Ashiyowa placed his arms around the Emperor’s neck and allowed himself to be embraced, leaning his face against the Emperor’s shoulders.
Until now, all he’d wanted was to go back to the mountains. Yet, he just willingly pushed himself further away from returning. He felt faint. The pounding in his chest made his face bright red. And yet, he wanted to believe in the kindness reflected in the Emperor’s gentle eyes.
Ashiyowa raised his head and found that they were on the bridge that connected Ryokuryū and Ryokuen Palace. The Imperial Guards and chamberlains followed behind. The chamberlains carried his chair from the podium and the cane he had forgotten. They also brought his crown, which he had left behind after stepping away from the podium.
He was called again, but as he turned his face, his lips were met with another’s.
The arms wrapped around him squeezed tighter as they hurried through the corridor. He was kissed relentlessly on his cheeks, temple, and lips, and when the Emperor’s lips brushed over the nape of his neck, Ashiyowa’s whole body trembled.
“Aniue, I’m so happy you’ve decided to stay…,” the Emperor said in a muffled voice, his nose buried in Ashiyowa’s neck.
“I won’t hurt you anymore. Close your eyes. I’ll make everything feel better…”
Ashiyowa felt an inexplicable urge throughout his body to struggle and free himself from the Emperor’s arms, to cry aloud. But he just shut his eyes tight.
Ashiyowa was laid on the bed as a chamberlain helped the Emperor out of his crown and royal attire. Then, it was Ashiyowa’s turn to be undressed from his blue silk robes.
The Emperor climbed on top of Ashiyowa, pulling their bodies together, skin against skin. He was already deep in ecstasy, rubbing their lower halves together as he showered Ashiyowa with kisses. The canopy’s curtains were let down and, for that moment, only the two of them existed in this world.
Ashiyowa’s lips were licked until they became plump and soft. Their mouths were locked against each other until they ran out of breath and finally broke apart, both panting, mouths agape. In between their quickened breaths, the Emperor nibbled his tongue, sucking his sweet saliva.
Ashiyowa clung to the Emperor’s upper arm, both hands in fists.
The Emperor paused and Ashiyowa could finally breathe. He stared longingly at Ashiyowa, at his wet tongue, entranced by the soft moans leaving his mouth. Ashiyowa’s tongue was sweet. He hadn’t felt the desire to kiss anyone like this before, but Lafoseine was different.
He couldn’t hold back anymore. He would do what he couldn’t do that day in the forest.
You could say it was partly because of the ministers’ pleas, but Ashiyowa, who long desired to return to the mountains, had changed his mind and decided to stay. In other words, he had accepted Lesheinu ― was what the Emperor thought.
Ashiyowa’s body was melting. His lower half pulsed with desire under Lesheinu. It was fine even if Ashiyowa just laid down and closed his eyes, Lesheinu was happy that he was there. He gently pushed Ashiyowa’s legs apart, trying to ease his body, when an overwhelming desire to make Ashiyowa his surfaced.
He caressed Ashiyowa, attempting to soothe the tension in his body. The smell of burning incense circulated throughout the room; it was meant to help him relax. Reaching out of the curtains, he grabbed a small glass bottle. It was a perfumed oil made from the purple Arasui flower, highly valuable because it only grew in the South Anasan district.
The oil was strictly for the royal family’s use and even aristocrats wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it.
It was used between two royal members when they made love to each other. For twelve years, the Emperor didn’t have much use for it, but this changed ever since his brother was found.
He poured the oil over Ashiyowa’s lower abdomen and spread it with the palm of his hands. He rubbed their bodies together, blending the oil. The Arasui’s fragrance became increasingly intense as their bodies warmed up, seductive almost, as even Ashiyowa couldn’t help but feel compelled to spread his legs.
Lesheinu flashed Ashiyowa a bright smile, whose eyes were half-open, resembling crescents. He ran his fingers through Ashiyowa’s short black hair, combing it up, and stroked his cheeks.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of… Nothing…”
He leaned into Ashiyowa, stretched on his back across the silk bedding, his hands and tongue running all over Ashiyowa’s body.
“A-Ahh… Nhh… Ahh”
Their skin was flushed red, and the fragrance thickened. Lesheinu’s hands were covered with Arasui oil, trying to coax Ashiyowa into his touch with soft caresses. It wasn’t like what Ashiyowa felt that day in the forest, there was no fear. Instead, any feelings of unease slowly melted away.
Ashiyowa’s hips shot up in surprise and he reached for Lesheinu’s arm.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of, Aniue.”
As Lesheinu began moving his hands, Ashiyowa buried his forehead in Lesheinu’s collarbone, his hot breath tickling his chest. It sent shivers down Lesheinu’s body, stirring something within.
“―Guhh…,” Lesheinu endured, clenching his teeth.
He bent Ashiyowa’s legs and pushed them apart, placing himself between the other’s limbs, then pulled Ashiyowa into a tight embrace, bringing their hips together. He nibbled on Ashiyowa’s skin, leaving a trail of small red marks across his neck.
“Ani…ue… Don’t be scared… It’s alright. I won’t hurt you…,” the Emperor whispered into his ear, leaning in to steal a kiss.
He let go of Ashiyowa’s body for a moment, grabbing one of the pillows to place underneath Ashiyowa’s hips. Then, he placed Ashiyowa’s left leg over his shoulder and emptied the second bottle of perfume oil onto his fingers and in between Ashiyowa’s legs.
The first finger went straight in, coating Ashiyowa’s entrance with the oil. Ashiyowa’s right leg thrashed about as he moved his finger left and right.
“D-don’t touch that place…”
“I won’t hurt you, Aniue.”
The third bottle of oil was soon emptied into Ashiyowa’s entrance. He could feel Lesheinu’s finger moving in and out. Just as his hips bucked up, Lesheinu grabbed his waist and pulled his finger out. Perfume oil trickled down his hips, and he seemed to have turned a shade redder from his neck to chest.
“Something like this… I-I…”
He covered his face with one of his hands, rough breaths leaving his mouth.
“It’ll be alright, Aniue. I won’t do anything scary. I love you.”
Tiny droplets trickled down Ashiyowa’s eyes and small quivers ran through his body.
Ashiyowa’s breaths sounded painful, his knees rubbing against each other as his waist trembled.
“It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine… Aniue.”
Lesheinu placed his hands on Ashiyowa’s legs and spread them apart. There were now two fingers inside.
As Ashiyowa opened his eyes, he was met with Lesheinu’s smiling face. In the meantime, Lesheinu was slowly moving his fingers, loosening Ashiyowa. The scent of the perfume oil reminded Lesheinu of those nostalgic times when the rest of the royal family was still here, of when he used to play around with them. Both men and women laughed together, desired each other, and learned together.
As Lesheinu’s fingers explored his insides, Ashiyowa felt a throbbing sensation pulsate through his body. The scratches and marks that used to litter Ashiyowa’s body had disappeared. Oil trickled down his body, leaving warm tingles wherever it touched.
“Just a little more. It’ll be alright,” he reassured Ashiyowa, flashing him a smile before leaning in for a kiss.
Yet, no matter how much Lesheinu tried to pleasure him with his hands, Ashiyowa’s reaction seemed weak and tired. Even if he did seem fine, Ashiyowa still hadn’t recovered from the earlier sensation. In truth, Lesheinu wanted to go faster but dismissed the thought. They were not meant to overdo it, after all. In a sense, this was also Lesheinu’s way of letting Ashiyowa know that he was capable of gentleness, that he would never hurt him again.
A third finger slipped in. Ashiyowa’s knees tightened around Lesheinu, trapping him between his legs. But the oil was slippery, and he didn’t have the strength to grip onto Lesheinu for long, so his legs slicked down and fell onto the bed.
Lesheinu brought out the fourth bottle of oil and applied a generous amount for Ashiyowa. It made a bubbly noise before it was swallowed into his body. Lesheinu moved his fingers in circular motions, stirring his insides.
In between their feverish touches, the perfume’s aroma continued to intensify, and as if invited by the scent, Lesheinu repositioned himself between Ashiyowa’s legs. He had been holding himself back, but it was finally time. After spending much time, effort, and love into preparing Ashiyowa, he was ready to join their bodies together. Pressing firmly against Ashiyowa’s entrance, he slowly applied pressure.
Then, all too fast, he was all the way in.
Ashiyowa’s back arched up and after a short pause, he let out a cry.
“Aghh! Ah. D-don’t…”
“I-It hurts… It hurts…”
Lesheinu saw white. Just putting it in had tipped him over his limit.
He hugged Ashiyowa’s hips and began thrusting in small motions. It still wasn’t enough. He was still hard and hadn’t calmed down at all after the first time. He took a breath, then went in deeper. Sweat fell in his eyes, down his neck.
“Leshe―. Aghh… It’s too deep. I’m scared… I-I’m scared.”
Lesheinu wanted to kiss him, to say something to reassure him, but he was in a tight position, half-inside Ashiyowa. Slowly, he pulled out.
Ashiyowa writhed in agony as he felt Lesheinu pull out of his body. Lesheinu turned his body sideways and quickly embraced him. Slowly, Lesheinu entered Ashiyowa again.
“It’s all right, Aniue. It won’t be scary. I’m right here. I love you,” Lesheinu whispered.
His lips brushed against Ashiyowa’s neck as their bodies rubbed against each other, his chest against Ashiyowa’s back. He hadn’t forgotten about Ashiyowa’s front half, reaching for Ashiyowa’s still-limp member, caressing it.
“See, it’s not scary, is it? I want to make you feel good. It’ll be alright.”
“A-Ah. Inside… Inside me. Leshe…Lesheinu”
“Yes, it’s me. The same Lesheinu that loves you deeply, Aniue.”
Slowly, he pushed forward into Ashiyowa’s slippery insides until his pelvis touched Ashiyowa’s entrance. His insides were hot and wet, clenching tightly against Lesheinu as he began to repeat the movement, moving back and forth.
“U-Unhh. Ahh… Leshe―. Ahh.”
Ashiyowa grabbed Leshienu’s arm, whose hands were running all over his chest. His head was spinning, his body drenched in sweat. Each time they rocked back and forth, small whimpers would escape his mouth and he would shake his head.
After twelve long years of emptiness and loneliness, Lesheinu had finally found someone he could love. He held him close to his chest as the proof of his love spilled into Ashiyowa.
Leorino Cashew1, the fourth born son of the Margrave of Brungwurth, lived within their vast territory located along the border of the neighboring kingdom of Fanoren, west of the Agrea continent.
Although the Brungwurth territory was far from the royal capital, its standard of living was good due to its successful commerce with the central government. And Leorino, as the youngest son of a high-ranking nobleman, grew up in good health, received a good education, and was carefully tended to and loved by both his family and servants.
Recently, a shocking incident occurred in both the calm and harmonious Cashew family and the entire territory of Brungwurth. The gentle and lovable youngest child, who had never left the estate before, suddenly began to rebel.
“Say, brother, how long will I have to dress like this?” asked Leorino who was obviously showing his displeasure at the way his clothes had always looked.
Leorino, who was now twelve years old, had begun following his older brother, Gauff, to the stables to complain several times that month. Gauff patted his horse’s nose and turned towards Leorino to give him a sympathetic look, which left Leorino feeling even more annoyed.
“Ugh! Don’t look at me like that, that’ll just make me feel even more dreary. I am not something so pitiful.”
“But it looks good on you, Rino. It suits you well. And isn’t it fine as long as it’s comfortable?”
