Chapter 4 – To the Palace (3)

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Plop!

It wasn’t possible to see how deep it was, but it seemed quite deep to her.
When she saw the endless pit, she held her breath in hopes to not swallow the water.
However she eventually reached her limit not long after. 

But why aren’t you saving me?! Do you not know I’m drowning? You said you’d be right at the door! Can’t you hear me from there?

Due to lack of air, she couldn’t hold it in anymore and opened her mouth.

Ah, I’m dying.
This wasn’t my intention.
I didn’t mean to go back as soon as my tenth life began. 

“Princess!”

She heard his voice faintly. 

Hurry up, you fool. 

 

***

 

“Princess!”

When she came back to her senses, she saw Phaeon’s face right in front of hers, his golden hair was tickling her face.

“Princess, are you all right?!”

As I was forced to turn my head, I saw several priestesses surrounding me.
I couldn’t believe I fainted at a moment like that.
There was nothing I could do because of my weak little body.

But my condition was better than I thought.
Even though I had no energy, there wasn’t  any soreness across my body even after swallowing too much water.
I nodded to indicate that I was alright.

“Sir Parsiel, you can stop now.”

One of the retainers said to Phaeon.
He must have been using his sacred power on me.
His face was as white as a sheet.

Was he… worried about me? No, I’m sure it’s because he was just surprised.
He would have to show the king, the princess’s lifeless body, if I died.
He was also the one who led me to the temple.

“My… my feet slipped.”

He got up and said, “Please take the princess to her room.
We will stay here for today and leave tomorrow.”

Then he left through the door without looking back as his wet clothes were dripping with water.

As expected, you were just surprised.
You’re such a heartless man…

“Princess, since you are already wet, you’d better wash up with warm water.
We’ll bring you there.”

Three women caressed me affectionately and took me to the bathroom that’s located in the temple’s inner quarters.

“Our names are Sierra, Yuzu and Rosa.
I’m a second-class priestess.
Yuzu and Rosa are third-class priestesses.”

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Sierra had light hair and appeared to be in her mid-20s, Rosa had cute freckles sprinkled on her cheeks and in her early 20s, and Yuzu had black hair, which was in pigtails, and she looked to be in her late teens.

The atmosphere wasn’t the best, but the three looked bright and cheerful.
I was glad nice people were assigned to me. 

They stripped me out of my wet clothes and covered their mouths as soon as they saw my scarred body.

“Who on earth did these…”

Old scars never fade away, even with divine powers.
They’d probably last forever.

In fact, I didn’t really care since there were no scars that were shown, but I guess that wasn’t the case for them.
Yuzu even cried.

They looked at my body with resentment before they put me in a white marble bath and washed me clean with soft foam that smelled like rosemary.

“I’ll apply a special oil that will make your hair look nice and soft.”

Rosa said while holding a small bottle with rose decorations.

I appreciated the thought, but my disheveled and frayed hair that I’ve never cared much about before was the ugliest part of my body.
Would it even be possible to fix?

After the bath, they dressed me in a priest uniform.  Children’s uniform was in the form of a white silk dress, long enough to cover the knees, and a gold embroidered stole, which was quite cute since the stoles floated and looked like rabbit ears every time the children moved.

I always thought it was cute when I saw the children from the temple wearing them, so it felt weird to wear one now. 

“We apologize.
We don’t have anything else for you to wear, so you’ll have to wear this for now.”

After Sierra’s words, I shook my head and thanked her. 

“No, I have never worn anything like this before.  It’s very smooth and not so tight.”

“Princess…”

Yuzu’s nose was red again.
I got taken to the guest room and while Yuzu went to get dinner, Sierra and Rosa started combing my hair and put cream on my face. 

“Princess, look in the mirror.
Don’t you look completely different from before?”

I looked in the mirror.  My hair was still messy but it was much better.

The soot on my face was now gone so my large emerald eyes stood out more on my white skin.
Suddenly, I realized I didn’t resemble my father at all.

‘I’m glad I don’t look like him.’

I couldn’t understand in my past nine lives, but;

‘Was he so indifferent to me just because I didn’t resemble him?’

There was a saying that parents only love their children if they look just like them.
Well, anyone would be suspicious if they saw me and my father.
Not even a single part of us looked alike.

What’s the point of thinking about this?

If he’d brought me to the palace with this appearance, he would have made the worst impression on the king, so he brought me here instead.

In my past lives, the king never called for me separately after our first encounter, even if my appearance was acceptable or not.

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Just in time, Yuzu handed me a bowl of warm potato soup, full of thick bacon.

‘Tasty!’

How long has it been since I last ate? I only ate the bread Phaeon gave me in the carriage so I felt like crying after finally being able to have a proper meal.

“Is it that good?”

Sierra asked happily, seeing me eat up the food without even blowing on it. 

“Yes! It’s so good!”

I shook my head violently and mumbled.

