You heard me? You can’t go out on moonless nights.
Because scary wolves and ghosts will come behind you .
……But, only today is an exception.
Tonight, the treasured magic will protect you.
That’s why, bring your mother and father along, and come with everyone!
ーーHere we go, the delightful circus begins!
「Seriously, a circus is gonna come?」
Marie asked, holding her after-meal black tea meal in one hand.
「Yes, such information seems to have come up. Therefore, I1 would request to be permitted to grant a Royal Invitation for a performance in behalf of Her Majesty Marie……What do you think of it?」
Straightening his spine after hearing that, was the “Prime Minister” who was once a close aide . If I’m not mistaken, I think his name was Gura-something , but I can’t remember it because it’s too long. Even now, he’s the “Prime Minister” of the Fennel Empire, but there’s not much of a problem. Marie calls him 『Black Belly Glasses』. As always, Marie’s nicknames are unique. But probably, 「Mii-chan」 is the cutest……Mufu.
And then, while facing the Prime Minister who was always beside her standing taut and waiting for a reply, Marie replied while placing her teacup down elegantly.
「……Yeah. Isn’t it fine?」
「……Your Majesty. I’m always saying this, but please consider the possibility of them being spies a little more and contemplate it before you extend an invitation to them……」
「Aah! Enough! Shut up! Then why did you ask me!? Hey, why did you ask me!? Didn’t you properly give it a long thought!?」
「Your Majesty, contemplation is not a matter of thinking long……」
「It’s fine! Because I have faith in everyone! ーーYou are excellent, so I’m sure you won’t let me face a really dangerous situation!」
While wiping my lips with napkin, I thought.
Zelos said「Marie is an outstanding cook at the same time a natural airhead」. I don’t understand its meaning completely, but indeed I’ve seen such a scene many times.
Even now, the Prime Minister’s face flushed bright red, he bowed while thinking very deeply something like「I see」,saying「As Her Majesty wishes」he left the banquet hall…….He could at least take it easy during meals, he really was a restless guy.
「Hiii!? Wh, wh-wh-wh-wh-what is it, Zelo-san?」
「I have warned you an absurdly uncountable number of times that, you should not deceive people as if you are breathing.」
「 Wai－－－－Too close!? E-everyone is watching! Hey! Look! Mii-chan is also ………….Huh, I can’t see her……Wait, Someone save meee…」
For some reason Zeros was silently angry, but anyhow, it was an everyday occurrence so nobody bothered about it.
Zelos-Zelosfeed is the King of the Dragons, but now he is somehow in the form of human, always beside Marie.
Whenever danger approached, he intercepted it faster than anyone; and if we said that the ice is all used up, he’d quickly head to the kitchen.
Why was the reigning King of the Dragons doing such things……I used to think such things in the beginning, but it’s nothing like that. Zelos 「Likes」 Marie. It’s surely the same for everyone, just like me.
Marie was the one against whom no demon could win against, the strongest one, the former『Hero of the Holy Sword』 but she was now the strongest Sovereign2,whom everyone loved.
Thus, with this there were no worries. The former『Hero of the Armour』 Rouche said it is a 「Lovers Quarrel」. Fighting was no good but, it seems it was a fight for the sake of both of the becoming closer. I can’t understand human culture well after all. It’s best to leave them alone.
More importantly－－－－I was busy eating the cream puff for desert.
The after meal treat made by Marie. If you bite into it in an improper manner with a big mouth, due to a crispy exterior, the sweet cream from inside would flow out. The mild custard cream and the simple whipped cream. The sweetness of both along with the savoury dough came together, and I felt happiness with every bite.
After eating I took a sip of the black tea. With my mouth refreshed, I bit into a chocolate cream puff once again. This time, the strong flavour of chocolate and its fragrance slowly filled my mouth.
Umu, as I thought, this order couldn’t be changed. Chocolate after Custard. This was the most pleasurable order, the one which did great justice.
…….This was not possible in other countries, comrades all gathered together in grand banquet hall, each having their own sweet desert and sipping on black tea.
Umu. I was really 「happy」right now.
More scary than anyone when angry, at the same time a mother kinder than anyone, Marie was here, surrounded by many comrades, every day the food and the sweets were really tasty.
――More than when I was the “Demon King”, I am always happy.
My real father, died 200 years ago.
Even if I say so, because he was always busy, I didn’t get to meet him very often. My mother died right after my birth, I don’t know her face very well.
I always had my meals all alone. I had no friends, nor anyone I could have an ordinary conversation with.
ーーOne odd day, some people calling themselves「Heroes」 came to the Demon King’s Castle, and after continuously fighting with father for many hours, finally killed father and with the last of his powers sealed me and the Prime Minister inside a barrier.
Even though we had always stayed in the castle forever, why must we be hated? I didn’t understand it well at that time. However, I only remember the eyes of the 「Heroes」 who faced me being very scary. They probably hated “Demonic Beings” itself.
……That is why, frankly, it was inevitable that I was scared of Marie and the others in the beginning .
I might once again be locked up in that pitch black place. Perhaps I might be killed this time……Thinking of such things, I couldn’t even sleep properly at night.
But Marie who came to the Demon King’s Castle was different.
She scolded me, who ate quite shabby food, and gave me sweets. We all took a bath and ate tasty meals together.
For the first time since my birth, I thought that 「food」was tasty.
