The Armored Girl and Her Friends from the Ceiling
The old castle Monette lives in may seem like it’s deteriorating given that no one’s cared for it in a while, but it’s still a well-constructed building.
It’s pretty convenient to use since there’s lots of space, and as it is an old castle, it has a unique atmosphere thanks to its olden feel. At night, you can see a night sky full of stars from the balcony, and in the morning, a refreshing breeze carries along the scent of the forest. If the path to the castle was properly maintained and the inside was cleaned up, it would no doubt become a fancy inn.
Monette was having dinner with Alexis and Percival in one such room of this castle, a large hall.
Naturally, her armor is still on. Obviously, her face is covered by her helmet as well. Her mouth is all properly covered up by iron, but she’s still eating in a dispassionate manner.
“… Lady Monette, how do you work?” says Percival, looking at her suspiciously.
“What do you mean by that?”
“How does your body work?”
“I will not answer any questions pertaining to sex.”
“What are you talking about?”
At Monette’s response, Percival’s brow furrows. It’s obviously an expression of confusion, but Monette just cocked her head to the side with a grind. She doesn’t know what he’s asking.
Regardless, Monette manipulates a fork with a silver gauntlet-clad hand and brings a mouthful-sized piece of meat to her mouth after dipping it in sauce. After she fills her mouth with the food, Percival and Alexis seem to be staring at her.
She doesn’t understand them at all. It doesn’t feel good to be stared at. Her hand naturally begins to tremble – the trembles reverberate through the gauntlet to the fork, which begins to slightly tap against the plate, making a tapping sound.
“It is rude to stare at someone while they’re eating.”
“Oh, I’m so very sorry. It’s just that the only thing I saw was a bizarre spectacle – a lump of iron absorbing food,” says Percival flatly.
Alexis, who was eating next to him, lets out a sigh at his words. He internally lamented about how his underling and the noble girl who resents him don’t get along well.
“Monette, I want to ask you how you’re eating,” he says, as if he’s acting as a mediator.
“How I’m eating?”
“Yes. We cannot see your mouth at all – and yet you’re eating normally.”
At Alexis’ explanation of what they found strange, Monette nodded in understanding. So that was what they meant, she thinks.
It’s true that it can’t be helped if they think it’s strange that her food is disappearing even though they can’t see her mouth at all. As Monette barely ever eats in front of others – in fact, she hasn’t for years – she forgot about how bizarre she looks when she eats.
“My armor was made in a special way. And I’ve also cast magic so others can’t see.”
“You’re very thorough,” notes Alexis. His voice was somewhat subdued, almost like he felt bad.
He probably thinks himself responsible for making Monette go this far. So in front of her thoroughly hidden appearance, he probably feels guilty.
And Monette felt no need to make him feel any better. She returned to her meal. She has no desire to tell him not to worry about it and saying that it isn’t his fault would be a lie.
So Monette continued eating, ignoring Alexis’ dispirited state. Perhaps worrying about Alexis’ mood, Percival spoke up to change the subject.
“Are there no maids in this castle?”
“Yes, there are no maids or even gardeners. Naturally, no guards too.”
“There really is no one but you, Lady Monette.”
“That’s right. I’m all alone. Occasionally people who are lost in the forest stay the night, but that only maybe happens once a month at most.”
“Oh, but my friends often come over to hang out,” Monette said, glancing up as if she had just suddenly remembered this fact.
“Friends?” Percival and Alexis spoke in unison at the unexpected statement.
Apparently it comes as a shock to them that an armored girl cooped away in the old castle has friends. Their reaction does make her fairly angry, but she tells herself that she won’t complain, calming herself down… then at the soft scuttling noise she hears from the ceiling, she looks up.
Speaking of the devil, it looks like one of her friends has arrived.
“Since you’re here already, I’ll introduce you,” says Monette, extending a hand upwards with an open palm. It’s almost as if she’s introducing someone on the ceiling.
But obviously, no one is there. Percival and Alexis look confused.
At that moment, a single spider smoothly descends down from the ceiling.
“This is my friend Robertson.”
The instant she introduces him, a shrill scream echoes through the hall. Alexis stands up, looking pale, and Percival draws the sword at his hip.
The two had become defensive in a moment. Monette glances between them and Robertson, making a clanking noise as she does. The way her iron helmet turns from left to right at an even tempo makes for a rather surreal sight, but sadly no one sees it.
“What is it? You don’t like spiders?”
“It’s a s – spider… A poisonous spider!”
“How rude. Robertson is not poisonous. Right?” says Monette, addressing Robertson. At her words, he slightly sways at his stationary position at a reasonable height.
A plump body and eight legs – he’s most definitely a spider. It’s true that his appearance may be frightening, but he’s not poisonous.
When Monette makes to tell the two of them that he poses no danger because of that, a second spider smoothly descends down from the ceiling.
“A friend of yours, Robertson? Pink and yellow stripes – what a fashionable friend you have.”
“It’s obviously a color scheme that means it’s poisonous!”
“How rude, Prince Alexis. No matter how fashionable its colors may be, that doesn’t mean it’s poisonous… wait, it is? It is? Apparently it is poisonous.”
“Lady Monette, please go take that spider somewhere else! The prince will be bitten!”
“Percival, you’re being rude as well. No matter how fashionable its colors may be and no matter that it’s poisonous, that doesn’t mean it’s going to bite… oh, it is. It is going to bite. Oh I see,” Monette says, now talking with Robertson and his fashionable friend.
Hearing that, Alexis let out a scream and Percival readied his sword with an even grimmer expression than before. The atmosphere from back when they were having dinner had disappeared.
“It’s alright. It looks like it doesn’t really feel like biting right now,” says Monette, trying to calm them down.
But Alexis, who has evacuated to the table, just shakes his head vigorously, still looking pale.
“Listen to me carefully Monette, my bad luck is out of this world…”
“Is that so.”
“In this past year, I’ve been bitten by non-lethal poisonous creatures once every three days!”
“It’s impressive that you’re still alive.”
He’s pretty tough despite his bad luck.
Even as Monette admires his toughness, she glances at Robertson and his fashionable friend. They had descended down from the ceiling with their silk and were still stationary midair.
At this rate, dinner would be put permanently on hold.
“I’m sorry Robertson, but could you and your friend go to the basement for tonight?” Monette asked apologetically, lowering her head.
Understanding her words, Robertson and his fashionable friend smoothly returned to the ceiling, climbing up their threads. Then they scuttled over the ceiling and the wall to leave the hall. They’ve properly headed off towards the basement. Monette mentally apologizes to them for forcing them to go to the basement even though they came all the way to the castle. She then heard Alexis and Percival’s relieved voices when they think that the danger has passed.
“If only Prince Alexis and Percival went to the basement instead,” she muttered unthinkingly in her helmet.
“I can hear you, you iron lump,” a resentful voice shoots back.