“That’s the worst of it over now.”
Prince Yuri says as his glare sweeps the room now full of monster corpses, all of them having been exterminated by the knights.
Yuri de von Argrey, the eldest prince of Argrey Kingdom and the first in line to inherit the crown, according to what the kids have told me.
Prince Yuri is still young, only nineteen, but unlike his younger brother Joel who has inherited the queen’s svelte figure, Yuri is a broad-shouldered, well-built man, nearly 190 cm tall and naturally imposing. His countenance is handsomely masculine, but he is also known for his roughness, unflinching audacity, and at times even cruelty. His gaze alone could intimidate many.
From a certain point of view, he is very much a model king-to-be.
This country was first established through the conquering of dungeons, and its noble caste was made of powerful people. Yuri would be the right choice to have as the king of such a nation.
Other than Chieri who has fainted, everyone here has all knelt to his presence.
“Enough. This is not the palace, and there is no need to kneel. Raise your head.”
He’s not exactly smiling, but from the tone of his voice, he doesn’t seem to be in a bad mood.
“Y-your Highness!” Karl says, sounding quite emotional. He’s blushing, too… is this love?
Oh, right, I see. Karl’s usual bravado is a result of his infatuation with prince Yuri, as he’s decided to mimic the prince. Doesn’t he realize how inferior he looks to the real thing? Pfft.
“Mmm, the Mercia scion and the younger brother. You’ve done good work.”
Prince Yuri coolly nods to Andy and Karl. He walks forward, sparing not even a glance for instructor Eric Marsaw and miss Chieri (currently unconscious with eyes rolled back in their sockets, as well as leaking a little bit below), and he stops in front of milady Sharon, who is still kneeling with her head low, and me, her maid.
“Raise your heads, you two.”
“…y-yes, your Highness,” milady replies, her voice quavering as though in deference.
But I know. It’s not deference. It’s just her being so much of a shy loner that she automatically panics in front of a large-sized man.
Prince Yuri hums, his piercing gaze fixed on milady’s face. Then he snorts.
“Sure enough, one can’t really take the rumors of noble ladies seriously. People say the Michel young lady is a fool that cowers behind her status and a dullard that was abandoned by her own family, but I have heard the reports. The evacuees have spoken of your courage.”
“I am unworthy of your praises, your Highness…”
Of course she’s amazing. My lady can do anything once she puts her mind to it.
“Your name is… Sharon, is it not? Stand up.”
“…yes, your Highness.”
Milady releases her death grip on my skirt and stands up, looking like a terribly adorable little fawn.
“I see. You don’t look half bad.”
Prince Yuri places his fingers below milady’s jaws and raises her head. Milady gasps. I can feel Andy and Karl doing the same as well.
…not bad, he says. Not bad?
He would tarnish the visage of the cutest girl in the world with his touch and say she’s not bad?
“…are you Sharon’s maid?”
“I am, your Highness.”
Oh, what a gaffe. It seems I have inadvertently lost control of my anger for a moment, and the prince has picked up on it.
This cannot do. That horro-I mean, the Maid Chief could have turned a whole country into a wasteland without blinking an eye. As a maid, I am still lacking in discipline.
“I am Fleurety, your Highness.”
“I see. You’ve got spirit. It was only for a moment, but I have seen you killing monsters with a single blow before our forces got here.”
“Nothing that would deserve your attention, your Highness.”
“Enough with that. You’re good. I like capable people, and you’re good-looking as well. If you wish, then I shall allow you to be my servant.”
The surprised exclamation hasn’t come from me, but milady.
She nervously looks at me. I respond to her with a smile and turn back to the prince. I stand up, my fingers pinching my skirt, and I give him a graceful curtsey the way noblewomen do.
“I am a maid, and I serve milady Sharon. Her and her only,” I say.
Which is really just a more polite way of saying to the prince, “so I would really appreciate it if you could cut the bullshit, please.”
I hear some gasps. This time, they came from prince Yuri’s knights. The prince probably hasn’t ever had anyone refuse him before. Before his presence, nobody had dared to, afraid that they would incur his wrath.
And then for a single moment, a wave of what feels like sheer presence blasts from prince Yuri. It made everyone in the room flinch. Except me, of course, as I continue to smile at him. It was just a breeze, really.
Prince Yuri curls his lips upward.
“I see, I see. Can’t force you to, can I. In that case…”
The prince suddenly pulls at milady’s slender hips.
“I just need to get you, Sharon, and both of you would be mine.”
“Your Highness!” Andy shouts, apparently without meaning to.
“Imperial knight Andy. I have not given you permission to speak.”
Andy swallows his words. Milady is frozen stiff. The pair of brothers are hesitating, unable to act.
It is then that a helping hand comes from someone unexpected.
“Your Highness, please refrain. I believe your retainers would be inconvenienced by such a sudden decision.”
“…ah, Clarice,” the prince mutters.
Clarice might have contributed to the monster subjugation effort, but she is still only the daughter of a viscount. Yet now, that viscount young lady has spoken out against the crown prince himself.
