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Returning to Everal Castle
By the time the castle could finally be seen, the emotion that said, ‘Aah, I’ve finally returned,’ filled my heart.
On top of having no need to hasten our return, our troops increased with Marquis Limerick and Viscount Rainster’s reinforcement, add that we had to carry the injured soldiers, it took around two days to return.
Nevertheless, we were away for only a few days. Still, having lived in the Everal castle for about two years, I sincerely considered it as my own home.
Moreover, it was a house where I felt glad returning to.
Ever since I was born in this world, I could only think of the house where I was born in as the evil’s den, and the earl’s house as a jail. Thinking that I eventually had to go home and leave the school dormitory, I could only consider it as a temporary lodging.
That was why, I was glad that I could finally return to the castle that I thought as my home, but coming here, I recalled.
“That’s right. We have to hold a funeral here, too.”
There should be the weather-beaten enemy soldiers’ corpses even in the Everal castle’s circumference. The Ruain soldiers were unable to move because there was a magician—me—by Everal’s side, and naturally they couldn’t bury their soldiers who were killed in action.
Then, after the sieging Ruain troops left, I thought that the corpses would be collected by the castle’s soldiers and the castle town’s bereaved families, but perhaps they did nothing towards the enemy soldiers’ corpses. Or perhaps the ones close to the castle town were buried because of their foul odor?
Then, Cain-san found some faults with my whispering.
“Is it about the enemy again?”
I could tell the expression of Cain-san who was sitting in front of me and the saddle to control the reins, even without having him turning back. Surely, he was having a complicated and sour expression.
He basically didn’t disturb what I was doing, but he disliked it. As for the reason, it was because Cain-san’s family was killed by the Ruain army in the past.
He surely couldn’t agree with it deep in his heart. Even me too, if it were someone who killed Cain-san or Reggie, Alan, or Margrave Vayne and the others—the people closest to me, I could imagine that I wouldn’t feel any hesitation to kill them in a war like this.
It would surely feel sorrowful and painful, and you’d seek the opponent who caused such kind of feelings to you. I’m sure that one wouldn’t feel any guilt upon killing the enemy that way.
That’s why, I don’t plan on asking the unreasonable from Cain-san.
“Yes. But since it’s true that it will be easier for a disease to have an outbreak this way. It will be troublesome if something were to happen to the people in the castle and the people in the castle town. Right?”
“Well… I’ve heard something like that before. That the people in the castle were overcome by a disease as if they were cursed after throwing the animals’ corpses during a castle siege.”
I was delighted that the unpleasant feelings vanished from Cain-san’s voice, but in exchange, a slightly grotesque topic was brought up.
“W-well, yeah, that kind of thing.”
I finished the conversation, but Master who was dangling around my waist laughed, “Kishishishishi.”
Since he was only laughing without saying anything, I ignored him just like that.
Upon our arrival at the castle, Margrave Vayne and Beatrice-sama were standing in front of the gate that was already opened by the time our figures could already be seen.
The two of them had cheerful expressions since they were already informed of our victory by the messenger that was on a fast horse. Even so, they were worried whether we were injured or not. After seeing Alan and Reggie’s figures, their cheeks loosened.
Their beloved child and nephew were safe.
The husband and wife received a formal short report from the lead, Reggie, then exchanged greetings with a well-built middle-aged man who was Marquis Limerick’s younger brother and a grizzled-haired gentleman who was Viscount Rainster’s uncle. After that, they approached me who had just dismounted the horse with Cain-san’s help.
“Kiara, thank you. Thanks to you, a lot of our soldiers managed to return safely.”
Before Margrave Vayne began to talk, Beatrice-sama who was overcome with emotions hugged me.
Inside her soft arms and bosom, I felt like she was like a mother, and for some reason… tears welled up in my eyes.
What I had come in contact with recently were the clay-like feeling of the clay doll I made, Cain-san’s hard breastplate that my head crashed into that made me feel like dying, and the thing I hugged was only Master who was like a bisque jar. Furthermore, I had just returned from the battlefield, so the sensation grew stronger.
…Shall I try covering Master with some fluffy fur next time? Let’s rethink it for a moment since it didn’t seem like Master was capable of ‘healing’ me.
Beatrice-sama finally separated from me, who was enjoying the sensation of being hugged. Even so, she put her hands on my shoulders, examined my expression before saying.
“Since it’s something you decided to do on your own, I can’t say anything. You’ve told me that it was partly to protect yourself, but you ended up choosing the fate of being unable to die normally because us alone couldn’t stand a chance against the enemy, after all. We promised we’d assist you to the best of our ability for you have saved us too, so please, ask anything.”
The people around us who heard those words quickly changed their expressions.
The people who knew that I have become an existence different from an ordinary human being, hung their heads as they heard Madam Beatrice’s words.
As for the other people, they were delighted that having a magician here was equal to having their military strength doubled, but they were surely unaware of such things.
The nearby infantry began talking in whispers.
“Is it… that hard being a magician?”
“Stupid, it’s about how one might die and turn into the sand if one were to overuse their magical power.”
