Section 6: Knight Tradition?
[Maculis]: “Well well, my oh my!! For you, to remember my name, I am all too honored!”
My brain wasn’t quite working right after unexpectedly being contacted by a high ranking noble.
Umm, since she’s higher ranked than me, this is the part where I’m supposed to bow right? Somehow everything I learned about how to do this properly slipped out my mind even though I just did it with Ashel-sama a moment ago.
[Rose]: “Good day to you Maculis-sama.”
While I was doing my best to knit back together the memories of something I had just done, Rose-san took a step next to me and greeted the marchioness.
(Ah, I see)
I remembered everything after seeing it performed in front of me. I imitated Rose-san’s bow in turn, but for some reason, it set off a round of laughter from Madam Maculis that made her whole plump body shake.
[Maculis]: “Well oh my, born a commoner, yet you remain this elegant! I will have to make sure my child follows suit! Ohohohohoho!!”
This…….am I supposed to be laughing with her, or…….?
My brain was once again overtaken by doubts and questions.
[Ashel]: “I was unaware you were coming Madam Maculis.”
Ashel-sama had been hanging back and walking with Saluena, but she quickly moved up to the front after seeing the marchioness.
[Maculis]: “Oh~ my, if it isn’t Prince Ashel.”
Thanks to the appearance of the prince, the marchioness’s gaze finally deviated off of me.
I thanked Ashel-sama in my heart, but not a minute had passed before Madam Maculis’s sharp eyes and purple eyeshadow were focused back on me.
[Maculis]: “My house and the Montifi earls are quite close. Grides-chan’s mother is my sister. I have doted on her since she was a little thing. So as her aunt, when I heard she had involved herself in a duel I knew I had to come and cheer her on no matter what!!”
[Iris]: “Yes, of course you would.”
So I’m the person who beat up your cute niece right in front of you. I have a real bad feeling for why you’d want to expressly call out to me.
[Maculis]: “Calvafon-sama. I was very impressed. Without lifting a finger you managed to completely shut-down Grides-chan’s hard-earned skills!! And without getting a scratch on you as well!! It was as if I were watching art in motion!! Calvafon-sama, you are just what I would expect from the dragon-slaying hero and the witch chosen by the Goddess!!”
Uwah, amazing. The pressure is amazing. Words keep flying out of her mouth so quickly there isn’t any room for me to say anything back.
[Maculis]: “You simply must stop by my home the next time you have an opportunity!! I would be more than happy to welcome you and all your friends!! Ohohohohoho!!”
As soon as she was finished saying what she wanted Madam Maculis spun on her heels and left as if it were a matter of course.
The other nobles spread out around us were stunned, but it didn’t look like she cared at all.
[Carol]: “Was that a declaration of war?”
[Toslin]: “I’m not sure…….nobles are weird. At the very least, if we do as she says and visit her, there is a non-zero chance we’ll end up stuffed into sacks and beaten with bats.”
I let out the breath I had been holding in, and after overhearing Toslin and Carol whisper behind me, my shoulders fell as well. It was a conversation that only lasted a minute, yet I feel way more tired now than I did after the duel.
[Ashel]: “Madam Maculis is a considerably shrewd noble. You should be careful not to be alone with her Iris.”
I obediently agreed to Ashel-sama’s advice for the time being. Not that I think such a situation would ever come up of course. I am fortunate in that everyone is almost always by my side.
[Ashel]: “She is also a noble outside of my father’s faction. If she ever says anything to you, come to me or my father straight away. Okay?”
[Iris]: “A-All right……”
Ashel-sama’s eyes were warily watching Madam Maculis’s back as she left.
I feel like I’m getting my first glimpse into that noble word Grides-san was talking about.
[Milius]: “I saw your duel this morning Princess.”
The light from a lamp hanging down in the church’s dining room shone off a knight’s beautiful and long black hair. The name of this black-haired knight was Milius Luotung.
[Grimm]: “I saw it as well. It was a splendid battle with all the danger taken right out of it. I was truly impressed by our princess.”
