Feel free to join our discord: https://discord.gg/e4BJxX6
Silent Turmoil of the Kingdom
1 – Knight leader’s depression and the Duke Family’s Plot
I’ve bounded Beatrice to a contract, so I now have the ex-Stollen family mansion in my possession. I didn’t try to leave, so the real estate agent plainly said “If it is to your liking, then that’s wonderful.”
And so, after the [Masked Saviors] made their debut, rumors about them began spreading. Anyhow, even though they put on masks, the three of them still had the air of irrefutable beauty to them.
Then, that rumor reached the knight leader who was busy with work, Cody’s ears.
“Good grief… So why didn’t you tell me? You’re doing a job that saves people, but for me to be the only one being left out, that really doesn’t bode well with me at all, you know.”
Cody realized that the Tiny Priestess, the Blonde-haired Magician, and the Martial Artist with Explosive Proportions were his friends.
“We’re friends that subjugated the demon lord together. Even though I’ve always visited this bar because I believed that to be true… Dick, are you listening? I’m here seriously complaining to you, you get that?”
“Yeah, I hear you… Also, I’m just a plain old drunkard. Don’t scream my name like that.”
“Ah… Right, my bad. I got all flared up without thinking. But I sure don’t regret it.”
I understood his feelings—though Cody probably knew that. Just like during our demon lord subjugation days, I have always been watching the girls’ actions from the shadows.
“Cody’s the hero who wields the holy sword, so we would’ve gotten found out instantly. It’s your one and only unique fighting style after all.”
“Couldn’t I just use a regular sword instead and joined in? Even if you tell me that I’m a busy guy, I could take some time off if I wanted to, you know.”
“Got it, I’ll ask for your help without feeling reserved when I really need to later.”
“…Well, if you’re the one saying it, I’ll be ready whenever it is. Di… er, You’re honest about these things, so I can trust you.”
Today, Cody didn’t order any ale. Instead, he drank strong alcohol from the get-go. He drank ten-years aged rum mixed with ice. That ice was harvestable in a certain cave in the northern part of the capital, called [Ice Cavern], it was shaved ice from [Ultra-Pure Ice Blocks], which formed from filtered underground water that froze up over time. Just by drinking it, you could gain ice resistance as a bonus.
“…It is somewhat of a rude question, but dear customer is blessed with exceptional physical appearance, so you must be very popular among the girls. Even the noble girls, they should have eagerly awaited your attendance each and every time. So why do you frequent this bar instead?”
Verlane seemed like she had been curious about it for a while, and inquired him right after a critical moment passed.
Cody stared at the glass filled with ice with his brown eyes while the ice made a shaking sound. However, he suddenly burst into laughter and replied:
“I don’t have that many friends; I have no other way to relax other than visiting an old friend like this.”
“However, in the knight order… Rather, in your place of work, I have been informed that you are yearned for by your colleagues and subordinates.”
“Nobody sees me as an equal; rather, there is nobody who sees me as someone of equal status in my workplace. It’s because I gained my current position using a unique method. My subordinates, they don’t see me as a person, I’m not joking when I say they view me as something like a deity, so I can’t really show them much of my human side.”
“…You sure have it rough in a lot of ways. Well, drink up. You gotta pull off on the drinks when you get home.”
“Nah, I just kind of feel like if I don’t get drunk, I won’t be able to sleep tonight. And also, when I need to inspect liquor, I’ll have to try it, right?”
Even among men there were some people who didn’t want to see each other’s bodies sometimes, and Cody was considered one of them.
“Why are you holding back? If you want to avoid a hangover, with the help of the magic of that customer over there, it will be fine.”
“I know how much I can drink before I get a hangover. Another glass is my limit, though”
Cody laughed refreshingly, then drank down the rum, and ordered another serving. It’s true that I have never seen him go on a drinking frenzy, so I could say he was telling the truth about his drinking limit.
After finishing this one cup, it would be just about time for the store to close.
And when I was about to do my last order, the doorbell rang, and a customer wearing an overcoat entered.
Within the hustle and bustle of the bar that was drawing closer to its closing time, my and Verlane’s switches were flipped. The customer that came in, they had an indigo-blue colored overcoat, matching the day, which was Wednesday.
The woman had strong-willed eyes, she seemed to be a woman of an extremely strong will—while she walked towards the counter, she glared at Verlane and then spoke.
“…Bring out [Milk]. If there’s none, [Something that I can only drink he…]”
“Dear customer, please excuse me, however, this place is a gathering of gentlemen and ladies.”
“…So the customer’s order is something already set in stone, this guild is… I want [Milk]. If that is not possible, I will order [Something that I can only drink here, your recommended liquor].”
She was annoyed—no, she was being impatient. Even though she was quite the looker, her impression was ruined by her aggressive attitude. I thought it was a waste, but now wasn’t the place to bother with that. The request that she brought to this bar, it was most likely not a regular job.
This was purely from my intuition built upon my experience, but I had a feeling that even compared to the other requests brought to this guild before, this would be an exceptionally unique request.
“I understand, is [This store’s special blend] fine?”
“Please do so. [An original, just for me]. So… Is this enough?”
“Indeed. You have been recognized as an important customer to this guild.”
She took off her hood, and then sat on the seat two seats beside Cody. Looking at her profile, it seemed like Cody noticed something.
In order to not be heard by her, Cody took the rum, which was placed on the drink coaster, in his hands and started writing letters using the water droplets on the glass. Although he was the Kingdom’s Strongest Knight, he had slender fingers, but he jotted down “She is a noble’s attendant.”
“I’ve heard that this guild accepts any kind of requests. I believe it is impossible, however, I want to ask you even while being aware of that fact… With my power, the situation will not even budge. Even though it was not fine to leave things as they are…”
“Well, calm down. You seem to be in quite a hurry.”
Though it was still in an early stage, I called out to the customer—and then, I communicated with Verlane through eyes alone, and put an order.
Cody read the mood, and slightly separated from the counter.
The drink I ordered, I slid it in front of the client while it was still on top of the drink coaster.
“…What are you trying to do?”
“It’s to honor your first visit in this bar. Let me treat you, since I’m a regular here.”
“Hmph… Lowly drunkard. Possessing such a young body and yet drinking until this late, such a deplorable state.”
“Dear customer, this is the last order. If you wish to continue our conversation after our bar’s closing hours, then if you were to go without a drink, my heart would be in pain…”
The customer this time around wouldn’t accept a stranger’s treat, such was the atmosphere that I couldn’t declare in words, after sending a sharp look towards me, Sigh, she shrugged her shoulders. Somehow, it seemed like she was used to going along with someone’s act.
Well, I more or less didn’t mind even if she didn’t like my personality—because just from listening to their conversation, it would be great if she could calm down for a bit.
“These are… apricots, huh. To think that there would be fresh fruits here in a bar on the twelfth street.”
The drink that was offered to her this time around was one that had the effect of calming down one’s nerves mixed in.
First, [Enriched Apricots]. When a stressed woman in a clan that inhabited the wetlands at the eastern part of the capital ate it, her stress subsided, and she became as kind as a caring mother, the fruit that had such power—it’s precious, but this was the perfect situation to use it. The drink also had the fruit’s extract put into it with high efficacy.
And with that, 100% purity [Maiden Palm Fruit] juice was equally mixed in. as for the results—that was something to look forward to after she drank it.
“…Hn… It’s much more sour than I thought. And yet it went down my throat so smoothly, and felt like it permeated into my body, this feeling is…”
“How are you feeling?”
To Verlane’s question, she didn’t answer; after staring at the glass for a while, she seemed embarrassed, and even while her cheeks reddened, she quickly drank the remainder in one go.
And then after a while, her sharp, slanted eyes gradually relaxed. I had confirmed the fruit having an instant effect a few times before.
“…All my previously impolite remarks, please let me take them all back. I want your guild to listen to my problem no matter what… It isn’t a problem that can be solved by just any big guild. If we let it continue like this, even if it was by some kind of mistake, this kingdom will fall into a crisis.”
Looking at her tone suddenly becoming polite, Cody’s eyes were wide in surprise. Then he faced my way, but I pretended to be unaware of it and shakily drank the ale.
“Please, may I ask you to obstruct a certain person’s scheme? In order to save this kingdom, I wish to borrow your strength.”
“…Er, that certain person is? If you do not wish to speak their name, then…”
The female client wrote a name on an order sheet that Verlane presented, and only showed it to Verlane.
After Verlane saw it, without letting her surroundings perceive it, she moved her lips ever so slightly. However I was able to discern her subtle lip movements.
The name of that person was [Xevious Winsburg].
The one whom First Princess Manarina proposed a duel to in order to tear up their engagement, Jean Winsburg—Xevious was his father. That name, I didn’t even begin to imagine that I would hear of it again in this way.
2 – The Troubled Attendant and the Unwavering Guild
After the bar’s business hours ended, the female client stayed in the bar silently while the other customers left, and brought another glass of [Enriched Apricot with Maiden Palm mix] to her mouth. And so, her feelings became completely calm, she was hardly recognizable with how much the air around her changed.
“It may be a bit late, but my name is Kirsch Auguste. I would like to compensate you for my rude behavior from earlier.”
The woman who named herself Kirsch carried an estoc1 on her waist. She seemed to have trained herself in martial arts; however, judging from her appearance, her adventurer’s strength was barely just above 3,000. Her ability was comparable to a B-ranked adventurer.
Considering the average ability of a noble family’s guards, she could be said to be on the higher end of the spectrum. For a B-rank who had the strength to feed themselves, instead of choosing a way of life that tied them down to serve a certain family, I believed they would rather choose to live independently.
“Please excuse me for visiting you so close to your closing hours.”
“There is no need for that, you have a job during the day, so I suppose you must have had a hard time leaving your post.”
“…Yes. As you’ve guessed, I am a servant of the Duke of Winsburg’s family… normally, a betrayal is something that goes against my devotion. However, this particular matter is…”
The bar already closed, so Cody and I retreated to the kitchen and listened in to their conversation.
“Are you sure? You have work tomorrow, right? This is my guild’s problem, so you don’t need to bother with it.”
“If a Duke is plotting something, then there should be something that a knight leader like me could do. It’s fine, I believe in your plans, so feel free to use me as conveniently as your arm and legs.”
“The strongest pawns don’t get to move if it all goes well, though.”
