Chapter 35 Reunion (2)
After finishing the late lunch, having nothing else better to do, I simply leaned back on the chair doing nothing.
I stared at the ceiling but it’s not like there was anything worth watching there either. Now then, what should I do next?
“Now then, I’ll clear up the tableware and return in a moment, ‘kay?”(utano)
I looked towards Utano-san who rose from her chair as she said that. She had her usual serious-looking face that I was well acquainted with.
“I could at least help with that……”(renji)
“Injured should just rest. Don’t worry, I’ll make you work enough to pay back for this later.”
That sounds unpleasant on its own though. Any job from her sounds troublesome, or should I say, a total pain. As if she had read through my thoughts, Aya sitting beside me gave a short laugh.
“I have a bad feeling about this, really.”(renji)
“How rude. Do you really think I’ll give you a job solely to tease you, Yamada-kun?”(utano)
You would, definitely…………I wonder what would happen if I actually said that?
While thinking of that, I moved my gaze away from Utano-san. I felt like her gaze became even colder but let’s just ignore that. I feel like I’ll be dragged even further down if I pointed that out.
“Let me help as well.”(aya)
As if trying to help me, Aya also stood up and began gathering the plates on the tray. Utano-san’s gaze moved towards Aya at that.
As I felt relieved inside my heart, Utano-san suddenly looked at me again. I panicked and ended up straightening up my back.
“Renji-san, please take a good rest now.”(aya)
“I’ll keep watch so its fine!”(fairy)
Just when I was about to reply to Aya, Anastasia gave a reply while standing near my ear. She had returned to my shoulder from Utano-san.
Even if you’re a fairy, it’s really weird for a girl to make such sounds. Near my ear, Anastasia spoke in a really low but cold voice. It’s not like the first time I’m hearing her speak like this; she speaks like this when she gets a bit angry.
“Wow, Anastasia is going to stay with me, I’m so happy..”(renji)
“Good, good. Show your gratitude with tears in your eyes Renji.”(fairy)
Was it Aya or Utano-san who laughed at that? That said, Anastasia’s mood still seemed to have not changed. Her voice is back to normal but she’s probably still a bit angry. Or rather, she’s definitely angry. As you’d expect of a woman—-well, I doubt she’s mentally grown enough to even be called a woman. I guess I shouldn’t have said that about her weight. It was only a joke though. Well, that excuse won’t work now though.
“Anastasia, you sure get along with Yamada-kun, don’t you?”(utano)
“Of course. But don’t worry, I don’t whip injured people so I won’t do anything like that.”
“Wait, if I hadn’t been injured were you going to whip me!?”(renji)
“That or, would have hung you down the window.”
That’s equally scary! That’s inhumane. I’d die, you know?
“That aside, Utano-san..”(renji)
” Hoh? ‘that aside’….?”(fairy)
“Utano-san, take this one with you, she’s really starting to scare me.”(renji)
“Don’t worry. I’m not scary, not scary at all.”
The way you’re speaking as if trying to persuade a pet animal only makes it more scary stupid!
“You two really do get along.”(utano)
“Eh, where? How?”(renji)
When I asked that, Utano-san simply gave a smile and Aya just gave a sigh. Anastasia simply silently pulled on my ear. It doesn’t hurt but it does tickle so really, stop. As my body stirred, she started putting more strength in her hands grabbing my ear as if she was having fun with it.
“Don’t start fighting and destroy the room, okay?”(aya)
“No need to worry. We won’t imitate you and Koutarou.”(renji)
“…….you still remember that?”(aya)
Surprised for a second, Aya then hid her face in embarrassment.
Once, while on our journey, those two fought in an inn which led to a full out magic battle inside a room. I don’t remember the reason behind their quarrel but I remember how troublesome it was to deal with it after wards. We had to pay so much just for the repairs.
But it sure was easy back then. The country would pay for all our expenses. Well, both me and Utano-san had to bow and apologise to the Knight commander O’brien who was travelling with us along with the Knight Order though. It can’t be helped. It was totally our fault after all. Well, Aya and Koutarou’s fault to be exact.
“How nostalgic. Also…..you sure remember everything concerning Aya eh Yamada-kun?”(utano)
“No need to react that much. Don’t drop the plates you’re carrying, okay?”(utano)
While talking like that, those two left the room.
