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Chapter: 43


*3rd person POV

"...Rainelle."

Karmeut smiled at the crow's gaze that was directed at him like she was scolding him through her cawing.

"I'm sorry. You must have been angry. -But I was curious. You also had questions, so you asked Myrdin-nim, didn't you?"

Rainelle puffed up her feathers. She clacked her beak dissatisfiedly, but she didn't seem to deny that fact as she didn’t turn her head away.

At her actions, the prince smiled and stroked her wings.

"Well, to be honest... When I opened my eyes, I was a little happy."

Karmeut laughed when the crow tilted her head. He grabbed crow’s body and lifted her slightly.

He smiled at the sight of the crow who was just rolling her eyes without struggling. He took her into his arms and continued speaking,

"As soon as I opened my eyes, I saw you, so I thought that it was over. ---Isn't it strange?"

Rainelle puffed up her feathers again. Then she immediately changed into a human form. This made it Rainelle sat on Karmeut, but she didn't seem to care much. Rather, she was looking at Karmeut while looking a little angry.

"---Do you know how worried I was? You bled so much...!"

"Yes, I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it. ...I wanted you to be safe, but you attacked Luwellin who tried to harm His Majesty the Emperor, didn't you?"

"Uh, that's..."

"How could I have stood still in that situation? ---That's much better than just watching you get hurt. Anyway, I'm sorry. I broke my promise."

Those words brought tears to the purple eyes. Perhaps she didn't want to cry, Rainelle buried her head in Karmeut's arms. The rustling sound of feathers adorning her dress can be heard.

"...don't do that in the future."

"I won't... ---that's probably rare, too."

He stroked her black smooth hair, swallowing the words: "Because I became the only one who would become the next emperor."

The hair that was under the palm of his hand was smoother than silk, making him want to stroke it over and over again.

At his touch, Rainelle let out a sigh of satisfaction like a cat and rubbed her face against his chest. It was the same behavior that she had done when she was in the form of a crow, but it was unavoidable that it became different when she did it in the form of a human. Karmeut groaned lowly as he felt something in his chest getting warm with satisfaction.

"Huh? Does it hurt somewhere?"

"No---. It's not like that..."

The prince covered his face with one hand, feeling a sense of guilt as he looked at Rainelle who was looking at him with innocent eyes. ...However, even that could not completely cover his red face and ears.

"Ha... Rainelle? I don't know what I'll do if you continue like that."

Rainelle blinked for a moment at those words, then her face suddenly turned red. And with a popping sound, she turned into a crow.

"Kkakkk!!"

Karmeut couldn't help but burst into laughter as Rainelle flapped her wings quickly and went to hide herself on top of the closet.

It was only now that Karmeut really felt that the Bozcourt was over.

He was more than satisfied to be the next emperor, to have removed those who threatened Rainelle's safety with his own hands.

Rainelle, who cared for him enough that she was able to shed tears, came to his mind, and it made his chest itchy and ecstatic.

The prince tilted his teacup, feeling full of happiness as he watched only the little bit of feathers that were exposed. ...feeling the fatigue he had just felt melted away, Karmeut quietly enjoyed the sense of triumph and satisfaction.

***

The wound wasn’t that big, but Karmeut had to rest without moving. The fact that there was excessive bleeding was a big factor. Of course, the biggest reason was that he was the only recognized legitimate heir.

Thanks to this, I’m able to rest comfortably without any interference, so there are no complaints. And I’m even more satisfied because this rest feels like a reward. Thinking so, the prince turned his head to look at Rainelle.

A giggling translucent creature was flying in front of a crow that was flying around the room while making a pleasant cry.

It was a translucent spirit with wings on its back. The spirit was small enough to fit in the palm of a human’s hand. It was the wind spirit that made a contract with Rainelle with the help of Myrdin.

Rainelle seemed to be amazed and liked the spirit. She was so excited that Karmeut wondered if she ever had so much fun.

"Rainelle, be careful."

Rainelle tilted her head at Karmeut's sudden warning.

"Caw?"

Rainelle cawed as if to ask ‘why?’

He laughed at her behavior and added an explanation for her,

"Managing spirits requires mana. Excessive use of it can make you dizzy, and in extreme cases, you can collapse or die. If you feel dizzy, you must cut off the mana and return to the spirit to the spirit world. Okay?"

Rainelle puffed up her feathers as if she didn't like it. But she nodded to indicate that she understood. Watching the wind spirit land on the crow's head, Karmeut felt bittersweet somehow.

To be honest, the way the Wind Spirit and Rainelle are playing is very cute. Although their species are different, did the wind spirit feel like Rainelle is its younger sibling? Wouldn't everyone think like that when they see the two laughings, chasing after each other, or playing around?

Besides, Rainelle also seemed to like the Wind Spirit very much. I watched her flying after the spirit with her purple eyes shining brightly after all.

Ignoring the feelings of disappointment and sadness, Karmeut reached out his hand to Ranelle. Then, as soon as the crow landed on his arm, he felt a little less sad and started stroking her feathers with his hand.

The crow slowly closed her eyes in a good mood. The prince opened his mouth as he smiled,

"Rainelle, I'd like to chat with you for a moment... is it okay?"

Although she was puzzled by Karmeut's sudden request to chat, she quickly changed into a human form.

*Rainelle’s POV

Ummm... I'm sorry, but I have to send you back now, Mui.

It was regrettable to send back Mui, the wind spirit. It told me its name at the time of signing the contract.

But seeing that Karmeut has something to say... I can't help it. We can only play again later. By the way, what does he want to talk about?

I was very excited about signing a contract with a spirit that I had only encountered in novels, but I set aside my disappointment because Karmeut was also important. Above all, as Bozcourt was over and him becoming the emperor had been confirmed, I am relieved that it seemed that the story has progressed properly according to the original storyline.

