At a certain guest room in the castle, there’s him, His Majesty, Wolfe, and me. His Majesty is reading the data of the parallel world culture he brought.
Wolfe and him were sitting with a table in between, and were playing a game of knights as a break. According to him, this is a game that resembles a game called ‘chess’ in his world, so it piqued his curiosity. I taught the rules to the two just a few moments ago and they have had several matches already.
“Speaking of which, Marito, what happened with Pope Euparo in the end?”
“He is apparently going to be staying in the country for a while. There’s a harvest festival organized by the Yugura Church happening soon, right? He apparently plans on participating in that.” (Marito)
“Well, they came with a decent amount of people. Talk about the Pope having come to Taizu has most likely spread. If he were to leave without doing anything, that would instead direct suspicions. It should be safe to assume he came here with that intention in the first place.”
“The Pope and the Archbishop are apparently going to be borrowing the church as their lodging. Even though Maya must have it rough too.” (Marito)
“Maya-san might have known that from the beginning. That could have been the reason why she drove Rakura away.”
Even though they were both doing their respective things, I am impressed they can talk about other things while at it. I can’t see the game board from here, but he seems to be making moves at quite the fast pace.
“Ah, right. I heard that Archbishop Ukka doesn’t have memories of the time he spoke with Raheight because of the brainwashing magic, but can’t you salvage—draw them out by using magic that tinkers with the mind?”
“There’s spells that allow you to read memories, so it might be worth a try. But I have heard that those kinds of spells press a heavy burden on the target. It is pretty much like torture.” (Marito)
“Archbishop Ukka feels indebted towards us. If we try to convince him while shaking him in that front, he will most likely yield.”
“Wait a moment. Is there any need to go that far to obtain the information?” (Ilias)
I unintentionally ended up getting in their conversation. I remember the apology of Archbishop Ukka coming from the bottom of his heart. Is there really a need to bring pain close to torture on him?
“Who knows. But it is true that the one who made contact with Raheight the most was Archbishop Ukka. He would be the one with the highest chances of obtaining some sort of information.”
“With such wishful thinking alone…” (Ilias)
“It is not only one person who will be suffering if they were to get the better of us, you know? For now, please tell him we would like him to contact us if he were to remember something. There’s a difference in weight between a civilian asking and a king asking after all.”
“Got it. We will also try to find a way to search through his memories with the least amount of pain as possible.” (Marito)
He has changed slightly since meeting Raheight. His attitude towards us hasn’t changed, but I can see grief in his expression at the times when he doesn’t say anything. He saw through the plans of Raheight not only once but twice. It should be fine for him to relax a bit more.
“Wolfe, isn’t that a checkmate?”
“Uhm, yes. Wolfe wins!” (Wolfe)
“I lost again, huh. You are strong.”
“What. You have more losses than wins? How many matches is it now?” (Ilias)
“10 games, 10 losses.”
This game is used as training for strategies too, and you are stronger the more intelligent you are. Wolfe is a hard worker, but I don’t think he would be losing this much with his intelligence though…
“Were you holding back?” (Ilias)
“No, I was going at full power. I am simply losing continuously.”
Could it be that Wolfe has more talent than imagined in this game? Can’t really discard that possibility. But Wolfe is also a complete beginner, so the conditions on both sides should be the same.
“Then, Wolfe, please let Ilias play with me. Ilias, let’s have a match.”
I sat where Wolfe was sitting and arranged the pieces. I have played this game a number of times to tag along with others. I am not that strong, but I have no intention of losing to a newcomer. I should be able to gauge his strength to a certain degree too.
“By the way, Ilias, were you angry when I was called a coward by Pope Euparo? Lord Ragudo told me afterwards.”
He began talking to me as he opened the board. He is quickly responding the moment I make my move. I barely see any hesitation in his actions…but…
“Uh, that’s…true.” (Ilias)
“No wonder he apologized. He is the top of the Yugura Church. Don’t go threatening for a statement or two.”
“But you are not a coward. You stepped at the forefront in the battle against the bandits and the Anbus.” (Ilias)
“It is because the ones protecting me were strong. I normally wouldn’t do stuff like that even if asked”
I am happy to be told that. But this and that are different stories. He has certainly created results. Wouldn’t you get pissed off if you are told you accomplished them because you are a coward?
“There’s no need to be so humble. You have gotten results. That’s why I evaluate your skills highly. That goes for His Majesty too.” (Ilias)
“Skills, huh. Just saying, but the things Marito evaluates highly are different from yours.”
“What do you mean by that?” (Ilias)
Saying this, he stopped his playing hand, grabbed a pen and parchment, and began to write something. And then, he gave it to His Majesty who was watching from the back. He began playing again after that.