“Come to my room at night. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Saying that at the very end, she left. Aya seemed surprised, or rather, was blushing madly. Well since it’s Utano-san we’re talking about, she’s probably just wants to talk about what we’ll do next. There’s the matter of the Demon God’s heart as well. I’m not very excited about this. I have already had my expectations destroyed countless times by her like this. Even I’d learn after failing so many times.
Aya though, I wonder what she imagined? I’m definitely gonna tease her about this later.
“What does she mean?”(fairy)
“Well, it’s adult talk, you don’t have to worry.”(renji)
With Anastasia still on my right shoulder, I left the room. I did try lying back down on my bed but ended up feeling way too bored. Since I had been sleeping for 5 days already, I didn’t feel like sleeping either. It didn’t feel right to keep on lying on my bed needlessly. So, I decided to leave the room for a walk. It’s necessary to move my dull body as well after all.
“just when I was finally free from Ermenhilde, now I have to deal with you eh…….”(renji)
“What’s up with that? Even though I’m keeping you company so that you don’t start feeling lonely.”(fairy)
“Yeah yeah. Thank you very much for that.”
“I don’t feel like you meant a single word of that though?”
“Oh I am very thankful, really, Anastasia-sama.”
Angrily, or rather sulkily, Anastasia turned her head away to the other side. Instead of the usual Ermenhilde, now I have Anastasia to talk to. Can I never get some alone time?
While thinking like that, I walked through the empty corridor. The brand new leather boots prepared for me made a dull sound as I walked. It was a bit chilly here but since the weather was nice, I’m sure my body will warm up as I walk.
Even though I was bedridden till just now, I have become able to walk just after one meal. The cheat abilities sure are something. Not just our physical abilities, even our restorative capacities are in a level above normal. Well, I’m still nowhere near the superhuman levels Souichi and others have either. If it were those guys, they’d probably be able to move around almost instantly after resting.
“You have a gorgeous fairy walking with you, you sure are a human living in extravagance aren’t you?”(fairy)
“You’re not supposed to say that yourself, you know?”
Well, true, Anastasia is definitely a beauty. With curly green hair and wings on her back. A fairy, that only existed in tales and legends in our world, existed here as if it was common sense. And for some reason also sitting on my shoulder. She’s only 15 cm tall but even then her beauty is incredible. Other women around me—-like Aya or Utano-san were beautiful as well but Anastasia’s beauty was almost unrealistic. Her body even had curves and covered with the thin silky white dress, it’s safe to say that it was poison for any man’s eyes, even at her size. Even like this, she’s cute like a doll. Well, she’s actually a fairy though. As expected, I wouldn’t harbour weird thoughts for a fairy the size of a doll. I’m not far off gone yet, neither am I that thirsty. In fact, if I ever did end up looking at this pipsqueak in that way, I think I would have lost then. And somehow, Anastasia also understands my thoughts so she’d often tease me in that manner. Back then, Koutarou and other who were excited about getting summoned to another world were getting excited saying “It’s a fantasy world!” when they met her but apparently in Anastasia’s eyes, that reaction was an instant ‘out’. Though in my opinion those kinds of guys would be more fun to tease like this though. But for some reason, she decided that I’ll be the only one who’d have to deal with her teasing. I don’t understand the basis behind it at all.
She’d also get into a lot of fights with Ermenhilde as well. I guess it’s that, ‘the more they fight, the closer they are’, or something like that.
“If only your personality wasn’t like that..”(renjii)
“Oh? What does that mean I wonder?”
“Who knows indeed..”
But still, how come I haven’t seen any other people even though its still bright outside? It felt as if we were the only people in the astle.
“Where are you heading?”(fairy)
I left only because I was bored inside my room. It’s not like I had decided on a destination when I left.
And for some reason, Anastasia, Aya and Utano-san, not a single one of them would tell me where Ermenhilde was.
Even I won’t try running away after all this time……..probably. I’m a bit worried for Feirona and the others as well. I want to go and meet them.
