Chapter 43: 028. Imperial Prince is Going Home -2 (Part One)
Liu Bei had to visit Zhuge Liang three times and kneel before the latter’s residence just to reel in the famed tactician to his side.
That’s right, even someone like Liu Bei would no doubt be earnest in his efforts and do his utmost best to convince Zhuge Liang. And such dedication did move the latter so much that he had step out of his residence.
When the attempts go beyond the level of sincerity and straight into stubborn persistence, it’d be only normal for you to get pissed off about the whole damn thing.
Honestly, Liu Bei wouldn’t have displayed that legendary patience of his when visiting Zhuge Liang three times just for laughs, now would he?
“His majesty is…”
I shoved Harman outside the monastery’s door after he showed up yet again.
“Charlotte, go and fetch me some salt!”
She went and brought some salt in a small bucket after I shouted out loudly. I couldn’t help but ruefully smack my lips at that. Although salt wasn’t all that expensive, it was still a bit of waste regardless.
But as long as I could stop this damn Paladin from talking, then…!
I emptied the whole bucket of salt on the man.
“…ning you, your highness.”
However, this damn guy still finished what he wanted to say. His eyes staring at me were twitching noticeably.
Initially, I figured this wouldn’t last long. I used the excuse of not feeling well to send him away a few times. But then, he began showing up here not just once, but three times in a day!
During breakfast, lunch, and then supper – just before I’d sit down for my meal, he’d show and start muttering, “…back to the imperial palace.” To make matters worse, he’d always open his mouth in his trademark deadpan face just as I pick up my spoon to dig into my food.
You try listening to that for a month. How would you feel afterwards?!
This sour mood I felt caused the previously-delicious meal to no longer taste as good, and every time I took a bite, it felt like indigestion would hit me in the face again and again.
Hell, he’d even stand outside the window near my bed and glare straight through it just as I’m about to hit the sack, too. It was already a small mercy that his Term*nator mug hadn’t shown up to torment me in one of my nightmares so far.
“I’m telling you, he’s a bloody T-800! Seriously!”
“…Did you send him away again?”
As Charlotte placed the plates and cutlery on the table, she asked me this question.
I simply waved my hand dismissively at her. “Forget about it and let’s just eat.”
Despite nodding her head, she still glanced at the door. I figured that this kind-hearted country girl was concerned about Harman outside.
“…Go and give him something to eat, then.”
She nodded again before placing a couple of her handmade sandwiches on a plate. After opening the door, she presented them towards Harman, who was still standing outside like some kind of a log.
“I thank you.” He gladly received the plate and shifted his gaze over to me to open his mouth once more, “His majesty is summo…”
I slammed the door shut right away.
After the ‘Witch Morgana’ incident, as well as the Ronia fortress adventure, I found myself with not much to do in the monastery. Indeed, I was finally enjoying some peace and quiet!
About three months had gone by since the winter’s onset. The passing of time brought the seasonal plague to its close and allowed the warmth of spring to approach us. I wasn’t stupid enough to give up on this peaceful and calm lifestyle.
After finishing my meal, I immersed myself in reading the grimoires until supper time.
I was brushing up on the magic theory of the Imperial Family related to divinity control.
[Author: Raphael Astoria.]
“…This dude, he must be a religious quack or something.”
Written in the book was a theory on divinity control that easily rivalled the Necromancer’s method. My issue with this tome was that it seemed to be filled to the brim with this over the top adulation of the goddess bordering on unhealthy obsession.
Sure, I did manage to make that vampire eat a good one all thanks to this book, but even then, it just left a sour taste in my mouth.
“…However, even this book doesn’t say how I can properly control Amon’s skull.”
I was in a need to find a way to control a far greater amount of divinity in the future, somehow.
I thought about the skull I acquired back in Ronia fiefdom. It was one heck of an ominous-looking mountain goat’s skull, that’s for sure.
For the purpose of testing it, I went to an uninhabited open field, put the skull on, and used my skills. That’s when I learned that I didn’t need to offer up a prayer or even gather extra divinity. Quite literally, I could spam my skills without worrying about cooldown time.
Its option of amplifying divinity indeed proved to be outstanding. But my issue was…
“The hangover is no bloody joke, man.”
