
“Your highness, please listen.”
‘No wonder the Imperial Prince grabbed my neck. No wonder it felt similar to when Sadie jacked my ether!’
“His Royal Highness said that he needed to receive your ether, your highness. He said it could absolutely not be anybody other than you. However, he also said that you must not find out that he was the one who took the ether. I wanted to help the villagers but our esteemed Royal Highness had so many conditions… That was why I had no choice! I had to get in between the two of you and lie to you, but it was with good intentions.”
‘Listen to that damn glib tongue!’
“I was wrong to do that, your highness. I’m sorry.”
I couldn’t help but sigh. What good would it do to get angry about it now? What good would it do to get annoyed?
“Is that why the two of you walked around stuck to each other the whole time? It was so that you could come up with such a plan?”
“We did not stick to each other the whole time. It is difficult for both of us when we are close to each other.”
She had a serious look on her face.
‘I’m pretty sure I’m the one here having the most difficult time.’
“From now on…… Please just tell me if you need ether. I will not accept any lies.”
“Yes sir! But please inform his Royal Highness about it as well. Why are you only saying that to me…”
“He’s sleeping right now.”
I sharply cut her off.
Christelle’s blue-gray eyes blinked a few times as she nodded her head.
I looked up at the sky because I felt frustrated.
The clear and blue sky made me even sadder today. Was QNW a caretaker romfan?
I didn’t hear about the MC having a kid but why do I feel like I suddenly have two kids?
“If that illusion demonic beast appears again, I will put both of you to sleep with my Divine Oracle and descend the mountain with the two of you on my backs if I have to. It is none of my business whether you dig out the Sword of Wisdom in your sleep or give up through sleep talking. I have no choice since I cannot fight. Please keep that in mind.”
The divine item didn’t grant my wish anyway and Sadie, the kid I wanted to help, was actually Imperial Prince Cédric.
I had no reason to care about this competition anymore.
“That might be too heavy.”
“I am tall. I am also stronger than the average person.”
“It’s three including Demy……”
Christelle looked as if it was unbelievable.
I couldn’t believe that she was talking back to me like this. It was as if she had already forgotten about her terrible deeds. It was at that moment.
“Your highness, his Royal Highness is…”
I quickly turned my head to look at the little kid.
Small golden pebbles were floating up from the young boy’s body.
It was the symbol of being fully charged that I was now familiar with.
The little kid had always left my balcony whenever it got to this point.
‘Yes, no wonder he left right away. He couldn’t let me see his body suddenly growing in size. Damn it.’
Although the bastard who hid it was to blame, the embarrassment was mine in the end.
‘Would it have been better to ask if he had a hidden younger sibling instead of a son? Is that pretty much the same thing?’
“……Young lady Sarnez.”
I opened my mouth.
“Yes, your highness?”
“Umm, similar to how you have a secret with his Royal Highness… Can we keep this a secret as well?”
She was staring at me. She seemed to not understand what I was saying.
“The fact that his Royal Highness turned into a child…… I hope you can pretend not to know.”
“I am a Diplomatic hostage. Learning such an important secret of the Imperial family is a threat to me. The reason her Majesty lets me be is probably because I am a powerless prince.”
The words simply flowed out of my mouth now that I had made up my mind. I slightly bit down on my shaking lips.
The biggest reason I couldn’t admit to knowing this was because I was embarrassed, but I absolutely could not share that part with Christelle.
Vice Captain Élisabeth’s smiling face that had turned to tears was still vivid in my mind.
“So you’re saying we shouldn’t inform his Royal Highness about what happened today?”
“Yes, well. Just…… How about we just say that he fainted from ether depletion and that I helped him?”
I could feel both of my cheeks getting flushed. Even I could tell that this was a petty trick.
Christelle tilted her head in confusion.
“It doesn’t matter to me since I am good at lying, but……”
‘Are you sure you should be so proud about that?’
“Will it be okay for you, your highness?”
“Yes, it will.”
I responded confidently.
I’m adjusting pretty well to this transmigrated life, so I should be able to lie if I shut up.
Anything would be better than the Imperial Prince bastard sneering at me and looking at me with scorn.
Our contact should cease again when we return to the Imperial Palace anyway.
“Then that sounds great. I’m glad I have a friend with whom I can share a secret.”
Christelle shook her pink hair and smiled brightly.
I got the chills hearing her use the term ‘friend’.
‘I didn’t bring this up so that we can get close to each other……’
There was a loud noise at the top of the mountain at that moment. Christelle jumped up.
I quickly gathered our things. After that…
I could hear other competitors screaming and warning others at a distance.
Boom, plop plop. I heard something that sounded like rocks falling.
“It looks like the third wave has started.”
Christelle commented while grabbing her whip. I urgently looked toward the child lying down.
‘His fever is completely down…’
“Holy shit, he’s fully grown.”
I quickly pulled my hand off the bastard’s cheek and rubbed it against my shirt.
The ether pebbles in the air had disappeared as well.
‘Damn it, when did he grow past 190cm again?’
“How is his Royal Highness?”
“His body has returned to normal but he is still unconscious. Will you be okay on your own, young lady Sarnez?”
“Please just leave it to me.”
Her water-colored eyes were sparkling.
The whip that will always remind people of her was sparkling dangerously in the afternoon sun.
Christelle mumbled in a low voice.
“Wow, he’s so damn heavy. I’m going to pull my back!”
The red panda pushed down on my shoulders with his front paws as if to cheer me on.
I was stumbling with two healthy adults, one male and one female, on my back.
I lowered my head to see the large green leaf that was wrapped around Christelle, the Imperial Prince bastard, and my waist.
It was tied down with sturdy vines so there seemed to be no chances of it becoming undone.
The two others were asleep and I could only hear their breathing.
I lightly scoffed, thinking about how long it had been since I had done this.
Demy had created this baby carrier for me.
“The demonic beasts are the bane of all evil, the bane of all evil I tell you. They are the ones who made this happen.”
I clenched my teeth.
I confirmed that Demy’s nose and mouth were covered properly with a handkerchief before starting our plan.
Things were hard to see because of the fog, but the immediate area around me was quite clear.
Yes, it was this damn fog.
“You really showed up because I talked about it?!”
I shouted at the demonic beast in front of me.
The bastard was clicking its large claws and stood up in a threatening manner.
I was safe because of my Holy Domain, but I still took a step back out of reflex. My stomach felt a bit off.
It mainly looked like a scorpion but its tail looked closer to a centipede.
Its shiny, dark brown body was about the size of a remicon mixer truck. It seemed at least 20m long even from the front.
It looked as if it might be the parent of the bastard the Imperial Prince burnt to death earlier. The difference between their sizes was tremendous.
I mumbled and rummaged through my bag.
If this bastard didn’t show up, if it had not spread its illusion fog, if it had not come with other demonic beasts…… Something like this would not have happened.
Two apples were soon in my hand. They were the two apples that were left for the Imperial Prince and me.
Of course, it will be that bastard’s snack now.
“You like apples too, right? Like the dead bastard over there? Isn’t that why you came here?”
I said some cruel things and lifted up the apples.
– Screech! Kiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooo!
The bastard’s reddish brown eyes fluttered nonstop and looked all around.
There was something white that looked like saliva dripping out of its mouth. I clenched my eyes shut before opening them back up.
I was scared, but it was time to head down.
“Here’s the bus fare!”
I threw one apple high in the air. I then released my Holy Domain.