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Chapter 21: Wavering
Jolga firmly caught hold of my shoulder and did not let go.
Although I weakly struggled, I soon realised that breaking free would be impossible and looked up at Jolga in resignation.
“There’s something bothering me.”
His voice as he spoke was intentionally still.
“Lady Julieta is… ‘the Daughter of the Asbals’.”
“Born in a family cursed with an early death, the daughter of the Asbals cannot give birth to a crown prince. Am I right?”
“You knew that Sigurd was my son. You know that he doesn’t possess the blood of Asbal. If you let Julieta marry the prince then the Asbal bloodline would cease.”
“However, you did not abandon the duty entrusted to the Asbal family. When I think of that, I understood how Lady Julieta was allowed to be the Crown Princess.”
My elbow was wrapped by long fingers that were made to swing a sword around.
“You intended to adopt an heir, right? The child of Julieta and the Crown Prince, the last successor of the Asbals. And the prince-“
“-would be recommended by the nobles useful to the Royal Family to marry a consort from another kingdom. Their child would then become the successor.”
As I completed his words, Jolga made a pained expression.
“What about His Highness and Lady Julieta?”
“Of course, they know. Julieta is a daughter who understands her position well.”
“That’s why you spoke of a suitable replacement. Because Lady Julieta was never tied to his Highness and then you… you after that-“
I looked down and placed my other hand on Jolga’s hand that was gripping my arm. I felt his large physique suddenly tremble but I pretended to not notice. With my fingers, I lightly rubbed the veins that seemed to pop out of the back of his hand.
“Jolga, you see, I could still forgive the fact that His Highness wanted Miss Nasha as his queen no matter what. In any case, there were already plans for him to take in a consort at some point. Although I would have been hard-pressed to find another Sacrificial Priestess in a short span of time, it would still have been possible. Julieta was hurt but she would overcome her pain in due time.”
“But… His Highness…”
“That’s right. Quite unexpectedly, he made Julieta who had worked herself to the bone for the sake of the kingdom and for the same of His Highness; she, who had lost her precious youth in the service of His Grace Kharis; stoop to becoming a Sacrificial Priestess. Do you understand this? His Highness, whom she had continued to love and support, faced Julieta and told her to ‘Die’.”
“Nothing will remain. The proof that Julieta lived and the reason for her birth, I can’t give anything. Since it is like this, at the very least, as her father I can accompany her fate. Perhaps we should die together.”
“Don’t. Lord Anderheim!”
I forcibly shook off Jolga’s arm as he spoke to me in a strong tone.
“Shut up! What do you know!?”
“Lord Anderheim! We cannot lose a truly loyal subject such as you; one who has continued to support this nation all this while!”
“I don’t care! Don’t order me around!”
I quickly paced through the corridor through the sunbeams and went down the staircase, reaching a wall at the bottom of the stairs before I loosened my cravat [TL: a kind of collar] and heaved a sigh of relief.
I spoke too many flowery words and my tongue felt sore.
Does that mean I am not used to it?
As I took a break, Malacia, who had left the room to chase after Sigurd, passed by me. Giving me a slight smile as he approached.
“Lord Anderheim, you were here? I did chase after the two, but by the time I reached the courtyard, Lady Julieta had already quite adeptly comforted Sir Sigurd. I decided to leave them to their own means.”
“Ah, I saw it from the study above. My beloved daughter seemed quite the Angel.”
“No need to be so modest. She quite resembles Lord Anderheim.”
I see, praising me.
“I can say that the preparations on my side are going quite well. It all depends on what the other side will do now.”
“Got it. Then I will return to the Shrine for now. What should I do with Lutora? Should I leave him here?”
“I don’t mind either way. To begin with, Lutora values his friend Sigurd more than his mother as they used to hang around in the past. He shouldn’t have any resistance accepting Sigurd as his brother.”
“Well. Then I will take him with me. It is high time for us as Melia’s [Medicine] is about to run out. If she grows too violent and injures the ladies-in-waiting and the children any more, I will be troubled.”
