Author’s Note: This is the everyday life story of Mishiranu Kishi wo Hiroimashite “Picked up a Strange Knight”, set in another world.
For he is none other than my fated partner
I, Ilias Garland, have spent half a year in another world whilst living in a land called ‘Nippon’.
Nippon is a land of great peace, or so I had been told. It was inconceivable for there to be such things as battlefields or guilds, and in this completely conflictless world, it was considered an absolutely scandalous action to venture out whilst sporting a sword or any other weapon.
That said, from early childhood, I had been raised to take on a position as a Knight of the Kingdom of Selentia and have always carried a sword. Later, I took up the mantle of living as a knight. Even during times of relative peace, there may still be a situation where the use of a sword could resolve a matter. I, for whom this was the everyday circumstance, could not imagine being told that I should not to carry a sword. If by chance I were attacked, then what was I to fight with? To the residents of this world, I was an utterly suspicious character. Would this not be begging to be killed? I could not help harboring such doubts, at first.
From there, what I first discovered was that this world had no manastones; instead, the people here substituted the use of manastones with other objects, and enjoyed a standard of living far greater than what could be found in my homeland. When I first witnessed this world where it was not necessary to fight, I suffered from immeasurable culture shock. What I had been told were not lies or exaggerations–they were all truth.
Smooth black hair which fell without tangling, and black eyes. Though the height seemed about average, overall there was a delicate appearance… Though these were a people who left only fleeting impressions, their land of Nippon, in which one could walk about late at night without being armed, was like something out of a dream.
I had been guarding a long-distance teleportation trial when, before my very eyes, a magical surge incident had occurred. I had yanked the arm of the technician who had nearly become swallowed up by it, but had landed myself within the area in the process. The teleportation sequence had started before I could leave, and by the time I realized I had been caught in the surge, it was already too late. Everything in front of my eyes was dyed white; at the same time, my body grew sluggish and I began to feel chills.
Unable to stand, I fell over on the spot–and that was the moment when the surge rose and teleported me away. I was unable to even confirm where I had landed, and my consciousness grew hazy… moreover, I felt cold. I had never before suffered from a fever, yet it was that such malady which prevented my body from moving as I willed it. Just as I prepared myself to die like this, a voice called out: You alright? When I looked over, what I saw was a man with a severely troubled expression peering over at me.
That was the first meeting between Azusa and I.
This man named Azusa seemed to have a personality where he couldn’t leave things alone, and after he had picked me up despite my sudden appearance out of nowhere, he easily sent me, an unfamiliar and armed person, into his home. The next I opened my eyes I was laying atop a bed, and there beside me Azusa stood.
I was unable to find a way to return, and in this world I was unable to even provide proof of my identity. Just as I was at a loss as to how I was going to live in this world, Azusa yet again saved me. He proposed that we live together in his home. He provided me with shelter, food, and clothing, and taught me the common knowledge and etiquette of this world. And when I had by chance come across some tableware which, though from Nippon, had a design similar to what I was familiar with, Azusa had purchased it for me in hopes of providing me with some small comfort of home. All in order to support a man who couldn’t do anything, and moreover when he didn’t have money to spare… yet his face didn’t show any inkling of reluctance, and he had sincerely put his heart into making me feel welcome. My fond thoughts of him became feelings of wanting to protect and cherish, and without consciously knowing it I began chasing after him with my gaze.
I began to learn the language of Nippon so that, even if only a bit, I could be less of a burden to him, and I also took responsibility for the housework as a way to help him. As Azusa had somehow mysteriously mastered speaking in my language, I had no difficulty in communicating with him and was glad to have this small mercy. That I was able to quickly learn the language of Nippon was thanks to Azusa.
It had been three months after I had been teleported into Nippon that I first received a message from Selentia’s Magical Communications Bureau. The Magical Communications Bureau, which had the nickname ‘Magicom Bureau’, was comprised of the most knowledgeable experts of the Kingdom… I had no idea why such people would have any business with me, a common knight. Most likely they wished to confirm my survival and update the upper limit of the teleportation’s possible distance. The bureau staff were pleased that I, their best test subject, yet lived, and after telling me that in half a year I would be able to return, they one-sidedly hung up. Though half of me was relieved to have finally found a way to return, when I thought that my days of living together with Azusa would soon come to an end, I began to feel sorrow. By that time I had already begun falling in love with Azusa, so the other half of me felt as if it were sinking.
Eventually, I must let him go– that was why I couldn’t confess to him my feelings. Yet even if one says that, if kept in an environment where by just extending a hand one can touch the person one loves, there will be limits to how much can be endured.
