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

“You’re really a maid at heart, huh.”
 
Phil heaves a deep sigh.
 
Seeing that, Milis strokes his head trying to comfort him despite not really understanding why.
 
Oblivious she herself was the cause.
 
“Um… Phil-sama, you don’t want to be known as the [Hero of Shadows]?”
 
“Well, you can understand just by looking at this face.”
 
“Why is that? You’re not doing anything bad, you’re doing commendable things… Isn’t it okay not to hide it?”
 
“…There are various reasons.”
 
While being petted, Phil looks up into the distance.
 
What is reflected in those distant eyes?
 
At the very least, it’s a scene far from the vibrant freedom.
 
“Umm… Did I, perhaps cause you trouble…?”
 
Milis nervously yet guiltily asks in a small voice, eyes damp with unease.
 
Suddenly visiting, raising gossip credibility, getting attacked, subordinates shooting mouths… Undeniably nothing but a parade of nuisance acts for Phil.
 
Honestly speaking, she couldn’t blame him for resenting her, innocent intentions or not.
 
However─

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“Please don’t worry about it. Well, it’d be a lie if I said no trouble at all… But I can tell you harbor no ill intent. I can’t blame someone like that.”
 
Many malicious people exist in this world scattering harm.
 
Having witnessed such humans is exactly why Phil couldn’t bring himself to resent innocently intentioned people.
 
To reassure her, Phil starts stroking Milis’s head.
 
“(Thank you so very much… You really are kind.)”
 
Milis murmurs slightly flushed.
 
Unfortunately, those words don’t reach their recipient.
 
“Okay then! Can’t exactly call this an apology, but please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you! For your sake, I’ll gladly strip down one or two layers!”
 
“Hmm… Then could you slowly peel off the top starting from above to bare yourself ──”
 
“Just what are you trying to make the saintess do?”
 
“Owowowow my temples huuuuurt!!! “
 
The impromptu retort named iron claw slams Phil with a shriek of pain.
 
The unusual sound effects of whap whap! from earlier signified impacts on a human body.
 
“Eeek! What’s happening all of a sudden!?”
 
Milis flusters confused at the sudden violence.
 
“Anyway, Phil─ What do you plan on doing with this?”
 
Kahlua pulls out a letter from her apron after poking at him for a while.
 
Tearfully holding his aching temples, Phil glances at the letter,
 
the royal family crest drawn on it─
 
“Ignore it.”
 
“Are you sure? They won’t just get mad if you ignore a letter from the royal family right?”
 
“I’ll just say ‘I’m busy entertaining the saintess’. They can’t carelessly treat a saintess after all. It’s a matter of who wants to stick their neck into blatantly troublesome issues.”
 
The letter contents likely held a summons to the castle.
 
A notice from the royal family is like a ticket to the path of a political tool cart horse.
 
An existence Phil pursuing freedom idealizes to be detrimental through and through.
 
On top of the disastrous mess from the saintess’s visit…
 
“So yeah, ignoring it. Come, let’s play with Lady Milis for a while instead.”
 
“Is it alright, Lord Phil? But that sounds like an important talk─”
 
“It’s fine. For current me, Lady Milis is more important.”
 
“Eh!?”
 
While partially using her as an excuse, not abandoning the freshly attacked saintess doesn’t sit right with Phil either.
 
That worry for Milis stems from Phil’s true sentiments, doubtlessly so.
 
After all, he would never perpetually help others without reason otherwise.
 
It’s all Phil’s kindness.
 
Even Phil himself recognizes this.
 
Thus resigned to abandoning the rumors, Phil chose the path of obediently playing nice.
 
And─
 
“Ah…!”
 
Her face promptly flushing red from the blunt declaration of importance, Milis’s head emits steam.
 


 
A major factor enabling the [Hero of the Shadows] so admired by the masses to rescue people everywhere lies in Phil’s [Underworld].
 
[A noble got ambushed by bandits on a highway near Amethyst Marquis Territory foothills]
 
A slightly youthful male voice rings in Phil’s head.
 
Today had also reached its end with the timing to sleep soon arriving.
 
[Where are you?]
 
[Right next to you]
 
In his nightclothes, Phil speaks in his mind.
 
The more a mage studies their field of magic, the more their repertoire of influencing this world’s events increases.
 
Repeated past research powered up Phil’s [Binding] magic…and evolved it into something more potent, more convenient.
 
Even mentally conversing like this stems from Phil’s sorcery.
 
─ [Free dialogue with bound targets].
 
A superb ability unconstrained by distance to telepathically chat with bounded subjects.
 
Detriments include having to bind targets and prevented dialogue between subjects, but the merits outweigh those by far.
 
If just anyone could use this magic, deliverymen transporting letters by horse would be moved to tears retiring.
 
[Then don’t move from there. I’m going now]
 
Having said so, Phil starts stripping off the nightclothes he had just changed into.
 
Just then─
 
“Oh my, going out again today?”
 
Kahlua suddenly opens her mouth, leisurely having her pre-bedtime tea in Phil’s room.
 
