Author: Lioness


~ 106 ~


Psychke blankly stared at the man who spoke unintelligibly which made him frown even more.


“You mean you can’t give it to me?”

“Why should I?”



Eric mocked coldly.


“You have an unexpectedly cruel side.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why should I give the Count my time?”


Eric rendered the look on his face seeing that Psychke was solemn, indeed, she didn’t even kill him.

As the only witness to the incident, he thought she’d spill the beans and use him as bait to summon the thugs who stole the mark.


Oh, right. That princess didn’t know how to use people.

Sighing faintly, Eric blurted out what he’d been thinking.


“If you use me as bait, you’ll be able to catch that thief easily.”


If not him, he thought, then someone else would, and he might as well teach them and buy himself some time to choose his successor in return.

But Psychke, who was adamant in her refusal, pulled him to his feet.


“I won’t do that.”


Eric froze at the unexpected statement. A ‘Silkisian’ saying that?

A hypothesis formed in his mind, and he questioned it sharply.


“So, the Mark wasn’t such an important object that we wouldn’t go after it?”

“No, we have to find it.”

“… Then why?”


He looked genuinely puzzled.


“Why aren’t you using me?”

“Because, as I said before, I don’t intend to take advantage of you by ignoring your feelings, and you don’t want to die, either.”

“Would it be fair to say that I’m more useful than … that mark?”

“It’s not about being useful or not.”


Psychke let out a small sigh. It was hard enough to hold myself together, let alone support a chattering man who kept on pushing being a valuable possession or whatnot.


“I am serious about what I said. I have no intention of ignoring the Count’s feelings and taking advantage of him for anything.”

“Even if it involves the princess’s life?”




Eric stiffened at the terse answer. After a few moments of silence, and still baffled, he spoke in a barely audible voice.


“There’s something I’d like to ask you.”

“Go ahead.”

“Your Grace has been participating in a tournament, a tournament so important that it could determine your life, and in the finals of that tournament, you are fighting a friend so dear to you that you would trust him with your life.”


She grasped what he meant. She is to fight with Yzhar – Ikaxia’s vice-captain.


“The tournament was important to him, too, so he promised he would fight to the best of his ability to have no regrets. But I found a way to prevent him from going to the finals.”


Eric cleared his throat.


“And what are you going to do about it, Princess?”

“Do what?”


Psychke replied, straightening him up.


“It is to fight in the finals.”

“The princess’s life depends on it.”

“I’ll have to fight well.”

“You might lose. I mean, a hundred percent.”

“I can’t help it if I’m not good enough.”

“You’re not even greedy?”


His voice rose.


“I am, I’m human.”

“Then you won’t make the finals-”

“I’m not weak enough to play such a dirty trick.”

“No, assuming you lose a hundred percent-”

“There’s no such thing as a hundred percent, and if I lost a hundred percent, it wouldn’t be my place.”


“Let me ask you the other way around. What about you, Count? Count, if you were in my shoes, will you risk the dirty way to secure your victory?”


After a heavy silence, he pursed his lips.


“I would …”


But there was no strength in the words.


“I should. I definitely should….”


He repeated the words, as if to assure himself. Then, suddenly, he stopped,


“You really are not fit to be a duke.”


And stormed out. And he spoke no more, until he was carried to the shrine of Vicente, and showed his wounds to the priest.


* *


“The Duchess!”


Verndia, who had received the news of the attack late, rushed in. Psychke, lying on the temple bed with her ankle bandaged, grunted, and sat up.

The priest’s holy power could only heal torn and gaping wounds, so the minor cuts had disappeared, but there was nothing he could do about the sprained ankle she had suffered during his escape.


“Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere!”

“It’s healed, I’m fine.”


She showed him the backs of her hands and arms, where the scars had disappeared.


“They took my markings, though.”

“That’s for later. Are you sure you’re not hurt any worse?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”


Verndia was inwardly relieved to see that she was indeed unharmed.

