Translator: “Hakou” Editor: “Weasalopes”
In a dry land with low moisture.
There is a town that was surrounded by trees.
No, maybe it’s better to say that the town is inside a forest.
The height of the trees is about 20 meters and because they are deciduous trees, it’s showing a breezy appearance in this early spring. On closer inspection, the branches had sharp thorns, as if they refused to be touched.
From the two-story stone building near the center of the town that’s taller than any other building surrounding it, a man was looking out of the window.
(The view would be better if the flowers were blooming though)
The middle-aged man remembered the white tufted flowers blooming from spring to early summer.
Not only is it a beautiful flower, it also produces high quality nectar.
This is a country governed by a King and this town could be said as the Royal Capital.
There is a long official name for this country, but people have been calling it The country of Niseakashia*”.
Right now, the man is looking at the trees that were also the name of this town.
(*TL Note: Niseakashia(ニセアカシア) is the Japanese for Black locust tree. Robinia pseudoacacia, commonly known in its native territory as black locust, is a medium-sized hardwood deciduous tree, belonging to the tribe Robinieae.)
(Well, there’s nothing special in this country other than those trees)
The man snorted.
As a matter of fact, black locust is the only tree that grows in this cold land with low moisture.
And their industry only have black locust nectar as their main product and firewood a side product
Yes, this thin middle aged man that has no dignified air around him is the King of this country of black locust.
The King called the timid fat and round old man with small stature that stood at the back of the room.
There are no other ministers aside from him in this country. The old man walked in small steps and came to the King’s side.
「Look, finally, our country have an A-class tournament champion」
He said as he held the magazine in front of the old man.
On it, The Temple of the God of Business, tournament before God special issue was written in big letters.
「It was a men’s section victory and not overall victory but, victory is a victory」
The old man who received that magazine, flipped through the pages as his eyes under the ハshaped eyebrows blinking frequently.
「It’s been a really long time, isn’t it?」
He looked up to the king before continuing his words.
「Then, would it be fine if we start preparing?」
The king nodded and looked at him with a meaningful gaze.
「Please do so. It would be good if they have the aptitude this time」
The preparation needed isn’t free. It’s an unexpected expense.
(We must at least earn back the resources we spend for this)
He didn’t say it out loud, but the minister knows what he’s trying to say.
It’s because the minister himself has the same thought as him.
『Appoint the champion of an A-class tournament as the pilot of the national Knight』
This is a rule that was established by the King of Niseakashia from several generations ago.
The King at that time believed that the ability and aptitude to become a Knight’s pilot is related to one’s excellence on the bed.
『A person who is skilled on bed can become a pilot』.
(Our country doesn’t have the power to find and raise a pilot by ourselves, nor we have the funds to hire someone from another country)
The current King guessed the reason behind this rule.
Unless they have a deep attachment as the people of this country, there’s no one here who would be willing to become a pilot that is mostly unrewarded.
And there is no know-how to find a unique talent as a pilot in this country that only has a few citizens.
(Actually, the possibility of it being a subjective impression by my predecessors is quite high)
The King thought.
The basis of this is the former champion.
The former king followed this rule and made him ride the Knight for a trial, but let alone moving, it didn’t even react to him.
(And the champion this time is the disciple of the previous champion)
It can’t be helped if the king doesn’t have any expectations on him.
(But rule is a rule. As the King, I must properly perform it)
They called the engineers to activate the only national Knight of Niseakashia that has been dormant for decades. First, is to prepare the budget for it.
「I hope it moves」
The minister speaks out with thoughts.
Move, and defeat the monsters in the kingdom to get its drop items. It is also okay to go to another country as a mercenary.
By doing so, it’s possible to earn more money than what they spend.
The King nodded at the Minister’s words and looked at the Niseakashia outside the window.
Today too, cheerful shouts resounded under the shabby wooden roof of a certain dojo.
This is the dojo where Lightning works.
In addition to Lightning, a young man, middle-aged man, man in his prime, and the recently came young boys were there.
They were all exposing their lower bodies to the cold wind and thrust their hip forward while shouting.
A small clacker is hung on their weapon.
To continuously make them hit and letting out ticking sounds is not an easy thing.
「It’s difficult, sensei….」
A young boy whined.
Lightning thoroughly instructed him with a gentle expression.
「Sensei! Please do ‘that’! I want to see ‘that’」
Another young boy said.
Not only the young boy, but everyone also seems to want to see it, so Lightning decided to take a break with a bitter smile.
