88. It was a Short and Long Time
Soon after we had won the battle against Baldur, the knights reported that Vincent’s army had successfully exterminated all the demons.
“You always make crazy requests…”
Vincent was complaining, which now seemed funny to me because I knew his actual personality.
That was right.
It seemed that Douglas had won, too.
“They were weaker than I imagined. Of course, the mother and child are safe.”
Douglas spoke to me through telepathy. I was relieved to hear that.
Afterwards, we discussed with Philip regarding the future of the spirits.
“I’m thinking of destroying this village and moving to a different place.”
“Eh? But, Baldur is already….”
“Of course, if I re-establish the barrier, the demons won’t be able to enter this village. But… they already know the location. The miasma seem to have also been the work of the demons. There is no guarantee they won’t attempt the same thing again in the future.”
Philip was right.
But I felt lonely.
If he were to move to a faraway place, would I be unable to cook for them anymore?
Perhaps being considerate of me, Nigel appealed to Philip.
“You have a point… but, what if there were a guard?”
“Indeed. I’ve actually been thinking about it for a long time. This forest is close to Vince’s territory. Vince could rush to this forest as soon as something happens.”
Nigel put his hand on Vincent’s shoulder.
“The knights and the adventurers in his territory are excellent. There’s also holy water, something quite effective against the enemy.”
“That certainly is helpful… but, is it really fine?”
The spirits possessed enormous magical power, as evidenced by how they managed to stop Baldur.
However, their combat skills were lacking. Hence why, they lived in hiding until now.
“Of course, in return, you’ll have to pay us. I’d like you to share your water and vegetables—what do you think?”
Vincent offered a deal.
Philip looked a little anxious.
“I understand. That’s a cheap price.”
“It’s a deal.”
“Thank you very much. I’ve burdened you, Nigel. As I thought, humans are our savior.”
It seemed that we had made a deal.
Nigel turned around and winked at me.
Afterwards, we returned to the royal capital.
The roof balcony of the royal castle.
From beside Nigel, we overlooked the cityscape.
“Yes. Baldur’s end was a bit regrettable. I wanted to extort more information out of him, but… he disappeared without a trace.”
It couldn’t be helped.
Rather than that, I decided to be proud that there were no casualties.
I stared straight into Nigel’s eyes, and continued.
“I need to get stronger.”
“Why do you think so?”
“I don’t want to keep on relying on others.”
Even that time, I couldn’t protect anyone. I put Philip and others in danger.
Without Douglas, I wouldn’t have been able to escape from that tower.
Without Nigel, I couldn’t have defeated Baldur.
Without Vincent, the aftermath wouldn’t have been that satisfying.
Without Philip, Baldur would have succeeded at decimating the area.
I couldn’t achieve anything alone.
“…Maybe that’s the case.”
Nigel didn’t deny my words.
“But the same goes with me. Without Eliane, I wouldn’t have been able to protect anyone.”
In the gentle breeze, Nigel’s hair was swaying.
“Hey, Eliane, could it be, you’re trying to carry everything by yourself, again?”
“There’s no need to do that, you know. I’ve always wanted to say this—I want you to rely more on me. Does that sound selfish?”
Nigel seemed troubled.
“I don’t think so. But, maybe, it is as you say—I was trying to shoulder everything alone.”
A person couldn’t live alone.
For a while, I wondered if I would be a fiancée worthy of Nigel.
However, worrying alone like that might have been a mistake.
I should have been more honest with Nigel.
“Let’s hold hands and walk together towards the future, Nigel. Again, thank you.”
“Yes, I will be in your care.”
I held Nigel’s hand.
His hand was warm.
I had been hoping for that.
I had been hoping for my relationship with Nigel to grow deeper.
Nigel put his hands on my shoulder.
His face was getting closer and closer.
I didn’t refuse and obediently accepted Nigel’s lips.
It may had been for a moment, or it may had been forever.
It was as if time had stopped.
It was a short—long kiss.
Eventually, our lips parted and Nigel looked a bit panicked.
“F, forgive me! I suddenly did something like that! But, when I saw your face, I just lost control…!”
Nigel’s expression was unusual.
Nigel, who always acted mature, appeared like an adorable child for some reason.
“It’s okay… I feel the same, thank you…”
“Well then, let’s head back, soon. If we stay in a place like this for too long, someone might get suspicious.”
Nigel tried to leave the roof balcony out of embarrassment.
“Please wait, Nigel. I have one more thing I’d like to say to you.”
Honestly, I was wondering if I should really say it.
But I had decided.
I didn’t want to shoulder everything alone, anymore.
—my words caused Nigel to open his eyes in astonishment.
The royal castle’s treasury.
In a dimly-lit room, there was a brilliant sword.
—it was almost time for the seal to be broken.
It was the old sword Eliane had received from Philip.
No one noticed its glowing radiance.
***T/N: Ah, and yet another attempt of the author to convince us that these two legit had something going on between them, and romance isn’t dead.
Please also consider donating to my ko-fi! It’ll greatly support me in action, no matter the amount!