Warmth Accumulates Doubt
I could feel a gentle touch on my shoulder, a slight shake, and softly whispered words tickling in my ear. The voice soft and loving, in my half-sleeping state, I almost thought it was my mother for some strange reason.
“Blue, are you feeling better? We might need to move very quickly.”
Blue? Mom never called me nicknames like that before. I groaned opening my eyes slowly, my head still pounding a bit as I looked up seeing a beautiful girl standing by my bed and looking at me with a quiet smile.
“Mmm, Vi? What’s going on?”
“Red found us an inside track to the battle, but it’s likely going to happen tomorrow so we need to get there tonight. Do you think you are up for a ride on horseback?”
I try to sit up but the world begins swimming, forcing me to lie back down, trying not to throw up on her as everything continues to move around me. I give a slight shake of my head and regret it instantly as I swallow back some bile threatening to rise up.
“I’ll tell them to go ahead of us then. We’ll use magic and get there when you feel better.”
“It’s not your fault. You didn’t know about Mana drunkenness and Clarion should have known better than to push you so much the past few days with the cat form.”
“But should I be there to-”
“No. You shouldn’t. Rest now. Please go back to sleep. I’m sorry I had to wake you.”
I give a half-smile to her. She leans in to kiss my lips softly, I enjoy it for a few moments before she pulls away with a blush and looks toward the door. I sigh watching her fidget slightly nervous, though at the same time I’m glad she pulled away because I sort of feel like I’m committing netori on myself.
“Thank you, Vi. I’m still sorry I’m like this.”
She slips back out the door, letting me close my eyes as the quiet returns. I settle back into the bed and close my eyes. Drifting off into nothingness once again, feeling grateful there wasn’t any weird dreams or memories of the past me intruding for a change.
I looked up as Violet walked back down the stairs, shaking her head. Clarion sighed and gave a rustle of his feathers, half slapping me with his frustrated movements. I merely nodded in understanding, Blue had looked so out of it earlier I had a feeling he wasn’t going to be in any position to move soon after.
“He can barely sit up as it is. There is no way he’ll be able to ride a horse in the next hour. Much less at the pace, we would need to go.”
Allouise looked between us, this time we were trying to converse while keeping her in the loop, I must admit it is a bit odd trying to focus on speaking french while not reverting to English or Japanese. Turning toward Clarion she gave a half-smile.
“Well then the solution is quite clear is it not? The three of you should go on ahead and I will use my magic to bring Maitre to you after he has rested enough to stand up safely.”
Violet shot her a look, one of deep suspicions for her motives. I sighed, wishing I could keep out of this. Are you girls in a Shojo manga or something? Or because this is about Blue, is this a Harem comedy that we’re in and I’ve turned into the strong, quiet side-friend/rival of the Main Character. Wait a minute-
“What makes you so qualified to stay behind with him?” Violet asked with a huff, trying to stand up taller, which wasn’t exactly working with her 155 centimeters in height compared to Allouise’s 170 centimeters without heels.
“I have the strongest teleportation magic out of all of us. I also understand the dangers of Mana Poisoning and recovery. I can tell if he is strong enough to be moved when the time comes. My magic isn’t suitable for large fights, it’s much more attuned to charms, long enchantments or one on one dueling. I’m basically worthless against an entire army.”
“Why do I get the feeling that you will make sure he doesn’t have enough energy to move, Dark Queen of Fairie?”
It happened so fast I couldn’t react to it as Allouise smacked her palm across Violet’s face. Her eyes narrowed dangerously as she stood there, glaring down at her, both of them looking ready to start attacking each other in the middle of the inn. I felt glad that it was still early in the day and outside of the innkeeper’s wife there wasn’t anyone around to watch. Though I caught sight of her vacating into the backroom to get away from the impending catfight. Smart woman… I wish I was as smart as she was right now.
Aluoise glared back, tears starting to form in her eyes as she looked back at Violet, holding herself back, I could see that one wrong twitch of a finger would pit them at each other’s throats.
