Chapter 17 – Future Talks
The day that followed Fafnir’s defeat was very somber.
First, the members of Parliament who had been captured were interrogated.
It was also decided by His Majesty and the Prime Minister that the Captains and Vice-Captains would fill the roles of government officials until a new Parliament was established.
Then, all the Darkness Guild members were rounded up and arrested, thanks to Claude.
A rescue unit was also sent out to liberate all the people who were kidnapped.
Most of the rescued people were returned to their hometowns, but there were many children who had no relatives and no home to return to.
Therefore, I petitioned His Majesty to bring the children back to the capital and to build an orphanage run by people who were willing to take care of them. The request was quickly granted.
The orphanage ended up also accepting children who were found homeless in the slums.
The purpose of this orphanage was to provide basic education to these children, giving them a goal in life.
Funding for the orphanage came from and was managed by the castle.
It took approximately one week to build, thanks to the mages and carpenters working in cooperation to build it quickly.
The humans of this world move fast.
The futures of the foreign nobles who had bought and sold the slaves was decided during the time the orphanage was being built.
The foreign nobles would all be judged by the laws of the Empire.
In this world, it was common sense that if you stayed inside another country, you would be judged by their laws.
Therefore, even if another country made a complaint, it would be asserted that “Since they committed a crime in our country, they will be judged by our laws.”
Even if they tried to put up a defence, we had accumulated a large amount of evidence against them, so they would be judged quite heavily.
It was the same for this country’s Parliament members.
If you were willing to commit the crime, you couldn’t complain about the punishment.
His Majesty has begun to petition the leaders of the surrounding countries to return the people who had been sold and taken out of the country.
It became an international issue so the situation became rather serious.
It will be a long time before the awkward situation between the countries is resolved.
With all these various things going on, Claude’s introduction to His Majesty was given two weeks after Fafnir’s defeat.
Claude had also been moving around to subdue the Darkness Guild during those two weeks, which delayed the introduction.
I nearly laughed at how rigid Claude became during his introduction to His Majesty.
I explained the situation to His Majesty and Claude officially received the position of “Imperial Army Covert Investigator”.
Claude was so rigid that the two of us went to the ‘Wild Breath Tavern’ to celebrate his official employment when the introduction ended.
I introduced Claude as a friend to all the other customers.
When Claude asked me why I was drinking non-alcoholic drinks, I reluctantly explained the previous incident and he burst into laughter.
I got pissed so I gave him a good punch, bare-handed of course, and it turned into a brawl.
Well, it was all in good fun though.
After that, something happened that left me completely surprised.
The stupid swordsman came up to me and apologized.
He even lowered his head.
Really, I was surprised by the display.
Apparently, he promised Conrad to apologize to me if this incident was resolved.
I didn’t even know that such a promise had taken place.
I hit the stupid swordsman’s head with my fist, bare-handed of course.
I remember that, when he protested, I grabbed him by the collar and shouted.
“Like I said, there are others you should apologize to, not me!!” [Chie]
I said while pointing at Conrad.
I explained why I was angry to the dumbfounded stupid swordsman.
For him to have not even apologized to Conrad yet. There are only so many things I can take from this guy.
After understanding the situation, he wholeheartedly apologized to Conrad, who seemed to forgive him.
The stupid swordsman also asked me to withdraw the nickname but it was rejected, since the other two seemed to have grown fond of it.
What can I say. This nickname is just easier to say.
As a result, the stupid swordsman ran away crying.
A grown man, crying.
After that, one week passed.
“Hey kids! I brought some sweets with me.” [Chie]
I used my first day off in three weeks to visit the orphanage with Alice.
“Ohhh! It’s the Black Knight!” [Small Boy]
After one of the boys called out, the children gathered around me.
When I had first seen the dark expressions of the children who were left homeless after being kidnapped, I had been shocked.
I heard that their expressions had become brighter recently, so I used the pretense of carrying out an inspection to drop by and deliver sweets.
No doubt, it was due to the hard work of the staff.
There were many children so nearly a dozen men and women were needed to care for them.
“Black Knight-sama!” [Staff Member]
“Welcome! Please come in!” [Staff Member]
The staff members also came out one by one.
They seem to have become rather stiff.
“No need to be so tense. I just thought I’d stop by and share these with everyone.” [Chie]
I handed over the large bag of sweets and cakes to one of the staff members.
“Oh! Had we known, we would have sent someone to retrieve these for you!” [Staff Member]
The staff member said, while showing varying expressions.
“No, no, it was just a sudden thought I had before I came. Don’t mind it.” [Chie]
I told the staff member while waving both of my hands in front of my chest.
