Editors: Skoll, rairai
The Hero and the Golden Age (part 4)
When I woke up, I was lying in a luxurious sickbed. Everywhere I looked I saw sympathy gifts from well-wishers. There were also a lot of people sitting around.
“Ohoho, Leon daren, you’ve finally woken up.”
A lively elderly person who looked like an attendant was there, carrying a towel in the crook of his arm.
All of the military instructors were sitting at the front of the bed. They looked at me with complicated expressions.
“I’m really sorry, Leon. I shouldn’t have made you have additional practice till midnight.”
“No no no.”
I furiously shook my head.
I didn’t know why the attitudes of the people surrounding me had changed this quickly.
“Please forgive me. Making you take risks so late at night……”
“It’s fine, actually it was me……”
Just as I felt suspicious, Shen Zhen knocked on the door and entered.
Wearing a pitch-black cloak and unruly hair, Shen Zhen was one year older than me, and his strength far surpassed mine. He had even been exempted from the reserve army night practice. Among the newbies he was a loner, but he would occasionally hang out with me.
“Leon, the princess wants to see you.”
“What are you saying? The person you saved is Ailee Parkdovich.”
“Shen Zhen, you’re not allowed to directly say Her Highness, the Princess’s, name!”
The military instructor scolded severely.
“So annoying. Don’t bother me about my business.”
As Shen Zhen said this, the door suddenly swung open and a shout came from the outside.
“Princess, you should go back. Leon is still delirious.”
“If Leon is awake, I want to be by him.”
“That would be too much of a bother. Leon would be annoyed by this. Princess, do you want to be hated by him?”
“It doesn’t matter, let me go in!”
A violent disturbance was going on outside. The instructor’s expression was tinged with green, and the elderly butler on the side forced a smile.
“But it’s good that you’ve woken up, Leon daren.”
The elderly person paused and then said quietly:
“Princess Ailee’s temperament is quite irascible. She often will run off in secret. Since you saved her three days ago, she would be worried about your sickness every day. If you hadn’t recovered, I’m afraid–”
With a bang, the door was kicked open.
Before me stood that girl I had rescued three days prior. Her wounds had almost fully recovered. Several places were wrapped with white bandages. Right now, she was wearing plain clothing and a large straw hat. Her two eyes glimmered.
I called out weakly.
“Huu. No need to call me Your Highness. Just call me Ailee. Are you feeling alright?”
I tempted to sit up, but I was wracked by intense pain, so I lifelessly flopped down.
“No, don’t force yourself.”
Ailee headed for me, gripping my hand in her two hands.
This was the first time my hand had been held by a girl.
Ailee’s tiny palms were moist but also extremely warm. Her skin was exquisite, and didn’t have calluses like mine.
Ailee brought her face near mine and stared into my eyes.
Because she was too close, my breathing sped up and my face flushed bright red.
I unnaturally shifted my gaze.
“As expected, you haven’t completely recovered!”
Ailee put her hands on her hips and delivered her judgement.
When I learned that the person I had saved was the princess, I didn’t feel anything special. Well, it’d be better to say that I felt a bit upset.
I did not know she was a princess when I saved her, but the attitudes of the people around me were completely different than before.
Besides Shen Zhen, whose expression hadn’t changed when looking at me, everyone else’s gazes had disassociated from me.
Two days later, I could get out of a bed for a walk.
“Leon! Let’s go to the festival!!”
Saying this, the princess wilfully dragged me out of my sick bed.
Although I hadn’t completely recovered, fulfilling her small request was possible.
At that time, I wasn’t thinking about much. Only that it was really boring to stay lying around at the hospital. Moreover, I was at the age that loved to play, so I unhesitatingly agreed.
Ailee wore three-quarter pants and white leather boots as before with her straw hat. Although it was winter, Ailee didn’t seem to care about her appearance. Because it was the New Spring Festival and not a rest day, there weren’t many people about.
“Is your left arm recovered?”
Ailee’s two arms were crossed behind her back as she bounced and turned around in front of me. Bending slightly to look at me.
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
I used my right hand to press down on my left shoulder and rotated my left arm.
Afterwards, Ailee led me by the hand.
With a pop, she inexplicably held my left hand.
“Huhu. It’s good that you’ve recovered!”
Ailee pulled at me and ran forward.
That day, we played to our heart’s content until the elderly butler came to pick up Ailee.
When they were leaving, he brought his mouth near my ear and said:
“You should know your place.”
Like that, the happiness of the entire day disappeared without a trace.
I started to avoid Ailee. Though I knew it wasn’t good, it was the only thing I could do.
I continuously used the excuse that I wasn’t well to reject Ailee’s invitations of going out together.
“Let’s go and play, Leon–”
“Leon, I know a super fun place to play.”
“Come with me for a bit Leon.”
Then one day, Ailee furiously hit my face.
“Leon, what kind of coward are you! Are you the boy who rescued me!?”
I touched the ache on my face and looked elsewhere.
“You shouldn’t keep up this wild girl appearance, Your Highness. If you always play with someone like me, you will–”
“Enough enough enough!! Don’t you know why I ran away? I’ve had enough already! Everyone talks about etiquette and propriety and proper manners; I don’t want to hear it anymore!”
At that time, I didn’t know how to console her.
“Ailee…….I’m sorry. But aren’t you a princess? I want you to at least be a little more elegant.”
“Wu……Leon, you always say that kind of stuff…….”
Ailee unhappily lowered her head and pouted.
I took my hand in Ailee’s grasp and drew my arm around her shoulders.
“So, I will become a hero. The strongest hero. Then…….I will have the qualifications to stay by your side.”
A smiling expression suits you the most, Ailee–
Twelve years later, three years ago, I was twenty-three and Ailee was twenty.
Ailee was known far and wide for being a docile princess, an expert in etiquette, having an elegant manner. Her smiling face was especially beautiful.
I am Leon, the hero Leon, the core of the First Division of the Expedition Regiment.
That year, Ailee and I were engaged.