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Hasr Note: The TL and Editor went way overboard with their comments this chapter, so I left them in as a way to bully Whistle. Hope you have a good laugh at the comments~
Chapter 15: I Was Supervised
“Mr. Sei! Let’s go grab some lunch!”
It was time for lunch as the Hour of Fire was fast approaching. Norbert came to Seiichirou’s desk and cheerily attempted to invite him along. All he got in response was a look with squinty eyes.
“…I’ll go later.”
“No, no, no! I’m so hungry right now that I could die! So please come with me? Pretty please!?”
“…Then perish,” Seiichirou muttered under his breath.
“I heard that, Mr. Sei! I totally heard that!! You could’ve at least said it in a softer voice!?”
Truth be told, there was a reason behind Seiichirou’s reluctance. He had been forcibly taken to the dining hall two days in a row before this.
A tall, dark man was responsible for dragging him there where curious eyes observed them.
The Captain of the Third Knight Order stood out like a sore thumb in his signature black cloak. Indifferent to the stares they were receiving, the handsome knight leader was as expressionless as always throughout the whole ordeal.
Speaking of the devil, the knight’s leader, Aresh, had suddenly appeared at Seiichirou’s workplace again today. He gestured for Seiichirou to come with him, without saying a word.
Seiichirou obeyed Aresh’s order without question. He followed the captain to the dining hall and held out his buffet tray as instructed. Silently, Aresh began to fill Seiichirou’s plate with food.
Watching the food gradually pile up on his plate, Seiichirou could do nothing but look on helplessly with a frown on his face over the amount. He thought of forcing Norbert to eat the portions he couldn’t finish. The man had said he was so hungry he could die, and such a punishment served him right for over exaggerating.
This was the third time Seiichirou had eaten together with Aresh in the dining hall, and they sat at a brightly lit table so that Aresh could more closely watch what Seiichirou was eating.
Of course, Norbert was the one who had snitched on Seiichirou to the knight’s captain in the first place.
“You’re not listening to others’ advice at all, Mr. Sei!”
Despite being born into a noble family, Norbert’s table manners more accurately reflected his persona; he continued to lecture Seiichirou while holding his fork with a death grip in his hand.
“Captain Indrak is only concerned about your wellbeing, so it’s my responsibility to cooperate for your sake, too!”
If Norbert wanted to frame it as an obligation to the knight’s leader, then this was happening not of his own volition but rather out of fear towards a superior officer.
“Cooperation”, huh? That sounds more like “coercion” to me. Seiichirou sipped his soup with a resigned sigh. The only good thing to happen today was that his soup had a smooth texture, similar to onion soup, which suited his tastes just fine.
The day after Seiichirou had been treated by Aresh, he was taken to the medical office and told to quit working overtime.
Later, the following day at work, Norbert had invited Seiichirou to the dining hall out of blue with a clear look of desperation on his face. Before a confused Seiichirou could follow him, the handsome leader of the Third Knight Order made his appearance. 1
Back then, without the audacity to speak up for himself, Seiichirou let his plate be filled by Aresh to his heart’s content. Today, the same thing happened again.
Even after Seiichirou finished his lunch, he still wasn’t set free. Whenever he tried to return to his desk, Aresh would drag Seiichirou to the courtyard by the wrist and hold him hostage until their 120-minute lunch period was over. 2
“You won’t take a break no matter what I tell you, so I’m making you take a break, even if it’s by force.”
Is this person my mother now or what?
Seiichirou was not allowed to question this behavior regardless of how he felt about it. Thus, Aresh ended up gaining complete control over Seiichirou’s lunch breaks.
Whenever they met, Seiichirou was unable to finish his work on time, and all that was left for him to catch-up was overtime…or maybe not. Aresh might anticipate that and come pick Seiichirou up after office hours were finished. More accurately, he would haul Seiichirou away again whether he liked it or not.
“I’ll have dinner by myself, I promise! I’ll even go home and lie in bed! Or better yet, I’ll go right to sleep!” And so Seiichirou pleaded, but none of it reached the knight captain’s ears. Seiichirou was no match for Aresh’s physical strength either, so he couldn’t break free of the man’s grip even if he tried. All of this just for the sake of ensuring Seiichirou ate delicious food and partook in breaks.
“He is someone of higher rank. Why is he going so far to take care of me this much…?”
Seiichirou hopped in the bath when he returned to the dormitory; it was not even the Hour of Wood (9 p.m.) yet. Fed up with his current situation, Seiichirou started to devise possible countermeasures he could take while skimming a book about this world’s current affairs.
If he tried going to work earlier in the mornings, the gates would be closed, so he could not get in on his own.3
He was not allowed to work during his lunch period, but he also could not work overtime. Piles and piles of unfinished work were still sitting on his desk, just waiting for him. There was only one solution left in his mind then.
