Armored Girl and Cursed Prince’s Decision (+Bonus)
Rather than thinking up an entirely new plan, we would just use Ordo’s original plan while throwing two witches and a witch slayer at them…….was what the idea that Ordo proposed. And while he was calling it a proposal, his tone was assertive, and you could tell by his expression that he’d stubbornly stand by his decision.
It was Ordo who was in command of this house while the two witches, the witch slayer, and even the first prince Alexis were just guests in that house. He was quite clear about his decision of not just barreling through with Gina or my magic, so I just quietly sharpened my shoulders and nodded my head.
For Ordo, this was a battle over who would sit on the throne between him and Rodel. It would lose meaning if he were to win just because he had some witches and a witch slayer on his side.
I know that. However, we cannot just leave everything to Ordo either.
At this point, Rodel is one step away from being the king, and Emilia was right next to him.
If he were to get too close, Ordo would be hit by the witch’s curse. If he is trying to drag down both the king and Rodel, that would mean he is trying to directly interfere with Emilia’s ‘glittering princess’ status. It is impossible for her magic to not sink its fangs into Ordo.
And it’s not just witch magic that we have to be vigilant of.
This is the throne room of a large country. There will be more guards there than any other place in the country, and as soon as we show up there, each and every single one of them will draw their swords. Above all, Ordo had already repeatedly tried to assassinate the king in his sleep. If the guards so much as smell him anywhere near the capitol they will be put on high alert. The walls standing before us are looking more and more like a mountain.
So as Ordo continued to talk while comparing the map to a sketch he had of the royal palace, Percival mumbled, “The movement of the knights……”
“I know the movements of the knights. The actions they’ll take in case of an emergency, guard placement, everything.”
Percival was originally a knight that protected this country.
Therefore, in the event of an emergency, for example–the known traitor Ordo orchestrated an attack–he would have had to know what to do. His knowledge was something born from repeated practice exercises and the discussions he would have had when talking to his comrades who had also dedicated their sword and shield to the protection of the country.
How information should be transmitted in case of an emergency, how many people are place where, how the knights would move to best protect the king and prince….
Percival holds all that information, and he is going to give that to Ordo.
That was the ultimate betrayal to his country and the knights he once knew as his friends.
I watched Percival give information while pointing to different parts of the royal palace sketch with worried eyes……and pulled his sleeve just once.
His blue eyes opened wide and turned towards me. But I did not know how to respond to those eyes of his, so I redirected my gaze towards the map that he had just been looking at before.
“……separately, no, it’s nothing. Please keep going.”
“Well, that’s fine, but….Thanks for worrying, but I’m fine.”
“You’re wrong. There was just a bug on your sleeve, and I was trying to grab it.”
“Then you should give that bug you caught to Robertson.”
“No, Robertson is a genuine man who only eats things he caught himself.”
Percival smiled at the end of our ill-suited conversation, but his eyes inevitably turned back to the drawing of the royal palace.
There was no sense of guilt for betraying his country, and there was no sense of guilt for betraying his comrades in the expression he now wore. There was only the determination to live in those blue eyes of his, and when I saw it, a small breath got caught in my, and a tinge of fear stained my expression underneath my helmet.
He has also made his decision. No, he had made his decision the second he took Alexis from the palace, before any of us had even thought about it. At least, before I had…….
Thinking that much, I picked myself up. As Gina was, I diverted my gaze to the sketch and joined in with Ordo’s discussion about our strength.
“Although Emilia’s magic should no longer be able to affect Monette or I, it will still cause problems if it spreads to excessively. It would be best if we were to take as few people as possible to avoid Monette and I from having to protect too many.”
Too many people will get in the way, or so Gina was arguing while embracing Concetta in her lap. At the same time, “I shouldn’t expect any decent hospitality this time either I suppose,” was something she said to no one in particular.
However, as Gina said, attacking with a large number of people, would most certainly make sense unless there was magic present on the field. The more men there are, the more certain it will be that they will end up growing distant from Gina or myself. Even Ordo’s subordinates can be subjected to Emilia’s magic, turning them into enemies……anything could happen.
That is why the soldiers must remain close by to remain immune to the witch’s magic. That being the case, their movements will become inherently restricted.
