Thank you for the kofi, Jonesa! (4/4) done
That’s how it went.
After my husband and brother were whispering something to each other on the balcony like a pair of good friends, mine and Cesare’s visit to Elendale had been decided.
My anger was slowly surging up as I saw their arrogant faces whispering and sticking to each other.
“I’m sorry for taking your wife away from you, brother-in-law. I don’t think I’ll have time other than today. In return, I will especially pray for both of you to be happy.”
“Does that really work?”
“It’s quite miraculous. In a way.”
This is great. Since he’s joking around, it seems like they are really made for each other, right?
Right? Aren’t they really like each other? Why don’t they just hold hands and marry each other?
I would gladly take my leave.
I was a little angry because I felt like I became a fool on my own, but then I decided to focus on the matter with Cesare for now.
Because seeing the festival was just an excuse.
After the match began, I wouldn’t have enough time to spare, so before that, I assumed he would make up an excuse so that we could meet each other.
I couldn’t avoid it because I also needed to look for him.
However, I felt complicated and somewhat sorry for Izek, who fell for Cesare’s act.
I didn’t even know why I felt sorry.
Wasn’t he the real protagonist? Was it okay for the main character to be acting like this?
“I hope you have fun.”
I really stood out in this dress, so we decided to drop by the temple to change first. We waited for a while before sneaking out of the banquet hall and getting into the carriage which had been prepared by Izek.
The seemingly inconsiderate escort looked hesitant, but he did not ask any questions.
When I started to feel hesitant as I looked around, the indifferent protagonist looked calm.
“It’s been a long time since the monsters were cleared out. So, you’ll be safe.”
The way he spoke was confident.
The cleaning of monsters before the festival was also an important thing to do, and a lot of cardinals, the second highest below the sacred monks, were also gathered in the Elendale, so it was unlikely for crazy monsters to come out.
Credits also go to the sacred shield that immediately enveloped Cesare. Was that why he looked so pleased?
Izek tilted his head when I just stared at him.
I had to swallow my bitter tears at this unnecessarily pretty sight of him.
Why did he have to dress up so nicely?
“Nothing, I’ll be back soon. Thank you.”
It somehow felt sad that his hand broke away from mine, even though I held onto it tightly.
I would be the one who has to endure the pain from now on, but why did I feel like I was doing something terrible?
I guess if someone was showing me around the streets here for the first time, it should have been him.
How could I tell that these kinds of things that meant nothing to him felt like a breath of life to me?
* * *
We stopped by the temple and he changed into a monk’s attire with scapular before we arrived at the street festival.
Our guide was a serious-looking monk with a huge hood pulled down to conceal his face.
I couldn’t tell if he was a real monk or not.
I was wondering if that guy was one of Cesare’s spies, but Cesare had not said anything strange so far as he scanned through the noisy streets.
“You mean me?”
Cesare’s palm gently wrapped around my wrist while pretending to be cheerful.
It wasn’t enough to hurt me, but it was still tight.
“I can’t believe an ignorant Paladin is spying on us, moreover they’re surprisingly careless. Or did they do it even though they knew I would notice?”
He mocked. My nape felt cold because of his mumbles.
What did he mean by spy? Who was following us?
I replied in a skeptical tone knowing it would’ve been useless to look around.
“No way, no one can do that. For what reason would they follow us? Maybe it’s just someone who came out to watch the festival like us?”
“All of them are enemies. Did you forget that?”
The hand holding my wrist became more tight. It hurt a little this time.
“Huh? You can’t trust anyone but me.”
A low growl, which seemed to be a warning, pushed through the veins of my aching wrist and continued to pulse through my body.
I’m doomed. I’m doomed.
I spoke up again after agonizing for a while.
“Of course I didn’t forget about it. I was just a little indignant because my brother seemed to enjoy his time with my husband.”
After he released his grip on my wrist, his palm landed on top of my head.
Then a laugh came out of his mouth simultaneously. Whew.
“You’re impressive. Were you jealous?”
“It’s just that I haven’t seen you looking so happy in a long time.”
“It’s fun to tease you. Looking at you like this, you must’ve always been kept under guard.”
It wasn’t like it’s impossible, but I couldn’t tell if the Paladin secretly following us had nothing to do with me.
Did Izek ask him?
Or it could have been a salty act by those who genuinely hated us.
Either way, it wasn’t a surprising and unexpected problem. It would have been better if it was a surprise.
“I’m always like this whenever I go out. I miss home.”
