Silver-haired Maiden, Going to the Red God’s Night Festival. Five.
To close off the festival, was a large-scale 『firework show』 made with fire magic. Fitting of 『Ahmar’s』 festival, the colours were limited to only red, but the large ring of fire flowers colouring the night sky was a spectacle that couldn’t be seen elsewhere.
The enormous amount of people, everyone, were all looking up at the sky.
Suddenly, in the middle of that, Latina turned around, feeling like someone called her.
Her friends, notice her actions and tilt their heads, in puzzlement.
“What’s wrong Latina?”
“Nnh….Just now… someone….”
In front of where she had turned, was the people working for the Mayor’s office, who had provided them this location. Latina found her childhood friend, Anthony, amongst them and cocked her head slightly.
By the side of her friend, were several men dressed in guard uniforms. Although, they looked quite a bit feebler than the regulars who normally visited the 『Ocelot』.
Unlike Latina who was looking confused, Silvia looked visibly displeased.
Her father was the Vice-general of the guards. Although she was a commoner, she was 『a princess born from a good standing』, and Silvia’s actual house, was a house strict and formal in its own way.
For Silvia who left for the 『Outside world』 known as 『Green God(Akdar’s)』 shrine, her life at her actual house was “Honestly speaking, suffocating”.
Thus, those belonging to the troops, for her, were symbols of such a house, people who worked for her 『Father』.
One of the guards who Anthony had been talking to, was looking over here.
Shudders, then stops moving.
It seemed like that guard was shocked that the girls were looking at him. The guards next to him also looked surprise, but it seemed their surprise had a slightly different meaning. They gave off an atmosphere as if they couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
Thinking that maybe there was something strange behind her, Latina looked behind her to check, and after seeing the backs of the crowds looking up at the night sky, and not finding any reason to be shocked, she once again, Koten. Tilted her head.
“Huh, isn’t that Rudi?”
Hearing Chloe. Latina looked back once again, and finally noticed that the guard who had been talking to Anthony was their childhood friend.
“You’re right. What? He’s already come out of the reserve corps?”
Just like Silvia had muttered, before troops became a proper part of Kroix’s military, they had to receive the training and education as a trainee.
Once they were acknowledged there, they would finally be allowed to wear the military’s uniform and perform their duty. Although there were ranks in the military as well, as a local organization in the city, it wasn’t as complicated as a large-scale army.
Their childhood friend, still wearing an unreliable appearance, was still too young to be called a young adult, and gave off a feeling like he was 『being worn』 by the uniform. His thin frame was probably due to the process of maturity. Nevertheless, you could tell that he had properly trained his body due to his well-proportioned body.
Even his body, which used to be bigger than his friends when he was younger, became less of a feature as his surroundings grew up. If one had to say, it was Anthony, the one standing next to him, who had completely overtaken him in terms of height.
Latina headed towards the side of the childhood friend she hasn’t seen in so long. Those footsteps were the same as when she was younger, and could be described with 『Trot, trot』. Since she was naturally an extremely curious person, she headed towards him without hesitation, with just a bit of interest.
“Rudi, long time no see. You look well.”
Latina smiles at him, and despite having the traces of his childhood, the young man, who looked close to becoming a young adult, made a slightly complicated expression.
“….Can you stop with the 『Rudi』 already?”
Without even a greeting, her childhood friend squeezed out a voice lower than the one she had in her memories, and said that one sentence.
Latina tilts her head, Koten, in a puzzling manner.
“Rudi…. Isn’t Rudi?”
“…To be called in such a childish way at this age, is a little….”
For some reason when Latina says those unfamiliar words, he, who should’ve wanted to be called that, stopped moving once again.
“Nhh…..? Sounds, weird.”
Frowning just a little as she muttered that, Latina says then looks back to normal.
“Rudi, can’t be just, Rudi?”
“….Just do whatever you want.”
Unable to look directly at Latina’s face, who was looking up at him from a close distance, Rudolf turns around and said from over his shoulders. His friends had been looking on with lukewarm eyes for a while now.
“Was it only his body that got bigger? Well, it can’t be helped, it’s Rudi after all.”
“Not even the military’s training could cure him of loser disease, huh. Oh well, it is Rudi, I mean.”
“Chloe, and Silvia too. You guys are being too harsh… for having such high expectations of him. It is him, Rudolf, you know.”
“That’s true, we are so harsh~”
“OI! I CAN HEAR YOU! ACTUALLY, YOU GUYS AREN’T HOLDING BACK AT ALL, ARE YOU!?”
It wasn’t like he was about to cry or anything, but looking at Rudolf talking back to them like this, he didn’t seem to have matured very much.
It was Anthony who had went to the Military troops.
