Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“Can I make it back alive?”
It had been six hours since I left the kingdom.
I received a message in the middle of the night that Leicia had been taken away, and I headed to the Empire, leaving Miriya behind. By the way, Miriya’s expression screamed murderous intent when we left the kingdom. Truly frightening. I could tell she was on the verge of blowing up.
Yeah. If she really gets angry, she might just punch me without hesitation. Maybe I should make her some hotcakes when I get back.
While contemplating what would happen after I returned, I shifted my worries to whether I could make it back alive after crossing the borders of the Empire.
To put it simply, the Empire was a fortress. Leicia wanted me to attack the Empire, sure, but would there be any chance of defending myself inside this locked box?
“Haha, maybe a should leave Leicia behind…”
This wasn’t a formal request from the kingdom, and abandoning her wouldn’t result in any punishment for me. In any case, once she was taken hostage, it was clear that the kingdom would invade the Empire.
Wait… If that’s the case, does that mean rescuing her has no meaning anymore?
“…Hey, did you hear that?”
Having used my transparency skill upon infiltrating the Empire, I held my breath and listened to the conversation of the gatekeepers in front of the castle.
“It seems they’ve decided to treat the princess of the kingdom as a captive.”
“That’s what I heard too. They’ll probably treat her with respect.”
“The Empire, huh? But they are fearsome. Ah, and they say they’ll dispose of the princess during the war. It seems they don’t want the blood of the royal family to be passed to another country.”
“Wow, that’s a terrible story. What does the princess think about it?”
“She knows. I heard it directly from her when I was her escort.”
“…She’s a good princess.”
“Even if she’s an enemy princess, I can’t help but respect her.”
My limit for holding my breath was reached, so I immediately hid in the nearby bushes.
What was that conversation just now…?
Leicia didn’t say anything like that yesterday!
Now I understand why she came to individual adventurers for help, not the kingdom’s request. It was a complete lie that it was a request from the country. Right from the start, the kingdom had no intention of rescuing her…
“What would Miriya say if I just left her?” I murmured to no one.
She’d be angry, most likely. Sure, my life has been her top priority, but I don’t want to see any sadness in her eyes… So, for her sake — I tell myself — I stood up, fighting against my quivering legs.
“Enemy attack! Non-combatants, head to the castle for defense!”
About two hours after hearing the gatekeepers’ conversation, I found myself currently running inside the Empire’s castle.
“I’m gonna die!! Damn, I messed up!”
I never expected that my transparency skill would be detected by sensory magic, so I boldly infiltrated the castle. As a result, the blaring sirens rang, and I found myself playing a game of cat and mouse with the Empire’s soldiers.
That damn goddess… Helpful skill set my a*s!
“Eat this! Skill ‘Bestow’ plus ‘Telepathy’!”
“What? Why is there sudden noise?!”
“It’s annoying! What did you do?! I can’t hear anything!”
The bestow skill weakens my performance and grants my skills to others. When combined with telepathy, it creates nothing but a high-volume noise that interferes with communication.
It’s a bothersome effect, but it works quite well against enemies. Some even lose their sense of balance.
I used my “Tactical Reconnaissance” skill.
Unlike the transparency skills I’ve used so far, tactical reconnaissance is a subtle skill that cannot be used when transparent skills are activated. It doesn’t have distance restrictions like the previous skills, but because it targets even animals, my head is flooded with a massive amount of information, which is quite overwhelming.
However, if I narrow the range to just the inside of the castle…
“I found you!!” With a throbbing pain in the back of my head, I headed towards the room where Leicia was.
I found no guards inside. Opening the door, the only one standing there was the princess wearing a mischievous smile.
“To think you would really make it here alive.”
“Pant… Huff… I thought I was going to die…”
“Hehe, what a pathetic knight you are. Just barely passing grade level.”
I glared at her, who laughed as if this whole situation was funny. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to play along with her banter.
“…Were you willing to die?”
In response to my words, Leicia’s expression clouded. Then she laughed self-mockingly.
“…My father told me to do what I can for the sake of the country.”
“—! And you’re okay with that?!”
“I am—Oh, how much easier would it be if I could say that?” Her voice waned into the air as she looked out the window, fragile like thin glass.
“I love everyone in the country, you know. I’m willing to die for everyone’s sake. But I also love myself just as much. It’s laughable, isn’t it… the next-in-line being so self-centered..”
“It’s not. I’m not laughing.”
She looked slightly surprised as she looked at me. After all, I couldn’t laugh. Not at all.
Was it really so strange to accept the fact there was a princess who couldn’t use her life for her kingdom’s sake?
“You’re the first princess, aren’t you? You can’t die here, like this.”
“There’s someone who can take my place. Father had always preferred a king over a queen, so it’s just right for him.”
