Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 393
On the orders of the king, Rosario’s room…… rather, the cage, gets unlocked.
There were two locks on the cage, each taking a different key held by different information officers. It was purposely made so a single person couldn’t open the cage. No matter how you look at it, that’s overkill.
When both officers turned the keys at the same time, the thick cage opens up with a creak.
The cage’s appearance was like a prison, however the interior design was decorated more extravagantly than my room or Nonna’s room.
Rosario turns toward the entrance and slowly stands up.
She makes a puzzled face and walks unsteadily in our direction.
「You can stay where you are. What would you do if you tripped?」
The king quickly holds Rosario’s body and sits her back down on a chair.
「My apologies, Your Majesty. I didn’t mean to cause trouble.」
「Don’t be ridiculous.」
The king seemed to want to hug Rosario, but concerned about how he would look in front of us, cleared his throat and separated from her.
「You did some knitting?」
「Yes. Merely walking around causes Your Majesty unnecessary worry…… it might not look great due to my fumbling, but is it coming together?」
Rosario takes what she had probably knitted and hands it to the king.
What she held in her hands did not actually resemble anything, and looked more like a tangled mess, not to mention she extended her arm in a different direction than where the king was.
「……you’re making progress, you’re doing good Rosario. When you’ve completed it, please give it to me.」
The king hugs Rosario tightly, looking like he’s about to cry.
Words cannot describe the feeling I’m experiencing.
「Fufu, it will be finished soon. If you don’t mind me asking, will I be receiving your affection today?」
The king sniffled once before replying.
「You’ll be getting your eyes treated today. I’ve brought an apothecary. After that, you’ll do as I’ve ordered.」
The king, who spoke quickly and concisely after moving away from Rosario, continued to leave the room.
He suddenly appeared cold, but that’s probably because he couldn’t break down and cry in front of us.
The abruptness caused Rosario to turn in my direction with a confused look.
「Err…… and who might you be?」
「I am Margrave Hardlett. I am here today to heal your eyes. I have with me the apothecary Natia, my wife Nonna, and my attendant Celia.」
After introducing ourselves, Rosario tilts her head and greets us with a rather forced smile.
「You are Margrave Hardlett? I’ve heard about you through rumors. Please forgive my rudeness.」
She stretches out her hands to my face, running her fingers over my nose and mouth.
「I apologize for my actions. Alas, I am blind and cannot remember anyone’s face unless I do this.」
My eyes meet with Rosario’s at close range…… to be precise, we did not exchange gazes, rather I instinctively observe her.
Her height is a little over 160 cm, which is a bit taller than Nonna.
She has a head of black glossy hair reaching down to her waist which appears to be scrupulously groomed and has a fluffy feel.
Her face is fairly attractive, though not enough to cross the threshold of peerless beauty.
She is of an average build, with breasts and an ass on the larger side. Her skin is extremely smooth, showing signs of proper care.
As a whole, she is a pretty girl, who could possibly be the talk of the city…… and that’s it.
I don’t get the impression she’s a woman gorgeous enough for the king to be engrossed in or willing to let an entire country decline for.
「Ara, you have a gash on your face…… doesn’t it hurt?」
Rosario’s voice and breath caress my face.
In that instant, I feel my heart pulsate especially strongly one time and my crotch swell.
「Aah, I see.」
It wasn’t her looks or her body. The king was done in by this aura she gives off.
She isn’t a complete work of art like an ideal show girl, she creates her charm by combining the look of her face, her body and her unnaturally polite gestures.
It makes me want to protect her, dominate her, claim her for myself and love her.
Those are the desires stirred up within me.
If I had to complain about something, it would be this air of deceit around her.
I can’t really put my finger on what it is she is trying to falsify. All I know is that she is not telling the truth about something and putting on a mask.
There’s no logic behind that conclusion, it’s my intuition after being involved with countless girls.
It happened right as I was about to unconsciously take Rosario’s hand.
The king peeked his head out from behind the door of the entrance.
「Rosario is my lover and can be considered paralyzed at the moment. I trust you are sensible enough not to do any insolent things lest your entire family be executed. I’m just warning you in the unlikely event something happens.」
That’s his serious face.
「Such disrespectful actions have not even crossed my mind.」
「I do not genuinely doubt you either. However, after the treatment is done, I’m going to have to ask you and your wife to leave. I would also like to point out that the information officers are acting for caution’s sake, please do not mind them.」
After saying that, the king once again pulls his head away.
As the four information officers and Rebecca surround me, I catch a glimpse of what’s in their pockets…… and isn’t that a blowgun? I’m clearly being doubted here.
「Be at ease, it is merely a numbing agent.」
Nonna looks at me anxiously. If things are this way, I certainly can’t seduce Rosario.
