Arc 4 The Beloved, Chapter 72 One Who Gazed Beyond the Gripped Hilt
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Most of the people at the banquet were from the Black Century, and the Light Infantry of the First Battalion could also be seen.
The troops who came to the front this time were basically exempted from the role of sentry and were given a rest.
Bagil looked at her, smiled at Dagra and said something, and Dagra replied back to Bagil with a disgruntled and exasperated look on his face.
Krische looked at them from a distance and sipped the sake she had received from Mia.
The wine was modest.
The freshly squeezed fruit juice was strong, and the content was closer to juice.
Thinking that she could drink that one normally, she watched the banquet as she drank it.
Like a borrowed cat, Krische sat on Kalua's lap, motionless and silent.
She didn't know what to say.
She didn't talk to people unless she has some business with them.
It was all the more so if they seemed to be having fun.
She remained silent, watching the soldiers with her purple eyes, sipping at her drink, a sake that was identical to squeezed fruit juice.
“Hey, there's no plate (food) in front of Corps Commander.”
One of the men watching the scene shouted out and told one of the young men to move.
It was the young light infantryman who Krische had been teaching sword lessons to the other day.
He was lost in thought as he hurriedly took a plate from the selection of side dishes for the sake and placed it in front of Krische.
“C-Corps Commander, please enjoy.”
There's not much there.
Grilled horse meat and broiled dried meat.
And just some fruit.
But Cliché bowed politely and looked up at the young man.
Krische's face blushed faintly due to alcohol.
The young man looked at her, petrified—-and was hit on the forehead by Kalua.
“You sure have no fear to look at the princess's visage like that.
Try to look stealthier.”
The young man made an inexplicable salute and hurried back to his seat.
Laughter erupted from the surroundings, only Krische, who was in the center of it all, tilted her head curiously.
She was going to sleep before, so she endured it, but it was painful to wake up with a slight hunger she felt.
Noticing her favorite nirkana fruit on the plate, she picked it up and nibbled at it.
Small fruit with a sugary taste.
It was the one she had eaten with Bery in Mirskronia.
They were the size of a fingertip, so they did not satisfy her hunger, but they were just right for her to nibble on.
“Is it good?”
Krische nodded her head.
It was not as good as the pie she had just eaten.
It was just sweetness and fruit.
But she didn't feel the same emptiness that she had felt earlier.
“Hmm, I'm not good with it because it's too sweet.”
When Krische heard those words, she picked up the apples on the plate and cut them into small pieces with a nearby knife.
Then he cut one and put it in Kalua's mouth.
Kalua took it with her mouth without hesitation and laughed.
“C-Corps Commander cut the apple for her…”
“This is the advantage of being a personal attendant.
“That's good to hear.”
Krische smiled, not seeming particularly bothered.
“C-can I have some?”
A courageous man raised his voice and approached.
He looked more like a rock or something than a man.
“…? Sure, here.”
However, Krische responded to his request as if it were a matter of course and gave him a cut piece.
“Thank you very much!!”
As expected, unlike Kalua, he didn't have the courage to accept it with his mouth.
The man accepted the cut apple with both hands as if it was a treasure.
He then held it up to the soldiers around him as if he was showing off his spoils of war.
The men looked at each other in surprise, then stood up and approached Cliche.
—-'Please give me some', 'me too'.
Krische was a little surprised, but smiled and replied obediently, 'Okay, just give me a minute, please.'
Then she peeled the fruits.
She recalled when she peeled fruits for the children in the village.
Just like at that time, a heap of fruit was brought in front of Krische, and Krische smoothly cut it into pieces with a knife.
There were many kinds of fruit, but there was no hesitation in her movement.
Her hands movement were safe without any danger and vivid, and the men were impressed by her familiarity.
Krische's mouth naturally broke into a smile.
Most of the methods for peeling the various fruits here were taught by Berry.
For this it's like this, if you peel it like this, you can peel it well—-and so on, one by one she taught her.
In the village, there was not such a wide variety of fruits, and in the city, there were many fruits that she had never seen before.
So Bery taught her how to peel most of them, and sometimes they worked together to figure out how to peel them.
