「Ooi, you said that you were called Eliott-dono, right? It looks like Olivia-sama has granted you an audience. After all, it seems that you’re a close friend of hers from the past, aren’t ya! To be able to meet with a survivor of the village with this kind of timing, how suspicious. Since you can’t take too much time visiting, by all means, put some pep in your step.」
……Rather, I’m surprised. By the fact that Olivia remembered me, but also by the defenselessness of this knight. Since they were attacked and nearly assassinated just a few days ago, I thought that they would be more vigilant. The Officer-of-Arms glared my way, but I pretended to not notice that and passed by her. Astarte, having nothing to do here, returned to the inn. The attendant held my luggage, and then the middle-aged knight, the attendant and I preceded inside the house.
「……Now then, I don’t know what thoughts you had in mind when you came here.」
The middle-aged knight looked back and addressed me. In an instant, I was pinned down by his strong gaze, and stood up straight. We were in the middle of the short passageway, the window frame was small, and the attendant was at my back. Naturally, I was weaponless. If something were to happen, there was no escape. ……I guess that was a bit careless.
「That being said, your movements, no matter how I look at them, don’t seem to be the movements of an assassin.」
The knight softened his expression, and started talking.
「After all, if you were an assassin or a mercenary, your body would have probably moved from my bloodlust just now.」
「……I was harshly criticized for not having that sense by a mercenary captain that I got to know at the inn.」
「Ha ha ha, that’s exactly right. But, thanks to that, my doubts were lessened considerably. We don’t want any assassins getting close to our princess after all. ……Come to think of it, what you said earlier, that wearing a hat and so on, what kind of spell was that? The moment she heard that, the young lady remembered your name before I could even say it you know?」
……He really got me. It seems that the title of knight isn’t just for show. Probably, if this knight were to actually fight, he would probably be considerably strong. If he were to clash with the Orc Leader, I don’t know if we could win or not…… In addition, his manner of speech might not be very good, but this knight is probably a good person. I wasn’t too happy that the opponent I would be fighting against from here on was a virtuous person. That’s why, since it was something that Olivia knew anyway, I just went and said this upfront.
「……I have a bit of Demon blood flowing in me, and have small horns growing on my head. Because of that, I was chastised in the village when I was a child. Only Olivie……Ah, no, Olivia-sama, who occasionally came to play, could be said to be my only friend……Well, it’s a pretty lame story.」
Saying that, I took my hat off. They weren’t big but I made it so that my small horns protruded out from my hair and could be seen. The knight opened his eyes wide, and I could tell that the attendant behind me had stiffened up.
「……I see, so our princess has some pretty unusual friends. But, I don’t hate that about you. Despite not having much physical strength, strangely enough, you have guts. After all, even after being together with that Officer-of-Arms-dono who has a terrible personality, you’ve got a composed face.」
When he said that, the knight guffawed. It looks like that Officer of Arms and this person don’t get along very well……
「Well, seeing as how I’m a merchant, I’ve become quite thick skinned.」
Becoming somewhat congenial, we arrived at Olivia’s office. The one that was there was, that girl, who hadn’t changed from that time.
「Eliott, so you were safe! I was really surprised when I heard about you earlier!」
The one that rushed over was a girl that had grown taller from back then, and had become much more beautiful too. Her black hair was cut short above her shoulders, and she wore smallish glasses. Maybe because her fatigue was building, there was a bit of shade underneath her eyes, but other than that, she seemed to be healthy. ……She had taken her armor off since it was a peaceful time, and although she was wearing thick clothes that had a bit of an effect as a guard, it instead made her body line more prominent.
She had a childish body that matched her age at that time, and since we were both very young, there were times where we played in the water completely naked, but when I started thinking from there, and how she turned out to get a really feminine figure, I truly felt the flow of what was close to ten years.
「Even though our heights were practically the same in the past, as expected, it’s a bit frustrating that you overtook me by near half a head…….」
As she kept on talking, she took my hand and tried to pull me along.
「Wait, wait a minute, Olivie! You have something called your position, right? You’ve made me waste my nervousness!」
I ended up scolding her on reflex, but with this, there wasn’t any romantic or charming words in our ten year long reunion.
「……Wait, even though we’ve finally reunited, why do I have to give you a scolding.」
From these words, the knight burst into laughter. The attendant young man was flabbergasted. Most likely, this young man had only known Olivia as she was as a noble and as the commanding officer. After looking slightly embarrassed, Olivia started over and offered me a seat.
「Ahaha, I’m sorry. I thought that I would never meet you again at that time after all……And when something like that happened to the village, I even thought that it was already hopeless. But, after suddenly learning that I would meet you here, I……」
For her to be that worried about me, to be honest, I was happy. I was able to stay a precious friend for Olivia as well.
