Chapter 358: 188. The Job of the Bait -1 (Part One)
Ch. 188 – The Job of the Bait -1, Part One
Translated by A Passing Wanderer
Edited by RED
He might have been a mangnani a long time ago, but now, he was not.
To Alice, he was a man worthy of all the respect and adulation he received.
After being banished to the northern frontier, he became a new man. He personally hunted down a witch who had spread a deadly plague in the villages up there, and defended Ronia against a Vampire Count’s invasion.
He then guarded the Theocratic Empire’s capital, stopped the warmongers of Aslan and then unified it under his banner, then even went on to influence many other countries on top of that.
Now, he had even been identified by the royal family of Frants Kingdom as the Saviour and was trying his best to protect the world, too.
But in the process, he was abusing and overworking himself. No one was supporting him and no one was trying to listen to his worries and dilemmas. To make matters worse, he was not the type to voice his dissatisfaction and didn’t easily speak his thoughts to other people.
He simply wished to step up to the front lines and protect as many people as possible.
‘It’s the same this time, too.’
Ten thousand refugees!
Here was a procession of refugees that defied one’s imagination, yet he was still unwilling to give up on them. If he managed to lead all these people safely across the border and to the empire’s capital, then it would really be Goddess Gaia’s miracle.
The Holy Emperor had achieved many miraculous feats before now, but even by his standards, he was currently in the middle of a reckless adventure.
Without a doubt, Holy Emperor Allen would choose to remain behind by himself if the Fire Giant caught up to the refugees.
That was why Alice pleaded with him to rely on her. She believed that she was strong enough to share at least a little bit of the weighty burden on his shoulders.
“…Of course I will. I’m always relying on you and everyone else, though.”
He was lying. Didn’t he always throw himself into all those dangerous adventures by himself before now?
Alice protested as such, but…
Allen replied with a surprised face, “Is that what you really think? But you and the others have always saved my hide every single time, though?”
Alice frowned deeply, but he just poked her creased forehead lightly.
He continued on from there, “It’s just that you guys haven’t been aware of it, that’s all.”
“Thanks to you, my brother Luan was able to live on.”
“And because you helped me out back in sister Hilda’s domain, I got to unleash my magical abilities even more effectively.” Allen began putting his shirt back on. “If you hadn’t helped me to get stronger, then I’d have definitely died back in Aslan, too. Let’s not forget what happened during the Kasim incident, and also, you helped me a lot with making some great memories in Aihrance, as well.” A deep smile was etched on his face as he stared at her. “Thank you. Honestly speaking, I don’t know how I’m going to repay you for everything you’ve done for me.”
“S-sire, but that is…!” Alice desperately shook her head.
None of what he said made sense. Her so-called help couldn’t have been as grandiose as he was implying here.
He coincidentally ran into her during those times in the library, and she simply answered his questions since it was a fun thing to do. She had just happened to be nearby when he was dealing with dangerous situations. Not once did she willingly step up to help him out.
Even though she was a member of the House Astoria, she had never been of much help to him.
“And that’s exactly how you’ve been helping me.”
Alice was rendered speechless at what Allen said next. Her chest ached and her emotions grew more agitated.
“Well, if it bothers you so much, then how about just chat with me for a while?”
“R-regarding what, sire?”
“You know, like how it used to be, back in the library. If I have a question, then you answer. That’s what I need.” Allen spoke to her. “That alone helps me out a great deal, Alice Astoria.”
Alice was left stupefied for a little while. Eventually, though, she slowly lowered her head and replied to him, “Of course, sire. If you’re curious about something, I shall endeavour to answer you to the best of my abilities, Your Majesty the Holy Emperor, Allen Olfolse.”
“In that case, there’s this thing about Purgatory that I’m kind of…”
Alice smiled back at him.
Even as she answered his questions, she inwardly swore to herself. She swore that, as a member of the House Astoria and the Saintess of the current era, she’d assist him right up until the end. No matter what trials and tribulations lay ahead of them, she’d remain by his side to help him.
For the first time in a long while, she got to chat to him throughout the night without taking a break.