“However, if we restrict our men, then the possibility for them to escape increases. In order for them to escape…there are escape routes they can take that not even the minister or I know about.”
“If we were to ever need to escape, my father taught me different ways to do it. There are at least ten……no, there are probably twice that many.”
The escape routes established in the royal palace are for the sake of emergencies, so the king naturally would not yet have told his son Alexis everything. Even when he was considered a good son and a good prince, there was always a possibility of something unexpected happening, so it is natural that he would hold some information back.
In other words, a king is a creature driven by suspicion, and this king most likely planned for even the event that Alexis would start a rebellion. This is the ideology that drives a royal family in control of a country.
“To prepare for emergencies is to suspect everything. Perhaps, Rodel is also different from Alexis and has learned of a different escape path that not even Alexis knows about.”
“Well, in case something does happen, Rodel would surely escape through a route that I do not know of.”
There is no way to block an escape route when you don’t know where it is, so we have no choice but to surround the royal palace.
However, if we did do that, then people would inevitably become distant from me and Gina, and then Emilia would appear…..
Worried about that, Ordo mixed in an, “It’s troublesome,” into a long sigh. There are numerous escape routes out of the palace, but we cannot just surround it. If we try to just forcibly push through with numbers, then magic would almost certainly turn some of our own men against us. Is there a more troublesome problem?
“And I really want to catch them alive if possible.”
“Stop that, of course I don’t have those kinds of emotions. It’s just better for us if we catch them than having them killed. That would be more convenient for me………however”
Pausing for a moment, Ordo raised his line of sight off of the sketch. His deep brown eyes were placed squarely on me and Alexis.
“My big brother of course, but it would also be best if we were to capture Rodel and Emilia alive as well. If that happens, what will you two do?”
Ordo’s straightforward question caught me completely off guard, and once more I took a short breath inside my helmet.
Obviously he is not so sentimental as to take our feelings into account for his plan. He wants to know our intentions in advance because he is worried. Worried that Alexis or I might lose our nerve and side with our family in the last minute.
I am a witch, and in the worst case, I could probably easily push Emilia away from Ordo in case of an emergency. Alexis himself cannot use magic and has no fighting power, but he does have Gina and Percival backing him.
“After all, I cannot expect you both to do something awful to your own family. As its king, I would like to return this country to the peaceful state it was in once all this is over!”
Going that far, Ordo would not be able to butt his head in next time.
He was aware of that. Ordo’s sharp gaze and wide open arms were shouting that that he had nothing hidden and spoke no falsehoods. Recognizing this, I took a small breath in my helmet…….,
“I……I will judge Emilia with my own hands.”
Yes, I answered while looking directly back into his eyes.
Listening to my reply, Alexis slowly closed his eyes and continued,
“I will not judge them……if they live and we catch father and Rodel, I will leave them to uncle at that time.”
Putting an end to things and leaving the clean-up in his uncle’s hands. In these replies of two extremes, Gina looked towards me with a bitter, yet relaxed smile while Ordo scrunched his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders while gazing at Alexis.
Aren’t these both two completely opposite reactions as well? However, only Percival was wearing a complex expression, silently looking between me and Alexis alternately.
“It’s good, Monette seems to be alright now. She has come to a proper decision.”
“That Alexis is useless; he hasn’t broken through his doubts yet.”
Afterwards, Monette and Alexis had ended up leaving the room soon after, and these were the words shared by Gina and Ordo while sipping on their wine. –By the way, Monette had gone for a walk with Robertson to help him find some bait, and Alexis had gotten caught up with Concetta and headed towards the bathroom.–
Of course it goes without saying that their words were due to the extreme replies from the earlier discussion.
Monette had said she would take care of Emilia herself while Alexis had said he was unable to and would leave it all to Ordo. The degree of resolve is higher for Monette……and so on. Anyone would feel that way as soon as they heard the answers from the two.
On the other hand, it was only Percival who was diverting his eyes in thought,
“I think the opposite is true,”
and said this.
“Opposite…..Alexis said he would not judge his family, so he would leave them to me.”
“So he still has sentimental feelings for my brother and Rodel. That’s the way it is.”
“…….no, surely, because he has no more information left to give, he is just trusting Lord Ordo.”
