The next morning.
“In the past, the world was ruled by the Sacred Demon King… the people of the ancient civilization revered him as such.”
Mahiro strode into the light of the morning sun.
“A new morning arrived!? Yes, that’s it! A morning of hope…!!” (Mahiro)
“The people of the past were full of spirit. Therefore you should dance energetically as well, prince.” (Pariel)
Pariel clapped her hands.
Several members of the Royal Orchestra and a Royal Dance Teacher were in the room.
The ballroom dancing lessons took place every Wednesday morning. After all, no matter which country you belong to, it’s a crucial skill for those in high society. There’s no way that royalty, the heart of nobility, would be incapable of it.
“In the first place, who are you supposed to be, Pariel? For a mere guard to accompany me on my schedule; just who do you think you are. For your information, I’m the esteemed prince.” (Mahiro)
“You said that yesterday already. But I was asked by Lady Edelweiss, so it can’t be helped.” (Pariel)
“Aren’t you ashamed of using such excuse!? A life hiding behind excuses like that, you have it so easy.” (Mahiro)
“… Huh? You were there, Edelweiss?” (Mahiro)
“Is there a problem with that?” (Edelweiss)
“How about conducting yourself like a prince at least then, if you can’t play the part of His Majesty’s stand-in?” (Edelweiss)
“Like a prince… Aren’t I a prince to begin with…? In other words, I am… I am…what a terrible truth, am I merely the body double of the real Mahiro who lives somewhere out there in the world!?” (Mahiro)
“Lady Edelweiss didn’t mean it in that sense! Whyyy are you being so weird about it…?” (Pariel)
“In the first place, I don’t like ballroom dancing.” (Mahiro)
Mahiro stalked forward until he was right in front of Pariel’s nose.
She was slightly startled.
“Take my hands.” (Mahiro)
“I will put my hand around your waist.” (Mahiro)
“Front, front, back, right, side, side… gah, how indecent!!” (Mahiro)
“Right and side are the same thing!! … No, not that… there’s nothing obscene about it!!” (Pariel)
“Anyway, I won’t be motivated unless we dance in a more soulful manner!!” (Mahiro)
“S…Soul? ful? Eh?” (Pariel)
“With that, I’d like to leave for the outskirts of the castle again, but…” (Mahiro)
Mahiro timidly peeked at Edelweiss’ face. But rather than the usual expression of the stern maid about to launch into a lecture, her face was set with a firm determination.
“But… I wooonder what what I will dooo?” (Mahiro)
“How about doing as you please?” (Edelweiss)
Letting out such a strange scream, he flew out of the room. The orchestra and the teacher sighed and withdrew.
“Um-…Umm… I-Is that really okay, Lady Edelweiss!?” (Pariel)
“What are you still doing here? Chase after him quickly.” (Edelweiss)
“Eh? So you are telling me to bring him back after all then…” (Pariel)
“His Highness plans to stop the Empire’s invasion into this country by himself.” (Edelweiss)
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I mean, this person is not someone that would joke about something like that. Besides, even if she talks about holding them back, there’s still a long time before the Empire starts moving…
“If we leave him alone like this, he will end up in quite a dangerous place. But, if you are by his side, at least he won’t be able to do anything too rash. That’s why you have to follow him. I don’t mind you doing as you like beyond that. Do you understand?” (Edelweiss)
“G-… Got it! I will follow the prince as his guard!” (Pariel)
Hurriedly saluting, Pariel ran after the prince.
(Huuuh… that prince is going to save the country; what’s going on…!?)
Either way, Pariel changed out of her Royal Knight uniform into yesterday’s adventurer’s get-up and joined Mahiro, who was disguised as a commoner again, in the rear garden.
“Prince, you are not going outside the castle?” (Pariel)
“I will go there, too.” (Mahiro)
Even though it was called a garden, it still was part of the castle and as such it was wide enough to be a forest where one could go horse riding and hunting while enjoying the feel of a refreshing forest, where the sunlight filters through the trees, stretching on endlessly. However, next to that forest there were stables, a carriage storage area and the garage for the automobile that the king boarded yesterday. Mahiro seemed to have business in the maintenance area of the mobile corps who managed those.
As soon as they entered a large warehouse, their noses were assaulted with the smell of oil. Several coaches and one reserve automobile were undergoing maintenance.
“… You’re not borrowing a horse or taking out a carriage, are you?” (Pariel)
“Right, I’m going to take out my favorite steed.” (Mahiro)
“Even though you said that you can’t ride a horse yesterday…” (Pariel)
“In this vast world there are mounts that even I can handle.” (Mahiro)
In that case it would have been fine if you had spoken with the office of the mobile corps from the start. I wonder whether he unexpectedly doesn’t know that, seeing as it’s the first time for him having be able to receive the permission to freely go out without simply slipping out on foot like yesterday.
