I wake up to the chirping of birds announcing the morning.
I open my eyes to awaken my brain and slowly bring my body up.
I stretch my body and get down from the bed.
I open the window and confirm the weather of today.
A clear day I can’t complain about. Today will be a good day too.
I go down the stairs and wash my face.
The cold water was properly detaching my body from the drowsiness.
Today is a holiday for me.
There’s no cooking turn this day and it is a day where everyone freely eats what they please.
There’s no one on the first floor as of present, most likely because of this. Is he still sleeping?
There’s no doubt Rakura and Wolfe are still sleeping.
“Since I have the chance, I should make breakfast for everyone… Fumu.”
I am fine with cooking just for myself, but that would be a bit sad.
I would like to make food that everyone will be satisfied with since I have the opportunity. Let’s wake him up and make food together with him.
I head to the front of his room and knock on his door, but there’s no reaction.
He didn’t go to sleep that late last night. Is he simply fast asleep?
Speaking of which, it has been a while since I have woken him up -that goes for cooking together too.
I feel like I am a bit merry on the inside, but…doing stuff like this every so often isn’t bad.
“I am coming in. Are you awake?”
I opened the door and entered the room… He is not there.
I checked the state of the room and it seems like he left before the sun came up.
He kindly left a chain on top of the bed as a sign that he had brought Ekdoik with him as a bodyguard.
“This development is also nostalgic… Haah…”
About breakfast…how to say it…my motivation has been chipped away.
Let’s eat something together once Rakura and the others wake up.
I decided to go back to sleep on this long-awaited holiday.
“Fuaah… I really am still sleepy.”
I am walking together with Ekdoik and the others in this city where the sun has just risen.
It is exactly because it is early in the morning that a bird human that’s flying in the sky with wings made out of chains doesn’t stand out.
Even if so, there will be testimonies from witnesses showing up, but waking up even earlier than this would be rough, so please spare me.
“Considering your stamina, it can’t be helped since the sleeping time was this short on top of being this early in the morning.” (Ekdoik)
“The schedule today is pretty packed, you see. I would like to finish up the stuff I can finish quickly.”
The first place I headed to was Dog’s Bone; the store of Gozu.
Gozu came out from the store just in time as we arrived.
“Oh, ain’t that Nii-chan? I was thinking about sweeping outside before you came, but you woke up pretty damn early.” (Gozu)
“You are waking pretty early yourself, Gozu.”
“Being smacked awake by Mrs. Domitorkofucon or waking up by myself just hits different for the peace in my heart that day.” (Gozu)
He has been completely disciplined.
His face is also showing gallantness that doesn’t lose to knights compared to the first time I met him.
If your mind has been tempered by the wives of the top class knights in the Ragudo Division, it wouldn’t be strange for you to end up like this.
“The chain Nii-chan over there, I see him sometimes at the store…” (Gozu)
“Oh, speaking of which, I haven’t introduced him to you. He is my bodyguard, Ekdoik.”
“I am Ekdoik. I have been under the care of your cooking.” (Ekdoik)
“That’s a great thing to hear. You look like an adventurer. You have connections spread wide, Nii-chan.” (Gozu)
“That goes for you too.”
“No doubt about it. Well, nice to meet you.” (Gozu)
We promptly enter the store and give Gozu the ingredients we brought.
The butter that was made as a byproduct of the device we developed in the magic research, and the foreign spices from places like Kuama and Mejis.
“Fumu fumu, so this is the stuff, huh. Please let me taste it for a bit… I see, this has a taste like that… This is impressive.” (Gozu)
“If there’s any spice you take a liking to, I can tell Ban-san to get a large amount of those. As for the butter, if it is received well, we can make a bigger device and turn it into a bit of an industry.”
“I feel like the dudes would get happy grilling this together with the meat. I should try creating some side-dishes while at it.” (Gozu)
Saying this, Gozu began to make food skillfully with the ingredients brought.
There’s no shadow of the man that asked to be spared at that time, and his hands have completely become those of a master at his craft.
It didn’t take long for dishes that are somewhat heavy for a breakfast to be lined up on the table.
“Alright. Let’s try them out… It really is tasty!”
I may have a bit of knowledge in cooking to cook for myself, the food made from a chef just can’t be compared.
Cooking that makes people happy should be spread far and wide, seriously.
