(Black Clothed A’s POV)
“That was the boy we heard so much about?”
On the way to the settlement of the Star Aria Tribe, we were running side by side when conversation broke out.
“Yeah, that was definitely the boy the master1 told us about.”
He’s very high-handed, or maybe arrogant?
It wouldn’t have been easy for us to leave our lives to Harold, though that shouldn’t be a surprise considering all the things we’ve heard about his personality beforehand.
However, in that last scene we saw that Harold is actually a young boy full of kindness, he just can’t be honest with himself in front of people. Otherwise, I’m not sure if we would’ve been able to commit ourselves to this.
Receiving an emergency summons, I remember the day our lives were given to that boy.
Our master Tasuku had a mysterious expression plastered on his face, as if a large scale battle was expected to happen soon.
I’ve already risked my life many times on missions, but I don’t hate orders like this.
Everyone could feel that the master wasn’t his usual self. While thinking that, Tasuku began to explain the circumstances of the mission this time.
“This job is about a fight that will break out between the the Knight Order and the Star Aria Tribe, with the true culprit being the Sarian Empire. They’re going to instigate the fight between the two groups.”
“…why do you think the Imperials are behind this?”
“We’ve received information that in the confusion they’ll take the chance to capture members of the Tribe.”
Certainly, this would be a big deal if it’s true. If left unchecked, this could develop into a civil war.
However, something still felt off to me.
“Under such circumstances, wouldn’t it be better to send actual soldiers instead of a unit like us?”
“We don’t have enough evidence to confirm these claims so we can’t make any conspicuous movements. If it’s true, I would’ve preferred to avoid dispatching you as well. I wouldn’t want to risk anyone making the connection between your unit and the Sumeragi family.”
“You would send us despite the risk being so high?”
I just need to know, why?
To my inquiry, a bitter smile floated up on Tasuku’s face.
“…it’s not something to be proud off, but I’ve been taking a lot of things that belong to Harold-kun.”
Harold. That name sounds familiar to me.
The daughter of the Sumeragi family’s fiancé, Erika’s fiancé.
The information gathered on Harold after the engagement was announced wasn’t very good. Not a lot of people are willing to bless their engagement.
“Why is his name coming up here?”
“Harold-kun is planning on going to this battlefield alone to stop this fight.”
“…I can only think of that plan as reckless, I would advise him to stop.”
“That child will not stop. All by himself, that child has been fighting alone for a long time.”
Tasuku sadly murmured, it almost felt as if he were blaming himself when he said that.
He was trying to support Harold, a boy who was planning to cut ties with the Sumeragi Family. It wouldn’t be easy to convince people who were unaware of Harold’s true nature to help him.
“Why would you go so far for him?”
“…if you wish to learn the truth, then you must promise to keep this a secret. I, myself intend to take this knowledge to the grave, so you should talk among yourselves to see who is willing to leave their lives to Harold, though what I reveal to you must absolutely be kept from others.”
The temperature in the room felt like it just fell a few degrees. To the extent that I thought I could feel an incredibly intimidating feeling emanating from Tasuku.
A cold sweat fell down our cheeks as if we had just passed through a near death experience.
“We pledge our loyalty to our master.”
“Thank you. Well, who here knows the story about Harold killing his own servants?”
“We all know it.”
Harold’s wrongdoings had definitely been heard of by us spies. We all knew the story of him killing his servant.
It was a big reason why many of us are still opposed to his engagement, actually.
“In truth, he didn’t kill his servants. To the servants who were about to be executed by his parents, he saved them and took the title of murderer himself. The servant and her daughter are still living peacefully thanks to the gracious funding that Harold had provided on their escape.”
Tasuku had just dropped on us an unbelievable story.
It’s always been said that Harold killed his servant three years ago when he was only ten years old. Truthfully, I did have my doubts as to whether a child could actually do that.
“Then why keep this a secret then? If you make this information public, you can silence all the people opposed to the engagement at once.”
