Any who, it was all fine since it looked natural. And it seems the princess was wearing a dress that was already out of fashion.
When I saw Duke Cassian standing next to her, I heaved out a breath. It was the same feeling that I had when I saw Reneben earlier. The Duke in his uniform, with his hair neatly slicked back, looked so much more handsome than usual.
While the single young misses were abuzz with excitement, I looked at the princess. She was making good use of her beautiful appearance. Every gender was captivated by her beauty, unable to look away. Considering what I knew about her true nature, it wouldn’t be strange at all if she was enjoying these looks.
She has a cute face but if she hardened her expression and spoke in a cold voice, I would definitely believe she was twins with her older brother, Veron.
“Excuse me, Lady Saintess.”
Someone courageous started talking to me.
“I am the second son of Count Enjena Mosio. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
I nodded my head and curved my eyes, wondering who this was. But I could not chase him away since he talked to me. As I looked at the man from my seat, I noticed that Reneben was restless.
Seeing him blush as if embarrassed, my eyes narrowed, and I wet my upper lip.
“Um, I was at the hunting competition, and I was wondering if you remember me…”
He was blushing hard, unable to finish what he was saying.
I stared at him wide-eyed and gave a simple response, “Of course.”
Of course, I didn’t remember anything, but I knew enough improv to respond appropriately.
“I wanted to greet you yesterday, but it was so frantic. I heard our knight received help from you…thank you so much for lending your help to those of humble birth.”
My forehead creased once I heard the words humble birth. It seems his talk of thanking me for his knight was just an excuse. He just wanted to talk to me.
I sighed and got up from my seat. I stretched out my hand and touched the shoulder and nape of the young lord of the Count family.
“No need to thank me.”
Then, I lowered my head a little and curled my parted lips slightly.
That was enough.
Seeing the young lord frozen, I walked past him with Reneben in tow. The young lord seemed to want to follow after me, but Ronella was faster.
As I expected, once Ronella looked around and saw me, she trotted over in her clacking shoes. Trendy ornaments were hung on her white ankles and shoes which peeked out beneath her dress.
Many people turned to look at her again without even realizing it. But of course, Duke Cassian covered the princess, blocking their view of her.
(Princess)“I greet God’s blessing.”
(Emilone)“May God’s blessing be upon you.”
I nodded at her greeting and blessed her like I was reciting a spell.
(Emilone)“Were you both able to get a good rest after what happened yesterday?”
(Princess)“I was just about to ask that. I hope Your Holiness wasn’t hurt because of me.”
The princess swept a finger over the button on my sleeve and upturned her eyes at me. The action was seductive enough that I unconsciously swallowed in response. Even though I knew what was happening, I couldn’t escape her charm.
Since I wasn’t sitting down anymore, I tried to move aside but the princess clung to me possessively like we were best friends.
When I was alone, everyone was busy talking among themselves…but now that the princess was here, everyone was trying to stick closer and flatter us.
Wait, am I being treated as an outcast?
While I was seriously thinking about it, Duke Cassian called me.
I wasn’t the only one surprised by this unexpected call, the princess was too. After all, Duke Cassian was famous for having no interest in anything other than the princess.
In fact, I heard he only spoke first if the person he was greeting was higher ranked than him.
“I greet God’s blessing.”
I was dying of curiosity to know why he called me, but I feigned ignorance.
“May God’s blessing be upon you, Duke Cassian. How can I help you?”
“…I was not able to express this yesterday so I would like to take this opportunity to offer my gratitude to Your Holiness.
What a prim and proper knight.
“Thank you for saving Nella.”
He didn’t seem to hate me in particular. Then again, who would hate the person that save the woman they loved.
That aside, what was with his vigilant gaze? I knew what that expression meant. Like…he was looking at a love rival.
“W-Why are you thanking her for me…” Ronella blushed at his words and spoke in a small voice.
I figured that was just my imagination. Anyway, it was time to watch a seemingly fresh and innocent scene.
Where did that sound come from? There were a lot of things I gained from becoming a saintess. Some of them being great vision and hearing.
And although not always, I could see the world slower around me when necessary…now was such a time.
