Chapter Thirty: Rosa Wants to Protect the Moe Icons (V)
Meanwhile, after sending the maid back, Bernardo, Leon, and Chris, who’d stayed in the library, tidied up the strewn icons and books.
They quickly finished, though, and silence fell.
After some time, Bernando, a stiff tone filling his voice, broke the silence.
“Excuse me, Her Highness.”
He was pressing his hands against his chest and seemed anxious.
“I know I was rebuked by Sir Kamil earlier, but I am worried about my sister. I understand that Sir Kamil advised men not to enter the medical room, but couldn’t I ask Your Highness to go check on my sister?”
“I was just thinking the same thing. I’ll go, of course.”
Usually, Leon would have been fed up with these two’s overprotectiveness, but he merely glanced at them on this occasion.
After all, he was also concerned about Rosa, who his flames had burned.
Leon previously had a vague impression of Rosa up until this point.
Leon had intuitively been cautious of her because she appeared delicate on the surface but seemed to be brimming with violent, nasty emotions on the inside.
But even Leon had been upset when he saw Rosa laying there bleeding, and the terrified look on her face when she awoke had been so unbearable that Leon, as a man, could not help but wish to reach out to her.
Leon’s thoughts were now drawn to the possibility that he may have been mistaken in his evaluation, given that Rosa had guarded the icons, even at the threat of being burnt, and that her intelligence had uncovered the icons’ significance.
Nonetheless, interrupting a woman’s medical checkup felt inappropriate.
Bernardo opened his mouth as if he had made up his mind when he saw Leon’s hesitation.
“His Highness, you probably think of us as overprotective and lacking manners. However, I still want to be next to my sister despite all of that. The reason for that is… That my sister is afraid of men. It’s a fear ingrained in her by nothing other than her own father’s abuse.”
Leon’s eyes widened when he heard that.
It was difficult to imagine that the girl dubbed the Rose Angel had such a horrible past.
“Did Rosa herself tell you this? Exceedingly grieving and stating to everyone around you that you’ve suffered some type of injury is a popular approach used by self-conscious ladies her age.”
Leon carefully brought the topic up, to which Bernando shook his head with a stern expression on his face.
“No. Sister would never speak about such matters herself. On the contrary, she felt sorry for our wicked father and even tried to justify him. Thankfully, the senior staff informed me of my father’s actions.”
Bernardo tightened his fists and lowered his gaze as if trying to keep his rage in check.
“Our father rejected sister because of her similarity to her mother, with whom father had a strained relationship. She was confined to a dark chamber and denied proper food from an early age. I even heard that, at one time, when our father was drunk, he had summoned sister into his study and beaten her. In fact, I have observed an incident in which our drunken father verbally abused my sister.”
Leon’s face became more serious as the story became more believable.
So it truly is true that Rosa is terrified of men…
As he thought about this, Leon felt as if the last shred of caution he felt about Rosa, which he had been unable to shake off, was melting away.
Instead, suffocating pity and shame-filled the space that was now vacant.
Leon eventually saw that Rosa was not a scheming, obstinate girl but rather a thoughtful, strong-willed young lady.
The peculiar glances Rosa gave off now and then, as well as the incomprehensible unpleasant mood, were driven by fear and apprehension, not by wicked thoughts.
Even though Rosa had undergone such a misfortune… She was honorable and compassionate for the lives of her people and her care for her half-brother.
And I felt as if I’d seen right through her terrible character and was looking down on her…
As he felt the need to punch himself, Leon felt a wave of flaming guilt flood over him.
However, there was no one there who could inform him that his initial assessment wasn’t too far off the mark.
“I see now. No matter how sincere Kamil is, Rosa will still feel uneasy. After all, it is not yet clear who actually harmed her in the first place…”
“In that regard, Brother, there’s something I’d like to say…”
Chris cut him off and said.
“What is it?”
“It… It’s… Not definite, and it may offend you, brother, but…”
Chris’s speech was unusually choppy.
Chris glanced up as though she had made up her mind as Leon prompted her to speak with a glance.
“I feel Kamil is the one who should not be trusted.”
“What did you say?”
Leon raised his eyebrows in surprise as he heard the unexpected comment.
The stern expression on Leon’s face appeared to terrify Chris initially, but she eventually spoke again.
“Due to my earth attribute, which favors truthfulness, I have the ability to detect lies. Because my body refused to accept their dishonesty, I’ve disregarded many individuals I’ve spoken with. If the words I hear are fake, it makes my skin crawl no matter how lovely and nice they are. The more wicked a person’s thoughts are, the greater this sensation becomes. And I had the same nasty feeling earlier when Kamil said he would take good care of Rosa.”
Leon stood quietly listening but frowned when Kamil’s name was brought up.