“No, that’s not the case here!!!” Leorino stomped his foot on the ground angrily.
Gauff’s eyes widened as he watched his younger brother stomp his foot on the ground in a tantrum for the first time in his life.
“Rino… are you well and truly rebelling now?”
“Don’t call me ‘Rino’! And this is not a rebellion! Say that it doesn’t look good! Say it, Gauff !!”
“Wait, what did you just say to me?!” Gauff asked, disbelieving that his lovely and sweet little brother had just addressed him so bluntly.
Leorino looked at his appearance.
He was already twelve years old. If he was in the capital, he’d have been old enough to enter secondary school by now. And while it was true that his hands and feet were much more slender when compared to his older brothers’ own, even when they were his age, still… Would it not be right for him to dress the way he wanted?
As the breeze blew through the stables, Leorino’s soft light blue ribbons swayed along with it.
“I’m done dressing like this! I’m a man! I said, I am a man!” The horses then neighed as Leorino’s loud voice echoed throughout the interior of the stables.
Yes, Leorino was growing up healthy.
He was treasured by his family as their lovely little princess.
Leorino had three older brothers. Oriano, who was twelve years older and the eldest of all; Yohan, the second eldest brother, who was ten years older; and Gauff, his third eldest, who was six years older than him. Leorino did not look at all like any of his brothers.
After having two sons who greatly resembled her husband, Augustus Cashew, the famed Margrave of Brungwurth, Lady Maia wanted to have a lovely daughter of her own. In the end, she wound up with four sons as the result of her ambition.
Growing up sheltered, the daughter of the Duke of Wiesen from the central part of the royal capital, Maia loved beautiful, shiny and pretty things.
She had fallen in love at first sight with Augustus, a boy of ten at the time, during one of the capital’s royal balls. He, in turn, courted her passionately when they grew older. At the age of seventeen, she decided to elope and marry the Margrave of Brungwurth. By the following year, she was blessed with their first child.
With dark brown hair and blue-green eyes just like her husband’s, the eldest son Oriano and the second son Yohan were born the most boyish of boys. Her children were very charming, but not in that sparkly, frilly, lovely way that Maia had wanted. And when her toddler’s bubbly appearances quickly came to pass, Maia was left feeling unsatisfied.
Gauff, their third son, was the result of Maia’s eager anticipation for a daughter. But Gauff was another large baby, just like Augustus’ other sons. Maia may have been delighted to have a newborn to care for, but she secretly vowed to herself that she would try again. Augustus, who had just been ecstatic to celebrate the arrival of his newest son, felt a slight chill for some reason at the very moment she decided this.
Six years after Gauff’s birth, their fourth son, Leorino, came into the world.
Again, they had a son.
After hearing that her newborn child was another boy, Maia felt both delighted and slightly disappointed. But when she saw her baby for the first time, she burst into tears of joy.
All of her prior sons had straight blackish brown hair and beautiful blue-green eyes, but they were blessed with strong physiques from birth.
Leorino, on the other hand, was a baby with silky white hair that looked like it might melt in the light. His darling pair of violet eyes, tinged with silver, were big and beautiful. Leorino, who slept comfortably with his small hands balled into tiny fists, looked so adorable lying against the lace of Maia’s maternity dress, just like an angel.
He was born a bright and radiant child. As he grew up, his pure white hair gradually darkened to a platinum blonde, just like his mother’s. The light reflecting off those loose curls gave them a lustrous sheen, the glow surrounding him like a halo2, and his large violet eyes were slightly upturned, just like those of a cat. With a narrow nose and smiling lips that were perfectly proportioned to his tiny milk-white face, he was, without a doubt, lovely.
His figure, too, had grown accordingly, without losing any of its beauty. A delicate physique coupled with his gorgeous features produced an adorably angelic young boy that gave off an ethereal and celestial impression.
Growing up, he never once deviated from this beautiful and otherworldly appearance.3 Even his name, Leorino, one that would normally be shortened to “Leo” for a boy, ended up as “Rino” somehow, and he was treated as and fawned over just like a little princess.
As a result of his mother’s bias for all things feminine, he was dressed in shimmery, fluttering clothing from childhood up until the present day, but he had never once complained about it.
Augustus, too, also doted on his youngest son, who was completely unlike his eldest sons and looked fragile and weak. Despite that, his love for his youngest was so great that he still chose to coddle him to this very day.
However, out of the blue one morning, Leorino suddenly told Maia, “Mother, starting tomorrow, I will return to being a man.”
With that, shocking news broke out in the territory of Brungwurth, proclaiming, “The Angel has begun his rebellion.”
Hasr: Go show our meme queen Jen some love, go leave some reviews for the story on NU~
Alan was lying in bed, thinking that if he left it alone, the shivering would go away. For a moment, Danis’ hand lifted Alan’s neck, forcing him to get up. He fit snugly in Danis’ arms, giving him the sensation of being hugged from his back.
All of a sudden, Alan’s mind grew panicked.
However, when his trembling body reflexively tried to thrash around, it was held down by one arm.
“Sorry, but this is my bed and the only one I have. If you’re shaking too much, I am gonna have to push you down.”
Alan was speechless, words failing to reach his mind.
I’m not sure if this man knows how to act around someone who he knows is a prince.
When I looked closely at Danis, I found that he had taken off his coat and suit with only light clothing left on his body. What was that hand that had just stroked my head earlier? Was it a misunderstanding to think it was kindness?
Alan’s body, still trembling and refusing to listen to him, was held down by one arm.
Danis took a bottle of something and put its contents onto his hand. As Alan leaned over, curious about what was going on, Danis’ hand lifted up a large shirt that did not quite fit Alan and slid his liquid wet fingers into a crack in Alan’s buttocks.
Suddenly, Alan’s face turned pale as he grabbed Danis’ arm.
“What … are you doing?”
“I didn’t dare confirm it, but … “
What does he mean by confirm?
Alan tried to stop Danis with his own hands, yet Danis’ finger reached the bud within the crack of Alan’s buttocks, disregarding Alan’s protests.
At that moment, Alan’s face distorted, his body trembling as he endured the pain.
“Stop! Why … “
When Alan’s body began to shake uncontrollably, Danis told him to calm down while gently tapping him on his shoulder several times, attempting to move Alan into a more comfortable position.
During that time, Danis’s fingers sank deeper into Alan’s bud as he groped around the area, seemingly trying to confirm something. And although Alan felt pain from Danis’ touch, he let out a yelp as he began to feel something other than discomfort from Danis’ teasing fingers.
“Huh … !! … mmm … “
Though Alan tried to move his body to escape from Danis’ fingers, Alan could not, his arm being restrained by Danis. Tears accumulated under his eyelids from the pain. Alan, who could now only accept his fate, clenched his jaw as he suffered through.
Then, Alan heard Danis mutter something into his ear, saying that Alan’s condition was worse than he thought. The movement inside Alan stopped as Danis slowly pulled out his fingers.
After enduring so much pain, Alan exhaled and at the same time, unconsciously held his breath once more.
“I think this will be a relief,” Danis muttered.
Alan looked at Danis and asked if he was still going to do something. He struggled to breathe while his words seemed to come out by themselves. He stopped and began watching Danis’ actions.
Danis opened the bedside drawer and took out a small candle, placed it on the table, and took out a box as well. Within it, the contents included bandages and poultices that appeared to be for treatment, along with cream-like medicine.
I don’t have a bad feeling about him at all.
Danis lit the small candle with a match, releasing some sort of aroma. The sweet scent began to rise around him. The scent, something that Alan had never smelled before, made his head dizzy.
He began to realize that this was no ordinary aroma and quickly used his hands to cover his nose and mouth; however, it was already too late and his thoughts began to drift into a haze.
“What … is this … ?”
“You have to endure a little more. I will ease you from your fears, if only by a little.”
Alan was about to ask Danis what he was doing when Danis began moving without hesitation. Danis’ hand slowly lifted Alan’s shirt, his fingers gently moving from Alan’s exposed belly to his ribs.
And although it was but a simple stroke, Alan’s body quivered, the sensation moving from his spine to his head.
” … “
With a hazy mind, Alan couldn’t even move his body in protest. Is it this scent that’s making my body feel like it’s burning?
Danis’ breathing brushed against Alan’s ears, sending a shiver down his spine while making his body even more sensitive.
“Focus on the pleasure that you’re feeling.”
Danis felt Alan’s resistance lessening and slowly released his grip on Alan. He smiled and stroked Alan’s head. When he was done, he grabbed Alan’s ear and gently outlined it with his tongue.
“Mmm … “
Alan was confused by the sensation crawling up from inside of him.
He didn’t know this feeling. Before this, he only knew pain and disgust, yet the hot sensation growing inside of him felt foreign to his body. Every time Danis touched it, his body reacted with embarrassment.
Alan felt relieved. The hand that stroked him felt so familiar, as if he knew it from long ago. This was especially true when Danis patted Alan’s head, his hands giving Alan a sense of intimacy. Alan wondered if this was also because of the scent he had smelled earlier.
Danis’s tongue ran down from the back of Alan’s ears to his neck, as if to ignore Alan’s thoughts.
“Hmm … mmm … “
Alan’s body began to shake with excitement as he struggled to push and suppress the sounds coming from his mouth. The sweetness of his sighs both surprised and ashamed him.
While he was intoxicated by this sensation, Alan didn’t notice that Danis had one hand reaching for the cream-like medicine. Danis’ finger reached for Alan’s anus, snuggled between the crack of his ass.
It hurt, though the pain felt more like a tingling sensation.
”It’s okay … just focus on me,” Danis said.
He sucked on the back of my neck and then ran his tongue down to the base. His finger fondled my anus, teasing it in order to easily slip back inside and caress the interior.
“Ah … “
Alan’s mind became clouded, confused about whether his body was shaking from pain or Danis’s touch. Alan’s head was empty of thoughts, save for the sensations he felt.
Heat sprung up from inside him, gathering in his lower abdomen. His body was far too honest, the hot feeling causing something between Alan’s legs to stiffen.
Because Alan’s shirt was already rolled up, there was no hiding as Danis looked straight at it.
“What … what …”
Danis noticed his surprise and assured Alan that there was nothing strange about it.
“Is this really normal?” Alan asked, his neck tilted.
Danis responded with a faint smile and applied some more cream onto Alan’s ears.
“There are other things too.”
With those words, Danis’ free hand began stroking the stiffness between Alan’s legs.
“You’re surprised yet your body is so sensitive at the same time.”
As Danis uttered those words, Alan’s body trembled for a moment, shaking when Danis touched his sensitive part. Without listening to Danis’ words of restraint, Alan touched the tip with his own finger, then curled them around his shaft while moving his hand up and down.
Alan reflexively began to sway his body to the sudden waves of strong pleasure, his exposed mouth making sounds and noises even he did not recognize.
“Uh … ah … ?”
This new sensation was so intense that Alan’s mind went blank. His hips moved naturally following the rhythm of his hands while his face flushed hot with embarrassment; though Alan felt a sense of shame, he wanted more.
He noticed that the finger inside his anal cavity shifted and sank further in, moving around as if it was probing for something. Within seconds, Alan’s body jerked back when the finger rubbed against a specific area inside.
“Ahh … !!!”
It was here that Danis’s fingers began to touch relentlessly. And with each stroke, Alan’s voice let out a small cry, his head turning white while his vision blurred.
“Huh … hmm … there … weird … “
Danis’ fingers moved relentlessly and without stopping; Alan’s consciousness jumped for a moment.