Next up was Grimm Lanselva whose golden ponytail shook alongside her playful tone.
[Iris]: “T-Thank you very much…….”
I’m currently sitting inside the church’s dining rom. It is around 8 o’clock at night. After leaving school and finishing our preparations for tomorrow, I decided it would be best to eat with the Goddess Knights who are always spending their days escorting me.
However the number of places that can fit fifty people for a meal is limited, so Marie-sama was gracious enough to allow us to eat at the church.
[Iris]: “Hey, can I ask you something?”
[Milius]: “What is it Princess?”
[Grimm]: “Ask away Princess.”
[Iris]: “What’s with all the princess talk?”
It’s something I noticed this afternoon.
My mind went blank for a moment when I suddenly realized Luotung-sama had started calling me princess.
At first I just figured my mind was playing tricks on me, but a little later, Lanselva-sama did the same thing.
It’s been bugging me ever since.
[Milius]: “What do you mean Princess?”
[Grimm]: “Princess means Princess, Princess.”
[Iris]: “No no, wait wait, please wait. That’s not an answer.”
Today’s meal prepared for us by the church sisters――a mixed seafood platter made from fish called hatapani brought up from a southern region. And instead of enjoying it, I am currently trying to nip an embarrassing bud before it sprouts.
[Milius]: “By the way Princess, you will be diving into the dungeon beneath the castle again tomorrow right?”
[Grimm]: “May we come with you Princess?”
Oh, this is……that. They’re trying to change the subject to distract me and force through the name change.
Since they’re my knights, I held myself back and didn’t object to them using ‘sama’ with my name, but I’m confident that being called princess will be more than I can handle.
[Saluena]: “That’s no good”
While I was trying to figure out the best way to put a stop to this once and for all, Saluena’s voice cut into our conversation from the other side of the table.
[Saluena]: “You both are still lacking in ability. Our destination this time is what was once Oshunel’s stronghold. We have already confirmed the presence of several spirits who have regained their primordial power, and it is quite likely there are other more powerful enemies further down. We cannot bring you to such a place.”
[Grimm]: “But Captain Saluena, what about the rest of us……”
Lanselva-sama’s face twisted with regret at being turned down.
[Milius]: “That’s right Captain. We became knights in order to protect our princess. The fact that Princess is heading straight for danger while the rest of us remain up here in safety……”
Luotung-sama had the same regretful look on her face as Lanselva-sama. But I’m sorry. I know this is really important for them, but I’m still stuck on the fact that they keep casually calling me Princess even during a time like this.
[Saluena]: “Your loyalty and feelings towards protecting Iris, our princess, are to be commended.”
Hey…….Saluena? Don’t tell me you’re the one giving Lanselva-sama and the others funny ideas?
No, I’m sure of it. Because the knights were respectful at first, but they always used ‘sama’ for my name at most. Until now, Saluena has been the only person to ever call me Princess!!
[Saluena]: “But that is why you must endure. Never forget how you are feeling at this exact moment, and use that regret to further sharpen your blades and hone your abilities. Do that, and I truly believe you will all one day climb to the same height as me.”
[Grimm]: “Captain Saluena……..”
[Iris]: “Hey Saluena. I’m sorry to interrupt, but there was something I really wanted to ask you too.”
[Saluena]: “What is it? You know you may ask me anything.”
As Saluena opened her mouth, a fork came in from beside her. Hanging onto that fork was a cut of a hatapani’s white meat soaked in salt and lemon.
Saluena leaned over, gracefully accepted the offering, and chewed her food.
[Iris]: “I have come to believe it was you who convinced the knights to start calling me Princess, and there are a number of other questions I feel the need to ask. There is one thing I am more concerned about than anything else at the moment however.”
I narrowed my eyes towards the person sitting beside Saluena.
[Iris]: “What are you making the knights do?”
[Ruruka]: “Uu, uuu……Princess……please don’t look at me…….”
