As soon as I woke up, I opened the curtains of my room. I confirmed that there were no flowers or cards there, and let out a deep sigh.
Such days have been continuing for a while now.
The exchange of cards that had long brightened my mornings had gradually decreased in frequency, with a hasty note as the last, saying “I’ll be a little busy.”
Please don’t get sick, and don’t worry about me. I just want to tell you that now. But it’s frustrating to chase after the person who can’t reply because they’re busy.
I let out a sigh again.
It had been exactly one month since I last saw His Highness.
I slowly got ready and headed to the school. In contrast to my depressed feelings, the academy seemed somehow noisy.
As I walked, following students heading somewhere, I found that the results of the [Summer] exam were posted in the courtyard. The reason they took longer than usual was probably because of the investigation into the fight between Sajad and Gadd.
I looked at the results from a distance.
10th place: Hanna Horton
9th place: Sajad Mahajanjiga
8th place: Gadd Maysen
7th place: Brian Marc
6th place: Judith Ceden
5th place: Kyaran Goudes
4th place: Rebecca Slutarch
3rd place: Emilia
2nd place: Llewayne Huaverdon
1st place: Oswald Ceden
It didn’t seem like Gadd’s evaluation was hit that hard, so I let out a sigh of relief.
I was staring at the name of the first place without any feeling of becoming fourth, so my reaction was late. Before I knew it, a man was standing next to me.
Sajad Mahajanjiga, as always, approached me with a frustratingly annoying smile.
I almost thought of pretending not to hear, but I barely managed to return a dry smile.
“I haven’t seen His Highness Llewayne recently.”
“He’s busy with official business.”
“I see… you’re also busy. I’ve always wanted to ask you one thing. What’s your readiness to become a queen?”
As he spoke as if he was worrying about me, I felt a chill run down my spine and looked up to see Sajad deliberately shrug his shoulders.
“Working tirelessly for the people, sacrificing body and mind, but getting cursed no matter the outcome. Why would you want to take that position?”
You mock commoners, then royalty… Is there nothing in this world he does like?
I try to keep my anger from showing and make a calm voice.
“Saying such things would be considered an insult to the royal family.”
“Oh, come on! I just want to know the thoughts of such noble-minded people.”
“As a student, I, a little girl, cannot speak pretentiously about my readiness to become a queen.”
I do not know what Sajad wants to do in this conversation. So I will speak honestly.
“I just want to be next to that person always. Being a queen and dedicating myself is reason enough for me.”
Sajad made a face like he was about to spit out sand when I smiled gracefully and acted carefree.
“It was nice talking to you. See you later.”
It felt better than I thought it would to give Sajad a taste of his own medicine, and I said that honestly as I left the courtyard.
That night, just before going to bed, I heard a small sound like someone tapping on the window.
————The window is being tapped from the outside.
I hugged the small white snake in surprise, and Christina told me “Cuey(It’s okay).”
Maybe it’s Grue. Is it a message from His Highness?
I thought that as I quickly opened the curtains, and in the next moment, the window opened on its own. Someone slid in and the wind blowing in carried the smell of the outside.
I saw golden hair and the night sky for a moment. I thought the stars were falling.
I didn’t even have time to say his name. Before I knew it, our lips met.
“…I was happy today. Thank you.”
It was a very quiet voice. As if he were going to bow his head, His Highness pressed his forehead to my shoulder. He took my hand and gripped it.
I was deeply surprised. Whether it was the fact that His Highness had come in through the window, that he had come to see me, or that it seemed that today’s conversation with Sajad was known, I didn’t know.
It was the fact that kept me from seeing his face was the way that my shoulder was being leaned on.
————is weak. It is rare, or rather, I have never seen it before.
Maybe he was tired from continuing to work. Maybe something unpleasant had happened. At the very least, I was certain that he had come here during an extremely busy interval.
Even though he didn’t want to show his tired face, His Highness leaned on me, like he was asking for a favor.
When I walked three steps back, pulling His Highness’ hand, he followed me with his head down. When I sat down on the bed as I was, His Highness also knelt in front of me.
I hugged his head and brought it close to my stomach.
“It seems like people feel safe when they have their head on someone’s stomach.”
He moved slightly, but stopped when he heard those words. He seemed to have decided to be obedient, and wrapped his arm around my waist, leaning on me.
I stroked his hair like I was combing it. I didn’t know how much time had passed, but I continued to do that until His Highness was satisfied.
