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Pheles sat deeply in his throne. His golden eyes looked at Aquasteed.
“That is the king’s ring. Aquasteed, you must never discard that pride.”
“Tiararose. Please take care of him.”
Upon hearing Tiararose’s and Aquasteed’s reply, Pheles smiled with satisfaction. Then he looked at Grail and said, ‘take care,’ while waving a hand.
“I will come and visit you with Keith next time.”
“Yes. I will look forward to it.”
Pheles snapped his fingers, and then the throne disappeared as the altar returned. Pheles was also gone.
The room now felt very empty. Tiararose gripped her hands together tightly.
“…I would never have thought that the first king would be down here.”
Aquasteed chuckled and thought about how he would have to thank Akari for wanting to come down here.
He bowed towards the altar and then took Tiararose’s hand in his. Now, the only thing to do was to return. He turned around–and his eyes widened.
The roof above the entrance was about to collapse.
Akari and Olivia were standing right below it.
“Lady Akari, Lady Olivia!!”
Tiararose turned around and noticed it also. She shouted their names–but as they were in the center of the room, they would not reach Akari and Olivia in time.
Elliot had been inspecting the room and was also standing away from them.
There was a chilling sound, and just as the ceiling began to fall—a dark shadow jumped out and struck the bricks out of the air as if to shield them.
He was wearing his usual butler uniform as he landed gracefully on the ground.
He smiled gently as Olivia called his name, and asked, ‘are you hurt?’
But how had the butler, who was supposed to be locked away, come all the way down here?
They all wondered at this, but they were thankful that he had saved Akari and Olivia.
◇ ◇ ◇
After returning to her room in the castle, Tiararose was deep in thought. She stared into space, not being able to find an answer in herself as to what she should do–that was how she felt.
She looked down at the rings on her finger and traced them.
“This is the ring that Prince Aqua made just for me.”
She felt that she must be careful, that this time she would not let it be removed. It would be the most unfunny joke if it were to be removed by accident, and she lost her memory yet again.
As she thought of such things, a knock on the door echoed in the room.
She called for the person to enter, and it was Philiane. She told her that Akari and Olivia had come to visit and asked what Tiararose would have her do.
“Let them in. Philiane, please make some tea.”
Tiararose stood up and invited Akari and Olivia into her room. She saw that Levy was right behind them, and she could not help covering her rings with her hand.
Olivia did not miss this, and she stepped forward. Then she took a deep bow and over words of apology.
“…Levy will not do anything to you again. Princess Tiararose, I am terribly sorry for what has happened.”
“I am very sorry.”
Levy also lowered his head and apologized.
“…My own actions were quite careless. Besides, I have heard that Levy acted only to save you, Lady Olivia. And I am glad that you are fine.”
Things had settled so much around her, and she had focused too much on the game. Tiararose could not stay still once she had heard of this hidden stage, that had sounded so fun. And she felt that she was partly to blame.
Apparently, Olivia and Levy had gone to Aquasteed to apologize as well.
Olivia said that she would not have been surprised if they had been executed, but that she apologized whole-heartedly.
“Princes Aquasteed is very kind. For even a mob character like me was spared a harsh punishment, due to the discovery of the underground passage.”
She wanted to assure her that she was not a mob character, but didn’t want to derail the subject.
Olivia and Levy’s punishment had been mostly to do with money. Tiararose was relieved when she heard of Aquasteed’s decision. She did not want to see someone who was, like her, from Japan, receive a harsh punishment.
–Besides, she understood how Levy felt.
What if it were her in Levy’s position and Aquasteed who had been imprisoned like Olivia? She would likely have used all of her knowledge of the game regardless of how it made her look.
–Perhaps I would be much worse than Levy.
Tiararose chuckled to herself. What she did not know, was that Aquasteed had been thinking much the same thing when hearing their apology. Loving someone caused you to sometimes act so recklessly–It was something that he knew very well.
“Princess Tiara. I hope that we can continue to be friends.”
“Oh, but you have a friend in me, Lady Olivia.”
“Yes. I must thank both of you.”
Tiararose thanked them and smiled.
“I will come to Marineforest again, so we must have tea regularly!”
“Yes, of course.”
Akari was staying in Marineforest for much longer than she ought, and she told them that she best be leaving soon. She was engaged to Tiararose’s former fiance, Hartknights. And Tiararose was worried about whether they were doing well.
Before, it had been Tiararose who had suffered being with Hartknights. But now, it looked like it would be Hartknights who would suffer being with Akari…or so she thought.