Excerpt from Ch 25:
“Lady Emilone, perhaps a little more rest…”
“This is unexpected.”
I flipped through the documents, ignoring Reneben’s fidgeting and whining.
I was lying on my side in bed, merely writing on papers, so I forced him to sit down when he kept making a fuss about me overdoing it.
“Everyone is cooperative very actively with my agenda.”
The amount of paperwork was quite small, and it was also weird that the nobles went back quietly yesterday after Reneben said so, without any opposition.
As I crumpled the unneeded paper with puzzlement on my face, Reneben hesitantly explained with a bright expression.
“Yesterday, Your Holiness…you seemed to shine more than anyone else.”
My bloody look?
“I don’t think anyone will ever forget what happened.”
I couldn’t quite dissect what he was saying, so I remained silent for a while before giving a perfunctory response.
“And it seems the nobles have changed their attitude towards Your Holiness and the temple as well.”
If their attitude towards us didn’t change even after all that sacrifice, then we have a big problem.
I propped my chin on my hand and as I watched Reneben talk excitedly, a faint smile appeared on my lips.
While he was excited, I handed him a bunch of documents that I had signed.
As he accepted it, he stared at me and I erased the smile on my face, falling into thought for a moment.
“I thought they would cry and struggle about not giving the temple too much power till the very end…”
“They have witnessed divine punishment in the hands of Your Holiness. Now they know you can affect people’s lives, wouldn’t it be odd to unreasonably oppose?”
Hearing that, I nodded in agreement, and I couldn’t hide my satisfaction. At this rate, my next plans might also proceed smoothly,
“Frankly, I didn’t think the nobles would obediently listen to me, so I planned on getting Duke Cassian’s help.”
I never thought things would be resolved so easily because of the divine punishment that I unknowingly triggered.
Well, all is well that ends well.
I’m glad that my number one priority ended smoothly.
The moment I opened the door and stepped out, a blue mass jumped out, startling me and I froze.
A high-pitched voice followed, and I looked down at the little girl who was wrapped around my waist in a daze.
My waist hurt a little, but it wasn’t unbearable. Reneben, who would usually ask if I was okay, was also frozen.
It seems he couldn’t figure out how to deal with a child clinging to me.
Just then, Jessie came running with her yellow hair flying behind her and picked up her child.
“Jessie… who is the kid?”
Jessie propped the child’s behind as the child wriggled then she spoke in a low voice.
“Um, it’s the child that Your Holiness saved…”
When Jessie said that, I took another look at the blue-haired child.
“I couldn’t get a good look at your face before, child. Can you show me?”
This had completely slipped my mind for a while…
I spoke as softly as I could and stroked the girl’s hair. While everything was happening, it was hard to get a proper look at the child’s face.
But I thought she had already gone back to her parents.
Reneben and I were feeling the same doubt.
Sure enough, Reneben asked Jessie what was going on, and Jessie almost looked like she was about to cry as she explained.
“We couldn’t find her parents… And there were no victims during the demon incident, so they probably abandoned…….”
I blocked Jessie’s open mouth and reached for the child that she was carrying. The sky-blue hair once again fell into my arms.
I was busy with work while injured and I regretted not asking about the child’s situation.
“How old are you?”
The lively voice that called me earlier seemed to have disappeared, and she was almost mumbling now. Finding this cute, I couldn’t help but laugh.
I was puzzled because she seemed too small for a six-years old and I looked at her bony arms.
“Many commoner children are small due to lack of nutrition. Furthermore, she’s a girl, so she might be even smaller.”
Right after Reneben spoke, the child refuted him.
“This one is not a girl…”
Reneben cleared his throat and stared at the child who called himself ‘This one’, and even I looked at the child’s face again.
Jessie seemed to understand and stroked the child’s back, then explained diligently.
“They are six and their name is Chen Ena. Gender…male.”
Jessi, who had washed the boy herself, sounded softer when she spoke of his gender. Even she took another look at the child.
Although they say it’s hard to tell the gender of young children, she looked sorry just to say he was a boy.
Both Reneben and I looked stunned.
I know people’s faces change as they grow older, but I was really curious about what he would look like when he grew up.
Jessie transferred the child over to the maids and chased them off.
“You couldn’t find the child’s parents? Then what about Chen?”
“That…well…Chen cried so much about seeing Your Holiness…”
I suddenly remember how the child ran over to me excitedly, and my tangled web of emotions calmed down.
I was the one who saved the child and I doubt there was anything like an orphanage facility right now, so it should be okay for a while.
