*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
The opportunity to rescue a princess is a great honour for a knight, for not only can he marry a beautiful (and rich) princess, he can also gain increased recognition.
But rescuing someone else's princess is a great misfortune for a knight, for not only does he has to risk his life to rescue the beautiful (and rich) princess, he also has to stand by and watch as the beautiful (and rich) princess marries someone else. Besides, the Sun Knight is already very well-known in the lands; he does not need to increase his fame at all.
That night after the Queen had asked me to rescue her daughter-someone else's princess, Leaf asked me worriedly, "Sun, are you going to refuse the Queen's request?"
I took a deep breath and prepared myself to spew out a whole load of crap about the God of Light, when Leaf smiled wryly and said, "Sun, could you please simplify your words? I'm still not as good as Storm and Adair are at interpreting your meaning and might not understand everything you say."
I silently sighed in relief and said simply, "There's something fishy about the whole thing. Even though her daughter is missing, the Queen had not immediately sent out her men in search for her, and instead she asked us to form a group to rescue her? This method doesn't seem very effective, and it doesn't seem like something a mother worried for her daughter's safety would do."
Leaf nodded at my words.
"Furthermore, even if she insists on forming a rescue party, there are plenty of warriors from the Church of War to choose from, and even the Son of War-whom even Judge claimed that he might not win against-alone should be more than enough to rescue the princess, so why would we have to join in the party? We are knights who specialise in group battles; our talents would be useless in a small rescue party!"
'And regarding the Son of War's comment about needing a healing priest…… I'll just ignore that!'
Leaf thought about it and offered hesitantly, "Could it be that they are going to go against undead creatures?"
At that, I stopped and frowned. Dealing with the undead? That is possible. Although undead creatures' weakness are fairly obvious-they fear holy light-most warriors cannot cast holy light and the only way they can deal with them is to cut up the undead into small tiny pieces. That is why even the bravest and strongest of warriors would get a headache at the thought of dealing with the undead.
"I do not know," I answered uncertainly.
Leaf then said rather hesitantly, "If they are dealing with the undead then don't we have a responsibility to join in the rescue mission and help them?"
I frowned at that and asked another question, "Of the other holy knights that we brought along, who is the strongest? Other than the two of us."
Leaf thought about it carefully before listing them out, "We brought a total of 33 holy knights, and among them the stronger ones are the two knights from the Leaf Knight Division, the two knights from the Blaze Knight Division, there's one from the Judge Knight Division, and another from the earth Knight Division……"
"Alright!" I decided. "We'll send the Earth Division Knight and a priest on the rescue mission in our stead!"
Just then, there was a knocking on our door. I glanced at the door and said blithely, "It's most probably the Queen sending someone to convince us to go. Leaf, do not say a word."
Leaf was a nice guy and no matter what others asked from him he would always agree, so the best thing to do would be to tell him to shut up. Leaf himself knew this very well and so he dutifully kept quiet.
I smoothed out the creases in my clothes and pasted on my signature smile before calling out, "Although this Sun knows not which brother stands outside our door, this Sun invites our brother to enter and share with us the love of the God of Light."
The door opened, and in walked someone. My eyes immediately brightened at the sight of our guest, for this person was no brother, but a lovely girl in a pale blue gown; she had round rosy cheeks, lovely green eyes that sparkled like emeralds under the sun and pink pouty lips. Even though she looked to be only eighteen years of age, she had a beautiful hourglass figure with a tiny waist……
All in all, even though the girl cannot be said to be breathtakingly beautiful, she definitely still qualified as a beauty; a young and innocent beauty!
The girl shyly spoke up in a soft voice, "How do you do, Sun Knight, Leaf Knight? I am Moon Orchid's third princess, Ann Alecia Janiyah……"
Ann…… what a simple and easy name to remember!
"Good evening, Princess Ann. The God of Light's representative, the Sun Knight, at your service," I introduced myself with a flawless smile before turning to introduce Leaf, "This is my brother, Leaf Knight, one of the Church of Light's Twelve Holy Knights."
Leaf gave a small smile to the princess and bowed.