“Don’t casually sit there aiming to spectate me change…!”
 
“How awful when I was already here. Can’t leave the room that readily after all.”
 
“At least pretend to show signs of it! Drinking tea normally… Can’t be that desperate to see my body? Too bad! My underwear stays on!”
 
“Did I say I wanted to see anything…?”
 
Kahlua sighs deeply and heads to the closet.
 
She takes out the black outfit and a plain mask from within.
 
“Ummm…”
 
“Yeah? Gotta hurry though.”
 
“You don’t want to be known as the [Hero of the Shadows] right?”
 
Phil receives the black outfit and plain mask from Kahlua. Slight impatience floats on his face.
 
“Then you don’t need to go… Don’t you think?”
 
If wishing to not spread the rampant rumors further, he should refrain from unnecessary actions.
 
If Phil no longer helps or sees anyone, possibilities of leaving traces and being witnessed would fully disappear too.
 
Moreover, Phil holds no obligation to rescue random strangers to begin with.
 
No such obligations should exist, yet this youth called Phil─
 
“Don’t spout crap. I can’t overlook someone falling into misfortune. And does it hurt to wish for even strangers I don’t know to live happily?”
 
“I guess… That was foolish of me to ask.”
 
Kahlua brings the mask to Phil’s face.
 
His lovely visage disappears from view but she was fond of this mask nonetheless.
 
A smile naturally surfaces on Kahlua’s face.
 
“I was saved by that kindness of yours too.”
 
“Well, it’s true I’m kind but… This was left to me by that guy─”
 
“Hm?”
 
“No… Nevermind.”
 
Fully changed, Phil gently strokes Kahlua’s head last.
 
“Plus, this is a good opportunity─ Might as well try dispelling the rumors.”
 
“And how will you?”
 
“I’ll yell ‘My name is so-and-so!’ after saving them. Rumors of Phil Salemabart being the [Hero of the Shadows] will disappear once I personally deny it right? Since the person himself rejected it.”
 
“Oh my, surprisingly decent idea. I’m a little impressed.”
 
“Keep up that praise. And then let me visit the brothel aga─”
 
“No chance.”
 
“Ugh.”
 
Chuckling aloud, Phil feels his partner’s warmth for a moment before stomping once.
 
The floor promptly starts colorfully dyeing black.
 
“Okay, I’m going.”
 
“Yes, have a safe trip Hero-sama.”
 
Bidding her last words, Phil sinks into the darkness and disappears from sight.
 
The very next instant, Phil’s room door opens without warning.
 
“Umm… Lord Phil, are you here?”
 
The one peeking her head in is Milis dressed in nun robes. Her timid intrusion was very endearing.
 
“Terribly sorry Lady Milis but Lord Phil just stepped out.”
 
“Ehh? At this hour…?”
 
“His kindness is open 24/7.”
 
Facing the appearing Milis, Kahlua shrugs and starts cleaning up the tea set.
 
She’s got no business lingering if her master isn’t present. After all, Kahlua’s reason for being in the room was purely because Phil was there. Even if not the type of place suited for ladies like the wilderness, Kahlua would head there, tea set in hand, were Phil present as well.
 
“Did Lady Milis have some business with Phil?”
 
“N-no! I didn’t have any particular business… I just felt like talking, that’s all.”
 
“I see, Lady Milis. In that case, how about joining me for a bath now?”
 
(Oh, I see… So, this is what they call feminine charm. If I had this kind of stat, would Phil have paid a bit more attention to me?)
 
While thinking so, Kahlua is feminine enough by societal standards. Elegant and gracefully beautiful, she exudes an air that captivates everyone.
 
It’s just that the vector of being feminine for Kahlua is different from Milis’s perception of being feminine. And perhaps, it’s because the person she admires is too unique, making her lose confidence in herself.
 
“Yes, Milis-sama. If you’re okay with it, would you like to take a bath from now on?”
 
“Is that… together with Kahlua-san, perhaps?”
 
Yes.
 
Milis still wore her nun’s habit. In other words, she hadn’t prepared for bed yet.
 
However, Kahlua was clearly already dressed ready for bed.
 
Finding it strange, Milis unconsciously tilted her head.
 
“I’m fine but didn’t you already bathe, Kahlua?”
 
“I did, but I was thinking of passing time until Lord Phil gets back. Since you didn’t seem to have entered bath yet Lady Milis, I wondered if you’d like to join me.”
 
“If that’s the case, let’s go together!”
 
As Milis trotted over energetically, she slowly took Kahlua’s hand.
 
And─
 
“Then let us go at once, Kahlua!”
 
“Fufu, yes let’s.”
 
Kahlua let herself get led by Milis out of the room.
 
While some jealousy surfaced, seeing the delighted Milis enabled Kahlua to suddenly think
 
─ (If I had a little sister, would it feel like this?)
 
So innocently charming. Separate from being a saintess, as just a young girl Milis’s demeanor brought a smile onto Kahlua’s lips.


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