43. The Princess and the Prince
I was with Douglas while Nigel was with Ralph.
Cutting through the wind, we headed for the man who demanded for me.
“Hey! Douglas, aren’t you running too fast?! I’m really scared!!”
“Be at ease. You don’t want to waste time, right?”
Yes—! There was that, but—!
I was scared that at any given moment, I might fall.
“Ralph-chan! Nigel! Can you follow us!?”
“Of course. He may be a dragon, but if Ralph becomes serious, it’s nothing difficult.”
I wasn’t too sure because I was clinging to Douglas, but it seemed that Nigel didn’t have any problems.
When we first met, Ralph-chan let me ride him in the courtyard.
He was slow at that time, but now he was keeping up with us… as expected of a divine beast. He wasn’t merely fluffy.
In no time, we arrived at the destination—a forest.
Nigel dismounted from Ralph and called out to Adolf, the knight leader whom was waiting by the entrance of the forest.
“Y, Your Highness…”
The dandy uncle seemed to be really exhausted.
“How’s the situation?”
“There aren’t any casualties, yet. But the opponents are just too many. No matter how grave their injuries are, they keep attacking until they die. The ones who don’t feel fear are the scariest.”
“Being honest, the knights are being pushed back. Some troops have retreated to the entrance of the forest. For now, we’re still standing. However, at this rate, we may collapse all at once.”
Apparently, Adolf and his troops were fighting to the last minute.
Looking around, there were injured knights lying on the ground.
The healers were also working at full capacity, but they just couldn’t keep up.
“Nigel, shall I?”
“Oh, of course. I’m sorry, Eliane, but I’ll be counting on you again.”
“Leave it to me.”
When I stared at Nigel, he guessed my intention.
I extended my hand and casted healing magic on the surrounding area.
Then, the wounds of the knights whom had been suffering disappeared without a trace.
“Adolf, what about that man?”
While I was healing, I listened to the conversation between Nigel and Adolf.
“He’s still asking for Eliane, he’s screaming, ‘fake saint’ or something ridiculous like that, I wonder what…”
“That must be due to his confusion. What does the man look like?”
When Nigel asked, Adolf explained.
“I thought I had seen him somewhere… there’s no mistaking it. Hhe’s Alberto, an SS-adventurer of the kingdom.”
“What, Alberto? The one who is also hailed as the, ‘Dark Emperor’? Are you certain?”
Alberto… I had only heard the name.
“Yes, because he’s a greedy man, he has sometimes collided with my knights due to conflicting ideals.”
“I see, then the situation is not good. After all, we’re dealing with the Dark Emperor. Not to mention, he also has no fear… there’s no way we’ll let that kind of person take Eliane…”
I had finished healing the soldiers… what was Nigel talking about?
I broke in between Nigel and Adolf and stared straight into their eyes.
“Nigel, let me go.”
“Eliane, no, it’s too dangerous.”
“I mustn’t be a hindrance.”
“Is it possible for Eliane to take care of Alberto alone?”
Nigel’s question made me speechless.
I was a saint.
There was no way I could fight alone.
Therefore, if I were to go alone, high chance, I’d be killed.
I mustn’t falter, I thought. Tthus I squeezed my voice out.
“Hey, hey, Nigel, what are you saying? Isn’t it the role of the prince to help the princess?”
A stunned voice.
Looking back, Douglas was trying to pressure Nigel.
“That’s right, it’ll certainly be difficult for Eliane to face that man alone. But what if you were to go with her? Eliane will be able to imbue you with the blessing of the goddess, amplifying your power.”
Nigel didn’t seem to understand what Douglas was trying to imply.
However, as if God had bestowed an oracle on his person…
“…I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“Well, of course a foolish human wouldn’t understand. I wonder if it’s because of the wordings, basically…”
Douglas turned towards at the forest.
“My opponent is this one.”
At the same time, a huge monster appeared from the depths of the forest, crushing all the trees.
A figure that overwhelmed its opponent through a mere gaze.
I… Nigel, Adolf, and everyone else knew what it was—
When I first met Nigel, he and the others were about to be attacked by a Behemoth.
It seemed that the Behemoth managed to get pass them and was lurking in that forest.
“Even though our hands are already full…”
“For a Behemoth to appear…”
Seeing the sudden appearance of the Behemoth, the knights were terrified.
However, a single, fearless, man stood in front of the Behemoth.
“Hahaha! You guys are scared of this pig?! Well, if it were the opposite, it’d be a little boring—Hey, pig, entertain me.”
Douglas beckoned to the Behemoth, referring to it as a pig.
“Eliane, Nigel, leave this one to me. The two of you should proceed into the forest.”
“You’re still hesitating!? Make up your mind!”
Douglas lightly poked Nigel on the head and continued.
“I’m saying that I’m giving the role of the prince to you! Make your way and save the princess! Become a man who can fulfil a woman’s selfishness to her heart’s desire!”
Due to the blasting, Nigel became stunned.
When he lifted his face, his expression was clear of doubt.
“…Eliane, let’s go. It’s exactly as Douglas has said—I wasn’t determined. But now, I’m prepared to lead the kingdom and also protect you.”
Nigel unsheathed his sword and held it before me.
“I’m the prince of Lynchgiham, and also your sword. I want you to help me.”
If only the situation were different, he might have come off as very romantic.
I noticed he was holding his sword with both hands.
“I understand, Nigel—then I’ll be your shield. Let’s head to that stupid man and end this fight.”
He said he’d protect me.
But at the same time, it made me think—
—this person will never die.
Such a strong determination.
“Oh… Is Nigel, who is touted as the child prodigy of Lynchgiham, finally swinging his sword seriously? If he hadn’t been a prince, he would have been the youngest knight leader of his time.”
Staring at such a Nigel, Adolf exclaimed so.
“Eliane, Nigel, ride on my back—wouldn’t that be much faster?”
“Can you carry two people?”
“Who do you think I am? Ralph is a sacred beast. I’m not a mere dog!”
…I was reminded.
As we rode on Ralph’s back, I clung to Nigel’s back.
“Then, Douglas, I’ll leave it to you!”
“Douglas, this is the outskirts. You can fight with all your might!”
Ralph started running, trying to pass by the Behemoth.
However, the Behemoth wasn’t so kind as to overlook us—
It screamed and raised his leg to trample us.
“Your opponent is me.”
When its foot was about to be swung down, Douglas slid under it and caught the Behemoth’s foot with merely one hand.
“Because the saint has given me her permission, I shall return to my original form for the first time in a long while!”
It was Douglas’ voice.
Then, a scream occurred from behind us.
Without turning around, I could guess what had happened.
Douglas, who had returned to his dragon form, was probably trying to dig his fangs into the Behemoth.
Douglas had also said—there was no way that pig could beat a dragon.
Therefore, we could leave that place with peace of mind.
“It seems that everything will be fine, but who knows what might happen? We have to quickly get rid of the mysterious man and return to Douglas!”
“Yes! I agree!”
Riding on Ralph, we rode through the forest.
***T/N: What can’t that Nigel dude do at this point, besides feeding his sister veggies?
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