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{This is a long chapter, worth 2 chapters… but it’s all good… Well, Rudeus’ inner voice is needed in this part, so I don’t want to cut it halfway…}

[N POV]

As he continued to read the document in his hand, Claude nodded calmly and digested everything that he could.

While doing so, he sometimes writes on the blank paper prepared on the table.

As he knocked the pen’s butt on the table’s surface, he said, “This is great, but what stopped the information network within the Upper part of the Central continent?”

“We don’t have enough employees, sir…”

“I see. I thought we’ve already affiliated with the Asura Kingdom? What’s so hard to hire more members?”

“There are too many hidden spies implanted from the other great nobles…”

“I wanted to ask the Great nobles things, but I just realized that these Kingdoms don’t really have ranks in their Nobility, sigh… what an annoyance…”

This world’s kingdoms don’t have any definite ranking system like Baron, Viscount, Count, and above. All they included within the list were only those that hold the purity of the royal blood.

It’s still a mystery how this is worked. Still, aside from the 4 Greyrat families that hold the regent as the region lord, there’s no other information in the Original Series.

Even when the day Sauros dies, there’s nothing that can be linked to them.

“Pardon me, sir, but the Asura Kingdom had too many Slave traders within their ranks. It’s hard to trust them…”

“Why don’t you just purge those slavers? I’m using that to collect the other member, including you, right?”

“Yes, I can’t thank you more to save me from that hell hole. However, as the Arbalest, we can’t be seen to demolish a slavers organization linked with those from the Great nobles and Asurans’ Royal clan… Moreover, they’ve eying us from all sides within the kingdom which obstructs us from moving freely…”

“I see, it seems that being known had restricted our freedom…” as he answered so, Claude stopped reading the document and gave it to the man.

“Alright, continue to cooperate with the Adventurers and those of the Volunteer and Militia…”

“Yes, sir”

After saying so, Claude left the room.

As he gets out of the place, Claude can see a girl with blond hair. Trying to see the commotion in the dining hall.

Claude moves stealthily behind the little girl. As he got closer, he confirmed the person in front of him.

He grabs the little girl and lifts her up, and hugs her from behind.

“Kyaaa, noo! A pervert! Help!”

The child then screamed in fright.

It made those standing around in the way look at her and opened a path for the father to see what made her daughter scream.

That person was being pommeled by Rudeus. Even so, he can see that his daughter is in danger and stands up hurriedly while shouting.

“What the hell did you do to my daughter!”

Yes, the man that is being pummeled by Rudeus is Paul.

And the one Claude lift is Norn.

“Aish, I’m hurt that my princess called me a pervert…”

Claude said so while evading the rampaging Paul.

As he evaded Paul’s assault repeatedly, he hugged Norn tighter while rubbing his cheek with Norn’s cheek.

Norn shuts her eyes in fright, opens her eyes, and sees the pervert is Claude, the hugs him.

“Claude!” Norn said in joy.

After that, she cried with tears of joy.

However, his father. Paul thinks that the pervert is doing an awful thing to Norn, so he pulls his sword.

“Get away!” Paul put his stance. “From her!” he said as he dashed towards Claude.

Seeing the mad Paul, Claude sighed.

“What happened to this old man… was he this deaf, or is he just blind?”

As he said so, he looked towards his surroundings. He can still see that people are gathering, while some can defend themselves. Some might be injured by Paul’s rampage.

Claude didn’t bring his weapon box, as he can’t block the item with his other attacking spell or a barrier spell.

Claude calls the spell name.

“Time Square…”

As he calls the spell name, he brings his hand in front of him while opening his palm.

Time Square allows him to increase his body speed rate.

It might be under the Time attribute magic tree, but it’s still impossible for him to stop the time.

He is different from Kuro, the Miko of Time and space. He might use the same knowledge, but the spell usage was further.

In his eyes, everything is slowed down.

They moved so slow it’s almost stopped. Within that slowed-down world, Claude can move faster than the other.

