The Knight Commander was lying down, gently sighing with no signs of waking up.
I was crushed under him with no way out, too weak to push him off or crawl away.
Even though we were safely on the ground, coupled with the fact that I could hear people around us, no one came to help. Why wouldn’t they?
I adjusted my position, breathed in the fresh air, and finally took a look around.
“…Is that… Ria?”
They were all closer than I had thought.
Three people were crouched down around the Knight Commander and me.
“Nice landing, eh, Ria?”
“Indeed so… I have to agree!”
“Ria… It’s Ria!”
They were holding back tears.
In front of me were a grinning face, an excited face, and a stunned face all lined up.
…Uhm, would you mind rescuing me from being squished? I mean, I just got here.
As if understanding my complaint merely from my gaze, Sara-chan and Irene-sama glanced at each other.
“That’s it, then?”
“I guess so.”
“She’s safe… Ria’s safe.”
They turned back around, one with a nasty smile while the other had a brilliant smile.
Next to them was a crying Solan-kun. It was to the point that it seemed like his eyes were melting.
What was I even supposed to say in response to that?
I guess he won’t be helping me either!?
Well, since no one wanted to help me, I’ll need to get out from under the Knight Commander on my own.
“Knight Commander! Please wake up! Look! We’re home!”
It was of no use.
I yelled loudly in his ear, but I wasn’t surprised it didn’t work.
“He spent five days preparing without sleep before he headed out.”
I heard another excited-sounding voice join the mix.
It was none other than the Chief Magician smiling and relieved.
…Well, unfortunately, I still needed to wake him up.
“…Is that it? That’s the face you make after being gone for five days?”
“Hey, Sara-sama! That’s just how my cheeks look!”
Even when Sara-chan laughed, she still looked like an old dark dragon that had caught some wayward thief!
Irene-sama and Solan-kun laughed amusedly as they watched us.
I felt moved to have them all waiting for me to come home, but I’m still being crushed over here?
“She’s looking well.”
“Hmmm, that’s good, isn’t it?”
I heard another bantering voice with a separate familiar voice.
Raising my face, my cheeks no longer squished, I saw the King and the Crown Prince beside the Chief Magician.
…These two showed no signs of helping me either.
Behind them, Michelle-san was looking on quietly. Lennard-san, on the other hand, was holding a handkerchief over his eyes.
…Naturally, those two weren’t coming from behind His Majesty to help me either.
“Hey! It has to be said! Why isn’t anyone helping me!? A weak lady is stuck under an adult man over here!?”
After I made my appeal… And a moment of silence… Everyone began trying to speak in turns.
“ I wouldn’t call you a lady anymore,” Sara-chan said, bemused.
What… Well, that’s rude!
“Well, like, I mean…” Irene-sama said, blushing.
Wha… What was with them?
“Yeah, it’s impossible for me,” Solan-kun said with a dry laugh.
“It’s just so funny,” The King and Crown Prince said, both amused by the situation.
…But there’s absolutely nothing funny about this!?
“What? Did you want help?” the Chief Magician said as he had only just noticed.
…A bit late there, weren’t you?
“Well, I’d be afraid of what would happen next,” Lennard-san said as he blew his nose.
…What’s so scary? Huh?
“…The Knight Commander is wrapped so tightly around you that I don’t have the strength to peel him off.”
It took me a while to understand Michelle-san’s calm words.
I looked down, terrified.
His arms were wrapped firmly around me… He was clutching me!?
“Ah, Michelle! No one else was going to say it!”
“Oh, was that so?”
I imagined myself as a third party watching Lennard warn Michelle.
…I was only concerned about being crushed at first, but if we’re in this position, then…
…My face flushed hot.
I felt a warm pressure on my back, his sleeping breath on my neck, and a feeling like I’d been hit in the stomach… No, this won’t do at all!
My heartbeat was intense. I don’t want to be here. I felt like my heart was about to give out!
It’s not like that… It’s not like that!
“No, no, no… It’s just like, to get here, we couldn’t let go of each other.. That’s it! So he just held onto me for that reason. There’s nothing else going on…”
“Really? Or was it because you didn’t want to let go of him, Rururia?”
