“--Both of you, please move away from the baal!”
Hearing the voice from behind, Ruth instantly released his hold on the knife and Rossa also backed away. At that moment, thunderclouds enshrouded the skies above the baal.
“Take my words and turn them into lightning— LIGHTNING BOLT!”
A loud sound cut through the skies and a large pillar of light fell onto baal. Instantly, there was a loud explosion as light filled the area around them, erasing their shadows.
The baal’s whole body shook as it bellowed with pain. The lightning ran through the knife lodged in the baal’s stomach and traveled through the baal’s insides.
Sparks were flying and one could tell the intensity of the lightning without touching it.
(I...Isn’t this some advance magic? Whoa...)
Ruth has seen magic countless times, but Alec never used any grand spells because he said they were too dangerous. This is the first time Ruth saw such powerful magic.
The light finally started to dissipate and the baal, who was burnt to a crisp, stood there in a daze. Of course, because the rope was also completely burnt, there wasn’t anything to stop the baal from moving. Even so, the baal wasn’t showing any signs of moving either.
“D-Did we do it? Hooh!”
Rossa approached the baal while holding up his hammer. But, the moment Rossa drew closer, the baal moved its tail. The baal sluggishly turned its back on Ruth’s group and walked towards the mountains.
“We better just leave it be.”
“Dad, it was still glaring at you though.”
Despite the damage they’ve inflicted on the baal, Rossa was exhausted from trying to force it to surrender, and Ruth having lost his knife, found it difficult to chase it down and deal the final blow. On top of that, injured beasts are troublesome. Ruth and the others quietly watched the baal’s back as it left and the sounds of its footsteps followed with it.
“I’ve got to say, even though you saw a baal, you didn’t flinch at all.”
“Well, that’s because Alec and I faced off against one before. More importantly, the knight!”
“F-Faced off!? Wait, the knight, that’s right!”
Ruth's words caught Rossa by surprise, but after remembering the situation at hand, he soon headed back to the knight.
The knight hiding between the trees handed the child he was holding in his arms to Rossa and stood up with his help.
He was shorter than the powerfully built Rossa, but taller than Ruth. His body was also well built and his armor suited him. He had short light brown hair, dark eyes that radiated sincerity, thick eyebrows on his deeply carved facial features, and his whole body was emitting the earnest attitude of a soldier. Of course, he was also refined and handsome in a way never seen around this area.
“Thanks for backing us up with your magic. Thanks to you, we’re safe and nobody got injured. Using that sort of magic, you’re amazing.”
“Not at all, it is also because you two made enough time for me to cast my spell. I share the same sentiment, thank you for saving me in that dangerous…”
The man talking to Rossa suddenly stiffened up when he met eyes with Ruth. He then slightly blushed and his serious face loosened up a bit.
As Ruth muttered that in confusion, the man’s eyes gradually brightened up.
“Ruth, there’s some blood on your face.”
It seems like blood splattered onto Ruth’s face when he stabbed the knife into the baal’s stomach. Judging from the knight’s expression, he must’ve also seen the blood. However--
“Sir, I am truly thankful to both of you for saving me. My name is Maxim Calafanti. I will never forget this kindness for as long as I live.”
“Huh? Ah, yes?”
The knight, who introduced himself as Maxim, got down on one knee in front of Ruth and gently took his hand. He squinted slightly and stared at him as if looking at something dazzling. It was like he was asking a noble lady for a dance. Ruth, who’s a complete country bumpkin, did not hide his bewilderment and even wondered if this perhaps how the city folk express their gratitude.
“...If you will, may I request to hear what your name is?”
“Lady Ruth...it is a splendidly beautiful name befitting of one who fights as if they were dancing in midair.”
He looked at Ruth with sparkling eyes as he moved with exaggerated gestures, almost like an actor in an opera. Despite Ruth’s bewilderment, he looked at Rossa out of the corner of his eye. Rossa’s face froze up and made an expression as if he ate something bitter; the word “yikes” was written all over his face. Ruth and Rossa shared the same thoughts.
“U-Um… Sir Calafanti?”
“Please, feel free to call me by Maxim.”
"Ah, then Maxim, I thought that perhaps you might have misunderstood something~and so I wanted to say…."
"What sort of misunderstanding--"
Before Ruth could quickly point out the misunderstanding, a loud voice was heard from the forest.
"Ooh! You guys!"
Maxim turned towards the voice and waved his hand. After a short while, 5 knights wearing a balanced set of armor, though second-rate to Maxim (nonetheless, still refined), appeared with 6 horses.