「I need to be thankful to God. It’s been nothing but sad things for me, this is the first time in a while that something cheerful has happened.」
「……Is that so? From my point of view that knows nothing of your circumstances, you’ve become a noble of Abram, and you’ve become the commanding officer of an army. Since you’re getting ahead in life, it doesn’t look like it’s been nothing but bad things to me. ……Well, since I don’t know about your circumstances, there are probably things that I don’t see as well.」
「Well……There are various things. While I do think that you’ve had some terrible things happen as well, I’m also going through some hardships as well.」
「I was surprised when I heard that you were a Temple Knight of the River Goddess. That tomboy Olivie is? ……That’s what I thought.」
「Hold on, don’t start talking about the past! Besides, the one that taught me nothing but how to play by running around the hills and fields was you.」
For a while, things really bloomed into a talk about foolish tales of a time long before. Right now, I wasn’t a Dungeon Master, and she wasn’t the commanding officer of the expeditionary force. Truly……I was truly laughing from the bottom of my heart for the first time in a while. That being said, neither of us could stay as children.
「……Now then, the reason why I came looking for you this time wasn’t to talk about old times. By some chance, I came here with information that might be of use to you. At the very least, there is a person here that knows about the terrain of the village and information on the buildings from before the incident happened one year ago.」
Around the time that the attendant poured a second helping of tea, I switched topics. Olivia also switched expressions, and it now became the expression of the commanding officer of the expeditionary force. The middle-aged knight that was watching over the two of us while smiling up until now (though I say that, since he was armed and always kept his hand on his sword, he was probably being cautious of me and the surroundings) also leaned his body forward and turned his attention to what I had to say.
What I told them, although it wasn’t everything, was the cause of what destroyed the village and my current state. About how mercenaries were called in order to exterminate some demons and wild animals, but had instead burned the village down the night they came. About how I managed to escape all that since my own house was outside of the village. About my lifestyle of barely scraping by and peddling magic tools with connections like the mercenary captain Gustave.
Once I sketched out a map of the village and created a simple drawing as far as the mine, Olivia and the knight were greatly delighted. As expected, they seemed to understand just how much strategic value this map possessed. Also, when I showed them several magic tools that I brought along in addition to that, since it seemed that not just Olivia but also the knight showed interest, they bought several tools……Things like daggers with long flying distances and gloves that make it hard for water to pass through them, they were small tools that I originally thought I would sell off to Gustave.
「……By the way, Eliott-dono. Would you have any antidotes?」
When it was close to the end of visiting hours, the middle-aged knight, who introduced himself as Gaspar, asked me that. Unfortunately, medicinal goods weren’t my forte. I might be able to obtain some if I asked Astarte or Sara, but I currently did not carry any with me. When I told that to him, the knight nodded looking a bit disappointed. The knight opened the door, and together with the attendant, he announced the guest’s departure and stepped outside. When I tried to leave the room, Olivia grabbed my hand from behind. Since I didn’t have eyes at the back of my head, I didn’t see her face. That hand of hers trembled a bit.
「Eliott……I, am glad that I met with you. Although we might not be able to meet with you, again……don’t forget about me.」
That, timid voice was. It was clearly a voice that had a premonition about something.
「……Olivie. Before you head to the dungeon, I want you to stop by my house. The loft that we always played in, on the second floor. In there, if it’s still safe, there is a small pendant, with a glass bead fitted into it. It’s something I produced, and if it still remains there, by all means, I want you to attach it to the back of your armor or something. Although it’s only a bit, it has magical power confined in it. ……It will at least become a protective charm.」
By going on ahead, I could set something up. From the words the knight said earlier. The perpetrator of the attack that used a small size bow, and the elderly knight that I was unable to meet with here. Putting together the pieces of unspoken information with the information I knew, I could see a single picture.
「……Olivie. Is the life of a noble, painful for you?」
「……If I were to run away, my father’s position would be gone. The development of that village’s mine, is closely related to Abram’s development……The fact that demons have settled down there, it threatens Count Abram’s political life.」
My breathing stopped from those words. So Olivia was suffering just because I was alive.
「But, in truth, that is a false accusation, and there are only people that want the rights to Abram. If I fail this time, the responsibility will fall on Count Abram, and his head will be replaced. Even if I succeed, some noble will just make me his wife and try to snatch Abram away. …..If only, I were born as a boy……. If only, I weren’t the illegitimate child of a noble, that’s what I’ve often thought.」
I see, so it wasn’t just because I was here. Even how the mercenaries attacked the village, wouldn’t one of the causes of that be from this. Couldn’t the incident in such a small village, in a remote region, be connected to a place like this? ……One desire was born. If there is a guy that created this situation and was pulling the strings somewhere. I want to destroy that aim entirely.
「Olivie, I’m glad that we met.」
……The knight and the attendant still hadn’t come back. Maybe because I was one of the few people that Olivie let her guard down around, or maybe they considered something more than that, they might be giving us a small bit of time alone.
I turned around, took her hands, and gazed at her face. On the other side of the lens of her glasses, I saw her eyes that were wet with tears.
Being a bit forceful, I pulled her hands and hugged her close. I stole her lips, and put my tongue in a bit. It was a light kiss that lasted only a few seconds. I immediately separated from her and turned around. Although I had done such inhumane actions, raped Sara and Shiro, and live days of indulgence with Dahlia and Astarte……To be completely honest, I was embarrassed and was unable to look at Olivie’s face directly.
「Let’s meet again. Surely, in the not so distant future.」
Saying only that, I faced the door and started walking. Right then, I heard the attendant’s voice call out to me.