NOTE: THIS IS A TEASER. SUMMARY & TOC.
Chapter 1. Beginning (1)
As I watched the troops going in and out of the castle with weary eyes, I let out a large sigh.
“Am I really suited for this…?”
There is no one around me. There is a reason for this but in actuality, even if I brought someone along, they would just be teared off by the forces that will be entering the castle.
That is almost a certainty so there’s no one with me. Though I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
From the balcony, I turned my back from watching the troops leaving the castle. There is a seat at the middle of the room reserved for the highest ranking person. The owner of the seat who should have been sitting there already is nowhere to be seen.
I’ll allow you to have your final break, I thought as I took off the black coat covering my body and placed it on the chair’s armrest.
The coat is not mine. A friend who said, “Return it no matter what,” lent it to me.
I sat on the chair and was seized with drowsiness caused by fatigue. ‘How did it come to this?’ I thought while I tried to fight against it, and my consciousness went towards the past.
■ ■ ■
This is sudden but I, Kurei Yukito, is not a human from this world.
I am an eighteen years old male. A country bumpkin from Niigata who left for the capital to study in Tokyo U.
I am taking up History. I have no particular attachment to it, but I thought History seems interesting when I read a book about it so I picked History.
I have always liked reading since a long time ago. It came to the point that when my mother taught me how to read during childhood, I take the book for myself.
The adverse effect of it is that I have few friends. I considered reading more interesting than talking to other people.
My friends did not increase with the mentality I have, but I was satisfied with it. That is because I am basically content as long as I have books with me.
Even though I am like that, there is one guy I can call my best friend. He’s a very cheerful and talkative guy. His stories are very interesting probably because he always searched for fun things and had various experiences.
He had many friends by his side, but he meets me regularly in university lectures and forcibly takes me to drinking parties despite us being underage — I was never alone.
To be frank, I longed for that. I had never met someone who could make friends with others and enjoys life like that guy, his smile was dazzling.
That’s why, I thought it was a joke when that same guy pointed a kitchen knife to me, at least until the moment he pierced my heart with it.
I am going to die, I knew this for some reason. It felt hot but there was no pain.
The guy I thought to be my best friend looked at both his bloodied hands, dumbfounded. But he immediately called for an ambulance while sobbing.
It may be ridiculous for the guy who stabbed the victim to call for the ambulance himself, but that guy has always been amusing.
“Sorry, please somehow,” he muttered repeatedly. “I don’t mind,” I tried to say, but I never got the chance as my consciousness was engulfed by darkness.
I haven’t performed my filial duties yet, there’s still a lot of books I haven’t read. I have a lot of regrets, but the thing I regret the most is not noticing the change in the guy whom I consider my best friend. There should be hints somewhere but I only have my eyes turned to books and did not notice.
If I am someone who can understand people’s minds, I can become better at connecting with other people.
It would not end up like this.
At least, if afterlife exists, I want to be someone who can understand human beings well. I sunk into deep darkness as I strongly wished for that.
■ ■ ■
In the deep darkness, I heard a small but clear sound.
I understood that it was some kind of musical instrument. I was going to check what it was and woke up on a shabby bed.
“Where is this place?”
I do not know why but I, despite receiving a fatal wound in modern Japan, woke up in a different world without any scratch. I had the same white shirt and black trousers I was wearing when I got stabbed.
The moment I said ‘where is this place?’ I knew it was a different world because it was written in the flickering screen floating in front of me.
【Parallel World・Fortuna. An oceanic world where small islands and the huge continent Rodinia floats. This place is the Territory of Earl Yuren, located further south of Veris Kingdom, at southern Rodinia.】
The screen is rectangular similar to menu screens in games, and it disappeared with a flicker as soon as I finished reading everything.
What the heck is this? I thought, and the screen came out again.
“What? Obtutus Skill. A skill able to assess various non-visible information. The embodiment of Kurei Yukito’s wish…”
<Note: Obtutus – Latin word i.e. gaze, seeing or looking.>
What a convenient ability. A dictionary containing virtually everything.
Still, it’s true that I wanted to be someone who can understand human beings well. I wished for it.
I intended it for afterlife, but achieving it in a different world is also fine. A miscalculation is a miscalculation, let’s leave that aside.
“But what I meant by understanding people is knowing the significance of their minds’ inner workings or changes in facial expressions, like that…”
While saying that, I thought ‘I want to see my own information’. The screen appeared again. However, the method of display is different this time.
A while ago it was split into top and bottom, the top containing the question I thought the explanation is written below. This time it’s divided into four parts, with several words and numerical values written down respectively.
“Strength is 5… what garbage…!”
I understood the meaning of the words at once as I ran my eyes over them but I was shocked when I saw the numbers. It’s true that I did not trained my body but I did manual labor in my part-time job and I have a healthy body that never got cold. For my strength to be a one-digit number, unbelievable!