“Should I go to talk with them?” (Pariel)
“No, no… I have business with her.” (Mahiro)
He pointed at something in a corner of the warehouse that was covered by a sheet. Instantly, all members of the mobile corps wearing overalls began raising a ruckus in disbelief.
“Yo-… You are going to ride that!?”
“At last the prince is going to take that out!?”
“Somebody… whatever the circumstances might be, is it okay not to stop him!?”
At which point the captain of the mobile corps – someone Pariel was indebted to as well since he gave her the horse she’s riding – turned up… welding goggles accompanied by a furious look on his face. Generally, elderly captains like him have a reputation for being intimidating and harsh, and this person was no different – being called demon instructor and other variations of that. Especially given that he’s working here due to his expertise in machinery rather than horses, he’s famous for being a stubborn old man with the spirit of a true artisan.
“Prince!! No way! Are you saying that you are going to ride her?”
Mahiro winked and made a thumbs-up.
“Finally the day has come, captain!! The preparations are complete, right!?”
He’s already so agitated that he looks like he’s about to whack him. I don’t know why he’s angry, but if it’s this person, he might hit even the prince, Pariel was almost completely convinced of it at this point.
“It’s really great that I followed you, prince!!”
Pariel’s voice was unexpectedly high due to her surprise.
Apparently he was trembling out of happiness. He was choked with tears of gratitude. Lifting his welding goggles and wiping his tears, he sobbed,
“On top of being able to tamper with this monster, I’m even allowed to witness a real run, that is…!!”
“Gufufufu.” The captain suddenly let out a disturbing laugh. “We finished it with the full force of the mobile corps. The only missing part…Prince Mahiro! It’s only you!”
“Very well!! Look, Pariel!!” (Mahiro)
Mahiro rolled up its cloth covering, revealing…
“This is my favorite steed… the 『Steel Bronco』 ZX-7RR!!” (Mahiro)
“Hah… isn’t that a bike!?” (Pariel)
Obviously a legacy of the ancient civilization.
If you’re referring to the bike called “Cub1“, occasionally you can see it driving around this area, but this one is far bigger. Bigger, or rather, I’d say the parts are crammed together more tightly?
“Ca-…Captain, where did you get something like that from…?”
“Hah? From where you ask; the Prince managed to gather the parts by himself.”
It feels like he’s asking them “You are always with me and you don’t even know that?”
“I actually possess a secret mountain of junk. I dig stuff out of there, order the missing parts and consumable goods from the Far East or get Rebuilds and One-Offs at the Union of Commercial and Industry, Veronika… and then!” (Mahiro)
Mahiro throws out a hand toward the mechanics with a flourish.
“In other words, I made an earnest request to these wonderful mobile corps and had them put it together!!” (Mahiro)
The next thing you knew, he was surrounded by mecha fetishists that had joined their captain with the same creepy expressions and laughter.
“Hurry. Go for a drive…”
“It runs at 200 km/h, 200km/h…”
“Cool. That’s hot stuff…”
“Don’t be a stranger, Prince. Man, I will lower my head, so allow me to tamper with it too.”
Pariel draws back with tears welling up in her eyes.
Pariel reflexively plugged her ears the instant she heard the first rev of the engine.
It seems to be the sound of the exhaust pipe, but the engine itself also makes an ominous, questionable humming sound along with a constant rattling, sounding like it could fall apart at any moment. Pretty much everything about it is different to the Cub.
“Wahahahaha!! Pariel, that’s what a real mount sounds like! This central part reacts immediately to my will!! This is true unity of rider and mount!!” (Mahiro)
Vroom!! Vroom!! Vroom!! Vroom!! Vroom!!
Each time Mahiro turns his right hand, an ear-piercing roar reverberates from the exhaust pipes. The mecha fetishists ecstatically close their eyes, as if captivated by the sound of a first-rate orchestra.
(Th-…They are weirdos…!? All of them…!!)
A large number of people are peeking in, wondering what’s going on as patrolling knights come rushing in with spears in hand, prepared to fight a new monster.
“Yeah, this truly is the most worthy of being my favorite mount!! Let’s be off, Pariel!!” (Mahiro)
“Hah!? Off, you say!? On this!?” (Pariel)
At any rate, I can’t afford to be left behind. Once Pariel got on in the back, Mahiro, who already had gloves on, put on goggles.
“Now, I shall set the highest speed record on open field.” (Mahiro)
“Haah!? Didn’t you come out here to danc…” (Pariel)
However, somehow it looks like the dancing was just an excuse. Pariel’s voice is drowned out by the loud cheers of the mobile corps’ members.
“Way to go, Prince!!”
“Come back alive!!”
“Do your best!!”
“Hey, aren’t there way too many people worrying about our lives!?” (Pariel)
A rider’s helmet was plopped on a petrified Pariel’s head.
A thumbs up.
“Don’t die, Missy. Good luck!!”
“N-… Nooooooooooooooooooo!?” (Pariel)