“Izuru, I understand what you’re thinking. So, what does my rescue mean?”
It was indeed a question I had. But the answer has already been made clear.
“You’re asking me to kidnap you. Is that it?”
“As expected of Miriya’s master.”
She intended to make me a “mysterious knight” and pretend to die, to completely disappear.
“What are your plans for the future?”
“Well, I could make a living in the countryside… Oh, how about I join your party?”
To be honest, such a future didn’t seem too bad. I couldn’t deny that. However, doing so would leave her in the lurch. If you’re beaten, wouldn’t you want to clap back? Especially if you love yourself?
“You are my responsibility, and I will bring you back to the kingdom.”
“…Are you assuming the worst?”
“Well, and I’ll keep the Empire quiet for a bit while I’m at it.”
Saying that, I approached Leicia and cradled her in my arms.
“Be quiet. You’ll bite your tongue.”
“Y-you’re surprisingly strong.”
“Heh. It’s all thanks to my routine.”
“As expected of someone with a three-day weekend.”
Huh? Thinking about it, adventurers are pretty neat. It would have been nice if there were adventurers in my original world too. While thinking about such trivial things, I took out a square package from my pocket.
“Would it make sense if I called it a bomb?”
“Imagine explosion magic, but take the magic out of it.”
Technically, it does use magic, but still. It’s a classic, right?
So, I created this modern weapon, so to speak. Let’s call it an improved C4.
The bomb I created using my skills, wrapped in a milky-white clay, activates when magic is applied. And when the magic dissipates, it explodes.
It was created using the alchemy skill — a dreamy skill — but unfortunately, it was prepared by that shitty goddess. So there was a catch to it.
First, you needed to accurately visualize what you wanted to create. Then, you need an ingredient called Gennama. It costs 50,000 yen per piece. And to top it all off, whatever was created would disappear in one hour.
Despite the considerable cost and the fact that it disappears immediately, it’s a skill with a terrible cost-performance ratio. However, if you’re preparing a bomb, there are no problems.
Among the skill sets, it’s quite practical. All you need is a strong imagination and a large amount of money.
“Leicia, I’m going to blow up this castle now.”
“A-Are you insane!?”
“Of course. I’ve set them up all over the castle while running around.”
I set up traps in a total of 18 places. Their power is enough to blow up a single house easily. It might even be possible to collapse the entire castle.
But there was one concern.
“…If I use this, Miriya will get angry with me. Livid.”
“What I’m about to do is indiscriminate mass murder… So, I wonder how much my mind can handle it…”
She curled up in my arms, apologetic. I wonder if she’s worried about involving others. Though she doesn’t seem like such a commendable person… or maybe she can become one if she tries her best.
“It’s too late for that. Let’s go.”
“Aight,” I opened the window and put one leg out. Looking down, the ground seemed far away. “This is… scary…”
“Hey! You looked pretty cool just now!”
“Y-You… Shut up! I tried to escape from the window, hoping you’d use your skill!”
“I see, you don’t have the floating magic after all.”
Unfortunately, the only magic I have is healing and weak fire magic. I have no aptitude for either, too.
“Here, let me bestow you with the leap skill, so evolve it,” I said.
“You’re convenient, aren’t you…”
I’ve made numerous efforts to make these inconvenient skills more convenient, but they were still quite weak.
“Normally, it takes a tremendous amount of time for skills to grow, but if it’s me…”
She gathered an enormous amount of magic power throughout her body and thrust her right hand forward.
Then, a translucent circular platform appeared in front of us.
“W-Wait, are you telling me to jump on that?”
“Are you kidding me!?”
The seemingly endless aerial platform appears to lead directly to the ground if you step on it the wrong way. I swallowed nervously. With trembling legs, I took a step forward, and I could hear angry voices coming from the door of the room.
“I sense tremendous magic power coming from inside! Princes Leicia, is there a thief there?!” One guard knocked on the door.
“Enough! Stop being a coward, Izuru!”
“I get it already!”
There’s no other choice but to go, huh…!
With her still in my arms, I jumped onto the purple platform.
One step, and then another. Looking back, the soldiers of the castle must have become impatient as they burst into her room.
“What… is that?!” One looked on, confused.
“The princess is being kidnapped!” Another bellowed.
Ay, you’re the ones who kidnapped her! I thought, but didn’t say. I didn’t have the luxury to retort here. Plus, the purple platforms the princess had conjured could be used by the pursuers, which would prove tricky.
—I didn’t have to worry about that.
“Izuru! Hurry up! The platforms are disappearing!”
The ones behind us had long disappeared, and the ones in front were fading away.
“Heh! You really are an unreliable knight!”
