Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 20: I Have Gotten Old
Seiichirou paused for a moment and wondered if he had misheard the young knight in a green cloak or if his brain had just processed the things said to him negatively based on how his frequent encounters with this kingdom’s knights usually went. Or maybe he was preoccupied with the thought that this green knight was attacking him so directly. Seiichirou wanted to ignore the man, but he also wanted to confirm his suspicions, so he decided to question him instead.
“Excuse me, what did you just say to me?” Seiichirou asked.
“You’re most certainly picturing the honorable Saint in immodest clothing!” the green knight screamed at Seiichirou. “What a damnable pervert you are… I bet you’re only here because you’ve been stalking the Saint, huh!?”
Once again, Seiichirou was unable to stop his facial muscles from twitching.
That’s ridiculous, Seiichirou thought. The young knight before him appeared to be no older than twenty—perhaps still a virgin if his behavior was anything to go by.
“Kondou-san… did you really…?” Yua asked as she looked at Seiichirou with frightened eyes.
You’ve gotta be kidding me, the accused royal official thought to himself. Deep down under the guise of well-trained apathy, Seiichirou had the sudden urge to flip the dining table and scream in frustration at the top of his lungs. Did he really look like a perverted old man to them!? Well, he may be old, but that did not mean he was a pervert!
Nevertheless, Seiichirou did his best to calm himself down. Those who dared to think ill of him were still just children when compared to himself. And though some people may be attracted to those much younger than themselves in this world, Seiichirou was not.
Even in modern Japan, there existed men who held a preference for high school girls, as they were widely viewed as a symbol of purity and innocence, the ideal of virginity. Hence, certain fantasies were associated with that particular fetish, and those girls were often the victims of molestation throughout the country. Yua could not be blamed for having her suspicions; Seiichirou could understand why she might see him as one of those faceless, dangerous men. After all, her suspicion was just the terrible result of one shameful aspect from their shared society.
Indeed, Seiichirou did find Yua to be a cute girl, but she did not suit his tastes in the slightest. 1
Besides, in Seiichirou’s eyes, Yua was still just a child. Adults like him were not supposed to harbor romantic feelings or sexual desire towards children. It was wrong. And on top of that, a child’s lack of real-world experiences in general were much too jarring when compared to that of an adult’s. Personally, Seiichirou did not think he could handle such immaturity, which was likely tiring to deal with on a regular basis if involved in a relationship with someone so much younger than himself.
With all that in mind, there was no way Seiichirou could feel even the slightest bit of attraction for Yua.
Despite this, it was going to be difficult for Seiichirou to convince the young knight before him who was probably blinded by fury and the overly cautious behavior exhibited by the former high school girl sitting between them. No matter what he said now, Seiichirou was already in trouble. What was that saying about dealing with youngsters again…?
Another knight in a green cloak nearby stared at Seiichirou in silence. Aresh, too, fixed his gaze on Seiichirou, and Norbert, never one to be very helpful in a difficult situation, watched with suspicious attention as well. In the back of his mind, Seiichirou made a mental note to exact revenge on his subordinate later.
“Why are you so quiet!?” the hot-headed young knight screamed at him again, “Shouldn’t you say something to save your sorry ass!?”
Shouldn’t you keep your voice down in a public place such as this, for the sake of your image as a knight? Seiichirou internally reproached the young knight with much the same sentiment. Moreover, if the baseless assumption this knight was making regarding such a private matter was anything to go by, one might want to question what kind of thoughts were secretly running through his own head.
Maybe Seiichirou’s image of a knight was not the same as the ones who actually existed in this world. After some thought and to prevent the situation from getting any worse, Seiichirou chose to explain himself.
“I am not into anyone who’s younger than me,” he stated flatly.
To be more precise, Seiichirou was referring to people who were not physically or mentally mature enough to engage in a consensual relationship, but saying it like that might make it seem like he was insulting the Saint, which could land him in even further trouble. Thus, he played it safe by being general with his statement.
To Seiichirou, his explanation should be clear at face value. He took a moment to examine their reactions—the young knight with his furrowed eyebrows and Yua, who smiled in something like relief.