I will never forget the day in which, after drinking sake, I had gained the courage to touch Azusa for the very first time. Overwhelmed to the point of losing himself, Azusa had shivered beneath my caresses, submitting himself to my touch. However, his long and narrow eyes were damp and carried a questionable light within them, and he turned his powerful gaze upon me. Though he might have been the one being taken, the attitude he showed me said that our positions were, in fact, equal – and that was when I realized that I had completely fallen for him. Moreover, I must say that I deserved some praise for the mental strength it took for me to hold back at that time, for the sex appeal he had unleashed had raised goosebumps all over my body, and I would otherwise have surely run wild and ravaged him.
Though we began a sexual relationship, we hadn’t established any mutual feelings for each other. Azusa, perhaps, may have thought that we were just two good friends blowing off steam with each other. But as for myself, I felt his place within me growing ever larger and ever greater, and every time I touched him, the words ‘I love you’ sprang to my mouth, waiting to be unleashed. As I endured this urge, Azusa’s reaction to my touch changed; he became more spoiled and needy for me, making me unbearably happy. I overconfidently believed that even if we never spoke of them aloud, our feelings for each other were clearly mutual.
The climate changed to the scorching weather known as ‘natsu’, and for the first time in my life, I was taken on a vacation trip. In a facility known as a ‘ryokan’, we watched the ‘hanabi’, fire-lights which burst and spread through the sky. As the hanabi ended, I knew that words alone, in fact, weren’t enough; our understanding of each other’s thoughts and feelings weren’t matching up. I wished to convey to Azusa what I really and truly wanted, but when Azusa had told me, “For my sake, please, don’t say it,” I closed my mouth. Even in such a state, he urged me into having sex with him, and I was unable to resist my instincts… much less when I had just been on the verge of inserting inside him, and he pleaded for me to put it in. Though my body felt pleasure, my heart felt as if tortured… this was the first time I had ever engaged in such a difficult and painful act.
I had intended to return without telling him my feelings. The night before the teleportation, our bodies came together for the final time. The words I had been holding back finally refused to be suppressed – I couldn’t stop myself from saying, just once, “I love you.” Tears flowed from my eyes as I told him my feelings, and Azusa responded with a heartbroken smile. In the end, as I had thought, he wouldn’t tell me his feelings… but even so, I wanted to dedicate all of myself to him.
On the fated day, he had been surprised when I had pledged my fidelity as a knight to him, and just as the teleportation sequence began to transport me away, he told me – “Take me with you.” “I love you, too,” he said. Just how cruel, how much more wretched could fate be? Why, why did he and I have to be born in different worlds… My vision faded as a white light enveloped all, and the Azusa who had been with me every day now disappeared. Thus, the curtain closed on my trip to another world.
“There is no guarantee that this will be safe. This is, of course, also in regards to the person of the other world that you say you would like to bring back with you.”
They didn’t care at all for the safety of their specimen, and only wished to see a new test result, didn’t they… Though I ignored the words of the magical engineer as he customarily explained the safety procedure, I had long ago drummed the vital points into my head.
Sustained by the words Azusa had said at the very end–those words of ‘Bring me with you’– I had thrown myself into my work, tirelessly striving over this past year. My rank had risen from common knight to Knight Captain, and because I was considered a survivor of another world, I was made to meet with the Magical Bureau countless times, gradually gaining their confidence.
The result of this was, to intentionally choose to travel to a specifically-selected other world. Moreover, with the assurance that if I were in the designated area at the correct time, I would be able to return. The purpose of this return trip was, conforming with both my hopes and the test matter of the Magical Bureau, to bring a person from the other world back with me. In truth, I’d thought that it would take more time to make this happen, but the Magical Bureau’s drive for research was truly terrific.
Since there was no way to guarantee the safety of one’s life through this experiment, there wasn’t anyone willing to become its test subject; yet, miraculously, there was myself, who was engulfed in my need to return immediately to the voice I heard in my dreams – Azusa’s voice, telling me to bring him with me. I traveled to other worlds, and brought back people from those worlds. I wondered whether the Kingdom had nothing to say over this result, but then I learned that the Magical Bureau was keeping this time’s teleportation under wraps. The worst-case scenario would be that the Magical Bureau’s relationships with the other governmental bureaus would worsen, and they would be seen as self-interested in keeping their technology to themselves.
“The preparations are complete. Very well then; let’s begin the teleportation.”
Though I had heard this line many times before, this time, my mood soared. I’ll be able to meet Azusa again. Just that thought made me want to shout with joy. Finally, I reached into the pocket of my pants one last time to confirm that what I needed was there, and closed my eyes while suppressing the impatience in my heart.
When I opened my eyes, a nostalgic and familiar sight was laid out before me.
Though a year had passed since I last visited it, nothing had changed in Azusa’s room. The only thing of note was that the owner of the room was sleeping on the sofa with his suit on. The convenience store bento which he had likely purchased for dinner had been left as it was on the table, and his coat and suit jacket had been thrown carelessly over the back of the sofa. I went down on a knee to peer closer at Azusa, and found that his face was pale with terrible bags beneath his eyes, and his cheeks had become more hollow. The passage of time was different between the Kingdom of Selentia and Nippon. Over here, only half a year should have passed, so what in the world had happened to him… The reason why his face had become like this was because of me, wasn’t it… When that thought occurred to me, I was unable to make myself stop looking at him.