“Fumu fumu, I see.” (Marito)
“That said, words are probably not enough to understand. Now then, this is troubling, but I am even more troubled here.”
His moves are extremely straightforward attacks. It feels as if a newbie has just learned about how the pieces move and is just attacking for the sake of it. It doesn’t seem like he is thinking about the positioning of the pieces either.
“Are you playing seriously?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, I am the type that’s not good with brain stuff on this front, you see. I can’t read dozens of moves ahead.”
“But you—” (Ilias)
A sound suddenly rang from outside the room. A loud sound.
His Majesty showed himself outside and spoke to a soldier.
“What happened?” (Marito)
“A decoration armor suddenly fell… Was the base unstable?”
Looks like it wasn’t anything big. I relax. Now then, the match should be settled in just a bit—
My thoughts stopped for an instant when I saw the board. No matter how you see it, I am the one being checkmated. I was wondering what happened here, but there’s only one answer.
“Did you mess with the board with the sound just now?!” (Ilias)
“Did someone see that? …Wolfe, you don’t need to raise your hand.”
“Isn’t that cheating?!” (Ilias)
“I would like you to think of the person you use. Good grief.” (Marito)
His Majesty burned the parchment he was given while going ‘good grief’ by using magic. So that’s how it is. He gave instructions to His Majesty using the parchment and made His Majesty make the noise. I don’t know the method, but it is something that His Majesty would be able to do. And so, I was cautious as a bodyguard, and the moment I moved my gaze, he messed with the pieces.
“Basically, those are the methods I use. If I were to fight on the same conditions fair and square, I only have enough skills to certainly lose. Your strength is the type that allows you to win 100 fights out of 100, Ilias. However, my style is one where I win the fight that I want to win. It doesn’t work twice and it isn’t something to be praised for.”
It is true that once you know about the switching of pieces, I will obviously be wary once we have another match. Not only that, I would continue being on guard for any other cheating.
“Marito and Pope Euparo acknowledge me while understanding this. They are impressed that I have done this well despite me lacking the strength.”
“Your unconventional methods especially so.” (Marito)
“Thanks for that. However, Lord Ragudo might tell me something if you were to imitate me too much, so advance properly on the principles of royalty.”
“Of course.” (Marito)
He displayed it right in front of my eyes. He is basically telling me that the methods he takes are not proper and shouldn’t be respected.
“Don’t make such a complicated expression. I am simply winning with methods that are forgiven because of the opponent. I am aware that they are horrible methods. Even you Ilias, if you were to use unfair means in a duel to win, would you be happy if you were praised for that?”
“That’s…you have a point.” (Ilias)
“That said, I can somewhat accept being praised for my stance of not using whatever means in order to win. I get somewhat happy on that part, so allow me to indulge.”
I get what he wants to say. He is telling me not to evaluate him excessively highly, that he doesn’t have that strength. Even so, he doesn’t mind being praised for working hard and getting results.
“I understand what you are saying here. However, the results you got are things that knights can’t achieve. What kind of power was the main cause of this?” (Ilias)
Strength is not just about brute physical power. If he isn’t sagacious, how is he winning those results?
“I am good at living or something like that.”
“Good at…living, huh. I see.” (Ilias)
I can strangely understand when he puts it like that. Can’t use the sword, doesn’t have magic, and no knowledge either. Even with that, he understood his current situation, and acted accordingly. The method I didn’t choose as someone who gained the strengths that I lacked with hard work. He is a master in that path.
“As for how much of a coward I am, it would feel suffocating being kept an eye on every day, so I was thinking about telling Marito I didn’t need you to guard me, Ilias. However, I told him I didn’t want to remove my bodyguard since the matter of Raheight and wanted to eliminate that threat as fast as possible. I’m a terminal case, right?”
“Fufu, that might be true. Wait, suffocating?” (Ilias)
You are not a maiden, so you shouldn’t worry about that. Even so, that talk about His Majesty and Pope Euparo understanding that side of him properly when evaluating him highly feels a bit like they got ahead of me and it does feel somewhat frustrating.
Cara-jii said so before. He envies others for what he doesn’t have just like how I envy him. If they get too ahead of me, his gaze might not reach me anymore.
Fortunately, I am the one that has been assigned as his bodyguard. I am most likely going to continue being his bodyguard even after the matter of Raheight is over. I would like him to evaluate me highly no matter what by then.
My distance with Ilias feels close lately. It feels like she is the one closing the distance by half a step.
This is after the matter with Cara-jii, so it is probably safe to assume it is a sort of approach… Let’s just say it is a good thing for her to become proactive.
