Princess Shu - Chapter 47
‘I heard that the High Priest had pointed out that there were too many employees during the tea time.’
Paul had already heard of Mercille’s rudeness. But there was no way Shaun would act like that just because of that reason. There must have been something else going on during tea time.
‘Sir Shaun may even throw his gauntlets at the High Priest. It will be talked about over and over again in the social circle.’
Paul did not even bat an eyelid while thinking such enormous thoughts. He was more concerned with other things.
‘As long as Madam is not shocked.’
It did not matter whether Shaun threw his gauntlets at Mercille or brawled with a paladin. Paul had no intention of stopping him. It was the High Priest’s fault for being rude to Madam in the first place. The ‘difficulties and respect for High Priests’ that people basically had were really thinned down for Paul.
Not surprisingly, Philemon visited Garth’s manor too often. After the vague difficulties for the High Priest disappeared, Mercille appeared in its place. But he was rude at Madam’s tea time, and there was nothing more to see. Paul let go of the respect he had built up for the ‘High Priests.’ He was a General Butler with very clear priorities.
“General Butler, Sir Robin has just arrived.”
“Is he already here?”
“Yes. The housekeeper went out to the main gate.”
Listening to the servant, Paul glanced at the clock on the wall.
‘But it hasn’t been long since we sent someone to the training ground.’
Paul’s doubts soon became Sarah’s, she came out of the main gate to meet Robin, having a puzzled expression on her face. The young knight had just arrived and was gasping for air. And behind him, two horses breathing more wildly.
As Sarah called him carefully, Robin barely raised his head.
“Huff, housekeeper, it’s been, huff, a while.”
“Take a breath first.”
Sarah gestured at the servant who was standing nearby. The servant caught on quickly and prepared a cup of water. After briefly expressing his gratitude, Robin continued to drink the water. Even though he was the youngest, he still belonged to the Knights of Garth, so Robin managed to calm his breathing in the meantime.
“I showed shameful misconduct. I rushed here because the warhorse stable was too far from where I was…”
It was then that Sarah realized that Robin was riding on warhorses. She got a little confused.
Two warhorses? Isn’t it only used in wartime?
“Where is Madam?”
“She’s having tea time with the High Priest in the annex. This way.”
“Pardon? High Priest?”
Robin’s face, which had been reddened by the cold wind, hardened in an instant. He remembered the days when he bumped into the High Priest while escorting Valia with Shaun in the Second Temple. The High Priest even managed to remove him from his post on one occasion! Thanks to that, the image of the High Priest in Robin’s head was almost shattered.
“Are you here, Sir Robin?”
“It’s been a while, General Butler.”
“I have already told Madam. You can go right in. The High Priest is with her, so please be careful.”
Paul was telling him to be careful about his behavior. However, Robin took it quite differently. He clenched his fists.
“Don’t worry. I will give my life to escort Madam!”
“Pardon? Yes, sure.”
Robin took a deep breath. He straightened his back and entered the annex. It was only for a moment that Paul tilted his head at Robin’s determined back. He asked Sarah.
“How in the world did Sir Robin come so soon? It was only a few tens of minutes ago that we sent someone to the training ground…”
“I saw it earlier, he came on warhorses.”
“Pardon? A warhorse?”
“Yes, he alternated between two horses. The reins were tied together.”
Paul was speechless and only blinked his eyes. He wondered how Robin managed to come so quickly. The speed was understandable with two warhorses, but…
“Sarah. Warhorses are property of the Imperial family. Even a knight commander cannot use it privately. If a problem arises with Sir Shaun…”
Warhorses were owned by the Gel Imperial family. Therefore, the management was very strict to prevent the outflow of the stallions. If not for wartime, in principle, it should be used only after filing a report first. The only exceptions were a few high-ranking nobles who were the owners of the order of knights, including Schuden. All in all, having the authority to ride warhorses was difficult to be granted for a knight commander.
Even Shaun could not have foreseen a situation like today and it was unlikely that he would have reported it to the higher-ups. Worrying about what would happen if Shaun or Robin were punished by the military law was only natural.
Even though it was Madam’s first tea time, it seemed that only bad things kept happening, even the expressions of the employees in the surrounding area became gloomy.
“I was worried about that too. So I asked him on the way here.”
Sarah also knew about the strict management of the warhorses. Robin replied with a broad smile when Sarah asked him with concern.
[It is fine if it’s related to Madam. It’s already classified as a report exception. All I have to do is report it later.]
“It is already classified as a report exception?”
“Yes, that’s what Sir Robin said.”
Sarah gave a soft laugh. Externally, it had been written that ‘When the use of a warhorse is unavoidable under the arbitrary judgment of the commander of the Knights of Garth, it is recognized as a report exception.’ But that was only on paper.
