“Cara-jii, can you see it?”
“Hmmm, somewhat, I guess?” (Cara)
“It feels like an alternate dimension, right?”
Wolfe and Ilias are currently sparring in the training grounds of the knights at the Taizu Castle.
Ilias has learned how to do mana strengthening correctly from Lord Ragudo; Wolfe has learned the world’s peak of hand-to-hand technique from Gradona.
They are both in a state where they are approaching the peak of humanity and have been acknowledged by even Demon Lords, but I can barely follow that fight with my eyes.
Even though I am wearing the Superhuman Glasses that make my dynamic vision better than your average knight.
This is after being improved. In the past, they wouldn’t even show in my vision unless they stopped moving.
Looks like the two have settled their battle, they walked to where we are.
There’s no visible wound on them, and I can clearly see that they still have energy left.
“Shishou~, we are done! Wolfe has become pretty strong!” (Wolfe)
There’s no one to compare the growth of Wolfe with, so I can’t really say anything here.
But it seems like her language learning has been going well recently, she has begun to talk pretty fluently.
Her intonation for Shishou is still somewhat elongated though. It’s a word that she has gotten used to saying, so it probably can’t be helped.
I should acknowledge this as a personal trait of hers.
“I can’t think of a way to praise you when you can spar with Ilias who has become even stronger.”
“Exactly. Just thinking about how she will be in a few years, I can’t just laze about.” (Ilias)
“That way of saying it, does it mean that you are currently above her, Ilias?”
“Yes, Ilias is strong!” (Wolfe)
“What’s your opinion after a calm analysis, Ilias?”
“Right. I am stronger as of present. Wolfe holds the overwhelming advantage when it comes to the mana amount, but the limit to the mana she can use in one go is low.” (Ilias)
I for now tilt my head to tell her I don’t understand.
“Let’s see… If Wolfe’s mana is 100, I would be around 50. But Wolfe can only use 5 mana at most in one go; I can use 20 all around.” (Ilias)
Watching the battle of Ilias and Wolfe, even 1 mana is a lot, but…the standard being too high is an issue too.
“Of course, even if I can use a lot of mana at once, it is not like I am just wasting it pointlessly. There’s also a limit to how much mana I can put in mana strengthening too after all. The other factor would be experience. No matter how high her base specs are, the difference in experience easily covered this.” (Ilias)
According to Ilias, she has surpassed Lord Ragudo if it is just in terms of physical strength.
However, she still finds it hard to win even with that.
Ilias overwhelmed Dyuvuleori in terms of technique, but Lord Ragudo is apparently even beyond that.
That said, you can’t just rule out physical strength.
If Lord Ragudo and Dyuvuleori were to fight, it would apparently be possible to fill up the difference in experience with physical strength.
It means that who is stronger between Ilias and Lord Ragudo depends on the opponent.
“What an incomprehensible world.”
“Your reaction is pretty light.” (Ilias)
“The strength of you two was far ahead for me to begin with. Even if you tell me you are now even further ahead, I can’t really have a good feel of it.”
“Is that how it works?” (Ilias)
“Wolfe will work even harder and become the number one bodyguard of Shishou!” (Wolfe)
“Hoh, I can’t just ignore that one.”
Ekdoik suddenly popped out from who knows where and cut in.
“Ah, Ekdoik-san.” (Wolfe)
“Wolfe, there’s no lies in the fact that I am happy by your growth. But if the place you are aiming for is the same as mine, I don’t plan on holding back.” (Ekdoik)
“Yes, let’s do our best together!” (Wolfe)
“You are right.” (Ekdoik)
These two are the hard worker duo, so they get along extremely well. It is also in great part because Ekdoik would look after Wolfe every so often.
“You’re a popular guy, Lad. Ilias, who is the current number one, can’t just dilly dally now.” (Cara)
“I have no intention to lose as a knight. I wouldn’t ask for anything if we can improve each other with this .” (Ilias)
Ilias also finds the motivation of Wolfe and Ekdoik favorable.
Well, Ekdoik has been having a lot of spotlight recently, so she must be conflicted internally though.
“Well, the number one bodyguard as of present is Cara-jii though.”
They stopped moving cleanly at what I said.
“Hey, Lad, could it be that you actually hate me?” (Cara)
“There’s no way that’s the case.”
“With that one statement of yours, the hostility towards me shot up dramatically though.” (Cara)
Now that he mentions it, even if Ilias and Ekdoik’s are moderate, Wolfe’s is extremely easy to tell.
