Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 27: I Was Visited
In the dormitory room specifically prepared for officials working in the royal palace like Seiichirou, there was now another man with him who clearly did not belong there.
After the banquet last night, Seiichirou had gone to work in the morning as he always did. Or rather, he arrived at his workplace even earlier than usual and proceeded to bury himself in even more work than normal.
Due to the sudden and unplanned business trip—otherwise called the expedition—he would be taking part in, he thought it prudent to finish up any of his remaining work as quickly as possible with whatever available time he had left before leaving. It was also important that he prepare a guide for his colleagues to manage the accounting department during his absence. Another task he had to do was prepare the budget proposals to cover both the expenses for the expedition and post-expedition processions.
The actual journey itself would take place in three days. Altogether, it would be a six-day trip. The transport for the expedition would consist of horses and carriages. Horses were to be changed out and carriages checked for damages at a city midway to the final destination; the same would be done again on the trip back.
Looking at the paperwork now, there were even more participants than what Seiichirou had managed to glean from the banquet. That was mainly due to the increase in the number of people who wanted to support the king and his subordinates and were subsequently forced to participate as well. As it turned out, there were also more officials who had been chosen apart from just Seiichirou.
Well, as long as I’m taking part, I’ll try to make use of this opportunity as best as I can, Seiichirou thought to himself as he reviewed the list of participants. The upcoming expedition was nothing trivial, after all.
Though he had been ahead of his work before the banquet, the unanticipated changes to the expedition had now left Seiichirou with tons more tasks left to complete. There probably would not be enough time for him to finish everything before they set out.
Because of all that, Seiichirou had planned on working as soon as he got back to the dormitory following the banquet, but he ended up getting lectured by Aresh for the remainder of the night. He was not even able to strike a bargain with the magic department as he had originally planned. 1
He had even tried to work during lunch hours, but ended up getting dragged to the dining hall by the half-crying bastard child of the king. Once there, another troublesome nobleman refused to release him until the end of the lunch period.
Adding further insult to injury, the knight commander returned to pick Seiichirou up after the royal office hours were over, as he often did.
Like always, the accounting department was in an uproar when Aresh made his entrance. In order to spare his pride, Seiichirou had promised to meet Aresh outside of the department office. However, that agreement was something even Seiichirou was unable to keep as he was too heavily engrossed in his work, which resulted in Aresh standing in front of his desk again. The knight commander said nothing, choosing to snort condescendingly at him instead.
Hence, Seiichirou was once again encouraged to return home on time. Although he could have resumed his work after he entered the dormitory, it was highly likely that Aresh would be joining him to reinforce the barrier, just as he had promised he would until it was no longer necessary. Still determined to finish his work before the journey to the Forest of Magic, Seiichirou secretly drank bottles of supplement once Aresh finally left him alone in the evenings.
Two days passed this way without much consequence, and now it was the final day before the expedition. In order to better prepare for the journey, many of the participants had been granted the whole day off.
Unsurprisingly, Seiichirou was not one to waste such a golden opportunity and brought as much of his work home as he could to spend the entire day working as happily as he pleased.
Aresh, who later came to visit to administer the official’s treatment, was not amused by what he saw. He glared coldly at Seiichirou with hardened amethyst eyes.
“What are you doing, Seiichirou?”2 Aresh asked, pointing at the desk where Seiichirou was working.
Several pieces of paper were scattered all across the wooden surface, which only heightened Aresh’s suspicions that the accountant was doing something he should not be.
Despite how it looked, Seiichirou had entrusted some of the remaining work that he was not able to finish to his colleagues in the accounting department. Now though, he was in the middle of preparing a new budget proposal and reviewing the list of items that were to be used during the expedition.
“The director has allowed me to take these documents home so I can review them today.”
Of course Seiichirou knew exactly what Aresh had meant by his question, but the royal official willfully chose to play dumb on purpose. That clearly touched on the knight commander’s nerves in a way he did not appreciate.
“You little—! To think you volunteered to take part in this expedition…! You’re going to such dangerous place with a body as fragile as yours, yet you decide to spend your last day off working instead of resting!? What the hell are you thinking!?” the knight commander shouted in frustration.
Although the dormitory appeared to be made of sturdy brick from the outside, the inside was mostly made of wood. The walls were not thick enough to prevent Aresh’s booming voice from being heard by every single one of Seiichirou’s neighbours.
To make matters worse, there was nobody in the kingdom who did not know or recognize this elite knight. He had even come to visit Seiichirou by unabashedly walking through the main entrance of the dormitory, invited or not.
From the corner of Seiichirou’s eye, he thought he saw a familiar looking blonde man peeking in at them through the slight opening of the door to his room.
“Are you listening to me, Seiichirou!?”
Seeing how Seiichirou was not actually paying any attention to him, Aresh angrily slammed his fist down on the desk. The harsh impact caused the old piece of furniture to vibrate and topple over a little bottle that Seiichirou had hidden out of sight. Damningly, it fell to the ground and rolled around loudly on the stone floor before it finally came to a stop.
“Ah…” Seiichirou began, “I can explain.”
