Section 2: Escort
In truth, this will be my first time leaving the castle since the battle with Sanz Wanz.
The fight had drained my energy…..my myalgia was the main reason I couldn’t move, but the King was the one who directly banned me from going out.
It was during dinner my second night when I was having a meal with the King. They praised me for my hard work and voiced their gratitude, but at the same time they asked I go outside as little as possible.
Everywhere is so busy right now that it’s dangerous.
The only reason I got out of the castle today was because I got special permission to attend Rose-san’s investiture ceremony, but it is proving to be an amazing affair.
I was traveling to the church by carriage, but the standard cart was predictably rejected. That’s why a thick iron covered carriage was prepared instead.
According to Noelia-san, the sturdy and brilliantly decorated carriage is reserved for members of the royal family or other greatly important people, so it is rarely used.
Its weight is tremendous because the whole thing is crafted in iron, so it takes ten horses to pull it along.
A tremendous number of knights were hired as guards too as if they were escorting a high profile noble.
[Noelia]: “We have arrived at the church.”
I could see Noelia-san’s face through the window sitting in the coachman’s seat.
[Iris]: “Ah, yes! Thank you very much!!”
After a while the carriage came to a stop, and the heavy door swung open. The simple movement created a mighty crashing sound….I don’t know if I can call this a carriage anymore.
[Iris]: “Ah, sorry”
When I tried climbing off the carriage, a female knight who was standing guard offered me her hand to support me.
[Toslin]: “Oi, hurry it up”
Following after me, Toslin called back to Carol still inside.
[Carol]: “I-I got it. I’m not used to wearing heels…..”
[Toslin]: “It can’t be helped. Here, give me your hand.”
Toslin put her arm back into the carriage and held Carol’s hand.
[Carol]: “Wa, don’t pull.”
Carol walked out afterwards, but because of her unfamiliarity with heels and how fluffy the carpet she’s stepping onto is, she was unsteady and looked about ready to fall over.
Ah, I was about to say something when things looked dangerous, but before I did, Toslin tugged Carol back and hugged her.
[Toslin]: “Are you okay? Did you sprain your leg?”
Toslin looked into Carol’s face while asking.
……there was no response from Carol.
But the tail sticking out the end of her skirt was puffed out like dandelion fluff.
Months of research have found that Carol’s tail swells like that whenever she is surprised, happy, or excited, and the results of that research have already been logged at the Iris Intracerebral Institute.
Pain can cause it to swell too, but those times it always quickly returns to normal.
So given the data, this case should correspond to one of the three emotions…..
While I observed the scene while pushing up my glasses, Toslin got worried because Carol wasn’t saying anything and grabbed her shoulder.
[Carol]: “I-I’m fine”
Carol stomped her heels into the carpet a couple of times to get a feel for things.
[Carol]: “The floor in the castle’s hallway is a lot different from outside, so I just lost my balance a little.”
Carol quickly spouted out an excuse while trying to create some distance from Toslin.
[Toslin]: “…..we’re the ones who are going to end up embarrassed if you fall down, so hold onto my hand.”
[Carol]: “Eh, I-I’m good!!”
[Toslin]: “We aren’t”
The two of them started arguing in front of the carriage while still holding each other’s hand.
As for Toslin’s point, I’m already feeling embarrassed because the people around us are laughing over their arguing, but the two kept going on without paying anyone else any mind.
[Saluena]: “Why are you two quarrelling as soon as you arrive?”
[Iris]: “Ah, Saluena”
Turning around, there was Saluena in a long waistcoat. It looked similar to the one she wore during the audience, but there weren’t nearly as many decorations as back then. Perhaps there is some kind of dress code here that nobody told me about. Oh, there is also a ritual sword hanging at her waist as well.
When she arrived, all the knights saluted her at the same time. You could feel a tension running through those knights who had all been smiling until now.
[Toslin]: “This isn’t a quarrel. This girl is just being stubborn and insisting she’s okay.”
[Carol]: “I’m not stubborn. I’m telling you I’m okay because I’m okay!!”
[Toslin]: “And I’m telling you that’s completely unconvincing coming from someone who already almost fell over once. It’s fine, so just hold my hand.”
[Saluena]: “Carol. Follow Toslin’s lead here. It isn’t strange to be escorted by a knight here.”
Saluena said so while taking hold of my hand.
[Saluena]: “It is completely normal.”
And she even kissed the back of my hand on top of that.
[Saluena]: “I have come to pick you up, my princess.”
[Iris]: “Ah, mm…..”
Thinking about it, Saluena is the leader of the Goddess Knights.
If you are a knight, it is natural to be nervous if your leader is standing in front of you.
[Saluena]: “You have all done well as her escorts. Tonight our princess will stay here. You may all return…..except Noelia. Yuhanna wishes to speak with you.”
[Noelia]: “Yes I understand”
Noelia-san descended from the coachman’s seat, passing the reins to one of the knights to drive away.
[Saluena]: “Then shall we be off? Rosa is waiting inside.”
Saluena pulled my hand like always and slowed her pace to match my stride.
[Toslin]: “…..Oi, give up already and hold my hand. Or what? Do you not like it that much? Then I can ask another knight…..”
Glancing over my shoulder, Carol was holding Toslin’s hand. With a bright red face and a fluffy tail.
[Carol]: “…..Toslin is fine. It isn’t unwelcome……Toslin and my hand……connected”
Both of them were shyly avoiding looking at each other’s face…..
[Carol]: “That’s why……thank you”
Carol snuggled up to Toslin’s side.
Toslin’s face turned a little…..no, extremely red too as she gave a short answer.
Since they were trying so hard not to look at each other, their gazes kept wandering all around them until they naturally gathered on my.
[Carol]: “Hey, Iris’s face is really annoying me for some reason.”
[Toslin]: “How strange. I was just thinking the very same thing.”
Oops, they noticed me?
Strange, I hid my mouth my hand, but I guess my eyes gave away what I was thinking?
[Iris]: “Eh, really? I was just thinking about how well you two get along is all.”
These days those two have been especially close. To the point that even I’m surprised.
But it’s nothing but great that the relationship between two friends is so good.
Feeling warmth in my heart, I stepped into the church alongside Saluena.