Nabel became busier by the day as his workload increased.
All the tasks that had delayed for a month in order to rescue Ronée and the preparations for the tower’s trial needed his attention.
Also, there were mages from all over the country who wanted to meet the owner of the Shinsu.
Furthermore, due to the procedure, priests from each of the temples in the Western Continent had to come and verify the legitimacy of the Shinsu’s owner.
Of course, the priests were also high-ranking mages that served the gods.
So, there were many preparations that needed to be made before the important figures arrived at the Imperial Castle.
Still, Nabel did not stop working.
At the very least, he wanted to grant Ronée wishes.
He didn’t want her to give up what she wanted, like she did in the past.
While he was working, Ronée was visited by people she had never met before.
“Miss Ronée, there are mages from the Magic Tower who wish to see you.”
“… From the Magic Tower?”
Her previous encounters with mages had left her with a bad impression.
The memory of Countess Rieda suddenly surfaced in, but she quickly pushed it out of her mind.
“Yes. They wish to speak with the owner of the Shinsu regarding the tower’s trial. Will you meet with them?”
In actuality, the tower’s trial was only a matter of formality.
Since the Shinsu had already shown itself hiding in Ronée’s shadows, it was clear that she was the owner of the Shinsu.
Majority of the people, who pushed for the trial, were those who had their own motives or questioned her origins.
Ronée gazed out the window and watched Nabel working from afar.
The Ronée Palace was built in a U-shape, with the terraces of the room on both wings facing each other.
Likewise, Nabel could also see Ronée in her room.
Nabel was eager to work on the terrace on a sunny day.
Each time he flipped a page, his eyes would wander overs to Ronée.
His bright blonde hair was particularly noticable.
“I’ll be right back,” she muttered those words with a smile as she stood.
As she moved, Nabel looked at her with eyes.
When he was notified that someone requested an audience with Ronée, he entered his room.
“Nesha, find out what’s going on in Ronée’s room.”
There were many people in the Western Empire interested in Ronée. But only a few of them would have good intentions. It was necessary to be on guard.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
At his command, Nesha left to take a closer look at Ronée’s wing.
And he was dumbfounded.
‘Why are there mages going to Ronée’s room?
* * * * * * *
“We are sorry to visit you without making a prior appointment.”
The mages repeatedly snuck a peak at Ronée’s shadow.
Their eyes revealed the curiosity to see what they had spent half of their lives researching.
As if to satisfy their curiosity, Bell suddenly popped out of the shadow.
The startled mages took a step back as their gazes followed Bell’s movement.
Bell, who had been moving around Ronée slowly, jumped up and settled into Ronée’s arms.
“So, why are you here…?”
At Ronée’s question, the mages bowed their heads deeply.
“I came because I wanted to meet the owner of a Shinsu at least once,” a young-looking mage suddenly spat out.
Then an old mage abruptly slapped him on the back.
Eight bracelets swung side to side on the wrist of the old mage.
“I heard that you are taking the tower’s trial. It is our duty to brief you on safety precautions.”
Ronée nodded slowly and adjusted her posture. Nabel had warned her that the tower’s trial might be dangerous.
“First of all, may I take a closer look at the Shinsu for a moment?”
The old mage, who introduced himself as Ruchel, gently took Bell from Ronée and held it carefully.
Bell gave him an expression that showed displeasure at the way it was being held. Startled, Ruchel carefully lowered Bell to the floor.
“Then excuse me for a moment.”
A strong light burst from Ruchel’s hand.
Suddenly surprised by his action, Ronée flinched.
The teacup Dia had brought shook in her hand.
It was an automatic response.
Blocking the light with the hand holding the teacup, the hot liquid spilling out and burned her hands.
With her hands and legs soaked in the hot tea, she could feel her skin begin to heat up.
No one was more surprised by her response than Ruchel.
Ronée snapped out of a daze only after Ruchel shouted and put down the teacup.
She had held the teacup so tightly that her hands turned white.
“Are you okay?” Dia, the head maid, quickly asked. “Bring me cold water!” she shouted urgently.
Then Bell jumped up and sat on her head and emitted light from its entire body.
Cold water flowed from Bell’s body to all over her hands and legs. It was a gently stream as if careful not to hurt her skin. Through the wet fabric of her thin dress, her legs were slightly revealed.
Surprised, Dia quickly brought a towel and covered her legs.
“Thank you, Bell,” Ronée said as she patted Bell’s head.
The tail swayed gently in response.
After the water stopped flowing, Dia brought a new towel to cover Ronée’s legs.
“…Were you surprised?” Ruchel asked as the other mages bowed their heads in apology.
“Using light is a simple process for confirming a Shinsu. The gods who live in the shadows would never have a shadow themselves, even when they receive light…” The mage Ruchel explained.
As he explained, he could see the terrace opposite of them well.
Nesha, who was wearing a surprised expression, could be seen running out of the terrace.