“What’s up, Ekdoik? You haven’t touched the meat at all contrary to Nii-chan. Don’t like meat?” (Gozu)
“Yeah, sorry after you made it, but meat is a bit…” (Ekdoik)
“The likes and dislikes differ between people. It can’t be helped~.” (Gozu)
“The soup here is really tasty. I would like to get seconds if there’s more.” (Ekdoik)
“Yeah, go ahead.” (Gozu)
Gozu brings seconds of soup together with salad.
“Hmm, I made you go out of your way for me, huh.” (Ekdoik)
“I am a cook here. My job is to go out of my way for the people that want to eat something.” (Gozu)
“…I see. That was educational.” (Ekdoik)
“Oh? Well, fine. But it is rare for a man to not like meat.” (Gozu)
“I had a bad experience in the past of eating meat, you see. I haven’t liked it since then.” (Ekdoik)
It is rare for Ekdoik to talk about his past.
It means he has opened up to Gozu to a certain degree.
“I see. Were you on the verge of dying from eating rotten meat? You wouldn’t want to eat meat for the near future if you were to experience that.” (Gozu)
“No, the freshness was good. But it was a bit…” (Ekdoik)
“What is it? You are beating around the bush a lot. There’s no need to hold back, you know?” (Gozu)
“I was made to eat human flesh. I was also shown the before and after of the preparation.” (Ekdoik)
The air froze from the explosive revelation.
I felt like the taste of the meat I was carrying to my mouth dropped sharply. I hate my own imagination.
I tend to forget, but he was raised by a Great Devil that toyed with humans.
Of course a lot has happened with him.
“It really wasn’t something to talk about in the middle of a meal.” (Ekdoik)
“Y-Yeah, my bad too. The remaining meat…I will eat it somehow.” (Gozu)
“Gozu, pass me some too. I will help out.”
We were taking our time talking while eating, so it was now time for the wife of Cara-jii and the others to come.
And so, we 3 finish our meals and wash the dishes.
“I will discuss the rest with Mrs. Domitorkofucon and the others. Sorry for troubling you the whole time.” (Gozu)
“It is a cheap effort if it is for the sake of eating tasty food.”
“It is to the point that it is a shame it is only in this country.” (Ekdoik)
“Haha, I think so too. This place has changed completely thanks to Nii-chan after all.” (Gozu)
Dog’s Bone was a bar that originally only had Gozu and Saira working in it.
The food was bad and only the alcohol was tasty.
But now the wives of the Chivalric Order are working as waitresses, so they can now provide tasty food and drinks from morning to night. It has become one of the top class eateries in Taizu.
The knowledge I provided was simply a trigger.
The reason why they managed to grow this much was because of Maya-san, the wife of Cara-jii, and the others. And it is also thanks to the charisma and efforts of Gozu who compelled them to want to properly train him.
“But isn’t it honestly rough that your time with Saira has decreased?”
“Guhoh?! W-What are you saying?!” (Gozu)
“I know you are going out.”
“That Saira…” (Gozu)
Saira is a relatively big chatterbox. Throwing her leading questions is easy peasy.
Well, even if you didn’t tell me, I had a faint feeling that was the case though.
The clothes of Gozu are clearly order-made.
Moreover, they were made with great care to the point that the feelings of the person who made it were exuding.
“If you don’t like being teased about it, I won’t force the teasing. Your mind has been tempered by the wife of Cara-jii and the others as it already is after all.”
“Yeah, please don’t… But I don’t think my time alone with the two of us decreasing is bad. She can chase after her own dream now. It is far better than continuing being a waitress and wasting her youth and talent. Also, my earnings have increased, so once she gets to the step of quitting this place and being able to open up a clothing store, I will be able to give her a whole lot of pension.” (Gozu)
“If that happens, the average age of this place will increase sharply.”
“I will have to hire young ones…but she is the pretty jealous type, you know.” (Gozu)
Maybe we could have Dyuvuleori work here? …Nah, that won’t do.
I see, so Saira would be jealous… Is he boasting here?
Oh well, fine. I was the one who stepped into it, so let’s let him boast a bit here.
After that, we left Dog’s Bone and headed to the company of Ban-san.
I greeted the receptionist and was guided to the usual guest room.
“Sorry for coming this early in the morning, Ban-san.”
