Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 16: The Shape of The Truth.
The following day.
The meeting between King Neuschler of Lidsalessaloth and the Knight Commander of the Kingdom of Palcemith, Jolga, was unofficial, but it included a lot of heavy topics. It was mainly to assure cooperation between the two countries in case of emergencies, which was probably not a bad deal for both sides.
In contrast to Jolga, who was clad in his military uniform and looked perfectly presentable, King Neuschler, who was sitting at the guest of honour’s table, did not look so well. General Taiga, who was standing at his back, also seemed to be somewhat restless. I was in attendance as Jolga’s advisor; however, I interrupted the civil official, who was about to start a lengthy exposition about the conclusion of the agreement and conclude the meeting, as per usual. That might have been seen as an arrogant attitude by the people from Lidsalessaloth, but it was within their expectations for me, so there was no problem.
After hearing the meeting’s closing announcement and seeing off the vassals, who were leaving the room one after another, the only ones remaining were King Neuschler, General Taiga, Jolga, myself, and a few guards.
Not having much say in my current standing, as the room emptied I folded my arms once again, pressed my back against the backrest, and smiled a little. Jolga, who was sitting next to me, reached out and traced his fingertips from my earlobe to my chin. When I looked at him from under my glasses, the edge of his lips lifted slightly to one side. …That was his “bad smile”, the one I liked.
“Let’s stop with the serious stuff for now. First of all, General Taiga, may I have permission to spend some time with His Majesty alone?”
“…What’s this about?”
“Just till I have checked on a few things. Also, regarding His Majesty’s condition… I was wondering if I could offer some advice from my experience.”
The general’s gaze drifted as if he was remembering the previous night all too well. Neuschler chuckled and gently touched Taiga’s arm as if to indicate that it was okay.
“No need to worry, Black Panther General. I can assure you that your fears are unfounded, as Lord Anderheim is a child when it comes to martial arts.”
“…Sir Knight Commander, we’ll talk about this later, okay?”
I stomped on Jolga’s foot with all my might under the table. However, he kept a cool expression on his face and even let out a small snort.
‘…Mark my words, Jolga. Next time, I promise I’ll make you cry for this and all the teasing you did last night.’
As Taiga and Jolga left the room, the soldiers guarding the King also bowed before leaving. When the door finally clicked shut, a hush fell over the not-so-large room.
Once I was alone with Neuschler, I felt the atmosphere around him change a little. The tension that had been building seemed to have relaxed a bit, if one could call it that.
“There’s no need to push yourself.”
“It’s better to lie down. Here.”
I took Neuschler’s hand and moved the exhausted King to the two-person sofa in the corner of the room. I took his shoes off his feet and lightly stroked his head as he lay on his side on the sofa without resisting. In response to my actions, Neuschler’s unseeing eyes blinked several times, then he smiled softly.
It was the kind of natural smile that innocent people had. …This was the reason why General Taiga was so obsessed.
Judging by Neuschler’s exhaustion and Taiga’s overprotective attitude, last night must have gone well. There was no doubt in my mind that the two of them had shared their feelings and became lovers.
“…You’ve made a bold move, haven’t you, King Neuschler?”
Before, to truly obtain Jolga, I gave up my own body and drowned the innocent Knight Commander in lust.
But the conditions for Neuschler and me were quite different. Taiga originally had a soft spot for Neuschler. He would have supported him for the rest of his life even if they had not become lovers. It would have been more than enough for him to simply protect Neuschler forever.
Then, the reason why Neuschler was willing to accept Taiga, even though he knew it was unnecessary, was…
“I simply did not want to waste the advice you gave me.”
“You humble me.”
Leaning back on the armrest of the couch where Neuschler lay, I whispered.
“How many times have you thrown away your medicine before, King Neuschler?”
Neuschler’s unseeing eyes widened at my words, but then he let out a throaty laugh.
“Nothing can stay hidden from Lord Sage, can it?”
“You overestimate me. Even a child could figure it out. How can a king, one who is so observant that he is said to not need guards, leave unresolved the question of why he does not feel the presence of his general sleeping beside him?
“My advice was just the excuse you needed, right? I’m glad you got what you desired.”
“…Lord Sage. I’ve always wanted Taiga.”