－－The taste of the sweets and the food from that day, I’m sure I won’t forget it ever in my lifetime.
Since then a lot happened, and Marie founded a 『Country』.
A country for the sake of Humans and Demonic Beings living peacefully together. Many other races too, lived here.
What brought us all together, are the 『Sweets』 made by Marie.
Recently Marie’s “disciples” Rouche and the others had considerably raised their skills, is what she quite happily said.
But if you ask me they were still inexperienced. Marie’s sweets are the best after all. ……Of course Rouche and the others’ sweets were tasty too. But I wouldn’t concede the seat of “Food Sampler” to anyone.
Being the daughter of such a Sovereign, my daily life was quite busy
In the morning I studied reading, writing and arithmetic. Afternoon was for inspecting outside the castle. The evening was spent helping out at the store or helping make dinner, thus I always had a lot to do.
Especially,「Inspections」tire me out
Because it an important duty for the royalty to know about the lives of ordinary people.
Today too, along with the White Tiger Race’s Fey, I patrolled outside the castle.
Carrying a basket filled with sandwiches prepared by Marie in one hand, while walking around the town, I asked Fey something I was curious about.
「Hey, does Fey know of the thing called a 『Circus』?」
「Cur-kus? ……No, I haven’t heard of it」
Fey, who was slightly older than me tilted her neck sideways ‘Koten3‘. The long white tail containing a stripe of black was also in a 「？」mark shape.
Although she looked younger than me, she is a full-fledged 「Big Sister 」. I was 8 years old and Fey was 12 years old. With powdered sugar-like hair and tiger ears, she was a very cute girl.
Her way of speaking was fluffy4, but she was fierce when it came to fighting. It was said that she was the one who knocked the living daylights out of the mysterious bird from before. Probably, even if I used magic, I would normally lose. Zeros said that mysterious bird was「A Filthy Demon, so you must not approach it 」, therefore I was not able to see it, but since the White Tiger Race did it in, we could now live in peace.
I thought there was a possibility if it was Fey, but it seems she didn’t know about the thing called circus after all.
「Umu……Actually, I asked Marie too. But for some reason she didn’t tell me anything more than 『It is a super fun place』」
「Ah……that, is it possible that Marie-sama too doesn’t know about it?」
When I asked her ‘Is that so?’ , she said「There is song and dance, and it’s a super fun place…………..probably」.
ーーMarie had been practising cooking since a young age, therefore, it’s possible that she might not have seen it. But still, if it is fun, I want to see it together by all means.
Thus, while I was imagining big about the thing called a『Circus』, Fey suddenly stopped walking.
「Huh, wait a sec……it seems someone is attacking from outside the castle walls.」
「What! Is it true!?」
「Yeah. The one on defence duty today is……Ah, Shiyu is kinda far……I’ll just go and take a look for a moment. I’ll quickly finish it off, so Mii-chan wait here.」
As soon as she said it, Fey ran like the wind
The ears and feet of the White Tiger Race were powerful. She most probably got a signal from a comrade.
……But, is it alright for I, who am the daughter of the monarch to just silently keep watching the bad guys? For a moment, Marie’s tremendously angry face came to mind, while looking very scary; quaking and trembling……But still, wanting to protect the people of her precious country, she had won the so called “Heart” of the people.
「ーーO wings, come out」
After I chanted the short spell, my back became itchy[/efn_note]Another onomatopoeic word むずむず(muzumuzu) to become itchy[/efn_note] and immediately with a「Poof5」sound, wings sprouted out. Umu, this much is a piece of cake for me. Because I had practiced a lot.
I’m still in the middle of practicing 『Flying Magic』butーーーーToday, somehow, I had a feeling I might be able to fly properly.
「……Well, let’s go!」
After letting out a yell, I spread out my wings towards the sky.
ーーMy co…..co-co-co-co-control is-, n-no-,GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!?
「Ooh!? What, what?」
She had such a carefree voice while being subtly surprised , yet Fey came down and firmly caught me…………. The thank goodness. I thought I would die…….
「Hey! Didn’t I tell ya to wait?」
Saying so, Fay gave me a whack on the head with her fists.ーー Hey, it hurts to the extent where it can’t be brushed away as a joke.
While I was holding my head which seemed as if it would burst open and writhing in pain, a seemingly exasperated sigh came from above.
「Mii-chan is still bad at flying so, isn’t it no good to force yourself? What would you do if you had got a huge injury? Marie-sama would become really sad if such a thing happened. I’d also become really sad, I’d cry for sure.ーーIs Mii-chan fine even if that happened?」
Fey’s seriously angry words……were like thorns stabbing my heart. I was stupid. I know that much. I thought today would be fine, but somehow that wasn’t even an excuse.
「I…m……, sho……rwy 」
「……Yeah. If you understand, then it’s fine. Because you can’t do it next time onwards.”
Fey, who said that, gently embraced me and stroked my head. That gentle way of using the hands was the same as what Marie always did, and soon, I wasn’t able to stop all those tears from flowing.
Clinging to Fey’s chest I cried out loud……..While I was doing so, I suddenly heard an unknown voice from another place.
「Um……Are you alright?」
The voice which seemed to be worried, had a strange tone
A strange tone, unlike any I had ever heard, yet a really beautiful voice. When I subconsciously stopped crying and looked there, a girl unlike the ones I had seen here had a worried face.
