The Reincarnated Princess’s Investigation
In the end, I couldn’t find any telltale clues that might lead me to the Demon Lord.
Despite talking to both the villagers and those involved in the temple’s renovation, I still ended up empty handed.
Ending the day and coming back to the fort with my shoulders slumped, I decided to do my best tomorrow.
But seeing the snow that blew along with the heavy howling wind across the earth had left me standing dumbfounded in a daze.
Today’s weather report: Heavy Snowstorm. It was said to be a rare sight even in a remote region this far north.
O’ God, did this little lamb do something wrong?
“Needless to say, you are prohibited from going outside today.”
The man who stood beside me at the window while conversing in a clerical tone was none other than Vice-Commander Isaac Walter.
His expression was that of a Noh mask, but despite that, I somehow felt relieved hearing him essentially tell me ‘Don’t be a burden.’
Even I, who is infamous for being reckless, have no desire to stupidly venture out in the middle of a snowstorm.
“Yes, I plan to quietly stay inside for today.”
“Then all is well.”
Vice-Commander Walter replied simply as he shifted his gaze from the window back to me.
“The commander won’t return until tomorrow, so if you have any questions, feel free to direct them to me.”
“Is the commander perhaps not on duty today?”
“It seems his wife has suddenly fallen ill.”
When I raised my face in surprise, Vice-Commander Walter merely shared with me a brief glance.
His eyes swam away for a moment, but he eventually dropped his line of sight and let out a sigh.
“I’ve heard before that her health tends to worsen under rough weather. It is something that happens quite often, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”
“Is that so…”
It was true that many people were more prone to fall ill during bad weather. In fact, in my previous life, I often get headaches whenever the air pressure changed.
Is she really all right…? I’m a bit worried for her. Would she be able to withstand the cold that’s attacking her weak body?
Once we’re done with this Demon Lord stuff, I’d like to ask Wolf if he could take a look. Maybe she simply had a frail body that no doctor could cure, but I would still like to consult him anyway.
“Once everything calms down, let’s go visit her.”
I was unsure if he realised what I was fretting over, but Sir Leonhard suggested what I was thinking all the same. I nodded in agreement, and seemingly without thinking, he reached over to ruffle my hair before suddenly stopping. Maybe he did so because of our time pretending to be siblings. After remembering he was no longer “Brother” at this moment in time, he carefully retracted his hand. Cute! What is this? I can’t- My vocabulary engine just malfunctioned.
“As long as you are within the walls of the fort, you are free to go wherever you wish. Please call for me if anything happens.”
Vice-Commander Walter continued while ignoring our recent exchanges.
It’s fine being told to do whatever we want, but to wander around the place when people are working is a bit… I wonder if I can read a book quietly instead? What if…
“If there’s anything I can help you with…”
“No, thank you.”
My modest query was shot down in seconds.
Of course. I knew it.
As I stood there letting out a dry laugh and completely being dismissed by Vice-Commander Walter, he glanced over towards Sir Leonard with a look that told me he had something in mind.
“Commander Olsen, if you’d like, how about overseeing the soldiers’ training? There are a handful of young men kicking up a fuss these past few days saying they want to meet you. I would appreciate it if you were to instruct them with strict guidance and teach them what the real world tastes like.”
“I don’t mind, but…”
Sir Leonhard turned my way with his brows furrowed as if he was troubled on what to do. Being my escort, he probably thought it would be impossible to leave me all by myself.
That was when I thought of it. A wonderful plan that would let Sir Leonhard carry out his missions and satisfy my wishes at the same time.
“I also wish to go.”
“No, you cannot.”
My request was rejected again in a matter of seconds, and I didn’t know why.
Sir Leonhard’s brows furrowed even further as he told me no straight to my face.
“It may be a mock battle with blunt swords, but even a hit from a single swing can still hurt. It is too dangerous.”
I absolutely don’t wanna lose this chance of witnessing Sir Leonhard being cool, but I also understand how overprotective he can be. When he’s like this, getting him to agree won’t be an easy task.
“While Commander Olsen oversees the training, I shall be with Her Highness.”
I was stunned. I didn’t expect Vice-Commander Walter of all people to be the one to back me up.
“But since I also have my own duties to perform, Her Highness shall remain with me in my office. Is that acceptable?”
With that exchange, Sir Leonhard was now heading towards the training grounds. As for me, I stayed with Vice-Commander Walter in his study.
His clean and neatly organised study matched up with his strict personality. There was little furniture: a bookshelf, an office desk, and a reception set. But curiously, it didn’t feel bare.
“Please make yourself comfortable. You can read any books on the shelf as you please.”
Vice-Commander Walter glanced over my way, who was still in a daze, and picked up a pile of documents laying on his desk. He then started running his pen across it silently without paying me any concern.
Looks like he intended to really leave me to my own devices. It’s easier this way, anyhow.
I approached the bookshelf and scanned the titles of all the lined up books.
There were a wide variety of categories, from books on military strategy and tactics to things such as maps, history, and medicine. However, it looked like entertainment-oriented books like novels were nowhere to be seen.
As I was sliding my index finger across the spines of the books, I suddenly found one I was interested in and stopped my finger on it.
