Roberick put me and Grandfather in a carriage.
“You can’t stay here anymore, so we’ll go somewhere else.” Roberick said with a smile.
The door closed shut. Roberick leapt from the ground to his horse, leaving only me and Grandfather inside.
What should I say first? Unable to choose what to say in the disastrous situation, my poor, innocent sleeve got squeezed and scrunched from the brunt of my anxiety.
I clenched my fist as I spoke; I can’t stay silent this way. I have to tell you why I chose to put up with Roberick and follow him, if not all of it.
“Don’t say anything,” My grandfather refused.
I looked up at Grandfather blankly.
I tried to ask why, but the moment I looked at the side of Grandfather’s face reflected in the light of the carriage, I was left speechless.
A dull, distant stare with inherent refusal to converse, akin to a cold wall — that’s what his face was like. I couldn’t do anything besides biting my own lips. Something I couldn’t understand crept from my chest and seemed to obstruct my lungs.
It felt like I was suffocating to death.
“Your Grace Haelion! It is the utmost honour for this shabby and remote city of mine to receive the Grand Duke of Light,” The mayor of the city called out to Roberick, bowing over and over.
“My apologies, I think I’ll have to stay at the official residence for a few days due to certain circumstances.”
“Stay at ease, for I will serve you with all my heart… and would you permit me to ask who the young miss contiguous to your Grace is?”
A vague glance turned to me,
Roberick answered with a small sigh.
“This is my daughter.”
The mayor, whose mouth was gaping as if his thoughts had started buffering, then proceeded to shout in a fussy manner as if he had suddenly realized something.
“Oh, so this is the famous Princess Allea!”
I didn’t even try to hide my stiff expression. The expressions of the surrounding knights were also embarrassed.
You got it wrong.
“This is not Allea,” Roberick said with an elusive smile.
“What?” The mayor blinked.
“This is my own daughter who hasn’t been promulgated yet.”
Leaving the mayor distraught by the shocking remarks, Roberick stroked my head.
“You’ve wasted time with such a useless story. My child is very tired, so please give us a place to rest.”
“…oh! Yes. My apologies, “ The mayor called the maids in a hurry.
“Edith,” Roberick reached out to me.
I didn’t take Roberick’s hand. Instead, I turned around and looked at Grandfather — but he wasn’t looking at me.
I heard Roberick’s call again.
I finally moved with lethargy; it felt like I would burst into tears at any moment.
I was led by the stationed maids to bathe, eat dinner, and at last, go to bed.
My Grandfather didn’t come to see me.
Are you mad because I said I’d follow Roberick?
…But if I hadn’t, Roberick certainly wouldn’t have stepped down.
What he did was no different from threatening me with my grandfather as a hostage in the first place.
I laid back with a deep sigh.
Chastia and Allea have reigned over the ducal manor for the past seven years. The people of the house will never look upon me nicely, I’m a thorn for the master they serve.
The image of Chastia as a victimized, innocent woman and Mariette as a vicious figure who persecuted said woman was deeply rooted in the minds of the ordinary people. It will be difficult to turn that story upside down in the future.
…will I be able to do well?
“I don’t even have a grandfather anymore…”
I’m on my own. Roberick won’t take Grandfather to the grand residence.
Though, it isn’t as if he’d ever want to follow me in the first place.
“…Will I be able to continue to see Grandfather even after I go to the grand residence?”
Will Roberick allow that?
There was nothing definite.
I squeezed my eyes shut so it’d somewhat ease me away from the pain. I shrunk down under the blanket desperately in search of warmth.
The residence of Edith Ronen Bastevan was a detached house with a small corridor between the main buildings of the official residence.
Some of the knights of the Grand Duke’s residence were guarding the compact manor, but most troops were mostly outside patrolling the official residence, so there was little to worry about. After Perion finalized his conclusion, the man who led the arson of the village last time walked out of the dark bushes.
“I’ll give some orders and distract the knights for a while, so go and deal with them,” Perion spoke softly.
Today is the end of this bitter relationship. Perion clenched his eyes shut as if he turned a blind eye to sin — whether he’d committed them already or would.
While Perion led the knights away, the man quietly entered the annex.
There would not be any water spirits in the city. In order to prevent the fire from being put out quickly, flame has to start from the inside and be as inconspicuous as possible.
When he opened the door of the room located in the innermost part of the annex, he saw a child sleeping soundly while breathing comfortably.
The man closed the door that he opened as he recited in a low voice.
The spirit of fire that blessed him appeared with a bright light, the flame nearly singing upon the mortal’s call. A spirit in the shape of a young man with long burning hair drew a fierce smile.
“Burn this building up.”
The moment the vile order was muttered, bright scarlet flames spread to the door of the room where Edith slept.
