The Next Day
What? A demon had gotten in the palace?
Father fought it and the King used his divinity?
And that all happened yesterday when I was sleeping in the Summer Wing! I had missed all the excitement! The action! The magic!
Talk about bad luck.
But wait, a demon? How did it get inside? I thought they were all in hiding these past years. The demon even made it through the knights? The security was real tight.
Did someone let it in?
Or was the demon that good at stealth and sneak attacks? But why would the demon get inside the palace in the first place? The demon was walking into a lion's den.
Do they even have brains at all? Like a zombie just walking aimlessly?
Or despite the dangers, the demon knew what it was doing? But why? Was it looking for something? Hmm...
Surely, it does not have anything to do with us right?
I mean, the secret with Ethan, Mother and the King?
Their expressions when Icarus were about to pour Holy Water on us during the baptism ceremony. It was really fishy... Come to think of it, back in my world, Holy Water was said to be effective against unholy creatures and demons...
Wait! It's not like that right!?
They were just afraid something would happen with Ethan... not a demon at all... But why would they fear that part exactly? As if the Holy Water would do something...
And when I cried loudly that time, the King stared at me in a weird way...
It was impossible! Our father was the hero, our mother the King's daughter! How could us twins... be demons??
But the way they (Mother and King) acted, Ethan's situation, and now a demon in the palace, it wasn't connected, right?
Right?? Can someone tell me that it's not!?
No! This cannot be!
Unconsciously, I cried out loud since my thoughts were in a mess. I could not control myself. The maids who were gossiping suddenly stopped and took care of us carefully since Ethan woke up with me crying.
His cries before were annoying and the red symbols that I saw as well were not normal! Is it really true?!
Was it only Ethan who had red symbols like that or I had that as well? Were we demons, or only half part?! What exactly is going on??
┻━┻︵ (°□°)/ ︵┻━┻
Was this the secret that Mother had? Was it really like that?!
I felt myself crying some more as I could not believe what I was thinking. Here I was, somehow reincarnated into a new life, a daughter of the world's hero and had a royal bloodline but in the end, it was like this?!
I thought I was going to have an easy and carefree life from now but no! A second life meant one that was harder than before! God, why?!
We were back at the Redgrave mansion and now it was afternoon. Ethan and I were resting at our crib when I was awoken by the maids who were chatting away. And just like that, I was in that predicament.
Who would have thought??
As I felt my tears fall, I heard the maids gently coaxing me. I gazed at my surroundings and took in all of the fancy things that were in the room. Silver decors, extravagant furnishings, pale brown walls, shiny new toys - everything here was expensive as hell.
In my past life, I didn't have this much money. All of this was not mine, but nevertheless I still did not have the liberty to stare and hold these pricey things. However, in the past life, I could still cope with whatever struggles I encountered.
This time, certainly, it was as if God was making me pay for this lavish lifestyle.
Aiii, it's a hard life.
"What's going on?"
I heard a voice and when I looked over, I shouted, "Mama!"
Dear mother! Tell me everything!
"Little Emilia, what's wrong?" Mother hurriedly picked me up and softly hugged me while patting my back.
"Yuuu yuu...wat diju du," I tried talking but after a few seconds, I choked with tears falling out of my eyes.
Ahh, it's so hard to talk normally! I want to have a nice conversation but It's too d@mn difficult when I'm a baby!
"Are you in pain?" Mother asked me with a distressed face. "Should I call for a physician? Or maybe a priestess..."
I shook my head as a reply and put my head on the nook of her neck. I wrapped my little arms around it and tried to control my breathing. After a moment, I finally stopped crying.
Mother gently swayed as if comforting me.
I have to practice talking from now on! I have to try hard and know the truth. Tsk, just a baby but a lot of things to do!
Hearing Ethan babbling, I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders.
After a tiring afternoon, evening came. Just as Mother had finished feeding us, Father came in. His face was unusually tired.
"Your Grace, you look exhausted," Mother greeted him.
