“Because Ellen said so.”
“Ugh, seriously, why do you try to get on my nerves every time we talk?”
“It’s not my fault that you have a thing for my little sister, you weirdo.”
Ivan knew that it was pointless to try and argue with him so he chose his next words carefully.
“What I’m trying to say is that, while you’ve been screwing around over here, your wife arrived from the South. I’m not telling you to go run and greet her, but at least have dinner with her on her first night here…”
“Judging by the looks of you, it seems like there are plenty of people willing to meet with her while I’m screwing around.”
Ivan let out a long sigh of defeat.
Izek smirked at him while untying his gauntlet straps. “Am I wrong?”
“As a Paladin of the North, I felt it was my duty to go and monitor Borgia’s spy—”
“Enough of your bullsh*t.”
“F*ck, fine, I admit it. I went and saw her because I was curious. Curious what the Pope’s famous daughter looks like in person. Is that so wrong? If you’re so irritated by me going then why didn’t you go yourself, huh? Izek van Omerta, you rude little sh*thead!”
The rude little sh*thead only gave him a blank look in response.
“Sorry… I guess I got a little carried away.”
Despite his delicate appearance, which earned him the nickname ‘The Flower Knight’, Ivan was, to put it bluntly, incredibly short-tempered.
“You’re not gonna ask?”
“You know, if she really looks like her portrait, how her personality is, that kind of stuff. You’re not curious at all?”
“Whatever. Either way, you should still meet her. After all, it’s your obligation as her husband. And I’m only telling you this because I can’t stand to see you turn out like that duke, Rembrandt whatever-his-name-is, and become an international mockery. Lord knows what would happen if you were to get on the Pope’s bad side.”
In reality, no one believed that this marriage was going to last. Izek’s obsession with his work and Rudbeckia’s supposed unpleasant personality were an obvious recipe for disaster. Some people were already betting on the number of weeks left before the marriage fell apart.
Ivan restrained himself from suggesting that Izek just marry Freya instead. He knew that it was next to impossible and Izek was too naive to understand anyway.
But after seeing Rudbeckia, who had travelled all the way from the Port of Elmos to Omerta Castle, Ivan had mixed feelings.
According to Lord Evanste, who had acted as a representative at the Vatican’s marriage ceremony, she suffered from seasickness the entire journey. Yet, in spite of that, all he could think about was her radiant smile as she stepped off the boat. She really was as beautiful as the rumors made her out to be.
Her silky, wavy golden hair and round, shimmering blue eyes—her face was as beautiful as a porcelain doll. She looked so fragile, so delicate. Like she would shatter from a single touch.
For reasons even he could not comprehend, Ivan felt responsible for her.
“She’s small,” he said quietly.
“She’s small. Really small.”
“Are you saying she’s a dwarf?”
“I’m saying she looks so fragile that one dirty glare from you would be enough to kill her. It’s not like I don’t understand where you’re coming from, but try to think about it from her perspective. She’s been forced to come all the way here basically as a hostage. It must be incredibly frightening and lonely for her.”
Izek, who was about to pick up his sword, paused and stared at Ivan. “Seriously, who are you?”
“I’m a knight of the North. A Paladin, too. And the Pope’s daughter, the Angel of Sistine, is now my comrade’s wife. So you better get your *ss over there and meet he—”
“You know, there was once a time when you swore you would slay the Pope.”
“My little sister cried when she heard the news that you were getting married. Evil b*stard.”
Ivan’s little sister was six years old.
“Tell her to forget about a bad guy like me.”
“That’s what I told her but she won’t give up, and now I’m jealous that she cares more about you than me.”
“I see she’s already capable of manipulating you, hahaha.”
“Anyway, what I was trying to say is that your wi—”
“I knew that the Borgias were famous for their shiny exterior, but did you seriously fall for her after looking at her once and now you’re planning on selling off your country?!” A shrill, high-pitched voice cried out from behind them.
