Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 18: We Encountered Her
At the knights’ quarters of the Third Knight’s Order, Aresh recalled his exchange with Seiichirou the other day as he checked this morning’s schedule.
His position was to lead the Third Knight’s Order. Their main job was to be deployed in times of emergency. As such, they usually trained and managed their weapons and horses even during uneventful periods of time.
Aresh, as a commander of the knights, also made sure he trained without fail. As the one responsible for leading the troops, it was his duty to keep an eye on the affairs of surrounding countries too. Therefore, he was indifferent to the kingdom’s more domestic duties, and the people around him willingly dealt with those instead.
Sitting in his office, Aresh watched as his subordinates went about their work. He had been annoyed yesterday with Seiichirou for not listening to his point of view, and even after a full night’s sleep, he still couldn’t get Seiichirou’s words out of his head.
“Shouldn’t I know everything precisely because I have such a high position?”
“Hmm…” Aresh furrowed his eyebrows.
“What’s wrong, Aresh?” Orzif, the Vice-Commander who was beside him holding a document in his hand, heard and looked up.
“…I don’t see Harvey and Mash around. Today isn’t their day off, right?”
Aresh thought of the two faces that were missing in the morning as he began his work in the office. When he mentioned them, Orzif blinked, blatantly confused.
“Eh? O-Oh, those two had some business to attend to, so they went to another department. They’ll be back by the time training starts.”
“Another department? For what?”
“Ah, no, it’s not anything that would interest you, Aresh. More importantly, you’re teaching the Saint today, yeah? If you don’t hurry, you’ll be late.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Though the time for tutoring the Saint on how to control her magic was quickly approaching, an unsettling feeling remained in Aresh’s heart.
“Isn’t that because Knight Commander Indrak has no interest in finance?”
“…resh? Sir Aresh!”
It seemed he had been so lost in his own cloudy thoughts that he missed what Yua was saying to him.
Aresh, who was usually expressionless and hardly showed any emotion at all, seemed a bit irritated. He rolled his eyes that were framed with eyelashes longer than Yua’s.
“Um, I did as you told me. Is it all right?”
That said, Yua lifted the task that Aresh had instructed her to work on. She expected to use magic and channel coloured water through a maze in a miniature garden.
Aresh nodded as the pink water seemed to have reached its goal using the shortest route from the starting point.
“Yes, you did it.”
If she’s doing this well, I think it’s time we take her out to the Forest of Magic, but they haven’t given us any direction for the purification ritual as of yet. Anyway, she is the kingdom’s one and only Saint, so her safety takes the highest priority, Aresh thought.
Compared to Seiichirou, Yua was not affected by the mana of this world; she possessed magical power from the beginning and was in great health. Even though the Forest of Magic might be considered dangerous to many, Aresh didn’t think it posed much of a threat with the Third Knight’s Order guarding the Saint.
No, the difference between them is too large to even compare…
Anyhow, Seiichirou was weakening just from living his life normally. On top of that, if Aresh took his eyes off of the vice accounting director, he would resume overloading himself with work. And even though his body was incapable of recovering via magic, he would still try to take nutritional supplements that were poisonous to him if it meant he could continue working.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Seiichirou never heeded the warnings of his protector, Aresh. Choosing instead to feign sincerity as he accepted whatever Aresh said, all that helpful advice went in one ear and right out the other. Then, with dull eyes, he would complain, saying, “There is no way we can ever understand each other.”
“…Excuse me, Sir Aresh?”
It seemed that his thoughts had started drifting towards Seiichirou again, and he had missed what Yua said once more.
“…that will be all for today. Make sure not to neglect your training until the next session.”
Aresh stood up, thinking now was as good a time as any to end their lesson here. Suddenly, Yua’s thin fingers were lightly tugging on his cuff.
“…Um, can’t we have lunch together today?
The face that looked up at Aresh then, with pretty upturned eyes and soft lips, was that of a lovely young maiden. It was a face that won you over and invoked a strong desire to protect, and it was rumoured to have done just that to both the First Prince and the Second Knight’s Order company.
However, Aresh couldn’t help thinking that the man from the other world was far more difficult to leave alone than this young girl. If Aresh didn’t go to the cafeteria, that guy was sure to skip a meal and keep on working. Absolutely. He would bet on it.
“I’m sorry, but I eat lunch in the cafeteria.”
That was all Aresh said as he left the Saint’s quarters without sparing a second glance at Yua’s lonely face or the bitter expressions of the Second Knight’s Order members who were standing guard.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
“Don’t you worry about it, Your Holiness. Now then, let’s get you ready for lunch.”
Back in the room that Aresh had just vacated, the maid taking care of Yua spoke in a cheerful voice so as to comfort her.
“Wait, I’d like to have lunch in the cafeteria today, too.” Yua looked back at her maid with a smile, but one of the knights guarding her shook his head.
“What are you saying, Lady Yua? That’s where the servants and lowly officials eat, plus the food served there is inferior in every aspect,” one of the knights explained. “I can’t permit it for safety reasons. Besides, we have already prepared a suitable meal for you here, Lady Yua.”
“But there are a lot of people working in this castle, aren’t there? I’d like to know more about the common folk of the country that I’m saving. If I can increase the number of people I’m friends with like that, I think I’ll be able to work harder on my purification studies!”
