|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
That was when the door inside me completely opened, and when it did, I somehow released the power that overflowed from it towards Vier, gently enveloping her in it, as though I had always known how to do it since the beginning.
“I am the cure to your ails— Heal!”
Enveloped in the light, Vier’s wounds instantly closed, while her ragged breathing slowly returned to a steady, stable pace.
“Healing Art?!! —You cur, you’re a shrine maiden?! Or a priestess?!!”
Bathed in the glow of the healing light, Huberta staggered back, her entire body covered in scorch marks as if she was a kindle exposed to fire sparks. Even her tone of voice had none of the leisure that she had earlier.
“Dangerous, you’re far too dangerous! I must destroy you here at all costs! Elsewise you’ll become the greatest obstacle to this Rose Princess’ second coming!!”
With her eyes fierce like a wounded beast’s, Huberta stared straight at me. I, on the other hand, was so drained from the repercussions of performing a healing art for the first time ever that I couldn’t take a step away.
“Eren, Bruno… I’m sorry, I can’t move, so please…take Vier away and go.”
“Don’t joke with me! As if I’d leave you behind!”
“What he said! I’d rather die than cast you aside to flee, Jill!”
My feeble proposal was shot down by the two. I appreciate the sentiment, I almost find myself crying even, but the situation was as close to hopeless as it got.
“Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho! How very laudable! Fret not, the three of you will become energy to this Rose Princess together! —Phantoms, circle them.”
Huberta, regaining her composure after realizing that I had no energy left, sent out instructions to the surrounding phantoms.
“What are you doing?! Do you not hear the command of this Rose Princess Huberta?!”
As she was rebuking the phantoms that refused to move, as though to stand in their response, a heavy rusty voice came coupled with approaching heavy footsteps.
“…a lowly ghost dares to claim the name of the Princess of the Roses, what absurdity. That name befits only for my beloved Princess.”
With them, came tremendous mana and intimidation that felt tangible even from a distance. In comparison, the mana of Huberta the specter was like a grain of sand in front of a mountain. As both the living and the dead were shivering under its sheer pressure, forgetting how to move or even breathe, the heavy metallic sound made its appearance, accompanied by freezing cold air blowing from the depths of hell.
“…knight?” Bruno’s impression upon seeing the appearance of the figure was, in a sense, not mistaken. He was a knight with a towering body over two meters tall, wearing thick black super-heavy armor that covered his entire body, carrying a huge matted battle axe that was seemingly capable of bisecting even a subdragon in a single blow. However, his bare face, which was peeking out from the helmet with no mask, was of a skeleton with eyes lit by a pale, shining glow of the will-o-the-wisp— in other words, it was an undead.
“A…a Death Knight?! Why’s someone like you in a place like this…?!”
Apparently, he was not someone Huberta called upon, as the specter was clearly dismayed by his appearance.
The Death Knight then turned his gaze to Huberta and her army of phantoms. And just like that— “EEEEKKKK!!!” The phantoms were all obliterated while Huberta had her dress all ripped, becoming quite unsightly.
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“You cur! CUR!! What do you think you’ve done to this beautiful mistress, Rose Princess Huberta?!!”
Huberta raised an enraged yell, releasing all of her mana, and was about to attack him when the knight swung his huge battle axe at the specter.
“Gah!! —No way… this one can’t possibly…” That one blow bisected Huberta in half.
“This mistress only… only wanted to start over…with her dearest one…” Right before she vanished into thin air just like burnt-out ashes, Huberta let out a grievous cry and, for some reason, fragments of her emotions —was it passion, attachment, or regret, it was something that bound her to these lands— entered my chest.
—He left me behind.
—He left me because I have grown old and ugly.
—If I regain my youth and beauty, he will surely come back to me.
—Why must they trap me here?!
—I am not cursed, this is but a magic art to regain my lost beauty.
—I want to see him. At the very least, I want to see him one last time.
(I see…so that’s how it is, Huberta. You’ve been bearing these thoughts for so long, they tortured you to the point of madness.)
A woeful sigh escaped me. I have yet to love someone so passionately, but will I someday understand an emotion like this, I wonder?
