At the port of Beretta stood a woman loosely wearing the knight clothing of a dragoon.
Issuing orders to her water dragon, she was having it carry construction materials.
The female knight’s gray hair was conspicuous, but more than that, her standing form was dignified. Her eyes were sharp, and her gold pupils almost looked as if they were radiating light.
To add to that, the ears twitching atop her head were adorable. And as she stood a head lower than all the people working around her, dignified as she stood, she looked adorable herself. An additional problem lay in her tail. That thick, fluffy tail was swaying left and right. It was truly adorable.
Right… the female knight pretty much looked like a young child.
“Are you Major Bennet?”
Rudel had been informed of her appearance, so he was able to find her without hesitation. The documents spelled out that she was an adorable female knight.
“And you are?”
“Ma’am! Today forth, I have been stationed in this town, my name is Rudel Arses!”
Looking over Rudel, she walked up to him. While her air was imposing, the closer she got, the more Rudel had to tilt his head downwards to look at her.
“I’ve received the report. It seems you’ve perpetuated quite some foolishness at the capital. I was wondering what sort of face someone stupid enough to be suddenly flown off to the outskirts would carry about, but you’re quite the looker… I hold a firm belief that my subordinates’ failures are to be corrected by my fist. If you want to maintain that pretty face of yours, then you’d best off not anger me.”
With Bennet glaring at him, Rudel answered without fear. Confirming his salute, “At least your salute is first rate,” she praised him.
For some reason, her tail was moving happily from left to right.
“While our mission here is important, more than that, you will learn to adapt to the environment. If the construction doesn’t go anywhere, we will bring trouble to all the brigade members who sent us here. You dragon was a gaia, was it?”
“Yes ma’am! She’s a gaia subspecies. Her name is Sakuya!”
Keeping a firm expression, Bennet hummed.
“I didn’t ask for her name. But I’ll commit it to memory. I’ll have you lot carrying cargo… and so? Where are your inspectors?”
Looking at the Major and her wagging tail, Rudel explained that they were unfastening the cargo. As a new settlement, there were many materials and tools Beretta was lacking in. Being able to carry such a large load of goods, Sakuya was a valuable means of transportation.
“Put Sakuya on standby outside the town. Don’t let her dig holes outside the designated spaces. For now, me and Elrond will be doing the work. I can’t leave detailed work to your dragon.”
After saying only that, she ordered him to return to the lodging house and rest for the day. Rudel recognized her as a captain who looked deeply into her subordinates.
(Looks like it’s going to be rough, but I’m sure this person will be alright.)
He recalled how Luxheidt told him to pray he wasn’t given a no-good superior. Even if they were strong as knights, there were plenty of dragoons who couldn’t take command. It was a gathering of strong-willed knights. Rudel felt relieved his superior didn’t seem to be the hopeless type.
Returning to her work, Bennet finished carrying materials before straddling her water dragon ‘Heleene’ to patrol the area.
Alone in the sky, she pressed her forehead to Heleene’s back, shaking a little. Her tail was moving exceedingly violently.
‘What’s wrong, Bennet?’
“Listen to this! They finally sent me a decent subordinate! When everyone asks if I’m pushing myself, or tells me I’m cute, today’s grunt was all prim and proper, he’s the ideal subordinate!”
Unlike how she acted before Rudel, Bennet raised her face in delight. Short in stature and youthful in appearance, Bennet’s greatest worry was being made light of by her men. In truth, they simply recognized her as a cute commanding officer, but the leader the girl idealized was an existence held in fear and awe by those under them.
And yet, when she did her best to become a commanding officer, no one feared her.
Let alone fear, she bit into the upper ranks of the dragoon brigade popularity contest and was treated as a mascot. While she was adored by her subordinates, she ended up giving off an unreliable impression. She thought that was why her subordinates never stayed long.
Truth be told, since she led along a valuable water dragon, she was issued a number of special missions, making it hard to affix set subordinates to her. While she knew about that, Bennet was sure it was because she was unreliable.
“Alright! I’ll do my best tomorrow!”
‘… That’s all well and good, but you’d best not get too enthusiastic and fail. Around three times back, that made them call you hopelessly cute for a while, right?’
“T-that was just because I slipped up and broke a plate, but for some reason, they kept treating me like that all the way after…”
As Bennet failed to be honest, her tail powerlessly drooped limply over Heleene’s back.
‘B-but now I’m a splendid commanding officer! From tomorrow, I’ll become his dignified commander!’
Feeling Heleene’s disbelief, Bennet strengthened her own resolve to do her best.