There was a knight sitting on either side of Saluena, and for some reason, they were both wearing maid uniforms. And compared to what Noelia-san wears, I feel like the chest area is a lot more open.
Moreover, now that I’m taking a second look, one of them is Ruruka. The cheery knight whose trimmed green hair is her trademark…….now had a bright red face and was sticking to Saluena’s arm. No, she’s being held?
[Saluena]: “You can’t tell by looking?”
[Saluena]: “It’s service.”
[Iris]: “No, that doesn’t clear anything up.”
She gave me a concise, self-evidential answer that I could have guessed just by looking, but that in no way cleared anything up.
[Carol]: “It’s apparently part of a punishment game. Anybody who loses in a practice bout has to spend some time wearing those clothes.”
[Toslin]: “It’s a tradition for the Goddess Knights which was been around for a thousand years.”
Toslin and Carol nodded. Carol was actually wearing a maid uniform as well, but hers was a lot more childish compared to the other knights. That’s why she was much more pretty than sexy.
[Iris]: “I could have gone without knowing about that kind of knightly tradition.”
[Saluena]: “I was often beaten by my seniors and made to dress like this years ago. The embarrassment and regret does well to sharpen one’s will. It’s about diligence.”
For the sake of argument, I wouldn’t have too much problem with this even if it wasn’t a tradition. Maid clothes are cute. I know this isn’t the point, but Ruruka looks great here too.
But why are you having other women feed you in front of Rose-san? She just forgave you flirting with other girls a couple days ago. Hey Saluena, what are you thinking?
[Iris]: “……well, um……Rose-san?”
Rose-san was silently sitting next to me. She tore off a piece of bread, soaked it in her soup, and tossed it in her mouth.
Yeah…….she’s pissed. The face she’s making right now………is absolutely terrifying.
[Iris]: “Saluena, I think you should apologize……”
[Lapris]: “It’s already too late. But I respect Anego. Look at her face. It is only natural a face like that would be served. Not just anyone could compare to her.”
[Carol]: “Here Toslin. Ah~n♪“
Carol ripped off her own piece of bread and brought it up to Toslin’s mouth.
[Toslin]: “Aah…….Aah? Y-You dumbass! Doing weird things!”
And so Toslin hit Carol’s head.
[Carol]: “What? Ordinary people do ‘Aah’ too.”
[Toslin]: “…….aah, mm……”
……they argue but……weren’t you a heartbeat away from accepting the bread without thinking about it Toslin? Did I just imagine it?
[Grimm]: “Oi Luotung”
[Milius]: “I know Lanselva. How thoughtless of us.”
Lanselva-sama and Luotung-sama stood up and beckoned over a couple other knights. And those knights were…..
“Tonight……we’ll be the ones servicing you……”
…….irresistible in their maid uniforms.
[Iris]: “Hol-…….No I um, I really appreciate the offer, but it’s not necessary.”
My head creaked like an old iron door as I twisted my neck to glance over at Rose-san. Her eyes were as cold as ice water, and her smile was so devoid of humor I couldn’t tell if she was purposefully trying to look scary or if she was trying to cover up her fury and was just doing that bad a job of it.
[Rose]: “Everyone is so incredibly beautiful, don’t you think? After the long day Iris-san had, I would ask everyone to take extra special care of her♪“
Oh this is absolutely not going to be okay. If I say yes, I will turn into a no-good woman. At this rate, I’m going to end up looking like a disappointment in Rose-san’s eyes as well.
[Iris]: “N-No!! I really am fine! E-Excuse me, I will be in the washroom for a whileーーーー!!”
Tomorrow we will be diving into the depths of the dungeon were Oshunel once dwelled. And yet we’re acting like we always do with no sense of tension hanging over our heads.
Did Saluena do this on purpose because she was worried I would be feeling nervous?
I glanced behind me just as I was about to run out of the dining room, and Saluena was happily flirting with the knights around her.
(No, it’s just how she is.)
I decided to hum a song to myself while running to the bathroom inside the church I had already become well accustomed to.