But there was no explaining because it was a glass vial that Aresh knew very well. The mere sight of it caused his temper to worsen even more violently than before.
Nothing but the sound of Aresh’s loud voice could be heard coming from Seiichirou’s dormitory. The volume of it caused even the spiders in the corner of the room to run away in fright. Shortly thereafter, everything calmed down and only the gentle sound of Aresh’s incantations could be heard within the room.
Now Seiichirou was seated on his bed, held tightly in Aresh’s arms. Both of them were shirtless for the sake of Seiichirou’s latest treatment session.
It had happened like this: Seiichirou was caught sneaking supplements → Aresh had gotten angry → Seiichirou had gotten sick → Aresh proceeded to heal him with recovery magic → Both agreed to remove their shirts for the added skin to skin contact to help acclimatize Seiichirou to the magic cast.
This repetitive cycle was slowly becoming something natural for them.
However, Seiichirou was more flustered this time than any other for some reason. Perhaps it was because the deed had been done in his bedroom on his very own bed. But beyond that, Aresh’s visit was unsolicited in the first place. Hence, Seiichirou had not prepared his body or mind for this encounter beforehand.
“Do you still feel feverish?” Aresh asked Seiichirou, who seemed to be in a daze.
He was sitting on Seiichirou’s bed with his back leaning against a pillow on the headboard. In his arms, he held the royal official seated on his lap. Whilst leaning against Aresh’s broad chest, Seiichirou was able to observe the knight’s refined features more closely. His beauty was akin to that of a model. Seiichirou did not know if it no longer affected him as much because he had finally gotten used to being in such close proximity with Aresh or not, but he thought the knight looked younger when viewed from this distance.
“No, I’m okay now… May I continue working?”
“There’s no way I’d ever allow you to.” Aresh said, brushing Seiichirou’s sweat laden bangs away from his face.
Seiichirou, as expected, had another excuse at the ready. “But since I’m going to join the expedition, I need to be fully prepared for it.”
He desperately wanted to return to his desk and resume working no matter what. In return, Aresh let out a heavy sigh. He was truly exasperated from the bottom of his heart.
“If you want to be ‘fully prepared,’ then you need to prioritize your health first. You should know better than anyone that you can’t do anything well with a body as weak as yours.”
Seiichirou had been made well aware of that fact since the beginning. After all, without Aresh by his side, Seiichirou would have died long ago just from breathing in the miasma-tainted air of this world. Even a single scratch on his skin would have been as fatal as a stab wound.
That was part of the reason why Seiichirou had to get himself acclimated to magic by maintaining an intimate connection with Aresh. This time, his fingers were intertwined with the knight’s. Such repeated intimacy was causing him to develop increasingly complicated feelings. But this was all just for the sake of his work, right?
“Besides,” Aresh blurted out of nowhere, “I’ve already had a summary of the expenses for the Second and Third Knight Orders prepared for the expedition.”
“Huh?” Seiichirou could not believe what he had just heard.
This was the first time Seiichirou had been told Aresh was actually doing his job seriously. Even more surprisingly, it was one that involved paperwork. In pure disbelief, Seiichirou stared up at Aresh with wide eyes.
“Why are you looking at me like that…? Even I do my job from time to time; I just don’t have the papers with me today. I’ll hand them to you by tomorrow morning, so you can resume your work then. I only came here today to reinforce the barrier on you before the expedition. I was waiting for you to ask for it yourself, but you’ve done nothing but hide away with your work day after day…”
Suddenly, Seiichirou was hit with a sudden guilt. “I’m sorry…” he sheepishly replied. “I apologize for the inconvenience…”
For Seiichirou, he thought it would have been more efficient if the barrier was cast during the journey since they would be together anyway. That is why he thought today should be dedicated to doing as much of his work as possible before then. However, after putting some thought into what Aresh had said, they probably were not going to be together through much of the journey due to their vast difference in rank and position.
Perhaps Seiichirou was going to be in deeper trouble than he had initially anticipated.
“I’ll leave here tomorrow morning and depart for the expedition immediately after that.”
“Eh?” Seiichirou tilted his head. “You’re really planning to spend the night here?” 3
Since Aresh seemed insistent on a sleepover at Seiichirou’s, the royal official would absolutely be unable to resume his work. Or maybe not… What they were doing now was also important to ensure that Seiichirou could continue doing his work duties4 the next day.
“Are you sure it’s okay that you don’t go back home?”
“It’s not a problem. I’ve already finished packing, and tomorrow the knights will carry my things for me. I had wanted to spend the rest of this day with you, after all.”
Since Seiichirou also considered this a form of work, he suddenly and vividly imagined himself as a host whose sole purpose was to pretend to be on a date with his customer back in modern Japan. In order to dispel that particular thought, he opted to change the topic.
“Captain Ind—” Seiichirou stopped midway. As they were situated now, he was reminded of the growing closeness between them. It would seem unnecessarily cold to address the knight so professionally. “Sir Aresh, where do you live?”
Given Aresh’s position as a leader of knights, he probably lived in the lodging specially prepared for those serving the royal palace. Unexpectedly, however, it turned out that he resided with his parents in their home.
