In Love With the Strongest Man

Translator: Shizukuku

Editor: Helen

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Arc 3 True Identity

Chapter 5 “What’s wrong with your face?”

“Ugh, my head hurts…”

The next morning, I woke up in my bed with a headache. The pain, along with heavy fatigue and nausea, was a little different from the headache one would get from a cold. So this was the hangover that I had heard so much about.

I couldn’t remember how I got back. Or rather, I could hardly remember anything that had happened after I met Ideal on the balcony last night.

“Akane… how did I get back yesterday…?”


“What’s wrong with your face?”

When I turned over, Akane was in the corner of the room. For some reason, he was frozen in a state of alert, with an offended look on his face.

“Mew-ka, it’s so smelly…”

“Is it…?”

I checked the futon with trepidation, but there was no sign of any mess. My clothes were just as they were last night. I sniffed my bedding, but instead of smelling bad, it smelled like the soap I had used in the bath before dinner.

“Insidious, meow… It’s too scary, meow… Quick, take a bath, meow…”

“I have a headache and it’s too bothersome right now…”

“Bath meow… if you think Akane is cute…!”

“Is it really as bad as you’re saying…?” It had only been a short time since Akane started talking, but I felt like I needed to shield this child. I had no choice but to take a bath before breakfast. As usual, the water was already heated, which was a big help. There was even fruit juice prepared for after the bath.

Thanks to my bath and the fruit juice, my headache felt a little better.

“I took a bath.”

“Meow, meoow! Mew!” 

As soon as I got out, Akane ran up to me, wrapped himself around my feet, and rubbed up against me. When I picked him up, he moved around in my arms and rubbed his entire body against my chest. The clothes I had just changed into were now covered with red fur.

“Akane, are you done?”


“Okay, I’ll get changed…”


I took off the clothes with fur on them and changed into different ones. When I put them on the window sill to remove the fur later, a maid passing outside quickly took them away for the laundry. Competent as always. Even the people of the Hidden Land, who were skilled at stealth, would have found it difficult to move so naturally.

“Please don’t stick any more fur on me until after breakfast.”

“Mrow. No way, meow.”

“I’m not sure how to respond to such an outright rejection…”

Akane was in a good mood, dexterously running between my legs. I was careful not to step on him as I headed for the dining room. Akane was also allowed to go in and out of the dining room. A special meal had even been prepared on a small table for him.

Ideal, who had arrived earlier, folded up the newspaper he was reading when he noticed us, and said, “Good morning, Shuka-san.”

“Good morning, Ideal. I really don’t remember anything that happened after we met on the balcony yesterday. Did I do anything weird?”

“No, not at all. You were very cute.”

“What did I do…?”

Ideal stood up, came over, and planted a kiss on me. I wondered why, but I assumed it was to suppress the curse.

…But since we had sex, was the kiss really necessary? I was about to ask him, but Ideal spoke first.

“Shuka-san, who is ‘that child’…?”

“That child? What’s that?

“I guess you don’t remember. It was something you said to me yesterday. That you have that child.”

“I have that child? Hmm, I guess I meant Akane. I left him on the bed, thinking I’d be right back.”

“…I see.” Ideal glanced over at Akane. Akane was eating morsels of fish without a care in the world. “Shuka-san, you and that cat can stay in this house forever, okay?”

“Really? Thank you.”

“If any other child comes to mind, let me know.”

Ideal hugged me tightly and pulled out a chair for me to eat breakfast. On the table was bread, salad, cheese, and bacon, with a fried egg for me and a half-boiled egg for Ideal. As we sat down, goat’s milk was poured into a wooden cup for me and Ideal’s glass was filled with milk. I didn’t remember being asked what I liked, but before I knew it, my favorite dishes were on the table as if it was a matter of course.

“So, Shuka-san, what are your plans for the rest of the day?”

“I think I’m going to go into town for a bit.”

I still didn’t have an answer for him yet, but I was concerned about the rough state of the capital city that Langetsu had mentioned. It was certainly true that public safety had noticeably worsened compared to what I knew before. I wanted to see for myself whether the Hidden Land was really not functioning.

“…You’re not going to a brothel again, are you?”

At Ideal’s quizzical voice, I hurriedly shook my head.

“No, I’m not. I don’t have that kind of money anymore.”

“If you had the money, would you go…?”

“I won’t go! I had just wanted to take a look around then.”

“I see… bring that one.” Ideal, who had been furrowing his brow, exhaled suddenly and raised one hand.

“Yes, sir. Shuka-sama, here.”

The maid entered quietly and held out a silver tray. On top of it was a familiar cloth bag.

“This is…”

“I offered to pay a compensation fee for pushing my way through that brothel, but he gave me this back instead. He said nothing happened, so he couldn’t take it.”

That dirty little bag, not worthy of a silver tray, was my wallet. When I opened it and shook it around, there was indeed a shiny copper coin at the bottom.

The copper coin Ideal had paid me one day. I didn’t realize it at the time, but perhaps it was a treasure for me in the depths of my despair. I was so happy to have it back.

“Thank you…”

I clutched it tightly and put it away in my pocket with great care. I was surprised at myself. Unbeknownst to me, I had gained the ability to accept happiness. Perhaps it was thanks to Ideal. My heart felt warm and somewhat ticklish.

“You are free to go into town, Shuka-san, but I would like you to use the carriage. It would be better for you to take your time, wouldn’t it? Plus, it’s not good to put too much strain on your body.”

“That… would be helpful. Thank you.”

Ideal’s consideration was more than I could have hoped for. I wondered if it was really okay for him to do that much for me, but I was grateful and accepted it, thinking that it was better than getting a fever and needing him to nurse me back to health again.

Come to think of it, what was Ideal going to do at the mansion?

“Ideal, would you like to come with me?”

Even though he was probably busy, I invited him on a whim. I expected him to decline, but Ideal’s expression brightened more than I had expected.

“Really?! Can I go with you?”

“Oh, of course.”

I was happy to see him smiling at me. However, after a short pause, Ideal slumped his shoulders with a sigh.

I was happy to see him smiling at me. But without a pause, Ideal’s shoulders slumped.

“I think I’ll have to pass on it after all…”

“I see. You must have work to do. Then I’ll get you a souvenir or something.”

“A souvenir? That’s nice, I’ll look forward to it.”

Ideal, who had been looking depressed, seemed to feel a little better when he heard that he would be getting a souvenir. He even made a request for something tangible to keep. I was looking forward to finding a souvenir for Ideal, too. 

“Okay, I’ll be back.”

“Take care.”

After breakfast, we got ready and boarded the carriage. Akane insisted on coming along, claiming that he could pretend to be a normal cat. Ideal walked us out to the gate of the mansion and saw us off as we left.

When we were a short distance away, I saw his mouth moving as if he was muttering something.

“I wish I could lock you up for the rest of your life.”

I couldn’t hear him over the noise of the wheels, but his expression was dark and, for a moment, a little frightening.

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