The Pope kept a smile plastered on his face.
I felt a slight chill in my stomach as I spoke up about my discomfort with her comment earlier.
"By the way, ────, your eminence.
What did you just say about Rollo, ......?
It seemed to me that you said something about ...... as if you were treating it like an object.
I'm not sure if I heard that right.
"Is ...... that ──── something?
The Pope's smile instantly disappeared at my words, and after a moment of silence, a low voice echoed around the area.
"Is there something wrong with that, Linneburg?
It was a voice that seemed to bind my heart just by hearing it.
It was a voice that bound my heart just to hear it.
I felt as if I had been swallowed by darkness in an instant.
Honestly speaking, I feel that this person in front of me is terrifying. However, I must not show any weakness to this woman (person).
I felt this intuitively, so I continued my conversation, choosing my words carefully.
I was told that it was as a friend of mine that you brought him ──── here today.
At least, that's what I told him and asked him to come here.
So, ──── I'm sorry, but I can't hear what he said.
That was ............ what a change of heart.
The Pope laughed with great amusement when I protested against his treatment of Rollo.
"Well, well, well. You are a stout man, Linneburg.
You are a stout man, Linneburg, to be unmoved by my presence and to speak such nonsense.
At your age, your boldness ──── makes me want you more and more.
"...... Your Eminence.
Are you not going to answer my question ────?
She raised one hand to interrupt me as I tried to continue my question.
"Linneburg. Don't say a word.
You're the one who's being too rude.
You seem to have misunderstood me, but there is no such thing as a change of heart.
Originally, ──── I had intended to do so from the beginning.
The Pope smiled kindly at us again, but it was no more than a sinister mask of darkness.
"From the beginning ......? What kind of ──── is that?
I have invited you, of course, as the fiancée of my son, Tyrence.
I invited you as the fiancée of my son, Tyrence. ──── and as a dignitary of the enemy (・・・・・).
The demons there are invited as their curious friends (・・・・・).
Nothing has changed in my intentions.
There was a slight stir in the hall.
She spoke clearly.
That the Kingdom of Crais is an enemy.
We were invited to Mithra from the beginning with that intention.
That we were invited into ──── Mithra as enemies of Mithraism from the beginning.
"Your eminence, what is ──── an enemy state?
Your country, ──── the Kingdom of Crace, has made the demon race there a part of the nation. Despite repeated warnings from my country.
You know what that means, right?
You know well how our country deals with demons.
It's a complete insult and hostile act against our country to give in to their evil presence. At that point, you have turned against our country. ──── It is obvious that you are the enemy.
And you knew that, didn't you, and that's why you are the guards (・・・・)? Unfortunately, one of them seems to have disappeared somewhere.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one who's had it.
"──── I don't understand, your eminence.
We have no hostile intentions toward you, Mithra.
Even if the two countries were hostile, why did you call me Prince Tyrence's "fiancee"? It's in too bad taste to be a joke, and if you were serious, it would be even more ──── unacceptable.
The Pope laughed again.
I see. You don't understand?
Well, that's ──── it.
He was full of joy.
The Pope quietly raised one hand, and the soldiers surrounding us all drew their swords at once.
The crowd, which had been buzzing, quieted down again in an instant.
"Yes, I see. You're right, I may not have explained it well enough.
In simple terms, ──── it can be described as a condition.
Yes, that's right.
I have a high regard for your talent and good blood. I'm saying that it would be a shame to let it be buried in that dying little country.
There should be more opportunities to utilize them in our country.
How about ......?
How about making a formal betrothal here with my prince and leaving my country with superior blood.
I'm saying that's a condition for me to mercifully save your country ──── and the kingdom of Crais ruled by that foolish king.
The woman in front of you laughs with even more amusement as she says this,────, and as my father says, it's like a demon.
I'm not sure if this is a good idea, but it's a good idea.
I'm sure you're not the only one.
To send his lovely daughter off to a country that is against him like this.
It's a good idea to have a few guards,────, or is it just one more?
Perhaps it was intended as a tribute from the start?
If it was ────, I would be grateful to receive it.
I had a hunch when I saw that licking gaze.
This person ──── from the beginning sees other people, other than himself, as objects.
Not only the demons, but ──── probably all people are the same in the eyes of this woman (person).
The cold eyes made me think of that.
──── My father did not send me with such an intention.
"──── Yes, that's enough, Linneburg.
That's all I have to say.
Since you don't seem to be listening to me,────, I'll deal with you accordingly.
A lightning bolt of blue light shot from the hands of several guards and flew at the three of us.
──── That's a captivity ward.
The light of the seal where I was once captured and nearly killed by the Minotaur.
It was a much denser and more intense light than before, and it was emitted from all around us at once.
And it was ────
──── It was repelled by the power of the diadem that each of us wore.
The Pope gave me a surprised look and asked me.
...... What is it, Linneburg? That diadem.
It's a little ──── different from our technology.
I wonder why ...... such a thing exists.
She narrowed her eyes a little uncomfortably.
I think it's quite natural that your eminence has never seen this before.
This is a work of art from ──── that I have made and imitated.
This is a magical tool that can lift the same quality of the binding wards that ──── someone put on me when I almost lost my life in a minotaur attack before. I never thought it would come in handy here, though.
I thought I had answered with all the sarcasm I could muster.
But surprisingly, the expression on the Pope's face at that moment was one of ──── glee.
She was shaking with joy, a change from her earlier sullen look.
