Thursday, January 12, 2017

Knight's & Magic Volume 4 Chapter 34

The Worries of the Princess
Translator: Skythewood
Editors: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor
Typeset by Hiiro / Frozen

At the easternmost part of old Kuscheperca Kingdom’s eastern territories, there was a city called Missillier.

From the workshops built all over the city, one could see the dramatic change that happened to this city recently.

In the workshop which runs through the day and night, a heat wave unlike that of pure crafting works lingered in the air. The heat stemmed from a machine that kept moving all over the place. The machine used purely for crafting was 2.5m tall, and its crude appearance wasn’t like the armour worn by human. Powered by the mana of the pilot, it used Strand Crystal Tissue to move its limbs— This machine was the Silhouette Gear, Motor Rad. Most of the knightsmith were working using Motor Rad.

“Hey! You there! There’s a fellow who exhausted his mana, bring him out to rest! No matter how busy it is, don’t push yourself, it will be even more problematic if you collapse!... It’s fine to start slow, you will get used to it in time no matter how much you detest it!”

A loud roar pierced through the noise that filled the workshop, and was answered by acknowledgement that came from all sides. If they ignored the Kuscheperca knightsmith who had not gotten used to the Silhouette Gears, they would reach their limits really quickly.

The one who yelled earlier happened to have found a knightsmith who was pushing himself too much while doing his rounds, and gave his advice. The surprising thing was, he could continually do crafting works while he walked around to supervise others. Although he was working with a Silhouette Gear like others, on closer inspection, his machine was obviously different from others.

It had fast yet delicate hands used for precision works, and powerful arms for heavy lifting, which totals into four arms. It had the default ‘steel fencing’ installed to protect the pilot, but additional shelves of tools were built on top of it, while crates with screws and metal plates were tied to its legs. Probably to support the heavy weight of the machine, its legs were thicker than usual to ensure stability. The person who was operating this stout four-armed machine was working at extraordinary speed, and was an amazing sight to behold.

And that man was the Chief Knightsmith of the Silver Phoenix Knights— the Boss, David Hepken in his majestic personal Silhouette Gear ‘Mobile Workshop’.

In Fremmevira Kingdom, the Silver Phoenix Knights had the highest ration of knightsmith that uses Silhouette Gears. They all use Motor Beat directly in the beginning, but in pursuit of better efficiency, they started modifying their own Silhouette Gears later. And among them, the Dwarves Fist which the Boss claimed to have ‘most items needed in a workshop’ was the most prominent. Its mechanical crane arm could easily lift large spare parts that couldn’t be handled by humans and hold it in place, making it a breeze to work on; the five fingers that was as nimble as those on Shadowlads replicated the fine techniques of the Dwarves. Its powerful strength was immensely helpful for working on steel parts.

On top of that, it was equipped with Magius Weld Gun for hot wielding. Aside from crafting that required large forges, everything from metal sculpting to assembly could be done by this machine alone. It was that ridiculous a thing.

"Boss—! Can you spare me some time—!?"

As the Boss deftly used the four arms to work, a voice pierced through the noisy workshop and halted him.

"Oh, isn’t that Ernesti? Hold on, let me finish up here!!”

The Boss gave some instructions to the people around him, completed his task at hand, then walked out of the workshop with heavy strides. The one who called for him— Eru observed the working knightsmith intriguely as he waited for the Boss.

“Hmm, looks like the introduction of Motor Beat is going smoothly.”

“Hmm, they say they had never seen such a thing before and looked unwilling, but they turned docile after I show a bit of what Mobile Workshop could do. Anyway, we are urging them to make Silhouette Gears quickly and to get used to them fast. It is easy to make the machine for work purposes, so they should be able assemble the numbers in no time.”

“I did intimidate them a little.”— the Boss said, and Eru nodded satisfactorily. It was much quicker to mass produce Silhouette Gears than Silhouette Knights, and equip the entire team. The plan was to turn the tables for the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army by introducing Silhouette Gears and mass producing them.

“There doesn’t seem to be any problem with the progress, we made some headway into the next phase of the project. First is..."