“No, no, it is only natural when you are a patron. I will brew some tea, so please take a seat too, Ekdoik-sama.” (Ban)
“No, I am a bodygua—” (Ekdoik)
“It is the duty of a bodyguard to always be on guard, but showing surplus to show the dignity of a bodyguard is an important thing to do too, you know?” (Ban)
“Hmm…you have a point.” (Ekdoik)
And so, Ekdoik receives tea while sitting straight.
It seems like Ban-san has also gotten a good grasp of Ekdoik’s personality.
A relationship between these two has been firmly made between these two most likely because of the many negotiations they have had between each other.
Taizu has obtained new resources thanks to the work of Ekdoik.
There’s the mountain salt, but he has also found gem ores deep in the mountains.
Ekdoik has been opening up the path leading to those places, making bases with rock drilling, and a whole lot of other stuff.
“This is the reward for Ekdoik-sama. I have also prepared the detailed statement. Would you like to confirm it?” (Ban)
“No need. I know the approximate market price as an adventurer. I understand this is enough of a reward. It would be an unnecessary workload.” (Ekdoik)
“Trust is the most important thing for a merchant after all. Such small details are needed.” (Ban)
“I am impressed you can continue working on an occupation where you have to keep doing such menial work.” (Ekdoik)
“It is pretty fun once you get used to it, you know? Do you want to take it as it is?” (Ban)
“No, I will take just part of it. Please look after the rest.” (Ekdoik)
Ban-san is also a moneylender.
Of course, it is not the loan shark type, but more like a bank that lends to proper people only like a bank.
If you entrust your money to him, you can get a bit of interest like in banks too, moreover, the steps you have to take when buying in the company of Ban-san are exempted.
Merchants have found ways to earn money aside from just selling things.
After that, we discussed a number of things, wrapped them up peacefully, and left the firm.
We buy random food from the food stalls and move by foot.
There’s more people around now, so we have to refrain from the Ekdoik taxi.
If Ekdoik feels like it, he could hide himself, but there’s skilled knights and clerics who can detect that, so I don’t want to raise their alarms for no reason.
“Speaking of which, I haven’t seen Gradona.”
“He hops around bars most often than not after all. He is most likely sleeping in a back alley or something right now.” (Ekdoik)
“Dog’s Bone should be enough if it is just booze though.”
“According to him: ‘You can’t get wasted with tasty booze. It is when you can enjoy even questionable booze that makes the booze drinking great’.” (Ekdoik)
That guy is more fit for being a pro drunkard than the Holy Fist.
The next place we headed to was a knight barrack in the Taizu Castle.
But not for the Ragudo Division but the Leano Division.
I greeted a knight of the Leano Division and was allowed inside the room where Lord Leano is.
“Ooh, it is you. Nice of you to have come… If I remember correctly, the man there is…” (Leano)
“Ekdoik. I am the bodyguard of my comrade.” (Ekdoik)
“Yeah, I have heard about it already. I have a number of complaints regarding rampaging inside Taizu, but there was not much damage, so I am not that free of a person to go out of my way to bite someone who His Majesty has provided amnesty to.” (Leano)
“I see. I have caused you trouble in those instances. I plan on entrusting this body of mine for the sake of this man here.” (Ekdoik)
Hmm, the trust of Ekdoik is plain heavy.
But those words made the lips of Lord Leano loosen and he nodded.
“Umu, that’s a good mindset for a reformed criminal. Regardless of whether you are a knight or an adventurer, the strength of one’s beliefs is a clear indicator of a man’s worth after all… And so, what have you come here for? It seems to be a bit late for this to be an invitation for breakfast.” (Leano)
“I would have liked to if possible, but we had a business discussion with a merchant, you see. Let’s leave that for another time. I have come this time around to thank you for the matter of before.”
Lord Leano was the one at the front as the Taizu Knight Captain leading the matter with the Purple Demon Lord.
At the time when we had an altercation with the Chivalric Order, they didn’t try to interfere and allowed us to move freely.
I managed to proceed smoothly thanks to that.
And so, I have come to thank him for that and a variety of other things.
The discord between Ilias and Lord Leano has softened somewhat, but there’s still friction between them if we include the knights in the Leano Division.
Thus, I had Ekdoik come as my bodyguard instead.