“I would never do such a thing to Maitre. If he was healthy and I could seduce him, maybe. But, even I know that kind of activity would only make things worse for his recovery. Not to mention potentially poisoning myself in the process. I’m not some salope chaude looking for baise rapide.
“And to clear something up, I’m only the Dark Fairy Queen because I killed all my sisters to keep the King safe. I never wanted to hurt my love. But everything I did for him was seen for the worst things it was. I pushed him to his wife because of my mistakes, that princess could have been my child if I hadn’t been so stupid and blind.
“Cursing his child was the worst thing I ever did to him. And even then I gave her a chance at happiness I never found. All I have left is Maitre, and I wouldn’t dare betray him for a selfish pleasure…,” her voice got quieter, almost a whisper that I don’t know if anyone else heard it. Tears sliding slowly down her cheeks. “I would only do those things if Maitre asked or demanded it of me, never for myself. I cannot trust myself with those things. Never again.”
Violet’s gaze softened as she listened, her eyes still suspicious but she seemed to be mollified a little bit now. The intense killing air had cooled down considerably. Clarion made a coughing noise and rustled his feathers in my ear again.
“She is right, VIolet-san. Ye aren’t strong enough to transport him to the army camp. And it’d be better if at least three of us were traveling. Red has no magic and mine is limited to very tiny amounts of support. Someone with magic would be invaluable to the journey to the camp, just in case.”
Violet shook her head slightly not looking pleased with the direction things were heading, walking back and forth between us and one of the nearby tables. She looks at me and Clarion, her voice switching to Japanese as she spoke
“You guys are forgetting that these two are wanted for assassinating the king. We don’t know how soon a rider might come bearing the news, or how quickly their descriptions will spread.”
“On that argument it would be better for both of them to get away from here as fast as possible, splitting ways until we can find a convenient time to join up again. Unless ye have a better option? A rewrite perhaps?”
Violet paused a moment and realized what she had just talked herself into as Clarion seemed to be laughing quietly, I could feel his whole body shaking rhythmically on my shoulder. Old man, I think you are starting to catch something you probably shouldn’t be playing in.
“Yes.. we need to rewrite them. And then I have no reason to stay, just like you want.”
“Ahh lass, I know you are attached to the boy. And as much as ye two have been through I can understand it. But ye are gonna have to trust yer ‘love rival’ in this matter. you’d only be an extra person she’d have to teleport and that could be magic she might need on the other side of this journey. I get the feeling she is far too innocent, even with her poor life choices, to do anything to him. Unless ye have reason to think that Blue would be more likely to act upon things?”
She blushed deeply and shook her head almost immediately before slowing down and looking uncertain for a moment. Clarion chuckled and shook his head.
“Girl, that boy had some opportunities to enjoy ‘literature’ before we encountered ye and he didn’t go through with it. He doesn’t want a story character. Trust in him.”
She took a deep breath and nodded her head with a sigh, looking toward the stairs longingly for a moment. She turned to Allouise and gave a slight bow, enough to be polite but still not surrendering a thing to her either.
“I may not think your motives are not entirely pure. But I do respect that you are correct and your heart is in the right place, wanting to help him. I’m sorry.”
Allouise smiled softly and returned a similar bow to her, accepting the gesture and returning one to show that she accepted Violet as her rival. Were female interactions always this cutthroat? I’ll make a mental note to ask Ariana when I see her again. Though I have a feeling she’d say something along the lines of ‘you haven’t dented the iceberg, Honey.’
With that now firmly settled, and the girls at least settling on a cold war if not a truce, Violet and I made our way to the stable and got horses for the ride ahead of us. She also managed to create a minor rewrite turning Allouise and Blue into a pair of traveling nobles instead of Warlock and Fairy Queen. I don’t quite understand the logic of how it works but as long as the Queen or the fairies encounter them everything should keep them from being caught if some traveling posse came through searching for them.
With Clarion still riding on my shoulder, we set out from the village, a half-hour behind the main group that had departed the village. Not that it mattered too much, even if we were behind we are heroes of the kingdom still. With everything behind us taken care of I now look forward to our next major problem. Baron Ran, just how stupidly powerful is this guy after all?