He knew that if, on the off chance that the 『Silver Fairy Princess』 got assaulted by ruffians or got called out to by some pervert ogling her with a lewd look, it would turn into quite a big deal.
— He understood that, that person, would most likely never be able to get out of the city alive.
Latina was somehow, so much more dangerous than that person would think.
Even though she was a magician, and it’s true that she possesses 『offensive magic』, it’s possible that she wouldn’t be able to speak from fear and shock. If that happens then, the resistance that a thin, delicate young girl could do, was limited.
Despite that, his childhood friends were probably planning to wander around aimlessly on a night like this, where there were many more strangers loitering around than usual.
He thought that he had to do something as well, for the sake of peace and tranquility in Kroix.
Which is why he went over to the Militarymen’s office in order to discuss this, but he got a greater shock than he had thought, as he was able to receive several Military newbies who just graduated from the Reserve corps.
— It was the result of the coinciding opinions between the 『(General)Top』 who was worried for the safety of the 『Fairy Princess』 even more than Anthony, and his 『Direct Subordinate (Vice general) 』 who was anxious for his own daughter, as she didn’t like coming home lately.
Although this was clearly an abuse of power, there was no one currently here who could criticize that decision.
It was from the orders of those above to include Rudolf as a part of this.
There was no one in the upper ranks of the Military who didn’t know 『who』 his sweetheart was.
Which is exactly why, in these four years after he had entered the reserve corps, he was fully “loved” i.e. put into hard training.
Perhaps it was due to the influence of her 『guardian』 or master, but the 『Fairy Princess』, who the regulars couldn’t stop caring for, if she had to say, was more familiar with the adventurers. For the regulars who were a part of the Military, it was nothing more than disappointing.
And then, the one who entered their troops, was the young man who was the childhood friend of the 『Fairy Princess』.
Thinking that, she would visit the Militarymen’s office frequently to see the young man. That, she would cutely smile, and greet her superiors, i.e. them. That, she would sometimes come to give out lunch etc. to them, and say “Please eat up everybody.”
If such days would come, how nice would it be~ — Was what the bunch of uncles desired.
Even though they repeatedly intentionally put him in a disadvantage, those higher up had their own reasons to put him into heavy training, with love. If he couldn’t even, at the very least, reach the point where he could prevent himself from being instantly killed by 『(Her guardian)Dale』, then there’s no point pursuing this at all.
Feeling from a guardian’s point of view, they were thinking that anything that annoyed them, well, it would be fine if they vented on the young man by “loving” him even more, with hard training. (TL: 保護者的視点で感じる、苛つくものは、まあ、より一層少年を可愛がる(し ご く)方向で発散すれば良いと思われていた。)
No matter what, it felt like hell for Rudolf, the person himself, but the path that he had chosen was a thorny one from the beginning.
“Rudi, you’ve become a guard now, right? Since when?”
“….I just started. Since there weren’t enough people on duty for tonight’s night festival, even newbies like us were round up.”
“Even the people behind you, are newcomers? I haven’t seen them at the store before.”
“Oce…. Most of the guards who are regulars at 『that store』, are those from higher up after all.”
“Fuun. Nice to meet you, I’m Latina from the 『Ocelot』 in the Southern District. I’ve been friends with Rudi since we were young, nano.”
Completely ignoring the effort that Rudolf made to purposefully hide the shops name, 『Ocelot』, Latina smiles at the similarly aged young men standing next to him. Although there were some small differences in age between them, the other two young men who had been promoted to official guards at the same time, still had a dumbfounded look upon seeing Latina.
Rudolf too, honestly speaking, was extremely shocked.
He had known that she, who he had thought as his sweetheart since he was younger, was a 『cute』 young girl, but in the short time that they had been separated, she might have become even more beautiful than he had remembered. – Was the ridiculous thought he had.
Looking at it from a slightly different perspective, the Reserve corps’ training was terrible. He had felt that his own training was several times harsher than the other trainees, but since he couldn’t outright say that it was completely unreasonable training, he found it difficult to say anything.
Nevertheless, Latina did indeed grow up to be even more beautiful than what he had imagined.
His comrades too, became completely speechless seeing Latina. In the men’s society known as the Military, they would often talk about how pretty the poster girl of some bar is, or how good a woman they are. However, Latina had outright surpassed such expectations.
And yet, her every movement, her pleasantly changing expression, was just as lovely as they had been when she was younger.
Looking at her directly was also far too bright for him.
Despite that, the person herself, didn’t seem to notice that as always.
Next to Latina, who gave a cheer as she looked up at the final 『firework』 covering up the entire night sky, he, who was stealing a look at her, had a stiff expression due to his nervousness, which was totally reasonable.