The Bodyguard Knight’s Strange Midnight Activities
“Would you prefer to sleep on the floor in the great hall or in the wine cellar in the basement? You may also stay in a shed outside,” asks Monette.
Percival glares at Monette, his eyes so very sharp. In response, Monette sticks out her tongue in her helmet. Naturally, no one can see it as she’s encased in iron, but Percival furrows his eyebrows, sensing something. He has sharp instincts.
“This castle is big enough that it must have guest rooms.”
“Oh, were you not aware, Percival? Guest rooms are meant for guests.”
After Monette explains bluntly that they were not guests, Percival understands what she means. His eyebrows furrow further. But he probably realizes that they did barge in on her. All he does is glance at her with a dissatisfied expression. At his frustrated look, Monette does a little victory dance in her heart –
“Prince Alexis is tired. Please hurry up and take us to a guest room… a quiet room, where the floor won’t cave in, the bed won’t break, a bird won’t crash through the window, the night section of a tap-dancing club won’t hold their tap dancing competition on the floor above, and a surprise clown won’t accidentally enter the room because of the late night party held in the room next to us.”
“Have you ever stayed in a room where the bed broke, a bird crashed through the window, the night section of a tap-dancing club held their tap dancing competition on the floor above, and a surprise clown accidentally entered your room because of the late night party held in the room next to you?”
“… Don’t ask me that, it brings back bad memories.”
Apparently the examples he gave were just a small fraction of what they’ve gone through. Percival murmurs that they haven’t been able to sleep soundly for the past year.
The only thing Monette can sense from his voice is exhaustion. She does another little victory dance in her heart. Her imaginary self finishes up her dance by tracing with her feet the words ‘Serves you right!’ with a flourish.
Monette can’t help but cheer up at their sorry state. Feeling generous, she lets them stay in a quiet guest room where the floor is not caved in. It’s the room she lends to the very few people who stop by the old castle.
Naturally, the bed won’t break and the night section of a tap-dancing club won’t hold their tap dancing competition upstairs. A surprise clown won’t accidentally enter their room instead of the room next door where a party is being held. But well, as they are inside a forest, it’s possible that a bird may crash through the window.
“Prince Alexis, please use this room. Percival, you may use the room next door.”
“No, I’m fine in this room as well.”
“What’s the matter?”
“No, I mean, I understand. D – do not worry about it. I am fine with it so long as you wash the sheets yourselves afterwards.”
“Don’t show us consideration we don’t want. I’m a bodyguard, just a bodyguard.”
Monette is berated for messing around and so she sticks her tongue out in her helmet again. Alexis, looking tired at their back-and-forth, approaches the bed and verifies its make and softness.
“The bed legs seem sturdy – the bottom shouldn’t fall out.”
“Milord, what about the mattress and pillow?”
“Mm, looks like there’s no ticks.”
“Milord, I’ll verify under the bed.”
“No, it’s fine. There isn’t a man with a scythe or a woman with bloodshot eyes hiding under the bed this time around.”
“I’m telling you that you don’t need to– this time around!? People like that have hidden under your bed before!?” cries Monette, “What in the world!? That’s scary!”
Apparently they ran about quite a bit before coming to Monette’s old castle. At a certain inn they stayed at during their journey, a man whose wife was having an affair determined where the man she was having an affair with stayed. Aiming to kill this man, he snuck into their room by mistake. Another time, a woman stalking a man who had disappeared snuck into their room, again by mistake. From this trauma, they began to always check under their beds.
At their story, Monette is dumbfounded. This is enough to make even Monette feel sorry for them rather than think that they deserve it.
And so, she takes out a piece of parchment and a pen from the pouch on her waist and smoothly draws a cute kitty-cat with an experienced hand. She places the charm on the bed’s headboard.
“What a dreadful creature you’ve drawn… oh I see, you’re telling us to dream of being chased by this creature…”
“It’s a cute kitty-cat!”
“Look, Prince Alexis, half of this creature’s face has caved in. No doubt she’s telling us to go get our faces burned off in our dreams.”
“It’s a cute winking kitty-cat! It’s a curse ward!”
“A curse ward?” Percival and Alexis parrot in unison.
Monette lets out a humph and looks away from them. Though well, the sound of her humph is absorbed by her thick helmet – all they see is her suddenly looking the other way with a grinding noise.
