“That’s right. I want to have my curse broken.”
To answer her question, Oscar casually explained what happened that night fifteen years ago.
Tinassha listened to him with folded arms and a frown, and when he paused, she sighed deeply.
“Why do you receive such a curse?”
“My father doesn’t talk about it; I don’t know the true reason. It seems to be related to my mother, who passed away before that.”
“…Is that so?”
For a moment, Tinassha narrowed her eyes as if she had realized something, but before Oscar could get suspicious, her expression had returned to normal. She unfolded her arms and gently poked at her own temple with an index finger.
“Firstly, I have to decline. ‘Curses’ are not always breakable.”
“‘Magic’ is structured and invoked based on common rules, but there are no rules for ‘curses’. Their wording… Giving random words a meaning decided by oneself and putting one’s power into those words, that is a ‘curse’. This applies not only for words, but also for other transmission methods like gesticulation. And of course, it’ll be different depending on the instigator… In extreme cases, if the countermeasure was not set when the curse was casted, even a practitioner won’t be able to break it.”
“Unbreakable. However, curses don’t hold that much power. The instigators interrupt and bend the flow of nature’s power by their own will to make curses, so they don’t have the power to directly kill people. They’ll work indirectly at most… Even so, it’s not impossible to avert their effects.”
Hearing that, Oscar tilted his head in suspicion.
“But isn’t this curse quite powerful?”
“Your curse has passed the limit of a curse. What was casted on you was not a ‘curse’, but something more like a ‘blessing’, or a ‘ward’.”
Seeing Oscar’s dumbfounded expression, Tinassha spread her white hands and shrugged.
“It’s a ‘blessing’. Basically, it was invoked like a ‘curse’, but the course of its power is different. By nature, it is to boost power. Here, depending on the caster’s talent, it can bring about something quite powerful. With its twisted effect, you, the recipient of the curse, or maybe the fetus, will be given and protected by extremely strong power. An ordinary woman’s body won’t be able to withstand that.”
Taken by surprise by something so unusual, Oscar was stunned.
The witch on his opposite side looked at him with pity.
“Err, in short, the conclusion is, it can’t be broken…?”
“If I can analyze what was casted, I can reduce its magical effect, but there are about twenty different things intertwined in there… Just as expected of the Silent Witch.”
Tinassha answered while staring at his chest with narrowed eyes as if examining something hard to see.
“I am really sorry…”
And the place was filled with an awkward silence
To break such an atmosphere, Tinassha stood and lightly clapped her hands.
“You’ve been through much trouble to come here, so I’ll also try my best.”
She said, and fetched a water basin from the back of the chamber and put it on the table. The basin had magical patterns engraved on it; the thin layer of water inside caught the sunlight and glistened.
“Is there a way?”
“There is a simple countermeasure.”
Tinassha sat down and held her right hand above the basin. The water rippled even though there was no wind.
“The problem is the mother’s body being unable to withstand the strength of the fetus’ protection force. So, we just have to choose a woman who is able to withstand that.”
“…It surely sounds simple. Is there such a woman?”
“Undoubtedly. There should be one or two on the continent… probably. I’m doing a search focusing on magic power and magic resistance, please ignore the rest.”
The scene of a forest, viewed from afar, began to reflect in the basin.
Oscar pressed a hand to his forehead as if to bear a headache.
“What if she is a married woman, an eldery woman, or a child?”
“It’ll be immoral with a married woman so nothing can’t be done; if she’s eldery, magic can help somehow… If it’s a child, you can just raise her up to be however you like! You’re a royal, so it’s normal to have a marriage with twenty years of age difference and such.”
Tinassha made up a smile and deliberately gave a cheerful answer.
“Anyway, please take this search positively.”
Oscar finally held his head with both hands, feeling a headache coming for real.
So this was the witch who was said to be the strongest.
But even her was probably unable to break his curse or found any other solution.
And yet, he still had to take all this “positively”… Oscar wondered, and suddenly came up with a particular idea.
“Woa, I’m surprised! What is it?”
“Why are you surprised?”
