The cats in my neighbourhood are just too cute〜. But my grandma has allergies, so I can’t keep them (◞‸◟)…
And, the time when Legato and I reached our current position was also the same. He took the position of squad commander last year. The Royal Knight Order had to be more nimble than the main force, so since time immemorial they have had comparatively younger leaders, but that did not change the fact that he was chosen.
I also assumed the post of public relations or rather, I was the one who went out when there was need for someone to go out in the Technological Magic Order. I was certainly thought of as the 「vice-leader」 by everyone around. I didn’t intend for that though.
Legato was a fine man even from the eyes of a man like me. He was tall, and as a knight who had attained balance, he had an ideal body type. And since he had been selected for the post of captain, he was capable. Even though he was capable, he indeed did not have strong and rugged looks, but was refreshing and cool. His ashen hair was cut in a neat style, his eyes had a tinge of blue in them, and his features were also good.
Certainly he was a subordinate, but he seemed like a someone from a noble peerage. Maybe that was why he had elegance. His nature too was earnest and he was a hard worker, and he was modest too. His attitude toward the people who held a lower position was courteous, and he was never arrogant. The fact that both his hand in sword and his position as a captain were fruits of his hard labour, was something that one could understand just by looking.
That degree of perfection was somewhat obnoxious, but the reason he was not disliked was because he was teased by his superiors for being a type to sometimes go round in circles. Being too serious would become his foe, and occasionally he would even be a bonehead. That was certainly worth teasing. He was said to be a lovable person.
Anyhow, even if that was included, he was still a man who left nothing to be desired.
Just as our personal histories were similar, and our positions were also similar, I felt, in one way and another, that he was treated as a doormat by the main force’s members just like me. I often saw the main troops push bothersome work onto the squad. The squad commander Legato, without voicing a single complaint, would do the work earnestly. He was too obedient. You could feel his good upbringing.
If it were me, I’d definitely complain.
Legato, being the same age as I, might have been slightly bothered about me, but if I had to say then it felt as if he were keeping away from me. I’m sure he, who was diligent, couldn’t tolerate someone like me who seemed the insincere type.
A person who did nothing but stifle yawns all throughout the meeting.
It wasn’t as if I particularly wanted to get close to him, but the part of me that held a sense of closeness to him wanted him to do his best.
「Anyhow, I know that we lack the manpower, but we shall provide guards to Chennel-sama for this one month. Tomorrow evening, the concerned people shall gather again. Till then, please sketch up a guard plan.」
When the prime minister spoke, members of the Knight Order gave out a sigh, yet replied in the affirmative. I once again stifled a yawn. The guard matter had nothing to do with our order.
Like that, I listened to it completely as someone else’s matters, but when the king suddenly turned to me and said a few words, I shook my body in surprise.
「Nidel, won’t you go out as a bodyguard from the Tech side?」
Told by the king I stared in wonder for a moment. Incidentally our Technological Magic Order was often called 「Tech」or 「Tech Order」in short.
It seemed I was not the only one surprised by the king’s words, simultaneously from my surroundings bewildered voices were raised. Incidentally, the ones who showed the strongest displeasure were the Royal Palace Magic Order.
「Your Highness, what do you mean by that!? That we, the Royal Palace Magic Order would lack ability if we went by ourselves!? To borrow the strength of Tech!」
「N-No…That’s not it, it’s because we’re lacking in manpower, that I thought of seeking the cooperation of Tech…」
The king offered an explanation even while being overwhelmed by the vigour of the Royal Palace Magic Order.
「It’s impossible for Tech to become bodyguards! The coordination will unnecessarily be in disarray! Even if you do not worry, we shall join hands with the Knight Order and become proper guards!」
「I-see…I’ll leave it to you…」
The king nodded while being forced by their vigour, but he still turned his gaze towards me in a regretful manner. I was uneasy at the king’s gaze; it seemed as if he wanted to say something, but he added nothing more.
The Royal Palace Magic Order too threw a scowling gaze, and I nonchalantly averted my eyes from that gaze. I had no intentions of burdening myself with unnecessarily troublesome things.
