Wednesday, June 12, 2024 @

Volume 6 Chapter 5 A New Departure

Volume 6 Chapter 5 A New Departure

 To sum it up, the refugees were safely accepted into the capital.

 It was probably due to Count Emdo's preparations for accepting refugees, so there wasn't much chaos. Even though we had sent word ahead of time using Cirrul, it was unexpected that everything went so smoothly. Well, Count Emdo must have worked really hard to make it happen.

 Then, 2 weeks passed.

 Currently, the refugees are starting their new lives on the outskirts of the capital.

 I returned as many of the items stored in the Gluttony Mimic Bag as possible to them. Those supplies seem to be helping the refugees. Many of them have come to visit me at Count's estate to express their gratitude.

 The reconstruction of Torch Marina has also begun. It would be great if the refugees could return to their hometown someday.

 In the end, I didn't accomplish anything that significant. The fact that the refugees are safe and sound is mostly thanks to Count Emdo's efforts. My achievements are probably just that I was able to reduce the number of casualties a little.

 But it's not zero.

 From 0 to 1... I might have grown just a little.

 Anyway, I decided to set out on a new journey with everyone.

 Due to the refugee acceptance, Count's estate has become quite busy.

 We can't stay here and be a bother forever.

 And, above all... I want new cursed equipment. This is a pressing reason.

 "You're really leaving, aren't you? This mansion will be so lonely."

 On the day of our departure, Miss Sera and the others came to see us off at the front of the mansion.

 "It was short, but I'm glad I got to meet you, Mr. Noroa."

 "Miss Sera..."

 I'm experiencing the pain of parting for the first time.

 Somehow, I feel a little down.

 'It's a shame, isn't it...?'

 "I wanted to stay longer..." "...I'm sorry."

 "Yeah, me too..."

 As I look back at Count's estate from the gate, the days I spent in this mansion start flooding back into my mind.

 ――This pig! This pig!

 ――Thank you very much!

 ――I'm Sailor Mask, the beautiful warrior of love and justice, with a passion for spanking.

 ――Maybe one day, the fact that you spanked a noble's butt will become a great asset?

 ――It's been my dream for so long. To be forced to eat hot soup with a spoon by my ideal person....

 ――Kyaa, the prince is ignoring me! Reisha is so happy! Kyaa! Kyaa!

 Ah, yeah...it's not that great of a memory, though.

 "Prince...are you leaving?"

 And then, Miss Reisha pinched my clothes.

 "There are still so many spankings to do, and yet you're already..."

 "That's something Sailor Mask can do for you."

 "I'm tired of Sera. It doesn't make sense to wear a butterfly mask and all."

 "...Eh!? "

 Miss Sera looked shocked.

 But indeed, that butterfly mask didn't make sense.

 "Prince, can I make one last selfish request?"

 "If it's something I can do."

 "Then...can you say, 'You were just a plaything, you pig'? And if possible, spit on my face while saying it..."


 "For the sake of my long-held dream."

 "Dreams are great, aren't they?"

 Anyway, Miss Reisha seemed to be living life to the fullest.

 "Count Emdo, thank you for everything. I'll definitely repay this debt someday..."

 "No, I've already been repaid. The Underground Equipment Guild, Reisha's matter, Torch Marina's matter...I've received so much from you."

 Count Emdo forced a smile.

 "You'll definitely become a hero of the next generation."

 "...That would be great."

 My chest felt a pang of sadness.

 "That's right. I received a letter for you this morning."

 "For me?"

 "Yes, it's strange, but...it's not like it has announced that Mr. Noroa is here or anything."

 I'll just receive the letter for now.

 The sender is the "Sonon Holy Kingdom". I don't know anyone from that country, though....

 "What's up with this letter?"

 'Isn't it just a fan letter to you?'

 "Haha, what a ridiculous thing to say."

 I couldn't make sense of it even after thinking about it, so I just put the letter away in my pocket.

 "Well, I'll be off then."


 "Take care."


 If I stayed too long, I'd start to get sentimental.

 To avoid that, I decided to leave the mansion with determination.

 But... suddenly, my hand was grabbed.

 "A, uh...!"

 It was Miss Reisha. She seemed to have noticed something, and her pink eyes were shaking with anxiety.

 "Can we meet again?"


 I was lost for words for a moment.

 To be honest, I didn't plan on meeting her again. We're from different social classes, and as someone with cursed equipment, I might cause trouble for others. So, it's better if we don't get involved with each other.

 But, if she's willing to wait for someone like me... it makes me happy.

 I think it'd be great if we could meet again.


 "Yes, definitely."

 "...Really? You're not going to say we can't meet again? That would be awful."


 "I'll be waiting..."

 Miss Reisha's hand slowly let go.

 "Goodbye, Prince."

