“Lady Ratzel, today I will be giving you the mission to protect an important person.”
Ilias and I were called by Marito, brought to his office room, and the assignment of Ilias changed.
Protect an important person. You could say it is a job fitting of a knight that does patrols, but for fantasy knights, being in the standing of a bodyguard really does sound cool.
“That’s right. You’ve proved yourself that your strength works even against the Anbus of Mejis. There should be no issues in leaving it to you.” (Marito)
True. This should be a good opportunity for Ilias to show her true strength rather than her having to walk around patrolling the city.
But protecting an important person, huh. Who is it? I have a few candidates, but considering the time, there’s no one that pops up on the fly. In that case, it should be safe to assume a change has happened.
“Does that mean Pope Euparo has already arrived in Taizu?”
“No, he is most likely still within the Gahne territory. It is not like he is coming alone. He is heading here with a decent amount of people, so he will be taking time no matter what.” (Marito)
“Right. Then who is she going to protect?”
“You. You.” (Marito)
Marito pointed at me. There’s no one around. Looks like he is talking about me.
“Looks like you are not self-aware. Have you forgotten that you are an important talent that can read the language of Earth?” (Marito)
It is not like it has some sort of special effect, so I wasn’t too self-aware. But being able to read important information for this world from books is certainly invaluable.
It would be one thing if I had a specialized technique, but it feels weird when I am being treated as an important person just from being able to read Japanese.
“If this were to be known, the chances of people aiming for your life like Raheight would be incredibly high. You definitely won’t be able to protect yourself if targeted, right?” (Marito)
“No doubt about it.”
I don’t feel like I would be able to defeat any of the enemies we have fought until now. If I had a gun…no, it would be impossible.
It might work for bandits, but we are talking about the residents of this world. They probably would be able to avoid it after seeing it with their eyes.
As for Ilias, she was caught in an explosion the other day, and didn’t have a single injury. It might be possible if you use a sniper rifle and snipe her at super long range, aiming for the opening of her mana enhancement, but I feel like she would most likely deal with it.
“You conveniently live in the same house as Lady Ratzel. Don’t you think it is best to give the bodyguard mission to her?” (Marito)
“It certainly is convenient.”
It is extremely logical reasoning. As a housemate and acquaintance, her strength leaves no room for complaints. It would get even more suffocating if there were other bodyguards after all.
Normally when it comes to protecting important people, they would mostly be sitting in a big building. I don’t watch too many dramas where SPs live and work in a private house.
But Ilias as my bodyguard, huh… Hmm.
“Wait, are you dissatisfied with me?” (Ilias)
“If you have anyone specific in mind, I don’t mind switching the person, but…aah, I won’t lend you Lord Ragudo, okay?” (Marito)
Of course it would be impossible to assign a knight captain to me. It would actually be too much of an honor. Ilias had eyes as if she wanted to say something, but let’s think about it honestly.
“I think Ilias is the best for the job though.”
“Fumu, then do you dislike having a female bodyguard?” (Marito)
This king really likes to step onto the landmine of Ilias. It is not like I have no opinions regarding being protected by a girl, but it should be okay to throw away my preconceptions on this in this world.
“That’s not it. I actually welcome a femenine person. Unfortunately, I don’t feel any allure from Ilias.”
I am being looked at with scary eyes. No, is she looking down on me? It can’t be helped, I am a man.
“—Well, Ilias would be a great choice regardless of gender. But when it comes to compatibility…”
“Compatibility, huh. Who do you personally think would have good compatibility with you?” (Marito)
“Hmm, if I had to go by the knights I know…Cara-jii would be number one.”
The flexibility of Cara-jii is really high. His strength leaves nothing to desire and he is also the easiest person to plan around.
That spear throw really is strong, yup. When thinking about a plan in my mind, it feels great to have that one move that allows you to just end it in one go from long range.
“Lord Domitorkofucon, huh. He certainly does seem to be compatible with you. But he is currently in a position of responsibility.” (Marito)
“I see. Well, all the old men from the Ragudo Division are seasoned veterans after all… Being in a position of control would be better than protecting someone.”
“I could also pull a young knight from the Leano Division. Want to meet them?” (Marito)
“No, if I am to go that far, it would be faster to go with Ilias who I know the ability of.”