“Harold doesn’t want that. He’d prefer the safety of the two girls he rescued and the title of ‘murderer’ rather than take praise and fame for himself.”
So this is why Tasuku committed himself to take this secret to the grave.
A ten-year-old boy made this decision… I can feel my chest tighten a little when I think about it.
Resolving himself to be despised by everyone who knew nothing of what he did, and still carry through with his choice.
…and besides, it was Harold who developed and offered us the antibodies for the miasma, and the LP farming method.“
“Is that true?!”
Everyone was shocked at this revelation.
The antibodies that were manufactured with the specific ingredients from Tasuku’s abrupt command. I can’t imagine how many people were saved by that drug.
Along with the revolutionary LP farming method, a new way of farming that had a great impact on the Sumeragi territory’s economic recovery.
Everyone in the Sumeragi territory sung praises to Tasuku for these things, ‘As expected of our lord’ we said.
There wasn’t even a trace of Harold Stoke’s name in there. We thought everything was done by Tasuku.
“Yet once again, he asked that his involvement was left unknown. To prevent his parents from becoming the main developers and exploiting the interest rights, for if such a case came to be, he predicted that not as many people would be helped as they are now.”
Throwing away all these chances to be praised and the like, only to gain hate and infamy in return.
While protecting someone else in all earnest, he chooses to hurt himself instead. That may be in essence, what makes him Harold Stokes.
“It was Harold-kun who discovered this information. Even doing that alone was probably dangerous, yet he only asked me to ‘prepare a military uniform of the Sarian Empire’, but how could I do just that?!”
Now we understood why Tasuku cared about Harold so much.
Harold is already part of the Sumeragi family in his eyes, and the savior of the territory. They have an obligation to him that cannot be repaid.
And that very same boy was about to go into a battlefield alone to prevent a civil war.
“Harold-kun has gotten used to being alone. He’s now someone who’s very poor at relying on others, a very clumsy boy. Certainly, he has a foul mouth and an arrogant attitude, but in reality he’s more gentle than anyone. I want to protect this child no matter what.”
Tasuku’s thought process was if Harold was actually his child.
If that was the case, then it’s our job to make those thoughts reality. It’s our obligation to answer the sincerity of the man named Tasuku, and the Sumeragi territory he rules over.
“We accept your request.”
Everyone bows their head in unison.
For this dangerous mission that might cost us our lives, not a single person refused.
◇ ◇ ◇
I had already taken off the Order’s armour and replaced it with the Sarian Empire’s uniform. Weaving my way through the trees, I was moving through the roads that couldn’t even be called roads at high speed.
The black-clothed group was right behind me. I’m not sure how strong they were, but it was truly amazing how they could keep up with my speed.
(I was hoping morale would rise a little bit with what I said earlier but…)
Casting skeptical gazes at them, I thought about such things.
I know how late in the game we already are, but if possible I don’t want any of them to die.
Though there is a far higher chance of me getting attacked rather than them.
I started to organize the information I knew before we reached our target.
The Sarian Empire has about 150 people here. A hundred of them are engaged in battle with the Order near the interior of the forest, while the remaining fifty are attacking the Star Aria Tribe.
Their number are about five times more than the information that was given in advance, but to be frank it was much less than what I expected. The Order has a little over two hundred dispatched this time. I thought that we’d have the numerical disadvantage.
This was the Kingdom’s territory, it would’ve been difficult for them to dispatch a large number of troops here in secret.
Maybe this was the most they could do if they still wanted to be able to infiltrate us.
In addition, there were about 120 knights on patrol missions in the forest, and on top of that, they were divided into teams of fifteen. If guided individually, there’s always the possibility that they’ll run into the enemy by accident.
If so, even if it’s not a great countermeasure, their disadvantages would be covered. They should be fine even in the event of a surprise attack.
And even though in the original work the Order is decimated and Robinson is destroyed, the mastermind-Justus’s main goal is to capture members of the Tribe and spread the word that ‘The Star Aria Tribe attacked the Knights’.
There’s no real need to destroy the Order.