Within the period of Time square, he moved towards Paul and pulled his neck hard, then continued to push Paul to the floor.

BAM!

As he did so, the Time Square spell ended.

It might seem long, but all of these things happened faster than a blink of an eye.

Everyone within the hall sees Claude suddenly missing and appears above the sprawled Paul, unable to move.

“Damn you…” Paul said as he tried to fight back.

“Chill, old man, it’s me, Claude…”

“Cl… Claude?…”

Paul looked up and saw the face of his disciple. He smiled bitterly while thinking about his powerlessness.

Paul then passed out from the impact.

“Geez, how weak…”

Claude said as he stood up.

In his hand, Norn’s still there. Although she stops sobbing, she looks at Claude angrily and punches him.

“Don’t bully my dad!”

“Ouch…”

..

.

[Rudeus POV]

The inn Paul was staying at was the 『Dawn of the Door Inn』. The next door is slightly larger than the usual inn. I’m just saying it. It’s not like we’re there…

Right now, We’re in the Adventurer’s Guildhall in Millshion.

Inside is a circular wooden table with ten seats. I sit on one of them. Paul is sitting in front of me.

Though it’s still daytime, all the seats are filled up. The guys I knocked out were healed by some healing magician allies of Paul, and they were sitting around as well. It goes without saying, but the looks they gave me weren’t particularly good. It seems that everyone here is Paul’s companion.

What do I mean by knocked up, you ask?

I just do it. In front of the Adventurer Guild, I see someone suspicious, so, with the help of Ruijerd and Eris, we beat them. Then, meeting with Paul, Eris and Ruijerd, go somewhere and leave me here alone looking guilty.

Hey, don’t leave me alone here!

That is what I want to say, but we’re talking about Paul. So, I don’t really mind.

It’s not like I want a father and son time or something, you know?

The one I notice in particular is the person behind Paul. Sitting there is a female warrior. Her hair is short and chestnut-colored, curling outwards. Her lips are a bit pouty, and she gives a charming impression. Worthy of special mention is her figure.

Large breasts, a slim waist, and a whole butt covered up by the so-called bikini armor. She’s a girl in her late teens.

Indeed, it’s the female warrior that Paul called Vera.

Even with one look, I can tell that she’s got the kind of figure that Paul is fond of.

That bikini armor isn’t very unusual in this world. It’s a world where a small wound can easily be fixed with healing magic. Assuming that they’d just block attacks, they’d prefer lightweight armors. Things like chainmail would get in the way. There are a lot of swordsmen who think this way. She’s likely one of them.

Still, it’s the first time I’ve seen someone so lightly dressed. They’d generally wear armor on their joints above some thin clothing, like their shoulders and elbows. Even if she isn’t dressed that way because we’re in a bar, she could have worn something overcoat. At the very least, the young women I’ve seen up until now on the Demon Continent were like that. Isn’t she cold in a get-up like that?

Because of the 7 towers in Milis, I’ve heard that the climate is always stable here. I wonder if that’s why she’s fine? Well, let’s just assume so for now. It’s eye-pleasing.

While I’m looking at her, our eyes suddenly meet.

I was winked at.

I returned the wink.

“Oi, Rudy… Rudy?”

When Paul speaks to me, the female warrior and I break off our gazes.

“Father, it’s been a while.”

“What, Rudy… you survived, huh?”

Paul spoke with a tired voice. How do I say this… he’s really changed.

He hasn’t appropriately shaved, his hair is messy, his breath reeks of alcohol, and his whole body gives off a peevish impression.

He doesn’t look at all like the Paul in my memories.

“Well… yeah…”

At any rate, my mind can’t keep up.

Why is Paul here?

This is Milishion.

It’s as far from Asura as Africa is from Mongolia.

Is he here to search for me?

No, he shouldn’t have known that I was teleported to the Demon Continent.

In that case, for a different matter, huh?

