Arifureta - Chapter 299
Arifureta After III Tortus Travel Journal ③
After Randell burned his fighting spirit toward his second springtime of life while running away to somewhere, Liliana showed around the group inside the palace.
Luluaria who was making preparation in great hurry would also finished soon around this time, so they didn't go as far until the capital.
Hearing that the knights were doing morning training in this timing, right now they were heading to the training ground especially because of the request from Shuuzou and Koichi knowing that they would be able to see real knights of another world.
「The army of the kingdom in general is classified into soldier division, knight division, and magician division. Among the knight division, there is even more classification into kingdom knight order and imperial guard knight order. Right now it's the kingdom knight order that is practicing in the training ground.」
Liliana was talking about such thing while on the way. The tour guide Yue was resting. The reason was because she had no knowledge at all about something like the organization of the kingdom's army. She had zero interest about it.
The parent~s were listening to the story with deep interest while going 'I see I see'. Their digital cameras were already standing by. They were fully motivated to take photo together with the knights.
Sumire was asking Liliana with a gaze that was strangely filled with expectation.
「Lily-chan, is there female knight too ? Or perhaps, it's completely a male occupation as expected?」
「Of course, there are also a lot of female knights. Or rather, the current knight order's captain is a woman.」
「Myy-! Is that so!」
「Hou, a female knight order captain huh......hmm」
Sumire's eyes were shining extraordinarily with expectation. After her Shuu was also making an expression that was excessively filled with expectation.
Hajime was turning a ve~ry exasperated gaze at his parents who were like that. He was their son so he understood what they were thinking. They must be wanting to make a female knight said 「Kuh, just kill me!」 anyway.
Kirino was opening her mouth with a voice that was filled with expectation, but from different point of view.
「As the captain, her strength must be number one in this country too isn't it? Amazing. ......I wish to have a bout with her by all means.」
「Okaa-san. Restrain yourself okay? If not I'll cut you down you know?」
Shizuku was directing a ve~ry exasperated gaze at her mother who served poison when Hajime came to play at their house (at least, it was nonlethal) or trapped him with a lot of playfulness. She understood what she was thinking because she was her daughter.
Hearing Kirino's words, Liliana made a bit of wry smile.
「The person herself is frustrated that her strength still hasn't left the immature level though. In the first place, she was the head of my exclusive royal guard, so her strength is more than enough but......her predecessor might be just too great.」
「Hou, so the predecessor is that strong? I wish to meet that person too by all means.」
Shuuzou spoke his hope in the same line like Kirino. But hearing that, the expression of Hajime and everyone immediately clouded.
Especially Liliana and Kaori, and then Shizuku and Aiko. Their expression looked sad, lonely, or perhaps nostalgic......many emotions were contained complicatedly within their expression that couldn't be expressed by few words.
Starting from Shuuzou, the parents who didn't know about the circumstance made dubious face. But, they immediately guessed it somehow.
In order to change the atmosphere that became slightly tense, Hajime opened his mouth while getting a slightly distant look.
「Meld Logins. The previous captain of the kingdom knight order. The man who worried himself sick almost as much as Lily, no, in a sense it was even more that Lily, he was thinking of us students who were summoned here. In the term of pure sword skill, until the very end even Amanogawa whose spec as hero was cheat level wasn't a match for him. He was a man who was authentically the kingdom's strongest.」
He was a splendid man without compare whether in spirit, personality, or strength.
Those words of praise were without exaggeration.
Even Sumire and Shuu were holding their breath in surprise at Hajime's rare words and attitude.
Kaori and Shizuku continued after him while immersing themselves in memory.
「For us, he was a person who was like a big brother whose age was slightly separated from us. He was reliable, and when he was at our side we could feel really assured.」
「For us who didn't know left from right after getting summoned here, he was our heart's support. Not just Kouki, I too am wondering whether I can match him in pure sword skill even now....... I wanted him to see, just how strong we have become.」
Aiko looked up to the ceiling while speaking with a small smile tugged on her lips.
「I was a bit jealous toward that person. It was like all the students were relying on Meld-san rather that someone like me.」
And then, Liliana added more words while looking straight forward.
