In Love With the Strongest Man

Translator: Shizukuku

Editor: Helen

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Arc 3 True Identity

Chapter 9 (I’m not afraid.)

* * *

“Since then… everything went wrong…”

“Ugh… ugh…”

The old man gripped my clothes with unexpected strength, dragging me along the ground. We passed by the well, through the bushes, and continued to move away from the shop.

I struggled to stay conscious, fearing that I might pass out. Panic welled up within me, and I wanted to thrash around. However, every time I attempted even the slightest resistance, the man yelled angrily, rendering me completely immobile.

“It’s all your fault… That was the beginning of the trouble…”

The old man walked for about ten minutes. He let go of me and threw me under the shadow of a large tree in a dark, deserted park. 

“It’s your fault!!”


A bottle was thrown onto the ground nearby and it shattered. It must have been filled with alcohol. The sharp scent of the alcohol wafted through the air.

“Since then, everything went wrong! Tariffs skyrocketed, trade goods got stolen by bandits, and to top it off, war broke out, robbing the country of even more money! I was cheated out of my last remaining venture and now I’m in this mess! It’s all your fault. Because you failed to kill that kid…!”

The man kicked me and shouted angrily. However, whether it was due to his advanced age or the fact that he wasn’t using a whip, the pain wasn’t as severe as I had feared.

And yet, I couldn’t move. My heart was bound by the chains of fear. I could only curl up and endure until the storm of violence subsided.

…Had he fallen from grace? He used to be a longstanding noble.

I wondered why someone who was supposed to be a noble had emerged from a commoner’s tavern. His family had enough connections to know about the Hidden Village and make requests, but it seemed that prestige had been lost during this man’s generation.

Now, he was but a drunk old man wearing dirty clothes, only capable of feeble kicks and curses.

…I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid…

I desperately told myself that, but my body continued to tremble. Clenching my back teeth, I repeated the words over and over in my mind.

I knew it would be easier to just give up and submit. The old man’s stamina would run out eventually. All I had to do was endure until then. That was one of the most important lessons I’d learned in the past two decades.

That should have been the case, but I hated it. Even though I should have given up on everything by now, I couldn’t help but remember.

The days when I wasn’t subjected to unjust violence. What it felt like to sleep without fear. The kindness that was offered to me and the joy of receiving it.


The desire to not be scared had unconsciously transformed into the words pouring out of my mouth.

“Help me…!”

A prayer I let out as if I was shouting. There was no way it would reach anyone. This was an uninhabited place. Even if someone were around, they wouldn’t approach a drunken person who was  shouting and using violence.

But I thought it was at least something. Raising my voice was the best resistance I could muster at the moment. Even if no one responded, unlike the old me, I had started to resist now. That alone felt like some kind of salvation.

So, I didn’t want to wish for more. Now, all I had to do was hold onto the heart I had regained and make sure it didn’t break.

—That was supposed to be the case.

That’s how it was supposed to be.  

“—Sorry I’m late.”

Before I knew it, the cursing and violence had stopped. In the quiet night, what reached my ears was a low and calm voice.


There was a figure standing between me and the old man. His broad back protected me like a shield. 

A tall, well-trained body. Black hair that shone brightly, even under the night sky. It was someone who shouldn’t be here.


“Yes. Shuka-san, your injuries are… terrible…”

Ideal looked at me with a sideways glance while still protecting me. I was still shaking, but I propped myself up with my arms, which I was somehow able to move.

My clothes were covered in shoe marks and mud. The appearance was dreadful, although the pain wasn’t as severe.

“No, it’s not as bad as it looks… but, be careful. The opponent is drunk and isn’t thinking—”

“I’ll be fine.”

Before I could warn him to step back because it was dangerous, Ideal spoke in a low voice.

“If it’s a beast that has lost its reason, it would just be a slave.”

I couldn’t see everything that was happening because my view was blocked by Ideal’s body.

However, perhaps I was mistaken— in the dense darkness of the night, something even denser seemed to envelop the nobleman and swallow him down into the ground.

“Hic…!? S-Stop… I was wrong…”

The scream was cut off halfway, and the old man’s presence disappeared.

“Did you… kill him?”

“I didn’t kill him. But, he won’t have the chance to meet Shuka-san again.”

Ideal crouched down and placed his hands on my body. His palms faintly glowed, and the pain started to fade away.

“Thank yo—”

Still confused, I was almost in tears from relief that Ideal was so close by. I began to express my gratitude, but it was interrupted.

Ideal embraced me strongly, tightly. His large hands encircled my back, providing support that almost felt overwhelming.

“Sorry… I was too late!”

“No, just coming is more than enough. Thank you for helping me, Ideal.”

As I expressed my gratitude, Ideal, for some reason, looked distressed.

“Why are you always… like this?”

I couldn’t tell if he was angry or crying. Ideal shouted in a voice that seemed to combine many emotions, clinging desperately to me.

“Be angry that I came too late, please! Call me earlier! You didn’t need to go through this; it’s all my fault…!”

“Ideal’s fault…?”

“I’m sorry, Shuka-san. This is my selfishness. But, it’s okay now. We’ll pretend that these frightening things never happened—”

Ideal’s red eyes faintly glowed, shining like jewels in the darkness, peering into my eyes.

“Wait, Ideal, what are you—”

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