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Changes in Cielle Kingdom
Hyroniemus mountain was a sacred mountain located deep inside the Cielle kingdom, with only a few select people living in it. The mountain was famous for spiritual enlightenment as well as for its healing properties.
The atmosphere of the mountain was serene and quiet, yet… On this day, it was oddly noisy.
“How did you manage to enter this place…?!”
One of the guarding elves was agitated and caught off guard by the appearance of several unexpected guests right in front of their door.
The place she was guarding was the place in which the former queen of Cielle resided and was currently recuperating in. It had been equipped by high security that shouldn’t have been bypassed in the first place. Only the royals could enter without informing them, by using their blood and magic to break through the barrier set.
The unexpected guests were wearing robes with hoods that made it difficult for them to recognize who they were, it was totally unlike the royals who’d come here announced.
“Call for reinforcement!”
Without waiting for the other party to speak, the other guard quickly announced as she readied herself to fight with the intruders to give time for reinforcement to come.
“Wait…!” One of the unexpected guests spoke.
“What do you want?!” The guard was on high alert and quickly shouted back.
“Calm down…!” Another guest spoke, trying to calm the guards who were clearly unable to think clearly at this moment, with their ‘fight or flight’ brain turned on.
Eventually, one of the intruders stepped forward, which caused the other intruders to audibly gasp in concern, but the said intruder stopped the others from acting.
The said intruder was met with the guards’ sharp gazes as well as their weapons, but they didn’t flinch at all and proceeded to remove their hood.
All the royal villa’s guards loosened their grasps on their weapons, their faces changed from stern ones into ones that were clearly shocked and couldn’t believe what they had seen.
“P-P-P… Princess…?!” One of the guards trembled and dropped her weapon as she pointed towards Oriel.
“It is me. I am here to see Mother,” Oriel nodded and firmly said.
The reason they tried to camouflage was indeed to avoid being recognized by others during their journey here, afraid that it’d make an unnecessary commotion. But now, it was necessary to reveal their identity.
“A-a-a-are you really the princess? B-but, these past few years…,” Another guard expressed their disbelief and suspicion towards Oriel.
Oriel had predicted this would happen, so she showed her token of identity to them.
“This is my token of identity. The fact that we managed to enter here also strengthens that I am indeed the real Oriel, right?” Oriel added.
“This… R… right…,” The main guard examined the princess’ token closely before nodding. Then, she turned around and with a voice that contained happiness, announced, “Good news for Queen Verbenae!”
Then, the other guards ushered Oriel to come in.
Oriel quickly added, “The ones with me are all…!”
Before Oriel finished her sentence, her allies all understood and removed their hoods.
“Oh my gosh!” Another guard saw a familiar face and their eyes turned misty.
“I thought you were gone…!”
As such, it turned into a happy reunion and they were all ushered in.
“What is going on…?” Queen Verbenae was sitting on the bed with her frail complexion as she questioned one of the guards who was reporting to her.
“My queen, you have a guest,” The guard was all smiles, causing the former queen to wonder who it might be.
Queen Verbenae thought it was odd since she wouldn’t receive any guest other than those close to her, and they would usually inform her before.
Before she could speak another word, another person entered the door to her room.
“W-what?!” The queen was totally surprised that the guards would let another person enter just like that, but in that short time, she saw who that person was, and she was left speechless.
“Mother…!” Oriel’s eyes turned teary when she saw her mother’s current condition. It was totally unlike how she was when Oriel left.
“……This must be a dream,” Queen Verbenae shook her head as she had dreamt of such moments for many times.
“Such a realistic dream.”
“Mother, it is really me…!” Oriel said again, as she went to hug her mother.
The guard quickly excused herself and closed the door to give the mother and daughter some privacy.
“Oriel… Oriel, is it really you…?”
Feeling the realistic sensation of her missing daughter’s hug, Queen Verbenae didn’t dare to hope.
“Yes, Mother… I’ve missed you…! I’m sorry…”
Tears finally fell from Oriel’s eyes, and realizing that this moment she had been dreaming of was actually real, Queen Verbenae wept in joy.
After the mother-daughter had their emotional moments, Queen Verbenae asked in concern, “Where’s Fideline? Is that girl with you too?”
And finally, Oriel started explaining what had happened from the beginning until this point.
Queen Verbenae’s expressions changed so many times, and when Oriel was done explaining, she was pondering for a while before finally saying, “Maybe… this is the key to ending this war. Maybe, you and your union is what we needed all along. Everything happened for a reason.”
The nervous Oriel was relieved upon hearing that her mother didn’t object her decision of working together with the Onis and for even wanting to have their union’s dynamics be the norm even in this world.
“But to think that such a thing is possible… And Fideline, that child… she never fails to amuse me,” Queen Verbenae added another comment in response to Oriel’s story about Fideline having Sen in that world.
Oriel seemed like she wanted to say something, but she didn’t proceed.
Perhaps it was a mother’s instinct, as Queen Verbenae looked at Oriel and asked, “Do you want to follow her footprints?”
“I know. You’re different when you mentioned a certain someone in your story.”
“Mother, but I… I am just so lost. What should I do? Is it really for the best? What if…?”
“Regrets always come late. Mother won’t tell you what to do, I just want you to go and follow your heart. If you don’t, maybe you’ll end up with a bitter resentment and regret in the future.”
“But, what about you, Mother?”
“After I thought I’d lose you, nothing else matters to me as long as you are here and happy,” Queen Verbenae smiled.