The one I pulled out had a different cover colour than the others. It was merely a bunch of paper crudely sandwiched between even thicker paper, all held together by strings pierced through holes made in each layer, just like that. It was the work of an amateur rather than that of a skilled artisan’s.
I hesitated on opening it, fearing it might be someone’s diary or important reports.
“I did say you can read any books that you wish to read.”
Words were thrown my way as if my feelings were completely transparent to see. However, when I looked back towards the Vice-Commander, his eyes were in fact not directed this way.
His gaze remained on a piece of document in his hands.
“It’s a collection of folktales from the northeastern region of Nebel. I don’t know if it will entertain you, but if you’d like, please help yourself.”
Heh~! Now this looks interesting.
I wanna compare this to a map, or maybe history books would be good too.
“I will gladly read it!”
As I was excitedly pulling out various maps and history books from the shelves, I felt a gaze on me. Looking back over my shoulder, Vice-Commander Walter, who couldn’t take his eyes off his work a moment ago, was now staring at me.
I was left feeling a little perplexed when he stared at me with a mixture of surprise and confusion.
Eh? He told me I could read whatever I want, right? So what’s with that weird look he’s giving me?
Is it a social etiquette thing? Should I have read the atmosphere like when they ask for pickled vegetables in Kyoto? No, no, no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m reading this because you said I could! If I’m not supposed to, then you should’ve said so from the start! Hmph!
I shelved my thoughts while making excuses in my heart. I couldn’t possibly say them out loud, and was having cold sweats running down my back.
“S-Should I not have…?”
When I squeezed that out in a shaky voice, Vice-Commander Walter snapped back to his senses as if a switch had been flipped, shook his head, and said, ‘No, it’s nothing.’
“Like I have said earlier, you can read whatever you wish to read… Your pick was just a little unexpected, is all.”
“Frankly, I reckoned you wouldn’t actually want to read it. I didn’t think the contents would be of interest to a princess.”
Ah, I see now.
So he means that I can read it, but it wouldn’t be something that I’d find interesting anyway and wouldn’t?
“Personally, to me, I think it is something very fascinating.”
“…What do you intend to do with all those maps and history books?”
“Folktales often reflect regional characteristics and historical backgrounds in the forms of lessons being passed down, so I thought it would be interesting to compare them.”
Although I answered him honestly, my voice became smaller as my answer dragged on. I noticed this while I was saying it.
‘Is it really weird to enjoy stuff like this, after all?’ I thought.
But it wasn’t my hobby or anything.
It’s just that I have to use this to help me find the Demon Lord, you see! Honest!
…In my previous life, I was the kind of highschool girl to wander around a city with a map in hand. I was told by a friend that the hobby was a dying breed. However, there existed a sort of touring event with like-minded people, so I’d love to think I wasn’t the only one left.
Vice-Commander Walter kept silent for a moment.
He said and then headed for the exit. He looked back over once more and demanded, ‘Please don’t leave this room until I come back, understood?’
It has been a few minutes since.
Vice-Commander Walter eventually returned with various materials in both hands. A bunch of paper was placed in front of me, where I had been waiting on the edge of a sofa seat.
He arranged the documents besides me on the desk, who was now completely baffled.
“What I have currently is rather crude. These here are detailed copies of the stories. They have been roughly categorised by region. The numbers on the right refers to specific elements multiple tales were based on. Written on this paper over here are the number notation and their corresponding subject, so please cross-reference them.”
I held my breath, amazed.
It was a short explanation, but despite that, it was so clear and concise! Or so my thoughts wandered off.
When I peered closely at the Vice-Commander’s face, although he was still as expressionless as ever, I could feel a slight shimmer in his eyes.
He didn’t seem to have noticed my gaze and proceeded to open another big sheet of paper that was folded into a square.
“This map shows the locations of the numbers assigned to each subject from earlier. If you wish to know more about the terrain, please refer to this. It’s full of my handwriting, so it’s just for my own convenience, but if you don’t mind…”
“T-Thank you very much!”
I was dumbfounded, but when I eventually managed to say my gratitude, his gaze finally met with mine.
I remembered his reaction very clearly.
It’s that. A person who had finally found a comrade in arms who shared the same niche hobby. A nerdy hobby at that. You rarely ever meet someone like that, so you’ll be so happy and end up speaking very fast. Also, you would want to tell them that you’re also obsessed with this stuff, but ultimately won’t say it because you’re afraid you’ll overwhelm them. I get it. And once you’re done talking, you’d return to face them and get all embarrassed. I truly get it.
“…I will take my time carefully reading all of it.”
I said with a smile, and Vice-Commander Walter only gave a small nod in return.
Although he was still as expressionless as ever, I think I could see some red on his cheeks.
TN: The story finally moves forward!
EN: Aww, that was so cute. Hope we get to see more of Walter! Also, right below is an image of the character sheet for this novel! Right next to crusty Leonhard is Ernst, and on the far left is Latte. Latte’s pretty cute, huh.
PR: Yeah! I get you Vice-Commander! I had a moment like that in middle school where I found a companion who reads similar kinds of books I did (and also did other nerdy things that I did).
- Pickled vegetables Kyoto reference: https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/3a8a0f32b4cff1cd3740e9440d48adf337b4baa6