At night, the Bellas held their own feast.
They chose to celebrate in hills hidden by rocks and trees, building fires, cooking food, and playing and dancing to music.
Having never been free all their lives, they regained their passion in music and art.
Apollonia, who was invited without anyone knowing, had a chance to see the rare scene up close.
Of course, with Uriel sitting next to her.
“He called you, arent you going to come”
Uriel asked in a somewhat discontented tone.
His unfriendly gaze seemed to be directed at Tan.
“I only learned Imperial banquet dances,” Apollonia answered with a smirk.
Wearing a comfortable white skirt and long braids, she looked like a normal girl at first glance.
“How about instruments Dont the imperial ladies learn how to play instruments”
“I learned a long time ago from a very famous teacher.
But I only know how to play three songs.”
She spoke the truth.
In fact, Apollonia learned how to play instruments and how to appreciate music, but her fingers were not very fast.
Oh, come to think of it, she had never been good with her hands.
She didnt even learn swordsmanship.
As if to add fuel to her momentary gloom, Tan picked up the lyra and began to play.
His reputation of being a wandering poet was not an exaggeration.
His long white fingers danced over the lyra, sometimes sweetly and sometimes intensely.
The performance sucked people in even though he didnt receive formal lessons.
He was full of confidence, and emotions flowed freely.
“Good job! Thats my grandson.” The old woman smiled broadly and clapped.
Then she herself picked up a musical instrument and harmonized perfectly.
‘Wow, it seems like Im the only one who doesnt have that talent.
She couldnt help but admire them.
How easy it was to forget her position, the rules, and everything she had learned so far so naturally.
The performance ended, and some people dancing stopped for a while, too.
“A precious person is here today.” As the movement subsided, the old woman spoke in a clear voice, lifting the wooden cup.
The flames made her shadow shift and spread.
“The one who didnt forget us and even gave us a new life.” She pointed to Apollonia with her wrinkled hand.
A moment later loud cheers were heard.
Tanyas voice was particularly distinct.
The old woman beckoned Apollonia with a wink, waiting for her to speak.
More than a hundred peoples eyes focused on her.
It was the first time this had happened since she was nine years old, so Apollonia was bound to be a little nervous.
“How grateful we would be if our lord gave us a word of blessings before she returns to the capital.”
At the old womans earnest request, Apollonia slowly moved forward.
Once again, the cheers filled the air.
Her voice was low and somber.
The cheers subsided and everyone was listening.
“Id like to say something else other than a blessing.”
People were buzzing.
What did she mean by something else
“I… want to sincerely apologize to all of you.”
The words that she had prepared and practiced for several days came out of her mouth.
Apollonia felt her whole body tense.
The hill became silent in an instant.
Every single person listened to Apollonia.
“As you know, I am your lord who inherited Lishan from my grandfather at the age of nine.”
Her voice was shaking a little.
It was something she wanted to postpone but had to do eventually.
“It is my fault that I left you in Mason Diamanns hands, that I did not stop his tyranny, that I did not protect you from the natural disasters…”
Apollonia took a deep breath.
The next words were not easy to broach.
“Its the fault of my maternal grandfather, the previous emperor.”
The eyes surrounding her widened.
The royal family was treated like a god.
But the great emperor was criticized by his own granddaughter.
The Bellas, who were used to being called witches and sorcerers, were not used to receiving an apology from anyone.
Furthermore, they did try to rob the princess before.
“I shouldnt be excused just because of my youth.
Im ashamed for not being able to protect my people as the lord and ruler.”