Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
The man’s Staff begins to emit a bright light, gathering around the wound at his stomach. The man begins to heal, but healing a wound like that wouldn’t be easy to accomplish.
「Edi, Edi, I, I, what did I just, what did I do to you?!」
「Calm down. The wound isn’t that deep, so I can handle it. More importantly, what about you? Are you hurt?」
「Instead of worrying about me, you should be worried about yourself!!」
I yell at the man with tears in my eyes standing by his side. But he was awfully calm about this whole situation, wrapping his arms around my back as if I was a mischievous child who was trying to repent for her misdeeds.
What did I just do? Did I stab him? I look down onto his wound. Was I responsible for this? With my own hands?
While still holding me in his arms, the man looks in the direction of Klanven and the priest, coming closer to them one step at a time. The priest squeals upon seeing that and backs away, eventually hitting his back against a wall.
「S-stay away! You Goddamned black magician! Stay away from me!」
The priest took another knife from the depths of his robe and pressed it against Klanven’s throat, trying to use him as a hostage one last time. Seeing that, the man made an annoyed face, looking at Klanven.
「Your Highness. From now on I am no longer your bodyguard. Now, please protect yourself.」
At the same time, the magic orb in the man’s staff turned its color from bluish to red. SNAP! There was a loud noise and the bounds around Klanven’s hands and legs crumbled, as if fire was out to them. However, Klanven wasn’t burned and it seems that he hardly even felt anything. The priest, however, shrieked in panic, still trying to use Klanven as his shield.
Having his hands freed by the magic orb, there was a chain-like sound heard falling from Klanven’s sleeves, and in the next moment a small thing appeared in his hand, looking like a butterfly knife’s handle. With a single movement of his finger, Klanven activated the blade which sprung forth from the handle, and aimed it at his head, cutting off his hair just below the place where the priest was holding him. Beautiful platinum threads fell onto the floor.
Then, having escaped from the priest’s grasp, he put some distance in between them. Seeing this, the priest gasped and took a few steps back.
「–––– Goodness gracious, how are you going to make it up to me if I start to go bald because of this?」
Klanven said that is his usual laid-back tone while looking at the man, in reality not paying the cut hair any real heed.
「Please be rest assured, Your Highness. If push comes to shove, I can just formulate a good hair conditioner for you, which will help you regrow your hair.」
「Hee, you will? If it is something that a court magician whips together, than surely it is going to work splendidly.」
The priest who fell onto the floor looks at Klanven and that man, unable to comprehend what was going on here. How could they joke around like that while being in this kind of situation?
Then I heard something from behind. Looking back towards the wall where the secret door was located, there was a group of men in masks coming into the room without making even the slightest of sounds.
Some of them surrounded the sitting priest while the rest gathered around us, making sure that we were safe. Then, from the passage inside the wall, another person came into the room.
Wearing an indigo-colored robe with silver ornaments, his dark brown hair was gently falling onto his green eyes which reflected gentleness and uncommon intellect. I have met that man on few occasions before, although at that time he was wearing priest robes as well. There was no mistaking his identity.
The priest let out a voice full of confusion and surprise upon seeing this new person entering the room.
Yes, that is right. That person was none other than Heathrow, who was currently in a rather hostile relationship with Klanven, so instead of letting out sighs of relief, we could say that we were being thrown from the frying pan right into the fire.
However, contrary to our expectations, Heathrow first looked at Klanven with an apologetic look and then shifted his gaze onto the priest, the look in his eyes being ice cold.
「Galeus…… You have truly disappointed me.」
「Heathrow-sama, what are you saying!? I did all of this for you……!」
「Stop screwing around!」
Heathrow looked down on the priest with a force so great that even the bravest of men would fall quiet under its pressure. You could feel the tension in the air.
「You did all of that for me, you say? Then tell me: how a priest that tries to get rid of one’s enemies by force and drags innocent people in the crossfire benefits me? What kind of testimony does this give to our devotion to the words of our beloved Goddess? You did all of this for me? No, mister. You did all of this for your own, selfish personal gain.」
The priest called Galeus goes pale upon hearing those words, spoken in a calm and collected voice. The Shadows walk over to him and raise him up, dragging him away from the chamber.
「Please, wait, Heathrow-sama! Please forgive me! Heathrow-sama! I, I……!!!」
Not paying any mind to the stunned priest being dragged out of the room, Heathrow then turned to me.
He bowed down to me and when he raised his body he spoke to me with a gentle and calm voice. He bowed down to me again.
「Miss…… No, please excuse me. Miss Lancent. I am terribly sorry that you had to get caught up in all of this.」
「–––– Heathrow-sama. Please raise your face. Besides, it’s not me who you should apologize to, but rather it’s my husband.」
Even though I was being manipulated by that Galeus person, it doesn’t change the fact that I ended up stabbing that man in the gut. And no amount of apologizing was going to change that. He may forgive me for that eventually, but I don’t know if I am ever going to forgive myself for that.
I knew that I was to blame for doing that, but in my eyes Heathrow was equally to blame, for he made such despicable man a priest in the first place.
I realize that my words may have been stepping outside of my bounds, but after blinking a few times a gentle smile bloomed on Heathrow’s lips.
「I see. I understand. My apologies, Mister Agedilius. It seems that this incident has caused you some serious headaches.」
Having said that, Heathrow bows down his head yet again, this time in front of that man. I was surprised that he actually did that, and after looking at him for a while, that man puts his staff back into another dimension, as if letting Heathrow know that his apologies were accepted.