「He was without a doubt, this country's pillar. Unfortunately, he lost his life in the middle of the terrifying scheme that assaulted this kingdom......even now, there are a lot people who idolized him, the man called Meld Logins. He is the one who is ’’a knight among knights’’, ’’the symbol of kingdom knight’’ they said. Even Kuzeri who was the present knight captain idolized him very much......」
She compared her current self with Meld. Because she knew about how large he was.
Shuuzou spoke his request once more with a quiet expression.
「If it won't be a problem, I wish to be allowed to offer a prayer in front of his grave by all means......」
Looking closer, the other parents also asked for the same thing if it was for the person who had done that much for their children.
Liliana's expression became a bit troubled.
「There is a hero memorial monument. But, previously the monument was in the style of being engraved directly onto the rock surface of god mountain but, it was lost because the mountain was destroyed like that, so right now a new hero memorial monument is in the middle of construction at the center of the capital. The name of Meld Logins has been inscribed there at the very least, will everyone be fine with that?」
「Mu? Is there no custom of cemetery or erecting individual gravestone in this world?」
「There is. Rather, that is the norm. In fact, the cemetery that got dragged into the capital's destruction has been repaired to a certain degree. We cannot neglect it after all......」
Shuuzou and everyone's expression turned dubious once more hearing Liliana explaining with hesitant tone.
They could guess that Liliana surely attended to the maintenance of the cemetery in really early stage in consideration for the emotion of the living and their feeling that was grieving for the dead.
And yet, why was she unable to guide them to the graveyard of the people who sacrificed themselves for the country......
Shuuzou and everyone tilted their head in puzzlement. The one who gave them the answer was Hajime, the cause of it.
「As expected, there is still not enough leeway for them to repair the graveyard that has no bodies in it while putting off the reconstruction of the capital. When the reconstruction of the capital has progressed to a certain degree, the gravestones for those people should be next in line.」
「No bodies? That's......I see, so their body still hasn't been found. The removal of the rubbles is still――」
「No, it's because I turned their body into mince meat with gatling railgun.」
A painful silence descended. Even Sumire and Shuu gulped their saliva 「Nnguh」 hearing that.
The hearts of the parents were as one.
That was, 「Just now, you praised him as a great man right!? What do you mean you turned such person into mince meat!?」.
The parents were staring hard at Hajime hearing the shocking truth that was spoken casually.
Hajime went 「Aa~」. He was a bit at loss for words while speaking out the insufficient words――the shocking truth part II.
「Including Meld, a lot of the kingdom's knights and soldiers were already died and turned into manipulated puppets. The culprit was a girl from our class. Ah, Meld was killed by god's apostle though. Then, they were tenacious because they were already dead, so turning them into mince meat was the quickest and surest way. After all, that time Shizuku and others were attacked and fell into a pinch. So, well, the biggest reason was because Kaori got killed and I snapped though.」
「Wait a secooondd!? What do you mean that my angel got killed!?」
Tomoichi-san's eyes opened wide.
It was already shocking enough that a girl classmate killed a lot of soldiers and turned them into puppet, but getting told that 「Your daughter died once」 was a shock that Tomoichi couldn't overlook. Of course, Kaoruko was also losing her self-control, saying 「I, I've never heard of that! Kaori!」.
Kaori's gaze was darting around.
「Eeerr. I didn't say it because I thought that you two would just worry, but actually my heart got stabbed, like 'pusu-'」
The light Kaori-san who apologized 「Sorry I didn't mention it」 with an embarrassed laugh 'tehe-'. Kaoruko staggered on her feet before Sumire supported her.
Tomoichi's gaze was directed to Hajime, questioning him just what happened.
Hajime nodded deeply as though to say 'That's exactly like I feel'.
「Please rest assured, Tomoichi-san. Whether it's the god's apostle, or the guy who killed Kaori, I had properly murdered them.」
「Thank you very much! But, that's not what I want to ask right now!」
His beloved daughter who grew angel wings after missing for a long time before returning home. 'Don't tell me, she became angel because she had ascended to heaven once!? Any side effect!? Will she go back to heaven!?' Tomoichi demanded for explanation while getting half-panicked.
