Here’s the other chapter brought to you by Patreon, enjoy~
The next morning, I wake up feeling heavy. It’s strange, I’m tired for some reason, even though I’ve been in the hot springs to recover from my exhaustion…
I didn’t wake up my wives, who were sleeping messily and exhausted, but I sat down on a chair by the window and looked out. The lush natural landscape was a feast for the eyes, something you can’t get in a Japanese garden.
After breakfast, we decided to walk around the area. The innkeeper told us for tourist attractions in the Kosaka area, there were more than 200 waterfalls. There were three famous waterfalls near the inn; we decided to go to see the three.
When we took the unpaved gravel road in the mountains, we followed a sign board that said “Karatani Waterfall and Akagane Toyo” and went down.
Akagane Toyo was a waterfall that fell at a slight angle with a drop of 14 meters. Apparently, the word “Akagane” in the name meant mossy like copper, and the word “Toyo” was in reference to a rain gutter. As its name described, the waterfall flowed down from a U-shaped gutter.
True to its name “Akagane,” the moss around the waterfall also added a nice touch.
The “Karatani Waterfall” has a drop of 15 meters, and the appearance of falling water is quite beautiful. The dome-shaped lava rocks in the path of the falling water created a powerful sound.
The “Mitsu-taki” waterfall was located a little farther from the other two waterfalls, and there was a walking trail leading to it. You could see the waterfall from various angles and could get very close to it, so Mitsu-taki may be a good destination for a short hike.
Compared to the other two, Mitsu-taki is a series of three powerful waterfalls (lower, middle, and upper). However, I prefer Akagane Toyo, which has a lava rock wall covered with moss. Looking at the scenery, I felt at ease.
“It was fun, right? Tsukuru-kun.”
“Ichinose has always loved being in nature like this.”
“Yeah. It kind of calms me down.”
Ichinose looked refreshed and happy after enjoying the hot springs and nature. It was a much needed rest after the battle with the undead race, which she is not good at.
“This kind of nature can be found in the Great Borf Forest, too, right?”
“Antia, the Great Borf Forest is too much for humans considering the dangers.”
Monsters that are strolling around in there can kill and eat humans in an instant, making it impossible to enjoy nature to the fullest. It may not apply to us because we are overwhelmingly stronger than the monsters, but it’s still a hassle to be on the lookout for any approaching monsters.
“Is that what it is?”
“I don’t think the elves who live in the Great Borf Forest would understand, but that’s just the way it is.”
Refreshed in mind and body, we returned to the mansion in Algria. There, Israfel was waiting for me in the mansion.
Israfel reported that someone had eliminated the doppelgangers that were placed in the human race country.
“You mean that currently, doppelgangers are only in three countries: the Oath Oceanic Kingdom, the Engels Confederacy, and High Priest Country of Teresa?”
“We had originally withdrawn from eight of the fifteen human supremacist countries altogether, but from the seven remaining countries, four of our men have been eliminated by someone else.”
We banished the old bastard and had withdrawn Doppel-kun in stages since there was no longer a need to put them in the old human supremacist countries. In another six months, we would have them pulled out of the seven countries altogether, so why are they removing Doppel-kun now?
In the first place, the human race doesn’t have enough power to eliminate Doppel-kun. Even the Old species can’t eliminate Doppel-kun unless they have the numbers to do so.
“Could it be that the Old species of the human race are moving?”
“No, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out if they’re an Old species, but this enemy won’t let us get a hold of their tail at all.
“Could there be other races involved…?”
“We should consider it as well.”
Now that the humans are no longer fighting each other, there is peace. Who is eliminating Doppel-kun? I’m not saying that peace is necessarily good, but I’d like to see some quiet.
“Whoever we’re dealing with, getting rid of Doppel-kun means that he’s picking a fight with me. I’m not going to leave them alone.”
But it’s no good if we don’t know who we’re dealing with.
Beeze appeared in front of me; his voice still low and austere.
“Watch the surroundings of Doppel-kun in the three remaining countries. Find out who is eliminating Doppel-kun and where they are located.”
Beeze as he disappears into space, and I look at Israfel.
“Israfel, stay in close contact with the remaining Doppel-kun. Find out what’s been going on in the countries where we had pulled the Doppel-kun from before, as well as the countries where the Doppel-kun had been eliminated.”