As if a big burden had been released from her shoulder, and knowing that her remaining parent supported her decision and heart, Oriel cried on her mother’s lap.
“I will follow your words, Mother… Thank you…”
Queen Verbenae’s condition improved after seeing her missing daughter again.
Even though Oriel knew she still had a lots of things to do, she spent some time along with her allies in Hyroniemus mountain, to accompany her mother and to catch up with things that had been happening while she was gone, as well as to discuss her next movement with her mother.
Oriel knew that the strategy she and her allies had arranged together was the best one so far, but she still wanted to seek her mother’s approval. Although it wasn’t her fault, she still felt guilty for disappearing for five years from this world, causing turmoil to the kingdom and causing agony to her mother.
And with her return, she’d cause another storm to enter this kingdom that her mother had been protecting and nurturing for decades. Perhaps no storm would happen if she had never returned. Perhaps the kingdom won’t meet another turmoil if she just stayed put in the neutral area with her newly found family.
However, she and her allies had a dream that they wanted to realize in this world. Even if that caused another storm to this kingdom. For she believed this storm would ensure a better future for all of them.
Because of that, she still decided to discuss things with her mother.
Queen Verbenae was impressed by Oriel’s plan and was reminded of the reason why she had appointed Oriel to be her successor in the first place.
“Do you want to reclaim your status as the heir to the throne?” Queen Verbenae suddenly asked.
“…If it only hinders my dream, then I won’t. But if it can help our cause, then I will gladly accept it,” Oriel had been thinking about reclaiming her status as the rightful heir to the throne, but eventually she came to this conclusion.
“But Mother, Deus…,” Oriel was afraid of her brother’s reaction. Though their siblinghood was good, she still remembered how there were numerous siblings who had a fall out and even killed one another throughout the history just for power and glory. After tasting the throne, would he have changed? Moreover, Oriel knew that Deus didn’t really see the Onis in amicable light, so would he be on board with her idea…
Queen Verbenae sighed, she was also worried about it. As a mother, she’d definitely want to see her children getting along.
Seeing that her mother couldn’t say anything about it, Oriel didn’t press the matter further.
When Oriel and her allies reached the royal castle, they used their camouflage again to avoid causing commotion during the journey. However, the queen’s people accompanied them, to make it easier to seek audience with the current king, Oriel’s younger brother, Deus.
At first, Deus thought that the queen mother had something really urgent to be coming back here, as there were the queen’s people who had accompanied Oriel and the others, and they treated Oriel like how they would treat a royal, and Deus didn’t know that Oriel had returned.
Deus was very surprised when Oriel removed her hood.
“You’re… Sis…?!” Deus was clearly agitated as he stood impatiently, and approached Oriel.
“…!!” The minister, the high priestess, and the head of the royal knights were as startled as Deus.
Deus stopped several steps away from Oriel, scanning her from head to toe.
Oriel laughed looking at Deus like that, so she took out her token, “Is this enough to prove that I am indeed the missing person, Your Highness?”
After seeing Oriel from head to toe, hearing her voice, as well as seeing the token, Deus was convinced it was indeed his missing sister.
“Nee-san!! I’m so glad that you’re doing well! But where have you been?! Why didn’t you show up or say something in the past 5 years?!” Deus hugged Oriel briefly before starting to demand explanation from her.
Meanwhile, the minister was whispering stuff with the high priestess in a concerned expression.
Deus noticed their whispering and turned his sharp gaze at them, asking “If you have something to say, say it now.”
“Pardon me, Your Highness… and the Princess,” the minister greeted them politely before speaking.
“While it is of a great joy to have the princess back with us… We’re just worried that there will be yet another power struggle that can cause instability to the kingdom, and…,” the minister was practically sweating bullet as he noticed lots of dead glares directed at him, including one from his own leader, Deus.
“We can discuss that later. Above all else, I am just happy to see my sister returning in one piece. I don’t want to tarnish this moment with that talk,” Deus dismissed the minister.
“Actually, I am here to discuss about it too, so why don’t we talk about it while we’re at it?” Oriel offered, which surprised the minister, but he was more convinced that Oriel was here to demand the throne back.
“…We have to gather the others for that kind of discussion. Why don’t we have our sibling moment for a while? I’ve been missing you,” Deus said.
“…Alright, then,” Oriel agreed.
When Deus pressed Oriel for the details of her disappearance, Oriel was reluctant to reveal the full story now, so she only said, “This also has something to do with what I’d like to discuss with you and the other higher-ups.”
“For now, let’s just say that I didn’t have any means to reach everyone here during my disappearance,” Oriel insisted.
Seeing Oriel not wanting to discuss it now, Deus finally relented and the two then talked as siblings, not as the king of a kingdom and the former crown princess.
Finally, the time of the audience had arrived.
Oriel opened the discussion by saying, “I am here not to contest the right to the throne, seeing that Deus has taken the mantle of the ruler and has done a wonderful job so far. However, I have a prerequisite.”
Almost everyone in the room had supported Deus back when they were debating who’d be crowned as the next ruler, and they were relieved upon hearing the first sentence from Oriel. However, hearing that there was a prerequisite, they became worried.
There were people who formerly supported Oriel, and they were surprised hearing that Oriel didn’t want to try taking the throne back. But they were interested in her prerequisite.
Observing that everyone had their full attention on her, Oriel said, “But this has something to do with the reason behind my disappearance, so I am going to tell everyone here of my story.”
Next chapter is a mix between the last part of the past arc and also the current timeline’s continuation! So yeah, we’re going back to Lyra and co. as well as the present timeline starting from next chapter!!