Rosario smiles sheepishly, then proceeds to touch the faces of Nonna, Celia and Natia in that order.
「Ara, your wife has quite the splendid set of assets. I’m jealous.」
「Your attendant here is adorable, I see.」
「And this…… might become a habit.」
Rosario, in the course of feeling her face, notices Natia’s unique pair of ears and strokes them constantly.
I was worried she would make a fuss after discovering Natia was an elf, but it doesn’t look like she is going to.
「Wai-…… only my ears…… ah! That tickles……」
Rather, it was Natia who twisted her body from the concentrated attack on her ears.
Natia is considerably weak when it comes to her ears. It is to the extent that she falls on her bum when her earlobe is bitten from behind.
Nonna takes a pose like she’s above everyone when her breasts are praised, meanwhile Celia stares unnaturally at Rosario, then inspects the hideous knitted creation.
「I want to start the treatment soon. Just to tell you, I’m not a doctor.」
「Sorry to be a bother.」
Natia hides her slightly reddened ears with her hair and begins her medical examination on Rosario.
She then opens Rosario’s eyes, applies the eye drops and tilts her head.
「Is it working?」
I ask Natia who is groaning with her head slanted inquisitively.
「I heard about the details of the injury……」
Natia opens Rosario’s eyes to confirm again.
「But I don’t see anything there.」
Natia says in a troubled tone.
According to the king and Rosario herself, her eyes were slashed by a blade.
In that case, the cause of the loss of vision should be an external wound. It’s strange not to find any traces of injury.
Strange or not though, we have a trump card to deal with injuries.
I thrust my hand into Celia’s chest area.
The information officers were astonished, Rebecca was rendered speechless, and even Rosario put a hand to her mouth in surprise.
What I took out from Celia’s chest was a small medicine bottle.
It contained a familiar red powder, the dragon blood, which is the greatest medicine as far as I know.
If an injury caused her to be blind, then she would be healed if she drank this.
「Then I didn’t need to come in the first place? Why did you bring me?」
After giving the unhappily grumbling Natia a sidelong glance, I was about to hand the medicine to Rosario.
「Uuu…… I was keeping it in case Aegir-sama got injured badly…… there isn’t much left……」
Don’t be like that. I can get over my wounds somehow with guts. It’s more important to heal a woman’s blindness――
「I apologize for cutting in. Is this “treasured medicine” you are referring to perhaps the rumored dragon’s blood?」
「Mu, you know about it?」
Rosario smiles sadly and continues on.
「His Majesty had already allowed someone like me to drink such a famed cure-all…… however, I regret to tell you that the light in my eyes did not return…… and I felt terribly sorry that His Majesty’s expectations were not met.」
I turn to look at Rebecca.
She did not intend to gossip in front of her subordinates and only nodded silently.
I wrap my arm around Natia and pull her close.
「Don’t hug me so suddenly! That made my heart jump!」
This is not the time to be flirting.
「Hey, is it possible that this won’t work?」
Natia frantically shakes her head.
「I looked into that medicine and its effects are perfect. It should be able to heal the injury of a person on the brink of death……」
「The reality is that she can’t see though. Are her eyes incurable?」
「Sense of touch can be recovered so regaining sense of vision should also be possible. Perhaps there was poison on the sword which remains in her eyes. Although her eyes properly react to light…… mmm, hmmm.」
Sensing our dilemma, Rosario smiles kindly.
「Please do not concern yourself so. My body did not respond to all the efforts of the notable doctors His Majesty brought me to either. I will tell His Majesty that Lord Hardlett tried all possible means to help.」
Something bothers me about Rosario’s smile.
When I shift my gaze, I see Nonna quietly sitting on a chair, squirming restlessly from wanting to touch the gorgeous room furnishings.
Aah, I have an idea.
That was when Celia, who was scampering about in the room while being stared at by the information officers, also notices and was about to open her mouth. I beat her to the punch and cover her mouth.
「Natia, I just thought of something.」
As I bring Natia close, I take out the pen Celia reserves for writing her notes from her pocket.
「You see…… oops, there’s some trash on you.」
「Thanks. Well, if you have any clues, I’ll listen to whatever you have to say.」
While pretending to pick out a piece of trash, I draw a beard on Natia’s chin, then call Rosario over.
「Sorry, could I see your eyes one more time?」
「Yes. Feel free to look as many times as you want.」
I take Rosario’s hand as she stands up shakily, her eyes still closed.
My actions drew the close attention of the four information officers who are ready with pipe-like instruments.
I knew it, they have blowguns.
I ask Celia to take Rosario’s hand instead and lead her to a chair to sit, then have her open her eyes.
Of course, it was Natia who stands in front of her.
