That was how the match ended.
The match, which was between a former mercenary on the streets, who was brought in by the duke’s esteemed daughter, and the top-ranked knight, who turned out to have been maintaining that position through underhanded means.
The winner was the former.
However, this was not the only reason why this unprecedented match brought about a lot of controversy.
Shortly after the match, as ‘David Valheim’ was being dragged away by the other knights, he suddenly complained of a sudden stomachache and then he… well… sullied his pants.
It was a visual, olfactory experience.
In the midst of the spectacle that stimulated many senses, people were left to choose whether to yell out or remain silent.
When their surroundings were brought to a silent standstill, someone just let out a huge sigh of frustration.
Then, after everything settled down, the ducal residence was noisy all day.
The crowd who watched the match went back to their respective stations and talked about what happened.
About twenty percent of their conversations was about ‘the street mercenary’s victory’, while the remaining eighty percent was about ‘the loser’s bowels’.
That’s why in this regard, after today’s events, the real winner was the latter.
Of course, nobody would ever want such a victory.
That’s how the day went by, in any case.
* * *
The round moon rose towards the place where the bright summer sun once was, and the deep indigo darkness hung over the sky.
After checking to see that the guest room that Cassion was staying in temporarily was empty, I left the mansion.
And then, I headed towards the vacant clearing.
Cassion and I, Diana and Logan.
It was the secret place that only the four of us knew about.
And of course, as the owner of that vacant clearing, I was present.
I approached while purposely letting my presence known.
So that the man who was sitting on the dry summer grass would notice.
He was staring blankly at the sky, but he slowly turned his head.
And the man’s darkened face gradually became more open.
“It was a shame.”
I answered his call with a smile.
“You’re not sleeping yet What’s wrong”
I was going to congratulate today’s victor, but his room was empty.”
“I received your congratulations earlier though”
“Yes, you did.
But that was for my newly appointed escort knight, Maxwell.”
After the match, I faced Cassion briefly.
It was to appoint him as my escort knight in front of the crowd.
However, that greeting and those congratulatory remarks were only for formality’s sake.
Diana’s cover was to be my maid, so she’s around me a lot, and I also met Logan recently and talked for a while.
After that, there was a family dinner, so there was no time for the two of us to meet up.
Then I went to see him late at night, but the room was empty.
“But I’m here to congratulate someone else, right now.”
There was a playful smile on my lips as I said this, and Cassion, who was facing me, smiled as well.
He leaned his cheek against one upright knee.
Because of this, the gaze facing me was also slanted.
So, I sat down with one knee up just like him, leaning down on it as well.
In the end, our eyes were not the right side up, but they matched.
“Are you here to congratulate me Not Maxwell”
“Yes, I’m here to congratulate you. Not Maxwell.”
“What did you mean when you said, ‘It was a shame’” he asked.
I had to look away for a moment because I tried to recall what he meant, but then I remembered that I answered him earlier with that line when he called my name.
Without realizing it, I burst into laughter.
On the contrary though, his eyebrows twitched slightly.
This was all the natural reaction, and so my own feelings on both sides were valid.
That it was hilarious, but at the same time, not really funny.
“Today’s main character is supposed to be you, but then Mister Potty Pants just had to steal the show.
Thanks to that, you’ve become the knight who claimed victory against that poo man.”
What a disgraceful nickname it was.
Well, anyone could sully their pants, really.
Yeah, it could happen to anyone.
But what’s with that timing
Cassion won the match with such style, but it was such an unexpected thing for the opponent to end up **ting himself right there.
I was so speechless that I couldn’t even laugh.
…No, scratch that.
Actually, I did sort of laugh.
Anyway, the ducal residence was noisy bustling with stories not of Maxwell’s victory as he claimed dominance over the opposing knight, but with stories of how David was dragged away with ** in his pants.
What’s fortunate here was that the match between the two was quite intense, so the winner’s skills were not disparaged at all.
I tried to pick out a better complaint amongst the ones that I had now, but while I did so, Cassion blinked as though he didn’t expect this.
“Wasn’t that your doing”
“My doing No”
“…Logan and Diana clearly believe it was you though.”
“…Did you think so, too”
The man’s lips pressed together in a straight line.
His questioning gaze furtively tried to look away, but turned back.
You thought so, too, right”
I was taken aback as well.
By all means, why would I have done such a thing
Of course, to be quite honest, if my goal was to make the opponent ** himself, I’m very confident that I could make that possible.
But what would I gain from turning him into mister potty pants in this match
I wouldn’t bother to meddle with such a worthless man.
It’d just be a waste of my time.
I said I’d trust you, so I did.
I even gave up on my sure-fire plans to make David lose… But you didn’t trust me, did you”
As I bobbed my toes, I trailed off and stretched my words.
At this, the corners of Cassion’s lips tugged up.