"Oh, I thought you would mention that. I just got the detailed design plans for the Resvants.”

When he saw the Boss waving a stack of paper, Eru said with a wry smile:

“As expected of the Boss, you are really quick.”

“Thank you for the compliment. We’ve known each other for quite some time after all. Even though I know nuts about fighting, I could tell that the Resvants can’t put up a good fight without some modification. At best, it is just a bit stronger than our Karrdator.”

Eru took the plans proffered by the Boss and nodded in agreement:

“That’s right, a new machine with adequate performance still need to be designed, and there isn’t much time to do so. I want to use the designs for Karrdatolle directly.”

“... That’s still a ‘specialty’ of our country right? Even if they are our allied nation, we can’t leak confidential information so easily correct?"

"Actually I got permission from Old Master(the King), so I can do as I please by my own judgement.”

“Maybe Old Master gave permission to the wrong person…”

The Boss controlled Mobile Workshop nimbly to stroke his beard and sighed deeply.

“I’m not really using that directly, I’m just referencing the design of the Karrdatolle as the foundation to overhaul the Resvants. But from the current situation, the time limitation plays a major factor, I don’t know if we can afford to take it easy.”

“Sigh, this is a big problem. If I don’t push the knightsmith here hard, we will probably be working through the night again.”

The Boss didn’t seem troubled at all, and even clasped his fist with his hand while smiling with his warface. At his core, he was just another hopeless weirdo who likes to fiddle with machines.

“One more thing, I would like to ask you to make the weapon ‘we need to use’.”

“Hold back a little, this tasklist is already the most difficult one in recent times. What are you talking about?”

“We are more or less prepared to fight against Silhouette Knights, but there are other problems. We still have to deal with those Levitate Ships, so I want to prepare at least one type of ‘anti-air weapon’.”

What Eru said surprised the Boss. Because he heard that Eru and Ikuruga almost took down a Levitate Ship on the way back after rescuing the Kuscheperca royals.

“Do you and Ikaruga need such a thing?”

“No, this is for everyone aside from me and Ikaruga. Frankly speaking, Di-Senpai felt it was a pity that the Levitate Ship got away last time. It just need to hit the ships a little. Letting them know that ‘the air isn’t a safe place’ would be a good way of keeping them in check.”

After hearing Eru’s explanation, the Boss acknowledged and agreed to the job. Despite how competent he was, he couldn’t think of any weapon that could deal with a ship flying in the sky. However, it was easy for Eru who had made so many strange equipment to invent something like that. Anyway, turning these ideas into reality was his job, and he had never thought of refuting that point.

"... We will just need time now. Will we finish the new machines and anti air weapons first, or will the opponent complete their preparations and attack before us? Come, let’s sprint hard everyone. Whether they will catch up to us, or we will shake them off, the real battle (festival) is coming. Isn’t that worth waiting for?”
After finding a definite goal, a satisfied smile appeared on Eru’s cute face. But in the Boss’ eyes, that was a hellish smile of the devil.

Missillier’s workshop zone gradually expanded. In the city center nearby, there was a mansion where the escaped Kuscheperca royals were lodging in. It used to belong to a certain merchant, but was abandoned because he got caught in the flames of war, and was seized and used by the nobles. The previous owner was doing really well, and its scale was rather grand for a rural province. Aside from the royals, the Silver Phoenix Merchants that was using this city as its base.

Martina watched the bustling city scene outside the window and said with a sigh:

“Seeing how lively they are, I almost forgot that the Kuscheperca had already fallen.”

The people traversing the streets were full of life, and didn’t have any sign of sadness that their kingdom had fallen. Fueling their movements were the common consensus of the citizens and soldiers that they were working to take back their nation.

“In order to respond to their efforts, we still have an important problem to resolve. Which is the vanguard of this resistance plan, the guide post who would lead the way to the restoration of Kuscheperca Kingdom… the monarch.”

Her words made Emrys who was sipping tea at the same table lift his head and ask:

“So Ellie will be the Queen? That is true by her birthright, but forgive me for being blunt, I don’t think she can handle the heavy burden of leading a country. No, in the first place, she can’t lead troops into battle.”