As if in response to her surprise, the water in the basin surged up and splashed the table wet even though her hand didn’t touch it.
“Having my name called is rare…”
“You said something like that when introducing yourself.”
Tinassha took a cloth from Litora and wiped the strayed drops of water on the table. She asked when folding the cloth:
“So, what is it?”
“Ah well, what about you?”
Not clear about what the question was for, Tinassha pointed at her own face with a puzzled expression. Oscar asked another question in response:
“Can you withstand the power of the Silent Witch?”
“Yes, easily, but… that…”
Tinassha finally understood the question, and her face quickly turned pale.
“Well, then it’s decided.”
Oscar leaned back into his chair and drained his cup to the last drop of tea. Opposite him, Tinassha had half stood up, her face was white as a sheet.
“It’s more certain than searching for some woman we don’t even know if she exists, or where. My wish as the champion is for you to come down from this tower and become my wife.”
“I cannot accept that!”
She slapped the table with her small hands. The leftover tea in her cup and the water in the basin surged violently.
“Didn’t you say you’ll try your best?”
“But there is a limit! Impossible is impossible.”
She was worked up; her face was pale and her eyes were wide. Oscar looked at her with interest.
“Are you actually married or something?”
“I have never been married.”
“Do you have a lover?”
“I have never had a lover.”
“It can still work with an elderly woman somehow.”
“It’s true that I’m old, but it’s upsetting to be called elderly! But that’s not the point!!”
Tinassha bent forward and smiled stiffly.
Cold sweat began to bead on her forehead.
“It’s not sane to let a witch’s blood enter the royal family’s. All your Ministers will be spewing blood.”
“I rather want to see it…”
As Oscar kept meeting her frantic resistance with lazy responses, the witch collapsed into her chair exhausted; she was at her wits’ end.
“Whether you look like Reg or not… Your personality is just amazing.”
“I’m a bad person.”
He answered nonchalantly. She glared at him, then shook her head and regulated her breathing.
“Anyway, it won’t work. If I accepted such a wish, I would have been your great-grandmother by now.”
Deep down, Oscar was quite surprised by those words.
But, at the same time, he was also strangely convinced.
Seventy years ago, his too naive great-grandfather had probably been mesmerized by this witch.
But she hadn’t accepted his proposal.
It was very different from the story about the King and the Witch passed down in Farsas; he was a little bit interested in what had happened in the past.
When Litoria brought a fresh pot of tea over, the two of them were still arguing.
Oscar was calm but hadn’t drawn back, and the witch was mentally exhausted; it was clear to see that.
“Ah, well, since you’ve been bad and not very obedient, I’ll tamper your memory and send you back to the Royal Palace.”
Having finally reached her limit, Tinassha sighed and casually said.
“That’s a very demon-ish statement.”
“You are the demon.”
Tinassha stood and held her right hand out in Oscar’s direction while smiling cheerfully. Something was gathering in that hand, and the flow of the atmosphere suddenly changed; even Oscar could sense that.
“Hey hey, I’ll strike back.”
Oscar also half rose up and drew his sword despite having maintained an easygoing stance. Seeing his sword’s handle, Tinassha made an openly disgusted expression.
“What, you just carry it around like that? It should be treated as a national treasure.”
“Such a thing should be used in actual.”
Under Tinassha’s gaze, the well-polished double-edged blade gleamed like a mirror. The handle was sparsely decorated with antique ornaments.
Akasshia, which was passed down in the Farsas Royal Family, was the only sword in the world with absolute magic resistance. There was a legend that it had been given by some non-human being, but the details were inconclusive.
Traditionally, this sword was carried by Farsas King in official engagements only, and there had been no records of it being used in actual battles in the past few decades. And yet, Oscar just casually treated it as his own personal sword.
Of course, it could be called the “natural enemy” of those who used magic. Tinassha, a witch, was no exception.
She hesitated for a long while with a bitter expression on her face, then lightly waved her right hand to dismiss the magic that had started to come into configuration.
“Ugh- Let’s discuss a bit more.”
“Absolutely. Let’s settle down.”
The two sat down again, and Litoria poured the tea.