Short-tempered Ivan spun around and pulled out his sword, pointing it straight at the approaching boy. The blade’s sharp edge glimmered.
“Aaaaah! S-Sorry, I’m really sorry, sir, aaaah!”
“Maybe I should cut off this ear, eh?”
“Aaaaah! P-Please don’t, sir!”
To those who didn’t know what was going on, it must have looked like a knight harassing an innocent boy.
Only after making him let out another shriek did Ivan finally let go of the fifteen year-old rookie’s ear.
“What is it? Why’re you bothering us again, Lorenzo?”
Eyes teary, Lorenzo frantically checked to make sure both his ears were still attached.
Izek, with his arms crossed, glanced at the young boy absentmindedly. To Lorenzo, he looked no different from a frost wolf that had just escaped from Hell.
“M-My older sister…”
“W-With my sister… After your current marriage ends, I think it’d be great if you married her, b-but for the time being, I beg you to pretend like you don’t know her at all!”
Izek didn’t react. It seemed like he didn’t even understand what Lorenzo was talking about. So Ivan snapped at him instead. “What the hell are you rambling on about now?! Kids these days…”
“S-Sorry, what I meant is that, until your current marriage is over, please stay away from my sister! If you don’t, that Borgia witch will kill her!”
“You really have no shame, huh? You haven’t even met her once and your big, fat head is already full of prejudice.”
“It’s not prejudice! If it was prejudice, then why did my sister lock herself in her room crying right after visiting Omerta Castle? She’s never done anything like that before…”
“Where’d you say she went?”
“Omerta Castle, sir. That witch… Lady Rudbeckia, it’s all because my sister visited her when she arrived.”
Aha. Ivan knew that Freya had plenty of reasons to be upset about this sudden marriage, reasons her airheaded little brother would never understand.
How Lorenzo even managed to come up with such an absurd conclusion was beyond Ivan’s understanding.
Still not comprehending the slew of words coming out of Lorenzo’s busy mouth, Izek tilted his head in confusion and then proceeded to turn around and walk away.
Too busy squabbling with each other, it took the two a few moments before they realized that Izek had snuck away.
“Hey, Izek! Where the hell are you going? Hey!”
“L-Lord Izek, I still haven’t finished my—aaaaah!”
“For God’s sake, it’s the Sabbath. Stop bothering me, you two.”
Why someone who didn’t know a single line of the Lord’s Prayer was talking about the Sabbath perplexed both of them.
Ivan glared at the knights sprawled out on the ground that had been secretly listening in on their entire conversation.
They looked back at him with devious grins.
“I heard you suffered terrible seasickness on your way here. I hope you’re feeling all right.”
At least one nice thing about the long journey was that my excuse of seasickness let me avoid meals and throw up whenever I needed to.
Getting away from my family was nice too.
After arriving in Britannia’s capital city of Elendale and partaking in the welcoming procession, I was escorted to Omerta Castle to meet with Ellenia van Omerta.
“I think it was because it was my first time on a long trip like this. It’s a little embarrassing to say, but this is actually my first time leaving the South.”
“You have nothing to be embarrassed about. As a matter of fact, I myself have never had the chance to leave Elendale,” Ellenia replied softly.
Ellenia was, in all honesty, gorgeous beyond belief. I didn’t understand how anyone could actually look like her. The beautiful people I was surrounded by in both of my lifetimes were no match for her.
She was like a marble statue. I stared openly at her long, model-like physique, her cascading silver hair, and, most stunningly, her brilliant red eyes which glistened like gemstones.
Despite what I had assumed, her red eyes were, if anything, more fascinating than scary. I was captivated by her cold, controlled exterior. For someone to try and murder this creation was a crime against humanity.
“Is the food not to your liking?” Ellenia turned her head towards me. She was the same age as me, but she seemed much more mature in every single way.
I’d always been good at reading people’s emotions, but Ellenia’s poker face was impossible to read.