I am no hero of the shadows! Volume 1 Chapter 8 part 6

“Might as well throw my lot in with Conservative too, I guess.”
 
“Oh goodie~! I was thinking of backing them too!”
 
“Then it’s settled, we’re comrades despite my not being a believer. Here’s to a lasting relationship.”
 
“The Shadow Hero sure knows how to string girls along! Completely oblivious to the blade aimed at his back!”
 
“Except the wielder and the stab spot have already been determined, my two eyes.”
 
With that quip, Phil leaves the balcony with Alicia.
 
The live band’s tune has shifted at some point, an upbeat rhythm audible from the doors.
 
Just as they’re about to reenter the hall, Alicia tacks on one last bit.
 
“By the way, Holy Maiden Kira Larmil is Orthodox Faction.”
 
“Huh? Who’s that?”
 
“Hmm, that’s strange?”
 
Alicia tilted her head slightly.
 
“…She have met Phil-kun once before.”
 


 
Wandering the hall alone in a dress as deep as the night sky, Milis feels very small as she totters around on little feet.
 
Even just walking from one end to the other of this grand castle hall takes time with her tiny strides.
 
And being so petite, Milis can’t even stand on tiptoes to see very far across the room foliage — she inevitably must trudge through the crowded Hall like a forest at a snail’s pace.
 
─Taking all that into account, Milis was troubled.
 
“Uuu…where could Sir Phil be…?”
 
As Holy Maiden Milis, she had temporarily left Phil’s side to speak with church officials.
 
Figuring that business concluded, time to go searching — but her desired company is nowhere to be found.
 
She thought he might be with Kahlua, but the Kahlua she happened across midway was chatting happily with Lady Nicola.
 
Unsure if she should interrupt royalty, too nervous to even ask anything, Milis simply left. Was that a mistake? She now regrets not asking for his whereabouts first.
 
With so many people that she doubts he’s resting on one of the balconies, Milis searches for her non-existent lost belongings in this human thicket.
 
(I wanted to talk about some things too…)
 
Just as she thinks that─
 
She feels a tap on her little shoulder.
 
“Yoohoo~ Miliss♪”
 
Turning around, she sees a girl with long platinum blonde hair hanging loose.
 
Compared to Milis’ own lacking curves, the womanly lines clearly silhouetted beneath the girl’s emerald dress draw Milis’ gaze before she quickly looks back up at the familiar face.
 
“Lady Kira! You were here too!”
 
Kira Larmil – one of the four Holy Maidens belonging to the church, same as Milis.
 
“Long time~! Keeping well~?”
 
“Yes! I’m doing good!”
 
Seeing her admired big sister figure puts a smile on Milis’ face, like when she was younger.
 
As if compelled to cling onto her, Milis fidgets expectantly.
 
Seeing that, Kira smiles wryly “Oh jeez~” and opens her arms wide as if bracing for inevitable impact.
 
And with the perfect positioning achieved, Milis’ body acts on impulse and goes in for the hug.
 
“Ehehe~”
 
“Geez~ Milis is as clingy as ever~”
 
There are as many Holy Maidens in the world as there are people sharing that name – no more than four.
 
So while there are privileges, they also bear the special standing of positions higher than normal.
 
Equal yet somehow placed above others. Wanting to make close friends is often hampered by that resultant distance in the end.
 
And conversely, having company in the same circumstances puts them on equal footing.
 
Sharing various troubles and blessings as the chosen ones, it makes building deeper bonds easier.
 
Thus to Milis, Kira as a fellow Holy Maiden was one of the people she felt closest to in the church – secretly looking up to her as an “older sister” figure even.
 
“But I didn’t expect you to be at a party too, Lady Kira! I haven’t seen you around lately so… it’s not travels but faction business right?”
 
“Yeah, would’ve been easier if it was ceremonial greetings~ Unfortunately it’s sponsorship scouting~”
 
“S-So it’s Sir Phil after all…?”
 
