*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
The Sun was shining so brightly that not even the thick shade of the trees was able to completely stop the Sun's rays from penetrating through their thick foliage, creating little gold petals on the ground. As I walked on this narrow and lonely path, I breathed in the scent of fresh soil and clean air. Cheerful companions singing happily, a high-spirited and trusting team working together……
"Ah!" I cried out in horror, for there upon my beautiful and otherwise flawless white glove is the print of a bloodied mosquito corpse, its six tiny legs clearly sticking out. It was a perfect-if red-specimen of a mosquito staining my white glove.
'I-I had only brought three pairs of white gloves! I hadn't thought that smacking a mosquito would result in ruining a pair of gloves!'
I looked up only to see the entire team looking at me. Other than the Leaf knight, everyone else had all sorts of strange expressions on their faces as they stared at me. I hurriedly pasted on my flawless smile and answered, "Yes, your grace? Did your grace hear of the God of Light's beautiful whispers in your ear, reminding you of something that needed discussing with this Sun?"
"Didn't you just cry out suddenly? What was it?" The Son of War asked impatiently. "And haven't I told you this a dozen times before? Just call me Michael and drop the 'your grace' shit, it's annoying!"
"Your grace Michael, it was only because the Sun today is shining so brilliantly, showering the land with its beauteous rays of light. This Sun just couldn't help but cry out at such splendour, thankful to the God of Light for Her bountiful love for Her children and creating such beautiful scenery……"
"Shut up!" Michael's brows were tightly knitted together, and he looked like he had a pounding headache.
I smiled as I kept my mouth shut. Now even if I were to go screaming and jumping around like a monkey he probably wouldn't deign to respond to me. Good, good. I can now be a silent Sun Knight for the rest of this journey.
As I changed my mosquito-imprinted gloves for a clean pair, I thanked my lucky stars that I wouldn't be forced to open my mouth and speak again. Even with the mosquitoes flying around, this trip should be that bit more bearable if I don't have to speak……
My eye twitched as I glared at the pesky black dot flying around me. I waved at it in an effort to shoo it away, but the darned thing just wouldn't leave me alone, insisting on flying around my ear and then in front of my face…… Smack!
'Ah! My second pair……!
I can't stand it anymore! I want my clean and orderly Holy Temple! I want my room where I won't be disturbed! My secret wine cellar filled with grape wine! And most importantly: no, mosquitoes!! But-but why? Why the hell am I tramping around on this God-damned mosquito-infested muddy path in the middle of nowhere with this bloody hot sun glaring down on us?!!
And to think that not even two weeks ago I was living happily in the Holy Temple, working hard to save up for my retirement, in the hopes that by the time my 41st birthday rolled by I would be able to retire gracefully and glamorously……
"The neighbouring country's Son of War is getting married and they have extended an invitation to the Church of Light for someone to attend as one of his groom's men. As the God of Light's representative and the Church's walking billboard, your mission will be for you to go and attend the wedding as a groom's man."
I was standing in front of the Pope's desk in his office, staring at the brightly-smiling face of the Pope as he sat behind his desk. I asked expressionlessly, "How many Sons of War are there?"
"Just the one," the Pope replied cheerfully.
"The one who came asking for the Princess' hand in marriage? That one?"
The Pope gave a little clap in joy as he praised, "Yup! That's the one! You're so smart!"
"You flatter me. But hadn't he just left three days ago?" I asked, my face still void of any expressions.
"Is it possible for one to travel from here to the neighbouring country and propose to someone in two days time?"
The Pope gave a careless shrug and answered frankly, "Nope, it's not even enough time for one to reach the border between our countries."
I couldn't find anything to say to that. 'Is the Pope having too much time on his hands and playing a joke on me out of boredom?' I asked a little exasperatedly, "Then how is he getting married?"
"My dear boy."
