Translation: Kurehashi Aiko
Editing: Team Foxsunes
「Given the influence that the members of the Great Temple have over nobility and much of the capital city, the candidate originating from the Azure Desert seemed like nothing else but a Goddess-sent. It was simply too good of an opportunity to just let it pass up. You see, when it comes to the Azure Desert, not many priests take interest in it. In fact, their influence hardly even reaches here, since they consider this place to be forsaken by the Goddess and the world itself. Of course, they are probably aware of the Medium’s existence in this land, but they tend to look down on the people of the Azure Desert and think of them as the lesser men. Therefore, no one ever tried to reach out to him in the first place. And for us, such arrogant behavior is really convenient and will prove to be their undoing in the long run. You see, while the temple will fight inner wars and disputes over electing the most suitable candidate that would be their puppet, we will seal the deal on this end, electing our own candidate and cutting any discussion short. That is why, Filmina-dono, we would like to ask you for your cooperation during our stay here. Please lend us your assistance.」
「A-Assistance? From me?」
All of a sudden, I was told something that has left me pretty much speechless. Honestly, I do not think that there would be anything that I would be able to do for members of the royal family. Nevertheless, the way in which Heinrich and the Princess were smiling at me right now made me realize that they were not kidding and that they were deadly serious about it.
「Yes, that is right. And you can believe it that no matter what the people of this land or the capital city will think about it, we want this deal to go through. And we will not tolerate any objections to that matter. You would do well to keep that fact in mind for the duration of our stay.」
Both the Princess and Heinrich continued to smile at me, but I couldn’t help it but to notice that there was something truly disturbing to the way they were looking at me right now. Those were normal stares and perfectly normal smiles, but I got a feeling that there was an unspoken and looming sense of threat behind them.
I only began to realize that now, but is it not that I have been involved in something truly ridiculous once again? No truth to be told, I have realized that it would be something truly ridiculous and abnormal the moment I have heard about the Princess’s pre-marital meeting.
As much as I hated to admit it, it was just like that man said to me: I had no idea what I was getting myself into the moment the Princess asked me for my help during this trip, and right about now I would be paying the price for my ignorance. So I had no one else to blame but myself if I end up getting mixed up into something that I would normally wish to avoid at all cost. I guess if they present the matter like that to me, I have no other choice but to cooperate for now, do I?
「We will explain the matters to you in greater detail. Now, Your Highness, if you please excuse me.」
「…… What is it now?」
I tilt my head in puzzlement, and at the same time Heinrich turns his green eye towards the Princess. Right at the same time, the expression on the Princess’s face turned really sour, and so was her voice when she spoke to Heinrich in return.
The Princess was always attractive beyond belief, but it was quite a surprise for me that even an expression like that suited her just fine. It was also quite surprising that Heinrich could be so blunt with the Princess at times, but I guess it can be attributed to the nature of their relationship. Still, such a trivial matter was making me feel jealous as well.
「There is one thing I would like to apologize to you for that time when we were attacked by the bandits. Your Highness, will you accept my sincerest apology for that blunder?」
「You have already apologized enough. So there is no need for you to do that any longer, it is not even remotely funny at this point.」
「I am quite happy that you are so considerate, Your Highness, but still, I do believe that at least some sort of explanation is in order here. It seems that because of my carelessness you had to protect Filmina-dono in my stead, Your Highness. I apologize for that and I promise that I shall deeply reflect upon my actions.
When he suddenly mentioned my name like that, I could feel that my shocked face turned towards Heinrich in an instant. He then glanced at me, and even though I did nothing wrong at the time of the bandit attack, I could feel my whole body tensing up for some bizarre reason.
「Filmina-dono. Her Highness’s body does not belong to her alone at this point in time. Therefore, every action that Her Highness takes should not be for her own personal reasons, but rather with the well-being of the whole nation in mind. Judging from your earlier words I have assumed that you have understood that at least to some extent, but now I do not think that you completely realize what that fact truly entails. And for you, who claims to be so close with Her Highness and not understand at all……」
「I think that is quite enough from you, Heinrich.」
The Princess quietly interrupted Heinrich’s words before he could actually say anything more. But even though his tone was still friendly and his smile was also there on his lips, his words were without a doubt completely soaked in venom.
「I am sorry as well that the situation escalated the way it did. But I have no regrets and if I had to do it all over again, I would have acted in the exactly the same way as I did. So is it not enough for now?」
「…… I suppose it is. But please make no mistake. We shall get back to this conversation some other time.」
The Princess covered for me once more, since I was unable to open up my mouth and defend myself from his accusations on my own, and Heinrich could only nod his head in compliance. However, there was no way for me to feel safe and reassured after all that in the slightest. It seems that even though he was willing to let this matter slide for now, Heinrich would surely have his way with me upon the next suitable occasion. It was only a matter of time before that moment would come, and I was perfectly aware of that.
However, even though Heinrich’s words were full of thorns, there was not a single lie in what he said just now. So I had no right to complain or to be mad at him for merely stating the obvious facts out loud. I just had to face the truth and accept it as calmly as possible. But that is exactly why those thorns stung more and more inside of my chest. It seems that contrary to my high and mighty words, I was unable to understand even the simplest of truths that were being presented to me. It was also quite frustrating to admit, but compared to the value of the Princess’s, my life was almost worthless in the eyes of others. However, since it was now a done deal, there was hardly any point to beat myself over the fact that during the attack of the bandits I was unable to do anything at all and that the Princess had to step in and save me. But even though I know that the Princess’s words should make me feel happy, all they managed to accomplish was to make me even more sad and miserable about myself than before.
Right now I could only lower my head and clench my fists around the fabric of my dress around the area on my knees. I then clenched my fists so hard that my knuckles were starting to turn white in color, but it was then that I could see that man’s warm hand gently overlapping with my own hand. Surprised, I looked to the side and I could see there that the man was awake once more, looking at me with the gentle light in his eyes. The staff that was still in his hand just a moment ago was now resting on the floor. I was just about to say something to him for surprising me in a pleasant way like that, but just then we have all heard a sound of someone quietly knocking onto the door.
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