Three weeks had passed since Kazuki-kun, Usato-kun, and I had been summoned to this world. As the result of all the training in the past three weeks, I had gotten quite used to fighting. However, I didn’t have any actual experience fighting against monsters yet.
Morning training had just ended, and we were eating lunch under the shade.
“Kazuki-kun, you’ve already become quite strong, haven’t you?”
“Hahaha, I’m no match for senpai.”
In the past 2 weeks, Kazuki had shown an abnormal amount of growth.
Naturally, I had as well. I had become strong enough to match the best knight in Lyngle kingdom, Sigris and the reputable mage, Welsey. I knew the both of them were going easy on me, but I still remembered the surprise on their faces when I overtook them.
Although… I still thought that this was nowhere near enough.
This country’s ambition was insufficient. Just using a strong lightning attack was enough to earn a round of applause from the onlookers. Kazuki would turn red in embarrassment whenever their cheers erupted, but that wasn’t the case for me.
I wanted a much more unrestrained way of using magic.
“As expected, I’ll have to find another way by myself..?”
“What’s the matter, Suzune?”
Oops, that wasn’t good. I almost let my consideration for others slip. The blonde-haired girl with blue eyes that called out to me was King Lloyd’s daughter, Seria Bluegust Lyngle.
As to why someone like her is here, it goes all the way back to when Usato-kun was recruited1 by Rose. King Lloyd concluded that it would be very difficult to bring Usato back, so it couldn’t be helped. He was assigned to Rose while Kazuki and I were assigned to train under Sigris, the Commander of the Kingdom’s Corps. Of course, we also got to train under the renowned magician, Welsey.
During that time, King Lloyd called for his daughter and introduced her to us as we were around the same age. This was how we met and became friends.
While eating lunch, Kazuki turned his gaze to the scenery outside the castle.
Fumu, showing such a weary appearance, were you worried about Usato-kun?
“…Usato, I wonder what he’s doing right now.”
Really, you were so easy to understand.
The last time we saw Usato, he looked utterly exhausted.
Could it be that he still hasn’t gotten accustomed to living in this world? Or perhaps the Rescue Squad’s training was really just that severe…
“What kind of person is Usato-sama?” Seria curiously asked.
Kazuki cut me off before I could reply and answered while puffing his chest with pride.
“He’s a friend who got summoned along with us to this world. We only got to know each other recently, though.”
“Judging from that delighted expression, looks like the rumors that Kazuki-kun didn’t have any male friends was true.”
“T-That’s wrong! Even I have one or two friends that are guys…”
To Kazuki’s mutters of self-assurance, Seria chuckled.
Well, I actually know though. Considering what I had seen of Kazuki-kun in school, Usato-kun was certainly an important friend to him despite having only known each other for a short while.
“A friend, huh. And where is this gentleman?”
“I think he’s at the Rescue Squad’s lodgings? If I recall…”
“..? Isn’t that right, senpai?”
That reminded me, I had some doubts regarding Usato’s appearance the last time we met.
In the world we were from, I played various sports. As part of my interest, I gathered as much knowledge as I could about human anatomy… specifically, the muscle structures that I had become familiar with.
The last time I saw Usato, I noticed that his legs had developed a lot compared to our first meeting. In addition, the muscles on his upper body had been tempered. There was no way he could normally temper them so thoroughly in just one week.
While I thought it was amazing, I also had my concerns.
It was bad for the body to go through rapid growth in such a short time, if one took that into consideration—
“No, it’s nothing. Seria, you seemed astonished when we mentioned the Rescue Squad… did something happen before?”
The shock she expressed before was quite unusual.
“No, err.. Well, there’s been some rumors spreading lately in the castle about the Rescue Squad…”
“What kind of rumors..?”
Seria seemed to be know something about the Rescue Squad. Anything important and related to Usato-kun should have definitely reached us but.. perhaps something had happened?
Seria briefly hesitated before lowering her voice into a mutter.
