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Kuro no Maou 430 – Part 3/3
A heartbreaking homecoming
She couldn’t immediately understand her request.
Then, a second later, she was finally able to understand what she said. However, she was still unable to read Nell’s intentions.
“What’s the matter? Please, let’s go back at once.”
Only when Nell got up and seized Helen’s shoulder as if she were in a hurry she was finally able to feel something was wrong, and called out to her.
“W-wait just a moment, princess!”
“All you need to do is go, there’s no need to get any equipment or anything like that. Just go like that, please, hurry. Hurry!”
“Please, princess, stop! You’re not making any sense!”
Against Helen’s clear words of refusal, Nell raised her eyebrows as she expressed her displeasure with her face, and finally got back to her seat.
“…Why won’t you heed my request?”
She looked like a spoiled child, but her eyes were now muddy out of hatred.
“Ah, it’s just that what you ask of me is simply impossible… and what’s more, I don’t really understand why you ask that of all things…”
“You don’t understand why?”
She sounded like an arrogant teacher scolding a poor student. Even though everything seemed utterly unreasonable, Helen had no choice but to bow down and apologize.
“I don’t… I’m truly sorry…”
Nell sighed in such an exaggerated way that it was similar to how Nero had done earlier when he found out about Kai’s folly.
“If you go to Galahad Fortress, I can help you fight, don’t you think?”
“You’re my friend, so I’ll go to Galahad Fortress to help you. And if I do, I can see Kurono again, right?”
That kind of logic wouldn’t be normally understood by ordinary people.
“That… that won’t do, princess! It’s not that–”
“I want to see Kurono. I want to see him now. I don’t care what happens, I want to see him, talk to him, and hold him tight.”
So go to Galahad Fortress and become my excuse for me to see him.
That’s what Nell was saying.
“You’re my friend, right? So please do me this favor!”
“Please don’t say these unreasonable things! I understand your heart is upset right now, but please, try to calm down!”
“In that case, I’ll make it an order, okay? An order from the First Princess of Avalon to you, Helen. Go to Galahad Fortress at once.”
“Wh… Wh-what sh…”
“Ah, I know! Please fight bravely and die. If you do, I’ll be so sad about my dear friend’s death that Kurono will have to come to comfort me.”
“But princess, that… that’s too–”
“Hehe, ehehe, I can’t wait… Yeah, let’s do that. Come on, Helen, hurry up and die.”
Nell’s lightless blue eyes looked at Helen with expectation. She wished it from the bottom of her heart, so it couldn’t be helped. Helen’s eyes started to well up in tears as she lowered her head and asked for her forgiveness.
“I’m sorry, princess… I intend to carry out His Majesty’s… King Miriald’s command. He has entrusted me with taking Her Highness back to Avalon safely… I cannot obey your command, princess.”
Helen wept as she resorted to the most appropriate explanation she could think of.
“…Is that so…”
Nell’s face once again went back from looking in good spirits to an expressionless, sick looking mask as she spat out her next words.
With another unnatural, forced sigh, Nell threw herself on the soft and tender seat that would support many a royal body on such long journeys. There was no one in that carriage who would reprimand her for such improper posture.
“Tell me, Helen, which knighthood was it that you wanted to enroll in after graduating? You know, for someone as useless as you, I can tell Father to appoint you as a warehouse keeper.”
Sprawled back on her seat like a discarded doll, Nell speaks rashly about snatching away Helen’s brilliant future from her, muttering as if she was half-asleep.
“There’s this old gramps named Thomas who’s in charge of the castle’s 13th warehouse, but he’s been on that post by himself all this time, even before I was born… He’s been doing that for so long, it would be nice if someone else were to take over his post so he can finally rest those old bones, don’t you think?”
Protecting the castle’s treasury was one of the duties of the elite knights, but Helen quickly understood that this ‘13th warehouse’ was obviously a much less important place which was clearly much less used, let alone talked about.
“Hehe, it’ll be a perfect job for someone as incompetent as you.”
Helen could do nothing but endure, biting her lip as she continued to shed tears.
Crying her heart out, Helen’s heart was being painted with dark emotions rather than filled with sorrow.
The princess had changed. No, rather, she had been changed. Changed by that devilish man.
The kind and tender Nell would never abuse or ridicule anyone like that. She was pure and kind-hearted. She was an example, no, an ideal, of what a princess should be. That’s why it made no sense that she would be so cruel to Helen that it would test her loyalty like that.
Helen couldn’t feel anything but hatred for the one responsible for driving her beautiful, pure princess this mad.
“–Oh well, how am I going to see Kurono, then?”
Who was she asking that question to? At least Helen had no interest in answering it. She already thinks highly enough of her princess, but her heart wasn’t so numb that she would take further abuse from her.
“I want to see you, and yet, I… I… I’m no good, am I…?
She buried her face in the seat’s cushions as she mumbled incomprehensibly, answering her own questions. It was almost as if she didn’t want to hear her own answers.
“Why, why am I not the one at your side, why is that… that… ah…”
Her words were suddenly cut off. Helen noticed. Nell’s body trembled as she moaned, unable to say another word.
“Princess!? Stop! Stop the car now!”
Helen raised her face, which still had traces of dry tears, as she yelled her command as loud as she could, and the carriage’s driver reacted instantly. The carriage stopped without making any sound nor shaking even once. Needless to say, the knights who were around the carriage also stopped, forming lines next to it.
“Ah, uh, uuhh…”
“Princess, let’s go outside.”
Helen quickly unlocked the door and opened it, then carried Nell’s tender body outside. The princess’s face was pale, and her eyes were blank and devoid of light.
The two tumbled out of the carriage and onto the snowy ground, almost falling.
Paying no mind to the silver knight who hurriedly got down from his horse to tend to her princess, Nell faced the white ground and–
“Uh, kuh… bleeaaaaargggghhhh….”
Started to throw up.
Despite not having had anything to eat or drink during their journey home, dirty vomit was being expelled from Nell’s pretty mouth.
Seeing that unsightly and miserable display, Helen started to cry a third time.
“Oh, poor, poor princess…”
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