If it’s on your day off, then even the daily morning news program that you’d usually regard with the eyes of a dead fish is fun to watch. From morning until now, all I’ve been doing is stuffing my face with grilled meat bento while watching TV. Ah, so it’s going to be sunny today, huh? I’d been saving up all of my dirty laundry, but in that case I might as well do something with my hands.
I tossed the bento container and the disposable chopsticks into a plastic bag, and stood up after drinking the rest of the tea out of the bottle I bought yesterday. That’s when I realized that I’d fallen asleep while still wearing my dress shirt and suit pants. Eh, they were a little wrinkled but not enough that I needed to rush to get them dry-cleaned. They’ll last until the next time I get paid, at least.
I picked up a long-sleeve shirt and sweatpants from around the room and went to the bathroom to change. As I was in the middle of cramming a towel and underwear in my arms, I had the thought that I should probably wash Ilias’s clothes too. Since he’d been sleeping with such a high fever he was probably sweating through the whole night, and then he’d have to keep wearing those clothes after that… Ah, guess I’ll go grab them and take care of his clothes too, ’cause I’m that kind of awesomely good guy. That’s why I’ll keep quiet about how it’s getting washed along with my underwear. I’m even putting in fabric softener to make it nicer, yeah.
While I was thinking vaguely about what to do for lunch, the door to the bedroom opened. I glanced over to see Ilias, who still looked a bit feverish but on the whole in a much better state this morning. I greeted that restless and fidgety guy with a ‘Good morning’, and he properly returned it. Jeez, don’t just stand over there like that, I’ll get off the sofa to give you some space to sit if you want.
While grabbing a new water bottle from the fridge I stealthily observed Ilias, who reservedly sat on the sofa. He had golden hair cut to smoothly fall around his ears, slightly droopy blue eyes, a tall and thin nose, and thin lips. He was also a head taller than me, who had a height of 173cm. You could probably call this kind of guy an Ideal Prince Charming type. If there’s a ranking for the #1 man you’d want to meet at some romantic getaway resort, this guy would win hands down.1
“Hey, think you’re up for eating?”
“…No, it’s okay.”
“That’s not an answer. What I want to hear is whether you can or cannot eat. If you can then I’ll cook up some rice porridge for you.”
“It’s really fine. I wouldn’t dare ask to trouble you further.”
Though Ilias was stubbornly unyielding, the growls of his stomach were louder than the words coming out of his mouth. Ilias’s face reddened at the sound, and he went silent. Ah, I promised too much…! I couldn’t resist laughing, and in the middle of my snickering, I realized something while raising my head: even when you try to suppress your stomach with your arms, if it wants to make itself heard, you can’t stop it. Though he has the looks of a prince, it turns out that this guy’s still very much a normal person. My inner favorability rating of him went up a little bit.
“Just sit and wait, I’ll make something for you.”
I’ll be cooking for my lunch too, so I won’t make some lifeless rice porridge but a delicious one with egg instead. With that decided, I went into my far-too-unused kitchen.
“This… It’s delicious.”
So Ilias spoke, holding a spoon in his hands and looking at me with sparkling eyes. I, who’d been eating my eggy rice porridge bit by bit, thought it was just alright. It’s a given that it’d turn out pretty good since I’d been using a summary site’s instructions to make it.2 My living room only had one low table and a sofa where the two of us were eating side by side. I really wasn’t expecting to eat food this intimately with a guy I met just last night, especially one with this kind of sweet-faced handsomeness. Just when I wondered if he was also going to eat elegantly, Ilias opened up his mouth and wonderfully shoveled food in. Yep, if you properly eat your meals, you will also recover quickly.
Once we’d finished eating and our stomachs had settled down, I fed the last of the cold medicine to Ilias to help with his fever. Ilias said that he would help with the dishes, but I pulled him down and told him that sick people should just rest quietly. He obediently sat again on the sofa and began fiddling with the stones that he’d brought in and had been tinkering with since this morning.
“What are those, anyway?”
I sat next to Ilias and peered into his hands. The stones that had earlier been moving with who-knows-what incomprehensible physics were now only a bunch of rocks after their light had been extinguished.
“It’s a magical communication device. Though there’s only a little bit of spellpower contained inside, there is also a magical seal carved in by a magical engineer. It’s not a particularly rare thing, or so I thought.”
“… Sorry, I still don’t get it. So if you carry those around, you’d be able to make phone calls to other people who have that thing wherever? I guess I might be able to buy that, but to say it’s magic is kinda…”
“… Magic is magic, though? It’s simply the ability to channel and use spellpower, that’s all.”
“No, I get it, I get the theory behind it and all, but…you know that magic is just fantasy, right?”
“… Just now when you were cooking, weren’t you using a magic stone of some kind in order to do so?”
“Uh, the thing I used to cook is called a stove; you might have heard of it.”
“Sto-ve…? No, I can’t say that I have. Is a stove this country’s main type of magic stone?”
“Oookay, you know what, let’s stop talking about magic. How about you tell me just which country you’re from instead.”
It’s an absolute waste of time to listen to a chuuni passionately rambling about magic. 3 All I wanted to do was bring this guy back to reality a little bit, so I completely don’t understand why this guy instead got totally serious and flew off with his fantasies just now. After I’d switched topics by asking a different question, Ilias straightened his posture.
“The place in which I was born and raised is the Kingdom of Selentia. After becoming a knight of the Kingdom I had been assigned my post at Fort Gretia, where I had been living for the past five years.”
“Ha… Haha… Okay, Mister Knight of the Kingdom, can you explain to me just how you had gone from living in that fort to somehow ending up on my doorstep?”
