Cédric Riester buried his body in the couch.
Christelle continued without any hesitation, as this was his way of telling her to continue.
“I did some research, your Royal Highness. Of course, it took some time because, as you know, my memories are not fully back.”
The blue-gray eyes sparkled with intelligence. Naturally, she did not study with just her own abilities.
Prince Jesse seemed to enjoy reading and found it awkward to make the people around him do things for him, however, she was different.
Christelle nagged the House of Sarnez’s private teacher the attendants until she successfully received the information she was looking for.
She did not want to sit in the library and rummage through books all day.
“A Religious Partner is a relationship created between one member of the Imperial family and one priest through a Covenant of Paired Stars. This is a tradition only found in the Riester Empire. Once the contract is formed, the Holy Guardian is unable to share their soul with anyone other than the Master. Basically, they become unable to share their ether with anybody else.”
“Did you think that I wouldn’t know that?”
“However, there is no quantity limit to a Holy Knight pairing with a priest.”
The Imperial Prince’s sunset-like eyes squinted a bit.
His sun-like gaze observed the young lady across from him as if he would melt her away.
Christelle smiled and wet her lips with the Iced Americano David had brought for her.
The coffee in Romero Palace was truly delicious.
Maybe it was because the man who was obsessed with espressos lived here.
A suffocating silence descended upon the reception room. Christelle sighed internally.
She didn’t expect him to urge her to talk but she was surprised that his overbearing attitude would not let out even one bit.
The man’s fire attribute ether was as vicious as ever, but it didn’t show any signs of wanting to attack her, at least not yet.
Christelle maintained a smile on her face as she continued to speak.
“I looked into some historical documents from the Warring Era, your Royal Highness. There were some records of it, despite being pretty rare. There were records of Holy Knights from the Venetiaan Holy Kingdom having two priests as partners.”
The Imperial Prince slowly started drinking his coffee.
“It is normally reserved for two people to be a pair but it can change when an urgent situation calls for it. There are no special contracts or soul restrictions to be partners. Practicality is the top priority in that relationship.”
“Holy Knights and priests have different positions.”
Cédric sharply responded. There was some logic in his words.
A Holy Knight on the battlefield was in danger of his ether depleting at any moment, so it wasn’t weird for him to have two priest partners.
However, one priest partnering up with two or more Holy Knights……
Christelle’s clear voice echoed through the room.
The Imperial Prince’s movements immediately stopped as he was putting the coffee to his lips.
He only raised his eyes to look at her.
Christelle de Sarnez felt the Imperial Prince’s ether overpowering for the first time since coming into Romero Palace.
The air heated up as if invisible flames were surrounding them.
At least it was extremely restrained.
She created some white snowflakes at her fingertips to endure the pressure.
Getting riled up right now might lead to the two of them destroying a part of the palace.
“I am talking about the woman who betrayed his Majesty, the late Emperor Romero, and allowed the Holy Kingdom’s army into the Imperial Palace. The priestess who was in charge of Juliette Palace. I learned that the Empire calls her the rare villainess?”
“According to the records, Julite had Holy Knights on either side of her when she came through the Imperial Palace portal. One knight declared that he saw her giving ether to both of them. The three of them must have been partners.”
“It was only one person who said that.”
“That’s right, your Royal Highness. But isn’t it better for the two of us than not having any?”
If there was a precedent, it was easy to have it happen again. The Imperial Prince did not respond.
Christelle crunched on some ice.
She didn’t want to be like most nobles and beat around the bush while hiding her true intentions, at least about this topic.
That was something she experienced enough in her ‘past life.’
Her sparkling eyes looked right at the Imperial Prince.
“To be honest with you, your Royal Highness, I want Prince Jesse to be my priest partner. His highness treats me well without any greed for his own benefits. He is a good person and a good friend.”
“Furthermore, his ether is so amazing. Even the Archbishops do not have such clear and delicate auras.”
“You feel that way too, don’t you, your Royal Highness?”
