The Girls Make Their Decision – Part 03

Despite having a strong suspicion about Hikaru and the girls’ identities, Jillarte refrained from seeking their help because she understood her position as Deputy Leader. She also recognized Silver Face’s situation.

To put it mildly, Silver Face attracted too much attention. As the newly appointed Deputy Leader of Einbeist, Jillarte had likely heard about the events that unfolded in the Kingdom of Ponsonia. Many would see Silver Face as an obstacle, harbor hostility towards him, and even wish for his demise.

For Silver Face to come to her aid, risking the exposure of his alter ego—it carried immense significance. A principled person like Jillarte would want to avoid causing further trouble.

“Please send my regards to Hikaru. Goodbye.” Jillarte turned her back and walked away.

“Jillarte,” Lavia called. “If you have desires you can’t forget… Instead of sacrificing yourself for them, you should live to fulfill them.”

Paula nearly gasped. Just as Jillarte had made a decision, Lavia had made one too. She had decided that she could tell her everything.

“…Lavia?”

“Until recently, I was a wanted criminal in Ponsonia.”

“What…?” Jillarte was stunned.

Lavia spoke, revealing her past without hesitation. Due to her exceptional talent for fire magic, she had been raised like a caged bird, denied the freedom to go outside, and groomed to become a killing machine. She read countless books and dreamed of becoming an adventurer. Then one day, Hikaru appeared before her.

Led by his hand, Lavia stepped out into the world, where she learned many things and experienced a lot of emotions. She also realized the importance of extending a helping hand to those who, like her in the past, had to give up their hopes and feelings.

“That’s why I think you should stay true to yourself. Fighting for your race and Einbiest is fine, but what is it you really want to do?”

“I…” Jillarte quickly caught herself. She clenched her teeth and shook her head. “No. I can’t. No more. I can’t keep turning to him for help, or I’ll…”

“You’ll fall in love with Silver Face?”

“…”

Jillarte’s shoulders slumped. She lowered her head and nodded.

“Then just let it happen.”

“What?!”

“Actually, you’re already in love with him, aren’t you?”

“D-Don’t be ridiculous! I just owe him a debt of gratitude… Besides, aren’t you his girlfriend?! How can you even suggest that?!”

“I love Hikaru, not Silver Face.”

“You’re just twisting words now.”

“If Silver Face were here, I’m sure he would help you, whether you wanted it or not.”

Jillarte’s breath seized. She knew that Lavia’s words rang true. She turned a sharp gaze towards Paula, who had been anxiously watching their conversation.

“Paula.”

“Y-Yes?!”

“Are you… okay with this? Hikaru might find himself in danger because of me.”

Paula chuckled dryly. At the end of the day, Jillarte cared more about others. She didn’t mind putting herself in danger, even considering it a necessity.

Her mindset was somewhat similar to Hikaru’s, and that’s why, Paula believed, he showed concern for her.

“Lord Hikaru has saved me countless times. He even helped my home village. I’ve already decided that my life belongs to him. So whatever he decides to do, I will wholeheartedly support him.” She voiced her true and honest thoughts.

“W-Wow… You practically worship him. You’re more formidable than Lavia.”

“Right? She’s a tough one to beat,” Lavia agreed.

“Wh-What are you talking about?!”

“Are you sure about having this discussion without Hikaru around?” Jillarte asked. “You basically just revealed his alter ego.”

“It’s fine. When Hikaru decided to help you, he must have considered this outcome. Nevertheless, he still chose to help you. If revealing his identity is necessary to prevent you from infiltrating enemy territory alone, then he would do it.”

“I guess I owe him another one… N-No, let’s not dwell on that now. Live to fulfill my desires instead of sacrificing myself for them. Once I’ve made up my mind about something, I won’t budge. I will see things through to the end.”

“I figured you were that kind of person.”

“You know I’ll become your competition, right?”

Lavia chuckled. Her smile was so lovely that even Paula, a woman, couldn’t help but be captivated by it.

“Don’t worry, I won’t lose.”

And it was terrifying.


Hikaru suppressed a sneeze. He felt an eerie sensation running down his spine, but he couldn’t determine the cause. It could be some kind of intuition different from Life or Mana Detection.

At that moment, his Mana Detection picked up something. About ten people had gathered in one place—the Adventurers’ Guild. Hikaru quickly made his way there.

“It does not matter if you’re from 8th Division of the Knights Templar. Such lawlessness will not be tolerated. The Adventurers’ Guild remains strictly neutral. However, if attacked, we will retaliate.”

“Imbecile. Your insignificant threat will not stop us from carrying His Holiness’s will. You should wag your tail like the mutts you are.”

“You will regret uttering those words.”

“Regret? You jest.”

“Guh…”

Hikaru, listening intently, heard the precise moment when an Adventurers’ Guild staff was killed.

“Lord Philip, it’s already late. Please rest.”

“I will do just that.”

