Chapter 20.1: The Land Where The Holy Dragon Lives
◆ Rox kingdom’s Knight, Rember.
「I’ll leave it to you then, lord Rember」
I bowed deeply after hearing the words of the king a while ago.
I’m a knight of the Rox kingdom. Hence, I have to follow the king’s order.
By no means, it was a gloomy order.
I walked along the street after leaving the castle. The street is bustling with life despite the dark sky.
Maybe everyone is busy since they’re preparing for the festival that will start tomorrow.
But, I don’t think that this festival will be a good thing.
After walking for a while, I finally arrive at the store which was my destination.
It’s a bar and dining store called 「White Scale Restaurant」. The one I’m looking for is there.
I went into the store. On entering the store, I can see many customers since it’s dinner time.
This White Scale restaurant is quite special within the Rox kingdom. If one were to ask the reason, it’s because the guests who come to the store are rather abnormal.
Almost all of the guests in this store are armed.
Demons are overflowing outside the city rampart, and many coming from the outside will at least have an edged tool with them, even if they’re just normal individuals. In the end, it’s just for safety when demons come out. Guests of this store are unlike normal travelers who keep regular weapons; they have their shield or armor which is nothing but the minimum requirement they need.
Still, they have toned muscles that are incomparable to those who live a normal life; they are the people who display their worth in a battle.
That’s what people call them.
If knights were the kingdom officials, they’re what you call as the private army. The defense of highways that connect the country with neighboring countries is an extremely important matter to all countries. The knights are responsible for exterminating the demons appearing on the highway.
But, the reality is that a knight, whose jurisdiction is limited by the so-called country, can’t protect the peace of the highway by himself.
For example, if the diplomatic relationships with other nations became tensed, it’ll cause economic problems.
In that case, people cannot be stopped from crossing the national border, and it is a difficult situation for the country to fulfill all demands needed while crossing borders.
That’s why the need for freedom fighters arose. They can act with more flexibility compared to the knights. Basically, the knights can’t sortie without the order of the king, but freedom fighters don’t fall under that category. They hear the requests of the other citizens, and they decide to act as fast as possible if they deem that it’s necessary. Knights can’t take actions without orders, and they only need to abide by their own country’s orders; freedom fighters would protect the other country as long as they determine it to be necessary.
And this White Scale restaurant is the gathering place for those freedom fighters. The people who have a request for the freedom fighters in the Rox kingdom normally come to this store.
Right now, almost all of the freedom fighters gathered in this place are those who have come due to the commission from the Rox kingdom.
the Rox kingdom has been performing a major cleanup operation against the demons in the vicinity of the city since three days ago for the sake of tomorrow’s festival. The cleanup work had also ended today. Thanks to them, the people arriving at the Rox kingdom don’t need to fear the demons for a while. The freedom fighters have gathered together in this shop after finishing their job.
I look for someone as I walk inside the shop. I could easily find the one I’m looking for.
At any rate, that man is huge with his outer appearance completely resembling a bear. His presence stands out in spite of being seated in the inner part of the store.
His back is facing my direction. So, I approach that man.
His age is just below thirty; he has a sunburnt face along with numerous scars carved on his muscle which definitely distinguish him from normal people.
Maybe because he noticed me approaching him, the man turned around.
「Yo~, isn’t it Rember? You’re as gloomy as ever, huh」
「And you’re as amazing as ever Gallios-senpai! Is your injury from yesterday already alright？ 」
「Yeah, more or less. I can move after being healed by healing magic from Nimri-sensei」
Gallios grinned from ear to ear.
It seems that he couldn’t resist it even though he was about to die. Could it be that people who become freedom fighters are actually not afraid of death？
Gallios is a freedom fighter who lives in this the Rox kingdom. He’s a former knight and also my senior. He almost died during the demon extermination yesterday.
I approach the table and sit next to Gallios.
There, I suddenly noticed that someone has been sitting in front of Gallios for a while.
His frame is feeble when compared to Gallios with a huge body frame.
I failed to notice his presence when I came due to Gallios’s overwhelming figure.
「So you came along too, huh. Good day, Kuro-dono」
I nod at him.
And then, I look at Kuro. He is a mysterious youth with a strange atmosphere that I never see in this neighborhood.
He has an extremely handsome face accompanied by his jet-black hair that would mix well with darkness. Those young girls won’t leave him alone as long as he dresses well.
But then, it seems that this youth is the quiet type.
I just happened to want to express my gratitude to Kuro for today’s matter. He has suitably appeared along with Gallios.
「Good day, Rember-dono」
Kuro also nods back while looking at me.
Kuro isn’t the same as the freedom fighters in this store.
It’s about the matter when I met with Kuro yesterday evening.
I heard from my sister, Gallios’s wife, that Gallios who left for demon extermination yesterday evening won’t be coming back.
There’re a lot of demons in the night. Moreover, humans who couldn’t see at night are as good as dead if they meet a demon outside the rampart. It’s the same even for a skilled soldier.
When I was hesitating whether I should search for Gallios or not, Kuro appeared with Gallios being carried by his shoulder.
It seems that around noon yesterday, Gallios received injury on his legs and fell from a small cliff after losing a fight against a goblin and an orc.
Though he managed to climb back, he became gloomy once he found out that he couldn’t move his legs. There, he met Kuro by chance who happened to pass that place.
My sister was extremely delighted after seeing Gallios safe and sound.
Just like that, Gallios was carried by Kuro to Nimuri-sensei who can use healing magic for treatment.
Kuro’s body is the slender type. It’s definitely not the type of body which that could carry Gallios, the man with a gigantic build that’s probably the biggest in the kingdom, on his shoulder while traversing the forest road with almost non-existent trails. According to the story from Gallios, they neither met with any accident nor lost their way while walking in the dark forest in the evening.