“The prince is as loud as a lark and eats like a squirrel. He’s not fun to be around.”
‘What is he saying?’ Christelle frowned. The man’s ether had calmed down at some point.
“Then are you saying that it is fine for me to request to be Prince Jesse’s part, ah!”
Christelle shouted in annoyance.
She had no intentions of openly being angry at the Imperial Prince. But this was too much!
“This is already the third handkerchief. How will you be making it up to me, your Royal Highness?”
Christelle picked up the remains of the handkerchief in her jacket pocket.
Her frost-covered fingers were fine despite coming in contact with the red heat.
She scrunched her eyes.
“It seems like you don’t want me to become partners with Prince Jesse.”
And that meant that the Imperial Prince, as expected, also was considering Prince Jesse as his partner.
Christelle’s mind was a mess, contemplating whether she should pity herself for being able to somewhat understand the way this bastard conversed with people or be proud that she had figured it out.
That was why she just decided to say what she wanted to say.
“Then I will understand that we are only attending the Annual Prayer Meeting as a formality. We are going to be together when we ask Prince Jesse to be our partner. No meeting him separately to appeal to him, okay, your Royal Highness?”
She knew that this bastard of an Imperial Prince wasn’t the type to lower himself and go ask Prince Jesse.
However, it was better to be on the same side than to be competitors.
Christelle convinced herself and reached her right hand out.
A pinky promise seemed too much and a handshake…… She would be annoyed by it since that was a large surface coming in contact with this guy.
After contemplating for a bit she formed a fist and extended her hand.
The Imperial Prince frowned as he did not understand what she was trying to do.
“……Young lady Blanquer, don’t have such thoughts.”
I said that and stopped. I was being careful.
Eva was a child who had suffered from her terrible older brother’s evil brainwashing since she was four years old.
Based on what I had seen, she didn’t even seem to realize that it was brainwashing.
I was worried that saying even one thing wrong would hurt her.
I held Demy and organized my thoughts when Vice Captain Élisabeth, who had been listening to my conversation with Eva, asked with indifference.
“Young lady Blanquer, do you have any thoughts about gaining your independence?”
“I thought that it might be good for you to get a house and stay in the Imperial Capital. I’m sure it is frustrating in the territory.”
I jerked my head up. Vice Captain Élisabeth was right.
Our top priority was getting this little young lady out of the trashy young Duke bastard’s hands and releasing her to a free environment.
I observed Eva’s face. A slightly sullen child’s face instantly lit up.
“I already have a house!”
Vice Captain Élisabeth’s voice cracked a bit.
“The Blanquer residence in the Imperial Capital is mine. It was supposed to be my brother’s but I whined and complained for them to at least give me a house since I can’t become the young Duchess.”
I gasped in admiration. Vice Captain Élisabeth, who glanced to quickly make eye contact with me, looked shocked as well.
The young lady seemed to have found ways to get her share of things despite being under the villain’s brainwashing.
I was proud of her innovative thought process.
Eva smiled and her legs dangled as the young Countess patted her shoulder to praise her.
“Will you be with the young Duke when he heads back to the territory?”
“Yes, that has always been the case. Our parents were wary of leaving me, a minor, alone at the residence here. It’s silly since I would have the attendants and knights with me.”
The young girl pouted at my question. I quietly put two and two together.
Duchess Blanquer and her husband were not close to their children but seemed to at least take care of the basics.
They also seemed to be big spenders who were willing to give their house in the Imperial Capital at their daughter’s tantrum.
I thought that the situation would get much better if we managed to get her away from the evil Young Duke, who said such terrible things to his nine years younger sister instead of lifting her up.
“I guess that can change now that you became an adult last week.”
I commented. Eva looked at me and blinked.
“You said that you wanted power, young lady Blanquer. The Imperial Capital is the center of power. If you stay here, you’ll be able to get information on the nobles in the Imperial Capital almost immediately while also experiencing the newest trends. It will also make it much easier to participate in the Beau Monde.”