The Pope calmly took a sip of his tea as he gave me a 'you're so unworldly' look, saying to me, "He has a whole church of people who can propose for him in his name. What does it matter that he's not even in the country? The point is, the Queen of Moon Orchid has already agreed to give her eldest daughter's hand in marriage to him. The betrothal gifts are already being prepared as we speak and the invites had been sent out a week ago. Now all that's missing is the groom, his groom's men and the wedding gifts from the various foreign countries. "
A week ago? Wasn't that the very next day after the three-person duel?
I was astounded. 'You've got to be kidding me! He already had a back-up bride prepared? What? If things don't work out with this country's Princess there's always the Princess waiting back home? As long as there's a 'Princess' in their titles it doesn't matter who they are?'
How envious…… shameless of him!
'But perhaps the Princess is flawed for the Queen to sell off her daughter so hurriedly?......' I asked for confirmation, "Is the Princess pretty?"
The Pope immediately gave me a thumbs-up, giving rare praise for the unnamed princess. "She is one of the most beautiful women in Moon Orchid."
My face twisted in a grimace before I then asked hopefully, "Does she have some unmentionable illness?"
"She's healthy as a horse and fit as a fiddle!"
"Loved by all!"
My heart was twisting in agony! To think that there was such a high quality beauty living just over in the neighbouring country all this time and I never knew. But now she's about to become someone else's wife; their wedding invitations had long been sent out and I'm even one of the groom's men!
To watch such a beauty getting married to someone else would be absolute torture!
I asked painfully, "Beautiful, healthy, agreeable and a (rich) princess. To think that there was someone so perfect in this world…… Why hadn't you told me about her earlier?!"
The Pope calmly set his cup down and said airily, "Do calm down, Captain Sun Knight. Do not forget that you love only the God of Light and no other. Even if you were to marry someone you would be so 'involved in your work' that you would ignore your poor wife. That wouldn't be fair to her, would it?"
"Bullshit!" I protested. "I would spend an hour on my work, and another hour on ignoring her," I said seriously, "and the rest of my time would be spent lavishing my love on her."
"Your 'rest of the time' seems a little too much……"
"Hmph! As long as the one handling my work, Storm, isn't complaining, why should you?"
The Pope gave a deep sigh. "Not complaining? You're clearly lying through your teeth. His resentment these few days have been rising to even greater heights than Captain Hell Knight's. Sure you don't want to leave the Holy Temple for a few days so you can avoid running into him and getting killed?"
A frown crept onto my face. Now that he mentioned it, whenever I see Storm in the hallways he's always carrying a humongous stack of documents…… I gave a slight shiver and said, "Fine, I'll go! But I'm bringing Judge along."
"Bring Judge along?!"
The previously calm Pope suddenly leapt up from his chair and shouted shrilly, "You might as well be bringing the whole Holy Temple away with you!"
He had a point there. If both the Sun Knight and the Judge Knight were to leave, the Holy Temple would be without a leader. After thinking about it I then changed my mind and said firmly, "Then I'll bring Storm instead. Let him get away from all the stress and work and see if he can relax a little."
The Pope immediately denied my request. "The Holy Temple can go without the Sun Knight, but it cannot survive without the Storm Knight."
'You…… I'll let you off this time but I'm recording it on your tab! After all, I have plenty of time……' I said to him exasperated, "Well, can I at least take Adair?"
Once again, he rejected me. "The Sun Knight Division can go without a captain, (when have they ever had a captain anyway?) but they cannot survive without a vice-captain."
'What the hell does he mean by that?!' I thought indignantly.
I raised an eyebrow at him in annoyance, about to tell him that I could do whatever the hell I wanted with my vice-captain, when……
The Pope then added, "Besides, Storm may be doing most of your work, but in actuality he would often throw back half of the work to Adair to deal with. If you were to bring Adair with you then prepare yourself to face the consequences of angering Storm for the eleventh time."
…… I had to submit to his judgement.
"…… then I'll just bring Frost."
The Pope shook his head, saying, "Frost is not part of the Good Warm Faction. If you were to bring him along on a mission people would think strangely. Furthermore with Frost gone who's going to prepare the entire Holy Temple's deserts? You want to deprive the entire Holy Temple of their deserts? You really want to incite the wrath of the entire Holy Temple?"
