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The Masked Saviors of the Kingdom
1 – The Hero of the Holy Sword and the Border Fort
Parting ways with Eileen after finishing their conversation, Cody Blannage silently left the capital in order to head for the southwest border.
[The Silver Mug] did not only have a base in the capital of Alvinas, but also in multiple areas all across Albein. By having a teleportation magic circle in each base, they could go to and from each base freely.
In order to set a teleportation magic circle, one needed a magic crystal filled with teleportation magic. These magic crystals were discovered from ancient ruins and such, but even though they were usable, the exact principles behind how they worked were still unclear.
Because of that, teleportation magic crystals had an extremely high value and cannot be bought with money. The Silver Mug conducted vigorous investigations of ruins and ancient labyrinths; There were eight bases of The Silver Mug furnished with teleportation magic stones.
One of them, located in an inn town1 near the southwest national border, became a great help for Cody to respond to our call for help.
The only person within the knight order who knew of Cody’s departure from the capital was Heavy Knight Marlo, the vice-captain of the order of the knights.
However, Cody gave a letter to the maid employed at his house and told her to send it, “I’ll be coming in the knight order offices late because I’m feeling unwell. I’ll be back by tomorrow noon.” And by delivering that letter to only Marlo, Cody told him neither where he was going nor for what reason. He wasn’t sure whether he could come back before being suspected, but he acted because he believed the information, “Berbechia will invade tomorrow” that Larg leaked.
Cody headed to “The Silver Mug” exactly as Eileen told him to, and then Verlane guided him down to the wine cellar. Verlane looked over to the shelf filled with choice liquor bottles, and after she removed a certain bottle from the shelves, the internal mechanisms activated.
At the deep end of the room, the wall adorned with a picture of a woman holding a bottle of liquor slowly rotated—it was a hidden door.
“I see… So that’s why he told me to go through the back. To think there would be this kind of secret here…”
“Whenever master’s here he always acts like a gatekeeper of this place of sorts, so there was no reason for worry. Also, though I’ve retired, I’m still an ex-demon lord. As long as it’s anyone but you, no matter who tries to take the teleportation stone, I will not lose.”
“I also had a hard time against your darkness magic at that time. That was the first time someone’s made me shed blood, you know.”
“You were covered in blood and yet you didn’t even try to kill me. Even though I would have been cut into eight pieces as long as you swung your holy sword at full strength.”
It was the first time they ever talked about their old battle. They’ve always kept their distance, Cody as a customer, and Verlane as a shopkeeper.
“Dick’s always thought of what to do after subjugating the demon lord even before fighting you. If we had killed you, the entire demon race, each and every one of them, would hate Albein forever. He decided on that after observing everywhere we went to when we entered the demon kingdom.”
“…You stayed in the demon kingdom for three months. I thought you would cause disturbances in order to lessen the defenses of the demon lord’s castle, but master, he observed the situation of my kingdom, huh.”
“He said it was preparations in order to go to your place, but the four of us, everyone besides Dick wondered why we didn’t storm the demon lord’s castle, and we also quarreled about it. But he said that in order to achieve it with the least possible effort, preparations were necessary, and persuaded us.”
Verlane found it hard to believe that a 13-year old had that kind of thinking. Dark elves lived a long life, but Verlane could be called a fast bloomer, she showed resourcefulness at twenty years old and quickly abdicated the former king and ascended the throne to become the queen. Even from her point of view, she once thought that Dick lived a longer life than she did.
“To master, It is only a matter of course. Even if outsiders thought it was a roundabout way of doing things, to him, it was the shortest. It has always been like that. Hence, I wondered… How has he still not realized the truth of Cody-dono?”
“The female nobles always look forward to me in parties… Or so you’ve said. You’re so mean.”
“For a truly charming person, it matters not be it man or woman. Stories of a female hero enticing women from the royal court and those indulging in themselves are not that rare. Even among the people who worked for me, there were some who only had an interest with those of the same gender, after all.”
“Dick definitely thinks I also swing that way. It might be a good idea to only meet him when I need to.”
“Master is idolized by his guild members, but he had little people to converse freely with. Cody-dono is one of them, I would be grateful for you to continue frequenting the bar. Because the only time he makes a face fitting that of an eighteen-year old is when Cody-dono comes to the bar… Now then, let us end the idle chatter here.”
Verlane showed Cody to the other side of the hidden door. There was a fist-sized teleportation stone in mid-air, on the floor there was a pattern with a complex design—it was a magic circle.
“So this is the Teleportation magic circle… Anyone can use it, right?”
“It’s a generous criteria, but if their magic value is lower than 20,000 by this kingdom’s standards then they would be unable to activate it. Master was the one who set that condition.”
“Dick even did that…”
“Master made a magic circle that wouldn’t activate as long as the user’s magical power capacity didn’t reach the set minimum. By doing a reverse operation from his Enhancement magic, He set a “Gate Check” that would take a hundredth of the user’s magic power. If one passed the check, then they would be able to activate the magic circle. If it’s just by magic capacity, then Cody-dono has satisfied the requirements.”
“No, I usually let the others handle the magic side of things. I can only use one type of magic, my attempts on trying to learn other types of magic didn’t go well. Letting you handle the activation for the Teleportation magic is for the best.”
Cody wasn’t being humble, Verlane understood that he could only use “a single type of magic.” Verlane could only detect the presence of a single spirit from Cody. There were no traces of him ever using magic that called forth the chemical elements, such as fire and water.
Yes—Cody has only bound a single contract with one spirit. To that single spirit, Verlane was felled down to her knees.
“The destination for the teleportation is set to the inner part of the national border, is that fine? We cannot possibly let the Berbechia army enter the national borders.”
“I’ll get up the border’s walls, and when I sight the Berbechia Army, I’ll end the battle right there. I’ve always specialized in that kind of stuff, after all. The only enemy who could attack me outside my attack range was you, a demon lord.”