At my joke, Cody laughed as if he was having fun, while bringing the glass that still had some rum left in it to his mouth, he strained his ears in order to listen to the Verlane and the client’s conversation.
“So… What kind of plot does Xevious Winsburg have in mind?”
“Xevious-sama passed down his position as the head of the family to his son, Jean Winsburg. But in reality, he still held the top spot in the family, and continued to act for a certain goal… That was what I found out.”
I could only hear Kirsch’s voice, her face wasn’t visible, but her extraordinary nervousness was properly transmitted. Even so, I am once again astonished by Cody’s imbalanced way of squatting even though his face still looked refreshing.
“The Duke of Winsburg’s family that watched over the western border of our kingdom, they joined hands with the republic of Berbechia, and planned to overthrow our kingdom.”
“…In short, he plans to start a rebellion. Is that correct?”
“Yes… I’m prepared for you to think that what I’m saying is nonsensical. However, I have proof. When the duke made illegal ties with Berbechia, a secret messenger brought a letter. The messenger was, by chance, attacked by a thief, and the letter was stolen.”
Was it a disaster, or was it a blessing? From the viewpoint of wanting to see Albein Kingdom staying peaceful, it was definitely the latter. Going into war with a neighboring kingdom was definitely worthy of being a crisis.
“The thieves, who saw that letter, they blackmailed Duke Winsburg… Correct?”
“It is as you say. But that letter was written down in the Winsburg Family’s cipher, so the thieves tortured the secret messenger, and he spilled the deal between the Winsburg family and Berbechia. I was given an order by Duke Winsburg and mobilized a force to the location of the deal… However…”
From the fact that he mobilized a force, I understood that he never intended to let the thieves go. I didn’t want to be an incredulous guy, but it wasn’t a story that could possibly have a happy ending no matter how you heard it.
“You were told to not let the thieves leave. Or rather, you were ordered to murder them all.”
“…The first page of the decree only declared to retrieve the letter from the thieves. However, the second page which was to be opened right before arriving at the location of the deal… It said to kill the thieves…”
“Did you obey that order?”
To that question, Kirsch couldn’t give an instant reply. Nevertheless, she replied in a shaky voice.
“Blackmailing is not a forgivable deed. We went into combat with the thieves, but we couldn’t kill them all. I used my [Clairvoyance] ability to see the contents of the letter, without tearing off the seal. With full knowledge that it wasn’t allowed.”
Clairvoyance—the ability that allows the user to see through something thin such as paper. It was an ability that one could learn at the thieves’ guild, if one wanted to.
But unlike the adventurers’ guild, just by learning a skill from the thieves’ guild was something punishable. Even so, Kirsch served Winsburg. To that end, she was given dirty work, such as completely eliminating the thieves who blackmailed the duke.
The thieves were rightfully punished, but sending a secret messenger in order to get into contact with a neighboring country was not something that could be overlooked. Kirsch knew full well the danger that could befall her, but she still wished to preserve justice.
“Does the Republic of Berbechia wish to take over this kingdom? Since they’re getting in touch with a duke family.”
“…Yes. The reason Jean-sama rushed his marriage with Princess Manarina was to bear a descendant of royal blood, in order to justifiably claim the king’s position.”
With Berbechia’s help, they intended to usurp the throne. Jean Winsburg thought that far ahead, and pushed his marriage with Manarina.
“If not for the break-up, then Berbechia would have most likely invaded already,” I thought. It definitely didn’t give me a good feeling. Humans, be it back then or now, were definitely more terrifying than magic beasts.
“…Dick. It’s been quite a while since the last time I’ve seen you make that face.”
“The alcohol circulated somewhere strange, so I feel like going on a frenzy.”
“I also feel the same. It’s been a while since the last time my blood boiled. Seems like by going to your place, I can keep feeling the same sensation from my hero days.”
“Is that so… I may just rely on you this time around, Cody.”
“So you’re saying that you might not rely on me, huh. Then, I’ll just wait with my fingers crossed.”
“Sorry. You’re definitely my last resort, I guess you can consider it that way. Which means you’re not something for me to use on a whim like that.”
Cody’s glass was empty, but he didn’t want to drink any more alcohol. If he didn’t want me to use magic to cure his hangover, then I should give him something else to drink. [Enriched Apricots] also had quite an effect on males, it promised a good night’s sleep for that day.
“…This, isn’t this something that girls drink?”
“Doesn’t matter, the effect stays the same. It’s especially effective for girls, but it is also quite effective on boys. I’ve tried it myself after all.”
“Then that’s reassuring. If we get Mylarka and the others to drink this… nah, it wouldn’t bode well with me if they’re too calm.”
I mixed Enriched Apricots with carbonated water, and passed it to Cody. It seemed to match his tastes—the moment I thought that, Verlane and Kirsch’s conversation was about to reach its most interesting phase.
“To sum it up, the letter that Kirsch-sama looked through, it was to inform Berbechia of the failed marriage with the princess, correct?”
“Yes. Based on Xevious-sama’s letter, Berbechia has already begun preparations to invade this country in secret. In the plains at the south side of the border between our country and Berbechia, there are ramparts and a fort set up, they prevent intruders from entering. However, there is a steep mountain range on the north side, which they considered a natural bulwark, so they aren’t too cautious there.”
“…In order to let an army cross that mountain range, he planned to inform Berbechia of the secret passage, and invite them in. Certainly if they do that, they will be able to invade, and by the time the Albein-side notices, instantly starting the decisive battle for the capital wasn’t out of the question.”
Because Verlane had experience in war as the demon lord, she immediately realized the crisis of the situation from Kirsch’s explanation.
“The one entrusted with the mountain range’s protection is the Winsburg family… Taking advantage of that position, they plan to let the enemy go through…”
“That is one excessively self-centered way of thinking. Kirsch-sama, thank you for making your way towards this guild. If you were to go to another guild instead, the duke’s family would have caught wind of it, and you may have been arrested.”
“…That is correct. My subordinates kept quiet about letting a few bandits go, but as for how long will they continue to do so… Xevious-sama is someone who is very strict with his subordinates’ failures. If he found out, I may be dismissed, or worse…”
Kirsch, who was speaking courageously, was at a loss for words. It was only natural, since she felt that her life was in danger and reached out for help in here.
“Due to wanting to preserve myself, I betrayed the family that I served, I am aware that I have done something that should never be done. However…”
“If Sir Xevious’s plot were to spring into action, there would be civilian casualties within the capital. Your decision was a noble one. The duke who wishes to betray and backstab the kingdom, [Silver Mug] will by no means forgive them.”
If Kirsch knew of Verlane’s true identity, then she would definitely question Verlane’s justice-filled remarks from just now—because she was a former demon lord, she must have felt righteous indignation2 towards vassals betraying the king.
Verlane told Kirsch to wait, and approached the kitchen we were in. I nodded, and Verlane let out a happy smile, and went back to the front once again.
Whether to accept or reject this request—was nothing to hesitate about.
Letting their troops visit the capital so boorishly would cause quite a problem.
“…Do you finally plan to let me help?”
“Yeah. I’ll share the spirit of the [Masked Saviors] with you. Come by the bar again tomorrow.”
“That’s a promise. As long as you know that, then I’ll be leaving the rest to you. I don’t like the complicated stuff.”
After seeing Cody off from the back door, I paid attention to the conversation until the end. Verlane took out a contract, and was negotiating about the rewards with Kirsch.
“Considering the contents of the request, it is a bit troublesome to decide on the reward, but… Regarding that, let us estimate the profits that you can bring to our guild. The reason this guild exists, it is all because the king has given us his seal of approval. If we were to fail in protecting the king, we will be bereaved of the meaning of our existence.”
“…To be perfectly honest, this isn’t a problem that should be shouldered by a single guild, it should be shouldered by the whole kingdom’s…”
“Our guild’s request success rate, excluding the rare moments when we are unable to comply with the client’s intentions, is a hundred percent. Although it is a shame that we are unable to show anything but our track record to win your trust, let us affirm one thing: We are the only ones capable of achieving this request. So we have enough reason to accept this request. As for binding a contract, it is in order for us to be informed upon completing the requirements.”
To Verlane’s words, Kirsch only listened carefully.
To wonder whether or not our guild could complete this request—or whether there even existed a guild that could complete the request was natural, even though she came here as her last ray of hope, she definitely didn’t actually hold any hope in this guild.
If that was the case, then we just had to show some results. We just needed to solve the problem that Kirsch held, from the shadows, before it even becomes a problem. Just like every other request that came before.
When she spoke about the details of the request, she had such a tense face, as if she was being tied up… However.
“…As long as it’s within my capabilities, I would like to reward you. Though I am aware that no matter how many times I live my life over wouldn’t be enough to compensate you for your troubles.”
“Life is not so cheap. I am not saying that it is more expensive than anything else, though. Personally, if Kirsch-sama wishes to repay us, you just have to hold pride in the decision you’ve made, that is enough.”
Kirsch cried for a while, but wiped her tears with the handkerchief Verlane that gave and raised her face.
Her face that was visible from the kitchen was bright. Although her request wasn’t completed yet, it was irrelevant, she must have cried because she felt a weight off her shoulders.
“Please, I beg of you. Stop the Winsburg Family’s rampage.”
“Certainly, dear customer.”
Kirsch signed the contract. With this, the [Silver Mug] could start working tomorrow. The multiple problems brought up in her story. I put them in sequence and started acting to resolve it.
3 – Magic Academy and the Young Female Professor
I’ve assigned a guard in order to assure Kirsch’s safety. Because secret bodyguard requests were brought in my guild, I had a few specialists. Rieza who excelled in information-gathering was one of them.
Verlane put the contract in the safe at the office on the second floor, then she started taking off her apron right then and there. Although the office also served as her private room, the view in front of me was nothing short of extreme boldness.
“…Mu? I’m just taking off my apron, or maybe master intends to continue watching like this and order me to strip? That is a pretty interesting idea.”
Verlane folded the apron while saying that and put it on the desk, and removed her headdress right after that. Then her cheeks slightly reddened because she noticed my stare.
“…If you’re going to stare at me so much, then does that mean you’ve accepted my love? I’ve noticed, you know, you were in quite a good mood today because you could still drink alcohol.”
“Well it’s not like I use magic to sober up every time after all.”