"Sun Knight, Leaf Knight," Princess Ann nodded gracefully to each of us. Then, after all the introductions were out of the way, she suddenly grabbed my arm in a shocking move as she pleaded, "Please, you have to help rescue my sister, Alice!"
I was stunned and 'forgot' to shake the Princess's hand off as I exclaimed, "This Sun does not understand? Is the Princess Alice in any danger?"
"My sister Alice is the Son of War's betrothed, she-she'd been kidnapped by someone, and we don't know where she is……"
Ann then seemed to realise her inappropriate actions and quickly released my arm, stepping back a few steps. With her head bowed, she cried heartbrokenly, "I'm very worried about her safety, so I had asked my mother to allow me to join the rescue party, but……"
"But-what?" I asked, slyly taking the opportunity to step closer as if in concern.
Ann didn't seem to suspect a thing as she said, "But my mother declared that it would be improper for a princess to travel in the company of a group of male warriors. If I insisted on going I must have a knight accompanying me. That was why my mother had asked for you to join in the party, but-but it seems like you are unwilling……"
At this, Ann paused and looked up at me with tears still in her eyes, her shining pools of green filled with hope.
I smiled gently and answered her, "It was nothing like that, Your Highness. It is the duty of a knight to protect a fair maiden, so fear not for as long as the God of Light still shines on this land, this Sun will protect you wherever you may go."
"Then, I'll go and inform my mother right away!" Ann said with a smile. Due to her over bubbling excitement, she nearly tripped on her skirts as she skipped out the room. But before she left, she turned and smiled at me shyly.
"I am looking forward to travelling with you, Sun Knight."
I smiled and simply waved a hand at her. 'I'm looking forward to it too, my dear Princess Ann!'
After the Princess had gently closed the door, I turned back to see Leaf watching me. I stared back at him. We had been staring at each other for ten seconds or so when Leaf gave up and quietly turned to pack his things.
What an obedient and understanding boy.
And that was how I came to tramping about in this mosquito infested countryside…… Smack!
Luckily I had yet to change my gloves for a clean one…… I opened my hand flat and, with my other hand, flicked the new mosquito corpse away.
Leaf looked a little worried as he asked, "Sun, Michael and the rest have yet to return, should we go and look for them?"
I frowned at that. To be honest I was kinda lazy, but I was worried that they might have stumbled upon some problem, so after thinking about it I decided to just use my mage sight to check on them…… what? You've forgotten what mage sight is?
Alright, it has been a long time since I've last used it, so I'll explain it once more. Listen carefully as I'm not going to explain it a third time.
This world is filled with all sorts of aura elements. Be they a forest, a city, a person, or even an undead, all of them have aura elements within them. Now normally, a single item would have a mix of all kinds of elements, and only in special circumstances would a single thing have a dominating element.
For example, the 'dark' aura in undead creatures is extremely strong. Conversely, I, the Sun Knight, have a very strong 'holy' aura, also called 'light' aura, within me. Because holy aura is the counterbalance of dark aura, I am the undead's natural enemy. To them, every part of me from my hair down to even my toenails is deadly.
I was born with the natural ability to sense these aura elements, and it is called mage sight. It is extremely rare and is something that one is born with. You could try to learn the skill but you would never be as good at sensing auras as those born with it. This mage sight allows me to sense what elements are within someone else, and from those elements I can determine what they are or what they do. For example, those with very strong light aura are either Light priests or holy knights.
Warriors tend to have stronger fire and wind elements, but only by a little. Compared to mages who specialise in fire spells or wind spells, the fire and wind elements in warriors are very low, so they are still pretty easy to tell apart.
Warriors who focus more on strength usually have stronger fire elements, while those that favour speed and agility would have greater amounts of wind elements. The Son of War is impressive, for both his fire and wind elements are extremely strong, almost equal to that of a mage…… Huh? You finally remember about this ability? And you also recall my teacher warning me not to use it in front of others?
Ahem! There's only Leaf here right now, and he's a nice guy so it shouldn't matter!
So as I extended my senses outwards……
"Ah! They're back," Leaf cried out to me.
Although I couldn't see anyone coming, Leaf is an archer and so his eyesight and hearing are far better than a normal person's. If he said they were coming back then it must be true.