“Haah…..then let’s head to the training ground maybe? Yui and others should be there right now.”(fairy)
Anastasia said that as if fed up. Well, since I really didn’t have anywhere I had to go, I turned to move towards the training grounds. 3 years ago, though not for long, but I did live here. I remember the way. Taking a right, I went down the staircase where I met a few of the soldiers on guard duty. I finally met people inside the castle but even when I greet them they’d simply salute. They sure have been trained well. I ended up admiring them. Though it’d be nice if they’d just greet back when I do so. I am just an adventurer now.
I may have been summoned as a Hero back then but the reason why I was summoned has been completed. For someone like me who can only fight at his fullest against the Demon God, I don’t think I have much value left now. But even then, the gazes of the soldiers I passed through were as if they were seeing something sacred, filled with zeal and passion. In my old world, I would never get something like this I ended up feeling confused as to how I should act.
She must have felt something about this as Anastasia began to poke my cheek as soon as we were out of the soldiers vision.
“Why the hell are you getting all nervous for?”(fairy)
“I’m not really getting nervous to be honest.”
If I were to choose, what I felt was more closer to guilt rather than nervousness. During the journey, I was of use only at the very end. And that power as well was achieved at the cost of countless sacrifices. But the Demon God is no more. And his descendants can be defeated even without my help. And when even those would have disappeared——–my cheat will become completely useless. A GodSlaying weapon is useful only till there is a god that needs to be killed.
What worth does a human like that even have. Without that, I am nothing more than an adventurer and Ermenhilde is nothing more than a talking medal. Well, that’s rare in its own way though.
……..And to be honest, I have no problem with that but what does Ermenhilde think about that? Will it still ask me to treat it as a weapon? Or……. I want Ermenhilde to find a path where it isn’t a weapon anymore. That’s why I wanted to show the world to Ermenhilde to open up its choices.—–I want to find that path together. That is the reason behind my journey. Even I think that it’s a really immature objective though. Well, I think Utano-san might have realized that already though. Her intuition is way too sharp.
“What happened, sighing like that. Is there a problem?”(fairy)
“Just felt a bit ashamed..”
When I said that, Anastasia made a surprised sound.
To them, I may be a hero who saved the world. But I chose Ermenhilde over the world. Rather than supporting the whole world, I ended up deciding to chose to support just my partner. I don’t even have the resolve of a hero, and not to mention that I have to put others in danger just to fight properly. There’s no way you can call that a hero. That’s why—-those gazes, from soldiers whose names I don’t even know, felt heavy.
“This is the castle of humans and you are the hero of those humans. Act more confidently……you’re so not cool at times.”(fairy)
“I feel like I’m never able to act cool though?”
I have not been living a life where I could be called ‘cool’. I’m just desperate. And was able to luckily survive till the end, that’s all.
Anastasia seems to understand that as well as she poked my cheek while smiling. Her tiny finger felt a bit ticklish and I stiffened my face at that. My reaction must have felt amusing as Anastasia started laughing in a small voice.
“Well, that’s true as well I guess.”(fairy)
“Aren’t you supposed to refute me there?”(renji)
“You want me to refute you when you yourself said that first?”
“I really don’t get you.”
While we were talking, some well dressed nobles appeared to pass by in front of us.
As I let them go first, they looked at me confusedly.
Well, I guess they can’t help it either. I’m dressed in nothing more than a nice tunic and trousers. That’s not how normal people dress when inside the royal castle. The soldiers may remember me since I frequently went to the training ground 3 years ago but I doubt the nobles would. Not to mention I never returned here after the Demon God was subjugated. So I never had a chance to meet these nobles face to face like my other comrades. I hate things like banquets and parties so even in those I’d simply stand near some wall. There’d be very few nobles who’d remember me.
They must have found it even weirder that such a human had the fairy queen Anastasia, contracted to the Hero Hiyuu Yui, on his shoulders. They must have decided that it must be one of Anastasia’s whims since they didn’t ask me anything.
“Normally, they should be the ones to let us pass first you know?”(fairy)
I don’t really understand how administration of land etc works, but I know that its these nobles who are running the country. They are much more useful than me, who only knows how to swing his sword, now that world is free of the Demon God.
“You’re such a….Why do you always put yourself below everyone else?”(fairy)
As I walked towards the training ground, Anastasia said that to me. Whether it be her or Ermenhilde, why does everyone say the same thing to me? Compared to Souichi or the others, my achievements and abilities are both way below them.