After, she took off the white apron, so only her dress with a black base remained, even so, it still matched her style. Verlane in her white elf appearance appeared neat and tidy, but that dress would also match her dark elf form.
“But a pretty large-scale request came in, huh. It’s a request that will decide the royal family’s life and death, but to think they would bring it here so simply. It’s all thanks to master’s preparations.”
“The more people find out that this isn’t a normal guild, the more it stands out… Well, when this job’s over I wanna stay low for a bit.”
“I believe the Berbechia forces are mobilizing as we speak, but what do you plan to do about it? If the enemy troops made a move already, then wouldn’t master need to respond with an action that stands out? If I need to act then so be it, but It appears master has come up with a better idea, huh.”
“It’s been a long time since you’ve stopped fighting, so I won’t make you push yourself. Though it’s true that my other option will stand out, but it’s because the enemy for this request is difficult.”
Even without saying their name, Verlane seemed to know who I am talking about and gave a bitter smile.
“That girl, huh… She did whatever she wanted in my kingdom. The lake she made became a sightseeing spot, you know. The terrain she shaped still remains today. How about changing her name to [Walking Calamity]?”
“She doesn’t know how to hold back after all… She said that it was a form of art.”
“Art, huh… I cannot say I hate someone who has such an obsession. If she doesn’t want to lend a hand, just bring her to the bar again. I will treat her to dinner and make her cooperate.”
“Yeah, I’m counting on you. We need to move as fast as possible, so I hope she’ll obediently listen to us.”
The [Walking Calamity] is probably sneezing right about now. While I was having those kinds of thoughts, Verlane saw me off the office room.
The next morning, I let Verlane handle the shop, and I headed for the magic academy in the morning.
I headed towards the magic academy at the northeast side of the capital on a joint carriage. The academy was fairly large, you needed to walk for about five minutes from the front yard to the laboratory building. The students were having a meal outside and practicing magic, it was a view full of liveliness.
At the laboratory building, there was a general reception area with a female receptionist there. If I hid my face, I would be perceived as someone suspicious, so I approached her normally, without hiding anything. There weren’t a lot of people who could immediately recognize me as a member of the Demon Lord Subjugation Team, even if I called myself Dick. But wanting to use a fake name just in case was in my nature.
“Good day, how may I help you?”
The receptionist lady wearing a hat reached out to me. Her uniform emphasized her chest, so my eyes were being pulled towards it—not just Mylarka, but did everyone who was related to the magic academy store all their nutrition in their chest? Her smile was cheery, her face and figure seemed to suggest she was young, but if she worked here then that meant she was older than the eighteen-year-old me.
“I am called Duke Solver. I would like to meet Professor Mylarka from the Offensive Magic Department Class 1.”
“Duke-sama, correct? If you plan to meet Professor Mylarka, then she headed towards the library not too long ago, will you be waiting for her here?”
“No, I will be heading there directly. Thank you for telling me.”
“No problem. Professor Mylarka receives many male guests, so I was asked to turn most of them away.”
“Right… Wait. Then why did you tell me?”
“Today, if a young man with black hair that named himself with a made-up name starting with a D came, I was told it is fine to tell him.”
Not “I want you to tell him,” but “It’s fine to tell him” was something that Mylarka would say. I wonder what she would do if I used a fake name starting with something else other than a D.
“I was informed his voice is lower-pitched than his appearance suggested, I didn’t make a mistake… Right?”
“Well, She’s probably referring to me. Please tell Mylarka, “don’t leak other people’s personal information” next time you meet her.”
“I understand. It will be a secret between me and Professor Mylarka.”
The receptionist smiled sweetly and gave a slight bow. Following that, her large chest area imprinted a lasting impression with its shaking—the nameplate on her chest had “Polon Marcot” written on it.
Entering the Magic Academy’s library, I asked the librarian about Mylarka’s destination, and headed there.
It seemed like Mylarka came here in search of research material for her offensive magic research, I heard she was at the bookshelf around the east side of the library’s second floor.
It was called offensive magic, but there were various types of magic that ranged from borrowing the power of the spirits of the deceased, the power of God, and magic that was drawn out of one’s own magic power to interfere with this world’s principles. My magic was developed by self-studying the magic that other people researched, but fundamentally, it was classified as magic that interfered with this world’s principles.
I went up to the second floor and walked while admiring the amount of books in the library’s bookshelves, and then, I found the figure of the one I was looking for.
Mylarka was gazing at a book on a high shelf. Then, she tried to reach for it, but the book was just barely out of the reach of her fingertips.
“Hng… Jeez, isn’t it too high? Putting it that high up is inefficient.”
I approached her while she didn’t notice me, and after grabbing the book that she seemed to reach for, I passed it to her.
“Is this the one you wanted to grab?”
“Ack… Di-Dick. Since when did you start watching?”
“Since the moment you tried to grab the book. Is this not the one?”
“…W-Well, I won’t say it’s not.”
Mylarka took the book from me, and flipped the book while scanning its contents with her eyes. As I thought, this was the book.”
“I’m not about to turn a blind eye to you saying that you’re taller than me by grabbing the book for me, you know.”
“Then, next time, I’ll bring a stool for you. Or maybe you want to ride on my shoulders?”
“Ugh… D-Don’t get carried away. You should become the stool yourself. I’ll make sure to take off my shoes before stepping on you.”
Mylarka snapped at me with her snappy remarks, but this time around, her tone wasn’t that harsh.
The Magic Academy’s Young Professor—even though she’s called that, she was only 16 years old, so she looked just like a normal student. The receptionist was also the same, but she wore a hat that signified her academic degree within the academy, it kind of matched her.
“…I thought it would be about time for you to come. So did you have something you need my help with?”
“Yeah. I want you to act as the Masked Magician. Wait, don’t say “No” just yet, listen to me for a bit.”
I interrupted her before she could say that. Mylarka combed her hair while still holding the book, and crossed her arms while looking displeased.
“That was an exception because it was for Yuma’s sake. Can you not assume I put on a mask by my own will?”
“I really get that feeling. Mylarka really thinks a lot about her friends after all.”
“E-Even if you flatter me like that it won’t result in anything, you hear? I just thought if Eileen was the only one who accompanied Yuma as her guardian it’d be a bit dangerous, it’s not a big deal.”
“Mylarka’s the most dangerous one, though,” I wanted to say those words but I held them back.
If I could borrow her strength, the first part of the problem would be solved—in an exciting way.
“…You did take the book for me, so I’ll at least consider it for a bit. I still need to gather some research material, so go grab the books for me. If you used enhancement magic, you’d be able to carry at least fifty books, right?”
“I think it’ll be hard to keep my balance, but I guess I’ll try. Mylarka, you’re actually doing something like a normal professor, huh.”
“These books won’t serve as reference material for me, but for my students. Since if I don’t teach them the theory behind it, they won’t be able to use magic… Grab that book with the blue cover. The second book to its left, too.”
Mylarka unreservedly told me to take books one after another. But this was nothing if it means I’ll be able to get her to listen.
Then, after taking around twenty books, right when I thought she would tell me to take another book—Mylarka unexpectedly showed a soft smile.
“I’m glad you came here today. Since it’ll be hard to carry all of that alone. Thanks, Dick.”
“Urk… I-I see. That’s great, then.”
“…? Why’re you making a weird face? Is there something on my face?”
“Looking from a common point of view, there are beautiful eyes, nose, and mouth on your face.”
“You don’t need to say something so obvious. You have ordinary eyes, nose, and mouth on your face.”
First things first, Mylarka thanking me was unexpected—but after collecting research material books together with her for a while, I wonder if it was just my imagination that made her look like she was having fun.
Arriving in Mylarka’s laboratory, I placed the research material books on an empty bookshelf.
“What kind of students attend your seminars, Mylarka?”
“As you’ve already known beforehand, there’s Manarina, and there are also a few other students besides her.”
“Huh… I assumed you taught ten students or so, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.”
“I want to put as much time as possible in my research, after all. Due to the nature of my research, it isn’t allowed in the academy.”
Among the professors of the first offensive magic department, Mylarka was likely regarded as a heretic.
Mylarka’s [Space-Expansion Magic] wasn’t something another human being could pull off. Under normal circumstances, one would need to recite a certain chant, receive the permission of the spirits and gods, and only then would one be able to activate magic; however, her magic had no need for such procedures.
She compiled a magic circle using her own magic power, expanded the space, and directly interfered with the world. The magic’s effective range, in other words, the range that Mylarka could expand a magic circle in, could cover the whole capital.
The type of space that Mylarka could expand upon was endless, and each had a different effect. All of them focused on Destruction and Annihilation, so she could use nothing else but Offensive magic.
Her Adventurer’s Strength when she applied to the Demon Lord Subjugation Party was 102,952. Most of the score was due to her offensive magic. In order to prove her strength, she fired a [Wide Area-form Annihilation #152 – Crushing Vibration Field] towards a faraway cavern that a dangerous magic beast nested in and flattened it.
Being an SSS-ranked adventurer meant that one had already exceeded humans. I thought to myself while pretending to be oblivious of the fact.
“So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Oh, right. I also wanted to ask about the school, but this comes first.”
I told her about Kirsch’s, the attendant of the Winsburg Family’s request, about preventing her master’s plot to overthrow the kingdom, and started explaining on how I plan on dealing with it.
“Hmmph… Basically, I just need to close the path that Winsburg tipped off the Berbechia army about with my magic, right?”
“You sure catch on quick. Asking you for help felt unfair, but I think that’s the best option.”
“I’ll say one thing just in case, but if the enemy army gets caught up within my magic it’ll be a massacre… I’d like to avoid that if possible. Since I don’t really want to annihilate everything indiscriminately.”
I was suddenly telling her to leave the laboratory and head towards the western border—or maybe even to the middle of the mountains, so she wouldn’t just accept those terms so easily.
However, Mylarka gazed at me silently, and drank some juice, then said afterwards:
“So you basically brought a request for me. If that’s the case, then I have a condition of my own.”
“Yeah, go ahead and say anything. If it’s not too crazy, I’ll do it to repay you some.”
“Using my Annihilation Magic for money isn’t beautiful at all, so just bring refreshments to my laboratory every so often. If it’s from your shop’s menu then anything’s fine, since there’s nothing that doesn’t fit my taste there so far… Anyway, how do you plan to go to the western border?”
