translated by myonnie
I slowly regain consciousness and opened my eyelids. I turn over, looking at the clock, only to find the date has already changed.
"Eh, it's already this late!?"
I jump out of bed in panic.
Seems like I had fallen asleep while reminiscing on my past with Felix. Having dreamt of the day we met makes me feel even more nostalgic.
(Many things happened after that and he stuck close to me. I also remember myself yielding to Felix a few times because he's so cute.)
I was quite busy back then, but I couldn't turn down Felix's request and even ended up teaching him magic. I also wanted to save him from that place since he was in a weak position.
Although his body was weak, Felix had plenty of magic power and he was brimming with talent. He grew up faster than anyone else.
(And that curse, it hurts so much that it gave me a high fever. Thankfully it was a dream... I don't want to experience it again.)
At that time, I transferred Felix's curse to my abdomen since that part of me would be hidden by my clothes.
I also remember worrying that I might not be able to marry since my appearance looked pretty bad. Not to say, I had no power to transfer the magic I absorbed to others.
In the end, I died at the young age of twenty-two, two years after that. My fears are all unfounded.
"Fwahhh... I should get ready for bed and sleep again."
I'm still sleepy from the accumulating exhaustion after the journey. I have been lacking in nutrition and sleep all this time, so my stamina is too poor.
Now that I've finally escaped from the days of hell in Fallon Temple, I want to take it easy for a while.
But for the sake of my cute former protege and for the sake of this country, I should also contribute whatever I can do.
(Even if my magic power is still not much, I have a lot of knowledge and experience. There must be something I can do.)
Let's ask for permission to investigate at breakfast tomorrow. About this country, and about my changing amount of magic power.
With that in mind, I hurry to the bathroom.
"What's with that noisy woman!!!!"
"...You're quite noisy too, you know."
My close aide, Byron, has his loud voice echo through the study room late at night. His body is trembling slightly from irritation.
"It should be enough that Your Majesty was being nice to her in front of the servants, but she just kept going and going and going...! It's nothing but a nuisance to have a powerless chatter!"
"She came to an unfamiliar land alone. I'm sure she's anxious."
As Byron said, she - Tiana Everett - is surprisingly talkative. And she asked all sorts of trivial questions about me.
(It caught me off guard when she asked me about my health.)
However, I had no good topic to talk about, so it was convenient that she was the one who initiated the conversation with the eyes around us. Though there should be limits to that, too.
But I'll admit that her gaze when she happily listened to me is completely different from the ones of the other noble ladies. That's why I didn't feel much discomfort.
"Your Majesty, you're too soft! Remember, she's from the kingdom!"
"That's not it."
I have no intention to do anything special to her. Still, I can't get the image of her quietly crying during the meal out of my head.
"...Why... I'm sorry."
I also notice that when she wiped her tears, her hand is so rough. Even if she is a precious saint, her hands full of scratches are no different from a servant who does housework.
It's clear that she wasn't treated well, to the point that she was offered to the 'Cursed Land'.
"From what I saw, Saint Tiana acted like she hardly left the temple. She ate an ordinary fruit with great joy and relish... And she would have nightmares and cry every night. I think she was in a difficult environment in Fallon Kingdom."
And the maid I attached to her said so with tears.
On top of that, she was almost killed on the way to our country. It's no doubt that the Fallon Kingdom did that.
"Fallon Kingdom is crazy! This is inexcusable. We should report this to the──"
"We have no evidence. We can't blame it on them."
The captured men are all under a spell, and they won't, can't, speak no matter what.
(Tiana must've really been discarded as a pawn.)
I never thought that the kingdom would go this far. Given that they will resort to any means, we should be even more vigilant.
I have my hands full with my own country's problems, yet troubles kept coming to find me. I sighed.
"Could that saint really have used magic?"
There are reports that she was the one who defeated all the men who attacked the entourage and treated the injured with magic.
"Saint Tiana is truly a wonderful person! Our country is safe with this!"
The knights who had just visited the study room all praised Tiana. If she is as powerful as they said she was, the kingdom would never give her up.
And the information that she couldn't use magic at all definitely came from a reliable source.
(Did she hide her powers all this time?)
I can't believe anyone would hide their magic power to the point of being branded 'incompetent' and getting that kind of treatment, though.
All the contracts with Tiana have already been signed. I can't make her work as a saint now. I should keep an eye on her for now.
"Saint Tiana is a very nice person. I'm sure she'll be the empress who's loved by the people."
There's no change in my feelings about having a minimum relationship with her. I still should treat her well since it will be a problem if she runs away.
"Rather than that, had Nightly Lake really been purified?"
"Yes. We have received the result of the investigation. It has completely restored to its original state."
Nightly Lake is the first place to take the 'curse' in our country. It turned black and muddy, producing miasma and a large number of monsters that killed animals and plants.
Yet a few days ago, the lake, which hasn't improved no matter what we did, was suddenly purified in its entirety and returned to its original beauty.
It's nothing short of a miracle.
(Just what is going on?)
"The people believe that it's because the saint came. Meanwhile, that said incompetent saint was about to get killed at that time."
Byron spits out and snorts. Seems like he is especially unhappy that she takes the credit.
"Continue the investigation of the lake."
There are four other cursed areas in the empire.
The purification of Nightly Lake might serve as a chance to save other areas.
I must protect this country, which Else loved so much.
"...Because the saint came, huh. If that's really the case, then she can go ahead and be the Great Saint and all."
I mutter to myself, along with a self-deprecating laugh.
...At this time, I still have no way of knowing that actually, Tiana Everett really is involved.
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