"… I know that too, but it is exactly because this is a time like this, that we have to do this the proper way, Rys.”

Eleonora was the only daughter of the late King Aukusti , and was already 16 years old, an adult. According to the customs of this period, she was recognized as first in the line of succession. Going about it properly, she was definitely the correct choice— and this was a headache for Martina.

“That might be so, but more importantly, how is Ellie? Are her wounds healed?”

“She isn’t doing too well. No, she is recovering fine, but she is shutting herself in her room.”

When she heard Emrys’ question, Isadora who was sitting at the side said as she shook her head. Eleonora who already lacked physical endurance was frail in both mind and body during her captivity in Lacepede Castle, and had been bedridden ever since she escaped here. She got better as time went by, but she was still unwilling to come out from her room.

“Tch! Aunt, I don’t agree with this. Even though this is tradition, sending a weak girl to the frontlines is not something a sane man would do!”

“No matter what, that is the obligation of the royals and those who inherit the bloodline of the king. There are times we will need to suppress our own emotions, and stand up for the sake of the people and state. I have to let Eleonora… understand this.”

Martina stopped Emrys who was about to speak again. She could empathize with Eleonora— caught in a war, losing her father and the heavy burden of being a princess was crushing her, confining her to her room. When he saw Martina’s  troubled face, Emrys swallowed the words he wanted to speak. Martina expressed her determination to Emrys who still couldn’t accept this:

"Rys, being a princess is too great a burden for that child, I can understand that. But a leader in chaotic times… have to stand before the masses, and will only be recognized by the people as the heir to the throne when she leads them to victory. This is the only way for that child to be Queen...!"

Martina lowered her gaze. This was the only duty the king entrusted to her, or a parting gift of sorts. The complicated relationship between king and country, and the troubling influence of blood relations could be seen. And she wasn’t the only one with this opinion. After escaping her, the nobles also viewed the existence of the princess as a banner. Willing or not, people around Eleonora will not just watch idly by.

“Aunt… Even so, this will be a little, no a big burden on Ellie. Will things go so smoothly?”

“I won’t let her shoulder all this alone of course. My plan is for us to help her out with the actual administration.”

A suffocating silence filled the room. In the end, Emrys scratched his head and sighed. He might be from another nation, but he was still a member of a royal family. He also understood what she was saying, and even though he couldn’t accept it, he could only agree to this.

"Aunt, you are serious… Alright, sorry for blabbering so much, but what are you going to do? She won’t even leave her room, much less lead everyone?”

“That’s true. We also tried all means to convince her, but to be honest, it doesn’t look good. If possible… I would like to request the aid of the Silver Phoenix Merchants to cheer that child up.”

And finally, a bold and fearless expression returned to Emrys’ face—

“Leave it to us!”

This was the workshop used by the Silver Phoenix Knights. Emrys surveyed his comrades that gathered around him, and said in a volume loud enough for everyone to hear:

“And that is why, I would like to borrow your strength! Help Ellie gain back her courage. Tell her that we are here for her, and there is no need to worry. Something like that!”

After accepting Martina’s request, he immediately explained the situation to the Silver Phoenix Merchants and asked for their aid. They felt troubled about taking on the momentous task of convincing the princess, but surprises like these were normal for the Silver Phoenix Merchants. They focused on the task and started an earnest discussion:

“We should tell her the glorious exploits of 2nd Company in detail…”

“No, we knightsmiths should introduce the wonderful capabilities of the new model machine to Her Highness…”

“But that’s the princess? Will she understand?”

Several good ideas came up during their debate, but there wasn’t any specific proposal that looked great. After the dialogue died down, Eru who had been listening quietly said:

“Well then, we could tell Her Highness the achievements of the Silver Phoenix Knights. But she should have already heard that. She might not come out after hearing that, so we should prepare another topic.”

As he spoke, Eru tidied his thoughts quickly:

“... Yes, we should gather some intel. Young Master studied in this country in the past right? Have you heard about what the Princess interests are?”

