“Should we keep it up for thirty more seconds?”
The two circles crashed against each other. They screeched, sounding like metal against metal. Golden sparks flew everywhere.
I clenched my teeth and used every ounce of strength I had. Cardinal Boutier’s Divine Power was overwhelming and her Holy Domain was strong.
I slowly increased the size of my Holy Domain as I tried to pressure her circle from getting bigger.
It was the complete opposite lesson from the first day I entered the Cardinal’s office.
It was her who had pushed me away from the center at that time.
But today, the goal was to push her as far toward a corner as I could.
“Good. Maintain that focus you have right now.”
I opened my eyes wide and glared at the boundary between the two circles. It looked like the gears of a clock.
Thanks to all of the ether leaving my body, my circle was ever so slightly getting bigger.
‘A little more like this……’
“You need to be desperate if you want to release a Holy Land. Think about something you desperately want.”
I heard the voices of my brother and Eunseo as soon as the Cardinal said that. I lost all tension in my jaw at that moment.
The Cardinal did not miss that short instant of an opening. It was already too late for me to recover.
I felt an ether that was not mine strongly pushing down inside my mind and…
Her Holy Domain instantly expanded and sent me flying.
My body couldn’t handle the strong impact and slammed against the bookshelf before I fell to the ground.
There was now only one golden circle lighting up the office.
I groaned as I raised my head. My back and knees were hurting but I didn’t seem to be injured.
It was going to be a faint bruise at most.
The Cardinal’s bright light that was coming out of the ground gently wrapped around me and started to turn clockwise.
She walked up to me and offered me her hand. I got up with her help.
“There’s no need to be so impatient, my little prince.”
“You have talent. Your Holy Land will open when the time is right so let’s just think of it as making your flow of ether as smooth as possible until then.”
She was kindly encouraging me. I nodded my head.
I knew that I was a talented priest even if I didn’t get any stronger.
But I wanted to give it everything I had since I never knew what might happen at any moment.
It was good to have reliable people around me but getting stronger myself was naturally beneficial to my survival.
It would also be good for the divine beasts to have a reliable guardian as well.
“That ends our lesson for today. Catch your breath.”
The Cardinal commented. I immediately buried myself on the couch while she sat in front of her desk.
“Is there anything you are curious about?”
The Cardinal’s beige-colored eyes faintly sparkled under her monocle.
There was one thing I really wanted to ask. However, I decided to save it for later.
“Are the three Cardinals coming from the Vatican all Holy Knights?”
I started to speak.
I heard that Cardinal Boutier had officially requested for Cardinals to be dispatched for Christelle and Imperial Prince Cédric’s Holy Knight appointment.
If I am lucky, I might even get to see an Earth attribute Holy Knight.
The corners of my teacher’s eyes curled up mischievously at my question.
“It is random. The judges are chosen randomly to maintain fairness. However, only two people will be coming.”
‘Hmm? Didn’t they say that you needed two out of three Cardinals to approve an appointment?’
“I’m the third.”
“When else is power useful? Something like this is nothing for our children’s future.”
She smiled elegantly.
Her unique and mysterious demeanor suddenly felt dark, giving me the chills.
Basically, although the Cardinals were supposed to be randomly selected, the Empire’s money and power were able to secure one of the seats.
My jaws dropped on their own.
‘Is this okay? Even if there is no Pope right now, isn’t this too corrupt?’
Furthermore, she wasn’t even associated with the Vatican.
“The Vatican has a much closer relationship with the Holy Kingdom than the Empire, so shouldn’t they at least do this much to maintain balance? There may have been three Cardinals with negative feelings for the children if I just sat back and watched.”
Her purple eyebrows curled down as if she was sad.
It was a silent pressure that told me she would be very sad if I took this negatively or thought it was weird.
I did my best to smile.
‘Yes, it is good if things go well for the main characters.’
“Is there anything else you are curious about? Or maybe something you want to get permission for?”
She asked explicitly. I wanted to laugh.
Benjamin and Ganael’s reactions had been quite exaggerated.They looked like they were on the verge of crying when I said that I wanted to go watch the polo match.
