Shallow but clear cuts appeared on his cheek, arms and body.
“Pheles, stop…! Aquasteed, you’ll be killed if you continue on!”
“I know, I know, but…”
Liliarge shouted as if she could not bear to see any more of it. She was so worried that Aquasteed would be killed if he continued to remain on the defense alone.
Still, Aquasteed showed no signs of wanting to attack Pheles.
The reason was—he had sworn to never betray Pheles. It was one of the requirements when making the ring of the starry sky for Tiararose.
Because of this, Aquasteed was intent on helping Pheles regain his senses without attacking him. He called to him many times, but there was no telling if Pheles even heard him.
“King Pheles, please return to your senses!”
“…Pheles. Aquasteed. Lady Olivia, let me go to Pheles.”
As if reaching a decision, Liliarge jumped away from Olivia’s arms and escaped. It was so sudden the Olivia could not react. She shouted the queen’s name and reached for her, but it was too late.
The bracelet was firmly in her mouth as her small body landed on the ground. She then dashed madly to where Aquasteed and Pheles were. Then her hind legs kicked the ground hard as she jumped and then landed on Aquasteed’s head.
“…!? Queen Liliarge!?”
Liliarge ignored the sounds of metal against metal as she looked into Pheles’s face.
“Pheles. So you will not return to yourself even when I am this close to you. I am sad. Still, I must help you.”
“How are you going to do that…”
“I have an idea. Here, take the bracelet.”
She placed the bracelet on Aquasteed’s head, and just as Pheles retracted his sword, she jumped towards him.
Liliarge’s fluffy body grabbed onto Pheles’s face.
It was so sudden that everyone present became speechless. No one had expected her to use such a forceful method. However, it seemed to work, and Pheles stopped moving.
Aquasteed then jumped back and created a distance between him and the old king.
Then all of a sudden, Liliarges body seemed to grow and her fur expand.
“Wh-what’s happening. Prince Aquasteed!”
“I don’t know either. But if there was any time to put the bracelet on King Pheles, it is now.”
Pheles was trying to pull Liliarge off of his face, but his movements seemed to weaken as Liliarge’s body grew larger.
“That person is the wife who you loved…! Please return to yourself!!”
Aquasteed waited for an opening and then quickly put the bracelet on Pheles’s wrist. As if praying, he desperately hoped that Pheles would recognize Liliarge.
Once Liliarge saw that the bracelet was on him, she moved away and landed on the ground.
“Aquasteed, is it you?”
“Good. So you have returned to yourself.”
As Pheles called out Aquasteed’s name, his eyes went from black to their usual golden color.
Then he looked down to where Liliarge lay limp on the ground, and his eyes widened. She had been small enough to carry at first, but was now over a meter tall and seemed to be still growing larger.
Aquasteed felt that the situation was dangerous, but decided to watch over them both.
Pheles fell to his knees and lovingly held Liliarge in his arms.
“Ahh, Lilia. …So you have taken the burden of my power. But your body was already at its limits.”
“Yes. Lilia and I were here all of this time. Lilia took what power I could not control, but it was not to last. She had likely reached her limits a long time ago.”
As Pheles suffered, Liliarge had continued to take in the overflowing power into her ring.
After some time, it had erased the very person that Liliarge was.
“Lilia had absorbed too much of my power. And it has turned her into a monster. She no longer has the appearance of a human, but her heart is still gentle…she is still Lilia.”
“King Pheles…does that mean…”
‘A monster is sealed within the Sealed Room of the King.’
Those words came back to Aquasteed.
And at the same time, he realized that they referred to Liliarge. The first queen was that monster.
If that was the case, it made sense that there were few records and no portraits of the first king and his queen.
–A king whose existence was erased.
His subjects must have tried to kill them both when they realized that their rulers were no longer human.
In other words, his trusted people had betrayed him.
–That’s why he made me make that promise.
Was Liliarge the only one who Pheles trusted?
“Yes. Lilia is the monster who was sealed down here.”
Pheles said in a sad voice. Just then, Liliarge let out a terrifying roar. The air shook and a suffocating pressure seemed to surround them.
As her body grew larger, traces of the cute animal disappeared–and she transformed into what could only be described as a monster.
“King Pheles! It’s dangerous…!”
Aquasteed grabbed Pheles’s arm as the old king shouted desperately, and pulled him back to where Elliot and the others were. Perhaps it was an effect of absorbing Pheles’s power, but now Liliarge had lost her mind.
“Lilia, Lilia…! Even when you changed in appearance, you never once forgot me before!”
Pheles looked on in despair at the sight of her, no longer with a will of her own–and once again, he shouted the name of his beloved wife.