In the dormitory room specifically prepared for officials working in the royal palace like Seiichirou, there was now another man with him who clearly did not belong there.
After the banquet last night, Seiichirou had gone to work in the morning as he always did. Or rather, he arrived at his workplace even earlier than usual and proceeded to bury himself in even more work than normal.
Due to the sudden and unplanned business trip—otherwise called the expedition—he would be taking part in, he thought it prudent to finish up any of his remaining work as quickly as possible with whatever available time he had left before leaving. It was also important that he prepare a guide for his colleagues to manage the accounting department during his absence. Another task he had to do was prepare the budget proposals to cover both the expenses for the expedition and post-expedition processions.
The actual journey itself would take place in three days. Altogether, it would be a six-day trip. The transport for the expedition would consist of horses and carriages. Horses were to be changed out and carriages checked for damages at a city midway to the final destination; the same would be done again on the trip back.
Looking at the paperwork now, there were even more participants than what Seiichirou had managed to glean from the banquet. That was mainly due to the increase in the number of people who wanted to support the king and his subordinates and were subsequently forced to participate as well. As it turned out, there were also more officials who had been chosen apart from just Seiichirou.
Well, as long as I’m taking part, I’ll try to make use of this opportunity as best as I can, Seiichirou thought to himself as he reviewed the list of participants. The upcoming expedition was nothing trivial, after all.
Though he had been ahead of his work before the banquet, the unanticipated changes to the expedition had now left Seiichirou with tons more tasks left to complete. There probably would not be enough time for him to finish everything before they set out.
Because of all that, Seiichirou had planned on working as soon as he got back to the dormitory following the banquet, but he ended up getting lectured by Aresh for the remainder of the night. He was not even able to strike a bargain with the magic department as he had originally planned. 1
He had even tried to work during lunch hours, but ended up getting dragged to the dining hall by the half-crying bastard child of the king. Once there, another troublesome nobleman refused to release him until the end of the lunch period.
Adding further insult to injury, the knight commander returned to pick Seiichirou up after the royal office hours were over, as he often did.
Like always, the accounting department was in an uproar when Aresh made his entrance. In order to spare his pride, Seiichirou had promised to meet Aresh outside of the department office. However, that agreement was something even Seiichirou was unable to keep as he was too heavily engrossed in his work, which resulted in Aresh standing in front of his desk again. The knight commander said nothing, choosing to snort condescendingly at him instead.
Hence, Seiichirou was once again encouraged to return home on time. Although he could have resumed his work after he entered the dormitory, it was highly likely that Aresh would be joining him to reinforce the barrier, just as he had promised he would until it was no longer necessary. Still determined to finish his work before the journey to the Forest of Magic, Seiichirou secretly drank bottles of supplement once Aresh finally left him alone in the evenings.
Two days passed this way without much consequence, and now it was the final day before the expedition. In order to better prepare for the journey, many of the participants had been granted the whole day off.
Unsurprisingly, Seiichirou was not one to waste such a golden opportunity and brought as much of his work home as he could to spend the entire day working as happily as he pleased.
Aresh, who later came to visit to administer the official’s treatment, was not amused by what he saw. He glared coldly at Seiichirou with hardened amethyst eyes.
“What are you doing, Seiichirou?”2 Aresh asked, pointing at the desk where Seiichirou was working.
Several pieces of paper were scattered all across the wooden surface, which only heightened Aresh’s suspicions that the accountant was doing something he should not be.
Despite how it looked, Seiichirou had entrusted some of the remaining work that he was not able to finish to his colleagues in the accounting department. Now though, he was in the middle of preparing a new budget proposal and reviewing the list of items that were to be used during the expedition.
“The director has allowed me to take these documents home so I can review them today.”
Of course Seiichirou knew exactly what Aresh had meant by his question, but the royal official willfully chose to play dumb on purpose. That clearly touched on the knight commander’s nerves in a way he did not appreciate.
“You little—! To think you volunteered to take part in this expedition…! You’re going to such dangerous place with a body as fragile as yours, yet you decide to spend your last day off working instead of resting!? What the hell are you thinking!?” the knight commander shouted in frustration.
Although the dormitory appeared to be made of sturdy brick from the outside, the inside was mostly made of wood. The walls were not thick enough to prevent Aresh’s booming voice from being heard by every single one of Seiichirou’s neighbours.
To make matters worse, there was nobody in the kingdom who did not know or recognize this elite knight. He had even come to visit Seiichirou by unabashedly walking through the main entrance of the dormitory, invited or not.
From the corner of Seiichirou’s eye, he thought he saw a familiar looking blonde man peeking in at them through the slight opening of the door to his room.
“Are you listening to me, Seiichirou!?”
Seeing how Seiichirou was not actually paying any attention to him, Aresh angrily slammed his fist down on the desk. The harsh impact caused the old piece of furniture to vibrate and topple over a little bottle that Seiichirou had hidden out of sight. Damningly, it fell to the ground and rolled around loudly on the stone floor before it finally came to a stop.
“Ah…” Seiichirou began, “I can explain.”
But there was no explaining because it was a glass vial that Aresh knew very well. The mere sight of it caused his temper to worsen even more violently than before.
Nothing but the sound of Aresh’s loud voice could be heard coming from Seiichirou’s dormitory. The volume of it caused even the spiders in the corner of the room to run away in fright. Shortly thereafter, everything calmed down and only the gentle sound of Aresh’s incantations could be heard within the room.
Now Seiichirou was seated on his bed, held tightly in Aresh’s arms. Both of them were shirtless for the sake of Seiichirou’s latest treatment session.
It had happened like this: Seiichirou was caught sneaking supplements → Aresh had gotten angry → Seiichirou had gotten sick → Aresh proceeded to heal him with recovery magic → Both agreed to remove their shirts for the added skin to skin contact to help acclimatize Seiichirou to the magic cast.
This repetitive cycle was slowly becoming something natural for them.
However, Seiichirou was more flustered this time than any other for some reason. Perhaps it was because the deed had been done in his bedroom on his very own bed. But beyond that, Aresh’s visit was unsolicited in the first place. Hence, Seiichirou had not prepared his body or mind for this encounter beforehand.
“Do you still feel feverish?” Aresh asked Seiichirou, who seemed to be in a daze.
He was sitting on Seiichirou’s bed with his back leaning against a pillow on the headboard. In his arms, he held the royal official seated on his lap. Whilst leaning against Aresh’s broad chest, Seiichirou was able to observe the knight’s refined features more closely. His beauty was akin to that of a model. Seiichirou did not know if it no longer affected him as much because he had finally gotten used to being in such close proximity with Aresh or not, but he thought the knight looked younger when viewed from this distance.
“No, I’m okay now… May I continue working?”
“There’s no way I’d ever allow you to.” Aresh said, brushing Seiichirou’s sweat laden bangs away from his face.
Seiichirou, as expected, had another excuse at the ready. “But since I’m going to join the expedition, I need to be fully prepared for it.”
He desperately wanted to return to his desk and resume working no matter what. In return, Aresh let out a heavy sigh. He was truly exasperated from the bottom of his heart.
“If you want to be ‘fully prepared,’ then you need to prioritize your health first. You should know better than anyone that you can’t do anything well with a body as weak as yours.”
Seiichirou had been made well aware of that fact since the beginning. After all, without Aresh by his side, Seiichirou would have died long ago just from breathing in the miasma-tainted air of this world. Even a single scratch on his skin would have been as fatal as a stab wound.
That was part of the reason why Seiichirou had to get himself acclimated to magic by maintaining an intimate connection with Aresh. This time, his fingers were intertwined with the knight’s. Such repeated intimacy was causing him to develop increasingly complicated feelings. But this was all just for the sake of his work, right?
“Besides,” Aresh blurted out of nowhere, “I’ve already had a summary of the expenses for the Second and Third Knight Orders prepared for the expedition.”
“Huh?” Seiichirou could not believe what he had just heard.
This was the first time Seiichirou had been told Aresh was actually doing his job seriously. Even more surprisingly, it was one that involved paperwork. In pure disbelief, Seiichirou stared up at Aresh with wide eyes.
“Why are you looking at me like that…? Even I do my job from time to time; I just don’t have the papers with me today. I’ll hand them to you by tomorrow morning, so you can resume your work then. I only came here today to reinforce the barrier on you before the expedition. I was waiting for you to ask for it yourself, but you’ve done nothing but hide away with your work day after day…”
Suddenly, Seiichirou was hit with a sudden guilt. “I’m sorry…” he sheepishly replied. “I apologize for the inconvenience…”
For Seiichirou, he thought it would have been more efficient if the barrier was cast during the journey since they would be together anyway. That is why he thought today should be dedicated to doing as much of his work as possible before then. However, after putting some thought into what Aresh had said, they probably were not going to be together through much of the journey due to their vast difference in rank and position.
Perhaps Seiichirou was going to be in deeper trouble than he had initially anticipated.
“I’ll leave here tomorrow morning and depart for the expedition immediately after that.”
“Eh?” Seiichirou tilted his head. “You’re really planning to spend the night here?” 3
Since Aresh seemed insistent on a sleepover at Seiichirou’s, the royal official would absolutely be unable to resume his work. Or maybe not… What they were doing now was also important to ensure that Seiichirou could continue doing his work duties4 the next day.
“Are you sure it’s okay that you don’t go back home?”
“It’s not a problem. I’ve already finished packing, and tomorrow the knights will carry my things for me. I had wanted to spend the rest of this day with you, after all.”
Since Seiichirou also considered this a form of work, he suddenly and vividly imagined himself as a host whose sole purpose was to pretend to be on a date with his customer back in modern Japan. In order to dispel that particular thought, he opted to change the topic.
“Captain Ind—” Seiichirou stopped midway. As they were situated now, he was reminded of the growing closeness between them. It would seem unnecessarily cold to address the knight so professionally. “Sir Aresh, where do you live?”
Given Aresh’s position as a leader of knights, he probably lived in the lodging specially prepared for those serving the royal palace. Unexpectedly, however, it turned out that he resided with his parents in their home.
“You live with your family, huh…”
It was then that Seiichirou recalled Aresh was the son of a marquis. Personally, he did not understand how the caste system worked in this world since there was nothing comparable to it in modern Japan, but he believed Aresh’s family was likely very esteemed among other nobles.
