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It was now the morning following our night spent listening to Neumann's drunken confessions.
We met up with him before we departed from Tricklis. He looked pale and was obviously hungover. As if following his example, the carriage we were told to ride was painted completely white. There were a few other adventurers and a knight with us as well. Their destination was, of course, the frontlines.
"…have a safe journey."
Despite his rather blunt personality, he had clearly softened to us after our night spent drinking. He's actually treating us like people.
I think I'll actually work a little harder on this mission. It's strange that after only receiving a few polite words someone can feel so motivated.
And like this, we prepared for another uncomfortable ride in a carriage.
"What kind of place do you think we are going to this time?"
I spoke to the Dark Elf as we sat side-by-side on the uncomfortable carriage ride.
We've been sent on yet another mission together.
It almost feels like fate yet I don't even know her name.
"Why would I know?"
"We just got done with a mission in the forest, but there are several forests in this area…."
"Like I said before, why do you think I would know?"
The Dark Elf showed little desire to speak with me, but even this minuscule amount of conversation isn't so bad.
Just being able to speak with a member of the opposite sex is nice. Moreover, when I think about the fact that the woman I'm speaking with has such a sexy body and a beautiful dark skin colour, I can feel a strong throbbing below my waist.
"It must be nice having such a strong resistance to bugs."
"You're just overly weak to them."
"A woman that fights with a sword is really cool. Don't you think so?"
"Why are you asking me?"
As I was trying to force a conversation with her, someone else in the carriage spoke.
"I've heard some rumours that there were a large number of soldiers from the Pussy Republic dispatched near Tricklis recently. I'm sure we're one of a large number of carriages being sent to the frontlines now. They must be gathering every available soldier."
The owner of the voice was a young man, probably in his early teens, that was wearing a full suit of armour.
Based on the emblem of the Penny Empire emblazoned on his chest, I'm guessing he's a knight. The design of the armour resembles the armour Allen wears. It seems likely that he's the person assigned to supervise our group of adventurers.
"How true do you suppose those rumours are?"
"I heard it from my superiors so I'm sure they're true."
"…is that so."
It's been ten days since war was officially declared between the two countries. It seems like both sides are starting to get serious. Or maybe this is the Pussy Republic’s response to losing their general a couple days ago.
Either way, my job is to keep fighting.
"My name is Klein. And you are?"
"You can call me Tanaka."
"Tanaka-san? That's a strange name."
"Well, as you can clearly see, I'm a foreigner."
"Oh, there's even a foreigner in our ranks."
Klein showed me a bright smile. Great, another ikemen in my life. He has smooth blonde hair and brilliant blue eyes. Is he the prince of the shotas?
Because he's still young, he's not quite as manly as you'd expect a knight to be, but this strange pairing of a shota and the masculine figure of a knight will just make him appealing to even more people.
"Klein, are you the one assigned to supervise us?"
"…yes. I'm sorry that a child has been given command over you."
"Don't worry about that. A knight's a knight. You should have more confidence in yourself."
"I guess you're right."
That being said, he really must be talented considering his age.
Being in command of several adults. He must be a big deal.
"Can I hear more about those rumours you were talking about?"
When I asked him this, he was surprisingly open to the idea.
"Even if I said that I'm really not sure how much more there is to say."
After prefacing his words with this, he went on to say,
"It appears the central government is reluctant to send soldiers, excluding a few knights like myself, to fight on the frontlines. They're relying almost entirely on mercenaries and adventurers."
"Is the Penny Empire against the war?"
"I don't think that's the case."
"From what I've heard, there have been reports of many high level monsters appearing near Kalis, including several high orcs. Most of the empire's soldiers have been dispatched to deal with this more immediate threat, leaving few to support us here on the frontlines."
If that's the case, Allen and Sophie-chan must have been sent there.
"I'm still not sure why they're sending such a trivial amount of soldiers and knights to fight on the frontlines. Just a few days ago, I saw a large number of soldiers stationed in the castle. I know they must be planning something."
"Well, they certainly are using more adventurers than soldiers. The Dark Elf and I are both adventurers."
"Oh, I had my suspicions."
The young Klein seemed to be able to understand something as he glanced at the Dark Elf then me.
"Originally, I belonged to the chivalric order based out of the capital, but the house I belonged to got caught up in a war between two separate factions…. I'm sorry if telling you all this leads to a drop in morale but this is what lead to me being demoted and sent to Tricklis."
I'm not sure if I'd call that a demotion or a death sentence.
There's no place more dangerous than the frontlines.
I wouldn't be surprised if Prince Shota was killed within a day of arriving on the frontlines.
"You were a member of the knight's order? I actually know someone in the order."
"His name is Allen. Do you know him?"
"Y-You're friends with Allen-san!?"
"Yeah, well, we're acquaintances."
"Allen-san is looked up to by all of the young knights. He managed to become a captain at such a young age. I've only managed to speak with him a couple times but I can tell he's a great person."
"Yeah, Allen is a very respectable person."
Why does everyone love Allen? Even this shota looks like he's fallen in love.
