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Translated by Wook
Edited by Iris Sakura
Rosaline listened to Macaron and nodded her head. She also had been watching ever since Balta’s gates opened and as they encountered the guards. Rosaline closed her eyes. The action blocked her sight, but her senses painted the scene around her. The herd of horses, the sound of the knights’ armor rattling. As the wheel of the carriage rolled over the gravel, unstable and violent energy that felt like it would explode at any moment flew around. If the magical power of a beast was a torch, the surrounding power at this moment was like a wildfire that covered the whole area. Rosaline had felt an aura similar to this before. From Fragment mixed into Ricardis’ tea and from those ferocious beasts back in the forest on their way here.
The Prime Minister, Attilak, did not feel it, but each of the guards surrounding the delegation was in a state of embracing that energy. Because of that, the true scenery unfolded before her closed eyes. An image that could not be seen even in the Demon Mountain famous for its many beasts. This kind of power shouldn’t be so concentrated in one place. Facing the bizarre sight, her every nerve was excited to the point of tingling. Goosebumps rose over her arms. It was because of this that Macaron kept chattering out of fear. Macaron didn’t seem to have ever seen a place where magic power was so concentrated. Rosaline looked around her with a sharp gaze. A lot of Balta’s people came out to see the delegation’s party. Fortunately, the ordinary people did not feel the strange magic. Perhaps those guards were a special group.
Feeling anxious, Rosaline drove her horse closer to Ricardis’ carriage. The horses pulling the wagon were nickering and making noises. When Macaron heard the horses’ screeching sounds, she quickly crawled out of Rosaline’s pocket and pointed angrily at the horses. After Macaron lived with the old grandmother, she had a unique ability to swear. As her squeak grew louder and louder, Rosaline forced her back into her pocket. Fortunately, no one witnessed this situation.
Balta was enormous. They finally arrived at the magnificent palace located in the center of the capital after a while. They were supposed to meet with the 1st Prince Haqab two days later as part of the delegation’s schedule. So, for now, they decided to unpack and rest. Attilak left an entire palace empty for the delegation. It was only after the knights thoroughly checked Ricardis’ room that everyone could enter their quarters to rest.
Rosaline was also assigned a room. She took off her armor and polished her weapons. From her armor, Macaron kept looking out here and there. Seeing that its black sesame-like eyes had thinned out and became smaller, it seemed that she was not feeling calm.
The concentration of heterogeneous magical power became so much thicker that it could not be overridden by the lavish scenery. The power that quietly surrounded Balta’s palace caused massive pressure that overwhelmed them. This entire spacious palace felt like the mouth of a large beast. Rosaline drew out the blade of her sword and looked into the moonlight. The sword shone sharply.
“In a dangerous situation, run away, Macaron.”
Squeak. Macaron glared at her.
“I can’t run away.”
Squeak, squeaaak! The mouse hopped around.
“I have someone to protect. I will do it this time for sure.”
‘This time?’ Macaron asked.
Rosaline had to ponder what this sentence meant as she spat it out with her mouth. She never failed her mission to protect him… So, why did the word come out all of a sudden? Rosaline and Macaron tilted their heads. But there was no one to give them an answer. The night was deep.
Knight Commander Starz gathered all the Knights of the White Night and delivered a warning.
“Everyone has worked hard to get to Balta.”
Everyone joked that the reason they were doing this was because they wanted a raise. Starz smiled slightly. Rosaline looked at him with admiration and smiled. The smile of the Knight Commander, who looked like a thousand-year-old rock, was quite rare. Macaron, who was in her pocket and only stuck out her face, wriggled. The commander was a good-looking male, but she didn’t quite understand.
“The moment you set foot in this palace, nothing can be guaranteed. Perhaps we will encounter real danger on the way back to Illavenia… I’m sure you guys know it too.”
“Yes,” the senior knights answered loudly.
Starz was silent for a moment before opening his mouth. His face was so dark that his low-pitched voice felt even heavier.
“I will tell you ahead of time just in case. I, the commander of the knights, and the assistant deputy commander, Sir Raymond; and the senior knights Sir Pardict, Sir Kairo, Sir Rosaline, and Sir Hale; and among the lesser knights, Sir Nestor, Sir Claude, Sir Bastian, Sir Shuten, Sir Arman. When a battle occurs in the palace, a total of ten people, excluding the knight commander, will escape from the Baltan palace with the 2nd and 5th princes. The unnamed knights must fight back with force and buy time to escape. Everyone, remember your vow back then, give your lives.”