“Just remember it’s only rumors… I happened to overhear the palace guards talking about it. Apparently, the Rescue Squad recently had a newcomer, and that he’s been put through training that even their current members would give up on attempting.”
“…Somehow I’m really concerned now. Since today’s training is about to finish, should we go check if Usato-kun is okay?”
“Yes, let’s go take a look.”
“Ah, I’ll come along as well.”
We informed the two priestesses about our departure and made our way to the gates. Kazuki clenched his fists in determination and we nodded silently to each other, and made our way to the Rescue Squad’s lodgings.
And so, we were on our way to see Usato. Of course, it’d be dangerous if the country’s princess left just like that, and so Sigris volunteered to accompany us as Seria’s bodyguard.
The Rescue Squad’s lodgings were in the midst of a forest clearing. It felt disconnected from the rest of the kingdom and there were no other people in sight.
Usato was here the last time we visited the house, but now he was nowhere to be seen.
“This is where Usato-sama lives?”
“It is but.. it looks like he’s out.”
“Isn’t it afternoon training right now?”
“Then let’s go search for him. If we end up being a hindrance, we can just go back. Sigris-san, may I ask you to lead the way?”
“I understand. Please follow me.”
As we only wanted to take a look at the situation, it wouldn’t be a particularly long visit.
Following Sigris’ lead, we walked through an overgrown forest to the Rescue Squad’s training grounds. Seria couldn’t help but admire the scenery around her with gleaming eyes. She rarely got to venture outside of the castle so this must’ve been very exciting for her.
“Fua, it’s amazing Kazuki-sama!”
“Seria-sama, please do not stray too far away from me…”
“Sigris is too overprotective!”
She is the princess of this country, after all. It was quite understandable for Sigris to be overprotective of her.
To Sigris’ troubled expression, Kazuki offered his sympathies.
“I’m sorry, Sigris-san.”
“No, don’t mind me. I have some business with Rose as well. The training ground is just ahead, that’s most likely where Usato-sama is.”
“Is that so!”
I gazed towards the direction Sigris pointed at.
The last time we met was 2 weeks ago, I wondered how you’ve grown since that time.. With that in mind, we drew closer and saw another clearing.
A wide open space, only 30 meters in diameter, it was a training ground among the trees that suited the Rescue Squad and their few members. We saw Usato in the middle of it all.
Kazuki, who was about to cheerfully call out to him, stopped in his tracks.
I did the same.
“What’s the matter? What’s going on in front—“
As Seria tried to take a peek from behind us, the both of us were lost for words.
The view before us, it was—
“Oi, you slowed down. Don’t tell me a little insect like you is giving up just from a slight increase in weight?”
“No one said I was giving in!”
“I’ll beat you up if you keep talking, hey.”
Usato-kun was doing push-ups with a desperate look on his face.
It wouldn’t be so strange if that was all.
The problem was that a large stone block was placed on his back as well.
It looked like it weighed about 50 kg? Something that heavy was on Usato-kun’s back.
To top it off, Rose, the Rescue Squad’s Leader, was haughtily sitting on that stone block with her legs crossed.
“What was that just now? I thought I heard the sound of someone clicking their tongue!!”
I thought I just heard the gentle Usato-kun click his tongue.
Was he really Usato-kun?
Perhaps he had been possessed by an evil spirit?
“I was just really surprised how exceedingly light Rose-san is, you know… so much that I unintentionally smacked my lips.”
“Hohoo, you’ve just said a really sweet thing, didn’t ya? In that case, it won’t be a problem if I increased the weight some more, right?!”
Rose deftly descended onto the ground and stacked another block of stone onto Usato-kun’s back.
Even while making gigigi chewing noises, Usato continued dauntlessly doing push-ups and a smile grew on his face as he looked at Rose.
“This is a fairly good feeling, ain’t it? He’s come to my liking, ya. If it’s like this, soon I can throw him into that place… Nn? Who are you?”
Ever since Kazuki arrived, he had been understandably speechless at the sight before him.
After all, the gentle Usato-kun we knew was staring daggers at someone else while participating in some kind of insane exercise.
