Chapter 18 – Everyday Talk & Care
Within the Empire of a certain world.
It has been six months since I came to this world of Erudoa.
The current season was now Autumn.
I knew because the changing colors of the leaves had changed the scenery of the landscape.
When mentioning fall, Autumn Appetite, Autumn Reading, or Autumn Nap would be the expressions one would normally talk about.
As for me…
“Hahaha! It’s useless if all you do is run away~” [Chie]
I was chasing the Mage Corps members around with Sakuya.
Fall Sports were in full swing.
We had been using the training method that was originally created from the game of tag.
As for the contents, I played the role of the demon and chased the Mage Corps members for about an hour.
Once a member was caught, he was stunned with a strike from the back of Sakuya. A hellish muscle training course would await them when they woke up.
The use of weapons was allowed, of course!
However, not a single one of them have had the time to fight back.
“Hey, hey! If you only run away, you’ll just end up like those guys!” [Chie]
I said and pointed to the guys who had already been caught.
So far, 50 people were receiving this training.
Among those, 30 people had been piled up and put to sleep.
The rest of the Mage Corps members turned pale upon seeing this and ran away.
Alright! This is fun!
There were still 15 minutes left.
Well, I wonder how many can survive.
Chie’s Work Room
As usual, after morning training, Conrad and I were in my work room organizing documents.
Like always, I had taken off my helmet during this period.
There was a ridiculous amount of paperwork, like always, but we couldn’t help getting it done.
“Ah~, my neck hurts.” [Chie]
I heard a wonderful cracking sound as I turned my neck.
“Just a bit more to do, Commander…probably.” [Conrad]
Conrad said, while going through the documents.
Uhn~, a man who works diligently looks cool.
Good looking, diligent, considerate, good judge of character; a very ideal man.
It’s impossible to believe what he used to be like, although I had heard to stories of it from Alice and the people of the shopping district.
“What is it?” [Conrad]
Conrad asked when he noticed my gaze.
“Oh, sorry. No, well, I was just thinking, it’s hard to believe that the person sitting in front of me is the same person from the stories that Alice and Byron told.” [Chie]
“…What the heck are you talking about?” [Conrad]
Conrad asked with reproachful eyes.
“I mean, a delinquent who led a gang and got into disputes over territory while indiscriminately chasing women, shouting ‘Found another good one!!’” [Chie]
“They really told you that?” [Conrad]
Conrad hastily interrupted me as his face became deep red.
Just from his appearance, you could really understand that he was surprised.
I only wanted to tease him a little, but I didn’t think I would get this sort of reaction from Conrad.
He had a bright red embarrassed face that was full of despair, like it was the end of the world.
To showing such an expression…I guess he really didn’t want it to be known?
“W-Well, everyone has a period of time when they’re young and act out, so it’s not strange!” [Chie]
Things like that could happen now and then, so I think it’s alright.
Come to think of it, my older brother was difficult to handle when he was in high school.
He would bring home friends who looked like delinquents (though they were all actually really kind).
He also had a new girlfriend every month.
Other than his female relationships, he was a good brother.
Surely, Conrad must have been like this as well.
“My older brother was also like that, Conrad! So, it’s nothing you really need to be ashamed about!” [Chie]
“Older brother?” [Conrad]
Conrad reacted to the words ‘older brother’ and made a blank expression.
I had never talked about him before.
“What’s this older brother like?” [Conrad]
“Oh, he’s two years older than me. Like I said before, there was a time when he was a little delinquent. He’s a good brother, though. Once in awhile, I’d look outside and see him with the neighbor girl, and, if you ask me, that’s when he started to act strange…” [Chie]
“…(I cannot even begin to picture the Commander’s brother).” [Conrad]
Conrad kept silent, with a surprised expression.
I thought, ‘you probably can’t picture my brother’s personality just from looking at me’.
The reason being, we were not similar at all.
“Right, such a person.” [Conrad]
“Yeah. Let alone my older brother, I wonder how Mother and Father are doing?” [Chie]
“You haven’t kept in contact with them?” [Conrad]
Conrad said, with a surprised expression.
Perhaps he thought that I would have contacted them by now.
Though, not only was it a different world, but also a different time, so communication was impossible.
Unless I met Amaterasu again, it was unlikely that I would ever see them again.
“Communication is difficult, to the point that it can’t happen, much less being able to meet again.” [Chie]
I said to Conrad while forcing a smile, then turned silent.
In response to my smile, Conrad also fell silent.
I averted my gaze from Conrad and looked out the window.
Outside, the blue sky spread far out into the distance.
A sky that was the same color as the one on Earth.
I suddenly felt very lonely and looked at that sky for a while.
I witnessed the Commander’s lonely expression for the first time.
I wonder where the place, that was so far away from communication that she could never go back to it again, was.
