Dolls

Chapter 44.3  – Meeting

 

As it would be a bit bad if someone who was viewed as a hero left the country without permission, especially because I want to come back to Malgaroid once everything is done, I decided to schedule a meeting with king Lereol.

There is a lot that must be done, so I’d rather have this done quickly, but as the other party is a king, he’ll probably be quite busy… I suppose it can’t be helped that I might need to wait a few days for it.

“I-I-I’m back, l-l-l-lady Altirea.” A butler apprentice of the Louivas family said, just as he returned from the Garrett palace, “I-I-I-It is… A-amazing… Like a… A really amazing… O-on the gate…”

The boy was quite nervous, but it seems like someone came with him from the palace? Let’s go check then.

When I went outside, I saw a very fancy carriage filled with silver embroidery in front of the gate. It was almost like a fairy tale’s ride.

“Oh, that’s a royal carriage. Its horses are surely taken good care of, aren’t they? I’d love to have a chance of riding them one day.” Feria commented once she saw the carriage.

I had just finished talking to Feria about going to the empire, and she agreed to go with me.

Also, while the puppets were attacking people all over Malgaroid, and I was stuck at the Garrett Palace, Feria protected the Louivas household from their assault.

This ended up working out on her favor, as it created an opportunity for her to properly talk to not only her mother, Eska, but also to her father, Dauz.

Right now, Feria seems to have made up with her parents.

“Lady Altirea, it’s an honor.” The carriage’s coach gave a slight bow as he said that. He was a middle-aged man who looked honest and strict.

His white uniform, paired together with the silver feathers shining brightly on the insignia on his chest prove that he is a high-ranking member of the guard… Though he probably got there due to political deals.

Nonetheless, if they are sending a man like this to me, then it means that they are giving me special treatment, which I’m grateful for.

“Regarding your audience request, the king has accepted it. And as it seems like you might be on a hurry, we can leave for the palace immediately.” He told me.

It would be impolite to refuse the offer when a member of the royal guard came to escort me directly… But well, it’s convenient for me like this, so it’s alright.

Though how did king Lereol find that I was in a hurry? I don’t think there was anything in my letter that gave this impression?

… Maybe I put too little spacing in-between my words? King Lereol can be quite paranoid once he enters his pessimistic mode, but he is also an excellent ruler with a very keen eye for details, so… It’s not impossible that he figured it out from my writing.

Either way, he is a good man that is seriously trying to change the laws of his country in order to not push children as young as 10 towards marriage. Him being a good ruler is one of the reasons I want to move in to this country, so I don’t think I should worry about it too much.

Let’s just answer the guard then, “I appreciate the timely response.

“Also,

–would it be alright if Feria Louivas accompanied me? She is my knight.”

“Of course, a beautiful lady and her beautiful knight can definitely ride the royal carriage. We’ll do our utmost to let you have a comfortable ride. Please go ahead.” The man bowed and opened the carriage’s door for us as he said that.

“Thank you. Then, let’s go, Feria.” I said.

“Eh? Uhn… Y-yes.” Feria replied confusedly.

Unsurprisingly so, since that’s the first time I mentioned the knight part.

Either way, I believe I have quite a bit of influence over the king by now, so I’ll have to use it a bit during our meeting.

***

Thanks to the all-purpose string system developed by Phillka, the carriage could run through the cobblestone road with almost no shaking.

“So… About this knight thing…” However, Feria was shaking a lot as she said that. Her face was also quite red… I’m not sure why, but this sight made me want to bully her a bit, “I’m… I’m happy, truly.

“But I can’t help wondering if I’m good enough for you.

“I mean, I do know some swordsmanship, but I’m a nobody when compared to the Wandering Earl, so… Someone like me going with you to the empire is… I might just be a nuisance and–”

Oh my oh my, I just couldn’t stop gazing at Feria as she said that… I’m sure I had quite the sadistic expression on me right now.

“Feria, you are a very important friend to me. You are the only person that can properly accept me for who I am. I want to be with you forever.

“Moreover, you aren’t planning to get married yet, are you? If you become my knight, you can say something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry, but the lady doesn’t allow me to marry’ to anyone that tries proposing.” As I said that, I stared directly into Feria’s eyes.

In her black eyes, I could see the reflection of the glittering sunset that was right outside the windows… It dyed her eyes with a beautiful red color.

Eventually, she nodded, “I’ll gracefully accept it then.

“And I swear. I’ll protect you even if it costs me my life.

“I may not have known it at the time, but now I do. This is why I learned the sword.”

She was so dignified and cool, that even I, who was of the same sex as her, was enchanted by her sight.

Certainly, when seeing an expression like this one, even girls who have been running away from romance will surely have their heart flutter.

“Thank you. Then, we can perform a proper knighthood ceremony before leaving the kingdom… Though I wonder if it’s alright for a foreigner to claim someone from Malgaroid as their knight…” I said.

Well, we’re going to talk to king Lereol now, so I suppose I can just request it of him. I doubt he’ll refuse.

Ah! There is one more thing we have to do though. I almost forgot.

“Let’s have our Karaage party before leaving too. I want to thank everyone at the Louivas house.” I told her.

“Leave the chickens to me! I can use the money I earned in my travels!” Feria told me.

… I don’t think this is a suitable first job for a knight, but… Let’s worry about it later.

“By the way, Alty, you talked about my marriage a small while back, but what about you?

“You’re from a duke’s family, and also a hero at Malgaroid. There are surely a lot of people interested in you.

“Could you perchance already be engaged to someone from the empire?” Feria timidly asked me.

“I was proposed to a few times, but I rejected everyone. I don’t feel like marrying yet, so I’m not engaged.

“If me or Feria were a man, everything would be solved.” I told her.

I truly feel comfortable by her side. Maybe because she is so similar to how I used to be, that I end feeling incredibly at ease when I’m with her.

“Yeah… I think so too.” Feria muttered with a gloomy tone.

Immediately after that though, she changed her tone to one of mockery, “I heard from my brother that the sage was trying to get him to create an artificial life form similar to you.

“It would have been quite dangerous if he came to me, you know? I might have created a fake genderbent version of you.” Feria said.

“If that happened, I’d bring you back to me at all costs. It would be a war.” I told her.

She giggled, “How scary!”

Then we both started laughing.

However… Didn’t the sage create an artificial life form by himself?

To push someone to create a fake me and transform it… It surely sounds like something that that scammer would do.

… Perhaps, there might be someone in the world already working on it, and we might just be waiting for the time when it will wake up.

… Ugh.

“What’s wrong, Alty? You suddenly started frowning?” Feria asked me.

“I’m sorry. I’m alright.” I told her that, but I was holding my temples.

Pain. As if my blood vessels were rampaging inside my brain… My skull is about to crack.

And at the same time, I feel drowsy. A feeling very similar to what I felt immediately after defeating the puppeteer.

… But after enduring it for a while, the two conflicting uncomfortable feelings gradually subsided.

This started happening ever since I woke up after defeating the sage…

–Let me leave you with something, so that you won’t forget me.

… Perhaps the sage’s souvenir wasn’t the removal of doll magic, but instead this terrible migraine.

Regardless of that, the time passed with me and Feria within the carriage. By the time we reached the Garett Palace, it was already night.

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