“Sir Aresh, do you have any siblings?”
That particular question came about because now Seiichirou was wondering if it was normal for an adult with such a high-level position to still be living with his parents. Though he would never admit it, Seiichirou might also have been curious about the knight commander’s family just a little. Upon being asked something so unexpected, Aresh blinked in bewilderment, a gesture which only served to make him look younger than his years, almost like a child.
“I have two older brothers and one older sister.”
Then that meant this handsome, high and mighty knight commander was actually the baby of his family. Something about that brought a smile to Seiichirou’s face unbidden. Aresh, fully comprehending just what it was that Seiichirou must have been feeling after learning that kind of information, started to sulk. He tugged sharply on the royal official’s ear in protest.
“Serves you right,” Aresh huffed, still brooding.
Undeterred, Seiichirou asked another question. “Do they live with your parents too?”
“No, my sister is married, and my second brother has a house of his own.”
It could then be inferred that the eldest son would be the one to succeed the family. If that was the case, then it was a mysterys how someone like Aresh, a man with his own considerable amount of prestige, did not yet have a place of his own in which to stay. As if Aresh could read Seiichirou’s mind, he resumed his previous explanation.
“I do have my own room in the knight’s lodging, but my parent’s house is closer to the royal palace, so I prefer to stay there instead.”
So it would appear that no one could object to this young master’s demands after all. That peculiar trait of his might have been another reason why Aresh had difficulty managing his knights; he was too used to others doing everything for him. The sudden realisation of that caused Seiichirou to flash a teasing smile at the other man again. This time, however, there was no hesitation from the knight commander who pulled on his other ear just as roughly in admonishment.
“Ouch…! Stop that.”
“Hmph,” Aresh snorted in something suspiciously like triumph. “What about yours then?”
Seiichirou did not understand Aresh’s question at first, but then he realised he was being asked about his own siblings, or lack thereof.
“I have no siblings. I’m an only child.”
Aresh nodded astutely. “You do seem like one.”
It seemed like too blunt of a reply from Aresh, but unlike Seiichirou who had kept on teasing him about such a revelation, the knight did not appear to have any intention of mocking Seiichirou for his honesty. Instead, it was more an expression of his honest opinion towards the royal official. Seiichirou himself could understand how being an only child might have helped shape him into the person he was now.
When he was younger, Seiichirou had often been envious of those with siblings. Thankfully, it had not taken him long to see how his lack of siblings had made him happy in other ways. He had been fortunate enough to receive the entirety of his parent’s love and attention without ever having to deal with any sort of sibling rivalry to fight for it.
Now though, for the first time in a long time, Seiichirou felt it might have been better if he really did have siblings.
“But since I’m an only child, my parents…” he trailed off sadly.
Back in the other world, Seiichirou was often too busy with work that he rarely had time to meet with his parents. He had not even gone to visit them during the previous Bon5 or New Years holidays. Although his parents did not seem to care much about how he chose to live his life and knew that he was more than capable to take care of himself, he still wondered how they felt now that their only child had disappeared from their world altogether, what they would do and how they would choose to spend the rest of their remaining lives without him.
Someday, if it was at all possible, Seiichirou wanted to go back to his old world. Maybe then he could see them just once more, tell them that he appreciated everything they had ever done for him before it was too late.
At the same time, Seiichirou also wished that the property and belongings he had left behind could somehow be transferred to his parents. It felt like the least he could do for them if he was truly going to be unable to care for them in their old age.
Never before in his whole life6 had Seiichirou ever thought so deeply about his mother and father. It was then that both of them were overtaken by the weight of their reflective silence, almost as if Aresh was giving Seiichirou the space he needed to think about the life he had left behind, the parents that he had not seen or might never see again in this lifetime. Only when Seiichirou’s eyesight began to blur did he realise that tears had been pooling in the corners of his eyes. Aresh, who had remained quiet up until that point, finally opened his mouth to chant a spell in that ever beautiful and soothing low voice of his.
As always, Aresh’s incantation sounded pleasant to Seiichirou’s ears, calming even, like a song meant to gently serenade him away from his darker thoughts.
Today, however, Aresh’s spell went on for longer than usual, not that Seiichirou minded.
It sounds like a lullaby… Seiichirou thought to himself, his eyes slowly closing as he listened to the melody.
He felt warmth spreading all throughout his body, the sensation leaving him unsure if the heat was being caused by the spell or the newly revealed raw emotions still surging through him. His drowsiness was gradually increasing, making it difficult to keep his eyes open. Something warm trailed down his cheek as he shut them for the last time. Steadily, Seiichirou was enveloped by darkness. He felt nothing else but the press of Aresh’s warm lips on his own, kissing him softly before he drifted off to sleep.
Hasr: Pls tell whistle to draw furry Aresh. Or alternatively, you could participate in our 4th Anniversary art contest and make Furry Aresh for whistle~
“This lotion made of carbell extract will make your skin so smooth!” one woman said.
“Next, we’ll give you a massage with the marison oil!” another added, moving about excitedly.
“And this serum, made of the wonderful heinefawin, should be applied directly to the area under your eyes!” the third one insisted, already dipping her fingers in the liquid and putting it on in a hurry.
After they were finished, all three maids squealed with joy. “The dark circles under your eyes are now gone, Mr. Kondoh!!!”
Seiichirou could only sit quietly and wonder at the confusing situation in which he currently found himself. It had all started when he got news from his superior, Helmuth.
“The date of the Saint’s expedition has finally been decided. It will be held six days from today.”
While Seiichirou was reviewing the documents that had been given to him, he was relieved to overhear the announcement. Five days had passed since Seiichirou had urged the Second and Third Order Knights to hasten the expedition; it was a part of the compensation he had requested for the physical assault he had been subjected to. Indeed, it seemed that they had done exactly as they had been told, but Seiichirou silently wondered if there were any objections from the crown prince about this.
Nevertheless, the exact date was now decided, which was good enough for him. Now the only things Seiichirou had to calculate were the total loss caused by the miasma and the anticipated cost of the upcoming mission.
“Ah, before I forget,” Helmuth said as he turned towards Seiichirou. “In order to honor the launch of the expedition, a royal banquet will be held three day’s time.”
Seiichirou cocked his head at that. “Pardon me…?”
They had not made any preparations yet, but it appeared that it was already decided the kingdom would hold a banquet for something as trivial as this. Maybe it was to show the royal family’s involvement as one of the main driving forces behind this expedition and obtain approval from top guests and other wealthy aristocrats to help support the purification process now and in the future, or so Seiichirou thought.
The mental abacus inside his head automatically began flicking beads1 to calculate the probable costs required for such an elaborate feast. However, his superior had not yet finished speaking, which interrupted his computing.
“Since you are also heavily involved in the expedition, Kondoh, you are also invited to the banquet. I will end up having to attend the banquet as well,” Helmuth finished.
It would appear that even Seiichirou was being dragged into the royal family’s shenanigans. Since he had no authority to defy them, there was no choice but to go along with the order.
That explained why Seiichirou was now having oil rubbed into his face. Everything happening in this moment was all thanks to his lively coworker that currently sat opposite of him.
“This is your big moment after all, Mr. Sei!! At the very least, we need to do something about those bags under your eyes!” Norbert urged. “My mother will help you,” he had chirped cheerily. “She’ll order the maids to take care of everything!”
It was so easy to forget the fact that this air-headed blonde man was the son of a noble. Despite the fact that his usual mannerisms were little like those a nobleman was expected to possess, Seiichirou could not deny that Norbert had a strangely good-natured personality. Perhaps it was that Norbert had been lucky enough to be raised by parents who were not only nobles in title, but who also possessed “noble hearts” too. It was exceptionally unprecedented.
As soon as Norbert found out about Seiichirou’s required appearance at the upcoming banquet, the young master had suddenly shown up in the dormitory with three women of various ages all dressed in similar uniforms.
Shortly after their arrival, they had ganged up on Seiichirou.2 Makeup was put on his face, and he was dressed in brand new clothing—an elegant-looking tunic that seemed to have cost a fortune. When they were finished, he was dragged inside a large grandiose hall.
Seiichirou was not left alone by himself, however. Standing beside him was his cheerful colleague with his hair neatly combed rather than in its usual messy style.
“So, you’ve been invited too, huh?” Seiichirou asked, giving Norbert the side-eye3.
Seiichirou had only been invited because he was one of the leading figures behind the expedition. He understood that Helmuth was too simply because he was Seiichirou’s superior, but what he could not understand was why a mere office worker such as Norbert had also been invited. Sure, he was the son of a viscount, but Seiichirou thought it would only be appropriate if both his parents went; they should not have to bring their son along too.
Sensing the confusion in Seiichirou’s tone, Norbert took a moment to explain. “Oh, that’s because I’m actually a part of the royal family! They often invite me to these kinds of special occasions.”
Seiichirou stared at Norbert in pure disbelief. For a second, he felt his brow furrow. As soon as the words “royal family” were spoken, he wondered if he had misheard Norbert.
“I’m not kidding! Because my birth mother was of very low status, they couldn’t keep me in the royal palace and chose to put me up for adoption instead. Even so, I still have the blood of a royal running through my veins. That’s why I get to work in the royal palace after all and why they also invite me to all the fancy meet and greets too!”
Much to Seiichirou’s bewilderment, Norbert casually explained his royal lineage as though none of the darker details of it actually bothered him. To think that Norbert was serving in a place that was supposed to be his home… Clearly, he did not see himself as someone unfortunate.
“I see…” Seiichirou nodded with a sudden awareness. “I understand, Prince—”
Norbert quickly cut Seiichirou off. “Hey, whoa, no! I don’t have those kinds of rights in the palace! You don’t have to treat me like royalty!”
“No, it’s just that there are lots of things I would like to say about the royal family, and since you are a part of them, you ought to listen to everything I’ve ever wanted to disclose to a royal family member,” Seiichirou said, narrowing his eyes with unvoiced malice.
“Huh!?” Norbert squawked. “Are you serious right now!?”