Emrys frowned and crossed his arms at this question and said:

“What she would be interested in… That stumped me. To be honest, I spent most of my time with aunt and didn’t speak much with Ellie. Ugh… Oh right! If Isadora is in a bad mood, she will feel better if I practice swordsmanship with her. Very well, I will take Ellie for a spin in Gordesleo, she will become cheerful in no time!”

“Rejected. Yup, I shouldn’t have asked Young Master. Let’s change our approach. The opinion of girls her age is also important, so any ideas, Ady?”

“We just need to cheer up the princess right? Leave it to me! Hufufu, the princess is cute and small just like Eru. I already want to talk to her, and give her a hug..."

“No, rejected. This idea is terrible."

Even Eru felt like retorting— That is the way to cheer yourself up! But he dismissed the idea in the end. Chid who was sitting beside Ady asked Eru:

“Do you have any ideas, Eru?”

“... If it’s a Silhouette Knight or Silhouette Gear, I can get the gist on where the problem lies and how to repair it.”

“These people won’t do, all of them are useless…”

Seeing how fruitless the situation was, Chid couldn’t help looking into the sky and sigh. Ady who was beside him smacked her fist into her palm and said:

“Then Chid, you…! That’s right! Didn’t you swore fealty to Her Highness? Now is your chance to show your cool side!”

Everyone present turned their gaze onto Chid at this moment. Chid even felt physical pressure from this, and took a few steps back.

“Eh! Why are you bringing this up now!? ...E-Erm, listen to me everyone, that… although that is true…”

As he tried to fudge over it with a laugh, his arm was grabbed by someone. Chid turned his head with a start, and saw Eru who was smiling gently before him.

“I see… Then it is decided. This is the Knight Commander’s orders, you have to cheer the Princess up, Chid.”

“Hey, that’s too sly…! Ahh, alright, I get it! Damn it, don’t blame me if it ends badly!!”
After knowing he couldn’t escape, Chid yelled in resignation. He stepped onto the arduous battlefield alone.

Shortly after this, Chid followed Isadora from the mansion used as the base of the Silver Phoenix Knights, and headed down the corridor leading to Princess Eleonora’s room.

“Think, think damn it… If it is Eru, he will feel better by throwing him into a workshop; Ady will cheer up if Eru is with her… Ah damn it, those two are useless as reference!!”

Chid was incredibly frail and was mumbling rubbish. He was wracking his brain because of the heavy responsibility entrusted to him, which made Isadora who was watching beside him very worried. That might be so, he was still the person recommended by the Silver Phoenix Knights, and was the one who rescued Eleonora from Lacepede Castle, so she could only leave it to him. Both of them harboured their own worries and reached the Princess’ quarters very quickly.

“We are here. Are you ready?”

“... The guys from my Knight Corps are too optimistic. I don’t recall ever encouraging anyone before… Hmm? Ah, no problem, I will do my best.”

His response suggested the contrary, but Isadora ignored that and knocked the door. After explaining her intention to visit, she waited for the maids in the living room to receive her as usual.

The quarters where the Princess resided had two rooms. Maids who doubled as guards waited in the outer room, while the Princess’ chambers was the room further in.

As they waited for the Princess to groom herself, the curious gazes of the maids stabbed onto the youth brought by Isadora like needles. It was rare to see someone other than a noble visiting after all. From his facial features, he appeared to be similar in age to the Princess. He had a well proportioned and lean body, wearing the typical attire of pilot with his leather light armour. The most intriguing thing was his aura of being forced into a corner.

“Welcome Isadora. So today too.... Hmm? E-Erm, Mr Archid…”

Princess Eleonora appeared very quickly, and showed a surprised expression when she saw the person besides Isadora. In her never changing shut-in lifestyle, the only thing that changed was Isadora’s daily visits and chats. As someone of the same gender and age, Isadora was the family she was most open to.

But recently, under the instructions of her mother, Isadora mentioned more frequently about Eleonora becoming Queen, so Eleonora found this time gradually becoming hard to relax. Even so, she still welcomed Isadora’s visits.

