Chapter 44 – From Arje’s Perspective (1)
When I regained my consciousness, I was at a familiar place. A shiny light, flamboyant curtain, a bed big enough for seven people….
My head was cracking from a hangover, but such petty pain was not my biggest concern right now.
“Why am I here?”
It was all fun until I took a sip of that drink in that shabby bar, but to be back in my room after waking up.
All the events from before, and meeting that lovely bunny was all a dream? Still, something like that wouldn’t happen in real life. A cute bunny who walks and talks. I must still be a child.
“I need more sleep.”
After gaining peace in my heart, I crawled up again in the bed. I should just sleep more while I’m at it.
“Are you going back to bed, after waking up from screaming?”
Then, I heard a male voice that I could recognize from anywhere.
Next to my bead was the swordsman in red, laughing senselessly. Banu was standing there.
“Yes, empress Arberaj. It is I, Banu Splinter, the head swordsman of the empire.”
Banu made that annoying trademark smile of his.
“Why are you here? No, since when were you standing there?”
From my rushed question, Banu shrugged.
“I was here since you were asleep.”
I got goosebumps from his comment. That had meant that he was watching me sleep.
“How could you act like a creepy stalker, aside from being inside a grown woman’s room! So appalling!”
I threw my pillow right to his face, and he reached out his arms and caught it easily.
“Please mind your manners.”
In his tone was no hint of apologies. I had no idea how I was friends with him since childhood.
“Banu. Your hands…are they from?”
Banu’s hands were wrapped in bandages. If what I had experience was a dream, he had gotten hurt there.
“Oh, this hand?”
Banu looked at his hand and smiled.
“That kind of rapier was a new experience, and I was not cautious. I will pay for it with a scar to last a lifetime.”
It was not a dream.
I stood up on my bed and shook Banu’s shoulders.
“Aris? Where is Aris?”
Then Banu looked at me cluelessly.
“Aris? What’s that?”
But his tone was playful, and seeing his attitude made something in my brain snap.
“BANU! Tell me! What did you do to Aris?”
When I shook Banu with greater strength and shouted, Banu stopped my hand.
“Please calm down, empress Arberaj.”
I was able to calm down.
“Sorry. I must have gone mad.”
When I apologized, Banu smirked.
“It’s fine. It reminds me of how we were in the past.”
When I glared at Banu from his commentary, he started to laugh quietly then suddenly looked at me with a serious face.
“The name of that bunny is now famous to the point where everyone in Zeros knows.”
I thought over his comment.
“In a good way?”
Banu shook his head.
“So in a bad way.”
When I sighed, Banu nodded.
“Yes. Aris is now a first-degree murderer charged with kidnapping of the empress and murder of the great bishop and director nun of the church of the emperor.”
My mouth dropped open.
“Aris is not that kind of a bunny! You know, too, Banu!”
“Yes. I know that she is not that kind of bunny, but it has already been announced and she is wanted.”
I was at a loss for words. What the hell had happened while I drank?
“Wait, she is wanted? That means that she still hasn’t been caught?”
I was able to feel a little relieved.
“Yes. After she jumped into the Land River from the church, we haven’t heard from her.”
Had she died? No way…
“I must meet my father. I need to tell him that everything is a lie and it’s going wrong. That we should not be sending soldiers, but a rescue team!”
Then Banu clapped his hands lightly.
“You are amazing. To think of marching to the emperor like that.”
I was a little scared at those words, but I could do that for Aris, who could be dying in some corner at the moment.
“Well, since the emperor already ordered me to get the princess as soon as she awakes, he should be there waiting for you still.”
The reason why he would want to see me was obvious.
“Good, then. Now…”
I grabbed the pillow and threw it across Banu’s face.
“Get out! I am in my sleepwear, and you are still just standing there!”
So, finally in a long time, I wore a dress and not that church robe to visit my dad…but
“Grounded? I am no kid!”
I was furious after getting back to my room after trying to go talk to him.
“Did you not expect this? I would have done the same, after seeing my daughter return alive after getting kidnapped.”
The only one who was acting as my sand bag was Banu.
“Shut up. This means that I have to again escape in secret.”
There was never a time when I got out after getting permission. The same applied for the last one. It was a piece of cake to get out of this giant palace. The only problem was…
“Do you think that I will let you off the hook?”
“Will you stop me from running away? Even when Aris’s life is on the line?”
There was no right to Banu from stopping the Princess. The only problem was tattle tailing the emperor.
“A no means no.”
Banu got deep into his thoughts again.
“Anyways, please rest. I have outdoor training today, so I will take the guards outside and train them with me.”
Suddenly? This meant…
“Banu, I will not forget your generosity.”
“I don’t know what generosity you are talking about. Anyways, please be safe.”
Banu got out of the room waving his hands. The only one in this palace who was on my side was Banu.
I asked the maids to get me out of the dress, then got the timing to get out of the palace once again.
“I am back here.”
The first place I visited was the bar. It was a question I had before, but that old man was no ordinary man, to recognize my face right away and report me. Since he also knew about Pucci, too.
When I got inside, I couldn’t help but be shocked.
Inside was a luxurious and clean interior, making me question if I had visited the right place. The outside was still shabby, but the inside was transformed completely.
And the bartender who was the grandpa was now a pink-haired lady.
“Who are you?”
The bartender who had a towel across her head smiled after stopping the drying of the glasses.
“I am the owner of this bat, Perry. Is it your first time here?”
“No, the owner was a grandpa?”
Then the pink haired girl named Perry tilted her head.
“Really? I have never heard of it.”
That grandpa. He was a suspicious man.
“That grandpa! He called himself the owner and…”
“Why don’t you calm down and have a drink? This bar is made for women, so there are many light drinks that taste sweet.”
I would sound like a crazy woman if I were to continue.
“Do you have anything other than alcohol?”
I gave in and ordered a juice as I plopped onto the bar top.
“You seem to be looking for something.”
Perry suddenly made a conversation.
“Did I make it obvious?”
I smirked while sipping orange juice.
“I am actually looking for someone. They have gone missing, and I can’t tell where they have went.”
“Ah, a missing person.”
Perry nodded, as if she knew something.
“Do you know anything?”
It was a high chance that she wouldn’t know. I hadn’t even mentioned that the missing person was a bunny.
“Missing people actually might never go missing.”
Perry said something open-ended.
Perry smiled at my question.
“Try visiting the Lauren Forest. From what I hear, there is a slave trade place inside the forest.”
Lauren Forest was near Zeros. But slaves?”
“I’m not sure if the person who I am looking for would be there, but thanks anyways.”
I put some coins as a tip and got out of the bar.
“But the person you are searching for is not a human, right?”
The moment I closed the door, I heard something.
I turned around, to double check if I had heard her correctly.
There was no Perry, and the interior was back to the way it was.
“Was I under a spell?”
No, it could even be a message that Aris was sending me. This meant that I had to hurry and go to the forest.
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