Xant: Apologies for the delay. Mass upload as an apology~
Also, wtf are with these sfx…
Chapter 13 – Riding and Thugs
“Come here, Hayate.” [Chie]
One week had quickly passed since I received the information from Aaron.
While I was taking a break, I went to the stables where Hayate was kept.
Hayate responded happily.
For the past three weeks, I had been working until the end of the evening, when I ate. Once in awhile, I would try to find time to spend with Hayate by riding around outside of the city.
Leading Hayate out from the stables, I prepared to leave through the city gates.
“Take care Black Knight-sama. Have a nice day.” [Alice]
“We’ll continue to keep watch. Go stretch your wings today.” [Conrad]
Alice and Conrad sent me off.
I nodded to their words and equipped Hayate with reins.
“Understood. Let’s go Hayate!” [Chie]
While riding Hayate, we went galloping out of the city.
Hayate moved smoothly.
People, who were also traveling along the road, were passed in an instant.
People who were riding horses were also passed by in a similar manner.
As we were moving, I thought that this was how people traveling on the highway with a motorcycle would probably feel.
Arriving at our destination, I dismounted from Hayate.
This was the place where I had first arrived in this world and the place where I had met Hayate.
The three weeks that I had been in this world have passed by quickly.
We had slowly been progressing towards the resolution of the kidnapping incident.
With the information obtained from Aaron, we found the headquarters of the Shadow Guild and had been spying on their men.
Considering the possibility of the Shadow Guild coming into contact with other people, it was decided that we would only observe them for now.
We could annihilate them, but now was not the time.
Though we would learn a lot, it still left a bitter taste in my mouth….
Well, for the time being!
“Hmm~, today I get to relax~” [Chie]
Still wearing the armor, I sat down on the spot.
To have a day like this once in awhile is good.
If you work hard, rest hard.
That was the teaching of the Saito family.
I put my head on my knees and relaxed next to Hayate.
Even though I was wearing armor, I wonder why it wasn’t uncomfortable?
Well, anyways, it really is peaceful here.
The sounds of the birds singing and the wind blowing through the trees were pleasant to my ears. There was no sign of any monsters close by either.
It had been like this the first time I had come here as well.
Usually I could sense the presence of demons nearby, but that wasn’t the case here.
Quiet was good, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a bit unnatural.
I wonder if that had something to do with why I had appeared in this place?
While I was absorbed in thought, my attention was drawn to a sound coming from a thick bush.
This presence though, it wasn’t the same ominous feeling of a demon.
There were different feelings depending on whether it was a human or small animal.
How should I say it, this presence……..it was the same as Hayate!!
The sound came gradually closer.
Then, it came out of the bushes.
“….It’s a ‘unicorn’….” [Chie]
The whole body was that of a pure white ‘unicorn’.
A whole herd of ‘unicorns’ came out of the bushes.
They were all relaxed as they stood around the lake.
White, as far as the eye could see.
Among them, two were black.
Hayate didn’t seem to care, but I felt uncomfortable.
Come to think of it, it was in the knowledge given to me.
The Holy Land of the ‘unicorns’.
To put it simply, it was the place where the ‘unicorns’ gather.
The ‘unicorn’ doesn’t show itself to others in general. They only gather in pure places around the world.
One of which is here.
So that was the reason it was so peaceful here and I couldn’t sense any demons.
Maybe when I first came here, they were wary and didn’t come out, with the exception of Hayate.
At the start they were wary of me, but after seeing how Hayate favored me, they decided it was alright to come out.
Even so, the whiteness was so bright…..
With the sunlight of the day, it was even more blinding.
“You know, Hayate is better in black.” [Chie]
For a moment, I imagined my black armor with a white ‘unicorn’.
A black-and-white combo, it just seemed funny.
It gave off a tremendous feeling of discomfort. After all, I think black is best.
Road, Evening (on the way back)
I rode Hayate slowly back home.
Well~, today I got to see an amazing sight, in many ways.
The things I saw in that place today were things I won’t talk about to anyone.
If people were to find out about that place, poachers and thieves would ruin it.
It’s a place that I would want to visit again.
Spectacular view aside, it’s a place where I can go to relax in peace.
“Let’s go again sometime Hayate.” [Chie]
I said in a man’s voice.
Hayate responded happily.
Alright! After this incident is over, we’ll go again!
But, before that….
“The guy hiding over there, will you come out now?” [Chie]
I spoke in a loud voice to the presence that had been releasing bloodthirst since awhile ago.
At the same time, Hayate stopped.
Landing in front of us was the person who had been hiding in the trees.
The person who had appeared was someone with dark gold hair and sharp blue eyes.
A long black scarf hung from his nose and was tied around the back of his head.
Wearing a long black coat over a black shirt, black leather pants, and black honey boots, he also had on black gloves that exposed his fingers.
