I am no hero of the shadows! Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 2

In her sharp gaze lie Phil sitting with Milis on his lap and nonchalantly working as if nothing was wrong.
At a glance, they look like a friendly couple radiating affection by diminishing the distance between them.
Their posture also ostentatiously flaunts their intimacy to their surroundings.
“It can’t be helped since Lady Milis insists on repaying me.”
“Yes! I’ve been wanting to repay you all this time, so please let me!”
“I see…”
It started with Milis wanting to “repay” him.
Since there was no particular need to and he wasn’t troubled at all, Phil politely declined. But Milis rejected that.
In addition to the past debt of kindness when Phil saved her─
There was also the nuisance of her taking shelter here and resulting feeling of obligation that “I must repay you somehow”.
“With my extended stay becoming likely… I would feel guilty just lazily freeloading, after all.”
“Well, you’ll probably get attacked again if you go out now. I can’t guarantee safe passage on the way back. So for the time being, it’s best you continue staying here to see how things go.”
“Right! So with what I can do…! I thought I’d try doing something you’d likely enjoy!”
“Pfft hahaha, such noble intentions.”
Phil strokes Milis’s head.
As she happily goes “Ehehe~” leaning into his hand, an adorable small animal-like charm appears.
Does having a little sister feel like this? Phil’s mouth loosens into a smile.
“Ow ow, Lady Kahlua, stop pinching my back!”
“(After clearly hating it… He easily gets all lovey-dovey just because she’s cute.)”
Kahlua puffs her cheeks in apparent dissatisfaction, pinching Phil’s back.
Precisely tuned to an unbearably annoying yet hard to ignore pain, Phil can’t casually brush it off and removes his hand from Milis.
“(Come on Kahlua, don’t get so angry. This is strategy too.)”
Phil conveys with a look. Kahlua frowns at him.
“(Yeah… First, I’ll let her do as she wants here to raise her favorability.)”
“(Uh huh.)”
“(Then once we get friendlier, I’ll say this─ I’m troubled being called the ‘Hero of the Shadows’, you know. The saintess’s influence is strong on nobles and commoners alike. If I can’t bluff my way out of revealing my power anymore, I at least want help diverting attention around me.)”
If she says just one thing, everyone or almost everyone will think “Is that so” instead of “He’s lying”.
Since I obviously can’t fool the girl in front of me anymore, I chose to get her cooperation instead.
(One more in the know is still manageable…! At this point, let’s just think that it can’t be helped with the saintess! obtain what benefits I can get first and fade away!!!)
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
That’s the kind of man Phil is.
“(So first, I’ll aim to improve relations. If intimacy rises, she may listen if I plead ‘Don’t spread rumors!’. That’s what I’m thinking, so don’t get too upset over it, okay?)”
“(Fine… You better make up for it later!)”
” (Yes, yes, I know.) “
Having heard his reasons, Kahlua’s irritation lessens slightly.
A maiden’s heart sure is troublesome.
“Still, Lady Milis is so cute I can’t handle it…”
“Ehhh!? W-w-why so sudden!?”
Her face promptly dyed red from the sudden compliment, Milis stammers.
Mixed in with her embarrassment is an expression seemingly quite troubled.
“Flirting the saint already…? What happened to the conversation just now?”
“Nah, what do you take me for?”
“A pervert who wants to go to the brothel morning and night.”
“Not wrong, yeah. I’m glad you understand so well, partner. That’s why I ended up with the idea of Flirting, and it’s sad.”
While petting Milis’s blushing head, Phil speaks.
“Well, with someone this cute, Zan might do something…”
“Ah I see, that kind of thing.”
“Yeah, he’ll readily make a move if he likes a girl. On top of being so cute, she’s staying here at the mansion too… I can’t help but worry.”


What would happen if Zan laid hands on the saintess?
It would be fine if consensual. However, if a relationship was forced on her, she and the church placing heavy importance on purity would view it as hostility.
Furthermore, our nation presenting itself in amicable ties with the church would inflict punishment too.
After all, the influence held by the church is tremendous enough that antagonizing it outweighs protecting a single nobleman without any consequences.
If it was just Zan himself then there’d be less problems. But potential fallout reaching the parents and me holds likely possibility too.
Therefore, Phil wishes
—please don’t let him be enough of a fool to go that far.
“Listen, Lady Milis… Promise your big brother you absolutely won’t follow some filthy pig boy tempting you with candy, okay?”
“I’m not a child!”
Milis puffs her cheeks in a pout.
Seeing such an endearing sight, it was inevitable for Phil to think “what can you do?”

