Life as a Tower Maid: Locked up with the Prince - Chapter 228
…Did he already have enough power to do that now? Goosebumps ran down my whole body.
The feat of stopping time with magic was difficult for even an archmage. I read about it in a tome about magic.
Sighing, Albert walked towards me. He held the wrist of my hand that’s about to remove the bracelet.
“Albert, what did you just do?”
“I stopped time.”
As I thought, I wasn’t just imagining that time had stopped around us. Albert bit his lower lip again before answering.
“I don’t know what you’re about to do, but Master told me that if I see that you’re going to do something, I should stop you. Looking at you now, I think he’s right.”
Only then did I realize that the magical power to stop time was the gift he received from Emmett.
It’s impossible for Emmett not to know what I’d think while being by Albert’s side today.
He was the one who had seen me take care of Albert each and every day. Apart from that, he knew what it meant to have an ordeal, so there was no need to say anything more.
He gave Albert and I an opportunity—for the future Albert.
It was virtually impossible to immediately bring a full, crowded hall to order, but Emmett achieved such a feat here and now.
With his magical power to stop time around us, he gave me the opportunity to talk to Albert before I would have to make my choice.
“How long will things remain like this?”
“About ten minutes.”
Even if it was just ten minutes, it was a god-like ability to have stopped time like this.
However, wouldn’t this feat be enough of a clue for Albert to figure out who Emmett was? As my eyes narrowed, Albert let out a small huff and spoke.
“Master said that the hourglass is a gift that someone else gave him, and he’s been holding onto it for a long time now.”
With this, I realized that Emmett was still hiding his true identity from Albert.
He added this excuse so that his identity would not be fully revealed.
My ordeal, too, was something that I could not tell anyone else. Perhaps Emmett was in the same predicament.
In a situation like this, where it’s impossible to say that it’s an ordeal, how far could Emmett himself have explained his circumstances to Albert?
Albert continued to chew his lips.
“…He said that this might be the day that you’ll disappear.”
Holding my wrist tightly, he looked up at me as I was hovering slightly in the air. And in time, he spoke again in a firm tone.
“I’m fine. You said you won’t watch. Just don’t.”
While he said this, I recalled the expression he had earlier. I felt the words getting lodged at my throat, making me breathless.
“You’re not fine. I know that you aren’t,” I answered.
But Albert shook his head, staring at me straight, still. I found a strong will to live behind his gaze, one that I did not see as I had saved him from the lake.
“Above everything else, this is an opportunity for me to get out of my current situation.”
Albert came to this place not only because he had been invited.
Further, it wasn’t because of the pressure being put on him by the people who were obediently following Marquis Evnen.
Everyone kept saying that he could soon become a prince, so it’s impossible for the person himself not to notice.
He decided to be calculative about his circumstances. He decided to accept everything about the situation he had been thrown into.
“You told me to live, so I will. I need to do this if I want to live a better life, so I can endure this much.”
A vein could be seen on his hand with how tightly he was clutching my wrist. While holding onto me relentlessly, he stared up at me with such desperation in his eyes.
And, Albert begged.
“As long as you stay here with me.”
He still could not accept that I was going to leave. He was trying to find a way to keep me here.
Just like right now.
The hand on my wrist was like a chained shackle holding me down.
“I can endure this much for you.”
The gaze that met with mine was intense.
“You saved me from the brink of death and helped me find a reason to live. You can’t just leave me like this.”
I couldn’t say anything back. Taking a deep breath, I called his name.
Perhaps afraid that I would refuse him right away, Albert hastily spoke again.
“Whoever the man is that you’re returning to, I can be good to you. Even better than him.”
At that moment, the wind that had been blowing inside the hall stopped. The time that he had halted was beginning to start anew.
Tears seemed to well up in his eyes yet soon disappeared, leaving only remnants of his emotions.
He turned away from me and once more bowed before Belfort.
My broken string of rationality had been tied together again, reminding me of what I needed to do.
I recalled that moment in the future when Albert had begged me not to leave.
The guilt that had been induced by the disembodied voice died away. And as the young Albert in front of me realized what he had just done, shallow laughter burst through his lips.
His choice just now had saved my life.
If it hadn’t been for his words, I might have truly used my magic to alter the flow of his life.
And that decision would have changed Albert’s future altogether.
I wasn’t the only one who had saved the other. He saved my life, too. He held my hand as the ordeal was making me waver.
I pulled myself back together. Albert was done with Belfort and was now approaching the other nobles.
Thanks to talking to Albert, I was able to keep my head above water.
It wouldn’t be long after this that his life would truly become hell for him. As Albert walked towards Marquis Evnen, I couldn’t help but want to apologize yet again.
Looking pleased, Marquis Evnen nodded.
Even after Albert had passed through this hurdle, it was impossible for him to enjoy the ensuing banquet. People still kept their eyes on him, their gazes stinging.
Albert let out a deep exhale. He looked around and picked up a drink.
Most of what’s been prepared was wine, but he could get a glass of water once he asked a passing servant.
But the face of the young servant pouring Albert a glass was familiar to me. No, rather than calling her a servant, she was just a child.
The child was keeping up an illusory spell that most people wouldn’t be able to sense, making her appear like an adult servant.
I was still currently in a spectral state, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t being affected by the spell surrounding her.
The child, staring at Albert with exhilaration in her gaze, was a brunette who had light brown eyes.
Wait. Light brown hair and matching light brown eyes? I realized almost instantly.
The girl in front of me now wasn’t just someone I knew in passing.
It was the maid whose body I had once transmigrated into—the maid who had made a great contribution in keeping Albert locked up in the tower.
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