“Why would a demonic beast be here, your Royal Highness? No, more importantly, this……”“It’s a magic tool that detects the mana of demonic beasts.”
Imperial Prince Cédric whispered in a low voice.
He reached a gloved hand toward the bell I was holding before releasing a thin layer of red mana.
Christelle and I watched without making any noise.
The Imperial Prince’s strength became infused in the magic tool.
The bell, which had been glowing white, calmed down as if nothing had happened.
It did not make any other noises or shine any longer. I turned to look at the Imperial Prince in shock.
I couldn’t help but smile despite it not being the right situation to do so.
“Thank you very much, your Royal Highness.”
“I didn’t know you gave me such a useful thing, your Royal Highness. I will put it to good use.”
I was already thinking that I should thank him at some point but this was more precious than I had imagined.
It was an essential magic tool for someone like me, whose mana sensitivity was at the bottom.
“Did you receive that as a birthday present, your highness?”
Christelle’s eyes were sparkling in the darkness as she whispered to me.
I nodded my head and changed the topic. There was something more important than that right now.
“The Imperial Capital’s guards searched the theatre but they were unable to find any traces of a demonic beast. Even now, it is very quiet.”
I gently motioned with my chin. The curtains had risen and the stage of this opera theatre was shining brightly.
Boards with delicately painted backgrounds were moving in from both sides.
The inside of the theatre was completely peaceful, without any signs of chaos.
“I don’t sense any suspicious mana.”
“Me neither. We would have noticed right away if there was a demonic beast here.”
The two of them spoke one after the other. I gently frowned.
Similar to how demonic beasts could not infiltrate the Imperial Palace because of the barrier, demonic beasts also could not enter the Imperial Capital, as the outskirts were guarded by the Imperial troops.
Most demonic beasts were killed before they could get past the barrier. Then……
“Your Royal Highness, where did you buy this? Is it possible that you were scammed?”
Christelle whispered in a serious voice.
She pointed to the bell in my hand and offered to go with me if I wanted to go get a refund.
The Imperial Prince glared at her with a burning gaze.
“My father made it.”
“It truly is a scam. A magic tool with a scam-like unbelievable ability.”
She made a U-turn in her comment without a single change in her expression. I observed the two of them, one after the other.
The small bell that quietly rang after reacting to a demonic beast’s mana and the main characters who couldn’t detect the demonic beast…
However, it was extremely unlikely that the magic tool was wrong since it belonged to the Thrilling Archmage, Prince Consort Alexandre.
I felt the coldness of the crystal in my hands before starting to speak.
“Do you think that maybe the demonic beast is too weak?”
I put the bell carefully back into my pocket.
I thought that I should take better care of it from now on since it is a keepsake of his father.
‘Even if we are friends, is it really okay for me to receive something like this?’
“It made it into the center of the city without being caught by the Imperial troops and it is not getting caught by the two of your mana sensitivity. Couldn’t that only mean one thing? It must have an extremely low amount of mana.”
Our three gazes quickly intertwined.
The only issue we know of that was potentially related to demonic beasts in the Imperial Capital was the rumor about a ghost appearing in the theatre.
Basically, this demonic beast was not strong enough to threaten humanity or cause a large incident.
I peeked behind me.
Benjamin, Ganael, and David’s gazes were not focused on the stage, but on us.
They were probably curious about why we were putting our heads together and whispering so much.
“We should probably evacuate the spectators-”
“Welcome! Thank you very much to our esteemed guests who have come to the opening performance of the < Phantom of the Pas de Trois >.”
A middle-aged woman appeared on the stage at that moment. I stopped talking and looked at her.
It was Viscount André, the owner of the theatre who had escorted me to Box Seat 5.
Her face looked extremely bright, unlike the serious look on my face.
“The Attal Opera Company has been giving it their best everyday- of course, including today -to satisfy your noble eyes and ears. They might even be a bit too nervous.Ah, half of the cast is still in the restroom and the other half is still unconscious after fainting. What am I going to do?! It’s so hard to wake them up!”
The nobles flapped their fans and laughed out loud.
I was curious as to how much of those comments were just a joke. The viscount continued to speak.
