Kain and the others had arrived at a restaurant called the “Deer Arbor of Gold.” Sitting in front of a massive pile of plates near the very back of the restaurant, Kain had a look of despair on his face.
He wondered what number they had reached since they began ordering from the most expensive meal down. So far, the total price had to come out to at least seven large silver coins. At any rate, it wasn’t the type of money that you would expect to spend when you just want to “go get some tea.”
However, across the table from him, the black knight’s previously lifeless eyes seemed to fill with a sense of satisfaction.
「…Ahhh, I’m full.」
「Is that so… Well, I’m glad that you are.」
As the waitress held her hands out towards him with a huge smile on her face, Kain jingled the large silver coins into her palms. She ran towards the back of the store excitedly.
「So, mam… You have memory loss, is that correct?」
「At the very least, I don’t remember anything that happened before I came to Elarc. However, I do know a lot about this city.」
「…Well then, that must mean that you know about the situation that the city is in.」
As Ein opened her mouth for the first time in a while, the black knight nodded her head firmly.
「Well, I guess so, though the situation is exactly what it looks like.」
「Before we came to this kingdom, we heard that the forces on each side were roughly matched.」
「Yeah, it seemed to be that way. However, recently, there’s been a sudden turn in events.」
After saying this, the black knight started to talk as if she were trying to recall recent events.
「So, first… uhh, what happened, again? At the beginning, thanks to all of the magic knights in the kingdom, our defense was completely impenetrable.」
By “magic knights,” she was probably referring to the soldiers of the Staves of Light Chivalric Order. Not only were they the most powerful magic users in the kingdom, but as knights, they were also proficient with swords.
No matter how powerful the swordsmen of the First Princess’ Imperial Guard Chivalric Order were, as long as the magic knights of the Staves of Light Chivalric Order defended it with a variety of magic defenses, the city of Elarc was untouchable. Therefore, the forces were matched.
「However, there was one incident that completely changed everything.」
That “incident” referred to the sudden outbreak of countless Alva from within Elarc’s borders. As the Staves of Light Chivalric Order shifted their focus to fighting the Alva that relentlessly attacked the townspeople, the First Princess took advantage of the opening to carry out an attack.
「Wait, that means…」
He wondered if they had deliberately used the confusion of the Mazoku invasion in order to push through with their attack. As Kain tried to say this, he was cut off by the black knight’s words.
「Apparently, a soldier that is thought to be part of the Staves of Light Chivalric Order used magic against the First Princess’ Army.」
Suddenly under attack by a Staves of Light Knight, the First Princess’ Army was completely taken by surprise. Acting in retaliation, the soldiers attacked the Staves of Light Knight with a barrage of magic spells, demolishing the entire front gate in the process.
The crumbled gates and the melted armor were the result of that.
The First Princess’ Army was told to “leave them to get trampled by the Mazoku” and they left shortly after… or so they say.
Upon hearing this, a question arose in Kain’s head.
「So, was the Staves of Light Knight at the gate alone? Or were there more than one of them?」
「Apparently there was only one.」
「In front of the gate?」
The black knight gave Kain a funny look as he tilted his head to the side, but Ein understood what Kain was thinking.
The front gate was a very important location for the kingdom that needed to be defended. Especially with a civil war going on, they would certainly have many guards stationed there, and even with the Alva invading the city, it would be hard to think that every single guard was sent away from the gates.
However, the biggest mystery was the reason why the guard was standing in front of the gates completely alone. Normally, if a guard were to defend the gates on their own, they would stand atop an observation tower to get a better view of the enemy, and they would immediately call for help if things went wrong. Even if they had a good reason to have to stand in front of the gates, where was the need to fire magic, without warning, into the First Princess’ Army? Doing so would bring forth the worst situation imaginable.
「That sounds really suspicious…」
「Are you trying to say that I’m lying?」
Sensing the annoyment in the black knight’s face, Kain panickingly shook his head.