At the same time as the conversation was taking place-
I was surprised by a sudden pull on my cloak.
When I looked behind me, I saw some children holding the cloak and looking up at me.
“Hey, kids! You shouldn’t do that to the Duke!” [Staff Member]
“It’s okay, it’s okay. What is it?” [Chie]
I calmed the panicking staff member before directing my sight back towards the children.
“Ah…” [Small Boy]
One of the small boys seemed to want to say something.
I tilted my head a little, curious about what he wanted.
“Ah, let’s play!” [Small Boy]
The boy built up his courage and spoke loudly.
It was so cute that I twitched slightly, restraining the urge to hug him.
When I looked around, I saw that the other children also looked like they wanted to play.
“Yeah, let’s play!” [Chie]
The children’s faces instantly brightened and when I held out my hands, they immediately began to pull me outside.
“Alice, I’m going to go play with the kids for a bit.” [Chie]
“Yes, I shall prepare your tea.” [Alice]
She said and returned a smile.
The staff just stood there with funny expressions on their faces.
“Let’s have some fu-wawawa! Hey, be careful! Dragging people is dangerous!” [Chie]
The children began to pull harder and I was forcibly taken outside.
After being taken out to the courtyard by the children, I faced a problem.
“Playing Knights is fine!” [Small Boy]
“No! Let’s play House!” [Small Girl]
The opinions of the girls and the boys were spectacularly divided.
“Stupid! The Black Knight is here! Obviously we should play Knights!!” [Small Boy]
The boys insisted on playing pretend Knights because there was a Knight (me) present.
“No! The Black Knight will play the father! Just accept it!!” [Small Girl]
The girls wanted to take turns in the mom role, while I was appointed the father role.
Since they were cute little children, they each had their own opinions.
However, it became a fight because of that.
This situation is a first for me, so I’m not sure what I should do.
“Then, let the Black Knight decide!” [Small Boy]
“Fine!” [Small Girl]
Before I knew it, I was given the deciding vote.
“Black Knight-sama!” [Small Girl]
“Pretend Knights or House, which one?” [Small Boy & Small Girl]
They asked in unison.
It would be nice if we could play something with both the boys and the girls.
“Everyone, would you like to play a game from my hometown?” [Chie]
When I said so, they all tilted their heads in curiosity.
The staff and I began to prepare the tea.
“Haah~ is it really alright? Letting them do such a thing to the Black Knight.” [Male Staff Member]
One of the male staff members asked, apologetically.
“It’s alright. Rather, Black Knight-sama seemed pleased.” [Alice]
I said to the man, with a small laugh and a smile.
I couldn’t see through the helmet, but Black Knight-sama was certainly laughing.
“Besides, Black Knight-sama is always going around saying ‘This is normal’ and never acts arrogant around other people.” [Alice]
The staff all gave me a blank look.
It was so funny that I couldn’t help laughing a little.
“That person shows respect for the people that deserve it, regardless of their status. Because of this, he is known as ‘Sir Knight’ to many of the commoners in the capital. That remains true even now.” [Alice]
“…Such a mysterious person.” [Female Staff Member]
One of the female staff members said.
I smiled and arranged the tea and cake on the dining room table.
“Everyone, the tea and cake has been prepared.” [Alice]
On my call, the children began rushing into the building.
“Hey, hey! Be sure to wash your hands first!” [Chie]
Black Knight-sama said from behind the children, who responded cheerfully.
“Well done, Black Knight-sama.” [Alice]
“Thank you. Ah~, a child’s endurance is amazing~.” [Chie]
Black Knight-sama said while stretching.
It seems like the children had a wonderful time.
“What kind of game did you end up playing?” [Alice]
At a glance, it looked like the boys and the girls had played together. I wonder what sort of game it could be?
As far as I knew, the girls usually played house, while the boys ran around pretending to be soldiers or knights. It was rare for them to play together.
“Oh, it was a game of onigokko–tag that I used to play in my hometown.” [Chie]
“Oni? Something to do with demons?” [Alice]
Hearing the word demon, I thought of goblins.
A very strange game.
The girls played as well?
However, Black Knight-sama suddenly made a noise, as if she was desperately stifling a laugh.
“Eh, what?” [Alice]
“Ah, sorry. You’d probably think like that since you heard the word oni.” [Chie]
Black Knight-sama said with trembling shoulders.
I tilted my head in puzzlement.
“Even though I said ‘oni’ which means demon, it’s more like a role. Someone is designated as a ‘demon’ and everyone else has to stay away from that person. The ‘demon’ counts to ten in a predetermined area, while the others take some distance from that person. After counting to ten, the ‘demon’ chases the others, who try to flee. When the ‘demon’ touches another person, the person who is touched becomes the new ‘demon’. That person then counts to ten and the game continues.” [Chie]
Once it was explained, I understood how both the boys and the girls were able to play.