I have seen such clothes. If I’m not mistaken, the dancers of the desert nation, drawn in the picture book, wore such clothes. ……But still, why is a dancer in such a place?
ーーーーAnd then it suddenly came to me in a flash.
There is no doubt. If I can recognise it, I might possibly even be a genius.
「ーーYou6, by any chance are you a member of the 『Circus』?」
「Fueh!? Ah, um, ah…………Tha-That’s right……」
「As expected! I heard from Marie, that you show something like fun songs and dances」
「Ah……well, yes. But that is not all , more or less……」
「Ehh, this girl if from the『Cur-kus』? She looks beautiful somehow right?」
Fey flips up the fluttering cloth. As soon as she did that, the dancer raised a scream 「Hiuuu!?」and ran away.
「Oi Fey! You cannot flip up a girl clothes!」
「Aah, is that so, sorry, sorry.」
Fey who was laughing with a ‘Nihehe’ sound, apologised, but the dancer girl still seemed to be scared. Seeing the lovely face turning bright red, I looked this way. Really, this girl didn’t have the thing called 「Delicacy」. Even though she was more of a big sister than I was.
「Sorry, that girl didn’t have any bad intentions. Will you forgive her?」
「Eh!? Ah, no, it’s not like I’m really angry………….Ah, Um, rather than that, there……」
I looked towards the direction at which the trembling finger was pointing
From the ground thereーーThree feet sprouted out.
「Wh….Wh-Wh-Wh-Wh-Wh-What the heck is thaaat!? 」
「Ah, Mii-chan hasn’t seen it………… That is an “Oldwo.」
「What!? Is this that mysterious bird!?」
The dancer was making a strange face, but it’d only been a few days since she came to this country, so there’s no way she’d know. It’s said there was a huge nest nearbyーー「The Filthy Mysterious Bird’s」
This was my first time properly seeing it.
……But, even though it is called a demon bird, it has feet just like that of humans. The part below the knee is trembling and shaking, on that surface, there is closely packed a muddy black eerie pattern rising , it somehow feels disgusting……………This 「Pattern」, feels quite similar to the graffiti that Fey quite often on the ground, but am I mistaken?……
Furthermore, the feet in the middle. It is excessively long and narrow, but by any chance is it the tail of the mysterious bird? Somehow it is shining in a sparkling golden colour, and only that seems real beautiful. It somehow resembles the colour of the 『Holy Sword 』that Marie has.
When I timidly tried touching it－－－－The tail, came out.
「Ah, Mii-chan pulled it out. You shouldn’t do that.」
「Wh-Wh-Wh-Wh-Wh-What should I do!?」
「Hmm, if it isn’t there, really there’ll be only small fry left, so it’d become boring……Well, isn’t it fine? Even if we take it home.」
「Is it all right to take it home?!」
I-Is it really fine? To take a part of the Demon called a 「Filthy Mysterious Bird」back home?
「U-Um, I absolutely can’t understand what’s happening, but is it fine to leave it buried as it is? Um, Pr……」
「The White Tiger Race has a custom to bury things that have become corrupt in the ground and purify them. They believe that a spirit that dwells in the ground will clean the impure existences. This mysterious bird with a rotten and dirty nature too, will one day become clean and return to its nest if we keep it buried like this 」
「Ha-Haa…….There are such torture-like customs too…….」
I see, we mustn’t kill.
Fey has a hot-blooded personality, but she is kind after all. She is even pitying the mysterious bird.
「……Well, because Marie said 『Don’t destroy life in vain 』, I won’t do it, but originally people who looked down upon the pack leader would be stripped of the skin on their whole body and would be roasted whole on skewers though」
……U, Umu. I understand. I mustn’t ever anger Fey. Rather than that, her whole family. Because the White Tiger Race believes in「United we stand, divided we fall」.
ーーTo subdue such warriors, Marie is amazing after all.
「So, what are you doing in such a place?」
「Ah, yes……I-I was practicing the song I’m going to sing in the next public performance, but while I was doing that, that……Old..wo……? came to attack……」
「That’s the lowest, this thing」
Fey kicked the foot of the mysterious bird . There was a slight sound that seemed as if it wouldn’t come from any living being. ……Is it all right?
「That was too bad……Well then, we’ve not introduced ourselves yet. My name is Miluege. Everyone calls me Mii-chan」
「Ah, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise…….I am , Cla…ris」
「Umu, Claris. Glad to meet you」
「I’m Fey. Nice to meet ya」
When we finished greeting briefly, we heard a small 「Growl」sound.
Looking, we see Claris turn red, clutching her stomach
……Fumu, I too am hungry.
「Well, it is in celebration of finally getting to know each other. You can have a share of my 『Obentou』. It is fine to sit here together with us.」
「Eeeh!? I-It’s fine! That’ll be, bad……」
「Wha-t, no need to hold back. The dishes Marie makes are very delicious. You should also share what you have.」
Moving to a place where we could not see the eerie feet of the mysterious bird, I opened my basket. ……Umu, It’s leaning slightly. It can’t be helped, because I flew in the sky.
But, if it’s only this much, I have no problems. Because what matters is the taste .
Inside are two each of three types of sandwiches. Which ones should I share……Eeh, I’m the daughter of the Monarch. I shouldn’t be stingy, let’s give half to Claris.