“Oh? You’ve woken up.”
The door of the room opened, and an elderly person with gray hair entered. A menu screen opened up right away. It’s seems like it immediately reacts to my doubts.
The old person’s Strength is 7. It’s higher than mine.
■ ■ ■
The person who opened the door and entered the room is Gordo Hazard-san. He’s 73 years old. His straight back muscles and seemingly gentle eyes are impressive. For some reason, he’s stronger than me.
Aside from knowing his name and age, I am also thankful that I can understand the language.
Gordo-san said I was found collapsed on the roadside and he took care of me, apparently I’ve been sleeping for two straight days.
“No, I’m glad you’re awake. I was thinking you would never wake up.”
“I’m sorry to have troubled you. Thank you very much.”
I sat up on the bed and bowed deeply as much as possible. I suppose I would be dead by now if it weren’t for this kind person so it’s not enough no matter how much I bowed my head.
“It’s true that I was the one who nursed you, but the person who found you is different.”
“Is that so? Then I’m grateful to that person, too.”
“Well, meeting him is difficult. It’s because Diorood-sama is a Prince of Veris Kingdom.”
To think that a Prince rescued me. My impression of Princes is that they’re generally spoiled and selfish guys but it appears there are also exceptions. Though I never met a prince before.
“He has a weak body. He’s here in the territory of Earl Yuren to recuperate.”
“He does? Is he already better?”
“No, the Prince’s health will probably never improve. But he’s raising an army, you know? For his father. His Majesty, King of Veris.”
Gordo-san said while sadly casting his eyes down. In the first place, it’s more surprising that this world is that dangerous.
A screen suddenly flickered into appearance. Written there is the current state of this world.
Gordo-san cannot see the screen. He should have some reaction if he can see it.
I skimmed the present condition of this world.
In summary, there was originally a huge country named Rodinia Kingdom in this world. Right now, this huge Kingdom is divided and in the middle of something similar to Warring States Period.
I got transported to a troublesome era. It’s basically difficult to live in a period like this. Rather than having confidence in my own abilities, my fighting power is… I feel sorry for myself.
“From your hair color, are you from the Insulae? Why are you in the continent? Didn’t you know that the continent is in the middle of wars so it’s dangerous?”
“That is… I myself don’t know that. It’s also a mystery to me why I am here.”
“Did you lose your memories? Or were you brought against your will? Either way, you need to have the basics for everyday life…”
I can’t let Gordo-san continue taking care of me. An atmosphere that makes it difficult to speak surrounded us. He already looked after me for two days. I can’t take advantage of him anymore. I tried to say that I will leave voluntarily, but I was interrupted by the sudden opening of the door.
“Excuse me. Old man. I heard your discussion. I will take him under my custody.”
He had blond hair and high-class clothes mostly black in color. His height is probably around upper 160s, same as mine. His gentle smile is striking.
A screen appeared indicating his name 【Diorood Arkwright】, together with various stats.
“Is there something wrong?”
“N-no, it’s just, I didn’t think I can meet the Prince. I was told the Prince kindly rescued me. I am really grateful.”
I am truly grateful, but the reason for my surprise is different. The stats are too outrageous. All are above eighty. Everything from Strength, Intelligence, Charm and others. As one would expect from a Prince. They’re too out of standards.
“I– rather, it’s was my pleasure.”
I took Diorood-sama’s hand without even knowing the meaning of accepting it. I never imagined it was the greatest turning point.
<Note: Dio changed from informal ‘ore’ to formal ‘watashi’.>
Chapter 2. Beginning (2)
I am riding the carriage enroute to Earl Yuren’s castle together with Diorood-sama. To be honest, I wanted to wait for another day since I’m still healing but I did my best to push my sluggish body since Diorood-sama is busy.
Across me, Diorood-sama sat while staring intently at my face with his red eyes, or rather, he’s looking at my eyes.
“Yukito. Is your eye and hair color natural?”
“Eh? Ah, yes. I had these eyes and hair since I was born. It’s the first time someone asked me that question.”
“Sorry. It is just a very unusual color in the continent. I heared that only those from the Insulae have black hair and eyes.”
“I see. There were only people with similar coloring around me. I was never regarded as unusual or attracted attention.”
As I said that, I saw information about the Insulae Diorood-sama mentioned through my skill.
【Insulae. Islands surrounding Rodinia Continent. As marine technology developed, interaction between islands became prosperous, but not much with the continent. A unique culture formed and all people on these islands have black hair and eyes.】
I see. Is it something like Japan? That must be unusual. If they saw someone they never saw before, it won’t be strange for them to kick up a fuss.
“I like black. It’s strange, isn’t it?”
“How so? Even ‘black’ has various types. There are shades of black that fascinate people and there are also those that transmit fear to them.”