“Was that really something honorable… Or maybe I should rejoice because I’ve survived a close fight against the Hero of The Holy Sword. Rather, I should be ashamed because you held back.”
“That’s not true. We barely defeated you with the five of us.”
Cody laughed refreshingly, and offered a handshake to Verlane. Verlane took off the glove on her right hand, and returned the hero’s handshake.
“I wish you luck. Make sure to tell master of your efforts when he comes back.”
Verlane activated the magic circle. Cody’s field of vision was covered in light, and became dyed in white.
And after the light fades away, the view in front of Cody’s eyes changed drastically. A male mage in the prime of his life was standing in front of him. Cody judged that he might be a [Silver Mug] guild member.
“I have received the message from the guild master. May we ask for your cooperation here, knight leader-dono?”
“I have something I would like to ask. Also, please call me this: the [Masked Savior].”
“Please excuse me… Good grief, that man, and his friends, their ideas are unprecedented.”
In order to not draw attention to his silver armor, Cody wore a red overcoat, along with a yellow-colored mask.
To his “disguise,” which was very showy and attracted many eyes, the male mage squinted his wrinkled eyes and laughed
A few hours after Cody teleported to the inn town near the national border.
Near the castle at the national border, before dawn, a person with a flashy mask appeared. Even when the guardsmen questioned them, they didn’t answer, and by jumping multiple times up the outer walls with their frightening physical prowess, they reached the top in a flash.
“W-Who the hell are you?! Get down here!”
“This is no place for people like… UWAA! E-Enemy raid! Enemy raid!!!”
“In the west, a large army… the Berbechia army, is…!”
At the same time as the troops who saw the Berbechia army went into a panic, from on top of the roof of a watchtower of the fort, Cody could recognize the Berbechia army at the still-dark prairies in the west.
They numbered about fifty thousand, an army of infantries and cavalries equipped with siege weapons. Which means Berbechia intended to attack Albein even without Winsburg’s help.
Possessing the expansive land on the northern part of the Exlea continent, Albein was abundant in raw mineral sources and grain-producing regions, but what Berbechia desired was the fertile land that had a river flowing through the north and south parts of the land.
To Berbechia, water was a valuable resource; they scrambled for water, it was a source of conflict.
Currently, Berbechia called themselves a republic of nine tribes, but in reality, the tribe with the overwhelmingly powerful cavalry units, the Garaba tribe absorbed the other tribes one by one, which in reality, brings them closer to being a military dictatorship.
However, the militaristic Berbechia yielded to a foreign kingdom with superior military prowess, and was bled dry.
Even farther west than Berbechia, there was the territory governed by an S-ranked demon lord. The demon lord once invaded Berbechia and reduced a village to cinders. That was an event that had the citizens of Berbechia prepare themselves for their country’s ruin.
The demon lord stopped their invasion there and demanded tribute. The reason for their attack on the village wasn’t to destroy, it was to steal.
Even after being pillaged for so many years, Berbechia poured all its national powers into the military, and formed the “Blacksteel Cavalry Corps.” Rather than challenging the demon lord’s kingdom with a death wish, they thought that they had better hopes fighting against another human kingdom.
Berbechia’s general, along with his troops, entrusted their hopes to this war. Garaba which suppressed the other tribes, sought to absorb another group—they planned to absorb the Albein Kingdom as a nation; they believed in their ability to do so.
However, they did not know.
That Albein earned its current peace after exterminating an SSS-ranked demon lord.
Winsburg didn’t tell them. He only proclaimed to Berbechia information that would be convenient for him, but still,Berbechia didn’t believe in Winsburg, who was a citizen of another kingdom.
Then, why did they still believe they could win? Cody didn’t feel rage, but pity.
And at the same time, prayed so that it would end without letting a single life of the marching army go to waste.
“Guards of Albein, do not move from your position!”
Cody’s voice was altered thanks to the effect of the mask. To that resounding low-pitched voice, the guardsmen were frightened.
“What are you saying…? W-We’re being invaded! Against such a large army, we won’t last a single…”
“R-Run! Abandon the fortress and run! If we do that, we’ll survive!”
A few soldiers ran away while saying that with a loud voice. Cody was instructed by the [Silver Mug] guild member that guided him to the fort to arrest such people.
There was nobody in Albein’s knight order who would run away in front of an enemy. Cody lamented the fact that there were deserters among his men, but that was a self-reflection for another time.
“Berbechia… I’ll be having you go home now. Soon, the day where you will be saved will come.”
Knowing that Dick Silver, there was no way he would ignore a demon lord who was tormenting a neighboring country.
If it was him, then he would have no second thoughts about fighting against an unknown demon lord that tormented the country’s civilians, and save the people with “a way that doesn’t stand out”—just as he had done up until now. Cody believed that without a doubt.
Daybreak approached, from far behind Cody’s rear side, the sun started rising.
A single shining tear flowed down the cheek below his mask.
As for why, even Cody himself didn’t know.
“Have I become useful to you…? Dick.”
After saying that with a voice that wouldn’t reach anyone, Cody let his back bathe in the sun, and held out his hand in front of him.
Silent Chanting—he thought about what would happen if he didn’t master that from a young age.
Then I wouldn’t be able to deceive you, and I would… have appeared like a “Weird girl” I guess.
Not trusting men, nor trusting Dick, he might have taken up an attitude even worse than Mylarka, and might’ve been hated by everyone.
But regardless of the flow of events, He believed that Dick was the one that opened his heart.
Thinking like that, my own worries seem foolish. Somebody like you really are…
Without letting the flowing tear bother him, Cody uttered his long-buried true name that he received from his parents.
“I beseech thee by the name of Cordelia Blannage. Sword Spirit Ragna, bestow upon mine hand a sword of light…!”
Cody was Cordelia’s alias that she used ever since she received her adventurer’s strength measurement and became an SSS-ranked adventurer.
During the demon lord subjugation trip, she used silent chanting to summon the holy sword, so she never used her real name. That was simply in order to deceive Dick.
