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Chapter 057 – Sense of Crisis [A]
At a corner of the Rising Dragon Mountain, two people faced each other.
Having just come out of a tunnel, Leonhart was blocked by a woman from traversing the mountain path to the lower region.
She was a tall kalar woman.
Leonhart couldn’t help but react favourably to her appearance and words. After all,
…A glamorous beauty was looking for me…?
She was likely searching for him, since she said she found him. An obvious conclusion.
However, Leonhart had no clue who the beauty in front of him was. In the first place, he was not acquainted to the kalar outside of Hunty and Pale, and he was also not—
At that moment, Leonhart got an inkling of what exactly was the thing the woman was searching for just as she opened her mouth to talk. She eyed him with a frown.
“…Judging from your extraordinary presence, is it right for me to assume you are a majin?”
“! A-aah… I’m Majin Leonhart.”
Although he was slightly confused, he affirmed the woman’s hypothesis and introduced himself.
The other party also nodded, but maintained her vigilance. Leonhart observed her moving in a way such that she could react at any moment. She then continued.
“I am Kesselring. As you can see, I am a kalar, and I’ve come here to take back a kidnapped member of my brethren.”
Although her tone was haughty, Leonhart didn’t mind. Rather, he was curious for a different reason.
Despite his curiosity, he understood her purpose. The person she was referring to must be,
…Pale, who was sleeping in the tunnel behind.
Now that he thought about it, although Pale indeed agreed to his deal, no other kalar was aware of their agreement. So it couldn’t be helped if one were to think that she was kidnapped by a majin and chased them down.
I guess from their perspective, I was an evil person who kidnapped their leader.
Leonhart winced with that thought, jerking his chin in the direction of the tunnel behind him.
“…Aah, in that case, she is sleeping behind—”
Just take her if you want to, was what he almost said before stopping abruptly.
Leonhart was suddenly reminded of the appearance of a sleeping Pale in the tunnel behind. Now that he thought about it, he had stripped her of most of her clothes,
…Isn’t it easy to misunderstand that kind of scene…?
He suddenly had such concerns.
What should he do? To be honest, since he was already guided all the way here, Leonhart should be able to reach the mountain summit on his own. And considering Pale’s safety, it was better for her to be brought away now.
But if the woman saw Pale right now, she would probably assume the worst and proceed to attack him. Although Leonhart didn’t mind being attacked, it would only make matters more complicated—
“You said she was in the tunnel behind you?”
“…Aaah, well, that’s true, but—”
Leonhart hesitated on what he should say,
“I-I don’t mind you bringing her away, but give me some time. I still have things to do, you see…”
“…What do you mean?”
“…Uh, I will return her to you if you just wait for a moment. —I told you to wait. You also don’t want to fight me if possible, right?”
He forced an unreasonable argument on her.
Naturally, Kesselring’s expression stiffened as she turned suspicious.
However, he could see that the other party could be reasoned with, seeing as she talked to him normally despite him being a majin, so he thought she would be understanding. Rather than risk fighting against a majin, it was safer to just wait for a bit.
Leonhart said that with such intentions, but Kesselring set hard eyes on him and proclaimed,
“—Then I’ll take her back, even if I have to resort to force.”
With a magic chant, she became hostile.
No, hold on a second, why did it end up like this?
Amidst his confusion, the surrounding area was covered by a black fog.
About the same time, the sun was completely setting in the distant sky, pulling the curtains of night in.
As he was surrounded by darkness, Leonhart heard Kesselring’s voice.
“…It’s just the right time too. Heaven seems to be my ally…”
What are you talking about, big tits, listen to me.
Leonhart opened his mouth with that thought.
“Oi! Wait! I have no intention to fi—”
Darkness began to swallow his surroundings and him just as he said that.
…My sense of sight isn’t effective at all…?
It is blindness magic huh, Leonhart guessed at the magic property. He didn’t seem to feel any other effects of the magic.
Just when he thought that,
A soundless attack struck him to which he parried with his sword.
It was an attack aimed at his body. Judging from the feedback, it should have been a sword.
And it seemed the other party was surprised he managed to defend against it, seeing as Leonhart could feel her surprise and astonishment — or so he thinks.
…Rather, seeing as she didn’t talk or even make any sound at all, did she notice that I could tell her location just with those?
The corner of his lips raised. I see, good thinking.
“—Hah, I see! It seems you noticed immediately I am not some third-rate swordsman who depends on my sight! That’s why you even suppressed your sound— wait.”
He finally noticed just as he began talking too much. I almost switched to fight mode, he thought.
Calm down. I will be getting my priorities backwards if I end up fighting her, and I already have another person I have to fight. It’s not good to take too much time.
What should I do? He began to collect his thoughts.
First of all, he shouldn’t let her see Pale’s appearance right now. She would think he had bad intentions and attack him again.
It was also not good to attack Kesselring. He didn’t have any reason to fight her to begin with, and it was disgraceful for a man to bully such a glamorous beauty.
But it was also not good to take too much time and make Raizen wait for too long. Though, in the worst case scenario, he could fight her since Raizen did tell him earlier that he was willing to wait.
Then he thought of a method which fulfilled all these conditions and peacefully resolved the situation.
…No, well… I guess that’s my only choice…
Although Leonhart was slightly hesitant to act on the solution he came up with in an instant, he opened his mouth to say it anyway.
Since the woman hidden inside the darkness was still wary of him, she didn’t respond.
However, Leonhart didn’t mind. It was all good as long as she could hear him.
So he continued,
“Listen! I put Pale inside the tunnel for her safety!”
Since Leonhart couldn’t tell where she was, he shouted loudly to explain.
