Somehow Akkard’s smile felt bleak. The moment she saw this, Damia unconsciously stroked her chest. It was because something inside of it seemed to be ringing.
‘Why do I feel this way?’
Damia withdrew from him in surprise as if startled by static electricity. And she broke away and hurriedly turned to Prince Heinrich.
“Did you call me, your Highness?”
Heinrich smiled as if he was waiting. A gesture told her to quickly tell him about the conversation she had with the Saint.
Damia took a breath and gathered her wits about her. Yes, this was her first priority. There was no time for distractions.
“I still have something to tell you. Actually… … .”
Prince Heinrich’s expression became more and more colorful as he listened to Damia’s report. His eyes shone brightly, and it seemed his mind was running at lightning speed.
“Oh, my goddess.”
Finally, after her last debrief, Heinrich broke into a wide smile. He expected a big harvest from this trap, but the result had been beyond his imagination.
Unlike his smiling face, Heinrich addressed her in a serious tone. So, likewise, Damia replied in a solemn tone as well.
“Yes, your Highness.”
“Meeting you has been my greatest fortune this year.”
What nonsense did I imagine? Damia doubted her ears and looked up at Heinrich.
But he was very, very sincere.
“You don’t know how long I’ve waited for this moment.”
His mother, Queen Margret, worked tirelessly to establish him as the crown prince. She cleared out numerous illegitimate children and removed the most powerful concubines of the prodigal king.
She was also hurt countless times in the fierce battle that took place in the process. There were many times she spent all night in tears, in moments of despair, certain they would not survive.
But Queen Margret accomplished one difficult task after another. All to only to solidify the future of her beloved son, Heinrich.
So Heinrich had to ascend to the glorious throne because that was the only way he could repay his mother’s favor and make her proud of her son.
‘But it wasn’t easy.’
Heinrich smiled bitterly at the recollection of his old and irresponsible father. Since he was too busy trying to get drunk, the prince was already taking over the actual administration.
However, he had not yet officially ascended to the throne. Therefore, his top priority was to persuade his father to abdicate the throne and pass it on to him as soon as possible.
It seemed to be going pretty well. After all, all his father wanted to do was to play comfortably, so he showed interest in handing over the throne to his eldest legitimate successor.
But, of course, the High Temple did not want this. They had a foreboding that the young and clever Crown Prince would not be easily swayed, and they threw stones and thorns into Heinrich’s path.
‘The prince who was abandoned by God.’
He was quick-witted. Unlike the previous kings, Heinrich was not easy. From the moment he became king, it was clear that the High Temple’s grand plans to strengthen the authority of religion and priesthood would be in vain.
Therefore, they promoted the ‘pollution’ situation and incited the public to say that all of this was due to the curse of Heinrich and strengthened the position of the Great Shrine, the only ‘saviour’ that could purify it.
It was too disgusting for the religious to do.
‘But all that trouble is over now.’
Heinrich threw away the mask of the gentle, meek prince and laughed cruelly. And he spared no praise for his assistant for bringing this bliss.
“Thanks to your hard work, I succeeded in blocking the biggest conspiracies and greatest crimes committed by the High Temple. You did really well.”
“No, your Highness. All of this is thanks to the help of the people around me.”
Damia humbly lowered her gaze and spread the credit to others. In fact, she wouldn’t have done anything on her own had it not been for the information or hints others had given him.
Seeing this, the prince nodded his head as if he was proud.
“No, you have done your job admirably and have exceeded my expectations.”
If you can’t credit your subordinates who serve you well, at least this much, you don’t have the right to rule. Heinrich made a confident and sincere declaration.
“Now, I will take care of the rest. So, Lady Damia, you should go and recover.”
The moment she heard those words, her tension evaporated. Damia sighed in relief and wiped her hand down her face.
She looked over Heinrich once more; he had the countenance of a perfect king. For the first time, he had the aura of a great being, not a young man nor a handsome prince.
So Damia blinked in surprise. Since she was from the north, far from the capital, her awe for the royal family was minimal. But at this moment, she seemed to understand why outstanding knights gave their lives for kings in legends.
‘When he becomes king, our future will be bright.’
She had a vague premonition. And anyone who could instill such trust in subordinates deserved respect.
* * *