Vice Captain Élisabeth and Christelle had been quite happy as well.
Everybody in Juliette Palace knew about it by dinner time.
It was not shocking at all that the Cardinal knew about it as well.
“Marquis Duhem’s polo match, may I-”
“I want to go too. Can Cédric and I go with you too?”
The Cardinal quickly asked. I nodded my head and laughed out loud.
I had honestly been anxious that they would say no but I can finally relax now because I could feel that she and the Imperial family trusted me.
It was my first time actively interfering with the events of QNW, but I was confident.
‘I just need to sit away from the two of them.’
Juliette Palace was pretty rowdy in the afternoon.
The Imperial doctor, a healing priest, and their aides filled up two rooms.
The Imperial Prince, ‘Sadie,’ was a person who did what he said he would do. They had already been examining me for an hour.
I had been relieved because they told me there was no need to fast but it was quite serious.
I could see Christelle sitting in the other room through the crowds of busy people.
She had followed me after Sir Geens’ lesson had ended.
I was curious why she stayed here instead of going to the Moutet Count’s Estate since Vice Captain Élisabeth and Eva were there.
“Overall, you are healthy, your highness. However, I would recommend that you gain some weight.”
“I’m already eating as much as I can.”
“The flow of your ether is stable as well. It is spread evenly throughout your body without any blockage.”
“Thank you very much.”
The Imperial doctor and healing priest finished their diagnoses. The last step was to get some blood.
This world did not have syringes, so they used a disinfected blade to make a small cut on my finger to draw blood.
My stomach couldn’t handle it so I looked elsewhere.
Christelle gently smiled when we made eye contact.
‘A bit…… She looks a bit down. Am I right?’
“We have to take your precious blood for a more accurate examination, but I believe that no poison will be detected because the color is so vibrant, your highness.”
“I agree with you.”
A couple people chuckled at my comment. I was being serious.
Sadie’s eyes had been on fire but it was hard for me to believe that Sir Geens had poisoned my teacup.
Benjamin, Ganael and the attendants hurriedly started to move once the Imperial doctor and healing priest started to pack up.
The red pandas quickly trotted over, knowing that the thing they could not interrupt had ended.
I hugged the three of them and approached Christelle.
“Young lady Sarnez.”
“Ah, yes your highness. Is it over?”
Christelle smiled as she got up. Something seemed weird about her today.
Nobody has to be happy all of the time but she seemed oddly weak with a blank gaze.
She had been weird in other ways too.
The normal Christelle would have made all sorts of jokes while watching my examination but she had been quiet today.
‘She seemed fine yesterday.’
“Did something happen?”
“Me? No, nothing at all, your highness.”
“Then are you not feeling well?”
‘Is it hard with just Sand’s ether?’
“I’m fine, your highness. You know I am super healthy.”
That was a relief but her smile still seemed fake.
It didn’t seem like something to discuss with her mother, Duchess Isabelle, since she had not gone back to the Duke’s Estate in the Imperial Capital.
I closed my mouth for a few seconds. I didn’t have to contemplate it for a long time.
“Shall we go for a walk?”
“I guess there is a benefit to having a concern. You offered to go on a walk with me, your highness.”
‘So she does have a concern.’
I smiled bitterly and walked through the flower bushes while matching her pace.
This place, which was both the garden for Juliette Palace and the rear garden for Romero Palace, was where I came whenever I had to organize my thoughts.
I thought that it might be helpful to her as well.
The sunlight at the Imperial Capital was still hot in July but there were large white clouds moving around, giving us a decent amount of shade.
“I am happy to listen if you are okay sharing with me.”
I cautiously commented.
I couldn’t ignore the MC when she was walking around with an ‘I’m upset’ sign flashing on her forehead.
Her happiness was directly related to Eunseo’s happiness. And most importantly…
“We are friends.”
Christelle’s large blue-gray eyes looked at me. She seemed shocked at my comment.
I rubbed the back of my neck because I was embarrassed.
“Your reaction is quite weak even though you said we should be friends first.”
