༺ Albrecht (2) ༻
“May I borrow your escort for a moment, Priestess?”
Renee’s sense of reasoning continued slipping away as Albrecht spoke.
Renee didn’t believe him.
Of course not. There was no law that stated what was borrowed would be returned.
He could return Vera in ten years, a hundred years, or even a thousand years later, couldn’t he?
There was only one way.
‘…I’m taking him out.’
If your love rival was in front of you, cut him down.
And just like that, Renee lost her composure, and was about to pull out the sword from her cane.
Vera’s words rang out.
Renee stopped moving. Albrecht’s eyes widened, and Aisha made a puzzled expression.
As mixed reactions erupted, Vera explained in a calm tone.
“I am the Priestess’ escort. I will not go anywhere without her.”
Suddenly, Renee’s face turned bright red. Incoherent nonsense spilled out of her slightly open mouth.
Renee felt her far-flung sense of reason quickly returning to her.
…No, it felt like it came back and started to run in a different direction.
Those words from Vera.
For some reason, it sounded like a confession to her.
It was in a different context from how he always said it, but Vera’s cold refusal to someone she considered a love rival and the current situation she was in made her think so.
If the heat rising up Rene’s face could be expressed in sound, there would be a ‘poof’ sound. She was blushing so much.
All the anger and betrayal that had been building up until now, as well as everything else, disappeared from Renee’s mind.
There was only her pounding heartbeat. It was the only thing all over Renee’s body.
Standing across from Vera, Albrecht blinked and mulled over what he had just heard.
He was rejected.
He was in the midst of a shock.
It was a huge shock to Albrecht, who had never been rejected by anyone in his life and was always loved by everyone.
It was a ‘refreshing shock’.
Realizing that he had just been rejected, Albrecht spoke with a flustered look on his face, which rarely happened.
“Th-then…the Priestess should come too! What do you think?”
He said it with a smile on his face, but he could not hide the tremor in his voice.
When Vera heard that, he asked for Renee’s opinion.
“What do you think, Priestess?”
“Ah, that, uhm…”
Renee was too stunned by what had just happened to even formulate a proper response.
She was at her wit’s end.
What ended the situation was not Vera or Albrecht, but Aisha, who had been quietly listening to the conversation until then.
Aisha, who did not like that the three of them were talking without her, frowned and tugged at Renee’s collar.
“Let’s go get something to eat. Master is waiting.”
Even though it shocked Aisha how beautiful the Second Prince was, in the end, it was probably a good thing for her that the request was refused.
For Aisha, having dinner with Dovan, who was waiting at the Marie’s mansion, was more important than the Second Prince who she couldn’t even eat with.
Renee nodded at Aisha with an awkward smile on her face as she belatedly composed herself.
“Ah, right! Dovan will be waiting!”
Renee stood up from her seat. She walked out and there was a ‘shuffling’ sound that followed in the direction she went. Vera quietly followed her.
The only one left was Albrecht.
Albrecht stood there for a long moment, dumbfounded, like a man who had just been through an unbelievable situation.
Vera’s reason for rejecting Albrecht was not only because he did not like him.
…Of course, there was a part of him that wanted to see Albrecht’s confident face be crushed, thinking that he would accept his offer. However, he rejected him because he recognized that Renee’s safety was more important.
The movements in the slums right now were shady. A new cartel that he did not know about had settled there, showing inexplicable movements.
It would be unthinkable for Vera to leave Renee alone on 11th Street under such circumstances.
After that, Albrecht did not follow them. Vera and Renee went back to Marie’s mansion and had dinner. The moment that followed was…
Vera was in Renee’s room, kneeling on the floor.
Vera, who was still in a kneeling position, answered Renee, who was sitting on a chair.
There was no explanation needed for this scene. Vera was clearly being scolded by Renee.
It was a situation with a foregone conclusion. Whatever had happened, Renee found out that Vera had gone out alone in the middle of the night.
After fighting Galatea at Dovan’s forge, he promised Renee, who was crying so much, not to do anything alone again.
Vera humbly agreed to pay for his sins.
Renee let out a deep sigh at the sound of Vera’s voice.
What she did not realize at the time because she was so out of her mind, was that Vera did something dangerous by himself again.
Renee, who only realized it now, had Vera sitting in front of her like this in frustration, but then she somewhat felt sorry.
How could she not? She was well aware by now that she was the reason why Vera had moved alone.
Renee clenched her fists.
“Are you going to tell me?”
She was asking for the reason why he moved alone this time and why he went out without saying anything.
At that, Vera bowed his head even deeper and opened his mouth.
Vera was the kind of person who could not lie to Renee when she asked questions.
“…Do you know about the 13th Street of the Empire?”
“It’s the slums. It’s quite well known, right?”
