Chapter 20 of Almadianos! I was planning to post this one yesterday, but I fell asleep, from now one, I’ll use wordpress functions to schedule the chapters in advance so that that doesn’t happen again.
For Patrons, Chapter 21, 22, 23 and the advanced chapters of Tsuyokute new Saga from volume 4 (right after where the manga stopped) are available on my Patreon, over here.
Anyway, here is the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”W-what’s the matter?”】
Kurats looked back in confusion at Lunaria, who shouted out of nowhere. He wondered if an assassin had appeared in the short gap when he looked away.
Lunaria was in high spirits, puffed up with pride, making Kurats troubled as to how to react.
While massaging his temples, Kurats barely managed to get himself to say that.
【”The reason we came out of the castle today in the first was to search my memories and find a place outside where I could have been in contact with water. Isn’t that right?”】
“Niehehehe” Lunaria laughed proudly.
(This cocky laugh must be a recurring habit of hers.) Thought Kurats, to whom Lunaria was now looking quite immature.
【”It happened when the knights and I were coming back to the capital after training. The Gnochiss festival had just started, and I was invited to serve as a miko, and hence to purify myself by bathing. It’s believed that, as the ruler of fate, Gnochiss brings good romantic matches to the mikos that serve her.”】
That desire was quite fitting of a common young lady, which made Kurats unintentionally let a smile escape him.
Seeing that, Lunaria shook her hands in protest, like a small animal.
【”I-it’s not what you think! I only reluctantly served as a miko because I was invited to do it… but it had nothing to do with me wanting a good match! That would make it look like I’m starving for a man or something!”】
In response to Lunaria, who turned red and was justifying herself with teary eyes, Kurats nodded and held himself back from laughing.
【”Of course, there is no way that would be the case.”】
【”Mhm, right! As long as that’s clear!”】
With a clearly relived expression on her face, Lunaria continued speaking.
【”Save for the royal palace, that was the only instance where I soaked myself in water in the past half year.”】
【”And where was that exactly?”】
【”It was in an inn town called Barbena, which is two hours away from the royal capital on horseback. Should we go?”】
◆ ◆ ◆
Barbena had grown remarkably in recent years thanks to the fact that it was close to the royal capital, and that it therefore served as a labor pool for it.
The inn town was also famous for its redlight district, where merchants would take a rest when passing through the Cowen mountains to go to the royal capital.
The entity with the greatest power in that whole town was a temple for the goddess of fate and judgement, Gnochiss.
She was part of the three major gods, along with the god of law and justice, Horus, and the god of life and good harvest, Kukulcan. These gods were the center of people’s faith, especially in the west of the kingdom where there were many believers.
And there was a certain fad of wishing for marriage from Horus, and for love from Gnochiss.
The entry to Barbena’s temple had a luxurious gate which seemed brand-new, without any particular history to it.
When she came in front of it, Lunaria spoke up loudy.
【”Is sir pastor here?”】
【”P-princess Lunaria! Your visit is a great honor to us and we are extremely grateful, but may I ask the reason of your coming to this temple, your highness?”】
The priest who welcomed Lunaria was not unfamiliar to her, she had seen him before.
Although she did not remember his name, he was the man who taught her about the clothes and manners of mikos on the day she was invited to serve as one.
【”I am sorry for the sudden visit, but I would like to meet with the pastor.”】
【”Y-yes! I’ll bring him right away, your highness!”】
Panicked by the sudden visit of a member of the royal family, the priest rushed inside the temple.
『He’s like a small monkey. Looks to me like any thief from around here would be able to sneak in easily.』
Muttered Bernst, in a shocked manner.
Upon receiving a member of royalty, the priest certainly did straighten his guard to some extent, but there was no doubt that that was merely the act of a novice pretending that he knew what he was doing.
(Isn’t there anyone a little more powerful around here? If I use that priest as a reference, this whole temple is pretty pitiful, I hope there is more to it.) Thought Kurats.
【”Welcome, and thank you for coming. I was sorry to hear about your sickness, but I am most sincerely glad to see that you have fully recovered, your highness.”】
However, the pastor who appeared completely failed to meet Kurats’ expectations.
Kurats could not feel a shred of majesty or magical power from the pastor, whose round face was displaying a regular smile with no second thoughts behind it.
(Can people become pastors without having any power whatsoever…?)
【”Actually, there is a little something that has been on my mind. At the previous festival, I only stopped by this town by complete coincidence, so I feel it’s pretty amazing of you to have managed to recognize me and encourage me to serve as a miko for that day.”】
Indeed, on that day, the reason Lunaria and the knights had stopped by Barbena on their way was that someone had been seriously injured in an accident during their training, which had been completely unexpected.
The princess had not paid attention to this on the spot because her mindset had been taken over by the festive mood of that day’s celebration, but now that she thought back on this, the whole situation did seem odd.
No matter how things were in the royal capital, the number of people who knew Lunaria’s face in Barbena should have been very limited.
