“This carriage belongs to the temple so naturally, the Saintess is in it. Does that answer your question?”
“Then I will ask the question this time. Who are you?”
The man’s gaze turned back to the Princess. For a moment, a chill ran down my spine. At the same time, the princess rustled and raised her head.
A groan came from behind me and more rustling followed. She pushed me forward a little and pointed at the man. Then she rubbed her eyes as if she couldn’t believe her sight.
“Why are you here?”
Did they know each other? It didn’t seem dangerous so I looked back and forth between the two and then I realized why the man looked familiar.
The princess smiled brightly and moved towards the man and at that, the man snapped his fingers and something interesting happened. The carriage, which had tilted to the side, slowly returned to its original state.
There were very few people that could wield divine power, and likewise, there were even fewer people that could wield magic.
Once the carriage was upright, the princess quickly dashed out and threw her arms around the man’s neck. He didn’t avoid her touch either.
“You said you’ll be here in four days!”
“My schedule cleared up a little earlier.”
I guess…this man is the first son of the Ducal House of Nestro.
His hair color, which was completely different from the princess, shone brilliantly under the sun.
It seems he was the very brother that the princess wouldn’t stop talking about. Were they very close?
As I observed closely, I found something unexpected.
The ducal prince had stopped stroking Ronella’s hair and his eyes were cold. And although the princess was talking breathlessly, her eyes were not smiling. Neither of them looked sincere.
Both were acting but it was not enough to deceive me.
“It has been 3 years! I missed you so much.”
As soon as the princess let go of him, she returned to her original state.
I watched the two similar-looking people with interest, paying special attention to the ducal prince.
The prince was as thin as Reneben. He had pale skin, sharply drawn eyes, and icy blue pupils nestled between his white lashes. And as he swept his hair back, it shimmered in the sun.
Sadly, he was not one of the princess’s fishes.
“By the way, why did you do that to the carriage…?” the princess put a finger to her chin and tilted her head a beat later.
“A demon; I smelled something filthy.”
He was clearly making eye contact with me, but somehow it felt like he was looking at the princess instead. This was a strange situation but I decided to greet him first.
“I am Emilone. Given the circumstances, I am not in a very good mood,” I spoke lightly, somewhat digging at the prince.
The ducal prince turned to me; his expression unmoved.
It didn’t occur to me to call him handsome because I had just seen the crown prince but his appearance was the type to make your heart flutter before you even realize it.
“I am Veron Nestro. I apologize for my rude actions.”
He was speaking respectfully but strangely, it felt like he was talking down to me.
Veron did not look away so I felt like I had to say something and crackled my knuckles thoughtlessly.
(Emilone)“Please do not do that next time. May I know why you stopped the carriage in such an extreme manner?”
Veron looked back at the princess and his eyes curved. Ronella also looked at him and stamped her feet to express her joy. But the feeling I was getting…
(Veron)“…My hand moved before I realized it.”
(Ronella)“I think it’s because of energy from the demon that Your Holiness dealt with.”
They seemed to hate each other a lot.
Hmm…you know what they say. A story can’t just have romance. There must be hardships and adversity too.
The ducal prince drew a smile on his face in response to the princess.
The princess turned to me and asked kindly, “Lady Emilone, I’m sorry to say this but it seems I will have to postpone my prayers. Since Elder brother is back, I think I have to return to the Ducal manor; can I ask for your understanding?”
I wanted to watch a little more though.
I guess acting skills run in this family. The emotions on Veron’s face barely fluctuated from beginning to end but once the air changed, he could not deceive me.
* * *
After listlessly soaking myself in warm water, I covered my face with my hands and smiled. Although I quickly removed my hand because the wound caused by the crown prince’s dagger stung.
“That reminds me, he called it a filthy smell…”
Did that mean he could smell the demon?
I scrubbed my body, thinking that I should look into this later. I didn’t want to let someone else wash me so I was doing it myself but the blue-green blood was not coming off easily so I had to rinse several times.