"No… then can I bring Cloud at least?" I asked, getting a little irritated. I can't bring this person, I can't bring that person; technically they are all under me, yet I can't bring a single one of them?! Am I or am I not the head of the Holy Temple?!
"No way!" the Pope cried out. He then explained a little awkwardly, "The farmers' crops haven't doing very well this season and the donations we've been receiving from them have similarly decreased. To cut down on cost I had let the librarian go and had instead asked Cloud to take the position. He spends all his time in there anyway; he is even clearer about all the books in the library than the librarian himself, so why not let him manage the library? If you were to take him away now the library would fall into ruins and no one would be able to find anything!"
I bowed my head and thought hard, before raising my head and said, "How about Moon?"
"I don't have any objections about that, but can you get him to leave his lover for a month?"
I took a deep breath and growled, "How difficult! Moon thinks the world of his lover and places even more importance on her than his own life. He'd go berserk if I asked him to leave her!"
The Pope nodded sagely.
I got up and paced around in frustration, before turning to ask him instead, "Then who can I bring along? I'm telling you right now that I refuse to go alone. Who knows if the Son of War is holding a grudge against me for what I did. What if he comes looking for revenge from me? Even Judge admitted that he can't win against the guy! I am not going to meet with him on my own."
The Pope kindly suggested, "You could bring Leaf!"
"Leaf?" I stopped in my pacing, thought about it, then said hesitatingly, "Bu-but Leaf, he's…… He's a nice guy!"
The Pope gave me a strange look and said, "Not only is he a nice guy, he's an obedient person. He wouldn't refuse any of your ridiculous requests; from running out to buy blueberries for you to helping you to beat off the dogs attacking you. What are you not satisfied with?"
"But he's an archer," I whined.
The Pope didn't seem to understand. "So what? It's not like you haven't seen him and his skill with the bow. Even Judge dares not claim that he can beat him."
"But I want to bring someone who knows how to use the sword……" I struggled.
He still could not understand my reasoning as he said, "I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but in this time and age almost everyone is using swords; knights, warriors…... In comparison, archers are a lot more in demand now. You should be grateful for an archer accompanying you, not disparaging him."
I answered him bluntly, "Archers cannot be my human shield, and they cannot help me fight in short-distance battles. Moreover, his speed in escaping is definitely higher than mine! Why the heck would I bring him along for?"
The Pope rolled his eyes at me and grounded out exasperatedly, "I'm only asking you to be a groom's men, not to run for your life! It's settled then, you'll bring Leaf!"
"With the way my luck has been recently, something might happen that would require the groom's men to run for their lives!" I protested. "Let me bring Hell, or you can just find someone else to be a groom's man!"
The Pope frowned at that, saying slowly, "That can't be good, can it? His 'identity' is a little sensitive; it wouldn't be appropriate to bring him along to joyous occasions such as weddings. Now if it's to funerals than I would have no objections……"
I gave a snort and said recklessly, "Even if someone were to suspect something we can always say that his dark aura is due to his years spent undercover in the Church of Chaos as a dark knight! Or if worse comes to worse, we can say that he had been discovered whilst spying there and that he had become the way he is now as a result. And that even when the Hell Knight had become like this, the Church of Light would not turn away one of our brothers, so we still accepted him back."
After hearing this 'explanation' comparable to the 'the Sun Knight is perfect' lie, the Pope shrugged and said, "Well, he's your responsibility. If you think there won't be any problems then I guess it should be fine."
Seeing that he had no more objections, I quickly rushed off in search of the Hell Knight Captain to confirm our coming trip.
You should know that he is currently very in demand. The queue of people waiting to have a go at him at swords fighting run from the Holy Temple up to the royal palace, and among them are a number of people I would be hesitant to offend, including-but not limited to-the Judge Knight Captain, the Princess' future husband and even the King's two trusted knights.