「Here, this is Claris’ part」
「U-Um……Really, is it fine……?」
「Umu! It’s finger licking delicious, so it’s fine to eat and be surprised!」
And thus I picked up a sandwich from the basket that had become a little desolate.
First was a sandwich with chicken and lettuce leaves and melted cheese on top. On biting into it, flavour of the savoury chicken and the mild cheese fill my mouth. Umu, umu. Thanks to it still being slightly warm the cheese stretches and become stringy. This is irresistible. Coupled with the crisp sensation of the lettuce, I feel like I can eat any amount of this.
Next, should I eat the bulky bacon and tomato sandwich, or should I eat the airy egg sandwich…….?
While being confused, when I look beside me, Claris is vigorously eating a lot of sandwiches.
While muttering delicious, delicious.
From the eyes that had turned to the shade of the sky in spring, while tears started flowing…….
……….Umu. I can understand that feeling as well.
The moment you eat really delicious food, for some reason you’ll be moved to tears.
That is probably because, the kindness put in the cooking……that warmth is transmitted to your “Heart” , and turns a-ll your sad feelings into 「Happiness」.
「……Really, Marie’s cooking is amazing」
I, who became somewhat happy, hurriedly bit into the next sandwich.
Because Fey, who had consumed twice the amount of food in her Obentou7, was aiming for the sandwiches here－－.
「Um, I don’t know if this much would count as gratitude, but……」
Saying so, Claris gave me a thin wooden board. There is some kind of letters and drawings on it.
Fufun, I, who have studied reading and writing, it’s not particularly difficult letters.
This has 『Circus Performance Invitation』written on it.
「I-I-I-Is this fine!?」
「Yes. ……For me, I don’t have anything other than this to give in return」
「What are you saying! I’m really happy!」
I tightly hugged the invitation that I received.
With this……With this, I can go to the 『Circus』!
「Bring everyone, and come to see it for sure. －－Thank You」
While saying her thanks, for some reason Claris’ face turned bright red.
「Uh? What happened to Claris?」
Nevertheless, I received a good thing.
I must boast to Marie at once!
「－－I see, That guy……died.」
At night on that day, along with the invitation to the circus, I showed the tail of the mysterious bird to Marie. …….Somehow, the one I received seemed more like a golden stick. Marie gently held the bow-like tail in her hands and showed a very lonely expression.
……Huh? By any chance, was it something I shouldn’t have brought home……?
「Its strange. I really hated him, and found him disgusting, but…….In the end, it’s lonely when someone you know, dies……」
Hm, Hmmm…………? Did someone die? A friend? ……No, but she said she hated him………….
――Umu. Marie, who feels sad even when a person she hates dies,she is kind after all.
I, hanging my head in shame, hugged Marie tightly.
「I am here! I’ll be beside Marie forever!! That’s why, don’t be lonely.」
「Mii-chan……Yeah, that’s right. Thank you.」
Marie patted my head. That voice had returned to the usual cheerful Marie. Umu! Being cheerful is the best!
「――Well, this must also be some kind of fate! Shall we hold a grand mourning for that idiot!?」
Somehow, I don’t understand it well, but it seems great!
The next day, in the Fennel Empire 『The Selection of the Hero of the Bow』was carried out.
The location was the slightly elevated hilltop graveyard, from where the town could be seen. Everyone was wearing dark clothes, and surrounded the tomb that the dwarves had made in a hurry. In the deep hole dug underneath, for some reason the coffin with the tail of the mysterious was buried.
I see, one of the heroes died. We didn’t know him well, but because Marie is kind, she’ll be sad when an acquaintance dies.
When Marie, who was in front, offered a bouquet of flowers, everyone silently faced down.
It’s the time for praying. I heard it from Marie the night before.
Behind Marie who was silently praying ーーーーI wonder why, everyone else had a complicated expression.
Especially, the area around Zelo is horrible.
What is it? Was he that hated, that Hero of the Bow.
Regardless of Zelo, even that kind Rouche……?
――And I wonder why Fey is desperately stifling her laughter.
There’s still a long time till the 『Selection of the Hero of the Bow』 begins. Even I, who am a child, know that one shouldn’t laugh in such a place. Seriously, she really doesn’t have any 『Delicacy』.
And when I offer a prayer to the Hero of the Bow whom I have never met, the guard on duty today, Shiyuki from the White Tiger Race, came running to us.
「Marie-sama, I blew away the mysterious bird Oldwo!」
「Jeez, again? Even though it’d been good if nothing had come out at such a time…….」
「I beat it black and blue!」
「Thank you, Shiyu-chan. There is a huge feast prepared, so eat to your fill later on」
Umu, Shiyuki is a hard worker. She looks small, but she’s older than Fey, and she’s also stronger in fighting. I too want to become as strong as her someday.
And Fey, burst into laughter the moment Shiyuki came, and was shocked by her parents…….
――Well then, let’s go to the 『Circus』 together later!
「……You bastard, first of all, bring a lot of work at such a time」
「There’s no choice. Because it’s somewhat strange, but we seem to have crossed the national border.」
Fey pats my head saying 「well, well」 while I was grumbling and voicing my complaints.
This is the 『Circus』 venue that Claris had promised about. About a hundred guests were crammed in the big tents that had been put up in the big plaza in the town.
The seats Claris had prepared for us, somehow they’re the first ones, right in front of the stage.
It seems they’re called 『Box Seats』. It means that they’re really good seats. ……Even though they say so.