He could probably feel the pain from his abused back and the place where he was drilled by that man whenever he moved slightly. Even so, Neuschler curled himself up on the sofa and spoke in ecstasy as if to say that he loved the pain.
“Taiga, convinced I was drugged and asleep, relied solely on my hands to comfort himself. …It was frustrating. I always wished that he would use my body more freely.”
“But if the general had realized that your Majesty was aware of this…”
“…I’m sure Taiga would have kept his distance from me and would have continued to protect me. However, from then on, he wouldn’t have slept with me.”
“Well, you do have a point.”
“But last night, foreigners were staying with us, so Taiga couldn’t leave my side.”
In addition to Palcemith’s personnel, such as myself, Jolga, and the escort knights, there were also the attendants of the Hinoe Kingdom led by Princess Shirayuki. Taiga would never leave Neuschler’s side when there was no telling what the visitors would do or their aim as they stayed in the same castle.
“And… I hate the idea of him marrying another vixen like that woman.”
‘Oh, what a scathing remark.’
Shrugging his shoulders, Neuschler looked at me with a bitter expression as he lightly pounded his fist into the provided pillow.
“I hired a guy to seduce her… and she bent over readily. I can’t believe she was chosen to be Taiga’s wife.”
“But now… I’m Tiga’s wife.”
Apparently, my assumption had been correct. General Taiga was always displaying his love and loyalty to King Neuschler with an obvious affection for anyone to see. However, more importantly…
“Incidentally, where is the general’s former wife?”
“We don’t meddle beyond our borders. …However…”
When I prompted him to answer, Neuschler’s shoulders shook like a child’s and chuckled.
“I’ve ordered them to check to see if there was any trace of a grudge in the womb. I’ve been informed that there were none.”
The way he gradually cut off her retreat like strangling her with silk floss;1 what an awe-inspiring way of showing his love. Neuschler’s obsession was certainly much greater than Taiga’s. Needless to say, I did not dislike this type of mindset.
“You are quite the capable man, Your Majesty. As expected of the Evil King.”
“…You honour me with such praise.”
King Neueschler had a mind similar to mine. If so, then he could probably foresee the “turmoil” that might occur in the future.
“Well then, Your Majesty. Please forgive me for causing a disturbance in the castle for a while.”
“Oh, as I thought… You’re going to make your move, huh? I don’t mind. It will be a good opportunity to ingratiate myself to Hinoe.”
“Thank you for your kindness.”
I caressed King Neuschler’s head once more, and just as I was gently lowering my head.
An explosion sounded from somewhere far away, and the shock wave shook the windows a moment later. I supported Neuschler’s body as he leaned back on the sofa and waited for the furniture to stop shaking and rattling. By the time it had settled down, the screams and clamouring from the town below reached the castle.
“Nora! Are you safe!”
Taiga, with Jolga in tow, was the first to rush into the room. He was relieved to find Neuschler being supported by me.
“Taiga, I’m fine. …More importantly, what’s going on?”
“Someone has blown up part of the city walls. On top of that, it seems that the crystals outside the walls were somehow set off, luring yazus into the castle town.”
“Right now, thanks to the efforts of the knights and adventurers, we’ve managed to stop the invasion, but… if we don’t deal with the source, the damage will spread.”
After listening to the pale-faced Taiga give his report, I entrusted Neuschler, whom I had been shielding in my arms, to him.
Jolga, who had been waiting in silence, stretched out his arm and hugged my shoulder as I stood up. The brief report that he whispered in my ear was that “the person” I had been expecting had made their move.
“Haste makes waste. I’m sure they’ve seen their friends fail too.”
Or was their master’s position so compromised that they needed to get results as soon as possible? Either way, the interrogation sure would be fun after we caught them.
“Well, shall we go, Sir Knight Commander? It’s been a while since I’ve seen you in action, so allow me to witness your unparalleled prowess.”
I scratched under his chin lightly with my fingertips, teasing him. The cute loyal dog squinted his eyes and licked his tongue as he stared at me.
“As you wish, your Excellency, former Prime Minister.”
…Well, perhaps I would have to increase his reward for this?
It is a form of love to expose and show your everything. It is also a form of love to continue to act for the rest of one’s life.