What about his job protecting the Buena village?

Was the damage that was that crazy that he needed to spend more time around the world than to help guard the village?

“And so, why are you here, Father?”

Thinking that I should ask this first, in response, Paul looked surprised.

“[Why?] you ask, you saw the message didn’t you?”

“Message… you say?”

Message.

What message?

I don’t recall seeing anything like that.

Seeing me obviously confused, Paul frowned.

Could it be that I said something that upset him?

“Oi, Rudeus. What have you been doing up until now?”

“Even if you ask that it was pretty rough.”

I’m the one who wants to know what’s going on.

While thinking this, I recounted my journey up until now.

About how I had been transported to the Demon Continent, I had been saved by a particular Demon race person, how I became an adventurer, and the year I had spent with Eris on the Demon Continent.

Thinking about it, it had been a pretty fun trip. From the troubles, we had at the start and the half-year we had lived as adventurers, we had experienced quite a lot.

It might have been because of that, but I gradually became more talkative and started to talk more passionately about the events that had occurred while I was journeying. Everything that I had said was utterly non-fiction, a great big spectacle.

I had separated my journey into three parts:

The first was meeting Ruijerd, becoming friends with him, and then the chaos at Rikarisu town.

The second was about the Great Magician Rudeus helping Ruijerd and his journeying to reform the world.

The third was about how some cowardly Beast People had captured me, my desperate struggles in captivity, and how I met Claude.

Though I had dramatized a few parts, I began to speak more smoothly, and gradually my gestures became more joyful. I started to tell the story while making exaggerated sound effects.

By the way, I had left out the stuff about the Hitogami. I don’t even talk about it with Claude. I don’t know why but I seem to have a bad feeling when I want to share them with Claude.

“And so when we got to Wind Port, what we saw was…”

“…”

Around the time when I had finished telling the second part, the 『The Journey of 3 Black-listed People Through the Demon Continent – Empathy Arc』, I suddenly stopped talking.

Paul had become sullen.

His face had distorted into an irritated expression, and he was tapping his finger on the table.

I might have upset him somehow.

Without understanding, I was about to continue my story.

“After that, we headed to the Great Forest.”

“That’s enough.”

In an irritated voice, Paul cut me off.

“That you spent the last year gallivanting about, I understand quite well now.”

I became just a little irritated at Paul’s words.

“I had quite a tough time as well, you know.”

“Just what was tough about it?”

“Eh?”

When he had asked that in return, I let out a strange voice.

“From your tone, I didn’t feel like you had even an ounce of hardship.”

That’s because I told it like that.

Though, indeed, I may have gotten a bit carried away.

“Hey, Rudy. There’s one thing I’d like to ask.”

“What is it?”

“You, why didn’t you gather information about the other people who had been teleported while you were on the Magic Continent?”

I stayed silent.

I had no choice but to stay silent.

Even if he asked me [Why?] I had no way to answer.

There was only one way to reply.

There was only one reason.

It was because I had forgotten.

At first, we had struggled with all our strength. However, even when we had room to breathe again, I hadn’t even once thought there might’ve been people besides us on the Demon Continent.

“I-, I had forgotten… We didn’t have the time to, and…”

“Didn’t have the time? Even though you had the time to help out some demon you didn’t know, you didn’t have the time to concern yourself about the other people who had been teleported?”

I stay silent.

I had gotten my priorities wrong.

Now that he mentions it, indeed, that may have been the case.

Still, don’t ask me this after it’s already happened. I’ve heard the story from Geese and Claude already, and I know I am wrong…

But, don’t push it…

I had really forgotten at that time.

I can’t be helped, right?

“Hah! Without searching for others, without writing a single letter, together with that cute, cute ojou-san like you were on a picnic, living as an adventurer. Not only that, you had a strong guard to escort you. And then, hah, when you first came to Milishion, you saw a kidnapping and put panties on your head and played hero?”