The open-eyed Rosario twitches and coughs deceivingly before taking a seat.
It seems I’m right.
「Are you alright?」
「Yes…… I might have caught a cold by staying up late to knit.」
She coughs a few more times like she was genuinely sick, which doesn’t provoke a reaction from the information officers besides a little concern.
She can still get away if I confront her now. I won’t let her do so next time.
「Hey, nothing changes from the last time.」
「Oh, wait just a second. There’s some trash on your face again.」
Once again, I doodle on Natia’s face with the pen.
「It’s close to your eye. Close them for a minute.」
First, I expand her thin green eyebrows by three times their width, then I connect her eyebrows together to make one long line.
「Is there really that much?」
「Yes. I’ll be done soon.」
Next, I draw large sparkling eyes on her closed eyelids.
「Muu…… I thought I cleaned myself thoroughly. If it’s really dirty, use a wet towel and……」
「Just keep still.」
Next, I scribble right below her nostrils to make it seem like tufts of nose hair are sticking out.
right below her nostrils.
I hesitate for a moment, thinking that I might be too mean, but I convince myself it is necessary to be the devil and follow through with the deed.
「Something smells like ink.」
「Aah, this dirt might be ink. No wonder it’s taking so long to rub off.」
Here comes the brush.
A swirl is drawn on her cheeks and and a popped vein in drawn on her temple.
「You’re done? You took it off?」
Natia sighs and faces Rosario.
The moment the two girls face each other, Rosario freezes.
「Bfftt! Ku…… kuku…… u, uff…… mghgh.」
Rosario bursts into laughter when Natia’s face is presented to her and she tries to look down, but couldn’t hold herself back and crouches down with a hand covering her face.
The suddenness of her actions alerted those in the room.
「What the-!? What happened!?」
Naturally, Natia also panics.
「Rosario-sama, what’s the matter!? Report to His Majesty at once!」
「There’s no need.」
I tell the information officers before whispering at a volume that only Rosario could hear.
「You can see, can’t you.」
Rosario doesn’t say anything and continues looking down.
I think I felt something stab my ass. Did someone use their blowgun?
「The bushy nose hair……」
「Kuhu…… s-stop it.」
Rosario lifts her gaze and looks at me.
She clearly had vision in her eyes. I knew it.
Her eyes healed the moment the king used the dragon blood on her.
In spite of that, she continued to pretend like she was blind.
「……how did you know?」
「A family member did something similar.」
Of course, I’m referring to the currently bewildered Nonna.
It was a little before the war started when Nonna suddenly got sick.
I attended her constantly and bought her medicine for every kind of illness, but instead of getting better, her condition worsened.
I would hug her for entire nights when she complained how cold she felt until the unsatisfying final act.
When Carla gave Nonna chilli powder disguised as medicine and caught her when she screamed out, we found out that she feigned her sickness.
「My attendant also figured it out.」
Celia also noticed that Rosario could see.
However, if she said it out loud, Rosario could no longer keep up the act.
「What do you plan to do with me?」
Although her tone remained calm, Rosario clearly appears flustered and annoyed.
That kind of human emotion is more to my taste.
「I won’t do anything. I do want you to tell me though. Why did you keep pretending that you couldn’t see?」
Rosario’s brow furrowed and then she heaves a big sigh. She’s conflicted over whether to confess.
「If you bring your eyebrows so close together, they’ll actually connect, you know?」
「Kuh, enough already.」
「What are you two talking about? Is Rosario-dono alright?」
Natia takes a peek at us.
Her drawn unibrow wiggles and every time she blinked, it looked like the round eyes drawn on her eyelids were opening.
Her worried tone and popped vein on her forehead did not match at all.
「Pffkk…… gosh…… kuuu……」
Rosario looks down again and writhes her body strangely before resigning to speak openly.
「Everyone…… I want to speak with Lord Hardlett alone. Could I ask everyone to leave briefly?」
Rebecca and the information officers shouted in unison.
I don’t know why they’re so desperate to prevent us from being together.
「Lord Hardlett does not discriminate against women. Leaving you alone with him is like leaving a naked woman in front of an orc.」
「That’s right! He was lively even after being hit directly, I’m certain he isn’t human.」
「That’s why I said not to aim at his ass, but his medulla oblongata.」
Rebecca and the nameless information officers say incredibly menacingly. Knowing they have so little trust in me will make me cry.
「It will be fine. I have something regarding my wound that I don’t want anybody to know.」
Rosario obviously doesn’t want to tell the truth in front of the information officers.
Her request for everyone to leave the room is disapproved by Rebecca.
「I ask again. Please let me be alone with the apothecary and Hardlett-sama…… this is selfishness on my part in order to regain the light in my eyes…… I beg of you……」
When she bows politely, Rebecca couldn’t help feeling pressured to give in.