That's how she memorized it.
She carefully peeled it while remembering that time.
The fruit was like a book, and when she touched it, she could see a scene floating in her mind.
As if overlaying such a scene, she cut into the jewel-like fruit.
Kahlua watched the scene with a bit of surprise, and occasionally brought a piece of nirkana, which seemed to be her favorite, to her mouth.
Each time, Krische always said 'It's delicious', or 'Thank you very much,' and this was strangely amusing to her.
The purple color that peeked through the silver gap was quietly directed at the fruit.
Her face, somewhat softer than usual, is not severe, and she did not feel any displeasure or doubt about the fact that she was the one who was peeling the fruit.
The men were fascinated by the world's most beautiful peeler and received the cut fruits one by one.
When they thanked her, she smiled, and her gentle demeanor made her look like a different person from the one who cut through her enemies on the battlefield.
Along with her appearance, the atmosphere of the place becomes a little quieter.
Mia asked Kalua with her glance if she should stop it, Kalua hesitated a little but nodded that it would be all right.
Krische seemed to be rather enjoying herself, and Mia, thinking that if Krische was satisfied, then it was fine, she served her more drinks without saying a word.
And so, time passed for a while.
Even though the sake was similar to fruit juice, after the third glass, Krische's cheeks were obviously red.
The eyes began to glow as if they were wet, and a strange sensuality began to emanate from them.
Um, Mia, at this rate Krische will be drunk.
After this, make it juice.”
“Eh, ah, t-that's right…”
Mia, who had been unconsciously curious about what would happen to Krische when she got drunk, panicked at her words and stopped her work.
Her white skin turned red, and her absentminded look.
The soldiers looked somehow happy.
Krische, who didn't seem to notice it.
Kalua sighed and clapped her hands to dismiss the soldiers.
“Hey, hey, your eyes are getting nasty.
How long are you going to let your superiors peel the skin for you?”
“…Krische is fine with it though?”
“Everyone but Usa-chan is no good, geez.
Aren't too a little too defenseless.”
“Next is my turn though…”
“…Battalion Commander, Commander Dagra is beckoning you.”
The First Battalion Commander, who seems to have been quietly standing in line—-Bagil scratched his cheek, dropped his shoulder, and went back to Dagra.
Dagra was holding his temples in exasperation while scolding Bagil.
Kalua laughed at the situation and gently stroked Krische's head.
Krische let her do as she pleases while looking somewhat absent-minded.
Her smooth silky silver hair shimmered in the fire and moonlight.
Kahlua lets out an amazed voice as she picked it up with her fingers.
“Uwah, so silky…
it's amazing how beautiful Usa-chan even though you've been outside all this time.”
“…Is that so?”
“Mine is so dry.
So, I just slack off on maintenance.”
You have to take care of your hair properly.”
Mia looked admiringly at the light pink flower ornament that fastened on Krische's hair.
“The hair ornaments look great on you too…
I envy you for being that beautiful.”
Beautiful hair like Usa-chan doesn't suit Mia, so it's just right.”
Come to think of it, Krische left it on.”
She usually took it off before going to bed, and only realized when Mia said it and took it off.
Her silver hair flowed down smoothly as she took it off.
It was a hair ornament in the shape of a pale pink flower.
It's not that expensive.
But it was still a precious thing.
Bery had bought it from a merchant who happened to be at the fort and thought it would look good on Krische.
“…It's something Krische got from Bery.
She said it suited Krische.”
“Ah, that person…”
Krische placed it on her lap with care and stared at it with eyes that seemed to be filled with heat.
Her mouth faintly broke into a smile—-the girl's profile illuminated by the flames was infinitely beautiful and ephemeral.
“Usa-chan miss Berry?”
“Because Usa-chan made that kind of face.”
When Kalua asked, Krische's eyes shook as if she was a little lost, and she nodded.
Perhaps, Krische is lonely.”
Her head, a little paralyzed by alcohol, made her speak honestly.
Kalua tilted her head as Krische sipped the juice in her sake cup.
“Krische doesn't really understand things like being lonely or scared.
Krische doesn't really know if Krische is truly lonely or not.”