Standing before Eleonora who was at a loss because of this unexpected meeting, Chid bowed stiffly. This was their first meeting after escaping to Missillier. Back then, they met inside the dim Lacepede Castle, but this time, it was under the bright sunlight. Chid raised his head with a complicated expression, his wavering gaze staring at mid air. After escaping imprisonment, the recuperating Eleonora had gradually recovered her beauty as the flower of Kuscheperca. Unrelated to the how bright the room was, the youth found the scene before him to be too brilliant for his eyes.

Eleonora didn’t understand what he was troubled about, and cast a confused gaze to Isadora quizzically. Isadora shrugged unhappily and said:

“You can’t just shut yourself in here. You are the daughter of King Aukusti, and has the obligation to understand the situation this nation is in. That’s why we picked someone to come here and convince you.”

Isadora sat down forcefully, and signalled Chid to sit down too. Chid braced himself mentally, then walked to a chair like a malfunctioning Silhouette Knight. Seeing Isadora’s being so forceful made Eleonora turn gloomy.

“Why? Isadora… I already told you plenty of times, I really can’t take up the heavy burden of being a kingdom’s monarch…”

“That’s not true, the aristocrats are preparing to strike back against the ┼Żaloudeks right now. That’s because you— the inheritor of the royal bloodline has returned, and leading them is your obligation as a royal."

Royal bloodline— Isadora’s words stirred a certain memory in Eleonora’s head.

—The face of the uncouth man who declared that he would exploit the ‘blood of the Royal Kuscheperca’ flowing in her veins. He wasn’t saying it to another human being, and was just disposing of a useless tool, a proclamation of her death. She felt a sudden chill and slowly hugged herself.

“Will it be… a war again? Can we really win?”

Mistaking that Eleonora said that because she lacked confidence, Isadora expanded on the topic:

“Don’t worry Eleonora, we are also getting stronger, and had won a few battles with the new power we got, so…”

The explanation would be the mission of the Silver Phoenix Merchant member— Chid’s task. But when Isadora turned back and looked, Chid was just listening seriously and kept quiet.

“There were many knights in the capital back then, but not only my father, the knights also…! Even if we have a chance of winning, no, no matter what, people will die and blood will be shed if there is war. The next time might be aunt or you, even Rys-Nii might not be able to escape…”

Fear appeared clearly on Eleonora’s face. She lowered her head and refused to say anymore. Isadora reached out her hand troublingly—

“... Princess Eleonora.”

Before that, Eleonora’s knight interjected calmly. Eleonora raised her head with eyes seeking for something to rely on.

“I agree with you wholeheartedly that it will be best if no one sacrificed their lives. But the problem is, if we don’t fight or resist, the problem won’t be solved. When such a situation arises, we knights will pick up our swords.”

Chid looked at Eleonora straight in her eyes. Although he revealed a bit of his true nature and his tone was obviously cruder, no one admonished him, probably because they were awed by his aura.

“If they come at us with swords, we should counter with blades. We should face the challenge bravely with indomitable will. Whether our efforts will bear fruit is another matter.”

“Even if… there are sacrifices, we have to steel ourselves for it. Is that what you want to say…?”

In Eleonora’s entire life, no one had spoken so frankly to her before. Complicated feelings welled up, and she looked up at Chid with tears in her eyes and said:

“What should I do if… you fall in battle? Even my father who told me not to worry, and said he will protect me… just like that…!!”

Her sadness drowned out her words and she hid her face in her palms. Isadora just watched over her quietly, while Chid scratched his head troublingly.

Not just him, all the knights of Fremmevira Kingdom won’t hesitate to fight, and will strive for a quick and decisive resolution. This was the influence of his environment, and the reason why all the citizens had the tendency of not hesitating. For a princess from another nation who was raised in a tender environment, this was probably hard to imagine.

Was it a fluke? Because he didn’t understand the other party completely, Chid successfully found the biggest reason of unease the Princess had. Chid calmed himself slightly, then framed his words carefully:

“That means… Erm, you only think so because you don’t know.”

In the end, Chid ignored the gloomy air in the room and said resolutely:

“Princess Eleonora, let’s go outside!!”

