[NH - Chapter 5]
For a normal person, they would sleep for perhaps even twelve hours after going through all that the hero had just experienced. The sheer tax on one’s body would be immense, yet there is a limit to how long a person can sleep. Sure, one can force themselves to remain in a bed for longer than that, but the benefits only go so far from sleep.
That, however, is for a person with a normal body. The hero, on the other hand, uses and has access to a far larger pool of energy and stamina than the normal person. This very same hero had, over the course of nearly three days without rest, been burning from this pool and as a result, had finally hit her limit, collapsing like a machine that ran out of fuel.
It had already been well over fifteen hours, and the hero remained in a deep, dark sleep. The sun had set, and risen again, yet she did not wake. When Sir Gregory came to receive the hero, he found her still resting soundly, and left her to allow her more time. While the hero hadn’t given specifics, he had been told she was in a fight for survival for many hours and was without any rest for nearly three days. He had been concerned that she may not have had much food, nor water for much of that time, so he had made various preparations for a fine feast so that she could fully recover her strength.
The Princess had even come to join the hero at the table, yet when Sir Gregory returned to inform her that the hero had not awoken yet, she felt displeased but was calmed after Sir Gregory gave her a few of the details pertaining to the situation. The Princess was not informed about the hero’s body nor her power, so when being told that someone who looked to be the same physically as her having gone through such an ordeal, not even the Princess who held hostility for the hero could really feel any anger.
Though, the Princess’ patience only went so far and after an hour of waiting, sent Sir Gregory to wake the hero to join her for the meal.
The current time was roughly early afternoon and the Princess had yet to eat out of custom to wait until the guests have arrived.
As Sir Gregory entered the room once more, he carefully took steps to not frighten the hero as she slept. Removing his right gauntlet, he chose to shake one of the hero’ feet to wake her. This happened to be the custom of noble servants in how to awake their masters. Rather than speaking aloud or any other methods, the foot would allow for the least shock in waking.
But, sadly, Sir Gregory was a bit too strong for his own good and had perhaps squeezed her foot slightly too hard. In an instant, the hero’s eyes burst open as she shot straight up, the side of her hand meeting Sir Gregory’s currently unguarded region with a whump.
While she wasn’t physically that strong, the impact seemed to carry some weight as the large Sir Gregory found himself losing his footing and falling to the floor with the clanging of his armor.
The hero’s eyes had grown bloodshot and a strong killing intent resonated as she had harsh, staggered breathing. After a moment though it seemed that she began to return to reality as she perhaps realized she was no longer dreaming. It had been Sir Gregory’s misfortune that he had disturbed her only a few minutes after her dreams had turned to nightmares about the creatures and her near death experience.The small jolt of pain inspiring her survival instinct as she struck at a pressure point at the lower point of Sir Gregory’s neck.
When the ‘Savior of Mankind’ had taken power in the small country she was growing up in, he had instituted that it was mandatory for all citizens to take self defense courses. The purpose was to make the citizens far more resilient to foreign occupation if his initial expansion attempts met with attacks from behind. These courses turned out to be her saving grace during the creature’s attack though as she had taken a course on the creature’s physiology after the attacks had begun getting close to her home town. Who knew her random interests would have come together to keep her alive in the future, she just found them interesting.
Needless to say though, when a pressure point within the neck, spine, or skull is properly struck, it could easily stun or injure the person. Since Sir Gregory was far more resilient than the normal person, he was not critically injured from the strike on his artery, though he was unable to move for several moments as colors flashed into and past his vision.
It was the hero who had managed to recover first.
Looking around the room, she began to analyze her current situation as she slowly recalled entering the room before, then losing consciousness in Sir Gregory’s arms. A slight embarrassment swept over her as her mind went wild for a moment as she was on the bed and he was stood over her. These thoughts slowly were put to ease since the blanket was up to her chest and he had touched her foot rather than anything else.
In reality, Sir Gregory dodged a bullet, if he had touched anywhere else, even her lower leg, she would have gotten the wrong impression of his intentions and wouldn’t have let Sir Gregory escape unharmed. Since he had only touched her foot, it had given her a point to focus her wild thoughts on and allow her to realize other signs that he hadn’t had any inappropriate intentions.
