Chapter 8
Someone washed my body. Someone took me to my room. Someone put me in bed. Someone covered me with my blanket.
And someone was whispering in my dream.
Baseball? If I'm playing baseball I'm the catcher. If it's soccer, umm, I'm the playmaker? Anyway, I send out the instructions to the team on their positions. It's the highest form of supervision.
A grade school student can't supervise.
Well, that's too bad. All right, Yuuri, play catcher. If you don't give the sign, the game won't start for a long time.
"...If I don't give the sign... The game won't..."
"Is he waking up?"
I could vaguely see a white ceiling. A super beautiful man with ashen hair peered at me, and as his eyes moistened it seemed like he would cry as he bit his lip with a smile.
"...Am I... dead..."
"Please don't even say something so unlucky. Everyone all over the country has prayed, worried about Your Majesty's safety."
Gunter shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "No way!"
"It's not overreacting, you've slept for three days."
"That's right. But this morning you were sleeping as normal, and the physician said that if you recovered from you fatigue you might wake up. There's nothing wrong with your body."
"I figured as much, because I'm starving."
At any rate there weren't and gashes or burn marks that stood out from that fiery monster that knocked me over. Either it was extremely heavy-duty or someone threw in the towel.
"Truly, not only was I amazed, but Gwen and Conrart were as well when Your Majesty had mastered water magic. When did you make a pact with the element of water? The incarnation in the form of beautiful serpents was magnificent. Since when..."
"Water magic? Element, pact? What are you talking about? Oh yes, is that girl all right?! Umm, the girl that fiery wolf lunged at."
"Ah, yes, fortunately there was no threat to her life. Just before Wolfram's fire lunged at her, Gwendal covered the girl with a barrier, so in fact she was only thrown by a minor surge."
Gwendal? Ah, so I see he's a good person after all?
"Even so. I see, ah, that's a relief. I was thinking, 'What would I do if that girl got large burns because I was such a wimp, maybe it'd be my fault, would I be the one to blame?!', my blood was rushing to my head... Huh, why did I go down?"
"Go down... No, no, Your Majesty, Your Majesty never did anything like 'go down'..."
"You don't have to make me feel better. I didn't have a chance from the start. I'm sure I was absurdly scared, although I can't remember it."
When I flexed my muscles, while popping my neck, I waited to hear Conrad's familiar "I knew this would happen".
"What is Conrad up to? Work?"
"Work. Actually, a village near the border is having a conflict, and he went with Gwendal to quell it. They understood that Your Majesty condition wasn't serious, so they tore themselves away with great reluctance."
In what country do they still use phrases like "person of doubtful origin" and "tore themselves away"?
From the other side of the door that was flung open, I heard a forced cough. The demon prince, Wolfram, was standing there with a sullen face. Even though he's truly a demon prince, the only adjectives I can think for the guy who would have beaten me up severely are "devil" or "Satan". Whether you called it "Jigoku" or "Hell" or "Blood", I want to give it the title of a B-movie.
Gunter lowered his voice with an unusually small smile, and told me;
"Well, afterwards Wolfram received a thorough reproof from Lady Cheri."
"Eh, that mother scolded her child?"
"If he got angry, I..."
"Don't talk so much Gunter!"
The scolded third son's footsteps were loud as he approached the bed. He looked slightly away from me, and it was unnatural looking up from that angle.
"And so young partners."
Leaving behind a meaningful phrase, the aged one left the room. "Wait~, don't leave us alone~" was what I really wanted to say, but I hung my head silently, and waited to see what he did first.
"It's not over yet!"
Wolfram broke the ice bluntly.
"You did a little bit, but being in that much of a trance is disgraceful. You have a long way to go to become the Maoh."
He folded his arms with his chin raised. What a stuck-up guy.
"From now on when you challenge me, come at me with your full strength! Your cheap serpents can't oppose my fire magic."
"What do you mean 'serpents'? You didn't come to apologize to me after your mother scolded you?! What's with the high and mighty attitude! You don't look like you're remorseful at all!"
"Why should I have to apologize to you?"
