[NH - Chapter 3]
“Wha… What do you mean it’s over 150 pounds? The rock feels as if it doesn’t even weight half a poun-
-Eh? He just said pound… That’s my world’s unit of measure… Uhh why?... Wait… two ways… Either there’s the universal translator thing where i’m not actually speaking my language and it’s being translated back and forth, or someone from my world has already been here… Or.. oh… there’s also the other way around… nah… These people are highly underdeveloped… but… is time relevant… Stop, bad thoughts lead to awkward silence.
It was Sir Gregory that ended up breaking the growing silence.
“La… My Lady… how is it that you possess such great strength?”
“Erm… Gregory… To be honest, i’m none too sure myse-”
Just then, the hero froze for a second and mumbled.
“Wait… there’s the hero powers that are sometimes granted… but it could also be my modifications running awry… if it’s the latter, i’m in some serious trouble in the long run if it goes bad… Well… I can always just test it here…”
“Uhm… My Lady? What is it that you are saying?”
As Sir Dorian called out to her, the hero jolted her shoulders and looked up at both of the men now standing relatively close to her with heavy questioning eyes.
“Uhh…. Why are you both so close to me? You’re kind of making me embarrassed to have to Noblemen hovering over me…”
Saying this she dipped her head down and clasped her arms at her waist.
Heavily shocked both men quickly let out a form of excuse and backed away quickly nearly tripling the distance.
“My. My. My… My humblest apologies My Lady… I had no intention to cause you discomfort!”
“Ah.. Ah… I’m so ashamed, I was so caught up in the moment… Please forgive me…”
Seeing the two men practically falling over each themselves as they attempted to pardon themselves, the hero thought they looked rather funny as they pleaded for her not to be upset with them.
Contrary to her thoughts, their reaction was more in line due to the fact that they believed she had an unbelievable level of strength and that angering her would cause them severe trouble. While both had some feelings of attraction, their instincts were far more at work here.
These worries were cast away instantly when the hero changed her nervous demeanor into a smile with her head slightly tilted to the right.
-Well, I can’t just have them think i’m mad at them, a little smile and a few nice words should do it. A Royal Knight and the head of an Architect house can play quite useful if I need to access influential people for help.
As she was thinking that, she widened her smile and closed her eyes while speaking.
“You two fine and strong men are so kind. I couldn’t think of being upset with either of you.”
In that instant, for the two men it was as if they were staring straight at a goddess. The sunlight was slightly to her back, radiating off of her chestnut hair. Her face was soft as she smiled, her face melting their fearful hearts as a strong warmth washed over them. Her white dress in the midst of the sun glowed a golden hue, enwrapping her figure in a calming aura.
The two men nearly thought to fall to their knees at this sight. The reason for this due to their worship of the spirits of the sun which the two presently share. The golden glow around the hero to them was as if she was a goddess descended. How could they not be captivated by the sight. Her smiling figure only furthered this reaction.
After a moment without any response from the two men, the hero opened her eyes inquisitively as to why there was silence. She found the two men standing fairly close to each other simply staring at her with shock.
While she had faked her embarrassment before, this time she felt her blood rush to her cheeks as she noticed the two men practically gawking at her. Their faces slightly red.
“Wha… Wha? Why are you staring at me like that? Kyaaa, perverts!”
Saying this, she clutched her hands together over her chest and rushed towards the castle.
-What was that… Kyaaaa… how could they just be staring at me like that…. their faces were as if they had fallen in love or something… kyaa nooooooo…
In reality, neither of the two men had a single negative thought in their minds. They were awestruck at the image of purity before them and had lost themselves completely in that moment.
The sight of her clutching her chest, face read and tears in her eyes brought them back to reality near instantly as they reflected on their actions. As they did, their hearts froze, realizing that they had not only caused her to feel uncomfortable once, but even after relieving her worries the first time, they did something even worse not a few seconds after.
As they saw the hero’s figure running off to the castle, they felt a great sense of shame to the point where both of the men just sank into the dirt helpless feeling utterly disgusted at their actions. Sir Dorian especially felt ashamed after his actions previously when he had first met the hero.
As the hero was running through the halls, she slowly began to regain her composure.
-Haaah… I should probably go back to them… I don’t know anyone in this castle, let alone even just being able to navigate this cast-
As she was thinking this with her head tilted down, she passed a corner and bumped into a rather old looking gentlemen.
His face was slightly wrinkled with a long, grey beard. His eyes were a light blue and showed his many years, yet, gave a sense of warmth as well. He wore a silver robe and had a long cane that looked like a tree branch that he leaned on heavily.