Tap, tap, fsssh.
There was a continuous noise of something burning. It made me question what was happening even in my subconscious. The season was spring, the flowers in full bloom. And the fireplace was not lit.
Grandpa will take care of it. What are you worried about?
I closed my eyes again, satisfied with that thought. When sleep was about to engulf me whole again, my heart thumped.
I’m not at home right now.
After saying that I would follow Roberick, I fell asleep in a separate building at the city’s official residence. That much was clear. Then what’s this heat I’m feeling right now?
The moment I felt something strange again, I realized.
The fact that I wasn’t breathing. I scuffled with a frown, desperately trying over and over for some air for my lungs. However, the acrid air rushing to the tip of my nose was simply not inhalable. Pressured by the hot, painful atmosphere, I was unable to open my eyes.
It was then.
The stinging air and hot heat that held me down died down in an instant. Soon after, cool air washed over my skin.
Then came a voice.
[Edith, open your eyes.]
As soon as I heard that mellow but comforting tone, I felt a mysterious longing. The voice was gentle and rich beyond words.
[Finally, you opened your eyes, child.]
The owner of the serene voice beside me looked down with an affectionate gaze and smile. Her white hair shined like starlight whilst sprawling behind her back. Fabrics that were of splendid, vivid colors were draped over his body alongside a peplos gown, an attire kindred to humans who lived an ancient way of life. her gently curved eyes were black, but hardly dark. Those inky irises harbored all the stars of the universe; its vacant stare glistened with endless light.
My eyes were unable to part from the unknown figure despite the flames licking up the walls.
She, with the elegance of a beautiful and noble woman, responded in a pleasant, dulcet tone.
[I’m the creator of all life, and the one who has blessed you the most.]
As her eyes met mine, her gaze was heavy carrying what seemed to be distant years and memories. It felt as if an eternity passed under her eyes, for her next words were akin to a series of resounding echoes.
[The king who rules over spirits of existence and vitality. I am Ilipia, the deity of life.]
My mouth went slightly agape, the words that followed making my perplexity known.
‘In ancient times, this universe was filled with endless darkness. Then one day, through a mysterious providence we do not know, the Ilipia of Life was born in the darkness, followed by death.’
The Ilipia that appeared in the story that my grandfather told me?
…why is she making an appearance here?
Was it not enough for me to wake up to my room ablaze that a Spirit King from legends has shown up?
[Your confusion is quite normal. Of course you’d be astonished — you have lived your life as an ordinary person all this time.]
She smiled gracefully as if she understood me, then reached out and stroked my cheek. Her hands were filled with an affection that was incomprehensible for me, who’d only met her today.
[But Edith, this is not the time to be confused. Look around.]
It was embarrassing, but I looked around as Ilipia said. Thanks to the Spirit King who appeared next to me, it was not difficult to breathe at all, but the sight of the fluorescent flames eating up the door was a sight that was quite unnatural.
“What is this…?”
There were some knights from the Grand Duke outside on guard… and maids were also residing in this detached house!
“Help me, cough! Help!”
But my pleas for aid and expectations of someone being present outside was crushed soon after.
“This is ridiculous…”
This sudden fire didn’t make any sense. There’s no way the maids and knights would let the flame progress so far. And the people outside…
[They won’t be able to see this fire from the outside. Not yet.]
I raised my head abruptly to Ilipia’s voice.
She continued whilst eyeing me.
[The fire has only been allowed to continue inside this building. Fine-grained control such as this wouldn’t be possible for a regular fire. It’s safe to conclude that this fire is related to spirits.]
I don’t know how to summon a spirit, so there is really one plausible answer.
[Someone summoned a spirit and caused the fire on purpose.]
This is an assassination.
Special thanks to Yu who edited this chapter and helped so much! <33 edit: Ilipia seems to be a woman so i have edited this chapter. sorry for the mistake lol I kept kings as king tho because they’re all called the spirit kings
Listen, I know I said to leave a review on novelupdates but I didn’t mean bad ones TT like if you dont enjoy this series and have valid points, its totally okay to write a review but I saw ones up there that were like “1 star, I’m scared of what will come next and I wish i hadn’t read it, nothing wrong with the series tho” PLS LET THIS BE A COMMENT INSTEAD, i’m always willing to listen ^^ this type of reviews are not reviews and do not rate a novel low because you’re scared of what will come next or if its not a certain genre (like the, this is not fluff so 1 star reviews) because it deters people from reading this and potentially missing out on a good story. that’s all, love 🙂
if you like this novel, please leave your comments below because I love reading your comments for the chapter and all. if you’d like to support me, consider buying me a ko-fi! I’m keeping an eye out for when my awaited next book comes out in January and I just might be able to buy it with your help! your comments are support enough, tho! thank you for reading.