“A-aah…Usa-san is serious even about that kind of thing huh.”
Kalua smiled wryly and patted her head gently.
“There's no really or truly, Usa-chan, It's up to each person.”
“Is that so?”
Corps Commander is lonely, so by having a drink with everyone and make a lot of noise Usa-chan distracts herself.
…is what Mia said.”
“Is that so, Mia?”
“Huh? Ah, well, I think there's a point to that, but…”
“Well, I've never really felt lonely like that though.
Mia is also a scaredy cat and quick to get lonely, so she often suddenly hugs me in the middle of the night—-“
“I-I didn't do that! I was just half-asleep last time…”
“I was surprised, thinking that it was yobai (night crawl; sexual context).
Well, whatever it is, I don't think Usa-chan should think too much about it, just follow your heart as the wind blows, eat when you want to, sleep when you want to, and hug someone like Mia does when you miss human warmth.”
Mia glared at Kalua, but Kahlua laughed and didn't respond.
Krische answered while looking at them.
“…Then isn't the same as an animal.”
“I don't think humans are any different from animals, Corps Commander.
They're just a little clever, but they're no different than dogs or cats.
And happiness lies in those parts of an animal.”
Krische looked at Kalua a little surprised.
eat, sleep, cuddle.
Thinking carefully, Krische realized all the things she liked were animalistic desires.
The desires that she thought were shameful and improper.
However, Krische is most at ease while fulfilling it.
It seemed to be a word that was close to the truth.
Whenever she was pampered, she felt fulfilled.
“Even if you think about it in a difficult way, In the end that's just the surface.
In the end, I think that's where the root lies.
Is it different for Usa-chan?”
No, it might not be wrong.”
The Krrische who had drunk sake was more honest than usual.
What was it, onee-san wisdom? fufu, Usa-chan doesn't to thank me.”
Krische looks up at Kahlua with a troubled face, and Kahlua laughs and strokes Krische's head.
Krische's mouth broke into a small smile, her cheeks flushed, and she leaned back against her.
“Bery-san will be very happy if Usa-chan let her pamper you lots and lots after this battle is over.
And if you give me a lot of rewards for my outstanding performance, I will be very happy to live a comfortable laidback (slacker, idler; retirement life) life.
It will be a perfect happy end.”
The soldier around them raised their voices saying, 'That's sly, Kalua', And Kalua smirked saying 'If you's frustrated than do better than me'.
“Does Kalua want to live a laidback life?”
“It doesn't sound like much, but that's about it.
Spending every day doing what I love, well, it's not really such a big thing that it could be called a dream.”
“Krische thought Kalua was aiming for successful career or something.
And Kalua also seemed like having fun at the battlefield.”
“Hmm, I like wielding a sword.
It's fun to show off my ability, but…
Well, it's not like I'm looking for career advancement.
Wielding a sword gives me the thrill of life and death, how do I say it? well, I just purely like to fight with a sword…”
'That's closer to my dream', he continued with a laugh.
“What about Usa-chan? Do you like it? The sword.”
“Krische doesn't really like swords.”
It was a word that surprised everyone.
Krische remembered what she was thinking while eating the pie earlier, and lowered her eyes.
“Krische practices because it's necessary, and Krische does feel that it's fun to be efficient, but…
the sword itself isn't fun, unlike Kalua, in the end, Krische is just doing it because it's necessary…
If it's not necessary, Krische doesn't particularly want to”
So, I got beaten to a pulp by Usa-chan, who doesn't even like swords?”
Kalua was stunned.
“Because Kalua is bad (hetapi; closer to gaming term noob).”
The soldiers looked at each other.
Everyone here knew Kalua's abilities.
She was probably one of the strongest in this corp.
However, Krische uses only herself as comparison.
“Well, to Usa-chan, it might be so but…”
“But Kalua is one of the better ones among the bad (noob) ones.
Krische thinks Kalua can be a good match for Selene.”
I definitely want to have a spar.
Though I don't think there will be a chance to spar against the General.”
Krische pondered a moment and told her.
“Selene is also bad (noob), but she likes swinging swords, so she might be happy.