While everyone else is waiting with bated breath to see what would happen, like me, on Clarice’s face is still the relaxed smile that she has held since the beginning. The prince looks at her, and his expression softens.
“If lady Clarice says so, then I will not insist… so put that menacing thing away, maid.”
“As you wish, your Highness.”
Following prince Yuri’s order, I return the spiked club to its place inside my skirt while taking back milady from his hands at the same time. The knights all release a sigh of relief.
“Are you hurt, milady?”
“I-I’m fine… thanks, Letty.”
She smiles, looking somewhat embarrassed, and she gives Clarice a nod with her eyes as well. She couldn’t be any more direct here, otherwise it would be equivalent to a public declaration that she disagreed with prince Yuri. We’ll send Clarice a letter of gratitude later, after this is over.
“Let’s return. A few of the knights need to stay to clean up the mess. Clarice, you’re with me,” prince Yuri says and starts walking.
“Understood. Lady Sharon, miss Fleurety. I hope we can meet for tea again some time,” Clarice responds, following the prince back to the palace.
…I do have to wonder who the viscount young lady is. She can create a field of holy magic powerful enough to hurt me, and she looks to be more than a simple acquaintance with prince Yuri as well…
There’s something about her.
“Sharon, are you fine?”
Karl makes conversation with milady, though I can feel him being strangely distant to Andy. Prince Yuri’s earlier words must still be in his mind.
Well, at any rate.
“Milady, let us return to your room to clean up in the bath. I worry that your bosom might have diminished after being subjected to such a brutish touch.”
“How would that happen?!”
The pair of brothers turn away with their faces red, while I celebrate being hit with milady’s slipper after so long.
Thus, the Monster Stampede concluded.
Camilla, daughter of a duke and an academy instructor, was originally supposed to be stripped of her family name and be sent to a convent as her punishment. Her initiative in being the first to attempt to enter the dungeon and remove the source of the Stampede, reckless and without authorization as it might have been, was still taken into consideration, and her sentence was reduced. She would not be sent to a convent.
Instead, she would be removed from her post at the academy and be sent for marriage to some lecherous old man with ties to her dukedom. I personally thought the sentence was rather lacking, so I had also supplied the aforementioned lecher with lewd photographs of her being attacked by tentacles in the dungeon. He had been most jubilant. He had also purchased much of my specialty product, my super-powerful energy supplements that would allow him to go a whole three days without drinking, eating, or sleeping.
We’re loaded with money now.
Similarly, Mia, the marquis-employed maid and a co-conspirator of the assault in the dungeon, also barely managed to escape being sent to a convent. The marquis house had paid her bail money, and she would be demoted to being one of the scullery maids. It would be decades before her debt could be cleared, I should think.
As for miss Chieri, she had avoided being sent to jail by virtue of being one of the Partner candidates that the country had summoned. However, with her role in the assault and being the culprit who had lured monsters into the city, she was no longer considered for the position of the next Saint, and she would have to do community service until her graduation. The nobles were informed of this, so her chances of ever becoming a noble’s Partner is practically non-existent now.
Also, apparently Chieri would be put under the supervision of an etiquette coach for a while… but then she locked herself up in her room and hadn’t come out since.
It must have been because I had blown off her front bangs. Heheh.
“Letty… what should we do now?”
“A month of free time, is it… perhaps we should travel somewhere?”
I answer milady as I pour her a cup of sweet chai tea. She starts nibbling on pieces of soan papdi, a dessert I’ve prepared as accompaniment since it goes well with the tea.
Due to the monster attack, the academy had suffered infrastructural damage, and there are junior students who have been traumatized as well, even if their physical wounds have already been healed with theurgy. The academy would close for about a month.
Most of the students have gone home, but milady’s family situation is still far from being a pleasant stay. As we now have quite a bit of free time, we could invite lady Clarice over for tea and to show our gratitude as well, but the young lady was recently announced to be the next Saint to replace Chieri. She is apparently quite busy with trips to the Church and to the palace. It’s hard to get a chance to meet with her.
“Oh, yes, I just have a good idea!” Milady says, clapping her hands adorably and smiling at me.
I wonder what disaster this idea of hers would lead to this time.
“What is it, milady?”
“Ever since you came to this world you’ve been with me all the time, right? So let’s go on a tour around the kingdom.”
Indeed, I’ve only ever gone to the Dark Woods and her family home.
“Umm… I’ve… always wanted to go on a trip with… friends…”
Her voice shrinks into an embarrassed mumble as she fiddles her fingers and looks at me with puppy eyes.
“Understood. I shall cross the whole world in one month with milady in my arms.”
“That’s not a trip!”
A/N: The next few chapters will be the touring arc. Mostly just slice-of-life stuff.
T/N: So now that that HUGE batch is done and we’ve gotten to a good spot, I have an announcement to make:
I’m dropping this series. When I first read Haru no Hi’s stuff I felt like I should share them with English-speaking readers, but that was a long long time ago (probably nearly two years now), and now I just don’t feel that passion anymore. I may or may not return to this in the future if the mood strikes, but best not to hope on it.
If anyone wants to pick this up, feel free.