“……When is the victory celebration?”
“It starts two days from now at 7pm. We will have everything prepared so that you can come to the Empress Palace by 6pm, your highness.”
I had no justification for rejecting the offer as I was notified two days in advance. The Empress had even sent the Chief of Staff to invite me.
You have to be smart about when to use the excuse of illness. Shoving it toward the person who controls my life and feeds me would only make them hate me.
Not attending the monthly team dinner was completely different from not attending the annual outing where the company CEO would be present.
I calmly settled myself.
I just had to go, quietly eat, and then come back.
She says that she wants to give me recognition, but the main focus of the celebration would naturally be the Imperial Prince.
I should be able to quickly return to Juliette Palace if I close my eyes and handle a few awkward moments.
I responded to her.
The Chief of Staff, Laura Mendy, looked unsurprised, as if she heard the answer she was expecting.
I was about to let her go before I thankfully remembered to ask the most important question.
“Are those people coming over by chance?”
“By those people……”
“The people for my outfit and preparation. I will need to prepare as well if they are coming in the morning.”
Benjamin and Ganael nodded their heads with looks that seemed to be praising me for asking that question.
I needed to prepare my heart if the Empress was going to send the two bosses and their teams in the morning.
I absolutely did not want them talking about personally washing me or braiding my short hair again.
“They will not be stopping by. It is a small celebration with only her Majesty and those close to her. Please come with a relaxed heart and a comfortable outfit.”
Laura spoke with a slightly laughing tone. I could only blankly nod my head.
My fatigue and sleepiness flew away at the Empress’s unexpected invitation. My head was spinning quickly.
‘What should I wear?’
“Seriously, what should I wear?”
Unfortunately, that was the main question I had contemplated up until the day of the celebration.
Benjamin, Ganael, and the other attendants who usually helped me out were gathered in the reception room discussing the topic.
The few final candidates and their matching shoes were on top of a large couch waiting for our decision.
We had two hours before I had to leave.
I had every desire to just wear whatever, but I didn’t think that I could do that when it was the Empress herself personally presiding over the celebration, not just the Imperial Prince.
It was similar to how the term ‘business casual’ sounds simple when you are going in for a low-level employee interview, but you start to question the definition and types of business casual when it is for an executive position.
I never even dreamt that I would once again experience the feeling that I felt a few years ago, jumping into the job market right after graduation. Especially not upon transmigrating into this romfan.
“Your highness, how about just sticking with purple? ‘I am the prince of Venetiaan.’ Go for the ‘I am the Moon of the Holy Kingdom’ type of feel.”
One of the attendants who seeps my tea every so often pointed toward the purple formal attire with confidence.
However, the other attendants gasped and started talking.
“Pierre, you know his highness doesn’t like to stand out.”
“That’s right, he’s so handsome even without doing that…… It might also seem too political.”
Benjamin nodded his head, looking concerned after hearing the political part.
Another attendant lifted up the golden formal attire next to him.
I was familiar with him because he was the one who often changed my bedsheets and curtains.
“What about gold, your highness? It is a subtle gold color, so it shouldn’t catch much attention.”
He then cautiously put it up against my body.
I quietly stood there and received the gazes of the attendants.
‘I guess this one’s pretty good?’
“Aigoo, definitely not.”
I heard a lot of groans.
I felt awkward and looked at Ganael, who had quite the complicated expression on his face.
“It goes so well with your hair and your eyes, your highness…… It makes you look like the main character.”
‘Wow, that’s a definite no then.’
I quickly moved my body away.
Another attendant lifted up a black formal attire as if he had been waiting for this moment.
It had gold and red decorations on it as well.
“Black is the way to go with formal attire. It is the standard no matter where you go, your highness. It is the safest option.”
“He’s right, your highness. I’m sure some of the nobles will be wearing black as well, making it easy for you to hide in the crowd.”
The attendant standing next to me added on as well.
