‘No, this isn’t it.’
“I came to observe today, so please do as you would normally do.”
I smiled as I responded.
My main reason was to observe Sand’s situation.
I won’t be able to determine Christelle and Imperial Prince Cédric’s behavior if I immediately step in.
The Imperial Prince glared at Sand with an extremely discontent gaze.
He seemed to be telling Sand to hurry up and hand over his ether or else he would flatten the Priest like a squid.
Poor Sand curled his round bear-like body into itself as he released his Holy Domain.
I thought that my Holy Domain was extremely shabby compared to Cardinal Boutier’s Holy Domain, however, Sand’s Holy Domain was much smaller and dimmer than even mine.
The designs were also extremely simple. This seemed to be the difference between a Bishop and Clergy level priest.
‘But they shouldn’t be mean to him because of this.’
The Imperial Prince growled in a low voice. Sand’s body twitched.
The Imperial Prince seemed to be unsatisfied with the flow of ether.
I held my tongue and looked at Christelle.
The MC was frowning at the Imperial Prince. Her expression looked extremely familiar.
I spent some time trying to remember whereI had seen this expression before, until I realized it was similar to one of Jung Eunseo’s expressions.
Little Eunseo’s face would look just like Christelle’s when listening to the cries of the children before her while waiting at the dentist.
“Since you said you came to observe, I would like to hear your thoughts, your highness.”
I heard a man’s voice speaking to me. It was higher than that of the Imperial Prince, but lower than mine.
I raised my head to see Sir Johann Geens, whose snow white hair was tied in a low ponytail.
There was a faint trace of curiosity in his mint colored eyes as he looked at me.
He still had not shaved and his hair still had pieces sticking out, but he seemed less tired than when I saw him on the pirate ship.
He didn’t seem to care that the priest who accompanied him was being treated so terribly.
“……I’m not sure.”
There was something that I felt, but what I really wanted to do was talk about how three Holy Knights were bullying a priest.
“Please feel free to say whatever is on your mind, your highness.”
I don’t know how Sir Geens interpreted my silence, but he made that comment before closing his eyes for a while and opening them again.
The breeze in the training ground completely stopped.
“Huh? Just now……”
“I closed an air door. Only the four of us will be able to hear your voice now, your highness.”
I blinked my eyes.
He must have used his abilities as an air attribute Holy Knight to create a transparent private domain that blocked the flow of sound.
Benjamin, Ganael, and Sand were with us in the training ground, but could not hear our voices.
Ganael must have noticed my gaze, as he smiled and said something. I could only see his lips moving and could not hear anything.
It felt as if someone had pressed the mute button.
“The air attribute is amazing.”
I couldn’t help but gasp in admiration. It really was mysterious. Sir Geens gently smiled.
His smile made him seem much more handsome.
“Your highness, what did you think of the spar?”
Christelle naturally joined the conversation. Her gaze was cold while looking at Sir Geens.
I guess they are not that close yet. I cautiously started speaking.
“Mm, in my humble opinion…… Your growth was quite remarkable, young lady Sarnez. However, you still seem to need some practice handling ice.
For example, when you did the flip in the air to land on the ice staircase… You could have distracted the Duke-nim if you sent them flying to the other side instead of making them disappear. And if you immediately froze the steam when the Duke-nim blew up the waves, you would not have missed the timing.”
“Mm. You’re right, your highness. There is an extra step to changing the ether when turning water to ice, so…… My decisions end up being slower.”
Christelle bit down on her lips. Sir Geens commented with his arms crossed.
“It takes some time to get used to using special types of ether. There is no need to be impatient. You are already doing very well, young lady Sarnez. You’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed if you practice regularly.”
“Really? I should be able to do that, right?”
Christelle’s face lit up. I agreed with Sir Geens as well.
She had used the freezing ability without any guidance during the ‘Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.’
According to Grand Duke Yvelines’s book, the ‘Blessing of the Blue Sea’ that she absorbed was, as the name stated, a divine item that bestows a blessing.
If that was true, the blessing not only transmigrated her here, it also turned a regular person into a Holy Knight and gifted her the intuition and talent for dominating ether.