“What a lowlife, ignorant of even the manner to greet a knight. When I saw the gate restored and the nostalgic light of healing, I roused from my long slumber to bring my feet to this place once again, only to see a lowlife impersonating my dear Princess.”
The Death Knight, on the other hand, only cast an unimpressed gaze that he soon turned to me. Instantly, Eren and Bruno, who had no resistance to his deathly gaze, fell into a stupor on the spot.
“Eren, Bruno! Are you okay?!” I rushed to check their breaths and pulses and learned that they fortunately had only fainted.
“Dear me, I thought I had suppressed the ghast well enough…I must have made a mistake, as it has been long since I’ve been on the ground. My apologies. —Now then, maiden clad in black, may I assume that the light had come from you?”
The Death Knight, contrary to his appearance, spoke in an intelligent and gentlemanly manner, thus I nodded to his question. “Yes. However, what I learn is the art of witchcraft, and it was the first time ever I used a healing art. …Ah, my name is Jill. This one is Vier.”
When the Death Knight’s eyes fell on Vier who was sleeping in my arms, I almost saw their bluish flame narrow slightly.
“My… Is that not a Pet?! I never thought the overworld still has Pets around!”
“Sh-, she is a Pet. I received her from a peddler that my mentor is acquainted with.”
“Hoh. That sounds interesting. Oh, before we proceed, it would be unbecoming of me not to tell you my name when you’ve already told me yours. This one is Bartholomew, a palace knight of the glorious Crimson Empire, its prestige eternal throughout all of heaven and earth. My beautiful princess had entrusted me to guard the gate that was built here, and I was carrying out my glorious mission when one day the city was destroyed by a natural disaster of unknown cause. Although I managed to protect the gate, I had been in a slumber since. If it is possible, young maiden, it is fate that brought our meeting here, and thus I would like to ask you what has happened since I went asleep.”
“I don’t mind, but I still have friends on the outskirts of the town whose life energies were sucked out by the specter from earlier, so…”
“I understand. I will bring them to you. In the meantime, I suggest you build a fire and take care of your friends here.”
After saying so, the Death Knight who named himself Bartholomew walked in the direction I had indicated, his gait was as if he wasn’t wearing heavy armor. After that, with Bartholomew’s help, I gathered the four people and one Sirius around the fire and covered them with the blankets I had brought, leaving them to rest. Meanwhile, the Death Knight and I talked about many things.
The next morning, led by Regina who stepped out of the teleporter some time after I fell asleep, our group returned to the way we came.
Every last of us were looking a little pale, most likely from the commotion from last night (thankfully we were young enough to recover enough energy after a night’s sleep) and the one-hour berate from Regina regarding our careless behavior, and above all…
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“Good lords, you always, always find a way to bring extra baggage home.”
Regina’s spiteful gaze was directed at me and the huge armor that was running parallel to my emu. Bartholomew chuckled as he was running at a speed I didn’t think was at all possible for someone donning such super-heavy armor.
“Ha Ha Ha. Don’t pick on your apprentice too much, lady Witch. It was my sole decision to haunt Lady Jill.”
“You’ve been away for 35 years at least. Don’t you need to return to your nation?”
“I’ve already mentioned last night that it is my duty to guard the gate of transition. If so, it is only logical that I should be present when the gate is moved.”
His unwavering words were met with a look of bitterness and silence from Regina. In the end, it was decided that the teleporter needed to be brought back to the Superempire for overhaul and a new teleporter would be installed in the suburbs of the western frontier village. And since she was the one who made the decision, Regina couldn’t rebuke Bartholomew too hard.
“By the lords, you and your loudmouth!” Turning away, Regina spat out.
“Hey, hey, uncle knight! You think you can teach me the sword?!”
“Oh, you want to be a swordsman, boy? Very well, very well! A man learning the sword is a must! I shall see myself instructing you personally.”
Bruno was the only one in high spirits, whilst the rest of us were dismayed at the sight of a Death Knight standing next to us in broad daylight.
All of us sighed in unison, imagining the commotion that would ensue when this thing was brought back to the village.