“You act like an aristocrat. It is admirable though.” (Leano)
“It would have been bad if we were surrounded by not only holy knights but also the knights of Taizu after all.”
“I was briefed by His Majesty about your situation. Traveler that has come from the same world as the Hero Yugura. The more I know about you, the more vexed I am that I didn’t bring you to my side from the very beginning. That said, who knows if you would be standing in the same position if I had done so though.” (Leano)
“It is still true that I was grateful for your forbearing treatment.”
“I am a believer of the Yugura Church, but not a zealous one. The ones I have truly offered my heart to are His Majesty and the future of this country. I have no intention of denying unsparingly the person that His Majesty has acknowledged. That said, I was understandably dumbstruck when I heard you got Demon Lords on your side though.” (Leano)
“I would have wanted to see that face.”
“Quite the statement there… Right now, I don’t know if I should evaluate you highly for eliminating the threat that are the Demon Lords in a different fashion from Hero Yugura, or I should see it as a serious offense. However, I am looking forward to a good result.” (Leano)
“Thank you very much. Ah, this is a present. Please have it as a snack with tea later or something.”
“That’s so trifling for a bribe. I will deal with it before it goes bad if you are going to leave it behind.” (Leano)
This person really likes to throw sarcasm here and there. That sarcasm of his stabs on Ilias and shaves away her psyche, so it may feel like he is merciless, but he is an interesting dude once you get used to it.
“Ekdoik, right? I have heard about your skills too. If you have the time, show up at the training of my division and tag along.” (Leano)
“…Okay. I am always troubled for sparring partners after all. I will partake on your offer.” (Ekdoik)
We left the Leano Division’s barracks in that fashion and confirmed the time.
Alright, this is a good pace.
There’s still a bit of time for the next plan, so let’s take a break.
“Next would be to meet Pope Euparo and consult with the Purple Demon Lord, but let’s take a break for a bit.”
“Alright. That said, you have been going around here and there. You are one busy guy.” (Ekdoik)
“This is easy compared to your mining work.”
“If we are talking about the physical fatigue, yeah, but the mental fatigue should be higher on you with your constant interactions with other people.” (Ekdoik)
“Not really. Everyone is nice after all.”
“That’s a bit wrong. You are simply interacting with them in a way so that they are nice to you, right? Gozu, who we met in the morning, Ban, and Lord Leano just now…they all had different personalities, occupations, and standings. Being liked about the same by all of them is clearly not a development that can be formed naturally.” (Ekdoik)
“It would be boring if all humans were the same. But it is not such a complicated thing, Ekdoik.”
“It looks like a difficult thing to pull off for me though. It is not like there’s a set technique, and then there’s the need for precision to demark the distance; it is like walking inside mist.” (Ekdoik)
The state of Ekdoik is a bit strange, but it seems like he is trying to analyze me in order to know more about me.
This is a good trend for Ekdoik. Let’s give him some advice.
“The easy method to get along with others is to understand the good parts of the person. It is easier to open your heart towards someone who has acknowledged your strong points after all.”
“And I am saying that’s not simple.” (Ekdoik)
“It doesn’t have to be simple. The result is the same if you can pull it off regardless of difficulty.”
“…That’s true.” (Ekdoik)
I felt a hidden meaning behind that expression of his just now.
He most likely compared himself to Rakura.
But there’s no need to dig deeply if he has reached an understanding.
“The 3 people I met today are people that you would mesh easily with, Ekdoik. Try talking to them when you have the time. I am sure you will be able to learn new techniques you don’t have yet.”
“I see… If Comrade says so, I will blindly believe in it.” (Ekdoik)
“Yeah. You can go ahead and begrudge me if it doesn’t work. I will properly apologize to you when that happens.”
Ekdoik spent most of his life without human interaction.
His past might be equal or even more horrible than that of Wolfe if I were to learn more about it.
But that’s exactly why Ekdoik can change…he can grow.
He most likely can’t eliminate his sense of inferiority towards his little sister Rakura, but once he gets over that, I am sure he will become an incredible guy.
“Now then, it is about time to go. I am not that good at dealing with Pope Euparo though.”
“Don’t worry, Comrade. I am not good at dealing with humans as a whole. Feeling better?” (Ekdoik)
“I see. I gotta have more confidence then.”
Ilias: ‘I feel like an important position of mine is being stolen’.