“Besides, look, I’m already healed. . .I’m fine.”
“You’re not fine!”
My dress was stained with blood, making it look painful, but in reality, it didn’t hurt at all. I tapped my chest to show that I was okay, but he grabbed my hand and held it tightly.
“. . .It doesn’t change the fact that it hurt, does it. . .?”
Theodore furrowed his brows, shedding tears as if regretting his own lack of strength. I felt truly sorry for my reckless actions, knowing how much he cared for me. On the other hand, if I hadn’t acted that way, Diark would have been shot. Even if I were to apologize, I would probably end up with a shallow apology, as I would still take the same action if time were to rewind. I didn’t want to do anything that would make Theodore sad, but it seemed that humans couldn’t change easily.
“. . .Haha, so you’re not a monster after all, even if your heart is pierced!”
Theodore, shifting from a sad expression to one filled with anger, glared at the prince. However, the prince didn’t move away despite the opportunity I created when I was shot—or should I say, when I went to be shot. Instead, Roland, who had been protecting Bella by her side, kicked the prince to the ground, straddled him, and pointed his sword at his neck.
“Hey, you. . .If you insult Her Highness any further, I’ll cut off your head.”
Roland’s striking tri-colored eyes, now possibly even four-colored due to his anger, were fixed on the prince. Both Theodore and Roland, despite the prince’s infuriating behavior, were aware that since he was a member of the royal family, they could also be judged for disrespect. I was about to step forward to stop Roland, thinking along those lines, but Theodore held me back, grabbing my arm and shaking his head silently.
“Let go! Do you know who I am?”
“Hmph. It’s better to be executed than to let Her Highness hear such insults.”
“Even if the Oberti family were to be executed for their crimes, it would be more resented if we let the person who called Her Highness a monster go free.”
The loyalty of the Oberti family was admirable. Personally, I wouldn’t want an entire family and their followers to be executed, whether I was called a monster or a demon king. However, I knew that thinking that way was disloyal and unfaithful, so I kept it to myself.
The pressure was so great that it seemed as if the prince would rather kill Roland than let him escape.
“Hanawald! Eisenberg! What are you doing!? Help me!”
He called out the names of individuals who were likely supporters of the prince… However, they didn’t respond to his plea, and no one emerged from the other participants who were in a distant location.
The prince seemed to have some affection for Grose Baehr, whom he had chosen and raised himself, but he couldn’t believe in loyalty for anyone else That’s why he employed methods of ruling through fear, much like Bella. Perhaps that’s why anyone who dared to interfere would…
“I still don’t understand, Clovis.”
“Brother. . .”
Feeling sorry for the struggling prince, the emperor spoke with a frown.
“I can understand the fear of something that we can never possess. But, we use our power to protect others, even if we get hurt. Who would see that and think of us as monsters?”
“But, Brother. . .That’s exactly what threatens our position as the royal family.”
“Well, they would be a threat to the enemy. However, I don’t think they have such intentions. There may not be anyone as reliable as them if they are allies.”
As His Majesty the Emperor said, Acardi has no intention of starting a war with Verde. This is because they are too busy subjugating demon beasts and do not have the spare troops for a full-scale war against another country. Even though Acardi’s soldiers are strong, they have little experience in personal combat where they risk their lives, and it would likely be a significant emotional burden. Moreover, Acardi does not need a country as large as Verde. Acardi is sufficient as it is, and governing a country as large as Verde would be a daunting task – it would be more like being ground to dust than being broken. I want them to be good neighbors.
“. . .I can’t believe that.”
“It’s a shame we can’t understand each other.”
That was the Emperor’s last word to his younger brother, indicating that there was nothing more to discuss.
Grose Baehr was captured, and his son, who came to reinforce him, fainted. I was shot but did not die, and Roland straddled me, preventing me from moving. The Emperor turned his back on his younger brother, who seemed to be unable to accept it and was frustrated, but eventually gave up as he realized there was nothing more he could do.
As I watched his back being taken away by the knights of Verde, I suddenly lost my strength.
Theodore quickly caught me as my body almost collapsed, but my vision was shaking, and I couldn’t stop feeling nauseous.
“Ester, are you okay!?”
“. . .I’m just, out of energy. . .I think.”
I have been using magic like hot water since yesterday, but I should have had plenty left. However, when I tried to heal the gunshot wound, I couldn’t control the magic precisely due to the intense pain,and I ended up healing wounds from a few months ago in a rough and hasty manner. As a result, my magic reserves unexpectedly depleted, almost emptying when I used healing magic on the prince’s son, and they completely vanished due to the constantly active magic called “kol.”
Ah, there are still so many things I have to do.
Even in my blurry vision, I could see Theodore, who was holding me, looking worried.
With the Emperor’s nephew gone and, above all, in Theodore’s arms, there was nothing to worry about. . .Maybe I could sleep for a little while.
As if cutting the tense thread that had been stretched taut, I let go of my consciousness with a snap.