“That’s just my nature.”(renji)
“That’s not a ‘nature’ it’s a disease…….Fix it, it’s not cool.”
She said that not in her usual playful voice but in a more serious—truly like the queen of fairies.
“I am fine the way I am. I find even my current status to be more than what I deserve to be honest.”(renji)
“You may say that modesty is a virtue but from my point of view, excess modesty is simply being servile. It’s unsightly. It doesn’t suit you Yamada Renji.”
“…….You say the same things as Ermenhilde.”
Her queen like pressure instantly dissipated. How flimsy is your character. While getting amazed by that, I sighed. How should I say this..
“You haven’t changed at all.”(renji)
“Renji, you have become more depraved though. Back then, you were more energetic.”(fairy)
“Well, I’ve lost my objective for coming to this world after all. It’s obvious I’ll become lazy.”
The Demon God had to be taken down urgently. As long as that thing was alive, lives were being taken. We couldn’t forgive that which is why we went and killed it in a matter of 2 years. Putting our lives on the line, after making countless sacrifices, gaining the trust of many, and to stand up to the expectations of the whole world.
Once again, I passed a few soldiers. This time, they went and bowed to me………Really, just stop. I really don’t like being in such a position. As if she read through my mind, Anastasia gave a sigh.
“The world’s finally heading to peace, I’d say I’m allowed to live leisurely aren’t I?”(renji)
“Well, I think the same way. After all, we are travelling all around the world on Fafnir. Yui has become quite able to talk with people on her own, you know?”
“Oh, that’s great. Back then she’d always hide behind mine or Kuuki’s back after all.”
“Seriously. Our master sure is a timid person.”
I find that as one her good points though. As a man, you’d end up wanting to protect her no matter what when she acts like that. How should I say it, she’s like a small animal. That’s what Yui-chan is like. Has a small voice, even her height—–well she was the youngest of us all so I guess that couldn’t be helped.
As I was reminiscing about the past, Anastasia, this time, pinched my cheek. Still really didn’t hurt though.
“Like I said, don’t think about other women even when you’re with a beauty like me.”
“Other women, you say……..she’s your master, you know.”
“Even then! You really don’t understand a woman’s heart Renji.”
“Well, I am man after all.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Even without understanding them, worrying and paying attention to a woman is what makes a good man, Renji.”
That sure sounds difficult. As I shrugged my shoulders, my cheek was pinched again. If I treated her like a woman, I’ll only get teased for it so I don’t want to do it……..I guess that’s just me being rude though.
It seemed that she also understood my thoughts since she didn’t actually get angry. She was actually smiling, in fact. Really, how does a woman’s heart even work? I really won’t understand them till the end of my life.
“Is that how it works?”(renji)
“That’s how it works indeed.”
How many times have I gone through this kind of conversation? Though my partner would change from Utano-san, Aya and now Anastasia. Basically, I’m being told to understand a woman’s heart more it seems. Even though I am actually trying to get better at that you know.
There was only one who told me that it wasn’t necessary to understand her womanly heart. Thinking till that, I shook my head. At the same time, my head was hit by Anastasia again.
“Since you apologised in advance, I’ll forgive you this time.”(fairy)
“Why thank you.”
“Be grateful, okay?”
“Oh I am grateful indeed, Anastasia-sama.”
When spoke jokingly, she hit my head again. After walking for a while, I finally reached the entrance to the training ground. On both sides of the corridor were iron swords, spears, axes, and shields, leaning against the walls. As I looked at the nostalgic view, I felt unspeakably calm inside.
This is it. The place where I started. The place where I, who had a weak cheat, first gained the power to actually fight. The place I learned the way of using weapons.
For some reason, my heart began beating loudly. I was slightly, excited inside. I myself had not realized that my footsteps had gotten lighter as I crossed the gate.
“He’s a man, after all.”
Anastasia said something in a small voice but I ignored it and entered the training ground as every soldier’s gaze concentrated towards me. That was, nostalgic as well. I also noticed some faces I recognised.
The square shaped ground was huge; even with a few hundred soldiers training at the same time, there was still space left.
Right now, at the centre of this ground was a deep crimson dragon resting while coiled up. The sunshine must have felt nice to it as it didn’t seem to move and seemed to be sleeping. Though I doubt it’s actually asleep. It’s very sensitive to the presence of others after all. Though it remained with its eyes closed even when I entered the ground.