It was the end of office hours, and while others were preparing to return home around him, Seiichirou was busy quickly cramming all the documents he could stuff into his bag. He had to do it before Aresh arrived, or all his efforts would amount to nothing.
Yes, the measure Seiichirou had come up with yesterday was “taking his work home in secret”.
As someone serving directly under the royal palace, Seiichirou made sure to clarify with Helmuth that he was allowed to bring official documentation home first. His superior had granted him permission to do so without question.
It appeared, however, that there were some documents he was not allowed to take outside of the accounting department. Fortunately, Seiichirou could predict and calculate future articles related to accounting on his own. Hence, he did not have to review those documents to complete his work. He could just think of an outline tonight and flesh it out later during working hours tomorrow.
“Kondoh, it’s time. Let’s go.”
When Aresh made his unannounced arrival to the accounting department, Seiichirou had already finished packing his paperwork up and stood waiting for the knight’s captain, seemingly innocent. 4
“Thank you for your hard work.”
“…You’re up to something, aren’t you?”
Seiichirou was just trying to be polite, and this was what he got in return? How little does this man think of me, honestly?
“No, nothing in particular. I simply wish to not waste energy refusing your care.”
Aresh eyed Seiichirou suspiciously5 upon hearing his response, but the captain didn’t press Seiichirou further. Instead, Aresh turned around and started walking off while Seiichirou followed behind in silence.
Not long after, they arrived at a restaurant. Once inside, they were gently bathed by the interior lighting above their heads. This was Aresh’s favorite restaurant, and it would be the fourth time they were having dinner here.
Every time they ate together was not usually filled with silence. They did talk to each other in between bites now and again. Though, on his end, Seiichirou was always careful to pick and choose his words with the knight’s leader.
On this occasion, Seiichirou made sure he did not waste the opportunity to learn more about magic and the kingdom of Romani. This way, a dinner session with someone who was his superior would not seem so pointless.
Somewhere in the midst of their conversation, Seiichirou brought up his original offer to repay Aresh for saving his life—the suggestion angered Aresh terribly in response.
Seiichirou had intended it as a sort of reimbursement for the magic Aresh was forced to use to heal him, but just the idea of compensating the knight for his service in such a way was enough to earn Seiichirou a cold glare.
“What am I, a male prostitute?” he asked the accounting official threateningly.6
Seiichirou did not know what he had done to invoke such wrath from the elite nobleman.
Surely, if Seiichirou took the time to explain that it was never his intention to treat Aresh as such, he might better understand that monetary payment was only meant to express Seiichirou’s gratitude for the captain having saved his life.
Without waiting for a proper explanation, the aristocrat angrily replied, “There’s no need for that,” to which Seiichirou decided it was time to give up. He did not wishg to grate on Aresh’s nerves any further.
“By the way, Captain Indrak. Tomorrow is my day off, so you won’t need to take care of my meals for me.”7
Royal officials had fixed day offs on their schedule, whereas knights worked specific shifts. Seiichirou felt compelled to inform Aresh of this in case he didn’t know, but it seemed as though Seiichirou was worried over nothing.
“I know. Rest well; sleep for the whole day.” 8
Is he actually trying to act like my mother? Really? While thinking to himself, Seiichirou forced a bitter smile on his face.
“No, I don’t think I can do that…”
“Why not? You have something better to do?”
“I had planned to go to the library tomorrow and study about this world and the kingdom of Romani. I still don’t know much about either of them.”
“…What you need more of is rest, not knowledge.”
From Aresh’s point of view, he probably couldn’t help but find Seiichirou strange for wanting to educate himself despite not having to work or shoulder any additional responsibilities during his lifetime here. He was totally different when compared to the Saint. 9
The biggest difference of all though was that those little things did matter to Seiichirou, even if had to hurt his own body doing them in the process.
“I’m telling you, you should have never laid your hands on that supplement. You need to stop thinking you can always rely on it.”
“I’m already very aware of that fact.”
Aresh narrowed his eyes. Seiichirou was suddenly too accepting of something that he had been in denial about before.
“I almost died because of that supplement, after all. I’ll never drink it again.”
In retaliation, Seiichirou also narrowed his eyes. The ever present dark circles under them had begun to fade a little. Once satisfied that he had appeased the knight’s captain, Seiichirou smiled. If he did, he figured his otherwise dull eyes would appear more lively and his exhaustion would look less obvious, more alleviated. Maybe the captain would think Seiichirou meant what he had said earlier about no longer refusing care from others.
He was wrong.
“I knew this would happen!!”
“Wha—!? Captain Indrak, what’re you doing here!?”
The knight’s captain seized him from behind. Seiichirou had been headed to the pharmacy, but he was caught halfway there by Aresh. It did not matter that they had parted ways after dinner.
Usually, Seiichirou and Aresh would not see each other again until the following day. Aresh might have returned to the knights’ dormitory or even his parents’ home in the interim.