Alexis is irrelevant in the fight for the throne because he has already lost his right to succeed, and because he has become irrelevant, he has no grounds to judge his brother or father.
That’s why he is leaving everything to Ordo. Ordo is someone who is willing to scratch out his blood brother in order to sit on the throne. To capture them alive if necessary, and if it is unnecessary, to dispose of them immediately. Plus the punishment and treatment which Ordo would give would be much more esoteric than anything Alexis, who grew up in a greenhouse called royalty, could ever come up with.
If it was a decision based on that, there is no way that there was any kind of emotion in his decision to, ‘trust Ordo to take care of it.’
“I see. Surely, there is no way for him to object if I end up deeming a course of action necessary. That bastard Alexis, did he learn something from big bro after all…….”
Listening to Percival’s story, Ordo cracked a smile and started to laugh.
Perhaps Alexis’s decision was more cunning than he thought. His distorted eyes had grown grim, but they were still severely fun.
On the other hand, the feeling of relief that Gina had had faded.
Monette cut off the regrets she felt towards Emilia and the Idira family, and so she decided to judge Emilia as a fellow witch….. That’s what Gina thought, but Percival’s face was clouded.
“…….there was a picture in the old castle where Miss Monette lived.”
“Yes……It was a picture she drew with Emilia when they were both young.”
A picture of a ‘sparkling princess’ painted in a child’s hand. Lines that could not be drawn straight and colors that bled through the lines, it was something would only be called good as baseless flattery.
Monette had bothered to bring such a picture with her from the Idira home to the old castle. At that time, she moved to the old castle in order to escape from the weight of the royal palace and from her family. There would have been little that she would have wanted to carry with her.
What was necessary for her were the minimum number of books about witches and magic. She brought that picture with her to the old castle despite her arms being already full with those alone.
And she kept it for all those years, without decorating it or tossing it away.
Every time she saw it, she would have remembered the admiration for the ‘sparkling princess,’ and every time she held it in her hands, memories of her journey from the dissolution of her engagement to her current state inside a suit of armor would have popped up. Alexis’s words would continue to surface, a knife still lodged in her heart.
Still, Monette kept those memories with her sister on hand.
What can be said for this type of attachment?
And most of all, even though it is now known that everything was due to Emilia’s magic, Monette still wears her armor and is afraid to take it off.
Unlike Alexis who had decided to trust everything to Ordo, even if that meant the disposal of his family, Monette was still a prisoner held captive.
“…..That’s why Miss Monette wishes to judge Emilia herself. As a witch belonging to the same Idira family, and as an older sister, she has not yet come to a decision.”
“I understand. So it was Monette who needs to blow her doubts away?”
“Well, if that girl doesn’t make that decision herself, then she will be stuck in that armor forever.”
Ordo and Gina looked at each other with a serious look on their faces after Percival had finished speaking.
At about the same time that Ordo was muttering to himself, “Can I talk once?” the sound of knocking sounded in the room.
“…….I don’t know what’s going on.”
Alexis’s mind returned to the room after a knock.
Concetta swimming around in the large bath inside Ordo’s mansion was truly a sweet sight, and afterwards, Alexis returned to his room wrapped up in a wet towel…….to find Ordo sitting on his knees reaching out.
Besides that, for some time now this uncle has been patting Alexis’s head since earlier. In spite of this show of affection, Alexis’s face distorted into an irregular fashion and spoke in a lower tone of voice.
“Uncle, what do you want?”
“No, it’s just that you have grown more stronger than I thought. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever felt this type of pride well up in my chest.”
“It’s incomprehensible. Now, how about you call me Uncle Ordo just like you used to when you were a kid. Well, I was exiled from the royal palace the day after you called me that for the first time after that though.”
“Stop, old man, release me.”
Alexis had no idea what Ordo was thinking and just released some verbal abuse on instinct.
But for Ordo, such verbal abuse was–“A sign that Alexis is an even better student than I had imagined!”–favorably taken, even more so than if Alexis had called him ‘Uncle Ordo’ like he had been originally asked.
Speaking of Monette, who had come back to her room at almost that same time that the uncle and nephew were getting to know each other better…….
“Miss Monette, I will always stay by your side no matter where you are!”