"What is it, Karmeut? What do you want to talk about?"

He nodded at my question, then he opened his mouth in a soft and gentle voice like always,

"I was just thinking..."

"...?"

"I'd like to make it public that you can take human form. If it's too much right now, at least I’d like His Majesty the Emperor to know."

I flinched at Karmeut's suggestion. It's not a problem in itself to reveal that I can take on human form.

But, but... If that happens, wouldn't it be inconsistent with the original? If so, would it be okay?

I hesitated, not knowing how to respond. If I reveal my identity, an unpredictable future that was out of sync with the original storyline was laid out. Conversely, if it was not revealed, the storyline may go the same as the original, but it may hurt Karmeut's heart...

How did Karmeut interpret my hesitation by not answering? He smiled as if it was okay and said,

"You don't have to answer me right away. If you think it's difficult, I'll respect your opinion. I don't intend to force you. I suggested it because I thought it'd be better to reveal it. Sorry, I didn't mean to put you in trouble."

I felt sorry for Karmeut, who still smiled while saying that, because it seemed like he was so thoughtful of me.

"May I ask... why do you think so?"

Karmeut blinked slowly. Then he smiled embarrassedly and scratched his cheek.

"During Bozcourt... you stopped Luwellin from trying to kill His Majesty the Emperor, didn't you?"

"...ah... that, that..."

Karmeut's words made me stutter automatically. It was something I hadn't thought about before actually moving my body, but I broke my promise with Karmeut, didn't I?

"Don't interfere just because it looks dangerous"

I promised that, but I intervened! Agh! Agh!! Come to think of it, I shouldn’t have promised anything to Karmeut!

Thinking about how angry he got before, it was fair for him to scold me.

As I wiggled my fingers while thinking about that, laughter can be heard.

"I don't mean to get angry. Of course, I was surprised because you broke the promise... but I thought it must have been for a reason. Besides, I was able to seize the opportunity thanks to Luwellin's diverted attention in that situation."

...I sometimes wonder, is Karmeut a mind-reader? Or is it that my mind became simpler since I became a bird? If you read my mind this well, it feels like I have become too simple-minded. Is it really like that?

A groan came out of my mouth.

Seeing me like that, he smiled and said,

"Besides, even if we don't say it, His Majesty the Emperor should already know."

"Uh, why?!"

"Of course. Myrdin-nim confirmed that you can take human form, right? Myrdin-nim isn't fully active now, but he's a magician of the Imperial Palace and the one who has spent the longest time with His Majesty the Emperor. His Majesty's most trusted person would be Myrdin-nim."

"Um, um, and...?"

"I think you've noticed to a certain extent. ---And thanks to Myrdin-nim, you were able to sign a contract with the spirit, right?"

With those words, his hand turned to touch the necklace. I felt the gentle tickling movement of the air, as if something fluffy had come from his fingertips.

"Contracting with a spirit is useful in many ways. ---I only thought of protection magic, but... I like it more because the spirit can respond flexibly according to the situation. ---That doesn't mean it's easy to make a contract with a spirit."

"...But why did you ask for protection magic?"

His golden eyes darkened. The figure of him with eyes that can’t be read was somehow unfamiliar. ...but, I could feel this one thing. He was worried.

...why? Luwellin is dead, and Karmeut will become the emperor in the future, right?

"...Rainelle. The Imperial Palace is a dangerous place. Of course, some problems arise over the succession rights. But just because I become the emperor, it's not always safe."

"...ah..."

That's when I remembered it. Whether it was in the historical record or any form of media outlet, the royal palace or the imperial palace was always luxurious, but the description of it was like a field of thorns.

It was not that the emperor does not suffer from assassination threats, and there was also a tense battle for power that the nobles have to endure.

When I remembered that there were times when the king was reduced to a scarecrow due to the power of the nobles, I had to desperately suppress my desire to rip my hair out.

Aghh really!! I must have lost my intelligence after becoming a crow! How come I only think of this now!! Crazy, really!

No, wait a second. That means... Karmeut thought of me and asked Myrdin, a wizard, for my sake---? Of course, there was a premise that you would like to know more about me, but since it is related to Crobanlock, you were curious too, right?

My heart got tickled. For some reason, I asked the question while holding back a smile that was about to appear on my lips,

"Then, the reason for telling His Majesty the Emperor is..."

"If you let him know that you can take human form, it will be easier to protect you... ...and also my self-interest."

"Self-interest?"

? What?

As I tilted my head, unable to understand, Karmeut's face went red.

...huh? why?

"To His Majesty... to Father, I also want to introduce you."

"Ah..."

I was about to say "I see", but then stopped.

Wait, wait, wait!! Hey, these words have some nuance---!! Am I thinking right? It's probably right, right? That's right! Otherwise, there's no reason why Karmeut's face would turn so red!!

"That, that, that, that---!! Why, why are you telling your father? Huh?"

His voice rose spontaneously in embarrassment. But unlike before, Karmeut answered with a smirk,

"You want to know why? I can give you a hint."

I felt a rush of heat rushing to my face.

Ugh, ahhhh! A hint?! Is it what I think it is?!

No, wait! Thinking like this makes me feel like I’m a pervert! Of course, Karmeut is handsome, good-natured, caring, friendly, and capable, so he has the image of the ideal prince from fantasy, but isn't this and that different?!

The flow of my consciousness seemed to run wild as my eyes swirled. Then I heard a short burst of exclamation in my ear,

"Ah, that's right! I deserve a reward."

"Re, reward?"

Karmeut smiled and nodded his head. Then he approached me while I was frozen for a while. I thought his face was coming too close...


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