When he was informed the shop she’d been in had collapsed, he’d thought her heart would break.

They say that powers are so strong that she can take a lot and not die, but one never knows.

Especially, she can’t use her powers.


“Let’s go back.”


He gently picked Psychke up, checking her carefully for any further injuries. They had done all they could in the temple, and it was time to return to Lestir to rest.


“I can walk.”


Psychke begged to be set down, embarrassed to see the priests staring in surprise.


“I can walk, too. I walk better than you, Princess.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“It’s okay if we go somewhere off the beaten path, right?”


Sensing where her embarrassment was coming from, Verndia changed direction.

Heading to a place so remote that she wondered if there was a road there, he began to lead her through a maze of twisting white corridors.

It didn’t look like a path for guests, so Psychke hesitated, then asked.


“Is it okay to go this way?”

“Yes, it’s okay, I’ve been here many times.”


Verndia didn’t elaborate, though he did say that she’d been here when he had an accident as a child.

The two were heading out the door, down the hallway reserved for priests.


“The oracle that says, ‘The glory that has lost its light will eat the light of the sun.'”


The words were strange to them. A young probationary priest, no more than ten years old, was speaking softly to the junior priest in front of him.


“I heard that Princess Lillian, not Princess Glorielle, is the main character, is that true?”


Verndia halted his tracks. Who was the main character of the first oracle?

It wasn’t always clear who the protagonist of the oracle was.

Most believed it had something to do with a name, as Logan Silkisia had first claimed.


“There are distinctions, still.”


A junior priest with a freckled face spoke up. He, too, was young, looking like he’d just hit puberty.


“I actually thought it was Princess Glorielle, but after hearing the results of the discernment ceremony, I don’t think so.”

“It would be nice if the gods could tell us for sure.”


The probationary priest, buried in his large, ill-fitting priestly robes, quacked his lips like a duck.

It was not a matter to be taken lightly when someone’s fate was at stake, but he was too young to think things through.

Toward them, Verndia strode with wary footsteps.

He still held Psychke in her arms.


“May I know what kind you’re talking about, Priests?”




He used the honorifics to show respect, but the priests’ faces turned pale as they heard of Verndia’s infamy.

Especially after seeing Psychke in his arms, her face covered.


“Ah, good evening, Your Grace.”

“May there be no mischief in the fate of the Duke and Duchess.”


As they turned to flee after the hasty greeting, Verndia stopped them.


“You said something about the protagonist of the oracle.”

“Well, that.”

“We’re so sorry, ah…”


The junior priest, who hadn’t realized there was a guest in the room, winced.

The probationary priest hid behind him, helpless. His eyes were tearful, and he was about to cry if he said another word.


“If anyone sees me, they’ll think I’m trying to eat you.”

“Please put me down.”


Psychke, whose face was flushed with embarrassment, said she would try to persuade them.

Thus, Verndia reluctantly let him down.

When she was finally on the ground, she bent down and locked eyes with the two priests.


“It concerns me,” she said, “so, I’m dying to hear it.”

“It’s about….”


It was tied to Lillian’s discernment ceremony, which was shrouded in secrecy,

It would be problematic for a priest who was supposed to convey the will of the gods transparently to add his personal opinion, so the junior priest didn’t say anything.

The probationary priest huffed and hiccupped, clinging to the junior priest’s back.

A ray of salvation shone down from behind them.


“What’s going on?”


The two priests turned around at the same time, their faces brightening.


“Father Serioth!”



The probationary priest ran over to High Priest and hugged him.

The man called Serioth patted the frightened child on the back, both embarrassed and frightened.




His words trailed off as he checked on his guests, internally questioning what could be the devil words that have frightened the young children.

Verndia smiled.




As he shrugged naturally, Psychke pushed herself to her feet.

She’d never had any connection to Vicente’s priest, but this one looked strangely familiar.


“I’ve seen you before.


She narrowed her eyes, then muttered a small,


“Ah, you’re the one who brought Lillian, aren’t you?”

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