Seiichirou had wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. Luckily, he discovered that the pharmacy was located closeby to the restaurant Aresh and he always frequented. He could head there right after dinner without looking suspicious.
But Seiichirou had a weak constitution to begin with. Even if Aresh had ensured he ate properly and did not work overtime, it made little difference. The fact that the air of this world was poisonous to him as well was not helping any either. Fatigue still built up.
More than anything, the recurrence of Seiichirou’s chronic migraines was the hardest on him since he could no longer ingest supplements. Because they were tied to his mental state, such as an increase in stress, they often appeared even before he physically got tired.
Although he knew that particular supplement was harmful to him, Seiichirou had thought there might be something less potent available to him instead…like a painkiller. That was what he wanted to request from the pharmacist.
Instead, Seiichirou found himself getting grabbed by the scruff of his neck like a cat by Aresh. He couldn’t believe Aresh had such strength though he was aware that the man had a much larger build than him.
“Captain Indrak, I thought you’d already gone home…”
To stop Seiichirou from entering the pharmacy and getting himself into any more trouble, he was taken back into the alley where Aresh had found him days before, suffering from overdose symptoms. In a closed area like this, Seiichirou was afraid of what Aresh might do to him, if it was going to be something bad. He timidly stared up at the man who refused to loosen his grip on Seiichirou’s collar.
“From the way you were acting before, it was obvious you’d try stopping by here.”
As Seiichirou valued efficiency in his working life, of course he would have wanted to stop by the pharmacy on his way back home rather than making a special trip to it during his day off tomorrow. He had made a grave miscalculation, and that misstep had led to him being caught.
“I’m going to tell the pharmacist not to sell you any drugs from now on.”
“Ehhhh! No way!! Isn’t that an abuse of power!?”
“Silence! You should be thinking of your health!!” Aresh shouted back at Seiichirou, loudly and to the point that the royal official did not even let out a squeak of protest. Still, it should have come as no surprise that he wanted drugs to treat his fatigue.
Seiichirou did remember hearing that he would gradually become less fit as he aged. He had already experienced it starting a few years prior—he constantly felt sluggish, his eyes were blurry, he had persistent migraines, and his stomach was always aching no matter what he did to alleviate the symptoms. In addition to those problems, he had stiff shoulders and recurrent back pain as well. Ah, I just won’t be able to move around as fast as before, Seiichirou remembered telling himself sadly when he was younger. Things had only gotten worse since then.
When Seiichirou first started drinking the supplement Norbert gave him, he had felt energized, his eyesight was clearer, and he no longer felt pain or discomfort throughout his body. It was like he was in great shape again for the first time in several years.
That sense of liberation was something Seiichirou never wanted to forget. He averted his eyes and tightly pursed his lips.
Seeing that, Aresh let out a long-suffering sigh. Then he said, “…What’s troubling you now?”
Seiichirou didn’t quite hear the words Aresh had spoken barely above a whisper. As they made eye contact, the knight captain repeated his question.
“Well…I have a headache…”
Aresh sighed again, heavier this time, and placed his large hand over Seiichirou’s temple. What sounded like words came out under Aresh’s breath when he opened his mouth. To Seiichirou’s untrained ears, it was as if Aresh was singing him a song.
Seiichirou remembered hearing this melody once before—back when he was barely conscious.
All the places where Aresh touched him, Seiichirou felt nothing but warmth.
I see that magic is not translated for me when it’s chanted like this, Seiichirou mused. It doesn’t exist in my homeworld, after all. It’s not another form of language either.
While Seiichirou was still deep in thought, Aresh removed his hand.
Seiichirou did not notice Aresh’s question at first, but the pain that had been stubbornly residing in his head—well, he no longer felt it now. Obviously, Aresh had cast some kind of recovery magic on Seiichirou.
But magic of any sort should have been poisonous to Seiichirou, similar to how the supplement had affected him. It was a fact he could not afford to forget. Seiichirou looked up towards Aresh, but before he could ask about it, the knight’s leader leaned down to press his lips against Seiichirou’s own.
“…This is all you’ll ever need,” Aresh said shortly after he pulled away. His words were full of the blatant arrogance that came from being an elite. Seemingly satisfied he had done his part, the captain turned away from Seiichirou and took his leave.
Seiichirou was left alone in the alleyway, blinking his eyes in confusion. Now that the pain in his head was gone, he grabbed the bag he had stuffed with documents to work on at home. He felt that something new had been added to the list of things he did not know about this foreign world. Unfortunately, he did not think there was enough information available to help him fully comprehend it anyway.
whistle: list of things sei don’t know from the other world – 1. Magic 2. The kingdom 3. Aresh wants his ass
No, but seriously, we really need experienced typesetters now…If any one of you folks knows how to do the wordy-word thing with manga, please DM me on discord (hasr11#9300) or just hop in to our discord server and ask around~