He looked to be a young man about 170-175 kaumeito (cm) tall.
One could call him good looking, if not for his whole body being a conspicuous black mess.
At least, that’s what I thought.
He remained silent, glaring at me.
I stepped down from Hayate, who warily stepped to the back.
I put a hand on my waist and observed the other party.
Visibly he was not armed, but a person like this probably had weapons hidden in his coat.
Probably a massive amount of knives or daggers.
“I need confirmation.” [Assassin]
Assassin muttered that in a quiet voice.
“You are…..the Black Knight?” [Assassin]
Even though that was already understood, he needed to confirm my identity.
It was like a scene that could be often found in many web novels with the main character. The feeling in the air made one feel like a fight was about to break out. Realistically, I could think of no reason for such a thing to happen though.
I’ll act playfully even though I am able to read the atmosphere.
Unlike that ‘moron’ Yusuke.
“And if I were to say yes?” [Chie]
To which he responded seriously.
“It’s work……to kill.” [Assassin]
At the same time that he had spoken, a dagger appeared in his right hand, and in the next moment he came running towards me.
I quickly pulled out Sakuya and intercepted the attack.
“Hey, listen. Who is your employer?” [Chie]
I asked the assassin, who was impressed that I received his attack.
“Do you think that I would tell you?” [Assassin]
“I’ll make you!” [Chie]
His words were just as I had expected.
I went on the offensive and swung my sword.
The assassin deflected my attack with the dagger in his right hand.
Such smooth movement.
Unlike ogres, humans have the ability to think and move. No matter how much power I possess, I don’t have any actual combat experience.
I was able to beat the stupid swordsman because he had created an opening when he had let the blood flow to his head.
This time it was different though.
This was a real fight with our lives on the line!
The assassin created some distance between us and with his left hand, he produced three 30 kaumeito (cm) arrows out of dirt….and shot them towards me.
I deflected the dirt arrows with a single swing.
But the assassin who read the move quickly encroached upon my chest.
I avoided the attack by moving to the right and swung Sakuya in response.
The assassin leapt away, swiftly evading the swing.
Using his dexterity to change his position in air, he used the fall of his body to swing down with his dagger.
A loud sound rang out when Sakuya was raised to intercept the attack.
We glared at each other through my helmet as we each pressed into our attacks.
“Even though you’re wearing armor, you have some good movements.” [Assassin]
“Well thank you. You speak kindly despite being an assassin.” [Chie]
“It has been a long time since I met a target of your skill. I’m excited.” [Assassin]
“When you say so, it’s an honor!” [Chie]
I pushed back the assassin and swung Sakuya at a high speed.
The sound of clashing metal echoed and resonated within the area.
The hit-and-run fight continued for a while.
After we had a standoff of a few seconds I sheath Sakuya.
“? What are you doing?” [Assassin]
“I’m going to end this.” [Chie]
While I said this, I lowered my stance by pulling my left leg out behind me.
I held the sheath with my left hand, while my right hand was on the blade’s hilt.
I exhaled deeply to concentrate.
The assassin instinctively sensed the danger.
He took a stance that appeared ready to accept any attack at any time.
What I was going to attempt now, was the infamous Iaijutsu.
(See here Battōjutsu or here Iaijutsu. Battojutsu is the craft of ‘drawing sword from sheath’ practice and older term for Iaijutsu which is the ‘quickly drawing the sword from the sheath’ for combat purpose. Chie uses the iai-goshi posture here, or the low crouching posture.)
By chance, I had come to love Japanese sword arts.
It was a move where one drew the sword from the sheath and could be used to cut the opponent or parry an attack.
It was one of the ‘Bugei jūhappan’ of Japan.
(The Bugei jūhappan or ‘18 kinds of martial arts’ are the martial arts used by samurai’s. Iaijutsu, being the sword-drawing art, is 1 of those 18.)
For me, it was the best sword technique to use.
I’m going to try doing it now.
In order to kill the assassin in front of me, I decided to get serious.
Even if it were not during this fight, I would probably have to kill another human in the near future.
Especially now that I am a part of the army.
It looks like that moment is now.
It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t afraid.
But, I had already made my decision long ago.
For a while now, all that could be heard was the rustling of the trees.
“…..” [Chie & Assassin]
The standoff continued.
The Assassin and I moved at the same time.
Just as I was about to pull out Sakuya….
“!?” [Chie & Assassin]
We both felt a disturbance and immediately halted our attacks.
Passing by each other, we stepped back-to-back and observed the surroundings.
We felt that this was not the time to be fighting each other.
“!” [Chie & Assassin]
Perceiving a strong presence, the assassin threw a small dagger into the trees.