“Fufu. It was the right decision to appoint you as my Advisor. Everyone always reply they also like black when I tell them that. It isn’t amusing, you know?”
Following the prince’s question with flattery is only natural. Even I am breaking cold sweat right now. That was close. I replied without reservations.
“Do you hate flattery?”
“I hate Father. He only has ears for favorable words. That is why I hate words said for convenience.”
“I understand. I’ll make sure to use that knowledge properly.”
“I do not mind if you talk normally. I do not mind you hurling abusive words at me. If you are angry because that’s your true feelings, then I will receive them without complaints.”
“You do know I can always say words opposite my real intentions?”
“Then that is just the result of me not having a discerning eye. I will resign myself to that.”
Diorood-sama said with a smile as he made himself comfortable on the carriage seat.
I’m no match for him. Could this be what they call ‘royalty’? His self-confidence is staggering. Is it because it’s backed up by great effort, or is it talent? At least, I saw a King at Diorood-sama’s figure.
“I’d like to ask one question.”
“By all means.”
“Why are you… raising an army?”
I wiped my hand that became damp with cold sweat on my trousers. I was worried whether it was too impolite, but Diorood-sama’s smile did not falter.
“I said it before. I hate Father. I am not pleased with everything he has been doing. Therefore, I am raising an army. Well, only Earl Yuren supports me though.”
“Going to that extent…to the King who’s your father, that…”
“He’s a useless man. Both as a King and a human.”
I wondered about the King of Veris but no screen came out. Maybe I need to see the person directly.
For now, I’ll learn about the King. Though it seems like I won’t make progress at that. Diorood-sama is obviously annoyed. He probably really hate the King.
“As a human, too… has he also stepped off that path?”
“The man who tried to lay his hand on his biological daughter? It would be an insult to label him as a human being similar to us.”
Right now, I feel like I just heard something terrible. Laying a hand on his biological daughter, is what I heard.
My expression must have been ridiculous. Astonishment, fear and confusion, my mind is in so much chaos that my facial expression cannot keep up.
“Father’s specialty is war. He has been undefeated since his first campaign. He likes beautiful women. Anyone will do as long as they are beautiful. The envoy of peace who came, his fellow soldier’s daughter, and even his own daughter.”
“…No one said anything?”
“Everyone who opposed are already in their graves. Other countries also do not want to become targets. So recently, he has been doing anything he wants. For trade, for friendship, for marriage, everyone passing by the country for various reasons are being checked. And if there is a beautiful woman, she will be taken to the castle.”
Did no word of this got out? That’s overdoing it no matter how you look at it. Other countries must have made alliances if the King did something like that.
“Weren’t there any countries who cooperated and made alliances?”
“Twenty three years ago, when the King was fifteen. Father annihilated the allied forces of foreign countries three times. There are a lot of small countries surrounding Veris. These small countries are just nuisances while strong nations which can challenge Veris alone cannot intervene.”
I cannot follow with the geographic discussion. As soon as I thought I want a map, a screen rose to surface.
It is really a convenient skill. Even the map is fully-detailed.
Near the bottom of the screen, there are lands and seas written with Veris. On top of it, there are also three small countries.
No wonder. Veris is facing the sea so war potential is basically concentrated on one border. Are these three upper countries small nations?
“It’s a troublesome country. All the more that it’s powerful.”
“So you took action?”
“The whole time, I kept it in my heart. However, I heard about the talks that my older sister was called to the bedroom. It’s not for the citizens’ sake nor for the country. I am raising an army for the selfish reason that I do not want to hand over my sister to that man. Fufu. It’s ridiculous, don’t you agree?”
“It’s not ridiculous at all! It’s not ridiculous to want to protect someone important to you or to try to protect them. I think it’s a noble act that no one has the right to laugh at.”
I said it reflexively. I said something absurdly embarassing. Diorood-sama is also surprised. I’ve done it. It wouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m writhing in agony inside the carriage, either.
“Ha, haha– hahaha! Yukito! You’re right! I also think so! What am I worried about… I can’t turn back anymore. I can only go straight ahead the path I’ve chosen! Thanks, Yukito! You have taken it off my chest!”
Diorood-sama grasped both my shoulders with strength that is contrary to his fragile appearance and said that happily.
“I-I’m happy to be of help…”
“Well, there are a lot of things to do. I will go around to persuade lords and personally appeal to participate in the army! Yukito! Follow me entirely!”
“Dio is fine. Everyone close to me call me that.”
“Then, Dio-sama. Where is Dio-sama’s sister? Shouldn’t we hide her immediately?”
“Ah, I haven’t told you. I have three older sisters. Two among them already fled outside the country. My sister that Father is aiming at…”
Dio-sama paused there and slowly sighed. Why is he sighing at this moment?