The after-effects of using the skull was too severe. It did amplify my divinity, as well as my healing factor for a limited time. However, I ended up collapsing from divinity depletion afterwards.
Every time that happened, the healer who remained behind in Ronia fortress had to hop over here. While doing his best to save my butt, he asked me this.
Just what exactly are you doing to deplete your divinity to this extent, your highness?! This happened not just once or twice, either! And to think that you’d deplete yourself so much that you could even end up as a cripple…
Thanks to my experiments, I had to stay confined to bed for three or maybe four days in total.
“This isn’t going to work… If using a couple of skills as a test run leaves me in that state, I have to find a better way.”
With this idea in mind, I shifted my attention over to the other grimoires.
[Divinity and Resuscitation: a Study on Revival. Author: Raphael Astoria.]
This fella, he seemed to be knowledgeable on a pretty wide range of topics, didn’t he?
It looked to me that he had researched not just divinity control, but even the various healing techniques in-depth as well. The book contained several theories based on magic spells recorded in various myths.
“But why is it so thick, though?”
It was as thick as two encyclopedias stacked together, actually. I could only click my tongue at that. When I was about to reach out to it, someone addressed me from behind.
“I’ll be retiring for the night, Imperial Prince-nim.”
I looked behind to see Charlotte wearing a substantial winter robe and a scarf bowing down towards me.
I muttered out my reply, “Ah, it’s that late already?”
The day had already darkened considerably when I looked outside the window.
Charlotte stared at me for a little while before cautiously opening her mouth, “Pardon me, but… will you be heading back to the imperial palace?”
“Why would I go back to such a dangerous place?!”
I still didn’t know who sent that witch Morgana here. And not only that, the emperor must still be pretty displeased with his grandson, too. You could easily tell that by him forcing me to provide ‘voluntary’ service to Ronia fiefdom.
Going there would surely provide me with some answers. However, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that I’d receive the cold shoulder treatment if I went there.
The fellow Imperial Princes wouldn’t just look down on me with cold and sneering gazes, but also with murderous glares while painting a bullseye on my back.
“A dangerous place…”
Charlotte murmured to herself. Then, she formed a wry grin and bowed again.
“Hey, be careful on your way home.”
I accompanied her on the way to the monastery’s gates. That was where I discovered Harman standing around, waiting by the road leading to the village below the hill.
I tutted loudly while looking at the guy. What a stalker he was.
“I shall escort you home.”
…It was commendable that he waited for Charlotte and escorted her home, ensuring her safety at night. I watched as she and Harman disappeared down the road.
(TL: in 3rd person POV.)
After returning to her home in the village, Charlotte started undoing the scarf, eventually changing into a comfortable nightwear. Even as she did this, her eyes remained narrowed in contemplation.
The Imperial Prince mentioned that it was dangerous.
As she suspected, the imperial palace must’ve been a dangerous place for him.
The ones responsible for the prince’s banishment, were they still targeting the boy’s life even now?
It could very well be that the prince knew about this, and that explained his strong reluctance to go back there.
She had no way of knowing the ills troubling him. If only he let her in and shared a little bit of his honest thoughts with her. That would have certainly been wonderful.
“But… would I be of any help even if I listened to what’s troubling him?”
Charlotte clenched her fists.
She recalled the figure of the Imperial Prince confronting the Vampire Count back in Ronia fortress.
The knights emitting bright light appeared to suppress the vampire. Then, the prince oh-so easily blew away the head of the suppressed undead.
While all of this was happening, she was unable to do anything.
There was little doubt that the imperial palace should be littered with people wielding devastating strength capable of threatening the prince’s life. But here she was, a child who believed that she could somehow protect him.
‘I need to put in more effort.’
She wasn’t good enough yet.
Indeed, she needed to put in more effort.
Before she stepped outside her room, she noticed a piece of document resting on a shelf. As if it had been abandoned for decades, it was stained and caked with blood and dirt.
The ink had been smudged to the point of the letters being hard to make out. Charlotte saw this paper and could only tilt her head. She stepped outside the room and saw Gril and Harman chatting with each other.
“Gril, do you have any thoughts of entering the imperial palace?”
Her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when she heard this.
The imperial palace? Gril…? Why?