A place where humans with the same hair and eye color as the Commander lived.
It was most certainly a place across the ocean, where nobody had ever gone before.
A place with many soldiers and exceptional people like the Commander.
People capable of defeating the cursed dragon Fafnir.
The Commander was only 17 years old, so maybe her brother was even more amazing.
However, I wonder why the Commander came to this Empire.
In addition to that, she had armor and a weapon made exclusively for herself.
Perhaps there was some sort of purpose in doing so.
Could it be related to the suspicious movements of the demons from six months ago?
If that was so, maybe the Commander had been chosen to resolve this incident.
It was enough to have been selected by the black unicorn.
Surely, her home country could contend with two of our countries.
Her swordsmanship and hands, covered in hard skin, could only be obtained after a high amount of training and discipline with the sword. I believed that she would become a great person.
I thought this while I organized the documents.
Just now, Conrad didn’t respond to my smile?
I don’t think he could have had some weird misunderstanding just now…
That sort of thing for example.
Like, my parents being taken while climbing a mountain and me being forced into a serious survival situation, or something like that.
Actually, last year, for summer vacation, I went mountain climbing alone with nothing but a few large bags and a survival knife.
Once, I saw a bear, and I thought my heart had stopped.
I wonder what kind of funny expression my brother would have made?
Ah, this is pointless.
I have to focus on finishing filing the documents.
I decided to stop reminiscing and started moving my hands again.
“Phew~! It’s done!!” [Chie]
“I am also finished over here.” [Conrad]
We had cleared up all of the documents as the day turned towards evening.
There was a sense of accomplishment when completing work, compared to training soldiers.
“Thank you for your hard work, Black Knight-sama, elder brother.” [Alice]
Alice said as she came out from the inner room.
Until a little while ago, she had been cleaning.
“Thank you, Alice. The days have certainly been getting shorter.” [Chie]
I said while receiving coffee from her.
“Yes, it has been quite cool in the mornings and chilly at night.” [Alice]
I sipped the coffee.
Yes, it was also delicious today.
This coffee heals me.
“Is something the matter, Black Knight-sama?” [Alice]
I sensed a presence from the veranda as Alice tilted her head in confusion.
It seemed that Conrad was also unaware of it.
To completely erase his presence like this, he’s showing off now.
I instinctively put on my helmet and moved to the veranda door.
“What’s the situation in the town, Claude?” [Chie]
As I opened the doors, I called out to Claude.
“So far, no problems. Watching you get rid of Fafnir has made the people on the back side of town quiet down.” [Claude]
He unfolded his arms while hiding in the shade of the veranda, standing with his back against the wall.
It was just the right time of day for the veranda to become dark.
I brought Claude into the room.
There wasn’t really a worry about being seen, since it was the fourth floor, but there was no need to be careless.
“Oh, it was you, Claude.” [Conrad]
“Hello, Conrad-san.” [Claude]
Conrad exchanged greetings with Claude.
A black scarf was covering his face from below his neck up to his nose.
These two had become good friends in the last six months.
Rather than colleagues, they acted like brothers.
“Oh, Claude, hello.” [Alice]
Alice said with a smile and a slight laugh.
With flushed cheeks,
“Y-Yo! Alice.” [Claude]
These two seemed so innocent when you looked at them.
I removed the helmet and sent them a warm gaze.
“…What’s with the look?” [Claude]
Claude noticed my gaze.
I looked away while grinning.
“…You, acting like that is why you’ll never get a boyfriend.” [Claude]
Claude’s mutter tapered off and my cheeks started to cramp.
“What now, coming from someone who stands around doing nothing?” [Chie]
I drew closer to Claude as I asked him.
“Just like I said.” [Claude]
Well, does this guy like getting beat?
“Ah~, come to think of it, Commander, since when have you been wearing that belt?” [Conrad]
Just when I was about to beat up Claude, Conrad unexpectedly spoke up.
“Oh this? It was sent over by Byron a week ago.” [Chie]
“It’s from Byron?” [Alice]
Alice asked while tilting her head.
The other two gave a similar reaction.
“Yeah, I’m wearing it because I think it suits me. It’s made from the skin of Fafnir.” [Chie]
One of the servants brought it to me a week ago, while I was working alone.
I received it in a long, narrow box.
A letter, which was enclosed in the box, expressed the appreciation of the people from the shopping district and also said that it took nearly six months to make the belt.
When I looked in the box, I thought that the belt would look good with my armor. There was also a small tube on the left waist that could hold Sakuya.
I immediately put the belt on, stood in front of the mirror, and thought that it really looked good with the armor.
It was made from the Fafnir’s skin so it was undoubtedly sturdy.
When I talked about the belt, the three people showed expressions of understanding.
“I see, it is as you say.” [Conrad]
Conrad said while nodding.
