In the port town of Beretta, a tattered Rudel crawled out of the sea.
A rough breath, and large movements seemed painful on his body. But Rudel’s face was smiling.
“It was a harsh battle… but I won the match!”
Holding a spear up high, he hoisted his spoils high to the heavens. There, a fish much larger than Rudel’s body- still very much alive- was thrashing about.
While they could see the young man holding up a fish that surpassed four meters in size, those around were putting out an atmosphere as if to say, ‘He’s at it again’. The town residents who had suspended their work for a meal were beginning to return their eyes to their lunch.
What Rudel saw was Bennet and Millia, lunch boxes spread out before them as they ate their meal. From how the contents were the same, he inferred they were both made by Bennet.
Rudel had once eaten Millia’s homemade food, but from the nice appearance of the lunch boxes’ contents, he determined they had to come from Bennet. Millia’s cooking was, according to Keith, ‘biodegradable waste’, apparently. To Rudel who could eat anything, he thought that was a bit too cruel, but he did remember it didn’t taste very good.
“… What are you doing?”
As Bennet stared at him blankly, still in his undergarments, Rudel began using his sword to disembowel the fish. He answered normally.
“I ran out of take out, so I’ve switched to local sourcing.”
As Rudel replied with a straight face, Bennet could only say, “I see.” While she sent him a bit of a pitying look, Rudel returned to preparing his meal.
“It never occurred to me that someone would locally source their lunch. And isn’t the water cold this time of year?”
Having lately grown accustomed to Rudel’s eccentric actions, Millia was taking some fleeting glances at Rudel’s body. But when he suddenly jumped into the sea during lunch break, she never thought that would actually be to secure lunch. She was a little fed-up.
Raising a fire with magic, he began roasting the fish when Sakuya and the dragons took notice of it.
‘That fish is a tasty one, right?’
‘It’s delicious, right?’
‘There aren’t too many of them around, right?’
“… There’s no helping it.”
As a result, only a meager portion remained in Rudel’s hand. Even so, it was more than enough for a single person to eat.
Biting down grandly over the red flesh of the fish that looked practically like a high-class steak, Rudel looked over the construction of the port.
The birds swooped down the clean up the intestines he had discarded. Under the blue sky that expanded over the port town, the piercing light of the sun was blinding.
“It’s getting along quite well.”
Bennet answered Rudel’s muttering. While he hadn’t said what he was referring to, as one who had helped out in the work, she understood what he was trying to say.
“If you use a dragon, the work goes forward. While we’re behind schedule, it shouldn’t take too long at this rate. If the plan proceeds favorably, the port’s construction will be complete, and we’ll take over the work of some other brigade member and head to the site of our next mission.”
“Major, you’re moving away?”
At Millia’s fluster, Bennet wager her tail. Rudel wanted her to teach him many more things, and that would be troubling. He headed off towards Bennet.
“Don’t misunderstand. A port isn’t something constructed so quickly. There’s at least another year left to go.”
While both Rudel and Millia were relieved, Rudel was delighted over the training he received. Meanwhile, Millia was more relieved about the food.
Neither Izumi nor Millia were able to cook like Bennet. When looked upon from the side, they were completely being led along with food. The only who didn’t notice that were the three being baited and Bennet.
“Hah, after this break, Elrond should be coming to help out with the work. You’ll be training with me in the afternoon, Rudel.”
As Rudel rejoiced, Millia whispered under her breath.
“That’s all well and good, but put on some clothes already.”
The training was generally carried out near Sakuya’s den.
The fact there were no people around, and they wouldn’t be a hindrance to the port’s development had already been confirmed, so they made use of that fact.
At the same time, Bennet was calculating to try and make this wasteland as habitable for humans as possible. When the scale of the town increased, there was nothing lost in having as much exploitable land as possible.
(Is it about time to have her make a den somewhere else?)