「Ca, calm down Otou-san! Okaa-san too, hang in there! I'm all right! See, it was Hajime-kun and others, they revived me back to life. Look, it was soul magic that I had showed before. Using that you see, certainly I got only my soul transferred into the body of god's apostle, but right now I'm living inside my authentic body, that's why, okay?」
「Bu, but there is actually angel wings growing......」
「That's from metamorphosis magic. I got Yue to cooperate to make it so I can turn into apostle even in my original body, that's all.」
「I, I see......」
After Shizuku and others also explained together about the detail of the situation of that time, the shock from the incident ’’Hajime-san turning someone he respected into mince meat’’ somehow got settled down too.
Sumire and others looked at each other's face, their expressions were clouded from realizing anew that the situation was just that terrible at that time.
「However, Hajime-kun. From Shizuku's story, at that time that devil race army were invading in great number right? It's amazing that this kingdom was safe while the classmates were in such situation, where even Kaori-chan was in that kind of danger.」
'I had heard the story to a certain degree but......', Koichi groaned while stroking his chin.
After going back to earth, Shizuku talked about Hajime in order to narrate the heroic tale, so he had learned of the method that Hajime took, but when the story of a person that actually died got mixed into it, it felt even more real. Because the feeling of realness was appearing like that, the story about how Hajime repelled an army of ten thousands felt even more unreal instead.
「Hmm, then how about thou hath a look?」
Tio took out some kind of small crystal plate from her Treasure Warehouse. Its size was exactly the same like an SD card, but its material was an ore that was like water colored crystal.
This was a medium artifact that recorded the image of the past that was projected using regeneration magic.
Tio set it into her own smartphone. And then, she operated it with a practiced hand movement and projected the image into empty air like a hologram.
「The image of the training ground at that time wouldst be a bit too stimulating, so I will project it from when Goshujin-sama repelled the devil army.」
The projected scene――the orb that Hajime lifted up shined brilliantly, then right after that, a pillar of light was fired from the sky. The world was dyed white. The impact shook the atmosphere, it felt like it could be felt even from through the image.
The monsters running about in panic. The devils who were looking dumbfounded at the approaching light pillar.
Everything got *chudon* altogether.
The devil army was vanishing, as though an eraser was rubbed on a paper that was lightly painted out using pencil. Everyone's face was twitching watching that.
「I, it's truly a magnificent CG huh?」
Tomoichi-san tried to escape reality.
「It's live filming though?」
Tio-san thrust the reality forward.
The parent~s leaked out weird moan 「Uboa」 altogether.
「Hajime! Don't use it on earth okay! Absolutely don't! Promise Tou-san! You absolutely, absolutely must――」
「Nagumo Shuuu!! That's why I'm telling you to stop speaking jokingly! It's seriously not funny at allll!」
As expected from the demon king's papa-sama. Even after seeing a scene of nearly ten thousand monsters and devils got erased with his own eyes, he was a man who would still run a gag. It wasn't funny just as Tomoichi said, so he grasped Shuu;s collar and shook him back and forth.
The atmosphere that was stiffening from the continuous shock was slightly loosened by such act of the two.
Hajime gazed at Shuu and Tomoichi who were quarreling and he made a slightly grateful smile. It was a faint smile, but it seemed it was enough for Shuu and Tomoichi who glanced aside at him.
Shuu winked slightly, while Tomoichi snorted slightly and continued the quarrel.
「Ou. Tio too, thanks.」
「I think it's also not something to be intentionally showed though, Goshujin-sama.」
Hajime smiled at Yue who was looking up fixedly at him and he also thanked Tio who was acting just like he instructed through telepathy.
Yes, Tio showed the recording just now was from Hajime's instruction. As expected, he avoided showing the gruesome actual scene as it was in consideration of everyone's degree of mental tolerance, but he wanted to show Sumire and Shuu what he did even if just a part of it.
Because even though they were making ruckus of 'erlf, erlf', it should be certain that the two of them wanted to know about the path Hajime had taken.
And then, Shuu's speech and conduct was an implied message of 「It's all right」 to his son. It was the expression of his feeling as a parent, that he would accept his son properly and that he was glad his son would show that to him.
What was unexpected, was how Tomoichi too seemed to understand and got onboard with Shuu's conduct.
That must be the implicit declaration of his intention that said 「I won't reject you」.
Thinking normally, even if it was in an unique situation of being in the middle of war, putting aside the monsters, a lot of ’’people’’ were killed there.
