After retreating from Blue Garden, the White Sword cavalry of Gazzetta returned to the military town in the hinterlands and were performing the training drills. This town was different from the white clan village, where only the royalty and those close to them gathered. It was a town of the common people of the white clan.
“Your highness, there was a message about the activity of the Nossentes infiltration force from within the capital.” (Officer)
“Fmph, so they were watching the conflict between Fonclanc and Blue Garden after all” (Shinha)
“Should we reinforce the border security?” (Officer)
“We are at a clear disadvantage. Continue monitoring the situation after withdrawing the defensive line slightly back. If anyone crosses the border, arrest them immediately.” (Shinha)
Even if they knew about the existence of the evil god, the warriors of Gazzetta were not able to achieve any victories in their recent battle, although, from what happened during the battle, the outcome was satisfactory as they were able to get a rough grasp of the power of the evil god. If there was something to be unsatisfied about, it was the fact that they were completely unprepared to become prisoners of war and placed themselves in the mercy of the militias of the Blue Garden that they were looking down on.
Because Yuusuke was there, Shina also had to restrain himself from acting too rashly. Although he had witnessed the strength of the evil god’s power before, he was not sure if Yuusuke had any other cards in his hand. As expected, provoking the evil god into that situation was a poor decision.
On the surface, for the sake of keeping its appearance, Gazzetta pretended to adopt the caste system in the cities where divine art users lived. That was necessary to seamlessly merge into this world while striving for the goal of the white clan behind the scenes. As the white clan was the core organization in Gazzetta, they had to remain in the background and had difficulties moving in the open, so they also had to resort to peaceful actions.
During this war, Gazzetta openly announced to the entire world about the existence of the white clan and, if the evil god had not interfered, they would have grasped victory against the divine arts user’s armies. Although that was the primary goal of the battle, the actual results were anything but what they expected. The results of the war were like a bonus, while the actions of the reconciliation faction were completely restricted.
“Although I did not expect for Yuusuke to react this quickly. We should hurry up with the recapturing of the Nossente’s capital.” (Shinha)
The city that was currently a capital of Nossentes used to be a gigantic fortress of the white clan. However, that was around two thousand years ago. The white clan was chased over into the area that became a nation, called Gazzetta. But during its peak, the white clan was a gigantic empire that spanned over half of Kaltcio.
“It would be great to fulfill the desire of our clan during this generation…” (Shinha)
“The current evil god is sympathizing with artless. He will definitely support our cause.” (Officer)
“It would be nice if that were the case,” replied Shinha, returning a light smile to the officer who tried to encourage him. He saddled his horse and departed towards the village of the white clan.
After leaving Paula, Zeshald dropped by the palace to report about the completion of his duty. The king was very grateful for Zeshald’s duties and Violet insisted that the old man stay over at the palace for the night before returning to Rufk. Thus, Zeshald returned to the village on the thirteenth day of Zalnar’s month of fire.
“Welcome back, Zeshald sensei! …and who might you be?” (Villager)
“Long time no see, sensei. … is that the elite troupe uniform?” (Villager 2?)
“Oh, both of you seem to be doing good.” (Zeshald)
“… Hello.” (Zeshald’s entourage)
“Zeshald sensei had brought a beautiful woman from the Blue Garden!” a happy voice echoed throughout the village, announcing Zeshald’s return as a woman suddenly spoke in a friendly voice.
“… my name is Belushya.” (Belushya)
On their day of departure from Blue Garden, after meeting the queen, Zeshald visited Belushya, who was loitering in the empty office. After giving her a choice between remaining in Blue Garden and serving the queen or returning along with him to Fonclanc, Belushya chose the latter.
Currently, the troupe leader Volmes was missing along with some troupe members. It was decided that keeping her locked up in an isolation cell would be an undesirable decision, as she wielded the strength to simply break out of a prison cell. Knowing the full extent of her abilities and her past, she was deemed to be a dangerous existence.
Presented with a choice of serving her master or starting a new, tranquil life with Zeshald, Belushya chose the latter. She told herself that she got tired of a lifestyle of hunting other people down and hiding herself.
“If she was able to kill using the power of the healing arts, she will certainly be able to employ her freezing art to heal people.” (Zeshald)
As she was very familiar with the human body structure, Belushya would make a fine assistant for him. Using this reasoning, Zeshald had obtained permission from Rishause to take Belushya away. As for Belushya herself, she did not have any qualms regarding living in an artless village.
After a brief ruckus, the villagers returned back to their daily work and chores. Zeshald sighed, acknowledging advice from Yuusuke stating how hard it is to suddenly return after a long time away from home, which he remembered as he was relaxing on his sofa for the first time in many, many days.
“Shinha, the king of Gazzetta, eh…? the white clan’s village, with a history of over three thousand years, that’s truly a sight I would like to see.” (Zeshald)
“I would also love to visit it, in order to know more about the role of the evil god.” (Yuusuke)
Belonging to the royal knight’s corps, Yuusuke was at no position to come and go as he pleased. If he left, trouble, such as Sun’s kidnapping, may very well happen again.
While having Zeshald and Belushya around was reassuring, it did not mean that they would be able to guard her all day every day. Moreover, locking Sun within the village would be hard on the poor girl as well. And if the enemy decided to go all out, Yuusuke was sure that in the end, coming out on top would be difficult.
“If that happens, you would probably abandon your position at the palace and rush to save Sun.” (Zeshald)
“Well, maybe Violet would then somehow gain permission for the mission towards Gazzetta.” (Yuusuke)
That said, although Shinha himself did not seem to be hostile, and the country he was living in seemed rough, it was not clear on how much he knew about the evil god, which made them (Yuusuke and co.) feel uneasy.