While it was true that Seiichirou was shocked to learn Norbert was a member of the royal family, it did not change the fact that Seiichirou was still Norbert’s superior. Hence, Seiichirou could continue to bully Norbert4 as much as he pleased, just as he always did.
Several minutes passed, and it would still be a while before the king’s speech. Seiichirou, who had now been left alone by himself, was watching the guests drink and chat with each other inside the hall. 5
Looking around casually, Seiichirou saw neither Aresh, Yua, nor the crown prince amidst the crowd; they could be anywhere outside his line of sight in a place as packed as this. On the other hand, it seemed that no one really wanted to talk to Seiichirou, either because his position was lower than that of the other guests or because of a certain reputation he had cultivated for himself within the palace.
Well, perhaps except for one man. As soon as he noticed Seiichirou’s presence in the hall, he called out to the royal official.
“Seiichirou? My, you look so different today. I barely recognized you.”
At his arrival, the crowd had opened a pathway for the man to gracefully make his way towards Seiichirou. It was the prime minister with rose blonde hair, whom Seiichirou was very familiar with.
Today Kamil was also dressed in a formal wear that was more befitting for ceremonies such as this. His clothing was adorned with intricate embroidery made from gold thread, brazenly showing off its luxurious quality to all those nearby. As usual, the prime minister had donned his signature blue cloak to signify his high rank, but this time it was decorated with various jewels and aiguillettes6. Like this, Kamil looked even grander in appearance than ever before.
“Greetings, Prime Minister Calvader,” Seiichirou said. He had been practicing a new manner of greeting that was more appropriate for this world. Instead of bowing his head like he used to, he knelt down on one knee and placed a hand across his stomach, lowly presenting himself before the kingdom’s powerful prime minister. In response, Kamil raised a hand, silently bidding Seiichirou stand.
“Thanks to you, we can hasten the expedition,” Kamil said with a smile. “You have my gratitude.”
Seiichirou grew flustered at the praise. “No, not all… I think it’s thanks to you and the others’ involvement that we could make this happen. I don’t think I’ve done very much at all.”
While it was true that the expedition had been hastened at Seiichirou’s request and the kingdom was forced to comply due to their oversight of his well-being, it was but a mere request, nothing more. Seiichirou knew that it still would have required the efforts of other higher-ups to advance the idea for it to be made possible.
And although Seiichirou felt that he had done nothing, it was actually the result of all his calculations made concerning the amount of damage caused by the advancing miasma. Already, the estimated cost of the damages were increasing after six days of deliberation from the higher ups and thus forced them to consider hastening the expedition.
“I meant what I said. It is thanks to you that we’ve made to this far.” Kamil reiterated with a nod. It was obvious that he was proud of Seiichirou, much to the latter’s embarrassment.
After taking a long, hard look at him, Kamil finally chose to address the elephant in the room. “Nevermind all that, your complexion looks very good this evening. Those clothes… they suit you. You look handsome, Seiichirou.”
There was a smile on Kamil’s face, one that openly showed his newfound admiration for Seiichirou’s latest appearance. The royal accountant sheepishly returned the smile. Being praised by the most powerful man in the kingdom, who was also good-looking in his own right, akin to foreign actors, was a little overwhelming.
“I’m not used to this sort of thing, so my coworker helped me dress up for tonight.” Briefly, Seiichirou looked down at the elegant tunic he was wearing.
“I even had makeup applied to my face…” Seiichirou continued. “Three women took care of me throughout the entire process. Apparently, they are much more adept when it comes to things of this nature.”
It was true that Norbert had brought some very talented maids with him. They had done their best to give Seiichirou the makeover he so desperately needed, applying any product they had on hand in order to make him look as attractive as possible.
However, what actually made Seiichirou stand out was not the makeup or the fancy clothes, but the lack of his chronic fatigue, which always made him look sickly and undesirable in the eyes of others.
But just makeup and clothing would have never been enough on their own for a case as severe as Seiichirou. First, something had to be done about the tired aura that he constantly exuded.
To solve that, the maids had given Seiichirou numerous massages to both his face and limbs. As a result, his complexion had improved and his whole body felt lighter, showcasing another talent of those extraordinary maids. They had even managed to get rid of the bags under Seiichirou’s eyes, which was his most notable feature, by applying concealer to the darkened areas beneath them. That final step in the makeover process resulted in Seiichirou’s current appearance.
But even without all that, Seiichirou was still a handsome man in his own right. He had refined facial features, most notably his nose. Even back during his university days, he had been popular.
Unfortunately for Seiichirou, after being exposed to the harsh reality of the world as a working adult, his dedication to his career had given him the appearance of a “tired old man”, which had hidden away his true beauty for a very long time.
Thanks to the work done by those three skilled maids who regularly served nobles, Seiichirou now looked like a man of his age rather than someone older. He even looked like a man of higher standing, displaying both wealth and wisdom with his clothes alone.
Ever since Seiichirou had entered the hall, he did not notice that some guests were observing him from afar, witnessing his new look. To those who knew him, this dramatic transformation was stunning. Even Prime Minister Kamil, who could not help staring at Seiichirou, was affected by it, whether he realised it or not.
Seiichirou too, had made his own comments regarding the makeover. He had enjoyed the massages most of all; they were pleasant and left him feeling good all over. However, the concealer applied to his face made the areas around his eyes feel itchy, which made him self-conscious and uncomfortable. For now, the best he could do was take extra care to avoid touching his face and staining the clothes Norbert had lent him.
But more importantly than all of that, and in spite of Seiichirou’s troubles fitting in with such a high-class crowd, he had decided to attend this banquet with a purpose.
Even if it was not something he would have chosen to participate in himself, there might still be something to gain by the end of it. As someone who valued efficiency, Seiichirou wanted to make sure that opportunity did not go to waste.
Facing Kamil, Seiichirou cleared his throat. “Excuse me, Prime Minister Calvader. I have a favour to ask of you…”
“Hmm?” Kamil, curiosity piqued, lent his attention to Seiichirou.
But as the royal official was about to ask, he suddenly found himself too nervous while facing Kamil, who was still staring intently at him. In the end, Seiichirou was interrupted by someone else nearby who could not read the air around the two of them.
“Hello there, Prime Minister Calvader! Long time no see!”
The one who barged into their conversation was a portly man with brown hair, a beard, and flashy clothes with a high collar that stood upright. He looked to be around forty or fifty years old. The most noticeable feature on this unknown man was the long, purple cloak he wore that signified his rank.
That purple… If I’m not mistaken, it represents the Court’s Magic Department.
Seiichirou also took note of the length of the man’s cloak. He could infer that this gentleman was the director of the court’s magic department then.
Seiichirou took a step back and bowed to the newest arrival in greeting.
“Good job on the summoning ceremony, Director Zoltan,” Kamil said to the man.
“No, no, it was nothing! Still, I cannot deny that it was certainly a large-scale event that would not have been possible without the Court’s Magic Department otherwise!”
Though he had started off humble, the man went to boast about his department’s achievements in a loud voice, much to Seiichirou’s bewilderment. Just as he had postulated from the man’s overall appearance, he was indeed someone who possessed a large ego.
“Recently, the Court’s Magic Department has received a request to participate in the expedition too!” Zoltan proudly declared. “Unlike those Third Order Knights who merely provide the muscle for such a campaign, we in the magic department have greater knowledge and philosophy on our side!”
Naturally, as the Third Order Knights were also adept magic users, it made sense that the Court’s Magic Department would be competitive with them.
Despite his supposed heavy involvement in the summoning, Seiichirou had a hard time remembering if this gentleman was even present during the ritual. Perhaps this man had only recently gotten his directorial position through some other shady connection, or so Seiichirou suspected.
Regardless, he doubted that Aresh would even pay an ounce of attention to this man or his boisterous claims.
“Allow me to introduce this official,” Kamil said to Zoltan. “His name is Seiichirou Kondoh, the vice director of the Royal Accounting Department. He is an excellent worker. It’s thanks to him that we can carry out the expedition sooner than expected.”
After Kamil’s brief introduction, Zoltan looked at Seiichirou as if he had only just noticed the royal official’s presence now. Nevertheless, Seiichirou bowed to Zoltan in greeting anyway.
“Oh, so you’re the Saint’s…”
Seiichirou knew exactly what Zoltan was going to say, but the stout gentleman was unable to finish his sentence since it was a well-known fact that this royal official was under the direct protection of the royal family. With Kamil present as well, he must have deemed it wise to swallow the rest of his words and leave them unsaid.
“I’m pleased to meet you, Sir. My name is Kondoh,” Seiichirou offered in an attempt to diffuse the tension. Although it was clear that Zoltan was another person who thought lowly of him, Seiichirou paid it no heed. He bowed his head to Zoltan, still treating the latter with the utmost respect.
Zoltan only snorted in response. Seiichirou noticed it, but still, he did not react.
Because this man had a huge ego, Seiichirou figured it would be easy to persuade him to do whatever Seiichirou wanted. All he would need were some well-placed comments and a little praise to make Zoltan weak. The fact that this man was also the director of the Court’s Magic Department would save Seiichirou a lot of trouble if he played his cards right.7
Suddenly, someone amidst the crowd caught Zoltan’s attention. He rushed towards them and returned to Kamil and Seiichirou with a new person by his side. It was someone that Seiichirou did not immediately recognize.
Zoltan huffed at the newcomer with little restraint, “I can’t believe you’re fooling around in a place like this! Go and greet the prime minister, you fool!”
“I’m so hungry after being stuck in the laboratory for ten days straight~ And there are so many good foods here, too~” The one who appeared to be Zoltan’s subordinate casually replied instead of doing as he had been told.
This man was also wearing a purple cloak, but it was similar to Seiichirou’s brown one in both length and adornment, as it only covered one shoulder. The colour of his hair was an unusual blend of orange and pink.
In his hand, he held a plate containing some of the dishes being served in the hall, and there were bits of food clinging to his face, giving him a childish appearance.
It was immediately apparent that this man was the vice director of the Court’s Magic Department, judging from the cloak he was wearing. Though he sported a pair of downturned eyes, they opened wide the moment he set sight on Seiichirou. Then, something peculiar happened. He began rapidly fluttering his eyelashes8 at the royal accountant in a… weirdly flirtatious way.