Sword Spirits were designated as “Unique Spirits.” Unlike the spirits of the chemical elements, only one of each Unique Spirit existed in the world. When Cody—Cordelia first bound a contract with a spirit, she was chosen by the sword spirit, and became its contractor.
One of the magic swords that the sword spirit could conjure was the [Light Blade].
It was a sword with a blade that has the attribute of light, which was utilized in the battle against Verlane.
But the true form of Cordelia’s Light Blade was “light itself.”
It could show its greatest might in close combat, but there was no reason for it to be fixated in one form.
As for what would happen when one wields a weapon that is light itself—
—Light Blade – Horizon Bullet—
The blade of light morphed its shape, and after it converged into two spheres of light, the spheres disappeared.
At nearly the same time as Berbechia’s banner was shot through, the steel helmet of the nearby supreme commander was flicked off along with a weird noise.
The bullets of light accurately arrived at the location it was aimed at with the speed of light and almost simultaneously pierced them.
With the help of the sword spirit, Cordelia could see wherever the light reached in detail and shoot at it from her current location. In short, as long as light could reach it, her firing range is theoretically limitless. The light that was made using the spirit’s power didn’t refract like regular light.
“What… Berbechia’s troops are in chaos…?!”
Unrest shot through the big army that marched forward.
The troops that had the power to break through the fortress were halfway to the fortress, when they stopped their march.
“That large army stopped… Did that masked guy do something…?”
“Impossible, what could he do this far away?”
“H-However, I saw him do something… Kgh, I can’t see because the sun’s too bright.”
If they found out about the light blade, they would be able to pinpoint her true identity. Cordelia continued to listen to the Albein soldiers’ words and actions and watched the movement of the Berbechia army. If she only shot the supreme commander’s helmet off, there was a chance that they would lose their fighting spirit.
—However, the Berbechia army was more vulnerable against unknown fear than Cordelia had thought.
“Berbechia’s whole army… W-What is the meaning of this…?”
So an army that bet everything it had would lose their fighting spirit from something like this? Cordelia didn’t even care to rebuke them.
She was feared to this extent due to her own powers. When her power from contracting a sword spirit was found out, even Cordelia’s powerful brother looked at her with fearful eyes. He feared the SSS-ranked adventurer, the young girl five years younger than him.
To the soldiers who were in chaos due to unforeseen circumstances, Cordelia took a deep breath, and thought that if Dick was here, he would say something like this, then said in a loud voice:
“I pierced the supreme commander’s helmet just now! Hear me, soldiers! We, the [Masked Saviors] will not hesitate to save you however many times you may need! Steel yourselves and continue your daily training!”
While Cordelia continued to wonder if she let out her knight commander-tone, she jumped from one scaffolding to another from atop the watchtower down to the bottom of the fort in one go.
“Masked Saviors… A-Amazing… Who in the world are they…?!”
“Piercing a helmet at this range… L-Look! Their banner is torn up!”
“So that guy did that, too… I-It’s a divine act!”
Berbechia army’s banner was torn apart, and had become an ordinary piece of cloth. To Cordelia, it was a bet on whether or not the speech would reinforce them, but it pretty much flowed according to her plan.
“Everyone, I’ll need to directly instruct all of you… It’s not good to slack just because enemies haven’t come for a long time. This calls for a strict training schedule.”
She said in a mutter while leaving the fort. All the while forming a refreshing smile with her mouth.
And so, after going on a main road somewhat far away from the fortress, Cordelia met up with a guild member. The male mage who managed the magic circle brought his subordinates and arrested the soldiers that Larg bribed.
While thinking about bringing the arrested soldiers as prisoners to the capital, Cordelia once again used the teleportation magic circle, and returned to the capital.
That was roughly what happened within the few hours she left her residence until the day dawned.
2 – The Tigress’ Hot Springs and the Duke’s Resistance
A short while after the banquet ended, I rested in the same tent as Riko and Mylarka, the guest-use tent was spacious, the tent was divided into men-women areas, so we could get some good night’s sleep in.
“Wait, no…. We can’t sleep just yet. That Mylarka, how much did she drink?”
That’s right, we couldn’t just go to sleep peacefully and welcome the next day with open arms. We needed to leave this village before the sky lit up.
Going by my predictions, Cody should’ve repelled the Berbechia army by dawn. I wondered what would happen if I spread that information to the capital—I’ve thought of a few patterns that the Winsburg family would take.
First, running away from the capital before his coup is revealed.
The other one—covering it up in order to prevent himself from being discovered. Because Larg and his other underlings were captured, he wouldn’t be able to completely erase all the evidence, so it was meaningless.
Lastly, the action that influential people do when driven into a corner. Putting the blame on someone else and making them turn themselves in… Probably. Though just thinking about that made me feel disgust towards them, there was still a chance they could do it because they didn’t have any other measure.
My body was slightly staggering because I’m still drunk. I placed my hand on my chest as if I just remembered something, and began neutralizing the alcohol. The tiger-humans’ sake had quite the taste, but because there were impurities due to problems during production, it made one get intoxicated easily. There were customers who preferred that rough taste, so I’d like to put the tiger-humans’ unrefined sake on my bar’s menu.
I couldn’t sense Mylarka’s nor Riko’s presence who were supposed to be sleeping from the other side of the curtain.
I was slightly worried about the one called [Sweet Disaster] taking a stroll outside during this time. Though, she might just have asked Riko to guide her somewhere.
I exited the tent, and followed Riko and Mylarka’s magic power in search of them to confirm their safety. Mylarka’s magic power was unique, she often left traces of magic wherever she went. Seemed like Mylarka headed towards the forest at the outskirts of the village along with Riko.
After advancing through the forest for a while, fog started appearing in front of me. It felt slightly damp and warm, and had a unique smell—what’s this, I wondered.
The white fog became increasingly denser, it was still early in the morning, and the lamps were sparsely placed, so I couldn’t clearly see in front of me. Following their mana became difficult, but I continued on without turning back.