If the king was sitting here and was told by Rosario that her eyes couldn’t be healed because of Rebecca, he would be furious.
Rebecca approaches me and, with genuine killing intent, warns me.
「If by any chance you…… fondle or even touch her breasts, you and I, as well as your family, will be hanged. Don’t forget that.」
Rebecca says that and leaves the room with her subordinates.
On her way out, she stops to turn around and look at me. Is she really that worried that I’ll do something?
I mean, it’s not like I act purely on instincts for everything.
「To ensure no intruders get in, I will be checking in at irregular intervals.」
I don’t know where ruffians may try to sneak in when the room has no windows or ceiling space, but the monitoring will continue nonetheless.
Well, I’m not going to do anything guilty. Even if they can see, it should be fine if they can’t hear.
When the door closed, the prison-like room became silent and an unpleasant stillness dominated the place.
Nonna awkwardly adjusts the collar of her clothes, Natia needlessly fiddles with the contents of her medicine box, and Celia glares at Rosario from behind me.
My gaze and Rosario’s gaze remained locked.
Neither of us looked away.
Nothing will be accomplished through this staring contest of ours.
「Well, why did you do it?」
「Haa…… there’s no helping it now that we’ve come to this point.」
Rosario confirms the viewing window is closed before filling up two cups with a teapot and handing them to me and Nonna.
Nonna and Natia express their shock.
Immediately, there was a loud clang as the viewing window opens, then after verifying nothing happened, it closes.
It seems they are really staying on guard in front of the window.
「Please keep your voices down. ……my blindness is a ruse and my eyes have not actually lost their light.」
Natia puts a hand to her mouth, while Celia helps cover Nonna’s mouth.
「Could I ask you to explain?」
When I prompt her, Rosario pours heaps of sugar into her tea like there wasn’t already enough and begins to talk.
「Everything was done to gain His Majesty’s affection because that is all a foolish woman like me can do to survive.」
I tilt my head and reply.
「You say how foolish and incompetent you are, but I don’t think that. In my eyes, you appear quite clever.」
Rosario smiles wryly and then looks at me with a reluctant expression.
It felt like her mask crumbled a bit.
「If I add blindness to my already pitiful state, His Majesty would have compassion and keep me by his side. That is my wish. I simply wanted to cling to His Majesty’s kindness…… that is the reason for this lie――」
「You’re kidding, right?」
I grip Rosario’s hand.
「Tell me the real reason.」
「Why do you say that?」
Doubt appears in Rosario’s eyes.
I can’t blame her. All this time, I’m sure the king’s aides have accused her of being a spy or a witch among other things.
「I’ve interested in you. Is that not allowed?」
When I said that, Celia and Nonna instantly restrains both of my arms.
Come on now, I’m not going to lay a hand on her yet.
「……if you change your mind after talking to me, you only have to say you know nothing about it. His Majesty will undoubtedly believe you over me.」
Rosario looks wide-eyed at my wife and attendant as they hold me back, then eventually cracks a tiny smile.
「I guess you’re right. There isn’t anybody the king trusts more than me.」
Rosario grins and crosses her legs.
Her mask is slipping and her real face is being revealed. This is a good sign.
「In order to progress, we must first revisit the boring past.」
She would be referring to her background.
I had plenty of delusions, which included scenarios where she was a female spy sent to the king as a part of a plot to weaken him, an intelligence agent for South Yuguria, and even underling of the demon king, but she defied all of those expectations.
Her past was truly an ordinary one, which was nowhere near interesting enough to write a story about.
Rosario was born in a certain small town.
She had various talents.
Her looks were beautiful enough to be the talk of the town, she had the ability to unify people by having everyone idolize her, and the natural business sense she was blessed with often made merchants sweat during her negotiations.
She became a central figure amongst the townspeople.
The thing was, none of her multitude of talents were at a level beyond “better than other people”.
The still young girl at the time believed in herself too much. Either that or she was unlucky.
After the town mayor died of old age, his son succeeded him.
The mayor that took over was an extremely incapable and vulgar man.
Not only was the new mayor domineering, he would participate in bribery and harass the girls in town.
Obviously, that angered the townspeople and led them to express their discontent.
「One day, one of my friends was taken to the mayor’s house and violated. To avenge the sobbing girl, I, in fury, gathered the rest of the townspeople to protest at his house.」
「That’s…… a rebellion!?」
「At this stage, it was merely an insignificant dispute.」
Nonna was surprised, but it was in fact not rare for citizens to argue with the mayor of towns and cities.
An uprising directed at a feudal lord or minister would be more serious, otherwise it would be like any commonly occurring quarrel, and that wouldn’t make it to the ears of the feudal lord.
