Teaser – The Black Knight Who Was Stronger than Even the Hero
・In a certain forest, in a certain empire, in a certain world
A roar loud enough to shake the earth resounded.
A group of soldiers a little distance away from the roar.
There stood robed magi with long staves, archers holding up their bow, armed swordsmen who appeared to be experienced veterans, and knights riding their horses.
They were members of the Imperial Army, a unit under the direct control of the Imperial Family.
Amongst them, one knight urged his horse forward while raising his voice.
The knight had short, light brown hair, and on his well-featured face ran a scar down his left cheek; this just furthered his impression of strength.
His body was slender and tall, and he looked about midway through his twenties.
Dressed in shining silver platemail and a blue mantle, he raced forward on the light brown horse that was his beloved steed.
“So it’s you, Conrat. How’s the situation?”
From inside the headquarters appeared a knight covered from head to toe in jet black plate armour, along with an armet and a bright red mantle.
They were riding a creature that resembled a black horse with horns, different to other horses, a one-horned-beast《unicorn》.
This knight was the squad captain and knight captain of this unit… the unit of the Imperial Army that directly served the Imperial Family.
Their subordinates referred to them as Squad Captain.
The black knight spoke to the scarred man… spoke to Conrat, and asked him in a man’s voice about the situation.
“Sir! During the ogre subjugation, a red dragon suddenly appeared! The ogre subjugation mission was completed, but three magi are currently spreading a barrier to protect against the red dragon’s attacks. However, it’s just a matter of time…”
Conrat promptly reported the situation.
“Three swordsmen had their bones broken during the ogre subjugation. Because of the red dragon, knights and archers; a total of five people were burnt.”
“…In other words, besides you and the magi, everybody is injured huh…? Hahhh~”
For this time’s ogre subjugation, three magicians, archers, swordsmen, and knights; a total of twelve people were sent.
The unit had decided that given their strength, this number would be sufficient, and sent Vice-Squad Captain Conrat just in case, but because of the entrance of an irregular, the situation underwent a full turn.
Because everyone but Conrat and the magi were unable to move for their injuries, Conrat had left the mages in charge of defence and quickly went to ask the black knight who served as squad captain to reinforce them.
And in the midst of all this, the black knight sighed, fed up.
“Squad Captain! Please don’t sigh in such a situation!”
Conrat spoke to that black knight in impatience.
And little wonder.
Normally, even with the mobilisation of the army, it was hard to tell whether or not you could take a dragon down.
Until Conrat had met this black knight, he was known as the Empire’s strongest, possessing enough skill to climb the ranks of the military despite being a haphazard man, but even he would only barely be able to keep a dragon company for a few minutes at best.
It would be stranger for him not to be impatient.
“Aahh~ sorry about that. I was just thinking ‘I wonder if things will hurry up and finish today without me having to do anything~?’, you see. I was just thinking, ‘It’d sure be nice to hurry home and take a bath, huh~’ you know?”
“…You were thinking about something like that?”
Unlike their strict tone from earlier, the black knight was now speaking in a fairly carefree and casual tone.
It seems that this was their real self.
And there Conrat was, astounded by his superior.
And just where had the tension of the surrounding subordinates gone?
Completely swept away by the black knight’s pace, Conrat’s calm returned as well.
“Right. The first time I met you, you were like this too, weren’t you?”
“It’s my strong point.”
“…Please don’t say that so proudly.”
Watching the back and forth between their superiors, the subordinates regained their calm and laughed.
“Well then, I’ll be going. Conrat, I’ll leave the rest to you~”
“Like I said, please take things more seriously, Squad Captain!”
“It’s fine, it’s fine, I’ve trained them so their magic barriers won’t break that easily.”
The moment they heard these words, everybody could assent.
Ever since this black knight had come, the contents of their training had undergone a huge change, and they began gaining strength with shocking speed.
Strong enough that a troll that would be a match for five people could be taken down by one of them alone.
“Well then, let’s go, Hayate.” (hayate = gale)
“Bbbrr!” (←horse sounds)
The black knight mounted the jet black unicorn, Hayate, and just like it’s name, like a gale it ran forward with a speed impossible for a horse.