Israfel is also moving back. Why do people show up and mess around around me?
“Tsukuru-san, we’ve listened to the story. Is there anything we can do to help you?”
Allie and the others stare at me.
Yes, I think we should split up and look for our enemies.
“Then, can we split up and keep an eye on the three countries that haven’t been touched yet?”
“I’d be happy to help you with that much. Isn’t that right, everyone?”
Everyone nodded at Allie’s words.
“I’ll keep an eye on the Oath Oceanic Kingdom, then Canaan and Hannah will take care of the Engels Confederacy, Sanya, Antia, and Ichinose will take care of the High Priest Country of Teresa, and Allie, you’ll stay here to consolidate everyone’s information.”
I’m going to grant them all telepathic abilities. This allows us to talk even when we are far apart. However, since telepathic communication can only be done one-on-one, I decided to have Allie consolidate all the information.
I immediately flew to the Oath Oceanic Kingdom. This time, I have Canaan take me there, and I can use the transfer gate when I return. I stopped by the Commander’s place and sold him on the idea of having me act as the King’s bodyguard.
“The adventurer Taro-dono wants to be a guard, huh…”
Even the promiscuous leader would never agree to have me, an adventurer, as the king’s bodyguard. So I planned a little drama.
A knight rushed into the Commander’s room.
“What’s going on?”
“Hah, hah, His Majesty is here to see you!” said a knight while panting.
Then the king appeared. The king was a tall man with white hair and a white beard.
As the Commander kneeled before the King, I did the same.
“I’m heading to inspect the castle grounds. I’ll need a few guards to accompany me.”
Yes, this king was a doppelgänger, and as such, it wouldn’t be unusual for me to be in his vicinity.
“Then, I will guard you.”
The Commander rushed to stop me.
“Who is this person?”
Ignoring the Commander, the King, which is Doppel-kun in disguise, called out to me, and I replied.
“My name is Taro. I’m an adventurer.”
“Fumu, I shall have this gentleman escort me around.”
“Your Majesty, wait!”
The Commander objected to the arrangement and managed to attach three other guards to the escort. One of them was the Commander himself, but you guys should take off your armor! The King commanded us to be inconspicuous while inspecting the castle grounds, so why would you wear matching knight’s armor?
It’s easy to identify the King as an important person if you’re dressed like that. You can’t even understand that, huh?
Well, if an unknown assailant were to attack the doppelgänger who has taken over the King, this would save me a lot of trouble.
“What do you need, Taro-dono?”
“There are people following us.”
About thirty minutes after we left the palace, a guy appeared to be following us. By the looks of it, he was a ruffian and must have thought the slightly better-dressed king’s party was an easy picking.
The Commander turned around after hearing my words.
I struck the Commander on the head.
“Ah, I’m sorry…”
“Oh, well. They’ve given up on following us for now. They’re pretty decisive.”
Besides the Commander, two other knights were on the escort detail, and they were looking at the Commander with a wry smile.
After walking for a while longer and inspecting the whole town, there were signs that they started following us again. It’s not that they’ve been following us the whole time, but rather just happened to find us and followed us again.
Earlier, the four followed us almost as a single group, but this time, the one guy who was the best at eliminating his presence had followed us, while the other three followed behind him. It seemed that the Commander’s actions had alerted the ruffians, but this is not a big deal.
“Don’t look back this time.”
“The same people that were following us before are at it again.”
“All right. So what should we do?”
“If they attack us, we’ll beat them up. If not, I guess we’ll just leave them alone?”
“Muh, I see… I understand.”
The Commander was not happy about it.
“Guarding the King is the mission this time. You’ll have to wait until another time to catch the ruffians.”
The King’s inspection of the city lasted about two hours, and we returned to the palace safely. When we entered the Nobleman’s District, the ruffians who had followed us seemed to have given up.
The Commander seemed to anticipate a bit of an attack from the ruffians to show his good side in front of the King, but that makes me wonder what it means to be a vassal.
The Oath Oceanic Kingdom was a relatively peaceful country. This was partly because it was far from the battlefields with other races at the time of their human supremacy, so it was inevitably a peaceful place.