“Azusa, you’ll catch a cold in a place like this.”
I shook his body as gently as I could. He shrugged it off and turned over as if to say that he didn’t want to, but it would worry me if he didn’t wake, so I shook him once again. His eyelids languidly lifted.
Tenderness overflowed from my heart as I watched Azusa rub his eyes, then do a double take as he looked at me. In contrast to my reaction, Azusa’s face had an expression as if he couldn’t believe his very eyes, and he didn’t move at all. I found it indescribably cute how he had reacted exactly as I’d expected, but the unhealthiness of his appearance made me feel pained, as well. I knew this wasn’t something I could fix just by my touch; yet, wanting to bring some relief to Azusa’s heart, I touched my hand to Azusa’s small cheek.
“You’ve lost so much weight… The bags beneath your eyes are terrible. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting for such a long time…”
He called out my name, and when I responded, he seemed to become even more confused. In his perspective, a man who had disappeared for half a year had now reappeared late at night in his room, without any sign or warning, so it was natural for him to be confused. There were many things I wanted to explain to him, but there wasn’t enough time for dallying. While I could explain everything to him after we had returned, what I first needed to do was obtain his consent.
“Azusa, I just have one thing I wanted to ask. The words you spoke during the teleportation, do you still mean them, even now?”
“The words I spoke…?”
“ ‘Take me with you’, was what you told to me.”
Even now, I still remembered clearly how he had frantically shouted and run after me, his body shaky and unsteady because of how forcefully we had embraced the night before. The words he’d said had become the pillars of my motivation, but for him, perhaps he had gotten carried away from seeing the teleportation and had only spoken those words on the spur of the moment. That was why, it was vital to ascertain his true feelings. One could say that coming to meet him like this, was just for my own selfish purposes. I was well aware that Azusa was entirely in his right to refuse, but I pleaded inside – don’t say no. Please, forgive me for wanting to take you away from the world in which you had been born and raised. As I waited for his response, I gazed at him while feeling as if in prayer.
Even now, it’s still the same, he responded, while shyly diverting his gaze. His response made me so happy that my face slackened, but a moment later, I tightened my expression. In the pocket that I had checked before teleporting, the feeling of the solid object nestled inside was still the same. Azusa had told me that in Nippon, it was customary to place a ring on the ring finger as a symbol for one’s marriage. Now, I extracted a ring from my pocket, and slowly placed it upon the ring finger of he who had taught me this. I had never thought the day would come where I would place this ring upon his finger; I’d had it made only to serve as something to remember him by, but… This ring was made to be able to serve its purpose as it dully shone on Azusa’s ring finger.
“The arrangements took a while, but I finally came back. Azusa, let’s get married.”
Stunned, Azusa kept looking back and forth between this ring and my face, and then, a line of tears flowed from Azusa’s eyes. Unable to get any words out, he nodded over and over again while tears kept falling from his eyes in small splashing droplets. My once-in-a-lifetime proposal had been successful; I let out the breath which I had unconsciously held, and began to wipe the tears from Azusa’s eyes. The loveliness of his appearance as he was so happy to accept that he cried, was far too unfair.
“I had decided that I absolutely wanted to propose the way that it is done in your world. That I let you feel such loneliness during this half a year, I apologize.”
“For—for real…! You’re… damn late…!”
“It was my wrong. From here on, I’ll never let you experience such a feeling again. Though even if you were to say no, I don’t think I would be capable of letting you go.”
The way he responded as usual was so nostalgic that it made my face grow soft. Those were times where whenever he reflexively rebutted me with a snappy phrase, my response was to laugh happily. As the determined time arrived, a magical formation once again formed beneath our feet. Surprised by the rising wind, Azusa looked up at me anxiously.
“It’s time. Azusa, let’s make the leap.”
“Thi—this, what am I supposed to be doing…?!”
“It’s alright, just hold on to me.”
Azusa was flustered as I stood. I brought my face closer to his to better control my movements as I placed my arms behind his knees and back, and lifted him up. After Azusa wrapped his arms around my neck, we were ready.
“Thank you, Azusa. I will absolutely make you happy.”
“What’re you saying—I’ll be the one who’s going to make you happy, Ilias.”
To him, who had decided to throw away his life in Japan and choose to a life with me in Selentia, I had wanted to give him my heartfelt thanks. But instead, he returned my words to me, making me burst out with a laugh. This Azusa-like response was truly so much better. In response, Azusa pouted sullenly as if to say ‘Excuse you, what’re you laughing at!’, but in the next moment, he shyly looked up at me. As I thought – for me, there could be no one else but him.
For this person, who had abandoned everything to be with me, I strongly wished to bring him happiness.