By having Sakuya live there, what was once a desolate landscape of rocks was now starting to sprout weeds. While the gaia subspecies was generally thought of as useless, when it came to transporting large cargo and mending the soil, they were way too capable.
And their armoring and power were top class among the dragons.
“Major… I finished running.”
A sweat-stained Rudle returned to Bennet. Running along the terrible footing of the crags and mountains had been added to his basic training.
That was the beast tribe’s standard training, but with his high physical abilities, Rudel was able to carry it out with a bit of pain.
“I see. Then today, let’s work on your special skills.”
“Now bring out that shield of light thing of yours.”
When Bennet issued her orders, Rudel stored power in his left hand. A little later, a shield of light manifested in the air.
(… That really is convenient. Moving a shield around by his will.)
If Bennet simply wanted to make Rudel stronger, she had determined there wouldn’t be a problem if he continued firmly training his foundation as he always had. Eventually, he would be able to beat her even if he just brute forced his way through. But it was true if he polished some technical skills, he would be able to aim higher.
“Is concentrating power in that left hand your hobby? In that case, you should stop at once. You create too large a gap, and you’re merely informing your opponent of your next move.”
In essence, Bennet was able to prevent Rudel from using his shield and light bolts by keeping it so he couldn’t focus his attention on his left hand. It was too easy to cancel out.
“… I think that’s possible, but with my style, I can’t help but focus my power on my left hand.”
Seeing Rudel lost in thought as he looked at his left hand, Bennet nodded a, sure enough, in her heart. As he generally held a sword in his right hand, Rudel had a habit of invoking magic in his open left.
“If you can substitute something else, then do it. At the very least, make it so you can focus your attention on anywhere in your body.”
To test it out, Rudel started with his right hand, and with a slightly greater lag than his left hand, a shield of light took shape. Throwing one of her boomerangs at it and seeing how easily it was destroyed, Bennet was convinced.
(The quality’s fallen much further than the ones he makes with his left. But I should see this as room for improvement.)
After thinking a while, Bennet issued Rudel an order.
“Rudel, henceforth, we’ll be training every day so you can make a shield from anywhere. What’s more, a small, strengthened one. After that, we’ll make it so you can move them freely.”
Rudel tilted his head.
“I can already move them well enough.”
Seeing Rudel rotate the shield he made, amazing, Bennet thought as she let out a sigh, and did her best to create a mocking air.
“Are you an idiot? I’m telling you that you have to be able to produce stronger shields. Try making them the size of the palm of your hand. It would be even better if you can discard the shield shape entirely.”
“Discard the shape?”
“Even if you call them shields, based on how you use them, they can be weapons as well. You’ve used them like that a number of times, right?”
(If he can raise the quality of his shields, that would be plenty, but it would be even better if he can give them a new form.)
Seeing Rudel recall something, Bennet thought back over Rudel’s data. While he was using them as shields, from the eyes of those around, at the very point they floated without him having to hold them, it could only be said they were exceedingly versatile.
What’s more, Cattleya had witnessed Rudel riding his shield over the water’s surface. There was no need to fixate on the shape of a shield. When he could think up a use for it like that, Bennet couldn’t understand why he would fixate on that form.
(Hah, the captain’s pushed a tough one onto me… but for the sake of my cute subordinate, I have to do my best!)
Bennet recalled what she felt when she first looked over Rudel’s data. Even since Rudel awakened as the white knight, he had devoted an exceedingly large amount of time towards controlling that power. While the forceful parts stood out a bit, he had changed from his early days where he had focused on technique.
(The reason he’s so mismatched is surely because he awakened.)
When he had always been worried over his lack of power, when that was bettered, this time he was on the verge of becoming a power type. The individual himself couldn’t keep up with those changes.
(In that case, what he needs right now is… a change of style? No, if we raise his base and give him enough control over it, that should be best.)
From Bennet’s point of view, Rudel was full of pointless action. That abundant pointlessness was the cause of his loss.
(The captain definitely pushed him onto me because it was a pain, right?)
