Rockwall Lou – V5 Chapter 5

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓

(5)

That night, Tweney fell ill with a fever.

Several doctors appeared, one after the other, to examine Tweney. While the exact cause was unknown, it was believed to be mental fatigue due to changes in living conditions and extreme tension. Although it was a common suggestion, they said it was best for her to rest. The fever subsided the next day, but it was decided to take precautions and rest for another day.

Lying in bed alone, Tweney sighed.

Since birth, although it’s only been about ten years, she felt like a leaf fallen into a stream, being tossed about without knowing where she’s headed.

However, the current situation was the most extreme she had faced.

She felt like she was caught in a fierce muddy current, and everything was blown to smithereens.

In summary, the bruise on her forehead was a sacred mark, and she, being the daughter of the royal family, supposedly had the sacred power and had to defeat the “Blue Demon Beast.”

She thought she didn’t possess such power.

Given the situation’s magnitude, she couldn’t simply decline. Nor could she run away.

If she felt trapped, she decided to at least think positively, Tweney thought.

Being in the royal capital now, wasn’t it a chance to learn about herself?

She felt the chief court lady probably knew nothing. The wizard Ozma might not tell her either.

If she had to rely on someone, it should be her father.

Although he was intimidating in the audience chamber, she believed he would talk to her in a private setting.

She wanted to know the truth, the young girl thought.

About the past events and what’s to come.

Everything.

Even if there were misunderstandings or discrepancies, she had no intention of blaming her father.

If he would tell her everything, she would.

With determination, Tweney approached the chief court lady.

The chief court lady had been ordered by King Ramon to report directly on the princess’s condition. Therefore, she was specially allowed to enter the king’s office. But if asked if she was happy to be near the nation’s most powerful figure, she would vehemently deny it.

The reason was King Ramon’s changed behavior.

“How is she?”

“Yes, her fever has gone down, but she plans to rest for another day for precaution.”

“Has she eaten?”

“Yes, without issues.”

“Any other discomforts?”

“Well, about that. . . . . .”

At first glance, he seemed like a father worried about his daughter, but the reality was different.

“The princess wishes to have an audience with you.”

At that moment, the king’s face tensed. Trembling, he began to tear at his hair.

“What does this mean? What does she want from me? There’s no room for negotiation now. She must go. That’s the duty of the royal family, isn’t it?”

The chief court lady couldn’t possibly know the answer. Unable to respond disrespectfully, she remained silent, awaiting the king’s reaction.

Since the appearance of the “Blue Demon Beast,” King Ramon’s demeanor had slowly changed. He became more reticent, more withdrawn, and ate much less.

And perhaps the turning point was when the king’s right-hand man, Prime Minister Hou, took his own life. That event shattered the king’s spirit.

“Ah, yes. Hou is gone. Leaving me alone with an irreversible responsibility, a debt for an irredeemable sin. Oh, what have I done? I can’t escape this torment. The blood of the royal family doesn’t allow it. I have to witness this inevitable fate. Is this not a living hell?!”

A deeply distressed King Ramon turned completely white-haired in just a few days. His emotional range increased, and he would become depressed or extremely angry over trivial matters.

Under normal circumstances, King Ramon should have attended the debut ceremony of Princess Tweney held in the square in front of the royal palace. However, he secluded himself in his chamber, as if he was afraid of his own daughter.

The king, once referred to as the “Wise King”, inquired desperately of the chief court lady.

“Tell me, must I meet with her? After abandoning her right after her birth and not providing adequate support, and now contemplating sending her to her doom. Still, must I speak with her?”

As an individual, the chief court lady thought he should talk to his daughter. No matter how much she might resent him, he should genuinely apologize. However, if it results in the king’s displeasure, it might harm her, who had suggested the meeting.

“No.”

Eager to leave the room, the chief court lady bowed deeply.

“No, Your Majesty. With all due respect, I believe there’s no need for you to strain yourself in your current condition. I will speak to Princess Tweney on your behalf.”

As the day of departure approached, the attitude of the maids became distant.

Their chattering ceased, and they began to make mistakes in their work. They dropped glasses and tripped over, engaging in somewhat unnatural behaviors.

The reason soon became clear.

“Um, Princess. . . . . .”

When she was alone with a maid of about her age in her mid-teens, she was asked in a hesitant manner.

“Have you made your decision?”

It’s a long and dangerous journey to the far reaches of the “wilderness” located far to the north. Someone will be needed to take care of the young princess during the journey. The maids believed they had a say in the selection.

Indeed, if she nominated someone, there’s a high chance that person would be chosen. That’s why the maids, out of fear, deliberately made mistakes in their work, hoping to avoid being nominated.

Tweney understood.

“Don’t worry. I can take care of myself. Besides, if it’s a long journey, it’s better to have fewer people and belongings. I’ll convey this to the chief court lady.”

“T, Thank you!”

With a complex expression mixed with guilt and relief, the maid bowed deeply.

Tweney thought, trying to smile in a way that wouldn’t hurt the other person.

After all, both then and now, I am alone, she thought.

When she wore the mask, she was detested as the “Child of Misfortune.” Even after taking off the mask, people were only grateful for her title as “princess,” and would likely avoid any further trouble with her.

No one truly sees the real me.

Well, there was one person.

That boy came to see her many times, even when she was wearing a mask, in that castle room that felt like a prison. He took her out and showed her a golden view that words could not describe.

Tweney forcibly suppressed her desire to see him.

Under these circumstances, she would probably never see that boy again.

One mustn’t cling to a hopeless hope.

It was a worldly wisdom learned by a ten-year-old girl in a dire situation.

As promised, Tweney told the chief court lady that she didn’t need a maid for her journey of trials. The lady-in-waiting objected, but Tweney insisted she had always been alone and wouldn’t be comfortable with unfamiliar company.

Then, she set a condition.

If they really wanted to assign a maid, it should be someone who genuinely wished to accompany her.

It was expected that no such person existed, but on the eve of departure, a tall woman in her thirties with a stern face appeared.

“Your Highness, it’s been a while.”

“Rayza!”

This was the woman who had served as Tweney’s maid in Akkare Castle for about a year. She had a strict nature, both towards others and herself, but she was faithful to her duties and treated Tweney fairly.

“Did they order you to accompany me?”

“No, that’s not it.”

“Did you wish to?”

“Not exactly.”

Rayza had offered to take on the task if no one else wanted to accompany Tweney.

“It’s truly pitiful. Entrusting this nation’s fate on a journey to a ten-year-old princess and turning a blind eye to her. Everyone is just avoiding responsibility.”

The chief court lady, the other person present, visibly cringed. Rayza’s candid attitude towards her superiors was the reason she wasn’t in a position that matched her abilities, but Tweney was unaware of this.

“Rayza, are you sure about this?”

“It’s my duty.”

Indifferently, Rayza replied.

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