CHAPTER 120 – PRINCE
Knight orders are now considered a branch of the military, but in the past when our kingdom was established, knights referred to those who protected St. Ahar, or battle priests that fought in the military.
That’s why even today, knights must have their knight cloaks sanctified by holy water in a church ritual, it’s a remnant from that time. I attended the ceremony, and from what I could see, the holy water is considered holy is because it’s water from the spring at the altar where St. Ahar is buried, which is also where the ceremony is taking place today. It’s a spring that hasn’t dried up even though St. Ahar died more than a millennium ago, so maybe there’s something special about it after all.
Today is the day when my knight order will become formally recognized, so together with Earl Terejia, Claudia, and Oscar, we all headed to the Divine Temple of Misorua.
Claudia and Oscar are wearing the uniforms of the Kaldia knight order for the first time today, and it looks better on them than I expected. They’re going to officially become knights, and their knight cloaks have white as the main color, they’re well fitting of the sparkling image.
Especially Claudia, she looks so smooth and cool, almost as if she’s a handsome prince. Actually though, only the royal family’s knights are allowed to use pure white for their knight cloaks, so the cloaks I designed have silver and gold embroidery on them as well.
Since this is a formal church ritual, I was in knight attire as well, but my cloak’s contrast with my eye color…… Well, I’ve inherited my father Orville’s scarlet eyes. It’s so similar to the color of blood, I really don’t like it at all.
“I think we’ve arrived too early.”
Earl Terejia looked at the water clock in the corridor and made such a comment, which Claudia replied to with her own idea almost instantly.
“W, well then, is it alright if I walk around a little?”
In a rare instance for her, her voice is shaky. She doesn’t seem composed, either. I suppose that even Claudia can’t keep calm on the day when she’ll finally achieve her dream that she’s had for so many years. She’s wanted to become a knight for so long, that when she finally put on her knight uniform this morning, she almost fainted. Of course, she knows that she’ll ruin the whole schedule if she actually faints, so Claudia managed to rebound upwards mid-fall and somehow stand up straight again even after falling backwards. ……Is this a testament to her flexibility, I wonder.
Oscar who also wanted to become a knight had such a proud expression as well, so I can really tell how badly Claudia wanted this.
“Earl Terejia, I think it’ll be good for her if she gets a little breather first.”
“Mmm……, you’re right. Let’s take a walk in the garden until the priest gets here.”
Although Earl Terejia widened his eyes in surprise at seeing how Claudia was acting, he merely shook his head slightly and gave his permission. I can tell that he also means for me to go along with Claudia, probably to look after her. I nodded, stopped leaning against the handrail in the corridor, and gently tugged Claudia’s sleeve. Claudia obediently followed after me, walking unsteadily.
The central courtyard in the Divine Temple of Misorua serves as both a garden and a passageway. There are buildings north, south, east, and west of the central garden, but only the southern building is open to commoners. The northern building is where the priests and monks live and study, the eastern building is a major cathedral, and the western building has a smaller cathedral and places such as confession rooms and ceremonial ritual locations.
“Even though it’s the central courtyard…… There’s no flowers. What a strange garden.”
Claudia made a frank statement about the courtyard garden, and I commented “you’re right” in agreement. This garden consists only of shrubs and grasses, and although when looking closely you can see some tiny white flowers blossoming, it’s nothing even close to the ornamental flowers for admiring that you’d see in most normal gardens.
Claudia walked around in circles for a while, then she squatted down in the shadows of some shrubs and sighed. This is even rarer, it seems that she’s not energetic because she’s too nervous.
“……Sorry, Eliza-dono. Could you let me be alone for a little while? I promise not to move from here.”
“Ah…… I understand. But, just for a little while.”
Although I’m a bit worried about leaving Claudia alone when she’s feeling so much tension, I don’t want to go against her wish, so I made my way between the shrubs, and walked deeper into the garden.
Walking deeper into the garden, I noticed the plants surrounding the garden as a sort of fence getting gradually taller. They seem to be some type of rose plants, but with no flowers. I’m not an expert in botany, but when I looked closer, I noticed some other plants that should be flowering currently in this season, but I couldn’t find a single flower.
Just as I was thinking how strange it all was, I noticed many traces of scissor cuts on the branches. ……Someone cut off all the flowers, no, maybe took them all for some reason. Well, I don’t know the story behind all this.
When I looked up again to check my surroundings, I could hear the sound of footsteps crunching on grass from the north. Is it one of the monks that live in the north building, I wonder.
Upon listening more closely, it sounds like he’s sprinkling water on the plants. Sometimes it sounds like he’s using an unreasonable amount of water though, so maybe he’s not used to the work yet.
I thought about it a little, and looked back at the path I just took. It might be slightly too early to return yet, as Claudia had wanted some time by herself. Let’s do this instead, I tried walking as silently as possible and headed for the direction of the watering sounds.
“……Is someone there?”
It seems like my efforts at going unnoticed have failed. The person asking me the question sounded like a young teenager, whose voice hadn’t changed yet. He sounds like he’s highly on guard against me. Why would a monk in the divine temple have anything to be wary about, I wonder?
“I’m just taking a walk in the garden. Don’t mind me.”
At my answer, I could hear the tension disappearing from his voice.
Hey, aren’t you still a child yourself? I kept that thought to myself though, and as I went around the bushes, I suddenly saw the boy who was speaking to me.
I couldn’t help but stare wide-eyed in surprise. Even though this is my first time meeting him, I definitely know who he is.
At that moment, for the first time –
I met one of the main characters from the otome game.