With those eyes, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were to go ‘hssst!”.
“Comrade, I think I know the strength of Caragyujesta, but what’s the reason for you to say he is number one? I think every one of us here is above him when it comes to strength and technique though.” (Ekdoik)
“Right. My specialty would only be my sniping that’s a tiny bit better than others, you know?” (Cara)
“The precision of that isn’t bad, but…since we have the opportunity here, it would be better for you guys to actually feel it, huh. Ekdoik, help me out a bit.”
I am not really saying Cara-jii is number one to provoke Wolfe and the others. It is just because I have purely judged he excels as a bodyguard.
It shouldn’t be bad to show Ilias and the others what they lack while they are showing their motivation as bodyguards.
I prepare for a while, have the four of them hold a certain something, and have them stand in a row.
“This is…soft and flabby, but…what’s inside this is water, right?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, I asked Ekdoik to fill it up with water.”
What I have stretched out my hand to aside from my magic research together with Nora is the experimentation of a new material.
On Earth, you would mix a lot of things with iron to create alloys.
I am testing out whether there will be decent results in this world where the heat processing is comparatively good in this world due to magic.
By the way, what was born from this is this balloon.
We discovered that sap for rubber came out from the trees close to the black wolfkin village. I tried to use that as a test.
What I chose for coagulation were stuff like gelatin and alum. I am glad I asked in detail about the ingredients at the time when I went to visit a balloon factory on Earth.
“And so, what will you be doing with this?” (Ilias)
“I will have you grab this balloon and run all the way to the wooden box over there. And then, after you make the balloon into the same state as the one here, give it to me. Basically, it is a competition of who fulfills the objective the fastest.”
I say this and point at the wooden box around 200 meters away.
What’s inside is a balloon filled up to the brim just like the one here.
“I don’t really get the ‘in the same state’, but will we understand once we try?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, I have made it easy to tell. Since we are doing a competition anyways, how about putting a prize? You can decide on whatever since you guys don’t have much greed anyways. I will comply to a degree where my wallet won’t cry. For Cara-jii, how about sharing the alcohol that Gozu has been making in secret?”
“Hooh, that’s a proposal that boosts my motivation. But I don’t feel like I would be able to win though.” (Cara)
“Now now, I will at least prepare an opportunity for you to drink it as a participation reward. And so, is everyone ready?”
Ilias and the others inclined a bit forward.
It is great to see that everyone is raring to go.
And so, I headed to the wooden box, and shout out the signal to start.
“Well then, ready…go!”
The one who rushed off at astonishing speed as the start signal was given was Ilias. The others try to bring out speed to chase after her even if a bit delayed.
But seeing the state of Ilias in front of them, they stopped clean.
Ilias stopped just 100 meters before the wooden box.
Being able to move that distance in an instant is impressive.
That said, it goes without saying what would happen to a water balloon when you are holding it with a metallic armguard and with such acceleration.
The drenched Ilias was right in front of their eyes.
She is in armor, so there’s nothing to turn transparent and no lewdness to it, so it just looks pitiful.
“Ilias is disqualified.”
“The water balloon inside the wooden box is in a state where it has water inside. It is of course not broken either. You can continue if you can bring it back cleanly to how it was though.”
“Kuh, that’s unfair!” (Ilias)
“Don’t give me that unfair crap. You should have been able to tell there’s issues with its durability just from receiving it and touching it at the starting point!”
Ekdoik and Wolfe were being careful to not put any burden on the water balloon while I was pointing this out to her.
It seems like they are showing some degree of care after seeing the failure of Ilias.
The reaction speed of Ekdoik and Wolfe for being able to endure rushing out at that instant and switch is truly impressive.
Cara-jii is also being careful at carrying it, but he is slightly behind.
The first one to arrive at the wooden box was Wolfe. She immediately peeked inside the wooden box.
Wolfe made a slightly dubious look. This is a decent reaction to make after seeing the state of the water balloon inside.
While she was doing that, Ekdoik caught up and he peeked inside.
“This is… It has a needle pierced?” (Ekdoik)
That’s right. There’s a single needle pierced in the water balloon filled up to the brim with water.
By the way, there’s 4 of the same needles lined up in the wooden box.
“Considering its durability, this is… No, but we should be able to do it if we do it gently?” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik began to ponder, but Wolfe didn’t hesitate.
She grabbed the needle, gently pierced her own water balloon and…
She was splashed with the water of the bursting water balloon.