Seiichirou was both taken aback and confused by the man’s behavior, but despite that, Seiichirou still lowered his head in greeting.
Although the both of them were the vice directors of their respective departments, Seiichirou had imagined that his counterpart in the Court’s Magic Department would be more enchanting somehow, perhaps more showy or mystical when compared to the otherwise mundane Royal Accounting Department. Moreover, Seiichirou was still a newcomer himself, so he was aware that his position was one of the lower ranks among those in attendance at the banquet tonight. Still, he thought he ought to address the other man with some sort of respect.
“These men are Prime Minister Calvader and Vice Director Kondoh of the Royal Accounting Department. Greet them properly!” Zoltan commanded his subordinate in a booming voice.
As ordered, the other gentleman straightened his posture, but instead of facing Kamil like one would expect, he turned to speak to Seiichirou directly.
“You’re from the accounting department!?” He looked at Seiichirou with stars in his eyes. “Please give me some money!”
Seiichirou pulled back in reflex. Then, with a frown, he shook his head curtly. “I refuse.”
In response to Seiichirou’s cold answer, the other man froze in place. A look of utter despair appeared on his youthful face. “But why~!?”9
Hasr: Huge thanks to everyone for their support and messages on kofi! You folks are the best! Hopefully, we can get the funds to Whistle in the next few days and make her ACTUALLY TAKE CARE OF HERSELF smh.
It was only minutes before Seiichirou came to that suggestion. Three days had passed since Seiichirou was treated, and he was finally able to get rid of those who would otherwise keep disrupting his work. Granted, all of that had come to pass only after enduring endless lectures about his unhealthy work habits from Aresh.
After work hours, Seiichirou had dinner with Aresh in the same restaurant they frequented as usual. When they were finished eating, Seiichirou found himself in a room at a nearby inn. He was not alone, of course. Aresh was right there with him.
During their dinner, Aresh had apologized to Seiichirou again regarding the crime his subordinates had committed against the royal official.
“I’m sorry. To think, I failed to protect you from my own knights.”
As Aresh had been the one to take full responsibility over Seiichirou’s well-being, the knight commander was greatly upset that the royal accountant ended up getting hurt as soon as he took his eyes off him and by none other than his own men. While expressing disappointment towards himself, Aresh bowed his head deeply to Seiichirou in apology.
Seiichirou was caught off-guard by this act of humility. “N-No, Captain Indrak, that’s all in the past! I don’t think it was even something within your control, plus I’m indebted to you for always taking care of me! Please, raise your head…”
There were no other guests in the restaurant then, but still, it did not mean that no one was present to witness Aresh, the commander of the Third Knight Order, bow before Seiichirou, someone who was much lower in rank. Only furthering Seiichirou’s embarrassment, Aresh’s former family chef and his wife could not stop gawking at the display.
“No…” Aresh shook his head. “It’s because I wasn’t a good leader to them. I managed them poorly. It’s my own fault.”
If he were honest, Seiichirou himself had not thought Aresh a very good leader after their first meeting, but he still would not have blamed the captain even if he should. It would have been neither right nor fair since Seiichirou knew Aresh had never been the one responsible for managing his own knights in the first place!
“It’s okay, Captain Indrak. I hadn’t expected you to do that anyway.”
Seiichirou’s only intention was to reassure Aresh, but it seemed that his crass words had the opposite effect and damaged the knight commander’s pride instead. Guilt was apparent on Aresh’s face. It was because of his lack of involvement that his knights had behaved as such. Having it stated aloud appeared to trouble him even more.
“Regardless of that, the bright side of all is that every single one of the knights will now comply with the accounting department’s guidelines regarding finances!” Seiichirou said in an attempt to brighten the situation a little. It did not work.
Aresh’s head was still hung in guilt. Seiichirou sighed. “Well then, Captain Indrak, if you really want to punish yourself that much over this, then you’ll need to accept something from me in return.”
“You want to give me something?”
Aresh finally raised his head, but there was a suspicious look on his face. This time, it was Seiichirou’s turn to furrow his brows in frustration. It seemed that Aresh was still unable to take Seiichirou’s efforts to repay him for saving the official’s life seriously.
“I want to compensate you for all of my treatments, including the one from the overdose I previously suffered. You had to use all kinds of magic in the most recent treatment too; I’m sure of it.”
Upon mentioning the care Aresh had given to him, Seiichirou felt uneasy. “I know that you’ve rejected my offers in the past, but please allow me to compensate you for all of the magic you used. You need to replenish your energy afterwards, right? At least, let me cover the cost of the trouble I’ve caused you. I really ought to this time.”
When Seiichirou had suggested this before, it was not said at the most opportune time, as Aresh’s treatment back then was merely about acclimatizing Seiichirou to the magic intoxication with which he had been afflicted. Hence, it was understandable that Aresh was less than pleased with the idea; it was as if Seiichirou was asking to pay for the sexual intercourse they had engaged in like an exchange that might happen with a common prostitute off the street. In other words, he had made Aresh feel as though he too was being treated like one. This time however, Seiichirou would finally be able to pay Aresh back by putting emphasis on the magic used to heal his life-threatening injuries.
But like before, Aresh still refused, though it was for a different reason this time. “No, it was my men who are the ones responsible for that…”
“But you still saved my life, Captain. That’s twice already.” Seiichirou countered the rejection and added, “Besides, you once suggested casting a barrier on me to protect me. I don’t know much about these sorts of transactions involving magic, but if you won’t accept my payment now, then all my efforts in getting money from your knights will have been for nothing.”
“Money from my knights…” Aresh croaked in surprise. “So that was the actual purpose then…”
Clearly, Aresh did not expect the monetary compensation that Seiichirou had demanded of the guilty knights. Did they even know they were paying for Seiichirou’s treatment all along? Though Aresh understood why Seiichirou wanted to pay for it this time; the cost for healing magic was incredibly expensive, especially for as severe a case as Seiichirou’s had been. Despite that, Aresh was still willing to treat Seiichirou for free, regardless of how much magic he was forced to use in the process.
In the end, the knight commander agreed to accept Seiichirou’s offer, but only to give the royal official a small sense of satisfaction. As long as Seiichirou still had enough money for himself, there was nothing else Aresh had to worry about.
With that now settled between them, Seiichirou and Aresh had made their way to an inn.
It was not a fancy one, but its room was well equipped and held a huge bathtub. Service provided by the staff was satisfactory as well, and it appeared the place was safe enough for two high-ranked officials to engage in an after-hours affair without any interruption. 1
“I’ve told you about the barrier before, but there are more things you should know before we begin. It will not only protect you from magic and mana, but also from a certain level of physical contact as well. In other words, it can protect you from physical harm,” Aresh explained, detailing the treatment he was about to give to Seiichirou.
The royal official listened attentively, and then he nodded. “That’s really convenient.”
For a magic spell to be so beneficial for the receiver, it was obviously a powerful one, hence only a few people ever had need of it. Surely, with Aresh’s exceptional talents, the knight commander would have no problem casting it; the real issue lied in Seiichirou’s ability to withstand it.
A larger amount of magical energy would need to be used to cast such a potent spell, and both men were aware of the issue of whether or not Seiichirou’s body could tolerate it. Thankfully, there was a solution to this problem, which Aresh took time to explain to Seiichirou.
“It’s possible for me to partially cast the barrier over a long period of time. I can cast one enchantment after another and layer them gradually. That should be safer than casting a full barrier on you all at once.”
To Seiichirou, it did sound like a wise solution to their problem. However, regardless of the reduction in magic used at any given time, he still needed to be acclimated after each spell. If Aresh had to repeatedly cast this barrier on him in layers for it to work, that meant constant acclimatization would be required too. 2
Seiichirou was unsure whether or not this approach would add more of a burden on Aresh, so in order to make things easier for the commander, Seiichirou thought up a plan of his own.
Resolutely, he looked Aresh straight in the eye. There was a very serious expression on his face.
“Captain Indrak, what if I try using my mouth?”
Now they were right back where they started.
Aresh was paralyzed in shock. Without wasting any time, Seiichirou proceeded to lay out the logic for his suggestion. There were a couple of concerns that had been bugging him even before this.
“You have given me two large-scale treatments to heal and acclimatize me, and I’ve barely been conscious for either of them. Personally, I don’t think this should be such a one-sided task.”
Seiichirou had been out of it due to the overwhelming magic intoxication both times and had essentially been unable to cooperate with Aresh while the knight was treating him.
To put it bluntly, Seiichirou felt he had been nothing more than a dead fish in bed during each of their previous encounters.
“I’ve been worried that my treatment sessions were unintentionally hard on you. I can’t possibly imagine you doing all the hard work for me when I am perfectly capable this time, Captain Indrak.”
Surely, when it came to penetration, it would be difficult to insert anything if the other party involved was unresponsive. Since foreplay before the act was next to impossible for them back then, the fully conscious partner would have had to prepare both themselves and their intended single-handedly. It would also have been hard to loosen an unconscious partner up, let alone move inside them with ease. On the contrary, Seiichirou’s personal theory was that acclimatization did not necessarily need to involve penetration, that he might still be acclimatized just as well as long as intimate physical contact was involved.
In addition to that, the magic used to cast this protective barrier was going to a much smaller amount than usual, so Seiichirou should experience less severe effects from the resulting magic intoxication. Perhaps, too, less direct contact would need to be done to stabilize him afterwards, at least as far as physical intimacy was concerned.
In fact, he was sure of it; the commander had healed headaches and stomach pain for Seiichirou before this. All it had taken was a mere stroke of his hand or a kiss on the lips. Still, Seiichirou doubted that such a minute level of intimacy would be enough to combat the aftereffects of a more powerful protective barrier.
The more he thought about the knight commander having to put forth extra effort after having already expended the necessary energy to cast such a spell, the more Seiichirou felt resolved to follow through on this suggestion. It was not fair that Aresh, the one to administer such a treatment, still had to do more to complete the process even though it was Seiichirou who was the one receiving it.
Thinking about it this way, Seiichirou felt he should be the one to care for Aresh this time.
As an old man with a desk job, Seiichirou preferred sitting still for this; sucking, swallowing, and putting up with the unpleasant taste of ejaculate was a small price to pay compared to being penetrated.