Alan’s body reached climax without mercy.
His body recoiled as his hips thrust forward. Pushed to the brink, Alan couldn’t stand it any longer and spurt out the heat concentrating in his lower body.
Danis caught it with his hand.
Alan’s head still hadn’t caught up with him and he let his weight fall into Danis’s arms while gasping for air, his body relaxing.
Maybe I am feeling a little disoriented? Danis patted Alan on the head.
Alan had never felt anything like this before. He thought about how all these new sensations felt strange, perhaps even good. The humiliation he had received from Gabriel’s men had left Alan with nothing but a sickening and painful image.
However, being made to pant like a woman at the hands of a man was not only hard to swallow but also embarrassing. Somehow, Alan couldn’t look directly at Danis and averted his gaze.
After that, Danis wiped his hands lightly without changing his demeanour. He then extinguished the candles and wiped the sweat off of his body.
To be honest, I was expecting he’d leave me alone, Alan pondered with surprise.
“We’ll be out before dawn, so get some sleep while you can,” Danis said.
Alan was about to leave Danis’ arms, feeling embarrassed, but was quickly stopped when Danis wrapped his arms around Alan once again. Then, Danis pressed his full weight on top of Alan, causing the both of them to fall together.
“Erm … what… “
“I can’t sleep without feeling the warmth of another body” Danis replied.
Alan turned bright red.
‘I don’t want to fall asleep while being hugged by the person who had played with my body just a while ago.’
Danis may not have been aware of it, but Alan was, whether knowingly or not.
“Don’t do that!”
Alan flailed, but Danis’s arm was too strong, preventing Alan from leaving his grasp.
After some time, Alan asked Danis what he was doing, but was met with a still silence. Alan let out a small sigh.
“He’s really sleeping.”
Alan was so weak that he had no choice but to lie down, his aching body stiff.
When Alan woke up the next day, he remembered that Danis had slept right beside him. He was shocked to see that Danis used his body as a pillow, though only after treating Alan’s wounds.
Alan thought it was stupid, so he closed his eyes while concentrating on the warmth of Danis’ body, pretending to go back to sleep.
Then he finally realized something. There was a slight scent of lavender that he hadn’t noticed before, the odour of cigarettes still masking it. When he opened his eyes, Alan could make out the chain of a pendant through the gap in Danis’s shirt, perhaps the source of the lavender scent.
He closed his eyes once again, concentrating on the nostalgic scent as he slowly fell back into sleep.
The “Shadow” — Octo, was a Greater Demon that served Alexia.
It was born in the lightless depths of the Gonzales Sea, which had been named after the First Knight, Gonzales; he had fought alongside the first Saint, Alfrea, but had later thrown himself into said sea.
It had evolved from its original species, the puppet octopus, and possessed intelligence akin to that of a three year old human child.
This species of octopus had a bigger brain than other octopuses, which resulted in it having a bigger head. This larger head made it more unwieldy, causing it to move slower compared to other species of octopuses.
What was most notable however, was its survival strategy. This octopus, which possessed no fighting power, would sneak up on other creatures then would soundlessly cling to them. It then used a poison secreted from its suckers to take over the other animal’s consciousness and manipulated its victim like a puppet.
Afterwards, it used the manipulated creature to capture prey, which it consumed.
The manipulated creature wouldn’t be granted any food and would end up dying from starvation. Once the hapless thing died, its dead body would also be consumed, then the octopus would wander about once more to search for a new puppet.
That was the frightening skill of the Puppet Octopus.
This particular Puppet Octopus accidentally got swept over by the waves and reached the shore. It was turned into a demon by Griselda, who was that generation’s Witch.
That was Octo.
But while this Octo possessed a high level of intelligence, its fighting power was nothing special; as such, it was not favored by Griselda.
It might get stronger by manipulating other, stronger demons, but it was simpler to just use said demon directly to begin with.
It might be useful for manipulating important people from humanity’s side, but… Griselda’s faction was so overwhelming at the time that there was no need to do such a thing.
This was because Saint Lilia, who was supposed to defeat Griselda, ended up dying on her own.
This allowed Griselda’s reign as the Witch to become much longer than that of the other Witches, and her offensive forces kept growing, to the extent that she was able to completely reconfigure the balance of power in this long fought battle.
That was why Griselda wasn’t worried about her chances and why she wasn’t afraid of Saint at all.
… In the end, such arrogance caused her to underestimate Alexia, which led to her defeat. It was a foolish way to go, but anyway, Octo had gained no favor at all from Griselda.
It was just turned into a demon, then was unceremoniously discharged.
Since Octo was turned into a demon, it just unquestioningly obeyed its instincts and attacked humanity.
But originally, it was still a weak Puppet Octopus.
During its first few encounters, it knew nothing of how to quickly gauge the nuances of humanity’s strength. It just assumed that since the human had a big body, then it must be stronger. So it took over a fisherman who just happened to be passing by and attacked a nearby village using that man’s body… but it was quickly held down by a soldier that arrived and it got caught.
Humans had different levels of strength. The fisherman it had manipulated back then was actually weaker than it had expected.
It might have been different if the one it had taken over was a bear or tiger, but that was just hindsight.
Then it was presented to the King — Aiz And Ay Billberry the 13th and was sent to the underground level of the Saint’s castle.
There were many demons stored underground, all of whom were prepared for the sake of killing Alexia after she came back from defeating the Witch.
Once there, Octo was roughly forced inside a bottle that was merely filled with seawater… But once the human who had been watching over it fell asleep, it dexterously used its tentacles to open the bottle from within and escaped after stealing the keys from the human.
Using its soft body, it took over another demon inside one of the cages, turning them into its puppet, and then opened the cage using keys it had stolen earlier.
Once it had opened another cage, Octo manipulated the demon to fight against the other demon… Once they were weakened, Octo ate both of them.
It instinctively knew that by fighting and eating each other, demons could become stronger.
If only the soldier on duty during this time had reported to the higher ups that the number of demons had reduced, then Octo’s actions could have been stopped then.
When the soldier woke up, he saw that there were traces of demons killing each other and that their numbers were noticeably reduced.
There was no way the soldier wouldn’t notice, and Octo at the time also didn’t even consider that fact.
But the soldier didn’t report it.
If the fact that the number of demons had reduced while the soldier was asleep was reported, the soldier would have inevitably gotten scolded. Furthermore, depending on the severity of the situation, the soldier’s head might literally get cut off.
That was why he gave a false report, and didn’t notify anyone of this anomaly.
This soldier’s incompetence had saved Octo’s life.
Then Octo had its fateful encounter one day.
Alexia, who had defeated Witch Griselda, had become the new Witch and was imprisoned underground.
All the demons, including Octo, were released for the sake of killing her.
But Octo didn’t attack Alexia.
It had instinctively understood that she was the master it was supposed to serve.
That was why Octo became Alexia’s ally instead; it instigated the other demons, and led the escape attempt.
Octo was already on the way to becoming stronger than most of the common demons there at the time and was already the de facto leader of said demons, so no one opposed it.
As Octo successfully managed to aid in Alexia’s escape, Alexia treated it well as her closest aide.
Octo managed to clear the trial of becoming a Greater Demon. It was currently a Greater Demon who possessed comparable intelligence to humans. Using its magic to create an environment close to that of the deep sea, it could easily remain active above ground for long periods of time.
For the sake of protecting its master, Octo silently moved around the academy.
At this moment, its master was most afraid of this generation’s Saint Elrise.
So if Octo could manage to kill or manipulate her, the threat to Alexia would be removed. However, Octo knew very well that this was a near impossible thing to do.
First of all, there were no opportunities for it to touch Elrise.
Even without considering the power of the Saint, that woman was an absurd monster.
If Octo tried to ensnare her with its tentacles, it would simply be blocked by mana and quickly destroyed.
Even in the unlikely case that it successfully ensnared her, she could still repel the poison with her mana and Octo would still be eliminated.
There might have been an opening when she was sleeping, but Leila stood guard at the 5th floor. Furthermore, Diaz had also reported that Elrise deployed a barrier around her room while she was sleeping, so no one would be able to enter.
I see, so she was vigilant enough to prepare countermeasures against ambushes and tricks when she was asleep.
She wasn’t arrogant, even with her high level of capabilities. She was the hardest type of enemy to deal with.
That was why Octo decided not to target Elrise directly, but planned to direct her attention away from the academy instead.
The reason Elrise stayed in the Academy could only be because she had an inkling that Alexia was somewhere within it.
That was why it had to change this premise of hers.
If the Witch appeared in a different location, then Elrise would have no choice but to leave here.
Even so, it obviously didn’t mean that Alexia had to transfer to a different location.
Actually, it would be better for Alexia to quickly teleport away and hide somewhere, but Octo had no real say in the matter since its master didn’t want to leave.
Octo’s goal was to make it look like there was a Witch other than Alexia… In other words, to make a body double that would rampage and run about outside the academy.
For that purpose, it hid itself in the shadows and searched for students who would be plausible candidates to be the Witch.
It would be better if said candidate was as proud and arrogant as Griselda, and was also hated by people around her.
It would be no good if the candidate was a likeable person.
If anyone could easily claim that “there’s no way she’s the Witch!” then its whole plan would collapse. It needed to search for a person who people would think that “it wouldn’t be strange if she turned out to be the Witch.”
As it observed the students, Octo came across one student.
That student who ran while crying should be… yes, that splendid silver hair should be Eterna’s.
She was a student who had interacted with Elrise, and was one of Farah’s hostages from before, according to Diaz’s report.
Obviously, she was not suited for its current plan.
Because none other than Elrise had declared that “she is not the Witch.” So if Octo chose her, it would be like putting the cart before the horse.
But she could be useful in luring Elrise outside.
Even if the Witch double had to be another person… she ought to be secured as well.
As it thought that, Octo slowly approached Eterna.
A day had passed since I had given weapons to Vernell’s group.
Today, the plan would depend on whether people would come to the 5th floor after the lesson had ended.
What do I do if no one comes? This was what I worried about … This one time, all I could do was depend on the goodwill of these respective people.
Actually, I didn’t think people who were forced into it could survive the fight against the Witch, so it was better for them if they chose to do it themselves rather than them being forced.
But if they did come, I would consider them as part of the underground infiltration.
Everything was Alexia’s fault. Yes, Alexia’s.
If only she did things like a final boss would, I could immediately end it on my own. But she would immediately escape if I approached her, so it was more troublesome than just simply fighting a strong enemy.
If Vernell’s group did participate… a difficult fight was unavoidable.
There were subordinates who had power similar to that of the Greater Demon class underground. There was also one more Greater Demon to encounter before the last fight.
Its name was “Octo,” which the Witch had dubbed as the “Shadow.”
It always blocked light magic attacks with dark magic and it was enveloped in darkness, making it look like a moving shadow. It was a disgusting looking enemy.
It was the closest aide to the Witch, and had her absolute trust.
Additionally, I had actually met it once before.
You see, there was that black shadow that tried to kidnap Vernell 3 years ago, remember? That was it.
It possessed the power to manipulate other creatures, so it saw Vernell as a splendid host.
Its identity was that of an octopus-type Greater Demon; the reason it enveloped itself in darkness was because it originally lived deep beneath the sea.
It actually used water magic within the darkness, so it was always surrounded by a sphere of water.
One might wonder if an octopus could be intelligent enough to be a Great Demon, but it actually was quite intelligent.
It was once imprisoned inside a bottle, but it managed to learn how to open the lid.