And not to mention the Storm Knight Captain; this past week he had been so pleased that someone had been helping him with his workload that he had been almost cheerful, his resentment decreasing quite a lot and even his dark eye bags seem to be getting lighter.
I wonder what his expression will look like once he hears that I'm taking Hell with me.
I paused at that thought, but then decided that as there was still Adair there to help him with his work, he shouldn't be too mad as to take revenge on me!
Okay, it's decided then! I'm bringing the Hell Knight Captain.
Even though I was going to go look for Hell to book his time, I had not taken several steps away from the Pope's office when I met the wondering Cloud Knight Captain. How rare. Whenever I'm looking for him, it would take me at least several hours to find him; and when not looking for him, I would never see him. To meet him now like this is something that has never happened before, I wonder if this is a good thing or not……
While I was lost in my thoughts, Cloud had grabbed hold of me and pulled me along as he flew down a hallway…… If I hadn't been previously aware of Cloud's skill at 'flying', I would have been convinced that he was on skates. And so whilst pondering what reasons he could have for suddenly grabbing me, we had already flown down a hallway.
But where was he taking me?
I had just started to ask, but Cloud had already lifted that pale hand of his and pointed ahead of us, followed by a hushing signal by placing his finger to his lips.
I tentatively peeked round the corner…… and saw the Hell Knight Captain and his division's knights.
There's nothing wrong with seeing the Hell Knight and his division's knights standing in a hallway, but it is strange when they were standing on opposite sides, with the Hell Knight on one side and his division knights on the other, both sides staring at each other silently.
The person at the head of the Hell Division knights was the Hell Knight Captain…… No, that's wrong! It's the Hell Knight Division's vice-captain. It was he who had been the one in charge all these years, causing me to nearly forget that he wasn't the Hell Knight but only the vice-captain filling in the missing Hell Knight's position. I think he was called - called De-something…… Demon?
I was about to ask Cloud, but when I turned back I realised that there was no one behind me. A wave of shivers swept up my spine. If I hadn't known better I would have sworn that I had met with a ghost; but then I remembered that this was the Church of Light! There's no way that anything ghostly or supernatural could have appeared here. Cloud had probably just drifted away silently as he was wont to do.
"You are Dylan?"
Just then Roland had spoken up, breaking the silence between the two parties and reminding me that I had remembered another name wrongly.
The other guy nodded and said aloofly, "Yes, I am Dylan, Sir Knight Slayer."
Upon hearing this title I was shocked, and looking at the other holy knights behind Dylan, they too had frowned in consternation. However even though they were frowning, none of them looked very surprised, and no one spoke out to correct Dylan's words.
As the Hell Knight, outsiders would simply call Roland 'Hell Knight', or at most adding some other respectful title to it. In the Church of Light, fellow holy knights and priests would address him as 'Captain Hell Knight'; just like Adair addresses me as Captain Sun Knight. It is only in more informal occasions that he would shorten the title to merely call me 'captain'.
What I'm trying to say here is that Dylan should only address Roland as 'Captain Hell Knight' or 'Captain'; even if he were to follow the way outsiders address us and call Roland 'Hell Knight', it's still fine. But he had directly addressed Roland as Sir Knight Slayer.
Only knights of the same rank or a superior addressing those below them would address the other in this way…… This is bad!
I frowned at this. Could it be that the Hell Knight Division's vice-captain wishes to keep the position of Hell Knight? Should I step out and reprimand him for this?
But then, forcing them to stop would only be superficial at best. In fact, it might even backfire and lead the Hell Division Knights to thinking that Roland was merely depending on others to keep his position. Perhaps I should let Roland handle this one himself?
But can he do it? From what I've heard from Elliot, even when he was a royal knight Roland was a rather quiet and anti-social guy.
Roland didn't look tense or nervous, only asking calmly, "So, you are my vice-captain?"
Hearing that, a flash of anger swept onto Dylan's face as he growled, "You are so sure of yourself and your position?"