Recalling the captain who trained her, Bennet offered the struggling Rudel some advice.
“Rudel, when a powerful attack is coming towards you, what do you do if you can’t dodge?”
“… I’d block it.”
“Let’s say you can’t block it with your power. I’m not taking any objections.”
While Rudel was about to say something, he dropped his shoulders.
“You parried my attacks a number of times. Why was that?”
“Because rather than catching the blow, that would lessen the…!”
Noticing something, Rudel began changing the shape of his shield.
“It’s only natural to strengthen it, but there is no need to block every single attack. Just changing the direction of force is a considerable strength. Try using your head a bit.”
“Yes!” Rudel delightfully responded, while Bennet crossed her arms and wagged her tail.
Seeing Rudel borrow Bennet’s shoulder as returned, Izumi, who had taken the day off, made a face as if to say, ‘this again?’
But her face was just a bit happy as she scolded him.
“He’s all beaten up again.”
“Pretty much. He has way too much stamina, so he always pushes it too far. It makes me tense just watching him.”
Handing Rudel off to Izumi, Bennet headed to a back room to change out of her dirty garments. Lending Rudel a shoulder, Izumi sat him down in a chair,
“I-I did my best today.”
“I see, good work.”
“I’ll get stronger tomorrow.”
Looking at Rudel who was unable to stand, Izumi began preparing the meal she had cooked. The sun was setting, and thinking that Millia would be back soon as well, she put the pot over the fire.
He moved his body until it moved no more, and once he got back, he would eat and then sleep. Sleep soundly until morning came, only to leap up the next day and get back to training. It wasn’t something the normal person could imitate.
Within all that, he also had to carry out paperwork and development work, so the burden on Rudel was in no ways light.
“Tomorrow, I’m training with Lieutenant Keith.”
Rudel informed Izumi with a smile, and the one in question listened in with a smile as well. She already knew from the start, and she had arranged her schedule for it. Izumi was working hard not to leave Rudel and Keith along together.
(If only those two had the slightest sense of danger.)
Bennet and Millia both seemed estranged from that sort of thing, and they felt no danger at all. Izumi mulled over whether or not to tell them, but she hesitated to say such a thing to the innocent Bennet.
If she told only Millia, that would bring about the problem of making Bennet feel mindful and left out. She was strangely sensitive to that sort of thing. In a situation where she was the only one who didn’t know, the way she held her anxiety was also cute, and Izumi had watched it all the way.
(… No, that’s no good, me!)
Somehow crawling up from that train of thought, Izumi listened to Rudel’s story as she sensed a presence. Right after that, Millia returned to Bennet’s house, but Izumi had reached a hand for her nearby katana.
“I’m back… wait, what’s this!”
While Millia was surprised to see Izumi holding her sword, after following her line of sight, she came to an understanding.
“Hey there, Rudel. Let’s take it nice and easy with tomorrow’s rendezvous.”
Raising his left hand, directing a smile at Rudel, the amiable young man in appearance alone received a scary smile from Izumi.
“So you’ve come again, Lieutenant Elrond.”
“Hahaha, it’s not like this is your house, right? The owner told me to drop by now and again.”
“You’ve casually told another lie. How many times does that make this? I confirmed it with Major Bennet, and she never said such a thing. In the first place, you only come here with eyes on Rudel, right?”
“And what of it?”
At Keith’s face, completely devoid of any wrongdoing, Izumi’s smile stiffened up.
“He’s out of your league.”
“Foolish woman, let me teach you my true strength. I’m not a dragoon for nothing! Spinnittthh!”
As Keith called for his dragon in a loud voice, Izumi braced herself. While the notion of seriously cutting him down before his dragon came crossed her mind, Keith was acting strange.
“… Eh? Eating, so you can’t? I-I see.”
It was a dragon’s voice that Izumi couldn’t hear, but she could tell what was going on. The dragon had prioritized his meal over Keith. Or perhaps it was precisely because it understood the circumstance that it refused.