If Kalua wants a spar, Krische will try to ask her.”
“Woah! If you can then certainly.”
Drunk Kalua was unreserved.
On the contrary, it was more comfortable for Krische like that.
“My, I'm looking forward to it.
Fufu, I love you, Usa-chan.”
Krische was a little surprised when she was hugged from behind, but she didn't say anything.
Not minding the envious gazes around them, Kalua felt her delicate body and asked.
“What do you like, Usa-chan?”
I thought Usa-chan liked swords, so it's a little surprising.”
The questioned Krische turned her eyes to the sake cup and quietly spoke.
Also, cleaning and tending to the garden…
Krische, maybe like it.”
“…another homely hobby”
“And maybe…umm, a-a little bit laid back.”
'Krische might be similar to Kalua', she said with a shy smile.
“Hmm, so the serious Corps Commander-dono also thinks like that, huh?”
When she teased her, Krische nodded with a troubled look.
“K-Krische doesn't think she's all that good at it but…
After all, Krische prefer working in a mansion like that rather than doing this kind of work.”
Her tone was as if she was making excuses.
Kalua smiled wryly and stroked her head.
“Well, Usa-chan doesn't seem like the type to be interested in career advancement or anything like that.”
“Krische, if Krische can help Selene, then that's enough.
Ehehe……Selene, told Krische that one day, she'll make it all right even if Krische spend all her time cooking in the mansion.
That's why Krische is…”
Krische looked on lovingly as she put her hands in front of her chest as if holding something.
“Everyone has to work hard together to make our dream come true together.”
…Cleaning the mansion, taking care of the garden, cooking with Bery, eating dinner, having tea…
and living like that every day forever.
She needs to work hard for that.
She promised herself so.
“If there is peace, it will come true…
Then everyone will be happy.”
The hustle and bustle were far away, and the area was quiet.
Just what kind of words will come out of the girl who has cut her enemies apart, terrified them, and killed more than anyone else?
The words were quite unexpected for those who had that in their head.
Not status, honor, or just plain and simple glory.
Nor was it an evil desire that would make people freeze in terror.
What the girl wanted was just a modest everyday life.
“..I see, then we have to work hard, huh.”
“Yes, Krische has to do her best.
Kalua stroked Krische's hair.
The silver hair is smooth and shows the beauty of the girl as it is.
“Speaking of which, Usa-chan did get angry at the food we made during training, right? And Usa-chan is also good at peeling skin…
Do you like cleaning and cooking that much?”
“Krische like it, very much.”
It was a true smile.
Like a flower blooming in the moonlight, quietly spreading its petals.
She touched the hair ornament on her lap.
“…Ehehe, Berry was very good, and Krische always cooks with Bery.
Bery is good at whatever she does, so Krishce, want to catch up quickly—-“
Krische happily talked about what happened at the estate.
There is nothing glamorous or interesting about daily life.
But she spun her words happily as if she was a child.
The commotion that had existed earlier had completely disappeared from the place, and the place was filled with various everyday mundane things spoken by the girl.
Some looked at her with pity, others with kindness.
There were some who had parents, some who had siblings, some who had wives, and some who had children.
Those who were there also think about various things while listening to the story of the young girl.
They recalled the ordinary life they had before they went to the battlefield.
Aspiring for success in life or dreaming about swords——they have their own reasons.
Compared to them, the girl's dream had not a hint of greed, something that can be easily reached.
But from this place, it was one of the farthest dreams to reach for than any other.
The memories of a girl who spoke like a child while her hands were stained with blood more than anyone else.
A story about cooking.
A trivial incident while cleaning.
A story about a cat that wandered into the garden.
No coherence, clumsy and talkative.
Krische's voice was different from her usual voice, and even so, everyone listened to her without getting tired of it.
And so the night goes on.
The party ended when Krische's chatter begins to repeat itself due to drunkenness and drowsiness.
Kalua and Mia carried the girl back to the tent.
“How do I say it? Surprising? Unexpected?”
“Isn't she exactly just like her appearance, here.”
Kalua looked at Krische, who was sleeping with a firm grip on her sleeve.
