A vivid sound echoed in the vicinity.
There was the sound of a blade piercing a body, along with the sound of blood dripping onto the ground.
Due to an excessive pain, the bulky man, who was over two meters, involuntarily dropped the knife he was swinging down onto the small boy that was in front him.
From his distorted face, a large amount of sweat was pouring and blood was gushing out.
The small boy looked upwards at the man’s face while dumbfounded.
His mind could not catch up with the sudden event.
As he looked, the boy gradually began to understand.
He shifted his gaze from the man’s face to what was below.
The young boy looked straight at something.
───A sword had pierced through the man’s stomach from behind.
The man immediately fell down feebly.
As soon as the boy understood that, fear dominated his body and he broke into a cold sweat.
He could not move his stiffened body, the scent of blood was sharp on his nose.
It was a view he didn’t want to see. The boy, with his stiffened body, could not even avert his eyes. His sense of absolute terror only grew.
───However, a large shadow suddenly appeared in front of the young boy.
It blocked off the gruesome view that was in front of the boy, letting him calm down and eventually avert his eyes.
“───Are you all right?”
Suddenly, there was a young man’s voice that was directing towards him.
Raising his eyes, he saw a young man with black hair that he never saw around here.
“…Who, are you?”
While looking at the young man’s back and his face, with black pupils, that was turned towards him, the young had reflexively said that.
“I’m Kondou Shun. Right now, I’m heading to the castle with my teacher.”
“Well, she’s beating up the other two at the moment, so you’ll have to wait a bit.”
Listening carefully, the boy certainly heard the sounds of fighting going on, but rather than the sounds of swords, he heard the sounds of blows from the other side of what the young man was blocking off.
“Whoa…how merciless. I can only see that beautiful girl as a battle maniac right now…”
Gah…dead corpses…I think I might vomit. Let me just plug my nose…
The words the young man said were in reference to what was happening on the other side.
Is that woman…here with that man?
The young boy tilted his head.
“Shun, I’ve finished.”
A woman’s voice called out the young man in front of him.
The young replied with a bitter smile while saying “I can tell just by looking.”
“Even if we could have dragged these scums to the chivalry order, it’s better to just kill them here..”
Is this woman…the commanding officer for the Imperial Guards’ magic swordsman crew, Alicia Rays?! Why is this person here?!
The source of the woman’s voice walked over to the young man, surprising the young boy.
“They were definitely scum! And I understand your feelings teacher, since you very much love children! But does their punishment need to go this far?”
“…*sigh* it’s fine. If you’re going to say that much, why don’t you just do it by yourself then?”
“How about we set this matter aside?”
It seemed that the young man abandoned his position.
“You changed your mind way too fast.”
Alicia, who was looking at the young man with scornful eyes, addressed the young man, whose was frightened by a conversation from a while ago.
“Are you okay? No injuries?”
“…Y, yes. It doesn’t hurt anywhere.”
“Then, they didn’t do anything to you?”
“…Yes…u, um…thank you for saving me…”
The boy bowed his head, making Alicia smile.
“It’s fine…it’s all good as long as you’re safe. From now on, don’t follow any strange people…understand?”
While giving a kind smile, Alicia gently stroked the boy’s head.
“Yes! I understand!”
The boy gave the kind woman his thanks from the bottom of his heart, and made a complete smile.
The young man, who was watching, asked the boy “What’s your name?”
“I’m Jack Silius Bolz.”
“Oh…that’s a long name.”
“It’s because I come from a family of nobles…”
Hearing that, the young man nodded, as if he had understood.
“Bolz…? Could you possibly mean that Bolz household…?”
On the other hand, Alicia began trembling for some reason.
“…Teacher? What’s wrong?”
The young man turned towards Alicia with a confused look.
Alicia suddenly turned towards the young man and spoke with a quivered voice,
“This child…comes from one the five noble lineages sustaining this country…he’s a child of the Bolz family.”
“───W, what did you say~?!”
Though Shun didn’t exactly comprehend the weight of what Alicia was saying, he more or less realized the magnitude of the situation based on how shocked she looked.
▣ ▣ ▣ ▣ ▣ ▣
After that whole ordeal, Alicia, Shun, and Jack turned away from the castle, which was their original destination, and went to deliver Jack back to the Bolz family’s residence.
“So what happened…? It’s strange for a noble’s child to be out by himself.”
Shun didn’t have a good grasp of the Bolz family, but with his background knowledge on nobles, he knew that it was strange for one of the sons to be in such a place alone.
“Ah…! Right! Take me to the knights right now! The residence…my father…!”
Alicia calmly tried to get the details of what happened out of Jack, who had a sudden change in expression as if he was remembering something,
“Jack, tell us what happened first.”
“Calm down…it’s fine if you do it slowly but tell us what happened in as much detail as possible.”
