Chapter 49 031. Imperial Prince is Attending a Banquet -2 (Part One)
Chapter 49: 031. Imperial Prince is Attending a Banquet -2 (Part One)
I was puzzled by the question from the girl with blonde hair and blue eyes.
She didn’t seem to recognise me. Maybe it hadn’t been that long since she started working here or something.
I shifted my gaze over to the book she had been reading.
[Treatment and the Impossible Miracle, Resurrection.]
The title sounded a lot like a topic I used to read somewhere else. Raphael Astoria probably wrote this book as well.
What a good granddaughter she was, to be studying deep into the night like this. The grimoire itself was a pretty high-levelled one too. This just went to show how knowledgeable Raphael Astoria’s granddaughter was.
“It seems that a certain grandfather is blessed with a wonderful granddaughter,” said I while approaching her.
She flinched and hurriedly stepped away from me. Those backing steps were filled with vigilance.
What she did was a rather impertinent thing to do when speaking to an Imperial Prince like myself. She must’ve realised this too, because she belatedly bowed her head and acted according to the established decorum.
I could only grin wryly and look at the grimoire again.
[Resurrection], was it?
That sure sounded like an interesting topic.
I then shifted my gaze over to this lady-in-waiting. “Ah. Looks like I interrupted you.”
“No, not at all, your highness. I was already thinking of tidying up and retiring for the night.”
She bowed her head deeply.
Her desire to avoid me as much as possible came across pretty loud and clear from how she was already heading towards the exit. Then again, ‘I’ had the prior record of trying to jump on not just a simple maid, but an esteemed daughter of a famed noble household. It made complete sense that she was on guard against me.
“Sure thing. Have a pleasant night.”
I waved my hand at her and settled down on the chair before scanning through the grimoire. It was an intriguing topic, alright. The book was talking about resurrection through divinity, not demonic energy as how Necromancers would do it.
I muttered out, “Resurrection, is it? Doesn’t sound like it’ll be completely impossible, actually.”
“…No, it’s impossible.”
I glanced at the lady-in-waiting.
The girl who was about to exit the doorway had stopped moving and turned around to say that. She flinched in surprise, then hurriedly bowed her head again. “Please forgive me for my insolence, your highness.”
“What’s your basis?”
“I beg your pardon?”
The lady-in-waiting, Alice, raised her head and formed a slightly dazed expression on her face.
I pressed hard on the grimoire’s page with my fingertip and asked her once more. “What’s your basis for what you just said?”
“…It’s because, despite divinity’s ability to bestow lifeforce, it can only restore the body but not arrest the soul that has already escaped from it, your highness. Such a thing will be impossible even if goddess Gaia herself grants us with a miracle.”
“What if you can ‘arrest’ the soul, then?”
“But… doing that is impossible for Priests wielding divinity, your highness. The only way to make it happen is by using Necromancy, but that is of a completely opposite nature to ours.”
“Okay, I get that. However… what if you possess both natures?”
“That is utterly impossible. These two natures are in direct opposition to each other. Even if you do manage to utilise divinity and demonic energy at the same time, your body will explode and you will be exterminated completely. Not even your soul will survive from that.”
There wasn’t even a single shred of hesitation in her voice.
“I wonder about that… It looks to me that this thing called ‘resurrection’ isn’t completely impossible.”
My response caused her brows to furrow deeply.
I flipped through the grimoire’s pages while muttering to seemingly no one in particular. “What about an even better divinity control method…?”
“Offering prayers to the gods should suffice, your highness.”
“For magicians, Mana and incantations. For Priests, divinity and prayers, while for the dark magicians, demonic energy and lifespan. Those are the costs one has to pay in order to wield the powers of nature. If you seek another route beside offering prayers, then there are magic tools you can consider.”
If there was something I was curious about, I would simply ask her as if I was talking to myself. “I wonder if it’ll be impossible to cast magic while omitting the necessary preparations.”
“Yes. It is possible, your highness. Incantations and prayers are there to correctly arrange the sequence of the images forming in your mind. Through enough training, you may get to omit those preparations, but it is not the most efficient method when you try to gather a great amount of energy or to lower the expenditure. However, there is an exception…”
My question was answered ably by Alice Astoria, who just so happened to be still standing far away from me.