Paul sighs at me in ridicule and reaches for the jug of alcohol on the neighboring table. He drank half of it in a gulp, then spat as if to make fun of me.

Because that gesture was unabashedly making fun of me, I became irritated. Though I won’t tell him to stop drinking, aren’t we in the middle of an important discussion?

“Even I’ve had to deal with one thing after another. I had decided that in a situation where I couldn’t tell left from right, I would protect only Eris… Various things had happened, so it couldn’t be helped, right?”

“It’s not like I’m blaming you or anything.”

He had spoken in a tone that ridiculed me. Finally, I began to raise my voice.

“In that case, why are you picking a fight with me!?”

I reached the limits of what I could endure. I don’t understand why Paul is saying things like this.

“Why, you ask?”

Once again, Paul spits.

“I should be asking you that.”

“What about me?”

I can’t comprehend it. What is he trying to say?

“Was that Eris you mentioned, Phillip’s daughter?”

“Eh? Ah, of course, she is.”

“I’ve never seen her, but she’s definitely quite the cute ojou-san, huh? Was not sending letters because you thought the number of guards around her would increase, and it’d get in the way of your flirting?”

“Didn’t I just say that I had forgotten?”

I hadn’t thought of anything but that.

Certainly, Eris really does have good standing.

The Greyrat family is huge.

Possibly, had we spoken to the lord of Saint Port, we might have gained one or two guards.

But I had explained that at that time I had been caught by the Beast People and so… oh, I hadn’t explained, huh? I hadn’t gotten up to that part yet.

Even so.

I aimed to do the things that I could in my own way.

Though I didn’t manage to do everything in the best way possible, that doesn’t give him the right to blame me like this.

“Leader. How about leaving it there? He’s still young, so even if he had said a little too much, it can’t be helped, right?”

When I became silent, the bikini warrior from before had come from behind and placed her hands on Paul’s shoulders. Seeing this, I laugh in scorn.

In the end, it’s this sort of thing.

Though this man speaks high and mightily, he’s a man who won’t discriminate when it comes to women.

He’s that sort of man.

He isn’t in a position to say anything to me.

I haven’t laid my hands on Eris once.

Certainly, there were close calls.

There were times when I was ruled by my desires as well.

But I never did lay my hands on her.

“When it comes to women, I don’t want to be told this by you, father.”

“…Huh?”

Paul’s eyes glaze over in irritation. I don’t notice.

“What’s the deal with the woman over there?”

“What about Vera?”

“Do Mother and Lilia know that you have such a beautiful woman nearby?”

“…They don’t. There’s no way that they would.”

Paul’s expression warps into one of regret, but I don’t see it. I was deluded into thinking that I was winning the argument.

I’ve forgotten about them being missing right now. I’m just too furious at Paul pushing me into the corner.

“So you’re cheating as much as you like, then? You’ve had her put on quite the erotic outfit. It seems that the day when I get a new brother or sister is close at hand, huh?”

Before I realize it.

Before I realized it, I had been hit and was on the ground.

Paul is making a vicious expression and is looking down at me.

“Don’t fuck around, Rudy.”

I had been hit.

Why?

Sheet.

“Oi, Rudy. Since you’re here, you passed by Saint Port, didn’t you?”

“And what about it?”

“Then you should know, right!?”

I don’t know what’s going on anymore.

Just that Paul is hiding something, and that though I don’t know about it, he’s blaming me because he thinks it’s natural that I do.

Don’t fuck around with me.

Even I have things that I don’t know.

There are heaps of things that I’d like to know about.

“I don’t know!”

I raised my fist and struck at Paul.

It’s avoided.

At the same time, I activate my demon eye.

I stamp on Paul’s leg with all my might.

I then spin around and aim for Paul’s chin.

He moves really well for a drunk person.

I gather mana into my right arm.

I still can’t match Paul in close quarters combat.

However, if I use magic, it isn’t a problem.

I create a tornado with my right hand, and Paul is sent flying.