“Yes, that, my sister that he’s aiming at is… an enemy…”
“Holding military ability that surpasses even my Father, named as Black Princess (Kurohime) feared by other countries, the current General-in-chief of Veris. Kaguya Halberd. That is my sister and the woman Father wants to conquer.”
A person with abilities like that doesn’t need rescuing, right? I almost blurted that out without thinking.
Or rather, did his sister opposed to go along the revolt?
But I have one question.
“Dio-sama’s last name is Arkwright but your sister’s is Halberd?”
“The royal family is Halberd. Arkwright is from my mother’s side. Besides, the man who wages war against them cannot call himself as Halberd.”
While I hesitated on what to say after Dio-sama shrugged his shoulders and said that as if he was making a joke, the sound of someone approaching and a voice calling Dio-sama become audible.
■ ■ ■
“The envoy of Albion was attacked by the King’s army.”
The person running on horseback parallel to the carriage reported shortly to Dio-sama. Dio-sama, who was looking out from the carriage’s window, replied “I understand,” to the messenger and sat back with a grave expression.
【Albion Dukedom. Overlooking Veris, it is a large country on the other side of three small countries. They develop magic and has an army of powerful magicians.】
I pretty much understood the situation as soon as I read the information projected on the screen. Did the bad habits of the King come out?
“…This is bad. The envoy of Albion this time is different from the past ones.”
“Is it a person of high status?”
“Not just high. The person called Celsus Maiden, born under the lucky stars, on the day when magic is extremely abundant, an existence that earned all magician’s reverence. Her beauty is compared to the sun ascending highly at the heavens, and the two moons shining at the night sky. Anything besides that is understatement.”
“I get that she’s a great person and very beautiful, but why is that kind of person in this danger zone…?”
“Danger zone, huh? What a fitting representation. This is probably the most dangerous place for beautiful women.”
I thought he’ll dismiss it after saying the term, but Dio-sama unexpectedly liked the expression ‘danger zone’. He muttered it several times and then, “Let’s use it from now on,” he said with a smile.
“Dio-sama… are you perhaps, not worried?”
“Yes. I’m not impatient. It’s true that Veris’ standpoint is really bad but that’s the only problem at present. All magicians will regard Father with hostility so this might be a good chance to get their cooperation.”
“She is called Celsus Maiden not just because of her birth date or because she’s beautiful. She is a supreme magician for she personally has a magic name, and can use it just as her alias states. Celsus Maiden’s magic is named Ventus Processus, her magic attribute is wind. Rumors say that she can manipulate the surrounding wind according to her will. I heard that no one can practically touch her without her permission, whether it’s true or not, they say she casually walked in the middle of 5000 troops and made the enemy commander faint into submission. Moreover, Albion elites were chosen to protect her. In terms of magic, she’s a supreme genius. Therefore, she can come into a danger zone. The only person in Veris who can probably match her is my sister.”
“Then…why did you make such a serious expression?”
Dio-sama smiled wryly to my question, then rested his elbows on both knees and placed his clasped hands under his chin.
“I considered the possibility that they are after me. If the envoy went after the rebel army, well, there will be a lot of problems. While I was explaining to Yukito however, I re-thought that it’s unlikely to happen. If they are returning to Albion, they should use the land instead of sea route. And it doesn’t seem like they purposely sent her away so she can take refuge here. The Celsus Maiden probably came this time to show off that they have enough power even if they start a fight with foreign countries. This is a danger zone after all. They might have judged that there is abundant rebellion in Veris.”
“Is that so? It’s true that they won’t have any problems if they’re that strong. But it was handled very recklessly. No matter how strong you are, a possibility is a possibility even if it’s 1 out of 10000. If it was me, I will object sending an important person…”
“I agree. Should we send a protest to Albion? Something like, ‘Please don’t send fair maidens to our country.'”
“Only Dio-sama will make that kind of protest.”
Dio-sama and I laughed at the same time. Dio-sama is currently laughing because of his father’s stupidity. Still, I want to meet this woman who cannot be compared to anything but the sun and the moon. Err, is it possible that I will be blown away in shock after just having a glimpse of her? I hope not.
While I was worrying about trivial things like that, I heard sounds of a galloping horse again. Dio-sama and I stopped laughing. Somehow, I have a bad feeling.
“Your Highness! A report came in that the envoy of Albion is not at the border but on the way here! Shall I prepare for the meeting immediately?!”
“Y-yes. I’ll leave it to you… I won’t tolerate mistakes.”
Dio-sama’s face became stiff after the Knight came to relay the information. He began to stare at his linked hands in blank surprise.
“…In my country, ‘there’s a grain of truth in every joke’, something like that.”
“It’s a good phrase… I will remember it.”
There were still some time before we arrive at Dio-sama’s stronghold in Earl Yuren’s castle, but Dio-sama and I remained silent in the carriage after that.