However, no one appeared on this tour to attack Doppel-kun. Allie reported that no enemies have appeared at the other doppelgänger’s place so far.
There were only three countries left, and yet the enemy was stalling. Perhaps this is because of my movements, but that also meant that the enemy had my actions within their grasp.
“What does that mean? Why are our actions leaked to the enemy?”
Only my family members, Canaan, Hannah, Sanya, Antia, Ichinose, and Allie, as well as my familiars such as Beeze and Israfel, knew about my movements. It’s unlikely that Canaan and the other six leaked my information, and the same goes for my familiars. If that’s the case, then how…?
My familiars cannot be a part of the enemy because they cannot oppose me in the first place. There are many things I don’t understand, but I know that the world doesn’t always go the way I want it to go, so I have no choice but to look for the culprits.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Taro-dono.”
“No, it’s fine.”
I was relaxing on the sofa in the Commander’s room when he returned to his room.
“His Majesty has ordered me to formally appoint Taro-dono as his bodyguard. Here’s your appointment letter.”
I took the paper offered to me. It’s a bother, but it seems that this kind of thing is also a necessary formality for the king.
“To be honest, this is a relief.”
The Commander looked troubled and spoke his mind.
“Many are currently missing in our Oath Oceanic Kingdom.”
“That’s right. In this royal capital alone, about twenty people have already gone missing in the past month. In the Kingdom, the number of those that have been reported is close to two hundred.”
Hou, when you perform abductions on such a large scale, it involves the right kind of guy… Don’t tell me that this is by the same guy who is getting rid of Doppel-kun?
No, Doppel-kun was forced to disappear as Israfel said. Going missing in this story doesn’t add up.
“That’s why our knights have been stepping up their patrols day and night. Currently we’re short on manpower.”
“And I’m to be the King’s personal bodyguard? Does the King know about those missing people?”
“No, I did not report such trivialities of the streets to His Majesty. But if there are more incidents, I will be obliged to report it.”
“That’s pretty generous of you.”
“Don’t say that.”
However, these abduction incidents were too well-timed to be considered only a coincidence.
After speaking with the Commander, I told Allie about the kidnapping incident with [Telephaty] on my way to serve as the King’s bodyguard.
(Indeed, the timing is too much of a coincidence. I’ll check with Canaan-san and the others as well.)
I entered the palace for the appointment, and it is truly a gorgeous palace. The outside is like the Taj Mahal, but the inside is built with a luxurious western style. I do not know much about buildings, but I think that the Oath Oceanic Kingdom’s financial resources, which were able to build such a grand palace, are quite something.
I entered the office where the white-haired and bearded king was waiting for me. There were five other knights there as the King’s guards.
Looking at the knight’s lineup, all five of them seemed to be nobleman’s bonbon*, and their abilities and levels were not that great. As nobleman’s bonbons, they looked at me, the adventurer Taro, with contempt. [TLN: Though it’s not clear how this term came about, please note that this is a slang. It means a posh man who can’t do anything by himself and doesn’t know how the world works. To ridicule this type of people, the Japanese called them ボンボン (bonbon).]
Well, I have no interest in these guys so I don’t mind, but if they are going to get in my way, I’ll let them experience a certain amount of fear.
(Tsukuru-san, are you free now?)
(I heard that there were many missing people in the Engels Confederacy and High Priest Country of Teresa, where Canaan-san and the others are at. I believe that this is not a coincidence, but rather something out of the ordinary.)
The same thing is happening in other countries? We never know what will happen until we see it happen. I know this is probably the most fragile thing ever, but it seems to have a lot to do with me. This is evident from the fact that they are eliminating Doppel-kun.
(Tell Canaan and the others to continue and keep an eye on it.)
(I’m sure this isn’t going to be easy for Allie.)
(No, I’m just happy to be able to help you, Tsukuru-san. Since I like doing this, there’s no need for such words.)
I have a good wife. I realize that.
The next day, as I headed to the palace to escort the King, the knights stood in front of me. I looked at them and saw that they were three of the five who were guarding the King yesterday.
The hostility towards me was evident from their eyes, and they were really easy to understand.
“What is it with you guys?”
“It’s unpleasant when someone like you, who doesn’t even know which horse’s bones you belong to, to come and go from the palace. You must leave the palace now.”
“Fumu, so you’re higher than the King?”