Its brain might be small, but it possessed 9 brains to move its 8 legs and it also had 3 hearts.
Each limb possessed over 200 suckers; to sum it up per leg, it would total to around 1600. Besides that, each sucker not only possessed an individual tactile capabilities, but was also an olfactory organ.
On top of that, each limb was capable of moving independently without any order from the brain.
Take this with a grain of salt, but… a minority of scientists had hypothesized that if octopuses had a longer life span, they believed that these animals could have developed enough intelligence to rule over Earth.
In other words, the octopus was delicious, dexterous, smart, tough, and delicious1. It was that kind of amazing animal.
What was it again?
Oh well. What I was curious about though, was the fact that Eterna wasn’t present.
As expected, she didn’t come. But it was the obvious thing to do for her. From Eterna’s perspective, she had no real obligation to risk her life at my request.
She had merely enrolled in the Academy since she was worried about Vernell; she had no intention of becoming a Knight in the first place.
So it was no surprise that this happened.
Rather, 7 people actually came, let’s be happy about that.
“Err, Elrise-sama… did you happen to see Eterna?”
Right as I was about to thank them for coming, Vernell suddenly spoke up.
He asked if I saw Eterna, but from what I could remember I didn’t see her.
Thinking about it then, she was also absent during the lesson that day.
I was thinking about a lot of stuff earlier so I didn’t really look around. I also didn’t get to do my routine of Bishoujo Watching this day.
But, I think I didn’t meet her.
…Did she catch a cold? Then it would be better for me to quickly visit and cure her.
“I asked the person rooming with her, but it seems she hasn’t come back since yesterday either.”
Didn’t the roommate think that was weird?
Was what I thought initially, though thinking about it again, it wasn’t really that strange.
It was not rare for Knight Academy students to stay up late and not to their own rooms.
They might be studying in the library until it was late, or maybe using the training room until the dead of night.
So it was normal that her roommate didn’t think it was strange and simply went to sleep ahead of her.
Then when they woke up and saw that the person was not there, they might have just thought that the other party had woken up early and was doing early morning training.
For that person, she might have only started to become suspicious when she didn’t see the other party during class.
“Did you search the places where she usually went?”
“I searched everywhere, but… I couldn’t find her at all.”
Vernell was dejected as he answered my question.
For Vernell, Eterna was akin to family.
If she suddenly disappeared, it was obvious he’d worry about her.
“What’s the possibility that she’s just hiding because she feels guilt for not coming here?”
“There’s no such thing… I think.”
Leila mentioned one possibility.
It was possible… since Eterna had decided yesterday to not come here, it could’ve made her feel guilty leading her to hide.
Alternatively, her not showing up could also be a sign of her rejection of my request.
Something like “Don’t involve me, go do all these dangerous things on your own! I don’t want to get involved, so today I will hide! Stay away from me — !”
If that was truly the case, then there wouldn’t be any problem. The problem lay in my lack of virtue.
But on the off chance that she had gotten involved in something troublesome, then it was a cause for concern.
No choice. We had to change our plans.
I couldn’t calmly talk until I confirmed Eterna’s safety.
“Let’s search for her. It’s best if it’s merely baseless anxiety, but we can’t ignore the possibility that she is in trouble.”
And so we began to search for Eterna.
I didn’t think anything had really happened, but we needed to confirm this just in case.
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There was an underground facility beneath the Alfrea Magic Knight Fostering Institution.
This place, where normally not even Instructors could enter and much less students, was where young people who aspired to be a Knight had their real combat training against demons.
This facility, which was covered with steel for insurance in order to prevent demons from escaping, was a wide area with a radius of 30 meters, its ceiling reaching 10 meters in height where even a large demon (though they might feel cramped) could wield their power without restraint.
Why was this place necessary? It was to prevent involving unrelated people unnecessarily.
If this kind of training was done outside, demons might escape and attack a nearby village.
There could be peddlers who would just happen to encounter those runaway demons on the road.
It was also possible for the people who regularly delivered supplies and food to the academy to end up falling victim to it.
Considering those possibilities, it was natural to make a facility like this to ensure that no demon could escape.
In the past, there was a record of the same kind of activity being done on a fenced area outdoors, but since said that place was now gone, something might’ve happened in the past that abolished it.
Maybe they leapt through the fence, or destroyed it… or maybe they escaped by digging underground.
Whichever the case, it must be due lesson learned from the past.
It was in this underground training area where a hidden stairway, which not even instructors were aware of, could be found.
The previous Headmaster, Diaz, secretly made this place for the sake of hiding Alexia, which was located in a place beyond the long stairways below.
What appeared after going through that set of stairs was a door made out of stone.
Once this door was opened, two stone statues would welcome their guests
Beyond there would be a path between the statues, branching further into several paths which led to the Witch’s room, the kitchen, the living room, the comfort room… and a waiting room for demons.
The Witch’s room was so tidy that one wouldn’t think it was situated underground, but would instead be reminded of a luxurious mansion interior instead.
The room was square shaped, had a rugged stone wall and a snake like ceiling that were hidden by wallpapers.
Its floor was covered by wooden boards with carpet spread on top of it, complete with furniture like a bed, chair and table, bookshelf, and pendulum clock.
Various paintings were hung on the wall… most of them were depictions of majestic scenery of nature and the sky. And since this room was clearly secured, one could feel Diaz’s effort and care into making sure that Alexia could spend her days here comfortably.
It was the darkness below a lighthouse… No one would normally think that below the academy where knights were trained to help the Saint overcome the Witch, that there was a living space made for the sake of the Witch.
But within this space, the Witch Alexia sat on bed, biting her fingernails out of frustration.
She was an eerie woman.
Reaching until her waist, her silver hair had no sheen left on it and, at a glance, it looked white instead.
No life could be seen left in her half-lidded eyes, which were underscored by thick dark circles below her eyes.
She has sunken cheeks and her skin was slightly rough,
Her lips had turned purple-ish, while the teeth that bit on her nails had already turned yellow.
If one looked closely, one could tell that she was once a beauty, but all of it had disappeared as time passed.
If someone who knew about Saint Alexia were to see her right now, it would be hard to notice that both of them were the same person.
There was a portrait and a statue of her amongst the generations of Saint in the academy, but Alexia was portrayed there as a silver-haired beauty, and she did look like that in the past.
But in the state she was in right now, even vague similarities were starting to disappear.
Her clothes, too, were completely different from the pure white dress as Elrise’s that she also always wore during her days as Saint. Now, for some reason, she wore a deep black robe which depicted the night sky where no light entered, a robe that could meld with darkness. As she stayed on top of bed, she made no sound at all.
It wasn’t like there was a rule that the Saint, once she had transformed into a Witch, had to change her fashion and physical appearance into that of a villain.
Among the generations of Witches, there should be one who kept their appearance the same as their Saint days.
However, the fact that [ Saint = Witch ] was still not widespread was because the King of that period enforced a gag order. Anyway, there was no rule for Witch to have a villainous face.
But for Alexia, she had changed greatly since her days as Saint. If anyone said this person was once Saint Alexia, who saved the world, most people wouldn’t be able to believe it.
“Diaz… ah, Diaz. Is that little girl… did Elrise already leave the academy? Did you manage to drive her away? Ri-right… You are the academy head. You can forcefully expel her, can’t you? Right? Right?”
“oH, My Saint, NoT YeT. Elrise StiLL hAs Not yeT NoTIceD Your EXIstence. ALSo, I tolD you Before, SCHOol eXPULsion iS impossible. IT is Impossible To DRIve out tHe Saint. raTHEr, if I ForcefullY did So, I will be UndEr Suspicion, and Worst case scenario, I will get SACKED frOM mY POSitiOn as HeadMastEr. If I’M goNE, NO onE will ProTECt yoU. Please BE PatieNt.”
The one Alexia whispered to was a Styil, which acted as Diaz’s messenger.
The bird that stood above the table had repeated the words that Diaz said.
Recently, not even Diaz could manage to come here to meet her in person.
With Elrise staying in the academy, if he carelessly went down, it meant he would indirectly lead Elrise to this place… such was the reason.
“I know that, I know about that. But, how long must I keep waiting? Ever since she came, I’ve been constantly on my toes in case she might notice this place. I’m so scared I can’t even sleep.”
“I kNOw THat, I kNOw ABOut THat. But, HOw lONg muST I kEEp waitING? EvER sINCe SHe cAMe, I’Ve bEen consTanTLy oN mY ToES In CasE sHE mIGht noTICe thIS plACe. I’m SO scaRED I caN’T eVEn SLEep.”
Toward Alexia who argued vehemently, the Styil repeated the same sentence.
This bird understood nothing about what it said.
It merely repeated the sound of things that were bigger and stronger than it was.
That was why even these words would be sent as is to “Diaz.”
The Styil flew away. Alexia saw it flying into the distance, then she rolled herself into her bed sheets.
Alexia was scared of the current Saint.
She knew well because she was also once a Saint.
…that this generation’s Saint was a monster.
Elrise was unaware of it, but actually, Alexia had directly seen how she fought.
At that time, she had led a demon horde into a city to raid it… Back then, her subordinate was beaten helplessly by Elrise, and as Alexia looked at her collapsed subordinate, she abandoned them all to escape.
That was no joke. What was that?
Elrise flew up into the sky, made swords of light which rained down from above, and the soldiers who wielded those became greatly strengthened.
If she was attacked, she would reflect any kind of attack several times over, trampling everything through a magic carpet bombing.
This Saint, indeed, possessed mana beyond any normal human being. She had a unique kind of invincibility, in which any type of attack that did not possess the same attribute as her would not be able to deal any damage.
But that was all there was. It was definitely not that kind of absurdity, a God-like existence.
Because Alexia was quite capable in magic herself, it made her understand the technicalities. Elrise’s mana was already over hundred times more than what she had possessed by that point.
That was 5 years ago. And now that she was 17 years old, her power definitely did not wither, but strengthened further instead.
The power of magic depended on the amount of mana one used for it.
Even for the same type of magic, someone with 10 mana compared to someone with 30 mana would simply possess 3 times more firepower.
The amount of mana imbued translated directly as a difference in power.
But Elrise’s fighting power when she was 12 years old was already beyond 100 times of Alexia’s.
There was no way to win against this monster. Nay, no other creature would be capable of winning against her.
Alexia was aware of their difference in power without needing to fight her directly, and so she hid herself beneath the Academy ever since.
Days passed, and what she heard from Diaz about Elrise’s fight made her doubt her ears every time. The island that had taken the effort of several generations of Witches to occupy in the demon territory was taken back within a single day, and the fight against Greater Demon that Alexia had no choice but avoid during her days as the Saint was defeated within the span of 3 seconds. She realized once again that Elrise was not someone she could fight against.
This wasn’t fair.
When Alexia was the Saint, the world was filled with darkness.
That was because Saint Lilia, the generation prior to her, couldn’t defeat the Witch and ended up getting slain by demons, thus prolonging the age of darkness.
As a result, Alexia was forced to fight under a situation that was harsher than other generations of Saints.
There was pressure from the people to properly defeat the Witch this time.
On top of that, the reign of Witch Griselda was longer than most Witches due Lilia’s death, making her subordinates more numerous than normal.
Even so, Alexia endured her fear and fought the Witch.
Because it was something that only she could do, she had restrained her impulse to cry and escape… She lost many comrades and Knights during battle, and finally managed to defeat Griselda with Diaz.
Yet what awaited Alexia after defeating Griselda, was a betrayal.
