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The crowd welcoming the return of the Holy Knights was truly staggering.
We arrived at the palace before his scheduled return date. Three days were spent remembering the fallen backup team. Contrary to the return day, the whole city was immersed in solemnity.
After a few days, I lost all sense of reality.
I wanted to return to my everyday daily life finally, but……
“That’s Madam Irene”
“Hey, the Saintess is passing through.”
I heard everything.
I groaned inwardly as I felt all the eyes on me.
Is there ever a time in my life when I was so focused on just walking down the street?
‘Burden. I feel pressured!’
I’ve only been to the cathedral’s library, so I don’t know how many admiring and envious looks I’ve garnered.
“My entire family would have died if it hadn’t been for her. You know what I mean? I used to take a vacation this month to travel.”
“I know, I know. If you really went, the warp gate could have exploded, leaving no trace, right?”
“I know right. The saintess is the savior of my life.”
That’s too much!
I pretended not to hear and chuckled at how quick steps.
Upon returning to the room, Annette was seen carrying a pile of presents with the servants.
“Madam Irene! Are you here? Madam has received this many gifts yet again!”
Annette said with a cheerful smile.
“Wow, I got a lot yesterday, but this many again? Thank you so much. Ha ha ha.”
I went through the stack of presents with timid looks and a voice that sounded awkward to anyone who heard it.
The gift event continued from the moment I returned to the capital.
The senders also varied. Countesses I’d never seen, caravan leaders, and high-ranking ministers.
“Everyone is anxious to make a good impression on Madam Irene.”
Annette looked at the pile of presents with a smile on her face.
I broke out in a cold sweat without Annette knowing.
‘Isn’t my presence in the empire growing too big?’
It was difficult.
I was in a position where I had to disappear like a ghost in the coming months.
“Well, it’s impossible to have no presence now that I am Ian’s wife.”
Do you think it’s a good thing?
I reached into one of the most opulent-looking gift boxes.
It seemed like a good idea to sell a few and add the proceeds to the cost of escaping 10 months later.
Then, someone politely knocked on the door. Annette asked cheerfully.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Joan, Saintess.”
I smiled as I greeted Dame Joan. It was because of Ian’s consideration that she could stay until Alicia recovered.
‘He has a gentle and subtle side.’
“How is Alicia?”
“She’s a lot better now. Thank you, Madam Irene…….Um, Saintess Irene.”
Dame Joan gave me a stiff look.
I fixed my gaze on her because she never hesitated to speak.
“What happen? Why are you like that?”
“There is something I really want to tell you.”
Having said that, Dame Joan knelt down on the floor and bowed to me.
Only Ian or the Emperor could have shown such courtesy.
“D-Dame Joan. Why are you acting this way? Please stand up.”
“Thank you. Madam Irene.”
Dame Joan raised her head and looked at me.
Her brown eyes were looking straight at me.
“It’s all thanks to Saintess Irene that Alicia was able to recover. If it weren’t for Saintess Irene’s caution, she would have been addicted to Mana and she would have lost her life by now.”
After saying that, Dame Joan bowed his head once more.
“I learned that it is reasonable to pay back with my life. I, Joan Ortes, swear that I will protect Saintess Irene until the day I die.”
I stared blankly at the sword that Dame Joan was holding out.
“Please grant the oath of blood to me.”
Oath of blood?
What is that?
I’m not sure what it is, but I know it’s not something I should accept lightly.
‘No. Wait. In the original story, the male lead swore an oath of blood to the female lead.’
A “blood oath” occurred when the person taking the oath cut the swearer’s finger and smeared blood on their lips.
It had no particular magical effect but was rich in symbolic meaning. Knights would rather die than break their oath.
It was an unbreakable oath for devoted knights like Dame Joan.
‘Why do you do that to me?’
I felt compelled to calm Dame Joan.
I’m glad Alicia is feeling better, but I didn’t want another person’s blood on my lips.
I turned around, hoping to stop her, but Annette covered her mouth as if she had witnessed a romantic scene.
“Dame Joan? Please stand up. I am grateful, but wouldn’t it be nice to make such an oath to someone who means so much to you?”
For example, your future lover.
“There is no one more precious than the lifesaver.”