Now this was unexpected.
I thought you’d look at me with an apologetic face.
His eyes curved beautifully along with the smile on his lips, and he bobbed his toes just as I had.
Then, he spoke.
I trust you.
That’s why I thought you had a hand in it.
After all, I know that you’ll ensure a perfect victory no matter what.”
“…That’s a pretty good answer.”
“Right Me, too.
I also like your answer.”
Thank you for trusting me.
He added in a hushed whisper.
Silently, pleasantly even as we didn’t smile, we looked at one another.
“It feels like it’s only yesterday when you were so freaked out about us touching lips.”
As I continued to face the man’s black eyes, I blurted out the words as though I was reciting them.
He pretended as if he didn’t hear anything and instead answered with a question calmly, however his pupils shook ever so slightly.
At this, I let out a laugh.
He glanced over my way lightly.
I was the one who sat back first.
I kept my head leaning in a slant all that time, so my neck was stiff.
With my arms behind me, propped on the ground, I looked up at the sky.
Countless stars abundantly filled the heavens as if they had been poured over, and the night sky was as clear as the daytime sky.
“Anyway, I’m not the one who did that to him.
Of course, I did plan for him to get dragged away like that.”
However, this part of the plan was something that Diana, Logan and Cassion already knew.
With me still sitting in that position, Cassion stared at me.
“Then who was the one who gave him the medicine Obviously, the symptoms came out too suddenly for someone who’s supposed to be sick beforehand.”
“It was Zobel.”
“David’s academy schoolmate, son of a pharmacist, and member of the Fourth Knight Order.
And… the one who helped us get David to sign that illegal commissioned request.”
Surprised, Cassion asked back.
He seemed to be quite shocked that his previously leaned over head straightened back up from that slant.
Certainly, he’s the only one.
Zobel was, obviously enough, a thin, weak man.
From beginning to end, he’s just been walking on eggshells around a certain person.
Yet there’s no one else but him who’d do it.
While investigating David closely, we found out that Zobel was lending a helping hand in these schemes, so we went to meet up with him.
To use him in order to secure evidence against David.
But then, when I met him and said, ‘I came to you because I know you’ve been helping David,’
He blacked out.
He fainted right then and there.
His eyes rolled up so only the whites of his eyes could be seen, and then it was thirty minutes later that he came to again.
After he regained his senses, I told Zobel about the plan to arrest David, and when I blackmailed him into joining the plan, he was shaking in his boots.
Even so, he thought hard about it before answering.
Then, he nodded and replied that he would cooperate with us.
Throughout the process, Zobel seemed very much like the frightened, vulnerable man that he looked like, so it was no wonder that Cassion was surprised by this.
“I went to see Diana a bit after dinner.
And that knight.
While crying about how he had been drugged, he confessed.”
“Diana Ah, sure enough… I met Diana before dinnertime, so that’s why.”
Cassion murmured under his breath with a blank expression.
Like Cassion, Diana had also suspected me of being the culprit, but he soon realized that she already knew the truth.
Shrugging, I continued my explanation.
“It seems like David’s been bullying him a lot.
He’s only helping David because of the threats he’s been receiving, so he had no choice but to do all that, but when he heard that I’m out to get David, he also took this opportunity to exact his revenge.”
“Ha, it truly is an eye for an eye.”
“It really is, yeah.”
While speaking in the way a villain I knew would, it sounded like the most dismal and cruel thing.
The man next to me seemed to have the same train of thought, so I stayed silent for a moment.
Soon, he sat back like me.
As he propped his arms behind him, I could see the tendons on both his arms visibly.
All of a sudden, I just had to admire it.
His body was already originally firm, but he’s become even more muscular.
Unbeknownst to my thoughts, Cassion quietly spoke as he looked up at the sky.
“So, are you going to tell your father or your brother about it”
From looking at his forearms, I looked up to see his side profile.
His gaze, as he looked at the sky, held a bit of tension.
My eyes inched down.
His adam’s apple bobbed up and down as he gulped dryly.
Everything I could see from his body language told me that he wanted me to ‘deny’ it.
This huge man, with these rippling muscles all over his body, had his teeth clenched while thinking of the long period of bullying, filled with tension at the torment of waiting for forgiveness for this act of revenge.
Hoping to breathe comfortably once mercy has thus been given.
I raised my gaze upwards.
I looked round over his head, towards the sky.
The evening sky was as beautiful as the heavens during that night.
That night, when Cassion was inside that falling carriage.
That night, when he was trapped in that alley while heavily injured, and when he stopped breathing for a moment.
Perhaps Cassion was also recalling the clear sky of that night.
I opened my lips and spoke carefully.
“A victim of bullying just took revenge and retaliated.
How could something like that be condemned”
It’s just self defense, of course.
I do hope my answer was what this man was wishing to hear.