「Then… Take a close look at it, okay? I’m sure that one day you too, can also do this much」
「Yes~」, Their voice overlapped.
Lightning slightly tightened his expression and moved his waist in succession.
Lightning’s full-size clacker hits not only the bottom but also the top, continuously making a clear sound at a fast timing.
Applause exploded from his pupils who saw that.
「Alright, we will start again after a short break」
A sincere reply echoed.
It was visible that Lightning has a strict but gentle and cheerful air around him ever since he became the dojo owner.
「It increased quite a lot huh」
Outside the dojo, a young woman and an old man stood side by side. They look through the window while showing a happy expression.
The old man called out to the young woman who was his granddaughter.
Since the victory in the Holy City, the number of junior students, especially young boys has increased.
「Yes, looks like being introduced in a magazine has a big impact after all」
He knew that that granddaughter of his has been buying several volumes of those.
He was about to open his mouth to make fun of her until he saw that the mothers of the young boys in the dojo were gathering together.
「Ahhー As I thought Lightning-sensei is so cool…」
A fat housewife said as she squirm around.
「I think so too…. I really hope my son will grow up like him」
A slim woman whose charm point was her front tooth folded her arms while looking inside the dojo with feverish eyes.
「Hey, hey, madam. You’re doing it with Lightning every night, right? So, how was it? How awesome is that Lightning sword?」
The long-haired woman asked her in a cheerful manner while showing a lewd expression on her face.
「IyaanーHow bold you are. I also want him to train meー!」
And then the three of them started to raise their voice in delight.
The place became noisy in an instant as Lightning’s wife, who was also his granddaughter answered shyly.
Seeing that scene, the old man unconsciously loosen his cheeks.
「Excuse me, may I have a bit of your time?」
There, a small old man suddenly called out to him, the previous owner. The eyes under that “ハ” shaped white eyebrows were blinking frequently.
「Oh? If it isn’t his excellency, long time no see」
The former dojo owner corrects his posture and tightens his expression.
After a brief greeting from each other, the minister that he called his excellency cut to the main topic.
「A pilot’s aptitude, is it?」
The face of the former dojo owner is bitter.
When he was young, he won a certain A-class tournament and rode a Knight as per the king’s suggestion, but he couldn’t make it move.
「It would be great if he had the aptitude but, even if he doesn’t, he wouldn’t be blamed for it. It’s this country’s rule to confirm it」
The former dojo owner politely bowed his head.
「I understand. I will tell him about this matter」
“Please do”, the minister said and left after he told him the date.
(Lightning, you are different from me. I hope you can make the Knight move and be someone that everyone can be proud of)
The former dojo owner wasn’t jealous of Lightning.
Lightning, his granddaughter, and this dojo. Those are the most important assets he is proud of right now.
A few days later, Lightning was at the king’s palace, dressed in formal clothes.
The king’s palace is a stone two-story building in the center of the town.
「I’m sure you have heard about it already. You will ride a national Knight and show us whether you had the aptitude to be a pilot or not」
「But…. I have no experience in piloting a Knight」
Lightning, who was allowed to speak directly by the king, declared apologetically.
To that, the king showed a gentle expression.
「That’s alright. This is a rule. One that the king from several generations ago decided, that is」
He won’t talk about the relation between gender skills and pilot’s aptitude.
Actually, the king himself totally doubted this theory, but it is also a state secret of Niseakashia. Only the king and the minister know about this.
「Well then, we already did the preparations. I know this is sudden but, I’m counting on you」
After that, led by the king, he headed towards the backyard.
After passing through a narrow corridor and opening a door that looks like a kitchen door, a wide cold garden could be seen.
In the center of it was the national knight, that looks like a wine barrel that has limbs attached to it.
(So this is a Knight…)
On that barrel-like body was a head that looked like an inverted bucket.
The head has simple facial features with a pair of round eyes.
The limbs are thin and it was bowlegged at that.
It was quite a deformed form for a humanoid knight.
(It looks amazing)
But there wasn’t a single ridicule in Lightning’s mind.
The only feeling he has now is awe.
He was overwhelmed by the presence of that fifteen meters tall humanoid figure.
(To think a day like this would come…)
Even though it was just a trial, never once he thought the day that he would ride a Knight would come.
As prompted by an old technician, he climbs up a wooden ladder, opens the wooden lid on its chest, and sits in the chair that was set in the middle.
