Chapter 19: Whereabouts of sleep talking

After finishing the prepared food for the sick and taking the medicine, Ernesta’s condition had recovered somewhat.

With Jaromir’s examination finished, the only ones left in the room were Rougena, Kudera, and Engeberg.

“I was very worried. I’m glad to see you’re safe, Ermengard-sama.”

Engeberg seemed very anxious, and he had a worried look on his face when he came into the room. She felt sorry for him because she had caused him so much worry.

“If you’re feeling unwell, please let us know immediately. We can’t have you collapsing.”

Rougena seemed like she wanted to scold her a little more, but she seemed to be holding back since she was a patient.

“Rougena, it’s enough that you’re safe. My Queen, please rest comfortably now.”

Silvestor smiled gracefully, and Ernesta obediently nodded. Since she had caused them so much trouble and worry, it was crucial to cure herself as soon as possible.

“…Yeah, that’s right. I’ll get better soon. I’m sorry for worrying you all. Thank you, everyone.”

When she expressed her gratitude, everyone responded by telling her not to worry about it. There was no deception in their expressions, which made Ernesta even more overwhelmed.

——I’m not the type of person to be worried about by everyone.

Whether Engeberg proposed to leave the place, knowing Ernesta’s feelings or not, everyone began to disperse at his words, and finally, the queen’s room regained its calm.

However, a new visitor arrived there. As expected, a wolf with a shiny silver coat appeared from between the turrets.

“Mikola! You came.”

Mikolash quietly approached the bed and placed his head next to Ernesta’s pillow. Since wolves are intelligent creatures, he might have noticed that the person in front of him was sick.

“Are you worried about me? Thank you. You are such a kind child.”

Ernesta gently stroked the wolf’s head and chin with both hands. She could hear his stomach growling, and realized that he was also a considerate creature.

As she gazed at the chestnut-color fur imbued with soft light, she suddenly remembered her hometown. The nightmares from earlier also contributed to suddenly reminding her of things that she had purposely avoided thinking about.

What happened to Isolte’s condition? Engeberg said he arranged for a doctor, but has he arrived by now? Have Bruno and Konrad been worrying a lot and are they still doing okay?

Her vision suddenly blurred, and Ernesta pressed her cheek against the silver-colored fur.

She shouldn’t think about it. She needs to believe it. Engeberg will surely bring the best doctor. Isolte is trying her best. Bruno and Konrad are also supporting her with great dedication.

While waiting and believing, she can only do her best to fulfill her duties. That’s all Ernesta can do.


In the evening of that day, Ivan was working in his office when the capable Prime Minister, Johan, entered.

“Your Majesty, I apologize for disturbing you while you’re busy. Here are additional documents.”

Johan spoke in his usual calm tone and stacked the stack of parchment paper he brought on the desk.

Ivan had been with Ernesta until morning, leaving him with a pile of work to do. Although he knew this situation well, his ruthless decision-making was a usual thing.

He was incredibly reliable. He had saved Ivan since childhood, being straightforward and honest with him, regardless of whether he was dealing with the king or not.

“Johan, I have something to ask you.”

Ivan is unusually serious. Johan adjusted his glasses and sat up straight, sensing the gravity of the situation, looked straight into Ivan’s intense light blue eyes.

“What does the noble princess call her own mother?”

Even Johan, the Prime Minister, seemed taken aback by such a sudden and inexplicable question. Ivan continued to ask with even more enthusiasm, looking at his friend and subordinate, who opened his mouth with confusion.

“I want to hear an objective opinion. Just answer without thinking too much about it.”

“Well… I’m not sure, but it’s probably someone like “Mother” or “Okaa-sama”. What’s wrong?”

Johan answered while looking skeptical. However, Ivan felt that a certain suspicion was taking shape.

[..I’m sorry… I can’t help you… I don’t want to… Mom.]

He recalled the sight of Ermengard, curling up and crying out distressed sleep talking.

Of course, a noble princess wouldn’t use the term “Mom”. And what did she mean when she said she couldn’t be helped? The current Empress of the Bral Empire is still alive, and there’s no such thing as hearing her being involved in an accident or falling ill.

Perhaps, she has some kind of situation.

That was a confident answer. He didn’t know what that situation was, but he was sure that there was something inexplicable about it.

“This is an official job. Investigate the Imperial Family of the Bral Empire.”

With just one word, Johan tightened his expression.

“What? Has the queen done anything suspicious?”

His ability to read the conversation from an unnatural context was truly exceptional. When Ivan responded with silence, Johan turned pale in an instant.

“If that’s the case, this is not a good situation. Your safety comes first, so we should keep our distance and not pretend to notice anything. I will come up with a reason if necessary——.”

“No, it’s okay. I want to keep living like this.”

“What are you talking about? That’s insane! You should take better care of yourself!”

Despite his amazing intensity, Johan spoke in a low voice, likely due to the importance of their confidential discussion. Ivan, on the other hand, surprisingly remained calm and stared back at his friend with a face reddened like a calm lake.

“Forgive me. I feel like I have to know that princess,” said Ivan, relying on what could be called intuition.

It was incredibly rare for him to rely on something like that.

Johan, who stared at him as if he couldn’t believe it, eventually sighed, seemingly resigned to the situation.

“…Understood. I’ll look into it and report back. You understand my struggles, don’t you, Ivan?”

Ivan was very happy to see Johan’s attitude, which could be interpreted as rude, and had disappeared lately.

He was aware that it was his fault that they no longer talked as closely as they did in the past. The officials who faced the tense monarch must have been very careful not to shake the delicate balance.

“I’m counting on you.”

“It’s an honor to receive your decree. Honestly, you’re still as reckless as ever. You’re the king, you know? You’re an irreplaceable existence! Everyone respects you and is worried about you! If anything happens to you——”

Johan’s sermon seemed to have gone on for a while, as he was probably very angry. However, Ivan, who was being exposed to the sermon, was only listening half-heartedly as he was preoccupied with his own thoughts.

He wanted to talk to that princess from now on. He still didn’t know much about humans.

What was it that made him want to take down the wall he had built up over the years?

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