“Now then, please enjoy our dancers’ magnificent performance before we meet with Daphnis and Chloe. This is from Act 3……”
She flipped through the script she brought with her and smiled brightly.
I thought that her thin lips and her voice was trembling ever so slightly. She was clearly stalling for time.
“This is a group performance of the corps de ballet. This extra show is completely free!”
The orchestra started to play as they received loud cheers and applause.
Dancers wearing ballet outfits appeared on stage. The Imperial Prince stood up from his seat as someone knocked at the door of our box seat, almost as if it was a coincidence.
David, who noticed that the situation seemed odd, quickly greeted the guest.
The light of the hallway shone into the box seat. An employee with whitish hair was standing by the door-
“Your Royal Highness.”
I gasped and jumped up from my seat.
The Imperial Prince had pulled out the Sword of Wisdom and pointed it at this person’s neck!
“You should know of your sins of making a fool of the Imperial Family like this.”
“Y, your Royal Highness. That, that……”
The man plopped down on the ground looking completely pale.
Christelle was hugging the fried potatoes and quickly eating the ones covered in sauce.
She seemed to have as little of a desire to stop the Imperial Prince as the tiny amount of fat Percy had on him. I was the one who ended up stepping in.
“Please calm down, your Royal Highness. We should listen to the theatre’s side of the story first. It won’t be late to punish them if their sins are revealed later.”
I understood why he was angry.
Their sins were too severe if they knew about the demonic beast’s existence and still proceeded with the performance and even invited the Imperial Family.
However, we didn’t know about any of that right now and this man was not the person in charge.
“Vice Captain Élisabeth is outside as well. Please let the Imperial Guard do their job.”
The Imperial Prince glared at the employee as if he would roast him alive before slowly withdrawing his sword.
I quietly sighed in relief. It was at that moment.
– Knock knock.
Another guest knocked on the already opened door before bowing his head and observing the inside of the box seat.
I made eye contact with the mint-colored eyes.
“Hello, your highness. Your Royal Highness. I came to bring young lady Christelle’s bag.”
His white hair fluttered. I gently smiled and pointed to the small purse.
Christelle swallowed a fry before shouting. ‘Oh right!’
‘……We should be able to take down a demonic beast with these members, right?’
‘Of course.’ I had that thought as I nodded my head.
Vice Captain Élisabeth, who heard the news and rushed into the theatre, sent most of the Imperial Guard members she brought with her into the stands.
We didn’t need them to guard us anyway.
The patrons were too busy laughing and watching the dancers that they seemed to have no idea about what happened.
‘The reign of Empress Frédérique was said to be an age of peace. It must be nice not having any worries.’
“It is all my fault, your Royal Highness.”
The owner of the theatre got down on one knee in the wide office on the back side of the theatre.
Her white cravat that was folded into a butterfly was shaking.
The Vice Captain of the Imperial Guard spoke instead of the Imperial Prince.
“Viscount Judith André. Is it true that there is a demonic beast inside the theatre?”
“That…… Even we are not sure about that, ma’am.”
The middle-aged woman sat up a bit straighter as she answered.
I could see some cold sweats on the viscount but she was extremely calm.
I could feel the years of experience from running into all sorts of incidents while running the theatre.
Of course, it was probably the first time something this big has happened for her too.
“The reason we pushed the start of the performance back is because both main members of the cast lost consciousness. However, whether that is because of a demonic beast……”
‘Both of them? This is really suspicious.’
“Wasn’t there a rumor going around? I heard that there was a ghost that appeared and sucked out the souls of the cast.”
I asked. Viscount André looked at me and gulped.
“You are correct, your highness. Some members of the cast did go unconscious during the rehearsals. However, we just thought that people who failed at maintaining their conditions fainted. It can happen if they are too stressed out. They were all fine without any issues once they woke up.”
The owner explained. Christelle chimed in.
“Then why was there a rumor about a ghost? Was it just a publicity stunt? I heard that the show sells out every year even without something like that.”
The viscount pulled a handkerchief out of her black jacket pocket and wiped her forehead.
“There was never a witness whenever the actors lost consciousness. I think that that might be the reason such baseless rumors started spreading.”
“Madam Viscount. The young kid-”
The middle-aged man who had plopped down on the ground in front of the Imperial Prince earlier in the box seat cautiously chimed in before the viscount shouted at him.