[Uh, Lord Phil… There are so many townspeople gathering at the manor that it’s become quite problematic. Can you do something about it?]
Around lunchtime, a complaint from one of the manor’s servants looking flustered at the situation arrives for Phil.
“Hey, don’t you think I’ve done nothing wrong here?”
Having finished a decent amount of work, Phil sits on a garden bench and asks Kahlua beside him.
A pleasant breeze brushes his cheek, the chirping of rural birds and the voices of townspeople yelling “Sir Hero of the Shadows!” reaches his ears.
He wants to believe the unpleasant factor mixing into this peaceful afternoon is just his imagination.
“Isn’t it Phil who wants to go to the brothel that’s bad?”
“No defending me, huh.”
Kahlua indifferently responds beside him.
The maid elegantly seated while brushing back her vibrant red hair looks exactly like a painting.
“Rather than that… I didn’t expect the townspeople would be causing enough of a ruckus for complaints to come in. Could there be even more gathered out there making noise apart from the ones I see peering in from the fences?”
“That’s right. I heard not only are there people crowding and peeking in, some are barging right into the manor grounds.”
“Am I some kind of idol? How did I suddenly gain so many fervent new fans?”
“The security guards were crying asking ‘when will this end?’ Can’t blame them for feeling frustrated when the crowd keeps swelling no matter how much they try to restrain them. Should we raise their pay?”
“I’ll positively consider it…”
Phil gazes up at the sky.
The pleasant wind should carry feelings of peace, yet the commotion rouses melancholy instead.
“Isn’t it weird? My identity as the ‘Hero of the Shadows’ should just be uncertain rumors, yet why has it become such a sensation still gathering momentum?”
Phil being the [Hero of the Shadows] wasn’t officially announced at all. He had merely let it slip to someone.
Admittedly, the drying black clothes and plain mask could be seen airing in the garden from the fence. But unless present at the rescue scenes, no one should be able to tell those belonged to the [Hero of the Shadows].
Moreover, not all the rescued saw what he looked like.
No matter how scandalous the gossip spread, the townspeople’s presumed image of the [Hero of the Shadows] was still hearsay.
Only uncertain elements, yet it had stirred up enough commotion as if there was conviction…
That sense of discomfort lingered in Phil.
“Oh my, you didn’t know?”
“What’s with that ominous preface!?”
“The saintess came, right? That’s why.”
Kahlua briefly glances at Milis on the opposite side.
“A saintess suddenly shows up despite no disasters or pilgrimage plans─ Her visiting Phil itself backs the credibility.”
“I see, so it was checkmate from the moment of her visit… Kh!
“Huh? Why checkmate?”
Unaware of the desire to avoid restricted brothel access, Milis tilts her head.
And it’s not like Phil could explain “Because I’m stuck in a situation unable to visit my darling (brothel) big sisters!” Either─
“There’s more!? Don’t tell me there are even further factors backing this!? Hey, stop… Who finds pleasure in bullying and tormenting helpless children!? If you enjoy that kind of play, go find someone else who wants it!”
“It appears some who visited the manor have been shooting their mouths off in the town.”
Hearing those words, something in Phil’s brain sensor reacts.
Then it turns into a question─
Aren’t people who should be here today absent?
“Lady Milis.”
“Yes, what is it!?”
“…Just where are your knight escorts?”
That’s right, the knight escorts who came along to protect the saintess Milis.
People who should stick by and guard the saintess from danger no matter what.
Yet Phil hadn’t seen any such faces until now, despite the saintess being right here!!!
“The knights belonging to the church also worship the same [Goddess] as us. Therefore, each shoulders the duty of spreading [Aristolianism].”
“I see, I see.”
“Since we already bothered coming all the way out here, they’re most likely doing missionary work right about now!”
“Huh, so no escorts?”
“They probably judged it’d be fine with the [Hero of the Shadows] around! I gave the okay too!”
“Hey, didn’t those guys just get attacked not long ago!? They’re shirking their duties while I’m working my ass off… Right, time to stick some moxa on them.”
“Don’t get angry just because rumors spread. Come, have a seat.”
Kahlua restrains Phil clenching his fist, about to stand up.
In the end, it seems Milis’s knights were the ones going around shooting their mouths.
Since it came directly from eyewitnesses, their words naturally gain credibility.
Moreover, people belonging to the church rarely utter lies—that vouches for credibility even further.
“Looks like trying to bluff my way through this with Lady Milis’s help is useless now… Once word spreads this far, it’s over. Despite enduring my desire to visit my darling older sisters and hole myself in for nothing…”
“So meaningless.”
“Hey, if you knew about the situation earlier when I said I wanted her cooperation ‘bluffing my way through this’, why didn’t you stop me? You were nodding along looking convinced, right?”
“A tiny bit irritated at you getting all lovey-dovey, so I thought I’d tease you a little.”

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