I made some graves for the men killed by the bandits and buried them.
All the women helped me.
After a few hours of burying, the carriages from which we had separated arrived. We will capture the coachmen to hand them over to the guards in the northern city.
Two days have passed since we started traversing the steep mountainous route.
Along the way, we came to a forest where they say there are fairies that mislead travelers, and the trees were already so dense that they seemed to confuse people.
It's not something I'm very interested in as I wasn't planning to go through there.
On the afternoon of the second day, we left the mountain road and came out onto the flat land. We are now only a short distance from the northern city. In fact, we would soon be able to see the city from here.
"It's ridiculous that we had to go around the mountain so many times."
You are right, it was not a pleasant thing to have to go through an uncomfortable road for two days.
"It was either that or risk running into other bandits."
Her laughter denoted happiness, probably because all the troublesome events were over. She had a dense atmosphere when we were in that town, but she seemed to be the kind of person who was cheerful.
I need to ask her something.
"By the way, who is the mastermind of those who attacked us in the mountains? The owner of the carriage said he was hired by someone..."
As soon as she hears my question, Marie changes her expression to a more serious one. Or you could say she's angry.
"Licht-Sama, you've been a great help to us, but there are things we can't tell you."
"The mastermind might be behind you and your three sizes."
When I responded with sarcasm, she responded accordingly.
"Exactly, I'm three sizes from top to bottom: 88, 58 and 84."
It's obvious she's deflecting the issue, but there's nothing I can do to make her tell me the truth, so I ignore her and notice Leah's cheeks flushing.
"Leah, it was just a joke, don't take it seriously."
Leah is relieved. Apparently, or perhaps by nature, Marie has an overly serious personality. I may have to be careful what I say and do.
I looked at Marie again.
''I suppose the beautiful maid won't tell me anything, but I hope the beautiful Leah will be so kind as to tell me what is going on."
"She can't tell you such a thing!"
Marie yells at me, but immediately Leah controls her.
"Originally, I was going to tell you from the moment you saved us from those bandits. No, to be honest, I wanted to sooner, ever since you helped us in the village."
"You are too trusting. Learn to doubt people."
"I would rather die believing in someone than live doubting."
"I hope they don't write that on your tombstone."
Leah laughs at my joke and responds.
"I am the princess of this country, Licht-Sama."
She removed her hood, revealing her face.
There she was, an almost translucent girl with golden hair and skin like glass.
"...You are not surprised."
"Well, I had my suspicions. You've gone to great lengths to hide it, but you can't hide your natural elegance."
I continued speaking.
"The profile that I occasionally glimpsed from under your hood, I remember seeing it somewhere, probably at some party."
"As expected of Licht-Sama. I once attended the night party at the Estark castle."
"I knew it. If I had danced with you, I wouldn't have forgotten."
"Yes. Licht-Sama was so popular with the ladies that I never had a chance to dance with you."
"I don't think we would have danced even if I had the chance. I don't like to stand out, and I'd rather dance with a cat than the princess of a country."
''Cats are adorable, so that would attract more attention, fufufu.''
Her smile was beautiful. Combined with her golden curly hair, she gave the impression of a dazzling and perfect woman.
"It's a pity we didn't meet then. Otherwise, this whole situation would have been simpler."
"I suppose you want me to remain as your bodyguard."
"If it's not too much trouble for you, Licht-Sama."
"I prefer not to draw attention to myself. I don't like to stand out and prefer to be in the shadows. Being the escort of a princess goes against my goals."
"It's the kind of desire a mercenary would have. But it's okay. I'm the third princess."
"Even if you're the one hundred and eighteenth princess, you're still one."
"If my father had been more active, I could have been the 109th princess."
It didn't matter if it was one hundred and ninety-nine or even two hundred and fifty-six, it's all the same. It wasn't clear whether she was being natural or bold, but whatever it was, I wasn't going to be her companion.
''My mission is to get you to the northern city, and we have thirty minutes left for that."
After I spoke those words, the city became visible in the distance.
After that, I tried to find out the mastermind behind this case, but I was interrupted by Marie.
''We can't say anything more to those who are not involved with us."
Princess Leah, or rather Princess Aliarose, as I know her true name is, reprimanded Marie, but her expression was so determined that she said no more.
"...... In fact, if we tell you the truth, it might involve Licht-sama. It is not my intention to do so."
She generously gives me the leather bag full of gold coins I recovered the other day.
"I know it's not a worthy reward for all your work, but please accept it."
"It's too much money."
"Aliarose-Sama's life cannot be measured in gold."
Since she spoke to me that way, I have no choice but to accept it.
You can never have too much money, so I'll take it.
"Very well. I'll take it as a just reward."
"Are you going to stay in the northern city for a while, Licht-Sama?"
"Yes, I am thinking of joining the Adventurers Guild."
''In that case...''
Aliarose then asks Marie to prepare a sheet of paper, and begins to draft a letter.
Hers was a very elegant and delicate handwriting.
I couldn't help but think how careful she is even in those details, so she really is a princess.
"Please take this to the Adventurers Guild. It's my letter of introduction."
"Thank you. With a letter of introduction from a princess, I'll never be turned down."
"May it be of great use to you."
Her smile was sincere. Not just anyone is still willing to help others, and I believe she would even if I had refused her offer to guard her and protect her life. Aliarose was definitely very different.
I thanked her for everything, and then walked away.
I felt a twinge of desolation, but it couldn't be helped.
From today, I must live as Licht the adventurer, not as Licht Estark.
Aliarose and Marie kept looking at Licht until he disappeared into the crowd.
"He was a very nice man, wasn't he?"
"Yes. At first glance, he may appear to be a man in desperate need of help, but he actually appears to be a very caring and compassionate individual."
"Yes, if he had agreed to stay with us, I'm sure Marie would feel more relaxed..."
Marie is surprised by Aliarose's words, it was amazing to her that her mistress realized how she felt about the whole trip, she felt like hugging her and rubbing her cheek against hers.
"Now don't underestimate me, I'm the one who has protected Aliarose-Sama so far."
Those words were true, so Aliarose said no more.
"Well, there's no sense in regretting that he's gone. We have come to the northern city for a purpose. Let us fulfill our purpose, nay, our mission."
Marie nodded while smiling, but in reality, she was worried about something.
Aliarose's words were not entirely correct.
( ....Licht Estark. He is not just anyone. Maybe he is the guardian knight that Aliarose-Sama needs).
Marie thought she had to do something, so she desperately searched for the inn that Licht was staying at.
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