Both quickly exchanged their apologies for their carelessness and ended up walking together down a hall chatting as they went. It was through the conversation that the hero found that the old man was a researcher in the royal court. He was responsible for studying and facilitating development within the kingdom.
As he told his stories, the hero imply walked silently and listened. Of how the current king was nothing like the previous, how the king is rather weak and only listens to his wrathful daughter and how corruption is starting to fester it’s way into the royal court. While the hero thought it odd that this old man was telling her all of this, she noticed the old man’s sad eyes and pushed her thoughts off to the side. As they entered the room with the portraits of past kings, Sir Gregory and Sir Dorian came hastily around the other corner.
“Oh thank the Spirits of the Sun… are you alright my Lady? Please forgive our earlier rudeness, we regret our tactlessness. Please allow me to continue escorting you to your intended desti… Sir Isaac? Sir Isaac, the head of the Kaylock dynasty? Sir Isaac, have you been escorting the Lady?”
Hearing this, the old man smiles softly while he glances slightly down at the hero, in his many years, it has been a great many since he had been able to enjoy himself so thoroughly with just a conversation. In reality, the old man had been married, but she died only a few months later. He never remarried and the head of his house was planned to go to his brother’s eldest upon death. This happened to be one of the tales that the old man shared with the hero as their conversation went on.
In reality, the two had spent nearly three hours walking around in circles sharing stories and enjoying each other’s company. For the entire period, Sir Gregory and Sir Dorian were led on a wild goosechase as they couldn’t track the two’s movements through the large castle, often just missing the two and going off in the wrong direction.
“Well, I wouldn’t say I was escorting her so much as she was letting an old man share his many troubles. She’s a wonderful young one, especially for managing to keep up with everything I threw at her. Politics, intrigue, economics and cultural development, she kept up to my pace. My, she even gave me a few ideas.
My dear, I thank you for your company, yet I do believe i’ve occupied you from your escorts for long enough?”
Saying this, the old man passes a wink at the hero and the two have a small chuckle with each other.
The hero offers the old man her hand and tilts her head down. Receiving it, Old Isaac raised it slightly and then released it. This was an old custom that Old Isaac had taught her as they were wandering about. The hero had taken the chance to have him teach her a few of the formalities of the royal court so she could avoid offense.
Old Isaac thoroughly enjoyed passing off his knowledge and the young women constantly absorbing everything he said like a sponge was a welcomed experience.
Turning back, the hero smiled once more and offered her thanks to Old Isaac.
“I enjoyed myself. Walking with you reminded me of my father… It’s been… a long time since i’ve been able to feel this happy.”
When Old Isaac heard this, it struck him to his very core. As if some mental wall came undone, a single tear fell down Old Isaac’s eye as he began to laugh slightly.
“My dear, the pleasure was all mine. Now, run along with your escorts. Ah… I suppose I should get to those tax adjustments that i’ve been putting off, eh? Hah hah hah.”
“Let us meet again and continue sharing tales, I feel there is much I can still learn from you, Lord Isaac.”
Saying Lord Isaac, the hero stretched out the Lord part, as if playfully taunting the old man.
“Hah hah my dear, why don’t you just call me what I am? Old Isaac just as you called me before is fine. You are welcome to visit my family’s home anytime, simply tell the guards to mention that a daughter wants to visit an Old man, i’ll make sure to see you in no matter what.
Take care young one.”
As he said this, Old Isaac turned the corner and vanished from sight.
Turning from where she stood, she noticed the two men’s faces bathed in surprise once more. Old Isaac had been well known for not opening up to anyone so for him to be so intimate with a person he had only just met was shocking. Piled onto what she had already done, it was merely surprise after surprise, especially for Sir Gregory.
-Oh dear, I wonder what’s caught their tongues this time! Hmmm, let’s try a single finger on my bottom lip with a small head tilt, that should get them, hehehe..
“My, you two certainly love to stare at me, don’t you.”
When the hero reproached the two men, their shoulders shot into attention as the two men began to offer their various excuses for their impolite behavior.
The two spend nearly twenty minutes standing there going into various reasons and stories to try and explain why they had acted the way they had. Eventually, the now cross-armed hero spoke with a energetic tone.
“Heh, you two are too serious. I was never angry at you, I just got caught off guard at the tendency you two share to zone out at a moment’s notice.
Putting a hand to her mouth, she let out a small laugh and the two relaxed their shoulders.
Continuing without pausing she continued speaking.
