Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Just like that, a week has already passed since I began to serve His Highness Klanven. But for me it felt more than a week. For me, it felt much longer. During this week, just how many times was I asked about Edilka Vince by various people? Let’s just say that the fingers on both of my hands was not enough to count.
Klanven earlier said that “Someone is trying to take my life”, but for now the preparations for the festival were all going surprisingly well.
During that week, His Highness was very busy with various preparations and meetings with people responsible for many different things for the festival. Given that there were various people coming and going through the castle, it was only natural for His Highness Klanven to expect something to happen.
So far, for someone who was recognized by the people and the Great Temple alike, His Highness was doing quite well with all the preparations that needed to be done. So it was only natural for the people’s focus to shift more towards Edilka-sama and I.
Most of the look directed towards me were the like of “What is someone as plain as her doing right next to Edilka-sama?”. Contrary to the original intent, not many people in the castle knew that I was the wife of the High Court Wizard. And even if someone was aware of that fact, their only reaction was: “Really? There’s no way this can be right.” Thanks to that, the vast majority of ill intent was focusing on me rather than His Highness or Edilka-sama. A truly unfortunate turn of events.
Whenever His Highness or Edilka-sama weren’t around, I felt as though I wanted to scream as my heart was wriggling in pain and anxiety. Please forgive me for such behavior. There was only one saving grace. None of the people was bold enough to say any nasty things to me openly.
And surprisingly enough, the man himself didn’t feel all that pleased with all the praises he was receiving from everyone. It wasn’t as strong as hostility, but it was clear that there was some kind of tension between him and the rest of the knights of the Red Rose Court. The official position of the man was “The Guard of His Highness”, and it was truly an honorable title. Even the commoners were able to realize that guarding the king and well as High Priest was no small feature. And even if there were people who weren’t aware of that, surely they could acknowledge the daily dose of hard work that all knights been doing.
“They are just a bunch of posers.” ,“Are they really all that useful?”, “Aren’t they just country bumpkins in shining armor?”, there were of course opinions like that as well though very few and far in between.
As such, today we had some business to attend to in the Great Temple, and we were currently inside of the carriage that was on its way there. Honestly speaking we could have walked on foot, since the Great Temple wasn’t that far away from the castle, but as government official His Highness Klanven needed to keep up appropriate appearance.
It took us merely a few minutes of riding the beautifully decorated carriage to reach the Great Temple’s gates. When I looked out of the window, a whole lot of people were already gathered in front of the structure.
「What a crowd……」
「Nah, it’s more or less the same as always.」
His Highness says as if it wasn’t that big of a deal, and then he opens the carriage door and exits the vehicle without anyone’s help. While I was a bit scared of that crowd and their loud cheers, almost immediately there was a hand offered to me, helping me get outside.
「Now, Filmina, do you need a hand here?」
His Highness stood at the carriage’s steps and extended his hand towards me, as if I was some kind of princess or nobility. What’s up with that? Hand or not, I was hesitant to go outside, and accepting Klanven hand would go directly against my feelings. Was he doing that on purpose?
While I was hesitating to get out, His Highness forcefully pulled my hand and dragged me out. His behavior right now was so rough. Like that, I was pulled right into the light. Ahhh, as I shook in His Highness’ arms I lowered my eyes to the ground, because the intense light was hurting me.
「T, thank you very much.」
What else was I to say here? His Highness smiled brightly at me while he raised my hand to his lips and kissed it.
「You have such thin hands.」
I could hear shrieks of women in the crowd. Maybe they were the result of His Highness stepping outside of the carriage, or maybe it was something else entirely. All I know is that I want to scream myself.
「P, please stop messing with me, Your Highness!」
「Fufu, how can I when your reactions when embarrassed are so interesting?」
No, it wasn’t that I was embarrassed. That was not the case, but it was simply unbecoming of me to say that here. As there was a chill running down my spine, I had no other choice but to put my free hand to my chest and to simply laugh this matter off. Then I can feel it. A cold breath brushes against my neck. Looks like it was already too late.
