Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
It was a young man, Yulifalet Lila Schtorenvihein, a young Hero chosen by the Holy Sword who defeated the Demon Lord. His green eyes were sparkling like a pair of gemstones.
Small wonder that the hostile girls fled the scene with their faces flushed crimson. Even though they didn’t have to know who the newly arrived man was, he was rather handsome. So much so in fact, that the heart of any maiden would skip a beat at his sight. He was almost like a genuine prince.
Last time we met, it was the day after my wedding, when he left the capital city for some time in order to return home. Both of us were members of a certain “alliance” of sorts, namely the one that would cause Agedilus some rather serious headaches. We were genuine friends and our relations were good and laid-back even. I honestly had no idea that he was coming back.
I wonder what caused him to come back here from his hometown?
Without being aware of my problems and dilemmas, the Young Hero smiled at me with a smile that would cause any other woman to grow weak in the knees.
「It’s been a while. How you’ve been?」
「…… Oh, yes, that’s right, so-so, I guess.」
I couldn’t simply tell him that I was cursed and almost died during his absence. I knew that he didn’t mean anything ill by that question, hence lying to him was making me feel all the more guilty.
「You seem to be doing well yourself, Yuli-sama. Why are you here in the capital city?」
「Oh? Agedilius didn’t mention that to you? It’s not like I came here of my own will, but rather I was forcefully brought back. Since I am the Hero who defeated the Demon Lord, they want to use me as a nice-looking ornament to decorate this festival with.」
「You saw Edi?」
「Yeah, I was meeting with him just recently.」
Now that you mention it, that man was not in his Edilka disguise today, but his normal self. He said that there was a reason for him to look like that and that he had to change back into Edilka as soon as that business had been taken care of. It must have been that meeting with Yuli.
Other members of the royal family must have also been present at this meeting, so it wasn’t really all that big of a surprise that he was forced to come back to the capital.
「Yuli-sama, while I am grateful for your help, what are you doing in a place such as this……?」
For Yuli-sama it must have been pretty overwhelming to have to deal with the royal family members in their full royal attires, not to mention knights and maids. I sympathized with him because of that, because I knew just how tedious that could be, especially with the festival right around the corner.
Hearing my question the Hero laughed, seemingly feeling refreshed.
「Don’t worry, don’t worry. Although I called it a meeting, it was a rather brief one. I will basically need to smile for a bit and swing my Holy Sword towards the crowd to get them fired up…… At least that’s what I thought. And since I had some spare time on me I thought I might take a walk through town. I didn’t really expect to meet you here, Filmina. Talk about a coincidence.」
「Again, thank you so much for your help.」
「Okay, we should probably get going now. Are you heading towards the Great Temple?」
As Yuli-sama wore his hood again, I picked up the apples from the ground and put them inside the basket again, and then we started walking towards the Great Temple together. Along the way, Yuli-sama took the basket from me and offered to carry it in my stead, saying that a woman shouldn’t carry around such heavy luggage. We walked in silence for a while before eventually Yuli-sama spoke to me from under his hood.
「I was getting the impression that Agedilius was really grumpy for some reason. Was it perhaps because you weren’t at his side, Filmina?」
He asked, looking over the clothes that I was currently wearing curiously. For some reason, I was finding that question very difficult to answer for some reason.
「Well, yes, I think that might be the reason, probably.」
「I see. That is a relief actually. I was thinking that he might have started to lose his cool.」
The Hero laughed inside of his hood, and as we continued to walk like that, we soon arrived right in front of the Great Temple. I bow my head before him.
「Thank you so much, Yuli-sama. What are you going to do now?」
「Think nothing of it. I want to walk around town some more, see some sights since the opportunity presented itself. While I’m at it, I also want to buy some souvenirs for my family and my friends.」
「If you ever need help with anything, then don’t hesitate to ask me. I will help you the first moment I have time.」
「Don’t worry about it. If I took you with me on my tour over the town, I am sure that Agedilius wouldn’t be happy about that at all.」
「…… I am so sorry……」
I was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to pay him back, but his words were very much true. Now, I know that Yuli-sama was a Hero, but would he have saved me all the same if we didn’t know each other?
Seeing how red my face was becoming, Yuli-sama handed me the basket with apples and after saying a brief “See you around” he was gone, disappearing into the crowd.
It was really nice of him to walk me back to the Great Temple even though he wanted to see some sights on his own. Whoever ends up marrying him in the future is going to be one lucky girl, and a whole lot of maidens would be left crying. Such is the fate of the Hero.
Deciding that I must thank him later, I show the permit to the guards standing in front of the Temple and go inside.
Compared to the outside world, the inside of the Temple was filled with silence and tranquility. Normally such silence would be suspicious and ominous, but after being outside with so many people, it was a nice change of pace for me.
With every step my shoes clash against the marble floor, making a pleasant sound. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t see anyone else since I came inside. The Temple had many priests and servants at their disposal, and with the upcoming festival they should have had their hands full of work. So why wasn’t anyone here? No matter how I was trying to wrap my head around that matter, I couldn’t think of a possible reason.
I stop in my tracks. From somewhere, I could smell a sweet fragrance. The smell was almost nauseating, different from the fragrance of flower nectar or freshly baked sweets. It smells of fruits that were so overly ripe that they could actually be called rotting.