'Calm down! Calm down, Dylan! Roland didn't mean anything by that. He's just trying to ascertain that you are his vice-captain Dylan and not any other person by the same name, nothing else!' I wanted to explain, but I couldn't just leap out, so I forced myself to remain hidden, worried about Roland.
Roland looked at him. Due to his Slayer outfit, the bottom half of his face was covered, hindering others from making out his expression.
But I know him too well! 'That idiot probably doesn't even realise what's happening and is showing a puzzled face underneath that mask……'
Roland spoke up a little hesitatingly, "I am not very sure about it……"
Dylan gave a condescending snort, saying, "So you do realise your situation after all?"
I rolled my eyes at this. 'Please, you guys aren't even on the same page.'
What Roland meant by 'not very sure' is that he isn't the real Hell Knight, so he's not very sure of his position; Dylan's 'not very sure' is referring to the Hell Knight's sudden reappearance and taking back the position of captain so matter-of-factly after having been absent for the past thirteen years.
'This just won't do!' I couldn't stand to see this spiralling down even further and was about to step out to help Roland when I spied a familiar figure. I quickly withdrew my foot and hid myself again.
"Captain Hell Knight," Adair greeted Roland respectfully, before turning to greet the vice-captain Dylan with greater familiarity. "Dylan, how have you been? I haven't seen you in a long time……"
Halfway through his greeting, Adair finally realised that something was up. He looked at Roland, then at the opposing group of Hell Division Knights, his face darkening. He then turned to Dylan and said in a disapproving tone, "Dylan, what is the meaning of this? Are you thinking of overstepping your boundaries?!"
As can be expected from my vice-captain, he was able to take in the scene in just a glance! What wonderful judgement I had!
"Adair," Dylan cried out beseechingly, "these past thirteen years I've been the Hell Knight, yet now all of a sudden-…"
"It's acting captain Hell Knight!"
Adair was completely unmoved and rebutted Dylan's words. He then went on to say coldly, "You've always known that you were merely the vice-captain and that one day the captain would come back. The fact that he's back now was something you expected all along, wasn't it? So why are you complaining?"
"But I never knew that the Hell Knight was such a weird person," Dylan protested.
"Stop trying to find excuses, Dylan, you've never cared about others' appearances before. Besides…" Adair turned to look up and down the hallways before saying carefully, "of the Twelve Holy Knights, is there any one of them who isn't weird?"
"That's right!" Ed, who had been following behind Adair suddenly butted in. "He can't be as weird as our captain!"
'…… has it really been that long since I've pushed someone down the cliff?'
The rest of the Hell Knight Division had to concede to Ed's comment. "That is true……"
Even Dylan had fallen silent at that, before protesting, "But at least the Sun Knight Captain maintains his outward image, but look at his outfit…… Doesn't that outfit just scream of suspicion?"
Even though he could hear the criticism of his outfit, Roland still kept quiet.
'Thank goodness no one knew that the Sun Knight, I, had worn that very same outfit before,' I thought gratefully.
At Dylan's insistence, Adair had turned to look at Roland's outfit, but he didn't comment on it, merely saying, "Dylan, please, on my behalf, will you just give him a chance?"
Dylan's expression changed at that plea and was about to protest, "But……"
Adair forcefully interrupted him, raising a finger. "Just one month. If after this one month you still think that he isn't qualified to be the Hell Knight, no matter what you choose to do I will stand by your side!"
Dylan looked at Adair doubtfully.
Adair gave a dry cough and raised his voice, declaring loudly, "Even if our captain orders me not to help you, I will still stand by your side!"
The crowd gasped loudly in surprise at his declaration.
At this, even Dylan was convinced by his sincerity, but he gave one last struggle, "But he is ashamed to even show his face……"
"So what? He is only ashamed to show his face. Our captain is completely
Adair immediately turned back and growled at him, "Ed, stop your nonsense at once!"
"What does it matter anyway? The captain's not here now is he?" Ed replied unconcerned.
Roland who had been silent all this while suddenly spoke up, his words throwing the entire hallway into deadly silence.