None of them seemed to find any issues with this black formal attire.
I was a bit confused as I responded.
“This definitely looks like his Royal Highness’s style.”
The attendants gasped as if they had epiphanies.
Wearing black to a celebration with the Imperial Prince was like wearing white to a wedding.
At least it felt that way to me. Some of the attendants rubbed their faces in embarrassment.
Was a comfortable outfit supposed to be such a hard choice that it puts me at a loss?
The only contact I have had with Empress Frédérique was seeing her from a distance during the Spring Ball last month while I was on the balcony of Strauder Palace.
She had never personally summoned me ever since I entered the palace. I had not even received the simplest of greetings.
The fact that the Chief of Staff came to Juliette Palace for the first time only two days ago said it all.
I have heard a lot of things about her, but I had no way of knowing what kind of person the Empress was; what she likes, or what she dislikes.
The only things I could remember Jung Eunse commenting about the Empress was, ‘Take me, big sis,’ and ‘So cool! She’s beautiful!’
She was not helpful at all.
……That’s why this was difficult to the point of me stressing like this.
I couldn’t get on her bad side if I wanted to keep living, but I also couldn’t stand out too much.
I should have just asked those nice bosses to come.
“Why don’t we bring the red white ones back?”
“Your highness, you’ll look too much like a Saint if you wear white!”
“Red with blonde hair? You sound like the third prince of a kingdom who is fated to surpassthe crown prince and become king.”
‘Why the heck do they have such a specific story to share?’
– Knock knock.
Someone knocked on the reception room door at that moment.
I thought it was the attendant who went to get the blue formal attire.
“Hi there, our little prince.”
I heard an extremely familiar and welcoming voice.
I turned around in shock.
“Your handsome face is half its normal size.”
It was Cardinal Aurélie Boutier.
As soon as she appeared, all of the attendants shut up, took one step back, and bowed deeply.
It had been about half a month since I last saw the Cardinal, but hearing her warm voice made me a bit emotional.
She walked over with numerous attendants and gently grabbed my cheeks.
She then made kissing noises as she put her cheeks on mine.
I was a bit bewildered at the French-style greeting I had only seen in movies, but I was happy to see her too.
“It must have been hard on you. How is your body?”
“I am okay, your Eminence. I pray that you have also been well?”
“It felt empty without all of you there.”
Her beige-colored eyes gently curled up.
“I couldn’t come see you because I was busy preparing for the official announcement and feast, but……”
She looked around at the attendants, me, and the outfits that were laid out all around the reception room’s couch.
“It looks like I picked the right time to show up.”
I evaded responding by smiling.
I was supposed to be at the Empress Palace by 6pm, but I still was struggling with my outfit when it is now past 4pm. I definitely looked lost.
“I am our little prince’s chaperon today, so I guess I should help out.”
The Cardinal commented and made a simple gesture toward her attendants.
‘Chap…… Excuse me?’
“Will something like this really be okay?”
“Frédérique doesn’t say things she does not mean. She said a comfortable outfit, so you can wear something comfortable.”
The Cardinal smiled warmly and stood in front of Juliette Palace.
I was wearing a casual light yellow outfit with fancier cuff links and new boots. It was the outfit that she picked instead of formal attire.
I was wearing a necklace made of a pumpkin-coloured diamond and a silver strap which the Cardinal chose on top of it all.
The few accessories were extravagant when compared to the casual outfit.
‘Is this what they call dressed up but not really? Is it?’
“Demy, stay here and play with your friends. Big bro will just go to eat dinner and quickly come back.”
The divine beast screeched as if to respond before jumping out of my arms.
The other red pandas that had been running around the garden came over and curled up with Demy.
I waved at the three red pandas that were curled up together in a giant ball and got onto the Cardinal’s carriage.
Benjamin, Ganael, and the other attendants got in the carriage right behind ours.
The wheels slowly started moving.
“We brought those kiddos back, but…… Shouldn’t we send them to a better place?”