Krische had already fallen asleep on the way to the bed after entering the tent, and she had a hard time getting her to lie down on the bed.
Giving up and Kalua in herself up in the blanket.
“Now~, if you don't let go, I'll play a trick on you.”
When she tickled the tip of her nose, Krische hugged her and presses her face against her.
'Oh my' Kahlua smiled wryly and stroked her head, Krische relaxed her body.
The two listened to the spoken name and laughed.
“I wonder what it feels like to be told she like you by this a child.
It's impossible for me to maintain my reason.”
you know, Kalua.”
“Sometimes Kalua doesn't seem to be joking, which scares me.
Please don't do anything strange to her.”
Kalua shook her shoulders while having fun as Mia glared at her.
“If you're lonely, we can sleep together you know? Here Mia, come here, come here.”
“Otherwise, from tomorrow onwards, Usa-chan and I might not be able to have a relationship of just a corps commander and subordinate.”
When she told so with a smile, Mia looked outside the tent and sighed.
Then, as if in resignation, she crawled under the other side of the blanket.
“It sure is fun to tease Mia.”
“Fufu, don't get angry.
Your cute face is ruined, isn't it?”
“You're talking nonsense again.”
“It's true, it's true”
Kalua laughed and stroked Krische's head who was hugging her.
The eyes were so gentle that it was hard to imagine what they would normally look like.
“Her sleeping face is really cute.
I thought that before too but.”
“Well, that's true.
“I won't do anything.
Mia sure is skeptical.”
Kalua then said as if remembering something.
“My youngest sister used to be really attached to me.”
“…Didn't you say you were on bad terms with your sisters?”
Well, I'm talking about before that.”
She stared at Krische, who was quietly sleeping and smiled.
“…Fufu, even we're sleeping we're together, I feel like she followed me wherever I go.
She was a spoiled child and was really cute.
Well, as expected, she'll lose to Usa-chan, but she looks like me, a little beautiful, and her sleeping face is also cute like Usa-chan.”
Then immediately, her eyes narrowed sadly.
“But I thought it would be bad for her if it kept going like that, so thought to make separate from me.
I was going to go to work in town too.
So, I acted cold on purpose.
After that, she stopped asking to be pampered…
but on the day of departure, it seems that she hid in the carriage together, and that was the last time.”
“It seems she was caught and sold.
I tried really hard to find her, but couldn't find her, so I gave up.”
As if talking about last night's dinner.
Her voice sounded normal.
If that's the case, I should have pampered her more and act kinder to her like my sisters said.
Then maybe something would have changed.”
She was a good girl, Kalua said.
“She was honest, hardworking, and kind.
Usa-chan is a bit clumsy, but she has the same kind of atmosphere as her, and I felt like it was fate.”
She pressed her cheek against Krisché's head and closed her eyes.
“Though the reason why I came here is simply because the wicked Gildanstein have to be defeated and something like venting my anger and sense of justice on others.”
A lot of emotions came through, but Kalua didn't say more.
Feeling helpless, Mia asked.
so you learned the sword?”
“Fufu, it sounds nice when you say blade of revenge.
But well, that's just a trigger.
I probably liked killing and being killed from the beginning.
In fact, now it also serves as my entertainment (pleasure).”
Kalua jokingly laughed.
“…However, I don't want to fail next time.
I'm much more grown-up than I was then, and my sword skills have improved as well…that's why it won't be the same.”
Saying so, she puts strength into her hand that's holding Krische.
“…I'm sure you want a good, honest girl to always have a smile, right? That's why, I want to do my best for Usa-chan.
She also seems really clumsy after all.”
Mia stared at Kahlua, then nodded her head.
Slowly patting Cliche's head, Mia said.
“Then, I will swing my sword for you and the corps commander.”
Kalua paused for a moment and chuckled.
“It would be cool if you could say something like that when you get a little better with the sword.”
Kalua, you seem to always say one word too many.”
“I'm just hiding my embarrassment, hiding my embarrassment”
'Haah', after her sigh, Mia also reached out her hand as if to hug the little girl.
And her hand reached out to Kalua's.
Neither the one who grasped nor the one who was grasped said anything.
And they simply fell asleep.
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