He took the chance to sheathe his sword and put up an obviously surrendering stance, feeling the pressure dissipate once Kesselring noticed he didn’t want to fight.
Perhaps because of that, he heard a voice come from within the darkness.
“…What do you mean?”
…She took the bait!
Leonhart inwardly rejoiced when he noticed the other party was willing to listen.
There was no way he was missing this opportunity. The method he chose was basically—
“I came to conquer this mountain, but—”
—On the premise he would likely be misunderstood, to speak openly about his situation without hiding it.
When Leonhart finished explaining, Kesserling replied from within the darkness.
Although she hadn’t dispelled her magic yet, her killing intent had mostly dissipated and didn’t seem to be resuming the fight anytime soon — as long as the situation didn’t get any more complicated.
“…Do you get it now?”
Kesselring put her words together beyond the darkness.
“—Came to climb the mountain during your vacation but you got lost in the forest. And as you were made fun of by a treasure chest dango, you chased it down then somehow ended up in the middle of the fight between the humans and kalars. Thinking it was a good opportunity, you decided to ask a kalar familiar with the forest to be your guide and coincidentally Pale was attacked by a human so you made a deal with her to guide you in exchange for knocking back the human. Pale agreed to your deal and it was all good as you drove the human away and began to climb the mountain. But Pale ended up unconscious while you were fighting against the dragon so to hide her safely, you decided to put Pale inside the tunnel, is that it?”
“O-ouh… quite amazing of you to say it all at once… but it’s true.”
“…To be honest—”
Kesselring paused momentarily,
“—I find it very hard to believe.”
“But, if what you said is true…”
“…If what I said is true, then what?”
In a breath,
“Bluntly said… are you stupid?”
Leonhart froze minutely as he fell silent.
Kesselring continued to talk in response to his silence.
“You came to climb the mountain. Let’s assume that’s true. Being lost in the forest also can’t be helped, so I also understand your decision to ask a kalar to guide you.”
However, hung in the air between them as she continued.
“Isn’t it okay if you just left her at the foot of the mountain?”
“…We-well, you see…”
He couldn’t say it out loud. He couldn’t admit that he still felt like he was going to get lost even in the mountains. Although he already explained most of his circumstances to her, he still had a tiny bit of pride remaining in him. To defend that remaining pride, he wanted to conceal that fact firmly.
Although he already began prefacing his statement, Leonhart remained silent, and Kesselring seemed to stare at him,
Eventually, the darkness cleared with her long breath.
That said, it was still nighttime beyond the fog, but compared to the total darkness from earlier, the current situation felt a bit brighter.
Leonhart relaxed as he saw the change. And beyond his line of sight, he saw Kesselring hold her head tiredly,
“…Well, I can find out as soon as I check it personally.”
Kesselring said putting her decision on hold for now.
Suddenly, there was a voice calling from behind Leonhart.
Peeking out from the tunnel was Pale.
As the person they talked about appeared, Leonhart sighed in relief.
…This proves my innocence…!
As expected, it was the best course of action to speak honestly. After all, misunderstandings often stem from doing otherwise.
In contrast to that, Kesselring ignored his existence and ran towards Pale.
“Are you alright…?”
Then Pale looked at Kesselring and — shook her head.
And of all the things Pale could have done, she glanced sideways with a flushed face and said something ridiculous.
“It seems that I… I’ve — cli-climbed the stairs of adulthood…!”
Pale’s statement made the atmosphere turn ice cold instantly.
As Kesselring stiffened, Leonhart was screaming internally,
…Oi! That’s not what happened!! How did it end up like that?!
Since he had a bad premonition, he quickly snapped out of it.
As he tried to glare at Pale,
“—That’s not what you just told me though?”
Kesselring looked at Leonhart with an expression full of hostility, and his gaze redirected to Kesselring instead.
Leonhart immediately shouted in a hurry.
“Wait wait, don’t jump to conclusions! Look at Pale properly! Her crystal is still red!”
“Mu— that’s… you’re right.”
As Leonhart pointed at Pale, Kesselring went to check it and nodded.
Indeed, the kalar are a race of people who have a red crystal on their forehead, but if they lost their virginity, their crystal would turn blue. Leonhart was also aware of it, and Kesselring was naturally aware of it too since she was a kalar herself, but she failed to spot that due to Pale’s ridiculous remark earlier.
Then, Pale who heard that was surprised and,
“Eh… since my crystal is still red, that means—”
Since she had no way to see her own forehead at the moment, Pale, who just learned about that fact, once again had her face turn red.
“—You-you did everything but the main course, right…!”
“I did not!”
Kesselring faced Leonhart once again to which he immediately denied Pale’s words.
Then he looked at Pale as if trying to control her with his eyes,
“Oi, you are just misunderstanding the situation, okay? I didn’t do anything.”
“Bu-but, most of my clothes were stripped away…”
“…That’s what she says, though—”
“…I-I only did that so you wouldn’t get dirty.”
“So-so you did do something that can make me dirty…!”
“I did not!”
Leonhart once again denied Pale’s accusations but the conversation wouldn’t progress if it stayed this way. Rather, Leonhart was quite curious why Pale somehow looked happy about it.
“…Anyway, nothing happened to you, right?”
“I-it’s quite a big deal though… for a maiden—”
“…I beg you, please shut up.”
“…It seems… you’re alright.”
As Kesselring tried to conclude the conversation, Pale once again tried to mutter about something ridiculous so Leonhart could only powerlessly request her to shut up. Kesselring observed Pale being energetic and playfully pressuring the person who was supposed to have kidnapped her for some reason. Their positions were completely reversed.
—It was at that moment, something strange happened.
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