I asked while watching Demy and his family slowly get farther away through the window.
The two red pandas that had been at the Duhem March no longer had a place to go after the divine item they were protecting, the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star, had found a master.
I didn’t feel right just leaving them to wander the plains, and so I brought them back with me.
I experienced firsthand from the Great Clearance that divine beasts and demonic beasts were completely different existences.
Demonic beasts went on the offense after detecting ether from a divine item, no matter what shape it was in.
However, divine beasts lose their focus and end up wandering around if a divine item chooses a master or disappears.
That was why they were unable to detect the ‘Blessing of the Blue Sea’, which was absorbed into Christelle’s body and instantly seemed to lose interest after the Sword of Wisdom fell into the Imperial Prince’s hands.
They were called the messenger of gods and seemed more like Elementals than actual beasts.
“There are divine items to the North and East of the Empire as well. It might be good to send them to one of those places if we have the chance.”
The Cardinal seemed to be trying to console me.
“Élisabeth heads north every June to escape the heat, so it’ll be perfect to send them with her.”
I heard about her regular vacations to escape the heat during the night market in Lucas Village.
While escorting the Cardinal, I thought that I should at least take good care of them until they left.
By the time we got off the carriage and were climbing the steps of the Empress Palace, I was ranting about everything that had been frustrating me.
“I don’t understand it at all, your Eminence. Holy Domain is supposed to nullify all powers, so why could it not stop the illusion-causing fog?”
“Because the Almighty God is capricious?”
I grumbled back and the Cardinal laughed out loud before guiding me to the first floor banquet hall.
The attendants of the Empress Palace, who were dressed up more than usual, greeted us wherever we went.
There was a long red carpet placed above the marble floor that started from the outside.
The chandelier had been wiped clean and shined brighter than usual.
“It was probably because that fog had no intention of killing all of you.”
“What do you……”
“If that fog was poisonous, the Holy Domain would have definitely blocked it. Poison is for killing. However, illusions only cause chaos. They could even bring joy to some people. There is no reason to block it. The Holy Domain’s judgment is arbitrary like that.”
“The Holy Domain will not block large hails falling from the sky. That is just terrible weather, not something trying to kill the priest.”
I slowly walked down the sunlit-hallway. It looked as if paint had been scattered all over it.
It was difficult to understand but also understandable at the same time.
The reason that Sadie’s dagger was able to brush past me despite having my Holy Domain open on the first day I met the kid was……
Because the punk was aiming not at me, but at the decorative rope behind me.
The reason that the aftershock from the Imperial Prince’s Sword of Wisdom hit me a week ago was because it was not an attack aimed towards me.
“It’s confusing. I think that it will take me some time to get a feel for it.”
“That is what I meant by the Almighty God being capricious.”
She was speaking almost as if she was singing. We were now turning the final corner.
Over ten attendants were silently following behind us.
“Our Divine Oracles seem omnipotent but they are not able to take a life away.”
This was the basics of the basics written in chapter 1 of the < Church of the Almighty God’s Introduction to Theology >.
Priests could not borrow the Almighty God’s words to order death.
That was a decision based only on the Almighty God’s will.
“It is the same with the Holy Domain. It protects you from all powers, however it is not up to you to decide which things can or can’t hit you. That is up to the Almighty God.”
‘Why is it so complicated?’
Mages and Holy Knights were pretty much people with superpowers in the QNW world, but it seemed only the priests had a lot of restrictions.
There were a lot of things we needed to know how to do, and a lot of things to memorize.
I even questioned whether or not the author killed Prince Jesse because the second male lead’s settings were too complicated.
“Ah, my young Holy Knight is already here.”
The Cardinal spoke in a happy voice at that moment.
It made me move away from her and look forward.
A man and his attendant were standing and looking toward us in front of the large banquet hall.
His face looked perfect as if he was not even the slightest bit tired.
‘It really was good I didn’t wear the black.’