I can’t go inviting a knight that hates Ilias into her house.
“It is settled then. Lady Ratzel, this is a royal decree. Protect him.” (Marito)
“…Yes, Your Majesty.” (Ilias)
That means I will be acting together with Ilias a lot more from now on.
Now that I think about it, there were a lot of times when Ilias and I would miss each other. We are of different professions, so you could say it can’t be helped, but it is convenient that we can communicate on the regular.
This world has techniques for long distance communication, but as expected from magic, it is on the level where it is treated as a secret technique of the Yugura Church. It would be hard to integrate.
But Ilias finds fault in a lot of things after all… I probably will barely be able to do bad things… I am talking about an unhygienic lifestyle, okay? Ah, but it might be rough that I can’t go play around in the night city.
For now, I should tell the members of the Ragudo Division to take over the patrolling duties of Ilias.
“Well then, let’s go to the place of the Ragudo Division too.”
Oh, it seems like Ilias-san is in a bad mood. I understand you being dissatisfied that the target for protection isn’t that desirable when it is such a knightly job, but isn’t that a bit too blatant? I am not going to go on about being professional, but maybe I should warn her about it later.
And so, we arrived at the training grounds of the Ragudo Division. Everyone is energetically training with Wolfe included.
“Ooh, isn’t that the lad? Good work the other day.” (Cara)
Cara-jii spoke to us. Lord Ragudo called us with the pretext that it was in order to talk about the criminals that tried to aim for the book the other day. He is the only person who knows about the circumstances aside from the high executives and Ilias.
That said, I felt bad that I ended up having him shoulder the secret when I told him about the title of the book, but I have finally involved him too.
That he still joined with a smile was reassuring to an unbelievable degree. According to the person himself ‘There might be trouble coming even before dying, right? It comes with being a knight’.
“I simply thought of a plan. We managed to obtain results thanks to the techniques that you and the others have polished until now.”
Fuafuafua! You are plenty great just from being able to understand that. Did you come here today to train?” (Cara)
“No, actually, about Ilias—”
“Right, I haven’t had a proper bout lately. Can I request a match with you, Cara-jii?” (Ilias)
“—I don’t mind, but…lad, come here for a bit.” (Cara)
I was forcefully pulled away by Cara-jii and took distance from Ilias. And then, he whispered to me.
“Did something happen? Isn’t Ilias a bit bloodthirsty here?” (Cara)
“Actually, Mari—His Majesty ordered her to protect an important person. It is as you see.”
Ilias was swinging her sword as warm-up. Being able to tell how dangerous she is just from practice swings alone really is something.
“Fumu, you being able to read that book certainly does merit a bodyguard. But I don’t think something like that would end up in this… Did you talk about anything else?” (Cara)
“Not really… We did talk about Ilias being the right one for the job.”
“That should make her happy instead of angry though.” (Cara)
“Right? Ah, but when I was asked who else I would want instead, I said you were the person that would be the most compatible with me.”
Ah, looks like that’s it. Cara-jii was making a baffled face. Cara-jii sighed after that and continued.
“It is that… Being a bodyguard is a job to be proud of for a knight. Even if she is the right one for the job, to be told that a different person would have been better would make you dissatisfied.” (Cara)
We were simply talking about compatibility in personalities though. So it was taken in that way, huh. Ah, but it is true that I feel like I was talking about who I would prefer to partner with rather than about bodyguards.
“Good grief, these are some terrible sparks flying my way here… I will try to calm it down somehow, but I am expecting to get treated to booze sometime.” (Cara)
“I am sorry, please do.”
“Leave it to me. I have been praised here after all. Go ahead and watch my performance!” (Cara)
Umu, Cara-jii really is reliable. And so, the match between Cara-jii and Ilias has been decided. The people around also stopped their training and have come to check things out.
Even within the Ragudo Division filled with veterans, Ilias is the 2nd strongest one. But the gap between 2nd and 3rd is big, so I have heard that she can’t train properly.
Even so, I know about the strength of Cara-jii. The bandit subjugation, the battle dance that he showed in the black wolfkin village, and his work in the Anbu subjugation. Ilias may be a superhuman monster, but his outstanding ability shouldn’t fall short to hers.
The reality is that Wolfe still hasn’t been able to get a hit despite having achieved drastic growth.
The fight began while I was thinking about that.