The little girl’s mouth opened wide in shock.
“I, I too had that thought. However…… I don’t think that my older brother will leave me here. He said that the other nobles would sneer if someone like me was left here alone.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth jumped up from her seat. I quickly grabbed her arm to hold her back.
The two of us quickly whispered to each other.
‘I’ll be back after stabbing him just once, your Highness.’
‘Then I will only stab him twice.’
‘The number increased.’
I barely managed to sit Vice Captain Élisabeth back down while thinking about something Christelle once said.
‘I wish to give the villagers of Lucas village a new life as I have earned. I would prefer it be one where they stand up on their own.’
I wasn’t stopping Vice Captain Élisabeth because I thought fondly of the young Duke bastard.
I even wondered if I should have let the Imperial Prince kill the bastard during the duel.
However, someone stepping in now would only result in them being charged with murder or assault.
Christelle was right. Eva needed to personally make the young Duke bastard pay for her scars.
She had no idea what had happened to her right now, but she will one day figure everything out.
Even a Diplomatic hostage like me should be able to look after this child until that time.
Furthermore, I was not alone.
I had Vice Captain Élisabeth, Ganael, Benjamin, and even Cardinal Boutier.
‘……Christelle and the Imperial Prince also won’t brush it aside if they learn about her situation.’
I couldn’t help but smile. I opened my mouth to speak.
“Nobody will sneer, young lady Blanquer. There is also nobody who thinks that you are evil. Nobody will have such thoughts as long as you don’t do anything bad.”
“But my brother……”
“The reason the young Duke said such things is because he is that kind of person.”
Demy buried himself into my arms as I said that. I slowly petted his back.
“There are many people who, once they learn that they are lacking in some way, choose to attack those around them instead of working hard to fix it. They fill their sense of self by cutting down others or controlling them.”
“……I do not know what you are saying, your highness. It is difficult to understand.”
Eva frowned. Vice Captain Élisabeth and I laughed out loud.
“It is fine for you to slowly come to understand it. You are still young and you will make new friends while residing in the Imperial Capital.”
The child looked at me with confusion. I gently smiled.
“You must be punished for your act of violence against me. Did you think that we would forget about that?”
Her voluminous curly red hair seemed to sulk. I happily continued to speak.
“Reside in the Ducal residence at the Imperial Capital and show up to the Imperial Palace for work. You can inform your parents that you are assisting her Eminence and me. You will have to be in charge of cleaning the temple for a while.”
“Cleaning? I’ve never cleaned anything in my life!”
“There is a first time for everything. You spilled so much water on the floor like that so you should see how it feels to be the person to clean it up.”
“……I hate you, your highness. You have the face of an angel but you are a tyrant!”
The little girl’s shoulders sulked as she had a look of pain on her face.
But she was at least a good girl since she didn’t say that she wouldn’t do it.
Vice Captain Élisabeth looked at me and said that I was a champ at handling children.
It was hard to stop myself from laughing.
“Is there anything else you are good at? Or maybe something you want to do in the Imperial Capital?”
I asked almost in a teasing way. Eva’s brown eyes rolled from side to side as she contemplated things.
“There are many things I do well, your highness. I am good at playing the viola and am a decent dancer. I have no talent for magic, but…… My ether is the best in the family.”
I nodded my head.
She definitely had the talent of a genius if she was able to be ordained as a bishop at the age of sixteen.
It was surprising that she was bad with magic since she came from the famous house of mages, but genetics don’t always follow a certain set of rules.
“I saw the Sacred Bow of the Tree of Life with my own eyes in the forest within our territory when I was four years old. The divine item. It had no reaction when my brother touched it, but it shined brightly when I touched it!”
“……What did you say?”
“My brother’s face turned pale and I remember him throwing a fit. He shouted at me not to tell anybody and that he wouldn’t leave me alone if I did. He was so loud.”
I immediately looked up.
Vice Captain Élisabeth’s grey eyes also seemed to be full of complication.
Eva acting like such a little baby.