—Shortly, a tall wall of bamboo stretched in a horizontal line in front of me. White fog was coming from the gaps of the wall.
“So she’s over on the other side? Oiii, Mylar-“
Peeking through the gaps of the wall of bamboo while saying that—splash, I heard the sound of water and understood the meaning of it.
“Fuh… As I thought, getting in a bath helps me calm down. Thanks for bringing me here, Riko.”
“I wanna go in too, so I’m happy coming here! Masked woman, Love you so much♪”
“…You, weren’t you pretty much glued to him?”
“Masked people, both of them my savior. I hold them dear, as much as the other. Everyone’s’ hate for humans, slightly fixed, too.”
“Warming up to others that easily is dangerous, you know. We’re just exceptions.”
What bombarded my field of vision was, a bath made out of stone—in other words, an open-air bath. Mylarka was having her back rinsed by Riko.
The steam was miraculously covering it up, but steam is something that moved. Feeling as if I saw something pink-colored, which I am definitely not supposed to see past the steam, blood rose to my head.
Back during our demon lord subjugation trip, there was a time when the three of us bathed together… I’m not peeping. I’m just slow to react due to the hot spring’s smell.
Although I didn’t let out a voice, for Riko who had good ears to not notice me—the heavens must be on my side at this time, I was terrified of my own luck.
“…Hey, do you really want to marry him?”
“Nya….?! Y-Yup. Masked man, wonderful person. Super strong, and kind.”
Even though Mylarka asked her opinion like that, there was no way she would say it upfront.
Yes, I thought so, at least….
“Fufu… That man sure is insensitive to his surroundings. He’s got tact, and his face is also on the good-looking side, finding a man better than him is difficult, so I can kind of understand your feelings, Riko.”
My heart—rather, “heart”2 felt like it was being gripped.
Actually, after hearing of Mylarka’s true feelings like this, I’d have to act as if I never heard any of this, though I am aware that I was being insincere.
“About that man, I want to know more. Will he really, come to the village once more?”
“Of course we’ll be visiting you. Though I might bring some of my friends, may I?”
“If they’re friends of masked people, big welcome! Really looking forward to it♪”
“We’re also happy that the places we can come and play have increased. There are also many unusual animals here… Also, your tail…”
“Ehehe, that tickles. My tail, you touched, before that man. Letting another girl touch my tail, symbol of friendship.”
“Is that so? Then this means me and Riko are friends now.”
Mylarka touched the fluffy tip of Riko’s tail. Then Riko washed Mylarka’s body thoroughly as if to thank her.
I walked away from the wall of bamboo that blocked my vision and returned to the tent. I didn’t need to worry about anything in the first place, I’m scared of what would’ve happened afterwards if I were to be found peeping on them.
“…Masked man, came up to the other side of the bamboo wall. Did the man, see Riko?”
“Gh… W-Why didn’t you say anything? Where did he hear about this place…? Depending on the circumstances, I’ll need to Annihilate…”
“I-It’s fine, he didn’t come too close. Human ears, different to tiger-human ears, can’t hear this far away.”
“…Then that’s alright. But if he heard us, I’ll need to think about what to do…”
“Marry with masked person? You can be first, Riko can be second♪”
“You really are honest, aren’t you? Looking at you, I can’t even feel mad.”
Mylarka’s current impression softened so much that it was impossible to recognize her old unfriendly self from long ago.
I thought that although the old Mylarka who hurt anyone who touched her was charming in her own right, the current kind Mylarka was plenty attractive as well.
But to me, the Demon Lord Subjugation Team was an existence that didn’t fuss over the relations between men and women.
Although presently I’m using [Healing Light] due to having blood rush to my head after witnessing Mylarka’s figure.
And then, before dawn broke, we got on the firedrake and returned to the capital.
Mylarka was enjoying the scenery visible from the sky. She already got accustomed to leaning her back towards me and treating me like a seat—however.
“…Hm? Something’s flying over from the capital’s direction. That’s Mylarka’s…”
“Fairy Bird… I asked it to tell me when there was any movement, that’s why it’s here. Charlotte, did something happen?”
The fairy bird stopped on Mylarka’s shoulder. It had a beautiful appearance that correctly matched its cute name—its feathers the color of sapphire, its color spread gradationally to the tip of its wings, it delighted anyone who laid their eyes on it with its appearance.
The fairy bird had the ability to completely erase its presence by becoming one with the surrounding scenery. Mylarka made the arbitrary decision of working it as a reconnaissance member of my guild.
The fairy bird cried Coo Coo near Mylarka’s ears. Professor Mylarka could speak with animals—she was more famous due to her research in the animal language compared to her position as the professor of the first offensive magic department.
“Dick, Former-duke Xevious is placing the blame on his subordinates… Kirsch and her group, he threw them away. At this rate, they’ll be executed.”
I didn’t feel anything like anger. It was way past that. My heart was completely quiet.
I had thought that possibility existed. I could get my guild members to rush over to her, but I’m already in the skies of the capital.
“…What about Jean?”
“It appears he’s running away from the capital. So that means he abandoned his father… I’ll be capturing him. Send a supporting guild member over to me later. Since I’ll need someone to arrest him and bring him to justice when I catch him.”
Mylarka took off her mask when we got on the firedrake, but she wore it once more. In her eyes was a strong will like a burning fire.
If I left Jean to her then it wouldn’t be a problem. I’ll send a guild member to rush over to her just as she asked—then, as for what I’ll do.
Xevious Winsburg. The man who continued to act behind the scenes after giving his position as a duke to his son in order to take the kingdom for himself.
I’ll completely suppress his ambition. I need to let the people of the capital continue their lives peacefully without realizing any of this is happening.
“Go and make Xevious and his lackeys regret not realizing the existence of [The Forgotten Dick].”
“I’m fine with being forgotten. That way, regardless of what I’m about to do, it won’t result in anything big.”
Following Mylarka’s lead, I put on my mask. For me, a Guild Master, moving on my own went against my own principles… However.