“About that, you’ll know if you come. It’ll take a day on horseback, but there’s another route there.”
West of the capital, there was the firedrake’s pasture. Over there, Elder Shura, the Dragon Master was looking after the firedrakes. I borrowed a horse and had Mylarka ride it from the Magic Academy, then after about two hours we arrived at Elder Shura’s place.
“Ooh, Dick-dono. Did you come to check up on the firedrakes? Or maybe for another matter?”
Breeding season would go on for a while longer, so the mother and child drake, and now even the dragon father were assembled. The firedrake that walked towards us with tottering steps had grown up quite a bit, it couldn’t be hugged anymore, but Mylarka caressed the child firedrake’s head and gave it fodder.
“There there, good kid. You sort of resemble your father and mother, I suppose.”
Even if they grew up, they still cried pii pii, a lovely voice. The firedrakes remembered playing with Mylarka and cried happily.
“The child dragons listen to what this old man tells them to do. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten separated with my son and grandchild, so I can’t help but hold them dear.”
“If you’re having fun working then that’s great. So, about when I told you to train them to be rideable…”
“Yerp, I used a “Dragon Flute” and taught the father to be obedient to the people I told him about. If equipped with a saddle, about two people should be able to ride him. Do you want to go for a stroll in the air with that Ojou-sama over there?’
“…Dick, Don’t tell me you plan to ride this firedrake with me? Do you even have any experience in riding dragons?”
“Yep, when I was a kid I helped an injured wyvern, and it let me ride on its back?”
“If you’ve ridden on a wyvern before then you should be able to ride another dragon even if it’s a different breed. Wyverns don’t have front legs, so they’re considered harder to ride than the four-legged dragons.”
The injured wyvern I helped returned to its pack after being healed, but I wonder if it’s still alive even now.
I didn’t think about it when I decided to make the dragons’ pasture, but I employed a dragon master as the manager here, so the circumstances changed, so I thought about using the dragons as emergency transportation.
I guess as long as they were trained, they would be able to fly. I held the dragon-exclusive saddle I received from Elder Shura, climbed on top of the dragon father, and equipped it with a saddle.
I passed a belt to Elder Shura and got him to coil it around the dragon’s stomach, so that the saddle is firm in place. I beckoned Mylarka who was watching along with a child dragon and she tried to climb on top of the dragon father’s back by herself, but couldn’t do so as smoothly as me. It was understandable, since she was inexperienced.
“Mylarka, gimme your hand. I’ll pull you up.”
I pulled her up in one go when she firmly grasped my hand, and I let her sit in front of me. I enhanced my physical strength with enhancement magic, so Mylarka probably experienced how it felt to flutter in the air.
“…It’s about three times as tall as a horse. You sure mounted it so easily despite how high this is.”
“You scared of heights? If you are, you should probably close your eyes.”
“I-It’s not that… It’s my first time mounting it, so naturally, it’s unnerving… Teach me a steadier way to mount.”
“I’ll hold you up from behind, so you don’t need to worry about falling off or anything. I should probably tie a lifeline, too.”
I put my hands on her waist and shoulders, and rectified my sitting posture. I had her entrust her full body weight to me, and now, as long as I hugged her from behind, she won’t panic while we’re up in the sky.
“… Are you going to handle the reins? Though I can’t help but feel like you’re stealing the initiative from me here…”
“Dick-dono, the dragon flute reacts to its user’s magic power, it will then give orders to the firedrakes. As long as you’re using it, you are pretty much as skilled as an expert dragon master.”
I’m interested about Elder Shura’s life story, so after this job’s done, it might be a good idea to bring some liquor here later.
“Then I’ll leave the reins to you. I’ll be playing the flute.”
“A-Alright… But this is my first time flying, so help me.”
Without saying anything, Mylarka pulled my hand, and made me hold the reins together with her.
“Now it’s fine. Hurry up and make it fly. Let us show the power of the [Masked Saviors] to the Berbechia army.”
Not as the Demon Lord Subjugation Team, but simply as the [Masked Saviors].
As the mysterious pair who rides a firedrake, we will obstruct the Berbechia army’s path.
And then I noticed something while the two of us were putting on our masks. Mylarka was putting on her mask very enthusiastically.
“Being young is certainly wonderful, eh. It even makes this decrepit old man’s blood boil.”
Elder Shura, as our senior in life, saw us off while nodding his head gently, without laughing at our appearance.
In the cavern that was formerly the firedrake’s nest, there was a hole in the ceiling that could be used to go in and out of the cavern. For some reason, firedrakes didn’t like to enter their own nests on land. It was said that the reason they don’t is because their racial instincts feared that earth dragons and the likes, their natural enemies, would infiltrate their nest in their absence and lie in wait for them.
That being the case, we went through the hole on the ceiling of the dragon’s nest, and flew towards the sky. The dragon’s exterior skin was composed of magnetic minerals, so there was no need for a compass while riding one.
However, the capital visible from the sky was on the east, hence, we just needed to go in the opposite direction.
As Elder Shura said, compared to the wyvern who had wings merged with their front legs, there was less shaking and it felt more comfortable. The dragon flute didn’t need to be blown, it was a magic tool worn as a necklace and only needed to be supplied with magic power to generate a sound. With this, I only needed to point a way with my finger and the firedrake will follow my orders and fly to the west.
The Republic of Berbechia was next to a demon lord’s territory that was not governed by Verlane. That demon lord, according to Verlane, only possessed as much power as an S-rank.
Without being able to subjugate that demon lord, they’ve signed a treaty to pay a large tribute to the demon lord every year, Berbechia’s highest rank was A-rank—so that meant they only had adventurers around 20,000 strength. Basically, an average soldier was weaker than a C-rank. Though Albein Kingdom is in the same boat.
In short, Berbechia didn’t know that we—Albein’s demon lord subjugation team have defeated the SSS-ranked demon lord, Verlane.
And so Winsburg’s Duke Family had the misunderstanding that they could overwhelm the Demon Lord Subjugation Team with pure numbers.
“You probably feel like an adult joining a fight between kids, right? I feel the same way.”
“If it’s not the folks who’ve actually fought with a demon lord, they wouldn’t be able to have a firm grasp of our real strength, after all. A fight between humans wasn’t our field of expertise.”
“If only it was a herd of ferocious monsters, we could blow them away without having a care in the world.”
Just as she said, during our demon lord subjugation trip, she annihilated the nests of monsters that attacked humans. The animals who couldn’t be conversed with also brought harm, but the intelligent beast-humans could make a nest and bring about a large amount of harm towards the surrounding human villages.
After witnessing a scene like that, to the monsters, Mylarka was just like a violent calamity—the very definition of a [Sweet Disaster].
“Dick, I can see something. You have better eyesight than me, right?”
“A fair share of the forest was cleared, there were stone monuments placed as a landmark a set distance away from each other… There’s no doubt about it. It is the path that Winsburg opened for Berbechia.”
“He made them using the money that was supposed to be used for the kingdom’s defenses, huh. Do you also feel like a certain fool needs to be punished?”
“Yeah, I do. If only I had read this far ahead when he proposed to Manarina, I could’ve dealt with it more quietly, though.”
“If you could read that far ahead, you could be this country’s ruler, you know… Though if somebody wished to become the king when we finished the demon lord subjugation, it might’ve really happened.”
I think she’s talking about me, but each one of us in the party were indifferent about political powers. Especially Eileen, she chose to live her life freely without restraints, but if she felt like it she could become a martial arts instructor, it wouldn’t be difficult for her to be called this country’s Kensei3.
“Maybe I should get Eileen to become the king. That way, maybe the kingdom will become rock-solid.”
“That’s a good idea, but she has horns, so she wouldn’t be able to wear the crown as is.”
To Mylarka unexpectedly cracking a joke, I involuntarily laughed. Jeez, she didn’t feel tense at all, it’s almost troubling, I thought to myself.
Past the mountain district, at the open path in the forest. Something that resembled a village could be seen by my eyes.
“They are… The village of the people in this area… They’re in the immediate vicinity of the road that the troops will go through.”
“Yeah… Wait, I can see something. Is that Berbechia’s scouting unit?”
“Seems like it. Albein doesn’t use [Black Iron] for weapons. However, they are…”
It seemed even with Mylarka’s eyesight, she could see that the enemy was wearing black armor.
They wore a reddish brown mantle on their black full-armored body and about five men on horses formed a single unit, and advanced through the military road.
For some reason, they were yelling wildly. Like a hunter trying to startle prey that it found.
Turning my line of sight, I could see that I was right on the money. Berbechia’s scouts were chasing after somebody—when the cavalrymen with bows were nocking their arrows, I strongly embraced Mylarka’s body to make her stay in place.
“Kya…. W-What? It’s not the time to do something like… Kyaaaa!”
“Mylarka, we’re descending. At this rate the person they’re chasing is gonna get killed.”
“…T-That’s right. I get it, make sure to keep me in place.”
I hugged Mylarka and lowered my posture, touched the dragon’s flute in front of my chest and poured my mind into it. The firedrake received my order, adjusted its wings and got into position to glide through the air.
“Kuuh… If we approach them by sky like this, I think they will realize it, though…”
“It’s fine, I fed this firedrake some [Secret Pomegranate]4. So they won’t notice us until the last second. Even If they had allies from afar, they still wouldn’t be able to see us.”
“You sure came prepared… got it. We’ll fly above them without being noticed, and then say [Stop right there].”
Even though a firedrake was closing in on them, the black-colored soldiers weren’t taking note of it—however, as one would expect, as we got lower, the feeling of oppression coming from in front of them outweighed the effect of the Secret Pomegranate.
“Dragon, it’s a dragon! Commander, a dragon came from the sky…”
“Where was it hiding at…? Shit, loose the arrows!”
We swooped down on them while describing an arc through the air. While we lowered our altitude more and more, while we were flying past overhead of the five cavalrymen, I saw it clearly.
With a speed that would make one miss it if one were to blink. The [Sweet Disaster], even while being in contact with my body, moved her sight towards the cavalrymen—and then,
“[Restricted Area-form Annihilation #66 – Particle Dispersion Field].”
From Mylarka’s body, a Magic circle comprised of her own magic power expanded at a speed unable to be seen by the naked eye.