“I see. It seems like the boys and girls were able to happily play together.” [Alice]
“They were arguing about what to play at first, but when I suggested a new game, they were hooked.” [Chie]
They were probably really excited, since it was their first time playing it.
“Certainly, that game would have quite a bit of activity to it.” [Alice]
“Activity, huh…” [Chie]
Black Knight-sama muttered and crossed her arms.
“Is there a problem?” [Alice]
“…I think I could use this game to help the Mage Corps with their stamina training.” [Chie]
I tried to imagine the scene in my head.
Black Knight-sama chasing the Mage Corps members around the training grounds with a sword.
“An excellent idea.” [Alice]
I said with a laugh, smiling.
It will likely prove effective.
“Okay! Let’s incorporate it into the training!” [Chie]
Black Knight-sama said with a shout.
Mage Corps members, please do your best.
“Now then, let’s have some tea. Everyone is probably waiting.” [Alice]
“Gotcha. Go on ahead.” [Chie]
I hadn’t washed my hands yet, so I sent Alice ahead with the kids.
Before they left, Alice told me that the food would be served in the dining area.
I went up to the wells and removed my gauntlets to wash my hands.
The gauntlets were dirty, so I washed them as well.
I didn’t think they would enjoy the game of tag so much.
It was a game with lots of activity, like Alice said, but the children enjoyed it fully.
I’ll try to incorporate it into the Mage Corps training.
With the use of weapons, of course.
Hopefully, we will see good results. If nothing else, it will be a good experience.
Be prepared, Mage Corps.
I discarded the dirty water while thinking of such things.
Well, I can’t afford to make the children wait any longer, so let’s head to the dining hall.
I walked to the dining room while reminiscing about the events up until now.
Just over a month has passed since I came to this world.
I can’t stop thinking about all of the sudden events that have happened.
The Demons and Parliament working hand in hand was quite a ridiculous affair.
I think the next members will need to be chosen with extreme care.
Claude had been doing a lot of work with the Parliament lately, so he took a break by going to the tavern.
I was tired as well, so I came here to take a break.
I think something about seeing the kids laughing and playing is good for the heart and mind.
We can’t say it’s completely resolved until all the people who were sold are returned home, but seeing the smiling faces of the ones we had saved made me think it was a good thing.
The journey ahead might be long and difficult, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep moving forward.
I just need to do the things I can do. That’s about it.
I was thinking while walking and I quickly arrived in front of the dining room.
I raised my hand and gently opened the door.
“Ah! You finally came!” [Small Child]
“Eh~! You’re late!” [Small Child]
When I finally arrived, the waiting children spoke openly.
“Black Knight-sama, let’s eat together!” [Small Girl]
One of the girls grabbed my hand and took me to a seat.
Alice was sitting to the left of my spot.
“Welcome back, Black Knight-sama.” [Alice]
Alice said with a smile and a laugh.
“Come on everybody, let’s pray.” [Female Staff Member]
One of the female staff members said to the children.
The children clasped their hands together and prayed.
In this world, you put both hands together for about ten seconds and silently prayed before a meal.
It was the equivalent of ‘Itadakimasu’ in Japan.
I lived in Japan for 17 years, so it was sort of automatic for me.
I put both hands together and said it in Japanese.
The children and staff stared at me.
Alice, as always, didn’t seem to care, but it was kind of embarrassing because I had raised my voice when every one else was silent.
“Ah, that.” [Chie]
“Hey, what was that?” [Small Girl]
As I wondered what I should do, the small girl sitting next to me asked a question and pulled me back from my thoughts.
“I said ‘Itadakimasu’. It’s an expression from my hometown to show thanks for the food. We say it before eating a meal.” [Chie]
Everyone listened intently and seemed intrigued.
Incidentally, I taught Alice the meaning of the word the first day I met her.
“Hey! Let’s all say it together now!!” [Small Girl]
The girl next to me called out to everyone.
The children all nodded together.
“Black Knight-sama, we would like to say it together with you.” [Staff Member]
The staff also seemed to want to participate.
Alice also nodded, with a smile on her face.
Well, let’s do it then!
“Alright everyone, repeat after me.” [Chie]
I held both hands together and waited for everyone else to do the same.
I said in Japanese.
Everyone else repeated.
I have no idea what they just said.
Apparently, it was difficult for the human beings of this world to pronounce Japanese.
This was the first time I learned about this since coming to the world of Erudoa.