・A certain distance away from the encampment
There a massive 10m dragon with bright red wings was spouting flames, and burning up trees left and right.
At this dangerous place stood three magi, desperately maintaining a barrier, and protecting the injured.
“Squad Captain~! Hurry up and come~!”
“Idiottt! This isn’t the time to be saying that!”
“Stop cryingg! I want to cry as welll!”
All of them were already crying.
The barrier was completely spread and they could hold on for plenty longer but because they were seeing the dragon up close, there was no way that they were not afraid.
As a bonus, they were all between the ages of 15 and 30; in other words, youths.
These youths were desperately holding on while awaiting the arrival of their squad captain, the black knight.
The moment they heard a voice from behind them, a black mass hit the red dragon dead on.
The dragon raised a shriek, and was blown backwards.
“Sorrysorry, I was late.”
Hearing that voice with no tension, and at the same time spotting a certain person’s appearance,
“””””””” SCHKWARD KYAPTAAN~! (Squad Captain~!)””””””””
They turned their faces, stained with tears and mucous, towards the black knight who had appeared atop his steed, Hayate.
Seeing this, the black knight,
“…Was it that scary?”
accidentally asked this.
Seeing their faces, Hayate cringed.
“Of course~! We thought we would die~!!”
screamed a girl in tears, one of the magi.
The other members nodded in agreement.
“Haahh~ From what I can see, your barrier can still hold for ages, so isn’t there nothing to be that afraid of? And also, in magic both your mana and spirit have to be strong, so don’t get so frightened by just a dragon. If you just get used to it, something like this is no big deal.”
“””””””” Please don’t group our spirits together with that bold spirit of yours!”
“My my… Well then, you guys can still hold up a barrier, right?”
“Eh-? Ah-, yes!”
Completely changed from their joking tone from earlier, the black knight addressed the magus in a strong tone.
The black knight gazed at the red dragon who had at some point gotten up and was glaring this way.
The atmosphere of the palce changed, and all of the subordinates withdrew their tears.
So that they wouldn’t overlook what was about to happen next.
The black knight descended from their partner, Hayate.
“Hayate, you stay here too.”
Hayate obediently obeyed the words of their master.
The black knight drew near the dragon.
It was an action that would usually be seen as nothing but suicidal.
However, nobody tried to stop it.
Rather, there was no need to stop it.
The dragon let out a threatening cry at the approaching black knight, and looked like it was about to attack at any moment.
In response, the black knight stopped at a place a little distance from the dragon, and holding with their left hand the scabbard of a black uchigatana that couldn’t even be found in this world whilst resting their right hand along the grip, they lowered their body in a stance that seemed like the would move at any second.
It was the stance for battoujutsu.
The knight and dragon glared at each other.
Hayate and the subordinates just watched.
It felt like a long time had passed, but in fact it hadn’t been long.
It only felt that long because of the deathly silence.
And suddenly things spelled the end for that silence.
Both parties stomped off the ground at the same time.
The next instant.
The black knight had drawn his katana in an instant.
From the pitch black blade trickled red blood.
The dragon just stayed in the posture it used to attack, and with it’s head gone, it slowly collapsed,
and fell to the ground with a huge noise.
The first sound was the noise of the knight cutting off the dragon’s head and sending it flying, and the massive head falling to the ground.
After confirming that the dragon had fallen, the black knight removed the blood with a swing of their blade, and returned it to their scabbard with a click.
The moment the sword was sheathed, the sense of tension that had enveloped the surroundings disappeared, and the breaths that had stopped without anyone knowing were exhaled as the subordinates began to breath again.
They calmed down after taking deep breaths for a while, but then belatedly began to become excited about what they had just seen.
“Squad Captain killed a dragon that even the military might not be able to beat!”
“And by themself!”
“When did they draw their sword!? I didn’t see a thing!”
“As expected of the Squad Captain! 『The Empire’s Strongest Black Knight』 isn’t just for show, huh!”
Forgetting their wounds, they were all excited.
While this happened, the black knight hadn’t taken a single step.
