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Vol 5: Chapter 13

The answer I chose was…

「Yes. I am Reiji from Silver Balance and also the person who was sucked into the Red Gate.」

To admit it.

The referee seemed a little surprised that I didn’t hesitate much.

「You might not know about this, Reiji-dono, but Silver Balance is currently being pursued by the Lev Magic Empire.」

「I am aware that they are being pursued, and I also know one more thing.」

「And what’s that?」

「That Silver Balance is completely innocent.」

「————」

Perhaps the referee didn’t expect to hear that, as his eyes widened in response.

「…Ku, KuKu.」

After a while, he started laughing as if he couldn’t contain it anymore.

「Kukuku… Kukuku….」

「Referee-sama…?」

Wilhelm called out timidly.

The referee turned towards him and opened his right palm.

「You guys, step outside. No. Wilhelm, you stay.」

「However……」

「This is an order.」

The rest of the knights said “Yes, sir”, saluted, and left the tent, leaving Wilhelm behind.

「I am sorry, Reiji-dono.」

「What are you apologizing for?」

「I was not trying to test you, Reiji-dono. The knights remained here because they were worried about me. I was never trying to put pressure on you.」

「…Did you find me harmless?」

「Far from harmless!」

The referee slammed his knee and said loudly.

「You didn’t lie about your affiliation, and your faith in your friends from the bottom of your heart! That’s exactly what chivalry should be. I am moved to have met such a wonderful man in a long while.」

「…I-I see.」

「I promise to take you to Earl Sillys. That was my intention from the beginning, though. It will take an hour or two before the messenger returns, so it’s a good idea for you to rest up for a while.」

I responded with silence. The reason is because we ended up in a fight at our first encounter, and then I was brought to their tent for an interrogation-like dialogue. There is no way I can sleep in such a place.

「I actually wanted to ask even more of what happened from you. Questions of how you came back from Red Gate and such. The reason I am not asking about it is out of concern for you. I can guarantee your safety, Reiji-dono. Can you truly fight to the best of your ability with a body which lacks sleep?」

Considering the interests of the Saint Knight Kingdom, they probably only want information from me at the moment. And the referee telling me to rest before questioning further is probably actually out of concern for me.

「…I will take up that offer, then.」I said.

「Wilhelm, guide Reiji-dono.」

「Yes, sir.」

Wilhelm took me to a nearby tent. It had only one clean bedding and there weren’t a lot of people in the surroundings.

Wilhelm bowed silently and left. As soon as I sat down on the bed, my body just plopped back onto the bed. Before I realized, I was already sleeping.

**

「…Doesn’t it look strange, after all?」I asked.

「There are also young boys who become knights, so it’s not strange.」

「But I can’t imagine myself as a knight…」

「Reiji-dono, don’t tell me an esteemed man such as yourself is feeling doubts after coming this far?」the neutral handsome, Wilhelm, said sarcastically.

We were directly under Queen of the Night at the moment. And without being armed.

Wilhelm woke me up while I was sleeping, and relayed that they were able to contact Earl Sillys. However, the meeting with the Earl was strictly “as part of the diplomacy of Saint Knight Kingdom”. Therefore, I had to play the part of a knight who was accompanying Wilhelm to the meeting.

In other words, I had to wear the uniform of the knights of Saint Knight Kingdom.

But I am not used to wearing uniforms… And I just can’t seem to rest easy while wearing a knight’s uniform.

「Wilhelm-sama, the other party has arrived.」the bearded knight, who was called Johann, said.

Wilhelm turned away from me and faced forward. His cheek, which was swollen after being punched by the referee, had already healed. He probably managed it with healing magic.

Wilhelm is apparently a distant relative of the royal family of the Saint Knight Kingdom.

However, in the Knight Kingdom where meritocracy is firmly established, skill is valued over bloodlines. So he is not treated in any special manner.

However, when acting as a “representative of diplomacy”, that “bloodline” comes into play.

「Knights of Saint Knight Kingdom, this way please.」

A high-ranking Lev official came down a long staircase installed to the airship, and guided us.

Originally, it would have been impossible for people from foreign countries to enter the Empire’s most treasured engineering, Queen of the Night. But now that they are relying on the troops from Kruvan Holy Kingdom, Saint Knight Kingdom, and the Keith Gran Federation, they can’t bar entry anymore.

Without being asked or checked to see if we had disarmed—because if we were to attack, we already would have—with Wilhelm in the lead, we climbed up the long stairs to reach the deck.

After entering the ship, we were guided to the front of a room through a narrow corridor.

「We have arrived. I shall wait here. Please call me if there is anything you need.」

「Thank you.」

Wilhelm nodded, and Johann stepped forward and opened the door.

It was quite an unexpectedly spacious meeting room. Wilhelm walked into the room, followed by the attendants. When I entered last and closed the door, I sensed the isolation of sound from outside.

Only two people were in the room.

At the end of a long table, there was a handsome noble.

And the person next to him was Sebas-san, the chief butler.

(Oh… they haven’t changed at all.)

It’s only been about 2 months.

About two months ago, I was still living with those people.

Life at the Earl’s residence felt like a lifetime ago after all the fierce battles that followed in a row with the “Labyrinth of 9 Emotions”, Red Gate, and the “Back World”.

「I am honored to meet you, Your Excellency Wilhelm. My name is Victor Sillys and I am an Earl of Kruvan Holy Kingdom.」

「I apologize for the sudden application for a meeting.」

「No, you are welcome to at any time.」

The Earl said, brimming with a full smile. …I have kind of missed that smile with hidden meanings.

「Earl, it is actually not I who called for this meeting.」

「…Meaning?」

「Do you remember him?」

As Wilhelm pointed at me, for the first time, the Earl and the chief butler’s eyes turned to me.

And their eyes widened in response.

「We meet again… Earl.」