With the Duke coming in, Emma and the other maids read the atmosphere and left the room quietly after greeting the Duke.
The Duke came back at only this hour after leaving so hastily in the morning, seemingly so busy. Now I knew, it was because of the demon incident. His fancy dark blue suit appeared to be wrinkled.
Father took a seat first then replied, "I was tasked to accompany the guests from the other kingdoms. Despite what occurred, they seem to be fine."
He paused for a second. "However, Jarl Amund kept asking me to duel with him. The other guests thought it was a great idea so for the whole day I've been sparring with them."
Father sighed and muttered, "I'd rather lead the investigation squad than accompany guests."
Mother took the seat in front of him. "You were never fond of these gatherings, Your Grace. But this time, it's the twins' birthday and now because of what happened yesterday..."
The Duchess then asked with a worrying tone, "What news of them, Your Grace? Did they... find anything?"
I saw my Father's face turn grave. "His Majesty had ordered the Griffith House to investigate what happened. They've been checking all the items and the staff. They've reined in the performers as well as the knights on duty."
The Duke shook his head then continued with a low voice, "I reckon they will fetch the guests for questions likewise."
I heard mother respond, her voice unsure. "So, it will take a while before they'll finish?"
"Don't worry. The old Earl is determined to comb everything over. Rowan seems to be busy there, too. With the guests from the other kingdoms, they'll have to speed up the process as to not lose face. At the end of the week, they have to report."
After my father said that, the room turned quiet, each of us presumably had something in our minds.
"Lillian," my father started, making mother recover her senses. I saw mother's confused face compared with father's serious one.
"Icarus said something to me yesterday..." Father proceeded and Mother turned stiff all of a sudden.
What is it? Did the old priest notice something?? Quickly, speak!
"He said something about the royal..."
A knock came from the door and interrupted the conversation. "Your Graces, His Majesty, King Henry has come."
The couple were shocked by the sudden visit of the King and stood up quickly. Seeing the maids coming in, I hurriedly cried out to Mother.
You have to take me with you! My gossip radar is twitching!
"Trisha, Ruby, Beth, take care of them for a while. Emma, come with me." Mother ordered hastily, fixing herself while walking towards the door.
Failing to catch the Duchess, I turned to the Duke who was staring at me in surprise as it was the first time I shouted aloud.
Fine! I choose you!
"DADA!" I stretched out both of my arms, boldly asking him to carry me.
Please, pick me up, pick me up, please!
The Duke was obviously stunned at my actions. His eyes widened and his body became stiff.
Duke Redgrave: ...
He hesitated for a second, then I got what I wished for.
Mother, moreover, was surprised as well. "Edward?"
"Let us go." Father carried me and gestured to Beth to pick up Ethan who was enviously crying. Mother had no choice but to bring him also.
I was feeling delighted that I got to first-handedly hear gossip. Who knew what the King would say to them! I must get a hold of every single opportunity and plan for the future.
Gordon, the assistant butler, led the way towards the study on the first floor. Along the way, Ethan kept dozing off while I stared at Gordon who was slightly panicking from the King's surprise visit.
"Wallace is at the study, Your Excellencies. His Majesty took us by surprise when he arrived with an unremarkable carriage. We never expected that King Henry would be the one inside. I already dismissed some of the maids working on the first floor."
My father nodded and the group quickly strode forward. What could possibly be the reason why King Henry visited tonight? The demon incident?
When we reached the door of the study, Gordon knocked and spoke aloud. "Their Excellencies, the Duke and Duchess of Redgrave."
The door opened and there was King Henry sitting quietly in the study, his outfit seemed simple, but I could tell that it was still a high-quality fabric.
Wallace bowed, took a glance at Ethan and me, then left and promptly closed the door.
The Duke's study was quite simple. Bookshelves filled every corner and there were reading desks beside them with books neatly piled.
On the left side was a large table where papers were sprucely stacked, inkstone, and pen set aside. If one sat at the desk and turned their head to the left, there was a classic multi-paned window which one could gaze out of and see the scenery in the garden.
