Paris probably thinks Caelion isn’t interested in such a childish contest.
It’s not even a formal competition.
It’s just a dirty play between Paris and his men.”
“Of course, it won’t be easy.
If you participate, they’ll use some tricks.
Whether you’re trying to injure him in advance or persuade the emperor to step down——”
Apollonia, who nodded at Uriel’s analysis, turned to Caelion.
“Have you ever fought Paris formally”
“At the age of sixteen, Paris always stopped by while training near Count Keaton’s estate, always asking me for a duel.”
“And the result”
“I was defeated.” He admitted without excuse.
As such, Paris was a brilliant knight.
“That’s good, then.
Take this opportunity to test your skills.” Apollonia finished as she leaned back on the sofa.
Thanks to Paris’ impatient cruelty, the trouble seemed to be dealt with for a bit.
I’m not losing against Paris in a one-on-one duel.” Caelion appealed with resentment.
She should already know just as much.
“Then this test is——”
“—all about your swordsmanship.
I also want to see some acting skills.”
Apollonia watched Uriel this time and he stared right back at her in response.
“We need to take this opportunity to do something else.”
“For a few years, Uriel had a hard time hiding in this palace.” Apollonia said as she picked up a refreshment close to her teacup.
“Now that the war is over and both of you have become more powerful, Caelion will not need an escort as much as before.”
“Sister, that means——”
Apollonia smiled softly.
Her sparkling blood-red eyes darkened as they usually did when she had a plan in mind.
“You must take this opportunity to move to the Star Palace, Uriel.”
In a short moment, Uriel’s face brightened but Caelion looked almost the opposite.
“I need him right now.” Apollonia briefly explained, putting her true longing for Uriel aside.
Disturbed by the idea, Caelion asked.
“Are you going to keep Uriel by your side If I give my knight to you, everyone will think it’s suspicious.”
“So You should use the plate that Paris had laid out.
It’s only possible if your acting skills and the ability to compete with Paris will shine together.”
She observed Caelion’s nervous countenance with interest.
Then, he pouted like a child who didn’t want to do his homework.
“My sister loves exams.”
He looked at Uriel, grumbling in discontent.
However, Uriel only shrugged his shoulders as if he had no intention of helping him.
He drank his fruit tea with a smile on his face.
Caelion, who kept complaining about the test, looked just like Apollonia, who was looking at the Emperor a long time ago.
* * *
“Next would be the gentleman, Count Damon Keaton, and Evangeline Riet!”
A sharp voice rang at the royal palace’s training ground.
A teenage boy, surrounded by hundreds of his fellow knights, hesitated to walk toward the center.
On the other hand, Evangeline came out as if someone had threatened her with a sword in her rib.
“This is Evangeline’s seventh round.”
The host, a close confidant of Paris, laughed.
The swordsmanship competition continued for a long time where the winner would face her new challenger, and it wasn’t fair at all.
Of course, everyone expected Evangeline to get eliminated after playing the first round.
But no matter what Paris instructed the contestants to do, none of them let her lose easily.
The multiple fights would just drain her strength to the point of exhaustion and that would be the cause of defeat.
When her opponent would throw his sword to declare his surrender, they would still try to cheat and attack her again.
Inevitably, Evangeline had to go all out.
From his chair on top of the platform, Paris watched the duel in satisfaction.
The young boy, who participated this time, didn’t look hesitant to deal with the exhausted Evangeline.
When he didn’t move forward, Paris’s cousin and also his close confidant, Duke Gareth Ripper, grimly pushed the boy in his back.
The boy swung his sword, avoiding Evangeline’s gaze, but the tired woman was still fast enough to respond.
He was well aware of this poor and cowardly game but he didn’t have the courage to refuse.
Evangeline let out a deep sigh.
She did try her best not to add to the little boy’s unnecessary guilt.
The spineless boy’s sword flew away in one blow and with that, the fourth round was over.
“In the spirit of this knight’s family, you brought shame to your sister, the Queen of Biern.”
In Paris’s sarcasm, Damon Keaton returned to the trudging crowd.
“Who’s the next challenger” Paris asked, smirking at Evangeline’s trembling ass.
She could hardly stand that she couldn’t keep this up anymore.