「――In exchange, I am coming. Mileage must be happy with that, right?」
The one sitting in the seat where Marie was originally supposed to sit, was the pureblood vampire ーーSilva.
This guy, who looks like 14-15 years is making a really beautiful face, but……somehow, it always feels a bit excessively self-important. Even now, her knees are crossed in the narrow seats. I wonder whose plan it was to send someone like that young bonze instead of Marie. ……When I thought of putting my thought into words, he made a relatively hurt face, so I remained quiet. I am a good girl who has
「But, well, to send even Silva is……」
「……Something might happen too. Well, if I am here, it won’t matter the slightest even if someone comes.」
「Waa, You’re amazingly confident as always.」
For some reason, the two people are murmuring above my head.
I don’t get what they’re talking about, but isn’t it gonna start soon. Quiet down, you two.
『All the ladies and gentlemen who have come here! We made you wait quite a bit, but the performance of the Spica troupe will begin in a short while. Please give a big round of applause once!』
On top of the stage illuminated by the tiny magic, a skinny little man gave that introduction.
The sky peeping in from the gaps of the tent is dark.
Along with applause that seemed as if it would rock the venue……Claris and co’s 『Circus』began.
I kept on getting thrilled at the wonderful performances that unfolded one after another on the stage that had been set up .
The person who juggled many bottles skilfully while riding a thing that had only one wheel. The people going round and round many time, here and there on the trapeze. Piercing the apple overhead the Oneesan who had been fixed to her position. The lion going through the ring of fire, the bear balancing on top of a ball……
Any one of those could be done if you used magic, but there was not even a trace of it. They, are showing unworldly techniques without using magic .
Why wouldn’t one be excited. My gaze was stuck to stage that was dizzyingly changing colours.
Even though it should have been so,
「－－The steps are half-hearted. See, the tempo slipped even now.」
…………This idiot, just grumbling on and on beside me.
What’s his problem? Isn’t it thanks to him that I’m not able to enjoy quite well!
「Hey Silva, if you wanna grumble, then don’t watch it! It’s better you get out now!」
「No, you’re wrong. It’s neither grumbling nor criticism. This is pure analysis.」
I don’t understand what he’s talking about……This guy, in spite of being called 「Fake Prince」by Marie……!
「Ahh……I’m sorry for Mii-chan, but I too have a similar opinion, I guess.」
「The equipment is quite old, and the flaws in the technique stand out. Even if you keep in mind that they aren’t beastmen, the acrobats are all pushing it with their technique, aren’t they.」
「It’s not bad, but it’s childish. How do I say it, they’re inexperienced is the impression I get. ……Moreover 」
「Y-You still have more……?」
Silva, who nodded, turned to look towards the stage.
There, a dancer other than Claris was doing a dance with quick steps.
「……The performers are all so thin. I wonder, just how much do they eat?」
It was in no way in a badmouthing tone.
――It was just a tone that was pitying the other party.
Come to think of it, Claris was also pretty thin. Perhaps, did she not eat that much rice?
The worry that suddenly arose in my mind was another matter, the colours of the stage changed again.
This time it was a profoundly calm「Blue」.
Basking in the somewhat lonely light, the person who slowly appeared on the stage was－－clad in the clothes of a dancer, Claris.
I wonder if she heard my voice, but Claris, who was onstage looked toward me, and just once, smiled sweetly.
Mhm-hm, it’s like she’s a completely different person from just a while back.
How do I say, the presence she has is completely different.
And accompanying the musical instrument that felt lonely, just like the lights, Claris solemnly spun a song.
……At that moment, the venue immediately fell silent.
「――Oh, this is a splendid “Aria”8」
Even that Silva, who was giving only complaints, said such words.
I, unable to even answer, simple lent my ears to Claris’ singing voice.
It felt as if it was heard from beyond the vast skies－－It epwas such an ephemeral and beautiful song.
Everyone, forgetting to even breathe, paid attention to the 「Songstress」onstage.
When they realised it, the sound of the instrument had stopped, and Claris was bowing deeply.
Even though the performance had ended, it took me some time to realise it. But, the next moment, everyone was clapping their hands as if they were competing with each other. Of course, I too applauded with all my might for Claris.
――Sugoi, I thought from the bottom of my heart.
The insides of my heart were trembling, it hadn’t even stopped then.
The instrumentalist on stage got ready.
Ahh, while I was rising in expectation of hearing that voice again, －－Silva muttered a few words.
「……Really, I’m bothered by the number of scum amongst humans who don’t understand Art. For your heart to not be moved by such a wonderful song－－It exceeds imbecility, it’s a “Grave Sin”」
Along with those words, stakes that were the shade of blood appeared. The moment Silva snapped his fingers, they turned towards the ceiling and shot out.
A painful cry resounded.
And a man fell down with his leg pierced by stakes.
「Tch, their numbers are too great……Fey, give priority to the evacuation of the audience, don’t let them lay a finger on the citizens of the empire.」
She nodded quickly, and Fey jumped out of her seat like the wind.
Silva chanted a spell, and a mass of blood stakes appeared.
The venue was filled with shrieks and screams.
――But, it was as if I couldn’t afford to see that.
From outside the tent, insect-like black shadows gushed forth. They, without their legs losing way, turned straight towards the stage.
「Is that Songstress (diva) their aim? ……Ah, hey! Miluge!」
I didn’t turn back to that voice that halted me.