Elsewhere, in the Arses House mansion, while it was a little early, a package came in from the Halbades House.
Erselica had the servants break the seal on those gifts sent to commemorate her matriculation and present them to her. The sent goods were high-class-looking tools that would be necessary at the academy.
“Luecke-dono of the Halbades House, was it? I heard he got along well with Rudel.”
On her mutter, the surrounding servants seemed to have difficulty answering. Erselica was quite displeased with those servants’ attitudes.
When her beloved Chlust was chased to the outskirts as if to drive him away, a majority of them had stopped speaking ill of Rudel in the shadows, turning their tongue to Chlust instead. A portion of them even started coming out to say they thought Rudel-sama was the more worthy heir from the start.
Erselica couldn’t forgive those servants.
Many of the servants who looked after Erselica urged her to write letters to Rudel, and even if she wrote up a letter to Chlust, it wouldn’t be sent.
(Will I be able to become a good actress for their comedy?)
Rudel- who she had mocked- was now so famous there wasn’t a soul in Courtois who didn’t know his name. On the streets, they were calling him the demon lord.
The Arses House that had oppressed such a man was now ruled by quite a dubious air. Within all of that, a package from the Halbades House had been delivered. The atmosphere of the mansion lightened up a bit.
“Oh! This one’s for me.”
As she untied the goods sent to her, before she noticed it, her stepsister Lena was there. That girl who usually wore around the clothing of a man, Erselica looked on her enviously. Honest to herself, and it looked as if she was living free as could be.
While they would never even talk in the past, at this point, they would exchange a few words if they met on the premises.
“You look happy. Even so, isn’t that box a bit too big? What did you get?”
She folded her arms as she interrogated Lena. Lena tore off the wrapping and opened the wood crate to find a spear inside. For something sent to a lady, it was an item that made one question the sender’s sense.
“Whooooh! A new spear! What’s more, it’s perfect for me!”
Handing the box off to the servants, Lena started swinging the spear she took in her hands. Erselica could feel the wind raised as she spun it around.
“L-Lena-sama! It would be troublesome if you swung that around in a place like this!”
Apologizing to the panicking servants, Lena looked at the spear. Erselica didn’t have the skills to tell if a spear was good or not, but it looked to be better than the ones held by the soldiers protecting the mansion.
“To be so happy after receiving a weapon, what does that make you as a lady?”
“The one I’ve always used’s been growing old, and it’s short so this one is just right. I’m sure my brother had some input.”
Saying Luecke-san was easy to understand, Lena read through the letter inside the box. The craftsmen who prepared the spear had a shop near the academy, so go there with it, the letter read.
(Are they going to fine tune it for Lena? This is surprisingly troublesome.)
To Erselica who had never held a weapon in her life, it was a talk that made her head hurt. To that point, she had polished herself to be beautiful. And that was in order to find a good family to marry into. But the Arses House had begun to wane even more than before.
When the surroundings would no longer draw close to her, it was decided Erselica would attend the academy. She was told to go and seduce a rich nobleman.
Otherwise, the house wouldn’t hold up, her mother said.
(If you stopped wasting money, we would recover in no time.)
While she had much she wanted to say to her mother, she was still a daughter of the Arses House. Erselica had never even considered marrying someone she actually liked. No, she did her best not to think about it.
“You’re going to the academy too, right? And yet, that Luecke-dono of the Halbades House is a little strange to send you a spear. Or could it be he thought that was more than enough for the child of a mistress?”
Even she knew she was saying something terrible. But Erselica wasn’t skillful enough to suddenly change the attitude she had always taken towards another.
Stroking back her straight, blond hair, she focused her emerald eyes on Lena.
But Lena didn’t seem particularly mindful of her cynicism.
“Perhaps. And brother told me that I can get all the necessary writing implements for cheap around the academy, so that’s enough for me.”
Seeing Lena’s smile, Erselica felt she had lost again. These feelings had become a daily occurrence.
One of the servants cautioned her.
“Erselica-sama, Lena-sama is also the master’s daughter. I’m not sure you should be taking that attitude…”
“You’re right. I’m sorry, Lena (What’s with this. You all used to mock her for being the child of a mistress.)”
Erselica understood the servants’ true intent; they didn’t want to invite in the rage of Rudel, who doted on Lena. For both Erselica and Lena who were to be married off, to the servants as well, they were tools to bring money into the Arses House.
If they were both tools, then offering favorable treatment to the one most liked by the next head was only natural. Just as Erselica once was…
(This really is miserable, Chlust.)
