It felt like a short moment for me but when I got up and looked at the clock, it was already evening.
This happened every time but I was still not used to it.
The time I spent listening to the oracle only felt like a few minutes to me but in reality, several hours had passed.
I tried to put aside my unwillingness to get up from bed and sit up but my body felt limp. My limbs felt as heavy as wet cotton and showed no desire to be up and about.
“Should I just go to sleep…”
But demons, though. What should I do with this knowledge?
Although briefly, I seriously pondered over it. God always threw an oracle my way without offering a solution so all I got was a headache.
In any case, anything related to demons was up to the temple to handle.
I thought about informing the imperial palace but decided not to. The imperial palace was a den of nobles, and even if I told them, it would just create a bunch of innocent victims.
Frankly, I knew this all too well because I already experienced this not too long after I became a Saintess.
“I am looking forward to the hunting competition too…”
There is a saying, ‘if you can’t avoid it, just enjoy it.’ Since I couldn’t avoid this, I wanted to go about it in a way that I could enjoy it.
Now that I think about it, it made sense for the Crown Prince or Reneben to be surprised by my proactiveness. I have often heard that I am quite unyielding for my age.
I stopped paying them any attention then I suddenly started responding so they were reasonably suspicious.
“Should I have taken it slowly?”
But I didn’t want to miss the chance to see the story of the main characters unfold before my eyes. And it would definitely take a while if I took the time to get closer to these men.
Earlier, when I was with Reneben, I remembered that he was one of the pitiful fishes in the princess’s fishery and without realizing it, a little bit of sympathy leaked out and I even patted his shoulder.
I rolled over on the bed.
This bed was so spacious that I didn’t have to worry about falling off no matter how many times I rolled and it felt good. I was pressing my hands into the soft bed and staring at the clock when I heard a knock.
“Lady Emilone, it is Reneben. I am home.”
I thought it was a servant but apparently not. Reneben was back.
It was already dinner time so I knew why he was looking for me. Not wanting to surprise him, I pulled down my white dress which had ridden up to my waist and instead of answering, I walked up to the door and opened it.
I mentioned having dinner together earlier because I wanted to sneakily ask about why the princess called for him.
When I walked out dressed comfortably, Reneben looked down at me in surprise.
‘Right, a dress like this is probably too casual in this world.’
They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do but I didn’t come to Rome because I wanted to nor did I want to follow them but it was a little annoying to have to adapt to their lifestyles.
While concealing how I was feeling, I told Reneben to wait for a while.
I tossed my dress in with the outfit I took off earlier, then I quickly threw on my priest robe. Whenever I put on this robe, and it fit like it was made for me, I once again realized that I was a Saintess.
My priest robe was one of the few garments that I could wear by itself. I tidied up my clothes and combed my hair that was previously tied up.
When I got out of the room, Reneben was standing there in the same position, waiting for me.
I walked together with Reneben, purposefully stepping loudly.
I didn’t really like awkward silences, but we weren’t close enough to talk nonsense while walking.
When we got to the table, I sat down to eat and Reneben sat down across the table from me.
He kept looking at me like he wanted to say something, so I lifted my head slightly.
“Is something going on?” I asked in my usual tone, like I didn’t know anything, “I ask because I was wondering why you went out today.”
His expression stiffened for a moment and the usage of his fork slowed.
Then he opened his mouth as if it was nothing, “The princess invited me, I mean, the Lord Sage and I to participate in the hunting competition.”
“Oh, I thought it was something big because it seemed urgent. I am glad it wasn’t.”
When I plainly asked him to tell me more about what happened, his complexion changed for the worse.
He probably couldn’t imagine that the princess was playing with him. Because to people, the Princess was a lovely, cheerful, and untainted innocent person.
Even I thought of her like that until this very morning.
I would be lying if I said I never felt like being the protagonist after traveling dimensions, but I gave up after seeing the princess. I couldn’t win against the very definition of loveliness.
But who would have thought it was all acting.
I could never forget the princess’s expression as she tilted her head and curled her lips in ridicule.
“The Princess has never summoned me first so I must have gotten nervous without realizing it.”
What do I do with this pitiful fish?
If I could, I wanted to snatch him up, but I am not really interested in other people’s fishes so right now, I almost felt like an older sister looking at her little brother.