No one would be able to blame Tomichi even if he showed even stronger refusal.
Looking closer, it wasn't just Shuu and Tomoichi, even Kaoriko, everyone of Yaegashi family, and Akiko didn't show anything like refusal.
Even if they showed him feeling of terror or refusal, Hajime wouldn't feel regret or necessity to change what he had done, he didn't even intend to, so he planned to silently accept it in case that happened but......
「Let me say my gratitude once more. Hajime-kun. I'm thankful that you brought Shizuku home. In that kind of situation, without you there, whether our daughter could be here at our side like this right now or not is......」
Following Shuuzou's words, Koichi and Kirino nodded at Hajime. Kaoruko and Aiko also seemed to feel the same.
「......No. I was only doing what I want to do.」
Hajime only answered like that with few words. Hajime wasn't an ally of justice. He didn't fight for any reason like ’’to save his classmates’’.
Everything was for the sake of forcing down all the unreasonableness this world thrust before him right from the front. Merely for the sake of showing that he wouldn't bend his knee or pull back even for an instant.
And so, being thanked for saving their child felt really uncomfortable for him.
「Hmph. What's with that face. ......For us, our child is the most important thing. The child of our family, Kaori, you brought her back home for us. That's why, I'm thankful as a parent. Just accept it honestly.」
――Rather than other people's death, our son's safety is far more important.
The words that Shuu once said right after Hajime went home were resurrected in his mind. Perhaps parent was that kind of person in the end.
Hajime thought that when he saw Tomoichi's displeased look that might be him hiding his bashfulness.
When his gaze looked around, whether it was Kaoruko, or Akiko, or Shuuzou, Koichi, or even Kirino, they all nodded with gentle expression.
Hajime awkwardly scratched his cheek while he answered「......Yes」 to Tomoichi's words.
A quiet, gentle atmosphere filled the area.
Their legs had stopped moving, so they resumed walking without anyone in particular prompting it. And then, Liliana opened her mouth to tell everyone that they would soon arrive at the training ground. She was going to speak with bright voice to change the atmosphere a bit, it was then,
「Everyone, over there is――」
A scream that sounded like it was piercing from the bottom of earth to the heaven resounded! It was a joyful yell that was like a beast overflowing with delight and zeal!
Shizuku leaked out「Ugeh!?」 voice that was unbecoming for a young lady.
Right after that, someone broke through the corridor's window and sprang out in front of the group. Even though that silhouette was wearing knight helmet and armor, it leaped up with unbelievable agility. That figure was exactly that of a Lupi○ dive!
「Onee-samaaa! I wanted to meet y――」
A single shout. Shizuku also leaped toward that person who was coming in Lupi○ dive. And then, she rotated midair and caught the head of the diving person between both her legs, then without pause Shizuku twisted her body to knock the person onto the ground.
「Hou! That's Yaegashi-style TaijutsuMartial Art - The Third Secret Technique――RyuugatsuiDragon Fang Fall!」
「Maginificent, Shizuku! Your skill improved again!」
「Oh my. Shizuku, since when!」
Her family was joyful. Even though this was where they should worry about the opponent who got her head struck on the hard stone floor with a force that cracked the surface.
「Hah!? Oh no. I unconsciously shot her down....... Wait you, are you okay?」
Shizuku was a bit flustered while addressing that person whose forehead was pushed down on the floor with her butt stopped moving in the pose of pointing to the ceiling.
「But of course-, Onee-sama! To be able to receive affection the first thing right after our reunion, it made me completely wet from the happiness!」
「Ah, right, as expected you're all right. ......I wonder why there is no damage......」
The female knight stood up in a flash as though nothing had happened. Her temple was just turning a bit red, but there was no sign that she was even concussed.
'This is only natural for those who are worthy to become a step little sister of the secret society ’’Soul Sisters’’!' She was making a face that seemed to express that, but if it was ordinary person their consciousness would undoubtedly get sent to dream land, or perhaps their forehead would split and blood would go *spurt~*.
'Just who in the world this girl is?' While the parents were puzzled like that, tour guide Yue-san whose turn finally arrived stepped forward.
