ETL – Chapter 15

If not the prince, then the duke would be helpful in the plan against the nobles.

‘Plus, he’s also one of the fishes.’

And I thought it was perfect that the duke felt the pressure from the sins of his father. 

“It’s alright, but…”

The taste of the tea from earlier continued to linger in my mouth. 

The reason why the duke came to see me was to reduce the damages from the demons.

I leaned back slightly on the sofa and stretched my legs out. I felt comfortable that I wanted to take a nap. Maybe I slept wrong since my neck felt stiff. I tilted my head a bit. I looked as comfortable as I could but not to the extent of disrespect. 

The hesitation disappeared from the duke’s face and he answered, “It will be an honor to be the partner of the saintess.”

I smiled at the excessiveness of it but I was glad that this was working out.

“Thank you very much, Duke Cassan.”

I was touched by the fact that he came and apologized. He was normally an icy noble who does not even talk to anyone else first. At least he was a person who enriched his estate and provided a better life for the people.

I pushed the cooled cup of tea towards the duke. I could see that he was a little relieved by my actions, but his lips moved slightly as if he was saying the princess’s name. It seemed almost unconsciously done. 

When I thought about the princess and the duke, I suddenly became curious.

In Reneben’s case, he learned that he had divine power when he was 2 and lived in the temple for 15 years. Meeting the princess must have been a breath of fresh air for him so I can understand him liking the princess. 

But why does the duke like the princess?

Although he is her friend, he must have fallen in love with her at some point. It’s not strange to fall in love with the princess.

“So why does the Duke like Princess Ronella?”

Even though I mentioned her name with pure intentions, his face turned into embarrassment.

“That’s…” the duke started to answer but his face became distorted. His hand moved to cover his lowered head. “So sudden.”

“What?”

“Ha…?”

The duke’s face became horribly crumpled. He placed his hand on his forehead, muttering something to himself. There was a mixture of confusion and unknown guilt in his eyes. Then he looked at me with a puzzled look and muttered as if something had been missing.

“Why do I like Nella…?”

‘Does love need a reason?’ I answered for him in my head since he did not answer. His response was unexpected. 

The embarrassed look of the duke did not last long. He returned back to his usual composure as if what just happened was an illusion.

I reached out to him to see if he was ok. He shook off my hand and looked at me sharply.

“No, it’s nothing. Nella’s good because she is just Nella.”

It was an expected answer but I watched him like a search dog because I felt there was something more. He was clean though.

“Then will you be my partner that day?”

“It’ll be an honor to.”

It did not seem like an honor at all. The duke got on his knee and kissed the back of my hand. Even though it was all pretense, it did not feel bad at all.

“I’m glad that Duke Cassan can escort me.”

When he stood up, I had to look up as he was a lot taller than me. I thought in my head about how tall the duke is in comparison to the princess, who was shorter than me.

I told the maid who was waiting nearby to clear the table. I noticed that his teacup was left untouched. I led him to the door.

My purpose here is done…

I felt that the duke was staring at the back of my head. It might be an exaggeration but it felt like lasers.

I opened the door, pretending to be unaware of the intense gaze. When I tried to see him off, he stopped me.

“You can stay inside…”

I decided that it’s not polite to follow when the other person refuses. I opened the door and leaned against the wall.

He walked through the opened door. When the image of his back was getting smaller, I decided to move. Since my legs were crossed as I was leaning against the wall, I had to twist my body to get up. 

The duke noticed it. I hope he did not think that I was doing it on purpose to get his attention. I do not want to mislead him. The duke was already so far away that I could no longer see his face anymore but he turned back around.

“What’s wrong?” I asked gently. Did he leave something behind?

He replied slowly in a somewhat cold voice, “I apologize for injury on your arm.”

“…? Ah…”

“I have sinned for failing to protect the saintess. I deserve punishment as a Knight.”

Mmm… I thought about it as I swept my lip with my finger. There’s no set rule about that. There’s no punishment for failing to protect a saint. 

In the first place, the temple had nothing to do with the law. Even if a person was killed in the temple, no one was legally responsible.

The duke was not a bad person. Even if this was modern time, who would have thought that the duke was bad.

If a child and the president of a country both fell into the water. Of course the parents will rush in to save their child. No matter who the other person was, it’s only natural to save someone close to you.

I painted the duke as a bad person to Reneben in order to highlight how badly the nobles were treating the temple.

I did not want to change my beliefs even though I was living here now. It would be ridiculous to assimilate into a world where people die by the hands of the nobles. Even though I hold this power, I was here by myself.

I had a strange feeling about the duke’s apology. Even so, I knew that he was sincere so I could accept it without any difficulty.

But… I wanted to play a little more, I asked “If this happens again, will you save me first?”

“…”

The duke remained silent so I continued.

“If I died… would there be a lot of damage until the new saint appears?”

I sighed deeply. I do not hate the duke but I wanted him to understand what was important to him.

“Duke Cassan.”

“Yes?”

I knew what he cherished so I could tell him.

“Shouldn’t it be the correct choice to save someone precious? Of course, the moment the chandelier fell, the princess was safe, while I was in danger. It’s much more rational to save me.”

The duke’s mouth was closed in a straight line.

“But did you know that emotions aren’t rational?” I continued. 

I hope he does not repress those feelings because he is tied to his status.

After sending the duke off with that, I looked out of the window feeling like one of my baggage had been lifted.

I watched him with interest as he got on the carriage. The moment the horses moved, the carriage went out of sight. 

I decided I should wash my hands that were stained with the blood of the noble lady. I felt uncomfortable that my hands were still not cleaned. I went to the common washroom that the priests used.

The servant who was attending the washroom was embarrassed to see me. He handed me a soft towel that seemed to have dried under the sun for several hours. I took it and went inside.

I placed my hand in the sink as lukewarm water flowed out. The blood started to wash away in the water.

“It’s not washing out well…”

I had to wash it in cold water but got warm water instead. I had to rub well to remove all the blood. After a while, I checked my hands and all the traces of blood were gone.

I had to look for Reneben now. When I left the washroom I straightened out my shoulders and stretched my joints. 

There was one more servant now. He stood next to the previous servant who had a deer in a headlight look. He awkwardly approached me and took the towel away from me.

Judging by his red face and avoiding gaze, I can roughly make out what was going on. I usually moved within the same area of the temple. As a result they wanted to see me when they were usually unable to. 

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