Normally one would think participating in the Crown Prince’s party is about establishing connections with the nation’s leadership.
 
But with the Shadow Hero’s true identity as an influential figure recentlyexposed, her mind automatically jumps there instead.
 
“Well~, that would be the case normally but y’see~, he probably wouldn’t nod yes even if I plainly revealed my name and standing to appeal to the Shadow Hero, so I’ll pass~?”
 
“E-Eh?! Sir Phil would turn Lady Kira down…?”
 
“Not that weird is it~? Since the Orthodoxy Faction already attacked you and all~”
 
“Ngh…!”
 
Kira’s words make Milis’ body jolt.
 
She more or less expected as much already. But that was still merely speculation without confirmation.
 
Yet the girl before her just said what?
 
The Orthodoxy Faction she belongs to — attacked her.
 
In other words, equally implying she has provided the [answer] amidst their matching quiz responses─
 
“Th-that can’t be…”
 
“So y’see, it’d better if you distance yourself from Big Sis, ‘kay~? Since I’m a Holy Maiden belonging to those twisted radicals too~”
 
Prompted by Kira, Milis slowly pulls away from her.
 
At that time, the poor girl’s face betrays hints of shock she can’t fully hide.

YOU ARE READING STOLEN TRANSLATION. READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM


 
“The Conservatives wouldn’t do stuff like that I think? But the Orthodoxy move on the sake of justice. Believing so strongly in the greater good they created themselves, even messed up stuff gets spun good in their eyes! Even harmless, living emblems of virtue like you, Milis! So far they’ve been striking down clear villains, but unchecked self-righteousness is bound to eventually go too far right~? And this is where we’re at now!”
 
“Lady Kira…why…”
 
“Oh, don’t get me wrong ‘kay~? What I described is only some radicals in the Faction, not my personal views. I wasn’t involved so as an individual, I bear no responsibility─ If it was my own will, Milis would be dead already~”
 
Can her words even be believed?
 
While part of her wants to trust Kira, her survival instinct screams caution in the face of such blatant death threats.
 
Even if she did believe those words, betrayal would be all that awaited. That emotion swells up in Milis for daring to trust.
 
“B-But since I’m part of those wackos myself, you better keep your guard up around me too, ‘kay Milis~? At least until the disputes settle… And your duties from the Holiness too~”
 
“Bye-bye,”
 
Waving lightly, Kira turns her back on Milis.
 
Perhaps thinking those of opposing factions shouldn’t get along, Kira makes to casually part ways.
 
“W-Wait!”
 
“Hmm~?”
 
“Why…did you join the Orthodoxy Faction, Lady Kira?”
 
If you’re aware they’re distorted, why?
 
Clinging to the girl trying to leave, Milis asks.
 
And─
 
“Ahhaha! Milis really is too sweet~”
 
She turns with a delighted laugh aimed at Milis.
 
But her eyes seem fiercely savage─ appearing murky and blackened.
 
“Because Big Sis absolutely can’t forgive wicked people!”
 
If put into words,
 
what likely reflects in her own eyes upon seeing Kira now.
 
Is probably─ an avenger.
 


 
The climactic dance begins, the remainder of the night nearing its end.
 
Gowns twirl along with the resounding music.
 
Gasps of awe emanate from the spectators and several male gazes emerge, appraising like hunters.
 
Likely a product of tangled webs of political marriages and colorfully turbid love affairs.
 
(Whether suitor or pursued, hope you all find clingy life partners…)
 
Phil loiters at the edge of the hall watching the dance scenes with a sigh from his vantage point.
 
“Would that sigh stop after dancing with me?”
 
Kahlua stands beside him wineglass in hand, side-eyeing his sighing.
 
“Can’t help it. I was stuck entertaining Lady Nicola’s kittens. I’m drained of bait and mental fortitude here.”
 