“I hope something like this never happens again…”
Demons might seem like nothing since I dealt with one so easily but before a Saint appeared about 800 years ago, a demon wiped out half of an entire country before it was finally destroyed. That country is now part of the empire.
Apparently, the empire started a war while it was weak, taking advantage of its misfortune and absorbed the country.
I poured water over my wound and exhaled.
Becoming the Saintess Emilone improved my physical strength and gave my unimaginable powers but I was unable to heal myself.
“Come to think of it, I didn’t get an apology or a thank you.”
From the Crown Prince, I mean. Even though I saved his life.
“He even took my shawl.”
It was my favorite shawl too. I draped my soft and warmly cherished shawl around the crown prince’s shoulders.
Of course, I won’t be able to use it again but still.
The blood between my nails wasn’t coming off and I narrowed my eyes and looked down at my hands.
I saved a person today with these hands.
It was gross, scary, and disgusting at the same time but I guess it wasn’t too bad.
I tried to block the bright light with my hand but it was too lavish to cover it all so I ended up staring blankly at it. I felt like I would get dizzy if I stayed here any longer so I finished washing up and went out.
When I got out, Reneben was waiting there. Only then did I remember that I asked a servant to tell him to wait for me.
I realized that I was only wearing a robe and my hair was wet. I tucked in the end of my robe again and beckoned to Reneben.
Reneben’s eyes darted all over the room, looking flustered.
Seeing his expression, I walked barefoot towards my desk then I handed him the file I had prepared in advance.
“Please send this to the Imperial Palace.”
“It’s information regarding the demon that attacked the Crown Prince. The emperor will ask for this later. I figured it would be better to send it over beforehand.”
I was about to tell Reneben that he could leave now but he stopped me. Hair trickled down from my hair, drenching my robe.
“Lady Emilone. Uh…a message just came from the Imperial Palace…”
Looking anywhere but in my direction, Reneben said, “There’s…going to be a party celebrating the Saintess instead of a reception for the hunting competition.”
“His Majesty wants to convey his thanks for saving the Crown Prince.”
“A party for me…”
“Although His Highness might not be able to attend because of his current condition.”
I’m guessing the party would be held either tomorrow at the earliest or the day after tomorrow. Then than meant in the next couple of days, I was going to attend the party then have dinner at the Ducal manor.
I arranged the packed schedule in my head.
“Of course, if you are not up to it, Lady Emilone…”
Reneben was restless.
I stroked the wound on my cheek and nodded my head. No reason not to go
“Let them know I will be attending.”
* * *
They called it a party for me but I suspect it’s more like a party for the Princess and her fishes.
“And Reneben too…”
The princess didn’t know that her true nature had been discovered, which is why I could enjoy this situation.
I put a blueberry muffin and honeyed milk in front of me as I thought of memorable tune. I could still remember the melodies from idols and famous singers so I hummed to myself while taking a bite of the muffin.
When you keep eating the same western-styled food, you tend to get tired and find something else but it wasn’t like that for me. I wasn’t picky at all so I could eat almost everything.
Still, there were times when I craved Korean food. Now was such a time.
As with most aristocrat parties, it did not start until after sunset so I had plenty of time this morning.
I popped a piece of sweet muffin in my mouth, happily imagining what would happen tonight.
Suddenly, I remembered the surprise on Reneben’s face last night when he noticed my wound. Honestly, I didn’t realize he hadn’t noticed at all.
Then again, I’m sure his head was occupied with thoughts of the princess. However, the wound had already long disappeared due of my body’s excellent healing power.
*Ronella is a Duke’s daughter and called gongnyeo(Princess). Her brother is a Duke’s son and called gongja(Prince). To avoid confusion, I will use the title ‘ducal prince’ whenever he is introduced.
**This novel is so long with almost 2k words per chapter. I feel like I’m translating YGTWHV again lol.