“What are you talking about, you lowlife? Higher than His Majesty, the King? That’s why you’re such a lowly man!”
They either think they can just call a bunch of people lowly, or don’t have the vocabulary, but these guys don’t have a decent response.
“That’s not an answer. Are you dumb?”
“You lowly bastard!”
Since they were the King’s guards, the three of them were equipped with their swords in the palace, and the three of them put their hands on the hilt.
“Hou, do you want to use your sword? If you draw, I won’t back down.”
The three of them looked puzzled at my provocation, but they drew their swords.
These guys were ones who had joined the knights with their parents’ names. They didn’t know much about sword handling, and they’d never cut a man. More to the point, they’d never wandered the line between life and death, so they didn’t know how terrifying a sword could be. And these idiots didn’t even understand what it meant by drawing their sword in the King’s palace.
Swords were only allowed to be drawn when defending the King, and if you casually pulled out your sword in the palace, you would be punished for that alone. And it’s a pretty serious crime.
It’s something that I’ve been warned to be very careful about by the Commander when I become the King’s bodyguard, but there’s no way that these guys didn’t know about it. This world has a strong nobility system, and this Oath Oceanic Kingdom is no different.
It’s also true that many nobles were idiots who mistakenly believed that they are special. It was only by fulfilling their responsibilities as nobles that they were able to live a wealthy life, and not simply because they have noble blood. If there was a war, they should be the first to give up their lives, and if there was a disaster, they should be willing to lend money for rebuilding. However, there were too many scum nobles who didn’t have that kind of spirit.
I walked behind the three of them and put my sheathed sword to their necks, knocking them unconscious. These guys passed out in the palace corridor with their swords drawn and their eyes rolled back will not be able to continue as knights in the future. I’ll leave the punishment to the king’s doppelgänger and act as if nothing had happened.
A month had passed since then, but nothing happened. The abductions had subsided, and there were no clues to be found. The rest of the country was the same; it’s eerie, as though it was the calm before a storm.
Oh, and the three knights who pointed their swords at me were beheaded. Their houses were crushed. The three of them couldn’t say that they had pointed their swords at me and made up an excuse that there were bandits in the area. But the fact that there were no signs of intruders, and a witness, Doppel-kun (not the king), soon exposed their lie.
It’s not that I ordered or told Doppel-kun to put them to death. The King merely punished them according to the law. By the actions and consequences of the three, the other knights had reaffirmed the weight of the meaning of being allowed to wear a sword belt in the palace. Well, this kind of thing didn’t matter.
The summoning facility that can’t be located, an enemy that cannot be identified, and the unsolved abductions – there was no denying that the kidnappings were possibly related to my enemy.
There were thousands of abductions alone in the three countries under Doppel-kun’s control, and tens of thousands if we include those that had been confirmed in other human countries. I have a bad feeling about this. But I don’t know what to do now, since I don’t really know anything about it.
Anyway, there’s no way to make any countermeasures now except to focus on locating the summoning facility and searching for the enemy. It’s not my nature to be passive like this, but I think now is the time to be patient.
Allie using [Telepathy] told me.
(Tsukuru-san. I’ve been thinking, is it possible to once again send doppelgangers to the countries from which they were eliminated?)
(Hmm, I think I can send some Doppel-kun, Allie.)
(Okay, let’s send out some doppelgangers now to see what our opponents are up to.)
(So, we’re using Doppel-kun as bait, huh?)
(With all due respect to the doppelgangers, I think it would be easier to lure out the enemy with more bait.)
(Fumu… Okay, let’s try Allie’s idea.)
I immediately ordered Israfel to send doppelgängers to each country – each country will be sent a hundred doppelgängers. I also left for the Luk Sandale Kingdom and waited for my opponents to attack.
The moment I moved to the Luk Sandale Kingdom, the doppelgängers in the Oath Oceanic Kingdom were eliminated. As I suspected, my movements were leaked to the enemy. Where in the world is the enemy?
No. Am I being watched? There are people out there who are watching what we do. And there seems to be someone out there watching our actions without us noticing. But how do we find them…? I don’t mean to brag, but if they’re watching us, we’d know. Surely no one has the ability to be covert enough to evade our detection, you know?
“Shit. I have no idea.”