“Is it going well?”
“Yeah. Little by little. It’s already the ‘third one’.”
Seeing off Malacia, who went up the stairs to return to the study, I leaned against the wall for quite a while. As I got up and prepared to show up in the courtyard where the children were, my ears caught the faint sound of footsteps.
What followed were a series of loud and chaotic footsteps and a voice that seemed cornered.
The first footsteps that came down from the stairs were those of the Head Priest Malacia. Before I, who was hiding close to the wall, could look over what was happening and before he could turn back to look at the person who called out his name. Arms extended toward him and bound Malacia’s arms behind his back.
Puzzled, Malacia said the name of the man who caught him. However, he didn’t feel the arms that were bound to his back loosen one bit.
“Hey… don’t misunderstand.”
Lutora muttered as he buried his face in Malacia’s chasuble. 1
“Morino was feeling down. He had lost his confidence and was crying so I simply comforted him. Um, it isn’t what you think.”
“Ahh. Was that what it was?”
Malacia quietly chuckled.
“Though I might look like this, I am the Head Priest after all. Not only people’s confessions, I shall never reveal their interests and tastes either. Regardless of whether you and the Prime Minister are lovers, or simply in a physical relationship, I have no intention of ever telling this to others. It’s alright. Be at ease.”
“That’s not it!”
“Ah… shit. I don’t even know what to do.”
Moving his hands from the other’s back, Lutora traced Malacia’s chin as the other cocked his head. Letting out a small sigh, he slowly loosened his grip.
“We’re going back to the Shrine, right? I’ll carry the luggage.”
“Yeah. But Lutora, you can take your time. You’re meeting with your father and lover after a long time too.”
“I’m telling you, he isn’t my lover!”
“Hm? Ah, my bad. Then is it that after all? It’s common among youngsters too, friends with benefits, right? I can’t say much good about it though. Please be prudent.”
“Did you not understand what I said?”
Lutora’s shoulders dropped and while scratching his head, he reminded Malacia, “We’ll go together, so wait for me.” Saying so, he climbed the stairs with huge leaps. As I surreptitiously peeked out from the wall beside the stairs, Malacia looked at me and lightly shrugged his shoulders.
When Malacia had returned to the study to call on Lutora, he chanced upon him consoling Morino with a hug as the latter cried with his face buried in his hands. Uttering a quick, “Sorry for disturbing“, he intended to go back to the front door, but Lutora’s expression abruptly changed as he chased after him.
“I wonder if he’s gotten too attached.”
“Don’t ask me that. Try to avert the crisis on your chastity as far as you can.”
“You know my past, don’t you? I don’t have a shred of that left.”
“Well. Whatever you do, please decide how you will deal with them at the earliest.”
“I understand. But well, I like this puppy.”
That was quite the comparison.
I choked on my laughs as he spoke.
Seeing Lutora, who was a whole head taller than Malacia, embracing him was certainly a sight. I couldn’t see him as anything but a collared pet dog running around its master, vying for his attention.
“Whether you throw him or keep him, just make sure he’s useful. I don’t like keeping useless pets. He has to work for his meals.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. I don’t wish to sell myself short either.”
As Malacia said that, Lutora returned from the study with baggage in hand.
“Then, Lord Anderheim, I shall excuse myself for today.”
“Lord Anderheim. I am thankful for letting me have a seat today. I would love to hear from you in the future and if it’s alright, I would love to have Sigurd… brother become family. Please convey that to him.”
“Thank you. You’re a strong man.”
As I smiled, he returned a slight bow.
Wrapping his hands around Malacia’s arm, he urged him toward the carriage that would take them home. His gaze held a fervent passion within.
He might have not realised it yet and he might not know its meaning but there was no doubt that the fire of possessiveness had been lit within.
“Well then, I wonder what will happen.”
It seems that he would make for an interesting [Pawn].
The kind that would feed bait to an already caught fish.
Hasr: Should I maybe do teasers for the next chapter? Next chapters are on patreon OwO~
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