If this was a game, to draw out the powers of an evil god–… and similar events would require those close to the protagonist to– … and similar developments to occur.
“Honestly, if something were to happen to Sun because of the evil god or something, I would not watch idly.” (Zeshald?)
“Forgive me.” (Yuusuke?)
Zeshald replied with a joke to what Yuusuke said half joking, but in truth, in their deepest thought they both held thoughts such as “Would I be able to hold back from the destruction of the world?” The topic of their discussion, Sun, was silently sitting alongside Belushya, who was silently sipping her tea, with a blank look on her face.
“Then, what about … sheltering her within Sanc Adiet?” (Zeshald)
“In the city… But the artless district isn’t any different.” (Yuusuke)
“No no, in the noble’s district. You still have not gotten the rewards for your recent deeds have you?” (Zeshald)
When Zeshald had stopped by the palace, there were discussions on how to reward Yuusuke for his latest achievements. As no conclusion was reached, it was decided to let the person himself decide on the matter.
“If you would ask for a residence in the noble’s district, Sun could live there and there would be no way for those guys from Gazzetta to interfere.” (Zeshald)
Thanks to Zeshald, ever since then, Yuusuke was looked to be as someone who was brought up by the artless. Although some might think that way, people who would at most say “he has his circumstances,” but no one would raise an eyebrow if he were to allow an artless girl to live in his residence.
The main mission of the darkness god corps was to patrol the commoner district, lending an ear to what the citizens have to say. As they were patrolling the district every day and spent time walking with the inhabitants, it also helped to alleviate any uneasy thoughts from forming.
As he (Zeshald?) told Violet regarding Sun’s situation when he was called to the palace, there were a lot of palace officials who were acquaintance with the situation. In any case, if Yuusuke had to leave the city on a mission, Sun would be given a duty of being princess Violet’s playmate thus moving to live in the palace.
“Hmmm… buuut what does Sun think about it?” (Yuusuke)
“I- if Yuusuke san is okay with it, I am not against it…” (Sun)
Although Yuusuke tried to shoot this proposition down basing on Sun’s still present fear of the divine arts users, problems that she would have to face as she changed the living environment, and the various considerations that should be done when leaving the village and moving up to the city, Sun was unexpectedly positive about this change and did not seem to be emotionally strained.
“Are you okay with that?” (Yuusuke)
“Yes, after all… Yuusuke will not be inconvenienced with me (anymore), besides…” (Sun)
“Teacher seems to have found a new reliable assistant so I can leave with my mind in peace,” Sun’s reply seems to have changed the atmosphere in the room, as Zeshald scratched his cheek while Belushya (blushed slightly) as if the heat of the tea got to her (head).
“Mm, I understand.” (Yuusuke)
“… somehow it feels like various misunderstandings were reached here.” (Zeshald)
Since Yuusuke had to leave for the palace tomorrow, he had Sun contact him as soon as she finished her preparations to move into the city. Although Zeshald’s protests were ignored, that evening they celebrated Yuusuke’s promotion and Zeshald’s return that also doubled as Belushya’s welcome party.
“Oh, Sun?” (Yuusuke)
“Yuusuke san, are you still awake?” (Sun)
“I spoke to you first, didn’t I?” (Yuusuke)
*giggles* “Is that so?” (Sun)
Yuusuke spotted Sun sitting in the garden, looking into the darkness, called out to the white haired girl and sat beside her. The clouds over them were yellowish instead of their usual gray under the moonlight, as they flowed through the starry sky.
“So you are feeling anxious?” (Yuusuke)
“No, that’s not it… I was just thinking that I really can’t do anything by myself.” (Sun)
Sun was working as the village doctor’s assistant since the day her parents had died when she was still a child. Although she had spent her days in peace, she understood that she was not much of a use as an assistant.
Although Zeshald had been giving her a purpose in life and a place to call home, she could not act as a spoiled child forever. Belushya’s arrival, as well as Gazzetta’s issues, became a new starting point for Sun. She had similar thoughts about herself before so she wanted to reflect on her future for a while.
“But, if it continues like this, I will end up behaving like a spoiled child at Yuusuke san’s place” (Sun)
“Hmm, so you are looking at it that way?” (Yuusuke)
Yuusuke thought about Sun’s self-confidence. She desired a purpose in life to feel that she was being useful and had a place for herself. Yuusuke became worried if he would be able to prepare her, no not prepare, but provide her with it using any and all means necessary.
“Ah, I am so sorry, I am speaking about strange things. I have troubled you again, didn’t I?” (Sun)
“No, not at all. That is not the case. I have recently stepped up to the position where I have subordinates myself. It is a good opportunity (for me?) to think about it.” (Yuusuke)
Although Yuusuke had been swift to rely on his subordinates on the battlefield, he still was not accustomed to ordering them during the time of peace. In order to make himself grow, he came up with an idea to provide Sun with the place of her own that would suit her capabilities.
“…is it really okay with you?” (Sun)
“Well, I myself am at a position where I am relying solely on Violet’s kindness, so don’t hold your hopes up too much.” (Yuusuke)
Yuusuke said the words that Sun hoped someone would sometime say to her – “let’s become adults/grow up together!”
“Yuusuke san…” (Sun)
Happy to have finally sorted out her feelings, Sun looked at Yuusuke with eyes, wet from joy.
Without any ulterior motives the two of them only looked at each other under the moonlight.
“Why aren’t those two kissing?!” (Bahana)
“Just give them some time, for their feelings to grow.” (Zeshald)
Zeshald had joined Bahana for a night’s bottle of fruit wine, as they watched over the two youngsters from under the shadow of the bushes, near the window.