The Sound of a Bodyguard Knight Falling
A moment after crossing the border, a darkness had spread across Alexis’s face, but this did not get by Gina who stuffed a loaf of bread into his mouth. The resulting flailing woke up Concetta who enjoyed eating the stuck out bread.
The combination was truly a splendid sight. In spite of this, Percival sat there stunned wondering where all the tension from before had disappeared to.
And so the horse-drawn carriage continued to run onward, making it possible to reach an accommodation before the date changed. Originally it was planned for us to stay a night inside the carriage, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
It is quite luxuriously built, but a horse-drawn carriage is still just a horse-drawn carriage. If asked whether I want to sleep inside it or on top of a comfy bed: the answer would obviously be the latter. Besides, if I stay inside an inn, I can enjoy a hot bath and eat my meal while relaxing.
I was thankful for the opportunity to relax…..but,
“Is there only one room?”
Percival was the one talking with the front desk clerk at the inn.
While listening to them talk, I took a peek at the registry book, and isn’t there an open space right there? If it’s for the night, they can’t deny that there is a room available, but on the contrary, it seems like we were lucky to get this room at all.
It seems that they were fully booked for the night, but a reservation they had had canceled a small time ago. There are two large beds in the room, so four people could easily sleep inside…..the shopkeeper was talking as if there was no problem.
Furthermore, he says that they will prepare a midnight snack for us and add in breakfast free of charge. He refuses to leave this one room open. A true salesman’s spirit here.
“It sounds like this was a room that four people had originally booked for the night…..”
Percival continued to try and persuade me, but I didn’t have any real objections. It’s still better than sleeping inside the carriage. Gina shrugged her shoulders, appearing to agree with me, but she was clearly more reluctant.
A slight relief came across Alexis and Percival’s expressions at our responses–probably because if the two of us did strongly object to sharing a room with two people of the opposite sex, they would have been the ones spending the night in the carriage.
Watching them both be so happy, I felt a grin spread across my face inside my helmet.
“No, after all I don’t want to share the same room as some men! Percival should sleep in the carriage tonight!”
“Miss Monette, I’m surprised you can make jokes with that helmet….”
“Percival, you can sleep on the carriage’s roof. Be careful not to trip over yourself as the road is a little tilted though.”
“…….the roof? Wait, is this retaliation for what I said the first time we stayed here?”
My smile became even stronger underneath my helmet as I performed a little dance in my heart for the first time in a long time with Percival glaring daggers at me.
Of course I am joking. If they were trying to force us to sleep in the same bed, I would have kicked them outside………..I would have felt a bad about it at least. Besides, we had slept over in the carriage several times before, so it is a little late to be worried about two people of the opposite sex sleeping in the same room.
“I’m sure that the roof of such a luxurious carriage would be extremely comfortable.”
My one-sided domination of the conversation clearly frustrated Percival.
I remembered the intimidation and sharpness in his glare from before, and it increases my sense of superiority seeing the frustration in his eyes now.
As my laughter echoed inside my helmet, you could see Percival tremble.
“……I’ll sleep well.”
“You can’t threaten me!”
“Threaten? I was just thinking that I’ll be a little more sleepy than usual tonight.”
“If you feel sleepy, then hurry up and go to bed!”
Laughing as if he was invincible–though his smile looked a little pained, probably because it’s heartbreaking using your own issues like this–Percival’s glare collided right with my own. Of course, there is a helmet making it impossible to tell that I am glaring at him, but still.
Meanwhile, Alexis and Gina were watching us after taking a long distance away. At the end of it, they both just shrugged their shoulders and made their way to the room without us.
Finish up the late-night snack quickly before creating a clear bathing order…….and hurry to finish any work that needs to be done tomorrow before our departure.
Then when it was time to got to sleep, I sat on top of one of the two beds and laid my helmet atop of the fluff.
As the clerk said, the room was set up with two large beds. It is a size that adults could sleep well on even if they were sprawled across, and it could easily be described as a quadruple bed.
If you fall asleep here there is no need to worry about the combinations.
“Monette let’s go to bed on this one.”
I looked up and nodded my helmet as Gina embraced me and started to stroke my armor. As a matter of fact, I will be sleeping with my senior witch tonight.
Based on that, “…….Is it alright for you to sleep with me?” I had to ask. After all, sleeping in the same bed with a large, clunky suit of armor would be bad for the body.
When I asked though, Gina let out a small laugh and tightened her embrace around me. She gave me a small wink before whispering to me, “I will sing you a lullaby.”
A bold declaration. I politely refused since Gina wasn’t going to bed right away, but I do wonder what kind of lullaby it would have been.
After we decided the wake-up time for tomorrow morning, I entered the futon alone.
It was Gina who was groaning early the next morning.
I slowly crawled out from underneath the bedding and fanned myself after peeling off the futon.
Compared to the mansion built inside the valley, this land and lodging was much higher in humidity and temperature causing sweat to pour down my back and making the futon cling to me.
Istarted to think about taking a shower….but while thinking about that, my gaze fell onto Monette who was sleeping right beside me.
Monette insisted on keeping her armor on in front of other people, and I insisted on the two of us sleeping together. As a result, Monette had entered the bed wearing all her armor. Although she complained that it was, “Hard to sleep,” in the beginning, she was able to sleep soundly throughout the night, even if she had started to stir after I woke up.