Her face was still bright red and her heart still beating fast though, as for most girls, waking to see a youthful knight’s face with long hair in armor hovering over her would make them feel roughly the same.
“S… Sir Gregory? … Oh my god… I’m soo sorry!”
Placing a single hand over her face, she quickly got out of the bed and rushed over to him. Rubbing his neck where she had struck, she was attempting to help Sir Gregory recover from the dangerous strike as she lifted his upper body up and leaned him on the wall. Once again, it seemed as if he was as light as a feather, a supposedly heavy object becoming light in her hands. She didn’t pay it much mind as she went on continuing the aid for Sir Gregory.
After a few moments, he finally recovered.
“Goodness, my Lady, in all my years of training and injuries, none have managed to topple me with such force. Just what was that strike, did you not say that you didn’t actually have amazing strength?”
With an apologetic face, the hero responded.
“Uhm… yes, I’m really sorry… I was just really surprised and.. I struck at a vital point in your neck… I’m really… sorry…”
-How careless, it’s obvious i’ve been out cold for hours, I mean look, the sun’s far brighter now, I must have been asleep for hours… wait… I just woke up… AHK, MY FACE… AAAAAAHHHHHH, MY HAAAAAIIIIRR!
Seeing the now panicking hero’s face, Sir Gregory misunderstood her fretting to be about harming him. So as to not worry her further, Sir Gregory laughed slightly as he stood back up.
“Tell you what hero, I know just how you can make it up to me.”
With a slight pause after he said this, the hero’s face turned slightly pink as her mind started to wander again until Sir Gregory spoke up.
“I’d like you to just call me Gregory. When you call me Sir Gregory even though we’re only a few years apart, it makes me feel old. Besides, you’re of far higher noble blood than myself, so there’s no need for you to give me any courtesy.”
Smiling, he lowered his hand, offering to help the hero stand. Returning the smile, the hero took his hand and was raised.
“Si- I mean, Gregory, could you give me a few minutes… I … really need to freshen up…”
Her face darting away as she turned slightly red once again. Gregory, realizing this, laughed slightly as he replied “Sure thing” and left the room, closing the door behind him.
After combing her hair with a fine brush laid out on the table near the bed and choosing from the numerous perfumes left on the stand near the mirror, she found a set of earrings in a little box in one of the drawers and a silver necklace. While she hesitated for a moment, she put both of them on, her appearance grew even more beautiful as she now had properly attended to her looks. When she first arrived, her hair and face were slightly dirty and her dress was disheveled due to her running through ruins. After quickly removing and brushing the dust off of her dress and cleaning her face with a white towel, she practically radiated. Her hair done up with various braids near the front, much like the princess had in her own hair.
“Ok Gregory, i’ve finished.”
Hearing the sound of her shoes clicking towards the door on the white tiles, Sir Gregory opened the door to a sight that took his breath away. A smiling beauty exited the room, using a single finger to close his mouth.
“Dear oh dear, Sir Gregory, if you can’t behave yourself, I’m going to have to treat you like an old man.”
Chuckling to himself, he noticed something being pressed into his chest from her.
“Also, you left before recovering this. I’m not certain, but I do believe knights commonly wear both gauntlets.”
Suddenly realizing his carelessness, he took it while thanking her. Placing it back onto his arm and beginning to snap the various straps together.
As he was tending to his armor, the hero walked up with a faint smile as she brushed his arm away and began to tend to his gauntlet.
“My.. My lady? I can do it myself! You don’t need to bother with it…”
Giggling the hero replied to him.
“Hee hee, but isn’t it the lady’s job to tend to her knight’s armor.”
With a small wink, Sir Gregory became helpless as the radiating beauty continued to slowly work with his gauntlet. While her work wasn’t the best, she was slowly getting the general idea of the piece and finally finished putting it on. Sir Gregory couldn’t even bare to speak as his heart raced with the hero’s face and body so close to his own. While he did his best to hold it back, his face flushed slightly.