Arriving at the lodging house of Beretta, Rudel and co. were confused to find it wasn’t a lodging house at all.
The young soldier who led them gave an explanation before Rudel, Izumi and Millia.
“My apologies. The construction isn’t making any progress, so the buildings for the knight brigade end up being something like this…”
What stood before them was clearly a private house. The ones who used to live there moved to another house for various reasons, and it was abandoned as a vacant building. That house on the slightly larger side was granted when they heard three people were coming. For knights living alone, they would be given smaller houses.
“.. I’m a man, and these are two ladies. Isn’t there anything you could do?”
Rudel felt this was going too far, but the young soldier indirectly told them to deal with it. The nervous man would only say it was impossible.
“An official lodging house will only be prepared after the knight brigade main headquarters are constructed, so… and it’s far from most of the houses of the other knights, so there shouldn’t be a problem if you make a ruckus.”
“That’s nothing but problems. No, in the first place, why are you averting your eyes?”
After looking at Izumi and Millia, the young soldier’s face turned red as he averted his eyes, Rudel thought the man was making some sort of misunderstanding and ordered him to look up so he could correct it.
But the day was reaching its end, and worn out from a long and tense voyage, Millia said the place would be fine.
“Even if we make a ruckus at this hour, I doubt anyone’ll be able to solve the problem. In that case, we’ll put up with it a few days. I want to sleep soon.”
“You’re right. Today was quite tiring.”
It wasn’t just riding by dragon back, on that trip that was almost like a constant roller coaster, the two women made bitter smiles through their pale faces.
Hearing that from the female camp, Rudel reluctantly accepted. After accepting the keys, he entered the house. Finally, the young soldier said something important as he ran away.
“They said to clean it, but we’ve been busy and… the tools are there, so you’re better off cleaning before you sleep. Then see you tomorrow.”
Rudel stared over the room dumbfounded. Expanding before him was a room layered in dust. While it was minimalistically furnished, those pieces were also smeared in dust.
“T-this is a bit…”
The disastrous state of all the rooms left Izumi bewildered. It seems there had been an order to clean up, but if the order wasn’t carried out, it was meaningless.
“… The worst.”
With scornful eyes, Millia prepared a cloth and mask before breathing out a sigh. Unable to forgive this filth, it seems she was up for cleaning.
A former member of Aleist’s cleaning platoon, Millia was a valuable fighting force on this front. Izumi also went outside to prepare the cleaning utensils.
“They did say the inn was full. So this was the reason.”
When the knight at the station told them there were no openings at the inn, they had tilted their heads. But at this point, the reason had become clear, and Rudel was cleaning as well.
“We should’ve taken Aleist along.”
While half in jest, Rudel was also half serious.
Finishing up work (cleaning) for the day, Aleist was surrounded by female knights as he returned to the lodging house.
“Captain, do you have a cold? In that case, do you want to drop by my room?”
“Hey, why are you inviting him so naturally?”
“Ah, then should I go over to your room?”
On that scramble over Aleist among the female camp, the man in question gave a bitter smile as he denied it, saying it wasn’t a cold.
(Is someone gossiping about me or something?)
If gossip really could make him sneeze, then Aleist would be sneezing nonstop throughout the day. Even if he hadn’t the intent, he was called the number one playboy in the capital.
No matter how he denied it, no one would believe him. His fiancés were on the verge of surpassing seven, and his platoon was made up of all women. What’s more, at the very least, they looked at him favorably.
It wasn’t a mistake.
(Hah, even so…)
Looking around, the Millia he loved most wasn’t there. Under Izumi’s request, she had become Rudel’s special inspector. Whatever the case, even if he rejected the proposal, someone higher up the chain of command had permitted it.
(Even when the paperwork said she needed her direct superior’s permission.)
Aleist couldn’t understand why, but Millia was going further and further away. Looking up at the sky, he prayed for her safety.
(I hope we meet again.)
“Captain, are you listening?”
“Eh? Y-yeah, I’m listening. I think so too. (What were they talking about? Well, I’m sure it’s the usual complaints about the job.)”
Aleist’s cleaning duty platoon was building up frustration that they didn’t have any missions as knights. From the point of view of Aleist, who had nonchalantly devoted himself to cleaning, he had begun to believe that if he didn’t have to fight, then maybe this was for the best. He had no complaints.
In order to match his subordinate’s conversation, he merely showed sympathy.
“In that case, today’s the day you make it clear who you like most in the platoon!”
“It’s me, isn’t it, captain!”
“Stay out of this, washboard! It’s me, right Aleist?”
Aleist was holding a rom-com of his own in the capital.