He closed the distance and brought her right into his spear range with incredible speed, and then, unleashed a thrust that was so fast my eyes couldn’t pick it up. But Ilias blocked that thrust with her scabbard without even taking a stance.
The speed of Cara-jii isn’t any lower than that of the time with the battle dance he showed with the black wolfkins. The sharpness is even higher than that time.
A boisterous dance of attacks were being unleashed along with a roar. Ilias was facing them all with precision. But she wasn’t moving a step from her place. She is dealing with the spear with just the movements of her hands alone.
Just how much hand-eye coordination does she have that she can block the rain of invisible attacks? I can’t even begin to imagine.
“Do your best, Ilias! Kick the ass of Cara-jii!” (Wolfe)
Wolfe, where did you learn to talk like that? No, she is together with these old men, so it can’t be helped, but let’s talk with her afterwards.
But it seems like Wolfe doesn’t see Cara-jii in that good of a light, and she attacks him seriously in training. I have already cleared the misunderstanding though…
The surroundings are cheering for both sides. Which side should I cheer for?
…There’s no need to doubt here. How could I not cheer for Cara-jii who is bravely facing a monster here?!
“Do your best, Cara-jii! You are not losing when it comes to speed!”
Both sides suddenly stopped moving. No, they were made to stop.
Ilias was grabbing the spear with the open hand that wasn’t holding the scabbard. Moreover, she is only using her thumb and index finger. A sword grab with one hand.
Aren’t you looking like a Demon Lord there with that appearance you are giving off, Ilias-san?
Cara-jii tried to move his spear, but it wasn’t budging at all. Or more like, Cara-jii is floating. She is lifting Cara-jii along with the spear with the sheer strength of her fingers.
Ilias threw Cara-jii into the air lightly. It was only a few seconds that wouldn’t even be called a free fall after letting go. But even within that time, she hit the top of the spear with the scabbard.
With his feet off the ground, all the impact of it will go to the person himself. Cara-jii can mitigate the damage with the hardness of the spear and his defensive skills, but it doesn’t go as far as killing the momentum.
Cara-jii was sent flying far to the back as a result. I remember the pitiful sight of the Anbu that got sent flying before.
I direct my gaze at Cara-jii at the moment. He mitigated the fall after spinning a few times, and at the end he stabbed the spear on the ground to completely kill the force.
“What stupid strength. Makes Boruga look like a child.” (Cara)
Cara-jii raises his face.
There was Ilias already swinging down her scabbard—wait, since when? There should have been 50 meters of distance between them. I didn’t see her running there. It means she got there in one go.
Could it be that she began to burn in competitiveness when told she was losing in speed?
Cara-jii quickly brought out his spear and took on the sword. Cracks ran through the ground and bursted.
I couldn’t see the surroundings because of the cloud of dust. Is Cara-jii okay? I strain my eyes and wait for the cloud of dust to clear away.
A silhouette showed up inside the cloud of dust and it didn’t take long for the two to show up.
Cara-jii managed to block the attack of Ilias. He managed to endure an impact of that degree. But this is weird. Both sides are not moving. They are not following with any attacks or fighting back.
“Thanks for the match.” (Ilias)
Ilias said this and undid her battle stance, and returned the scabbard to her waist.
Cara-jii isn’t moving from his defensive stance. Wondering if it could be possible, I ran towards him.
“A-Are you okay, Cara-jii?”
“…Fuh, my waist died.” (Cara)
There was Cara-jii whose waist had carried out its natural lifespan due to the attack of the sword. Witnessing the sight of an old soldier scattering really is something that brings pain to the heart.
After that, Cara-jii was carried off to the medical ward on a stretcher. He apparently will recover with healing magic, but the max HP of his waist has apparently lowered.
I am sorry, Cara-jii. I will treat you to as much booze as you want next time…
“Ilias, strong!” (Wolfe)
“I understand you being strong, but I would like you to show a bit more care towards the elderly.”
“What are you saying? Cara-jii is a professional in battle. If I fought with half-measures, I would have fallen into his ploy.” (Ilias)
“You could have used it as training for when you have fallen into the pace of the enemy.”
She sliced apart the technique of Cara-jii with one strike of absolute strength. It is way too pitiful that he couldn’t even display his seasoned skills. Boru-jii was putting both hands together in prayer at the sight of Cara-jii being carried away, you know?