Ed started quavering, but he still tried to affect a carefree attitude as he said, "Y-you must be joking, Captain Hell Knight. I just heard that the Pope had summoned the captain to his office, so how can the captain possibly be here? Ha-haha, this is a pretty funny joke though! I didn't know you had such a sense of humour, sir."
At that, Roland just raised his arm and pointed at the corner of the hallway and said, "He's been there since the beginning, but I have no idea why he didn't come out."
"Haha…ha… " Ed's awkward laughter immediately trailed off and turned into horrified whimpers. "Captaiinnn, please let me explain!" he wailed.
I wasn't paying the slightest attention to him for I was lost in my contemplations. Adair had convinced Dylan to give Roland a 'trial period'; I wasn't worried at all about what would happen one month later, for with his skills, his serious nature and his natural leadership abilities, Dylan shouldn't have any complaints about Roland.
What I am worried about is…… if Roland were to have to go through a one month trial period, who would I bring to Moon Orchid to play groom's men with now?
I grimaced bitterly. Looks like I'll just have to take Leaf with me. Even though he is an archer, his swordsmanship can't be any worse than mine, right? Although, even if he is better than me, he might not be that much better…… I think I better ask around about it first!
I stepped out from my corner and with a brilliant smile I greeted them, "To see my fellow brothers gathered here together to speak of the God of Light's love and benevolence fills this Sun with such warmth and joy. Alas, this Sun is also filled with remorse for having to interrupt my brothers' conversations! This Sun ought to be punished for this infraction, but it cannot be helped, so this Sun begs for your forgiveness and understanding, and hope that you can allow Adair to leave your exchanges to follow this Sun. This Sun swears upon the God of Light that after this, this Sun will return and offer his most sincere apologies and commune with the rest of my brothers about the God of Light's beautiful nature."
"Adair, what did the captain say? Is he going to kill me?" Ed whimpered.
"No, stop speaking nonsense. The captain only wants me to leave with him," Adair explained in a hushed voice before hurriedly answering me in a louder voice. "Yes, captain."
I nodded and smiled at everyone. Everyone had been watching me anxiously, and upon seeing that I wasn't going to say anything else, they all let out a sigh of relief.
After bidding them farewell, I turned and left for a secluded spot, Adair following right behind me. Once there I turned and asked directly, "How is Leaf Knight's sword skills? Be honest."
Adair frowned at this unusual question, before answering diplomatically, "Just a little bit better than yours, sir…"
"Don't compare to me!" I shouted, a little annoyed.
If Leaf's sword skills really were just a little bit better than mine than it would mean that he really sucked. At this point, I did not wish to risk myself just for the sake of my pride. If I were to really bring a guy who sucked at using the sword, I run the risk of an early unscheduled trip to meet the God of Light!
Adair answered seriously, "Yes, sir. Captain Leaf Knight's sword skills are pretty good."
This answer was still too vague. I frowned lightly and persisted, "And how is he compared to you?"
"He is not as good as me, but not by much."
'Ah!' My brows smoothened out. 'That means that he really is pretty good. Adair's sword skills are among the top ten in the Holy Temple. Looks like I can rest assured in bringing Leaf along to play at groom's men……'
"Hmm?" I answered distractedly.
"About Ed," Adair said carefully, "please don't take what he said to heart. He's always been one to shoot his mouth off and speak without thinking, but he doesn't really mean it. You should know, too, that he's always held you with the utmost respect."
I suddenly smiled brightly as I looked at the nonplus-looking Adair. "I would have forgotten about that if you hadn't reminded me. But since you mentioned it, let's take advantage of the short time this Sun has before leaving to have a special gruelling training session with my dearly beloved Sun Division Knights!"
Adair's expression looked as if he was repenting to the whole Sun Knight Division.
When I came back from my thoughts, the first thing I saw was a little black dot flying around right in front of me, buzzing annoyingly. Without a second thought I swung my right hand……
Leaf's eyes widened as he stared down at me numbly.