He said out of nowhere. Not just Eleonora, even Isadora raised her head and looked at him with a face of shock.

“If you just stay in this room, you won’t be able to see how the country actually is, and if we really can fight. You might hate war, but I hope you can make your judgement after seeing it and understanding it with your own eyes. So let’s go and see… how this country is like!”

To him, this was the obvious conclusion. Unless there was a need to make a snap decision, collating intel would be the basics of tactics. Leaving that aside, Chid was also a man of action, and he extended his hand to Eleonora to show his sincerity.

She looked blankly at the hand reaching out for her, this was the second time he offered her his hand. The first was when he took her away from the prison of stone, and the second time, he wanted to whisk her away from the prison of her heart. What both had in common was that she would be liberated in some way.

She didn’t hesitate too long before deciding to trust him once more. She trust that he wasn’t doing this because of anyone else’s plans or scheme, and purely out of his will to help her as her knight.

And so, escorted by her knight, the Princess took one step into the outside world.

Even Chid himself didn’t know where his spirit came from, and it only lasted until they left the room.

It took all he had to keep from keeling over. He only said all that on the spur of the moment, and now that he thought about it, that was really disrespectful towards a royal. He wanted to hug his head to escape from reality, but there was a more serious problem before that—

“Mr Archid? What is the matter?”

— That he was holding the delicate hand of the Princess. He did that in order to lead her out of the room, but why do they have to hold hands? He felt from the bottom of his heart that— Spirit was a scary thing.

“Ah, oh, it’s fine, I will show you around properly. First…”

As he was turning his head, he saw his sister Ady and childhood friend Eru with their ears to the wall eavesdropping.

When their eyes met, Chid was shocked, while the two stopped their movements with a meaningful smile. Their gaze fell on the Chid’s hand that was holding Eleonora’s hand.

“Wut arr chew doching here!”

“Chid, you are speaking in a dialect I’ve never heard of! Eh, calm down. I see, I completely understand Chid. The Princess is so cute after all. Of course you will want to help her!! All boys dream of becoming a knight that will escort a princess!”

“Uwah, what a maddening way of putting it, I’m angry now Ady! And on top of that, it’s frustrating how similar my taste is to yours… Ah, that’s not what I want to say, damn it!!”

Chid couldn’t think of any excuse and Ady made her own conclusion. Eru just looked at the two of them with a smile.

“Don’t worry, I will help too! Gather everyone in the Knight Corps, let the princess see how amazing we are! Fufufu, I am overflowing with drive right now!”

"Uwahhh you are sure reliable… But why do you have to… Ah— damn it…"

Ady who got compromising information on Chid was unusually excited. Chid couldn’t be bothered to explain further and just sighed into the heavens.

A soft giggle came from Chid’s side. He turned his head with a start and saw Eleonora laughing. The gloomy air about her was gone, although her face was still a bit frail, she seemed livelier and energetic.

“Mr Archid is right, I couldn’t see anything by shutting myself in my room. It sure is lively outside.”

If Ady wasn’t here to tease him, Chid probably would have laughed with her. But right now, he could only squeeze out a stiff smile.

“Come Chid, don’t just stand there. As a knight, you have to escort your mistress properly. I will go get everyone.”

“That’s right, let’s go! Ah, it’s nice seeing the Princess standing besides Eru… how nice and cute!”

"Ady, you really don’t change no matter where you are…"

The group brought Eleonora to visit noisily. Regarding the Silver Phoenix Knights and the new Silhouette Knights, there were too many things they needed to tell her. In the end, they decided to bring Eleonora to the workshop. By the way, Chid was still holding her hand on their way to the workshop.

“Yes, this is wonderful. Ellie has cheered up now!”

After the Princess and her group left, Isadora said to someone who was standing tall before her:

“So you are here too, Rys-Nii. Eavesdropping is a bad habit.”

“Hmm? There’s no way I would eavesdrop! I am just staying put in the next room because I don’t want to disturb their conversation!”

“... You are the only one who can accept such a ridiculous reason…”

The speechless Isadora could only shake her head, but she recovered in no time. The two of them walked briskly to catch up with the Princess.

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