「......Even this world is infested by the self proclaimed ’’stepsistersSoul Sisters’’ who idolized Shizuku as ’’Onee-sama’’. This is one of those vermins. Or rather, she is their representative.」
Just from that explanation, everyone immediately got it saying 「Aa, a stepsister girl huh」. Shizuku was bewildered saying 「You all get it with that explanation!?」.
「Muh, so Hajime-sama is also together like usual. ......Tonight is a night of new moon I believe.」
「Oi, rotten knight. So what if it's ’’a night without moonlight’’ huh?」
The female knight whistled *pyu~ pyupyu~* while facing aside. Hajime sighed at the stepsistersassassins who existed everywhere, watching vigilantly for an opportunity to prey upon his life no matter in which world he was.
Tour guide Yue-san gave supplementary explanation of the female knight's career history.
「......She was once a royal guard of Lily, but when there is a man who approach Shizuku, 'then it ain't matter whether they are his majesty the emperor or whoever!' She would attempt to cause abnormal status effect using darkness element magic as though to declare that. Demotion upon demotion was piled up on her, however, she is a valorous person with nonexistent sign of introspection. By the way, her prank magic is truly excellent.」
It was an unexpected praise from the prodigy of magic Yue. And then, everyone let out a dry laugh at such personality that was beyond help and her expertise in such good-for-nothing magic.
A certain kohaijunior-chan at earth was also like this but, it was a wonder why Shizuku's self-proclaimed little sisters were all nothing but people with strong peculiarity like this......
「Sheesh Shizuku, there are nothing but funny kids who idolized you isn't it?」
「Kaori-chan is also a funny kid in a sense after all.」
「Eh!? Koichi-ojiisan!? You thought of me in the same category with that person!? I'm plainly shocked here!」
「Oi Koichi! Don't lump my angel together with this kind of strange creature!」
「Just now, I got a feeling that I was disrespected very naturally by Kaori-sama and an unknown gentleman though......」
The female knight was slowly, gradually approaching Shizuku even while saying such thing. 'It ain't matter who is watching! I will dive into Onee-sama's chest no matter what!' Such desire wasn't hidden at all.
Naturally, Shizuku was also slowly backing away, trying to hide behind Hajime.
'Kuh, as expected there is no other choice but to bring carnage here huh', thinking that, the female knight glared at Hajime while entering battle preparation. She was going to activate a darkness element magic to make it so that a lot of flies would fly around annoyingly around the eyes, it was then,
「YOUUUUUUUUUUU-, WHAT ARE YOU DOING THEREEEEEE-!!」
The one who came running in full speed with a look that resembled Hannya noh mask was the present captain of kingdom knight order who was mentioned in the topic before this――Kuzeri Rail, that person.
From her intelligent eyes, her tight eyebrows and lips, she was undoubtedly a beauty. Her straight blonde hair was let down freely while it was slightly split to the left side from the center, but her figure when she brushed up her hair with one hand often fascinated the knights.
The demonic look of such woman gave a lot of impact. It was to the degree that Liliana who should be used to seeing it unconsciously raised a scream 「Hiih!?」.
The female knight immediately attempted an escape. But, the captain-sama showed an astounding acceleration! The female knight's escape route was cut off!
The female knight tried to further struggle in vain, but Captain Kuzeri launched a magnificent body blow without hesitation!
*Zudon-* Along with a sound that was like a cannon firing, the female knight's body floated. 「Uboa」 Such groan leaked out. Looking closer, the knight armor that should be of the highest quality was dented with a fist shape.
The female knight fell on her knees on the spot. Ignoring her, Captain Kuzeri faced Hajime and co with a pale expression. And then, she bowed her head in a flash with a vigor that made one wonder whether she planned to even head butt the floor.
「Everyone! My subordinate has been extremely disrespectful!」
The captain-sama looked as though 'I'm not gonna raise my head no matter what until I'm forgiven!'.
「Aa~, it wasn't like she did actual harm, and even if she tried there won't be any problem so don't mind it.」
'That's why you can raise your head', Hajime said as in the place of everyone else who was still looking with wide open eyes at the sudden happening.
Captain Kuzeri timidly and slowly raised her head.