“I’d still like you to refrain before a lady. As I thought, Phil could use some lessons on maiden sensibilities and handling proper ladies.”
 
“Lemme know if good teaching materials and instructors turn up…”
 
Not that such convenient tutelage exists in this world. Maybe a skilled lecturer at best.
 
As he suffers the prickly words from the side, Phil heaves yet another sigh.
 
“Ah, Sir Phil!”
 
At that moment, Milis, who had been away, dashed towards them, scattering a cuteness reminiscent of a small animal.
 
“Is it okay to continue the conversation?”
 
“W-Well! Even though I didn’t really understand much of the talk… it probably went okay.”
 
For Milis, who had no intention of actively expanding her faction, the aristocratic society held little merit.
 
Even talking to unfamiliar big shots, not to mention understanding the content, was tiring.
 
Phil felt a sense of camaraderie growing within him, a bit of sympathy.
 
“……And also,”
 
However, as soon as a sense of camaraderie emerged, a shadow fell over Milis’s face.
 
“…Is something wrong?”
 
“N-No! It’s nothing! I just felt a bit lonely, realizing that I can’t stay by Sir Phil’s side anymore. I received a task from Archbishop, you see.”
 
“I see.”
 
Milis’s stay was only temporary. She had been hiding because her life was in danger, but one couldn’t stay together forever.
 
If there’s a reason to part, then parting is a natural course.
 
Still, they had spent some time together since then. Milis had come to see Phil right after revealing her true identity, and it’s understandable that she might feel lonely.
 
(Well, it seems like it’s not just that, though.)
 
Phil observed Milis’s expression.
 
It was different from her usual cheerful demeanor. Dark, mixed with anxiety and suspicion, her mind seemed chaotic. If she were to stand alone for a moment, she might sink even further into that darkness.
 
—There’s something more than just loneliness.
 
Phil sensed that.
 
(Is she afraid to leave my side because she was attacked before?)
 
There’s no certainty, but could that be the reason?
 
However, it’s not a territory he should intrude upon.
 
Milis leaving is her own decision, related to the affairs of her church.
 
Phil had been involved just by chance, but he shouldn’t walk through life with a part of it entrusted to others.
 
Finding answers through someone else’s words would make his life a rail influenced by others. That’s not his life. His life is his own, and it’s free because he chooses it.
 
Not maintaining the current state, but talking about the future.
 
Milis can’t keep leaning on Phil forever.
 
That’s why, as a magician who idealizes freedom, I choose not to step in and say unnecessary things,
 
but instead—
 
“Well then, we should create the best memories together.”
 
Phil knelt down, extending his hand towards Milis.
 
“Eh, Sir Phil…?”
 
“Would you dance with me?”
 
Without worrying about Milis’s confusion, Phil spoke.
 
If he couldn’t step in, he would act as if he knew nothing from the disclosed information. In the meantime, he could try to dispel her anxieties and worries.
 
“Since it seems unlikely we’ll meet again, let’s leave a splendid memory here.”
 
“You…”
 
“At the grand finale of this luxurious stage. If we’re going to embellish it, there’s no better situation than this. Indeed, we haven’t left many significant memories since we met… but, just like your beautiful hair, we can add a touch of gold.”
 
Phil seemed self-centered but was not.
 
As an idealistic magician who cherishes freedom, he was willing to step in and comfort if someone couldn’t enjoy freedom without worry.
 
At this moment, Phil tried to encourage Milis.
 
With his own reasons, logic, and kindness.
 
Understanding this, Karua muttered softly behind, “Naturally…”
 
“Really, Sir Phil is truly something. You see through everything.”
 
Moreover, the person it was directed at felt it too—
 
“…Thank you for everything until now.”
 
Milis took Phil’s offered hand.
 
“I’m glad to have met you!”
 
Her face displayed a smile as beautiful and lovely as a blooming osmanthus, without a hint of shadow.
 
Phil kissed the back of her hand.


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