As a knight, the Duke was the first to react.
For some reason, the chandelier right above us was slowly falling down and Reneben and I, who were directly underneath, were in danger.
The Duke hugged Ronella and stepped back even though she was in a safe zone.
Feeling the threat of the situation, I exhaled and grabbed Reneben’s arm. The moment I touched him, Reneben seemed to realize what was going and his complexion turned pale. I grabbed him forcefully and pushed him outward.
Sorry to say but I don’t really like the duty of a saintess. But I also don’t mind saving people and receiving thanks. Hmm…actually, I liked the feeling. But that did not mean that I wanted to get hurt.
I narrowly escaped the fate of being crushed by the chandelier by stepping aside in time. But I couldn’t avoid getting minor cuts from the broken shards.
I looked down at my bleeding hand.
Reneben, who had fallen awkwardly when I pushed him earlier, looked at me and exclaimed, “Lady Emilone!”
I wasn’t seriously hurt but I did get injured. I barely avoided the chandelier, but when it collided with the floor, the broken glass shards flew towards me. Because of that, I was wounded.
Red blood was dripping down my arm.
Then I looked up and saw the Duke holding the princess. I unconsciously raised my arm to look at the blood on my slightly stinging wrist.
Soon, I was hit with a bad feeling, and frowned. I stuck out my tongue and licked the flowing blood.
Duke Cassian looked taken aback by my behavior.
I took in the tingling sensation from the blood that just entered my mouth and I sighed.
It was poison.
The chandelier must have been covered in it.
Of course, I wouldn’t have ended up like this if he saved me. But I guess it’s human nature to save your loved ones first, even if they are in a safe zone.
“..so this was planned.”
I didn’t know who was responsible for this, but I guess they don’t fear God’s punishment. He might be a little pissed at this.
The bleeding hurt.
The tingling pain was coming from my fingertips. I calmly lowered my eyes to see the wound, then I quickly looked up. I didn’t like seeing at other people’s wounds, let alone my own.
The combination of tingling pain and discomfort made me frown. Once I lowered my arm, which had been raised above my chest, a blood stain appeared on my dress.
With a horrified expression, Reneben carefully helped me to my feet.
“L-Lady Emilone! Are you okay?”
He ripped his shirt without hesitation and pressed it against my wounds, basically overreacting.
The manservants and handmaids began moving around frantically. Commotion exploded in an instant.
Knights rushed in and locked down the party hall, forbidding movement through the doors.
Reneben stretched out his hand to try and heal me himself.
I looked down and thanked the servant who brought bandages and medicine for first aid. The child was one-hand shorter than me. Then I took the box which looked like a first-aid kit and handed it over to Reneben.
“I can treat your wounds…”
Blood kept trickling down.
I had many advantages as a saintess, but I had just as many drawbacks, and this was one of them.
If I got injured, I couldn’t be healed with divine power.
The wound opened and blood streamed out. Reneben looked at me with imploring eyes, but it was of no use. Even with his treatment, my condition was not improving.
Duke Cassian was staring at me, still holding the princess in his arms.
I can count the number of conversations between me and Duke Cassian on one hand. We were not close at all, so I didn’t resent him for not saving me.
I tilted my head slightly and looked at him. Then I blinked a few times to show that I was okay, and only then did he relax his arms that had secretly tensed around the princess.
The room instantly grew quiet. I blinked and stared into the hall, which was now still with silence. While many people respected and revered me, there were also many who thought it was only natural for me to suffer.
After all, I was the saintess who saves people. Someone who does not harm others, but cares for everybody including the lowest.
“The chandelier fell…” I began in a dull voice, taking one step at a time and crushing the glass shards under my feet, “Why would it?”
And it just so happened to be the chandelier above my head. Because of this, every section of the hall was bright, except where I stood. Such an unfortunate incident occurred in the Imperial Palace’s banquet hall. The Imperial Palace, of all places.
“This is not a coincidence…”
I paused and chuckled before realizing it.
“I’m sure you all know that as well.”
It was by no means a coincidence that a chandelier fell from the well-attended Imperial Palace. This meant it was definitely intentional.
I was a bit furious today. I didn’t like this, one bit.