"Because you just changed the rules however you wanted, and used magic that I didn't know... Ah... yet..."
I finally remembered that he was defeated. At any rate I can only remember the climax well. Perhaps I hadn't been defeated, and when Gunter said I hadn't gone down it wasn't to comfort me.
"That's enough, it's a draw, a draw. Even if it's just a draw it's well-done."
"A draw?! My victory is taking a battle to the end! But, I won't be ashamed. Who was the victor was known beforehand. If I can be knocked down by the likes of you, I can't stand the thought of myself as one of the ten nobles."
The energy I had for a retort was already lost, and I did nothing but utter a sigh. Did Wolfram's mood improve, or is he giving me a praiseworthy lecture scene even though he's an enemy.
"But my sword was thrown considerably. That's the first time I've been beaten like that. Did you fence in the country you grew up in?"
"Which one? Oh, the bases loaded homerun? No, that wasn't an art like kendo. By chance I played baseball, and the grip on the sword was like a bat, so I just swung it, ah, like I usually do."
"Are 'grip' and 'bat' the names of the weapons you're used to using?"
"No no. On of the pieces of gear you use for baseball is like a stick, as well as a glove and ball, and the pitcher throws and the batter tries to hit it, and if he does the batter becomes a runner, and the catcher takes out the runner."
"As I thought, a life and death match."
"When I said 'takes out' I didn't mean it like that. It's more about fun, an excitement."
"I don't get it, what's fun about hitting a ball with a stick?"
"Aaaah, you can't understand how fun baseball is if you don't actually see it! Ah, but I can't show you by myself... Or, this country's baseball population, which is only myself, Conrad and some kids..."
"When Conrart was talking to me, it didn't sound that great."
Because the second elder brother was brought up, it looked like it worsened the third son's mood a bit.
"He's going to his favored human village."
"Eh? I heard there was a dispute or quarrel..."
The children were in a village on the national border. Brandon, Howell, Ema, and two kids I hadn't heard the names of.
"Yes, we lent some refugees our plot of land. The wheat ripened early this season, so they're an easy target for the surrounding villages. They had a large harvest last year, so they're in all the more danger this year."
I felt like my blood suddenly drew back. Without notice my blood pressure rose, and my head reeled and there was a buzzing in my ears. Even though I should have been sitting on the bed, it felt like I was going to fall down a bottomless pit.
"What, are you worried about it? That's right, you were half human."
"How much... damage, how bad will it be... It can't be so serious that people are dying and such..."
"I've never heard of a conflict where there weren't casualties... What's wrong, Yuuri, need to go to the washroom?"
My body was mainly tottering from hunger and dehydration, so it took a lot of effort to drag myself out of bed, and I looked for my shoes.
"I have to go. I have to make sure they're ok."
"Go, huh? To the border?! You want to go see Conrart's face that much?!"
"I'm worried about the kids."
His voice was anticlimactic.
"Oh, you're worried about the refugees?"
"Shut up, this has nothing to do with you."
"Nothing to do with me! Do you plan on going out looking like that? Fix your clothes, and besides that, brush your hair, you have a horrible bedhead. Besides that do you know what time it is? At least wait until dawn breaks, until then drink something. Oh, don't eat too much, your stomach won't be able to take it."
As he rambled on and on, Wolfram called to the other side of the door. He ordered a woman different from the first girl to bring food and clothes.
The blond prince spoke arrogantly.
"You wanted to go? I'll give you a ride."
What's with him kindly offering me a ride even though we have such a bad relationship? Does he plan on making me fall of the horse, with an ulterior motive to take my life for sure this time? Is it really ok to ride together with this guy, or is it a trap? As I was conflicted over it for several seconds, Wolfram became more and more arrogant.
"At any rate a worthless Maoh like you can't even ride a horse by himself! I can gallop with extra luggage on my horse without any trouble, even if you seem uncertain. You're the first Maoh to be such a wimp that it can't be helped!"
"Do, don't call me a wimp!"
(Translated by Emeryl, originally posted on Onadoru Euphoria. Re-posted with permission.)