It was a cool sound that tickled one’s spine. All members of the Knights of White Night stood up straight. Their strong determination suppressed their fear. No one grieved over their situation, and nobody was disturbed. Their eyes shone brightly, and their vows were engraved anew under a firm conviction. Deputy Commander Nathan and his lieutenant Raymond were standing in front of the senior knights and saluted Starz. After that, both senior and low-ranking knights raised their fists over the heart just like them. Starz also raised a fist over his heart, looking at his hardened subordinates. The low voice of the Knight Commander broke the silence once more and echoed in the room.
“Onto you the glory of Idelavhim who parts the black moon.”
A lot of eyes were placed on the palace where the Illavenia delegation stayed. There were maids and servants on the ceiling, under the floor, on the trees, and in many other places, but they only monitored the movement of the delegation and showed no intention of killing. The skeptical gaze of those strangers was bothering Rosaline’s nerves. ‘Should I kill them? No, Calyx said that I shouldn’t kill people carelessly in Balta. So, what should I do?’
[What you can do, what you should do, and whether a certain action is okay or not okay. Make. Sure. To. Ask. The. People. Around. You. If you are confused before you act. Make. Sure. To. Ask. Someone you are close to or someone you trust.]
Rosaline hesitated, then knocked on the Knight Commander’s door. Raymond was the person closest to her. But recently, even though they were in the same group, they rarely met. He was one of the delegation heads, and he was so busy running here and there. So, that leaves someone she trusted, and after thinking about it, the Knight Commander came to her mind.
Upon entering the temporary Knight Commander’s Office, there were many other people aside from Starz. Deputy Commander Nathan, Deputy Assistant Lieutenant Raymond, and a few senior knights discussed something with the map spread open. Raymond smiled at her and greeted her. Rosaline smiled a little too.
“What’s going on, Sir Rosaline?”
Rosaline hesitated and approached the Knight Commander. Starz was taken aback by the sight of her approaching closer than expected. Raymond squinted his eyes and looked intently at Rosaline’s actions. With his hawk-like gaze, he was ready to run and stop Rosaline at any time.
Rosaline approached Starz and covered her mouth with one hand as if wanting to whisper in his ear. Raymond pushed his head straight out and placed his ear near them, as he was very concerned about what bombshell remarks she would make. ‘Rosaline, what the hell do you want to talk about?! You’re hungry? What’s for tomorrow morning? Can we go home?’ Every question he thought about wasn’t something that could be whispered secretly into the ear of one’s boss.
Raymond kept his head straight out and his posture became a little ugly. But thanks to that, he could overhear everything she was saying. Deputy Commander Nathan, who was standing next to him, looked at Raymond with a disgusted expression. Raymond looked like a parent who was overprotective of their child. Meanwhile, Rosaline’s question flowed into Raymond and Starz’s ears.
“People are watching in the palace. Can I kill them?”
Starz was quiet… then groaned, “You can’t.”
Raymond also said sternly, “No, Rosaline.”
Rosaline frowned and clicked her tongue, looking quite annoyed. They understood her feelings, but they were visiting in the name of a peace delegation. They couldn’t provide a cause for war in Balta. They were all aware that the servants had been keeping an eye on them, but they did not attack. If their side took lives first, the mission’s position could be at risk. Now was the time to be patient.
Rosaline made an ‘ah’ sound before rushing back to the Knight Commander’s ear. Raymond went back to eavesdrop again. This time he was closer than before. Deputy Commander Nathan frowned more than before.
“So, will it be okay as long as I don’t kill them?”
She didn’t seem to understand at all. Rosaline’s cheeks puffed up, and she got scolded by the Knight Commander and Raymond. They said to never, never, never lay a finger on any of the spies unless they attacked first. In that short period, Rosaline heard the words ‘never’ and ‘no’ dozens of times.
Eventually, she slowly moved her head up and down as a sign of acceptance. A great sigh escaped them. Whatever the case, it was commendable that she noticed the gazes watching the palace. Rosaline informed the knights of the location of each eye and left the room.
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