The Tyrant's Beloved Doll - Chapter 113
“Who are you?!”
“I’m here to help, so please put away your sword.”
Before Philip could ask any more, Belkiel spread his arms towards the lake.
Right after that…
Something even more unbelievable happened.
Tons of lake water began to split away to the sides, making way for Raytan and Sezh. Soon, Raytan’s feet, which had floated in the water, floundered in the air and then landed stably on the ground.
“This- What is this…?”
Sezh looked around her, perplexed.
The lake wasn’t shallow. If a person who couldn’t swim fell into it, there’s a high probability someone would find them dead a while later.
How could he handle all this water without any help?
“I’ve made a path, so please walk to the shore,” Belkiel declared while looking at Raytan.
What he said was not a lie. Belkiel had made them a pathway by separating the lake’s black water to two sides, exposing a strip of bare ground leading towards the land.
Sezh, flabbergasted, belatedly pulled back into reality. She loosened her grip on Raytan and gawked at Belkiel.
Raytan stared at Belkiel with narrowed eyes. He must have been at a loss for words too. Sezh had met Belkiel once, but this was Raytan’s first time seeing him. She couldn’t even imagine how suspicious Belkiel would look in Raytan’s eyes.
Before she could even call his name, Raytan swept her body back into his arms. More precisely, he held her as if he were holding a baby.
“I-I can walk on my own…”
No one could dispute his firm answer. Raytan held her and began walking to shore.
Belkiel stared at them with an expressionless face.
As Raytan made it ashore, Belkiel politely bowed as if he had been waiting for him.
“I was on my way to the temple. I just wanted to help since both of you were about to drown.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Belkiel.”
Sezh became dumbfounded by the scene: Belkiel acted like a cultured person.
“You know how to use magic?”
Raytan placed Sezh on her feet and strode toward Belkiel, seriously observing him.
“The temple manages all those in Denhelder who can use magic. More so if it’s someone with abilities like yours.”
“But the name Belkiel was not on the list.”
A prickly feeling ran down Sezh’s neck.
“What’s your actual identity?” Raytan asked threateningly, but to Raytan’s surprise, Belkiel didn’t seem to be intimidated at all.
‘What in the world is he thinking?’
Sezh watched, scared of the growing possibility a hostile atmosphere would be created.
However, Belkiel only parted his lips with an innocent face as if he had prepared an answer beforehand.
“I learned that one of my distant ancestors could do magic. He was also a temple mage, but he left and went to the Iyont Empire.”
“…The Iyont Empire?”
“Yes. My ancestor started a family there.”
“What is your ancestor’s name?”
“It’s been so long that I don’t know for sure. But my ancestor was certainly a priest in Denhelder.”
Raytan squinted and continued to study Belkiel. He had never heard of temple mages leaving Denhelder as Belkiel claimed. Raytan knew that Denhelder controlled the mages under the context of supervising them; the temple then forced mages to be loyal to the Imperial family using the excuse of hiring those with unique abilities as priests.
Only recently did the number of mages decrease, so there weren’t many deserters, but if it was a long time ago, it was a plausible story.
“Your ancestor fled from Denhelder, so why are you here now?”
Belkiel’s eyes glanced at Sezh for a moment.
‘What’s weird thing is this kid going to say now?’
“…Both my parents are dead,” said Belkiel, looking away. “Since I had nowhere to go, I came back to Denhelder. However, I found out that those who know how to use magic have to register their names in the temple.”
“So, I was just heading to the Imperial Palace.”
Sezh’s jaw dropped at Belkiel’s audacity. ‘Just heading to the Imperial Palace’ he said? They met a few days ago!
Noticing Sezh’s strange look, Raytan suddenly turned to look at her.
Instantly, her eyes met with Belkiel’s again. He still faced her expressionlessly, but his mouth twitched.
[If you talk nonsense… Just know I will freeze you right away.]
Surprised, Sezh hiccuped.
“Philip, first take that kid to the temple.”
“Yes, Your Majesty?”
“Give it to me.”
Raytan looked at Philip and gestured. Poor Philip, who understood his meaning, took off his coat and handed it to Raytan.
“You’ll catch a cold again.”
His clothes were also wet, so there was no other way. Raytan carefully covered Sezh’s shoulders with the coat, then pulled her into his arms again.
Sezh looked baffled. What if other people see them? But Raytan didn’t seem to care at all.
“Hold on tight.”
“Hold on to me.”
But she could walk on her own feet… Nevertheless, it didn’t seem like he would put her down even if she said something like that. Annoyed, Sezh hugged Raytan’s neck as he started walking toward her palace.
And Sezh witnessed clearly how Belkiel still stood in front of the lake, staring straight at her while mouthing something.
[If you don’t want to get frozen to death – watch – your – mouth.]
Such an awfully simple yet threatening message.
Sezh, who currently sat in bed, let out a slight cough.
Immediately upon returning, she soaked herself in warm water and drank steaming tea.
“Princess, are you okay?” Kaen asked, looking worried with a pale complexion.
It was understandable. Sezh, who went out in a good mood before, returned looking like a drowned mouse, and it was none other than the Emperor himself who came back holding her.
“I’m sorry to have worried you- Achoo! But I’m all right.”
“Please wait. I was told to prepare a warm soup for you. You will feel better if you wake up after sleeping with a filled stomach, even if you just eat a little.”
It was already dark outside. Sezh knew that dinner time had passed a long time ago. But whether she was still shell-shocked or the doctor’s medicine was dreadfully bitter, Sezh had no appetite.