Billberry Kingdom’s King Aiz confined her within the Saint’s castle and goaded demons to attack her.
In hindsight, those demons became Alexia’s comrades who eventually helped her escape, but… Alexia suddenly transformed from a Saint to a Witch that bestowed curses upon curses.
It was regretful, it was sad. It was also hateful.
Yet Alexia still held onto herself from entirely becoming a Witch and lived in hiding.
If she did become a Witch, it meant the actions of the people who betrayed her were justified. For that reason alone, she didn’t want the transformation to go further.
But, the Witch’s grudge that she received from Griselda eroded her day by day.
When a Saint became a Witch, it wasn’t like they suddenly changed their personality into something else entirely.
It was just that the memories she had were helplessly skewed and her negative feelings were amplified.
The things that generations of Witches had seen, various stains of humanity, ugly memories.
There was also her anger from being betrayed.
As these were being shown and felt, it inevitably tainted one’s heart black.
It was like white canvas slowly turning black.
A Saint’s heart was white, that was without a doubt.
But the color white was easily dyed, easily filled over.
Alexia was not an exception… At the end of her endurance, she became the Witch that the world hated.
She suffered, it was painful. She held back her fear to bring peace to the world, yet she was betrayed. Even so, she still held on.
Yet these people cared nothing about these tribulations, enjoying their peace all on their own. Alexia couldn’t stand this. She couldn’t forgive them.
This was the world that contributed to her suffering.
And so, she let up on her resistance and became a Witch.
But even as she became a Witch, Alexia once again had to endure her fear.
What awaited her after defeating one of the best Witch’s, Griselda, was to face the greatest Saint of all time, Elrise.
This was unfair. She felt like crying.
She despaired at the thought of how this world hated her so much.
She wasn’t even allowed to rampage around out of anger.
Why was she the only one to end up like this?
When Elrise entered the academy, Alexia couldn’t sleep at all.
She was afraid that she’d be noticed if she made even the slightest noise. Every single day, she trembled under the nervousness and the fear without shape that kept pressuring her.
When would Elrise notice this place? Or did she already notice?
She had a feeling that it might be better if she’d just teleport, but… if she did escape here, she would no longer have her allies around her.
The only person who could escape via teleportation was Alexia alone.
Neither the demons who stayed underground nor Diaz could be brought along.
She would be all alone. The price of teleporting was far too great because she would be severely weakened and she’d have to live outside… in a world that had been changed by Saint, completely isolated.
Currently, the world was completely the territory of humanity in which allies of Saint lived.
There was no place for her to escape. Therefore, Alexia had no choice but to stay in this place.
Even so, her fear was reaching its limit.
Her heart could no longer endure. She wanted to escape quickly.
Ah, no no, please don’t notice this place.
She kept shivering as she hoped every single day.
“YoU had SUFFered, ALexIa-Sama…”
Toward Alexia who shivered in fear, “Shadow” approached as if to snuggle beside her.
It was a bizarre existence.
Even if this was underground, there was still some light.
There was indeed no light in Alexia’s room, but there was a lantern hanging along the passageway so that the Styil wouldn’t get lost, and those lights reached Alexia’s room.
Yet, this entity was so dark that it seemed like light could not reach it.
Literally, a moving “Shadow” …it used its arm — no, she couldn’t even call that an arm — and reached out to touch Alexia’s shoulder.
“Oh ‘Shadow’ …I am afraid. Why must this happen during my generation… Does the world hate me that much? What should I do… please tell me… oh ‘Shadow’.“
“You COuld IMMediaTEly esCAPe wiTH teleport…”
“No, no good! I have no allies out there! I will be found immediately, and she will immediately come! You’re also aware right? Teleport is forbidden magic that would decompose the body… The person who’d teleport will be recomposed at the destination, but… due to that, one will lose their experience (level) to reform their body. There’s already a huge power difference between us right now, and if the difference grows even wider… there’s no way I could do such a foolish thing!”
Looking at her master who lost her previous beauty out of fear, “Shadow” silently looked at her.
If she calmly judged her situation, it was already bad for her to stay here in first place,
Ever since Elrise transferred to the Academy, she used the place as a base of her operations.
If they were to believe Diaz’s report, they wouldn’t notice this underground area, but… if that were really the case, why did they still stay even now?
In case it was true they still did not notice, they must be convinced that the Witch was within the Academy and had some kind of proof. Wasn’t it the reason they still stayed?
If so, then this place was already a danger zone. They needed to hurry and teleport away, use another location as a new base and restart her activities. This would be the best course of action..
But the Witch had no allies… and due to Elrise, the territories had switched ownerships and it made her scared to go outside.
There was already no need to fight, as the victor of the fight between Elrise and Alexia was already decided.
Territorial battle with the world as its stage was overwhelmingly won by Elrise, and the board was now filled with white.
In the current situation, there was still a spot with black, but Elrise already raised a hand to take it.
Yet the Witch was unable to escape. She was bound by fear, and she still clung desperately onto this academy.
“I UNderSTanD… In That casE, I WiLL ReMOVe that Fear.”
“It-It’s impossible! You can’t win against Elrise!”
“CalM DoWn… I Also doN’t ThiNK I could Win against That MONsteR. tHE rEASOn she is STAyInG Here, IS Because ShE iS AwaRE thAt Witch-Sama IS SoMEWHere NEaRBy. IN THAt Case, IF I AnSWEr that DOUbt… She will lEAVe here bY HErsElF. I HAvE a PLAn…”
“Shadow” creepily wriggled, and the part where its eyes were located glinted.
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The eight people, including Vernell’s group, who had managed to achieve great results at the Fighting Tournament after the winter vacation had been called by Elrise and gathered at the Academy’s 5th floor.
The people who were called included Vernell, Eterna, Mary, Aina, John, Fiora… also the 3rd year male student, Crunchbite Dogman.
He did look strong, but for some reason he had a certain atmosphere around him that made him seem like he’d be the first to be defeated. Why was that?
But that was okay. The problem was the last person.
The last person among those who were called after reaching top 8 — who were all supposed to be students, no matter how you look at it — was Instructor Supple Ment.
What was this person doing here again?
“…What are you doing, Instructor Supple Ment”
“Well, what do you mean? I am the top 8 3rd year student, Tom Toy”
Seemingly disgusted from bottom of her heart, Leila asked this, but Supple aloofly retorted lies that anyone could see through.
He spoke without a sense of shame.
“Oh my, Saint! Please grant us the weapon that could be given only to the top 8 students!”
Ah, so that’s the reason…
Vernell silently understood why Supple did this obviously unfair action.
For a Saint fanatic… No, for him as a follower of Elrise, he couldn’t miss the chance to be granted a weapon that was personally made by Elrise.
Vernell, too, aimed for that, and it made him more motivated to perform better in battles, even more than usual.
In the end, Elrise decided to overlook this unfair action so that nothing else would follow, then she made various weapons from the material that had been prepared by Leila.
Vernell received a great sword that was stronger than what he had received before.
Eterna received a staff with a gemstone attached on it. Fiora received a bow and arrows. John got dual swords, and Aina got a long sword.
Mary received a rapier. Supple got a sword attached to a stick by his request.
Crunchbite fought barehanded so he got knuckledusters.
Finally, Leila was bestowed a long sword, and she was so moved that she was on the verge of tears.
For someone who had once betrayed Elrise, to be granted a sword by Elrise must have been a great deal for her.
After everyone received their weapons, Elrise looked at everyone.
“First of all, congratulations to everyone for reaching the top 8 spots. I’ve seen how you fought, and I‘m confident to say that the eight people here have already attained the fighting capability comparable to a regular Knight.”
From Saint Elrise’s mouth came a guarantee that all the people present here today were comparable to regular Knights, making them do fist pumps in their mind.
The Knight she was talking about was obviously not limited to fighting capability alone.
Even if you possessed fighting power, if you were judged to be lacking proper manners and conduct to stay beside Saint or were seen to have no desire to improve, you would still be demoted.
Even so, one of the conditions of this “fighting ability” was being acknowledged by none other than Elrise herself.
This was a big deal for them.
“As such, I have a request for the eight of you.”
As Elrise put on a serious expression, Vernell unconsciously straightened his posture.
She was capable of doing most things alone.
Just simply based on fighting power alone, even Knights who were supposed to protect her couldn’t help but question the reason for their existence beside her.
And for such a person to make a “request,” it would undoubtedly be nothing easy to do.
It was a “request” for the people she had deemed with enough fighting capability… Thus, it shouldn’t be anything other than fighting.
“…But, if you choose to hear about this request, there is no turning back. I will say it beforehand, but I will not guarantee your safety. It will be dangerous, so… I am giving everyone the right to refuse it beforehand. And even if you do refuse my request, I will not blame you whatsoever. There would also be no effect on your grades.”
It would be a danger to one’s life.
When they were informed about this, Eterna and Crunchbite felt some agitation.
To be given the right to refuse beforehand showed how dangerous her “request” would be.
But for Vernell, regardless of what her request might be, he had no intention to refuse.
Rather… he was happy. Elrise depending on him made him feel proud.
“…If you intend to listen to it, come back here after your classes are done tomorrow.”
It meant she was giving them a day to think it over.
Even without doing so, she could use the Saint’s name to “command” them.
Without listening to their opinion, she could say it was something necessary and forcefully make them comply.
After all, she was the Saint and this place was an institution that trained Knights that served the Saint.
If one refused Saint’s request, it would be like placing the cart before the horse. They would be questioned about why they came here in the first place.
But Elrise didn’t do that.
She asked for people’s opinions… and if none were willing, she would continue fighting alone.
Vernell already decided to proceed.
There was no other choice than to “accept” from the beginning. He didn’t need any other choice.
Beside him, Eterna looked at him worriedly.
Vernell returned to his room and trained by himself as usual.
It had already been eight months since he first came to the Academy.
The undependable young man from early on had grown robustly, his arm having grown thicker.
His neat features became manlier, and he earned a body of steel from all his training.
Even so, he wouldn’t rest.
The place he aimed for was far higher, as he still lacked power to be a man worthy to protect the Saint.
That was why he kept tempering his body, seeking even more strength.
If he lacked strength, all he needed to do was to train more. It was just that simple.
This day as well, he carried extra weight on his back and started doing push ups to polish his strength.
At that moment, someone knocked on the door.
Vernell soundlessly stood up quickly and wiped himself with a nearby towel.
Then, he changed clothes from a sweaty shirt into a uniform, combing his hair before opening the door.
Previously, he had an epic failure when he welcomed Elrise during training, so he took care not to make the same mistake.
But… it seemed like such a thing was not necessary this time.
“What, so it’s Eterna.”
“What’s with that?”
The person standing there was a girl with silvery white hair — it was Eterna.
Her features possessed a certain sheen unlike any other common white hair, with her blue eyes like crystal. Her beautiful face and well balanced proportions made her a target of many students’ fantasies.
On top of that, unlike Elrise, who had stopped growing at 14 years old, Eterna possessed a mature air to her that Elrise didn’t have.
To be precise it was her bosom. Her chest had bloomed nicely these days.
If Vernell weren’t a blockhead who could only see Elrise alone, he might’ve gotten done in by Eterna’s charm already.
“Well… could we talk for a bit on the rooftop?”
Vernell thought of his response toward Eterna’s invitation.
He could think of three for now.
First, to accept it as it was.
Second, to ask why there was a need to do so.
And third, to respond with “Since it’s a waste of time, I’d like to continue my training.” It was quite a dastardly response.
“I’m sorry, I still want to train.”