On a side note, this cute winking kitty-cat charm is most definitely a curse ward.
Though well, despite being called a curse ward it doesn’t work indefinitely – it works for at most a half-day. And if Monette sleeps or goes away, the effect lessens.
Even with magic, there’s nothing that works universally no matter where you may be in the world. This goes double-fold for those of the House of Idira, who had nothing to do with magic for so long.
As she doesn’t know anything about who cast the curse or how it works, the only thing she can do is ward off the disasters as they come.
“Still, it should protect you enough to let you sleep soundly tonight.”
At Monette’s explanation, Percival lets out a small sigh of admiration and some slight relief, while Alexis’ expression softens… and he falls onto the bed like he fell unconscious.
Immediately after, his breathing slows, seemingly sleeping. He must have been very tired – in both mind and body.
“As that’s the way it is, I would suggest that you sleep in the room next door, Percival.”
“No, I’ll stay here,” Percival declines firmly.
Monette shrugs, thinking him obstinate, then leaves the room.
Two hours later, after finishing some research she had been doing in her room, she puts on her armor on top of her dressing gown and heads to Alexis and Percival’s room again.
On knocking on the guest room’s door, after a while, the door slowly opens. Percival peeks his head out.
“My apologies for interrupting your fun.”
“… Hm? What’s the matter?”
“Er, that is… I found a stronger curse ward than the one I used originally, so I thought I would swap it out for the new one.”
“… I see. Alright, then I’m counting on you,” Percival responds slowly, opening the door.
Monette had thought that he would glare at her and hurl an insult or two – what a disappointment.
“This is kind of disconcerting,” murmurs Monette.
But she still enters the room. She hears Alexis’ steady breathing as he sleeps. It seems like he’s sleeping really deeply – he’ll definitely sleep soundly until morning. At this rate, Monette just hopes that he wakes up in the morning rather than after it.
“With this charm, Prince Alexis should be fine even if he sleeps until the afternoon… Percival? Are you listening?” Monette asks.
After a ten second interval, Percival, resting on the sofa, responds.
“Yeah, I’m listening.”
From his slow response and the tone of his voice, Monette realizes he hadn’t been listening in the slightest. She glares at him. What a rude person.
But the next moment, Monette’s eyes widen. Percival is gesturing for her to come over.
Gesturing her over after ignoring her – how terribly rude. But Monette still approaches him… only to have her arm – or to be more precise, her gauntlet – gripped tightly to pull her forcibly into a hug.
Monette’s body… or rather armor is pressed against his chest. His sturdy arms envelop her.
“W- What are you doing!?”
“Lady Monette, you’re such a good girl.”
“… Excuse me?”
“You even researched for us – Lady Monette, you’re really a kind and good girl.”
“U- um, Percival?”
He pats her helmet with his large hands. Monette is bewildered – she has no idea what’s going on.
His current behavior is completely different from how he acted during the day. Not only is he saying positive things like “You’re kind,” and “Thank you,” he’s also embracing her and patting her helmet.
There’s no way she wouldn’t be shocked by this.
On a side note, although she’s being embraced, the iron armor doesn’t let any body heat through, so her heartbeat doesn’t increase in the slightest. Rather, the more Percival praises her, the colder Monette feels. From the slightly cold air, naturally.
“Lady Monette, thank you. You’re really a kind person.”
“Percival, please return to your senses!”
“You redid the charm for us too, huh? It really is a cute kitty-cat, you’re good at drawing.”
“What happened to you, Percival, are you going to die!? If you’re going to die, die somewhere else!” Monette screams.
But Percival continues to happily shower her compliments, ignoring her scream. He embraces her tightly and continues patting her on the helmet.
Fifteen minutes later.
“… It happens sometimes,” explains Percival. He’s sitting on the sofa, looking downwards, face covered with by hands. The air was thick around him.
“Sometimes?” asks Monette, standing right in front of him.
“… Like when I’m tired.”
“No, but the prince-“
“Sleep. Right. Now.”
Percival murmurs “A bodyguard…”, but after glancing at Monette he obediently heads to the room next door.
No doubt after coming to his senses and calmly looking back at his actions – a brief moment of clarity for him – along with realizing his wrongdoings at the sight of Monette, he decided to obediently go to sleep.
… After seeing Monette covered in fingerprints from all his patting.