“Whoa!?”

Paul flies spinning through the air and is thrown behind the counter.

He sends the jug of alcohol flying with a crash and falls onto the bed.

“Sheet! You’ve fucking done it now!”

He immediately gets up, but his legs are tired.

This idiot drank too much.

In the past, Paul was stronger than this.

He would likely have evaded my tornado even in that position.

“Rudy, you bastard…”

Another woman rushes over to the stumbling Paul. Even though he surrounds himself with women, he dared to say all those things to me.

“Don’t touch me!”

Paul shakes her off and walks in front of me.

“Paul, how many women did you cheat with while I was gone?”

“Shut the hell up!”

It’s a really unsightly, telegraphed punch.

Is this really the same, Paul?

This is an attack that I can avoid even without my demon eye.

I grip that arm and perform a one-arm shoulder throw.

Of course, I can’t do anything like Judo.

I had used wind magic to kick us off, and like that, I forcefully threw him.

“Guhah…!”

It seems that he didn’t even perform a safe landing properly.

I don’t know if the technique exists in this world, though.

I mount Paul, who had clumsily fallen to the floor.

Eris usually does the same way that I check his arms with my knees and neutralize any resistance.

“I’ve been trying my best, too!”

I hit him.

I hit him.

I hit him.

Paul endures it and looks at me in hatred.

Sheet.

What’s with those eyes.

Why do I have to be looked at like that?

“There was no helping it, right!? I was at a place I knew nothing about! There wasn’t anyone I knew! Even then, I somehow managed to make it here! Why do I have to be reproached like this!?”

“…Since it was you, you should have done things better!”

“I couldn’t!”

After that, I wordlessly hit Paul again and again.

Paul didn’t say a word and, while bleeding from his mouth, just continued to look at me.

In an irritating way.

Like he was looking at someone who couldn’t be reasoned with.

Why?

He shouldn’t have been a person who would look at me like this.

Sheett…

Sheet.

” Kyaaa, noo! A pervert! Help!”

When I heard the voice, I could see that the people already surrounding me in the hall.

They look at Paul and me.

It’s a voice of a little girl. I know that something is wrong. So, I loosen my grip with Paul and get myself together.

The same is happening with Paul, as he suddenly sobered when he heard the voice.

The surrounding people opened the path, and I could see Claude hug a little girl I knew from the picture he sent me from all those letters.

She has a nose a lot like Paul’s and golden hair like Zenith’s.

I understand with just a glance.

It’s Norn.

My younger sister.

She’s gotten quite big.

If I remember correctly, she’s five now, right?

No, has she already turned six?

The sobered-up Paul looks threatening. He seems like an unsheathed blade, so different from the fight he had with me before.

Claude just nonchalantly stood there and hugged Norn as he put his stance.

Damn, I want to hug her too…

While I was sidetracked, Paul suddenly appeared before him. Even my magic eyes had trouble seeing his movement, but Claude evaded them easily.

Each move Paul uses is something different from the past. He’s gotten closer to Ghislaine’s capability.

Even so, Claude is still better than.

When Claude suddenly opened one of his pams while cradling Norn, he muttered something.

My eyes can see it, but he’s moving so fast that the projection on my eyes is actually slower than his movement.

What is this? This is different from the spar he had with Ruijerd.

I know this spell.

It’s his Time Square, but this is the first time I used magic eye on this spell. So he’s not actually stopped the time but moved faster within the time.

But, that should be dangerous as a mistake can take his life away.

He slowly moves his body atop Paul and sits on him in my eyes.

As he’s pining Paul on the floor, Paul realizes that it was Paul and calls Claude.

Claude stopped Pinning Paul on the ground, stood up, then Norn stared at him and punched him while saying.

“Don’t bully my dad!”

Go, go, go, beat him up! Norn!

I said fully well, knowing that he’s not hurt even a bit…

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Mushoku Tensei FF Chapter 38: Holy Millis Kingdom [3]

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