Chapter 24 - Longing For Freedom
Rachel's mother had recently mention to her that she had fiancée and that it was the long thought-to-be dead prince of Crawford.
She was also informed that her mother was searching for the missing prince who could still be alive.
She was upset by the news. She didn't want her happiness to be decided by others and she certainly didn't want to marry someone she never met and know nothing about. But alas she doesn't have a choice in the matter.
Her parents loved her, but their decision was final. Such was the life of women born in noble families.
Their life is used to be traded for their family's interest. Being born in noble families, they enjoy higher privileges but also loses their freedom.
If she had a choice, she wished she was born to a common family. She didn't need such privileges as long as she had her freedom to choose how to live her own life.
Leon could see that Rachel was feeling down, but he didn't know how to console her under her servant's watchful eyes. It would feel awkward to do so.
He felt like they weren't really bodyguards sent to protect Rachel, but more like the eyes of the Duke to keep track of his daughter's activities. Leon smiled wryly at that thought.
Rachel and Leon's gaze met each other and understood they were thinking the same thing.
"Let's book a private room. It would be easier to read books without being interrupted." Rachel suggested. She was used to her servants arranging such things for her. It was annoying that the boys would flock to wherever she goes.
"Alright." Leon gave it some thought before agreeing. It would be annoying to read, while having a bunch of jealous eyes directed at him. His luck with women seems to be really good these days. Rachel was originally the only friend he had since the start of his studies at the campus. But suddenly now there's also a Lina and a Lynne, who he is now being used as a shield for.
They went to grab the books they wanted to read and headed to the private room reserved for them. Leon picked the [Discovery of Ancient Ruins] that he didn't get a chance to read last time, while Rachel selected some books related to archaeology.
The library occupied the whole building that consists of nine floors. Each floor had 8 private rooms offered for hire. They arrived at the 2nd private room on the 4th floor.
"You two can guard the door outside." Rachel suddenly said.
"T-this... doesn't seem appropriate... The lord instructed us to keep you within our line of sight." The servants refused after being startled.
"Where could I even run to from here? Besides how am I supposed to focus on reading with you two standing around?" Rachel argued.
"T-t-this...is..." The servants were put in a difficult spot. They gave Leon a glance. Rachel started frowning.
"...Never mind, just let the lady be willful for once. Please call us if you need us, my lady." They ended up conceding. After they left the room and closed the door behind them, Rachel let out a long sigh of relief.
"Was there a need to make things difficult for them? They are only following your father's orders."
"I wanted to feel some freedom even if it's just an illusion... say... did you really mean it when you said I was like a goddess that descended from heavens?"
"Umm... I guess so?" Leon wasn't sure where their conversation was heading.
"But I feel more like canary locked in a cage." Rachel had a sad look.
Leon thought he should try to lighten the mood.
"You could be a canary that was locked in a cage after descending from the heavens." Leon joked
"So, it wasn't the descent of a goddess but a canary?"
"Why do you have to separate the two? Can't a canary also be a goddess?"
"Pft~ I didn't think you were into canaries. I seem to be lacking appeal to a certain someone." She joked.
"Aren't you a canary?"
'What does that mean? He didn't deny anything. Is he saying that he likes me? Well... I don't dislike him... He... would be a better choice than some prince I never met.' She contemplated.
Leon was unaware that he created such an ambiguous misunderstanding. He thought they were still joking around.
"What's wrong? Why did you suddenly go quiet?"
"Can I tell you something?" She thought before asking.
"Uhh... yeah?" Leon was puzzled. It doesn't seem like he can keep up with a woman's thought process. But if he could perfectly understand woman then he might begin questioning his own gender. Just kidding.
The reason he wasn't charmed by beautiful women is because he had seen all sorts of beauties, back in the Divine Realm. People's appearances become more perfect, the higher they progress through their Divine practice. But he had to admit that Rachel was very beautiful despite not having any Divine practice.
Rachel began recounting her situation to Leon and started ranting about her grievance. Why did she had to marry someone she doesn't know?
"Thanks for listening to my protest." She felt like some of the burden on her heart was lifted after having someone to share her story with.
"Hahaha, the fact that you chose to share something like that with me means that you consider me a close friend." Leon was honored.
'Friend...? Idiot...' Rachel pouted.
"Huh?" Leon was taken back by her reaction. Did he say something wrong?
'Maybe she wants me to console her?' He thought.
"Don't feel so down. You said that the prince had been missing for almost 18 years. Maybe it would still be a long time, before he is found. Maybe he would never be found, or he is already dead."
Gasp** "Wow you just cursed the prince to die. The Queen could execute you for that if she found out... never mind, continue." Rachel interrupted before asking him to continue.
"Uhh... right." Leon awkwardly scratch his head. He was the son of the Divine Medicine King. He didn't need to be mindful of talking about other people as they would still smile back and bootlick him . But it's not the same anymore. He should be more careful with his choice of words. Wait... wasn't he saying so much nonsense to cheer her up to begin with? Leon shook his head.
"There's so many orphanages in the Lower District, it would be difficult to find the prince. For all we know, I could be the missing prince. I also came from an Lower District's orphanage." Leon shrugged his shoulders.
Rachel was astonished at the sudden possibility. Hope could be seen in her eyes.
"Don't place too much hope on such a slim possibility. The higher the expectation, the harder the fall."
"I think I wouldn't mind at all if you were my missing prince." Rachel smiled happily as she hugged his arm and said coyly.
Leon felt a shiver upon contact with her. He almost lost his self-control.
"You shouldn't act like that. I am after all, a man. What if I pushed you down and eat you?"
"That doesn't sound too bad. After all cooked rice can't be uncooked, right? Would the arranged marriage still proceed afterwards?." Rachel seem to be seriously considering such a dangerous idea.
"Hahaha... Your father would skin me alive." Leon sweated. His smile seemed a little forced.
He didn't have enough strength to contend with a duke yet. He wasn't stupid enough to pluck the dragon's whisker and arouse its anger before he grew sufficiently powerful. Otherwise we would be very tempted to do so.
"Hahaha! Look how scared you are. I'm just joking." Rachel laughed.
Leon smiled wryly as he wiped his sweat.
'You might be joking but I didn't find it all that funny.'
"Alright, settle down now. It seems your mood has improved. Let's read our book now, shall we?" They wasted enough time. He still wanted to read his book. He didn't wait for her answer as he began reading.
"Che. What a killjoy." Rachel grumbled cutely as she also open one of her archaeology books and started reading.
Ancient ruins. The continent they lived on contained many ancient ruins buried underground. Such was the speculation of the famous archaeologist, whom wrote the book. Although, they only managed to discover one ancient ruin in the remaining part of the continent they possess, they were able to come up with many speculations.
They weren't the first to live on the continent. There was a more technologically advanced civilization that had lived on continent before them. But for some reason, that advanced civilization had perished into the annals of history. From the relics they were able to uncover from the ruins, they estimated that the civilization had existed some many thousand years ago.
Reading to this point, Leon closed the book. There was too many miscellaneous information that he did not need to know about. He already digested what he wanted to know from the book. He understood how the medical equipment of the Royal hospital came to be. Mist hovering over his doubts were cleared.
Leon shook his head.
That technologically advanced civilization should no doubt be more powerful than the current one they live in. Yet, it still perished and became history.
It was probably the demon's work.. Leon couldn't think of a better opponent, who could've destroyed such a powerful civilization.