【”By coincidence? Really? I had heard from baron Isengard that you would stop by, so I thought for sure that your visit had been scheduled beforehand.”】
【”―― I might have simply misunderstood the situation. Forgive me for bothering you with such a trifling matter.”】
Now that this had been mentioned, Lunaria recalled that the man who was injured on that day actually had a connection with baron Isengard. It seemed like she would need to investigate upon her return.
Lunaria then spoke up evasively, with an unclear smile on her face.
【”Anyway, becoming a miko was worth it. I will pray to the great goddess Gnochiss in gratitude.”】
Lunaria’s words made a joyful expression appear on the face of the pastor, who proceeded forward to guide the princess to the chapel. Then, while walking three steps ahead of her, he voiced a certain assumption of his.
【”It seems like the kingdom is going to have some good news soon, about how the princess has found her good match.”】
Lunaria became crimson red from her face to her neck.
【”Y-you are jumping to conclusions! T-t-that’s only a possibility, a very far off possibility!”】
【”I know. I understand.”】
“Your secret is safe with me――.” added the pastor, who was clearly implying that his assumptions were true, which made Lunaria shake her head from side to side, like a child throwing a tantrum.
【”You don’t understand! You did not understand a single word I said!”】
Needless to say that, in the end, no matter how Lunaria tried to solve the misunderstanding, her words did not reach the pastor.
◆ ◆ ◆
【”So, it was Isengard, huh…”】
After returning from Barberna to the royal palace, Lunaria changed to a comfortable silk lounge-wear and stretched out her whole body before sitting on a chair.
【”Was that unexpected of him?”】
【”Well, he is like cats and dogs with Bessendrof, a neighboring feudal lord. Since Bessendorf is part of my elder sister’s faction, I did not believe Isengard would become hostile to me.”】
【”―― You know, the loyalty of an aristocrat is driven only by profit, so, it can always shift. Isengard would probably swear allegiance to princess Felbell if he heard whispers that she would treat him even better than Bessendorf, right?”】
【”That is certainly true. I read too optimistically into this. Still, Kurats, were you really just a commoner until the other day?”】
Kurats was speaking like he was an aristocrat who had years of experience in the royal court, and while Lunaria was impressed, she could not help feeling some doubts.
【”No matter the social status, people will still be people, their minds work the same way. That’s how I know.”】
Of course, that was a lie. Bernst was the one taking charge of the smart talk, there was no way that a peasant and hunter like Kurats would understand any of these things by himself.
『She lives in the royal court and she can’t guess something this simple?! This is unacceptable! 』
(Alright, but, what is a royal court supposed to be?)
『Well, putting it in light terms, it’s a lair for monsters and demons, haunted by the most inhumane of people. 』
(I see, it’s a survival of the fittest kind of place, isn’t it? The kind where you can punch things away when you don’t like them, huh.)
『Stop thinking of brute force as the solution to everything! You barbarian!』
(It feels great to use force to squash an ingenious and well-built conspiracy) Thought Bernst with a daring smile.
But that was completely different from Kurats’ choice of not thinking things through at all and just rushing forward.
(Will Kurats ever be able to understand that more elegant and refined feeling of supreme joy which only a few chosen people can enjoy?) As he thought that, Bernst had an urge to tear his hair out.
While Bernst was dwelling on these things, Lunaria replied.
【”Mhm, perhaps you’re right. Now then, the problem is how am I going to prove that he did it…”】
【”What’s Isengard’s personality like?”】
【”Let’s say he’s not exactly the reserved type. But he’s just a frog in the well, a coward acting like the king of a small world.”】
(I see, this type of personality is easy to make use of; it’s perfect.)
【”Seems like he’d hate it if someone came to investigate his territory. And if that someone actually used to be a commoner… I wonder what would happen.”】
【”Your personality is worse than I thought, Kurats…”】
Lunaria guessed that Kurats wanted to use himself as a decoy and to go right into baron Isengard’s grasp.
He was confident in his own power to the point where he seemed impudent.
No normal human would think of rushing by himself into the territory of the perpetrator of an assassination.
The fact that Kurats made this choice clearly showed that he was confident he could take on all of Isengard’s soldiers if need be.
【”Princess Luna, please tell Rosberg and the others to wait for me and not to come, because they might end up creating trouble rather than helping if they make a mistake.”】
【”Good grief, I suppose I will, although it seems foolish to worry about these things knowing that it’s you we’re talking about.”】
In an attempt to hide her wry smile, Lunaria covered her mouth with her hand, but it was forcibly pulled away by Kurats, who proceeded to put his lips against it.
Feeling the touch of Kurats’ warm lips on the back of her hand, Lunaria became dizzy as her whole face took the colors of a fresh apple.
Although she had surely experienced this many times, Kurats’ grasp of her hand alone was enough to instantaneously saturate her mind.
【”W-wha-what are you….!”】
【”Your highness, no matter who they are, I will smite all your enemies as they come. Believe me.”】
(This is too embarrassing! Saying these kinds of things is way too embarrassing! )
『You think you’ll be able to coax your sister without even being able to say a line like this one in a dignified manner?! Your behavior is unacceptable! 』
The truth was that Kurats’ brain had been overwhelmed just like Lunaria’s, but, fortunately, neither of them had realized.