Then he simply nodded his head. It was a sophisticated gesture full of grace, the one that you wouldn’t expect from someone with a huge hole in their gut.
「Edi, umm, that wound on your stomach……」
「Don’t worry about it. I managed to close it up.」
The man drew back his hand to show me that the bleeding had stopped. There wasn’t even a scar left and his skin was as smooth and white as a porcelain.
We stood there for a moment as the man cleaned his glove and put it back on, and then Klanven walked towards us.
「Really now, thank you for saving me. If it wasn’t for you, I would have surely gotten stabbed out there.」
「I wasn’t really trying to save you. I was only trying to help Filmina, so thank her for not stabbing you repeatedly to the gut. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even bother with you.」
「My, my, what passionate words.」
The two men just stand there for a moment, looking at one another. That man’s stare was as relentless as ever, but even to that Klanven did not falter, looking as laid back as ever and showing us his usual warm smile.
That man speaks in a low voice, his voice teeming with anger.
「Would it really kill you to say a proper “Thank you” for once? Even Heathrow was able to apologize properly, so you should try it as well.」
「Let’s stop this for now. It’s neither place not time for that.」
「Edi? Your Highness?」
I still wasn’t able to understand why the two of them were acting with such animosity towards one another. Was it something that all men do?
Looking up at their faces, there was also a certain kind of beauty to that man’s anger.
「Yes, let’s. What’s important is that both Your Highness and Heathrow are here, so maybe they can work out their differences.」
「Your Highness, since Heathrow-sama is already here, why won’t you do just that?」
Both Klanven and Heathrow look at that man, his face looking as though he was telling them “You’d better do just that”.
…… Though it was obvious that it would be easier said than done. Both of them kept on glaring at one another, their gazes almost ice cold. Finally, it was Heathrow who opened his mouth first.
「I admit that this situation is entirely my fault. I just didn’t think that there were people amongst my faction that would commit such vile extremities in my name. I assure you that this man shall pay for all that he has done.」
「I was appointed to be the Executive Organizer of the Festival by the former High Priest. It was only natural that those who would oppose that decision would start to conspire against me upon hearing that.」
「For now we only know for certain that Galeus was involved in this incident, but there are surely others like him out there. We shall do everything that is within our power to root them out and make them face judgement.」
「So, well, does that mean we’ve come to an understanding?」
With that, the two of them gently bowed their heads to one another. It was the only real thing they could do in this situation.
I looked at the man’s face, who looked somewhat stunned upon seeing this situation. Before I could stop him, he had already opened his mouth to speak.
「…… If that’s how it’s going to be, then I demand to take Filmina back with me. Doesn’t it look like a perfectly executed plan, Your Highness? Filmina’s bracelet getting broken so that I wouldn’t be able to come to her side, using this room that only a handful of people know about, and the fact that Heathrow suddenly appears right now, when the whole plan went to hell? Isn’t that suspicious to you at all?」
「Hoho, now them’s some really stinging words. You shouldn’t throw them like that around elderly men like myself, lad, for I might die from them.」
「I would never have thought that Galeus would use Filmina like that in his dirty schemes. Personally, I thought that as a priest he would have a little bit more integrity than that. It was a misconception on my side, that’s for sure. No wonder we were never able to get along.」
「But still, those are just baseless accusations. A mere theory without evidence to back it up.」
I had a really hard time following the flow of their discussion. However, accusing someone of taking part in an assassination attempt was a serious matter. It would lay heavily upon the temple’s reputation. Not to mention that he was trying to kill Klanven in lots of different ways for almost a month before eventually turning towards good old stabbing with a knife. I look at that man’s stomach again and swallow hard. The sensation of a knife going into his flesh, it was still vividly present in my hands. I was afraid I might not be able to forget this feeling, no matter how much time passed.
And despite his words that everything was fine, I could tell from his expression alone that it was rather painful for him.
Klanven smiled gently at us again, probably not aware of the fact that for that man such gesture was more than infuriating. Me, I was just a little bit sad.
「When it comes to leading the festivities tomorrow, I think I’ll let Mister Heathrow here take care of that. Personally, I think it is too much of a bother for someone like me to do.」
「Your Highness, please don’t even joke like that. It would be simply too much for someone as old as me.」
「Trust me, someone as old and cunning as you will do just fine. I vouch for it.」
「Hohoho, I see that both your mind and mouth as sharp as ever.」
…… Now I was completely lost in that conversation of theirs. And it seems that Klanven was aware of the fact, because he turned towards me with his usual “Oh, that’s right!” kind of expression.
「This here Mister Heathrow used to serve here in this very temple before I came and took over.」
「It may have been a while, but I am still perfectly aware when it comes to the matters of the Temple.」
「Is-is that right?」
Looking at them right now, I felt that there was no use in trying to comment on any of those revelations right now, instead I left them to figure it out all on their own. But still, there was still some anger in me that a priest from the Temple was trying to manipulate me.
I suddenly felt very tired and felt as though I was about to collapse, but the man’s arm supported me yet again.
「Your Highness, Heathrow-sama. No matter the reason or circumstance, I am not going to forgive you for dragging Filmina into your childish quarrels. You’d do best to remember that.」
Even though the stare he sent the two was at absolute zero levels of cold, the two of them just smiled warmly at us, their gentle expressions never fading from their lips. It was at that moment, feeling the warmth of that man’s arms, that I realized that my consciousness was slipping into blackness yet again.