I leapt onto the stage in a single step, and stood in front of Claris who’d lost her means of escape.
Silva was weaving through the shadows one after another with his magic, but that wouldn’t be enough.
「――O, the one who has come from the furthest corner of darkness, become blood, become flesh, yield to my life, O, the blade that severs light, attack my enemy!」
From the broad sky far above, countless pitch-black swords aimed for the shadows and rained down.
The greatest Darkness Magic amongst the ones I held at the moment. It won’t kill, but it’ll atleast stop the enemy’s movements.
「Rest assured Claris. I shalt protect you.」
……But, truly their numbers are great.
Silva got angry, saying「Don’t use such huge magic in the early stages directly!」, but then what should I have done? Even though I haven’t learnt to go easy on others.
Even though I attacked and attacked, the enemies keep coming and coming. There were even magic users amongst them. Just how many have entered the town?
「Miluege, start your retreat! I’m suppressing the enemy, so run! It’s still too heavy a responsibility for you to fight while protecting someone.」
At the same time as the voice shouting, the crimson stakes concentrated at one corner of the tent and fired. The wave of shadows split, and only there, opened a huge gaping hole.
It is certainly difficult to handle the enemy closing in from all directions. I will protect Claris with magic specialised in creating disruption. It’s better to abide to what Silva says here.
「Let’s go, Claris!」
I ran holding Claris’ hand.
――That hand I held, was pathetically thin.
There’s some distance between the huge plaza and the castle.
Silva was restraining the shadows in the meeting place, but there were still enemies lurking within the town,
……And amongst them, mixed in were faces of the citizens I’d often seen during 「Inspection」.
Even though they always greet me. They even accompanied me to the church on holidays and diligently prayed……Even though they were kind people.
My head started spinning. But the enemy chasing didn’t wait for that.
My magic had reached rock bottom. I still don’t possess strong magic like Father.
Claris too, was at the limits of her endurance. I’m sure she hasn’t eaten anything since then.
There was only one way left.
I thought……but then shook my head,
I’m bad at flying. I always end up falling due to bad control .
I’ll manage flying alone, but taking along Claris is…………Absolutely impossible…….
「Are we, um……friends?」
……Even though I said so, when I realised it, I asked such a thing.
The sound of the enemy’s footsteps could be heard behind. Now was not the time for small talk. I know that very well.
「Y-Yes……! We’re f-friends!」
ーーClaris answered, out of breath.
「……Do you believe in me?」
「Yes! I b-believe……」
I’ll totally fail. I was scolded before too. There’s no way I can do it well.
I’m scared. I’m scared I’m scared ImscaredImscaredImscaredImscaredImscaredImscaredImscared, I’m scared………………but,
「ーーーーWhat daughter of a Sovereign am I, if I can’t protect a single “friend”!!?」
Driving away the fear in my cowardly heart with a should, I chanted a short incantation.
Winds sprouted on my back.
ーーThe wings that were bigger than usual, in order to protect my “friend”.
Shouting in a loud voice, I kicked the ground hard. Our bodies were wrapped in a magical atmosphere.
Before long, the two wings ーーSeized the wind blowing towards the skies.
My body arose high in the skies. I tightly held that hand, so as to not let it go.
Claris, who had not even let out a whimper, true to the words 「I believe」she told me, held my hand strongly ーー.
The mistake I was afraid of making was being unable to control my magic well and falling down.
But it went well as we somehow managed to ride upon the winds. I felt somewhat dizzy, but there’s no particular problem.
Next was reaching the rock bottom of my magic. This too, would last us till the castle if my control would be good……Or so, it seemed.
ーーIf the enemy’s magician had not been chasing us from behind.
When I thought for a bit, I understood it. 『Flight Magic』was a wind magic. Even if it’s a human, they can use it with due practice if they possess the skill. It was just that it was impossible for humans to fly safely in a sky with dragons, thus nobody used it outside. ……If it’s within the town, the magician could fly across the skies.
The magic that had been let loose from behind whizzed past above my head. Due to me being dizzy, it seemed I was somewhat bad at aiming at the other side. If it was about it reaching, it reached, but thanks to that I was all out of magic.
Claris, who was dangling by my hand, had been limp for a while. Flying requires an incredible amount of stamina. She wasn’t yet used to it. It must have been hard for Claris who was already exhausted.
At long last we reached the castle. I was out of magic and my body started shaking. Before I knew it, I had let go of Claris.
「……I won’t give uuuuuup!」
I strained my whole body. ……Just a bit more.
My heart was thumping loudly. I was out of breath. Near my body, magic passed by.
In my flickering vision,ーーーーThat was reflected.
「ーーWell done. Be proud, the noble daughter of the Sovereign.」
With a light impact, our bodies were embraced by sturdy arms.
When I raised my head, I say the silver hair swaying in the night winds.
ーーーーThe Dragon King ・Zelosfeed.
「Foolish bugs9. I’ll show you true hell.」
「It’s too late now. Freeze ーー『Icicle breath10』」
In the dark skies, many gigantic clusters of ice appeared. ……within them, the enemy magician was shut in.
ーーAhh, Zelos was strong after all.
Maybe it was because I was relieved, a wave of drowsiness hit me.
Amidst the resounding sound of the ice crashing into the ground, my vision slowly turned blankーー.