“Even so, how did you carry the sword with the armor before?” [Conrad]
The other two also gave a questioning look.
Certainly, it was unusual for the sword to just hang there like it had done before.
“Oh~, how to explain. It sort of just always came with me?” [Chie]
“Huh?” [Alice, Conrad, Claude]
Three people asked in unison, with complex expressions.
It wasn’t unreasonable.
“As I said before, Sakuya is a weapon made exclusively for me, so it will always stick to me, whether I wear the armor or not.” [Chie]
The three people listened with deadpan expressions.
Even without the armor, Sakuya would stick to me.
I only recently started to understand it, but this sword had a will.
Although we were not able to communicate, I could feel a holy presence from the sword.
Its feelings were transmitted to the point that I could feel that Sakuya also liked the belt.
“In other words, it’s a magic sword, in case you were worried that it was a cursed sword.” [Chie]
“…Is that so?” [Conrad]
I said in response to Conrad’s bitter expression, which changed to relief.
Even I thought that it looked like a black, cursed sword.
Still, it was made by a God and unmistakably gave off the aura of a holy sword.
It looked intense from a first glance, though.
“That being said, regardless of the weak spot, it’s still a magic sword that was able to cut through the cursed dragon Fafnir. Even with advanced swordplay, such a feat is usually impossible.” [Conrad]
Ugh, Conrad’s sharp.
Indeed, only a holy or demonic sword was capable of cutting through a dragon, even with the weak spot.
“Well, I can guarantee that it’s not an evil sword! Anyways, about the martial arts tournament! It’s only a month away!” [Chie]
In an attempt to change the topic, I brought up the topic of the tournament that would take place in the Empire a month from now.
“Come to think of it, have this year’s participants been decided?” [Claude]
“No, the representative selection is one week from now.” [Conrad]
Conrad replied to Claude.
The topic of conversation was successfully changed.
The Martial Arts Tournament was held once every four years between the three countries, similar to the Olympic Games on Earth.
This year, the tournament was being held in the capital of the Empire.
The arena was located within the castle grounds and the general public would be allowed to enter during the tournament.
Obviously, there would be a need to strengthen security within the castle and in the surrounding town, so the Commander and Vice-Commander would be extremely busy.
The shopping stalls were going to put on a little show so, in truth, it might actually be a little fun.
I heard that four years ago, when it was held in the Holy Kingdom, Conrad won the contest.
That was the reason that Conrad was allowed to wear a cloak.
Before the tournament was established, the three countries had a 500 year long history of war, but the fighting stopped after the tournament was established.
Now, the armies mainly did demon-extermination or resolved criminal cases and such. To make it easier to understand, it was sort of like they were police.
Each army had a Commander and Vice-Commander, which was further broken down into groups with Captains.
A Captain was usually put in charge of a group of 30 soldiers.
During a mission, the Commander or Vice-Commander selects one group that best fit the needs of the mission and assigns them the task.
On rare occasions, the Commander or Vice-Commander would participate in the mission, but it was usually unnecessary.
“Nonetheless, the Commander will be chosen.” [Conrad]
“Eh? Me?” [Chie]
I was surprised at hearing myself be called so suddenly.
Regrettably, I did not hear the contents of the conversation.
“Yeah, since you have the ability to kill a dragon. If the representative is to be the ‘strongest’, then it could only be the Commander.” [Conrad]
Conrad said with a refreshing smile.
It used to annoy me when Yuusuke did it, but it’s somehow different now.
Is it the charm of an older man?
“As the previous champion, I automatically qualify. I look forward to my fight with the Commander.” [Conrad]
Conrad seems to have become excited.
Representative selection was between the Commander, the Vice-Commander, and the Captains.
It was a one on one knock-out fight, and whoever remained standing at the end was the winner.
The week after the representative selection, the winner was promoted to Commander and the second place to Vice-Commander. The Captains were selected last.
Such was this world’s meritocracy.
That was how the representative of the country, the Commander who survived the knock-out rounds, was determined.
It was simple, but also troublesome.
However, since I’m the Commander, it will be impossible to not participate.
It might be troublesome, but I have no intention of losing.
“Yeah, I also wanted to try fighting Conrad seriously one time. It’s a good opportunity to get excited about!” [Chie]
I said while laughing.
“In moderation, Chie. When you get serious, it gets dangerous.” [Claude]
Claude, how rude.
Well, I won’t deny it.
However, a Martial Arts Tournament.
I wonder what kind of people the representatives of the other countries are.
I had a strong interest in the representatives of the other countries.
Participating in the tournament would probably lead to a lot of chances to learn about many things.
I was now looking forward to the fun that would be had in the tournament selection one week from now.
At this time, even I would not have expected the major incidents that would occur at this year’s tournament.