Robin kindly explained.
[It is only for matters related to Madam.]
And that was a hint at who gave such an order.
“There’s only one person who could have given such instructions if it’s for Madam.”
Everyone knew without saying it. Each of the employees gave strength to their lips. Otherwise, it seemed like they would give a big smile. It was Madam’s first tea time and the blues, which had spread little by little because of the constant changes, had long since disappeared.
Many nobles were staying in the Imperial Palace in preparation for the delegation of the Eastern Kingdoms Union. Schuden was also living in the Imperial Palace to handle related tasks. It had been a long time since he had a personal guest in his private office.
In the early days when the oracle came down, Schuden had met a middle-aged man dressed neatly in the uniform of a High Priest. After that, the only people who had visited Schuden was Philemon.
“So, you are visiting me in person to bring me this sacred relic, High Priest Mercille?”
“That’s right, Marques Garth.”
“Thank you for your trouble.”
Schuden responded lightly and looked at the sacred relic on the table. A mysterious golden gleam hung around a golden marble the size of a finger’s joint. Even at a glance, it was not a fancy object. But Schuden knew the purpose of this sacred relic, it cleansed away any curses accumulated in the body. It was literally a sacred crystal.
“I said that I would give you this sacred relic only if you agree to the oracle. I even rejected the huge amount of gold you offered.”
Schuden’s secret maneuverings to have this sacred relic was greater than expected. However, unlike other sacred relics, this sacred relic was under the direct control of the great temple. It was not easy to take it out even with the power of Garth. Of course, if time had passed more, it would eventually fall into Schuden’s hand. The problem was that the oracle was given in the meantime.
“Don’t be disappointed, Your Grace. As you know, the priests put the oracle as the priority.”
Mercille firmly believed that the reason Schuden accepted the marriage was because of this sacred relic. He absolutely had no idea that the direct reason Schuden accepted the oracle was because of the Emperor’s continued requests and that he was bothered by Philemon’s constant visits. It was a misunderstanding that could be made considering the enormous amount of gold Schuden offered to have the sacred relic.
While Schuden glanced at the sacred relic, Mercille secretly sounded him out.
“You already look very strong, so why did you want this sacred relic?”
“I just want to have it because I heard that it’s precious.”
“What a sophisticated hobby you have.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Schuden replied briefly. After failing to satisfy his personal curiosity, Mercille took a sip of tea to no avail. He put down the teacup and requested Schuden to drive someone out of the room in a passing voice.
“By the way, I’m not used to a knight guarding like that.”
Of course, the target was Shaun. Schuden glanced toward the door. Shaun was in an immobile position in front of the door. He could not guess why Shaun, who was ordered to escort Valia, followed the High Priest this far. However, if something happened to her, Shaun would have told him in advance. Schuden was going to ask him personally in a little while.
“Get out, Shaun.”
Shaun bowed his head. He left the office in the same proper posture as at the beginning. Only then did Mercille feel relieved. He was sick of the knight; from Garth’s manor, to the carriage, and even until the Imperial Palace, and felt as if an aching tooth had finally fallen out.
“I heard that you attended the tea time today. How did you come all the way here?”
“As you know, it is such a precious sacred relic. I was nervous to just leave it behind.”
“You’re looking down at the security of Garth’s manor.”
“I’m worried about insiders, not outsiders.”
“It seems that you don’t know that it’s rude to doubt the loyalty of the family employees. Or, are the employees clumsy today?”
“No way. But there are not only the ‘employees’ in Garth’s manor.”
Schuden’s face, which had been relaxed the whole time, hardened slightly. Members of Garth who were not the employees… Usually, it meant the blood relatives, but there was no Garth other than Schuden in Garth’s manor, except for one.
Even a high-ranking High Priest like Mercille could fully use the noble’s way of beating around the bush. Schuden seemed to fully understand him. He took off his back, which had been leaning on the sofa, without saying a word.
“High Priest Mercille, I’m afraid about there being a misunderstanding between us.”
Schuden’s red eyes had no sign of boredom.
“Can I ask you one thing?”
Although puzzled by the word ‘misunderstanding,’ Mercille nodded his head.
“The words you have said have been very vague. Are you suspicious of the Knights of Garth?”
“How can I doubt the knights who have followed you for a long time?”
Mercille replied nonchalantly with a slightly lowered voice.
“I’m talking about the ‘temple princess’.”
As Philemon had guessed, Mercille did not like that Valia’s position was secure. She was a sacrifice, she was at best a knight’s daughter before she was a sacrifice. She was not a noble, but a semi-noble. She was lucky enough to become the temple princess and to enjoy the glory of being the lady of the House of Garth.
‘I don’t know how effective the blessing was. Even if he felt affection for her, he must only be affectionate to her body.’