A Cup of Tea
Everyone in the royal palace was prostrating on the floor, and I had started to worry about those people working in the kitchen or near the fountain. This was because of the possibility that a chef cooking something may have started a fire when he was forced to lie down or that people working near the fountain or in some water may have started to drown themselves. Now that I think about it, there were probably people who had fallen off ladders or down the stairs as well.
“I hope they’re alright….” I grew more worried about them the more I thought about it, but when I mumbled those words under my breath, Gina who was walking beside me laughed a little.
“Monette sure is kind.”
“Oh yes. Me, I was starting to get annoyed by the overinflated ego of everyone in there and was about to blow them all away.”
“Hoho, that’s just the way it is.”
“Such a scary thing …….. but, I see, that’s why you have Concetta.”
When I muttered Concetta’s name underneath my breath, Concetta–who was walking a little ways in front of us–thought he was being called, and his fur started blinking light. It stopped blinking a few seconds later when he realized I was not calling for him. As usual, such a mysterious cat.
No, this cat is not the only wonder here. Robertson is also shining brightly.
When I called his name while he was riding atop Concetta’s head, this time he started blinking. This is surely………… But, since when………?
There were lots of questions flying through my head, but they were overwhelming me, so I shook my head violently inside my helmet while continuing to step forward.
Let’s take things in order, starting with what had happened in there. Yes I tell myself.
Gina could sense danger and realized I was about to release some big magic I guess–although her thoughts were going in a far scarier direction–so she tossed her familiar towards Alexis.
Further ahead of me, I could see Alexis who still had to rely on Percival’s assistance in order to walk. He was affected by my spell as well, but Concetta had managed to block some of my spells effects, so he was not made to prostrate on the ground as well.
Thinking up to this point, I stopped my feet.
The moment I did, Percival turned around to face me along with Alexis who was partially there for the ride.
“Miss Monette, what’s the matter?”
“Oh, no…..what will we……..”
“For now, let’s escape the royal palace. After finding a safe place to hide, we can see how things develop and plan our next actions from there.”
At Percival’s urging, my helmet clunked around as I nodded my head and immediately started walking once again.
We walked past those people lying on the ground, sometimes having to step over them …….. every once in awhile my large boots would stumble over some rude person lying around in a bad spot. Although, I was the one to make them fall over in the first place.
We left the royal castle and headed towards the forest in a way that would allow us to avoid crowds as much as possible.
Fortunately nobody had followed us from the castle, and the people of the city didn’t care to pay us any mind. I felt a little bad for the people probably still glued to the floor, but giving them a silent apology from in my heart as we entered the forest was all I was going to give them.
Even though we would hide ourselves in the forest, obviously we could not hide in my castle.
Although the old castle is located inside the forest, it’s not a place that is impossible to find without a guide like Gina’s mansion. The knights sent by the king would soon arrive there to search for us.
After discussing what to do amongst ourselves, Alexis came over to apologize to me.
He wore his hopelessness plainly on his face, and I am starting to wonder if he really needed Percival to support him because of my spell or because of his own mental state.
“Monette, sorry ………. because you got involved with me, your house……”
“If I go back now, then everyone else…”
‘Perhaps they will leave everyone else alone,’ is what he was probably going to say. Instead, all that came out of his mouth was a small ‘Uff.’
To say it simply, it was Gina.
To say it specifically, it was Gina’s bread.
It was crammed down his throat, and Alexis’s deep brown eyes went round. It seems that he had not expected her to pull off this gag in such a serious situation.
However, Gina was not someone to care about something as trite as the lingering atmosphere, and following in his lord’s footsteps, Concetta ignored the atmosphere, jumped onto Alexis’s legs, and began nibbling on the hanged out bread.
Even though Concetta was clinging to the collapsed Alexis’s chest, he paid little mind to the cat nibbling away at the food in his mouth. His eyes were locked squarely on the witch before him.
“Alexis, you are free to decide to give up and allow yourself to be captured by them. But since you and I have shared the joy of traveling together, I will offer you some friendly advice.”
“Because I’m going to crush this country, I would give myself up afterwards if I were you. If you don’t, you might get caught up in the chaos.”
Alexis couldn’t believe the terrible things he had just heard come from a woman who was currently giving a very elegant smile. Percival was taken aback as well being left staring at her blindly, but I have to admit that even I was caught a little off-guard by her sudden declaration.
Gina’s smile was beautiful and calm; it was a smile you would expect from a mother. If we hadn’t seen the words come out of her mouth, we might have thought that there was a fifth person among us.