(TL: In 1st person POV.)
Alice was making a really concerned face at me. Although I was somehow able to undo this heavy atmosphere through us communicating like adults, but…
Was it really that bad? It kinda felt like I was experiencing a bit of muscle ache, though?
Sure, something did feel a bit amiss somewhere, but it wasn’t bad enough to make me worry. But it shouldn’t be such a bad idea to listen to the advice of the family physician, at least.
So, I followed Alice’s advice and rested inside the carriage. I also didn’t forget to chat to her along the way.
And so, our procession marched on for the next five days or so.
We kept chatting until dawn every day, and it became natural for Alice to fall asleep next to me. It also became a daily occurrence for me to cover her with a blanket as she dozed off.
After she fell asleep, I stepped outside the carriage and took a look up at the sky. The night was still deep.
As for the ten thousand refugees, they were also slumbering away without a campsite to shelter them.
“Sire? Are you not planning to continue with your rest?” Charlotte asked me. She was acting as a guard around the carriage.
Actually, that was what I wanted to ask her, instead. “What about you, then? I don’t think I’ve even seen you get some shut-eye before.”
“I’ll be fine even if I don’t sleep for two weeks, sire.”
“That’s not a good way to maintain your peak condition.”
“I’ve inherited the title of the Sword King from Lord Oscal. If my skill gets dull simply because of some lack of sleep, then I might as well give up on the title instead, Your Majesty.”
Gee whiz, that’s pretty amazing, that title of the Sword King.
I also possessed a transcendental body, but that didn’t mean I felt confident enough to stay up for a few days and still be alright.
“What about the Lady Saintess? She…” Charlotte stared at the carriage for a while.
“She’s asleep,” I replied.
I turned my attention back to the refugees. They were all enjoying their sweet dreams, completely unaware of the Fire Giant hunting them down even now. “We’ve had some deserters so far, haven’t we?”
Charlotte turned her gaze away from the carriage and nodded in confirmation.
In the end, what we were doing here was a forced march. Obviously some people would desert us. They gave up on their own volition and left the procession.
It was already a miracle that the deserters didn’t number more than two hundred so far.
“I hope the ones who left us can remain safe,” I muttered to myself.
“Sire, I’m sure they’ll be safe. Definitely,” Charlotte spoke to me as if to say I shouldn’t worry too much about them.
Honestly, though, I wasn’t sweating over it too much. I had already experienced so many battles leading up to this day and watched many deaths during those moments, after all.
If I was still bothered by every single lost life, then my mind wouldn’t be able to stay in one piece.
“What about the Fire Giant?”
“Sire. According to the scouts’ reports, the giants have reached somewhere very close. Most likely, around tomorrow morning, they…”
“Is that right?” I nodded slowly. In around one hour, the refugees would have to set off again, and in less than a handful of hours later, the Jötnar would still catch up to them.
“Your Majesty. It’s time to make your decision, sire…” Charlotte directly addressed me. “If it’s too difficult, then I shall personally…”
“We can’t even see the trace of their shadows yet, so how come you’re saying stuff like that already?”
That’s right, they were still some distance away. As long as we couldn’t even see their shadows, there was no reason to leave someone behind.
Besides, if Charlotte was too far away from me, it would become harder for her to activate the Grim Reaper transformation, which would in turn make her battle against the Fire Giant that much harder.
“Man, it’s really hot and stuffy, isn’t it?” I fanned myself with my hand. “I’m gonna go somewhere nearby and take a bath in holy water. Alice also said that was the best way to decrease the burden on my body, too.”
Charlotte must’ve heard about my physical state from Alice. Was that the reason why?
“Allow me to escort you, sire.”
She didn’t even hesitate for a second there.
“…I said, I’m going to take a bath.”
Charlotte tilted her head in confusion. “No, it’ll be alright, sire. I’m simply trying to escort you.”
She was saying that without a single flicker of expression on her face.
I ended up facepalming there. “But I’m not gonna be alright, you know.”
“I might take around a hour or so. So keep that in mind.”
“But sire, one hour to take a bath?”