Chapter 31- Water Flower Amulet
It was the weekend that Leia’s army was set to head to Mikunov.
Gideon, as usual, came to the courtyard next to my dormitory.
This night was unusual in that Gideon was the one who kept me waiting. –I’m sure that he is busy preparing for his deployment.
“Did I keep you waiting? Sorry.”
As soon as Gideon said that, he hugged my shoulder and kissed my cheek.
When his lips parted, I grabbed his arms and looked up into his face.
“I heard they’re sending you to Mikunov.”
“I too was surprised when I was approached. I never imagined that I would be asked to be the head of a magic corps.”
“Can’t you say no? It’s dangerous.”
Gideon shook his head from side to side and smiled a little happily for some reason.
“I’m glad you’re concerned. But the magic soldiers only provide logistical support, using wind shields and fire dragons. They are much safer than the ordinary soldiers on the front lines.”
Still, you never know what might happen. I hope that somehow he will be safe.
I handed Gideon a self-made amulet I had brought with me.
“Take this. It’s a good luck charm.”
Gideon looked at the contents of the small drawstring that fit snugly in his palm.
“A crystal? It’s beautiful in the shape of a flower.”
“No, it’s not. It’s a magic flower. My grandfather taught me how to make them. Even though we are far away, I always know that as long as this amulet is not broken, you will be safe.”
“I’ll take good care of it. I will always carry it with me.”
Gideon tucked the drawstring inside the breast pocket of his jacket and took both my hands in his.
“Liesel, listen to me carefully. If this amulet should break and I am unable to return to the royal palace, I want you to beware of Iris. You never know what that girl might do.”
When I tried to loudly accuse him of saying something about not being able to go back, Gideon put his index finger to my mouth and told me to be quiet.
Then, in a quieter voice, he continued.
“I’m talking about when things get uncomfortable here. Maybe then His Highness will let you go. Also, I’ve bribed the gate guard at the back of the dormitory to watch the gate on odd-numbered days. You know there is a watchmaker’s shop at the entrance to the main street when you go out the back gate, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I know, but…”
“In the flower beds of the watchmaker’s shop is a large can buried in the ground. I put quite a bit of money in there.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s my fault His Highness insisted on making you a Kingsguard sorcerer.”
“Gideon. Speak so I understand.”
“–I’m talking about what ifs. I’ve included a ticket for the stagecoach to Baral.”
Gideon seems to sense that something is going to happen.
“You said earlier you’d be safe on the battlefield! If you don’t ever come back, I’m going to be mad at you.”
I say childish things. Even Gideon didn’t volunteer.
I regretted it immediately, but with Gideon, I was just being naive.
Gideon reached out his hands to me and hugged me gently.
“It’s just in case.”
I want to cling to his warmth, so I put my arms around his back and hug him desperately.
I feel as if this fragile relationship between him and me will be destroyed by the swell of the times, a swell so great that no individual’s tiny power will be able to resist it.
“Please tell me it’s not a “just in case,” but a “never.”
“No, it’s not. I’m fine.”
Gideon slowly rubbed my shoulder to calm me down. It wasn’t enough to quell my buzzing.
(It wasn’t. I could have been calmer if you’d just kissed me ……)
Such thoughts cross my mind, and I am appalled at myself.
When did I become so greedy about him, even though I thought I didn’t want to?
“I’m afraid to leave you.”
“Liesel, what’s wrong? You don’t have to be so afraid of deployments. I may have said too much…… Sorry if I scared you.”
“I’ve known you since I was thirteen, and that’s why I’m scared. On the battlefield, you shouldn’t step forward for everyone else. This isn’t a class, this is a war between nations.”
“Don’t worry. As I said before, the role of the Magic Legion is to provide logistical support..”
Gideon put his arms around me and hugged me tightly.
I close my eyes and bury my face in his chest.
“Please don’t take any credit for the war.”
“I really want …… the credit.”
“You don’t need it. Try to keep yourself safe. Don’t try to be a hero to everyone. –You’re already a hero to me.”
Gideon raised the hand that had been behind his back and cupped both of my cheeks between his hands. When our eyes met, in contrast to my uneasiness, he laughed like a prodigal.
“Liesel, what a cute thing to say.”
My hand moves away and Gideon presses his lips repeatedly against my cheek. The pleasure and satisfaction of this sensation makes me feel dreamy to the core of my being. How simple I am. ……
When he stopped kissing me and let go, he smiled brightly.
“I’d like to introduce you to my father when I get back from Mikunov.”
“To the Duke? That’s…… uh. As a friend?”
I couldn’t help but playfully giggle. But Gideon put away his smile and turned his eyes straight to me this time.
“As someone I like –May I?”
He squeezed my hand and I squeezed it back.
Then, a little embarrassed, I turn my head down. Still, I raise my eyes firmly and nod.
“I don’t mind.”
It was kind of a supercilious reply. But I didn’t know what the right answer was.
When a skirmish between the two armies broke out on the border between Mikunov and Saber, the Kingdom of Leia moved immediately.
Reinforcements for the allies were quickly organized and headed for Mikunov in force.
When the clashes between the Mikunov-Leia allied forces and the Saber forces began, the royal palace was restless day after day.
Officials and maidservants alike passed on information they had acquired from somewhere. It was as if they were competing with each other to see who had the best news, as if to show off that they were well-informed.
“The Leia forces ambushed them ahead of time, as if they could read the Saber rattling.”
“Look at them go, Leia’s soldiers are so smart!”
“I heard the Magic Legion did a great job.”
“The crown prince is doing well.”
“I heard that Mikunov’s officers, who had almost turned on him, came back with their tails between their legs when they saw the power of Sorcerer Commander Lancaster’s fire dragon.”
“I’m told that the Magic Corps is making a name for itself there by preventing the civilian population of Mikunov from being caught up in the damage of the war.”
The allied forces of Mikunov and Leia were winning steadily and were trying to drive the army of Saber out of Mikunov’s borders. Both in attack and defense, the magic army led by Gideon played a major role and he was the very person responsible for the victory of the allied forces.
The royal court was full of stories about the success of the magic army.
Just as the whole palace was enveloped in an atmosphere of relief at such a great success.
An unbelievable incident occurred.
A fire broke out in a ballroom in the royal capital.