Happy 2019 everyone!
First published on Ainushi
Note: This is Legato’s PoV
Kiss the Friend 1
While relaxing at nighttime, I sat on the chair in my room and took my sword in my hand.
A pleasant night breeze entered through the open window. I, who had received the honourable rank of the Squad Commander of the Royal Knight Order, stayed in one corner of the Knight’s Quarters near the royal palace. It was so that I could quickly rush in case of an emergency.
Since I was a Commander, I’d been given a room much larger than the one I’d had when I was a rank-and-file knight, and I was grateful for it.
While I was concentrating on performing maintenance on my sword, I heard the flapping sound of wings. When I turned my eyes towards the sound, a black bird entered gracefully through the half-open window. When I paused my hand, the black bird transformed into a figure wearing a black robe, and sat on the edge of the bed, crossing his legs.
「Squad Commander-dono, you sure are serious, maintaining your sword.」
「I won’t be satisfied unless I do it myself.」
When I said that, Nidel-dono laughed, teasing me 「Squad Commander-dono is uptight」 .
Since the incident from the last month, Nidel and I had become quite close, and Nidel-dono would come to my room to play as he fancied. It wasn’t as if he had something to do, it was to the extent of conversing a little, and lightly drinking; I didn’t know if Nidel-dono came to my room because he found it fun.
I didn’t think was a fun person to be with though.
I’d been often told by several of my seniors at Royal Knights, 「You’re so serious that it becomes boring.」. I was not extremely dull, but I didn’t have a cheerful personality either. Nidel-dono told me that too, that I’ve been slightly uptight right from the past, and that seemed to show the most in my relationships with other people, and I couldn’t create any relationships with people other than strictly formal ones. I was poor at grasping a familiar sense of distance, and I always ended up approaching with an excessively formal attitude, no matter who it was.
As expected, I had the dignity to maintain with my direct subordinates and juniors, and thus adopted an appropriate attitude with them, but other than that, I had a uniform attitude towards everyone else. Even with my comrades in the Knight Order, I drew a clear line somewhere.
In the midst of it, Nidel-dono held a strange position. Of course, until we found common ground the month before, I’d adopted a formal attitude with Nidel-dono too, and Nidel-dono had adopted an attitude so polite, it felt curt. However, lately, he’d been having a friendly attitude towards me.
For some reason, it tempted me, and I too held amicable feelings towards Nidel-dono now.
We had entered the Royal Palace in the same year and were of the same age; he had a relationship that didn’t have much of his work interests at stake either, so it was great that he wasn’t that cautious towards me, and could be called an unusual companion of sorts.
Moreover, I had held a favourable impression towards Nidel-dono in the first place. Around the time when I’d entered the royal palace, he had healed an injury of mine. It was a trifling matter, but to readily receive healing magic from a magician was an extremely delightful matter for me.
Within the Royal Palace, the relationship between the Knight Order and the Magic Order was more of that of rivals than allies. A magician was especially unapproachable for a rookie Knight.
At such a time, the memories of being treated kindly by a magician, who was young just like me, was something heartwarming. I’d try to search for him whenever I caught sight of a magician, but I was unable to find him, and at a time when I’d even mostly forgotten his face, I found someone who resembled him.
It was at the time when I’d been tasked with the order to take a magic device by my superior and deliver it to the Technological Magic Order’s Tower. I, who did not usually come in contact with the members of the Technological Order, was nervous. The elderly person who responded to me was clad in black robes, and he took the device from me while whispering in an indistinct voice. But at that moment I caught sight of a person similar to him from that time, crouching in the corner of the room.
I didn’t have the confidence to be absolutely sure it was him, but I had an inkling that it probably was.
Ahh, So, he was a member of the Technological Magic Order, I came to an understanding. They were all wrapped up in the same robes, pulling the hood over their eyes, and thus it wasn’t easy to decipher their faces. Since they had an image of consisting of all older members, I didn’t think there’d be a young magician like him here.
Since he wasn’t wearing the robe the first time we met, I’d properly seen his face. His face left behind quite an impression.
He had pitch-black soft hair, and with his simple facial features, it wouldn’t leave much of an impression, but thanks to his cynical expression and behaviour, and the impression his eyes gave seemed bright, or should I say those pitch-black eyes sparkled as if amused by something.
As one of the faces of the Technological Order, he had to show up at many public places, and there were many occasions when I saw him with the hood taken off too, but the more I saw him, the more I thought, 「Ah, it was him then after all」. He gave off an impression similar to what I had felt then.
I came to understand Nidel-dono, and always nonchalantly paid undue attention to him.
Years passed since having that small encounter with him at that time, and I felt happy seeing him climb the stairs to success just like me. He must also be surely putting in hard work. Moreover, at the regular meetings, as the youngest, I felt quite small but having him who was of the same age as I felt reassuring.
The standing of the Technological Order in the Royal Palace was weak, and there were many occasions when he adopted an impolite attitude, but he never showed an angry or hurt expression, and was always easygoing. I respected that conduct of his too.
From my point of view, the Technological Order did many thankless jobs. But still, it was strange that they were never valued for it, inexcusable even.
If I was to be promoted even higher than my current position, I thought I’d like to do something about those circumstances. It must have been exactly because it was Nidel-dono who was in a position that meant he was sharply criticised, that I thought needlessly of it.
I thought of wanting to have a conversation with Nidel-dono someday, but we were not on such terms that meant we could chat amicably, and I, always concerned about him in a corner of my heart had reached till here now.
Even now, when I reminisced of the guarding incident from a month before, shame and embarrassment, and many other inexplicable feelings assaulted me, but it was nevertheless a chance, and thanks to it, we now had a relationship wherein Nidel would come to my room to play, it was a strange thing.
When I thought of it calmly, Nidel-dono had done a lot of embarrassing things during that time. He had climbed up on my lap every night and had been petted for the whole night. It was impossible to think that that wasn’t a cat, but Nidel-dono.
However, even now Nidel-dono was in the form of a cat in my room, and I too was just like at that time guarding, petting him on my lap. For some reason or the other, Nidel-dono seemed to like it, and seeing that cat form accepting my caressing and seemingly enjoying it, a complex maze of heartwarming, embarrassing and guilty feelings arose.
However, the black cat Nidel-dono transformed into was extremely cute. It was fun to pet too. He could transform into any animal he wanted to.
「Nidel-dono, care for a drink?」
「Just a little is fine.」
Nidel-dono, who now spoke familiarly with me, had grumbled to me, saying 「It’s feels creepy, so please stop using polite speech」, and thus lately I’d stopped using polite speech too.
I wasn’t that fond of alcohol, but my room always had some on hand. I thought I was good at holding my liquor. When I was a rookie knight, my superiors often forced me to drink, but they ended up complaining, saying 「You don’t change one bit! It’s no fun.」.
I placed two glasses on the table and poured wine in them. Nidel-dono, while sitting atop the bed, legs crossed, leaned his neck in a bit and looked at the wine being poured, and those eyes trembled and sparkled in delight, and my lips curved up at that sight.
Nidel-dono always hid his face with the robe so it went unnoticed, but his eyes were quite expressive. He usually did not wear his hood when in my room, and he was much easier to get along with than when in the Royal Palace.
Hasr’s kinda important announcement and rec corner:
It’s here…not. Wait for the next chapter. Or till you’re 18 mwahahaha.
Was just re-reading a Konohara Narise novel and just fell in love with it all over again…It’s a completed novel called Utsukushii Koto if you’re curious
On another note, I gotta give college entrance exams in 12 days so wish me luck…I might have a surprise for you guys if I do get into my first choice〜