「However, this is this fellow we are talking about. If Shizuku-dono is present with Hajime-done beside her, without a doubt she would try to attempt some kind of magic......」
「Well, you stopped her just before she could.」
「My deepest apologies!」
The head that was almost lifted up moved toward the ground once more in a standing dogeza posture. It was amazing flexibility she got there.
At this rate, it felt like the captain-sama who didn't do anything bad would continue to lower her head forever, so the other people also called out encouragingly to Captain Kuzeri unanimously.
Captain Kuzeri kept shrinking down in shame. Different from the broadminded Meld, it seemed she was a diligent and worrywart type of a person.
This time too, Kuzeri received a notice from Hellina about the arrival of Hajime and co along with their family to play. As the knight captain, she came here to give them brief greeting, but when she arrived, she found a subordinate who shouldn't be here, so then she charged forward while feeling stomachache.
After Captain Kuzeri who was pardoned greeted them respectfully, she faithfully asked for permission 「Please allow me to take a bit of time」, then she glared fiercely at the female knight who had recovered without anyone noticing.
「You, why are you here!?」
「Because Onee-sama is here!」
The female knight saluted smartly while sending a gaze that seemed to say 'Why are you asking such an obvious question?'. *Biki-* Blood vein emerged on Captain Kuzeri's forehead.
「I'm not asking that kind of thing! You, what about Kouki-dono!?」
Hearing that Liliana raised her voice 「Ah, now that you mentioned it!」. Hajime and co made a questioning expression, wondering what was the relationship between the female knight and Kouki.
Liliana explained it simply. So to speak, while Kouki was being active in Tortus, in order to silence the people who said various things about it, a knight would accompany him as an observer as well as support, and this female knight was the one who received that duty.
Everyone looked at the female knight, thinking that perhaps Kouki was also returning to the capital. But for some reason she looked triumphant and,
「I got the hunch that Onee-sama would be summoned soon, so I returned here independently!」
She said that. While sending a gaze that seemed to say 「I want to be praised, Onee-sama!」 toward Shizuku. An illusion of dog tail wagging around could be seen behind her.
「This stupid idiot!」
*Zudon-*, Kuzeri Blow exploded once more. This time it was a splendid heart break shot. A fist shaped dent similar like before was made in the armor at the heart position.
The female knight said 「My, my heart......it, feels like it will stoopp」 with pale face and staggered feet. The impact of the heart break shot seemed to cause irregular pulse in her heart.
「In other words, you left Kouki-dono behind! The current him will immediately act recklessly! I should have commanded you to support him attentively on top of observing him!」
「E, err, ca, captaiiin. My, my heart is......」
「Listen here, your duty this time was something Liliana-sama decided in consideration of you who kept causing nothing but trouble, so that you who are actually skilled and also accomplished won't need to quit being a knight!」
「I, I am thankful......bu, but, before that, my, my heart is......sto, stopp――」
「Even I don't actually want to fire your or anything. I know you very well since you still belonged to the royal guard. You are someone who can do it if you try. I thought that if you leave the capital to travel together with Kouki-dono and work for the sake of society and people, you will recover back yourself slightly. Even you yourself, weren't you brimming with motivation before departing, saying ’’I will bloom the second time at the central for sure!’’? That's why I――」
The female knight's face was pale. Foam was bubbling from her mouth, and light was vanishing from her eyes.
'Eh? Could this be something plainly bad?' Liliana and others were flustered. Even Hajime was saying 「I, is she okay?」 while looking alternately at the captain and the female knight.
「Eei! What are you doing sleeping like that! Listen to what I'm saying properly!」
*Zudon-* A second heart break shot for today. The fist shaped dent on the heart position became deeper.
At the same time, 「Gahah!?」 the female knight breathed again. 「Eh? Just now, I thought I saw Captain Meld desperately telling me to go back from the other side of the river......」 She then murmured something terrifying.
The captain-sama who could freely move and stop the heart of her subordinate cleared her throat once and then gave an order once more.
「Anyway, this duty is something important even for you too. If you understand, then quickly return to where Kouki-dono is!」
「I firmly protest, captain!」
「Because that bastard, he was loitering at the north mountain range area for three days without eating or sleeping you know! I cannot accompany that kind of man whose thought is filled with ’’holy precinct's monster absolutely kill’’!」
「You, do you understand the meaning of order? No one will recognize your rejection!」
「Respect of fundamental human right! It will!」
「Annoying! Who cares just go back! I'll fire you for sure this time if you don't!」
「Bring it on! I have resolved myself to follow Onee-sama from here on!」
'No, even if you resolved yourself like that I won't accept it you know?' Shizuku immediately insisted that, but the female knight only showed an unshakeable determination.