After about a second of thought, Vernell responded like a jerk.
It might lower Eterna’s favorability, but unfortunately Vernell wasn’t sharp enough to notice.
This man truly only saw Elrise and nothing else.
The person who noticed this was Vernell’s roommate, a person with a needlessly cool name: Sylvester LordKnight. At Vernell’s response, he thought, “Uwah.”
But it seemed Eterna had already considered that he would answer this way, so she only pinched Vernell’s cheek and forcefully dragged him out.
As Eterna pulled him over, they went to the rooftop. When they arrived, he caressed his own cheek then faced Eterna.
Why did she bring him to this place?
If it was just to talk, they could have just talked right there.
Yet she went through effort to bring him here, so it must be something that she didn’t want anyone listening in on.
If so, did she want to tell him about someone she loved?
Or perhaps it could be a consultation regarding “That Power” that was also possessed by Eterna.
But far from his expectations, Eterna asked the most obvious thing — at very least for Vernell, it was something he already had an answer for a long time ago.
“Well… I have to ask at least, but as expected, you intend to go to Elrise-sama’s place tomorrow?”
It was an instant response.
He answered without a moment of hesitation.
Elrise had requested his help.
It was something he was happy about, and he knew there was nothing to be worried about.
The people who stood there… at the very least John and Fiora, as well as Supple, should have the same sentiments as him.
But it seemed like it was not the case for Eterna.
“Hey Vernell… could you not go?”
“…I see. So you don’t want to go, Eterna.”
Vernell wasn’t surprised by what Eterna said.
Eterna came to this academy only because she was worried about Vernell in the first place.
She wasn’t like Vernell, John and Fiora who had a great debt to pay toward Elrise, and she also didn’t worship the Saint like Supple did.
She didn’t seek honor like Aina did either.
For her, it was no surprise that she wasn’t inclined to go to a place that had been declared as dangerous.
Why did she consult me? Perhaps Eterna didn’t wish to be alone in being left out and get the backlash for it… or so Vernell thought.
“It’s okay Eterna. Elrise-sama is not a person who’ll get angry if you don’t come tomorrow. It’s natural since it’s said to be dangerous for one’s life. Everyone will understand. That’s why you don’t have to be ashamed for not going…”
“Wrong, that’s not what I meant! It’s not about me, but you. I don’t want you to go!”
Eterna, unable to hold it in due Vernell’s misplaced consolation, shouted.
Eterna wasn’t worried about herself.
She saw Vernell happily jumping over to danger. That was what she was worried about.
She understood that he only saw Elrise.
From the past… and from the first time they met, he had always dreamed of being a Knight of Elrise.
For him to be needed by Saint meant his dream had come true.
But Eterna was unable to be honestly happy about this.
Because Vernell died during the last incident.
He did get saved last time, but there was no assurance that the same could be said next time.
“Hey, please stop this! Since even Elrise-sama said it’s dangerous, then it must really be something serious! This time you’ll really die!”
“Maybe I will.”
“Maybe I will, you say… are you okay with that?! Nothing will change even if you don’t go! She is strong and capable… so she could take care of it alone!”
Vernell partly agreed to what Eterna said.
It was exactly as she said.
Regardless of whether he went or not, nothing would change.
If it was Elrise, then even if she was alone she’d be able to break through all problems and shine the world with light.
But, he didn’t want to let it be.
This was because Vernell always trained for the sake of not letting Elrise fight alone.
“Sorry, Eterna. I’ve already decided. That day… when no one needed me, she embraced me. She cried for me. If it weren’t for her, I would have already cursed everything in the world and become such a helpless person”
Until he met Elrise, Vernell had lived in darkness.
He was abandoned by his family, cursed as a monster… unable to control his own power, and was as good as trash.
The person who accepted this Vernell and wished for him not to give up on happiness was Elrise.
Vernell had sworn on that day.
Regardless of whatever happened next, he would believe in light… believe in her.
“What was that… even I… even I… about you…”
Eterna looked down, and as if to escape from him, ran away.
Vernell was unable to chase after that retreating figure.
Eterna : Well… could we talk for a bit on the rooftop? Vernell : …
That’s okay but, the rooftop is cold, so wear these on top of what you’re wearing (Favorability +) Ok, I understand. (Favorability ±０) ⇒ Sorry. I want to train by myself a little more. (Favorability -)
Drop all favorability except for the targeted heroine. (Galge Brain)
Want faster releases of Fake Saint? Support the translator trough Ko-fi!
This time as well, I took 15 days to complete the dungeon’s capture. The star fragment was a round, milky-white gem. I didn’t know this kind of gem was called, but it had a strange glow to it; when I held it in my hand, I could still sense its enormous mana.
I hopped on the magic circle which led to the main hall and left the dungeon. It was just before dusk when I left. However, the sky was cloudy and overcast, and it looked like it was going to rain. I took a few steps forward, intending to get back to the inn before it started raining. But then I stopped.
About ten people were standing in front of me. They were all wearing hoods to cover their hair, just like me.
—I see. I guess there is no escaping the will of the world, after all.
“Nice to meet you, Abyss of the Dark,1 Zagan-dono. You have obtained the star fragment once more, haven’t you? As expected of an S-rank adventurer.”
“…Get out of my way. I’m tired. I have no intention to associate with hecklers.”
“Don’t say that. Why don’t you have a little chat with us? What? It won’t be a bad deal for you.”
“I’m not interested at all. You’re wasting your time. Get lost.”
“Well then, how about this?”
The man who seemed to be the leader of the group took off his hood. Then the others took off their hoods one by one. What they bore was the noticeable trait of Dark Attribute users.
The man in front of me had dark purple hair. The man and woman at his sides had the same deep purple hair. That was proof that they had considerable mana, even among those with the dark attribute.
Oh, come to think of it, I had seen them before. They were the three who always appeared in the second half of Lumiere’s main storyline. Of course, they were only an illustration in the game then, but the features were the same. A middle-aged man as the leader, and a surly bespectacled man on his left. As well as a woman who wore a short hooded cape, and extremely revealing clothes.
The others had purple hair too, though their shades varied in intensity.
“If the people coming out of the dungeon were to see you in this situation, they’d think you’re one of us. As an adventurer, wouldn’t that be a problem? You can try to run away if you want, but be warned that we’ll kill every last person in this city if you do.”
“…Alright. But I’m only going to listen to what you have to say.”
When I acquiesced, the middle-aged man smirked and began walking. I had no choice but to follow behind him. But I did so only after slightly emitting an intimidating aura around me. I didn’t want them to think that I could be brought into the fold just because I had the same attribute as them.
I was taken to an abandoned building on the outskirts of the city. It seemed that even in a prosperous metropolis, there were places that people avoided.
Inside the building were nearly a hundred people, all possessing the dark attribute. All of them had hair with a considerably dark shade of purple. I see, so these people here were the sum of the fighting capability that the kingdom would be up against. If you considered those with light purple hair and children as civilians, then there were nearly 4 to 5 times more people than I’d expected in the Dark Organization. …These are all the people they have, huh.
“So what do you want from me?”
“To put it simply, we want you to be one of us. You also have the Dark Attribute, don’t you? Let’s destroy this country and build our own instead.”2
“No thanks. I’m not interested in such things at all. I’ve never harboured any hatred for this kingdom ever in my life.”
The crowd buzzed. Whispers of “You’re lying” and “That’s impossible” echoed throughout the building.
“I’ve always lived alone in the Great Forest. I’ve been able to survive by myself since I was a child. And if I hide my hair, I can walk the streets as normal. You can also do the same.”
“I can’t bear the thought of living in secret, always hiding my presence!”
“That’s right! Why are we the only ones who have to go through this tragic fate? We’re also human!”
“All we want to do is pay them back for what they have done to us. What’s wrong with that?”
I could hear sorrowful cries and protests coming from all around me.
It was easy to understand why people were shouting about how unreasonable it was. I also had the dark attribute. No matter how much Luca invited me, I still had to capture the dungeon alone. I couldn’t accompany him on the way from one city to another, as I would be fighting monsters on the way.
“Hm. It seems that lately, you’ve been getting along quite well with the second prince, Luca Soleil.”
We wouldn’t know when someone would be watching us when we’re together. If a person who possessed the Dark Attribute hung around someone of a different attribute, then it was obvious that people would complain even if this person was a prince. Despite it having nothing to do with them at all.
“Do you have a problem with that? Are you saying that I’m betraying you? We’ve never even been allies to begin with.”
“Wha-!? Don’t we have the same dark attribute!?”
“I just heard you say that we are all humans. Luca and I are also humans as well. We happened to meet in the dungeons, and then we also occasionally met at the adventurer’s guilds. And then we became friends. That’s all there is to it.”
“I see. Then, Zagan-dono, would you like to be our friend as well?”
“No thanks. I’m the type of person who finds communication with others tedious. He’s the only friend I need. Since you’ve finished your business, I’m going to go.”
As I was about to leave, I sensed mana closing in from behind me. I instantly pulled out my dagger and cut off all the tentacles that were reaching for me. Too weak. If you couldn’t condense more mana, you’d never be able to catch me.
But in the meantime, a number of people moved to block my path from the front, cutting off my escape.
“Do you really think you can escape from this many people?”
“You bastards, you plan to drag me along?”
I unleashed a large amount of mana with a roar, intimidating the people around me. That itself forced more than half of the people in that place to its knees. I could hear groans and curses all around me, but I did not pay any attention to them.
“Have you ever thought about it…? Most of the people with the dark attribute are killed right after they are born.
“…I cannot deny that. Either they are killed right away, or they are abused and eventually die. Although some of them are protected by their parents, they are persecuted by the other parents and the people around them. You guys are saving those children as far as you can, right? That’s a wonderful thing.”
“If you know that, then don’t you want to change this country? Don’t you want to make this country a place where we can live happily?”
Of course, if I could change it, I would.
If Dark Attribute users weren’t being persecuted, then I could have had dinner together with my whole family. I could have been there to witness Noel growing up and the two of us, along with our mother, could have taken walks together. I could have even learnt magic from my father. As Luca’s senior, we might have trained together in magic. I was certain Luca and I could have explored many places together in our childhood.
If I hadn’t been persecuted in that way, I could have spent my days with people of other attributes.
That was why I had no desire to oppress anyone else.
“What are you going to do after you have defeated the king and destroyed the royal family? Are you going to persecute and enslave all the other attributes? Are you going to do the same thing those shitty people did, and become shitty yourselves? That’ll just make you a target for their hatred, and you’ll eventually be killed.”
The man simply glared at me and didn’t say anything back. Of course, he couldn’t because I had told him the inevitable truth.
“How many people do you think are in the Kingdom of Soleil anyway? There are said to be over a hundred million people. Even if you could march into the castle and defeat the king, you will be quickly killed by the overwhelming numbers of the other attribute users.”
“…Yeah. This is why I want your strength. With you and the star fragments you have collected, we could easily bring down the royal castle.”
I see. Even if I said this much, it was no use. This man must have witnessed the tragic fate of those with dark attribute too many times; he could only think of destroying the country.
“I’ll say it again, I don’t resent this country. I’m collecting the star fragments in order to purify the Lumiere and protect my country, not to destroy it.”
“It seems that our negotiations have fallen through. …That’s fine. We’ll withdraw quietly this time. At any rate, we have no way of winning against you with our current strength. I never thought you could render so many people immobile with just your bloodlust. Your hair must be darker than mine, after all.”