I couldn’t blame him for trying to escape from reality.
Yet, the Leader of the Knights; Sigris, broke the standstill and strode furiously towards Rose.
“Yooo, Sigris. Taking the princess and the heroes out for a walk? What’s up?”
“You! What do you think you’re doing?!”
“I’m asking you what you’re doing! This kind of training, all you’re doing is destroying this young man’s future!!” Sigris raised his voice and grabbed Rose by her collar.
Sigris’ outburst of anger was understandable; Rose’s treatment towards Usato simply couldn’t be called training. Rather it looked like punishment.
Sigris, still having seized Rose’s collar, raised her up. He was using only his grip strength but you could hear the leather of his gauntlet squeaking under the pressure.
“Get your hands off me,” Rose replied, expressionless. “I don’t dislike your chivalry but don’t push that on me. I have my own way of doing things. Moreover, I plan to make this guy my right-hand man, you know? It’d be a problem for me if he couldn’t handle something as easy as this.”
“Right-hand.. you say?”
“That’s right, I’ve finally dug up and found someone like him. It’s good that he hates to lose, never yields, and in addition, he’s able to keep up with my training.”
I couldn’t help but take a step backwards when I looked at Rose. Inside of her eyes, I saw a strong, unbending will. If there was anything she wanted to accomplish, she would stop at nothing to do so.
Sigris, hesitating from that kind of willpower, Rose shook him off.
“You deviant! The King wished to return your squad to how it was before, but it looks like there’s no way that’s happening with you.”
“Kahaha! My right eye can’t open anymore, so either way it’s impossible.”
Rose declared as she pointed at the right side of her face.
“Stop spouting nonsense!”
Is she refusing to return to the army because of that scar on her eye…?
“Fuun..” Sigris grunted angrily and returned to us. With a concerned look, he approached Seria.
“I need to cool down for a bit. Princess-sama, please don’t leave Kazuki-sama’s side.”
“Once I calm down, I will return immediately.”
He realized himself that if he stayed here any longer, it would only develop into a fight with Rose. With that in mind, Sigris disappeared into the forest.
“Well, looks like Sigris is gone. The heroes and the princess had business with this, right?”
“I’m not a ‘thing’, you know. Oi, what’s this about making me your right-hand? To celebrate this event, how about I give Rose a punch with my right arm as a present, yeah? Since you want a right-hand, please gladly accept it with your face!!”
“Before that, how about I give you a present instead? ..Well, that’s what I want to say but I’ll head back first.”
Usato-kun was ready to throw a punch but Rose changed her mind after seeing us and started making her way towards the lodging house.
As Rose’s figure disappeared in the distance, we approached the stretching Usato-kun who had just put down his weights.
“Are you okay, Usato-kun?”
“I’m okay but.. this person is?”
Usato tilted his head towards Seria who arrived with Kazuki-kun.
“My name is Seria Bluegust Lyngle. But you can just address me as Seria, Usato-sama.”
“S-sama… in addition it’s Lloyd-sama’s…?”
“Yes. I’m his daughter.”
Usato-kun panicked upon hearing it was the King’s daughter. He probably wasn’t used to being addressed like this by a girl he just met; not to mention, the Princess of the Lyngle Kingdom herself.
Kazuki-kun was also startled when they first met.
“Please relax, just address me normally.”
Usato hesitated, but reluctantly nodded.
“That reminds me, what’s the training like for you both? Well, I can vaguely tell that you guys have grown stronger…”
“…Eh, why did it become silent?”
I couldn’t say it.
The fact that our training was nowhere as harsh as Usato’s… No, rather, it was very easy?
In reality, the type of training we were doing was deliberately planned with the safety of our bodies in mind. Furthermore, our training was designed to efficiently but steadily increase our combat ability which was very different from Usato’s training. His type of training was incredibly dangerous; it was meant for surpassing the limits of the human body. It was something only viable for a healing magician who could continuously heal himself.
According to the rumors, it would’ve been 3 weeks since the spread of a certain eccentric training. He was probably been doing this non-stop this whole time.