Her seductiveness increased a bit more compared to Ilias, but she has black clothes, so it is safe.
That said, it would be troubling if she were to catch a cold, so I threw her a towel.
“You are disqualified too, Wolfe.”
“So it really didn’t work… What’s the trick to this? Even though Comrade shouldn’t be able to use magic…” (Ekdoik)
Cara-jii caught up while Ekdoik was pondering here.
“Fuuh, finally caught up. So dangerous. Let’s see… Fumu.” (Cara)
Cara-jii also looked at the water balloon with a needle pierced in it and wondered.
But after observing it for a while, he went ‘ooh’ and nodded.
And then, he grabbed the needle and stabbed it onto his own balloon.
The balloon…isn’t bursting.
The one who was surprised by this was Ekdoik.
“Sorry, young’un. Here, Lad, this good enough?” (Cara)
“Yeah, it seems like the first was Cara-jii.”
“Just what in the world… That’s…!” (Ekdoik)
Ekdoik was confused even after observing the water balloon inside the wooden box, but he understood the trick to it after looking at the water balloon of Cara-jii.
“So the place that you stabbed with a needle was compensated with mana…? But the one that Comrade prepared…” (Ekdoik)
“Ekdoik, look closely.”
“…T-This is…the one in the wooden box has some sort of transparent thin cloth?” (Ekdoik)
Moreover, it is one that has been smeared with cellophane paste; cellophane tape.
This is the special trait of rubber balloons which is done normally in science experiments for children and for magic tricks.
There’s tension the whole time in the expanded water balloon.
If you open a hole in there, the tension will gather in that one spot, making it burst in an instant.
But if you reinforce that spot with something like cellophane tape, the tension created from opening a hole won’t happen; the strength won’t spread and make it explode because the cello tape holds it together.
“Of course, I have not prepared any of that for you guys. You would need a bit of ingenuity here, but it is something all of you would have been able to pull off, right?”
“That’s…true but…” (Ekdoik)
“By the way, the water balloon you were carrying just now was the person you had to protect: me. Leaving aside Ilias who messed up from the very beginning by not holding back at all…”
“Wolfe didn’t hold any questions to the situation in front of her, acted, and failed. On the other hand, Ekdoik went way too deep into his thoughts and ended up getting caught up by Cara-jii.”
I have worked together with Cara-jii several times.
Ilias would be together with me at those times normally, but whenever I told them my plan, he would always confirm the details, and would always try to be attentive.
He would properly confirm the factors that worry him without the need to ask for the reason, understand them, and would excel at solving them.
I have no objections about the speed in which he does all that either.
“Well, you could call that an old-man’s wisdom.” (Cara)
“I don’t really like this being wrapped up as that though. But it is certain that this result was brought up by a difference in experience just as Ilias said before. Do you understand now that having more points that would bring me peace of mind is better than just being plain strong as someone who is being protected here?”
“Yeah, if we were to do this competition again, it would most likely be me or Wolfe who would win. If we were to repeat this, the one who would have their chances of victory increase would be Ilias. But for Comrade, the point that you are evaluating highly here is how Caragyujesta can bring about better results in the first try where no retries can be had, right?” (Ekdoik)
“That’s how it is. I only have one life after all.”
I am glad to see that everyone seems to understand. It is not only because I like old knights.
Ilias and Wolfe dry their drenched bodies with magic, and Ekdoik was observing the new material plastered on it with a serious face.
I walked over to the only one who swiftly went to clean, Cara-jii.
“Good grief. How about being a bit kinder to your friends?” (Cara)
“I think I am pretty soft to my friends though.”
“The reality is that, even if I were your bodyguard, I would have only been thrashed by the devils that served the Demon Lord. Even if I have my wisdom as an old man, you can’t argue the difference in strength after all.” (Cara)
“Even so, you still have things that Ilias and the others clearly don’t have. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to absorb a bit of that?”
“Fuafua! That’s true. It is rough that Wolfe’s caution towards me increases at every such occasion though…” (Cara)
Now that I look closely, Wolfe is glaring at Cara-jii from afar.
It is a truly vexed face. But I actually like that face of Wolfe quite a lot.
“Getting your grandchild jealous of you isn’t that bad of a thing.”
“I would like my grandchild to smile at me…” (Cara)
Let’s have Gozu give him a generous amount of his treasured alcohol.
After that, I went to the black wolfkin village together with Ilias and Wolfe.
I originally planned on just bringing Ilias, but Wolfe said she would come too, so I had her come.