“Knock it off, Irene-sama. I’m telling the truth.”
Sara[-chan seemed to understand the situation perfectly, whereas Irene-sama appeared to have no idea as she excitedly and incomprehensibly responded.
I said it’s not like that!
Stop crying, Solan-kun! Back me up here… Back me up!
“So they’re officially engaged now?”
The Crown Prince was speaking like an ancient evil god watching a sacrifice being performed.
…I don’t care if the Knight Commander hasn’t slept for five days.
“Why…!? Hey, Knight Commander! Get up! Get up and clear up this misunderstanding!”
No matter how much I struggled, he did not wake up, nor did his grip loosen. What’s with all this!?
A true knight would be chivalrous and would get up for me. How was he sleeping so peacefully!?
“So you’re his bride…”
I heard three voices say accusingly in a quiet manner.
I saw my family standing out amongst the crowd.
Why do you all look so pale and unhappy when your daughter’s back safely?
My brother stepped forward, fully seeing my miserable situation.
“So the Knight Commander is my brother-in-law!”
He threw up blood… So much blood.
My brother fell over and was carried away by doctors on a stretcher.
My parents also passed out wordlessly, making the stew even more of a scene.
As my whole family was carried away quickly, unlike me, the air had become more relaxed.
No, no, no, no, no!
Why was everyone acting like this was all resolved? There’s a poor maiden being crushed by an adult man over here.
Someone! Anyone! Help me out here!
This… Something’s wrong.
I was now lying on a bed in a quiet room.
That’s right. I was finally helped out of the Training Ground, where I was being crushed.
But… Something’s wrong.
What? You asked what…?
Because it’s been decided.
I’m still stuck with the Knight Commander! What does this even mean!?
…They couldn’t pry him off of me, and people weren’t sure what to do until the King made a decision that decided everything.
“Carry the two of them together.”
…No, no, no! Wasn’t that a terrible idea? I’d rather they cut off the part of my clothes he was holding on to!
But no one cared about my opinion, so, while still being held by the Knight Commander, we were carried away on a stretcher.
I was placed on the bed, still being held by the Knight Commander, and that was where I was now.
…No, no, no, no, no! What were they thinking, putting a man and a maiden in the same bed?! Oh, my heart!
I tried to take it easy but felt stifled, itchy, and wanted to scream.
Oh, that’s right! No one cares if my heart were to burst, I guess.
For now, at least, my brother was asleep in the next bed over, groaning like a zombie, as were my parents in another.
Sara-chan, Solan-kun, and Irene-sama were pulling back the curtain to look at what was going on in the room.
Wasn’t it a problem that we didn’t have a private room? Shouldn’t this problem be dealt with?
…This needed to stop. The more I thought about it, the more I felt disadvantaged.
The Knight Commander was heavy and warm, as well!
I put my hands over my mouth so I wouldn’t scream from embarrassment too loudly.
When I yelled, the person that came to check only grinned, so that wasn’t enough!
“Uhhh… Your brother… No…”
I heard my brother groan painfully in his sleep.
At that moment, I felt my head calm down.
…Somehow, it seemed only people with the wrong ways of thinking had been involved in this situation.
I tried muttering that to myself to make it happen.
But my own heart was rebelling against me and kept beating too intensely. I don’t know if it will burst or not!
Even so, my body was quite tired. I felt drowsy as I closed my eyes.
I reached out my hand habitually.
…Where did Dragon and Kongoryu-sama go?
I hadn’t seen either since we got back.
…I need to beg His Majesty for a bunch of honey and jewels.
…Deep in the back of my consciousness, I felt as if I heard a reply to my muttered words.
Inside Story: Since Sara-sama’s emotions couldn’t be fully conveyed. However, this may seem a bit redundant.
“…It’s annoying, Your Highness… the Crown Prince.”
“…Wasn’t the gentlemanly thing to do at such a time was to leave them alone?”
“…You’re leaving a bad taste in my mouth.”
“…It’s good. Isn’t it, Sara? That Lady Rururia was back.”
“…Well, you can say that without patting me on the head, can’t you?”