Hayate who had approached the dark knight drew its horn towards them, and did something.
The subordinates made a fuss for a while longer before,
“Squad Captainnn! Are you all right!?”
“Ah-! The Vice-Squad Captain!”
Conrat’s voice sounded out behind them.
When they turned around, they found Conrat racing their way with a number of knights in tow.
“Aahh~, thanks, but you’re late…”
The black knight had returned to normal.
However, Conrat did not miss the change in his superior.
More important than anything was that Hayate’s horn showed signs of magic, and it was clear that he had done something.
Conrat had dismounted his horse, and leaving the dragon and the wounded to his subordinates, he approached the black knight.
“…Where were you injured?”
“…My right ribs… 2, or 3 of them are broken.”
Right; this was why the black knight had not moved.
The moment the dragon’s head was sent flying, its forelimb struck the knight’s right side.
Had it been a normal person, they probably would have died that instant.
And Hayate had realised this.
Hayate’s horn had healing properies, and had treated the black knight with the magic in it horn.
“? Why are you apologising?”
Suddenly being apologised to, the black knight was lost.
“I know that you can defeat a dragon, but in Eldoa, you are the only one who can do that. As a result, we always end up depending on you. Even today, you should have originally been resting in base from your previous mission. Even though you should have been recuperating, you said “Yes yes, that’s-” …Squad Chief?”
The black knight stopped Conrat from speaking.
“I came out on the mission this time because I have my responsbilities as a squad captain. And lately, the monsters and demons have been becoming active. After I fought the demon king to a draw in single combat 2 years ago, they did pull back and our two sides have been glaring at each other since then, but it wouldn’t be strange even if they did take action.”
Indeed, this black knight had the ability to fight on par with the king of demons, the demon king.
Because of that, they would subjugate a dragon on their own.
“The demons won’t wait forever either. That’s why until then, I want to gain as much actual combat experience as possible. And on top of that, there are still many in the army that need the help of people like you and I. Them getting stronger is very important to the military after all, and most important of all is that I want them all to stay alive, so for that sake, even if it’s reckless I’ll do it again and again.”
Conrat had stayed quiet and listened to the black knight talk.
To the words of this small black knight who was younger than he was.
“Conrat, the military can become endlessly strong. One day when the war with the demons start, these guys will probably be fighting alongside forces from other nations. So that they have as few sacrifices as possible, right now we need to give them lots of experience.”
“(Aah, so this person has thought that far.)”
Hearing things that he hadn’t considered in the slightest, Conrat once again realised that he was not a match for this black knight.
“So to that end, won’t you lend me a hand, Conrat? I have limits too.”
The black knight looked straight at Conrat through the armet.
Conrat stiffened his face and replied.
“It’s not something that you need to ask. I shall follow you! I pledged this four years ago, after all.”
Conrat smiled at the black knight’s words.
And suddenly, Conrat recalled a certain matter.
“Speaking of which, did you know?”
“Mn? Know what?”
“About a week ago, the at the Temple in the Holy Kingdom, the hero summoning was performed and a silver-haired, blue-eyed, beautiful youth was summoned.”
“……… (Eh-… It wouldn’t be)”
“If I remember correctly, this name was Yuusuke-dono… Squad Captain?”
He couldn’t see their expression because of the armet, but the black knight’s mood had clearly dropped below freezing point.
“? And so, I’ll be heading to our subordinates, so please rest up.”
Having said that, Conrat walked over to their subordinates.
The black knight trudged away from where their subordinates could see then, and into the shade of a tree.
And then they removed the armet that they would absolutely never remove in public.
What appeared was something that would never be seen in this world; with a long, black ponytail, and a common, black-eyed oriental face that was likewise nowhere to be found in this world, was the figure of a woman between the late half of her teens, and the early half of her twenties.
She held her head in her hands as she crouched down.
Hayate watched on, worriedly.
“Aaahh~ I forgot~”
That voice was not the male voice from before, but was just like her appearance, the voice of a woman.
“Why did I forget…? No, I guess I wanted to forget. He’s finally here; that harem eroge protagonist…”
Thinking about what to do from now on, her head began to hurt.
To be continued.