Truthfully, Seiichirou was a little bit offended by her immediate reaction to the knight’s accusation, which only confirmed that she had suspected him of being a pervert too. For now, he was relieved that, at the very least, the Saint seemed to believe him.
“Come to think of it, it’s true that I’m much younger than you, Kondou-san!”
“Yes. You’re far too young for me,” Seiichirou echoed Yua’s statement.
Being acknowledged as young by Seiichirou made Yua feel sort of proud, as youth was widely considered to be the best time in one’s life. Possibly driven by the natural arrogance of her youthfulness, she smiled sweetly back at him.
And while Seiichirou also agreed that youth was the best time of one’s life, it was only in relation to its health benefits. The younger version of himself, who had been much better than the present him and did not have to suffer from recurrent stiff shoulders, back pains, or even migraines after a good night’s sleep, was sorely missed.
“Now that you mention it…. Kondou-san, how old are you?”
“I’m twenty-nine years old,” Seiichirou mumbled to Yua. But after he spoke, he realized that he had forgotten one important thing. It had been more than two months since they came to this world, which meant his birthday had already passed.
“No, not twenty-nine,” he corrected himself. “I actually turned thirty a few days ago…”
“What!? You’re seriously that old!?” Yua shrieked out loud.
It seemed that to others Seiichirou appeared much younger than he actually was, at least that was how he must have looked to Yua. Without a doubt, he knew that the dark circles under his own eyes made him look like a much older man. As expected from a high school girl’s perspective, anyone was considered old when they hit thirty. But it was not only Yua who acted shocked at hearing the news. The playful young man sitting beside Seiichirou also sputtered in indignation when he heard.
“Huuh!? Mr. Sei, your birthday already passed!? Why didn’t you tell me sooner!? I would’ve loved to celebrate it with you!!”
Just as Seiichirou had always suspected ofNorbert, this rich boy loved parties.
“Thank you for your consideration. However, if you wanted to celebrate it, you’d have had to jump from tall buildings with an elastic strap tied around your ankles. That’s how you celebrate your superior’s birthday back in my previous world….”
“But you told me that was a torture method! No, that’s another lie, isn’t it!? Augh, what’s even real anymore!?!?”
Ever so slightly, Seiichirou allowed himself to enjoy the sight of Norbert’s confused state. It was a long time coming after all the lies Seiichirou had meticulously been feeding to him. Only when he felt eyes watching him intently from the other side of the table, did Seiichirou turn to face the man sitting across from him. His expression was giving Seiichirou the creeps.
“Yes, Captain Indrak?” Seiichirou asked. “Is something troubling you?”
Realizing that he had been caught, Aresh quickly averted his gaze. “Nothing… I’m fine.”
You don’t look fine to me, Seiichirou thought. He could still see the face the knight commander made while staring at him. With the ever present disgruntled disposition on his otherwise handsome face, Aresh remained quiet as usual. However, unlike his usual self, he legitimately appeared to be in a bad mood this time. Seiichirou wondered if he had upset him or…?
While Seiichirou was just as confused as Norbert in that moment, Yua broke the awkward silence by asking, “Sir Aresh, if I’m not mistaken, you’re twenty-two years old, right?”
She looked proud of herself for remembering that fact. Without paying much attention to the Saint, Aresh unenthusiastically replied, “Yes, I am.”
Seiichirou could not believe it; he was sure he had misheard the numbers. To think that Aresh, the captain of the Third Knight Order, was only twenty-two years old!
Sure, Aresh appeared young to Seiichirou, but now knowing that the knight commander was actually his junior by eight years… That was a larger gap than he had been expecting.
In Seiichirou’s previous world, twenty-two would be the age when fresh graduates became new employees. Of course, their junior rank was inferior when compared to Seiichirou’s more senior-level position as the assistant manager back then. Now though, it was Seiichirou who was being ordered around by a man the same age as those juniors, the same one who also managed his well-being, albeit forcibly. This other world really is the worst, Seiichirou lamented to himself once again.