The one I am more worried about is Wolfe. I feel like I haven’t done anything Shishou-like recently. The unfair technique of just before was something I did to make them wary that ‘there’s people who use those kinds of methods’, but it wouldn’t be good for her education if she were to imitate that.
She has begun to say her own opinion compared to the beginning, and she has even begun to act teasingly to some… Let’s forget about the life game. Anyways, isn’t there a need to have her learn something? Hmm, what should I do?
“And so, Wolfe, I would like to do something Shishou-like. Do you want me to do something?”
We are lazing about at home anyways. If I am going to be making time for Wolfe, let’s hear the wishes of Wolfe. This is a great idea from me.
“I don’t know what brought this, but there’s something I want to learn from Shishou!” (Wolfe)
“Hooh, that’s a good spirit. Tell me.”
“I would like to learn how to deceive people!” (Wolfe)
Aah, yup. Ilias, don’t look at me with those eyes. I am about to get used to them. That said, I can’t go against Wolfe’s super hopeful eyes. I should provide her with a nice lecture here.
“Right. It is not all about tricking, but I shall teach you with actual examples. Ilias, Rakura, please sit at the opposite end -by the side of Wolfe.”
The 4 of us sit around the table. Leaving aside Ilias who tries to always be close to me, Rakura is tagging along out of amusement. This is convenient.
“Wolfe, watch the two. You two, here.”
Saying this, I gave them a pen and paper.
“Please write a number from 1 to 9 that you like. Once you have, flip it down. After that, I will try to pinpoint it with questions.”
“You can do something like that?” (Ilias)
“Hmhm, I won’t fall for your tricks so easily, Counselor-sama!” (Rakura)
The two finished writing the number and flipped the paper down. There’s somewhat of a difference in the numbers of this world, but they are basically treated the same. Easy to write and have a simple shape by design.
“In that case, there’s no need for questions. Ilias is 1 and Rakura is 7.”
I flip the pages. They were the same numbers as I stated.
“There was no question though?!” (Rakura)
“Guessing it with questions was a trick in itself. I was actually concentrating on your hands to see what number you were writing. If they were numbers that resembled the writing of another, or if your writing were small, I was thinking about narrowing it down with questions. You two wrote your number big and easy to understand.”
“Uh, so that wouldn’t make it a lie…” (Rakura)
“Direct the attention of the other party somewhere else. That’s the fastest way to catch your enemy off-guard. In battle, if you attack an opponent with a different method from the one they predicted, it will be more effective, but it would be even more effective if you have them distracted somewhere else, right?”
“I see.” (Ilias)
That said, even if I succeeded in distracting Ilias, my attack wouldn’t reach. It doesn’t work if the gap is too big. You’ve gotta choose your methods too in order to catch your enemy off-guard in battle, but you also need the bare minimum strength in order to defeat them. I of course don’t have that!
“Next would be to steal the judgment of the other party. You could make them angry with provocations or acting, or give them a sense of superiority, but the one I personally recommend is to convince them. The moment people stop thinking is at the time when their thoughts have been obstructed or they are done thinking. That said, the difficulty changes too much depending on the person you are trying to obstruct.”
There’s types of convincing. Convince them that they have completely read you, convince them that their own actions were correct, etc. The effect of the latter one is big. That’s because the thing that you can trust the most is the information you have chosen to believe.
“However, it is hard for this kind of strategies to work on people you have just met. It is because you don’t know how to convince your target. That’s why you have to obtain as much information as you can and understand the way your opponent thinks, so that your success rate increases.”
“However, the warning here would be to not sympathize with them even if you understand them. You will feel apprehensive to trick people you sympathize with after all.”
“I do get it, but is this something that’s okay to be teaching Wolfe…?” (Ilias)
“She still lacks the discerning eye to use it, so it would be difficult. But I think it is good to know that there’s the possibility the enemy is observing us in that manner.”
There’s a difference in threats between people. If it is just someone who spreads evil, you can mostly just take distance. However, there’s no more troubling existence than one that directs evil intentions at you while understanding you. That said, if I keep her on guard too much in that front, she might end up doubting people, so it is a hard line to tread.
“If possible, I would like her to have eyes that can see through lies like Maya-san and Rakura. Even if it is impossible against skilled ones, it should be effective against most.”
“Counselor-sama almost always slips by and does evil stuff though.” (Rakura)
“You may have it rough, but it is fun to trick you.”
“Can you not?!” (Rakura)
Let’s wrap it up.
