8.2 Worst Escort
The cheerful atmosphere dispersed in an instant.
Riol and Sharina took sharp breaths. As much as they despised the fact, they were once again reminded that this man belonged to the royal family.
“Y, Your Highness, Riol is just—”
—if she was going to be punished because of her harsh attitude, she was fine with it. However, if Riol was the one who must took the blame…
“I apologize profusely, Your Highness. However, she probably felt the need to protect herself, and without thinking straight, did her previous actions.”
However, before Sharina could attempt to shield Riol, Riol stepped forward.
“Ho…? She felt the need to protect herself, you say? What, was my magic going to fail, or something?”
“No, that isn’t what I was saying. What she tried to protect wasn’t her safety—but her heart.”
“What did you say?”
The air froze. What Riol had uttered just now was more offensive than doubting His Highness’ magical prowess.
“She’s afraid of heights.”
Sharina was also speechless.
“Didn’t she look nervous when she came to this terrace? She definitely closed her eyes when both of you were flying, right? Didn’t her face turn blue?”
“That, that is…”
Leonardo found himself unable to say anything against that. Certainly, what Riol said just now aligned with the actual reality.
—of course, in all actuality, Sharina was more scared of that man rather than the height.
“Your Highness, acrophobia is an irrational phobia of height. Regardless of how safe it is, the fear will always remain—it’s more extreme than anyone else can imagine.”
Riol’s full blown explanation on fear of heights even convinced Sharina herself that she was actually afraid of heights.
“B, but! Then she could’ve just said it, instead of using magic—!”
“She was probably afraid you would doubt her and fly farther to a higher altitude. In that instance, she probably thought she wouldn’t make it and chose to jump. As I’ve said, fear messed with her mind, causing her to use magic. Please pardon her, it’s fine if you were to punish this lowly me.”
Riol suddenly knelt down. Not even for a second did he hesitate, even if said action would soil his clothes.
It was very effective, as Leonardo appeared to be suffering a great blow. In his mind, he probably realized that the girl he was supposed to show gratitude to was deeply traumatized by his own actions. All because he was unaware of her fear of heights. No matter which perspective he was using, he was still the bad guy in this entire scenario.
Instead of punishing Riol, he should be thanking him—after all, Riol had prevented the worst case scenario from happening.
Nevertheless, even if Riol was correct, he was still just a mere Baron’s son.
Leonardo would lose his face if he were to bow to the likes of him. But, to punish him would also make him a tyrant.
—there was no way he would let himself look bad in front of the girl he loved.
“…raise your face. Forget this ever happened. Let’s go, Edward!”
With utter disgust, Leonardo spat those words out and immediately exited the terrace afterwards.
“R, right away, Your Highness—!”
The follower, Edward, who had become a jelly-like substance, struggled to keep up with him.
The footsteps grew fainter.
Sharina and Riol were the only ones left in the terrace.
“Riol, thank you very much, I couldn’t possibly—“
—he saved me again.
He prevented her from being capitally punished. Sharina stared at Riol, her eyes moistened.
She wondered, how many time it was already? That she would fall in love all over again for him like this…
An unexpected apology came out of Riol’s mouth.
“I’m sorry that I can only protect you in this way.”
Riol looked bitter as he clenched his already used up amulet.
“If only I was able to use wind magic, I could’ve stopped him from taking you—from causing you such fear. If I was able to use water magic myself, then I could’ve got to you without forcing you to use so much magic. Even better if I could use earth magic. Right now, I can’t even conjure up a simple fire magic to warm you up.”
As he spoke, Riol tried to conjure up a small flame on his palm—a small magic circle emerged, before immediately fading away. The already small fire turned into smoke in an instant.
Even though it was a beginner magic that anyone should be able to use—
—it was apparent that Riol lacked the magical power to trigger it.
“I am only able to use cheap amulets, and cheap words! I can’t compete against real magic!”
“But you can—!”
Sharina couldn’t bear to hear any more, and raised her voice.
“The Prince’s magic is great, sure! But has he ever used it to actually help me even once—!? Even once, has he ever tried to protect me with it—!?”
“Eh, no, but—“
“Riol always helps me, Riol always protects me! Your knowledge has saved me so many times, already! So many times, ever since the first time we met…!”
“…those are blood-sucking flowers. You’ll get burned if you touch them.”
Yes, she still remembered it vividly. Sharina didn’t know that the flower was poisonous—and magic had nothing to do with it.
“The weapon that you have, and the shield that you have—I guarantee that they’re much stronger than magic! I assure you, because I’ve been protected by you over and over again!”
Between his long, jet-black hair, his deep, green, eyes widened—
—they were exactly like stars that gently shone in the night sky.
“In addition! You can warm me up without using magic just fine, Riol!”
—Sharina enveloped his clenched fist with her own.
“When Riol holds my hand, both my body and heart feel warm.”
After a moment, Riol who previously looked like he couldn’t find what to say next—
—burst out laughing.
“I, I wasn’t kidding, you know!!! I’m one hundred percent serious!!!”
“Yes, yes, I know.”
Sharina panicked when she suspected Riol thought she was joking—however, apparently, that wasn’t it.
Her hand was gently being held in the palm of her precious person. That alone made her felt like she was soaring in the sky.
“…I’m the one who’s being saved.”
Sharina couldn’t hear what he was saying, but she knew it wasn’t anything bad. The transmitted warmth felt comfortable.
“Let’s go back. I’ll escort you.”
Sharina responded to Riol with a wholehearted smile. He held her hand gently all the way to the dormitory.
“This is officially the happiest day of my life!”
“Aren’t you exaggerating…—”
When they exited the terrace, they halted at the same time. There stood an unexpected person.
“Lady Sharina Clydea…”
A dignified, beautiful, voice that permeated her like freezing wind.
“There’s something we need to discuss. Would you spare me some of your time?”
…since when was she here?
The Rose Garden’s leader. A candidate to be Prince Leonardo’s fiancée—and also their fourth year upperclassmen. Rosalind Ariarose shot a furious glare at Sharina that somehow felt chilling to the bone.
***T/N: Dafak, that Prince Narcisshit is in love with Sharina? Since when? Must be when I wasn’t looking. MUST PROTECCCC SHARINA AND RIOL’S LOVE, CUZ ITS GENUINEEEE. dam yu Riol. Those words u utter right after the chaotic incident until just a while ago has successfully >access granted< to my kokoro.