According to Nimuri-sensei, Kuro may be capable of using night vision magic. In short, this youth called Kuro might be a magician.
When I think of it from this perspective, I could accept the fact that he can walk in the forest while carrying Gallios with a much bigger build than me. Maybe he was using some kind of mysterious magic to carry Gallios.
The existence of a magician is precious. If Kuro is a magician, I definitely want him to reside in this kingdom by all means. Currently, the only one who can be considered a magician in this kingdom is Nimuri-sensei. Though the female doctor who settled in this city two weeks ago seems to be able to use a bit of magic, it seems that her ability isn’t enough to be termed as a magician.
Gallios couple is the one who will be taking care of Kuro, their savior, during his stay in this kingdom.
Since Kuro didn’t fuss about luxury, it’s pretty easy to take care of him. No, from what I could see, Kuro preferred simplicity. Even now, the two of them just ate common food. In contrast to Gallios who drinks ale, Kuro has chosen the herb tea. When the Gallios couple tried to give him liquor to show their gratitude for saving Gallios’s life, it seemed he didn’t want to drink it since he is still a misenen. [TL: I’ll leave “Misenen” untranslated for later chapters] [ED: I guess ‘misenen’ means ‘underage’]
Though I didn’t know what this misenen thing is, could it be that it is some kind of discipline that needs to be mantained by him?
He behaved like those ascetic monks.
When I think about it, there’s no gap even in the way he walks, maybe he is in pursuit of something.
Today noon, Kuro tagged along with the other freedom fighters to exterminate the demons. I, who also participated in it as the knight of the kingdom, realized that Kuro’s battle style was splendid. It never came to me that he could fight by only using a small sword. Even if, for example, he used magic, I don’t think he could make that kind of maneuvers. From the way he carried himself, maybe he learned martial arts from somewhere.
Not greedy, can use magic, and also a combat expert, I could say that he is the most suitable person for the current duty.
「By the way, what is the matter that brought you here now, Rember？ You’re currently not off duty, right?」
Gallios asked about my business.
Though the maintenance of the public order inside the rampart is managed by the palace soldiers, if necessary, some knights may end up guarding the palace. Strictly speaking, I should be in the palace right now.
「In fact, there’s something that I want to ask to you, Gallios-senpai…」
Thus, I tell him the reason why I came here.
「Hou, from your face, it doesn’t seem to be a trivial matter. Fine then, I’ll inform everyone about it」
Thereupon, Kuro stood from his seat.
「If it’s such a complicated matter, shall I leave for the time being？ 」
Kuro is being tactful in consideration for us.
「No, this is something that I wished to ask to Kuro-dono, too….」
「Me too？ 」
After I say so, Kuro sits down on his seat again.
Kuro is displaying a curious face.
But, I continue talking without minding it.
「I want to ask you to become a certain person’s bodyguard」
「Yes, those certain people suddenly decided to come to this kingdom. And I received an order from His Majesty to become their bodyguard, but I feel anxious for doing it alone. That’s why I want to borrow senpai’s power」
「Certain people？ Somebody like royalty of a different kingdom？ 」
I shake my head in denial after hearing what Gallios said. When I think about the people who will come in the future, they’re more than just another kingdom’s royalty.
「No, they’re not, but comparable to that」
「Huhm. Who is it, then？ 」
Gallios is asking with a puzzled voice.
「To be honest, the one who will come tomorrow is the hero, Reiji-sama, and his wives… Eh, what’s the matter, Kuro-dono！ ？ 」
Suddenly, Kuro spurts out the tea in his mouth.
The spurted tea sprayed right on Gallios’s face.
「I… I’m sorry Gallios-dono….」
Kuro apologized to Gallios.
「No, it’s okay, but… What’s the matter, Kuro-dono」
Gallios and I are surprised to see Kuro’s behavior. Kuro’s current state isn’t normal.
「It’s nothing, I just choked… My apologies… Please continue the story」
Kuro apologizes while coughing lightly.
「Yeah, back to the story, why did the hero come to this place? Is he going to sightsee the festival that starts tomorrow？ 」
Gallios asks that question while wiping his face with a cloth.
「It seems that is the reason, but… Gallios-senpai. You know about the hero Reiji-sama’s injury, right？ 」
「Yeah, he was defeated by an extremely powerful dark knight. I thought that no one but a god could injure that hero, but the world is vast, huh」
「I did think so, too. Thereupon, Reiji-sama will be coming to bath in the hot spring in this the Rox kingdom to heal the wounds inflicted by the dark knight」
This the Rox kingdom is famous for its hot spring. The main source of income for this kingdom is that hot spring.
「Thus, I request the two of you to become bodyguards for the hero」
I look at their expression.
Gallios and Kuro had complicated expressions.
「Uhm, Rember-dono. Why do we need to protect them？ Rei… I mean the hero-sama-tachi are already extremely powerful」
It seems Kuro also knows the matter about hero-sama, so it’s natural for him to be aware of how powerful the hero is. In the first place, finding someone who doesn’t know about the hero is a difficult task.
「Certainly, your question is natural… Save for those gods, the only one who can harm hero-sama-tachi might be just that dark knight, right?」
「Then why？ 」
「In fact, you’ll be bodyguards in name only; your actual job is to keep those guys with strange thoughts toward the hero’s wives away, you know…」
All women on hero Reiji’s side are beauties. Thus, someone with strange thoughts might appear again.
There was a great disturbance when a guy who tried to do something strange appeared during the hero’s previous visit.
「I cannot let them displease hero-sama-tachi. I can’t let the rampart to become wrecked even further, you know…」
I convey my real intentions.
「No, somehow, I can understand your reason…」
Gallios nodded his head. It seems Kuro’s also guessing something.