Meanwhile, Yua was not yet done asking people about their ages. “Mr. Norbert, how old are you?”
“Me? I’m eighteen.”
“Wow, you’re only two years older than me! That makes me so happy. There’s hardly anyone my age here. Even Sir Aresh is older than me by six years!”
Yua, who kept mentioning Aresh’s name off-hand, led the knight commander to give her another apathetic response in reply, “Yes…”
The Saint looked happy to be surrounded by people as young as herself, and Seiichirou could understand why. Surely, it brought her a sense of familiarity in such a foreign world as this.
Speaking of those who were younger, the same could be said about the kingdom’s crown prince. He seemed to be around Yua’s age as well.
If youngsters are the most comfortable with others from their own age group, then I wish they would just keep themselves busy with one another and leave me alone. Seiichirou, the oldest, tiredest man present, desperately prayed to any of this kingdom’s deities for the first time.
“Oh, Mr. Sei, did you still want to celebrate your birthday?” Norbert asked once the commotion about age had died down.
Before he could recover, Seiichirou was attacked by another youngster who could not read the situation, much like the Saint. Just as he was thinking how younger people were irritating to deal with, this had happened. No one in front of him was exempt from his judgement.
“I don’t want to,” Seiichirou bluntly replied.
Norbert was disappointed, but he did not plan on giving up anytime soon. “Wha— let’s just celebrate it anyway! I’m sure everyone in the accounting department would love to celebrate with you too!”
“They just want a reason to drink, don’t they…?” Seiichirou retorted, persistent in turning down Norbert’s offer.
As reserved as the members of the accounting department typically were, they were all terribly weak for wine and delicious food.2 Seiichirou himself would have loved to drink too, but in this world, alcohol was dangerous for him to consume. He’d been told as much by the health director. Even a single sip would be enough to make him faint.
Just as Seiichirou was about to explain his special condition to Norbert, his self-appointed caretaker spokefirst.
“He’s not allowed to drink,” Aresh stated firmly with a look directed at Norbert.
“Thank you for explaining on my behalf…”
Aside from not wanting to die, Seiichirou also did not wish to cause any more trouble for Aresh.
“Hmm~ Then, do you want anything as a present?” Norbert asked again. “What about that supplement I gave you before? I think it’s the only thing that’s ever made you happy.”
“That would be nice,” Seiichirou agreed without thinking.
“Hey!” Aresh snapped, feeling compelled to say something before another regrettable incident befell Seiichirou.
The mention of this supplement prompted Yua to ask, “Kondou-san, do you always feel tired?” Yua tilted her head as she asked. The Saint often looked like she was clueless about the things going on around her.
“Well, yes, of course…” Seiichirou did not deny it.
“He’s always tired because he refuses to reduce his workload,” Aresh suddenly cut in, much to Seiichirou’s dismay.
Though Yua was not able to fully understand Aresh’s explanation, a quick and painless solution came to her mind. “I could use my magic to replenish your energy, Kondou-san! Please leave it to me!”
“Huh?” was the only thing a dumbfounded Seiichirou could say.
During Yua’s training for purifying miasma, she had learned to use various aspects of her innate magic. Of course that also meant she should know how to use healing magic as well. Seiichirou suspected as much, but he had been told that magic was dangerous to use on him. Hence, he needed to figure out how to politely refuse Yua’s help, while in public, to avoid the risk of embarrassing her, the holy Saint of this kingdom.
Before Seiichirou could even think of a proper excuse, Yua lunged across the table and grabbed his hand in hers. He was quick to note how warm her hand was.
It did not take long for Seiichirou to realize that the heat of Yua’s palm was not because of her body temperature, but something else. Something was being transferred from her hand to…
As if a jolt of electricity had struck Seiichirou, all of his energy was instantly drained and his body went limp in his seat. The world around him began to swirl before he was ultimately swallowed by darkness. The last thing he heard was Yua screaming.
“Huh!?” Yua cried. “Kondou-san!?”
When Seiichirou finally came to, he found himself cradled in Aresh’s arms.