“Is everyone safe?!”
“That should be our line! We didn’t know what to do when you abandoned your horse and ran off to chase after the baal.”
“Sorry. I saw a child being chased and I…”
It seems like Maxim saw the the baal chasing after the child in Rossa’s arms and parted from his unit to descend the cliff by himself. Because his men were holding onto the luggage and horses, they couldn’t go down with Maxim and had to take a detour in a rush. While that’s a wonderful move as a knight meant to protect the people, it must be hard on the subordinates when their captain run off by himself. Maxim seems like a serious person, but it seems like even he has a weak point in that aspect.
When the knights saw that Maxim’s leg was injured, they immediately went to treat it. As expected of the Royal Knights, they also properly brought a healer with them.
“...Hey, hey, why is the captain of the knights here in the mountains…”
“Dad, could these people be…”
Ruth smiled bitterly at Rossa’s murmurs after getting a grasp of this strange situation at hand.
If he’s not wrong, then they certainly must be the troops sent from the nobles Alec asked to help with the village’s demon subjugation. While he didn’t know why someone like the captain of the Royal Knights ended up coming as well, but such elite troops from the royal capital would never come to such a desolate village in the mountains if not for that reason.
"Lady Ruth, Sir. Let me introduce them to you. They are my fellow comrades. We have come here from the royal capital to take part in the upcoming demon subjugation at Hashi Village.”
Ruth and Rossa had an “I knew it” expression on their face. But Maxim turned towards his unit and didn’t notice it.
“Everyone, these two are my benefactors who saved me from being chased by the baal. Please be courteous to them.”
“The ones behind you, huh...wait, not just the large one, but also the young lady there too?”
“Indeed, it was like she was running through the heavens to dodge the baal’s attacks and she’s strong enough to stab her knife into the baal’s stomach. Truly magnificent.”
“To stab the baal with a knife....that’s quite a feat.”
With slightly surprised faces, the knights praised Ruth, but Maxim tuned them out and had a spellbound expression on his face.
"Yes, she was as beautiful as the goddess Zenovia herself…"
“...There goes the captain’s goddess complex.”
Maxim’s men looked slightly exasperated, but they didn't seem disgusted. Despite how Maxim was chased by a baal, when it comes to the usual Maxim, the respect and trust his men have towards him is obvious. The way they talk to Maxim as their superior is also respectful, but they seem to be on good terms with each other regardless of it. It could just be that they all work really well with each other.
“Oh right, Lady Ruth said earlier that that I may have misunderstood something…”
Ruth felt everyone’s eyes on him after what Maxim said. Ruth looked at Rossa for help, but he started calling out to the child in his arms to wake them up as if trying to play dumb and avoid Ruth’s gaze.
(That Dad...he’s running away…)
It seems like help won’t come.
Ruth wasn’t mistaken about Maxim’s misunderstanding. Maxim’s words from earlier clearly confirms it--
(I...can't say that I'm not a girl…in this situation.)
Maxim thought Ruth was a girl. Just thinking about when Maxim spoke about Ruth as if he was a ”female” is evidence enough.
Because Ruth takes after this mother, people outside of the village tend to get his gender wrong. It doesn’t bother him that much, but it gets troublesome later on if he doesn’t correct them. And so, Ruth thought that he ought to immediately clear up the misunderstanding, but--he couldn’t bring himself to tell Maxim while everyone was watching. While it’s clear that they have a very good relationship with each other, even Maxim has his dignity as their captain. There’s no way that they would want to see a village boy, such as Ruth, pointing out their captain’s misunderstanding.
Ruth gave them the bright customer service worker smile.
“... Actually, we are the owners of an inn for everyone here that may wish to stay over. As such, perhaps I could guide everyone to their lodgings~”
“Oh, we’ll be in your care then. Lady Ruth, please lead the way.”
In the end, Ruth wasn’t able to correct him and guided them to the village while joining in with the knight’s conversations.
- He uses a rougher way to refer to 'you' which is (お前達) which really contrasts against how he refers to Ruth, which is a way more polite form to refer to the other person (貴方様)
- Funny thing, in here, Hashi could also mean ハシ (端)- beginning. Could be a reference to the First Village that Ruth saw in the video game he played in his previous life
MARY: Thank you for waiting~ Please support the author! Let me know if you see any mistakes! Sorry bout the slow updates guys T_T classes has really been kicking my butt, but I appreciate everyone's patience as always.
But anyway, the second male lead finally showed up! I wonder how Ruth is going to fix this misunderstanding LOL.