“Nobles don’t bother to reflect on their actions when their dirty deeds come to the surface, rather they tear their opponents apart,” Reneben said with a touch of anger. “But in a case like this, all arrows will be aimed at the perpetrator, not the victim.”
After Reneben spoke, he moved towards the curtain without delay.
“It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen sometimes. When it ends in an ‘attempt’, the victim is unscathed. Although, when it’s not just an ‘attempt,’ it becomes quite a significant problem.”
As Reneben stepped into the curtain, he stopped talking and lowered his body.
After confirming that they had been chased inside, he closed the curtain. The curtains on the door to the terrace were shut, enveloping the interior in complete darkness.
“Hey! What is this—”
“Sir Knight over there, can you shut the Marquis’s mouth?”
“Saintess?? Yes! Yes, of course.”
The marquis seemed to get a hold of himself a beat later and stood up. I handed the marquis, who had spoiled my mood, over to the knight.
I walked past the knight who was holding the marquis and opened the window wide.
The marquis glared fiercely at the knight who was obediently following the Saintess’ order and separating him from the brown-haired man.
I frowned slightly at the light pouring from the terrace window, then I turned to look at the brown-haired man.
The man’s face revealed under the light was so beautiful that it was breathtaking. Not only was his skin fair and white, his face peeking through his brown hair, which was somewhat long for a man, was also delicate. When his deep, mellow eyes fell on me, my heart briefly skipped a beat.
I had truly never seen a man so beautiful in my life.
Before this, I could swear that there was no one more beautiful than the Nestro Ducal siblings but…
The Marquis already looked drunk and out of his mind. Using my command as an excuse, the knights easily subdued the Empire’s ‘Marquis,’ forcefully shut his mouth, made him kneel, and bound him to the window.
And the brown-haired man, who looked up at me, had an exceptionally pleasing voice.
As I wondered how someone so extraordinary could exist, the knight who had been restraining the Marquis suddenly saw the man’s face and gasped.
I was reaching out to help the man stand up, but I paused at those words and turned to look at the knight.
Jessie seemed to realize something upon hearing that title and swallowed hard before clinging tightly to my sleeves.
Thanks to the knight’s unfiltered revelation of the other party’s identity, Jessie seemed to also have figured out that the man was a prince.
Beyond the curtain, the murmurs were growing louder.
There were already people nearby and others had started to converge on our location, creating an increasingly troublesome situation.
If I opened this curtain, everything would be revealed.
“Are you all right?”
I rubbed my neck at the unpleasant sensation and stretched out my hand.
“It seems I’ve troubled you. I’m sorry.”
The man spoke with his head hung, like he was embarrassed.
Reneben took off his coat and draped it over the man’s shoulders.
The man took my hand and slowly stood up. He looked at the Marquis, then the knight, and soon, he turned to me.
He looked like he was trying to figure out the identities of everyone in the room.
His delicate eyes sent chills down my spine the moment they fell on me. I subconsciously shivered at the tingling sensation. It was a dangerous feeling that I’d only felt from Princess Ronella before.
“What do you have to be sorry for? For now, if you go behind that pillar, no one will see you.”
The brown-haired man stroked his cheek, which was red from being hit, and ran his tongue over his upper lip.
The sight was oddly captivating, and I couldn’t help but watch.
His status as a prince was clearly unexpected. The marquis was suddenly very pale and knelt meekly on the ground.
The man glanced down at the marquis. His red eyes, that almost seemed sculpted, caught my attention.
‘What is it?’ The moment I narrowed my eyes in thought, the marquis seemed to finally come to his senses. He quickly raised his head and began to spout nonsense.
Even the knights who were subduing the marquis seemed taken aback to see such craziness on a day like this. The marquis brushed his hair back a few times, took in a deep breath and spoke loudly.
“It was a mistake, a mistake!! I didn’t know you were His Highness the Prince! Your Highness! Since it was my mistake, please forgive me this once…”
Those words immediately downed my mood and it felt like my whole body was growing cold. I really hated words like ‘a mistake’…
I looked at the Marquis and lifted my chin slightly. It was obvious that he didn’t understand what he had done wrong.
Not only did he assault a prince of all people, but now he was trying to excuse it as a mistake. With this much, it wouldn’t be strange if the prince’s country eradicated the Marquis’ family and asked for his head.
Even worse since today was the Goddess Festival, where even the emperor was lying low.
The cost of a crime committed on a day like this was beyond measure.