I look behind me, at the carriage. He was standing there, similar to the Pandora’s Box, a box that should never be opened but was opened nonetheless.
「Edilka. You should have come out sooner, lad.」
His Highness was still smiling, not being afraid of speaking out the name of this walking natural catastrophe.
「–––––––––––– Yes, I should have.」
I heard his vague voice devoid of any warmth. I was afraid to look back at him. Finally, that man steps out of the carriage. He lands firmly on the ground, rays of sun reflecting in his armor and his blonde hair shining like gold. To everyone gathered it was a very easy to understand reaction, as the crowd almost instantly falls silent. But even so, the man’s expression doesn’t change.
Yes, it was still expressionless. You wouldn’t be able to read a single emotion of him. But I was able to understand. I knew that this small gesture must have hurt him pride as a man greatly, and I was breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about how this situation would develop later.
There was a stranger running straight towards us with a knife that he was holding in both of his hands. The believers that were present, as well as the priests and priestesses of the Great Temple started screaming. The temple knights tried to stop the man, but he managed to evade them and was getting closer with bloodshot eyes. Someone else tried to grab the stranger’s hand from behind, but to no avail.
「Filmina, watch out!」
I could hear a loud voice, and the next thing I know, someone pulled me strongly and I was hugged tightly by His Highness. In front of my eyes, I could only see white. It took me a while to realize that it was the pure-white of His Highness’ robes. Apparently His Highness shielded me with his own body, even though he was the one who was being targeted right now.
He may not look like it, but His Highness was surprisingly strong. So much in fact that I couldn’t move. I only managed to move my head just a little, to see the man with a knife about ready to strike –––– But then something else caught my eyes.
The assailant raises a voice full of pain as the sword strike was directed precisely at the knife he was holding in his hands. The assailant lost his balance and fell to the ground, and in the next moment there was already a sword pointing to his throat, held by the blonde knight.
「Hurry up and seize him!」
The man gave a short command and the temple knights appeared right next to him, holding the assailant down and tying him tightly with a rope. The assailant thrashed about in an attempt to escape, but when he realized it was all worthless effort, he began to shout towards His Highness.
「Let me go! This man is a low-born, unfit to become the high priest! He does not understand what it means to be bestowed with such honour and he does not get the suffering of the people!」
Judging by his clothes, the assailant must have been a vicar or assistant priest. It would be hard to imitate these robes and the overall atmosphere that was surrounding him. It was one thing for a mere commoner to commit murder, but for the member of the clergy it was simply unheard of. The guardian deity of this country was the goddess that blessed all life and took it away in equal amounts. Committing murder would go directly against the very nature of priests, against the very purpose of the Goddess they served. Even so, seeing that man right about now, spouting curses towards His Highness, his words about “the extremists aiming to take his life” suddenly became all too real.
The would-be assassin was taken away by the temple knights, leaving me in His Highness’ arms and with a man who sheathed his sword, and a crowd of people that was still stirred because all of the unrest. I stayed in His Highness’ arms for some more and eventually that man turned towards us. His eyes were seriously glaring towards us! Still glaring fiercely at me, Edilka turns to His Highness and speaks up.
「Just for how long do you plan to stay like this?」
Finally, His Highness’ arms relax and he lets me go. Free to move once more, I bow down deeply before His Highness.
「Thank you very much, Your Highness. Thanks to you no harm came over me.」
「Don’t sweat it, Filmina. Truth to be told, it would be a bigger disaster if something happened to you than if it would happen to me.」
Having said that, His Highness tenderly stroked my cheek, but I would like for him to say such things much quieter and not in front of such a large crowd of people. From somewhere amongst the crowd you could hear shouts like: “Long live His Highness Klanven!”, or “His Highness’ kindness knows no bounds!”. I really wanted to thank His Highness properly, but with such an atmosphere it was impossible for me.
And thusly, the first assassination attempt at His Highness’ life was thwarted without any casualties. Once the assailant’s weapon was confiscated and the uproar settled down a bit, the cheering resumed even louder, as the people cheered for His Highness’ kindness and profound wisdom. The world was truly a difficult place to understand.