「Apparently you have to concentrate on your magic power and pour it into the Knight. After that, you can just experiment on it however you like」
The king informed him.
He has no knowledge about piloting, so this is the only thing he can tell him.
(Alright, let’s do this!)
He knew that they held an expectation towards him.
Lightning who silently became high-spirited, closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on the flow of magic.
And the time began to feel like it moved slowly.
(……..It’s no good huh)
The king looked up at the sky and spoke to himself.
The signs of evening became stronger.
(The maintenance cost are wasted again)
They only called over an old technician, but that much is already a big expense for Niseakashia.
(Wouldn’t it be better if we just sell that Knight?)
The king shook his head violently and drove away that thought.
That’s a right thing to do, if they only look for the money that comes out of it.
But where can you find a country without a Knight getting recognized? The moment they let it go, there will be no one treating them as a country anymore.
Owning a knight in this world has a special meaning in itself.
Even if there’s no pilot to ride it and does not move at all.
Meanwhile, Lightning was sweating inside the cockpit.
It won’t move no matter what. Or rather, he can’t feel anything from it
(Even though everyone was counting on me!)
Tears were about to flow from his helplessness and his incompetent self.
He swept his nose and pushed the overflowing water into the back of his throat.
(If anyone can save me from this predicament, I swear I will sincerely devote myself to them)
He clasped his hands, bowed his head, and prayed to anyone or anything out there from the bottom of his heart.
(That’s why, anyone is fine… Please guide me. Please!)
In that moment, an image suddenly floated in his mind.
It was a man wearing a golden mask. The mask has quite a perverted look on it with a long nose under its eyes.
Then, his body remembers the feeling when the man inside his dream cast a healing magic on him.
(His Majesty told me to concentrate on the flow of magic. Then this feeling is–)
Lightning sharpened his senses.
The memory of when the man in golden mask cast a magic on him, the image of a double spiral that springs from deep within him, the feeling of capturing a woman’s key points when activating his Lightning Sword.
Various elements were spinning like milk poured into coffee and eventually blended and formed together inside Lightning.
(This is it!)
Lightning understood somehow.
And he realized that something was flowing from his body into the Knight.
The king involuntarily leaked out such voices.
Suddenly, a sound like a rusty door being opened could be heard from the Knight.
Looking at it, the national Knight is vibrating finely.
There is only one reason for this to happen. That Lightning was successful.
The Knight’s vibrations became intense as it slowly raised its upper body from sleeping position.
(So this is how it’s feels when my senses are in sync)
In the cockpit, Lightning was closing his eyes.
He feels like if he opened his eyes now, he would be pulled out of sync again.
He couldn’t understand it well yet, but he tried to focus on the Knight’s vision for now.
(This is bad…)
The old technician that was called over with a low price twisted his face as he looked at the Knight that tried to raise its body.
An iron plate that was fastened with some bolts on the surface of the Knight. Or what should be the armor part for some other Knights, started letting out a dangerous sound.
(I forgot to check the bolts!)
The nut which is loosely tightened was rotating in the opposite direction while shaking. It was visible that some of them would fall off.
「Get away from the Knight!」
The old technician warned loudly.
The king, who unconsciously approached the Knight, heard his voice and hurriedly moved away.
The minister and officials of the place who came to observe also retreated.
At the same time, the national Knight of Niseakashia finally stepped on the ground with its two thin legs and stood up.
It took a pose like it was puffing out its chest forward while raising it delicate arms into the air.
(…..It stood up!)
Lightning who closed his eyes tightly in the cockpit was sweating a lot, but was filled with a sense of accomplishment.
At the next moment, the two steel plates falling off the surface of the body fall to the ground with a loud metallic sound.
Unable to stick on the hard ground, each iron plate bounces in a random direction.
The king jumped back because one of it fell near him.
An iron plate that fell from a height of more than 10 meters. If it hits, it will definitely cause an injury that can affect life.
The king narrowed his eyes and raised his right arm to protect his face from the dust created by the fallen steel plate.
On this day, a pilot was born in Niseakashia.
With a C-class knight that has been awakened from several decades of dormant state, he will begin his activities as a symbol of the country, along with the Barrel Doll, the highest force in Niseakashia.
The news quickly spread to the surrounding small states, where some nations felt threatened and some were envious.
Then, a formal appointment ceremony was held at a later date.
Aside from the loyalty to the nation sworn on the spot, Lightning had in his heart made another vow.
(Man with golden mask. As what I say before, I swear that I will sincerely devote myself to you)