He had nowhere to go, and I couldn’t possibly kick him out ruthlessly.
“Can you take good care of the child?”
Right then, I passed by the window and saw the child reaching for a flower on the tree as the priests carried him up. I made a fist and knocked on the window, smiling softly.
“Can you protect this young life that has come to our temple until it has somewhere to go?”
Jessie had a lot of love for her family, and perhaps because of that, she was fond of children.
I had been wondering why I couldn’t see Jessi hanging around for a while. I had nothing to do, and I was in the room doing work with Reneben because my wound hadn’t healed yet. But now I see there was a reason for all that.
From that day on, the temple obtained its youngest tenant.
* * *
There was still quite some time left before the Goddess Festival.
The only urgent thing I was dealing with, was the investigation of the demon attack on the temple, so my schedule wasn’t that tight.
As always, the temple denizens were handling the preparations for the Goddess Festival, and as usual, I was searching through stuff in the library of the former saintess.
Right then, I heard a loud noise and I jumped to my feet.
The sound was so loud that it echoed through the entire temple, so I tossed aside the stuff I was reading and stepped out of the library.
…And soon enough, I realized I was mistaken in thinking the entire temple rang.
As soon as I opened the door, a large ivory hairball covered my sight, and I unconsciously stepped back.
Chen’s loud voice was able to relax the cat, whose fur was standing on end. Thankfully, the large hairball was not something dangerous.
I calmly looked at the big…dog, which was large enough to reach my stomach.
I only learned this fact weeks after Chen entered the temple, but the child was very active.
There was time he came back covered in dirt which shocked Jessie, but he later came to apologize and said he’d never played like this before, so he was too excited.
When I felt touched and told him to play as much as he wanted, I didn’t think he would cause this much trouble.
“It seems clean and well-maintained. Chen, where did you get that from?”
“He was walking around alone like me, so I brought him back…! Are you angry because I brought him here?”
…Right, what would a child know. Sometimes, Chen said things that made me feel choked up.
When Chen’s big eyes looked at me, I couldn’t bring myself to scold him not to do this again.
Honestly, I like animals too and I wasn’t afraid of this big dog. Plus, it looked gentle too.
Still, there was a chance it might bite so I couldn’t let it get close to Chen. I asked him where Jessie and the maids were.
“Chen. Where are the others?”
“Oh, the workers! They said they were going to decorate the garden! The priests went out too!”
Lately, the attendants and the maids were busy restoring the damaged garden, and the priests and paladins probably didn’t have time to handle a child because of the upcoming Goddess Festival.
“I was taking a nap, then there was a dog, so I played with it…and…”
“Okay, can you tell me everything while we eat snacks in a little bit?”
In order to get Chen and the dog away from the library front, I held the child’s hand, then patted the dog’s head and I led them away.
No, I was about to lead them away.
But as soon as my hand touched the chubby animal’s head, I couldn’t help but drool. I carefully stroked the dog’s head, feeling that sensation you can only get from sensation.
Then, before I knew it, I was stroking the dog all over.
“…Who raised you?”
I squatted down to rub the dog’s soft belly, and it acted cute which seemed incompatible which its large size.
The child also crouched down, still holding my hand and began to play with the dog too. While the both of us forgot what we were doing and played, Jessie stopped by and took Chen with her.
Now alone, I enjoyed my time with the dog who was rolling around under my fingers. In the end, I couldn’t resist the temptation and decided to spend the rest of my time with this dog.
I enticed the dog to follow me and went out to the temple’s garden.
“Who is your owner?”
Of course, it couldn’t answer. I set the dog loose in the garden, while promising to find its owner later.
The dog seemed to enjoy the vast grass and ran around everywhere, then it ran back to me and pounced on me.
“Hahahaha! Stop, please! It’s ticklish!”
I rolled on the floor, my saintly dignity nowhere to be found, and allowed the dog to baptize me in saliva.
I lay spread on the grass and petted the dog on top of me to my heart’s content.
When I got up and ran away, the fluffy and cozy mass chased after me with immense cuteness.
I was laughing for such a long time, enjoying the relaxion I hadn’t had in a while and because of that, I was so distracted that I didn’t notice anyone coming.
I lay down to catch my breath after another intense workout, then I tilted my head slightly.
When my head moved, I caught a pair of black shoes in the corner of my eyes and I was startled.
The smile on my face froze and I raised my head.
An indescribable silence fell over myself and crown prince, who was looking down at me.
** Expect another chapter tmrw. I don’t think I posted in March so all of that should be coming soon. Hope you didn’t miss me too much 🙂