For Yua, it was more that she was bored with all the lavish meals bestowed upon the Saint and thought it would be nice to eat something else for a change. She also wanted to eat a meal with the elusive Commander Aresh. However, her aides and the members of the Second Knight’s Order, who held a strong faith in the purest intentions of their Saint, did not see this and were deeply moved by her words. To them, Yua was a true Saint who cared even for the lower classes of their kingdom.
“But your safety…”
“I have knights to protect me, right?”
And that was how Yua ended up at the castle dining hall with one maid and three guards, thus fulfilling her wish. She had never been to the staff dining area or even to the administrative building before as she was never allowed outside except to certain places within the castle to avoid danger. Even then, someone always had to follow her everywhere she went.
Though most in the dining hall had no clue what Yua looked like despite her appearing out of thin air in the cafeteria, they seemed to have a general idea of her position just by looking at the green-cloaked Second Knight’s Order guards following her and glaring at them. All the employees in the cafeteria cleared out of her way.
“Wow, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet!”
When they arrived at the dining hall, Yua’s eyes lit up at all of the food laid out. Her reaction created a commotion amongst those who were eating nearby. She didn’t pay attention to them, however, and the knights shook their heads in warning. Those closest to the Saint quickly realized that it was better not to make a fuss and went right back to eating despite their previous concerns.
“Lady Yua, I’ll go and get some food for you, so please wait in your seat.”
“Ehhh~! But wouldn’t it be more fun if I got it myself?”
Dismissing her maid’s proposal, Yua cheerfully approached the long table lined with food. While looking at all the dishes laid out before her, she spotted a familiar black cloak on the other side of the table. That was her other reason for being here.
“Oh, Sir Aresh! Would you like to have lunch… with… me?”
Seiichirou and Aresh both answered at the same time.
For some reason, as she was joyfully rushing over to the knight’s commander, another man that she recognized, with dark hair and even darker bags under his eyes, answered back with Sir Aresh.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
It was lunchtime after Seiichrou turned away the knights of the Third Order who had come to complain, again, earlier in the day. Aresh, who should have been feeling at least a little bit awkward from the previous day, was waiting in the cafeteria with the same expression as always on his face.
He’s more conscientious than I ever imagined, Seiichirou thought.
After everything that happened yesterday, Aresh had dropped Seiichirou off half-way to his dormitory. Incidentally, it was becoming a customary practice for the commander to escort Seiichirou home after dinner to prevent him from returning to the drugstore.
Whether or not their meeting again was awkward for the knight’s commander, it most certainly was for Seiichirou. He made sure to grab Norbert’s arm before the man rushed off to another seat, which was often his custom whenever Seiichirou was forced to visit the cafeteria.
“Uh, um, Mr. Sei? I’ll just…”
“Why don’t we have lunch together for a change, hm?” Seiichirou offered. His lips smiled, but his eyes narrowed as if to say, ‘Don’t just bring me here and then try to run away.’
All the while, Norbert’s eyes desperately pleaded, ‘No, no, no, no, please let me go!’
“…Quit fooling around and get on with it already,” Aresh demanded in a low, slightly irritated voice.
Seiichirou and Norbert stared at each other in silence for a brief moment, and with a sense of resignation, they both grabbed a plate and a tray.
As usual, Aresh took it upon himself to fill Seiichirou’s plate with food.
Perhaps it’s time I learned to distinguish between what I can and can’t eat, so I can serve myself in the future. But this man in front of me does this without fail as if it’s his own personal mission, so it’s hard to tell him not to, Seiichirou thought to himself quietly. His eyes caught on something Aresh had picked for him.
“This is less concentrated with mana and should strengthen you. Don’t be picky. Eat it.”
Seiichirou couldn’t help but click his tongue as food that he had previously eaten, but didn’t like the taste of, was placed on his tray. Aresh tried his best to brush off the other’s irritation.
As the dish after dish was served up, Seiichirou’s eyes widened in concern. Aresh’s only stopped when the amount of food was absolutely inedible. Incidentally, behind the knight’s commander, Norbert was getting himself whatever he wanted, as much as he wanted. Perhaps it was because he was still young and growing, but Seiichirou could not help but think there was an awful amount of meat.
Being the commander of the Third Knight’s Order, Aresh rarely ever ate in the dining hall with those of lower rank, but when he did, it was inevitable that good seating was made readily available to him.
In other words, Aresh went to his “usual spot”, without so much as a second thought, as those dining nearby hurried to clear out of his way. Seiichirou followed closely behind the commander all while keeping a close eye on Norbert, who was still trying to find any opportunity to run away.
But Norbert was not the only one unsettled in the cafeteria that day. Suddenly, there came a commotion from the other side of the dining hall followed by the high-pitched notes of a cheerful maiden’s voice.
“Oh, Sir Aresh!”
When I began writing Aresh’s part, I had one complaint after the other about Seiichirou, and it went on too long, so I didn’t get to write about the lunch with the Saint.
Next time, we will have a fun lunch date with Seiichirou, Aresh, and Yua… Norbert, too.
Kuro: Is Norbert just an afterthought? Poor Norbert…