Rosario returns to her story.
Because of her beauty and popularity, the townspeople answered her call and dozens of people surrounded the mayor’s residence.
「The mayor apologized in a hurry, lowered his head to my friend and swore in front of everybody that he would not commit any more acts of tyranny.」
The story up to this point would be a happy ending.
However reality can sometimes be ugly.
It turns out, the mayor was rotten to the core and never reformed his ways.
Unlike a typical storybook ending, her associations and friendships did not last forever.
Justice did not prevail over evil.
「Half a year later, I was suddenly accused of murder. Of course, I don’t remember doing such a thing.」
In reality, an infant apparently died from an illness.
Although it was tragic, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
However, the town mayor accused Rosario of poisoning the child, and furthermore concluded that she did so out of spite after the husband of the family refused to continue having an affair with her.
Normally, there would be evidence that poison was used. The reasoning of such an act was also too simple.
The mayor was clearly framing Rosario who was more popular and loved than he was and that should have resulted in the same song and dance half a year ago.
「By the way, that didn’t happen.」
That was when Goldonia unified the northern region of the Central plains and the development of lands accelerated.
Because of the requests for laborers and sale of goods, the small town experienced prosperity like never before.
And the one who distributed the profits for that prosperity was the mayor.
「The people who stood beside me half a year ago held their tongues and averted their eyes.」
In reality, not everybody was silent, but with the pivotal people not saying anything, the dissenting voices eventually faded away.
The entire town became unconcerned with her false charges.
「The elated mayor mounted me in the dungeon…… and the moment he entered me, I realized it. The looks I was somewhat proud of, the meagre amount of talent I had, the fleeting popularity, everything could be crushed by the mayor of a town in the countryside.」
Hearing a story of a woman getting treated horribly irritates me to no end.
Sensing my annoyance, Celia draws closer to me.
She closed her eyes and stuck her head out, so I fondled her ass to my heart’s content.
「Hyaun! M-my head. You were supposed to pat my head, not my ass!」
「Hm, sorry. I’ve calmed down though.」
In that moment, the viewing window of the room opens again with a clank and Rebecca glares at me.
Rosario pretends to feel around for her cup with her eyes closed.
The window closes again. It seems like they have their ears against the door. That means we can’t speak too loudly.
Rosario gives me and Celia a reproachful look before continuing on with the story.
「For a while, I was treated as a plaything by the mayor and his flunkies until finally being sold to a slave trader. I was told that my life was spared out of kindness, but it was most likely a tip from the mayor…… and when I got on the slave trader’s wagon, I saw my close friend. She turned away when the mayor wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Fufu, she had a large shiny ruby around her neck. It was at that time that I felt something break within me.」
How awful of them, I’ll ask her for their names later.
I’ll march up to them after the war and go wild.
The slave trader’s destination was the capital, Goldonia―― which made sense considering the high demand.
Rosario would not let herself be sold though.
She exploited the slightest of openings, kicked the slave trader and escaped.
「I ran without thinking. However, being penniless with only the clothes on my back, I had no place to go.」
Feeling empathy towards Rosario’s situation, Nonna takes out a handkerchief with gold embroidery that I’ve never seen before and wipes her tears.
Nonna was also sold as a slave after losing everything so she could probably relate.
「I didn’t eat properly either so it didn’t take long for me to collapse. That was when…… His Majesty stood right in front of me.」
What are the chances that Rosario would run into the king after choosing the same day to escape as the king chose to inspect the city?
It’s cliched, but it can be considered fate.
「Realizing how important His Majesty was, I desperately told him of my troubles…… everything from the baseless false charges, the mayor’s trap, and the injustice of the town.」
When Rosario lifted her head, she saw the king looking at her with cold, disinterested eyes.
「I knew at an instant. His Majesty didn’t care about me or my life. There was no meaning in using my puny brain and pleading my case.」
Her own ability meant nothing.
With that thought in mind, she stopped playing to his sense of reason.
「I clung to His Majesty’s feet, rubbed my face against him and pleaded repeatedly to be saved.」
As Rosario was being captured by the Royal guard in an attempt to remove her, she desperately clinged to the king and begged for mercy. It was a pathetic look that did not show a trace of intelligence.
In the end, she was saved. The king picked her up and took her back with him.
Everything from that point on was exactly as the miserable feudal lords and nobles spoke of.
Rosario no longer displayed any of her own talents and simply devoted herself to winning the king’s favor.
She sealed her personality, lowered herself, and praised the king with all her heart.
「The king should not be fond of such flattery though……」
「At first, he rained abuse on me, saying how irritating and unsightly it was…… even so, he did not chase me away.」
It can’t be checked at this point, but something in the king might have went amiss as soon as he met Rosario.