It didn’t look like his physique had changed that much. Still, he had a tremendous amount of development before so this didn’t make sense… I think I was already starting to see through something incredible.
Being curious and giving into my temptation, I grabbed the ends of his T-shirt.
“Usato-kun, pardon my impoliteness.”
“Eh? What’s the matter Inukami-senpai… tee, oou!?”
I rolled up Usato’s shirt in one motion.
At this sight, Seria’s face grew red.
“…I see now.”
He had been intentionally damaging his muscles with excessive exercise and then forcibly restoring them with healing magic. The results from these actions are muscle fibers high in density, a greater amount of endurance, and the ability to draw out more power than a normal person.
“I was mistaken before. Usato-kun… You have amazing muscles!”
“Somehow, Inukami-senpai, aren’t you kind of excited?”
“No no, to think you’ve done this much in this short amount of time… I’m impressed.”
No, how do I say it… it had really been bothering me for a while now.
“What… What has happened to Suzune-sama..?”
“Sorry Seria, even I don’t know. Occasionally, senpai becomes like this.”
Maybe he was getting irritated, but Usato forcefully took my arms off from himself.
It was a little regrettable but for now I should back down.
I didn’t want him to start hating me.
“Waa. Still, it seems like everyone is lively, I’m glad.”
“Usato, you seem.. energetic.”
“Hahaha, recently that’s been my only redeeming trait.”
Usato, who had a slightly tired look, laughed light-heartedly.
…His training seemed to be manageable but I wondered if he has adapted to life in this world yet.
Seeing that we didn’t need to worry, we decided to walk elsewhere while keeping an eye out for Sigris.
“Well, it looks like we were just needlessly worried. We should be returning soon.”
“Worried? Well it’s fine. Next time, I’ll be the one visiting you guys. I want to take a look at the training in the castle too.”
As Usato gazed at the castle in the distance, Seria whispered in a low voice, “What a person…” as she shivered.
She probably didn’t want to show him the castle’s training as he still thought the knights’ and Rescue Squad’s training were on similar levels. It was likely that the knights’ morale would plummet as well.
We finished our conversation and decided to look for Sigris but a figure emerged from the forest and walked towards us. It was a giant man who was carrying something that resembled a lunch box in one hand.
“That guy is…”
“Is it someone you know, Usato?”
“Oooi! The kind and great me has come to deliver your bento to you!”
I saw a vein forming on Usato’s forehead from the man’s cheerful greeting.
Although we got to know each other only recently, I understood Usato was a gentle person. Now that gentle person had an expression similar to an oni2. For a moment, I thought I was in a bad dream.
However, reality was heartless.
Usato-kun stomped towards the tall man and started shouting abusive remarks at him.
“You have the nerve to bring me my bento?! You damn blockhead!! Why don’t you use that small brain of yours and think about what happened a week ago, ya bastard!!”
“Aan!! I don’t understand what you’re talking about! Why don’t you use words that an idiot like me can understand, you idiot!!”
“If I make my words any simpler, it’d become baby talk. Ahh I see, Tong doesn’t have a brain and your head is actually stuffed with cotton!”
“Tong-kun’s head is packed full of cotton—“
“Making fun of me… Come here!!
“Bring it on!!”
“I-Is that really Usato? …Eh, ah, huh? Right now, Usato is laughing, he’s talking…”
“Hang in there Kazuki-sama! W-What should we do… Suzune-sama!”
“Hell can even change a person’s heart… it’s cruel.”
“Is this really the time to be deep in thought?! Sigris is fine too, please hurry and bring Kazuki-sama back to the castle…!”
As I lent a shoulder to Kazuki-kun who had somewhat vacant eyes, I glanced behind.
He was having a brawl with the frightening looking man, the gentle appearance just before seemed like an illusion. It was a sudden change but somehow this looked very natural as well.
“I see, it looks like you’ve found the place where you belong…”
In an unknown world, he was able to find his place before anyone else. Seeing this, I couldn’t help but feel a little envious.
Edited by Fateburn