But Wolfe didn’t try to enter the village and said she wanted to walk a bit outside.
Wolfe was raised in what was basically a garbage deposit since the time she had memories.
No, you wouldn’t be able to call that raised.
They simply provided her the bare minimum food for her to not die.
Wolfe has had high mana since young and, thanks to that, she apparently barely caught any illnesses, but it was a life where she would always feel hungry and lonely.
We separated from Wolfe in the middle of the way and we arrived at the village, but it is the same scenery as before.
The garbage deposit outside the village entrance has not been removed even now.
On the contrary, the amount of trash has increased slightly.
We entered the village, spoke a bit to the villagers, and we were welcomed kindly. We were led to the place of Grandma.
Being slightly annoyed by how they are welcoming us kindly really reminds me that I am still young.
“It is the boy, huh. It has been a while since you have come personally.” (Grandma)
“The king of Taizu has told me to show myself as much as possible at negotiations outside of commercial ones too, you see.”
The objective this time around is to move artisans from Taizu to this village.
Exchanges with the capital have begun to happen, and it has enriched this village to a certain degree.
By exchanging rare products for daily necessities and food, we have given them more elbowroom to concentrate on other things aside from hunting and gathering.
But that alone isn’t increasing the quality of life in this village. And so, the plan is to increase the civilization level of this village by bringing in farming artisans.
If the food issues of this village are solved, the villagers will have time to put their hands on luxury products, and they would be able to make even more advanced trades -that’s the idea of Marito.
It is also because he wants to fix the issue of the villages in the territory always being behind times, but let’s not mention that.
Grandma agreed to this with the condition of not doing excessive reformation, so they are ready to receive them whenever.
“I shall prepare a dwelling for them as soon as today.” (Grandma)
“There’s no need to give them special treatment just because they are artisans. Please treat them as equals who possess knowledge. If they grow impudent, just report it to us with a separate messenger.”
“Even if so, they are people providing us knowledge. It is natural to show the bare minimum respect.” (Grandma)
The black wolfkins barely discriminate against humans if at all.
Despite the fact that humans and demi-humans fought on a daily basis in the era before Gold became a Demon Lord.
The Black Demon Lord must have been that much of a threat that they had to run to this place.
But the more I learn about the tolerance of the black wolfkins, the more resentment wells up.
The talk was mostly over and I moved to a personal talk.
“I would like to hear more about the parents of Wolfe.”
“Wolfe? …Aah, you gave a name to that, right.” (Grandma)
“We are calling her Wolfe now.”
“…I see. Its parents didn’t stand out much. They were normal black wolfkins.” (Grandma)
The strength of Ilias comes in part from her parents.
Ilias was born by the union of a cleric that defeated a Great Devil and the lieutenant of the Ragudo Division.
But the parents apparently didn’t have any such qualities.
Wolfe barely knows her age. There’s almost no doubt she is 15 according to our calculations, but…we should prepare a birthday for her separately.
“What happened to the grave of Wolfe’s parents?”
“They have been buried in the same place where the graves of our tribe are. If it is you, boy, you should be able to tell immediately.” (Grandma)
“…They gave birth to a Blight Child, so I thought that you would desecrate their graves too.”
“The perception of the villagers have changed after that matter with you, boy. They have been cleaned up now.” (Grandma)
“I see… Sorry for making you sensitive.”
So I will tell them apart because they have cleaned them up after around 15 years of ignoring them, huh.
“By the way, boy, there’s something I would like to talk with you about.” (Grandma)
“What is it?”
“Can you return it to us?” (Grandma)
The first one to instantly react to this was Ilias.
“I am impressed you can—” (Ilias)
“I understand what you are trying to say. That’s why, sit. The one who was spoken to here was me.”
After soothing Ilias, I sighed lightly and faced Grandma.
“I would like to hear your reasoning first.”
“…Just as you said, it has grown into someone that has without doubt been gifted by the heavens. According to the accounts of the people who have gone to see how that is doing, it has grown tough to a degree where there’s none of the shadow of its previous self. We have admitted our mistake. We want to welcome that as one of us. I am sure it will become a hero for our village.” (Grandma)
Ilias is making a face as if screaming she wants to say something here. It is not like I don’t get her when thinking about how they treated Wolfe.
“And so, you want me to return Wolfe…huh. It is not like I am forcing her to stay. It is true that Wolfe is from this village. You are free to negotiate with Wolfe, and I have no right to interfere.”
