Chapter 151.3 : Sudden Change
「……Yes. Is that you, village chief-sama? 」
He heard the pained voice of a girl from inside the room a while later. It was Flora’s voice.
With a clank, Donner opened the door. ――,
「 ……Eh? 」
Flora’s body trembled as she looked at him with a feverish face.
Donner had an overwhelmed expression on his face when he looked at her. He was unable to forget Flora’s cuteness that surpassed the other girls in the village. And that cute girl was right before him now. Even though she looked a bit more haggard than when he had first met her, such things didn’t have an apparent effect on her beauty. She was the exact opposite of those village girls who looked down on him.
「Uhm, if I’m not wrong, You are……….. Donner-san, right? 」
Flora called his name. Perhaps Flora remembered him?!
「You, remember me? 」
Donner felt really happy right now.
「………….ye, yes. You’re the one who was kind enough to guide me before, right? May I ask about your business here?」
Flora’s face didn’t look that good when she asked him that question. In fact, her current condition was so bad to the point that she wanted to lie down right away without talking to anyone. However, she endured it somehow due to her upbringing as a member of Royalty.
「I-I came for a visit!」
Donner replied with a shrill voice, unable to hold back his emotions.
「Visit………. Is it. Thank you very much.」
Flora seemed to be happy to hear that. But――,
「Ah, no, the truth is I want to tell you something.」
When he heard Flora’s words, Donner told her that he had another reason to come up here aside from visiting her.
「Something to tell me, is it? ………….. May I hear about it? 」
Flora asked him with a worried look on her face. Even though she didn’t have the strength to listen to idle talk in her current condition, her kind heart did not allow her to ignore him, as such she tried her best to hear him out.
「Flora-sama……… At this rate, you’re going to be taken to the place of our local lord.」
Flora who was bracing herself to hear Donner’s story, ended up feeling vexed when he spoke.
「Will and the village chief are thinking about it. It seems they find Flora-sama, who isn’t too eager to receive help from other nobles, to be suspicious.」
「Uuuh…… I-I didn’t mean it that way……….. Uhm, they’re suspicious of me? 」
Frowning, Flora who was at a loss for words, timidly asked that question. Normally, a kind girl like her wouldn’t tell a lie, but right now her physical and mental condition was anything but normal, as such, she couldn’t help but to utter that lie.
「……….. I’m not too clear about the situation, but they said that usually as a fellow noble you would have asked help from other nobles. It seems that the village chief is going to report to the local lord about you, tomorrow at the earliest. In that case, the local lord might really come. …………….. What do you think about it? 」
Donner asked while staring at Flora face.
「W-What should I do? Even though I was going to leave as soon as my body felt better………..」
Flora was completely panicked.
「L-Leave you say! To Where! ? 」
Donner asked flustered.
「EH? Uhm, to my homeland. I mean if I stay any longer in this place, I’m going to end up making my retainers and the people close to me worry……….」
Staring at him with astonishment, Flora replied, pride in her tone.
「H-Homeland……….. B-But, you shouldn’t be able to go through a journey in your current condition right? 」
「And you didn’t want to go to the place of our local lord? 」
Donner asked questions as if he was interrogating Flora. Nevertheless, Flora also wanted to get a grasp of the current situation, even with the risk of being captured by one of nobility of a hostile nation, therefore, she endured.
「Yes……………… I don’t want to go to the local lord’s place, or should I say that it’ll cause various kinds of trouble if I go there.」
Flora agreed with a frail voice. When she said that, Donner’s eyes lighted up and he said――,
「I-If that is the case, shall I offer my house as a temporary shelter to you? It might be similar in size to a barn, but it’s better than staying here and being discovered by the local noble.」
Donner offered his help unreservedly.
「EH? No, that is………….」
Flora’s eyes opened wide due to her astonishment when she heard such a sudden proposal. She could neither guess the reason behind Donner’s sudden offer to help her nor what his plan was . She was completely in the dark.
「What do you think? 」
Meanwhile, unaware of her plight, Donner who thought that it was an amazing plan, pressed her to decide immediately.
「But then, I’m going to cause trouble for you, Donner-san………」
Shaking her head, Flora tried to reject Donner’s offer with a troubled face. Perhaps she felt that everything had been going too well up till now, she couldn’t help but to hesitate. Or perhaps she was afraid that she’d became a burden for him. But before she voiced out her doubt――,
「You’re not troubling me at all! 」
Donner replied with a firm tone.
「UUhm, is there anyone else in this house? 」
「Ah, no, there’s no one else for now. But, the village chief might come back soon if we don’t move out immediately. When that happens, there might not be another chance for you to leave. That’s why if you want to leave, we have to leave now.」
「…………. I can’t. I can’t move due to this illness of mine.」
Flora shook her head, as sorrow filled her face.
「A-Are you sure? They’re going to take you to the local lord you know? 」
Donner asked as impatience filled his very being.
「……Yes. I can’t stop now」
Flora nodded at him. Hearing her, Donner showed an impatient face――,
「O……….. Ouch? 」
He approached Flora and grabbed her arm from above the sleeve. Donner’s sudden action caused Flora to stare at him with astonishment before her face warped in pain.
Donner who was paying attention to her looked extremely worried, especially as Flora’s face was warped in pain. Then a fragile voice rang,
「U-Uhm………….. Please release my arm. It hurts!」
Flora asked Donner to release her with a slightly frightened look on her face.
「Eh, no, it’s just that…………….. Let’s move! 」
Donner released Flora’s arm in panic and told her to go with him. But――,
「…………… My apologies. I can’t go.」
Flora suddenly shook her head in denial, rejecting his offer with an apologetic expression.
When he heard Flora’s rejection, Donner’s expression was as if the world was crashing around him. After a while, he stood lifelessly, with indescribable emotion within his heart.
「………… My deepest gratitude for telling me about this piece of information. But, please go back for now.」
While Donner was standing there motionlessly, Flora spoke up and told him to leave, trying to not feel awkward when she spoke.
「…………. Then, excuse me! 」
Hearing the implicit request for him to leave, Donner’s body twitched, looking as if he was about to bow. However, he suddenly stopped moving――,
「………. Sorry. I’m not feeling very well. And in fact, isn’t it about time for you to return to work? 」
Flora politely said with a frown on her face and it was obvious from the frown she had that she was enduring her pain.
Donner’s body trembled, but maybe because he understood Flora’s intention, he turned around as if running away and left the room. Silence once again descended into the room.
「…………… Sorry, Donner-san. Even so, thank you very much. I don’t know why you told me about such things, but………….」
Flora spoke her apology and gratitude out loud at the empty room, without letting Donner, who had already left the room, to hear. A while later――,
She removed the sheet placed on her and tried to leave the bed. But, a sharp pain suddenly ran across her entire body causing her face to warp in pain.
（I-If I don’t do something……….. And something were to happen…………）
Flora started to think about what she had to do from now on with her head that was only half functioning.
◇ ◇ ◇
Around one hour later.
Will, Donner and the other young men of the village were doing their daily work in silence.
In contrast to the seemingly annoyed Will, Donner seemed to be listless as he did his work. The other men looked at those two without speaking a word as they could feel the delicate atmosphere between them. At that time――,
「AH, isn’t that the village chief. He looks like he is in a panic………………」
The face of one of the youths changed when he saw the fast approaching village chief.
「OI WILL! 」
The village chief who was out of breath called out to Will.
「What’s matter, pops? For you to be so flustered like that.」
Will asked, curious.―,
「……………. Flora-sama is gone. Do you know where she might have gone to? 」
The village chief questioned with a pale face.