I was about to recall my mage sight when I accidently sensed something with a dark aura not too far away.
Could it be an undead? I was a little torn about it, for if it really
was an undead creature then as the Sun Knight who absolutely loathes the undead, I would have to chase after and get rid of them…… Hold on. There's something beside the spot of dark aura, something with… light aura?
What is going on there? Typically these two opposing auras can never be found together…… I was even more puzzled now.
"Sun, Sun?" Leaf called out to me as he looked in the direction I was staring at. He then asked, puzzled, "Why do you keep looking behind? Is there something behind us?"
I was silent for a while before I smiled faintly and said, "My brother Leaf, through our historical records the God of Light would often counsel us to watch behind us, where there might be dark corners which may need us to brighten."
This time it was Leaf's turn to be silent. I think he probably can't work out what my words meant, for even I did not know.
It was just that I had finally heard the rest of the party nearing us and had to switch back to Sun Knight-speak, praising the God of Light in every sentence I utter as in accordance with what 'the whole continent knows' of a Sun Knight.
As for the dark aura's presence…… Well, my teacher had drilled into me not to use my mage sight in front of others. Since I cannot use it, I couldn't have known about the dark aura behind us, right? And since I don't know about them I can't very well chase after them and investigate, now can I?
"Michael, Princess Ann, Alston, you're back…… Ah?" Leaf gave up on deciphering the meaning to my words and turned to greeting the returning party warmly.
I jumped in shock and turned to see what had happened, only to see the body of some dead animal. The body was as big as a human being, and there were clouds of dust flying all around the body. Looks like it was thrown onto the ground with great strength.
"Hahaha! And here I thought you had no other expressions other than your smiles; so Sun Knights can also be shocked?" A female warrior came out from behind a row of bushes and stepped into the clearing, laughing loudly. Her every action was filled with youth and energy; I'm not sure if it was due to her previous exertion or her laughing too hard, but her cheeks were glowing an adorable red…… Ann looked so cute!
That's right. This girl dressed in full body armour and carrying two axes on her back, with an alarmingly high amount of fire element in her, is the little beauty I had mentioned previously, Princess Ann.
I smiled faintly, not at all upset at her words. I'm pretty sure that even if I had looked shocked, I looked elegantly shocked, so there was no harm done to my Sun Knight image.
After all, no one said that the Sun Knight isn't shocked by anything.
Seeing my calm response, Ann muttered something lowly, probably something about how dull I am. She then turned to Leaf and grumbled in irritation. "Aimer, didn't I tell you to just call me Ann? You call Michael by his name, so why won't you call me by mine?"
"Actually, my name is Elmairy, but whatever, at least it's better than elderberry," said Leaf, sneaking a glance at me. "Alright, I'll just call you Ann from now on if you insist."
Actually, with the Son of War and the Princess's high status, addressing them directly by their name would have been rather inappropriate, but as I had said, Leaf can never refuse anyone's request. Even when I had changed his name to 'Elderberry' and had called him so for three years, he had still responded to me.
Just then, Leaf cried out in alarm. "Alston, you're injured!"
The Son of War, Michael, and his warrior priest had come out from the bushes. The older of the two, the warrior priest, Alston, had half his right sleeve gone, and there were spatters of blood all over his arm and sleeve.
"Let me heal you!" Leaf offered kindly, stepping closer and throwing out an elementary level healing spell at the arm.
I smiled gently as I pointed out, "Brother Leaf, this Sun believes that the God of Light's radiance my brother had shared would not be enough, or else brother Alston could have recovered with the blessings from the War God before this."
After going through that inside his head carefully, Leaf immediately realised his error. "Ah… you're right. If an elementary spell was enough, Alston could have done it himself instead of waiting until now."
He turned back to Alston and said worriedly, "Alston, is your injury very deep? Is your bone fractured or broken? If it's only a fracture an intermediate level healing spell should do it, but if it's broken you'll need Sun to cast an advanced spell."