It was a dragon much more decent than its contractor.
As Izumi silently stared at him, Keith averted his eyes. There, Millia lightly hit Izumi on the head.
There, Izumi noticed Rudel giving a sleeper’s breath from his chair. Keith also felt sorry and decided to withdraw.
“What a wonderful sleeping face. By the grace of that face, I’ll let you off tod–”
“Get going already.”
Under Izumi’s glare, Keith ran straight out of Bennet’s house.
In the royal palace, Aleist let out a sigh as he cleaned. The room was beautifully polished, but somewhat lacking in motivation, Aleist looked out the window.
The form of Aleist’s powerless mutter, the members of his platoon looked at their commanding officer mulling over something. The fact he didn’t look like he was worrying over a single woman was surely because of his devilish appearance.
But all of Aleist’s worries came from how Millia had gone off with Rudel.
At this point, he couldn’t even put his all into training. When the war event was closing in, he just couldn’t work himself up. This was also largely because he didn’t understand his own strength.
Aleist wasn’t weak.
But as he had seen Rudel’s strength, lately, he had gotten around to wondering if Rudel would just bring an end to it. You could also say that was just how large Rudel’s existence was to Aleist.
“Is Aleist here!?”
The one who heartily slammed open the door and entered was Eunius. Aleist worried that the dust he’d piled would fly away as he halted his window wiping and approached Eunius.
“What is it? I’m really busy right now. Today, the cleaning of the noble visitor room is…”
“Fool! You’re fitting in way too well!”
Having completely developed a love for cleaning, at this point, Aleist’s apron fit him like a glove. And Eunius yelling at him had removed the uniform he was usually supposed to wear. By palace rules, wearing his knight uniform was supposed to be an obligation.
“Anyways, what’s up.”
“It’s Luecke! The bastard went and did it!”
As Eunius threw a newspaper at him, Aleist wiped his hands off on his apron before reading the article. Under a large heading, a picture of Princess Aileen and Fritz had been painted.
“The Common Man’s Hope, his Name is Fritz… did he always look that cool?”
As he complained the artist had made him too handsome, Eunius cried out.
“The small article under that! I told you I was talking about Luecke, you damn fool!”
Shifting his gaze below, he found an article about his former classmate Luecke Halbades.
The contents were short, but it was written that his thesis was accepted by the magic community. In the introductory statement, it was written that he was first rate as a knight as well.
“I don’t really get it, but that bastard went and did something big, so I can’t keep quiet anymore. Then it came to me. Have you… ever heard of the holy sword?”
“I know about it (That thing really dragged me all over the place in-game. But while I definitely would like a holy sword, the most practical thing for the current me is…)”
“Then that makes things fast! We’re off!”
“As I was saying, we’re going off to search for that holy sword thingy. There are rumors that the place with the holy sword is dangerous, right? Then it’ll be perfect training. Are you going to let yourself rot away here? I can’t bear the thought of being overtaken by those two.”
Those two were surely Rudel and Luecke.
But the current Aleist and Eunius had their duties. There’s no way they could get permission for arbitrary action so quickly.
“Wait! I’m the same, but don’t you have work to do? Eunius, let’s all calm down and…”
“I already got permission. Look.”
On the document tossed over, Aleist’s platoon was officially charged with the security of Archduke Heir Eunius Diade.
Despite Aleist’s surprise, Eunius didn’t really know the specifics either, so he scratched his head and answered.
“I don’t really get it, but the talk passed through. We’re setting out soon, so prepare yourself. Also, if we’re lucky, we might drop by Rudel’s place as well.”
As Aleist swiftly began to tidy up his tools, he issued orders to his subordinates and got them preparing for departure.
Looking over his nimble actions, Eunius laughed a bit, but he was so happy he didn’t’ mind being watched.
(I can see Millia.)
When their dreams are in sight, it is only human to work harder. Aleist was no exception and using the bait that was Millia, Eunius had hooked Aleist into his trap.