The Royal Palace Magic Order had incredible pride and hated our Order putting our noses in their affairs the most. That gaze eloquently conveyed that it was best that Tech stealthily worked behind the scenes under the feet of the Royal Palace Magic Order.
Moreover, I who had no qualms whatsoever, wouldn’t adopt a defiant attitude. We were not suited for the role of bodyguards. Anyhow, if I accepted such a job, I could see it coming back to me.
Tech being Tech, at present there was a dizzying rush. As we inched close to the prince’s coming of age ceremony, small jobs such as repairing the magic in toolset within the palace piled up like a mountain. I didn’t want to add jobs needlessly.
The meeting closed, leaving behind the Knight Order and the Royal Palace Magic Order who were discussing in all seriousness, the others were all scattered and left that place behind.
I, while traversing the royal palace, hastened my steps towards the tower that was my haunt.
It seems the black robe that each of the Technological Order were wearing was not the uniform per se, but because everyone else was wearing it, I too decided to do the same. When you wore the hood, you could block out the gazes from the surroundings as well as the sunlight so it was convenient.
I myself had black hair and black eyes, thus had a familiarity towards black, and felt at peace for some reason while wearing it, so I was fond of this robe.
When I left from the black door of the royal palace and walked to the depths, from the corner, the short tower of the Technological Magic Order where I worked stood. From the time the king’s palace built it, that tower that stood unchanged was considerably old and shabby. However, we occasionally repaired it by ourselves, so the inside was comfortable compared to its outer appearance.
Entering the dark and chilly tower, when I showed my face on the single floor room where everyone was present, the black masses that were crouched down on the gaps between the piled up tools disconnectedly rose their heads.
「Hi Nidel…How was the meeting?」
Looking at the senpais who approached restlessly or the kouhais who only raised their heads and stayed where they were, it somehow gave of a feeling of a gathering of black insects.
「An excellent problem came. On the matter of Prince Chennel.」
「Ahh…They’re aiming for his life, right? It seemed as if the disputes had been settled, but it seems the rebellion members paid an assassin, and the assassin wants to execute it.」
Hunon, who was scheduled to become the next leader, nodded with a know-it-all look. I wondered why he knew such information, but Hunon was an abnormally well-informed person. I always thought he’d go out for the meeting, having the capability to get such information, and being scheduled to be the next leader, but Hunon was a person who hated troublesome things. I suspected he had the intention to let me continue being the one to show his face outside even if Hunon became the captain. Most probably, that was for sure. He had a greater ability than I, and it was not possible to defy Hunon, who was twice my age for real, and I felt heavy-hearted from then on.
「If our work increased with the task of becoming bodyguards at such a busy time, everyone would be having a headache, right?」
At Hunon, who completely considered it someone else’s job, I shrugged my shoulders.
「Because the king entrusted the job of becoming bodyguards to us, the Royal Palace Order were enraged」
At my words, everyone in the room shook in surprise, and looked towards me with frightened eyes. I waved my hands with a bitter smile.
「The Royal Palace Order aren’t angry anymore, so it’s fine.」
「If we became bodyguards…we’d die.」
「At such times, the Royal Palace Order are reliable.」
The air of relief overflowed, and retrospective statements filled the room in mutters.
「Tomorrow there’ll be another meeting, so I’ll just show my face.」
「Ohh, Nidel, please.」
The usual air returned inside the tower again. It might have seemed dark and gloomy on the outside, but this suited my nature more. I truly felt glad from the depths of my heart that I was here, not in the Royal Palace Magic Order.
Sitting in my usual place that had been decided somehow or the other, I took the magical tool that I had set about since yesterday in my hand. It was a magic device that, if placed among a group of ants, would repel them from the area. I didn’t know exactly what it was made for, but since a request to repair it had come, I had to do it. Thinking there might have been an outbreak of ants in the kitchen, I wound the tool around.
At that stage, I had already completely expelled the thoughts of Prince Chennel‘s bodyguard from my mind. I thought it had nothing to do with me now.
However, a few hours later, there was an unexpected correspondence from the king.