Not One Good Thing
Chiharu sighed and picked up the fallen knife. As the window in the hallway was not opened, she doubted anyone was watching. Still, she moved discreetly, just in case.
And then she looked at Norfe, who was by her feet and not moving.
It wasn’t that he couldn’t move. He just wasn’t.
“You couldn’t believe that your uncle would do such a thing. He would understand if you talked to him. And so you brushed away Alan’s protests and charged. And then this happened.”
The immobile mass suddenly moved.
“Well, welcome back.”
Was she being mean? She took off his gag and then cut the ropes that bound his arms with the knife. It was difficult to cut the thick rope, and she was worried that she might cut Norfe’s arm.
Now that she thought about it, she should have cut the rope first and let him take the gag off by himself. But it hardly mattered now…
“Uh, let’s sit on the sofa.”
“Don’t mind me.”
“I’m not so callous as to be able to relax while someone is lying on the floor.”
Norfe fell silent. This must be a great shock to him. A withered prince was of no use to anyone. If only he would at least talk to her.
“Uh, there’s only one bed. Do you want to sleep together?”
“Wh-hat did you say!”
Norfe suddenly stood up.
“Ah, you got up. Now sit down on the sofa.”
As he was already up, Norfe sat down grimly on the sofa.
“Though, if we’re being serious, there really only is one bed. If you don’t mind being seen from the hallway, you can sleep on the sofa. Or you can sleep on the floor in the bedroom.”
“…I will sleep here.”
An uncomfortable silence followed. Someone had once told her that Edwy and Norfe were the same age. That meant he was eighteen. Seven years younger than Chiharu. So he was still growing.
And so Chiharu sat at the table and watched Norfe, who was sitting on the sofa and looking depressed.
The sound suddenly echoed. Norfe held his stomach in surprise.
“You haven’t eaten dinner yet?”
“Uh, um, yes. I haven’t eaten since this afternoon.”
She could question him about what had happened later. Chiharu opened the door to her room and brought back something that was wrapped in cloth. And then she poured some water into a cup on the table and opened up the bundle.
“I’m glad that I saved this. It’s better than nothing. maybe a little hard?”
There was some bread and grapes.
“Why do you have that…”
“I keep some when there is too much food. After all, they will probably just throw it away if I return it, right? In that case, it’s better to save it. See, it was useful once again.”
“I’ll tell you about it. But you should eat first.”
Chiharu moved the table so that it would be closer to Norfe.
“Ah, I could have done that for you.”
“Don’t worry, it’s not very heavy.”
Chiharu insisted as Norfe tried to get up.
Norfe gulped and then went for the cup of water first. And then he picked up the bread and slowly started to eat. Then he started to eat faster, until all five of the loaves were eaten.
“Those were from breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Chiharu said with a smile. Norfe looked like he didn’t know what to do.
“In the first place…”
Chiharu started by talking about the time she fell off a cliff in the dwarf lands. How the bread in her bag had helped her, and then how she was kidnapped in Gromble.
“Maki had it so hard, and I saved some bread that time too. But now that I think about it, it wasn’t much use.”
This really wasn’t what she should be talking about now. Still, Chiharu’s voice sounded gently in his ears. And it gave Norfe time to calm down, and stop feeling so angry and embarrassed about his failure.
This current situation. A Saintess had been abducted and locked away. He had tried to do something about it, but ended up being locked down here as well. In other words…
“My country has been taken over.”
“Up until now, I was held up like an ornament. But now, my uncle will be the one who is ruling.”
“I will likely be sent off to some other country, where I will be involved in an accident.”
Chiharu had no idea that things were moving in such a horrifying direction.
“What about Alan?”
“I told him to secure my father’s safety first. My father is too weak to be moved from his room. And so I told Alan to lock himself up in the room with him. There are soldiers who took our side and are bringing them food.”
“I see… I had thought that you just charged in without any plans.”
In spite of the situation, Chiharu chuckled.
“It’s not much different. I knew that I couldn’t do anything alone. And so I relied on Alan and my father. If something happens to my father, my uncle will have full control over the kingdom.”
Norfe laughed self-deprecatingly.
“Not only that, but I had to rely on the birdfolk, who I had mocked so much. And I sent word to Arthur of Midland, asking for help to save my father. I can’t even control my own soldiers. What kind of prince relies on other countries? I have no reason to exist.”
“You contacted Arthur! And the birdfolk?”
“Yes. Orne and Puel. Very strange birdfolk.”
Chiharu stood up and praised Norfe with a big smile on her face.
“Ahhh, when you were first brought in here, all tied up. I thought that I was right to think your were a stupid prince after all. But you’re not! The birdfolk will reach Midland in less than a day. And if they use airships, the Midland people should arrive within a few days. We just need to hold on until then.”
While Chiharu was excited, Norfe’s shoulders were drooping.
“Do you want me to elaborate on that point?”
“I’d rather you didn’t.”
Even as they spoke, monsters were floating towards Chiharu and being turned into magic stones. Others entered the cell and wandered close to the ceiling.
“You were surprised yesterday, but seem to have gotten used to them.”
Norfe’s eyes were moving busily around the room.
“You would have probably found it harder to accept if you were an Adventurer.”
“What do you mean?”
“You can die if you let your guard down while hunting monsters. Monsters are bad and scary. And so Kaider and Nyran took a very long time to get used to them. They would always tell me to be more cautious.”
“Kaider and Nyran. That strange dwarf prince and the southern prince.”
Norfe said slowly as if he was searching his memory.
“Yes. Though, I don’t think they will be happy if they heard you calling them ‘strange.’”
Chiharu had a nostalgic expression. Even though it hadn’t really been that long since she last saw them.
“Well, there’s nothing we can do now. Let’s get some rest.”
Norfe had never been talked to like this before, and he hesitated. She wasn’t a maid or a servant. If he had to compare her to someone, it was like having an older sister.
“What is it? Your face has turned red.”
“N-no, it’s nothing.”
Even though there was a door between them, Norfe did not think that he would be able to sleep.
“If you don’t mind…”
“Can you tell me? About the time you went to the dwarf lands.”
“Sure. But if I do…”
Chiharu had a mischievous expression.
“I’ll have to talk about the mean royals who were the reason that we left.”
Stupid. Mean. Not one good thing. Norfe’s shoulders seemed to slump a lot that day.