“I’m sure you’re well aware, Lady Charlize, but the divine beast’s power has only been passed down to those of Winsor’s royal lineage.”
The Emperor spoke softly.
“There has never been a single instance where an outsider was capable of awaking the power of the divine beast.”
That unkind gaze scanned me from head to toe.
“…I don’t intend to insinuate that Lady Charlize is lying.”
The Emperor smiled broadly before continuing.
“But I deemed it necessary to authenticate the claim at least once.”
The Emperor glanced around and gestured toward the nobles with outstretched arms.
“Is this not a splendid setting for such a demonstration? There are abundant witnesses present.”
…Aha, is that the approach you’re taking?
So…would it be preferable to showcase this power?
Or….would it be better to simply withdraw from this situation?
After pondering it for a while, I honed my focus.
I couldn’t elude the Emperor’s scrutiny forever.
Didn’t I accept being Damian’s fiancée to support him?
‘I’m doing this because I’ve resolved not to be bound by the original novel anymore.’
So, if the Emperor desires to evaluate me, I’ll surely seize this opportunity the Emperor has presented.
I beamed brightly at the Emperor.
“I shall comply with your command, Your Majesty.”
Damian called to me in a startled voice.
Undoubtedly, it’s been a while since I awakened the power of the divine beast, so I can comprehend the concern Damian has for me.
‘Wasn’t I once in the same position as well?’
Back then when Damian exerted his power, I tried to dissuade him from doing so.
I gazed intently at Damian, shook my head, and smiled.
“It’ll be alright.”
I took a deep breath.
How can I express this situation?
The power permeates every fiber of your body.
Your field of vision expands and all your senses sharpen.
It’s akin to assimilating with the world around you and becoming one.
Everyone gasped in awe.
From behind, magnificent silvery-white wings extended from my back.
Countless silvery-white feathers made of light dispersed and filled the air.
‘Okay, I think I’ve bestowed my blessing upon everyone.’
I was still alert to my surroundings when I noticed the people’s reactions.
Was it because all the aristocrats were attending the event?
Perhaps seeking to maintain their dignified demeanor, there was no thunderous praise like in Lebane.
However, it didn’t diminish the intensity of their response.
For everyone appeared to be in a state of ecstasy.
And our heroine….no, my friend Sienna…
“Wow, it’s marvelous…”
Curious as a child, Sienna tried tapping and poking the light that illuminated the area.
Come to think of it, this is Sienna’s first encounter with a blessing.
As the light dissipated with a sound, Sienna recoiled in surprise.
I barely restrained myself from grinning.
Ah, our Sienna is so cute!
Meanwhile, some others were deeply moved, captivated by the sight of silvery-white feathers of light enveloping the entire vicinity.
“This reminds me of 8 years ago.”
“I was genuinely amazed back then…”
Oh, those people.
They recalled when Damian blessed them.
My Damian was absolutely remarkable, wasn’t he?
I felt a surge of pride.
The people were visibly awestruck as they directed their gazes at me.
“This is the power of the divine beast.”
“For his fiancée to also have awaken the power of the divine beast, the empire is truly fortunate.”
“The future of the empire appears exceedingly bright.”
Now they’re giving all sorts of praises.
Well, this should be sufficient for them to prove of my worthiness of being by His Highness’s side, right?
I endeavored to appear composed, but in reality, I could sense the strength in my shoulders gradually waning.
The Emperor stared at me with an odd expression, then he spoke softly.
“…you genuinely have awakened the power of the divine beast.”
“It’s all thanks to His Majesty, the Emperor’s benevolence.”
Without spitting out saliva as I replied, a half smile appeared on the Emperor’s face.
In an instant, goosebumps ran all over my body.
It’s those eyes again.
Those eyes can tear someone apart from head to toe.
That’s the type of eyes he has.
As if gauging whether something can be of utility or ought to be discarded…
Just in time, Damian quietly turned to me, blocking the Emperor’s gaze.