“You’re too stubborn, too stubborn. Please yield a little.”
“I think it’s the same for both of us…”
Oscar was drinking his tea pensively when an idea suddenly came to him.
“That reminds me, didn’t you use to live in the Royal Palace for a short while seventy years ago?”
“For half a year. I did things like being on the battlefront, teaching magic and growing flowers. It was quite interesting.”
Oscar cocked his head in puzzlement; it was a life he somehow could imagine, but then couldn’t.
“Was that my great-grandfather’s wish?”
“No, it wasn’t.”
Tinassha closed her eyes and smiled.
From her tone, it was clear that she didn’t want to say what the wish actually had been.
Oscar slightly raised one eyebrow, but he respected her will and didn’t ask again. Instead, he expressed the wish that had come to him:
“Well, let’s do this: You leave this place for one year and live besides me in Farsas. That is my request as the champion. Can you accept this one?”
Tinassha stared in puzzlement at his unexpected request.
But if one thought about it, it was a considerable concession.
One year wasn’t long to her by any means. The nostalgic scenery of Farsas came to her mind; she had once lived there with humans for a period as short as the blink of an eye.
Tinassha unconsciously took in a deep breath.
When she exhaled, her heart had made the decision.
“Alright. I will come down from the tower as your guardian. For one year from this day on, you will be my contractor.”
Tinassha suddenly raised one arm and pointed a white index finger in the direction of Oscar’s brow. A faint white glow lit up on her fingertip; it drifted away and glided in the air, then sank into Oscar’s forehead. He curiously felt his forehead with his fingers, but couldn’t find any noticeable changes.
“It’s a mark. For now.”
The witch smiled and stood up. She raised both arms above her head and stretched to loosen her body, which had gone stiff after sitting still for a long time.
“If I leave the tower, I have to shut the entrance… Litora.”
As Litora left the room, Oscar also left his seat.
The sun had completely set, and its afterglow could be seen in the faraway mountains. He stood next to Tinassha and peered into her with a mischievous smile. She was considerably shorter than him.
“If you change your mind on the way, you can take up permanent residence in Farsas.”
And so, after about seventy years, the Blue Moon Witch made an appearance in history again as the guardian of the Prince of Farsas.
The tale about her fate began here.
“Razar! Get up!”
At the voice of his master, Razar jumped to his feet by reflex, and realized that he was in front of the tower, under the same shade where he had tied their horses.
“That, Your Highness… I seemed to be… climbing the tower… Is it night already?”
“Don’t worry about that. Let’s go back. Get up.”
Razar stood up, racking his brain for unclear memories. He untied the ropes that kept the horses.
“Do you feel like returning now?”
“Ah, the business is done.”
Thinking all this was strange, Razar pulled the horses after him and went back to Oscar’s side. He then finally noticed someone standing in the shadow of his master.
Noticing his gaze, the young beautiful girl smiled like a flower. She had the black hair and pale skin of an unknown country; her eyes were the color of the night and full of power. Razar was completely engulfed.
“Your Highness, this person is…”
“I’m a magician, an apprentice of the witch. I will leave the tower and live in Farsas for a while. Please take care of me.”
“She’s called Tinassha.”
He also hastily bowed back as she politely bowed to greet him. It was strange that she left the tower without any luggage, Razar thought. He pulled the horse to get closer to his master and whispered into his ears:
“The witch’s apprentice, so you met the witch?”
“Ah, I did.”
“So you weren’t eaten?”
“You’ll get killed, you know…”
Oscar got in his saddle and beckoned Tinassha. He began to say something to Razar, who looked worried, but then suddenly smiled wryly.
“Well, it was interesting.”
Oscar took the girl’s hand and pulled her onto the horse with a bitter smile.
The sun had fully set, and night was rapidly approaching.
Tinassha waved her hand lightly and a white gleamed of light floated up in front of the horse, illuminating the way.
Razar also mounted his horse and nervously looked back at the tower.
In the dim light, the tower’s door, which had surely been there, had disappeared. In its place was just a stretch of blue wall like its surroundings.