Third Imperial Princess’s Butler Volume 1 Chapter 4 part 4

I recalled the pigeon we encountered in the woods.

At that time, I didn’t think much about it and was just thinking about how adorable Princess Krell was, wanting to marry her, and so on… But looking back, there were quite a few strange points that made me suspicious.

“Pigeons used in the girly ritual of receiving a ring from a future partner usually use wild pigeons not accustomed to humans. However, that pigeon was clearly used to people, and for some reason, it came to the secluded woods, where there are few people and it’s dangerous for pigeons living in the wild.”

Wild pigeons living in nature tend to avoid forests with many natural predators and prefer to fly around safe human areas. Using a domesticated pigeon in a place with few people would not only fail to deliver the ring but also expose the pigeon to danger of being attacked and eaten.

It’s hard to believe that someone attempting a ritual forbidden by law would be unaware of this fact.

“Furthermore, we were so close to the pigeon that we noticed its existence… precisely when I was talking to Princess Krell about the restaurant. I clearly mentioned the date and location of our visit.”

It’s almost too perfect for it to be a coincidence. Moreover, after gathering the necessary information, the pigeon flew away shortly after playfully interacting with Princess Krell.

Considering all this, it’s possible to assume that the pigeon was a familiar-like entity, visiting us under orders to gather the information the caster needed.

As I continued speaking, Erne’s sweating increased. Her fingertips were trembling slightly, and if you listened carefully, you could hear her heavy breathing.

However, I wouldn’t show any mercy.

Concealing the surging exhilaration in my chest, I continued.

“The tree sap is a highly toxic poison that can enter the body through skin contact. However, due to the nature of the poison, if exposed to temperatures over seventy degrees Celsius for two minutes, the toxin will decompose. So, even if it comes into contact with the skin, soaking the affected area in water at seventy degrees Celsius or higher for at least two minutes will break down the toxin before it spreads through the body. Skin contact takes time for the toxin to circulate. Of course, as a trade-off for neutralizing the poison, the affected area will suffer burns. There’s no way you don’t know the details of the deadly poison used to assassinate King Naft II. You accidentally touched the tree sap with your fingertips, and to break down the toxin, you immersed your finger in hot water, causing a burn… Am I correct in my assumption?”

Well? I crossed my arms, waiting for Erne’s response.

Her wandering gaze and prolonged silence were evidence enough that my assumption was correct. She must be desperately racking her brain to figure out how to get through this situation. A cornered animal will display unexpected strength. Despite having me and Princess Krell present, we couldn’t afford to let our guard down.

What action would she take?

As I made various speculations, Erne spoke up.

“…Yes, it’s true that I touched the tree sap and used hot water to treat my finger, but that was because I didn’t want to worry the director—”

“Understand the significance of me revealing the fence at this moment. Bring out the real etoile Magical Key right away.”

“Huh!?”

This time, Erne, along with everyone else present, fell silent and looked at the magical key inside the glass case.

“The etoile Magical Key inside the case might appear authentic to ordinary people or inexperienced magicians. However, such childish tricks won’t work on me or Princess Krell, right, Princess?”

“Of course!”

They clearly didn’t get it.

I framed Princess Krell’s cheeks with both hands, as a reminder for them to recognize my authority. In response, Erne looked at me, her expression devoid of any composure, and asked.

“Why do you think that the etoile Magical Key there is a fake?”

“The concentration of mana emitted by the magical key, the amount it contains, and the peculiar allure that averts one’s gaze are all lacking in that one. While there’s an effort to mimic the real one, creating a perfect forgery is impossible. Those well-made fakes… probably belong to the Fifth Tier. I was surprised that you have a high-level magical key, but my protective shield key is from the Sixth Tier, on par with the etoile Magical Key. Don’t underestimate a top-class magician, you third-rate trash.”

“You have a foul mouth, Roth.”

“Oh, my apologies.”

“Really… so, Erne, what will you do? If you still deny it…”

Princess Krell smiled at Erne and made a casual suggestion.

“Shall I demonstrate by destroying the magical key inside the glass case?”

“Ugh!”

“It’s okay. I can easily crush it… Right, Roth?”

“I can shatter it like a falling raw egg.”