On the right side, two sectional sofas of mahogany color were placed across each other, and green plants were beside it. There was also a small center table on which a tea set was carefully positioned, a fresh brew coming out of it. Combined with a soft grayish-green carpet beneath it made it look comfortable.
Rather, it was supposed to be comfortable but when a King sat on the couch and glared at you with his cloudy face, it would knock you out of sorts.
"Your Majesty," the Redgrave couple greeted, bowed, and curtsied. It was all the formal respects. It was quite tiring hearing and seeing it all the time. I hope I can cope in the future.
I saw the King staring at us for a few seconds, especially at us, the twins. Is he angry that we were there?
Then he stated with a cold voice, "Sit down."
The King ordered and the subjects obeyed. Father and mother sat down across King Henry. Ethan, seeing an unfamiliar face, was skeptical at first, but a beat later, having remembered yesterday, he smiled at the King, a few of his teeth showing.
"Your Majesty, visiting us so suddenly in the night..." Mother started but seeing that she didn't continue Father spoke.
"Is something the matter, Your Majesty? You could have sent for us instead."
For a while, we had not heard a single response from the King. All I could do, or maybe all of us including Ethan, could do was to stare at him drinking tea. What is he doing?
The atmosphere was getting so awkward, my thirst for gossip faded. Just as I was getting bored and Ethan was groggily blinking his eyes, the King spoke.
"After things have died down, I'm sending you to Rabari."
"Father, you're ... " Mother blurted out but it was quickly cut short by King Henry.
"I heard the spring water in Rabari is good for one's health. You can take a good rest there."
I saw Mother's head droop down, face pale and knuckles white.
So he's finally sending us away?
"The state of Rabari is not impoverished either. Rather, it's flourishing but in need of guidance. The old Baron who presides there has no other families and wishes to bequeath the lands into our hands." The King put down his teacup while his blue eyes expressed his determination and authority.
The room was silent, and the awkward atmosphere turned rigid, even Ethan who was sleepy just stared at the King as if he understood.
Not caring about the mood, the King continued, "Having the world's hero settling there would have a great impact on its people. After a few more years, it would definitely be one of Glarios' best cities."
He also added, "It's quite close to the Redgrave Duchy I bestowed, isn't it? Consider it a part of your fief. You will gain its rule after the old Baron retires. For now, gain the favor of its people there with the help of the Baron."
Father with a solemn face, thinned his lips and thought deeply while Mother was stiff all over.
"Then what about the knights under my command, Your Majesty? You'll relieve me of my post?" Duke Redgrave asked.
King Henry grunted. "No. You, Duke Redgrave will still be leading the Order of the Royal Seraphim. You'll station them at the borders of Rabari."
Father countered, "Your Majesty, why move the Order of the Royal Seraphim there? It has always been here at capital Canrac."
The King replied honestly, "Rabari is put under pressure by both Noria's and the Holy Empire's borders. Once you are there, it'll be a great strategic place. I've been there before, and I've already studied the area. Once you leave, I'll give you the notes."
"If we suddenly move, won't it cause an uproar here in the capital? Not only here, but in other kingdoms as well." With brows furrowing, the Duke muttered quite coherently.
"Don't worry about that, I'll have the old Griffith handle this affair." The King waved his hand indifferently and the conversation came to an end.
King Henry stood up and flicked his gaze towards the Duke. "You have a month to prepare for your departure."
Is this what you call 'kicked out of the house'??
The couple also stood on their feet while carrying us, greeting the King as he walked towards the door, passing Mother and Ethan, not sparing a glance. As if on cue, Wallace opened the door from the outside, his posture upright.
"Father..." Mother spoke gently but the King who was already near the door heard her and paused for a moment.
Without a turn of his head, the King uttered, "I'll send a message to your... teacher and have him come back quickly. Lie low for now. It's what's best for everyone."
The king quickly added, "I'll also send a letter to the Grand Priest so he can help us with some matters."
Then the King left towards the night, back to his palace.
The King bestows us a glimpse of his mind. What do you think?