“That way…you can’t uhm…prove which side is superior.” (Ilias)
I see, so that’s what it is, huh. I understand what Cara-jii wanted to say now. Looks like I will need to clear the misunderstanding quickly.
“Are you bothered by the fact that I said Cara-jii is the one that’s most compatible with me? What I meant with that was that he was the easiest one to include into my strategies, you know?”
“…What do you mean by that?” (Ilias)
“You should be able to tell since you have seen it a couple of times, right? I like strategies where logic fits the pieces. Cara-jii’s role is clear and stable. He is appealing as that one move to decide things at important moments.”
“Then what about me?” (Ilias)
“You are super strong. An unfair move that tilts the tides of battle to your advantage just from your presence alone.”
Cara-jii would be the spear or the knight in shogi. An important factor that gets involved in the checkmate of the opponent after cornering them.
On the other hand, Ilias is a combination of castle and bishop, freely moving around the board. On top of that, if they step in, this unfair piece will instead take the opponent’s piece.
“Are you praising me there?” (Ilias)
“You are without doubt the number one when it comes to reliability. I don’t know the strength of Lord Ragudo, but you have shown me your strength countless times, Ilias.”
“I-Is that so. But I felt like you were discontent with me though…” (Ilias)
“If it is just for protection, there’s no need to hesitate when it comes to you, Ilias. But I was simply thinking about people that would be able to assist in my actions in the future with the image I hold. Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you use a trump card that can defeat your opponent one-sidedly in gambles?”
“Hmm, that’s…” (Ilias)
“Of course, when the future of the citizens is involved and the state of the country is at risk, it wouldn’t be the time to choose the means.”
I at first was thinking about doing things without Ilias… That’s that and this is this.
“But if I rely on you for everything, I would be over relying on you, Ilias. It might be okay to rely on you every now and then, but relying on you the whole time will not be good for my sake if I am to live in this world. It is not that you are bad, it is that you are way too good.”
“Uh, r-right. I certainly would want you to rely on me, but it wouldn’t serve for your sake if you were to rely on me for everything…” (Ilias)
“I am already being spoiled rotten in our relationship as it is. If we end up together on the regular, you would end up worrying too.”
I place a hand on the head of Ilias. She really is the type that doesn’t get it unless told straight out. It is embarrassing, but I have to tell her or I won’t be able to make it right with Cara-jii.
“Ilias, I don’t want to make you the reason why I ended up becoming useless. I am sorry if that angered you in some way. My apologies.”
“…I see. No, me too… I will go apologize to Cara-jii.” (Ilias)
Saying this, Ilias went to the medical ward. Hmm, is it alright now?
“Wolfe, do you think how I said it just now was okay?”
Even if I understand the emotions on the surface, it is not like I can understand their true feelings.
I feel like there have been many instances where we are not on the same wavelength. I am wishing for a good relationship with her, but there really must be a difference in what both of us seek from each other. Thinking about it in that way, I end up wanting to ask a 3rd party.
“Hmm, serves Cara-jii right!” (Wolfe)
“Please reconcile with him already…”
“I will…consider it!” (Wolfe)
“Who taught you that…aah, I did.”
I use it the most when with Ilias. I should reflect on that. It is my way of showing that I will be proceeding in a favorable way for me, but it is actually a staple for when you are refusing something…
“Wolfe would like to be told something similar to what Shishou told Ilias.” (Wolfe)
“Even if it is not to the point of Ilias, I also rely on you, Wolfe.”
“I want it to be the same.” (Wolfe)
Wolfe has grown too, and has begun to get ambitious. Ambitions become motivation for the future. Wolfe having an ambition of her own would be desirable.
If it were greed, it might end up blinding her of her surroundings and could become a bad influence to others, but in the stage of Wolfe, there’s no need to give her a break yet. Let’s have her get as ambitious as she wants for now.
“I see. It may not be possible immediately, but I am sure you will. Do your best.”
“Ah, but don’t resort to violence, okay? Promise this to Shishou.”
“I will…consider it!” (Wolfe)
I am seriously beginning to wonder if she knows how that phrase is used on Earth.
This is something I think about when interacting with Ilias, but she is not too good at understanding others. No, it might simply be that a certain someone is hard to understand though, but even with that.