Seeing her like that, something sparkling was starting to gather at the corner of Captain Kuzeri's eyes.
「......I can't do this anymore.」
The dignified and strong knight order captain-sama's spirit was in the verge of breakin!
The female knight who threw out her chest stubbornly, and the completely exhausted captain-sama......
While a really odd atmosphere was ruling over the place, Hajime moved while letting out a sigh.
He confirmed something with the compass in one hand, then he approached the female knight briskly.
「Mu? What is it, Hajime-dono?」
「For now, not just the captain but Shizuku is also troubled with you being here, so go back to the mountain.」
A gate was opened. Hajime grasped the female knight's collar violently.
And then, the female knight who was bewildered 「Wha, what are you doing!?」 was tossed away by Hajime into the other side of the gate――thrown away at the air above the place where Kouki was at, the ’’north mountain range area’’.
From the other side of the closed gate, 「ONEe-SAMAaAAA-, II'LL BEe~ Baa~~CK!」 such shriek could be heard. But, it immediately became quiet.
「Anyway, I sent her to Amanogawa's place. Even if she returns here it will take a while. Well, look, those soul sisters bunch, I think you will be quite used to them if treat them while thinking that they are that kind of creature. So get a hold of yourself okay?」
「Ha, Hajime-donooo. I'm grateful for your consideratiooon」
As fellow people who were similarly troubled by soul sisters, Hajime spoke to Kuzeri with a bit of sympathetic feeling. For some reason Kuzeri spoke her thanks to him with tears of gratitude.
In front of Hajime and co who thought that she was a bit exaggerating, Kuzeri started talking while making eyes that looked like dead fish.
「Really, I really don't know anymore, just what should I do with her....... A knight captain who is toyed by a single subordinate, in the end can someone like that be called as captain? Besides, the reconstruction is currently going on so I have anticipated it but, dispute keep happening without end....... Besides my subordinates were also frenzied as though they were triggered by those, perhaps they were venting their emotion that they cut loose while in their day off, but they did it too much that complaints came from the people....... If they wouldn't change after I talked to them, I would beat them up thoroughly but, for some reason recently there were several people who got happy from that treatment instead....... How can they translate getting punched as ’’reward’’ in their mind? It's impossible for me to comprehend. Vice Captain Komold too, he would try to cut corners when I took off my eyes from him just for a bit....... And yet that guy only has popularity....... As I thought it's impossible for me to succeed after Logins-sama――」
「I, I see. I understand that you have been piling up various stress, so calm down a bit. It's no good if the knight captain cry in front of people right?」
「My apologies. I received kind words and consideration after so long so I unconsciously......」
Captain Kuzeri wiped her eyes clean with her sleeve.
Everyone's gazes were filled with a lot of sympathy. And then, Hajime naturally turned from Captain Kuzeri toward Liliana.
「To, to think that Kuzeri's stress is accumulating by this much......」
Liliana was letting out cold sweat saying 「Perhaps I worked her too much」.
Certainly, at the present situation where the reconstruction was going on, there was a mountain of problem even just within the kingdom.
And then, the knight order was dispatched to take care of a lot of those problems. Certainly it would be very difficult for Captain Kuzeri who was taking supreme command of the knight order. Simply beating up everyone just like in war time also wasn't a good thing to do. Especially when it was a problem related with the beastmen who they were finally able to start the process of tying friendship with, she would have to act considerately to deal with that.
「What about the bunch in the church? The new pope should be handling the situation well right?」
「......Right now he is in the middle of provincial tour. The lightness of his footwork, it's as expected from his excellency the pope of the reborn holy church but......」
「It's a bit too light huh......」
The pope whose role wouldn't be an exaggeration even if it was called as governing over the peace of people's heart was in the middle of a trip. Surely the pressure on Captain Kuzeri doubled from that. Perhaps her subordinates consisting of only broken people was also a factor that drove her to the wall.
