8. The Returnee Noble Lady (7)
“—wake up!!! What should I do if the enemy attacks—?! Moreover, shouldn’t I be taken to the Empire instead of the deck—!? The fact that the ship has stopped moving entirely—no way!! Does this ship only move through your magic alone—!? Hello—!? Is someone there—!? You said you would protect me! You said you would treasure me! Suddenly acting like this, what are you implying—!?”
“Wow, Little Lady sure is conjuring up a little storm.”
“You, stay out of this—!”
No matter how much she shook him, Hadith didn’t wake up. His face was pale, resembling a corpse.
…even after the ship had stopped, no presence could be felt.
In the brewing silence, Jill paled.
She was in the middle of the sea, aboard an immobile ship, with a useless Emperor and a snake-like dragon—this is the worst!
…This is all because I neglected gathering information!
Both Hadith and Rave were implicated of a criminal offense of some kind. There was a political struggle within the Rave Empire.
If she had inquired the situation properly with Hadith, then she might had been able to come up with some kind of plan. However, she was overly fixated on the fake courtship and the cake to even consider some sort of strategy.
“Well, lemme’ explain in honor of him. The reason why he chose a ship instead of, like, instant teleportation, is because Little Lady’s magic is unstable.”
“…I do recall him saying something similar, but I didn’t quite catch the meaning.”
“To make it easier, let’s refer to it as your soul—Little Lady, is this your true form?”
Jill faltered. Rave stretched his body to match her eye level.
“Your soul, and its vessel—your body, are gradually merging into one. Give it some time and you should be fine. If such a long-distance teleportation is executed before your soul has completely latch to its vessel, then they might separate.”
“I see… he didn’t use teleportation for my sake and was prepared to risk getting into danger…”
“…ah, sorry about that. He’s just an idiot who lacks self-control. This fool didn’t sleep a wink last night because he was too excited from being courted yesterday.”
…I see, he is that overjoyed, huh?
However, at the moment, she didn’t know whether she should be pleased or just plain amazed.
“This guy has a weak constitution. It’s because human vessels inherently can’t contain the intense magical power of the Dragon God.”
“…could it be, the reason Rave manifested himself is to lessen the burden of magic on him?”
“Roughly so. Well, we’ll continue our talk later. I’ll be the one to teleport you. But, I wonder where I should transfer you. This guy has many enemies, after all.”
“Wait, what will happen to him once I’m gone?”
“He already told you, right? That you should just leave him. He’ll be fine.”
She narrowed her eyes at Rave, expressing her doubts.
“It’s because we are monsters. That’s basically it.”
—a familiar line.
“—it’ll be fine, after all, she’s the Battle Maiden.”
“How reliable of the Battle Maiden!”
—what Rave had said just now probably carried the same meaning. The only difference was the word he used—monster.
To Jill, regardless of the fact that she was the Battle Maiden, and they, ‘monsters’—the words resonated.
No one would be leaving anyone, here—because they were all dependable.
“…I’ll do something.”
Clenching her fist, Jill made her way across the deck.
It might be too wishful of a thought to hope her child body would perform as well as when she was sixteen years old. Regardless of anything, she could only hope and move forward.
…This Emperor was trying to help me.
Shouldn’t that be a good enough reason to help and believe in him?
She moved Hadith and leaned him against the iron fence. She then tied him with a rope around the iron fence so he woudn’t fall off the ship.
During the entire process, Hadith opened his eyes.
“…Why are you still here? What is Rave doing?”
“I’m going to help you, Hadith.”
“You needn’t worry about me. I will protect you.”
His golden eyes retained their gleam. His eyes were fully awake now—they were round with a clear, wonderful, golden colors.
The same way they had gleamed when he dictated the massacre.
…I’m relieved that his eyes are on me and for an entirely different reason.
That was why—
—towards said golden eyes, she proclaimed once again.
“I’ve already said I’ll make you happy, right?”
Ton—she kicked the deck.
Jill softly floated and approached the ship’s stern. Now that they were headed to the Rave Empire, she needed a better view of the surroundings.
Teleportation magic manipulated space and time.
The magic that manipulated time—pausing it, rewinding it, and skipping it, was a godly craft. It couldn’t be used by ordinary people.
But—she inhaled and filled her lungs with air.
Then, she lifted up the stern of the ship.
…it’s lighter than I thought.
It seemed that she possessed the same prowess as her sixteen year old self.
She threw the ship with both hands as if throwing a ball.
The ship soared through the sky, going against the wind and gliding faster and higher than any bird crossing the sea.
She was worried that Hadith would slip off, however, she followed the ship and confirmed that the rope was still tied to the iron fence.
—precisely at that moment—
—a bullet pierced the air, heading straight towards her.
Jill swiftly evaded and reflexively attempted to unsheathe the sword at her waist.
…I’m unarmed, huh? Well, either way is fine.
She covered her hand with magic and caught the bullet, before crushing it.
This time, at this moment, the familiar scent of battle had reawakened her senses—
—the adrenaline rush—
—this is where I belong.
“Alright, prove that you’re stronger than me.”
Such was the catchphrase of the Battle Maiden, who frequented the battlefield.
Jill smiled dauntlessly and plunged herself into the bullet storm.
In the midday sky, there was a shimmering of magical power.
With his back against the iron bars, Hadith blanked as he stared at the development.
“My, my, look at the appearance of our Dragon Emperor! Who would’ve thought that you’re into rope play!? This is too much for me to process!”
“…Rave, tell me. Am I perhaps the one being protected right now?”
“…Isn’t that obvious?”
“…This, how unbelievable! My chest hurts!”
“Dying now would be a waste! This is where the fun starts!”
He knew that. That was why, he desperately wanted to stop the rumbling within his chest—but, he found himself unable to do so. What could this be, what had gone wrong?
“…No… it couldn’t be… She’s but a child, as such, I can’t—I mustn’t…”
“Did your health cause you to become emotionally unstable? Well, get well soon, you can do it!”
“But Rave, my entire body is hot, my mind is spinning, and everything feels fuzzy…”
“Huh? Are you perhaps being serious this entire time? That’s bad, what you were describing sounds like hell, not something part of this Dragon’s expertise!”
“Hell…—you’re right. It feels like hell, for my chest to ache this much…”
For a moment, her petite back overlapped with a glimpse of a supple woman’s back—
—is that her true form?
She was like the Goddess of Justice, descending onto the battlefield—she was too brilliant, he was almost blinded—
—I see, I get it now! What I’m feeling is—
“That’s your conclusion!?”
I’ll cherish and treasure you properly—
—that feeling wasn’t a lie.
She was the bride of the Dragon Emperor.
If he didn’t protect her with his own hands, only a miserable death awaited her—
—the miserable death of a tool.
**T/N: WOOOOOOOOO HE KNOOOOOWSSSS!!!! ok, it’s safe to drop all the pedhopilic charges against him, y’all. *motions towards the bush you guys can disperse too bunch of FBI leaves the bush