But there wasn’t a fifth mystery person, and the words, “crush this country,” had clearly come out of her mouth. There was no evil grin or maliciousness coming from her, but neither was their any regret.
“Gina, to devastate this country……”
“Isn’t it natural?”
Gina narrowed her eyes slightly, gave a gentle laugh, and stretched out her hands to begin caressing my helmet.
Through the iron, I do not know what her skin feels like, but the kindness was transmitted loud and clear, and her loving expression spoke volumes. But still, the declaration she made remaining burning in my mind, so I turned my eyes up into hers.
This was the first time Gina had visited this country. The king’s attitude was appalling, but this type of behavior could be said to have been expected due to the curse’s effects. Yet why is it that Gina would be so set on destroying this country even if Alexis and Percival ended up embroiled in the chaos? I had thought about it for a moment before tilting my helmet to the side with a clank and asking her.
“……..Is it because of poor they are at hospitality?”
Towards my inquiry, Gina laughed before returning a nod. Apparently, I was right.
In other words, she was angry because when she visited the royal castle, neither Rodel nor His Majesty had taken the effort to act hospitably towards her, so she was now going to ruin the country. Alexis and Percival seemed unable to accept that for some reason.
“Gi- Miss Gina ……… hospitality, surely that’s not all?”
“What are you saying Percival? Isn’t this natural for a family who doesn’t even offer their guests tea?”
Gina is a refined woman who looks all the more beautiful when she laughs–completely contradictory to what shes says as if this is all some big joke.
This gap creates an air of intimidation. Alexis and Percival feel it even as they smile and try to write this all off as the joke they hope it is. Me, though, I understand. I was the only one looking at her with shining eyes through my helmet.
Yes, this is a witch.
They are capricious, moody, and impossible to judge by ordinary people.
Regardless if they are another witch or a member of royalty, wherever they stand, their relationship with a witch can be determined over a simple cup of tea. It is a time where you must bow your head for the survival of your country.
Yes I was brought in to this wonderful aura, but Alexis and Percival were still unable to believe her.
A witch is someone unjudgeable by ordinary humans, and they are most certainly not witches. That is why all they can do is stare after Gina while the person in question laughs asking, “What would you have me do?”
Whether he wanted to honestly give her an answer or he was trying to find out if she was being truly serious, Alexis ignored Concetta’s whining while removing the bread from his mouth and called Gina’s name.
“Gina, why would witches….”
“It’s because we’re witches. Even though this member of the Avalkin family had asked, I was not given a cup of tea. Not only that, they had to gall to dismiss a witch’s curse as if it were some seasonal malady caught from standing too long in the rain. This isn’t about me; this is about the mockery made to all us witches.”
This is why a lesson must be taught.
The tone of Gina’s voice was elegant as it was intimidating, and her words twisted around the listeners heart and squeezed. How long before a low level witch such as I can enthrall those around me like this?
Alexis tried to say something more about Gina’s power and what is and not allowed in society, but for such a refutation………the bread was returned to his mouth. It does not appear like any objections are allowed.
Percival tried to say something as well, but he met the same fate as his master. I was the only one who stepped forward and tugged on Gina’s sleeve.
“Gina, I will join you, for I am a witch as well!”
“I thought you would say that, Monette. Now, let’s show these people what a witch is, and what they can do.”
“Yes! ………In addition, I have something I have to do.”
My enthusiasm dropped with my voice as I unconsciously murmured, “My sister,” underneath my breath. Gina overheard me however and so she stuffed a loaf of bread into my helmet while narrowing her eyes. It was slightly crushed, but this had no effect on the taste.
It’s just a little more compact ……….. the moment that I thought this and started nibbling on my own piece of bread, the sound of leaves shaking reverberated overhead.
Somebody has come. We were all aware of this fact immediately, so we scanned the environment around us, remaining alert………,
“It sounds like you’re talking about something funny, my cute nephew. That story, I wonder if you could tell Uncle as well?”
We were all stunned by the man who appeared through the leaves.
He looks to be about as old as my father would be. His brown eyes were aged and worn, but they had a light to them like a child who had just found an exciting new toy to play with. He carried a unique atmosphere that was both equal parts warrior and village fool, yet he also had an air about him similar to His Majesty’s and Alexis……..
I really didn’t know what to make of this man in front of me, but then I turned my gaze to Percival and Alexis.
They had become as pale as ghosts however they weren’t carrying the same desperation they once had. If I had to describe it,
Ah, a troublesome person came……..,
is what their expressions are telling me.