As their footsteps faded away, Hikaru opened the wooden window. Though the magic lamps were off, the light from the moon was enough to reveal the fallen figure—no, the fallen figures of several Beastmen.

“D-Did they kill them all?”

Hikaru’s Mana Detection could not sense the deceased. As such, he never expected to find five dead Beastmen here. Among them was the receptionist he had briefly conversed with. Neither his Mana Detection nor Life Detection picked up anything, indicating that they were all dead.

Hikaru ground his teeth. Fully armed knights had casually killed defenseless people. The situation was far more serious than he had anticipated.

He entered the room through the window. He wanted to at least lay the dead properly on the floor, but he didn’t want to leave any traces of his entry. He offered a moment of silent prayer, then left the room.

Following his Mana Detection, he moved deeper inside, eventually arriving at the guild’s lobby.

The spacious lobby had been severely vandalized. Tables and chairs were overturned, and blood had splattered on the counter. Lying on the bare floor were the Beastmen who had come from Einbiest with Jillarte.

The Knights Templar had likely brought them here from some warehouse. They were all lying limp, unable to move. Their bodies were battered from assault, but they appeared to be alive—except for one.

On a table sat a Beastman’s head, illuminated by the light of a magic lamp—it belonged to Michael. A warning.

In the corner of the room, two knights who seemed to be on watch were sitting on chairs, sleeping. Their slumber appeared light; if Hikaru made even a slight noise upon seeing the severed head, they would have awakened.

Hikaru chuckled at his desensitization to the sight of corpses, a result of the harsh life in this world. However, there was no time to dwell on such thoughts at the moment.

What now?

The Knights Templar’s target was Jillarte. Would the situation be resolved if she left? No. Leaving might be impossible, as the harbor was likely under the control of the knights.

Should he annihilate the Knights Templar, then? With Hikaru’s Stealth, it might be possible, though it would take time. And during that period, they would likely realize that they were under attack. He didn’t know how the knights would respond in such a scenario. They were the kind of people who kill unarmed non-combatants without batting an eye.

Judging from Daigo’s behavior, the residents aren’t fully aware of the danger they’re in. We need to show them that the Knights Templar are capable of killing Beastmen without hesitation. To do that, we need a force capable of directly confronting them, and not just me.

As he moved through the guild, lost in thought, and climbed back through the window, an idea flashed into his mind.

Right… force. And this is the Adventurers’ Guild!


It was late at night when Hikaru returned to Biltappo el Debab after gathering information downtown.

“I’m back… Oh, you’re all up.”

The entrance and dining hall were dark, but the light was on in their room. Although Hikaru had already sensed Jillarte’s presence through Mana Detection, he still felt relieved upon seeing her actually there. If she had already made a move to rescue her companions, the situation would have been even more chaotic.

“Hikaru.”

As Hikaru contemplated where to begin, Lavia spoke first.

“We want to help Jillarte.”

“What? Well, that’s fine, but did something happen?”

The girls rushed into the dungeon only because Hikaru took action. He never thought that Lavia, and Paula, who was nodding next to her, would express a desire to take action at this stage.

Lavia had a smug look on her face, Paula a strained smile, and although Jillarte seemed a bit embarrassed, she also appeared somewhat amused.

Hikaru alone was unaware of the situation.

“It should be fine, Lord Hikaru! We’ve become good friends.”

“Oh… Okay, then.”

Hikaru was reminded of when Lavia and Paula suddenly got along without him knowing. I really don’t get girls, he thought.

“Hikaru, you went to check on the situation downtown, right?” Jillarte said. “Did you find out anything about my comrades?”

“Well… about that, things have gotten a bit messy. It’s probably far beyond what you all imagined.”

Hikaru explained to the girls what was currently happening in Southleaf Island.

Lavia, Paula, and Jillarte all wore grave looks. The situation was different from a few hours ago when they were just dealing with Gogo and his lackeys. An even greater threat had appeared in the form of the Knights Templar. Hikaru told them everything, even the guild staff being murdered.

“Unbelievable! I’ve heard that Bios’s knights were ruthless, but I didn’t expect them to be this horrible.”

Jillarte clenched her fist, trembling with anger. Although she was now human, she was a Dragonfolk until recently. This matter concerned her personally.

“But I’m glad to know that my comrades are still alive. Hikaru, thank you.”

“Michael is dead, though.”

“Even if he survived and returned to Einbeist, he would have been executed. Betraying comrades is the gravest crime in the Confederacy.”

“…I see.”

“So Hikaru, what should we do?” Lavia asked, leaning forward.

“R-Right… I just want to confirm, you’re all fine with the four of us working together?”

The three girls nodded simultaneously. Their camaraderie had grown stronger in Hikaru’s absence.

He sighed inwardly. He felt a little sad about being left out, but he should be glad about their unity right now.

“All right, then. Here’s what I have in mind.”

That night, the four of them continued their conversation until the late hours, discussing their plan to overcome the crisis in Southleaf Island and set the residents free—Operation: Liberate Southleaf Island.

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