Episode 87

The Princesses’ Visit (6)
3 weeks ago
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Rea tied her brilliant golden hair back.

She stood in the kitchen, the very picture of a mature woman.

With a gentle touch, she retrieved four eggs.

Carefully, she cracked them into a bowl, separating the yolks only.

I thought she had only eaten meals prepared by chefs.

She whisked the separated egg yolks with skill.

“Ah.”

But then she noticed a small piece of eggshell.

The Princess glanced at me and discreetly removed the shell.

Then, after licking her fingers, which had become moist, she added the melted ice cream as though nothing had happened.

Next, she fetched her wand from the bedroom.

It was the work of a renowned craftsman, made from a branch of the World Tree.

Rea boldly pointed that treasured wand at the egg mixture.

‘That precious thing…!’

Whoosh.

She then employed wind magic to blend the eggs and ice cream.

I couldn’t help but be impressed by her fine control of mana.

Releasing magic was simple, but handling it with finesse was challenging.

This alone made it clear that she was a top-tier mage.

The egg yolks and melted vanilla ice cream were now perfectly combined.

Rea then conjured a small flame at the tip of her wand to heat the mixture.

However…

The issue arose with her use of freezing magic.

She sent a frosty chill from her fingertips to cool the concoction.

But her control faltered, and she accidentally froze it solid.

I approached her quietly.

Leaning forward, I inquired,

“Were you intending to refreeze the ice cream?”

At my question, the Princess tensed.

She resembled a child caught in a clumsy cooking attempt by her parent.

“No, I was attempting to create something far more refined.”

Her shirt slipped off her shoulder with her abrupt movement.

She hoisted the shirt to cover the black strap and explained,

“But it’s frozen too hard now to be edible.”

She admitted her error with a rueful look.

Clearly, she was still mastering the art of freezing magic.

“Isn’t there one egg left? Let’s give it another try.”

I cheerfully pointed to the untouched cream that remained.

“Your Highness, you possess outstanding magical talent, much like His Majesty.”

The Princess nodded, clearly aware of her own strength.

“However, since His Majesty is male, he has strong yang energy, making him particularly skilled in fire magic.”

“Yes, my father’s magic is indeed remarkable.”

“True, but women inherently possess yin energy, which means Your Highness has tremendous potential in ice magic.”

The Princess watched me intently as I analyzed her abilities.

Although she could have taken offense, she seemed to appreciate my strategic approach.

“Right. My ice magic is stronger than my peers. Perhaps, as you suggest, it is due to my strong yin energy.”

Despite her outward kindness to everyone, there was a noticeable coldness in her gaze.

“You possess an impressive talent.”

“Ha, flattery. But possessing great power without knowing how to wield it properly is no better than being an incompetent ruler.”

I found myself agreeing with her.

Then, with a broad grin like that of a sycophant, I said,

“That is precisely why I am here to offer my assistance.”

The Princess looked at me with a questioning gaze, wondering if I could also wield magic.

“Even though I am not versed in magic, I understand the principles of mana manipulation.”

I knew that explaining the tedious principles would lack impact.

So, I moved closer to Rea.

Perhaps because we were now face-to-face, the Princess seemed to become conscious of the difference in our height and swallowed hard.

But that was not the end of it.

“…!”

I gently enveloped her hands, which held the wand, with both of mine.

“You mustn’t become agitated while casting magic.”

The Princess looked up at me, her eyes suggesting she was agitated for a wholly different reason.

Nevertheless, she soon focused on the lesson I began to impart.

“When casting ice magic, it’s important not to think of it as merely releasing mana.”

I pressed her hands gently.

Rea looked surprised, her mouth slightly agape.

“Wait a moment.”

As I applied pressure to her fingers, the tips began to grow cold.

“Now, if you release mana in this state, you can use it as comfortably as fire magic.”

The Princess covered her lips with one sleeve.

She exhaled lightly and released mana from the tip of her wand.

Whoosh.

Gradually, a mist-like chill began to seep into the egg mixture.

It became appropriately cold and set.

It was perfect control.

“Truly befitting the First Princess. You grasp it quickly once taught.”

I stroked the Princess’s hand in my grasp as if to praise her.

But at that moment, the Princess’s cold hand started to warm up.

“That’s enough. It’s done.”

Rea quickly shook off my hand.

Rubbing the hand that had touched mine, she said,

“Well, it certainly was easy to understand. Befitting someone from the battlefield.”

“That’s too kind of you.”

I smiled and shook my head.

Looking at the chilled egg mixture together, I asked,

“Now, is it finished in this state?”

“No, there’s a little more to do.”

Confident, Rea smiled slightly.

Rolling up the sleeves of her loose shirt, she said she would take care of the rest.

“Just wait a moment.”

The Princess took out a spoonful of sugar.

She gently sprinkled it over the cooled egg dish, covering it like snow.

Then she raised her wand again.

Using the mana manipulation I had taught her, she controlled the flames even more delicately.

Whoosh.

Thanks to that, the sugar sprinkled on top turned a golden brown.

Eventually, a bread-like warm sugar coating was made.

“Here, try it. It’s Crème Brûlée.”

The dish was served on a charming plate.

It looked too small for two people to share.

Nevertheless, the Princess slid the plate toward me.

Along with a small teaspoon.

“I’ll enjoy it.”

I picked up the teaspoon.

Then I tilted my head, wondering how to eat this dessert I had never seen before.

“You’re like a fool. You’re supposed to crack it with the spoon and eat it.”

Rea covered her lips with her shirt sleeve, finding my confusion amusing.

She chuckled, a mature look in her eyes.

“Do I have to break the dish you made, Your Highness?”

“Yes. That’s how you’re supposed to eat it.”