Alston shook his head and said apologetically, "I'm sure it's broken. It's all my fault, I'm afraid. I had seen some rare herbs and got left behind. When I got attacked by that animal, Michael and Ann weren't able to reach me in time as I was too far away from them. "
It's broken…… Hmph! If I had known earlier I wouldn't have spoken up to remind Leaf. But then again, even if I hadn't spoken up the job would probably still have fallen to me, as Leaf has difficulties with the more advanced healing spells.
But it's difficult for me too! I have to chant a whole long slew of incantation spells.
Huh? Why can't warrior priests cast healing spells themselves?
I, too, wanted to tell him to heal himself, but unfortunately warrior priests aren't very good at healing spells. Their healing ability is considered to be even worse than holy knights. I am obviously referring to ordinary holy knights, not knights like me. If you were to compare them to holy knights like me, even the Bright Light Priests would be worse than 'holy knights'.
This difference in ability has to do with our different religions. Healing spells are one of the Divine Spells belonging to the category of Light elements, and priests and holy knights who believe in the God of Light are filled with 'light'. They would obviously have an easier time casting healing spells compared to those of other religions.
But other than their different Gods, their main specialisations play a role in it too. As the God of War favours the strong and brave, so warrior priests tend to specialise in the Divine Spells mainly to do with increasing the strength and skills of warriors. The spells I had used previously-Divine Wings and Holy Blessings-belong to that category of spells.
As I was explaining all this to you however, I had been busy reciting a long list of nonsense praising the God of Light: "……bathe Her people in the God of Light's love, warmth and care, and steering Her people away from grief and sorrow. O' God of Light! It is now, that one of your beloved children is in need of you. Please shower your love down onto this land and bless your child with absolute healing!"
A white glow surrounded Alston's arm and then left as quickly as it came.
"It's completely healed!" said Alston with a look of wonder on his face as he turned his arm about this way and that. "Thank you very much, Sun Knight."
Just then, Michael gave a cold snort. "The Sun Knight is famed for his strong healing abilities, yet I see that he has to go through so much trouble just to cast an Absolute Healing, with so much mumbo jumbo. Guess you aren't as strong as they claim you to be!"
I didn't react to his mocking, maintaining my smile all the while. The earlier reciting of the 'mumbo jumbo' was already annoying enough, now I'm even mocked for it?! I don't want to speak any more!
Leaf smiled wryly at that.
Ann then grinned cheerfully and said, "With the Son of War, me, the Church of War's most powerful and young priest, two of the Twelve Holy Knights-one an archer and the other a holy priest…… Oh wow! We might even be strong enough to take on a dragon!"
'I'm a holy knight!!'
Leaf smiled hesitantly at this and said, "This-… um… Ann, you haven't forgotten that we are here to rescue the Princess Alice, have you? Weren't you very worried about your sister?"
Ann started at that and said hastily, "Of course I'm worried about my sister, I was just joking around. You're too stiff, Aimer."
"Ah, I see. I'm sorry for that," said Leaf, scratching at his head while smiling sillyly.
I frowned at their exchange. Last night Ann had looked extremely worried about her sister, yet today she seemed to have changed completely. What is going on here?
"Alright, we'd best be moving along. We have to make it to the lake by tomorrow night," said Alston. The others all merely nodded. As the oldest among us, Alston gave off an air of leadership and maturity. He didn't really look all that old-probably only around his thirties-but amongst this group of youngsters-only in their twenties, he who had ten years on us was definitely qualified to be our elder.
As we were now behind schedule, Michael and Alston decided that we would not sleep tonight and will instead continue on our journey through the night.
'W-wait a minute! Continue on through the night?!' My face screwed up at that.
After seeing my expression, Leaf hurriedly spoke up, "Perhaps we should sleep for a while? We would be better off rested and refreshed than tired and worn out."
"It'll take too long to set up camp and we're already far behind schedule," said Michael impatiently. "It's only two days; it shouldn't be a problem for us."
"But there's still Ann and Alston," said Leaf after some thinking. "They're a woman and priest respectively. I'm afraid that they won't have the stamina or endurance to last two whole days."
At that, Ann scowled heavily while Michael gave a snort at Leaf's ignorant and foolish thinking. "So what if she's a woman? Ann is one of our best warriors in the Church; her stamina and endurance is definitely not weaker than yours, or did you think I would actually bring along a burden to slow me down?"
