Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Arc 1 The Strongest Man and the Cursed Merchant
Chapter 11 Fierte
* * *
“Could you please just forget about it?” I asked.
“I can pretend I forgot.” At my request, Ideal nodded with a troubled expression.
“That’s fine…” I responded.
“Shuka-san, your voice is hoarse. I’ll bring you some medicine later, please take it.”
“I don’t need it…”
“Oh, what’s this? I seem to be remembering something. I think I might have seen someone crying,” he replied.
“Don’t use it as a threat right away,” I warned.
He placed a towel soaked with water over my eyes, which were red and swollen from crying. After Ideal embraced me, I cried all night long, so I had run out of energy and couldn’t even get up. As I lay there limp, Ideal took good care of me. I would be fine as soon as I got some sleep. I’d told him several times to leave me alone, but he wouldn’t listen to me.
“Ideal. I want to talk about the future,” I said.
“About the future?”
As soon as I tried to raise myself, he immediately reached out to assist me. He was a very attentive man.
“I’d like to ask you… that, again, if I could,” I began.
“What are you asking me for?” he inquired.
“Um, that’s… kisses, or, you know…” I didn’t mention the word ‘sex’ and kept it vague. I was hesitant to be open about it now that it was light outside. I felt that if I put it into words, I would be reminded of that graphic scene.
Once again, I realized that I had really slept with this man. I went on, “Naturally, you would only have to do it when you feel like it. And I’ll try to lift the curse as soon as possible, or at least get it back to where it was before. And I know you’re busy, so I’ll try to stay out of your way…”
“W-wait, wait, Shuka-san!”
“Ideal, what’s wrong?”
As I continued speaking, thinking that I was asking too much of someone I had only known for a short time, an impatient-looking Ideal stopped me.
“Why would you put it like that? Of course I’ll do it regularly. I’m gonna do it even if Shuka-san doesn’t like it, though I’d much prefer if you did…”
“For my part, I’m grateful, but it feels like it’s too much to ask.”
A deep kiss, twice per day. And that was just to keep the pain in my ankle at bay. For sex, it had to be at least once every three days. It would suppress all of the curse, including the disgust, but it only worked if he released inside of me.
The morning sun shone through the window and into the room where I had spent the night crying. This was the only way to suppress the curse, Ideal confirmed with an apologetic face. However, Ideal was a wandering mercenary, albeit a self-proclaimed one. He had apparently been looking all over the world for something. That was probably why, even though he stayed in such a luxurious inn, he was out of town more days than not.
“With my body, I can’t follow you on your journey. I’d only be baggage,” I pointed out. I never wanted to experience the horrible pain that struck my ankle ever again, but my body was unable to walk for long distances, and it would be impossible for me to even follow Ideal’s footsteps from behind.
I wondered if it was possible to solve the problem by just cutting that part of my leg off. I’d have preferred to keep it, but if I had to choose between losing it and the possibility of experiencing that excruciating pain over and over again…
“That’s it, Shuka-san!” Ideal took my hand and leaned in close. His eyes sparkled like jewels as he stared at me. “Will you come live with me?”
* * *
After that, everything happened in a whirlwind.
“Here, this is Shuka-san’s traveling outfit,” Ideal told me.
He handed me a brand-new cloak that fit me perfectly.
“I’ll be waiting for you a little ways away, so go pack up anything you want to bring,” he instructed.
“What?” I didn’t tell him where it was, but he took me back to my shabby dwelling place as a matter of course.
“It’s a little far, but it won’t take more than two days for Printemps to get us there,” he predicted.
Ideal had the standard saddle of his black horse changed to a two-person saddle that carried both of us and our luggage.
“Welcome home, Master,” came the greeting as we entered Ideal’s house.
“I’m home. This is Shuka-san. Treat him politely,” he ordered.
“Um… just a moment…” I was politely welcomed into a residence in the capital city, which we had reached in a little more than a day.
Ideal’s servants showed me to an overly spacious and luxurious room, telling me, “This will be Shuka-sama’s room.”
“Shuka-san, I’m glad you’re doing well. Are you tired from our journey?” he asked.
“No, that’s not important, you…”
I had run out of the room without a second thought and ran into Ideal, who was coming out of the room across the hall. I clung to his arm as if I wouldn’t let him get away, since I’d been kind of flustered throughout the entire trip.
“Who the hell are you…?” I asked him. He probably wasn’t a nobleman, since we were far away from the noble district and I couldn’t find a coat of arms anywhere in the mansion. However, he was clearly not an ordinary citizen either. And he definitely couldn’t be just a mercenary.
“Let’s see… Do you know much about the War of the Four Powers?” he asked me.
“Uh… yeah, I guess. I’ve heard the stories,” I answered.
It was one of the largest wars in the history of mankind, which broke out about ten years ago and involved all four of the great powers of the world. Even the remote town where I was born was hit by the flames of war. But five years ago, the war ended with the emergence of a man. He alone, not belonging to any country, took on the armies of all four major powers and won the war. The man who protected the order of the four great powers and saved the world by not allowing any one nation to win the war. The title ‘Hero of Salvation’ was given to him with awe and reverence.
“Well, I suppose I’m the one who ended the war,” Ideal’s matter-of-fact statement sent a shiver down my spine.
In this world where people don’t have surnames unless they are nobility, he was given a surname by the kings of the four great powers as an exception. I think his surname was…
“Wait a minute. Don’t tell me you’re… the Hero of Salvation, Fierte?!” I exclaimed.
“Oh. Come to think of it, I’ve never properly told Shuka-san my name,” he mentioned as he straightened his bearing and dropped to the floor on one knee. He placed his hand on his chest and looked straight up at me. “Once again, my name is Ideal Fierte. But feel free to continue calling me just Ideal, Shuka-san.”
The man who wouldn’t listen to me when I told him to stop coming to a rundown stall like mine.
The man who happily slurped the noodles that the common people eat.
–For now, he was the only man who could suppress my curse.
The Hero of Salvation, he who was said to have saved the future of the world.
“Oh, Shuka-san! Are you okay?” he asked when my vision suddenly narrowed and my body fell into his arms.
As I let go of my consciousness, I heard a concerned voice from somewhere in the distance.
–Oh, how did this happen?
–It seemed I’d gotten mixed up with a truly extraordinary man.
[End of Arc 1]