I wonder if Robinson was born under some unlucky star or something? To be forced into a scenario that he had to die.
Ideally I would like to settle this before the support group arrives, but I know that’s impossible.
There’s no choice but to accept that Cody will return to the front lines soon.
Roars and screams entered into my ears. With every step forward they grew louder and clearer.
We had finally caught up to the first group.
“Everyone spread out! Scout out the surroundings while I draw their attention!”
The figures of the black clothed group disappear into the forest while leaving words of consent.
Speaking in terms of pure stealth, their abilities far outclass mine.
If I can draw in the attention of both enemies and allies, then there’s no way they’d be caught.
I donned a leather mask that covers the lower half of my face, including my mouth and nose. It should go without saying that I’d run into trouble if my identity were to be exposed.
At first I thought I should wear a mask that covered my whole face, but I abandoned the idea because the reduced field of vision could prove fatal.
I was exposed to names of unknown colleagues who were conscious of sudden lightning strikes.
Taking a deep breath, I kicked at the ground to increase my speed.
To flaunt my existence as much as possible, I started firing magic towards the sky. Thunder clapped as lightning shot into the night sky, cutting down trees with it.
There were only men of the Order there, the Sarian soldiers were probably in hiding to prepare their long-range attacks.
This must have been another way for them to counter their numerical disadvantage.
“Hey, over there!”
The knights turned to the place where their comrade pointed at while yelling, and there I was. Standing over them on a tree branch overlooking their unit.
I draw my sword to increase their alertness levels.
However, it’s not enough. This alone won’t make them conclude the enemy actually the Sarian Empire.
Showing off the blade, I do my best to play the part of a villain.
“Rejoice, knights of the Liberl Kingdom, you will now become the cornerstone for the Empire’s glory!”
“What do you mean ‘the Empire’s glory’… don’t tell me, are you here to start a war with us?!”
(How the hell did you interpret it like that?)
Right now I was dressed in the uniform of the Sarian Empire’s military, and I didn’t say anything about starting a war to expand territory or anything.
I wonder what would happen if I exposed the truth and just outright told them the Empire’s plan to attack the Order while framing the Star Aria Tribe.
Though, I guess it’s common sense if I think about it. If I don’t do this properly, then I’ll accidentally start a war between the Liberl Kingdom and the Sarian Empire.
Now that I realised such a possibility, I could feel a cold sweat break over me.
There was no way I could back out now though.
Besides, Justus has nothing to do with the Sarian Empire. If the series of events were to be revealed, there’s the chance that Justus’s involvement will be exposed.
I didn’t think of the possibility of the genius running away by himself. I probably should’ve prepared countermeasures so that when the Empire was discovered as the perpetrators the Kingdom wouldn’t react too strongly.
Then, I got an idea.
“There’s no need for dead men to know the truth.”
I’m a commander, I’m a commander, act like you’re a commanding the Sarian Army that’s waiting in ambush…
Even for the Sarian Army, I’m an enigma that they don’t know about. An irregular that suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
But if you see an Imperial soldier suddenly declaring an attack on the Order, you obviously know he’s one of the enemies.
Furthermore, if you look at the medal that was hung on my left chest, you’d see a lieutenant badge. To ignore my order would be the same as ignoring your commanding officer.
It’s my win if that’s how they interpret it.
And sure enough, it was my brilliant victory.
Immediately after I issued the command, arrows started flying in from all directions. The Sarian army had executed my order.
The knights dealt with protected themselves from the arrows in response, and fortunately, there were no dead or serious injuries among them yet.
Even the position of the hidden Sarian soldiers was revealed.
Around now the black-clothed group should be capturing the soldiers if they’re following the plan.
(Even if it’s only by one second quicker, finish this already! Seriously!)
Maintaining my distance so I could buy time, while carefully firing magic so I didn’t hurt anyone, I started crying out in my mind.
Translated by KuroInfinity. Written by Izumi (泉).
- They all refer to Tasuku as ‘Dan’na-sama(旦那様)’ which means ‘Master’ but also means ‘Husband’.