ETL – Chapter 17

It was a bit of a surprise, but there was plenty of time to get some candy and relax. I gathered my emotions, took a deep breath, and put my hands on my knees. 

“Jessie, please tell me the story.”

I did not fully trust her yet but it seemed like the person in front of me did not have the guts to do it.

Hearing my command, she moved her body like a robot again.

“But I won’t tolerate lies, Jessie Portra.”

“Yes… yes.”

I wanted her to speak with ease but she was still uncomfortable. Even if she showed me half of the emotion from the earlier hug then the conversation would be easier.

“I already know but I will still ask. Is Jessie the one who dropped the chandelier?”

“I’m sorry… I didn’t really want to do that.”

“I won’t accept an apology. If you want to be of help to me, give me a proper answer instead.”

Nodding her head, she sniffed.

“Did you want to harm me?”

“No way! I swear to God I would never do that. But that man has my parents.”

“That man?”

I was surprised that Jessie’s parents were being held but at the mention of a man, it reminded me of someone. Veron Nestro, could he be behind it…?

“Can you tell me more in detail?”

“Of course, just ask me anything!”

Jessie started talking, “It started shortly before the party… My father met his downfall. My father’s brother is Marquis Cheron. He tricked my father and took the mine… it was our source of money.”

“Oh.”

“When we thought it was all over, a man appeared and gave me an artifact. He said I had to drop the chandelier without fail otherwise my parents will be in trouble…”

“Please keep talking.”

“I got money in exchange…”

So she was doing this for money and ended up sitting in front of me in this state.

A person who was down on their luck suddenly having a large amount of money, anybody would be suspicious about that.

After hearing the quick explanation, I deduced, “To harm me means to be against God, is this some sort of hidden agenda?”

“The possibility of a hidden agenda is high.”

“Well yes, and the culprit is a man.”

“There’s no guarantee that it’s only one person. Someone else could have commissioned him to threaten her.”

What Reneben said made sense, the culprit might not be a man. 

“Just in case Miss Portra, are you able to give a description of the man?”

I was satisfied with Reneben, who always worked hard. Reneben took out a pen and notebook and started writing down the description. When he noticed my happy expression, he straightened his face. Then he shook his head gently when he thought of what happened.

Reneben took over questioning Jessie. The conversation went from a few minutes to several hours. After listening for a while, I became exhausted and stopped them.

“Jessie, I will let the servants know but let’s have you stay in the temple for now. Of course, I’m not saying that you should get comfortable here. The people at the temple will watch your every move. You have to be alert and watch your step.”

I decided to have Jessie around. I did not fully believe her right now so I needed to watch her a little more.

“Um, Miss Saintess…”

“Please call me Emilone. People of the temple address me as such.”

Jessie was pleased and said, “Thank you for giving me a chance. I will only follow Miss Emilone so my parents can live comfortably.”

“The temple will support Jessie’s family in the future. You know that you cannot leave the temple once you join, right? So families of priests and employees are obliged to support them in the temple.”

I expected tears to flow again but thankfully she did not cry. 

“Miss Emilone, please rest assured. This is undeserving of me. I will make myself comfortable as a servant serving you.”

Jessie said she was 2 years younger than me, making her the same age as Reneben. I was 24 and they were 22, why did they look so young?

Even though I was higher in status and age, I decided to talk to her comfortably.

“Okay Jessie, I hope that you will work hard for me in the future.”

It’s the first time I spoke to someone like this in this world. As I thought about it, I called over a servant and asked for guidance. The servant looked disapprovingly at Jessie, who put me in danger. 

I told the servant to be careful since I felt sorry for Jessie. The servant took Jessie, leaving me alone with Reneben. 

“Miss Emilone…”

“Yes?”

Reneben was sitting up straight, his posture contrasted mine as I was sitting comfortably.

“Me too…”

“What?”

“Me too!”

What a surprise! I was dumbfounded by the sudden shout. Without realizing it, Reneben was more surprised than I was. 

“No, that’s not it. I’m sorry.”

He went back to his usual self. He tried to hide it but I find it cute when he shows his excited side. When I asked him what he was going to say, Reneben made an easy request.

“It’s ok if you speak comfortably with me too,” he spoke with a determined face.

“Reneben…?”

“You can speak comfortably with me too…”

Even though he was a charismatic high priest of the temple, he was always gentle with me.

I wanted to tease him but I thought I would upset him. Instead I stored his cute expression in my mind.

“Reneben.”

“Yes…”

“Reneben.”

“Did you call me?”

“I just called you,” I spoke casually without any honorifics. 

**********

The next morning, Jessie came to me wearing the temple maid uniform. Jessie brought a letter with a fancy ducal design on it. 

Behind Jessie said a woman with jet black hair.

Surprised, I choked on the tea I was drinking in the greenhouse. 

“Princess?”

“Please call me Ronella. I apologize for the sudden visit. I sent a letter beforehand but it seems I arrived sooner.”

I took the letter Jessie was holding.

“I came here despite the rudeness because the maid said that you would be here… I hope it’s not too much of a nuisance.”

The location was not an issue… but looking at the letter, at least the princess’s level of disregard for me seemed to have gone down a little. Last time she visited without informing me beforehand.

Perhaps Jesse came alongside the princess, but when I saw her still standing at the door, it seemed like it wasn’t.

“I forgot to contact the princess as well.”

“I guess it can’t be helped since you have been busy these days. I felt sad that I have not heard from you in a while.”

“Oh no, I’ll keep in touch even if there’s nothing in the future.”

“I would appreciate that! No matter what happens, I’m happy to accept your contact. My parents will be happy too,” she said with a pure voice.

She must be evaluating me inside her head. We smiled at each other, both hiding secrets.

Looking at the excited princess, I gave her the seat in front of me. It was originally planned for Jessie as I did not expect the princess.

I slowly glanced at the princess in front of me. The happy princess seemed to want to talk about many things.

I wanted to play along, so I told her, “I feel good to be meeting you like this.”

“…”

The princess made eye contact with me. As I blinked my eyes whole looking at Nella, I tilted my head slightly and brought the teacup to my mouth.

“The saintess who has no one by her side, calls me like this…”

Her black hair cascaded over her shoulder. Hey green eyes shined dangerously.

“It’s because I’m a little special to you, right?”

I observed her, looking for anything wrong. I looked not only closely to the eyes and speech, but also the facial movements. Was she trying to place me in her hands?

“Well, Miss Emilone?”

“Yes?”

“Are you listening?”

I made eye contact with Ronella. The dangerous atmosphere from before disappeared.

“Of course, Princess. I’m sorry, but I have to get up for a moment.”

It was interesting listening to the princess’s conversations but I had to get up from my seat because I had to wake up. Otherwise I would feel like I was really charmed by her. 

I asked the princess for her understanding that I had somewhere to be at the moment. The princess waved goodbye.

I washed my face in the washroom. I felt refreshed and awake so I headed back to the greenhouse.

Smash!

“Really, it’s too much.” 

It was the voice of the princess. However, unlike the usual, a deeper voice rang in the greenhouse garden. 

I hid myself and went inside. The broken vase was shattered across the floor. 

“I don’t like everything.”

She picked up a piece of broken glass and glided a finger across the edge. 

“Like the saintess… the prince and the duke aren’t responding very well these days,” she said. She swept her hair, using the same hand that touched the broken glass. 

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