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Idle Talk ~ The Hand Covered in Blood
The servants that were feebly walking in front of that person then silently fell to their knees at the corner of the corridor.
However, a young servant dressed in a black shadow-like clothing raised her voice upon seeing something falling from that person’s hand to the white-marbled floor.
Immediately, an old woman beside her who was wearing the same black clothes covered the younger servant’s mouth up.
Putting aside that this was the central palace, in this palace’s east wing, people were expected to or forbidden from saying anything.
This is the queen’s palace.
No matter what the master of the palace does, what kind of appearance she has, the maids and the queen’s knights aren’t allowed to open their mouths. That is, if they still cherish themselves.
Ever since she was married here four years ago, that person has always been wearing a gown tied with Ruain-styled sash. The dark green dress’ hem had blood dripping down from the right fingertips, creating stain.
The reddish brown hair peculiar to Ruain people was casually half-fastened, allowing the hair to flow down to her back where her bones stood out.
The queen possessed a thin body that didn’t suit someone who was standing at the most noble position within a country. And that thin body walked away unsteadily just like that.
After Queen Marianne left, the old woman removed her hand from the young servant’s mouth in relief.
“Haa, what a surprise!”
“I was also surprised. You knew it wouldn’t be weird to get lashed immediately if you were considered unpleasant. How careless.”
The young servant who was breathing the air into her lungs, nodded at the old woman’s rebuke.
“Uhm, I agree it’s my fault. Thanks for the help. But… I’m surprised.”
Then, the young servant added.
–Although she had heard about how that person injured her hand.
Queen Marianne sometimes injured her arms. She would always be the one to feed the bird that she kept, and sometimes the bird gnawed on her during that time.
That was why there were many scars from being gnawed at on her hands.
“…Recently, it’s quite frequent, right?”
Although it was only small wounds before, recently the bleeding won’t even stop, and the queen walked around the palace while leaving it as it is.
Then, the young servant said with a trembling body.
“Which reminds me, Senpai1 said that she had seen something before.”
Even when the servants entered the room to clean it, the nobles basically would just ignore their existence. That was why Queen Marianne exchanged the pet food herself as usual.
She was keeping a not-so-big bird, but since the birdcage was big, her hand wouldn’t be able to reach the food tray if she didn’t enter her arm. But when she did that, the bird disliked it and gnawed the queen’s hand.
However, the queen laughed as if something that should be painful like that was fun instead.
Even when her skin was torn and blood seeped out, she was only staring at the bird who was gnawing her hand just like that.
“It was as if—she was offering her own blood.”
Why would the queen continue doing that? Nobody understood her reason. If the maids were to inquire the reason, they would be reprimanded, so it seemed that they shouldn’t open their mouths at any cost.
After having that conversation and seeing another noble passed by, the young servant and the old woman left, moving towards their own station.
As they stepped forward, the old woman thought.
“Ever since Earl Patriciel started to frequently come here, Viscount Credius’ figure couldn’t be seen… It seems that there’s a change in the battlefield, and I’d like to know what it is, though…”
She heaved a sigh as she halted.
Although the bird wants to fly from the royal capital, the coming and going from and to the prince’s palace is strictly monitored, and one can’t move about that much. At most, one can dress up as a servant and move around the royal palace.
If she were to try to leave the royal palace, since everyone’s face will be examined upon leaving, it would be found out very quickly that she is the prince’s maid, Maybell.
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Based on the rumor in the royal palace, she found out that Everal managed to pull through Ruain’s attack.
Prince Reginald is safe. It seems that a magician has appeared by the margrave’s side and has provided her assistance.
Although she feels relieved, she can’t have a peace of mind here. Due to his position, Reginald must defeat the Ruain army who’s been marching to the royal capital.
Maybell thinks that it will be nice if he manages to escape. With that, the prince wouldn’t need to shoulder any more hardship, and he can run to the so-called friendly nation and live there even as a knight.
However, the conspicuous silver hair will surely become a sign that he’s the prince to anyone who wants to chase after him.
He surely wishes to abandon the Faruzia royal family with how he has lost his father and how his mother even became a sacrifice.
That’s why, Maybell can only collect information while praying that the day where she can convey it will come.
Today, she sneaked out of the prince’s palace in order to find the king whose figure couldn’t be found at all ever since he had appointed and sent out the generals who’d lead the troops against Ruain.
Perhaps he was considered to be in captivity of the queen and the people who were on Ruain’s side. If possible, he had to be helped. …If she were allowed to insert her personal feelings, Maybell didn’t want that king to be saved.
However, if the king weren’t here, the queen would end up becoming a regent who’d move the country. Actually, since the king’s physical condition was bad, he secluded himself, and the queen had been acting as a messenger. While at it, she had also begun moving various things. Due to that, it seemed like the number of soldiers gathered by the generals’ side in order to attack and push out the Ruain couldn’t be more than what they had expected.
And then, with the queen’s permission, Earl Patriciel and the others who had passed through the Ruain army’s territory, were able to come in and out easily without having any investigation hold to them.
Still, even after searching within the royal palace for the last several days, the king couldn’t be found anywhere. That was how Maybell arrived at the queen’s palace this time.
As she pretended to continue cleaning, Maybell gradually moved even further inside.
However, she couldn’t find any dubious place.
When she was tired, a noble just happened to pass by near her, so she entered the chapel to hide.
The chapel that was built for the royals doesn’t have anyone other than the priest coming in and out as long as there is no ceremony happening.
After hiding in there for a while, Maybell went out of the chapel—but sensing the scent of blood, she turned back to the chapel.
Since that day, a secret rumor spread among the servants.
That the king had already been killed by the queen.
“Ufufu… There seems to be a rumor that I am a queen who killed her husband, huh? I wonder who discovered that, Owen?”
Marianne said that as she smiled at the visiting Earl Owen Patriciel.
She was completely not upset nor angry at that rumor. It was as if she was talking about someone else’s problem, and Earl Patriciel said with a somewhat grim expression.
“Again, there’s another wound to that beautiful fingers…”
Approaching Marianne who was standing next to the birdcage, Earl Patriciel touched her right hand with both hands, wrapping it up.
However, Marianne only chuckled and pulled her hand back.
“I wonder where the beauty is in these fingers that’s only skin and bones?”
“No, they are beautiful. It is all the result of your endurance up until this day.”
Earl Patriciel knelt there, touching the edge of her dress and kissed it.
“It hasn’t changed ever since we first met. You have always looked radiant to me, Marianne-sama.”
“You’re saying that you still see me as a foolish 13-year-old girl, aren’t you? What a stupid person.”
Earl Patriciel was looking up at Marianne with a very sincere gaze that would shock Kiara if she were to see this look. However, Marianne didn’t return his stare.
She was only staring at the green bird inside the birdcage, as she continued to smile.
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