Ilias lost her parents at a young age and there’s only older people in her surroundings. She is hated by knights close to her age, and doesn’t have something similar to a friend. Aah, no wonder she is bad at interacting with others.
It is not like I have high interpersonal skills, but I can interact with others in a way that doesn’t sour their mood -is what I want to believe.
I really should proceed with that plan. Prepare yourself, Ilias.
After parting with him, I went to check on the state of Cara-jii. Cara-jii was lying on the bed, and there’s a magic stone on his back that releases mana that softens pain.
The treatment is already done, but it is not like the pain is gone completely. This is a measure for the sake of that.
“What, it is Ilias, huh. You didn’t go back together with the lad?” (Cara)
“No, I haven’t apologized to you properly, so I came back. I was spurred on by my own personal feelings and ended up getting harsh on you… I am sorry.” (Ilias)
“Fuafuafua! Judging from your state, the lad must have said something to you. Don’t worry, I have heard the circumstances. If I were in your spot, I would have done the same as a knight.” (Cara)
So that’s what they were whispering about at that time, huh. So Cara-jii took on my challenge after knowing my feelings. He could have reprimanded me with words. It really makes me feel just how shallow I am.
“Don’t make such a tormented face. I am the one who lost and suffered, you know? Do you want to steal my position as well?” (Cara)
“No, that’s not…” (Ilias)
“In my eyes, you being persistent about wanting to be evaluated highly by that lad is a happy thing.” (Cara)
“Persistent… That might be true.” (Ilias)
I am certainly aware that I have been wanting to be relied on, wanting to protect him, since the time I met him. I thought that I was inferior to Cara-jii after being compared and couldn’t control myself.
“But for the lad to cheer for me at that time was quite the heartless thing. I was on the verge of dying thanks to that.” (Cara)
“I apologize once again…” (Ilias)
I ended up getting heated up because his cheers were not directed at me but Cara-jii. Even though it was a bout, I ended up acting in a way as if stealing the position of the other party.
The epitome of immaturity. But why did I end up like that? I just can’t understand.
“Judging from your state, it seems like you yourself don’t understand why you are like this. I can tell you if you want to know.” (Cara)
“You know? Then, I would like to hear it.” (Ilias)
“Basically, it is love.” (Cara)
“Cara-jii, your waist gets broken often, but maybe it would get better instead if it gets broken completely?” (Ilias)
“Wait, that was a joke. Don’t draw your sword!” (Cara)
Good grief. Even though I am seriously worrying here.
“I myself have a wife and children. I can tell love at the very least. What you are holding for the lad is something else.” (Cara)
“And that is…?” (Ilias)
“Something close to aspiration. I am going to say this beforehand, but what you are feeling right now isn’t the same as your admiration towards your father as a knight. It is longing for something you don’t have. That admiration towards wanting to become a knight like your father is a stage you will be able to stand on eventually. But it is different in the case of the lad. That’s different from a knight’s way of living on a fundamental level.” (Cara)
“What I don’t have…” (Ilias)
“If necessary, he can even understand the heart of the wicked. He wouldn’t be bothered about walking in that path. It is a different strength from the mind of a knight.” (Cara)
That’s right. His way of living is really different from that of the knights that I believe in. I at the very least wouldn’t think about walking on that path. But he walks on that path without hesitation.
However, does that mean I hold admiration towards his way of living that moves towards the inhumane?
“Don’t get conflicted immediately. Your chivalric spirit is the real deal. I assure you of that. It is not like you admire the inhumane. You simply admire the resolve of being able to walk in that fiendish path. You admire how he can be on both sides.” (Cara)
“Can you please talk in an easier to understand way…?” (Ilias)
“Would you be able to walk the path of evil while holding fast on your chivalric code?” (Cara)
“That’s…I wouldn’t be able to. There’s no way I would.” (Ilias)
“Right. If you did that, it wouldn’t be chivalry anymore after all. But that lad understands the chivalric code and also the path of the inhumane. He can do what you can’t. You felt a gap there and also admiration.” (Cara)
I feared him advancing through the path of evil. It is because I understood that, if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to return. But he swings in the border of the two as if natural.
It is true that that’s something I wouldn’t be able to imitate even if I wanted to. Are you telling me I feel something close to admiration towards that…?