Despite us being in a life-threatening situation such as this, she somehow laughed and enjoyed herself. Looking down, I noticed she’d wrapped her arms around my neck and her cheeks were flushed pink.
“Continue being a knight, and keep protecting me from now on.”
“And I reject your rejection.”
I kept jumping across the waning platforms, headed toward the Empire’s border. I held her tight as her arms draped around me.
“It’s not like I’m serving you,” I continued. “It’s more like I’m currying favor. If I’m in trouble, you’ll help me.”
“Well, I think Miriya would want you to help me.”
“…” Stop. It’s unfair to bring her up here. Seriously, this girl is too devious for her own good. “Well, if that’s the case, I have no choice.”
“That’s right! You have none! Give up.”
“Just so you know, I expect to be handsomely rewarded!” I announced.
“Sure thing. Should I just give myself to you?”
“I’ll think about it when you grow a bosom.”
“Hey, hey, don’t get violent! Whoa!”
“Huh? No way?!”
Due to her struggling in my arms, I lost my footing on the platform.
But despite losing my balance and falling, we weren’t slammed into the ground. Unbeknownst to us, we had sprinted all the way to the vicinity of the Empire’s border. Just one step away from the ground.
“Phew… We made it…”
I collapsed onto the empty plain where no one was around. A breeze with the unique scent of another world blew in. It induced an oddly sleepy, sweet aroma.
“You’re amazing! You really saved me!”
“…I’m sorry, but I don’t want to experience something like this again. Sigh…”
As I lay down, Leicia peered down at me, concealing the sky.
“Thank you, Izuru.”
“You’re welcome. But the difficult part is yet to come.”
“What about you—”
Before I could finish my sentence, a sudden thunderous sound drowned it out. The bomb had been activated.
“That’s a lot of power,” she mused, much to my dismay.
It sickened me deep in my stomach to think of all the lives lost. To return her to the kingdom, we had to deal a fatal blow to the Empire. There was no other choice. That’s right, there was no other choice, I told myself again and again like some mantra.
“Sigh… I have to get used to this sooner or later…” My sigh was barren.
“It’s fine. I prefer those who are afraid of death.”
“Afraid, huh… I won’t show any mercy once I’ve decided to go all out, but…”
“That’s unexpected. Your actions and your mentality don’t match at all.”
“…If I don’t do it this way, I’ll hate this world even more.”
I sat up to continue what I was going to say.
“Do you understand what I’m going to do from now on?” I asked her.
“Yes. ‘The return of the princess who blew up the Empire’s fortress! No one would dare oppose such a powerful princess, right? Right!?’ Is that it?”
Don’t read my mind word for word. Seriously.
“If you understand, let’s hurry back. Milia is waiting too.”
“Yes. But can you wait just a little longer?”
She placed her hand under my chin as if to examine my face. “Hehe, you have a menacing look, but I still like it.”
Smiling with the air of a bonafide queen, she looked down on me.
“I said I’d give myself to you earlier, but that’s probably impossible. It’s not decided yet, but a suitor will probably come from the Duke’s family.”
“Well, I don’t really care about that.”
“You’re so rude. Honestly…”
She momentarily grimaced at my nonchalant words but quickly returned to her mischievous smile.
“Do you already have a reward in mind? I can’t read your mind at all,” she noted.
“Well, I have a vague idea.”
Like a massive amount of sweets for Miriya, maybe? Seems like the princess could only read clear thoughts. She then rejected my answer, saying, “I’ll reject anything haphazard. Hmm, I’ll give you the best reward instead.”
“What? Just so you know, I don’t need your kisses or anything like that. Childish kisses are not my style–“
“Shut it,” she said before pulling my face closer.
I was right on the money, but I still couldn’t be sure until it happened. That kiss… It was miles ahead of all I would’ve expected. It was a real adult kiss.
“Hehe, was it to your liking?”
Then, still wearing a bewitching smile, she blushed and embraced me, whispering into my ear.
“It’s my first kiss.”
My heart paraded against my chest. It was my first time, too! Give me a break… As she clung to my chest, leaning her weight on me, a gust of wind blew.
Because of that, I didn’t hear what Leicia said, but I remember that she had a smile on her face that seemed like she was about to cry.
—This had been my first encounter with Leicia.
About a year later, I would return to my world. By then, that intelligent, cunning, and kind-hearted princess had become one of the greatest in history, having allied herself with the “worst hero” who had single-handedly destroyed the biggest Empire fortress.
I wonder if she’s aware of the awful nickname they’d given me, one I still hold a grudge against.
Huh. If we ever meet again, she better treat me to some skewers or something.
Leicia’s heart pounded against her chest as she clung to Izuru. Despite him not being able to hear her, she had something she wanted to convey regardless.
So, this is what she had said…
“Thank you, my hero. I love you—”
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