Suddenly, my arm feels weak and I let the basket full of fruits slip from my hand and fall to the ground. But it wasn’t my arm alone. I could feel my whole body becoming weak and numb, as if something was sucking away all of my strength.
As the sweet fragrance envelops my whole body, the world before my eyes begin to spin around and around. My body falls to the ground and my head hits against the marble floor, but surprisingly enough I didn’t feel any pain. I couldn’t even feel the cold touch of the marble. My body feels heavy and my eyelids begin to shut, as the world continues to spin and I feel as if lead was filling up my body.
I lost consciousness before I could even realize it.
–––– When I come to my senses, I could hear someone talking to me.
I know that I must respond to that voice, but the sweet smell was getting in the way of my senses fully awakening. I know that voice that’s calling me. I was listening to this voice for so long during this month that I could recognize it at the end of the world. It used to be calm all the time, but for some reason it sounded really irritated right about now.
I tried to turn around, and then I realized that I was laying on the floor. I opened my eyes and saw Klanven sitting on the floor as well. He looked at me.
I try to respond, but my tongue still felt numb. Relieved to see me conscious, Klanven let out a sigh. Where were we right now? I don’t understand. I don’t know.
I look around the room where I woke up. It was so dimly lit that I couldn’t possibly see anything. For some reason my mind wanders to that time when I was kidnapped in the past and a similar thing happened, but I knew that right about now, it was not the same.
While still unable to move my body all that well, I shift my position so that I could look at Klanven. His long hair is in disarray, and although he was sitting down, it looks as though his hands were tied behind his back.
「Your…… Highness…… This…… place…… is……」
I try to formulate a sentence, one word at a time. My tongue gets tangled up and I bite my lips again and again. Klanven smiled gently, perhaps he regained full control over his body.
「A secret chamber in the Great Temple. Normally it should be used in case of emergencies, but as you can see, the circumstances are quite different right about now.」
Secret chamber in the Great Temple. I wonder if a place that is separated from the outside world by some sort of magical means, and can only be accessed by specific people or under specific conditions? But it was full of that sweet fragrance. I couldn’t shake it off of me. Both my mind and body feels heavy. Even though I knew we were in a pinch right now, it was alright. After all, the only thing I needed to do was to access the bracelet on my wrist and call that man. I understood that, but my body didn’t want to move at all.
「Filmina, are you feeling alright? I know it may be difficult, but try to……」
Klanven’s voice seemed to have come from somewhere far away, and while I was trying to listen to him and not fall asleep again, I could also hear the sound of some heavy metallic object being dragged on the floor. Klanven’s words stop. Looking behind me, there was a part of the wall that was moving, revealing a secret passage that was hidden behind it. There, from inside of the passage, a person came out and the door immediately closed behind that person.
「So, finally decided to wake up?」
The man asked in a cheerful tone. His robes were the same kind as Klanven’s, so he must have also been a high ranking priest at the temple.
His voice was strangely familiar for some reason. Maybe he was one of the people that were surrounding His Majesty the King? Klanven looked at the man with his usual stare while the man looked down on him, as if looking at some bug.
「Be glad, woman. No harm shall come to you today. You see, Klanven decided to kneel right before me and beg for it. So there you have it.」
「No…… way. Your…… Highness…… Why……?」
My eyes open wide as I turn towards Klanven. No matter what, I couldn’t just leave him here all alone. To do that would be nothing else but to abandon him. So why?
When I looked at him, Klanven looked embarrassed as he was trying to avoid my gaze.
Said the priest while suddenly directing his leg towards Klanven and kicking him in the stomach with full force.
Klanven’s body flies into the air and slams against the wall. I could only watch as he falls to the ground with his usual smile on his lips.
「I wonder how long will you be able to keep on smiling like that? Is that a way in which one acts in the face of the next High Priest?」
He stepped on Klanven’s back next, spitting on him at the same time. Certainly Klanven’s attitude was annoying, I would never go to such lengths because of that.
Especially since both his arms and legs were tied up right now. I could only look at this display of violence, and soon Klanven’s body stopped squirming and was just laying flat on the ground. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
The sweet fragrance was still present here. What was that? My head was getting dizzy.
Even though I felt like losing consciousness again, the smell was keeping me conscious. Ironic, but true.
Right before my very eyes, the priest draws a knife from the depths of his robe. It made a silent sound as it reflected the dim light all over its blade. What? What was happening here? I wanted to scream at the priest, but my voice would not come out. I wanted to lounge at him and stop him, but my body wouldn’t move.
I witness as the priest grabs Klanven by the hair and forces him to stand up. He then grabs him and forces him to face me.
「Woman. What would you say if I were to kill him now while you are losing consciousness?」
I tried to hold my breath, but I was unable to do even that.
Was he really going to slay Klanven? I wanted to stop him from doing that, but I felt as though my body was no longer my own, refusing to do as I wanted it to do. Why was something like that happening to me at a time like this!?
Edi. Edi. Edi. I don’t care what you are doing right now or where you are, please come to me! I don’t care if you’ll hate me for it or if you’ll scold me for it. I was so mad at myself that the only thing I could do right now was to call him here. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’ll apologize to you as much as you will like later, but please, save Klanven!
Then, while thinking of his eyes and thinking that he was the most important person to me in this world, I move my numb tongue and formulate my thoughts into words. My voice was small and silent, but it was more than enough to shake the air in this room.
「Help… me… Edi……」