In short, she was now a munchkin who should be able to improve significantly no matter what she does. (TL: Munchkin is a Korean term for extremely strong character)
“As for the Duke-nim……”
I turned my gaze toward the Imperial Prince. He raised one eyebrow while still receiving ether from Sand.
He seemed to be saying something like, ‘my condition isn’t that great right now, but let’s see what the hell you have to say.’
“It is likely because you are skilled in both magic and the sword arts, but you have a tendency to use too much ether in each attack. I read that using ether efficiently was a core component of being a Holy Knight…… I think that you should be careful and plan ahead in case you become unable to use the Sword of Wisdom in battle.”
‘Don’t glare at me like that. That’s what it said in the book your dad wrote. Plus, if you lack ether…… It puts you in a difficult situation.’
“You are right, your highness. I was wondering what kind of person you were as a priest but you have quite the insight.”
As soon as Sir Geens said that, I felt my surroundings open up.
The cool northern breeze brushed past my forehead.
He had released the private domain of the air door and returned the flow of sound. I couldn’t help but scoff in shock.
Ganael quickly ran over to me.
“Your highness, just now…”
“Yeah, Sir Geens used his abilities for a moment. We were chatting.”
The young boy gasped.
Benjamin seemed impressed after experiencing an air attribute Holy Knight’s powers for the first time as well.
We all sat down after finishing our conversation and Benjamin opened the picnic basket to prepare snacks and drinks.
It was break time.
Only Sand, who was still not finished giving the Imperial Prince ether, was struggling.
I was thinking that his recovery was taking too long, but maybe it was normal for someone only at the Clergy level.
“The reason we have had sparring-oriented lessons was because I was trying to see what rank the two of you will receive when you officially become Holy Knights.”
Sir Geens was having some of the liquorice tea I brought as he spoke.
“Holy Knights usually start their lessons as squires at an extremely early age and slowly rise up from the Deacon level. However, it is a different story for the two of you. In my opinion…… You will both be at the Bishop level, maybe even the Archbishop level, as Holy Knights if you are lucky.”
“When you say lucky……”
“The Holy Knight appointments are up to the Cardinals. At least, that is the case right now, as we do not have a Pope.”
Sir Geens gave a light response to my question.
Unlike priests, whose ranks were easily divided by the growth of their ether circles, there was no way to clearly distinguish the abilities of Holy Knights.
It becomes even more complex when the differences of each attribute are taken into consideration.
That was probably what he was alluding to when mentioning the Cardinals’ decisions about the ranks.
“Of course, you can immediately rise to Cardinal level if you unleash your stigmata. Well, as long as you are not of commoner birth, that is.”
Sir Geens’ gaze was extremely cold despite the soft droop of his eyes.
His voice sounded weak, as if he was sleepy, though it seemed weak for a different reason.
“How long does it take for the stigmata to open?”
The Imperial Prince asked.
The stigmata, if I use gaming terms to describe it, is like a Holy Knight’s personal unique skill or ultimate special attack.
I was told that there were a lot of theories behind it, but I didn’t read into them because it had nothing to do with me.
Not all Holy Knights were capable of opening their stigmata as it requires a lot of effort along with the grace of the Almighty God.
But the Imperial Prince was acting as if he already had that.
I found it to be annoying, since I knew he wasn’t wrong.
“The youngest Cardinal level Holy Knight in history was her highness, the Venetiaan Holy Kingdom’s Crown princess Elise. She opened her stigmata when she was twenty six. I believe she received the Clergy level appointment at the age of six.”
Then, the Imperial Prince bastard turned toward me. Crown princess Elise was Prince Jesse’s older sister.
I was flustered, because I knew that she was a Holy Knight but I did not know that she was such an amazing person.
There was no information I could give him no matter how much he glared at me.
“Bell? Ah, I have it, your Royal Highness.”
The Imperial Prince suddenly changed the subject. I brought it with me in my pocket because he told me to have it on me at all times.
‘Now that I think about it, I need to thank him for it. I also need to ask him how to use it.’
Ganael jumped up in shock. One side of the table suddenly became rowdy.
Sand had fainted, and was slumped on the ground looking like a bag of rice.