“I was going to take you back this time, but you made things difficult for me, my beloved sister.”
What was he trying to do this time?
I sweated again when Cesare took a hold of my hand, but he had a gentle expression when I looked up at him.
His dark blue eyes gleamed with a spark of mischief.
“Let’s get rid of them first.”
It seemed like there was a fun secret game between us.
I wonder if he somehow suffered from bipolar disorder.
* * *
“All of this is greasy and covered with sugar. I feel like I’m about to die.”
“Something like that must’ve existed since it’s a relatively cold country. Do you want to drink some of this?”
I was astonished to know a man like him, who grew up luxuriously from the day he was born, actually enjoyed exploring through this street.
Regardless of whether I dissuaded him or not, Cesare still proceeded to peep casually at the street stalls and casually tasted foods there like as if he was back in Rome, but he eventually muttered while saying he didn’t like it.
At times like this, it seemed that there was no complex component of our birth.
“Thank you. By the way, it’s surprising that you’ve never looked around the capital before. Even if it was in the north, wouldn’t there be monsters coming out of nowhere?”
How good he was at talking about such matters even though he already knew clearly what difference it made while staying in the north.
I felt sour, but I smiled and pretended to sigh.
“Well, it’s the fate of the Princess of Romagna. Who else in the world would be able to show you around like this?”
“Is that so? It kind of reminds me of the past. Of that Christmas.”
Our eyes, which shone meaningfully, collided against each other.
It was obvious what he meant on ‘that’ Christmas.
A year before, it was Christmas when Cesare took me to play at Santa Maria and we only returned early in the morning, and for some reason, we met Father, who had been waiting for us.
Usually, the main target of the Pope was Enzo, the troublemaker, so I was really scared at that time.
It was my first time witnessing such a sight.
Regardless of whether I was watching them or not, Father just bombarded his beloved and perfect eldest son with all kinds of vulgar insults, saying that he had such an indecent hobby due to having the same blood as his lowly mother.
Even though Father personally chose to register his mother in our family.
The funny thing was that he didn’t even bother to listen to the comment about his mother’s blood.
That was as far as I knew, at least.
Why did he bring up such unpleasant memories at this moment?
“I was really scared back then, because I was afraid that he would hit you.”
A chuckle came out of his mouth. It almost sounded like a cackle.
“Actually, I was a little scared, too. But Father will never hit me.”
That was right. Because Father loved him but at the same time, he was afraid of his eldest son.
That must be the reason he was tied with the holy orders which restrained him.
The relationship between the father-son that seemed good from the surface was actually very complicated.
We walked around for quite a while and exchanged words just like that.
Elendale’s street festival couldn’t be compared to the one in Romagna, but it had its own style because of the unique culture that blended well with the cold weather.
Especially the ice sculpture decoration showcased near the fountain which was so artistic that it caused people to widen their eyes in astonishment.
If the person beside me wasn’t Cesare, I would have been able to enjoy these scenery in ease.
But I couldn’t care less about the things which caught my eyes nor the stuff that seemed to be interesting.
The tension between us was growing more and more as the time passed by.
And when the beam of light falling over his head finally turned to red color which resembled twilight, Cesare, who had been constantly walking without letting go of my hands, finally glanced up at the sky and muttered.
“You don’t seem to be having so much fun.”
“Me? You’re not serious, right?”
“I think we should go back to the temple now.”
His dark blue hair was tinged with the color of the sunset.
There was even a hint of red in his blue eyes that looked down at me without saying a word.
The time had come.
Wasn’t it a peculiar habit trying to make me let my guard down by dragging me out every time?
The guide, who had been wandering around quietly, exchanged glances with Cesare.
After a while, we turned back to the way we walked earlier and got into a carriage parked near the venue before heading back to the temple.
* * *
The temple felt more tranquil and creepy than usual, perhaps because most of the people were attending the royal banquet.
It was just before I went to the room which had been prepared by the monks before to change back to the clothes I had left here earlier, and packed up the accessories.
“His Grace is waiting over there.”
A huge man with a scapular hood pulled all the way down was waiting right in front of the door, said in a rough and unpleasant voice.
It was the person who was in charge as the guide in the street festival for us a while ago.
This was the first time he spoke, but even though I heard it just for once, I immediately knew he had a deep southern native accent.
It was hard to conclude whether he was one of the Vatican spies in the Temple of Elendale.
He didn’t even look like a monk, instead he also looked like a person who had just come to the North.