After agreeing to go along with the suggestion, Aresh sat on the edge of the bed with his pants lowered. Seiichirou reached forward without hesitation and took the commander’s length in his mouth. It was not long before he built up a steady rhythm, bobbing up and down slowly, timing each of his movements with the knight’s breaths. Gradually, Aresh began to respond to the stimulation, hardening within Seiichirou’s mouth.
While Seiichirou worked, Aresh began to cast the barrier spell on him. The magic necessary for this was a combination of three natural attributes: light, wind, and wood.3 Similar to healing magic, there were only a few individuals in the kingdom who were capable enough to use it.
Like all the times Seiichirou had witnessed Aresh cast magic before, he was chanting undecipherable words under his breath. Like a melody, the spell sounded pleasant to Seiichirou’s ears. Shortly after, the official found himself engulfed by a soft breeze. Light numbness and a spike of warmth throughout his body followed after. This time, he was fully conscious of everything. Seiichirou could still move his body as he pleased, in particular his head, which he was currently using to service Aresh. It appeared that casting this magical barrier was going smoothly for both of them.
“How are you feeling…?” Aresh struggled to ask with the little restraint he had left.
“I’m fine,” Seiichirou said once his mouth was free, pulling away slowly. “Can… Can you please close your eyes?”
With a submissive look, Aresh obediently shut his eyes at Seiichirou’s request. With the beautiful amethyst color no longer in sight, Seiichirou could instead see all the long, dark lashes resting against the high cheekbones of Aresh’s handsome face.
He looked a little younger, more vulnerable, when his eyes were closed like this, Seiichirou thought. Having seemingly earned the other’s trust, Seiichirou pulled himself from the floor and pressed his lips to Aresh’s own, gently kissing the now docile knight commander.
As Seiichirou kissed the captain, one of his hands reached up under the fabric of the knight’s shirt. The muscles he found there were well-defined, as if chiseled from stone. Seiichirou traced his fingertips over them lightly, admiring the shape beneath his fingers before carefully withdrawing his hand and lowering it in between Aresh’s legs.
With more confidence than before, Seiichirou took Aresh’s length in hand and stroked it. He made sure to start with a gentle touch first so as not to shock the knight who still had his eyes closed. Much to Seiichirou’s surprise, he found himself to be all right with touching another man like this even though he was only fully conscious of his actions for the first time. Aresh was not resisting Seiichirou’s touch either, as he gasped out loud and leaned into the contact.
Seiichirou had quickly found that it was tiring only using his mouth to service the knight. Always one for efficiency, he switched to stroking Aresh with his hand instead. As they kissed, Seiichirou decided to slide his tongue into Aresh’s mouth, deepening their connection. In his mind, Seiichirou figured the acclimatization process would be more effective if he touched Aresh with his bare hands and kissed him, their mouths and flesh joined at the same time possibly heightening the potency of this transaction.
For Seiichirou, this would be his first real experience with another man. And though he was feeling a little shy going through the perfunctory motions of foreplay it required, he told himself there was justification for it; this was just another treatment session for him, albeit one he was aware of and actively participating in this time. If Seiichirou wanted to resume doing his work as usual, he had no choice but to accept this act as a necessary part of all that. This is purely for the sake of my work, he repeated like a mantra. 4
After all, Seiichirou had spoken to Aresh about his wishes beforehand and gotten the knight’s consent. They would not be doing something like this otherwise. Seeing how Aresh was growing more familiar with his touch, Seiichirou upped the pace of his hand’s movements all while he ensured their lips remained sealed together.
Seiichirou had initially asked Aresh to close his eyes because he assumed the knight was uncomfortable engaging in such acts with another man. The logical reasoning had been to ease the captain’s discomfort so that he could imagine himself doing this with a woman instead. It was hard, however, for Seiichirou to keep his own personal need for work validation out of this encounter. 5
“…mmh, aah… Captain Indrak…” Seiichirou moaned in between kisses. “Does that feel good…?”
“Don’t… even ask…!” Aresh stuttered out his own groans.
Judging from the sound of Aresh’s voice, Seiichirou felt confident that he was doing well enough. He was a man and had his own past experiences too, after all. It was not so hard to imagine what might be pleasurable for another.
“Kon… doh…” Aresh gasped while returning Seiichirou’s kisses. “Your given name… is Seiichirou, right…?”
He was surprised to hear his own name spoken aloud by Aresh for the first time. After attempting and failing to correct his colleagues’ pronunciation of it time and time again, he had thought his true name was too difficult for the people of this world to say.
Seiichirou pulled away, so he could better answer. “Hmm? Yes, it is.”
Now no longer kissing him, Seiichirou found himself transfixed by the hazy violet of Aresh’s eyes. The look Seiichirou saw there trapped him in some sort of unspoken trance. Aresh’s eyes were stunning as is, but when the knight commander gazed at him with such blatant and deliberate lust, Seiichirou could not help but shudder in response. There was no way either of them could have looked away.
Still vying for even more of Seiichirou’s attention, Aresh asked quietly, “Do you know my name?”
Prior to this moment, Seiichirou had only ever referred to Aresh by his family name and title. He understood what the commander meant in spite of that.
Slowly, Seiichirou opened his mouth. In a soft and delicate voice, he sighed out, “Aresh…”6
Upon hearing his name uttered from Seiichirou’s mouth, Aresh smirked, looking pleased with the response, like it was the very thing he had been waiting for all this time. Perhaps he was just satisfied that Seiichirou had managed to pronounce his name correctly, or so the official thought.
Aresh said nothing in reply, only narrowed his eyes and leaned in to capture Seiichirou’s lips in a kiss once more. Now it was Seiichirou’s turn to close his eyes and melt into the sensation. As their mouths met to share in the heat of this moment, Seiichirou felt a large pair of strong arms wind their way around him, pulling him closer and closer until he could not help but surrender to Aresh’s embrace.
Hasr: Whistle the TL is stuck in corporate slave purgatory! She’s stuck in office with no place to go home, and she’s having cookies for dinner. COOKIES Y’ALL, COOKIES!
Rent is too expensive where she’s from so she’s spending the night at work. I don’t wanna doxx her, but I think she could do with some help from the Corporate Slave fam.
IDK how to help her and I was planning to keep it secret, but well she’s gonna read it and know, so maybe go donate to my kofi with a message so I can pass it to her, or if you can’t help monetarily, just go and cheer her up on discord and chat up about the fresh new YOI doujin that just got delivered to her.
Slowly, Seiichirou raised himself up. His fever was gone, but he still felt warm all over from the intimacy he had just shared with Aresh. Exhausted now that the deed was done, he took a moment to catch his breath while his body acclimatized to the magic cast on him.
As a result of the treatment process, Seiichirou was covered in sweat and other miscellaneous bodily fluids until Aresh moved to clean him up with magic. Because Seiichirou was vulnerable to that as well, Aresh proceeded to acclimatize him again with another kiss.
Seiichirou felt only a little numb after the cleansing magic faded, so he understood that a mere kiss would be enough to counteract its harmful side effects.What another convenient use of magic, Seiichirou thought as his lips were claimed by Aresh. It was only moments before that they had shared even more heated kisses than this one in the privacy of this room.
As soon as Aresh pulled away, he immediately asked, “Do you hurt anywhere? Is the pain still there?”
Aresh spoke to him in the same tone he often used when they finished having sex, Seiichirou noticed. Looking down, he checked himself for any leftover wounds or bruises and experimentally moved his arm, which had likely been broken from the beating he sustained. His body was clean, and his arm seemed to function normally.
“Not at all. I’m totally fine now,” Seiichirou reported. He voiced his gratitude to Aresh and looked around the room they were currently in. He recognized this place as one of the medical offices in the palace that he had visited before with the knight commander.
After losing consciousness from being beaten, it was obvious someone had found and carried him to this facility before he was treated by the man now with him. Indeed, luck was on Seiichirou’s side.
Seiichirou made a mental note to thank the one who had brought him here, too, as he redressed. His uniform was stained with blood and torn in some places. Aresh offered to fix everything with magic, but Seiichirou only shook his head in refusal. The knight commander had already done so much for him; Seiichirou did not wish to impose on him further.
“Umm~ Aresh?” came a voice from the other side of the door. “Time’s up. Can we come in now?”
The voice belonged to Cielo, director of the Health Department, who was asking Aresh for permission to enter his very own office. Although he was clearly aware of what the two of them had been doing behind closed doors, there was not a hint of embarrassment in his voice. Once Aresh granted him permission, the door opened to reveal Cielo and another person Seiichirou did not expect to see.
Seiichirou’s eyes widened. “Prime Minister Calvader!?”
“Oh, so the treatment is finally over?” Kamil raised an eyebrow as he took in the state of Seiichirou, the official’s complexion now much improved since the last time Kamil had laid eyes on him. “That took an unnecessarily long time.”
As he entered the office, Kamil closed the book in his hand. It was likely that he had been reading it while waiting for Seiichirou’s treatment to finish. This was the man who held the highest political office in the kingdom, hence his appearance would never fail to shock anyone who came into contact with him.
Before Seiichirou could wonder the reason for Kamil’s presence here, the prime minister explained that he was the one who had found the royal official and carried him all the way to the health department.
Having only just learned the truth, Seiichirou immediately apologized. “I see… I’m so sorry for causing you such trouble…”
“No, you didn’t,” Kamil said with a small smile. “What’s most important is your life.”
It was the same typical, serene expression he showed to everyone. Nonetheless, Seiichirou still felt embarrassed being the one on the receiving end. It was then that Seiichirou made another sudden and startling realization. 1
He had been lucky enough that someone happened to pass by him while unconscious. The fact that this person turned out to be none other than Kamil himself was a wonder, but it did not even account for Aresh treating him afterwards. To be saved by both the prime minister and the commander of the Third Knight Order in one day, one right after the other, was something almost too amazing to comprehend… Seiichirou could not believe how incredibly fortunate he had been.