“No, that…… I was just touched that you are using this moment to throw that at me, your highness.”
She wiped the tip of her nose.
She walked in silence for a few more steps when I heard her speak in her usual voice.
“To be honest with you, it really isn’t a big deal. In fact, I feel a bit embarrassed to bring it up.”
“Are you sad because you haven’t been able to see his Royal Highness for two days?”
“That has actually increased my happiness meter, your highness.”
Christelle raised her voice. I quietly chuckled.
The Imperial Prince had to miss lessons here and there, as he did yesterday and today, because he had to handle Imperial affairs.
Percy flew over to my shoulder. I petted his wing as I waited for her to continue.
“I just wonder if I can live like this.”
“I was very happy at first. I didn’t have my memories but I got an amazing ability. My family has a lot of money and power and I am still young. I was very happy because I could do anything if I set my mind to it. That still applies. However…”
“Everybody around me seems to have goals. Vice Captain Élisabeth has a solid career, is the heir to the family’s title and even has a fiancé. Eva, who is only sixteen years old, is already working hard to be the young Duchess. Apparently she is analyzing where it would be most effective to make her Beau Monde debut. Even His Royal Highness… Seems loyal to his life and duties. I am envious of that.”
“I thought that I shouldn’t complicate things and just live as a slacker since this is a second life for me, but… I became anxious seeing others working so hard to live. It makes me wonder if it is okay for me to be like this. It makes me wonder if I need to latch onto something and work hard for it. Even though I am tired of trying and being broken down……”
She smiled while saying that her workaholic habits seemed to be stabbed deep into her soul.
She said that thinking that I would question her mental state.
Maybe she thought that this was better than grumbling with her head against a wall.
However, I understood everything Christelle said.
I understood everything including the very minor emotions she was feeling right now.
“You must not have that slacker mentality since you are like this when you have been awake for less than half a year.”
“Apparently so. I feel like it was just yesterday when I told you that I wanted to try everything I wanted to do, your highness. Now I am anxious because I don’t have anything solid in my hand.”
Christelle moved her fingers as she said that.
‘Did she get troubled watching Vice Captain Élisabeth being so active yesterday?’
There are times when I have similar thoughts as well.
My ‘goal’ was to get back home but there seemed to be no method of doing that so far.
That was why it was more accurate to say that I had a desire to go home.
However, the reason I couldn’t give up on calling it a goal was because I dodn’t know when my heart might be shaken if I don’t set it in stone like that.
People who have firm goals and those who don’t have very different attitudes toward life.
Christelle knew that as well, which was why she was starting to get frustrated at herself for not having any specific goals.
She probably had to flail a lot to survive in the past. That was probably why Eunseo liked her.
“I believe that you will find a cool goal eventually, young lady Sarnez.”
Even I could tell that what I said was cheesy. The tips of my fingers started to get warm from embarrassment.
“You’re so lively that even if you don’t look for it, your goal will come find you first, young lady Sarnez. Furthermore, there are a lot of people around you who like you. Even if it takes a while, I’m sure that everybody will cheer you on and wait with you.”
Just as I told her not to be so anxious about it, I recalled hearing something similar from the Cardinal earlier this morning.
Christelle looked back at me and smiled brightly. I felt as if I was seeing the milky way in the middle of the day.
“Thank you very much.”
“I just said some obvious things.”
“Still. I don’t think there is anybody who could respond like that right away to such complaints.”
‘That…… Was true.’
I could understand her because I knew her situation and had also transmigrated.
Christelle stood up and waited for me while I said goodbye to the red pandas dangling on my legs.
“Do you have any concerns lately, your highness? I will lend an ear as well.”
I couldn’t finish my sentence.
Thinking about both the naturalization and being the temporary partner of the two of them gave me headaches.
However, there was another issue that had been grinding against my mind for the last few days.
I debated on whether or not to tell Christelle before starting to speak.
I thought that it would be better to inform the MC about it since it was someone the male lead was wary about.
“It is regarding Sir Geens.”
Find someone who describes you as Jesse describes Christelle.