Kuzeri who took command while fighting in the front line at that legendary decisive battle wasn't getting looked down by her subordinates by any means. Rather, they trusted her at the same level like Meld or perhaps even more.
In contrast of the macho ’’big bro’’ Meld, Kuzeri should be called as ’’big sis’’ who gave heartfelt consideration instead. A part of her subordinates was consisted of broken people perhaps could be said as similar like the soul sisters' attitude toward Shizuku.
Naturally, such captain that had attained deep trust like that from the subordinates was an existence that they kingdom couldn't continue without, especially right now when the kingdom's foundation wasn't solid.
Captain Kuzeri was too overworked in various meaning that she almost broke down, but if she actually broke down for real, then Liliana would have her soul slipping out from her body after that without doubt.
Seeing Captain Kuzeri who looked somewhat down and Liliana who was in a dither wondering what to say to such Kuzeri, Hajime scratched his head.
「Captain. I'll give you this. Even in this work environment that is like a black company, it should become a bit better with this. Don't lose against the soul sisters and the deviants......live strong.」
What Hajime offered was a broach with crimson jewel fitted into it.
Captain Kuzeri instinctively accepted it, then immediately after, her eyes snapped wide open because she felt her body getting light as though she was floating.
「It's an artifact filled with things like regeneration magic, soul magic, well, there are various things. Exhaustion recovery, mind stabilizer, limit break, regeneration acceleration, beautiful skin effect......there is no harm in wearing it.」
「I, I cannot receive such amazing thing!」
「It will be a disaster if captain snap and stop functioning right now. Just accept it without reservation. You can just think of it as the husband of your black hearted boss sending you refreshment in her place.」
'Who are you calling a black hearted boss!' Liliana almost raised a protesting voice, but she was the person in charge of the work environment that driven the knight captain that she almost burst into tears, so she held her tongue 'muguu'.
And then, the captain-sama who was gifted with a healing artifact......
She casted her gaze down while her hand kept grasping the broach tightly, and somehow her body started trembling slightly, then
「I offer my sword to you-! My lord!」
She said such thing unexpectedly while kneeling. Her eyes that were clouded from anxiety were sparkling bright.
Liliana complained 「Offering your sword like that is no good right!? Your lord is me you know!?」, but Captain Kuzeri's gaze didn't leave the demon king.
While everyone's gazes were concentrated to Hajime, Hajime showed a pondering gesture for a bit, then he suddenly took out the list he received from Hellina before this and began to jut down some kind of memo.
And then, he cracked a smile,
「Let's have talkinterview slowly next time. But for now, do your best in your job as captain.」
Kuzeri bowed her head happily, then she said 「Then I will return to my work! About the training, please, watch to your heart's content!」, gave a bow with briskness that was incomparable to when she first arrived before returning.
The dumbfounded Liliana suddenly returned to her senses with 'hah'.
「Eh, what's this? What is the talk that Hajime-san mentioned!? Don't tell me, you aren't satisfied with just Hellina, now you are planning to reach your hand to even Kuzeri!?」
「That sounds bad to other people's ear. I was just thinking to have conversation with her about change of occupati――cough-. About improvement of her work environment, that's all.」
「You said change of occupation just now! Where is Hajime-san planning to transfer her!?」
「You are misunderstanding I'm telling you. Well, it won't be anything bad for Liliana so it's fine.」
「For some reason I feel worried though......」
At this time Liliana didn't even dream that a few years later Kuzeri would change occupation into the demon king's maid at earth.
'Even at another world, black place will be black huh', Shuuzou and co made a bitter expression toward the tough world, while Tomoichi sent a sharp gaze to Hajime that said 「Are you planning to add more woman!?」, Sumire and Shuu were saying 「Damn it! We forgot to ask her to say 『Kuh, kill me!』 just now!」 in vexation, and Yue and co were sending puzzled gaze at Hajime wondering just what he was scheming this time. Amidst all those,
「Everyone, Luluaria-sama's preparation is finished.」
Hellina who came beside them unnoticed told them that.
「Nn-. Hajime-san, I will have you explain in full later okay? Well then everyone, I will introduce you all to Okaa-sama. Please come over here.」
After reminding Hajime firmly, Liliana guided the group toward where her mother was.