“That’s why the prince, Alan-sama, and the others were that overprotective…”
“It’s inevitable to assign a guard next to her, as she has to preserve her power as much as possible and only use her magic when it counts, or she will end up dying.”
And thus, a heavy atmosphere shrouded the surroundings.
But sorry, I think it’s fine for you not to consider me that seriously pitiful. Around this time, I remembered. Since I was completely occupied and being absentminded afterward, I almost forgot.
I said in a fluster towards the margrave and his wife.
“I’m doing fine so far, look, there’s Master here with me, so even if I were to act careless, he’d control me!”
“Horace-dono, I sincerely ask for your assistance in taking care of her.”
However, Margrave Vayne courteously bowed, and Madam Beatrice was moved to her tears. Looking at their figures, the atmosphere surrounding us didn’t change at all.
Master’s answer of “Well, she’s going to learn how to do it gradually,” also had no result.
What should I do? Look, we’re having our triumphal return here, right? The enemy had been removed, and I thought that everyone would be very delighted and celebrate it, but is it okay to have this vigil night-like atmosphere?
To be honest, I was happy to receive their gratitude since it showed off that my hard work was paying off, but I didn’t want to continue becoming the center figure of this gloomy atmosphere.
As I let my gaze wandering about in order to seek help, I found Reggie and Alan who were walking here.
Reggie tapped Margrave Vayne’s shoulder and bitterly smiled.
“Margrave, that’s enough. Today, we managed to return safely, so first, let’s be glad and grateful that we managed to pass the danger.”
“You’re right, your Highness.”
Margrave Vayne was taken aback and came to his senses as he raised his face and nodded.
Then, finally, we were able to enter the castle.
Nonetheless, the soldiers couldn’t be dissolved just as they were, and since there was the addition from Marquis Limerick and Viscount Rainster’s troops, the military force swelled, that there was no guarantee that we had enough place to accommodate them all, so the castle people had to give their strenuous efforts to solve this matter.
Amidst all that, as everyone was telling me that I should just take a rest, I returned to my own room to take a long bath and I could feel that my consciousness was drifting.
Well, I think it is inevitable to me to want to stay in the bed while feeling so hot like this.
“You’re having a developmental fever, ihihihi.”
Master who I put on top of the table near the bed this time, laughed at me who was lying down completely exhausted.
“As I expected, that’s the case, huh? But developmental fever… I’m already 16 years old, so does that kind of thing still happen to me?”
I was wondering over how it was in my previous life when I was 16, but perhaps due to the fever, I couldn’t remember it well.
“Normally, one would be laid up for quite a long time after having their magician contract. It is even normal to be asleep for a whole day.”
“Eh, you’d be asleep for that long?!”
I didn’t know about it, so I was surprised. Master then said cruel thing like: “You are the weird one.”
“Think about it. It’s like having a foreign substance permeating your whole body. That’s why if you use your magical power excessively, you’ll be using your own flesh as a source of magical power, so you end up turning to the sand, uhihihihi. One could be said as exceptional if they didn’t get any fever and still as lively as ever.”
Master Horace then boastfully added, “Well, I could still move about with only a slight fever, so my aptitude was quite high, right?”
“Ah–… I see.”
As one would expect, I came to an understanding after listening to it. Certainly, wouldn’t that be similar to how one would have their entire cells melting? As I thought about it, it would surely be painful. One would surely have one or two fevers. But why was it so light in my case?
“In your case, it would be that. You took in the contract sand before, right? That helped you more or less.”
I didn’t know if it was fine for me to be delighted with only this.
After all, the enemy deceived me and have me drink it in order to distinguish whether or not I could be any of use to them, and that became something that helped me instead.
Certainly, if I fell asleep just like that at that time, I wouldn’t be able to put Master’s soul, nor could I go to help the margrave.
…Well, let’s not think about that for a bit.
As I heaved a sigh, for some reason, I felt sleepy.
“At any rate, you put on quite a fight after getting the contract, and you worked hard in creating the graves, so it’s perfectly normal for you to sleep for quite a while now.”
“That’s right… The enemy’s burial…”
Even though I was planning on quickly settling everything, what to do? As I was thinking about it, Master Horace told me.
“During the time you were lying down on the bed, I happened to hear something. Apparently, the foul odor was so strong that the corpses in several places were collected and then burned. The rest was weather-beaten, but there was no rush in burying them, hihihi.”
As I felt relieved upon hearing Master’s words, I became even sleepier.
“I see… Thank goodness… *yawn*…”
I even yawned.
“That’s why, you should just sleep.”
“I’ll do… that…”
I remembered barely answering him. And since there was no other recollection until my consciousness resurfaced, perhaps I had been too sound asleep afterwards.
My consciousness returned as if it was slowly emerging from the bottom of the sea.
But why did I wake up?
Perhaps it was because the sensation of a hand patting my head that I felt.
And after that hand left my hair, it traced my cheek.
Perhaps since I wasn’t completely awake yet, the sensation felt quite vague as if it was transmitted over a cloth for some reason.
The whispering voice was too small and seemed to be husky, so I couldn’t distinguish who the owner of the voice was.
However, I could tell that something touched my lips at the very end.
I expect comments here! Who do you think is the perpetrator? XD
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