After that, it became a new habit for His Highness to visit at night.
He always appears just before I fall asleep, and he comes in with very few words.
The first time, he seemed to have tasted it, he made me sit on the bed and used my legs and stomach as a pillow. Anyway, I knew he didn’t want me to see his face properly.
He would doze off as I combed his hair, but after an hour he would wake up and say, “I’ll come back again.”
I am quite worried about him, but I am glad that he shows his vulnerable side. I’m glad that I became his receptacle.
So, as long as His Highness doesn’t say anything, I think it’s okay to be like this.
————Until that night.
That night, His Highness came as usual, and after dozing off on my thigh, he left.
So after that, I went to sleep as usual.
The only thing that was different from usual was that I had a dream.
I was standing somewhere bright. When I looked up, a dragon of monstrous size with a face like a monster was looking at me intently. The pupils were as big as my height.
But there was no fear at all. Without hesitation, I reached out to its nose.
Even if the shape changes, the soul is the same. I could never mistake my beloved Phantom Beast.
Christina narrowed her eyes and happily brought her nose close to me. And then she talked to me.
It was like a baby’s stuttering, but I understood that it was Christina’s. I was happy to hear her voice for the first time.
But what Christina said next was an unexpected word.
“Wake up, let’s go, dangerous”
I woke up suddenly in my room at the Academy’s dormitory. I was breathing heavily. In the dark, I looked for the white beast I had just seen.
Christina was on top of my stomach in the form of a white snake, looking at me while sweating and nodding her head.
At that moment, I threw off the blanket.
I got up from the bed and rolled out of it, holding Christina. I opened the window of the room and jumped out at the same time.
The white snake changed shape into a white dragon, but not as big as before, just the familiar size.
Christina scooped me up as I fell and headed straight for the men’s dormitory.
The cold night wind blew on my sweat-soaked skin. I was shaking with severe palpitations and chills. Christina glanced this way.
“It’s okay, for now, let’s go to His Highness.”
Christina understood my feelings without me having to say anything. She arrived at the window of the boy’s dormitory room at an unprecedented speed, like a white arrow slicing through the night sky.
The window was unlocked. Had the prince returned from my room and not had time to lock the key? Inside was the bedroom.
I rushed to the bed. He did not show any signs of waking up even though someone had entered.
“Your Highness! Your Highness!”
I knelt beside him and shook his body. He had deep wrinkles on his forehead and was sweating profusely. His breath was shallow. His cheeks were cold like ice. He wouldn’t wake up no matter how much I shook him.
“What should I do, what should I do.”
Should I call a doctor? My intuition told me that wasn’t the answer. The abnormal thing was not the sweating or low body temperature, but the fact that he wouldn’t open his eyes at all.
There was a strong presence of magic there.
I didn’t have any proof. But I thought it was that man’s doing.
In that case, what I should do now is to wake His Highness from the [dream].
But how? What should I use?
Desperately looking around, Christina and His Highness’s Phantom Beast Grue were also by His Highness’ side.
Christina appeared in my dream. I thought that Phantom Beast and master had a strong bond because of their souls being connected. But if that’s the case, Grue should also be able to enter the master’s dream.
―― So why is Grue not able to help His Highness now?
I pressed my forehead. Think. Assuming that His Highness and Grue cannot share a dream, what could be the factor that makes me and Christina have a stronger spiritual connection? Then Christina and I are a special case.
I thought my brain was going to wear out. Along with the shock that seemed like sparks were flying, I reached the answer.
Since last [fall], I have received magic from Christina many times.
If that is what makes it possible for me and Christina to share a dream,
“Christina, please, can you share your magic with His Highness?”
This is a gamble. I was successful in sharing magic with Emilia’s Kyuubi in [Winter] of last year because Emilia was my [Loyalist].”
——But if, between me and His Highness, there is a bond that rivals that of those who have performed the [Loyalist’s Rite].
Christina climbed up His Highness’ upper body. With a voice of “Cuey,” dense magic oozed out of her body.
It gently enveloped His Highness, without being repelled, and merged and disappeared——it was a success.
With this, His Highness and I were connected in Christina——if the hypothesis is correct.
I parted His Highness’ bangs and kissed his sweating forehead. I tightly embraced his body to give him as much body heat as possible.
I closed my eyes strongly.
I’ll definitely save and show him. The most important person in the world.