Magi Craft Meister 441 13 Stronghold Enhancement Arc 13-29 Struggle “J-Jin... What are we going to do?” Her face turned pale, Saki asked with a trembling voice. “We...
The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 50
- The Duty of Royals
It was late in the night, and Aquasteed was alone in his office. He looked through the large stack of documents and added his seal. He separated them into stacks to be either immediately addressed or to be pushed back.
Usually, there would have been a guard by the entrance, but he had allowed him to retire. Aquasteed was strong…and so it was not as if he absolutely required protection while in the castle.
“Prince Aquasteed, perhaps you should retire soon?”
“I believe that this work can be finished tomorrow without any problems.”
What is the rush? Elliot asked as he entered the room.
“It is already midnight, did you realize?”
“Of course, I did.”
“I hope that is the case. But, wouldn’t Princess Tiararose be worried about you?”
Even if he was late, Aquasteed had always returned to the room where Tiararose was waiting, before midnight. Elliot knew this, and so he had come to see what was the matter.
He poured some tea and placed it in front of his master who was shuffling through some documents. He could tell that he was cold and his face looked tired.
Aquasteed took a sip and said, ‘I know.’
Then he stretched and leaned back in his chair and looked at Elliot.
“What is it?”
“…You saw it too. Didn’t you?”
“Saw what–oh, do you mean Princess Tiararose?”
His brilliant advisor immediately understood what Aquasteed was talking about.
Aquasteed was feeling very dispirited over the fact that he had not been able to do anything during the incident on their date.
From Elliot’s point of view, both of them were very impressive, but he knew that it couldn’t be helped that as a man, Aquasteed wanted to protect her.
Tiararose had been blessed by Pearl, the Fairy Queen of the sea, and was able to create a protective wall of water.
With this blessing of the sea, she was able to surround herself in a layer of magic. It absorbed any physical shock, which was valuable.
Aquasteed had been given a blessing that specialized in attacks. It was good that their gifts complimented each other, but he wished that he had been given something that could protect her…he couldn’t help but think this.
“I’ve protected her until now, but she is becoming stronger.”
“…Are you sad? Prince Aquasteed.”
“Sad? I don’t think I would call it that.”
He put the final document on the desk and sighed with a ‘That’s it.’
“Now everyone will agree that Tiararose is worthy of standing by my side.”
“Yes. I am sure they already did. There is no way she would not be, as soon as she was blessed by the Fairy King of the Forest.”
“…To be honest, I wish I could keep her shut in here forever.”
Elliot chuckled at these words.
“Princess Tiararose is not the kind of woman who will do nothing and remain caged…but you know that more than anyone.”
“Yes, I know.”
–I want to become stronger.
He wanted to become stronger so that he would not fade when standing next to her. He felt this strongly.
He was proud of Tiararose for helping their people, but he wanted to protect them for her. He was a mass of possessive desire, but he couldn’t help himself from thinking this way.
“But for now, you best return to your room, Prince Aquasteed.”
“Philiane told me that Princess Tiararose has yet to fall asleep.”
“…You should have told me that sooner.”
He had told her that she could sleep ahead of him, but no–given her personality, there was a good possibility that she would stay awake.
Aquasteed rushed out of his study and ran to his room.
“Ahh. Why doesn’t he just go to Princess Tiararose instead of thinking here by himself? He really does care too much about appearances.”
Elliot cleaned up the empty teacup and mumbled about his ‘troublesome master.’
“In the first place, if someone like Prince Aquasteed is going to agonize over feeling weak…I might as well be less than an insect.”
Though, he didn’t have the courage to ask him just how strong he intended on becoming.
But one thing was for certain, the future of this kingdom was very secure.
◇ ◇ ◇
She wanted to sleep some more–but the morning always came.
Tiararose lay in their bed and looked at Aquasteed as he got changed.
It was fine that she had wanted to wait for his return, but it was a little difficult for her to get up early as she always did. Aquasteed would have also been tired from a lack of sleep, but his expression was the same as usual.
–Is Prince Aqua really not tired?
She was this tired from a lack of sleep alone.
Tiararose got out of bed with a yawn. “It’s about tonight…” he said with a hardened expression.
“What is it?”
She cocked her head to the side as she fixed his tie. She became worried that he would be late tonight again.
