In bygone days, this world was on the verge of destruction because of the Dark Lord.
Evil spread, and the hearts of the people were colored with fear and despair. Darkness began to cover the world.
Magic’s significance, as the first line of defense against the dark creatures, has been lost—much like the Dark Lord was gradually forgotten by the people.
However, that does not mean the Dark Lord disappeared.
In light there was shadow, in life there was death; all went together, like two sides of the same coin. They were not things that could be separated from the other, and one by itself can never be completely whole.
The hearts of humans were the same. Love existed with hate, hope with despair, and only powers that were the same possessed the ability to draw close to each other.
Existing alongside the prayers of the people, the Dark Lord will never be completely erased.
In one of the great number of temples standing in Nebel*, he still lies in quiet repose.
If this world were to follow the same path as the one in the game, in the not far future he will be stirred awake.
According to the game, the one who will be most deeply influenced by the Dark Lord’s Revival was the Priest, Michael von Diebold.
Michael had been a very ordinary boy, the second son to a viscount.
As the son of a noble, he’d known no discomfort his entire life, but he threw away his social status and decided to follow the path of serving God.
He became the priest of a great temple in the royal city.
If peace had continued endlessly, Michael would never have become involved with the Dark Lord. He may have lived in peace his entire life, offering prayers to God. However, when he was thirteen, the Kingdom of Nebel began to experience much troubled times.
A war broke out between Vind and Sckellz. With a standing alliance between Nebel and its neighbors in Vind, the kingdom eventually became involved in war. The conflict stretched over a year without cease, and the five kingdoms on the western half of the continent had been dragged in. It was a rough situation no one could not extricate themselves from.
To add to the distress, a disease began to spread from the southern regions of the kingdom.
A kindhearted boy, Michael worried about the devastation of the land and the suffering of the people.
Although he might wish otherwise, he possessed no special powers, but it did not prevent him from deciding there must be something he could do. He rushed out of the great temple, determined to visit the entire country.
Tending to the wounded and the sick, helping the children, and offering prayers for the deceased, Michael continued to travel throughout the ruined kingdom.
Finally, he arrived at a remote village near the battle fields.
Inside the ancient and crumbling building, he searched for a spot to weather the rain.
While he found it uncanny, he would only have spend a single night in a nook of the room, so he decided to rest.
Unfortunately, that very night the old shrine was caught between the fighting and it was destroyed.
Michael was crushed beneath the debris, and he died.
The stone on the altar was destroyed in the very same instant, the Dark Lord who had been sealed took possession of Michael’s body and successfully revived himself.
…with more information to go on, I thought I could understand the great number of things I must do, and the huge disparity between the game and reality.
Leaving anything behind on a piece of paper posed too much of a risk, and having a meeting was impossible for now because the only adviser I had—Sir Leonhard—was kept busy because of his work.
Speaking of the things I could do, I’ve been making a list of them one by one inside my head.
Honestly, it was overloaded long ago…
Eyes focused far away, I stared outside the window with a sense of escape. Was the reason why I felt so much irritation with the loveliness of the clear blue sky because my own heart was not pure?
I sighed deeply.
I lightly slapped my cheeks twice, and got up from my seat.
“Princess Rosemarie, where are you headed?”
There were some books I would need.
Briefly informing him of my destination, I began to walk there. I went to the library with my troublesome guard knight, the usual face that followed me everywhere.
In the big, unpopulated library, I surveyed the bookshelves and groaned a little.
Which one should I start from?
My objectives were mostly separated into three parts.
They sound like completely different problems, but they were in fact all linked together.
In order to check where I’m going, I’ll first need a map.
The sound of of my footsteps were followed by the sound of another pair of feet, like nothing was out of the usual.
I instinctively killed the sigh that was about to fall out, and turned around. I looked up at the face of the handsome man who stood even taller than one or two heads above me.
“Klaus. You will wait for me by the entrance.”
“Why must I? I am your guard. If I am not near at hand, I cannot accomplish my duties.”
No, no, no!
Don’t have so many mental breakdowns, I’ve been driven to telling myself in pity, and that’s because your sense of personal space is so messed up.
“I asked you to wait by the entrance. If something happens, I’ll call you immediately.”
“I cannot assent.”
Son of a bitch.
Without a moment of hesitation he asserted NO, and with the anger I suddenly remembered my own impending crisis.
Besides, it was different when it was me with the contents of a woman with twenty plus years inside, but the Priestess might not be able to endure this lack of distance.
In the future, Klaus will become her guard, not mine.
As long as you didn’t flip his switch, it wasn’t so bad when it was the gentlemanly Klaus from the game, but the thought of handing over the current Klaus made me feel really guilty.
From now on, for my sake, and eventually the Priestess’s as well…
I must teach this man how to “wait”!
“Certainly…!” Klaus said in a low voice, his breath taken away.
Far from being malicious, I was simply curious whether his position on the floor would make him lose some dignity.
But Klaus was blushing from some nervousness or another.
Even if he was not particularly frightened, I had no intention of physically punishing him.
“Your master is His Majesty the King, the one who said that was me. However, you are not allowed to ignore my words.”
“I have never, in any way…”
“Be quiet, and listen!”
“If I ever make an unreasonable order, I won’t mind if you reject it regardless of your position. However, unless I otherwise say so, unless it is a situation where you absolutely cannot agree to my demands, then you are obligated to obey me,” I said, choosing overbearing words on purpose.
There were things I needed to do. When I thought of about them, this inconvenience had to be resolved right now.
“I am a princess, and you are a male guard. From now on, you won’t always be able to stay by my side. Well, there should be a lot of places you can’t go together with me. When that happens, what will you do? If I am not within reach of your sword, will you give up?”
“No,” Klaus immediately answered. Expression resolute and voice ringing with dignity, he declared, “I will never abandon hope when it comes to your protection. Upon my pride as a knight, and my life, this I swear.”
Like a knight in shining armor girls dreamed of, he was gallant and handsome, and I——pulled back.
I never you asked you to go that far!
“If what you say is true, then learn how to protect me even if we’re separated.”
Schooling the facial muscles that had begun to twitch, I managed to keep myself serene. I’d exerted great effort to appear as calm as possible.
“Don’t just stare at me. If you sense something out of place, try to pay attention the movements the people in the surrounding. Observe their words, any odd behavior, and various other details. You are not only guarding me; do your best to take action while keeping the time, place, and situation all in mind. If it’s you, then you should be able to do it.”
And my privacy will also be protected, I desperately wished.
“Princess Rosemarie…” Klaus said my name with deep feeling.
His palm pressed against his heart, like he was trying to keep the lid on his powerful emotions to stay shut. His dark green eyes scrunched up in pain as he looked at me.
Right then, I felt a chill go down my back.
Seeing me shiver from the dark atmosphere, Klaus bowed his head.
“By your will,” he said tersely.
For some reason, those briefs words stayed in my ears for a long time.
I had a bad hunch. Very.
There was a saying that sometimes you must lose a battle to win the war, but I couldn’t help feeling I’d done the complete opposite. Like I may have destroyed something I’d been protecting for a long time in order to fix this urgent matter.
But it was already too late to go back.
“Well, then, Klaus… Wait for me here.”
While bearing a headache from the man who seemed to be obeying with complete delight, I began to walk around looking for books.