With that, the panicking targets which were rushing over, the soldiers, were caught up in it the moment we swooped over them.
If they got caught in the magic circle’s area of effect, then with just a simple activation—Mylarka snapped her fingers, and the expanded magic field showed its effect without a sound.
“What, What the hell happened…?! Why aren’t you shooting?!”
“O-Our arrows and armor… Uwaaaa!”
The cavalrymen didn’t comprehend what even happened.
After a firedrake fiercely passed by above them out of nowhere, due to the strong winds created by it, the horses became agitated and stopped in their tracks. That wasn’t the end, each of their armor transformed into something that resembled sand, so it crumbled.
After soaring in the sky one more time, I ordered the firedrake to stand back, and then it hovered in the air.
The man called Commander within the five cavalrymen who were currently stripped bare naked—he was much younger than I expected—even so, he just barely managed to take back control of the confused horse and looked up in our direction.
“W-Who are you bastards… Are you Dragon Masters from Albein?! Stop wearing those dumbass masks and show us your face!”
He still had the will to bite back, but even though he tried to intimidate us, riding on top of a horse with only a single piece of underwear wasn’t very intimidating.
Mylarka expanded her magic circle and destroyed their armor down to their underwear with extremely precise controls.
That thoughtful consideration was just like her, but what she did was very out of the norm. She was the only one I knew who could use magic that dissolves matter to sand as naturally as breathing—she had raw talent that I would most likely never encounter anywhere else.
“Ahem. Seems like you people are from the Berbechia army. Due to certain reasons, we cannot let you return to your main force. Please calmly surrender yourselves and be restrained.”
“As I thought, you’re Albein’s… Damn it, incompetent fools…!”
The ones he was referring to as incompetent were most likely the Winsburgs. Maybe he was ordered to protect that information so that it won’t leak, or maybe the lead scouting troops didn’t want to let us know who the traitor from within Albein’s side was.
“Commander, the horses are fine, so we might be able to get away! As long as one of us returns…!”
A member of the scouts, a young man proposed that with a trembling voice. The commander didn’t give a reply, but the whole cavalry of five started moving, and attempted to escape—even so.
“Mylarka, cover your ears.”
“…? What are you planning to do?”
I put my hands over Mylarka’s ears, and casted hearing protection magic. After she covered her ears as I’ve told her to, I covered my own ears as well and gave the firedrake a certain order.
Being told of such an interesting weapon like the dragon flute, my heart started pounding in combat for the first time in a while—mounting a dragon with Mylarka just like this and working together in air combat would be extremely fun. In Elder Shura’s own words, it made my blood boil.
A yell that strained the dragon’s vocal chords while flying—this was Bind Voice, true intimidation. The horses trembled violently, and while cowering in fear, became unable to move. The cavalrymen riding them also fainted without the slightest bit of resistance, and hung their heads on top of their horses listlessly.
After finishing its roar, the firedrake landed with a small slide. Afterwards, Mylarka declared this to the fainted cavalrymen:
“Even if the heavens permit you, the shining eyes within our masks will never let wicked deeds go unpunished.”
Without knowing what kind of face I should be making, and without pointing out “They’re all unconscious though,” I opportunistically thought that as long as Mylarka was having fun throwing out her chest arrogantly, it was fine.
“…That line, did everyone come up with that together? [Masked Saviors]’s signature phrase.”
“No, that just now was what I thought up alone. As expected, in order to match “Heavens,” I should add lines that make use of the word “Others,” I suppose.”
“W-Well, Won’t changing it every time be fine? More importantly, where did the person being pursued go off to?”
While surveying the surroundings, I could hear the sounds of clapping hands.
Turning around, a young beast-human girl who seemed to be slightly younger than us was clapping her hands. Looking at the shape of her ears and her striped tail, the Tigress-looking Beast Human girl continued to clap for us with sparkling eyes.
4 – Captured Tiger-Humans and Masks Under the Moonlight
Mylarka approached the beast-human girl. The girl showed a favorable reaction, without the slightest hint of being alert.
Demi-humans used their own language, but I could understand it up to a certain extent, and Mylarka was able to speak it fluently.
“If you’re a tigress, then the new beast-human language should be fine. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Urk… Understand! Onee-chan, Even though you are human, our language, you know?!”
The tigress girl said while being excited. Beast-human language, based on the time period of when it was used, was separated to old and new, it was difficult because the grammar is completely different, but in general, excluding the beast-humans who live in a mostly unexplored region, most of them could understand new beast-human language.
“We’re humans from the Kingdom of Albein. Those guys called themselves the Berbechia army, but why were you being chased?”
“…Albein, our mountain, destroyed it. That’s why, everyone, hate Albein.”
When the Winsburg family created a road that went through this mountain, they’d intruded on the tiger-humans’ territory. One could easily conclude that because they did that, it would be natural for the tiger-humans to suspect us as an enemy because we’re from Albein.
While I was trying to find a way to solve the misunderstanding, the tigress continued her words.
“But, Onii-chan and Onee-chan are different. The Berbechia people that tried to capture me, you defeated them. Friends with big dragon too. Tiger-humans, got along with dragon-humans. Dragon is the Dragon-humans’ guardian deity.”
There were cases of antagonism between beast-human races, but I found out that the tiger-people and dragon-people were had a friendly relationship. I didn’t get many chances to learn about the beast-humans’ culture and circumstances, so this was some precious information.
“Berbechia, they stayed together all the time while going through this road. Elder-sama, he said it was their campsite. From their campsite, a Berbechian that told us to share our food came. And then, bring the men, and women to carry it.. If you don’t bring, the mountain will be set on fire, he said.”
“…Dick, let’s go to the Berbechia army’s campsite right away. We need to flatten them without a single trace remaining.”
“I agree, so, please tell us the details. What happened to the tiger-humans who gave the rations?”
After I asked that, her expression became clouded. Just with that gesture, I could imagine what happened.”
“Berbechia, tiger-people, are strong, so they took them away. The women, they went in order to cook them food, but they were caught too. They became hostage, so that we won’t make a move.”
“Is that so… It must’ve been tough. However, it’s fine now. Because we’re here, you have no more need to worry.”
Mylarka hugged the tigress girl. The tigress’ eyes became cloudy, but firmly stopped herself from shedding tears.
“Everyone else, have it harder than me. Everyone helped me and I could do nothing but run away.”
“You don’t have a single thing to feel responsible about. Just safely coming here is enough. That’s why, go back to your village without concerning yourself over this.”
“No, let’s escort her there. I have something I need to tell the elder. We need his permission to cause another uproar in the mountains by destroying the cleared road after all.”
“Elder, he said he wanted the path opened by the humans, to be returned to its original state. If humans weren’t going to pass by the road, even if it took some time, he wanted to return it to how it was.”
If it’s just that, then we just needed to seal off every military road with Mylarka’s Annihilation magic no matter how many of them there were. If we did that, people wouldn’t be able to go through, and the sealed-off path will shortly return to how it was before humans stepped in—in order to return it naturally, it might need a few modifications, though. There was also the option of borrowing the power of the spirits of earth and wood.
“Thanks, with this, we’ll be able to head straight to Berbechia’s campsite. Considering the people were taken hostage, that means it’s a race against time, huh. You, what’s your name?”
“My name, Riko. Riko from the Tig-clan. What about, Onii-chan and Onee-chan?”
“We are… The [Masked Saviors]. We can’t name ourselves due to a certain reason, so please excuse us.”
“Masked savior, will tell to the elder. Riko, got helped. Everyone will also be helped.”
As one would expect, Riko probably didn’t expect the mountain to actually be restored to how it was. That was because she had only seen a part of Mylarka’s true power.
“If you were to come by our village, need to add a smell. Human smell, the people from Tig village, don’t really like.”
“That’s true… I wonder what smell would be fitting?”
“Riko’s tail, rub it on your body. Outside the village, there is a big chipped tree. If you go there, Riko will come get you. Definitely will.”
Whether she will conveniently notice when we arrived or not is a bit uncertain—was what I thought, but if she said something like that with such honest eyes, there was no other choice but to believe her, no?
Neutralizing the Berbechia encampment, rescuing the captured tiger-humans, and blocking the military road. Thereafter, report the circumstances to Riko’s village. The things we needed to do was decided.
“As for those guys that passed out… guess it can’t be helped. Riko, call the adults from the village here, ask them to arrest these people.”
“Got it. Until Berbechia promise to not do anything else, will stay arrested.”
Riko did a biting motion that showed her fang-like canines. She was chased and shot at by arrows, so she must be boiling with rage.
The Berbechia army’s campsite was located five minutes away by firedrake flight from the tiger-humans’ village. The surroundings were becoming dimmer due to the setting sun—it was a favorable condition for a rescue mission.
“First, we’ll need to help the captured people. Though you probably can just dismantle the buildings at the campsite step-by-step and render the soldiers powerless, and stuff like that.”
“It’ll take a long time to analyze and disassemble that many types all at once, you know? Last time most of their equipment were Black Iron, so I could easily break them.”
“Then how long would it take to destroy the tents in the campsite and all of the enemies’ armor?”
“Around fifteen minutes. With that much time, I’ll be able to disassemble all of their armor, the tent’s materials, and other various things when they come into contact with my magic circle with time to spare.”
“Great. Then, I’ll drop us off at a spot where the camp is visible from, please expand your magic circle and get ready to destroy. I’ll give you a signal when I’ve snuck in the campsite and rescued the tiger-humans.”
“Yeah, I know.”
I separated from Mylarka for the time being and used [Hiding] magic to erase my presence, then approached the campgrounds.
Looking from the side of the camp that faced the road, the other end had few lights, so it became a blind spot, and I could close in on it easily. Nobody would expect someone to come out of the mountain and infiltrate the campsite from within the forest. Not to mention this campsite was between the national borders, in Berbechia’s territory.
Not only did the backside of the camp have a rough fence, but it also had a watchtower, there was a less-than-enthusiastic soldier inside of it. After I hooked a grappling hook on one of the watchtowers, I jumped up high above the fence in a single motion and got behind the soldier.
“W-What? When did this rope…”
I muffled the sound of my landing on the watchtower. Eileen could just use a silent-walking technique, but I needed to rely on magic—my training is lacking, I admonished myself.
“Don’t move. Where’re the tiger-humans?”