“Sorry… I don’t want to… ”
“You should eat even just a little,” Kaen shook her head and said. “If your stomach is empty, a small ailment will develop into a big one. And, His Majesty…”
“…He said he’d visit again to make sure the Princess has had dinner and is in a better condition…”
Sezh pondered for a moment before answering.
“I’ll eat in a little while. Okay? I just want to rest now…”
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Kaen seemed hesitant, then let out a short sigh.
“You will eat eventually, won’t you?”
“Yes, yes! I promise.”
“Then please get some rest. If you ever need anything, please call me.”
Sezh nodded, showing her understanding. Soon, Kaen left her seat, and silence fell in the bedroom where Sezh was left alone.
Sneezing, Sezh covered her head with a thick blanket. Following that, she let out a snort and a groan.
“What in the world.”
Belkiel’s brazenly lying face flashed through her mind. Sezh didn’t know… couldn’t understand what was going on in his head.
‘I also can’t forget the threat he mouthed while staring at me at the end!’
“Be quiet. You’re noisy.”
As expected, the owner of that voice was Belkiel. The situation was absurd, even more so since he came through the window.
It wasn’t even left open today!
“Eton said he always met you this way.”
“That’s not what I’m asking!”
“Then what?” Belkiel rolled his eyes.
“Uhm.. no,“ exhausted Sezh muttered sluggishly.
Belkiel looked at her with disdain and continued.
“The soldiers are camped out everywhere. It’s like they are guarding a treasure trove here.”
“I can’t believe they would do such a service for a girl who’s nothing.”
“You haven’t said anything useless to the Emperor, have you?”
“If you did, I will freeze you right here on the spot.”
It was a petrifying statement.
“Ah, you were the one who did that earlier, weren’t you?”
“You were the one who threw us into the lake in the first place!”
Eton once said that Belkiel knows how to control water. And Belkiel just threatened to freeze her if she did anything stupid. Sezh inevitably thought back to when she saw the rope of ice under the lake water.
“What on earth were you thinking? You did it on purpose, didn’t you?”
“I did. Obviously.”
Belkiel stomped up to Sezh and then spoke with a cold face.
“I thought I already told you that you are being noisy right now?”
“Well… Ugh… Yeah,” Sezh made a grumbling noise.
“The Archmage is dead.”
“I know that.”
“All the wizards left in the temple are useless. Their abilities are mere children’s tricks. Of course, you don’t know that kind of thing.”
“So? What’s the matter with that…?”
“Right now, the temple needs someone with true skills. Someone who knows how to use magic. Just like me.”
‘What does he want…’ Sezh, who was staring at Belkiel, frowned slightly.
“…You did that on purpose? To show us how well you can use magic?”
“You’re not as stupid as I thought, are you?”
“Well, what do you get out of it?”
“What do I gain?” Belkiel scoffed. “I just needed an excuse.”
‘What kind of crazy crap is he saying now?’ Sezh’s face soured.
“Say you will help me.”
“Right now, your brother is scouring the temple like a rat. He also took all the valuable books kept in the temple. Some of them are in the Kazaki language. The Emperor and some others can speak Kazaki, but it will not be enough help to look at that large of an amount.”
Sezh’s eyes widened: this was the first time she learned of this. Raytan was scouring the temple? Why?
“In other empires, princesses are often in charge of the temple work, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. I will watch you from time to time since Eton has also told me to teach you magic.”
Sezh gazed at Belkiel as if reminded of something she had forgotten.
“That- a few days ago… I created a tremendous wind.”
“I didn’t intend to do it, but it happened suddenly. I didn’t do anything…”
“My whole body felt hot. It used to only be in my hands, but that day, strangely…”
Belkiel furrowed his eyebrows slightly. He seemed to be thinking about something and subsequently spoke with a displeased face.
“It’s not good for you to waste more time like this.”
“What? What do you mean?…”
“So help me. If you are the one asking, the Emperor will grant it. Whatever it is.”
“That…” Sezh hesitated.
“He even set up a garden once you said you like flowers, so he will surely allow this too, won’t he?”
“…How did you know that? I didn’t tell anyone.”
“Just answer me right now.”
“I’ll try… to talk to him.”
Belkiel still gave Sezh a disgusted look and then walked towards the window. Sezh curiously stared as he opened the window and then urgently spoke.
“Don’t keep annoying me. I won’t repe-”
“No, not that. You said that Brother is searching through the temple.”
“Why is he doing that?”
Belkiel stared at Sezh blankly, then answered with a cold voice, “Because he’s looking for something.”
“What do you mean…?”
“You do what you have to do. Don’t bother me.”
Then, before Sezh could say anything else, he disappeared.
“…Asshole, he’s even younger than me…” Left alone, Sezh grumbled lowly.
But she didn’t forget to sneak a look at the window in case Belkiel returns to ask, ‘What did you say just now?’
‘What is happening…?’
Sezh sniffled a few times then snuggled into bed with a blanket. Following that, she pondered over what Belkiel meant. Of course, she didn’t yet have any clue about anything.
“Something… must have happened to Brother.”
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Sezh recalled his sorrowful look under the dazzling sunset. Maybe it has something to do with ‘searching the temple like a rat’?
“I also can speak Kazaki, so maybe I can be of some help to Brother…”
She didn’t have the slightest intention of helping Belkiel, but when it came to Raytan, things were different. Sezh thought that when Raytan came later, she would have to ask him for permission.