I calmly withdrew my hand from his face and showing him said hand I explained to him, "There was a mosquito."
Leaf looked down at the flattened bloody mosquito on my white glove, while I studied his left cheek. Not only had it reddened, it was starting to slowly swell up, and there was even a thread of blood at the corner of his mouth…… Maybe I am soon to become the first person ever to anger a Leaf Knight?
"Oh, I see." After a long while, Leaf raised his head and smiled at me, "Luckily I had you to help me get the mosquito, or else I might have gotten a red mosquito bite on my face."
'You might not have gotten a swelling from a mosquito bite, but the entire left side of your face is swelling horribly.' I gave a warm and gentle smile and said, "My brother Leaf is too kind, this is something that this Sun should be doing for my brother no matter the circumstances."
Leaf raised a hand to shade his eyes from the sunlight bearing down on us and said admiringly, "The Sun is shining so brightly today! Sun, your hair even looks like spun gold under the sunlight. How pretty, can I have some?"
"Unless this Sun is mistaken, Brother Leaf has requested for this Sun's hair several times already?"
"They've been used up—No! I mean I had accidently lost them." Leaf gave me an apologetic look.
"I see. In that case why don't I just give my brother a bit more this time?"
Hoping that he would forget about my slapping him, I decided to be a bit more generous. After all, my hair will just grow back, it's not like it's something precious…… Although, Leaf is a little weird, he's always asking for my hair from me. I've heard of ear fetishes and hands fetishes and even foot fetishes, but I've never heard of a hair fetish! And it's not just hair; he would sometimes ask me for some of my nails too.
But because whenever he would ask me for my hair or nails happened to be right after I had done something that might have angered him, I dared not refuse him something so simple and so I would meekly hand them over without questions asked.
I picked up my Holy Sun Blade, drew the blade and swung the gleaming sword at my hair……
"Sun! You're going to accidently cut your own head off!" Leaf exclaimed worriedly as he snatched the sword from me. "Here, let me do it. Just don't use the sword; you had nearly given me a heart attack……"
As he said that he gave a neat swing of the blade. I hadn't even felt a thing, but there was a lock of gold hair in his hand. He carefully kept them away while asked worriedly, "I had cut off a little more, is that okay with you? I was thinking that I might use them often on this trip…… I mean, the Sun should be shining quite brightly during this trip, I want to take them out and admire them under the sun; it should look very pretty."
I shook my head to show that I didn't mind. Now that I had had a look close up, Leaf's sword skills really is as good as Adair had reported. This journey shouldn't pose a problem then, for if something were to happen I can just push Leaf out to defend me without any worries! He could have sliced of all of my hair and I wouldn't have minded!
After having tucked the lock of hair away, Leaf started casting healing spells on his swollen left cheek. It might have looked serious, but a low level healing spell was sufficient to heal it and his swollen face finally returned to its normal self.
It was only then that I looked around and realised that there was no one else around but the two of us, so I hurriedly asked, "Where is his grace the Son of War?"
Leaf explained to me, "Just now the warrior priest had noticed someone hiding in front of us, so Michael led the others to investigate them. Before he left he said for the archer and the priest to stay here until they get back."
'Ah, I see……'
Wait a minute, the archer would of course be referring to Leaf, for with that huge bow and quiver of arrows that he carried on his back only a blind man wouldn't know that he was an archer, but who is the priest?
I looked around expressionlessly. The warrior priest was not here either; there was only Leaf and I.
I looked at Leaf. Leaf was also watching me and when he saw me looking at him he said tactfully, "I think Michael had misspoke when he called you a priest."
He then went on in a quieter voice, "Or maybe he misunderstood your job? Hmm, maybe he thinks that anyone who knows healing spells is a priest? Or maybe……."
I had rolled my eyes in my mind. 'You'd just used healing spells on yourself, so why hadn't he called you a priest too?'
It was obvious that the Son of War had said it on purpose!
