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Lyle looked at Medea with a subtle expression. He wondered if she didn’t want him to participate because she wanted Baron Hestia to win. Lyle knew it was an absurd idea, but his jealousy was unruly.
“… … Shall I go too?”
“What? Why? You’re not going to be by my side!”
“… … .”
Lyle read Medea’s thoughts and stared blankly at her. Her face clearly revealed her emotions, so he knows that expression isn’t made up, but… … .
“Do you want me to be by your side?”
‘Seira is not by my side! My life is in danger! I have to hold on tight to Lyle!’
Lyle was troubled by her desperate expression. He didn’t know what Medea was thinking. Did she simply want Baron Hestia to win? Or was it something else?
“What if I still want to go out?”
“Eh… … .”
Medea became sullen. She wanted to keep Lyle by her side but had no good reason to do so. What could she say when the Emperor said he would participate in the competition he participated in every year?
“… … .”
Lyle stared at her, and it occurred to him….Her eyes weren’t disappointed but full of fear.
“Medea, is it because you’re anxious?”
“Well… … .”
Being stabbed at her vulnerable spot made Medea lose her words.
His expression grew soft, and he hugged her by the waist.
“It’s alright. The Rowendals have all been captured. The Archduke is also dead… … . he won’t be able to try to harm you or our child.”
There is no way that nothing will happen. The Emperor’s uncle conspired to kill the Empress and the child in her womb. She had only recently heard the news at the empress’ palace but couldn’t be more than happy to hear that a certain nobleman had been arrested and perished and that his property had been confiscated.
If you think so much malice was directed at you, you have no choice but to be afraid. In addition, Medea forgot both that she was educated as the eldest daughter of a ducal family and as her Empress. Even the years she spent as Empress had faded from her memory, so everything must be scary.
“I am on your side. The strongest man on the continent is yours, what are you afraid of?”
—I will protect you
Lyle took Medea’s hand, kissed her palm, caressed her face, and whispered. She stared at Lyle like that.
“If you’re really afraid… … I will be by your side throughout the competition. I was reluctant to participate from the beginning anyway.”
“If His Majesty would stay by my side… … .”
As Medea burrowed into her arms, Lyle grinned and hugged her.
The forest where the monster hunting tournament was held was a forest that continued down from the vast mountain range surrounding the capital. Structures were already erected at the mouth of the forest, where tents were pitched every year.
The most luxurious tents were for the imperial family, tents for high-ranking nobles, tents for ladies and young ladies, and tents for ceremonial guests were built at a certain distance from each other.
Behind the tents, guards and knights lined up behind the tents, and in the empty space were the nobles’ carriages one after another.
The flags fluttered in the wind, and looking at the number of gathered knights; it looked like an army had gathered. But, of course, about half of the population consisted of nobles and attendants and maids brought by those nobles, but all the knights who were said to be the best in the capital were summoned.
Since it was an incredibly vast forest, everyone didn’t have to start from the same starting line. Naturally, however, everyone wanted to catch the eye of the Emperor or Empress, so naturally, the sons of high-ranking aristocratic families stood nearer, and farther away were those of lower ranks and youths.
This time, Lyle did not participate and returned to the host’s seat, looking at Medea, sitting beside him, with a relaxed expression. Then, whispering something in her ear, he grabbed her by the back of her hand, kissed her, and instructed the contest to begin.
When the disciple of the court mage announced the commencement with magic, the knights ran their horses into the forest all at once. As they rushed into the woods, the ladies whispered while covering their faces with fans.
“Oh, if you make such a racket like that, all the monsters will run away.”
It was a laughing whisper.
The hunting competition continued from late morning until sunset. In the meantime, the nobles gathered at the forest entrance and chatted while enjoying refreshments. Knights would come back to have lunch in the middle of the day.
The setting provided the opportunity to converse with high-ranking nobles and a chance to approach the imperial family… … Since the Emperor was next to the Empress, it was difficult for anyone other than someone with a reasonably high rank to approach.
“I hear that His Majesty has become fond of Her Majesty the Empress… … .”
“It wasn’t just a rumor.”
Half of the people here had thought Medea, whom the Emperor had despised, had only briefly gained his favor because she managed to become pregnant.
But the Emperor was now sitting by Medea and had his arm around her waist, donning the face of her man who was obviously very much in love.
“I knew it would be like that. His Majesty is also a man… … With such a beautiful Empress by his side… … . She must have moved his heart after all.”
“It’s probably in full swing.”
“Both are young… … He must have lost his mind for a moment in youthful vigor.”
They spoke loudly but had different thoughts.
“By the way… … Did you see the knight that the Empress showed off? I’m seeing him for the first time… … .”
“Ah, him… … comes from the territory… … .”
“He is a different kind of handsome compared to His Majesty.”
They exchanged glances with each other. Their social status was by no means low, but the deviation of those from a higher class than themselves was their best subject and interest.
“Rumor has it that His Majesty broke the knight’s arm… … ?”
“Your Majesty merits to be concerned. Look at that face.”
“I’m the only one that has heard… … .”
One of the noble ladies lowered her voice, conscious of her surroundings. Curious noblewomen quickly gathered around her.
“There was a shadow sneaking into the bedroom of the Empress’ palace!”