Rosario did not disobey anything the king said and continued lowering her head, affirming all of the king’s words and deeds.
Eventually, the king’s attitude towards her softened, and he began using her for various chores, voicing his complaints to her, and even inviting her into his chambers.
Rosario did not criticize the king. Neither did she give advice in an indirect manner. Nor did she demonstrate any skills worth paying attention to.
She focused on keeping herself alive more than anything, proving herself to be a weak existence that cannot survive unless protected.
Due to the days spent with her, the king might have become uncomfortable around other people―― those who implicitly criticize and protest him―― which in turn caused him to lose trust in them.
In that case, the nobles and feudal lords might not be wrong in saying the king changed because of Rosario.
Rosario suddenly spoke in an emotionless tone.
「His Majesty treasured me. When I believed that to be so, I talked about my past a little.」
Nonna and Celia ducked their heads. As women, they must have sensed something not good.
Natia tilts her head in confusion and wiggles her ears. I chose not to look at her since I would probably burst out laughing if I saw her face again.
「I looked into the distance with tears in my eyes and exaggerated the truth a little――」
The king should undoubtedly be in love with Rosario.
His beloved girl was betrayed by an entire town, raped and sold.
What would the man who heard this do? To top it off, that man happens to be the king of a country. The answer is clear.
「”Annihilate them.” It took only a single word from His Majesty to cause those who looked down on me, the town, the people, everyone…… to be completely wiped out.」
A single town in the countryside disappeared from the world and from the map.
「The paltry efforts and talent are futile in the face of a powerful man. An average person with a lack of talent like me would get devoured…… in that case, I’ll rely on someone strong, cling to them, use them and survive.」
Rosario’s eyes are completely open.
If I stared into those beautiful black pearls for eyes, it feels like I’ll be sucked in.
「I pretended to lose my eyesight because I thought His Majesty would feel more sympathy for me, and that’s the truth.」
Rosario sighs, recrosses her legs and says provokingly.
「Now then, are you going to tell this story to His Majesty? If you do, then I would have no other choice but to report that Hardlett-sama forcibly touched my chest and stole my lips.」
「Is that a threat!?」
Celia jumps up and confronts Rosario menacingly.
If she did, the king would believe Rosario.
It’s not a bad thing. That’s just what happens when you fall in love with a woman.
I smile at the worried Nonna before addressing Rosario.
「You have quite the talent.」
「What did you say?」
Rosario’s eye brow slants upward.
To a woman who denies herself and depends on a man, those words are probably the last thing she wants to hear.
I think otherwise.
「You have a knack for getting men to protect you.」
Rosario looks at me like I’m an idiot.
「You talk about relying and clinging like it’s nothing, but you got His Majesty to protect you unconditionally and act for your sake. It’s something even those with talent in politics or military couldn’t hope to achieve. How else would you describe that ability than with the word talent?」
I’m not lying or flattering.
She isn’t being dominated like a slave. She is being protected by a king.
At this point, it isn’t clear whether she is dependent on the king or the other way around.
If Leopolt approached me in the same manner, clinging to my leg, rubbing his cheek against me and begging to be hired, then how would I react? I would definitely kick him out of the window and be done with him. I get chills simply thinking of such a scenario.
In other words, that guy doesn’t have the skill to appeal to a person’s emotion and get others to protect him.
She was accepted by the king because she has a talent to rely on people.
There’s a possibility His Majesty’s heart changed, but that could have been luck, and luck is also a talent as well.
「……what a strange thing you’re saying.」
「Haha, that logic just now was stretched.」
I bend my body close to her.
「I thought of this as soon as I saw you: I want to protect you and dominate you.」
Those are my true feelings. Rosario emits a heavy aura which induces others to want to rule over and protect her.
This may be her true talent.
「I knew it, you were aiming for her!」
「The treatment doesn’t even matter then, huh? More importantly, there is an ink smell on my face.」
Nonna shrieks, Celia stands up and Natia rests her chin on her hands.
The viewing window opens with a clank.
「――I feel the pain in my eyes periodically.」
「I see, I see.」
Rosario quietly comments with her eyes closed and I nod in a believable manner.
「……I could feel some maliciousness though.」
Rebecca peeks doubtfully into the viewing window and then closes it―― as a feint, then checks on me again.
How much does she not trust me?
Rosario laughs amusingly.
That is the most attractive expression she has made so far. It feels as if I finally caught a glimpse of the face behind her mask.
「What a strange person. Now what is Hardlett-sama going to do after finding out about me? As I said before, if you try to rid me, I won’t show any mercy.」
Yes, this is the main issue.