As I looked at the surroundings, my gaze met with few soldiers again. This time, they waved their hands at me with a happy smile. To me, that reaction is many times better than the admiring gazes I’d get.
While greeting them with a slight bow, I walked towards the familiar deep crimson body—towards Fafnir. The surroundings seemed to become noisy but I didn’t pay them any mind.
Becoming aware of my presence, it felt as if the dragon slightly stirred.
“It’s been a long time, fool.”
“Wow, that hurt.”(renji)
My face cramped at its very first words. Well true, I am in fact a fool. A fool that chose Ermenhilde over the world, over my comrades. But still, that’s not how you should start a conversation you know?
It opened its eyes and its golden eyes pierced through me. Its body was over 30m in size, even its head alone was bigger than me. Its head suddenly closed in on me and its breath made my hair sway. Its pressure alone made my body freeze.
I took a step back. I may not have spent much time with it as a comrade but I am well aware of its personality. It’s not really angry, neither is it amused. In the first place, it wouldn’t really care about the actions of a single human. The reason I took a step back was because its head was too close to me and its every breath was almost painful. Anastasia was almost blown away by it. She hugged my face tightly but that’s making me feel all sorts of softness so really, just stop.
It’s single word resounded through my body like thunder. This is a dragon. An existence that could be called one of the strongest beings in this world. It’s single breath could burn away the land and could break through the atmosphere with its wings. It’s claws were sharper than steel and a single swing from its tail could turn even an Ogre to meat paste. It was an existence that could be considered abnormal even by cheat users like us. This was Fafnir. The strongest Dragon King.
By the way, though, the reason he became our comrade—-became contracted to Yui-chan was absolutely stupid.
A spear had stabbed into the sole of its foot and it couldn’t take it out by itself. As it was rampaging around in pain, we defeated it and Yui-chan who learnt the reason behind its rampage took out the spear and saved it. Truly, absolutely, stupid reason.
Well, though the reason was stupid indeed, we almost died while facing the rampaging Fafnir. I still have a bit of trauma from that. Souichi, Masaki-chan, Aya, Kuuki; every fighting specialised member fought against it and they could barely succeeded in just bringing the flying dragon down to the ground.
“You’ve lost your ambition. You’ve grown cowardly, God Slayer.”(faf)
“It can’t be helped. I did something incredible as killing a God even though I’m just a human. It’s normal that I’ve lost all my energy after that.”
Though I wonder if I ever had something as grand as some ambition in me.
“You killed it with pure hatred. No maybe that’s why you’ve grown cowardly now.”(faf)
“……coward, coward. You really don’t hold back, do you?”
“But of course. You’re completely different from what you were an year ago.”(fairy)
“After all you’ve changed from the man that this little insect fell in love with.”(faf)
“Who are you calling an insect?!?”(fairy)
Wait, that’s what you’re angry about?
“Eh, what? Did you perhaps like me or something?”(renji)
“Don’t get conceited, you incompetent fool!!”(fairy)
“Wow, that really hurts you know..”(renji)
Even though it was Fafnir who said that, why am I the one getting scolded? Not to mention, she’s angrier than when I joked about her weight.
“Just when I thought it had gotten quieter, it’s become noisy again.”
When I said that, Fafnir closed its eyes again. As it lay its neck back to the ground, it felt as if the ground slightly trembled. That’s how much pressure this dragon gives off. Its every small action makes one nervous. Is this the disposition of a King? As expected of an existence that is considered superior by even the Demon King, who rules over all the monsters
“Yui was worried about you. Don’t make her worry too much, GodSlayer. She’s a crybaby after all……when she cries, she’s more troublesome than that insect over there.”(faf)
“I don’t really mean to do that.”(renji)
I definitely do not enjoy making women cry. When I said that, I felt as if the pressure from the dragon in front of me lessened a bit. It talks harshly but worries about Yui-chan the most. I could feel a connection between them not just that of a monster tamer and dragon but something more. Even Anastasia, who was being noisy, went silent when Yui-chan’s name came up. There as well, like Fafnir—-I could sense a bond and emotions. As my cheeks loosened in a smile, Fafnir opened its eyes again.