He didn’t say it was jet black. I didn’t reply, as I had no intention of showing it, and this time I finally turned my back on them and left the ruins.
I headed back to the inn. The sky was overcast and the rain was finally starting to fall. If I didn’t get to the inn soon, I would be soaked. But I couldn’t help but stop in my tracks. My rational mind was telling me that it was not too late, and that I should turn back.
But my emotions didn’t want me to, and I couldn’t turn around. I had to go back, but my feet kept moving forward, albeit slowly.
I had already reached a spot where there were more people around. Those without umbrellas were hurriedly making their way home.
Shaa! The rain was growing heavier. My body was getting soaked. My hands and feet were slowly growing cold, and then my footsteps …stopped.
“What am I doing?”
My self-derision leaked out. At my own stupidity. I was sure it was only for that moment just now. The only time I resisted the will of the world.
That was why I had to kill him. That man. Because if I didn’t, he and the others there would kill the in-game Zagan.
— Because they’re going to kill me in the future.
After I captured the dungeon in Chapter 9, they were going to summon five dark dragons. Only those with the dark attribute could summon monsters by manipulating the miasma. Though it was impossible for one person to do so, if more than a hundred people with the dark attribute worked together to gather the miasma, they could even summon five dragons.
Seeing those people made me think that this was actually possible. Even if the dragons were incredibly strong, it would be relatively easy to summon monsters with the same dark attribute.
Truly, Dark Magic was terrifying. I completely realized then why the horrors of dark magic and the deadliness of its possessors were drummed into me by my father. I was a dark magic user myself, but I had believed that I had understood how dangerous it truly was up until now.
No. Even if I had understood it properly, I couldn’t have killed that man.
If it weren’t for that man, more dark attribute users would have died. Babies would have been killed right after birth. Children would have been abused and died in anguish. Thinking about those children made me sad, and that was why I admired that man who was trying to save them.
But although he saved childen who had the dark attribute, he also killed and robbed those with other attributes nearby. Most of the unsolved murders that appeared in the newspapers were assassinations carried out by the dark organization.
After all, they were a group of murderers. That was why it was easy for them to say they were going to kill the people in the city. Their plan was to break the seal on the evil god.
The reason I couldn’t kill them was because of a more fundamental problem.
…I had never killed anyone in my life.
In my previous life, I was born in a peaceful Japan. I had a job as a systems engineer, and I was not at all concerned with the life and death of people. I had lived a normal life in peace. How could such a person take a life so easily?
Even when I fought a monster for the first time, I was quite hesitant. The reason why I was able to defeat it was because it was a slime, which didn’t have a humanoid or animal appearance. Also, I knew that most of the monster’s body was composed of magical elements, and even if I killed it, all that would remain were magical stones and raw materials.
Even when I was requested to be an escort at the adventurer’s guild or to take on bandits, I never killed anyone. Once I had restrained them with my tentacles and sealed their movements, it was over.
I suddenly remembered what I had said to Noel before. ‘I can easily kill humans, it’s just that I don’t feel the need to.’ It was nothing but a bluff. There was no way I could easily kill anyone.
But the result was this situation. Tens of thousands of people, including me, were going to die because I couldn’t kill a single person. Even if I wanted to resist, I knew from past experience that there was no way to escape the will of the world… the game’s scenario.
— Absolute death was inevitable.
Hasr: After a small scale discord poll, I’ve decided to release full-length chappies July onwards~ P.S. We’re also teaching folks Japanese on our discord, feel free to join!
When Aresh asked him in that low voice, Seiichirou replied honestly, his face flushed red. There was no use being stubborn. Or rather, this was not the best time for him to be stubborn. Seiichirou grabbed at the sheets and writhed under the other man’s hands, though the pleasure he felt exceeded the slight pain.
“Hmm… ah… haa…”
“Thank you for the compliment.”
After that, a low, slightly husky voice that was different from Aresh’s rang out, and the hands that had been providing Seiichirou such torturous pleasure left his body.
“You’re really good at that, Mr. Valtom. My shoulders feel much lighter now.”
Seiichirou sat up and let out a sigh of admiration. Valtom, Aresh’s family butler, smiled kindly in return. Behind the servant, his master sat back comfortably in his chair.1
It had been a little over ten days since Seiichirou was “coerced” to live with Aresh in his new home. The second expedition had commenced shortly after that, so once that had finished, there was finally time for him to devote to his own peace of mind.
The servants, who were adamant on improving Seiichirou’s resistance to mana and maintaining his health, had immediately jumped into action. The maid, Milan, decorated all of the mansion’s rooms with incense and flowers that contained minute traces of magical energy and used bath salts and body creams to help improve Seiichirou’s blood circulation. The cook, Pavel, had incorporated all kinds of different cooking methods to prepare meals that were low in mana but high in nutrition. And Valtom, the butler, was now providing Seiichirou with a personal massage.
Seiichirou, of course, refused all of their efforts, at first. Even though Aresh had pressured him to accept, he still felt like nothing more than a freeloader. To be honest, being taken care of by servants made him feel uncomfortable, and he did not think he would ever get used to it. But there was an exception…
Seiichirou had never once been greedy. The things he wanted were usually tools or items that were meant to make his work more efficient, and the few hobbies he had were limited to playing math games in what little free time was available. He was neither a gourmand nor someone who enjoyed wearing the latest fashion. Actually, when he was still back in his old world, there was very little casual clothing he did own. It was to such an extent he could not even remember a time when he had bought clothing other than suits for work or loungewear for sleeping. Naturally, Seiichirou rarely spent money, but even if he did, he would never have had any idea what to spend it on.
However… there was just one thing he did desire.
Everyone had an unrealistic dream that they wanted fulfilled if they ever became exceedingly wealthy, and his foolish aspiration was to be able to receive a massage in his home any time he pleased.
Massage. It was a very sweet gesture to do for a company employee who was always tired.
Massage. It was a dream come true for those corporate slaves who never seemed to have any time on their hands.
Back in the day when he did not know what time he would be returning home, there were numerous massage parlours that were open late at night that allowed walk-ins. But those sorts of places were often overcrowded and more hassle than they were worth. Besides that, the cost of visiting a more upscale place, one that took reservations, was rather expensive for the salary of a mere corporate slave.
Besides all that, Seiichirou could barely be bothered to go out of his way for a special trip to the parlour2 when he was so tired, not to mention that there were many more days when all he wanted was to just go home and sleep. Oh, if only he could afford a live-in masseuse, then he would have a nice massage after his bath before going straight to bed…
That had been the dream Seiichirou wanted to fulfil if he ever became rich.
Well, Seiichirou thought, if one becomes rich suddenly, then they would likely quit being a company employee not long after that, but I don’t even want to think about that.
In any case, Seiichirou’s dream had come true, though unexpectedly, in another world. However…
“Okay, I got it. Valtom, that’s enough. Leave.”
“Yes, Master Aresh.” The butler bowed. “Then, Master Kondoh, if you’ll excuse me… have a good night.”
Seiichirou watched in dismay as the figure in the tailcoat left the room with perfect grace. He had hoped that Valtom’s God-like fingers would alleviate the remaining stiffness in his neck and back just as they had for his shoulders.
“All right, let’s get to it, Seiichirou.”
The master of the house climbed onto the bed with a creaking sound, his slitted violet eyes catching Seiichirou’s, and he reflexively braced himself for whatever Aresh was about to do next.
“What is it? Lie down already.”
With that, Aresh pushed Seiichirou to lie back on the bed, face down, before straddling his legs and then…
“I can see that you’re pretty stiff.”
Aresh’s calloused fingertips, which usually handled a sword with perfect force, bit into the tense muscle of Seiichirou’s back.
“Huh? What…? Ngh!”
“Does it hurt?”
“No, it’s not that, it’s… ah… haa…!”
Aresh’s skillful fingers dug into the sharp lines along Seiichirou’s shoulder blades.
Aresh’s ability to stimulate such precise acupuncture points accurately, neither too hard nor too gentle, relieved much of Seiichirou’s tension.
What the heck is with… this high level of aptitude!
There was no way Aresh was used to giving others massages, which meant that he had learned such skill immediately after watching Valtom’s motions earlier. This was truly a terrifying ability.
“Ngh… a… ah…!”
Maybe it was because Seiichirou’s blood circulation had improved prior to this moment, but he now felt like his body was overheating for some unknown reason. There was a warm, gentle heat slowly spreading out from wherever Aresh touched him.
“Huh? Wait, that’s—”
Precisely when Seiichirou’s dazed mind caught on, Aresh stilled.
Warmth…heat… Seiichirou thought to himself. But when it comes to heat like this, the first thing I think of is…
“Sir Aresh!? Magic! You’re using magic on me right now, aren’t you!?” Seiichirou accused, shifting under the weight of the knight.
“Oh, so you’ve figured it out already?” Aresh teased lightly before resuming his ministrations.
Seiichirou tried to get up using all of strength, but Aresh was a well-trained knight, still straddling him, so it was impossible, and he fell face-first into the pillow. The next thing he knew, his ears were ringing and his head was spinning.
“What are you… trying to do to me?”
Already his speech was failing him.
“What? If I use recovery magic to loosen up your body, the synergistic aftereffect will be more efficient in helping your muscles to relax.”
“Yes… but…” Seiichirou tried to argue.
Lately, it seemed that Aresh had grown quite fond of using the word “efficient” to justify his methods. Meanwhile, Aresh’s hands had now slid underneath Seiichirou’s clothing to begin touching his skin directly, and the man was no longer attempting to hide his true intentions.
“W-wait…! Sir Aresh… ngh!”
“It’s more effective if I touch you directly, isn’t it? I had Milan prepare an oil that is gentle on your skin. I made sure it has a very low mana content.”
No sooner had he said it when a thick liquid dribbled down the exposed area of Seiichirou’s back.
The temperature was lukewarm, almost uncomfortable, and Seiichirou smelled the faint scent of oil and felt the press of Aresh’s palms stealthily sliding over his skin. While it certainly felt good, there was a different sensation slowly creeping its way over him at the same time.
“Does it feel good, Seiichirou?” Aresh’s low voice tickled at Seiichirou’s ears with more sweetness than he had ever heard before. Now that Seiichirou took notice of it, Aresh’s tongue was licking his ear.
“Haa… stop… alread—ngh!” he whined, twisting to and fro.
As Seiichirou’s back was massaged with fragrant oil, his senses were being caressed and mana was being poured slowly into him. Seiichirou shook his head in defeat, not knowing which part of his body to focus on, feeling only the blistering burn of that familiar seductive heat build up to an almost unbearable level inside his body.
“What’s wrong? You were so honest before, saying how good you felt…” A deep, low voice with a hint of laughter rang out, followed by a soft bite to the delicate skin of Seiichirou’s ear.
“Aah!” he moaned loudly in abandon.
Aresh, who was in such close proximity to Seiichirou, must have felt how Seiichirou’s body was reacting to his touch, shaking and shivering under every press, lick, and kiss. He then turned Seiichirou over onto his back slowly and narrowed purple eyes with a lustful gaze.
“Isn’t this a more efficient way to build up your mana resistance?” he chuckled lowly.4
Hasr: Alright folks, one more DM asking me when we will release the next manga chapter, and I will spontaneously combust THE RAWS ARE NOT OUT YET, learn to have some patience folks
Anyhow, mangadex is back up for those who live under a rock, so celebrations?
P.S. Thanks for the kofis, everyone who supported us, the team appreciates it~
I was bewildered when Bard held his hands out high in the air and said, “Here.”