And it was true.

If it were in Princess Krell’s hands, it wouldn’t even take a second to destroy it. Terrifyingly enough, this adorable, charming, and beautiful young lady possessed power that all magicians feared.

Faced with Princess Krell’s casual words, Erne’s face turned pale, and she took several steps back.

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If the contracted magical key were destroyed, the magician would die as well.

She was indirectly suggesting killing her. Facing such words with a smile, it’s understandable that she was trembling with fear. She seemed to fear Princess Krell’s words more than the threats I made.

“Now, what will you do?”

As I threw a taunting question at her, Erne clenched her fists so hard that her nails cut into her palms, and her whole body trembled as she gritted her teeth. Just then, she screamed.

“Why… I was so close to completing it…!”

In a voice that sounded like a cry of despair, Erne extended her bloody right hand toward the glass case. Instantly, the seated magical key changed shape and transferred to Erne’s right hand.

It had a shape resembling the wings of a bird.

While in disguise as the etoile Magical Key, there was no trace of the dense mana that I felt before.

Instead… I felt the flow of mana, a prelude to the activation of magic.

“Why the ‘King’ is coming out! Monstrous creatures should stay hidden!”

Erne frantically held the magical key in front of her and deployed over twenty spells simultaneously. The mana and performance… while not on par with the Sixth Tier Key, it was quite powerful. There was no mistake; it must be from the Fifth Tier.

“Princess Krell.”

“Yes. Everyone, refrain from intervening!”

When Princess Krell’s clear voice issued instructions, all the magicians who were about to launch interception magic canceled their spells. Instead, a chorus of confusion and agitation filled the air.

Ignoring their voices, I stood in front of Princess Krell— in an instant.

“Full Wave Wind Slash!”

Erne screamed, and countless wind blades shot out from the deployed magic circle. The magicians, forbidden from dealing with a strike that would cut their bodies in half upon direct impact, shouted in disbelief.

Ugh, it’s annoying.

All the agitation, confusion, and doubt were unnecessary. You all should just silently listen to Princess Krell.

—Since I’m here, this kind of attack is pointless.

“Crystal Translucent Wall.”

The moment I chanted the spell, a crystal wall appeared in the room, towering between Erne and the magicians. The crystal wall reflected light countless times, shining brilliantly, and deflected Erne’s slash, forcing the mana particles back. Even with the power to easily cut through a human body, it meant nothing against this wall. As evidence, there wasn’t a single scratch where the slash hit, and the wall continued to shine unchanged.

An invincible barrier.

Only Princess Krell has been able to break through this wall.

“Princess Krell, are you injured?”

“Have you ever seen me get hurt when you use defensive magic?”

“Ugh! My apologies. I seem to have underestimated myself. Protecting someone like Princess Krell was a piece of cake.”

“No, you have an overinflated ego… Huh? Did you just say ‘someone like Princess Krell’?!”

Ignoring her cry, I looked at the magicians who were touching the crystal wall in astonishment.

“They… in an instant…” “Does the Sixth Tier Key have this much power?” “Monsters!” “Those two are way too lovey-dovey…”

All of them seemed to be aware of the difference in power and happiness. While they were capable magicians serving the empire, it couldn’t be helped. There would be no beautiful woman like Princess Krell to provide them with healing and happiness. It’s useless to be jealous, though.

I made the crystal wall disappear in an instant and looked down at Erne, who was squatting in bewilderment. She might have been brokenhearted after having her power difference exposed.

Just as I was about to tell her to surrender quietly, the museum director grabbed the fence and appealed to Erne.

“Erne, is it really you?”

Erne didn’t answer the call. However, the museum director continued unabated.

“I… I trusted you so much. Was the face you showed me… all a lie?”

“…”

“Answer me, Erne. I can’t stand the thought of you being taken away by the knights without saying anything.”

Cut it out. That’s what I wanted to say to the museum director, but I held it back.

To be frank, anything she says now is futile. Not only is she guilty of trying to steal the etoile Magical Key, but she also attempted to assassinate Princess Krell. Whatever she says here won’t change her crimes.

It’s cold, but the museum director’s appeal right now is just interfering with her capture.



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