After she finished affixing his gauntlet, the hero outstretched her elbow with her hand close to her side.
“Well, Sir Knight, aren’t you going to properly escort your Lady to her destination?”
Sir Gregory’s heart jumped as he offered his arm out to her. He had thought that she meant to hold onto his arm with her hand, the very thought of even that had his heart racing, but no, that wasn’t what happened. With a devilish smile she wrapped both of her arms around his large arm, clinging to it as if they were a couple. Well of course, instantly the Knight’s face burned a deep red as he blurted out a few words.
“My.. My … My… uh.. Lady… you.. you.. you shou.. ou..ldn’t be doing…. that… with… just a common.. kn..kn..knight!”
Though as if ignoring him, she walked slightly forward, holding onto his arm tighter as he tried to pull away.
“Oh no, you’re ‘MY’ Knight now, and you’re going to let me do what I want. Now come knight, you have to escort me to a meal with the Princess.”
Sir Gregory’s heart sank as he couldn’t even hope to offer a word of resistance. He felt ashamed that he was not only enjoying her attention, but also extremely happy.
After catching the various stares of the servant girls within the halls, they finally arrived at the dining hall.
When they entered, the only ones present was the Princess and two royal guards behind her.
The Princess’ face when she saw the hero locking her arms around Gregory’s instantly turned from a calm expression to one of great anger. Though that’s a suitable reaction for someone when they see their personal knight that they had grown up with locking arms with another women that was not even a Princess. In general the fact that her time as royalty hadn’t degraded her sense of composure to the point she would act out showed the sheer extent of her dignity and self control.
The only thing she let escape was a small gasp and her face turning red with very hostile eyes.
As the hero took her seat and Gregory took a place a few steps behind her, the Princess’ expression turned slightly darker still. While the hero was unaware, when a Knight stands behind a noble women in this world, it symbolized their loyalty. Ever since she was a child, Gregory had stood behind her, yet now he, after only a day, was standing behind some women that probably wasn’t even of noble blood! The outrage the Princess felt wasn’t something you could easily describe.
Yet, for all of this, the two only exchanged brief glances as they ate their meal. The hero had roughly twice the amount of food as the Princess. While it was customary for women to only eat slightly in order to maintain their figure so they appear suitable for men, to the hero who was born and raised in a modern setting of equality, as well as her modifications that prevent her from gaining weight.
Since she was famished after not eating for almost two entire days, the hero only took into account of table manners, but not limiting her appetite. Half of a chicken, and a bowl of various green plants were consumed. While she thought they might just be normal vegetables, she couldn’t be sure. Since the Princess had some from the bowl first, the hero did not reserve herself.
The Princess was taken aback by the hero consuming roughly twice what she was eating, but since she was already upset with her, the Princess only passed it off since Gregory had already given her the general picture. Of course she wouldn’t have accepted it if the hero were to eat as much as she did again, but for now the Princess was far more focused on her simmering jealousy than anything else. Her thoughts swimming with ideas on how to ruin the hero.
-Hmph, the Princess just continues on stabbing me with her hateful glares… Since I managed to overhear her speaking to the king, i’m well aware that she want’s to get rid of me some how. I should take extra caution in my words with her. The king’s weak according to Old Isaac, but the Princess was the one he saw at the wheel most of the time… That means she has the most influence within the kingdom… Speaking of which… what was the kingdom’s name again? Oh… I don’t even remember the King’s name, nor the Princess’... I probably should avoid asking the Princess though… My head might roll because I disrespected some old custom that no one follows anymore. She’ll probably use just about anything to get rid of me…. Princesses of old that actually had a mind of their own tend to be lethal schemers… or, at least that’s what my light novels have taught me. I think those will benefit me a bit more than my world’s history given that I was hero summoned…. Oh, there she goes again with her hostile gaze… Just look up and smile with my eyes closed. Ah, I should give a slight head tilt next time, that should really bother her. Given from her change in demeanor when I walked into the room with Gregory, it seems that I was right when I thought he was her favorite. He hee…. I stole the favorite toy of the Princess. Gregory’s pretty attractive too… No no, can’t even dare think about any of that now, I need to establish myself somehow… and I think the best way to do that is by doing something with that Island… But what?