「N-no, no, no! That’s not what I meant? I’m just trying to say that there might be something fishy going on.」
「That’s what a lot of people are saying. But more importantly, apparently there are a lot of traitors from the Staves of Light Chivalric Order.」
「Yeah. I don’t know the exact details, but there are a lot of people joining the First Princess’ side that are thought to be from the Staves of Light Chivalric Order. They pretend to die in battle and then defect to the other side.」
Kain understood that it had become an unexpectedly difficult situation.
He didn’t know exactly how much of what the black knight said was true, but at the very least, there was no mistake that rumors like that had been spreading at a public level. In most cases, there was at least some sort of truth in these types of rumors.
「…So I guess we have to go to the king’s castle as soon as possible.」
As Kain said this, the black knight nodded, uninterested.
「So you’re one of the princess’ guests?」
「Huh? Wait, do you know her?」
「We once had a meal together.」
As the black knight answered dully, Kain swallowed. She had a meal with the princess. That had to mean that she was someone of a fairly high status.
Staring at the knight whose name he didn’t even know, Kain felt cold sweat run down his neck. She had to be powerful. The only thing this could mean was that the black knight was an extraordinarily powerful warrior.
He wasn’t sure how much of her memory she had lost, but one thing he did know was that she had to be one of the strongest knights that Kain had ever met.
「…W-why, exactly, did you have a meal together?」
「Ah, it was pretty simple. I talked about the Alva earlier, didn’t I?」
「I cut them down one by one, and I was praised pretty highly. She invited me to a meal after that.」
She spoke of this casually, as if she had cut them down just because they were in their way. There was no hint of lie in her voice. With her eyes still dull and lifeless, she spoke as if she were just mindlessly spouting the truth.
「She also offered to hire me then.」
「Did you refuse? Why?」
In response to Ein’s blunt question, the black knight narrowed her eyes as if she were trying to remember.
「It wasn’t anything particularly serious. I just didn’t feel like I would get along with the girl standing next to the princess.」
As Ein tried to question her, the black knight stood up from her chair with a thud.
「She looked as though she could see through everything in the world with her eyes. Just thinking of her makes me sick… Well, thanks for the meal.」
「Uh, sure. Wait, don’t go yet!」
「What’s the matter?」
Reacting to Cain’s call, the black knight froze as if she had no choice.
「Um… You’re going to be in this city for a while, right?」
「Well, I don’t know anything about any place other than this town, so yeah.」
「Understood. I will go to meet you again sometime.」
「Is that so.」
Watching as the black knight walked away into the distance, Ein glared at Kain.
「…So you abandon the girl that liked you back in your hometown and now you’re trying to hit on women in a different kingdom. You’re doing great, aren’t you?」
「That’s not what I’m doing, okay…?」
As Kein responded with an exhausted look on his face, he looked off into the direction in which the black knight left.
「…I don’t even know her name.」
「Yeah. Because she had memory loss.」
Saying this, Ein wondered why he was stating the obvious.
「I’m still not entirely sure, but I think that she’s the sort of person that we shouldn’t become enemies with.」
「…Hm. Are you trying to claim her for yourself?」
「T-that’s not what I meant. I was just hoping that she could become our ally.」
As Ein snorted at him, Kain mumbled, wondering what to say. But just as he opened his mouth to say something, suddenly, a fully armored knight walked through the entrance of the restaurant.
The knight had a full golden set of armor, complete with a golden sword. The crest engraved into his equipment was that of the Canal Kingdom.
「Is Kain Stagius in this building!? I come from the king’s castle! If you are here, please come forth!」
「Kain, they’re calling you.」
「Huh? Oh, okay.」
After taking a quick glance at Ein, Kain raised his voice.
「My name is Kain Stagius! I will be seeing one of Celis’ knights, is this correct?」
「Yes sir, there is no mistake! My name is Boralio Boreas and I am one of the members of the Swords of Light Chivalric Order serving our ruler Celis. Following the orders of my master, I will be guiding you and your friend to the castle!」
While Ein frowned in response to Bolario’s noisy yelling, Kain nodded his head as if he were used to it.
「Understood. I accept your invitation.」