“You’ll have a better meal than this from now on.
The royal palace food is much better than the temple’s.”

It didn’t matter…

The royal cook that Aquala assigned for me was the worst.
They used to cook me eel pie and haggis (a dish that is steamed with oatmeal and spices in sheep’s bladder).
On days like that, I starved. 

“Thank you, again.
All of you are angels.”

Rosa laughed when she heard me.

“I heard you called Sir Parsiel an angel as well.”

“He will be disappointed when he hears you called us one, too.”

“What to do? All of you are angels.”

The three of them laughed at my words.

“You’re so cute.”

“If you eat a lot and sleep well, you can be like that angel, too.”

Yuzu stroked my cheek with a face full of pity.

“Like who…?”

“Sir Parsiel.
He is the strongest and greatest holy knight on the continent!”

The three started to praise Phaeon at the same time. 

“He joined the Veritas at a very young age and became the leader in the shortest time.
Perhaps because Lux favors him, but he has strong divine power, and neither a strong demon nor an evil wizard can go against him.”

“To add to that, he has excellent swordsmanship skills and excellent healing power.
The people in this temple always look at him with respect.
But, um…”

Sierra’s expression suddenly became dark.

“He’s usually indifferent, but he has been brutal for the last few months.
He was in a terrible war.”

“Siera was transferred to the front line as a backup.”

“Yes, I was able to see him on the battlefield, he rushed to the enemy camp.
It was so unlike him to give out reckless orders yet he managed to bring the devil on its knees.
Kalisa was devastated, it was to avenge the princess- Oops!”

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She was speaking rapidly but covered her mouth in surprise as she mentioned something wrong.

“Princess?”

I knew my mother was killed by King Pereus, ‘the King of the Devils’, somewhere near Kalisa, but I didn’t know the whole story.

It is because no one tried to tell me about her since it is considered taboo and the subject is too recent to be written in the history books.

Sierra was sweating and glancing at her colleagues.
Her colleagues glanced back at her as if they were saying, ‘That mouth of yours…’. 

“Princess?… Are you talking about Assha’s mother? My mom?”

I was so curious that I couldn’t help but ask.

“Princess Beatrice…”

Yuzu, who kept silent until now, said with a sad expression. 

“I’ll tell you when I get a chance.
But now you must be very tired.”

“Okay, princess, time to go to bed.
You must have had a hard time traveling in a carriage for so long and being in an accident as soon as you had arrived.
I’ll bring some warm milk.”

Now that they mentioned it, my eyelids were closing.
Haaa, I’m afraid I can’t help it.
But I will definitely listen to it later. 

I thought about what it would feel like as I sat on a fluffy bed I hadn’t seen for a long time. 

‘…How did he fight?’

It made me feel a little strange to think of him fighting with the demon who killed my mother.
Did he feel sad or mad…

I couldn’t sympathize with him. 

 

***

 

“My niece, you are braver than I thought.
To think that you came here.”

“Don’t call me niece.
It’s creepy! I’m not your family!”

“I’m sorry but he won’t love you.
No matter how many times you say that you’re his beloved daughter.”

 

Hah!

At dawn, I woke up from a nightmare, soaked with cold sweat.

‘…Don’t be weak.
You’ve already been through this.’

After breathing in and out, I calmed down a little.
I felt like a fool for sympathizing with Phaeon before I went to bed. 

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He’ll never know the pain I’ve been through.

‘Cheer up.
The future can be changed.
This time, I will definitely change it.”

In the morning, three priestesses helped me get ready as best as they could since I was going to meet the king. 

“Oh, princess, you look like a white rabbit.
I just want to hug you tightly.”

Rosa groaned softly.

“How disrespectful to the princess.”

Sierra said with an angry look. 

“Anna thinks like that too.
Assha is so huggable.”

When I hugged Rosa, she let out a low scream with excitement. 

Then Sierra and Yuzu snapped and begged, “Princess, me too!”

At that moment, I heard footsteps, so I turned my head and saw Phaeon with some other knights approaching.

“The angel!”

I shouted as I hopped on him.
The three priestesses laughed when they heard what I said.
I really like the three of them. 

He looked quite embarrassed with his new title and sent a disapproving gaze to the three priestesses.
With a rough voice, he spoke.

“Are you feeling well?”

“Yes! Totally fine.”

Even though I had a bad dream.
After I said those words, he briefly replied, “Let’s go then.”

So fast…

“Then I’ll be on my way, see you angels.”

“Princess, cheer up! Goodbye!”

With their help, I put on my shoes.

“…will his Majesty care for Assha?”

“Of course.
You are such a lovely girl.”

Yuzu said with a big smile.
I can’t believe she said this to a girl who she only knew for half a day. 

She might have said the words since she is a nice person, but I was touched by the words I heard for the first time in my life. 

My courage, which had been reduced because of the nightmare, sprang up again. 

All right, let’s go to the enemy camp!

(TL/N: she is talking about meeting the Emperor.)

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