Though Seiichirou was already feeling back to his usual self prior to the incident, Aresh still seemed unhappy. He appeared impatient and wanted to know the truth. Now. “Tell me who did this to you.” Aresh sat in front of Seiichirou and looked directly into his eyes. He did not ask; it was a demand. The knight commander’s cold persona stood out more fiercely now than ever before. In spite of that, Seiichirou was not fazed by it at all. He understood Aresh’s feelings perfectly. So, without wasting any more time, Seiichirou calmly explained everything.
“No, Captain! That’s not true!!!”
Aresh was in the middle of interrogating two knights who were ghostly pale. Orzif, the vice commander, could only stand and watch the scene unfold in front of him.
It had all begun when Aresh suddenly summoned Orzif and these two knights to the Third Order office. Bewildered as to why, Orzif tilted his head, and the two knights looked at each other to see if either of them had a clue as to what was going to happen next.
Both knights had a reputation for frequenting the accounting department to refute denied expense applications. All either could think was that someone in the accounting department had reported this behavior to Aresh, and now they were set to face the knight commander’s judgement.
However, Orzif already knew about their incessant habit of wasting time complaining and did not mind at all since he was never the one on the receiving end of it. Aresh himself even knew about it, though he had not cared to take any action upon them prior this moment. Thus, all were left to ponder why their leader, who had only recently become more committed in his duties, had called for them to address such a seemingly minor issue.
As soon as the trio had entered the office, they were greeted by Aresh’s intense glare. The typically apathetic knight commander now had an unusually harsh and menacing air exuding from him. Seeing Aresh’s current demeanor like this, Orzif could tell that his cousin had something far more serious in mind to discuss. The negative aura Aresh radiated was so strong that Orzif thought he felt his cousin’s magical power leaking out into the room. As vice commander, Orzif could withstand it, but the two knights were nearly gasping for breath, crushed under the weight of Aresh’s obvious fury.
“What is going on, Aresh…?” Orzif asked, wondering what exactly had angered Aresh to the point that he seemed murderous in nature.
Ignoring Orzif’s question, Aresh’s attention turned towards the two lower ranking knights present. “Harvey Morales and Matthew Nieves2, where were the two of you during the Hour of Water yesterday?”
Both knights started in shock; their reaction unsettlingly betrayed the fact that they knew exactly what Aresh was referring to. Each of the men was visibly trembling as Aresh’s piercing gaze fixed upon them. The two exchanged glances, seemingly desperate to look for support from one another in this very dire situation.
The older of the two, Matthew, gathered his courage to answer their leader. “W-we were checking the storeroom to see if there was enough equipment for the upcoming expedition. We… we rushed straight to afternoon training after that!”
“Is the storeroom you’re talking about located on the second floor of the East Wing?” Aresh asked, his gaze unwavering.
“Y-yes!” Matthew nodded.
“I see…” Aresh narrowed his eyes. Then he paused to take something out of his pocket and presented it to the knights. “Are either of you familiar with this?”
A small black piece of cloth was held in Aresh’s hand.
Upon closer inspection, Harvey recognized it as the fabric torn from the hem of his trousers the day before.
“Ah…! Th-that’s mine!” Harvey admitted, eager to convince Aresh that he was telling the truth. “I did notice the tear in my trousers until later in the evening! I must’ve gotten the material stuck somewhere when I was checking the storeroom equipment.”
Aresh widened his eyes for a split second, then he furrowed his brows. “Yesterday, an officer was found unconscious and severely wounded in the same storeroom you both claim to have visited.”
“Huh?” Orzif was taken aback by what he had just heard. “Are you for real?”
Orzif was not sure if he was imagining it, but he noticed that the last words Aresh’ uttered were done so in a louder, more unbridled tone. It was as if his cousin could hardly maintain his composure at the mere mention of such an atrocity. A cold sweat dribbled down Orzif’s back, followed by a sense of foreboding that was slowly building inside him.
Aresh resumed his interrogation. “The officer in question was covered in bruises, had a fractured arm, and multiple broken ribs. There is no doubt that he was the victim of physical assault. Keep in mind, this officer holds a new high-ranking position within the palace; he is someone important. Subjecting him to such trauma isn’t something that can be so easily overlooked.”
By pure instinct, Orzif guessed who Aresh was talking about.
He chanced a glance towards both the knights to gauge their reactions before he spoke. Neither were able to look Aresh in the eye.
“A new officer that holds a high-ranking position… Do you mean the Saint’s extra?” Orzif asked aloud. He knew that Aresh had some sort of established relationship with the aforementioned officer, but he did not know how deep it went. Either way, that might explain his cousin’s current emotional response.
For being the Saint’s extra, Orzif knew quite a bit about the man. His full name was Seiichirou Kondoh, and he was now serving the palace as the vice director of the accounting department. Orzif knew Kondoh as someone more than just the man who had suddenly appeared at the Saint’s summoning. Though he did not possess magic, was vulnerable to mana, and could only eat certain foods, he was far from useless. Refusing to be a burden or taken care of by the kingdom, he had unexpectedly asked for work of his own volition. Currently, he was serving in the accounting department and had also managed to obtain a top-tier position within a matter of months.
It was because of his diligence and attention to fine details that every single department in the palace had seen their budgets dramatically reduced in the past three months. He had been the talk of the palace ever since, mainly due to the budget cuts he strictly implemented and enforced.
But the official’s story did not end there. Reportedly, he was seen having lunch with Aresh in the palace every day, and it was rumoured that nobody was allowed to provide him with either food or drink without Aresh’s explicit permission.3
Since Aresh was someone who hardly cared for the company of others, having lunch regularly with someone was very unlike him. As Orzif knew his cousin better than anyone else, he had highly doubted the rumor was true, but not anymore.
“Yes, it’s him,” Aresh replied without turning to look at Orzif. His glare at the two other knights hardened. “One or both of you must know what happened to him that day,” he accused.
One of the knights shook his head in fervent denial. “No, we don’t; I swear… We immediately left the storeroom as soon as we were done. We did meet him, but it was only when we passed by him in the hallway… That’s all we know…”
Matthew made a pained expression as he spoke, but Aresh still looked the same as when they had first entered the office. He appeared dissatisfied with Matthew’s harried explanation.
While their knight commander was already frightening in general, today he was even more frightening than usual. Aresh’s eyes were still strongly fixed on the two knights, so much so that he barely acknowledged his cousin’s presence at all. Oh no. Orzif recognized that look very well.
That was a look Aresh rarely unleashed around others, his eyes clearly projecting all of the unvoiced malice from the bottom of his heart. Those eyes were no different from that of a predator locked on to its prey, leaving no means for escape and promising a slow and painful death. Orzif felt relieved that, at least in this case, he was not the intended target, for those who seldomly show their anger are often the most dangerous when they do.
“The victim reported that he had torn the hem off of one of his attacker’s uniforms with a nail he found laying in the storeroom while he was being beaten. That has resulted in this,” Aresh said, holding the scrap of cloth up for the knights to see once again.
“Wha—!?” Matthew and Harvey both cried out in disbelief. Their reactions only served to expose them all the more.
Ah, figures, Orzif thought to himself. Judging from their behavior, even he could tell that the two knights were guilty. Confirming it now for certain made Orzif want to crawl into a hole and die. After all, he was responsible for overseeing the lower ranking knights, and two of them had just participated in a serious act of misconduct outside of his sight. Worse yet, out of all the people they could have done this to, they had chosen to hurt someone from another department, one who even held a higher ranking position than themselves for crying out loud! Said person was also closely affiliated with Aresh, their known fearsome commander!! These two idiotic knights must have had a death wish.
What did I do wrong to deserve knights such as this…? Orzif lamented to himself in disappointment.
“That officer is falsely accusing us!” One of the knights argued in an attempt to defend himself. “There’s no way you can trust someone of unknown origin more than us, Commander!”
The other knight tried his own gambit too. “That’s right! If the officer lost consciousness, there’s no way he can reliably know who attacked him! In that case, it’s even possible that the one who found him is pinning the blame on us, especially if you take into account Harvey’s torn trousers!”
Both knights frantically fought to deny the charges brought against them despite the fact that Aresh had not once stated that they were being named as the actual culprits of this crime. All their efforts to dodge the issue and diffuse blame were ultimately amounting to nothing as they unwittingly exposed the truth on their own through their impassioned rebuttals.
They continued until someone knocked on the door, and it was opened from the outside. “Sorry for intruding,” the person said before stepping into the office. The man who entered looked to be in his forties, had rose blonde hair, and was adorned within a royal blue cloak.
Orzif instantly recognized them from the doorway. “P-prime Minister…!” he sputtered and hurried to move out of the way.
It was Kamil, the man who possessed the most political power in their kingdom. His secretary was also seen following behind, entering the office a little ways after him and closing the door.
Orzif and the two lower ranking knights quickly bowed their heads in reflex, but Kamil raised a hand, indirectly telling them to remain at ease.
Aresh glanced briefly at Kamil and resumed his interrogation. “The one who found Kondoh yesterday was none other than Prime Minister Calvader. He even went through the effort of carrying Kondoh to the health department himself.”
Both knights wheezed loudly at the declaration and looked ready to faint.
“Yesterday, I happened to pass by a storeroom in the East Wing and found Seiichirou gravely injured.” Kamil smiled menacingly at the two young knights. “Are you insisting that I gave a false report to your superior?”
Kamil narrowed his blue-gray eyes. The two knights could no longer speak to save themselves, and their mouths were left visibly quivering.
Kamil then directed his attention towards Matthew. “This is our second meeting now,” he said in a low, calm voice. “We met for the first time in front of the accounting department, do you remember?”
Matthew did remember what Kamil was referring to. Another bead of sweat dripped down his forehead as he refrained from neither confirming nor denying it.
Back then, the haughty Saint’s extra had been granted a vice directorial position by the prime minister right before his eyes. It appeared that not only their commander favored the perpetually exhausted looking man; the prime minister did, too. That was just another crucial fact Matthew had forgotten, one which he deeply regretted now.
Kamil added, “I still cannot forget how horrible Seiichirou looked that day. If no one had found him, he very well could have died.”
“No…” Harvey shook his head in disbelief. “That’s not possible… There’s no way—” From his choice of words, Harvey was no longer bothering to deny anything. Kamil tilted his head in an inquisitive manner, though he still managed to look refined while doing so. He had a certain amount of decorum to maintain as the honorable prime minister.