I tapped the sugar coating gently with the teaspoon.

The crème brûlée cracked like glass.

“Wow…”

I inserted the spoon with childlike wonder.

Then, I carefully scooped up the golden dessert and tasted it.

“……”

Rea sat down opposite me.

Resting her chin on her hand, she asked,

“How is it?”

I chewed slowly.

Then, with an expressionless face, I answered,

“It’s sweet.”

Just three words.

Rea’s frown betrayed her frustration at such a terse response to her carefully prepared dish.

“Is that all?”

“Yes, it’s sweet.”

The Princess snorted, her exasperation apparent.

Then, taking my teaspoon, she said,

“That’s how men are.”

Rea dipped the spoon, marked by my teeth, into the cream.

Then, she added the broken sugar coating on top.

“Even given something precious, you don’t know how to appreciate its taste.”

The Princess brushed her disheveled hair aside.

Then, with half-lidded eyes, she tasted the crème brûlée.

“Mmm.”

She seemed content, her lips curving upward in satisfaction.

They say women become girls when they eat something sweet…

Seeing her like this, I thought there might be some truth in that.

But that wasn’t the only thing that surprised me.

“It’s strange. It was perfect, no doubt.”

I expected her to resent me for wounding her pride.

Instead, she pondered the reason for my simple comment.

“Perhaps there was an error in the heating process.”

I watched warmly as she conducted her self-analysis.

“Still, it was a different kind of sweetness than I’ve tasted before.”

The Princess fell silent, continuing to analyze the taste.

Then, hearing my words, she paused her spoon.

“It was smooth, and above all, I liked the warmth and effort that went into it.”

I bowed my head in gratitude.

“Thank you very much, Your Highness.”

And as I lifted my head,

“You should have said that earlier.”

The Princess brought the spoon to my lips and said,

“Don’t wait and make misunderstandings.”

With a feminine twinkle in her eyes, she urged,

“Go ahead, eat more. I mixed it in a special golden ratio.”

Cautiously, I held the spoon with her.

Then I savored a spoonful.

“Thank you.”

We shared the small dessert.

Meanwhile, the heavy rain had ceased.

“The rain has stopped already.”

“Yes, it has.”

After the rain, the gloomy clouds drifted away.

A red horizon unfolded before us.

Together, we intently gazed at that horizon.

“It seems time for you to leave.”

“Yes, I can sense it. The mana of my knights.”

The faint presence of knights lingered outside.

In response, the Princess stood.

She picked up her white uniform draped over the sofa.

“It seems it’s not fully dry yet.”

I observed the uniform, still dripping water.

Rea glanced back at me.

“Really?”

Her lips formed a relaxed smile.

Then, touching her wand to the uniform…

The moisture in the drenched clothes coalesced into a huge droplet.

Stunned, I watched the Princess send the droplet flying to the kitchen.

She might have been clumsy with ice magic, but her mastery of other magics was impressive.

“Why are you speechless with amazement?”

Rea, proud of her abilities, held her head high.

“No. There’s a way to dry the clothes. Why…?”

The Princess turned around, hands clasped behind her back.

Tilting her head, she said,

“Well, someone took all my mana, so I had no energy left.”

“Yes…?”

I asked again, prompting Rea to approach slowly with her sensual figure.

She pressed her wand against my left chest and said,

“You took all my mana.”

“I did?”

“Yes, you were in so much pain. I pitied you and gave you some.”

Was this why I felt so refreshed upon waking?

It seemed I had inadvertently incurred a great debt.

“I’m truly sorry.”

“It’s alright. I’ve somewhat recovered thanks to your cooking.”

The Princess took her uniform and entered my room.

A few minutes later, she emerged, looking every bit the charismatic First Princess.

“I’ll go alone. Don’t follow me.”

She meant it would be troublesome if unnecessary misunderstandings arose from leaving together.

Understanding her intention, I nodded in agreement.

“……”

I heard the sound of her footsteps descending the stairs.

Then, I stepped out onto the balcony and looked down at the Princess, who had come outside the building.

The Knights of Light were visible in the distance.

However, Rea did not immediately approach them.

Instead, she headed to the bookstore opposite my house.

“What is she trying to do?”

Soon, the Princess exited the bookstore with a chess manual and a tactical book.

Then, she met her knights as if nothing had happened.

“Your Highness, where have you been?”

The knights asked anxiously.

To this, Rea elegantly flipped her golden hair and replied,

“The rain was heavy, so I took shelter in the bookstore for a while.”

She showed them the book bag with conviction.

Her subordinates nodded, seemingly convinced.

“We thought you might have been kidnapped.”

“Who? Me?”

The Princess asked, her chill gaze befitting a monarch.

The knights appeared frightened.

“Well, it’s fine since nothing happened.”

They could not respond to her words.

They simply nodded.

“I should be reprimanding you. Does it make sense that you still haven’t found me if I had really been kidnapped?”

The Princess turned the situation around to gain the upper hand.

I was impressed by her rhetorical skill.

“Sorry…”

They quickly bowed their heads.

Rea, as if granting mercy, waved her hand dismissively.

“It’s fine. Thanks to that, I had quite an experience.”

Rea slightly lifted her imperial cap.

Then, she looked up intently at me, standing on the balcony.

I bowed my head in response to her gaze.

Then she turned her face away indifferently.

As if nothing had happened, she returned to her carriage with the knights for the day.

“Huu….”

After the Princess’s presence had completely vanished, I stretched my back.

Finally alone, I took a deep breath.

Then, returning to my room, I flopped down on the bed.

‘How many times did I bow my head today…?’

My gaze suddenly drifted to the open wardrobe.

I frowned at the somewhat empty-looking space where my shirts hung.

“It feels like one of my shirts is missing.”

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