While I watched my friends from my Demon Lord Subjugation Team days who became the [Masked Saviors], I remembered the trip we went through together in order to subjugate the demon lord.
I just didn’t want to stand out. But I saw a party that was invincible.
At that time, I didn’t only objectively see them as comrades.
Cody, Mylarka, Eileen, and Yuma. I admired the brilliance that the four of them had, and they made my heart pound in combat. I took pride in becoming their friend, and was happy that they invited me to their party.
“How are you going to thank us after everything’s done? Masked Butler-san.”
“Look forward to that later. I’ll welcome you with [The Silver Mug]’s full course, Milady.”
I fed the firedrake a Secret Pomegranate, and swooped down the capital’s northeast district—I could already see the Winsburg’s residence in front of me.
3 – Once Again, the Forgotten Fifth.
I made the firedrake descend following the fairy bird’s lead. First, I had Mylarka move to stop Jean Winsburg in his tracks. Immediately after, I headed to the Winsburg’s residence.
I jumped down after I had the firedrake descend on the outskirts of the noble housing district. I’ve investigated the mansion beforehand, its spacious front garden currently looked just like a crime scene.
Kirsch and her beast-men subordinates were sitting side by side with their hands tied behind their backs. Behind them was a man that held an executioner’s sword.3
Standing in front of Kirsch was a bald old man wearing luxurious clothes. His eyes cold as ice, he wore a crooked smile on his face.
“You fools cooperated with the Berbechia army and blackmailed my Winsburg family. Kirsch, I thought you were Jean’s loyal servant, but it appears you were quite the sly cat.”
“Whoops, don’t you move. I will have to bring down the order to cut your head off if you do. Kirsch, I shall give you one last chance. Now that the foolish son of mine has run away, do you have any intention of serving under me? If you swear fealty to me, then I shall grant a pardon to you alone.”
“P-Please wait, Xevious-sama! Then, what would become of us…Gah!”
Kirsch would be the only one pardoned, a subordinate of Kirsch’s raised a voice of disapproval after hearing that, however, one of Xevious’s men gave him a kick and knocked him into silence.
“When did I tell you to open your mouth? I will not try my hands on people who do not possess true skill. Replacements for people like you can be found anywhere.”
“No way… I-If only Commander Kirsch didn’t tell us to let the thieves go, then I would stay loyal to…”
“Does that change the fact that you let the thieves go? How shameless of you traitors to think that you would receive any hospitality.”
Kirsch was brought in front of Xevious like this due to her subordinate ratting her out. I’ve understood how things became like this—there was no need to observe any more than this.
I tried to devise a plan to let Kirsch escape.
It wasn’t difficult. However, a single swordsman within Xevious’s underlings possessed the combat power of an A-rank. If that guy aimed for Kirsch, then he would kill her if I wasn’t fast enough.
In order to complete this job perfectly, there was no other choice but for me to show myself. After defeating the A-ranked swordsman—
Anything can happen, huh. It’ll be great if that old guy dies from a heart attack though.
The most effective way to protect Kirsch and her group in this situation was to cast Enhancement magic. Originally, Enhancement magic didn’t need to be put into food and drinks, that was just another way that I thought up; originally, it was magic that could be cast in battle to enhance my allies.
I hid my magic, and enhanced Kirsch without letting anyone notice. But that wasn’t enough groundwork. Kirsch’s enhancement was there for insurance, there was another magic that I needed to cast on the enemy.
—And so, I laid all the groundwork I needed with magic.
The other magic I chose was one that I’ve practiced many times. Although it paled in comparison to Mylarka’s, I’ve confirmed its effect to be sufficient for practical use.
Kirsch looked up towards Xevious after given permission to raise her face. There was blood on her lips and her hair had become undone, probably signs of her resistance when she was captured—she was beat-up.
“I… I don’t believe I have done anything wrong! Xevious Winsburg! One day, your wrongdoings will be brought to light! Even if I were to die here, somebody definitely will…!”
She wasn’t yielding at all. Yes, there was no reason for her to yield.
Verlane said, “Hold pride in the decision you’ve made,” that was the reward that [The Silver Mug] requested from her.
The contract was official. That means that we will accomplish the request no matter the method. Xevious was silent, but he was immeasurably enraged towards Kirsch’s defiance.
I knew what he would react with—he would make the executioner do their job. The only reason Xevious desired Kirsch was most likely due to her good looks, the same reason as Larg’s.
“I shall, very reluctantly, commence the execution in order to clean up my relative’s disgrace. Please understand.”
Even so, Kirsch’s eyes didn’t lose hope. Even as tears streamed down her cheek, she will not surrender no matter what.
The executioner raised his shining blade with a glare.
And the moment he brought it down—I activated two magic at the same time.
—[Spirit Rising]—and then,[Spirit Reduce]!4
The executioner stopped their movement. Then he shakily lost his balance and collapsed while holding the blade.
“H-Heavy… T-The blade is, heavy…!
“Oy, what are you doing?! I told you to kill her! So be it, if you are not doing it, then, Grans, you do it!”
“An execution should be done to villains. Don’t you agree?”
I showed myself, and everyone became stiff with the expression of shock. Taking advantage of that chance, I drew my sword before the A-rank swordsman could approach the captured Kirsch and her subordinates and slashed.
It was my first real battle in a long time. But to me, it didn’t qualify as a battle.
“Do you intend to be a hero of justice, wearing that mask…? Don’t mess with me!”
“I’m just doing my job. Just like you. [Violet Scorpion]’s Grans Bald, if I remember correctly?”
“So what…?! Die!”
A rank—possessing an adventurer’s strength within 10,000. He had most of his score in sword fighting, so his skill was quite something.
However, exchanging even one blow with my [Spirit Blade] with a regular sword was a suicidal act.
Cring, a dull sound resounded. My blade which hardness scaled according to my mana cut through the steel sword that Grans used in the middle.
“Impossible… A black-steel blade, by a mere steel blade…!”
“So you even used weapons supplied by Berbechia? This is one deep problem, huh…!”