“…If you are blessed with literally an infinite amount of divinity that can deal with all problems that arise from this, then you will be able to omit everything and wield the powers of nature at will.”
Now those were some truly satisfactory answers.
Time continued ticking by as we discussed several things.
The lantern’s light had gone off before anyone noticed it and the rays of morning sun seeped past the windows.
I yawned grandly and rubbed my drowsy eyes, only to realise that she was no longer in the library. I suddenly felt apologetic just then, thinking that I may have needlessly held her up here for the whole night when she probably wanted to go back to her room and rest instead.
“…I guess it’s also time for me to tidy up and get out of here myself.”
I closed the grimoire and got up from the chair. But the first thing to greet me was Harman’s mug as soon as I opened the library’s door.
He had a troubled expression on his face while looking at me. “Your highness, the banquet is one week from now. Have you prepared for it yet?”
Now that I thought about it, didn’t someone say that the Holy Emperor was organising a banquet? The feudal lord from up north, Jenald Ripang, and even Gril had been invited. For some reason, Charlotte was also asked to attend as well.
“Man… can’t I, like, skip that annoying thing?”
“Only by having your accomplishments publicly acknowledged will your stay be more comfortable here, your highness.”
I smacked my lips in response.
Why did I get the feeling that things were about to get even more annoying?
“And also… Were you with Lady Alice up until earlier, your highness?”
“Mm? Ah, that? Yeah, I was. Hiyaaa… that girl was really amazing, let me tell you. Seriously, her knowledge regarding magic was second to none. Thanks to her, the stuff I was curious about are all completely answered now.”
It felt like that clogged-up sensation somewhere deep inside me had been blown away without a single trace left.
Harman studied my mood before cautiously opening his mouth. “Did anything happen, your highness?”
“What do you mean? Hang on, you thought I’d jump on that girl? Hey man, just what do you take me for?”
Harman, even though the time we spent together is… admittedly not all that long, but hell, we’ve gone through the proverbial hell and back, didn’t we?! Don’t tell me you still can’t let go of your suspicions even now!
I tutted and was about to voice out my mind. But then…
“You… already tried it once before, your highness.”
“You tried to… ‘jump’ on her already. Lady Alice Astoria is the granddaughter of his eminence Raphael, one of the five archbishops of the empire and the very same person that ensured your action would remain as an attempt only.”
My mind blanked out after hearing this.
(TL: In 3rd person POV.)
Alice, currently walking on the corridors of the imperial palace, was recalling the Seventh Imperial Prince’s figure.
“That was the Imperial Prince…? The Seventh? That Allen Olfolse?”
She frowned heavily before shaking her head hard.
“No, it can’t be.”
Outwardly, he seemed to be the exact same person, but something about him felt entirely different in her view. She got this sense of incongruency from him, almost like two different ‘natures’ were all jumbled up inside the boy.
From what she heard, he lost his memories after the suicide attempt, and that seemed to have resulted in the changes to his personality, as well. However, she found it strange that even his ‘nature’ had become different too.
When she first saw the Seventh Imperial Prince in the library, she was terrified. But her worries turned out to be unnecessary in the end.
He simply settled down quietly on one of the seats, and while reading the book, he began asking her as if he earnestly wished to learn about something.
Alice replied to all of his questions.
This process repeated itself again and again whenever she resolved herself to exit from the library. Upon fearing that he’d find a pretext somewhere, she deliberately explained everything in as much detail as possible.
At first, she was scared. She thought that he’d harm her if she let her guard down even for a second.
However… the level of his questions steadily rose up as hours ticked by. She even found the topics quite enjoyable to discuss. This was how she even forgot about the passage of time.
The person before her eyes was undoubtedly the one who harmed her, and yet, his disposition seemed to belong to someone else entirely.
Before long, she found herself starting to observe the Imperial Prince more closely while looking forward to what he’d ask her next, instead.
Goodness… no matter how badly human beings suffered from intense bouts of curiosity and the desire to learn, to think that she actually tried to ‘study’ a person who attempted to assault her!
This was pure insanity. She thought that she couldn’t have been in the right frame of mind.
“You’re here, my child.”
Alice raised her gaze. Her grandfather, Raphael Astoria, was standing before the room occupied by the First Imperial Prince.