“Come out, annoying fly.” [Assassin]
Jumping out from where the dagger had been thrown, a familiar person appeared.
“You’re Gardo!” [Chie]
“Yo, Black Knight-san. Been a while.” [Gardo]
“……..As usual, overly familiar.” [Chie]
The assassin and I warily watched Gardo.
Earlier, this guy had been the ringleader who had sent the ogres after Conrad and the Imperial Family.
He had also appeared before me last time.
“No love, so ‘cold’~……..Well that’s fine, this time the target is you.” [Gardo]
Gardo laughed and snapped his fingers.
From the surroundings came figures with green skin and two horns on their heads.
They had sharp fangs that were clearly exposed.
A short height of 130 kaumeito (cm).
Rags were wrapped around their waists, and they carried a club in hand that was as long as they were tall.
The beginner class monster ‘Goblin’.
One usually wasn’t much of a big deal and would be dealt with by the newcomers of the military.
Certainly it was a lower ranked guild mission.
However, the number of Goblins right now was extraordinary.
The assassin and I were completely surrounded by a horde of Goblins.
“Really now, it would have been good if you had just killed each other, but I got noticed. I had been told to get rid of the assassin as well.” [Gardo]
I don’t know anything about him but….
“Looks like you’re being discarded.” [Chie]
I said to the assassin as we stood back-to-back.
“……Apparently so.” [Assassin]
The assassin nodded and readied his dagger.
I was in a bad situation, but he was in the same boat.
“If you gather up the small fish, it can be comparable to an advanced monster. Work hard and do your best!” [Gardo]
Gardo said before quickly disappearing.
Though we searched, it appeared he had really left.
All that remained was us and the horde of Goblins.
“…..Seems there’s no longer a reason for us to fight.” [Assassin]
“Yeah, you’re right. Now, we can go at them as a united front!” [Chie]
We checked each other’s intentions as we charged into the horde of Goblins at the same time.
Few Minutes Later
Killing the last Goblin, I looked around at the mountain of Goblin corpses lying around.
I returned Sakuya to its sheath, and Hayate, who had been fighting in the middle, came galloping over.
We went together towards where the assassin was.
“I’m tired. That was a disaster.” [Chie]
Even though half of his face was hidden, you could see the tired look in his eyes.
“Are you from the Shadow Guild?” [Chie]
I asked for confirmation.
“Well, I received the assassination mission this time, but the opponent was ridiculous.” [Assassin]
The assassin’s appearance showed a look of slight discomfort.
Perhaps he saw how differently I had fought with the Goblin opponents.
When the assassin had been my opponent, I couldn’t get serious as compared to when the opponent was a Goblin. He seemed surprised at the difference.
“What now, will you turn me in?” [Assassin]
I thought while looking at the dirty clothes of the assassin.
Certainly, those of the military have a duty to arrest people who were associated with the Shadow Guild or any criminal groups.
“If not, what happens then?” [Chie]
I asked out of curiosity.
Speaking clearly, the Shadow Guild was no good.
This assassin though, felt different somehow.
I became curious about what the future would hold for him.
“Well. For failing the mission, I would definitely be punished. Probably killed.” [Assassin]
He said so impassively. He didn’t turn his back on me in the fight though. I have a feeling~
To lose someone with his skills would be a waste.
“Hey, why not ‘join’ the army?” [Chie]
Because my words were said out of context, the assassin raised his voice and opened his eyes wide.
“Are you stupid!? I came here to kill you! You normally wouldn’t recruit such a person, right!?” [Assassin]
“…What a pain. It’s fine, really. You’re the only one that has a problem with it.” [Chie]
The assassin scowled at my words.
Certainly, I thought that what I was saying was ridiculous myself.
“A while ago, we defeated the Goblins together. There is no reason to fight anymore! Sure it’s my duty to turn you in, but if I do that then it would be the death penalty for you. Until now, you’ve probably killed many people, but you had my back tonight and I can’t pay that back if I turned you in. Therefore, I invited you to ‘join’ the military!” [Chie]
Even if you say it was unreasonable, if you thought about it, you would realize that it was the truth!
“……You sure are different.” [Assassin]
“I’m quite normal though.” [Chie]
I retorted at the words of the assassin.
Silence fell upon us.
But not an uncomfortable silence.
After the silence.
“Pfft” [Assassin & Chie]
It was not certain how such an exchange had become funny but….
“Ahahahahahaha!” [Assassin & Chie]
We both laughed loudly until our stomachs hurt.
Few Days Later (Chie’s Bedroom & Workroom)
“…….Watch what you’re doing, Claude.” [Chie]
The window suddenly blew open just as I had finished with the documents on my desk.
I called out to the source of the disturbance as I caught the documents that flew about the room.