Grans could not slash at his enemy anymore now that he lost his weapon. I sent him flying with a kick.
[Shoot Rising].5 There was no need for me to always use enhancement magic, but always holding back wasn’t a principle of mine, so I activated the magic by instinct.
But there was a big tree in Grans’ trajectory, he crashed into it and left a crevice on the tree due to the impact.
“Now, next is… Is nobody gonna come forward? Your face is going purplish-red you know, Gramps.”
“I-Incompetent fools… If we managed to get away here, if only we managed to get away here…Gh!”
He no longer had the face of a strategist who tried to conquer this kingdom by manipulating his underlings from the shadows.
His son abandoned him, and he now intended to take the last measure, but he had lost all hope.
Xevious drew his own sword, and came slashing towards me—he only had an unshaking conviction to political power and hatred towards me on his face.
Losing his sense of reason, he unleashed his sword while screaming like an animal—however.
I’m not kind enough to receive Xevious’s attack, which was weaker than that of a C-rank’s.
From many ways to choose from, I chose to “Experiment.” Yes, to me, this was never a fight to begin with.
I expanded the Magic Circle while it’s still hidden.
I’ve always thought while looking at Mylarka, “Couldn’t you use it this way?”
There’s probably no one who can use space expansion magic other than her. No one other than the one who can moderately do many things, the [Jack-of-all-trades] me, who has always looked at her.
—[Restricted Area-form Annihilation #66 – Particle Dispersion Field]—
Xevious thrust using his sword—it appeared to have reached me.
“H-How do you like it now… I definitely… will not end here… “
“Nah, it’s your end. And also, you won’t get a second start.”
Xevious’s blade became crumbly, and fell down like black lumps of charcoal. Losing his weapon, Xevious lost the strength in his legs, and simply stared at me with eyes as if looking at a monster.
“M-My sword… You, demon… You’re a demon, aren’t you? For a demon to enter the capital, are you trying to say that you intend to destroy this kingdom?!”
“Don’t look down on Demons. I’m acquainted with a demon that’s way more prideful than you are. Rather,
You never had any pride to begin with. The word “pride” is too good of a word for somebody like you, who sold out the kingdom.
Without recognizing his defeat, Xevious tried to bubble up words through his mouth, but the words never took shape.
Xevious fainted due to excessive rage. None of the underlings still standing had the power to fight left in them. The ones affected by [Spirit Reduce] were weakened to the point they couldn’t even hold their weapons without exerting a certain amount of strength.
“Even if you tried to take your employer and run away, it’d be a rather hard plan, won’t it? Just stay silent and be captured.”
Nobody said a word, though it was because they couldn’t even nod; they had absolutely no strength to resist.
I undid Kirsch’s and the others’ restraints. Blood oozed from Kirsch’s arms after I released her, due to the rope digging into it, so I casted [Healing Light] on all of them.
“This light… Even Healing magic…”
“E-Eeeek… I-It’s not my fault! It’s all Commander Kirsch’s… Guah!”
I gave the subordinate of Kirsch who ratted her out a punishing chop and made him faint.
“Is there anyone else who betrayed her?”
“…No. Even if there were anyone who felt that way, it’s all due to my disgracefulness.”
“Commander Kirsch, I’m sorry… I, when I heard Xevious-sama ask you to become his subordinate, I thought you would abandon us…”
Three men from Kirsch’s group said that apologetically.
“It’s reasonable to believe that. Since I truly did have the thought, ‘If I do that, then I’ll be saved’… However, the feeling of ‘I’d rather die than serve that old man’ won out in the end. That’s all.”
Originally, they probably idolized Kirsch. The one responsible for destroying that mutual trust was because of Jean ordering them dirty work, and his father, Xevious, who only tried to take advantage of them and threw them away.
Mylarka must have already completed her mission without an accident, a Fairy Bird traversed the skies, while the firedrake that Mylarka mounted followed.
“U-Um… Masked person. Why have you helped us?”
Kirsch didn’t realize my true identity due to my voice being faked by the mask.
She awaited my answer—instead, I was bothered by her chest, which was exposed when she was arrested, and I took off my jacket and put it over her.
“Ah… P-Please excuse me, for you to worry about me so…”
“Nah, don’t worry. This much is only natural.”
I turned on my heel and tried to leave. Later I just need to call an official of the capital to handle Kirsch and the others. Kirsch should be able to relay the situation reasonably—though I’ll need to ask Cody for help if it becomes difficult.
“M-Masked person… Ugh, at least, your name…!”
“I’m the fifth of the [Masked Saviors]. Just remember that.”
“Y-Yes… I will never forget this debt… Thank you so much, The [Forgotten] Hero-dono!”
“That man is… a hero?”
“He helped us, doesn’t that make him a hero?”
To Kirsch’s words her subordinates consented voluntarily, but I can’t help but feel perturbed.
No way, did she find me out—no, I guess she researched somewhere and found out that the Guild Master of [The Silver Mug] is named Dick Silver. Though, if anyone looked into it, then they would find out, since it was officially documented as that.
She pieced it together, the place where she brought her request in, [The Silver Mug], Dick Silver, and the Masked Savior—however, complaining about such a small thing would be thoughtless of her.
Kirsch kept my secret. If she didn’t I would tell Verlane to make her add another reward for achieving her request.
The [Masked Saviors] was a group that protected the kingdom, completely unrelated to my guild.
Even if one were saved by them, it was an event that my guild had no participation in—I felt like I wanted to confirm if she was aware of that.
4 – Returning Tranquility and the Masked Butler’s invitation
Kirsch Auguste, earning the protection of the other two duke families, directly reported the Duke Family of Winsburg’s schemes to the king.
The other duke families also inferred that starting from Xevious’s generation, one of the oldest duke families became corrupted. Although he may be a duke, the head of the Winsburg family being too forceful on progressing their marriage with the princess, along with Jean’s debauchery of relationships with women, the number one Orleans Family, and the Stollen Family deemed it to be grave, and raised a suggestion to hold a public hearing regarding the internal state of affairs.
