Chapter 7: At That Time Saint and the First Prince
At that time Marianne and Antonio were in the hall of the court.
Marianne told him that she should have new dresses, jewelry and furniture for the wedding. He called the merchants, who filled the hall with their wares, and Marianne bought what she liked.
“I only have Antonio-sama, you know that, don’t you?”
Antonio’s cheeks loosened sloppily at her bewitching smile. When he brought up the subject of marriage, he was afraid that she would dodge it like she had in the past, but he was elated when Marianne nodded her head, as if she had been waiting for him.
“Yes, I know. I’m the only one who can marry you.”
Antonio silently accepted all these matters. He understands that Marianne’s goal is his status and money, and she only loves herself. But that’s fine.
Antonio also wanted Marianne’s good looks and the title of a saint.
Whoever becomes king must have a Saint as his consort. That was the law of the land.
“Besides, I did not play with the nobles because I wanted to, but to find allies in case Antonio-sama becomes king.”
“I know that too, my beautiful Marianne.”
“Then let me tell you that you have a traitor in your midst.”
Marianne’s red lips quirked up in a grin.
“It’s Lute-sama. He was the only one who didn’t fall for me… He looked at me not as a Saint but as something disgusting.”
“Lute? He’s always been like that… He doesn’t talk much, I don’t know what he’s thinking. But he’s not the type to mess with me.”
Antonio was aware of Lute’s inner workings. The hedonistic Antonio and the serious Lute had clashed with each other in their childhood. Although they hardly speak to each other now, Lute was concerned about Sylphia, whom Antonio had placed in the temple as a substitute for Marianne, and was asked several times to improve her treatment.
However, he must have given up after receiving a curt rebuff. Nothing has been said since.
“But Lute-sama is crazy about Sylphia.”
“Yes. He visits the temple in the middle of the night when no one else is there. I think Sylphia tricked people by claiming herself the saint with the help of Lute-sama.”
Marianne’s words made Antonio’s face tense: he already knew about the rumors about Sylphia and the roses, and about Marianne’s late night visit when she pushed Sylphia because she was upset.
He thought that Lute’s devotion to Sylphia was due to his natural seriousness. But if he is that close to Sylphia, his aim is obvious.
If he pretended that Sylphia was the Saint and married her, he would be crowned king.
“I never thought he was thinking of such a thing…”
“So you see, Master Antonio…”
Marianne, who did not want the others to hear her, almost leaned over to Antonio as if to rub against him. The unprecedented aggressive attitude of Marianne made Antonio smile.
Marianne pressed her voluptuous body against his and whispered venom in the Crown Prince’s ear.
“Let’s execute Sylphia. She pushed me and almost injured me.”
“Yeah… that’s right. Hehe, If you pretend to be the Saint and lay a hand on the real Saint, you’re guilty as charged.”
Antonio laughed. Without Sylphia, Lute’s plan would collapse. Then he can slowly decide what to do with him when he becomes king.
When he withdrew from Marianne, he spread out his hands and this time he deliberately uttered a theatrical shout.
“Then let us quickly make the preparations for the wedding and return to the temple. The people will be happy to have such a beautiful woman as you as a saint!”
“Yes. I’ve had enough of the dress. The rest is jewelry and… perfume and…”
After painting out Sylphia’s future, Marianne continues with her purchases, giggling with dark amusement.
“Come on! show me your wares. Let’s see what you have, something worthy of a Saint!”
“Saint-sama…? Was the Saint replaced?”
The merchant asks curiously. Antonio hugs Marianne’s shoulder and smiles.
“This Marianne is the real Saint. The Saint you see in the temple is a fake Saint.”
“A fake Saint?”
“Yes, she is. Soon it will become clear.”
The merchant looked down in a hurry, almost showing a disconcerting look on his face. The other party is the crown prince and his fiancée. The conversation from before was not clear, but there was no doubt that the wedding was a big profitable business.
The merchant was still inwardly nodding his head, while quietly shoving Sylphia’s rose in his pocket to avoid detection.
(How could she be a fake Saint? She didn’t look like such a person…)
He frequently went to the temple to pray for the success of his business, even though his motivation was selfish. Sylphia, the woman who answered his prayers, praised his products, that once mocked, saying, “There are such beautiful things in the world.”
After several visits, he was so impressed by the purity that came from her heart that he vowed never to do anything evil, even if he could profit from it.
(It would certainly be damning if she really is…. I doubt that she is the saint.)
“Hey! Don’t just stand there, bring out the goods!”
“Yes, yes. I’m here.”
The merchant flinched at Marianne’s harsh tone and hurriedly took out the box of jewels.
Deep in his heart, he fears for Sylphia’s safety.