"──── Oh, how wonderful.
It's absolutely wonderful, Princess Linneburg.
It's the woman I expected.
You're the one I've been expecting. You've even prepared your own anti-welding sacrament in such a short time.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one who's trying to find a way to make this happen. ──── Are you saying that you had already perfected the theory of imitating the secret warding technology when you were studying in my country?
──── Oh, that's really great.
I'm sure you'll be very happy with the results.
You're really good and ──── very, very dangerous.
The Pope, looking somewhat excited, waved his hand, and the guards scattered and surrounded us, all pointing their swords at us.
I honestly couldn't have imagined this.
I'm not sure what to make of it, but I think it's a good idea.
After all, your father seems to have a very low opinion of your value.
The value of your blood.
──── more and more.
You're the one I've been looking for.
How about ──── Linneburg.
Would you be willing to formally wed the prince here and become ──── mine?
If you do, my country, and by extension this continent, will be more stable and enjoy unprecedented prosperity.
Now, this will be your last notice.
Please reply carefully to ────.
Of course. ────
The moment I was about to say that immediately.
A ──── roar.
At the same time, the stone floor of the hall where we were standing shook as if it were distorting, and several lights fell from the ceiling and shattered one after another.
The hall, which had been quiet, was instantly enveloped in confusion.
What's going on?
From a corridor at the back of the room, there was a clatter of footsteps.
Several soldiers stepped forward in front of the Pope, looking panicked, and announced.
Someone has entered the depths of the Cathedral's Labyrinth of Sorrows.
The Twelve Apostles are ....... What were they doing?
Quickly, deal with them.
That's a sacred place where valuable relics lie.
Seize the bandits as soon as possible. ────────?
"────, Your Eminence?
Without warning, the Pope's face twisted in pain.
She was suddenly staring into the void, her eyes ──── wide and her mouth repeatedly opening and closing as if in a daze.
"What on earth is going on, Your Eminence ────?
The soldiers around her were dismayed.
It was an expression that I, ──── and probably everyone else in the room, had never seen before.
The Pope's look of sincere confusion.
Her hands, which were always calm, were now shaking ──── her body.
Why, why, why ────?
Why are humans able to penetrate so far?
No, no. It can't be.
There's no one ────── in there anymore!
Again, the Pope's eyes widened ──── and he seemed to moan, inaudibly, as he cleared his throat.
The Pope again looked in agony for a moment,──── and then quickly covered his face with a cold mask and instructed his soldiers.
"──── I have an errand to run.
Arrest this little girl respectfully.
I'll be expecting a good report.
Without waiting for the soldier's reply, the Pope disappeared in a pale light.
I'm going to go back to my room. When I'm done, go to my room, Lean.
Prince Tirens also disappeared in a blue light.
He smiled at me as he left.
I felt something well up in my ──── heart.
The building was still shaking and the chaos was still going on.
You have to go now. From here on, follow my brother's instructions (・・・・・・).
Inez looked around.
Soldiers were pouring in and surrounding us.
The shaking must have been caused by the ──── doctor.
It's probably a signal from the doctor to us.
I think he found something and moved ahead of us.
The time to move is now.
I'll be fine on my own.
I looked into Inez's eyes and she closed them and gave a small nod.
"──── Yes, sir. Mr. Linneburg. Please be safe.
"Yes, Inez and Rollo too.
I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I'm not the only one who's had to deal with this.
The surrounding soldiers were slow to react and just watched in silence.
What is it? Did only the squire and the guard escape?
". That's an impressive attitude.
That's the pride of the Kingdom of Crace, the elite. That's disgusting.
The soldiers surrounding me laughed at them.
"Princess Linneburg. You are not going to run away?
"...... Yes. I have no intention of running away.
"I see, so you can accompany me quietly ....... In that case, we'd like to ────
No. I'm just saying I'm staying here.
I'm not going to follow you.
With all due respect ────, you already know the situation, don't you?
The soldier held out his hand and urged me to observe my surroundings.
There were roughly two hundred armed soldiers in sight.
Including the number waiting outside the hall, there are several hundred ────.
About half of Mithra's elite "Holy Knights", dressed in the finest holy silver armor, were present.
And there's no one on my side here.
I'm now in a situation where everything I see is an enemy.
"──── Yes. Of course I understand that.
"Then why are you being so stubborn?
Come on, man up and ──── with us.
I grabbed the wrist of the soldier who tried to grab my arm with one hand and slowly pushed him away.
There are a couple of misconceptions about ────.
First of all, they didn't run away.
They just went to get one of the things they were looking for.
The soldier who grabbed my hand seems to be trying to shake me off.
Perhaps his holy silver armor has been enchanted with [Strengthening].
I'm not sure what to make of this.
────, but I'm not going to let go yet.
Because my story is not (・・・・・・) over yet (・・・・・・・).
──── And one more thing.
If you haven't figured it out yet, ──── it's not that I didn't run away.
I'm only here because I don't need to run away.
Why would I run away from ────?
Why do I have to run here?
At that point, I finally let go of the soldier's arm.
The soldier, whose arm was finally free, jumped in surprise, and pointed his sword at me from a distance.
I may have used a little too much force.
I could see the marks of my hand clearly on his holy silver gauntlet.
He said he was going to run away.
What is the point of doing that in this situation?
I slowly looked around and said to the people surrounding me, pointing their weapons at me, in order to be heard.
There is no one here who is a threat to me.
I now felt a little ──── anger welling up inside me.