“Yesterday I had been assigned a mission to escort a magical engineer. They had been testing a newly-developed long-distance teleportation core when a spellpower overflow had occurred. I’d quickly hurried over toward where the magical engineer had been caught in the blast, and… the next thing I knew, I was here.”
“… … I—I see.”
“Usually, space transfer using a teleportation core doesn’t cause any strain on the user. I believe it was a combination of the long-distance factor as well as the overflowing spellpower that had caused this kind of impact on my physical state.”
“…And, what’s the reason for why you can’t make a call with that device?”
“That, I do not know. I have never heard of a time when it was unable to identify its current coordinates. Even if I’d left my country, it should still have been able to identify where I was… Unless I had done something like crossing over to another world, that kind of thing…”
Ilias began seriously worrying while muttering this and that with the air of an expert. Even though I really felt like I wanted to burst out laughing while saying this device has to be a joke, for some reason I couldn’t come up with a denial in my head. I know that under his clothes this guy’s body was made of flesh and blood, but his hands at least were certainly made of octopus or something.4 The way you’re supposed to use this ‘magical device’ is way too mysterious. Was this thing actually even made using modern science? Okay, assuming it was, then how come Ilias brought this strange device with him, and why did it end up here at my place? No one gains anything from it.
Don’t tell me, this guy… did he actually cross over from another world? What are you even supposed to say in that kind of situation? “Since you were able to cross over to my place, can’t you also go and make a reverse trip back”, or something? No, wait, what the heck am I thinking about here! Just because I heard some fantasy story, I also have to get caught up in this made-up world?!
Wake up! I told myself while banging my head on the wall, until I realized that Ilias had been trying to get my attention. I looked over at him, and…as I feared, he was looking back at me with an absolutely serious expression.
“Is there perhaps a guild or a battlefield somewhere in the vicinity?”
“No way there’ll be any.”
“Is that so…Then even if it’s not in the vicinity, that’s fine. The only thing I’m able to do is fight, and since I’d been on a mission, I hadn’t brought any gold. For the sake of gathering information I shall have to do work as a mercenary. In this way I’ll no longer have to trouble you any further.”
“Wait wait wait, you—are you seriously saying that?!”
“Yeah. As I’m currently unable to return, I’ll just have to temporarily make do.”
“Okay, well, in this country we don’t do battles. This is a country absolutely overflowing with peace, alright, so if you go out there waving that sword around then you’ll just be seen as some certifiably dangerous madman and hauled away as fast as possible.”
“… You… don’t do battle…?”
“And furthermore, trying to get work without credentials just isn’t possible. You, did you bring that kind of thing with you?”
“If that’s the case, then certainly my proof as a Knight of the Kingdom lies in the sword granted to me by the King—”
“I already told you, if you take that sword out you’re gonna get caught!”
When I interrupted Ilias’s words with my own, he looked over at me with his eyebrows turning up worriedly in a “ハ” shape. ‘No way, then in that case, what shall I do…’ while teary-eyed, is what it looked like. You, have you finally realized what kind of situation you put yourself in? It’s only while thinking about how much difficulty Ilias would be going through if he were telling the truth that I was able to be this understanding.
“Listen up. Here in Japan, there are no such things as kingdoms, knights, and magic. The things that you say are magic actually all come from the power of science, because things like magic don’t exist here.”
When I put it in such harsh words, Ilias’s pitiful face turned stricken. I felt a passing regret upon seeing him begin to cry, his tearful hiccups sounding just like those of a crying dog. But, in the end, it had to be done. Even if I had tried to hide the truth, eventually it would have come to light.
“That’s… that’s why, if you’re fine with it, then… until you manage to find a way back home, just stay here, okay.”
Before I could stop myself, I impulsively let out those words. Aaahhh now I’ve done it! Just when I thought it was too late, Ilias’s utterly depressed expression faintly brightened up a bit. In the room’s overflowing light, I somehow saw the illusion of doggy ears raising up and a tail excitedly wagging back and forth.
“Is that really alright…?!”
“Uh… y-yeah… real men never take back their words, so…”
“You… what a truly generous person you are…!”
“But since you’re not able to pay, I’ll be leaving all of the house chores to you!” 5
“Leave it to me, housework is my specialty. I give you my thanks, Sakurai Azusa!”
And thus, that was how the strange cohabitation between me, an ordinary salaryman, and Ilias, the knight who came from another world, began.
- Azusa specifically mentions Hakuba, which is apparently ‘Japan’s premier alpine resort destination’ – in other words, a winter mountain resort (x)
A summary site, or ‘matome’ site, is a website that collects and edits information according to a theme. Also called a curation site (thanks JP Wikipedia and google translate!) (x)
Also seen in the title of this chapter, Azusa refers to Ilias’s ‘chuunibyou’ or ‘Eighth-Grade Syndrome’ acting up. Chuunibyou is a term used to describe the attention-seeking/delusional behavior that some young teens/middle schoolers exhibit. For example, saying that you have a special ability, or a tragic and dark past, or anything else that makes you ‘unique’ and ‘different from others’. It’s jokingly considered a disease, as referenced by Azusa when he says that Ilias’s chuunibyou was aggravated/flaring up (x)
Azusa is watching Ilias fidget with the device, and apparently whatever he’s doing with his hands is going so fast and weird that you can only think, “Are your hands secretly an octopus or something?” For an example of such hands, check out this rhythm game video… (x)
I thought it would be really funny to say, “If you can’t pay with money, pay me with your body (and do all the chores)!”, but unfortunately I controlled myself. But in other news, househusband getto daze! (x)
Special thanks to Agent Psyx for proofreading! She makes sure you guys are getting the best! (cheer)