I wanted to remove the obstacle in the king’s heart by healing the girl but there’s a better method.
「I want you to act…… like you were cured by my treatment.」
「Haa, do you want a reward?」
I shake my head. Receiving a reward is fine as well, although my first priority is winning the war.
「You were completely healed. That’s why I want you to light a fire under His Majesty and allow him to fight at full strength without any concerns.」
「I would prefer not to interfere with political matters. I don’t want to fall in His Majesty’s bad graces.」
She really doesn’t seem receptive to the idea, which is problematic.
With that said, Rosario’s current standing is higher than mine.
From our earlier conversation, she should have a mind as sharp as mine. I can get her to understand by talking to her logically.
「Do you know what the state of battle is like right now?」
「Not the details, but I know we are at a disadvantage.」
I gaze seriously at Rosario.
「Honestly, it’s unsure how much longer we can last at this rate. Goldonia will suffer defeat.」
Rosario doesn’t seem particularly shaken by that fact, though she puts a finger to her chin as if contemplating a difficult choice.
「You have the absolute trust and affection from His Majesty. But that is connected to Goldonia’s existence, no?」
I press her even further.
「South Yuguria’s ruler is Empress Wilhelmina, a person who you cannot curry favor with.」
「It doesn’t matter at which point peace comes about. If His Majesty loses his authority, what would happen to you?」
Rosario does not have any other influential people who adores her in Goldonia besides the king.
Even if the country remains, the girl is finished if the king is overthrown, and in the worst case she’ll be tortured to death.
Of course, if that were to happen for real, I would save her and make her my lover.
Rosario seriously weighs what I said on a scale.
Just one more push.
「Besides…… you’re getting tired of it, right?」
A mischievous smile forms on my face.
「I mean pretending to be blind. Say your true feelings. You are honestly becoming fed up with it, aren’t you?」
There are plenty of ways to get the king to protect her.
If she feigns her loss of vision, she can’t open her eyes in public and she would require aid from others to do anything.
As a person who can actually see, that should be extremely tiring to keep up.
「……do you get it?」
The longer she drags out her feigned condition, the harder it becomes to declare it healed.
Using myself as an example, I was thrust into a banquet by Nonna and it was so annoying that I feigned a stomachache, although Celia cared for me diligently and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her it was a lie, to the point that I had to take a suppository.
「That was a lie!?」
I’ll disregard Celia’s and Nonna’s protests.
「Fufu, that’s the same as me. I should have chosen to be healed by either the ultimate wonder drug or the nation’s best doctors. In addition, I was placed into this cage without windows.」
Rosario looks at me and nods.
「It certainly is exactly as Hardlett-sama says, it looks to be better if I rouse His Majesty. Then let us proceed with that. I think it will be hard to maintain how I’m currently treated anyways.」
Right on cue, Rebecca opens the viewing window and speaks in a slightly impatient tone.
「Rosario-sama, have you finished with your conversation yet?」
「Yes. The apothecary had the most optimal medicine.」
Natia wasn’t paying attention after determining she had no role to play and was caught off-guard.
「……are you really alright?」
The information officer is suspicious.
「If anything worsens, Lord Hardlett will take responsibility.」
「It’s fine. There’s no need to worry.」
I stick my hand into Natia’s medicine box and take out a random bottle of eyedrops.
「What is this one’s effect? It won’t do any harm, right?」
「Eh? Yes, that one is nothing special. The effect is insignificant and fades pretty quickly.」
That’s good. We’re going to be faking the cure so the best medicine to use is one with no effect.
I drip some of the eyedrops into both of Rosario’s slightly opened eyes.
Rosario holds her face and moves her head around aimlessly.
Then her eyelids slowly open.
「……I can see…… my eyes…… can see……」
Overcome with emotion, Rosario touches me, Nonna and Rebecca with partially-opened eyes.
「Famous doctors and the miracle drug didn’t work, yet a simple eyedrop worked!?」
「I-in any case, we should call for His Majesty!」
The information officers run out in a flurry.
「She’s quite the actress.」
Celia whispers softly so that only I could hear her.
Hey now, what would you do if she heard that?
It took less than a minute for the king to rush into the room.
He must have been waiting all this time in a nearby room.
「Your Majesty…… I’ve really caused you to worry.」
Seeing Rosario’s open eyes, the king was deeply moved and practically tackles her for a hug before kissing her.
It seems he forgot Nonna and I were here.
「Light has returned…… you can lay your eyes on me once again.」
「Yes, Your Majesty, although you’ll crush me if you hug me so tightly.」
The king releases her in a hurry, touching her like a fragile object and repeatedly planting kisses on her.
Rosario takes the knitted product left on the desk and hugs it shyly close to her chest.
