|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2312 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1221 words|
It has been a long time since I cast away my real name, now I’m just known as Shadow, a spy. When it was decided that Her Highness Luvias would leave the castle, His Majesty the King himself ordered me to follow her to watch over her movements. She believed she left the castle almost completely alone, but there were many other spies like me keeping watch on her 24 hours a day, she was still royalty after all.
I had already kept watch over her for a while since she arrived at Surfour. But she would only go from the governor’s castle to the training school and back, then whenever she had free time she would spend it training on her own, so watching over her was a really easy task.
Then again, the training curriculum of that training school was much stricter than I had ever imagined. The students would be subject to an inhumane environment where their physical and mental strength were pushed to their limits. Even if one collapsed they would be healed with magic and thrown back into the training ground, so running away was out of the question as well. I could not imagine even the elite knights of the capital being able to bear that training.
During her first class, she took a head on an attack from the Golem, under the increased gravity, which almost killed her. I had heard some rumors about Lapis, but I never expected her to be so relentless as to hurt a princess. What I had thought of as common sense until that day, had been shattered in a similar fashion as the golem shattered Her Highness Luvias’ bones and teeth.
At first, I wanted to jump in to help her, but an instant later my body completely refused to move as if completely frozen over. I felt an ominous, almost murderous stare fixated on me from above, it was Lapis, who watched over the training students from the air, and who I believed was oblivious to my presence.
I began wondering since when she had noticed I was there, but I quickly realized she probably had known me and the other spies were there all along since the start. On top of that, she knew why we were there and had allowed us to watch, but her earlier stare was a warning to not intervene.
I was confident in my own skill, being tasked with guarding the princess and all. But her stare made it clear enough that she was fundamentally different, that no matter who, and how hard they trained, no one would ever get to the same level as her. I feared her now, but I also understood she held no ulterior motives against the Her Highness Luvias, so after that, the other spies and I decided to just watch from the sidelines.
As the days passed, Her Highness Luvias became visibly stronger. I had heard before about how Lapis could make her students stronger in a really short timeframe, but I had always held some doubts until I saw how harsh her training is, after which anyone would become stronger whether they wanted to or not. After all, if they did not attempt to get stronger they would simply die.
One day I saw Lapis put Her Highness Luvias in charge of a certain request. A request for her and other adventurers to capture a gang of thieves that had been terrorizing the cities of the area recently. She had two companions with her, both of them Lapis’ favorite pupils who also lived in the same house as Lapis. Those two had defeated Leble’s heroes effortlessly, so if they accompanied the princess, she would be safe even if Lapis did not accompany her.
But there was still one slight problem, one of them, Ciel, was a magician who could also use Flight Magic just like Lapis. We spies pride ourselves on how quickly we can travel, but no matter how hard we run, we would be left in the dust against someone who can use Flight Magic. But when we were despairing the most wondering how we would be able to catch up, the problem simply vanished. Apparently, Her Highness Luvias was not going to fly there, but they would travel by foot. Her maid Sepia had personally relayed that information to us, so it had to be accurate.
Apparently, they decided to do that so she could experience the life of a regular adventurer, but I felt there was more to it. Lapis had decided that, so maybe she had done that in order to grant us spies a chance at observing her? Even if we never interacted with Lapis directly, I felt like she would do that much without asking.
A few days after the princess’ party left the city, they finally arrived at the designated forest. There appeared to be no complications on their way there, as they walked while happily talking with each other. When I checked the map, I saw that the forest was larger than I expected, even an entire city could fit inside of it with room to spare. If there was a gang of thieves hiding inside there, it would be quite hard to find them.
I was still wondering how they would find them when the magician Ciel began chanting some form of magic. A short moment later, I felt like there was magic power welling up around her, and then a sensation similar to something passing through my body. I did not have time to check what happened to me, as one of the three girls who had been chatting so carelessly earlier, the adventurer Karin, unsheathed her sword and darted straight to my location.
I somehow managed to keep myself from shrieking, but my spirit was still greatly stirred. I turned around to leave that place, but I could still hear her footsteps behind me. How did they find me?! I was supposed to be completely hidden here! Hearing how nimbly she navigated through the trees in my pursuit, I could only assume she had some way of sensing my exact location. I was supposed to blend with the shadows and watch over Her Highness Luvias from afar, so I could not afford to be discovered, I had to escape somehow-
Karin stood in front, sword pointed at me. She had somehow gotten around me. I tried to find an opening to slip past her, but I could not find a single one. She might not be as strong as Lapis, but Karin was still a formidable foe, or at least on a whole different level compared to me. There was no way for her to know who I was, so if I made one wrong move she would assume I was part of the gang of thieves and probably take me down in the spot. I hurried to let go of all my weapons trying to show I was not her enemy. She did not let her guard down, still staring at me while I heard two pairs of footsteps coming from behind. Presumably, Her Highness Luvias and Ciel had also followed me. This was truly the worst mistake I had ever made…
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