For the first time in a while, light disappeared from my eyes. I had never felt so cold even in the dead of winter. Just as I was trying to swallow my surging anger…
“Someone else! I mistook His Highness for someone else. Please have mercy on me this once…”
“A mistake, you say. Do you think the outcome will be any different if the other party wasn’t His Highness?”
I waited for a few seconds, observing the marquis whose mouth had shut like a clam, then I switched my conversation partner.
“…Jessie, Reneben. Today is the Goddess’ day, is it not?”
Before doing anything, I gently pushed against the prince’s back. He seemed to hesitate for a moment, then hid behind the pillar I pointed to.
I exhaled slowly then I pulled open the tightly drawn curtains.
Reneben looked straight at my cold face and gave a succinct, ‘Yes.’
I didn’t necessarily need them to respond. Once the curtains opened, the nobles began to scan the room that was closed off. Naturally, the biggest target of their gaze was the marquis.
“Then, the God I serve…”
The marquis called out his horror on his face, but I ignored him. I grabbed a wine glass from a passing servant and twirled my wrist.
“…will understand such fanfare.”
The blood-red wine glass tilted, and its contents spilled over the man’s head.
The wine spilled from the top of his head, soaking his entire body. As I took in the view, my lips twisted into a smile.
“Are you all right?”
I covered my mouth with my hand and widened my eyes, giving a smile that anyone could tell was fake.
The marquis’ shoulders trembled as he knelt on the floor. He turned his head to see who it was, and the knights subduing him looked anxious with bewilderment on their faces.
A paladin who had been waiting nearby, walked up and stood in front of me.
Only my voice resounded through the quiet hall.
“I never thought such a thing would happen on a day like today.”
I could see the Crown Prince staring at me and looking a little flustered. I traced the outline of my dry lips with my finger, mimicking what the prince had done earlier.
The priest robes I was dressed in got in the way every time I moved. I tried to ignore the discomfort and squinted my eyes into half-moon.
“Your Highness, on a day like today…”
“Do you think I should feel upset?”
This was one of the things I hated the most. Using the mood to suppress others like this.
“Regarding what was going on in here moments ago…I don’t think everyone was unaware.”
I bobbed my head, reviving my acting skills from the past. I could see the Crown Prince stiffen slightly.
Without wiping away my smile, I slightly turned my head to where the prince had been standing before he made himself scarce.
“…He has made a mistake.”
Seeing my behavior, the crown prince gave an apology that wasn’t really an apology.
“When a mistake is repeated, it can no longer be called a mistake.”
An apology from the crown prince was something I would be intrigued to see any other day but not today.
“Isn’t the crime too heavy to be covered up with a simple ‘mistake’?”
In reality, God, the main character of this festival, didn’t care about such celebrations. I knew this better than anyone, as I received their direct oracle. Hence, destroying this superficial facade of peace wasn’t a big issue to me.
For a moment, a sly thought crossed my mind: should I make the prince kneel before me, using this as an excuse? But it quickly faded away.
“No…No way…Saintess!! I was wrong. This humble servant made a mistake on Goddess’ day, please forgive me this once!!”
Sure enough, when things come to this point, even a drunkard would sober up quickly. As for forgiveness, the word was so easy to say.
“Lord Marquis, no need to say such bitter words.”
Being the center of attention in the crowd was a familiar feeling, but it had been a while since I had been looked at with such expectation and worry at what I would say next.
“You have chosen the wrong person to seek forgiveness from. I am not the person you should be apologizing to.”
“I apologized earlier for sure…!”
“That was an apology? You seem to have a interesting sense of humor.”
The crowd was silent. My voice echoed through the hall, and I took a step closer to the Marquis.
“Today is the Goddess Festival, and on such a day, all matters are overseen by me. The price for your actions will be determined at the temple.”
I scanned the hall, taking in the odd look on people’s faces. Hearing that he would be punished in the temple, a symbol of peace, seemed to ignite hope in the Marquis.
“I didn’t say that to make you happy, so I’d be troubled if you’re glad. Committing a sin on this day, which comes only once every five years, is an insult to God’s name. At the same time, you must have known that this was a challenge to the temple.”
As if that was true. Although it was a day dedicated to the goddess, God had no interest in the festivals arranged by humans. Therefore, challenging the temple or any similar act of defiance didn’t matter much to her.
“There will be no leniency.”
I bent down slightly, allowing our eyes to meet.
I snapped my fingers for the knights to take the marquis to the dungeon.
Since there were no prisons in the temple, I had to use one that was already there. Of course, before I proceeded with the marquis’s punishment, I had to hear the option of the ‘victim’, in other words, the prince.
*Sorry if this chapter reads weird. I had such a hard time understanding some of the phrases used.