“Basically, doesn’t that mean you want to be acknowledged by that lad that can easily do what you can’t?” (Cara)
“That’s…true. I think that’s the case.” (Ilias)
I want him to rely on me, I want him to think I am his number one; that basically means I want him to acknowledge me.
It is because he can do what I can’t that I want to be acknowledged by him.
“So, in the end, this stems from my inexperience?” (Ilias)
“Don’t be so pessimistic. I myself am also happy that the lad evaluates me highly, you know? That’s why I seriously accepted a bout with you.” (Cara)
“So even you thought that, Cara-jii.” (Ilias)
“It is not like the lad is the only one who can do what you yourself can’t. Isn’t that the same for His Majesty, for example?” (Cara)
It is true that His Majesty is different from the knights that hold the sword and fight; he guides the nation. That’s something I can’t do. That’s why I was aware that being acknowledged by His Majesty was an outstanding honor.
“You have only been facing knights after all. And then, that lad suddenly appeared close to you. In your eyes, it is a standing that should be easy to get acknowledgement from. It is natural to get greedy and put in strength, and your current self isn’t a bad thing.” (Cara)
As someone who is still inexperienced, His Majesty is still a far existence. I have heard that he acknowledges my strength, but it doesn’t feel tangible. It will most likely be far in the future before he actually acknowledges me in the true meaning of the word.
On the other hand, the feeling of wanting to be acknowledged by that man is strong. It must be natural to concentrate more easily on the closest objective instead of the furthest one.
“…You have my thanks. I have managed to arrange my mind in a variety of ways.” (Ilias)
“But from what I can see, your relationship as a man and woman has barely had any progress.” (Cara)
“Still saying that?” (Ilias)
“You are a beauty after all. It wouldn’t be strange for the lad to hold such feelings though.” (Cara)
Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no signs of such. He is always treating me like a violent person or telling me that I am a pain. He even treats the pretty Wolfe as if he were her father… Muh, what’s that about this being unfortunate?
“It seems he likes to act like an adult after all. People of my age must be out of his strike zone.” (Ilias)
“In that case, it would be somewhere around the beauty of the Yugura Church?” (Cara)
Rakura, huh. What’s his attitude towards Rakura? I feel like they do get along well, but in terms of a relationship between a man and woman…no, that’s not the way you would treat a woman.
Rakura tried to use charm magic on him at first, but that was only for the sake of drawing information from him… But you could say in a way that they are close. No, but he disliked the idea of living together with her from the bottom of his heart…
“It doesn’t look like he is treating her like a woman.” (Ilias)
“In that case, maybe someone older like Maya-san?” (Cara)
Maya’s age is closer to that of my mother. He put some distance between her because of the matter of the book, but they did give off the atmosphere that they got along with each other from the very beginning.
The way he interacts with Maya is extremely gentle, and his tone is polite. I see, so that’s how it was…
“It might be possible…” (Ilias)
“I see… Oh well, do your best.” (Cara)
“Do my best in what?” (Ilias)
“Y-You know, if the lad likes older women, then that means his evaluation of you as a younger one must be pretty low.” (Cara)
“Muh, that’s true… I have had the handicap of gender, but this is the first time I have had a handicap of age.” (Ilias)
He is evaluating me properly, but his usual attitude towards me is cold. In other words, it means that, huh.
The pieces are beginning to fit. But now that I know, it makes me want to test out a variety of things.
“Alright, I am getting motivated in a lot of ways.” (Ilias)
“Fumu, I feel like I have made you hold a fatal misunderstanding here, but…oh well. However, you must not forget that the lad also admires you. Don’t forget.” (Cara)
“What, really?” (Ilias)
“The reason you can’t run to the path of evil is because you hold steadfast to the path of chivalry. Understand that that’s something the lad can’t do.” (Cara)
“Is that how it works…?” (Ilias)
He is the same as me. We are attracted to the things each other doesn’t have. Is it okay for me to think of it in that way?
“That said, in terms of the lad’s admiration towards a knight, I am above you though. That part will depend on your hard work.” (Cara)
I can’t say anything against that one. Cara-jii is a seasoned knight and I am an inexperienced knight.
“But you are a knight. Advance in your path with your chest held high.” (Cara)
“Yeah, I got it.” (Ilias)