Back then before all this started, I had arrived along with the Leaf Knight at the Moon Orchid's royal palace, worn and tired from our trip and looking forward to resting in a comfortable bed. But the moment I had stepped foot into the palace I had immediately noticed the tense and disquieting atmosphere. I nearly thought that there had been a mistake somewhere, that it was actually the Princess' funeral and not her wedding that we were coming for. If I had known I would have brought the Hell Knight!
The Son of War stood to one side, unaccompanied by any of his usual warriors.
Moon Orchid's Queen was sitting on her throne, her body as still as a statue…… Well, if I were wearing that ceremonial outfit that looked even heavier than a set of full body armour I wouldn't move either. Not to mention the heavy-looking crown that looked more suitable to being put in an exhibition than to be worn on one's head.
She wore a veil that covered her face, but it was a thin one, allowing one a blurry glimpse of her features. Even though her eldest daughter was already of marriageable age, she looked no older than 30; looks like she aged very well.
Like my own country's King, the Queen barely spoke, but it seems that in this one aspect the 'weaker sex' is much more skilled than the men. My country's King had to at least give them a look before his trusted knights would understand and speak for him, but this Queen's eyebrows hadn't even twitched, when one of the two female knights standing behind her jumped out and started explaining the situation to us.
The female knight liked to mince her words and often repeated herself, so it would be a bother to repeat everything she had said here. Besides, I can't repeat them to you even if I wanted to as I had already forgotten them. The gist of it was that the Princess that was going to be married had been kidnapped, is all.
"The Princess has been kidnapped?!" I exclaimed on the surface, but inside, I had a little niggling seed of doubt. If it had been a prince who had been kidnapped it would be more understandable; after all, princes are always running around outside the palace on quests, or wooing beauties, or fighting. They're pretty easy to kidnap. Princesses on the other hand, rarely even step foot out of the palace, so how could they have gotten kidnapped?
Besides, what would one kidnap a princess for?
If you were thinking of getting the throne, with a prince already lined up before them a princess would never get the opportunity to inherit the throne, so kidnapping her for that would be useless.
If you wanted a beauty, all you had to do was walk around the city, and I guarantee you that you'll find women even more beautiful than the Princess. After all, beautiful women are bountiful everywhere. Even if this Princess had been lauded for her great beauty, that is only because compared to the 'rest of the Princesses in the world' she would be one of the most beautiful, but if they were to be compared with all the beautiful women in the world, I doubt any princess would even be in the top 100!
And if it was because of money, well, if you can manage to kidnap a princess, you can definitely get into the treasure vaults, so you might as well just go straight to the vaults yourself! Kidnapping someone is very troublesome and a lot of work!
So typically, the only person who would do something as pointless as kidnapping princesses would be the monsters and demon kings from the fairy tales!
And in my humble opinion, the only reason the monsters and demon kings would bother with kidnapping a princess-other than because they forgot to grow a brain-would be so they can increase their fame and notoriety!
Could it be that she really was kidnapped by a demon king? But I hadn't heard of any demon kings popping up recently?
Whilst I was busy trying to guess who would kidnap a princess and why, the statue Queen of Moon Orchid suddenly spoke up. "Sun Knight, We ask a request from you."
My face rapidly changed expressions at her words. The Queen actually deigning to speak herself could mean only one thing…… I'm going to be so troubled!
But even though I was well aware of my impending doom, I still had to paste on a determined and unafraid expression as I said seriously, "Your Majesty, if this Sun can help even the slightest to lighten your burden and illuminate you with a ray of sun from the God of Light, this Sun will definitely pursue it with all that he has."
The Queen was still without expression as she said, "We wish you to rescue Our daughter and bring her back."
Upon hearing this, I cast a surprised look at the Son of War who had been fuming in silence all this while. It was all I could do to keep myself from saying something like, 'what the hell does your wife being kidnapped have to do with me?'
Just then, that damned Son of War gave a snort of derision and said to me, "Well, what can I do? The Princess's rescue party is missing a priest."
Fuck you! I'm a knight!