This meant he was aware of the situation. The color drained from Ruchel’s face at the realization.
Nesha, a knight known for closely guarding His Majesty, would have no choice but to inform His Majesty of the incident.
“Are you okay?”
“… I’m okay.” Ronée said as she looked at her reddened hands.
Ruchel sighed in relief.
“I will postpone the inspection for another time. I apologize for startling you,” he said and then bowed deeply.
The color from his face had yet to return. This was no different from injuring a member of a royal family. It was the first time in decades that he felt so anxious.
Thinking about how Nesha would be coming to investigate the situation made him feel as if a grim reaper was hunting him.
He wanted to leave the room quickly, but he had to finish his work first.
Or he would be a sinner.
He opened his mouth quickly.
“…You should regain your health before we have the next inspection. Currently, the Shinsu is very small, but as you gain more strength, it will grow much bigger and stronger and gain the ability to use powerful magic. The Shinsu’s condition greatly depends on the state of its owner, please keep that in mind.” Ruchel bowed his head deeply again.
“And the Tower’s trial is not difficult. Of course, you may be scared, but the Shinsu will protect you.”
Bell jumped up and landed on Ronée’s shoulder as if agreeing. Bell rubbed itself against Ronée’s face as if to reassure her.
“By any chance, has there been an attack during the trial?” She asked, recalling the story Nabel had told her last night.
He said it could be dangerous.
But Ruchel shook his head.
“There has been no such thing. You will enter the tower alone. The scope of the trial is to jump off the ninth floor of the tower, where the air currents are intertwined with a whirlwind.”
Ronée’s eyes grew big.
She was reminded of the day, before Nabel left, when she slipped and almost fell off the railing.
‘Just like that day, Bell will surely protect me. I am certain.’
“Miss Ronée, Sir Nesha is asking to see you,” announced Dia.
Behind her, Nesha stood with a complicated face. His hair was very messy, as if he was suffering from anguish.
And Ruchel’s face turned even paler.
* * * * * * *
The messy room was quickly tidied thanks to the skillful command of the head maid, Dia.
The maids, who moved silently as they worked, quickly returned Ronée’s room to its original state before the incident.
Of course, they didn’t forget to cover her hands and legs with a soft cloth along with applying high quality medicine to her skin.
Just in case Ronée was be bothered by the strong smell of the medicine, a lit candle with a soothing scent was placed next to her.
“I am Nesha, a knight from the 1st Order of Imperial Knights.”
After the maids were finished, Nesha greeted Ronée and bowed deeply.
It was with great courtesy befitting the owner of a Shinsu.
“I heard they’re here to brief you on the procedure for the Tower’s trial.”
Nesha glanced at the mages in the corner.
The mages, who were on the verge of losing their heads, were trembling.
His Majesty’s guest had her hand injured; the consequences were obvious. Furthermore, there were even rumors that this guest had slept with His Majesty last night.
The mages, whose future were uncertain, lowered their heads and shuffled out of Ronée’s sight.
“Yes, they did.”
“Please speak informally. I am not a man that deserves the respect of the owner of the Shinsu.”
Once again, Nesha bowed his head deeply.
He didn’t want to endanger his neck like the mages.
Nesha, who served Nabel closely, couldn’t not have known Nabel’s heart. But when he had spent the night in Ronée’s room, those who served Nabel could already predict the future.
She is the future Empress of the Western Empire.
Nabel had never been interested in women, but he traveled across the continent to save her. In addition, he even called her such an endearing name.
There have been a lot of rumors since then, but Nesha had never expected him to spend the night with her. He even left her room late in the morning.
It was only natural for rumors to spread.
“Regarding the injury you received earlier…”
Nesha’s eyes shifted towards the mages. His Majesty’s wrath would be directed at them.
‘I can’t believe such a mistake was made when there was an order to serve her perfectly without any inconvenience.
“His Majesty wanted to come and check on you personally, but the political affairs meeting will begin soon.”
Nesha bowed his head in embarrassment.
By now, his master would be listening to numerous stories about Ronée at the second political meeting held today.
The nobles would have collected the rumors that had been circulating all around the imperial castle for hours to highlight her flaws and criticize her.
‘If they had seen how His Majesty treated her up close, they would have never attempted such a foolish thing.’
There were many ways to reduce their numbers.
After finishing his thoughts, Nesha spoke once again.
“The trial itself won’t be a problem. It’s not difficult for the Shinsu to use flight magic. The problem lies before the trial.”
Nesha glanced at the mages once more.
“The tower’s trial is no different from a national event in the Western Empire. Until now, amongst the Iver’s family lineage, only two have been protected by the master of the Shinsu. On that day, not only commoners but also temple people from all over the country will come to the Imperial Castle.”
‘Temple people….’ Ronée paused.
“Of course, they wouldn’t dare treat the master of the Shinsu rudely.”
Nesha shook his head slightly and continued in a worried voice.
“The problem is that there will be some who are aiming for the master of the Shinsu.”
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