He would definitely be the one receiving in their relationship.
"It's my dream to someday become like Allen-san."
I'm sure he can reach that dream someday. His face is easily on par with Allen. If he can avoid following in Allen's footsteps and not sleep with every woman he comes into contact with, the ugly men of this world can rejoice.
"S-Sorry about that. I've been talking about myself too much."
"No, it's nice to be able to actually have a proper conversation with someone. Even if I try to talk to the Dark Elf, I just get angry words directed at me. I'm glad I'm finally able to talk with someone and not have to worry about them snapping at me."
"…oi, I can hear you."
The Dark Elf pulled her legs close to her chest as she said this.
The view of her exposed thighs is the best.
"That elf there is…."
The boy spoke with a slightly nervous tone. There's no doubt that he's a fellow virgin.
"It seems that she was tricked by a former friend and became a slave of the Guild. Though she has accomplished a lot in the war so far, so it's possible she'll be freed once the war is won."
"You just keep saying whatever you feel like."
"Am I wrong? Feel free to correct me if anything I said wasn't the truth."
She's developed a habit of always being on guard, so even when someone praises her, she tries to argue with them. It's actually pretty cute. I kind of want to bully her when she acts like this.
Or, even better, if I could make her my slave for the rest of her life, I could enjoy all of her different reactions.
I can imagine our relationship already. At first, she'd keep up her cold personality:
"I'll make you my beloved slave for the rest of your life!"
"I-I'll never let that happen!"
But, as the years passed, as she felt her one true love may be lost to her, her true feelings would be revealed:
"Guha…! A-Are you okay? Thank God. But…now you've finally got your wish…you're free…."
"Stay with me! If it means you won't leave me, I'll be your slave forever! Please, you can't die! Don't leave me! Master!"
And like this, her heart would belong to me. She'd become a devoted slave, but it wouldn’t be long before our relationship would develop further. As time went on she'd eventually lose the title of slave and gain the title of wife. We'd be married and my conquest of the Dark Elf would be complete.
"U-Umm, about the rumours I've heard…."
Oh, the shota interrupted my vision of the future.
"One of the rumours I heard, involved the prime minister."
"The prime minister?"
The prime minister was that old man that was standing next to the king when we visited the castle to receive our reward for the dragon extermination. If the king is supposed to be the face of the country, the prime minister would be the man in charge behind-the-scenes.
He would be in charge of a lot of this country's national affairs.
"How serious were these rumours?"
The shota began fidgeting as he was hesitant to speak ill about the prime minister.
Fidgeting is strictly restricted to the lolis, shota.
"What's wrong? If it's hard to say it here, we can wait…."
"It's fine. The prime minister intentionally brought us into this war…."
"I see. That really could be serious, but I heard it was the Pussy Republic that started the war."
This is information I received directly from Ester-chan so I’m sure it's accurate.
"Y-Yeah, he…purposefully provoked them in order to cause their invasion…."
He doesn't seem to want to say anything more about this. His voice was already fading so much that I had to strain myself to hear him.
Well, that's enough anyway.
Just like he said, it was an interesting story.
"Well, if what you say is true, he certainly is deeply involved."
"Umm, I-I actually overheard something else. There were people talking about this in my family’s mansion after the Hagenbecks were killed. This seemed to be in response to their deaths and these people were talking about protecting something important to them…."
That name, ‘Hagenbeck.’
I feel like I've heard that name somewhere before.
Oh, I remember. It was that noble student that teased Sophia-chan so much that she wet herself in the cafeteria. I'm certain his family name was Hagenbeck.
There were a few rumours floating around the school that the entire Hagenbeck family was killed after their assassination plot was revealed.
That guy also had a sister that attended the same school. She was beheaded after the executioner had some fun with her. From what I've heard, her head is still on display somewhere in the city.
"Klein, are you a member of the Hagenbeck family?"
"Yes, it may not be a direct connection, but I'm a member of one of their branch families. And thanks to the events that led to them being killed, I was sent here…."
This was something I didn't expect. For this shota knight to be sent here as a result of something I was involved in, it's more than a little surprising. However, it's not surprising to see him being punished even though he's still so young. This country seems to always stand true to its feudalism roots. Not to mention that the influence the FitzClarence family has over other families has become even more evident.
This guy is quite talkative.
He's speaking to an unknown middle-aged man and he's revealing all this personal information so easily. I guess he's one of those people that's comfortable talking about themselves. It's hard for me to understand someone like that.
In any case, it might be for the best if I avoid telling him too much about myself.
"I'm sorry that the members of the Hagenbeck family died. But I am glad that we were able to meet today."
I think my relationship with Ester-chan will make this relationship complicated.
"I'm sorry. I talked about so many unnecessary things…."
"Don't worry about it. It was a very interesting story. Though, having said that, it might be best if you avoid talking about that in front of other people. I'm sure if Allen were here he'd say the same thing."
"Y-Yes, of course!"
The effect of mentioning that guy's name was outstanding.
As expected of someone like Allen.
No, I guess he's called Saito now.