“Eek… W-Who are you… Don’t tell me, the beast-humans’…. O-or maybe Albein’s…?”
“Nah, I came here because of a personal reason. Just answer the question.”
“T-The beast-humans… They’re in that, that tent over there…”
“All right. I’ll tell you this ahead of time, this camp will disappear today.”
If I put him to sleep with a chop, there was a chance that the damage would be too large, so I neutralized him by using sleep magic. I had the thought that if Mylarka’s magic circle activated, he’d fall off the watchtower—so I roughly dropped him lowered him down the tower and laid him down somewhere hidden from view.
I approached the beast-humans’ tent through cover. The soldiers that approached me while I was on the way were drunk off booze, so they didn’t even notice me at all when I was right by them. Though my [Hiding] wasn’t something a regular soldier could easily see through.
Going around to the tent’s backside, I opened a hole in the tent using a knife, and peeked inside.
Male tiger-humans—they had bruise marks—several of them do, there were several female adults and kids close to Riko’s age. All of them were tied up, their legs were chained to a pillar. If they used their strength then they could break out, but they probably couldn’t fight back because there were children there.
The guard was looking at them with a smirk, but a male tiger-human raised his face and looked at the soldier.
“What’s with those eyes? Do you still not understand your own situation? Soon, you all will be sent off to Berbechia. The men will go to the mines, and the females will probably be sold off to the rich guys.”
Without being able to resist his provocation, the young tiger-man that hung his head stood up. It seemed like his lover or wife was captured along with him.
The young beast-man tried to say something to the soldier, but it wasn’t properly transmitted.
“Good for you. If I knew what you’re saying, this whip would have something to say.”
“Well, even if I don’t know what you’re saying it’s still annoying. If that’s the case, then, guess I’ll crack the whip… on this one, instead of you.”
The guard pointed to a female tiger-human. In his hand was a thorned whip with rose-like thorns.
“I was told to not hurt the women. But beast-humans can quickly cure their own wounds like monsters can, right? If that’s so, then even if I hit you once or twice with my whip it’ll heal soon after, right… you, woman, stay still. Don’t blame me if the whip hits your cute fac—“
“Stop it already, petty small fry.”
The guard was full of openings while he kept blabbering, so I silently sneaked in by lifting the front curtains at the tent’s entrance, and I got to his back without being noticed.
Without giving the soldier time to turn around, I made him faint with a chop. My hand kind of slipped because I thought sleeping magic would be far too lenient for this guy, but I probably didn’t really need to hold back so much for an enemy.
The tiger-humans stared at me, without understanding what had just transpired. At that moment, I remembered that I was currently wearing a mask.
“Ah… Wait, I’m not anyone shady. I may look like this, but I came here to help all of you. I’ll destroy the fence in the back, so could you run away from here?”
I spoke to them, somehow pulling out what little memory I have of the new beast-human language. In one way or another, it seemed like it got through, the leader-like male in the prime of his life slightly loosened up his caution.
“…You seem like a human, but then why did you save us?”
“Not all humans are oppressive of beast-humans. I’m from Albein, but I’m not from the same group as the ones who intruded on the tiger-humans’ sacred mountain… Though if I say something like that out of the blue you might not believe me. For now, just believe that I do want to help you all.”
“…You have my thanks for saving my wife. Masked man, I will believe you.”
“Ludo… Alright, I’ll believe in you as well. Sorry for my rude behavior just now, once again, thank you. Masked man, how will we get out of this encampment?”
“I’ll be guiding you. Now then, I’ll be undoing your restraints. Once you get out of the encampment, hide yourselves in the forest.”
The dozen or so tiger-humans followed my order with eyes that regarded me like a savior.
I took notice of my sword that was covered by rust due to being unused for a long time. After considering the shortest routes to reach the fence, brute-force was the fastest way, even if it was somewhat loud.
After the tiger-humans finished their escape preparations, I got out of the tent from the hole in the back, and ran straight towards the fence.
The fence was about two times my height, it was a fence made out of knotted logs. Jumping over it was simple, but because the tip was sharpened just like a spear, I had to take safety measures for the children.
I pulled out my sword and covered the blade in enhancement magic. It wasn’t on the same level as Cody’s [Holy Sword], but I could at least cut iron with it—it had been a while so I was slightly worried whether I could pull it off cleanly, but that was also a spice to enhance my concentration power.
Utilizing the enhancement magic [Spirit Blade], I swung down the blade wrapped with magic.
The slash I fired off cut about three times as far thanks to the spell, and divided the wooden logs horizontally in two clean pieces. After giving it a few more shots, the wooden logs were cut into small pieces and blown away, and a path opened.
“Alright, go through the forest! I’ll reconvene with all of you soon enough!”
“What power… Just who in the world are you, masked man…?!”
“Aah, for everyone to be able to run safely… Thank you so much…!”
“Thank you, masked Onii-chan!”
“You’re our savior!”
Not long after they were surprised by my strength, with their inherent agility, the tiger-humans escaped from the encampment with beast-like speed. The Berbechia troops noticed it and attempted to come over here, but they were too late.
“Berbechia army! If you don’t want to die, put both of your hands on the ground and don’t move! You all have families, don’t you?!”
After announcing that, I sent Mylarka a signal. I held my hand toward the sky and fired a ball of light towards it, and it burst in the skies; it was revised [Lighting] Magic.
The Berbechia army were in disorder due to the unexpected event. To the event that occurred the moment the sun set, discouraged as they were, they finally noticed the graveness of the situation—the tiger-humans escaped, and there was a mysterious invader within the camp.
However, they had no more time to take any countermeasures. The time that Mylarka declared, Fifteen minutes had already passed.
— [Wide Area-form Annihilation #120 – Fortress-Crushing Field] —
The soldiers who came over to me after hearing my voice witnessed an unbelievable sight.
The campsite’s tents, watchtowers, and fences—all of them turned to sand and were blown away by the mountain winds.
That wasn’t all. Simultaneously with the buildings, Mylarka had already expanded a magic circle that only targeted the soldiers’ equipment in the whole camp.
— [Restricted Area-form Annihilation #66 – Particle Dispersion Field] —
The soldiers’ equipment crumbled the same way that the soldiers who chased after Riko’s did. To the agonizing spectacle in front of me, I planned to strike the finishing words, but Mylarka wasn’t so kind as to give me that important role.
Riding on the firedrake’s back, with the moon behind her, the [Sweet Disaster] flew down. After she appeared in the skies of the encampment, she slowly lowered her altitude, and announced to the neutralized soldiers:
“You people have not only attempted to invade Albein, but also oppressed the tiger-humans. I shall not permit such crime. I wanted to pass down the punishment of death in place of the god of the mountain, but I don’t intend to stain this mountain with blood, so I will let you go. Don’t you dare set foot in this mountain ever again. If you do, the [Masked Saviors] will appear once more.”
As she puffed up her chest full of pride while bathed in the moonlight, Mylarka recommended they surrender with an audible voice—bringing her along was definitely the right choice. The great noise of the soldiers running away with all their might in fear didn’t enter my ears at all.
While I looked down from atop the firedrake, I thought, “I wanted to say the signature phrase…” While I was thinking of things that were unlike me, the campsite vanished, and left behind a vast empty land.
And in order to make sure the soldiers wouldn’t be able to come back, Mylarka used Wide Area Annihilation Magic to seal off the military road.
With this, the Berbechia army’s surprise attack route was completely sealed off.
5 – The Dancing Princess of Battle’s Infiltration Mission
Entering Riko’s village along with the tiger-humans, we were given a warm welcome by the elder. Riko was the elder’s great-great-grandchild, so Mylarka and I became a benefactor of sorts, and stayed the night in the village.
Finishing the banquet held in order to welcome us, after they guided us to the tent meant to be our bedroom, I let Mylarka handle the rest, and transferred my consciousness to the [Small Spirit] that I entrusted to Eileen.
A body double of mine was born from the rune painted on Eileen’s chest—basically, that meant I flew out of the chest area of her clothes.
“Fua… T-That scared me… So this is how you appeared?”
“Yeah. I made you wait, huh. So they’re here.”
On the veranda outside of a room on the second floor of an inn on first street, Eileen held her breath, and examined the situation inside.
She peeked inside of the room while making sure to not be perceived. Soon after, one of the four men inside said a decisive comment.
“Once the Berbechia army makes a move to tear up the western plain’s borders, we’ll abduct one of the princesses. If possible the First Princess Manarina would be great, but the third princess who held the right to succeed the crown is fine as well.”
“Larg-dono, as long as we get our hands on a princess, Your Excellency Xevious will take the place of…”
“I didn’t hear anything, alright? Jean-sama may be a fool, but his subordinates are more-or-less excellent, so don’t despise him. Especially Kirsch, she’s a beauty and a good woman that obeyed the orders given to her.”
“So your bad habits are exposing themselves again. Larg-dono always goes blind whenever he sees women, after all. I do understand you fawning over that excellent woman, though. We’re more or less accomplices, you know?”
It was an exceedingly vulgar conversation, one that was bad for the heart. The men inside this room didn’t have any consideration for anyone but themselves. They thought of women as nothing more than tools.
And then, I wondered how Eileen thought of the matter at hand. The answer to that was clear as day if one looked at her.
“I’ll try to go easy on them, but if it doesn’t work out… Sorry♪”
While saying that cheerfully, Eileen put on a different-colored blue mask and put on the fingerless gloves that she had been using since forever.
[Bewitching Demonic Goddess]. Now, she will show the reason why she possessed that title. Thinking about that, I started feeling excited, with the feeling of a shaking samurai.5
Eileen took a deep breath, and then took a punching stance.
“Wait wait, you can beat enemies of that level even without breaking the windows, right?
“Eeh, going all CRASH!!Through the windows to break in would be cooler, though.”
“The windows here are shoddy, so it shatters everywhere easily. If the glass gets scattered everywhere, it’ll trouble the inn workers that have to clean it up later.”
“Oh yeah. The inn people didn’t do anything bad, so breaking the windows would feel kinda bad, huh.”
Eileen bumped her fist on her palm while obediently listening to my suggestion.
“But it can’t be helped if I break it a bit while fighting, you know? But as long as the other guys pay for it it’s fine.”
“Well, I guess you’re right… but try your best to fight without breaking the building to pieces.”
“Gotchaaa♪ Alright, Let’s go!”