“Oh? You didn’t know that since he is from a different world, he is vulnerable to both mana and magic? Did you also not know that he cannot be treated with regular medicine or curative magic either?”
What Kamil explained to the two knights was exactly the same as the rumor they had heard before. So it was in fact true all along; both of them were startled to learn this the hard way. If neither medicine nor magic could be used on the otherworldly official, then a single scratch would be considerably fatal.
“Instead, a special treatment had to be administered to him. The one responsible for doing that was none other than your leader, who’s standing right there.” Kamil said, referring to Aresh.
Once again, the two knights were petrified in place. As they fearfully diverted their gazes towards Aresh, the knight commander continued to shoot daggers their way. This time, his glare was a warning.
Unexpectedly, the officer whom they had beaten was taken care of by the two highest ranking men in the kingdom. Neither knight knew what to say to absolve themselves in this situation.
“I’ve also received testimony that both of you frequently visit the accounting department and complain to Kondoh about denied expenses,” Aresh said, adding additional evidence against them.
The two knights grew even paler; they could no longer deny the accusations being thrown at them now. Neither could stop trembling while fearing for their lives.
“Why would you guys do such thing…?” Orzif asked the knights. His unanswered question was followed by a sigh.
Harvey rushed towards Orzif and desperately clung to his superior in the hope that he could still escape whatever punishment was awaiting him.
“No… We didn’t intend to hurt him at all, Vice Captain! Someone else told us to do it…!”
“Someone told you to?” Orzif asked in confusion. “Who?”
Before Harvey could explain further, someone knocked on the door to the office again, and another voice could be heard from outside, “Excuse me.”
The door was opened to reveal a rugged-looking man in his late thirties, dressed in a green cloak. He was bringing a knight in a similar looking green uniform in with him, who was pale as a sheet. Both of them were from the Second Knight Order, as indicated by the uniforms they were wearing. This division of knights were in charge of guarding the kingdom’s royalty or any other notable person of importance.
Orzif recognized the two who entered after Kamil, namely the man adorned with the green cloak.
“Captain Radim…” Orzif muttered under his breath. Radim was the commander of the Second Knight Order. Passing by Orzif, he pushed the lower ranking knight in green towards Aresh.
“I brought him here as you asked, Captain Indrak.”
“Ah! This is the guy! That’s definitely him!” Harvey pointed frantically at the newly arrived knight. “This is the guy who forced us to attack the accounting official, saying we had to teach the Saint’s extra a lesson!”
Whilst trying to calm Harvey down, Orzif finally remembered why the pale, trembling green knight’s face was so familiar now that he had gotten a closer look. This young, handsome knight was surely…
“You’re the Saint’s escort, right…?”
In the end, the only ones who remained in the office were Aresh, Kamil, Orzif and Radim. That is until they were unexpectedly joined by another person. Radim turned his attention and asked them, “Are you fine with just that?”
Once all of the culprits had left, Seiichirou had come out of a private room inside the office. His previously unknown presence was a surprise to Orzif, especially considering how he had looked the day before. Not only had Seiichirou fully recovered after being treated by Aresh, but he was also dressed in a brand new uniform. His pale complexion remained unchanged though.
In response to Radim’s question, Seiichirou nodded his assent. “Yes.”
The punishments imposed on the three knights consisted of the following measures: one week of house arrest, prohibition from ever being in contact with Seiichirou again, a reduction in salary for one year, and monetary compensation for damages incurred.
Kamil looked at Seiichirou and spoke, “The most fitting punishment would be to strip them of their titles as knights. Are you certain these measures are all right?”
In response, Seiichirou nodded again.
“Yes, I believe it is enough,” Seiichirou reaffirmed. “There are not a lot of people in this kingdom who can become knights, and as we are about to send a campaign into the Forest of Magic to face the miasma, we cannot afford having fewer knights now. The Second Knight Order is meant to protect people of importance, and the Third Knight Order to use powerful magic. Both regimes of knights will have their skills in high demand then, so we can’t stand to be in short supply.”
“But the period of house arrest is far too short,” Kamil argued.
Seiichirou shook his head and countered, “No, it should be more than enough for others to realize they are the ones who caused trouble. Besides, more time away means less time available to serve the kingdom.”
In addition to the recommended suspension period, there was another reason behind the monetary punishments that Seiichirou had suggested but kept to himself. Since all of the kingdom’s knights were paid a large sum every year for their service, reducing the knights’ annual salaries would be a good way to save money for the national treasury. The last bit of the punishment was meant as compensation for Seiichirou’s physical injuries.
“Including the cost of treatment, all of them will pay 1,000,000 rula each.”
Converted to Japanese currency, that was the equivalent of ten million yen. The point of this recompensation was because Seiichirou planned to use the money to pay back Aresh for the magic cast on Seiichirou to heal him.
Again, Kamil seemed skeptical and asked, “Why would you have them pay money too?”
Considering what had been done to him, Seiichirou would have much rather preferred a more shameful and degrading punishment that diminished the knights’ pride and dignity. However, he did not see much real worth, outside of stroking his own ego, in doing so when compared to the ones previously suggested.
“Because their money is the only thing they have that I find value in.” Seiichirou nonchalantly replied. Something devious in his eyes sparkled at the mere mention of money. If not for that, what else could they have paid Seiichirou with? Their titles? Their chivalric services? Their honor? All of those things would be useless to a man like him.
“Besides, now that the kingdom has granted me protection, I can ask the Second and Third Knights for help whenever I need it! I can also request they hasten the Saint’s expedition to the Forest of Magic, too! From my perspective, the kingdom saves more money all around this way!”
Having said that, Seiichirou brought over several documents and handed them directly to Kamil. “Please take a look at this, Prime Minister Calvader. I calculated the costs requested for the expedition yesterday.”
“Oh? Do show me, Seiichirou.” The prime minister held a hand out to receive the paperwork from Seiichirou when Aresh interrupted them. Just before Seiichirou could give the documents to Kamil, Aresh’s fingers wound around Seiichirou’s wrist and stilled it.
“Wait right there, Kondoh.” Aresh did not sound amused. “Yesterday, you were badly injured, and you used nearly all of your energy to withstand the treatment… I thought I told you to do nothing but go home and rest after that…”
Ah, crap, Seiichirou thought to himself.
Now that the culprits had been caught and punishments dealt with, the latest focus of Aresh’s wrath was redirected back to Seiichirou. He stealthily managed to hand the documents to Kamil as quickly as he could while Aresh’s eyes were focused only on him.
All the while, Orzif, who had known his cousin as someone not to speak much, and Radim, who was just about to leave the office before Aresh opened his mouth, ended up watching the Third Knight Commander lecture Seiichirou with their mouths slightly agape.
Unfortunately, not many notes today. Whis-chan became Corporate Slave. Help whischan reconsider becoming a female Sei by bullying her at our Discord!
“What do you mean?” Kamil asked in outraged disbelief.
Although he was dealing with Kamil, the terrifying prime minister of Romani, Cielo Querbes was still adamant about his decision. The health director repeated his words with an uncontrollable tremor.
“W-what I’m saying is that, umm, I’m unable to treat Kondoh myself! There’s someone else who is more capable of that than I…”
When Cielo was informed by his subordinates about the prime minister’s arrival in the health department, he had accidentally spit out the coffee that he was in the process of drinking.
More shocking than the prime minister’s unexpected visit was seeing the unconscious and severely injured form of Seiichirou being carried in the arms of Kamil.
Seiichirou had been immediately transferred into Cielo’s office for treatment, but before the doctor acted, he remembered the specifics of this otherworlder’s unique constitution. As a result, Cielo was greatly troubled by all of the things he had no control over.
From the look on his face, Kamil was not amused with Cielo’s reasoning. “You are the director of the Royal Health Department as well as the finest doctor in this kingdom… What do you mean you can’t heal him!?” he demanded.
Of course, there was no reason why Cielo could not treat Seiichirou’s injuries; Cielo himself was certain of his capabilities as a doctor. However, if the care administered involved someone like Seiichirou, the treatment session necessary to heal him would require an additional step, which Cielo was unable to do. That was what Cielo had actually meant by saying he was not able to treat Seiichirou. He could, but also, he could not. 1Really, he was just not allowed to because of someone else’s directive.
“Don’t worry,” Cielo tried to calm Kamil down, “I’ve called for someone to treat him in my stead…”
By now, Cielo had already done the best he could. Doing things this way was for the sake of saving Seiichirou’s life and his own at the same time.
Though he knew that Kamil might deem this behavior suspicious, somehow he was less afraid of the prime minister’s wrath than another individual’s.
Thus, Cielo was left with no other choice but to explain Seiichirou’s unique condition and his special ‘relationship’ with a man whom the doctor knew very well. After all, he did not want his head separated from his body anytime soon. Yet, Cielo found he was having trouble putting his thoughts into words with the prime minister glaring at him.
Seeing Cielo’s reluctance to talk, Kamil voiced his displeasure. “Just because he’s not the Saint, there are people who hate him this much… Does that include you, too?”2
Huh!? Cielo was taken aback by the accusation. So you think I won’t treat him out of discrimination!?
Just as Kamil had said, indeed, it would appear there were people in this palace who thought little of Seiichirou for being helpless, unlike the Saint.
From their point of view, Seiichirou was seen as someone who had interfered in the Saint’s summoning. He had no business here. Not only was his arrival to this world unsolicited, the kingdom now had to provide him with food and shelter and money for the rest of his life, however long he lived, a compensation which many were not openly comfortable with.
However, Cielo did not think the same as those officials; the doctor was aware that Seiichirou’s unexpected arrival to this world was merely an accident, nothing more. It had already been established as such. Any magical ritual carried a considerable amount of risk, and the Saint’s summoning was no different. Besides, Cielo believed Seiichirou to be a generally good person, albeit a weird one, after the first time they met, which was another reason why he was so reluctant to do the otherworlder any harm now.
Furthermore, despite being of low status, Seiichirou had been able to get close to Aresh, the otherwise cold knight commander of the Third Knight Order. It was unfortunate though that this ‘relationship’ of theirs only ended up adding more fuel to the fires of hatred towards Seiichirou as many in the palace speculated that he had used some sort of trickery to garner Aresh’s favor in the first place.