I stretched out my hand towards Monette and started to gently stroke the helmet of my junior witch covered in iron.
“Monette, I am going to take a shower.”
“Please enjoy your sleep even without me.”
I swore that the scorching heat was actually worse out in the middle of the room as compared to underneath my blanket. And I could tell Concetta felt the same when he leapt off of Alexis’s chest, following closely behind me as I made my way to the bathroom.
If it was with Concetta, I might try taking a lukewarm bath. Thinking about it, I picked Concetta up in my arms………..before putting him right back down when his fur started to cling to my sweat-drenched skin.
Then after awhile, a shadow rose up with a groan and a grunt from the bed next to the one Monette was sleeping in…….It was Percival.
I scratched my head several times with half-opened eyes and slowly got down from my bed. I picked up a cup I had haphazardly placed on my desk last night without turning on any of the lights and emptied the contents down my throat.
Then I tried going back to my bed……but I missed it and headed to the next bed over belonging to Miss Monette. I cuddled together with the sleeping Monette and gently tapped on the bed.
Monette, who had just gotten to sleep after being awoken by Gina earlier, slowly woke back up……and groaned with still sleepy eyes.
“Monette, I’m sorry I could only get us one room.”
“…….Next is Percival?”
“The best room aside, for all you’ve done for us, I should have at least gotten you your own room where you could take off your armor and relax. You can’t have a proper sleep in that armor.”
“……I have been sleeping just fine until now.”
“I won’t sleep at all in the carriage tomorrow. I want you to get as much sleep as possible.”
“…….Why……..Why are you waking me up like this if you want me to get as much sleep as I can?”
Regardless of Monette, who continued to complain and grumble, Percival continued to laugh and tap, tap, tap her helmet.
He wanted her to go to sleep as fast as possible, but his behavior was producing the exact opposite effect.
Eventually, Monette’s grogginess did outweigh her overall annoyance, and her voice did change from a constant groan to a resigned, “Good night.” At those words, Percival softly smile, placed his arm underneath Monette’s helmet, and quietly said, “Good night, Miss Monette.”
It was the so-called arm pillow.
However, Monette had no margin to complain about it at this point. Percival would return to sanity after fifteen minutes at most. Her best bet would be to ignore him and sleep for now, and when she was fully rested she could torment and curse him to her heart’s content.
Then of course, after fifteen minutes Percival was curled up radiating self-hate.
“I did it again…”
It was ten minutes of silent depression before I said anything.
Sanity had returned slowly like an incoming tide, but the self-hatred had sprung forth suddenly like a boiling geyser. I instinctively sighed while scolding myself; all the while my eyes dropped down to my side when I felt something pressing down on my arm.
It was, of course, a pile of iron armor. Miss Monette.
My eyes shot open at once upon realizing what I had done, staring at the arm pillow I had forced upon her. She must be really angry…… Thinking so, I hesitatingly called out Miss Monette’s name–prepared for the worst.
What kind of unspeakable curse will she unleash on me? Maybe I’ll get lucky and things will be settled with her punching me in the gut? No, she will probably make me simmer for a while and curse me after I have dropped my guard down. Even if she decides to go with all three, under the circumstances, I will have to just accept it.
So I steeled my heart and worked up my courage to speak up. “Miss Monette…….,” again, somehow Miss Monette did not answer or give one of her usual witty retorts. For the moment, she just continued to rest her helmet on my armor.
Is she so angry she can’t speak?
A cold sweat built up on my back and an urge to run away ran through my chest.
However, Miss Monette never responded to me no matter how much time past, nor has she moved at all…..Rather than being angry, could she be…..?
“No, there’s no way.”
Denying the possibility to whomever might have heard my thoughts, I carefully listened in to Monette’s helmet.
I was careful not to wake her up–just in case she was sleeping–because if I happen to wake her up–considering the improbable scenario where she is actually asleep on my arm right now–it would be hard for me to explain this situation, and me being head-butted by a helmet would be a fair response.
When I carefully touched her helmet, I listened in as carefully, and quietly as possible.
The sound of slow breathing.
Listening to it, my face instantly turned blue.
I was prepared for her to scream something right in my ear, but I heard something completely different instead. Gentle, quiet, slightly higher pitched breathing.
Staring down at Monette, I had completely misunderstood the situation.
I cannot see what is inside that silver-tinted ball of iron, and the whole thing looks ridiculous lying on its side on top of a bed underneath the covers. Nevertheless Monette was definitely asleep inside it.
Even when I called her name she didn’t stir, so she is pretty far under at that.
Right next to me.
With an arm pillow.
Shoulder to shoulder.
I could no longer breathe at that moment. I could still grunt and make this weird, choking noise, but I could no longer breathe in.
The moment that I realized Monette was sleeping on me, a heat built up and burned through my body. My chest hurt from my heart beating inside it like a church bell, and the breath I was finally able to take was hotter than a campfire.
Something sounded within me. It was a loud, clear sound. Like something falling somewhere. No, not somewhere. It’s because I knew exactly where this sound was coming from, exactly what this feeling meant, and that was why everything felt so hot.
That sound just now was the sound of falling in love……
It’s not really a sound but more like a vibration you feel through your entire body.
The iron made a gentle sound.
Monette had woken up and was frustrated that her armor was getting crushed, but the gushing emotion of the man doing it left him completely unaware to the fact.