The two women more or less spent the next half hour in total silence while occasionally exchanging glances.
Eventually the two finished their meals and the Princess spoke, breaking the silence and almost making the hero jolt.
She paused for a slight moment as her eyes moved slightly off to one side as if she was searching for something.
-Ah, so it is customary to refer to someone by their name. Hehe, since I never said mine this entire time, so she’s trying to figure out how to avoid using a name to refer to me by.. He heee..
“Hem, Hero… have you found everything to your pleasure?”
Siping from a cup of what appeared to be wine, the Princess finally posed a question.
“Why yes, oh most beautiful of Princesses, of the various people I had the pleasure of speaking with, I found most of my questions answered. While there are still a few things I wonder about, there’s nothing that I need to learn for now.”
The Princess softly clicked her tongue as she clasped her hands on the table.
-Old Isaac really has saved me so far. The Princess was probably trying to catch me on that old custom where noble women must always pay a Princess a compliment when spoken to. Good thing I let him know that the Princess thinks low of me, he spent nearly twenty minutes telling me of various customs that she might try to catch me on.
At the same time, the Princess was wondering how the hero was informed of her people’s various customs, but didn’t much care. She just had to wait for the hero to slip, just once, and she would be able to use that as an excuse to be rid of her. She only needed to wait.
“You flatter me, especially since with your hair and face so nicely tended to, your appearance looks as if you’re glowing.
But I’m not much interested in comparing looks, if you’re done with your information gathering, you need to continue speaking with the King. He has an ever growing… interest in your stories... “
In response the hero smiled and replied.
“It would be an honor, I am willing to do so whenever best suits his majesty. If he wishes to see me, he may call upon me whenever he wishes.”
-Hmmm, got to be careful… Old Isaac warned me that there was something… that the Royal Family could do to you… but… ah… I was so tired at the end there… most of my memories are cloudy after that… I guess I just need to be careful, there’s nothing more I can hope to achieve with paranoia… but… Old Isaac seemed pretty concerned about it… so it does make me worry that I’ve managed to forget something very important… hah…
Thinking that last part, she also sighed herself, catching the attention of the Princess.
“Am I bothering you… Hero?”
Realizing that she had sighed right after the Princess had told her the King wanted to meet with her again, she had a small chill go down her spine.
-Ahk, quick excuse go!
“Ah, my apologies, I seem to still be a bit tired… I should have tried to avoid yawning in your presence Princess.”
When the hero said that, the Princess seemed somewhat annoyed and mumbled to herself.
“No my Princess or your majesty… your disrespect will only go so far…”
Because of her hearing, the hero could hear her speaking, even though she was well over three meters away and speaking in a very hushed voice.
-I wonder about that, you stuck up brat… I wonder.
“What was that Princess? Did you say something?”
When the hero said that, she used a prodding tone as if she had heard what was said, causing the Princess’ shoulders to jolt slightly.
Anyways, the King is waiting, come with me.
Sir Gregory, Sir Walter, Sir Logan, please escort us Ladies to the King.”
In near unison, the three knights responded the same.
“””Yes my Princess!”””
It took them a roughly ten minutes of walking to reach the stairs leading back to the throne room. Though, when the hero attempted to descend them, she nearly lost her balance.
-Aaack!? When I went to let my leg go down, it felt weightless.. What on earth is happening!? Wait… Sword, rock, my own leg, all of them lacked much weight, but when I tested my strength with Gregory… Is it just weight that’s affected? That would explain why my body was being pulled by that massive sword when I swung it really fast. So… My hero power is a reduced gravity…? I know hero powers are normally tied to the individual’s mental type but… Oh… Right… dense bones… muscles create more energy… cells recover at an extreme rate… fueeee… I really do suit this power… This, this will take some serious getting used to… So, to use the stairs, push the leg all the way down...
After making a moderate spectacle of traversing stairs, the hero along with the Princess and several guards made their way to the throne room.
[Nameless Heroes - Chapter 5 End]