Thinking about it with that in mind, Cielo could understand why Kamil might perceive his hesitance in such a way. Apparently, the prime minister was also unaware of Seiichirou’s peculiar health issues.
Facing the prime minister, who held the greatest position of authority in this kingdom, meant Cielo had nowhere to escape now. Kamil’s orders were absolute. Compared to him, Cielo’s power as the health director was limited.
Even if Cielo chose to treat Seiichirou, he would most certainly end up incurring the wrath of another man above his own station, namely the captain of the highest order of the knights. Now it would appear there were two different choices with similar consequences in Cielo’s hands, a real dilemma with damnable consequences no matter what he chose.
All Cielo had to do now was buy some more time until that particular person made his way to the health department.
“If you still refuse to treat him,” Kamil said after being silent for a time, “I’ll find a different doctor to do it instead.”
“N-no, you can’t…!” Cielo sputtered. That would get Cielo in even greater trouble!
Magic was deathly poisonous to Seiichirou, and a lot of magic would need to be used to treat all of his wounds. If he were healed by someone who was not aware of that fact, his life would be in another sort of danger.
Besides, the act of “acclimating” Seiichirou to magic would also require the usage of additional magic, but of a different type. This whole process had to be done as soon as possible, hence Cielo doubted that another doctor would even have the time to learn about Seiichirou’s condition let alone perform a healing before the royal official met his demise.
While it might be all right for Seiichirou to be acclimatized by someone other than the original caster, finding a different person to do it would require more time that they just did not have. Resorting to such extremes would probably waste whatever little precious time they had left and put Seiichirou’s life at even greater risk. 3
Against Cielo’s recommendation, Kamil ordered his secretary to fetch another doctor, not wanting to delay Seiichirou’s treatment any further. As soon as they reached the door of Cielo’s office, it was roughly shoved open from the outside.
Seeing who was at the door, Cielo beamed, “Aresh!!”
The doctor was so relieved that he was on the verge of tears, since the one he called to administer treatment had finally arrived. Aresh had an intense emotion reflected in his eyes; it was very unlike his usual expressionless persona.
“Captain Indrak?” Kamil said, having not expected Aresh’s sudden appearance.
Like everyone else, Kamil had also heard that Seiichirou was close to Aresh, but he did not anticipate seeing the knight commander look so desperate upon witnessing what had happened to the otherworldly royal official.
Aresh ignored both Cielo and Kamil, rushing towards Seiichirou who was laid out on a medical cot. In terms of first aid, his wounds had only been treated with a damp, cold towel.
Taking his time observing Seiichirou, whom he was only seeing for the first time today, Aresh approached slowly. The dark circles under the royal official’s eyes were still there, but no longer the most shocking feature on his person. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises marked the aftermath of the cruelty he had endured. They were peppered all over his face and body. A mild fever appeared to have overcome him as evident by the wet sheen of sweat on his skin, and his breaths were ragged, both perhaps due to the pain from his injuries.
Unable to help himself, Aresh’s hand reached for Seiichirou’s face, serene now only in sleep. The knight commander gently brushed aside Seiichirou’s sweat-laden bangs, trying not to cause him any more pain while checking his temperature.
“I’ll take care of him. The rest of you leave at once.”
Kamil frowned at Aresh in disgust. Not only had Aresh just appeared out of nowhere, but the knight commander also dared to order him around. Cielo on the other hand, insisted Kamil comply with Aresh’s wish.
“I’m so sorry, Prime Minister! For Kondoh’s treatment, we must place our trust in Aresh…!”
“May I know why we are required to leave in the process?” Kamil asked, not happy with this turn of events.
“The treatment will take a lot of time, and I believe you have other, more pressing responsibilities on your hands…” Aresh explained quietly.
Cielo quickly turned towards him and asked, “Is it all right if I leave you to your work for half an hour?”
“That won’t be nearly enough time. I’ll need at least an hour alone.” 4
“I understand…” Kamil replied, but his expression showed he was still deeply displeased.
It was only when Cielo heard Aresh’s words that he recognized the hint of desperate emotion coloring the knight’s voice. Obediently, the doctor pushed the unwilling prime minister out of his office and closed the door5 shut to give the odd couple the privacy they needed.
The agony that Seiichirou felt throughout his body was nothing compared to the pain he felt in his heart.
Countless blows, kicks, and punches had rained down on him from all directions, delivered by cruel men physically stronger than him.
At the time, Seiichirou had never been subjected to such violence, such an act of pure hatred. To make matters worse, the ones who had done the hurting were none other than knights of the kingdom enlisted to protect people like him. Their strength would have been on par with men serving in the military from his previous world.
Hence, Seiichirou’s assault was carried out by those with a strength akin to military trained personnel and the most painful experience he could have ever imagined.
Seiichirou’s constitution was already weak, to begin with. From only a single hit, he had fallen down helplessly, unable to fight back or even defend himself from his attackers.
He could only lie back and take it as the highly esteemed knights he had once put his trust in continued to ridicule him as they landed blow after blow on him without mercy. Never once was there any hint of them stopping despite his cries of pain.
Eventually, though, it did come to a stop. Seiichirou no longer sensed them on him. Although the pain from his beating lingered throughout his body, he was no longer suffering to endure it.
It seemed that they had only wanted to vent their anger on him, physically, but also make it known that this was a warning. They had never had any intention of killing him, so it was only a matter of time before they felt satisfied enough to stop.
Still, Seiichirou had tried his best to guard his vitals while enduring their attack. After all, they did not seem to know how weak he actually was, so it was imperative he at least tried to protect himself or face the risk of dying right then and there.
As Seiichirou’s consciousness flickered in and out, he heard one of them warn him, “That ought to teach you a lesson. Know your place next time.”
And just like that, Seiichirou was left to fend for himself all alone in the storeroom, bloodied and bruised and beaten.
He did not need a doctor to know he was in serious condition. If he was left like this for too long, sprawled out on the floor in a puddle of his own blood, and with nobody to help him, he would surely die from his injuries. Still desperately clinging to life, he ultimately succumbed to the pain and lost consciousness.
As Seiichirou had not previously felt anything other than pain before his mind went blank, it was quite shocking to be greeted with a familiar sensation of warmth, almost like an embrace, right after his senses returned.
The warm sensation he felt was swiftly followed by a pair of lips capturing his own. Before Seiichirou knew it, his mouth was claimed in a series of heated kisses. Though he still struggled to speak, he knew that he was no longer alone.
“Mmh…,” a weak moan slipped out of Seiichirou’s mouth as it was seized in another succession of hot, desperate kisses.
He felt his lips being pried apart with the touch of a thumb. Something warm and wet pushed itself inside and took control of the kiss, leaving him powerless but to accept it. At the same time, Seiichirou began to feel his fever subside little by little, kiss after kiss.
“Nnh…” Seiichirou couldn’t help but cry out at the sensations racing through his body. “Ah… Aah…!”
Gradually, Seiichirou’s consciousness cleared up. As it did, he started to process the feeling of someone else’s bare skin on top of his naked body—the closest he could ever be to another human being as there was nothing left between them.
A large pair of hands roved over Seiichirou’s body, ceasing the pain with featherlight touches. The more contact he received, the less discomfort he felt over time. Oh, how these hands were treating him so carefully as opposed to the beatings he received from those knights.
Unlike before, the pain was ebbing; there was no more suffering, no more hurtful kicks or punches, only gentle caresses and kisses were left on his skin. All he felt now was the growing heat of pleasure as the one caring for him held him in their warm embrace. Those arms seemed to protect him from further harm, providing him with the comfort and security he needed at this moment, even shielding him from the cold hands of Death.
As soon as Seiichirou regained his voice somewhere in the midst of it all, he longingly called out for the man holding him. “Captain… Indrak…!”
Finally, when Seiichirou opened his eyes, the one he had anticipated seeing was before him. It was the same man who had saved his life countless times before that was saving him from the brink of death once more. Seiichirou had been able to tell that it was Aresh right away—the heat, the touches, the kisses could never have come from anyone else, not since he had arrived in this world. Thus, it only made sense that the one to save his life, now too, could never be anyone else.
Breaking the silence, Aresh let out his own voice to join Seiichirou’s.
“Kondoh…,” he whispered.
Aresh, who appeared distraught, hovered over Seiichirou in an equal state of undress. The knight’s commander was holding him in such an intimate manner, one usually only reserved for the exchange of love or pleasure. 6
It was then, Aresh noticed Seiichirou waking up. Concerned, he asked, “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine,” Seiichirou assured him. It was not a lie. Despite the pain dissipating, Seiichirou still felt light-headed. Perhaps it was caused by the intoxication of magic Aresh had caused while healing him. He was unsure.
Seiichirou’s injuries were probably so severe that Aresh had been forced to cast healing magic and then immediately switch to acclimatizing him physically right after. The knight’s commander had to do this as quickly as possible to stop the magic intoxication from becoming just as deadly as Seiichirou’s initial injuries.
Now that he no longer felt pain, the rest of the treatment was focused solely on bringing his body back into a state of equilibrium.
It was not much longer after that when Seiichirou heard Aresh reach his climax. Something warm and sticky steadily pooled inside him as the commander’s grunts cut through the silence and echoed in his ears.
“Just this won’t be enough,” Aresh whispered softly to Seiichirou. “Please bear with me one more time.”
Seiichirou understood what Aresh meant by that. It was for his own good after all. Weakly, he complied, “Yes, sir7 … I’m sorry, this time, too.”
Aresh paused and looked down at Seiichirou who was still sprawled out beneath him. It was then he made a face that Seiichirou couldn’t quite decipher 8, something in between wonder and regret.
But why would someone like Aresh feel anything beyond his duty to do this in the first place?
Seiichirou did not get the chance to think about it before Aresh began moving deeply within him once more. It was going to be a long afternoon for the two of them.
Hasr: Incase you don’t know already, Aresh is the top kek
Huge thanks to Autumn, Anneke, Chioma and everyone else for your support on Patreon!
P.S. I need some editors for a brand new BL harem series, so if you know your oxford commas and em dashes, feel free to have a crack at the test! Here’s the Link!