“Just what are you getting at!? This is Kamil we’re talking about, you know!? I do not doubt your abilities, but I believe you picked up on Kamil’s annoyance with Ladu’s failure to do his tasks rather than his enmity for Rosa.”
Chris’s sensing talent was well known to be imprecise.
It was also conceivable that her discomfort had been a response to some other section of Kamil’s statement.
“He is indeed a man who complains a lot, yet he welcomed my return without resentment and even looked after the queen, who gave up on him even after adopting him. He has no reason to be aggressive towards Rosa…”
“You are wrong.”
With an aroused tone, Chris interrupted Leon’s claim.
“You are wrong, brother.”
Her jade green eyes gleamed with agitation, and her cheeks flushed as she spoke.
“You can’t imagine just how much it hurt us.”
Chris’ emotions made her voice tremble with anger.
Leon was rendered dumbfounded by his sister’s penetrating glance.
Chris clenched her fists.
“Both Kamil and I… We both worked really hard for years to achieve the position of heir. Despite feeling sorry for your circumstances, I continued to fulfill the expectations of everyone around me, and I pushed forward even if mother’s demands were unrealistic.”
There were times when the expectations overwhelmed me. I’d have breakdowns because I’d pushed myself too far. I endured the loss of freedom, and the suffering, all so that I might satisfy those expectations. And yet…
Chris thought as she looked up at her brother.
“When you returned, all of our efforts became irrelevant. He who is stronger will become king… Brother, can you imagine the nightmare of being abruptly declared worthless and having everything you cared for taken from you!?”
Chris said, nearly screaming.
“The tongue easily lies. I know that better than anyone. No matter how innocent someone looks to be on the outside, only they know of the hatred they harbor on the inside! At the very least, I couldn’t help but shatter the princess image that was imposed upon me.”
Chris inhaled deeply and stared at Leon as if she were piercing him.
“Given that Kamil is smarter than me and was rejected by mother even more brutally than I was if I were him, I’d plot my vengeance against you and mother with a smile. For example, I’d attempt to put off mother’s recovery by driving a wedge between you and the Apt’s physician.”
Both Leon and Bernardo were taken aback by the comment, which brought the heart of the matter to light.
They were smart enough to understand Chris’s worry.
“Dear sister was able to uncover the physician’s genuine intentions… In other words, she kept the physician and His Highness Leon from drifting apart…!?”
Bernando mumbled to himself.
Chris, on the other hand, remained silent but did not reject the allegations.
“Just wait a minute… Whatever the circumstances may be, you shouldn’t judge him just over this one…”
Leon, who had faith in Kamil, shook his head and mumbled a rebuttal, but his words were cut off.
They were cut short because he remembered his earlier discussion with Ladu.
It was Kamil who had emphasized that Rosa’s treatment was a top priority, just as Leon was ready to reveal Ladu’s intentions.
Kamil had also been the one who had constantly warned Leon that Ladu was a slacker and untrustworthy at all times.
Calm down… Am I really the kind of person who would doubt someone I’ve trusted for so long over something so insignificant?
Leon places his hands on his face to try and calm himself.
However, he couldn’t stop the facts that seemed to support Chris’ theory from flooding his mind one after the other.
As a healer, Kamil was extensively involved with the queen’s treatment.
He’d also been the one who’d welcomed Ladu to the group of healers. He had been entrusted with acting as Ladu’s interpreter, just as Ladu had been appointed to his new job and had yet to master the Berg language.
To begin with, the queen’s illness had surfaced shortly after Leon’s return to the kingdom three years ago.
To put it differently, it had appeared not long after Kamil had been denied the chance to be an heir.
Leon suddenly remembered the Faz Aptus icon, which he’d just returned to the shelves.
The Autoimmune Disorders. An overpowered immune system that causes abnormalities throughout the body. And the thing Ladu said about it not being in the scope of physicians. What if it’s a healing super dose that’s to blame?
Shivers ran down Leon’s spine.
Bernando, who stood next to him, was likewise pale as he murmured something.
“Forgive me and Moe Apt is burning… Dear sister, could it be…”
Bernando recalled Rosa telling him she wanted to go to the medical room alone in his head.
Bernando considered the possibility that Rosa had been the first to notice what Kamil was up to, but she had chosen to face him alone to avoid involving him.
Bernando was worried that Rosa had gotten herself into another predicament.
Bernando hurried out of the library and into the corridor.
Leon and Chris both followed him.
Naturally, Bernando could well be overthinking things.
In reality, it was more likely that he was… He sincerely hoped that.
The three dashed down the corridor, their hearts pounding with inexplicable uneasiness.
Bernando knocked loudly on the hospital room door, his heart racing.
However, there was no response.
The three’s faces grew increasingly tense, finally pushing the door open.
When they did…
An empty medical room took their field of view with only the window’s curtains swaying softly.
When they noticed the remnants of the Travel Formation on the bare stone floor, they all went pale.