Alicia put her hand on Jack’s shoulder and looked straight into his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, Jack began to speak once more,
“───This morning…I got up from bed, and went to the dining room to eat breakfast like I always do. But…when I opened the door, the resident employees and my family were tied up by a group of five men…I couldn’t move and then they looked to me. That’s when Father turned to me and told me to get the knights, he said it while having a face I never saw before. My body moved by itself…I was running like crazy, I took a hidden passage inside the residence…and came here! Their lives are in danger! So hurry, hurry and call the knights…or else my family will…!”
Jack had a considerably tormented expression.
He had quite a bit of sweat. It might have been a cold sweat from both fear and guilt.
Even though his parents…and his family are in such a situation…I probably can’t do anything…this child was able to do something most adults would have trouble with…but now his hands and legs are shaking.
Shun was looking at Jack while having such thoughts. Then Alicia took out a handkerchief, gently wiped Jack’s tears, and said with a serious expression,
“We’re off to head there. It’ll all be fine.”
Jack trembled once hearing those words that suddenly sprung up,
“Like I said, we’re off to head there, so it’ll all be fine.”
With a small smile, Alicia repeated her words.
Shun made a bold smile while looking at Jack.
Anyhow, he was wondering when Alicia was going to say that to Jack.
“Is that okay?!”
“Okay or not, it’s the duty of a knight help those in need, right? More than that…”
While slowly closing her eyes, Alicia spoke,
“It’s faster to leave this to the two of us rather than looking for knights…right? Shun?”
Jack turned to Shun with a befuddled face.
Hearing Alicia say that, Shun replied with a bit of a bitter smile mixed in,
“Well, that would be the normal line of thinking, but…there’s no guarantee of a victory, you know? I’m still weak───”
“───We can win. You’re strong, Shun.”
Just now, Alicia declared it to Shun like it was only natural.
Shun felt that he couldn’t really put faith in her words, thinking that what she said was a result of overconfidence.
Shun had a shocked face, but replied in a refreshing tone of voice,
“……I see. I’m starting feel like some kind of idiot when you say that with an expression as if this was only a matter of course───*sigh*……”
He took a deep breath and regained himself.
That was my first real battle…my opponents were not treating this as a competition like when I was with Teacher, they seriously kept attacking me with the intent to kill me…Naturally, I had to kill them as well…This is bad, I absolutely want to throw up. It seemed I felt the need to vomit the moment I say them die. This is way too heavy for me…
While thinking about such things, Shun noticed that his hands and legs weren’t trembling.
Perhaps…he actually had some confidence in himself?
It certainly felt like it to Shun.
He had done basic training over the past month. He’d done various drills with Alicia.
In that basic training, it was hammered into Shun that physical strength and technique were the basis of fighting.
Moreover, although Alicia had not learned all the swordsmanship techniques there were, what she was taught remained entirely in her memory.
Shun, practicing daily, believed that he’d be able to master swordsmanship like Alicia one day.
In terms of magic, he was one step ahead of his classmates on how to use it for combat.
Indeed, Alicia’s training was as harsh as it always was.
However, everyday, Shun had continued to challenge it without rest.
Since he was able to persist through that, it wasn’t like Shun had absolutely no confidence in himself.
Rather, he wanted to test himself out somewhere now.
He could not deny the childish desires in his heart to test out his abilities if he indeed became strong.
My innate skill is still a mystery…but other than that, I have a good grasp on my battle skills.
Shun stared at his fist once more.
Seeing Shun like that, Alicia smiled, walked over to his shoulder, and called out to him,
“───Shun, we’re going, okay?”
Shun glanced at Alicia’s back and nodded.
“Right───Jack, you’re coming too. It would be dangerous to leave you alone.”
He prompted Jack, and held his hand.
“Thank, you…so much!”
Jack’s eyes turned wet towards his two saviors, and he tightly grasped Shun’s hand.
───The three began to run towards the mansion.
◈ ◈ ◈ ◈ ◈ ◈
A silence ensued in the Bolz household.
That silence was forcefully created.
Quietly sitting on a chair with an annoyed look, while staring at a man eyeing sword, was the current head of the Bolz family, Bill Sirius Bolz.
For a middle-aged man, he had a well-featured face, a clean and grown beard, was a bit severe, but had a kind personality at the core, making him gain a lot of popularity.
Right now, his anger was fully laid bare to the point that veins were appearing on his head.
“Hey? Why are you staring that much?”
The man, noticing Bill, who was currently restrained, turned his line of sight from the sword to Bill.
A voice of vexation filled the room.
The man laughed scornfully at Bill’s words.
“If that’s how it is, then would you like to try making me leave by force…? If you’re able to, that is!”
“Pfft…Hahahaha!” “Pfft…Hahahaha!” “Pfft…Hahahaha!” “Pfft…Hahahaha!”
When the man said that, his group of colleagues laughed along.
“What’s you aim?!”
Bill’s yells shook through the entire room, but the sneers only continued.
“Wouldn’t it be your lives and your wealth?”
The man answered with a bitter smile, and continued,
“Other than those, you all have no value.”
With that, the men laughed again.
Truly an annoying voice…!
“No wait, there’s still some things of worth…there’s sixteen women in maid outfits over there───”
The man shifted his gaze towards a certain person.