The Stollen Family sent a friendly letter to me after knowing that I’m handling one of their previously-owned mansions. The Orleans and Stollen family both had connections due to being fellow duke families, so I had them become guardians for Kirsch’s case by utilizing that connection.
“Whatever the job may be, I should accept it,” I believed. Yuma was also indirectly involved with this case, being the one who purified all the ghosts gathered in that mansion. As long as I brought that up, she wouldn’t feel left out due to not being able to participate.
The Winsburg Family was about to be punished by being stripped off their rank, but the case cooled off by them receiving remission and being demoted to being a viscount. Because there were some in the family who were not in support of what Xevious and Jean did, and there were also some who were unaware of what they were doing.
Due to there being an empty seat in within the duke families, the marquis decided to hold a re-election. They needed some time in order to decide on the most fitting family for the spot of a duke, until then, it became so that two duke families stood at the summit of the nobles.
By some luck, Kirsch was hired by the Orleans family. She was valued highly due to her ability and loyalty because she went against her master for the sake of the country. And her subordinates, excluding the ones who betrayed her, stayed under her command—as for the compensation for her recent matter, they decided to talk about and decide on it on another day. Kirsch already got what she wanted, but she said she wasn’t satisfied with it yet.
And now, a week after the king issued his ruling.
I, as the masked butler, invited the four [Masked Saviors] to Beatrice’s Mansion for dinner. I talked to Yuma about not asking for her help for this request before holding the dinner, but it seemed like it didn’t bother her one bit.
“If my abilities were to be useful in a quarrel between people… it would be in putting the souls of those who died with regrets to rest, right? It may be one of the jobs of a priest, but if I were to enjoy it too much it’ll make Dick-san worry.”
“Yuma… You really grew up, huh. Although you used to say, ‘I want to appease all souls’ before.”
“Hardly, I actually do want to appease them, but… I will persevere, endure, and when it’s all saved up, I’ll ask Dick-san to prepare a haunted spot for me, was what I had in mind.”
She wore a smile befitting that of a saint, but I somehow felt immorality from what she said.
“Could you not de-stress yourself enough as the Masked Priestess?”
“Y-Yes… I kept being found out as a priest from the Church of Albein due to my clothes, so the church’s donation money keeps increasing. But when Beatrice-san assembled all the spirits, I couldn’t forget the feeling of purifying all of them at once… aaah… I want to touch Dick-san’s soul, just like that time…”
“I-Is that so… If you’re fine with just touching, then I won’t mind, you know?”
Yuma looked at me and blinked her round eyes multiple times. I immediately understood the meaning of that reaction.
“No need. I will hold on until Dick-san becomes an old man and your family sends you off to God.”
“…Family, huh. First, I’ll need to get a wife to make a family with, though.”
“Ah… Y-Yes. About that, from my dear father and mother as well, in the future, if Dick-san is fine with it… U-Um…”
“Mister Butler, Yuma. We’re waiting here; are you still busy talking with each other?”
“Ah… I-I’m sorry. Butler-sama, let’s have this conversation at another time…!”
Yuma ran away with tottering steps and sat beside Mylarka. Contrary to my thought of Mylarka trying to curb me in, she smiled with a huff, and started making small talk with Yuma.
“Dear guests, what would you like for your aperitif?6”
“I’m fine with mister butler’s recommendation.”
“Me tooo! And Yuma-chan, guess you want milk? How about cheating just for today… guess not!”
“Yes, milk or anything non-alcoholic, please.”
“Then, I’ll get… the usual, I guess.”
The one who put in the last order was—Cody. He was currently sitting beside Eileen in his civvies.
I was so curious I felt like asking him what kind of clothes he usually wore, but Cody wasn’t a guy who was mindful of what he wore. I’ve also introduced him to a tailor that I frequented.
“May these days continue on,” I thought to myself.
These were my few best friends with whom I could speak freely with. Could I continue to deny what I saw, for the rest of my life, because I didn’t want to lose them?
Cody probably would not forgive me if he found out about me eavesdropping on him.
Cordelia Blannage. There were birth documents of her with that name in her native village. I never had the intention to re-investigate my comrades’ background; this was the first time I ever felt like I wanted to find out about Cody’s birth.
Although he always cut his brown hair short, occasionally she would grow it a bit longer. Was he, who went on a trip together with me, drunk right next to me, really a boy?
It’s only natural for what I’m about to do to anger Cody and completely destroy our friendship.
Even so, for just a tiny bit longer, I wanted to let her relax.
Even if I had to continue calling her and treating her as [Cody] from now just as usual, I just wanted to let her relax herself.
“Today will be a special dinner party in order to appreciate the dear guests’ efforts. I would also appreciate it if Cody-sama would let me handle his drink, if you do not mind.”
“…..? Mm-hm, I’ll leave it to you, then.”
I felt like my heart was about to jump out of my chest. Even without doing something like this, I could pretend to not know, and leave it as me having a dream while being drunk, and then I could continue this relationship the same as ever.
That was the peace I hoped for. No doubt about it.
That is why, I had no reason to intrude in Cody’s affairs. It was the first time I ever felt this scared.
I felt happy with Cody’s regular visits to the bar.
That was a feeling that would not change, regardless of Cody being a man or woman.
“Please excuse me. I shall prepare the aperitif.”
Beatrice pushed a wagon while entering the dining room.
On top of that wagon were four glasses filled with blended liquor of different colors. Mylarka’s is red, Eileen’s blue, Yuma’s white, and lastly, Cody’s is yellow.
“This is [The Silver Mug]’s original blend, [Rainbow Drops].”
It would change in seven different colors depending on the last drop added in the blend. By just mixing a certain ratio of liquor, brandy, and juice would already be delicious, but the last drop would transform its flavor.
“…Dick… This is…”
I was acting as the masked butler, but Cody called my name as if she didn’t care about such things.