I’m grateful for that kindness, it was getting a little burdensome…
“You were great, Charlize.”
There’s my boy.
I wonder though. What was the point of the Emperor even smiling, trying to project some false kindness when there wasn’t a shred of it in his eyes?
And the way he kept on staring at me, did he believe his gaze possessed the power to penetrate my very being?
Having aroused the people’s attention by awakening the power of the divine beast, I smiled at Damian.
In the future, even if I play merely a small part, may I serve as your unwavering pillar of support?
And be the person you need.
…can we continue to be together like this?
The Duke observed Charlize with widened eyes.
‘In the past, she would often stand there nervously as Rose’s candidate…’
But, Charlize now appears remarkably as ease.
Perhaps, it was an indication of her profound adaptation to the Imperial family.
Although initially uneasy about the situation, the Duke felt a surge of pride of her.
Her figure stood confidently as the Crown Prince’s betrothed, despite navigating treacherous waters.
The Duke closed his eyes for a brief moment, only to see the Empress looking his way.
Upon noticing his younger sister’s exhilarated expression, it was just as he thought…
‘They shared the same sentiment.’
He was spot-on with his prediction.
A faint smile appeared on the corner of the Empress’ mouth.
The two siblings burst into laughter in unison, without needing to say anything.
Their smiles overflowed with affection for Charlize.
After I was done.
I followed beside Damian, accompanying the Empress.
As the Crown Prince’s betrothed, I was obliged to attend the banquet following the harvest festival.
The Empress expressed her desire to do my hair for the ball and I gladly accepted her offer.
But there was this one person who kept pushing my buttons…
Damian didn’t even bother hiding his brooding countenance.
“Are you vexed?”
“You are so-!”
Damian glared at me, a smirk on his lips.
Oh, boy…that’s a face that screams ‘I’ll punch a hole through your face!’
“It hasn’t been long since you awakened your power. You even collapsed at Lebane!”
Damian fretted, venting his worry and concern.
Well, I can understand where he’s coming from with this. In his position, I would have been worried sick.
But you know…
“Do you understand how I feel?”
When asked so, he drew closer, scrunching his brow.
I shrugged my shoulders playfully.
“Eight years ago, don’t you remember?”
“Eight years ago? No, what about eight years ago!”
Damian rejected my question, flustered at its absurdity.
I brazenly gazed at Damian.
Is that how it is?
You had me worried back then tool.
Well, as of late, I have been worried about Damian but…
Ignoring the guilt that pricked my conscience like a needle, I continued.
“The truth is, I was unusally sure of myself this time as I had a conviction.”
“Conviction? What do you mean by that?”
“In simpler terms, I didn’t feel as if I was in danger…”
I looked at Damian’s expression, then gently closed my eyes.
“Since His Highness was by my side, I felt like somehow overcome it.”
Damian raised his voice.
Yikes, that was quick-tempered of him.
I offered a half-smile.
Because what I’m saying now is exactly what Damian said to me eight years ago.
After bestowing the divine beast’s blessing, he told me the same thing when I was worried for him and inquired about his well-being.
I mean, could you blame me for worrying about him in the past?
Until not long ago, I didn’t know what it was like to be in this position…
‘I’ve realized there’s nothing more stupid than missing a given opportunity.’
So, I stuck out my tongue at Damian and teased him.
“You did say I did great, didn’t you?”
Damian gave me a stern look, seemingly wishing he could retract what he had said during the harvest festival.
This situation calls for a strategy of retreat, no?
“Your Majesty, the Empress!”
“Oh, my God, Charlize.”
When I ran to the Empress’ side, she greeted me with a smile.
“It appears that the two of you are thoroughly enjoying themselves.”
“Is that what it looks like?”
Damian responded with an astonished look.
Nodding enthusiastically, I conveyed to the Empress that she was right.
Naturally, the Empress raised her concern.
“At least that’s what it looks like to me, or am I mistaken?”
Damian evidently decided against speaking any further and chose to be silent.
Heh, you’re looking quite irritated right now.