“───In this house…..you’ve got some pretty cute, unripe girls, don’t you?”
The man made a bold smile.
Bill was finally enraged.
The reason was because the man was staring at his daughter, who had just turned eighteen.
While having tears in his eyes, Bill was speaking for a girl with sky-blue hair and eyes, a bit of an innocent nature left in her, and fair looks.
“I’m fine……I don’t want you to carry needless worries, father…….”
Although the girl said that, her voice was obviously shaky.
“Luria, what are you saying?! You call this a needless worry?! Would a parent not worry about his daughter?!”
“Aah, you’re quite noisy…!”
The man mercilessly kicked Bill’s face.
“Fatheeer! Why is happening?!”
A muffled sound pounded for two, three, four times.
For each dull sound, there was a shriek as well.
Those sounds continued for more than a minute.
Only the quivering voices of fear from Luria and the maids filled the room.
Something snapped inside Luria’s head.
Bill was still alive, but a sea of his own blood surrounded him.
Just about everything on Bill’s face was distorted.
He raised a groan, but it couldn’t be deciphered.
The man’s shoes were dyed crimson from Bill’s blood after kicking him.
“Ahーhow refreshing───Now then, next……is to have some fun.”
The man, with pulpy footsteps from his blood-dyed shoes, moved towards the maids trembling in fear.
“Well now…all of you. Let’s enjoy ourselves.”
“I’d expect no less from our leader!”
“Ooh…he’s not holding back!”
“Heh heh heh…I wonder who he’s gonna go for.”
The man focused on Luria once more, and slobbered.
“…Are you planning to violate me?”
Luria, disgusted by the man, took one step back every time he took a step forward.
“Aah, of course! I’m going to ravish you…one of my goals is to assault you here and there.”
Luria’s feelings surpassed anger, and she began to emit a cold fury.
“What an indecent face you have. I won’t show any mercy to vulgar people like you.”
“Did I hit the mark? It looks like you’re aware of it…or perhaps in this brief moment of time you actually grew up into the adult you are.”
“……You look just like on the pictures, don’t you? You little brat.”
At last, Luria’s back had reached a wall, and could no longer retreat.
“Gah hah hah! Looks like there’s no escape. What will you do?”
The man held a sneer, but Luria laughed scornfully at him.
“────I’ll do this.”
With that, Luria took a pistol hanging on the wall and aimed it at between the mans eyebrows.
“Drop your weapons.”
“Hah……go ahead and shoot.”
The man had thought that a girl wouldn’t be able to shoot.
At that moment, a high-pitched bang pierced into all the ears in the room.
The man had a befuddled expression for a moment.
“Next time, I won’t divert the shot. This is your last warning.”
In an alarmingly cold voice, Luria gave another waning to the man, where a bullet had scraped his cheek, creating a wound in a straight line where blood was flowing out.
With the click of his tongue, the man placed his sword onto the ground.
“Now turn around so I can see your back.”
Luria made sure that they had actually set down all of their weapons.
“…Seems not to be the case. Now, lie down on the floor. That includes all of you guys as well.”
The man and his colleagues lied down on the floor in front of Luria.
“Wait there just like that. It’s only a matter of time before the knights arrive.”
Luria was calm while holding that astounding weapon called a pistol, but she was beyond angry.
On the inside, Luria was brimming with anger, but also a feeling of powerlessness as well.
She felt almost as if she was inconsequential.
As if her own life was not of importance.
The various emotions in Luria and her fear of an impending death warped into anger.
The girl looking down at the men with vacant eyes was no longer Luria.
“…Is something funny?”
She suddenly turned her head towards a man who laughed.
“Well…it’s just something a little amusing. It’s your foolishness.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, there is one thing you should know.”
While making a proclamation, the man let out a similar sneer to the one a while ago.
“You can’t kill me…that’s the one thing I’ll make you understand───よっと!”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haa……you’re full of gaps.”
Luria lost her pistol, the very thing that gave her a large advantage, and fear began to overtake her body.
“Leader, let’s do it to this person.”
“I agree…then I want to kill this bitch.”
“I want in as well.”
“Yeah, yeah…I’m going first though.”
As the man said that, he began to roughly tear off Luria’s clothes.
“What a nice voice this bitch has…she’s gotta have a nice body.”
Stop…don’t touch me…no…stop…!
“Heh heh heh….”
When the man tried to grope Luria’s moderately plump chest────
The door to the room was blown away with the sound of an explosion, and a dense white smoke drifted about near it.
“What was that?!”
The men immediately got up and readied their swords in the direction of the door.
They couldn’t see anything around the door due to the dense smoke and could only hear voices.
“Whoa…there’s smoke…this is way too excessive.”
Hearing that unfamiliar voice, the men further strengthened their guard.
Then at last, he made an appearance.
“───Excuse meー, sorry for the intrusionー…I’m a little lost…”
A young man with black hair appeared, let out a bold smile while continuing to speak.
“Is this the residence of the Bolz?”
“…!” “…!” “…!” “…!”
Next, he took out a long sword from his back and pointed it towards the men.