I felt my head turning cold and quickly sat down next to him.
I opened my healing circle to confirm that he had simply lost consciousness and had no other issues. I didn’t know whether that was good or bad for him.
This was a typical symptom of ether depletion.
‘But this quickly?’
“It’s not that priest Sand is especially lacking. It is just that his Royal Highness and the young lady seem to require a lot of ether.”
Sir Geens calmly explained as if he was narrating for a documentary.
Benjamin, Ganael, and I seemed to be the only ones who were agitated. I immediately turned toward the Imperial Prince.
“Duke-nim, did you perhaps make contact with the priest-nim?”
He frowned as if he heard something extremely disgusting.
However, his picturesque position did not change at all.
“I have no interest in putting my hands on another person’s body.”
I immediately scowled.
‘What the hell is this ether pig saying? Does that mean that I am not a person?’
The door opened. A light as bright as the sun seeped into the dark bedroom.
The intruder moved carefully, worried that the child might wake up.
The magic light, turned on to combat the second princess’ fear of the dark , was giving off a dim light next to the bed.
The person picked up the toys and dolls on the ground one by one.
The reason they were not already cleaned up was not because the royal attendants were undisciplined.
It was because she ordered them not to do so.
The middle child had personally cleaned up the youngest’s toys at the end of every day, even until the day right before he left the palace.
The reason was simple.
He said that doing this allowed him to know what his younger sister played with that day, what she liked the most and which toys she was tired of playing with.
Elise Venetiaan had taken over that heartwarming task now.
She never forgot about it, no matter how busy or tired she was.
She did not want her youngest sister to feel the emptiness of her brother’s absence even more.
“Your highness, I will help.”
The crown princess’s attendant, who had quietly followed behind her, helped her clean the messy room.
A familiar silence fell between the two of them. Soon, the box was full of all sorts of toys.
Elise quietly sat at the corner of the bed and looked at the pig sculpture on top of the toy box.
That was something Jesse had gifted to Cornelisse.
“Has there been no contact from Sir Geens?”
“Correct, your highness. But there has not been bad news either,l so I presume that it has been delivered properly.”
The attendant quickly responded to the crown princess’s question.
Elise nodded her head once before looking at the sleeping Cornelisse.
Seven years old. It was an age where she didn’t know anything.
The crown princess wanted to make everything right before her youngest sister had to face the scary and horrible reality of the world.
However, the most urgent thing was protecting her younger brother.
Even if it required siding with the Vatican and spending over half of her secret funds. She needed to create this sword for her younger brother.
Elise was the crown princess of the great Holy Kingdom, however, the things she could do were outnumbered by those she could not.
Her mother was slowly going insane from the loss of her lover, and losing her sense of judgment as a result. Whenever that happened, her father acted as regent to increase his foothold and authority.
She thought that she might actually lose her younger brother if things continued like this.
Elise had watched Jesse faint from being poisoned by her father and when he was almost hit by an arrow.
The reason her father acted like this was not rational judgment, but complete lunacy stemming from an inferiority complex and jealousy.
She had no choice at all.
That was the reason. That was the reason she came up with the idea to send him off as a diplomatic hostage. At least he could stay alive that way.
“Please don’t worry too much, your highness. I’m sure that his highness is well.”
“I heard that the Imperial Prince awakened as a Holy Knight. The daughter of a Duke as well.”
“And my brother as well. Didn’t you say that he released ether over there? Miracles like that are not common.”
The crown princess lowered her head.
Her long and sparkling dark gold hair landed on the sheets.
Elise gently kissed her sleeping youngest sister’s forehead.
“I have a bad feeling about this… I feel like the Almighty God might have arranged for that child to be in the Empire.”
She needed to safely ascend the throne if she wanted to bring her brother back.
The three of them had to meet in the Holy Kingdom again.
That was Elise, Jesse, and Cornelisse’s promise.
If their relationship sours because of the Almighty God’s capriciousness or the Empire’s refusal to release him……
“I will definitely get him back.”
The crown princess whispered to herself.
A bright yellow flame appeared on her fingertips before quickly disappearing.
Aww Jesse was such a nice brother.