Although she may have an upfront and honest personality, sometimes she thought of some reckless ideas.
Although worrying about the employees in this situation may make us seem easygoing, it would be troublesome if a rumor popped up about the [Masked Saviors] destroying an inn. Even I thought that I was fussing on the details a bit much, though.
“Well, since it’s not locked I gue–ss I’ll just go straight in. Excuse meee.”
Clack, Eileen went in after opening the door. As for the four people within the room, because Eileen went in the room so brazenly, their reactions missed a beat.
Eileen jumped off from the window frame and landed inside the room without a sound. Then, while everyone in the room was dumbfounded, she relaxedly waved her hand.
“W-Wha… Who the hell are you?! A thief, or maybe the kingdom’s lapdog?!”
“Larg-dono, we will—“
“What are you doing, call the people we hired! It’s an intruder, we need to do something quick—“
“That ‘Something,’ what do you plan to do?”
Eileen instantly got behind the man who tried to call for help, and put her hand on his shoulders.
Although it should have been hard for her to move while wearing a cloak, there was no other way to describe her agility other than terrifying.
Even the tigresses, which were supposed to be more agile than ogres, would surrender in the face of her agility.
“I still haven’t done anything, you know? Not yet, anyway. You guys said some pretty nasty things, so don’t complain even if you get punished.”
“N-Now, Now while we have the chance, ru…”
“Hmmmm, but well yeah. Di… um, being seen by that guy’s fine, but letting other people see me fight is a bit weird, yeah?”
It was certainly an instant action. Before the men’s two hired bodyguards entered the room, Eileen split into four, and got behind the four men. It should’ve been just plain old afterimages; after she dealt a single blow to the men, they were all dealt with together—it may have seemed like magic, but this was only feasible due to her martial arts and footwork. Eileen’s moves appeared like an afterimage because it was so fast.
The four men fainted without the time to even let out a groan. However, I saw it—Eileen only went easy against the guy called Larg. It was probably in order to get information out of him afterwards.
Although my current state at a glance may be a ball of mana just like a lampbug, my combat power value was around 50,000. It was a speed that I could barely see in my current state that rivaled that of an SS-ranked adventurer—that was the true strength of Eileen, the one who possessed an Adventurer’s Strength of over 100,000 from close-quarters combat alone.
“That just now was called Shura Phantom Fist from Shuperia-style Martial Arts, but… I guess you can’t hear me.”
the difference in power was too large, Eileen didn’t even break a
single sweat—she was just playing around.
“Then, next are the two bodyguard guys… You’re not empty-handed, huh. Are you hiding something under your mantle?”
“Eileen, Be careful! He’s about to throw something!”
One of the bodyguards, a man of small stature raised his mantle and threw a concealed knife.
Eileen sneered, and, while letting her long ponytail shake wildly, shot down the knife flying towards her with her fist. Clang, clang, while giving out that satisfying sound, the two thrown knives were repelled and pierced the walls.
“That was pretty fast, but targeting a girl’s face is pretty rude, don’t you think?”
“Move, I’ll do it! Uooooogh!”
One of the bodyguards that got tired of waiting prepared his sword and attempted a lunge towards Eileen. Eileen smiled while standing relaxedly and said:
“Did you think you could do something against a bare-handed enemy as long as you had a bladed weapon?”
Seeming to bite on Eileen’s provocation, the black-haired man with a headband was enraged, swung his blade with all his might—however.
Along with light shouts, after Eileen dodged the thrusts by sidestepping, she put her hand on the man’s head and jumped up just like that—if not for her exceptional agility, it would be an impossible way to dodge.
Her bare feet that could be seen from within her skirt visible through the long slit of her overcoat became fully exposed.
Immediately after Eileen took off her overcoat, the man who threw the knife threw another one at her—the knife pierced through her overcoat and opened a hole.
I thought she read that ahead of time and tried to take off her overcoat, but it didn’t seem to be the case.
“Hey! I got that from Di… uhm, That guy and I kinda liked it! That’s not cool!”
I wondered what she was saying ‘cause she tried to take it off herself, but if she tried to use it to defend against the knife, then she would need to pay the expenses for destroying a guild-provided overcoat.
“Don’t underestimate me!!!”
The man whose lunge was easily dodged by Eileen had strength rivalling an A-rank—he didn’t even hold a candle to her. I had a faint recollection of the swordsmanship of his slashes that he kept firing; his swordsmanship was not half bad.
However, to Eileen, he only appeared to be stuck in place.
Following her yelp, Eileen braced her legs. That stance was taken in order to unleash a finishing blow, that unique movement was called [Shinrai]6.
Eileen dodged the enemy who attacked her with a sideways slash from behind by drooping her body with terrifying speed, and from a posture low enough to touch the floor, she sent out an upward palm heel strike with a crackling sound.
There was the sound of something shattering—the man’s sword broke due to Eileen’s strike. Hitting a sword from the side accurately at its center of gravity would break it easily.
And that wasn’t the end—jumping up from her low position, Eileen collided powerfully with the bodyguard behind her using her back.
Shuperia-style Martial Arts Secret Technique, [Raisetsu-Seitenshou]7. Eileen stretched her beautiful legs, and she concentrated all her strength on the collision point—a gruesome sound occurred and the bodyguard who took the blow was blown away and crashed into the wall. He stuck to the wall for a few seconds before finally sliding down due to the force of gravity.
And yet the other man didn’t run away. Aiming for the opportunity to strike at Eileen right after she released her move, he once again threw his knife—A B-ranked adventurer would have no hope of dodging that knife; that was the gap between their strength and an A-rank.
However, Eileen was an SSS-rank. No matter how much of a disadvantageous position she appeared to be in, there was no way she would produce a weak spot against an A-rank, that was the overwhelming difference between their strength.
Eileen revised her posture and sent out a kick—her beautiful white legs accurately repelled the knife, and from there, her godly maneuver started.
Adjusting the power of her kicks, Eileen only slightly repelled the knife to let it float for a short while.
And then she pulled her leg back and sent out another kick towards the still-spinning knife in the air. How physically fit do you need to be to pull off that move?—I was at a loss for words, I could only watch her move.
“Gh… A-Are you a monster…?!”
The kicked-back knife stabbed the shoulder portion of the bodyguard’s overcoat, he has been pinned to the door to his back. Eileen energetically walked in front of the man who already lost the will to fight after being overwhelmed, put her hand to her waist, and started questioning him.
“I’ll be asking for the door’s repair fees later. Cause my boss’s so sincere about that kinda stuff.”
Eileen let out a rain of blows at a speed that couldn’t be grasped by the human eye. What’s the logic behind this? The shock from the blows were even transmitted behind him, there were innumerable blow marks being carved on the door.
Being rained with blows until his clothes were in tatters, the man’s eyes rolled white and fainted. That was because Eileen really got mad at him for ripping the overcoat I gave to her.
Eileen breathed out, and then took a breath, and in the room without a single witness nor movement, she let out two flashy kicks, and made a sharp pose while declaring:
“Punishing evildoers! Helping people in trouble! The Invincible [Masked Saviors] makes their appearance here!”
As expected, nobody heard her, but I wonder why did she, along with Mylarka, name themselves after defeating their enemies? Or rather, did they really need to name themselves? I knew doing that would feel nice, but I didn’t want to stand out.
“Seems like your signature line’s kinda different to Mylarka’s, huh.”
“Eh? What did Mylarka say? We’ve decided to brainstorm it together with Yuma-chan, though. Mine’s cooler, right?”
“By a bit… But I really don’t have to do anything, huh.”
“Even I wouldn’t know what to do with my strength if I had nowhere to show it off. Oh, even in your state right now you’re much stronger than these people, right? Wanna try fighting a bit?”
“I’ll decline. More importantly, the thing that this Larg guy said is a problem. Eileen, can I have you guard Manarina and the other princesses? Though I feel bad about giving you another job right after this.”
“Un, gotcha. What do you wanna do with these guys? Ask the guild members to arrest them?”
The three people along with Larg plus the two bodyguards didn’t seem like they would be waking up anytime soon. If we sealed Larg’s movements, then Winsburg would definitely notice that his scheme was being hindered by someone.
“Anyway, I guess I’ll be talking with Larg a bit more. Oi, when’s Berbechia going to attack?”
“…Berbechia… Based on our last contact… Around tomorrow… Will part ways with Jean-sama… He was only being used…”
I imagined it would be like that, but Jean who couldn’t get his hands on the princess would be seen as useless in Berbechia’s eyes, and they would cut him off after he made the military road.
“Did you guys expect to survive even after selling out the kingdom?”
“On the fortress at the border, when our subordinates… Berbechia came, we planned to surrender… Gohoh!”
Before I could say anything, Eileen head-butted the top of Larg’s head. It was an attack that she used when she was really mad—the ogres had a hard head, so it had more force than it seemed.
“Doing all that handiwork, what’d you do if Albein lost? Even after listening to what these people had to say, they still needed to be punished. Hey, Dick, can I beat them up?”
“I understand your feelings, but well, wait. As long as we showed them the difference between their strength and ours before they reached the borders, it’ll be fine. Eileen, before going to escort Manarina, can you give Cody a message?”
“Un, got it. I think Cody would be happy if Dick’s calling for him. Since he lo… Er, likes you as a friend.”
“It feels awkward being told that again, though. Well, I do think of him as a friend.”
Albein Kingdom had the demon lord subj— well we disguised ourselves as the [Masked Saviors], but the kingdom had us, who possessed overwhelming strength.
Nevertheless, in order to let Berbechia know that fact, he was the most qualified for the role.
Sparkling Holy Sword — Cody. As long as we had his strength, it would be easy to show them how meaningless their efforts were.
“Ah… That reminds me. I did a roundhouse kick, but Dick, you were somewhere where you could see, weren’t you?”
“Fwaaa, I-I used pretty nice underwear today, but that didn’t mean I was fine with showing it to you! Forget about it! Seriously!”
“I thought I saw something white, but I’ll just leave it as my imagination.”
“W-Wait, you should’ve said red! Don’t actually say what I’m wearing!”
[Bewitching Demonic Goddess], I didn’t get to see the reason for her title at one-hundred percent, but from my spectator’s viewpoint, Eileen’s combat figure was bewitching, just like a dancer that was spinning around while dancing.