ーーThe first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was, Maria’s messy face filled with tears.
「Tha…nk good…ness……Mii-chan is fine……」
I was hugged tightly. ……Oww, it hurts!
I was absent-minded for some time,but I suddenly remembered an important thing.
When I opened my mouth, I let out a cough. Umu, my throat’s rough. Marie, who had finally let go of my body made me drink water.
「She’s fine thanks to Mii-chan. The people of the circus are too……but.」
Marie made a somewhat awkward face.
I slowly learnt that Claris and the others we’re no longer in the country.
Somehow, that circus was being chased by somebody. Even if Marie and the others told them to stay in the country, it seemed they left saying 「We won’t cause you any more trouble.」.
Everyone was in the room. Everyone patted my head, saying 「Well done」to make me feel better.
Even that Fey had been reduced to tears, it seems I had been asleep for a great extent of time.
「……I’m really sorry, Miluege-sama. I take responsibility for all the strife caused this time……」
「You’re wrong, Guran. I was the one who took the decision in the end……Moreover, for the people of a 『Kyou11 Country』 who were normal during immigration to suddenly change like that was something nobody had thought of……」
ーーEven I had head the name『Kyou Country』.
It was an unusual country where instead of considering demons as evil, it was a country that prayed that all existences live with friendship and peace.
Marie, who had travelled the whole world seemed to have also stopped by there once, and because there had been many kind and honest people there, received them without refusing when they came to the empire.
「I seems that in Kyou country, the first and the third prince’s factions and second prince’s factions, both have separated and there’s a fight for succession going on.
I received a report saying that this time’s attempted assassination was caused because the radicals had floated a false rumour saying 『The third prince has committed blasphemy against the gods.』and incited the believers.」
「I see……Even though they were kind people.」
「Faith can be both good and bad, it’s a straightforward emotion……If one doesn’t possess strong roots, it’s easy for people to misjudge the path.」
Marie showed a sad expression at the Prime Minister’s words.
Seeing that, I couldn’t endure it any longer.
I didn’t understand the meaning of the words very well. But, I don’t like seeing Marie cry.
I lightly tugged at her clothes. When I did that, Marie immediately looked towards me.
「……I learned to believe from Marie ……That’s why, Marie can’t give up on believing …………Claris was also saved by Marie’s cooking……」
Please have those kind eyes.
ーーDon’t let the “heart” that rescued me from that dark place get clouded.
「Yeah……Yeah, that’s right. Thanks Mii-chan…………you did well. Good job. Mii-chan is the daughter I’m proud of.」
Saying so, Marie hugged me tightly.
She was gentle this time. As if she wanted to wrap me.
Those word make me happier than anything ……I cried just a bit in that warm chest.
When we waited for a long time, a calm atmosphere returned to the town.
Whether it was the ones who had rampaged about, or the ones who had helped them; everyone had been sent back to their former country by the Prime Minister and co. They had been considerably down for this past one week, somehow it seems they’re able to make a satisfied expression now, so probably it’s all right. It’d be good if they can sleep in peace.
Coming to me, ……Yeah, I’ve been lazing about every single day.
I was in the midst of a break from the 「Inspection」I always did. I thought this won’t do, but I couldn’t seem to gather my strength, no matter what I did. Fey, who regularly came to see me, too had a worried expression on her face. That’s inexcusable.
When I sat lazing about, I’d occasionally reminisce about Claris’ singing voice.
Probably, that Circus will never return to Fennel Empire. Even meeting Claris, is now impossible.
That felt somewhat lonely…… It was a feeling that pained my heart.
Come to think of it, it’s the first time I’ve said goodbye to a friend. Everyone is always together, so I’ve never parted with anyone. I never knew it was so painful.
「Mii-chan, can I enter?」
I heard Marie’s voice from behind the door.
……What is it, I wonder? I just ate my meal now though.
「How’s the condition of your body? Are you not feeling tired?」
「Yeah, I’m perfectly healthy now.」
「I see. ……Then, I wanna request you to help me out with something.」
Saying so, Marie took out a huge package.
Is it a delivery? Somehow it had a nice fragrance. ……But, to just who?
「This, you see, is something I wanna give to the Circus Band, to everyone in Spica.」
「Are Claris and the others coming!?」
「No, they aren’t. I don’t think they’ll come here for a while.」
While I tilted my head, not quite understanding, Marie pulled my hand. And just like that, she brought me to the balcony. In there was……
「ーーTo send a special 『Super Express Service』.」
In there was ーーーーIn the enormous 「Dragon King」form, Zelosfeed.
『Come, Miluege. ーーI’ll show you the true “Sky”.』
The stretched out palm was large enough for my body to be completely nestled in it. The beautiful silver scaled sparked in sun’s rays.
I timidly raised my legs. That fingertip did not waver at all, and took me in.
When I turned back, I saw Marie waving her hand from the balcony.
「Take care! Send my regards to your friend! 」
While I struggled to understand, that figure quickly became smaller and smaller .『At any rate, catch them.』. At these words that went past above my head, my senses finally returned.
Did that voice really reach?
When I came to my senses, there was nothing obstructing my line of sightーーThe azure sky stretched to the limits of my vision.
ーー Sugoi! Fast!
The scenery I overlooked, passed by at an extraordinary speed. My body was being protected by Zelos’ magic, but still the occasional wind that slipped past, mischievously tickled my cheek.