「I thought it was made well, but it’s actually like a caterpillar…… how embarrassing, please don’t look at it.」
「Rosario…… ooh, you can really see.」
Mm, it’s scary to think that she didn’t when she knitted that.
With how passionate the scene is, the bed is likely to throw her in bed after, so I call out to him before that happens.
Realizing my presence, the king awkwardly clears his throat.
「Ahem, Hardlett…… well done.」
The king grabs my hand.
His expression is clearly softer, without any of the insanity which resided in the king until recently.
「Well, I didn’t do anything. It was her efforts.」
I push the Natia forward who is fidgeting from seeing the king and Rosario kiss.
「Umu, I will grant you with any reward later, marvelous apothecary.」
The king’s praise wasn’t very enthusiastic.
His head is probably full with thoughts of Rosario.
I don’t intend to get in their way, but there is one final thing I must say.
「Your Majesty, there is one thing about Rosario-sama that I would like to provide a warning for.」
The king’s gaze shifts to me.
On one hand, he felt irritated, and on the other, he felt fear.
I give Natia’s back a light slap.
「Her vision was temporarily restored by the power of medicine. However, this kind of dark room will not allow her eyes to get accustomed to light and it’s possible they may go blind again. That is why I recommend periodically…… if possible, to go outside everyday and expose her to the sunlight.」
The king’s gaze on us narrows for an instant after Natia finishes saying what we arranged in advance, but he quickly turns to Rosario with a troubled look.
「I gratefully accept all the concerns His Majesty has for my body. However…… and I know this is really selfish of me…… I want to continue being able to see His Majesty’s face.」
With the fine performance from the actress, the battle is settled.
The king will no longer shut Rosario in a cage.
「Well then, I will take my leave.」
We finish what we had to say and exit the room.
The moment we were outside, I could hear Rosario start gasping…… it looks like they didn’t waste any time.
「That’s a relief.」
The thorn in the king’s heart has been dealt with and Rosario should spur the king to act in bed.
Let’s go home for today. I’m sure I’ll be summoned again after the king finishes his love session.
A servant bursts out laughing as we pass by.
I wonder what that’s about.
「It feels like I’ve only been telling lies today.」
「I did you wrong.」
I’m really sorry for what I did to Natia.
She was totally motivated to help and even brought a large box of medicines with her, yet she couldn’t do anything after finding out the important patient Rosario was feigning her condition.
On top of that, I had her lie, something she detests doing.
「Try to accept the fact that lying is also an effective means to achieve a goal. It doesn’t bring sorrow to anybody either.」
Natia’s ears fold down diagonally, telling me she isn’t very happy.
Although I want to grab them, doing so would surely make her hate me.
「Bff! Look at that, there’s something awful.」
「What the heck is that!?」
I hear the guards fussing about something.
Right now, my priority is Natia’s feelings.
I should divert her attention away from her unpleasant emotions.
A topic she would be excited about…… is definitely medicine.
「By the way, what kind of effect did the eyedrops used on Rosario have? Insignificant could mean many things.」
As expected, Natia jumps on the topic.
「Mm, it really isn’t a very interesting effect. It’s one that allows the user to see in the dark.」
「Isn’t that an amazing effect!? It’s perfect for night battles! I want to use it too.」
Celia leans over after hearing our conversation.
I agree that having night vision is pretty amazing. It shouldn’t be classified under ‘insignificant’ as she describes it.
Natia shakes her head.
「It doesn’t grant you night vision. It allows you to see in the dark.」
「I don’t get what the difference is.」
Natia forms a circle with her fingers and puts it up to her eye.
「The eyedrops make your eyes shine like a lantern. With a sparkle. ……that’s how it lets you see.」
「I take back what I said. It’s useless after all.」
If two circular lights shone like lanterns in the dark, it would stand out too much in a night battle and would attract a concentrated barrage from the enemy.
In fact, it would expose our presence before we could even attack and therefore slow us down.
「What did you use this for?」
「When I was bored, I played around with it…… making my eyes glow by myself.」
「I’ll pay more attention to you from now on. Sorry about that.」
I pat Natia’s head and stroke her ears as we exit the royal palace.
Speaking of such trivial things also seems to have improved Natita’s mood, and we return to our dwelling place happily, buying and eating from a street stand along the way.
「Ahaha! Look, look, that girl is weird!」
「T-that’s terrible…… ppkuku……」
「Mama, her face is funny.」「Shh! She’s an unfortunate person!」
「I don’t know if she’s brave or pure to walk outside with a face like that.」
I feel like I forgot something important.
Afterwards, when Dorothea’s children bluntly pointed out the scribbles on Natia’s face, she went into a fit of burning rage and injected me with an extra strong laxative as I went into the bath with Celia.