Without saying anything, I had Beatrice push the wagon and place each of the four glasses in front of them. Each of the four cocktail glasses7 had their respective colors, they were filled with transparent alcohol.
Cody would probably order ale—I thought. It was a habit she had ever since I said, “Most male customers order Ale,” when she first came by the bar.
After hearing about “The alcohol men ordered” from me, Cody didn’t order anything else.
She started acting very manly due to being called a feminine man by other people— was what I thought before. That was half-right, and half-wrong.
It was in order to hide her true identity from me. She acted that way in order to not let me realize that she was actually a girl. That was why I needed to be the one to end it. In a way that will get the message through without using words.
“…Hey, is this some mistake? I don’t drink anything else but ale and rum… I won’t order other liquor save for very special exceptions, you know?”
“No, it is no such exception. And I am not mistaken in the least.”
Mylarka, Yuma, and Eileen’s expressions changed. It seemed like they couldn’t believe what they saw—though it couldn’t be helped that they would make that kind of face.
Because it took five years. Five years without realizing the truth, up to this one day.
“…You, now I’ll need to question you later. This’ll be a big debt for you to pay.”
“Yes… I am aware. Even so, the item that I have presented to you is not a mistake. If I have soured your mood, please punish me as you see fit.”
I bowed my head deeply. With resignation to her getting mad and calling me a dumbass all the while.
But the rebuke never came. And then, Cody took a deep breath.
“…Seems like I should’ve prepared myself for this sooner, huh.”
Raising my head after receiving permission, I was the target of all four of their stares.
Nobody had eyes that criticized me. Rather, Mylarka and Eileen seemed like they wanted to say, “You’ve only noticed that now?”
“Why did you pick today, since when did you notice… I wanted to ask you many questions. But I’ll be letting you off today for Cody’s sake.”
“I would feel much obliged, Mistress Mylarka.”
“Eeeh, you’re gonna stay as a butler? You’re just too embarrassed to speak with Cody face to face, aren’t you, Dick?”
“…It doesn’t really bother me much, though. We’ve always been like that, and from now…”
Even while saying that, Cody was red up to her ears.
That was the first time I saw his face like that ever since that one time I invited him for a bath during our demon lord subjugation trip.
“Though with this, Dick’s lost his only male friend.”
“N-No. I’m fine with you just treating me as a man as usual. If you don’t… U-Um… It’ll be awkward…”
“So you’re saying ‘please be considerate’ or stuff, right? ‘Cause of that, let’s get drunk todayyy!”
“U-Um, I appreciate butler-sama’s consideration, but I can’t drink alcohol…”
“Though it may appear the same, Yuma-sama’s drink is non-alcoholic, please do not worry.”
“As expected of Dick-sama… You’ve even prepared a non-alcoholic blend that tasted similarly. I’ll need to have you teach me more recipes regularly…”
Beatrice was already proficient enough to be the head of this mansion, but if she’d say that much then I’d have to regularly visit this place.
But the other four’s eyes were scary—because going to visit Beatrice meant that I’ll be supplying her with mana in order for her to maintain her physical form. It wasn’t a must for each visit, but there was also a part of her that hoped for that to happen.
Yuma laughed, and Cody had her usual smile on, while being red in the face, but I could feel that her gaze towards me subtly changed.
“…I guess she’s trying to say, ‘soon I’ll be making all of you jealous.’ Everyone’s feelings are also complicated, huh.”
“Yeaaaaah, can’t be helped even if we get jealous. Since Dick’s got no self-awareness at all.”
“Truly. He’s the type that baits you in and fishes you up without even using a bait, an awful fisherman.”
“Gh… I am just a simple masked butler…”
“I’m also a masked priestess. Please let me say something… Please pay more attention to me.”
Yuma suddenly dropped a bomb—however, everyone smiled at that.
She’s always been like that ever since a long time ago. She seemed to lack common sense, even though that wasn’t the case.
“Dick, you remember your promise to me, right? I won’t forgive you if you say you forgot.”
“Ah, so that kind of request is O-K as this job’s reward? Theeen, wanna come to my house later and drink together? You can bring Verlane-san too.”
“Then, for me… Maybe I’ll have you help me practice my sword, since you always postponed it and slipped away whenever I asked.”
A request for me came out of each of their mouths. I just wanted to go drink in my bar—but it seemed like they weren’t about to let me off with just that.
“Well then, Dick-sama… Rather, Masked Butler-sama. Please lead the toast.”
“Why someone such as… Guess it’s not the place for this, huh. Everyone, raise your glasses, and… Cheers!”
The Demon Lord Subjugation Party, now the Masked Saviors, raised their voices in unison.
Tonight’s dinner party didn’t have a set end time. The girls drank a lot, conversed a lot, and showed appreciation towards each other.
There were some things that changed, and some that didn’t change after this one incident.
I’ll likely return to my regular daily life from tomorrow. Right now, I just wanted to get drunk along with everyone.
“Butler-sama, what would you like to drink?”
“Can you teach us how to make them too? I feel it’s unfair for you to keep it to yourself like that.”
“You see, Dick keeps telling me you learn recipes by observing how to make them, so he just needs to show us how to make ‘em.”
“Hmmmph… How do you make them? I’m interested. Show us how, mister Masked Butler.”
“Well, I shall respond to your requests…”
Beatrice prepared a shaker to blend alcohol with—this wasn’t widespread in the capital’s bars. My style to blend alcohol in itself was due to me becoming interested in it after a human from a foreign kingdom told me about it, it wasn’t commonplace in Albein.
I put the blending ingredients in the shaker, and started shaking. Then, when I poured the blend to a glass, my dear comrades watched me intently with sparkling eyes.
2 First heart is using kanji, the second one was written in katakana (Japanese letters for borrowed words and such).
An executioner’s sword is a sword designed specifically for decapitation of condemned criminals (as opposed to combat). Basically, swords with a blunt end.
4 Respectively written as combat power loan, and combat power degradation.
5 Written as Kick Attack Enhancement.
6 an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.