But Dame Joan was stubborn.
Even though she was adamant, her knightly pride would be shattered if I dared to refuse.
I could only watch Dame Joan slit his fingers with the dagger.
‘I apologize. The future husband of Dame Joan.’
I will take the oath you’re supposed to take ahead of time.
Expressing my apology to myself, I put Dame Joan’s blood on my lips.
Of course, the taste was fishy.
The effect of the ‘blood oath’ was enormous.
Dame Joan had, of course, always been there to protect me.
However, the protection became stronger when her heartfelt sincerity came from the soul.
“Madam Irene. Please wait a moment.”
Dame Joan’s words made me come to a halt as we walked together.
Dame Joan’s knife slashed through the stone floor where I was about to step.
I was horrified at the sight of the solid stone being broken helplessly.
“Please accept my apologies, Madam Irene. The saintess’ feet almost step on
“Well, I’ve stepped on that part a lot……”
I gulped, my anxious gaze fixed on the destroyed ground.
How it feels to be under the tender care of Sir Joan… … It was embarrassing. And, to tell the truth, it wasn’t all that bad.
‘It seems like I have the strongest sister in the world.’
Because I had no sisters, let alone my mother, I was vulnerable to older women’s affection.
But there were also problems.
‘I need to see Rizello.’
I was in a situation where I disappeared to Rycallion after only encouraging Rizello to come check out someone.
From Rizello’s point of view, it would be very peculiar.
I had to go explain that there was an emergency, and most importantly, I needed Cakulta extract.
‘It’s about time to break the curse of the frigging time limit.’
To do so, I need to contact him in some way.
‘Well, It’s not like there isn’t a way.’
After a short thought, I picked up the pen and scratched it on the letter paper. The question of whether I could go to the mansion was phrased elegantly.
Lady Melody Hyacinth was the recipient.
Fortunately, the response came quickly.
That afternoon, I was able to pay a visit to Lady Melody’s mansion.
“Welcome, Madam Irene.”
Miss Melody welcomed me to Countess Hyacinth’s residence.
I was convinced the moment I saw Melody’s calm smile.
‘This isn’t Rizello, this lady.’
Today’s melody was the real melody, not Rizello’s disguise.
“I brewed some tea in the garden. Please make your way over here.”
The original melody, in contrast to the Rizello version, has a very calm and static aura.
Melody mouthed a word as I walked to the garden, admiring how the same face can appear so different.
“In my own form, he brought me a secret meeting with the Master of Magic Tower.”
I cleared my throat quickly and looked around.
It’s a secret meeting. That sounds very impure!
My spine tingled just thinking about the words entering Ian’s ears.
I answered hastily.
“That’s right. It was a brief, formal meeting in which we only discussed business.”
“That’s right. Because of my status, it was difficult to arrange a public meeting with him, but I was able to overcome this hurdle thanks to Lady Melody lending me your appearance. Thank you very much.”
“I didn’t do anything. My reputation would have suffered even if the Master of Magic Tower pretended to be me.”
I rolled my eyes as I remembered Rizello, who had addressed me in the third person.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s an honor just to be of help to Madam Irene…… Did you go to Rycalion with the Holy Knights?”
I nodded in response to the unexpected topic.
“Yes, I did.”
“You must have met a lot of wizards. I heard there was a balrog sighting.”
It wasn’t the Balrog that was important.
My brow furrowed as I remembered the creepy whispers of the Incubus King.
“You had an unforgettable experience. If you don’t mind me asking.”
With sparkling eyes, the melody returned my gaze.
“I’d like to hear about your experience someday.”
“Yes, yes, of course.”
I quickly nodded, pushed down by her spirit.
Melody smiled calmly again and turned to face the way she had come earlier.
What was that? Just now.
I think I caught a glimpse of some kind of lunacy.
Soon we reached the garden.
A serene and secluded setting greeted us.
“Please take a seat. I made a decent cup of tea my own way.”
The table was empty except for us. To put it bluntly, a doll was sitting on an empty chair.
‘It’s a tea party for just the two of us.’
Because we were the only ones there, it seemed like a good time to ask questions about Rizello.
It was the moment I thought so.
The doll spoke.
I narrowly avoided being thrown backwards.