52 The Reincarnated Princess’s Dismay
My soul felt like it had been whittled away after the deadly combination of my interview with father and the intimidation tactics employed by mother. The next day, I was in the library looking for books on medicine when another bomb was tossed in my lap.
I froze, mouth gaping half-open. The shock was so big I couldn’t form a response. My armful of books were about to drop from my weakened grip, so I quickly adjusted them before they fell.
The beautiful woman standing still in front of me gave me a troubled smile as her eyes met mine. Is this a joke? I wondered, but the look on face told me it was a different story. She was never the type to joke maliciously anyway.
“Is that true?”
Lady Irene von Artmann, the intellectual beauty who served as head of the wizards, nodded as she observed my trembling form from behind her monocle.
“Yes, princess. It was a special case, and I regret not informing you earlier, but it is true. As of today, Michael von Diebold is a wizard apprentice.”
Her words sent another shock through me.
Lady Irene regarded me mournfully as I struggled for words.
But anything I said now after that pause would be misunderstood.
I wasn’t surprised to find out Michael could wield magic. It turned out the way I expected, so it was was a matter of course to me. No, it shocked me that he chose to reveal it.
After we conferred with Lady Irene regarding the medicine, Michael spoke with her about something. He must have mentioned it then, but why?
He’s lived his life concealing his powers. It made sense, considering the treatment of those who wielded magic in this kingdom, that there was a real fear of social rejection and persecution. He was so successful at hiding, I naturally assumed he would want to keep it up. It was obvious he would want to live a life of peace until he’s exposed.
So why did he choose to come out now? I didn’t know.
“Michael revealed the truth himself?”
“Indeed.” She nodded. “A considerable feat.”
I asked the questions most pressing to me. “Why now? When he kept it hidden all these years?”
Her face creased in delight for some reason, as if she was saw something pleasing.
“This is solely my opinion, however, perhaps he found himself touched by you.”
“Ah? By me?”
“Yes. His power is…”
The following words left my eyes wide open.
The sun was in decline and the sunset shone through the glass dome roof. The greenhouse was quiet, with a sky gradually changing from indigo to orange as its backdrop.
He was stood looking up at the sky absentm
indedly. He seemed a little melancholy to me, but his face in profile revealed none of his emotions. What was he feeling? Homesickness? Regret? Dread towards the future?
I observed him for a short while before approaching him, making sure my footsteps were audible.
His shoulder shook, but the moment only lasted a second. He immediately regained his calm, and slowly turned to face me. Seeing Michael from the front, my eyes rounded. We just met the other day, and yet he’s changed so much.
The long bangs that had covered half his face was neatly brushed and swept behind, which revealed his commanding eyes and the fine shape of his nose. The shadows under his eyes have largely disappeared, removing the impression that he looked unhealthy.
In RPG terms, it might be easier to picture if I said Lutz and Theo were black mages, while Michael was a white mage.
The setting sun cast shadows across his handsome face.
He said nothing as he stared at me intently.
“I heard you became a wizard.”
His voice was quiet. “Yes.”
Was it just me, or did his smile seem a little troubled?
No, it was probably my imagination. The look on my face right now must be hideous to the point it bothered him.
“Was it… Did I—”
Was it my fault? Did I force you into it?
The questions died as my voice tapered off. I squeezed my skirt, creating wrinkles in it, standing upright. I was near to tears, and his dark blue eyes narrowed gently as he regarded me.
“You’re mistaken,” he denied. “I came here of my own will. It had nothing to do with you.”
I couldn’t help sounding critical. “Nothing to do with me? Even though you’re the earth wizard I’ve been searching for?”
Michael did nothing wrong, yet I was disappointed for no reason and took my anger out on him. My selfishness was shameful and a disgrace. I wanted to disappear into nothing.
I had an inkling he wielded magic, but never thought about which attribute he possessed.
Unlike the fire-wielding Theo and the ice-wielding Lutz, Michael’s ability must not be of the offensive type since he managed to hide it so well. It seemed so obvious in hindsight.
In my ignorance, I was insensitive as I opened my mouth in front of him many times.
If we had an earth wizard, would they know the properties of the medicine? Or, we need the cooperation of an earth wizard in order to create a medicine that will save countless lives. That’s right. Over and over again, I did that to Michael, who was already being tormented pangs of conscience.
Saying I was only doing what was needed of a princess was mere boasting of my virtues. While I pompously declared I’d go down the path I preferred, I unknowingly blocked his.
Michael wished to lead a quiet life as a priest. I destroyed his choice.
His exhale chased after the long silence.
“Your Royal Highness.”
“I repeat myself, but it had nothing to do with you. None of my actions up until now, and from now on, are related to you.”
He spoke detachedly. No stutter, no flush.
With calm eyes, as if he was someone else, he quietly pushed me away.