I’m so glad I went for it.
I was fit to burst with happiness, and only childlike thoughts like that were coming to mind.
“Your face is bright red.”
When he pointed it out, I covered my face with both hands in a panic. My cheeks were definitely hot. If I were a steamed bun, it would seem like steam was blowing off me.
He’s terrible. He was covering his mouth with his hand, but I could tell. Trying to cover up with a cough when his act was already exposed!
“You must be enjoying yourself…”
I couldn’t help it if I stared at him rather coldly.
Trifling with the tender heart of a young girl in love was not permissible behavior just because he happened to be Sir Leonhard.
He readily apologized, but his eyes were laughing.
He asked questioned me from the opposite seat.
“Do you dislike this side of me?”
“Not at all,” I replied instantly.
Sir Leonhard gazed at me in wonder.
Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t particularly make me pleased to get teased, got it?! It was because he was different from Klaus and the others, he didn’t have a fetish like they did!
My reason was very simple!
“I’m happy you’re not keeping up appearances with me.”
I truly was very happy to be able to see his true self.
Why did he have to look like that? Seeing my expression, he gave me a troubled smile.
“I don’t mind with you.”
Not understanding the meaning his words hinted at, I gave him questioning look, but he stopped talking.
“Well. Let’s leave the chitchat here and get down to business.”
He seemed to be distracting me so that I couldn’t understand, but he was right to say we had no spare time for idle talk. He went to great pains to detach Klaus from me, so I should use my time effectively.
Young girls in love wasn’t a frivolous conversation, though…
“This time you’re starting measures that can prevent disease?”
Sir Leonhard pulled out a map from a pocket with a hardened expression.
“Excuse the proximity.”
Hed stood up from his seat and settled beside me.
His handsome face was right next to me, and I stared with my mouth open.
In contrast to how I’d turned to stone from earth-shattering nerves, Sir Leonhard was in complete work mode. His profile as his gaze dropped down to the map was the image of seriousness itself.
I became ashamed of my of shaken composure, and chanted a spell to myself for the beating of my heart to Settle down, down!
“You were saying the disease spread from the south, but do you know the exact location?”
“I don’t know for certain, but…I’d like to say south-southwest. Close to the national border with our neighbors in the Kingdom of Vind.”
Taking my cue from Sir Leonhard’s calm voice, I gradually calmed down.
After sucking in a deep breath, I turned my attention to the map.
At the heart of a giant continent shaped like one side of a bird’s wing was my kingdom, Nebel. Blessed with great weather, the peninsular portion that jutted out at the bottom was tropical in nature. Even to the north, warm lands accounted for a great portion of it, and the only area where snow fell in a notable density was in the northernmost mountain ranges.
I’m happy it was such an easy place to live in, but not everything was good. A virus can’t move in a cold place, but made itself right at home in my kingdom it made itself right at home, even among the upper crust.
“Isn’t that the peninsula?”
In the peninsula with its tropical climate, numerous diseases were likely to thrive, but people who made their homes there had built up immunity, so they didn’t take as considerable the same damage.
Furthermore, the portion of the land connected to the continent was extremely thin, drawn tight like an hourglass. Of course there was communication between the two, but they had their own culture and rarely left their territory, so even the disease had a hard time spreading through the continent.
“Perhaps the disease spread because we became involved in the war between Vind and Sckellz.”
“The first is the season. Within a year of the beginning of the war, disease began to spread. Two, inside my dream, the skin color of the people persecuted as ‘the source of the disease’ were different from the citizens of Nebel.”
Resting his chin in his hand, Sir Leonhard took a moment to think, and arrived at the same conclusion I did.
“Skin color…! Meaning, refugees?”
I nodded my head, and continued.
“I’ve heard that there are people with dark skin living in the massive forest that stretches throughout the southern lands of Vind. Driven out of their homes, I think they might stream into Nebel.”
“If I’m not mistaken, were the horrors of war to see the forests burn, instead of escaping north to a land situated right in the middle of the conflict, it would make more sense for them aim for the neighboring kingdom. If the disease began to spread at the same time refugees began pouring into Nebel, don’t you find it odd these targets who stood out became the scapegoats?”
“Did you yourself also believe the source to be them? Or did you also find it a suspicious accusation?”
“Taking sides is dangerous…but I don’t believe they were the carriers.”
If it was the same as the world I was previously from, then many viruses likely existed in the jungles of this world as well.
For the dark-skinned groups that have lived on those lands since ancient times, the severity has not increased because they became used to the disease, but it was a different story for the citizens of Nebel who had absolutely no developed antibody.
We were fortunate it wasn’t a disease with a high mortality rate, but the exhaustion caused by the war and the lack of adequate medicine seemed to hasten its spread.
“I am of the same opinion. Similar to our kingdom’s peninsula, the southern forests have many unknown diseases. Vind is exceedingly unlikely to start a war for the time being, but refining preventive measures against disease is sound practice nonetheless.”
Immediately, if possible, he added.
At his additional words, I lifted my head and directed my gaze in his direction.
I knew it was necessary to provide measures because the threat had not disappeared.
But why did we have to rush? It was a bridge that would need to crossed quickly, but there were a lot of other taksks that needed doing. My face reflected my questions, and Sir Leonhard nodded.
“Even if it was not caught in the flames of war, there is chance the forests will still be lost,” he said.
Trade could increase with Flamme to the soutwest, contingent upon Vind destroying the threat against them known as Sckellz.
Flamme was a kingdom surrounded on three fronts by the sea, and there were many people who took jobs that were affected by voyages and fishing. Naturally, the shipbuilding was also prosperous industry, and in order to build their ships, they needed timber.
That meant the resource Vind had their eyes set on selling to Flamme would be the southern woodlands!
“So they’ve begun deforesting the woods,” I murmured.
“You save me with your quick understanding.”
Sir Leonhard looked at me with approval.
“Stopping them is…impossible, isn’t it?”
No matter how many alliances existed between our kingdoms, a foreign princess had no say in this matter.
No one knew better than me, but I dropped it without giving up hope. But, Sir Leonhard wasn’t the type to spout pointless words of consolation.
“Some will have to experience it firsthand before they are willing to listen.”
I held my tongue at his straightforward opinion.
I had no disagreement. It was sad, but I thought the same.
There was no time for me to be depressed. There were was much for me to do.
I pulled myself together, and opened my mouth to speak.
And then it happened.
The horse whinnied, and the big carriage shook.
Without a moment’s delay, Sir Leonhard pulled me into his arm and drew his sword from its scabbard.
What in the world?!