The dining hall, which had previously been peaceful , had broken out in a large commotion. Yua was both confused and concerned at the same time; worry was evident on her face. She looked at Aresh in hopes of receiving an explanation, but the knight commander was too busy to pay her any mind. His eyes were focused only on Seiichirou, weak in his arms. He could not be bothered to look away from the dazed official.
“Tch.” Aresh clicked his tongue in annoyance. After ordering Norbert to clean up their table, the knight commander scooped Seiichirou up in his arms and rushed towards the exit.
“What happened?” Bystanders close to the scene murmured amongst themselves. “What’s going on?”
Aresh turned to them, and then he gave a command over their chatter in a loud and clear voice.
“I will take care of him myself. Keep your hands off!”
“She only used a little magic on you, huh…” Aresh said, busy checking Seiichirou over. “Open your mouth.”
Somewhere along the way, Aresh had laid Seiichirou down in a place the two of them could be alone with no disturbances. Obediently, he did as he was ordered. Seiichirou parted his lips and Aresh leaned in to bring their mouths together.
They kissed, but only for the sake of purging the magical poison that had tried to overtake Seiichirou’s body once more. Time passed as they stayed wrapped in one another’s warmth, yet they remained undisturbed in this intimate moment they shared. The feeling of Aresh’s soft lips lingered on Seiichirou’s own even after the knight commander pulled away.
Aresh’s face was still stern, like before. To more closely inspect the other’s condition, Aresh cupped Seiichirou’s face in his hand and gently stroked Seiichirou’s cheek with his thumb. This is a hand that wields a sword, Seiichirou thought, feeling the roughness of the calluses on Aresh’s fingers.
“Are you all right?” Aresh asked. “Do you feel feverish or sluggish right now?”
Seiichirou shook his head. “I don’t… anymore. Thank you very much.”
Even so, Aresh gazed at Seiichirou with doubt in his eyes. Perhaps, the knight commander felt like he had overlooked something while administering treatment. Perhaps, what he had done was not enough to fulfill Seiichirou’s needs. Or perhaps, and most likely, the royal official he had just treated was still hurting somewhere, but was not even aware of it himself. Perhaps… Aresh just wanted to do more for Seiichirou’s sake.
“Tch,” Aresh clicked his tongue again. “Maybe it would be easier if I cast a barrier of protection on you.”
“A barrier, huh?”
Seiichirou was about to ask Aresh if this “barrier” was any different from the other form of magic the knight often used on him. Using logic, Seiichirou pictured it as a protective layer that could shield him from the harmful effects of both magic and mana.
“You can do something like that?” Seiichirou felt compelled to ask since he was probably the only person who would ever need such a spell in this world. Odds were that others did not suffer from the same magic intoxication problem as him.
If this was the case, then Seiichirou could safely resume drinking the supplement at last! Or, maybe not, since a barrier might only provide protection outside his body and not within it. If he thought about it carefully, it was probably impossible for a barrier to work inside himself.
Either way, it would still be convenient for Seiichirou to have. He asked Aresh why he had never thought to use it before, to which the knight commander narrowed his amethyst eyes.
“A lot of magic will need to be used for this kind of spell. Are you willing to agree to that?”
Immediately, Seiichirou understood what Aresh was hinting at.
Right after such a large amount of magic was cast on Seiichirou, his body would be unable to acclimatize on its own.
Things had become increasingly awkward between them after they started this strange arrangement. However, Seiichirou was sure that the decision they mutually agreed upon was not something they would ever regret later.
After all, Seiichirou had already reached the dreaded age of thirty. He would continue to need Aresh’s support if he wanted to take care of his health in this world.
Seiichirou had also made it clear to Aresh that he was not into those younger than himself; hence, he would not allow himself to fall in love with the knight commander as a part of their agreement. In this way, Aresh could carry out his responsibility and monitor Seiichirou without worry of something as frivolous as feelings disrupting the arrangement.
All of this had started because Seiichirou was vulnerable to magic, which required him to be acclimatized via physical relations with Aresh. The whole thing was merely trivial in nature, and Seiichirou had no time to care about any trivial matter that was not directly related to his work.