It wasn’t the office or the garden where she led me. This must be where the meeting hall was. I had always heard of this place, but I had never been here before.
I could hear people’s voice beyond the thick, giant door. Standing in front of the door, I felt like I shrank even more. Why was this building so big? I was so overwhelmed by the scale of the palace. That delicate ornament, and this uselessly gigantic size. I guessed this must be it. The palace all the power of this empire was focused; the place where the political institutions including the chancellor residence were. I had only heard about it. This was the first time I had ever come to this Podere Palace.
“Your Majesty, we must hold another ceremony…”
“We are grateful that His Majesty will lead the battle himself but…”
“But it’s too rash to head there immediately like this…”
I sneaked my head out of the door the maid opened. As the door opened, my ears were filled with voices of embarrassment.
What’s all this?
Turning my head around, I found Ferdel. He was touching his head with an embarrassed expression. What’s wrong with him? The next moment when I saw Caitel, I could understand Ferdel’s behavior.
… Can I go back to my room…?
“But, the commander of the Winter Moon Knights is in grave danger. You should all know that nobody among the reinforcements is capable enough to replace his position…”
Ferdel continued his word with a smile on his face. He tried to mediate the situation,
“Even if we were planning to send reinforcement since three weeks ago…”
“We still need to prepare…”
It didn’t work for them at all.
This was what the ‘Armchair Argument’ looked like, huh? I got scared at a quite serious atmosphere, but what was even more frightening was that the situation itself felt somehow past its limits.
I rolled my shaky eyes and looked back at Caitel.
It’s scary, so scary. He looked at men like he was gonna kill someone. Ugh, how terrifying his eyes were. Of course, the others were used to this expression, but in my eyes, Caitel seemed like a nuclear bomb that would explode even if it was touched a little bit.
“We are glad that your Majesty is leading this but…”
“The meaning of this war changes when your Majesty is going in person…”
That’s enough, these crazy bastards had gone too far. Didn’t they see he’s angry?
I could hear Caitel’s temper losing. Oh, no. He was really mad. I suddenly felt the urge to shut the door and run away.
Should I just run away? What kind of emergency was this? I was rolling my head, and at that moment Caitel’s fists squeezed tight.
“If I need more preparation, then when am I supposed to join them? I’m pretty sure the report said every passing moment matters right now.”
His low-pitched voice was unexpectedly calm. I was more afraid of that calmness. It’s like peace before the storm.
“Will, someone care to explain?”
Caitel’s head was slightly lifted. His eyes were shining fiercely.
Those are not the eyes of humans.
At that moment, Caitel smiled. Wait, he’s smiling? Oh… my lips shut without saying a word. Dad, he really was mad. Was he smiling to hold his temper? However, it’s scarier.
He uttered the words in a low voice, but everyone was silent. The conference room became quiet, but all the nobles of this country seemed to be brave enough.
“But we think you should prepare more…”
“We should do a ceremony again…”
“Most of all, we must think of the dignity of this empire and your…”
I closed my ears right after hearing that. It’s exploding!
Bam, the sound of his hands hitting the desk was blaring, even though I was blocking my ears. I frowned. That desk was smashed. I pledged to never ever go against my daddy. Yup. Never. My life was very precious.
In an instant, the blood dripping from Caitel’s right-hand drops on the floor. Regardless of the roar that nearly shattered everyone’s eardrums, the noise that broke the desk, or whatever it was, everyone was terrified at the murderous intent Caitel spewed out.
“Then all of you should go to the battlefront and fight in place of my Black Knight.”
Caitel’s eyes flash in the silence, where there was not even a breath. He twisted his lips. That smile was more like ridicule and just a smile. I swallowed my saliva quietly. I stepped back slowly.
No. Getting in there was suicide.
“I will tie up your worthless bodies that know nothing but greed…”
There was not even a murmur. Only Ferdel shook his head. He seemed like he had already given up. Hey, who told him to give up! Stop him right now!
“To use as a shield from the arrows that fly my way.”
Ugh, that temper!
Before I knew it, his sword shined in Caitel’s hand. My neck felt cold. The eyes of Caitel glows coolly.
“Shut up, or I’ll cut off all of your tongues.”
Mommy, I wanted to go back now!
This was how I looked from afar, and those people should be more appalled. However, the conference room must be a weapons-free area. Oh, but it couldn’t be banned because it’s a sword summoned as soon as he called it.
Enough escapism, I seriously considered whether I should really escape. Going in there right now would be committing suicide. What should I do? Should I just run away? Should I go back like this? Should I come in later when it gets quiet?
However, there was no choice for me from the start.
That moron! Ferdel, who was playing during the meeting, shook his hand at me.
Hey, it’s polite not to pretend to know each other at this time, manners, don’t you know that?!
In spite of my silent roar, all of their eyes turned to me. Ugh, don’t look at me! Stop paying attention to me! Regardless of my mood, everyone’s eyes were already locked in my direction. Of course, Caitel was no exception as he exudes too much murderous intent.
His crimson eyes look down at me. Stuck in the door, I couldn’t help it. I thought he got softened a lot these days. Looking at those eyes, I remembered a memory. The attempted murder of our first meeting.
It’s not a memory of the first kiss, it’s a memory of the first attempted murder. Everything’s screwed up. I couldn’t see the answer.
Don’t tell me you’ll hit me too. Will you?!
There’s only one thing for me to do at a moment like this. At my smile, Caitel hardened his face. Huh? Did I do something wrong? Somehow I thought his bloodied eyes had softened but were it just my illusion?
He looked at me and then turned his eyes. I felt like he had ignored me. Something felt strange.
“I will leave tomorrow at noon, just as planned.”
With his sword unsheated, Caitel rose from his chair. He looked calm and seemed like he didn’t care about his bloodied fists and his destroyed desk.
“If you have any objection, then follow me.”
There could be no objection. Not while he’s holding a sword like that.
Of course, his sword was gone now. It was right under my nose where Caitel walked straight up to. Of course, I thought he’d come to me, but I was still a little embarrassed when he did came to me.