As I offered my condolences in my heart, I tried to guess which of the men would win the princess’s hand in the end.
* * *
It had been a few days since I learned about the princess’s nature and the hunting competition was drawing closer.
At this time, a servant knocked on my door to inform me that I had a sudden visitor.
Hearing that, I pushed the piles of documents aside and massages my temples. I was wondering how to deal with this uninvited guest but once I learnt it was the princess, my eyes went wide.
My sunken complexion instantly recovered.
I was starting to get bored and the princess, who happened to be my source of entertainment these days, was here. I had every reason to welcome her.
I asked the servant to escort her to the drawing room then I waited for the guest to arrive.
I glanced at Reneben, who had been helping me with work, and his face was flushed red as he stood restlessly.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the princess was that good. I called out to him while he was mesmerized and told him to prepare the tea.
Reneben finally came to his senses, cleared his throat for no reason and tried to look away from the door.
Just in time, the door opened and a woman as graceful as a lark walked into the room.
The princess’s mere appearance seemed to make her surroundings brighter as she demurely placed her hands in front of her and bowed in greeting.
“I greet God’s blessing.”
“It has been a long time. How have you been?”
The princess, that is, Ronella, looked up at me and gave a soft smile. Her smile was so pure that it was hard to imitate.
Her eyes curved into a faint smile, but it didn’t seem frivolous or excessive. It was the type of smile that would melt a person’s heart. Even without applying anything on her pale white skin, her thick, red lips showed off her charm.
It was rumored that if you looked into those green pupils that disappeared briefly with every blink, cupped by that wavy black hair, you would fall in love.
But it seems every move of hers was made to captivate people. It didn’t seem like that was going to change anytime soon.
Ronella sat down opposite me.
Then I pushed the tea that I told Reneben to prepare in front of her.
“I am surprised you came to visit me without any notice.”
Still, I had to draw a line between business and pleasure, so I looked down, pick up a cup of tea and mentioned her mistake.
Ronella quickly responded like she was waiting for that, “I came to offer prayers then I remembered that I needed to speak with you, Saintess. I’m really sorry for not letting you know beforehand…I realize you might have be busy; I hope I am not causing any trouble…”
I wasn’t surprised by Ronella’s minimizing tone and replied,
“Is it a private matter? If so, I shall have Lord Reneben leave first…”
“No!” Ronella exclaimed.
Her bright expression darkened slightly, and she gently shook her head. Then soon enough, she hesitantly gripped her skirt and looked up at me with those large eyes.
Knowing that this was all an act, I was dying to know what she was planning.
“Um…it’s hard for me to explain but…I feel at ease when Lord Reneben is by my side, so please let him stay.”
There were tears gathered at the corner of her eyes.
Reneben was shocked and quickly held out his handkerchief.
“Thank you. It has been so scary lately that my tears keep falling like this…”
As she blinked, water dropped from her eyelashes.
Even thought I was also woman, my heart fluttered. I had to admit it. This woman was terribly beautiful.
No one in this Empire could match her beauty, to the point where it was normal for even the most jealous and arrogant individuals to curl up and hide in front of the princess.
“Go slowly. Princess, you need to tell me what happened otherwise, I will not understand.”
Acting worried, Reneben took the princess’s hand and look at her with affectionate eyes.
At that, Ronella took a deep breath, hiccupped and the words gushed out of her mouth.
She would definitely go places back home even if she went abroad. Her acting was so perfect that I suddenly wondered if the princess had a twin.
“Someone started threatening me, not too long ago,” Ronella stated.
At those words, Reneben clenched his fists. His wrists were thin, and he was so slender that someone might mistake for a woman at first glance. Even though the veins in his arms were bulging, his face was extremely calm.
Not falling behind in acting myself, I acted shocked. My eyes widened and I spoke a trembling voice,
“What do you…have you told the Duke? Who dares to do such a thing to the princess of the Empire?”
As I feigned anger, raising my voice towards the end, Ronella burst into sad sobs.
“I keep feeling like someone is following me…I went to Lady Sironde’s tea party a few days ago and my escort knights were found dead…”
The sobbing continued for a long time. To sum it up, someone seemed to be following Ronella around.