“Then, you tell that too—” (Grandma)
“Doing that or not is also my choice. I have decided to teach Wolfe a variety of things. I have provided Wolfe with the strength to decide on her own. If you truly want Wolfe to stay in this village, do the convincing on your own.”
“So you have no intention of cooperating.” (Grandma)
“If I were to think that’s the best choice for Wolfe, I would initiate things to a certain degree. However, I thought the chances of that are slim with just the fact that we are having this conversation to begin with.”
There’s no need for further talk. At this rate, I will end up being the one getting emotional instead of just Ilias.
Ilias stood up too and we headed to the exit.
“Boy, I said we have reflected and would accept that. Can you please tell us what it is we lack?” (Grandma)
“She is not ‘it’, ‘Blight Child’, or ‘that’; she is Wolfe. As long as you are desiring the power of Wolfe and not Wolfe herself, I won’t feel like cooperating.”
Ilias sighed heavily the moment we left the house of Grandma.
It seems like the strength on her shoulders went away with that too.
“I am impressed you managed to endure. Good job.”
“Don’t treat me like a child. Also, the energy to shout was taken away from me after looking at your eyes.” (Ilias)
“Eh, did they change?”
“Grandma faltered a bit by this, you know?” (Ilias)
It is not like I was conscious of it, but I must have gotten emotional.
Showing confrontational eyes unconsciously is not good. I am not a child after all.
“But we are talking about you here. I thought for sure you would torture her ingeniously though…” (Ilias)
“Aren’t you mistaking me for some sort of inciter? I have the responsibility to look after Wolfe as the one who saved her from a terrible environment, but I have no intention to tie her life down. I will leave the decisions to Wolfe’s life to Wolfe herself.”
“I feel like Wolfe would be fine with that if it is for your sake though.” (Ilias)
For Wolfe, I am her benefactor; the one who saved her from a life of loneliness.
That’s why she would listen obediently to what I say and would endeavor to help me out in anything.
But that’s because she still doesn’t know the vastness of the world.
Once she learns about the world and finds a new thing she would want to do, I am sure she will show desire on that side instead.
She will try to pay me back with everything she has until then, so it would be great if I can get her to obtain as much beneficial experience as possible before that time comes.
If she can’t find a new objective… When that happens, it happens.
“If Wolfe is feeling happiness from being with me, there’s no need to forcefully deny it. I will take it easy as I let her learn about other paths.”
“Your origins are not that easy to overturn. I just hope it won’t be pointless trouble.” (Ilias)
“What are you saying? Life is filled with pointless things, you know? That’s what makes it good. Hard work becoming pointless is not good, but there’s only a few things in life that are inevitable. Even if tasty food, drinking booze, and having chit-chats with good friends is not necessary in becoming a great knight, you don’t think they are bad, right?”
“That’s…well, true.” (Ilias)
“Even if the present becomes pointless for Wolfe, it is my duty as her guardian to look after her and make sure that when she looks back on those memories, she will think they were not bad days. I will have you help out too, just for your information, Ilias.”
“Count me in.” (Ilias)
We were talking about this while heading to the entryway of the village and an explosion suddenly rang in the village..no, in the whole forest.
We soon ascertained the source of the sound. It is the garbage deposit outside the village.
The one there is Wolfe.
It was clear at a glance what happened just now. The garbage deposit that was there when we entered the village has been blown up clean.
It goes without saying who did it. It was clear by seeing the reaction of the black wolfkins around too.
“Ah, Shishou! Did you finish your business?” (Wolfe)
“Yeah, it seems like you are done with yours too.”
“Yes! It is important to clean up after yourself!” (Wolfe)
Wolfe showed a worryless smile despite being in front of the village where she had nothing but painful memories. She must have settled matters internally.
That was a pretty violent settling of matters, but…well, it was a garbage deposit anyways, so it should be fine.
I pat the head of Wolfe as me and Ilias looked at each other’s faces.
It seems Ilias is thinking the same.
“Wolfe, we heard about the place of your parents’ graves—”
“I went there just now. It is okay!” (Wolfe)
“I see. That’s fine then… Let’s go back.”
This place is at least not a place Wolfe considers as somewhere to return to.
I must protect her somehow, at least until the day Wolfe can protect the place she desires by herself.
“Hey, Wolfe, it is fine with the village, but how about being kinder to Cara-jii?”
“I will consider it!” (Wolfe)
“Yup, sounds like a hopeless case.”
Cara-jii, I don’t think that kind of relationship is bad either, yup.