Her hand stretched up to stroke his hair as she said, ‘Please don’t push yourself too hard.’
“Thank you, Tiara. The thing is, father’s ordered me to have dinner with him. It seems that he has something to discuss.”
While they ate dinner together, it was not every day. Sometimes they would have to eat separately because of matters related to his work. Tiararose nodded and said ‘I understand.’
The father of Prince Aquasteed–Sotiris Marineforest.
He was the king of Marineforest, but had never been blessed by the Fairy Kings. Though, he was blessed by fairies of the sky and sea.
However, there were things that he ‘knew’ as the ruler of this country.
As he had been invited to dinner, Aquasteed finished his work early and headed to meet the king.
The thick curtains shut out any light from the outside, and the only light in the room came from the chandeliers. There was a small table in the large room that looked out of place. A warm meal had already been placed on it.
But not only that–everyone had been dismissed from the room. There were no attendants or servers in sight.
–What was it that he needed to talk about?
Aquasteed frowned as he saw this very unusual scene before him.
This made it look as if they would be discussing something that was a secret.
No, that was probably what would happen.
“I’m sorry that this is so sudden, Aqua.”
“Don’t be. Has something happened?”
When he sat down, the king himself poured the wine.
As he stared at him pouring, the king’s eyes suddenly shifted to Aquasteed’s left hand. It looked as if he was inspecting each finger, but Aquasteed was not wearing anything on them.
“Is there something wrong with my hand?”
As he carried a sword, Aquasteed avoided any rings or accessories.
“I was just wondering, as you have been blessed by the sky and sea.”
“There is something that has been talked about for generations in our family. Something that only the king should know, and it is not written in any book–not even the queen can know.”
Aquasteed understood by the seriousness of his father’s eyes, that what he was about to hear was the truth. There was no part of him that now wondered about what kind of nonsense his father would spout.
Even if his father had not been blessed by the Fairy King, it didn’t change the fact that he was the king of this country. He would not just reveal some useless anecdote now.
“I am not a king yet. Are you sure that I should know?”
“You are loved by the Fairy King. There is no chance that you will not be king.”
His father was very proud of the fact that his son had accomplished something that he was unable to achieve.
“It is said that the king of Marineforest must collect three rings before he can become the true king.”
–Ah, so that is why father was looking at my fingers.
Aside from the ring that he had given to Tiararose when they were married, Aquasteed had no connections to any rings. Of course, he had no ideas about these rings that his father–Sotiris, was talking about.
“However, no king has ever been able to find these rings up until now.”
“Not even one?”
Aquasteed asked, and the king nodded silently.
If there is no record of the rings being found, why has the story been passed on? Aquasteed wondered. There was always a possibility that someone had fabricated this story.
Sotiris saw the suspicion in Aquasteed’s face, and said, ‘You don’t believe it?’
Of course, he could not believe it immediately.
“There is no proof anywhere that these rings even exist…”
“Yes, that is right.”
The king agreed with Aquasteed’s words, but Sotiris said, ‘However,’ as he continued.
“There were kings who heard about the rings directly from the Fairy Kings.”
It was true, if the Fairy Kings themselves said that the rings existed, then it must be true. Even if not one person had been able to find them until yet.
He considered that Grail might be able to tell him something if he asked. He had also been blessed by Pearl, but she was now sleeping on the ocean floor, and it would be impossible to contact her.
“It is said that a real king would be able to make a ring with the power that he desired.”
“Of the Fairy Kings…”
A power that was fitting for the Fairy Kings and the domains that they ruled, Aquasteed though.
–The power of a true king.
Even Sotiris did not know any details of what that was. It had been passed down through so many generations now that it had lost any specific details.
–Would I be able to collect these rings?
He had been blessed by two of them so far, but Aquasteed could not imagine a scenario where Keith would bless him.
If anything, it would be more likely for Grail, the Fairy King of the sky, to bless Tiararose.
“Are there any conditions in attaining these rings?”
“Being favored by them, I would think–and yet, even blessed kings have not been able to find these rings.”
Nobody knew. Sotiris said weakly.
“I understand. Thank you for telling me this. …Now, let us eat before it all gets cold.”
The two of them ate quietly in the quiet room. Both were deep in their own thoughts, thinking about what they could do for this country–and.
–If this story is really true.
One thought appeared in the back of Aquasteed’s mind.