I looked over at Gilliam with a dubious expression, but he nodded, so I leaned over.
The general placed his hands onto my sides and lightly lowered me from my horse.
“I am borrowing Keigo. That’s all for today.”
While Gilliam and the other knights bowed, Bard led me away.
“… You told me before that you had wanted to do office work in your free time. I’ve talked to some officials for you. I will introduce you to them now.”
I had, in fact, asked the general to help me find a job when I realized that I had nothing to do in the first half of the week.
It would have been nice if I could train at the Knights’ base, but it seems that those at the Knights’ base in question don’t have that much time on their hands.
Yeah, they can’t just leave an amateur, like me, out there after all….
Gilliam or Farangis are supposed to take care of me, but they also had their own jobs to do too.
Besides, I didn’t think my body could take it for a week straight.
Thanks to the blessing of the goddess that was given to otherworlders, I had no trouble speaking, reading, or writing.
Since that was the case, I asked the general if I could help with the civil official’s work.
I was good at paperwork. So, it would probably work out.
Most of all, I felt uncomfortable lounging around doing nothing for half the week—especially when I was being taken care of in regards to food, clothing, and shelter.
It was a request I made after deciding that I could provide labor in the humanities.
“… So, did you sleep?”
Before I knew it, the handsome man by my side whispered in my ear while letting out a low chuckle.
I was startled and tried to step away from the voice directed at me from close range, but the arm that was trying to escape, was firmly grabbed.
I was pushed directly against a pillar in the hallway that was shrouded by shadows.
The tall general leaned in close, as if to cover me from above, and spoke in a low sultry voice, “… Gilliam and Farangis are both still inexperienced, but they’re good men, aren’t they? The others are not bad either. After all, they are members of the glorious Knights of the Kingdom. Have you started the tasting stage? Hmm?”
“… I’m sorry, not yet.”
“You do understand that you only have a finite amount of time left, right?”
“You say that, but so do you, General! You still don’t seem to want to accompany me, do you? These conditions are extremely unreasonable. Making men feel affection for an old man! How in the world am I supposed to seduce men, when I am a virgin?”
It was clearly an unexpected counterattack. The general looked at me wearing a surprised expression on his face.
His wide-open amber eyes were as beautiful as ever.
Looking at me, his facial expression had morphed from surprised to what I could only describe as a complicated expression. It seemed he was choosing his words with care.
“… Ahh, if you’re a virgin, you wouldn’t know how to do it… really?”
“If I had known, I would have already lost my virginity by now.”
I don’t care what you say, don’t make me hear the word “virgin” again.
Although it is mostly me saying it. Damn it.
“… Shall I teach you how to seduce?”
I immediately replied to the general’s words, which sounded sexy all at once, “The General’s technique is too high-spec to copy.”
What kind of sick punishment game was this?
Impregnating a woman with just a look, though there were no women here, or making her wet with just a voice, were special moves that only good looking men could use.
My rejection was ignored.
The general’s face came closer as he gave me a sexy look.
At this rate, there was no doubt that I will be kissed.
Preemptively, I covered my mouth with my hands.
And I immediately regretted it.
This handsome man, full of skill and swagger, was telling me that he would teach me.
Why was I not taking advantage of it!?
I really didn’t have a lot of experience, so I had to take advantage of the chance…
My hands started to tremble.
I removed my hands covering my face and turned my tightly bitten lips upward.
This was no good, I have to relax.
But once again, I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t keep my eyes open—
The handsome man simply gave a light peck.
Bard’s body pulled away.
I opened my closed eyes in confusion.
His red hair, reminiscent of a lion’s mane, was scratched wildly as he contorted his face.
When he noticed me standing there staring blankly at him, he sighed and dropped his shoulders.
“… It made me feel guilty.”
“That… I’m sorry,” I honestly apologized.
Yeah, I’m really sorry I have so little experience.
The general seemed to have changed his mind, and had abruptly changed from seduction mode to his normal appearance. Which was still sexy.
The sex appeal of an adult man is scary.
From there the general took me straight to the administration building.
It seemed that the domestic affairs of the kingdom were carried out in this building.
The Prime Minister, who was the head of the department, was not here, as he had returned to his domain. I was introduced to an official who was to be my immediate superior.
“I am Walter. I’ll be asking you to assist me in the government affairs department three days a week. Nice to meet you.”
My boss was a demonic man with glasses about my age.
No, no matter how you look at it, he’s an S, right?
The sensation of sadism oozed out.
His hair, swept back, was a normal brown color, but his sharp, sanpaku3 blue eyes are super scary.
This would be even scarier if he loved the dog he picked up on a rainy day4.
…… Scary, but he seemed to have some common sense.
I observed the official standing in front of me.
If I were to make a mistake at work, it would be humiliating, but I wouldn’t be scolded unreasonably. That was what my salaryman’s intuition tells me.
It doidn’t change the fact that I was scared, though!!
As we were leaving after the introductions, the general whispered to me in an amused tone, “Look for prey.”
Just because you’re a great hunter, doesn’t mean you should expect me to have the same hunting techniques you do!
T/N: Walter is one of my favourites too. I do have some characters I don’t really like in this novel. Thank you for reading. If you find something wrong with my translations, please leave a comment for me to improve. Have a good day.
I was given a double room with Nachi. Probably because we were guild master and vice guild master, that’s why everyone was considerate of us. It seemed that everyone else had chosen a room appropriately, with three to five other people. Because the bedrooms only have one huge bed, which were big enough for six adult males to lie on, but there were no individual items, so the result is that the bedrooms were divided appropriately.
When the door opened, it revealed a large room. This defied the laws of physics. The guild hall’s exterior looks like a two-story tavern, but each door on the second floor leads to a large room.
I took a shower to test it as well. The electricity was on and the water was running, but that is no different from the original game. It was just that I couldn’t log out and the sensation became real, but since I was inside the game, I guess it was useless to think about things like sewers and such.
Wiping my wet hair with a towel, I went back to my room, which only had a bed, and Nachi was sitting down on the bed with his eyes closed, it seemed like he was having some kind of friend chat. It did not seem to be a voice chat because his mouth wasn’t moving. In the case of text chat, it is possible to communicate with multiple people all at once.
I sat down and maintained some distance so as not to disturb him. But soon enough, Nachi seemed to notice, he opened his eyes and looked at me. Then he seemed to have ended the chat and sighed, ‘Haa …’ .
“As expected… Everyone is feeling confused?”
When I asked while putting the towel in the bag feature, Nachi nodded vigorously.
“You sure know. It’s a big chaos. Isn’t there a lot of chat coming to you, Neji?”
“Me? I’ve got a character message now that says, ‘I’m on leave until things settle down.'”
A character message is a personalized message that can be viewed by selecting the character’s name in the friend list.
“I think there is no such thing as a leave in this situation. I see. Are you blocking everything?”
“I guess I will. Because I’ve got my hands full with the guild. Even though I haven’t done anything yet.”
Even so, I’m a guild master, and I have a strange sense of duty that I can’t just throw it away. In response to my words, Nachi folded his arms.
“We moved quickly to the guild hall and were able to declare that we had no problems for the time being with sleeping quarters and food- I feel it was more than enough. I’ve heard stories of guilds without guild halls, of guilds gathering in private homes, of warehouses that only had weapons in them to begin with, and on and on.”
“It’s better to think things through simply. I mean, I don’t have the capacity to think too hard.”
I believe that if humans can sleep and eat, they can take care of themselves to a certain extent.
“By the way, Neji and I kind of got a room in the guild home, but… we have our own private homes too, right?”
A private home is a home feature that could be purchased by an individual with real money. Stalls and the like could be set up on that lot. If there is no payment, it is not possible to set up a stall. In such cases, we would use the bulletin board to trade.
“Do you want to sleep at home?”
“I’m staying here for today. I don’t know if I will be able to sleep. I’m not so brazen that I can just nod my head and say, ‘Yes, that is so,’ and sleep soundly when someone suddenly says, ‘You can’t log out’.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Nachi agreed. In addition, unlike the guild hall, the private home could be reached with a button instead of each town. There is a home button above the logout button. Come to think of it, many of the guild members probably have homes as well, so we might as well encourage them to move there once they calm down.
“But not many people have planters at home.”
“There won’t be much unless they decide to craft.”
“Neji, you have a lot, right?”
“I have. I’ve been growing rice, and the day after tomorrow I’m supposed to harvest about a thousand grains of rice, so I plan to keep steadily producing ingredients for the rice ball.”
“I’m glad Neji is the guild master. Sorry, but I am thinking that you should make the box lunch that’s in the production recipe if possible.”
“I shouldn’t have said that. I get it. If you help me gather the ingredients for the pickled plums, I will make it.”
After such an exchange, he would usually reply, “That’s fine with me though.The priest also has a range annihilation skill.” but we both fell silent. As far as I can tell from the status, there is no sign of any change in level or anything like that, but since the senses are so real, there is a good chance that the monsters are too. Even if it’s killing weak monsters, it seems that from now on, we will also experience the sensation of pain if we get injured.
“Do you really want to go through the pain for the pickled plums? Nachi, I don’t mind the salty taste of the rice ball…”
“…That’s right, but I kind of want to try killing them.”
“Because I’m not going to die, am I? I, for once, want to have a realistic hunt. I want to defeat the boss at least once, too.”
“It’s like you’re celebrating the situation where we can’t log out?”
“If you call it an escape from reality, then that’s all it is.”
Nachi laughed jokingly when he said that. But I was convinced that he was serious. After three years of playing with him almost every day, both in real life and in games, I could tell that much.
“I’ll send the recovery medicine to your mail. Let me know when you go.”
Mail is the letter feature. Items can be attached. At the sound of my voice, Nachi nodded nonchalantly. Nachi was kind, but he was definitely more of a hardcore player than I was.
“Even so, defeating the boss? I wonder if Genesis is going to take the lead in defeating it after all.”
Vaguely remembering Heath and Mao, I opened the lid of the sports drink item that I took out of the bag feature. And when I took a sip, I found that this one also had a taste that I hadn’t felt before I became unable to log out. The drinks after the bath are delicious.
“I’ve been chatting with Mao too, and it looks like Genesis is going to defeat it.
“I’ve been asked if I’d like to join a guild that has a lot of attack power but not enough priests and need a healer. I refused, but… from now on, the people who are going to attack may have to move guilds quite a bit.”
“It’s just that there’s a lot more ruckus from the casual chatting players than that kind of talk from the hardcore players.”
Nachi looked down. He closed his eyes with a complicated look on his face.
“What do you mean?”
“Look, me and Neji shared the avatars with our real appearances, so our appearances haven’t changed, right?”
“In short, the ‘casual players’ were the ones who were trying to date, so many of them were making changes with their appearance to make themselves more popular.”
“I heard that the lover who was supposed to be a peerless pretty boy has turned into an unrecognizable old man.”
“As long as you have love, it won’t matter.”
“I guess he only had love for the outward appearance. It seems there aren’t many people with values like Neji, and there’s been a string of breakups.”
I’m a casual player, but not a dating person, so I wasn’t too sure about that part.
“For now, I’m going to go check out the town tomorrow and try to talk to friends.”
“Is that so? Be careful.”
“Yeah, thank you. What about you, Neji?”
“I’ll check the inventory and see if there’s any other things… like clothing besides food? I’ll check those out. I’ve got shampoo and stuff, but no underwear or anything like that.”
“Ah, I appreciate it.”
After such an exchange, we went to bed for the day. In the end, I slept.