I squinted. ‘There’s definitely something there.’
“I’m guessing your name is Eric? Please explain what happened.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth calmly asked.
Her eyes were sharp and her voice was about a half tone lower, giving her a solemn demeanor as she was in full Vice Captain of the Imperial Guard mode.
The man bowed in front of her.
“Yes ma’am, that…… There were about three times when actors went unconscious during rehearsals. Two of those times, there were no witnesses. But one time…… A new errand boy said that he saw something scary.”
“He went to the changing room to deliver an outfit when he saw a man and a woman kissing. It felt so personal so he quickly closed the door, but…… He saw the woman going unconscious and the man transforming through the crack in the door.”
“What do you mean by that?”
I tilted my head in confusion. Eric seemed a bit hesitant.
“……I know that it sounds completely unbelievable, your highness. The man who kissed the woman apparently transformed to look like the woman. The errand boy screamed and ran down the corridor to come find me.”
“Where is that child now?”
“He quit four days later and went back to his hometown.”
The viscount, who had listened to Eric say all of this, sighed.
It was definitely something that would be bad for the image of the theatre.
Vice Captain Élisabeth motioned with her hand after observing the Imperial Prince’s face and the Imperial Guard members exited the office with Viscount André and Eric.
The three attendants slowly sat down on the couch.
They seemed to already know that our conversation would be long.
Christelle, the Imperial Prince, Vice Captain Élisabeth, Sir Geens and I stood around in a circle.
“I think that it will be safer to believe that there is a demonic beast.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth commented. I nodded my head in agreement.
“It is weak enough that none of you can sense them and only the magic tool can do so. Based on the fact that it changed appearance after a kiss, I think that it is probably sucking out their mana and making it its own.”
I didn’t think that it would be ether. Holy ether was like poison to demonic beasts.
However, no matter what its goal was, the mana from the bodies of regular people and not a mage was probably not enough for it.
“It could have been starving. Or maybe it is injured or young.”
I listened to Christelle’s hypothesis and fell deep into thought.
I had read about a similar demonic beast in the < Great Encyclopedia of Demonic Beast > not too long ago.
It was when I was going through the book because I was concerned that Percy might be a demonic beast in disguise.
There were an extremely low number of demonic beasts that could change their appearances, and there was one that resembled a Pokemon that seemed quite similar to the one we were dealing with right now.
“It’s at the tip of my tongue but I can’t remember it. This demonic beast is black and round and floats around while absorbing mana from living beings. I heard that they live deep in the forests.”
‘What was its name again?’ It had been a while since I was frustrated at not having a status window or a memory skill.
Hey author person! Send me an ability if you really want to help the prince!
“It must be an Esprit. This demonic beast is commonly seen in the rural villages in the mountains of the Holy Kingdom as well. The main body is so weak that even regular people can take them down.”
Sir Geens explained gently. My eyes opened wide.
“That’s right. That was exactly what I saw. I heard that they eat the food leftover by other demonic beasts and even the carcass.”
“Why is a demonic beast from deep in the forest in the Imperial Capital?”
The silent Imperial Prince finally commented. ‘How the heck would I know when you don’t even know?’
“It is likely that its home was destroyed or it lost its herd. Wasn’t there a large clearing of demonic beasts in the mountains recently?”
Sir Geens smiled brightly as he said that. Four pairs of eyes all headed toward the Imperial Prince at the same time.
The orange pair of eyes squinted.
“So you are saying that it is my fault.”
I smiled bitterly.
It was a good thing that the Imperial Prince scorched the entire mountain during the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts down south, but none of us could have expected such a chain reaction.
Who would have expected a demonic beast that survived to come to the capital?
“It is a relief that it doesn’t hurt people, but how do we catch it?”
Vice Captain Élisabeth asked. Four pairs of eyes turned to look at Sir Geens this time.
I totally did not expect the future thirty minutes from now when I saw his eyes curl up as he explained the answer to us.
Basically, I didn’t expect the Imperial Prince and Christelle to be just about to kiss or to suddenly push forward so much in their relationship.
‘I wish I had a camera! Jung Eunseo!’
Wait, wait, wait…whaaaaat?!