 "I'll be back."

 A clichéd phrase. But for me, it was a phrase I'd never said before. Others might say it every day like it's no big deal, but for me, it was a bit embarrassing.

 Ah, I felt it deeply. I'm not zero anymore. In this short period, I've gained so many things. The equipment I love, the people I love, and the people who love me too...

 I felt a little shy, so I put my hood up.

 And with that, I finally left the mansion.

* * *

 After leaving the county, I boarded Cirrul, who had transformed into a dragon.

 As Cirrul took off, the city quickly disappeared from view. But the feeling of being pulled back lingered, refusing to fade away. Juju and the others seemed to share the same feeling, as they were quieter than usual.

 'That food at the mansion was amazing... I wanted to stay for another 3 centuries or so.'

 'Those were good people, weren't they?'

 "I want to go again..." "It was fun!"

 "Yeah, it was."

 Someday, I'll come back here again.

 'By the way, Noroa, about that fan letter you got earlier...'

 "Ah, you mean that letter?"

 'Just read it already. If you don't, you'll be too curious and won't be able to sleep at night.'


 By the way, how many hours does Juju sleep a day?

 She sleeps most of the time except when she's eating, this doll.

 'I wonder if the sender was from the Holy Kingdom? I'm curious too.'

 By the way, Cirrul was a saint, wasn't she? She might have some connection to the holy Kingdom.

 Either way, it's a mysterious letter. I'm curious too.

 "Well, I'll read it now."

 There's nothing to do even if I'm on a dragon, so I might as well read it.

 I took out the letter from my pocket, cut the seal with a knife, and looked at the contents.

 Inside the envelope, there was a small piece of paper. Considering it was sent from another country, the amount of letter was surprisingly small.

 There's no rule that the content gets thicker as the paper gets thicker, but with this amount, it seems like there's not much to it.

 While thinking that, I read through the letter...

 ――Do you know about 'her'?


 My heart skipped a beat, my head went blank, and my breathing stopped.

 This is just a letter, but it feels like the sender is talking to me right in front of my eyes, giving me a primal fear that makes my heart feel like it's being stroked.

 'What's written here? I can't see it well...'

 Juju started patting my cheek, but I didn't have the composure to respond.


 I quickly read through the rest of the letter.

 ――Do you know about 'her'?

 ――Will you teach me about the great sinner?

 ――Will you come to my place?

 ――Will you teach me everything about you?

 ――Won't you come and talk to me?

 ――Will you die if you don't come?

 ――Is it fun, fun, fun, ■■, will you finish it?


 It doesn't seem like just a weird letter.

 Someone who knows me wrote this.

 I don't know why, but... my heart is racing and throbbing.

 My head hurts, like it's being pierced by countless needles.

 ...'She'? Is it about my entire life? Am I going to die?

 What is this? What does the sender of this letter know?

 'Noroa... this...!'

 Juju raises her voice, as if she's realized something.

 'If you read this letter vertically, it says 'He's coming soon'...'

 "Ah, yeah. That's great."

 So what's the big deal?

 Anyway, let's ignore Juju.

 "By the way... come to my place, huh?"

 The sender's name is just "Doll Master". I've never heard of it, even as a pseudonym. Since the return address is the Sonon Holy Kingdom, the sender must be from that country... but...

 "Cirrul, do you know about the Doll Master?"

 'The Doll Master? Is it a doll maker?'

 From this reaction, it seems Cirrul doesn't know either. If a former member of the church doesn't know, it's probably not a famous person. It's possible that they just wrote a fake name here.

 "By the way, the Holy Kingdom..."

 The Holy Kingdom, as its name suggests, is the headquarters of the church.

 In other words, it's a place where the rejection of cursed equipment is the most severe.

 In the Holy Kingdom, just possessing cursed equipment is punishable by death. Even if you manage to escape the church's grasp, you'll be wanted worldwide for possessing cursed equipment.

 And to think they're calling me to such a troublesome place.

 '...Is it a trap?'

 "Most likely, yes."

 The fact that they know about me means they also know about my cursed equipment. Instead of coming to meet me, they're calling me to the Holy Kingdom. It's not like they're planning to kill me, but they're definitely thinking of doing something to me.

 "But, this Doll Master... might be the mastermind who brought me and Juju together, right?"

 If that's not the case, it's impossible to send a letter to my current residence after getting to know me. If the one who gave me the cursed equipment is... it's ridiculous to think they'd go out of their way to kill me.

 What's the purpose of all this, anyway?

 "Either way, we have no choice but to go"

 '...Yeah, that's right'

 I still don't know anything.

 Not about myself, nor about "her" who always appears in my dreams.

 I think I need to know, and I want to know.


 "――Let's go, to the Holy Kingdom"

 And with that, our next destination was decided.

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