“You’ve changed as well.”(renji)
“It’s being tsundere, I tell you. It tries to act cold and aloof but was also worried about you Renji.”(fairy)
“That word does not suit at all so please stop, Anastasia.”(renji)
Don’t say things like ‘Tsundere’ while in a fantasy world. Think about my dreams and hopes.
“What does that word even mean? I do not understand the word but it feels very unpleasant.”(faf)
“If you’ve got a complaint, take it Koutarou. I plan to as well.”(renji)
“Seriously……that brat is troublesome as well. Teaching weird words to this already noisy girl.”(faf)
But still, I looked around. There are soldiers who are looking at us curiously but the people I’m looking for aren’t here.
Yui-chan, Kuuki, and Knight. Where are they?
Well, Kuuki must be busy with work most probably.
“Went to look for you and that insect. Knight went with her.”(faf)
“Huh, we didn’t meet them though?”(fairy)
“Like I care. You must have missed each other.”(faf)
Well, that’s too bad. I should have lazed around in my room a bit more. Yup, let’s laze around in my room when I return.
I’ve been working too hard recently anyway, I should relax more it seems.
“That aside, Fafnir..”(renji)
“Know where Ermenhilde is?”
Instant denial. Try to chose your words better can you? When the conversation’s cut like that, I can’t keep on talking now can I?
“Who cares about that medal woman?”(fairy)
“That won’t do. She gets lonely pretty easily you know.”(renji)
“Could you stop pulling my hair so silently. Please.”
What if I go bald? This idiot.
But still, where have these guys kept Ermenhilde? She isn’t of much use to others. Not to mention that she talks a lot.
Let’s look for Kuuki now. I turned away from Fafnir and began walking.
I don’t want to meet Commander O’brien even by a mistake though. That guy thinks with his muscles so if he found me who ran away to the villages, it’ll end up being a physical talk instead. That alone, I really want to avoid. I’m still recovering. Well, I’d avoid him even if I wasn’t.
While I was thinking of that, the Dragon King called me. By name, like back then. Happy of not getting called by that incredibly embarrassing title, I turned around as its golden eyes pierced through me again.
“What were you doing, for the past one year?”(faf)
It couldn’t be helped that it ended up seeming like a question. I was just lazing around in villages after all.
But, as if not satisfied with my answer, the Dragon King looked down on me with strong eyes. His thunderous voice captured me. And his strong willed eyes saw through me. That one word alone, as if it held power, made my body tihten.
Yeah certainly, this is an existence far surpassing human kind. My weakness, pain, wounds, without minding any of those, it overpowered me.
“Why, do you obsess over Ermenhilde so much?”(faf)
“Because she’s my partner. And, I promised her…….that once we had peace, we’ll see the world together.”
(T/N: I’m going to use female pronouns for Ermenhilde from hereon as everyone else clearly refers to ermenhhilde as a woman. Though its interesting to note that in japanese, Renji himself has never used female pronoun for her. He always uses partner, gender neutral words or simply uses her name.)
That’s right. I promised her. My precious promise—-as precious as my own life. The gold coloured…..
“That’s not it Yamada Renji.”
Anastasia stood up from my shoulder and pulled on my clothes. She seems to be saying something but I couldn’t hear her.
I couldn’t move away from Fafnir’s eyes. Rather than saying that I couldn’t move my eyes away, it felt as if I would have lost if I did avert my eyes.
“That promise was made with Eru, not Ermenhilde.”(faf)
“Yeah, that’s right. That’s why I’ll fulfil that promise.”
When I declared that—-
Saying just that, it closed its eyes.
Released from the golden eyes, I breathed a sigh. For some reason, Anastasia was sighing as well. Normally, they’d talk lightly but as expected, there are levels of difference between a Dragon and a Fairy. Even I could only whisper to myself that it really was a dragon that went all out even against his comrades.
“Let’s go. Let’s look for Kuuki next.”(renji)
“Ye—yeah. Let’s do that. Since Yui is looking for us as well, we’ll meet sooner or later.”(fairy)
“Well then, see ya later, Fafnir.”(renji)
“Yes. Next time, I want to meet the not-cowardly you, Renji.”(faf)
“I’ll try to live up to your expectations.”
Saying that, I shrugged my shoulders. But Fafnir wasn’t even looking at me.