“Yes. When we went out to serve the day before, I did not see anyone from 13th Street that I expected to see, so I was bothered by it. You will be at 11th Street for a while, so I thought I should clear any potential danger in advance…”
“And that’s where you met the Prince?”
Renee’s brows furrowed at Vera’s answer.
“Why did you hide it from me?”
If that was the case, shouldn’t he have said something? Wasn’t it a bit much to move by himself in order to protect her without saying anything? If it was really for her, he should have at least told her why he went there.
Vera’s fist clenched tightly as she spoke with such emotion.
The reason why he hid it.
There was no excuse. It was because he had hesitations about revealing where he had come from.
He hadn’t said why it was so strange that there were no street rats on 11th Street, and to explain how he knew about it so well, he would have to reveal his background and he was embarrassed about it, so he did not say anything.
But that was pointless now.
Vera realized that he had no choice but to tell her everything, and he made a distressed expression.
He had to speak, but the words would not come out. He was afraid of how Renee would take it.
He was afraid of being disillusioned and wanted to tell her when he was confident enough not to be affected by it, but time does not wait for anyone.
Renee pushed him further.
Vera clenched his teeth for a while, took a deep breath, then moved his lips.
The words were stuck in his throat, but he somehow managed to spit them out.
“…It’s because I am from the slums. The reason I didn’t say anything to you was that… I was embarrassed that I had to tell you about my background.”
Vera could not look up.
He managed to get the words out, but there was a restraint embedded in the words he uttered. It was a feeling of shame.
Renee was unable to finish her words and her voice scattered into the air.
Renee felt a tightness in her chest at Vera’s words. It felt like a big boulder, too much for her to carry, had fallen at a very high speed onto her heart.
Suddenly, she remembered something.
It was the words that Vera had told her when they first met a few years ago at Remeo.
–I lived as an evil being all my life, and only later did I realize that my way of living was wrong. So, I wanted to change.
Those were his words when he said that he wanted to chase the light.
Renee was beginning to understand what Vera had meant.
He was from the slums.
With those words, she could understand the ‘evil’ that Vera spoke about.
She was speechless.
She knew what not saying anything would mean to Vera, but she still could not speak.
Renee moved her lips, but no sound came out.
Her fingertips began to twitch unnecessarily, not being able to stop as they spiraled out of her control.
Did she begin to dislike Vera?
If she was asked that question, then of course that was not the case. How could she hate him because of that? Her feelings were not that shallow.
However, she did not know what to say to Vera, who had never opened up before. She could not think of anything to say, so she just kept quiet.
Renee clenched her fist. She pursed her lips and composed herself.
It’s okay, I don’t mind.
She wanted to get those words out.
And just like that, when Renee was about to speak up.
–You have a visitor, Saint.
Norn’s voice crept into the room.
In the main hall of the mansion.
Albrecht stood there reflecting on what happened that day.
‘I made such a stupid mistake.’
Was this enough to show that he had reflected on being unable to recover from his embarrassment and showing himself in an unfavorable light?
Albrecht let out a sigh. His blonde hair and deep golden eyes flowed in sync as he slightly drooped his head. He looked like a painting just like that.
Count Baishur, who was right next to Albrecht and was watching him, felt a little worried.
‘I hope you don’t make a mistake.’
Of course, the concern was directed to Albrecht.
The beloved of all. A masterpiece from the gods. He was called a lot of things, but the Second Prince had one fatal flaw.
It was the endless narcissism that infuriated anyone who saw it.
…It was a secret that only those closest to the Second Prince knew.
Fortunately, there was no one in the Empire who hated him, so it had not been a problem until now. However, it was becoming a bigger problem today.
Count Baishur recalled Vera’s attitude when they met in the slums the day before.
It was clear that he disliked Albrecht.
Count Baishur closed his eyes and said his prayers.
‘Please, please, please let this pass without any incident.’
He hoped that the narcissistic prince could read the atmosphere.
In the midst of his prayer.
Albrecht opened his mouth.
When Count Baishur opened his eyes, he saw Albrecht with a smile as bright as the sunshine, and the Saint and Apostle walking hand in hand from a distance.
Suddenly, Count Baishur’s fingers twitched.
‘Why do they…’
They looked gloomy.
It was as if they had fought.
Something was not right. Realizing this, Count Baishur’s tension rose.
When the distance had narrowed down to just five steps, Albrecht spoke.
“I apologize for earlier! I feel as though I was not considerate enough. So, I offer you my sincerest apologies.”
He held one hand out in front of him with a wide smile, revealing his white teeth.
Albrecht thought that if he apologized sincerely, then the other person would also smile and accept it.
It was a nonchalant response.
Suddenly, Albrecht’s expression became stiff. Not just his facial expressions, but his whole body hardened. Albrecht stopped breathing, with a smile still on his face, as his whole body froze.
Meanwhile, the gloomy atmosphere between Renee and Vera was not getting any better.
Count Baishur shut his eyes tight.
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