Alston, too, smiled gently and said, "Elmairy, you need not worry about this priest. I normally train myself physically every day, so two days will not be a problem for me."
"Er……" Leaf gave me a few glances before finally giving in to them, because he's a nice guy and would never trouble others. That's just how he is.
And as for me, I couldn't speak up to disagree. How can I, a knight, open my mouth and protest that I cannot take it, and that I do not wish to hurry on for two days continuously, if even the woman and priest had agreed?
So with the majority agreeing and the minority unable to protest, we began our long and arduous journey. Even though we weren't running full out, everyone's legs seemed to be longer than normal; every stride they took was one and a half times wider than a normal person's; and their pace was faster than normal; so all in all we were really travelling at the same speed of a normal person running.
This is killing me! Even though I was only wearing light body armour, light armour would still weigh at least some ten kilograms! And don't forget my travelling gear.
We ran from morning all the way into the afternoon, stopped for a quick lunch of bread and beef jerky, took a few gasping breaths, and then continued on for the rest of the afternoon. After eating something for dinner and giving some time for the food to settle in our stomachs, we then started running on again…… After running a whole day, my clothes were soaked in my sweat, and then blown dry by the wind, only to be soaked once more. Rinse and repeat. It felt like I had sweated enough for a whole year!
By now I was lagging far behind the group. Leaf slowed down to fall back to me. He looked rather worried as he asked me in a low voice, "Are you alright, Sun?"
I was gasping and wheezing, my lungs working laboriously to supply my body with sufficient air. There was not a single part of my body that didn't ache; I even ached in places I didn't know I had!
I somehow managed to gasp a "No."
At my answer, Leaf looked at me closely before giving a sigh and offering, "I'll carry you, then. You can take a rest on my back and continue running later."
"Leaf……" I clasped his hands with the utmost gratitude, saying "Even though night has fallen and the God of Light cannot bear witness, this Sun still swears that you are a great guy!"
Leaf gave a wry smile and squatted in front of me, turning my comfy bed…… I mean his back to me and said, "Get on."
Fearing he would change his mind, I quickly clambered on and tried to get into a comfortable position. This was not easy, as Leaf was rather bony and nowhere near as comfortable as my own bed.
Leaf then stood up and continued on, picking up the pace to rejoin with the rest of the group. This further jarred me uncomfortably, but I dared not complain for fear of angering such a nice guy, so I just kept my mouth shut.
When Leaf finally caught up with the group, the other three turned to look at him. Their reactions at the sight of us were identical. First came surprise, then shocked disbelief, followed by looks of contempt (me) and sympathy (Leaf).
"He……" Ann started to say.
In a move atypical of him, Leaf interrupted the other three people's questions, saying only, "Let's hurry on or we will have hurried all night for nothing."
The others fell silent at that, giving me numerous scornful looks.
I felt a little embarrassed to being carried while everyone else would be running, but I would rather die of embarrassment than to get down and die from exhaustion from running!
Besides, it's not like anyone said that the Sun Knight would be good at running, nor did anyone say that the Sun Knight may not be carried by anyone.
"Fine, let's go then," Michael finally said. He then sneered coldly, "But you better keep up with us. If you can't continue on, no one's going to help you carry 'that thing'."
Looks like Michael doesn't believe that Leaf can carry me while running for a whole day. But here he's wrong. It is true that them warriors are very strong, but when it comes to stamina and endurance no other job can compete with a holy knight!
What? What about me?
Ahem! Holy Knights are also divided into several different categories, and it just so happens that I belong to the category with weaker endurance. But! When it comes to one's endurance in radiating holy light no one can compete with me! Not even that old geezer can release as much and as long as I can…… And don't you dare call me a priest!
I'm a holy knight!!
So in short, what followed after was just boring old running. I don't think you guys want to listen about this part, do you? Well, if you do want to hear it, I can't tell you about it anyway, as I was asleep for the following 24 hours.
By the time I had woken up, we had already arrived at a lake and were beginning to set up camp beside it.