“Wolfe, tricking the opponent won’t work over and over. If it finally succeeds once after careful preparation, that’s great. However, it works the whole time on people who have obtained their power through training like Ilias and Rakura. I won’t tell you not to use it ever, but try to polish yourself when you can. That increases the array of choices you have. Especially you Wolfe, you are talented. It would be a waste to not use what you have.”
Alright. With this, the potentially harmful lecture has been wrapped up nicely.
“Right, while at it, want me to tell you about the strategies of the famous people on Earth?”
“That’s a topic of interest for me too.” (Ilias)
“I feel like it would send me to sleep…” (Rakura)
“Don’t prepare a pillow. First…I really should begin from the Three Kingdoms.”
“Please do, Shishou!” (Wolfe)
I am sure other people will tell Wolfe about stories of this world. However, there’s only one person who can tell her stories from Earth. Let’s tell her a lot of things. There should be a lot of things Wolfe can learn from this. Let’s talk to her to a degree where she will think of me as a good Shishou when she eventually travels by herself.
By the way, there’s no punchline. Me doing something to Rakura who began interrupting us with her sleep talk in the middle of it is of no importance.
“It is of importance!” (Rakura)
A certain tavern in Mejis where adventurers gathered. They were praising each other’s monster hunting today as well, and were drinking and being swallowed by alcohol as they made noise. The noisy adventurers would join in on each other’s tables and mingle. However, there was one table that had no one as if it didn’t exist, as if it couldn’t be perceived.
“The barrier to drive away people really is convenient as always~. Not being able to order is a downside though.”
The woman spoke languidly.
Her attire is one that has an awful lot of exposed skin, but what drew the eye the most was the giant saw shaped sword at her back. There’s dark red spots of rust here and there on the row of fangs that were like the closed mouth of a crocodile.
“Even if you could be seen, there’s no one who would come asking for what you want to order while you are carrying a weapon like that, you blockhead! Here, munch on some dried meat.”
The one who gave dried meat to the woman was a man with a toned body. This one was wearing something that looked like a full body rubber tights and armor on top of that that protects the vitals. The gauntlets he has equipped on both hands had a peculiar form; with a design like that of the head of a black dragon.
“Oh well, better than nothing, I guess~? Thanks, Pa-chan!”
“Stop with the Pa-chan, I am going to kick your ass! At least say that with a bit more love.”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full, you waste of air! Here, booze to wash it down your throat.”
The one remaining man was just sitting on the chair and looking endlessly at the ceiling of the tavern. There’s a whole ton of chains wrapped around his dangling arms to the point where you can’t even see his skin.
“Girista, Pashuro, Ekdoik, don’t you people stand out too much unless a barrier to ward off people is set?”
A boy wearing a hood showed up. He looks like he is around 10 years old, but his bearing isn’t any different from that of an adult.
“Oh my, could that be Raheight? You have turned cute~.” (Girista)
“My former body has been sealed by the Yugura Church after all. I have moved my soul to a different body with the use of Possession and Necromancy, but that was discovered too. For now, I went with a body that would be hard to discover.” (Raheight)
“I am gonna die from laughter with how good of a joke that is, you numbskull! Here, chair, can you sit?” (Pashuro)
“Thanks. Now then, the reason why I have gathered you all who comparatively do dangerous underground work often within the adventurers is obviously because of a dangerous request.” (Raheight)
“Dangerous, huh~. Are you going to ask us to kill the Pope or something~?” (Girista)
“Close. The one I want you to kill is the man that has appeared by the side of the Pope recently. I don’t think you would even need a single breath to kill the man himself, but the bodyguard is troublesome. She is a knight that could be counted in the top 5 of Taizu.” (Raheight)
Saying this, he spread two parchments on the table. What was drawn there were the faces of Ilias Ratzel and the man that came from Earth.
“Heeh, she is strong despite being a woman~! The same as me~!” (Girista)
“By top 5 in Taizu, does that mean you want us to go to Taizu, you piece of shit?! When should we have him dead?” (Pashuro)
“As soon as possible. Right right, Pope Euparo is also staying in Taizu right now. You can try killing him too once you are done with that.” (Raheight)
“Really~?! I guess I will try~!” (Girista)
The woman called Girista stood up and drew the sword she had at her back. The footing of Girista began to creak the moment she lifted it. It must be because the weight of the sword is more than what it looks. The burden on the floor around both of her legs was way too much.
“It seems like my compatibility with this person is bad, so I will leave it to everyone who has pure brute power.” (Raheight)
“Don’t push it onto us just because you can’t do it, you numbskull! I have certainly received your request. Leave it to me.” (Pashuro)
“Yes, I will leave it to you.” (Raheight)
Raheight, in the appearance of a boy, smiled. That smile of his was similar to the one in his previous form, and gave off an eerie artificial feeling.