“It’s not my fault, Chie. It’s the only place I can sneak in through!” [Claude]
Says the person who caused the disturbance as he threw a small knife to close the window….the anonymous assassin, Claude Oruguren.
Though now, neither of our faces were hidden.
A few days ago I had recruited him as a scout. He had become a very useful subordinate.
Well, strictly speaking it was still tentative.
Face, name, and age had been mutually shared since then.
Though I was surprised to find out we were the same age, he was even more surprised to find out that I was a woman.
Since then, we’ve had time to talk about various things and now we called each other by name.
Technically, we were superior and subordinate, but we talked to each other as friends.
“……Uh, Commander. He is?” [Conrad]
Surprised by the sudden appearance and our casual way of conversing, Conrad stopped processing the documents that he was working on.
“I’m sorry, Conrad. This is Claude Oruguren. The spy I talked about the other day.” [Chie]
“Ah! So you are….” [Conrad]
Conrad, who looked at Claude, seemed to be impressed.
After picking up Claude, I had only talked about him to Conrad and Alice.
At first they were both quite worried, but after talking about how he had helped with the Goblin attack, they began to relax.
Claude and I both agreed that we should leave out the fact that he was originally an assassin from the Shadow Guild.
I don’t believe Claude was a threat to me anymore anyways.
“Claude, this is Conrad Aiden. Vice-Knight Commander, and my direct subordinate.” [Chie]
“Oh, ‘The Strongest Knight’ from what I have heard.” [Claude]
Claude seems to have heard about Conrad.
Of course, after all, Conrad was famous.
“Thanks, you may call me Conrad.” [Conrad]
“You’re welcome. Please call me Claude.” [Claude]
Conrad removed his right gauntlet and held out his hand.
Claude answered by removing his glove and accepting.
Good, it seems like these two will get along.
“That’s right! Chie! You told me to sneak around the ruins on the back side of town, but what’s up with that!? Do you know how disgusting those streets are!?” [Claude]
Nothing about him gave the impression of an assassin from the Shadow Guild.
That’s why I left it alone.
“Good job. Did you find out what I asked?” [Chie]
I asked as I started thinking.
After I recruited Claude as a spy, I had asked him to sneak into some places.
From Aaron’s information, there was a certain suspicious group of people who frequented the ruins near the back side of town.
At the time, the military didn’t have anybody suitable to move in covertly and investigate them.
Using longswords and spears in an unfamiliar building can put you at a disadvantage. Bows and arrows were out of the question.
A mage can use magic to hide their presence, but if the enemy also has a mage, they would immediately be found out.
Noting the ability that Claude displayed during our fight, I asked him to investigate.
The result is….
“Slave auctions!? I had heard the rumors, but to actually see it leaves a bad feeling.” [Claude]
A big hit.
“Thank you, Claude. Just observe the situation for now.” [Conrad]
“My bad, but thank you.” [Chie]
We both thanked Claude.
“…..Now for some alcohol.” [Claude]
“……I don’t drink.” [Chie]
I said in a self-conscious manner to Claude.
I don’t drink alcohol.
I don’t even want to look at alcohol.
After hearing the knock on the door, I put on my helmet and Claude hid in the back of the room.
He was good at hiding his presence.
When Conrad opened the door, Alice was standing there.
Relieved, I took off my helmet.
“I’m back.” [Alice]
“How was school? Tiring?” [Conrad]
“It was normal.” [Alice]
Alice smiled, having just came back from school.
Alice goes to school from mid-morning to 2:00pm.
In other words, she goes to school and works as a maid at the same time.
In Japan, people go to school to find a job. If you don’t go to school, you just find a job.
Once again, I felt that she was amazing.
……In many ways.
“Claude, it’s okay to come out.” [Chie]
I called out to Claude who was still hidden in the back.
He came out with a relieved face.
“Alice, this is who I was talking about last time, Claude Oruguren.” [Chie]
I introduced Claude.
“Oh! So you’re Oruguren-san. Nice to meet you. I am the maid in service to Black Knight-sama, Alice Aiden. Pleased to meet you.” [Alice]
Alice gave a polite greeting.
“Oh! I, um…..tsu!?” [Claude]
Claude was stiff.
He was staring at Alice’s face.
“? Is there a problem?” [Alice]
“There, no! It’s, ah, well…..” [Claude]
He said hurriedly with a bright red face.
Hoh~ I see.
“…..He’s gonna have a hard time…..” [Conrad]
Conrad also seemed to have noticed.
Rather than worrying about his sister, he seemed to be more worried about Claude.
I understood the feeling.
“Claude fell in love with a ridiculous maid.” [Conrad]
“Well, let’s do what we can to support them.” [Chie]
We watched Claude and Alice while smiling wryly.
My first encounter with Claude was the worst, but for the first time since coming to this world, I had made a friend.
I’ll help him out the best I can.