6 – The Hero’s Lie and The Tigress’ Banquet
The identity of the defeated bodyguards came to light from the guild cards they had on them. The both of them were A-ranked adventurers belonging to the guild called [Violet Scorpion] on Fifth Street. It was famous for having many assassins and bodyguards. Due to that trait of theirs, there were a bunch of ill-bred groups there.
“In this case, we still gotta temporarily capture them even though they’re people from another guild, right?”
“Well that’s true. They acted because they accepted Larg’s request, so it couldn’t be helped. A guild needed to do the jobs that they accepted, but they had the choice to refuse the job, so yeah.”
“Dick’s always accepted requests only after hearing the contents in detail, after all.”
By the time someone had earned information about my guild, it could be said that they had already passed the clients’ preliminary inspection by a guild member. Thanks to that, there were no troublesome requests that misunderstood our guild as a guild that dealt with dirty work.
Taking enough guild members with enough physical power, Larg and the other five went to a nearby guild-owned property. And then I paid the exact amount needed for the room’s repairs by using Eileen as an intermediary. Though I’ll be billing Larg and his group later.
“Well then, I’ll be goin’ to Cody’s place. Are you gonna go back to that side, Dick?”
Mylarka and I were invited to a banquet at the elder’s house, and were receiving the warm reception of the tiger-people, then the tiger-people got drunk and started showing off their performance—even though Mylarka was watching that, she was also watching over my sleeping body, so she was probably tired of waiting already.
My real body was being poured with liquor by Mylarka—then Mylarka said “Doing this without a good reaction is no fun.” She would probably be pissed at this rate.
As I thought, I should go back. But as long as the rune on her chest didn’t disappear, [Small Spirit]’s effect wont—
“Dick, you listening?’
“Y-Yeah. I got it, I’ll be going back there.”
“Un, tell Mylarka my well wishes. You’ll be coming back tomorrow, right? …That means you’ll be coming home after working all night, if you know what I mean.”
“Do you think she would let me do something like that? I’m not that fearless, you know.”
“Saying something that unexpected. Sometimes you can be pretty cute.”
“W-What do you mean by ‘unexpected?’ I…”
“Alright alright, just go back already. Mylarka gets lonely real quick, so she’s probably waiting for you, you know?”
“Yeah. Thanks, Eileen. I owe you one for this.”
“U-Un. You don’t really need to thank me and stuff. I’m a free adventurer but I’m also a part of Dick’s guild, after all.”
Eileen said that while shyly fiddling with her hair. Her hair color, being a half ogre half human type, was red with a slight mix of white, because of her strong demon blood. It was probably closer to being peach-colored.
“Then I’ll get going. When the job’s over let’s gather everyone and throw a party for a job well done, yeah? Since Yuma-chan might feel lonely ‘cause we didn’t call her for this job.”
“Right. Sometimes I just feel like drinking my face away without thinking about anything else.”
Eileen smiled, then put on the holed overcoat as-is, covered her face with the hood, and exited through the inn’s window. Going up on the roof from the veranda, her movement of jumping from roof to roof was her normal way of staying true to my ideal of “not standing out”—with no sound coming from her feet, just like a cat, she could run through without being noticed by the people living there.
Cody lived in the area where the top brass of the knight order lived. It was on the northeast part of the capital, directly opposite from the nobles’ area.
“That’s Cody’s room, right…? Hup!”
Without going through the front door, Eileen used the branch of a tree in the yard to jump, and landed on the veranda of Cody’s room.
“Phew… Cody, you thereee?”
Eileen lightly tapped the window, and then Cody approached her.
“Good evening. You came in through the same place as usual. Though it would’ve been fine for you to come in through the back door.”
“Ahaha, my bad. There’s something kinda urgent that I gotta tell you.”
“I somehow felt that it was something like that. I had a feeling that Dick would be calling for me.”
Cody opened the windows and invited Eileen into his room. A piece of cloth was laid down on the floor of the room, and on top of it was a piece of armor and a sword that had maintenance done on them.
When he was given the title of Leader of the Order of The Knights, he was presented silver armor, and a long sword that had the royal family’s crest carved on its hilt. He never used the sword in battle, but he always carried it whenever he wore the armor.
“Your hair’s wet, do you purify your body or something before heading out to battle?”
“Rather, I’m sweating because I joined the troops in their training.”
Cody had his upper body wrapped in a sarashi8, with short pants on his lower body. It was a state that was unbecoming of the leader of the knight order. After doing some maintenance on his equipment, he went in the bath—that was his daily preparation as a knight. That was an unchanging habit he had ever since he was recognized as an SSS-ranked adventurer, ever since we formed the Demon Lord Subjugation Team.
About that, there was just one thing about him that was weird while we went on a trip as adventurers.
“You’ve always covered yourself with a towel right after getting out of the bath. Cody, do you always do that in your house, too? I think it’s good to relax sometimes, y’know, since it’s your growth period.”
“I don’t relax as much as you. However, it’s been getting troublesome to wrap a towel around myself recently… Even though it wrapped up nicely when I asked you to do it for me.
“That reaaally surprised me back then. But I somehow always had a feeling that that was the case.”
Without saying anything back, Cody touched the white cloth wound tightly on his chest with a bitter smile.
“Cody, you’ve had these suuuuuper complicated feelings since forever after all… Ever since you met Dick five years ago, right? If it was me, I would probably get serious and tell the truth to Dick.”
Eileen drew closer to Cody, and pointed towards the cloth on his chest—the sarashi. The whole upper part of his body was tightened to the point it seemed like it was about to burst.
“It’s not that hard once you get used to it. An archer always does something like this, after all.”
“I heard it was ‘cuz the bowstring gets stuck, right… Yours look like it’s more painful, though.”
“This much is nothing. I decided to do this to myself. As long as I’m clever with how I wrap it, it would put constant pressure on my chest and would be like some kind of training, after all.”
Cody wiped the remaining moisture in his hair with a piece of cloth. While he revealed his white nape while wiping his hair, Eileen let out a sigh, Haaaah.
“I wonder why hasn’t dick noticed yet? Even though he’s been with Cody for so long.”
“That’s because he trusts me. Because I made it seem like that.”
After Cody urged Eileen to take a seat, he put on the undershirt that he always wore under his armor. Due to that, him wearing a sarashi became something that couldn’t be noticed with a glance.
“…Sorry, Cody. I kinda feel like I should tell Dick something you wouldn’t like him to hear. I’ll be talking with Dick about how you think of him as someone important, like…”
“You don’t need to worry about it, Eileen. I do think of Dick as someone important to me, but that’s the same way for you girls, the king, and everyone in this country.”
“Saying something that someone on an honor roll would say. Even though there’s no way staying silent about it isn’t painful.”
“…Thanks. I’m fine. I don’t really feel painful, and I’ve already accepted the lie to the point I almost forgot about it, anyway.”
“That’s why you’re a liar, you know.” Eileen muttered.
Did it not reach Cody’s ears? Or maybe he only pretended to not hear it. He stood up from his seat, and held his hands out in front of him. It was his stance whenever he wanted to summon the [Holy Sword]—but now he didn’t summon the sword, he was just simply showing the stance.
“I still feel that I want to become his sword, even now. If he tells me to, I’ll go anywhere.”
“…You really love him, huh. It’d be great if Dick would notice it soon.”
“If he did notice, I would have to knock him out and erase his memory. I absolutely can’t let him know that I’m…”
Cody intended to make a vow in front of Eileen—while in the middle of doing that,
“I” suddenly became unable to hear anything, and my consciousness started leaving Cody’s room.
—Ugh, Dick. Jeez… Your consciousness is still here after all.
A voice called out to me. My magic ran out of time here—without a choice, my consciousness was returned to my main body.
“…hnm… Something’s, soft.”
“What are you saying… When I poured booze for you, you just suddenly fell over here. You’re heavy, so get up already, my legs are falling asleep.”
“Legs… My-Mylarka, sorr…!”
We were in the tent where the tiger-humans’ banquet was being held, it could easily fit one hundred people with room to spare.
I was receiving a lap pillow from Mylarka on the honor seats. It didn’t lose when compared to Verlane’s, it had one-of-a-kind flexibility, the back of my head was adequately sinking in, my head was rested on top of it.
But I couldn’t really continue receiving a lap pillow like this, so I got up.
The rune that was written on Eileen’s chest as an intermediary for [Small Spirit]. Until the effect wore off, I continued to listen to Eileen and Cody’s exchanges. While being aware that I was eavesdropping, I directed my attention towards the conversation between my two comrades.
So Cody was hiding something from me. And he said that it was something that he absolutely couldn’t let me know.
I looked at Cody’s sarashi-wrapped upper body and his gesture while wiping his hair, and felt horribly guilty about becoming aware of something he didn’t want me to know.
I already knew the answer. My best friend, Cody’s secret was—
“…I feel somewhat agitated. Riko, prepare me some energy drinks.”
“This, taught how to make by the dwarfs, firebooze. Drinking it makes your body hot, makes it energized.”
“T-Thanks… Gh, this sure is strong… But it feels like its purity is low because of some problems while processing it. Give me three days, I’ll be bringing real firebooze here.”
“Masked man, knows how to make good alcohol! Amazing! I will go to tell elder!”
Riko excitedly ran up to the elder. I subconsciously got fussy about the taste of the liquor because I ran a bar—looking at me doing that, Mylarka had a curious face.
“Looks like something happened, so I will have you talk about it in detail later. It doesn’t seem like we will be going back tonight, so I told them that we’ll be staying the night.”
“Y-Yeah… Thanks, Mylarka.”
I’ve only noticed after replying like that. The possibility that there could only be one guest tent.
Before I could put my question into words, while she was drinking sake mixed with fruit juice by tilting the sakazuki9, Mylarka looked towards the tigresses dancing at the center of the tent with a look as if she was interested in it.
2 Righteous indignation is typically a reactive emotion of anger over mistreatment, insult, or malice of another. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.
3 A master of bare-handed martial arts.
4 The kanji for secret can also be read as concealing.
6 Quaking Thunder.
7 Rakshasa Star-Svarga Collision
8 A sarashi is a long strip of cloth, usually thick cotton, wrapped tightly around the midriff up to the chest. Basically the thing that you see a lot in anime to make a woman’s chest appear smaller than they actually are under her clothes.