“You live with your family, huh…”
It was then that Seiichirou recalled Aresh was the son of a marquis. Personally, he did not understand how the caste system worked in this world since there was nothing comparable to it in modern Japan, but he believed Aresh’s family was likely very esteemed among other nobles.
“Sir Aresh, do you have any siblings?”
That particular question came about because now Seiichirou was wondering if it was normal for an adult with such a high-level position to still be living with his parents. Though he would never admit it, Seiichirou might also have been curious about the knight commander’s family just a little. Upon being asked something so unexpected, Aresh blinked in bewilderment, a gesture which only served to make him look younger than his years, almost like a child.
“I have two older brothers and one older sister.”
Then that meant this handsome, high and mighty knight commander was actually the baby of his family. Something about that brought a smile to Seiichirou’s face unbidden. Aresh, fully comprehending just what it was that Seiichirou must have been feeling after learning that kind of information, started to sulk. He tugged sharply on the royal official’s ear in protest.
“Serves you right,” Aresh huffed, still brooding.
Undeterred, Seiichirou asked another question. “Do they live with your parents too?”
“No, my sister is married, and my second brother has a house of his own.”
It could then be inferred that the eldest son would be the one to succeed the family. If that was the case, then it was a mysterys how someone like Aresh, a man with his own considerable amount of prestige, did not yet have a place of his own in which to stay. As if Aresh could read Seiichirou’s mind, he resumed his previous explanation.
“I do have my own room in the knight’s lodging, but my parent’s house is closer to the royal palace, so I prefer to stay there instead.”
So it would appear that no one could object to this young master’s demands after all. That peculiar trait of his might have been another reason why Aresh had difficulty managing his knights; he was too used to others doing everything for him. The sudden realisation of that caused Seiichirou to flash a teasing smile at the other man again. This time, however, there was no hesitation from the knight commander who pulled on his other ear just as roughly in admonishment.
“Ouch…! Stop that.”
“Hmph,” Aresh snorted in something suspiciously like triumph. “What about yours then?”
Seiichirou did not understand Aresh’s question at first, but then he realised he was being asked about his own siblings, or lack thereof.
“I have no siblings. I’m an only child.”
Aresh nodded astutely. “You do seem like one.”
It seemed like too blunt of a reply from Aresh, but unlike Seiichirou who had kept on teasing him about such a revelation, the knight did not appear to have any intention of mocking Seiichirou for his honesty. Instead, it was more an expression of his honest opinion towards the royal official. Seiichirou himself could understand how being an only child might have helped shape him into the person he was now.
When he was younger, Seiichirou had often been envious of those with siblings. Thankfully, it had not taken him long to see how his lack of siblings had made him happy in other ways. He had been fortunate enough to receive the entirety of his parent’s love and attention without ever having to deal with any sort of sibling rivalry to fight for it.
Now though, for the first time in a long time, Seiichirou felt it might have been better if he really did have siblings.
“But since I’m an only child, my parents…” he trailed off sadly.
Back in the other world, Seiichirou was often too busy with work that he rarely had time to meet with his parents. He had not even gone to visit them during the previous Bon5 or New Years holidays. Although his parents did not seem to care much about how he chose to live his life and knew that he was more than capable to take care of himself, he still wondered how they felt now that their only child had disappeared from their world altogether, what they would do and how they would choose to spend the rest of their remaining lives without him.
Someday, if it was at all possible, Seiichirou wanted to go back to his old world. Maybe then he could see them just once more, tell them that he appreciated everything they had ever done for him before it was too late.
At the same time, Seiichirou also wished that the property and belongings he had left behind could somehow be transferred to his parents. It felt like the least he could do for them if he was truly going to be unable to care for them in their old age.
Never before in his whole life6 had Seiichirou ever thought so deeply about his mother and father. It was then that both of them were overtaken by the weight of their reflective silence, almost as if Aresh was giving Seiichirou the space he needed to think about the life he had left behind, the parents that he had not seen or might never see again in this lifetime. Only when Seiichirou’s eyesight began to blur did he realise that tears had been pooling in the corners of his eyes. Aresh, who had remained quiet up until that point, finally opened his mouth to chant a spell in that ever beautiful and soothing low voice of his.
As always, Aresh’s incantation sounded pleasant to Seiichirou’s ears, calming even, like a song meant to gently serenade him away from his darker thoughts.
Today, however, Aresh’s spell went on for longer than usual, not that Seiichirou minded.
It sounds like a lullaby… Seiichirou thought to himself, his eyes slowly closing as he listened to the melody.
He felt warmth spreading all throughout his body, the sensation leaving him unsure if the heat was being caused by the spell or the newly revealed raw emotions still surging through him. His drowsiness was gradually increasing, making it difficult to keep his eyes open. Something warm trailed down his cheek as he shut them for the last time. Steadily, Seiichirou was enveloped by darkness. He felt nothing else but the press of Aresh’s warm lips on his own, kissing him softly before he drifted off to sleep.
Hasr: Pls tell whistle to draw furry Aresh. Or alternatively, you could participate in our 4th Anniversary art contest and make Furry Aresh for whistle~