“In honesty though, if you hadn’t caught me off guard, I wouldn’t have met Old Isaac, so I really should thank you. I suppose you two chasing us around for nearly three hours will serve as your punishment.”
When she said that last sentence, she put on a sly expression and winked at them.
As she did that, the two men realized they were being played as they were trying to track down the two.
“After I told Old Isaac about your wandering eyes, he proposed we play a prank on you and walk around in circles for a few minutes to teach you a lesson so we told the servants we passed to point in the opposite direction of where we went to throw you two off. Though… we did lose track of time. We even forgot about the prank after a while.
So.. I suppose it’s me who should be apologizing… Sorry for running off..”
Bowing her head slightly down, she noticed the two men reaching out a hand as if to stop her.
Nonsense my Lady! If it hadn’t been for us, there would have been no reason for you to have gotten upset to begin with.
It’s our fault for not considering the fact that you are new to this world and to suddenly have the man responsible for your care to lose care in himself must have been an unpleasant experience. Please believe me when I say that I had no such thoughts, I… I merely was taken aback for a moment at your beauty with the sun glistening upon you as if you were a goddess incarnate….
Ack… Forgive my loose mouth, I forget my place.”
When Sir Gregory compared her to a living goddess, the hero’s eyes opened as an “Oh my” left her lips. After which she donned a wry smile as she commented.
“Well Sir Gregory, don’t you know just what to say.
Well, I suppose i’ve caused us to fall off schedule plenty, from my need to meet the scholars one by one to me running off and my pow..er..s….”
As she recalled the incident with the rock, she slowed down her speech as they slowly was swept up in thought.
-That’s right, I totally forgot about the power that I have. I’m sure I didn’t get any muscle enhancements when they modified my genes… just some work on my mitochondria… increasing my cell reproductive rate and making my bones pretty dense… I shouldn’t have been able to lift over a hundred pounds in one hand and have it feel like it was a few pieces of paper… I should test this…
“Yes my lady?”
“I want to test something. Can you grasp onto my hand and squeeze? I’ll squeeze as well, I just want to see if I actually have increased strength, or something else…”
At this, Sir Gregory got slightly nervous as he recalled the previous scene where she exhibited such strength as to treat a heavy rock as a mere paperweight. Sir Gregory did, however, extend his hand and grasp the hero’s hand.
“Alright, squeeze as hard as you can, i’ll let you know if it hurts or not, you can do the same. If I do have enhanced strength, I don’t want to break your hand by mistake… Actually, let’s slowly increase our pressure… If I have strength, if I were to squeeze heavily, it might seriously break your hand… I don’t want that… Likewise if a mighty swordsmen like yourself were to put all your force into it and I didn’t actually have any power…”
Sir Gregory nodded as his anxiety began to grow. The mentioning of broken hands made him worry, but he took this as a chance to get the hero to forgive his many blunders and reluctantly went ahead.
At the mark of the hero’s, she and Sir Gregory slowly increased the pressure between their hands until the hero exclaimed to stop. Her hand red and a slight wince on her face told the story that she did not, in fact, have great strength.
-Huh…. it wasn’t strength… then was it a fluke? Ah, let’s just try and swing Sir Gregory’s sword…
Thinking this, the hero looked at Sir Gregory and asked.
“Sir Gregory, might you loan your blade to me for just the slightest of moments? I want to test just one more thing…”
Bunching her eyebrows together and giving him a pleading stare, not even the proud knight could help but relinquish his arms to the pleading lady.
“If it is you who asks, I don’t mind, but do be careful with it. A man’s blade is his life, and as a guard, it represents my dignity as a Royal Knight.”
Receiving it, the hero smiles and replies.
“Thank you Sir Gregory, I will be sure to treat it with care.”
As she says this, she turns from the two men and goes for a simple diagonal slash. The speed of the swipe was so fast that Sir Gregory, who had trained for nearly two decades in the art of the sword could hardly see it. While having already tried to prepare himself to be shocked, Sir Gregory once again found himself shamelessly, with mouth wide open, staring in the direction of the hero. Though, this time, the hero didn’t even blame him as she turned back around.
As if not believing it herself, the hero swung the blade several more times.
-Unbelievable… it’s as if there’s nothing in my hands at all. It’s so light… I can even wield this massive blade in one hand and swing it with serious force. Though, each time I swing it, the sword feels like it’s pulling me to one side…
She couldn’t help but exclaim.
“What a bizarre hero’s power…”
[NH - Chapter 3 End]
Next Chapter: NH Chapter 4