I couldn’t see many humans. I wonder if they were afraid of the enormous Dragon King. But, I occasionally saw the silhouette of a young miss12 waving her hand with all her might. When I asked Zelos, he informed me『She was a girl formerly living in a different village.』. ……I don’t get it. Did Zelos help in moving out?
Slicing through the winds at breakneck speeds, the place we arrived at was a small town somewhere.
At a seemingly vacant place in the outskirtsーー Claris and the others were present.
Turning to the circus members who seemed to be curled up, as if they were hiding from someone, I raised my voice.
Yeah, yeah, seems like I surprised her. She would have never thought that I’d appear, riding on the back of the Dragon King. Even I’m surprised.
After being alighted by Zelos, I walked up to Claris, who was still stiff.
「Seriously, you went away without even saying a word. I was worried, you know?」
『Rest at ease. There’ll be no one who’ll chase you anymore.』
At the words of the Dragon King, not just Claris, but everyone else from the circus too, made a surprised face.
What? Did Zelos do something?
『An organisation of the radicals or something was wiped out. Because they laid their hands on my dauーーーーMiluege. Strictly speaking, we ought to knock down Kyou country for bringing along an unnecessary cause for conflict, but because our sovereign will get angry, we’ll forgive them. We ourselves can do something with regards to the domestic refugees. I can see through the trouble till there.』
The people of the circus were absent minded for a while, but when the finally comprehended the meaning,they placed their foreheads on the ground while crying profusely. ……If they do like like this, it’s as if the Dragon King is the bad guy. Zelos too, made a displeased face.
Yeah. I don’t understand what the talk is about again, but everyone is making a happy face, so that’s great.
「Dragon King-sama, to such indebtedness, can ever convey our gratitude appropriately……」
『Ahh, it’s fine already……you guys accept that package and quickly return to the country.』
Saying so, Claris, who was watching Zelos timidly turned towards me. For some reason she was restlessly shifting her gaze. I can’t say for sure, but her face is flushed too. ……Don’t tell me, does she have a fever?
「Um……Thank you very much. Even though you saved me, I didn’t convey my gratitude ……I’m sorry ……」
「What, don’t bother about it. It’s the duty of the royalty to protect the people in the country.」
Claris open her eyes wide as if surprised. ……But, that soon turned into a serious expression.
Claris, who tightly shut her eyes, boldly opened her mouth.
「U-Um! Actually ーー」
ーーBut before she could say anything, my stomach growled.
「Um……looks like you’re hungry.」
「I’ve properly prepared a lunch for you separately, So hand over that package quickly. There’s food inside. Aren’t you having a decent meal after quite a long time?」
「Th………………Thank – you……」
……Claris seems to have withered for some reason.
What happened? She seems somewhat strange today.
「Then, I’ll return home now that I’m hungry. Claris should also take care.」
「Y-Yes! ……Um, if I might trouble you again in Fennel Empire, is it fine?」
(Note to ed – she’s just politely asking if she can come again)
Claris timidly asked that.
What’s she saying…… .
「Of course! ーーWe’re “Friends”, so it’s fine to come anytime to play!」
When I replied so, Claris’ cheeks dyed, and she nodded vigorously.
「ーーYes! Someday, for sure!」
Yeah! It’s best for her to be cheerful!
While being seen of by Claris and the others who were waving their hands broadly, we once again soared into the skies.
Riding on Zelos’ palm, we went towards the eternally extending sky.
「It’s Sugoi. The world is such a vast place……」
『……Miluege, do you still want to fly in the skies?』
「Yeah! I wanna try flying with my own wings someday! ……But, it’s quite difficult.」
『No one can fly well right from the start. Even I misread the wind in the past and crashed and fell.』
「Is that true?」
Whoa, that Dragon King……it’s slightly hard to believe story.
ーーAfterwards, how was the part on which he crashed all right?
That’s interminably a worry.
『That’s why, well…………if you say you want to become good no matter what, then maybe I can occasionally watch over the practice ……』
『Don’t romp about.』
I was scolded, but even such a voice didn’t reach my ears.
The Dragon King! Is gonna watch over my practice! It’s Sugoi!
『……Seriously, you’re gradually starting to resemble Marie.』
Zelos spoke in an exasperated manner.
Is that true? But then, if that’s so, then I’m happy.
……Because, Marie is my “Mother”.
『Hey, Miluege ーーSay if, the person from a while back had said that they wanted to stay together forever, what would you do?』
「Hm……? Isn’t it great if we can stay together? Because we’re friends.」
『No, that’s not what I meant. ……Say, for example, if they asked that they wanted to live together in their country, is what I wanted to ask.』
「Hm. That’s no good.」
『……A prompt reply, I see.』
「That’s obvious. Because I’m gonna stay together with Marie forever.」
Certainly, Claris sings well, and she’s a precious friend; but still the person I love the most is Marie. That’s the one thing I’ll never give up on.
「ーーBut you said you’d give me delicious candy.」
Zelos gave a deep sigh. He seems somewhat exasperated.
Hmm. Of course the reason I love her so much is not only because she gave me candy? ……It’s not that, but I’m hungry right now.
I wanna eat Marie’s delicious meals and snacks quickly. I can’t think of anything other than that now.
I, as if to hurry up,Zelos, hugged the Dragon’s finger tightly.
ーーーーC’mon, let’s hurry home! To our Fennel Empire!