Percival had sleepily barged into her room without her noticing,
“Just a little, I shall embrace Monette and heal her! Witch slayers should just go to bed quietly!”
and Monette was officially tired out from being sandwiched between Gina and Percival who were both trying to push the other one away.
Armored Girl Monette ∼ An extra story that didn’t fit earlier part 3∼
“Actually, Concetta used to not weigh much at all during the old days.”
These were the words Gina issued while stroking Concetta who was riding on her knee. Alexis listened to this gentle voice fondly reminiscing about the past with round eyes and a wide open mouth that no words came out of.
The current Concetta was far from thin, it would be more apt to call her thick. Of course, it was not a type of fat that would endanger his health, but a body made from a large amount of fluffy hair. Still, Alexis’s expression clearly showed he was unable to imagine a thinner Concetta……..and so the cat withdrew from Gina’s knee and stamped his paw down onto Alexis’s foot.
Was this a protest?
“I first met Concetta inside a forest. I found him on my way to the city, but no matter how much I called, he refused to leave the grass. He’d scratch the grass looking scared while weakly crowing.”
“Huh, I can imagine it with his present figure………no, never mind. Nothing is coming up. Please continue Gina, and stop hitting me with your tail Concetta.”
“At first he was intimidated watching me from the grass, but he eventually came out, and I petted him for a long time. But his fur was really stiff, and if felt awful to the touch.”
Wondering whether he remembered those days, wrinkles formed between Gina’s eyebrows as she continued to talk about Concetta’s fur.
Concetta is a long hair variety type of cat. It seems that he was abandoned by his lord, and became desperate while living in the woods where he was thrown out. You cannot keep a clean coat in such an environment.
The hair was tangled and stiff, and Gina’s hands became dirty after petting him…….From Gina’s point of view, Concetta was the spitting image of misery.
“So, I decided to take Concetta to my mansion. I told him that ‘Cats are meant to be fluffy.'”
“You told him?”
“I told him. He was convinced pretty easily with just that, and he diligently followed me to my mansion where he took a bath. I gave him some delicious rice, we started living together, and soon we started going out shopping together. I went out often, and because Concetta glows, it made it easy to walk…….and after awhile I noticed he glowed.”
That’s right, this child is capable of glowing.
……..Were cats meant to be able to glow?
“Gina, you should have noticed Concetta could glow the second he started glowing!”
“I think it was about three months of him glowing before I realized that the light was coming from him. Concetta absorbed some of my magic from my witchcraft.”
If Gina were to call him, Concetta would happily come with a loud ‘nya’. He would rub his fluffy body up against her feet and bring his nose up to her outstretched finger.
This is what comfort looks like. Besides, if he was blinking brightly, that would mean he was feeling good.
“When I was watching Concetta having so much fun and purring so loudly whenever I petted him, I became so enraptured with how cute he was that I never noticed he was glowing.”
“Is this also because of a witch’s whim?”
Gina laughed while stroking Concetta’s soft hair. Alexis watched her for awhile, and then his gaze moved towards something in the corner of his eye.
Towards Monette, Percival, and Robertson to be specific.
“Miss Monette, you are a good witch…….because I will sing you a lullaby, please feel free to sleep soundly.”
Percival was singing a lullaby while giving Monette a lap pillow,
“I wonder if I could drink something from this position……but I don’t want to risk spilling something in my helmet,”
and Monette thinking about taking a drink having felt the futility of resisting at this point, and Robertson who was blinking light while standing atop Monette’s helmet.
Needless to say, Percival had gotten drowsy a couple of minutes ago. Alexis sighed at such a sight and stood up from his chair.
“Monette, there is a straw here, so don’t try and drink like that.”
“I will not. Thank you.”
“Miss Monette, are you thirsty? Then I will help you drink.”
Trying to help, Percival stabbed a straw into a cup and held it in front of Monette.
In response to this, Monette looked dissatisfied and groaned, “I’d rather have it spray on my face,” from within her helmet. Alexis shrugged his shoulders and got to work on convincing the sleepy Percival that it would be better if he allowed Monette to drink herself.
Meanwhile, Robertson was still blinking but had moved down and was skittering across Monette’s chest plate.
Watching all of this from over her shoulder without saying anything, Gina laughed and said, “This is also part of a witch’s whim,” while holding Concetta close.