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I heard a voice in the middle of my nap.
As I’d heard this voice everyday, I was experiencing a sense of deja vu.
「How long do you plan on sleeping!? Get up!」
I opened my eyes.
When I rose from the bed, I looked out the window and saw that it was already midday.
When I looked in the opposite direction, it was the same as usual. My white-haired mama had her hands on her hips, scowling at me.
Today, too, I had to be woken up.
Though I didn’t complain, it was also troublesome for my mama to do this every morning.
「I’m airing out the futons today, so get up already.」
Following her exact words, without even changing clothes, I left my room.
「I’ve already prepared breakfast for you, so hurry downstairs and eat up!!」
While giving an unmotivated reply to my mother’s words, I walked down the hallway and descended the stairs.
Then, halfway down the staircase, I saw a blue-haired girl sitting down.
It was my younger sister, Lily.
When I glanced at her hands, I wondered what she was doing as it seemed she was fiddling with something like a shell that had many kinds of bumps.
Perhaps it was some kind of magic tool?
I don’t really understand what it would be used for.
But it was not a rare scene.
Her hobby was the assembly and disassembly of magical tools.
So, finding herself with free time, she was playing with them.
While it’s a good thing, it’s also an issue not knowing the time and place when inspiration would strike.
When you love what you do, you could really get absorbed in your work just about anywhere.
Whether it be in the middle of a meal or a bath, inside a store, or by the sidewalk, even at times taking a seat in a back alley, she would begin to tinker with magical tools.
Today, well… seemed to be one of her better days.
「Lily, is today your day off?」
When I poked her back with my foot, she seemed startled and turned her head, looking right at me.
Then, after exchanging looks with me, and what I had in my hand, she shook her head.
「Then it’s not your day off?」
「It’s not too late for you to report to your job yet, right?」
「……Go change your clothes. I’ll escort you there.」
「Ah, sure. Please do.」
Apparently, she had been in the process of playing hooky from work.
I escorted her up the stairs, and having made sure she went into her room, I went downstairs.
I wondered was it because of Lily’s personality being like that or was it the fact that I was ignored at the Royal Academy, but amongst our brothers and sisters, she was the only one who didn’t attend the academy.
Since it was my younger sister herself who wished not to attend the Royal Academy, she instead got a job through dad’s connection at Zanoba Company, which manufactured and sold works of art and magical tools.
As for Lily’s position, it was mainly in the Development and Repair of Magical Tools Division.
She seemed to be quite reliable, and was even given a private workshop by the company.
For my younger sister who loved anything magical tool-related, that kind of workplace must’ve been akin to paradise.
Despite that, she was chronically tardy or absent from work.
Usually, like how it was today, she became almost completely absorbed in fiddling with strange magical tools.
She was not sufficiently aware of her role as a member of the working class society.
Well, I of all people have no business saying that.
Incidentally, my younger sister, Chris, had entered into the Asura Royal Academy.
Her hair color is neither blue or green and, from the beginning, she was eager to go to the Asura Kingdom, so our father and mothers didn’t have anything, in particular, to say about it.
My younger sister, despite being a grown up, had a shining admiration for the princess, so a place such as the Royal Academy must be like paradise to her. I wonder what she is doing there now? Has she made a boyfriend yet?
「Red mama! Lily is going to the shop right now, and I’m going to escort her. So is it alright if I borrow a horse?」
「So today wasn’t a day off after all… that’s fine. Just be careful.」
After informing my red-haired mother in the dining room about our departure, I quickly wolfed down my breakfast and left the house to prepare a horse.
Helping Lily onto the saddle behind me, we headed along the road to the Zanoba Company.
By the way, the horse belonged to our red-haired mother.
Not only fencing but equestrianism was also one of the red-haired mother’s strong suits, so back when we were kids, we were often taken on long rides.
I also happened to be good at training horses.
Any horse mother would ‘get a hold of’* became obedient.
[T/N: lit. embrace. See Linnea and Pursena for details.]
All of us siblings, under the tutelage of the red-haired mother, were taught equestrianism and how to break in horses.
Incidentally, the name of this horse was Caravaggio.
Father named it.
It seemed to be the same name as the horse my grandfather once kept.*
[T/N: see Roxy’s final exam, childhood chapter.]
Though I didn’t understand the reason behind it, whenever father kept an animal, he never failed to give it a name.
Perhaps it was a part of his character.
Since a short while ago, Lily had been leaning against me, fiddling with a magical tool.
Even while in the middle of traveling, or just during anything, she paid no heed to anything but them.
So, to not let her fall off, I deftly handled the horse.
I was quite used to it.
「So, what kind of magical tool is that?」
「……It’s a magical tool that waters the fields. When you hold onto the rod and pour mana into it, it rotates while going ‘clack clack clack’ and sprays water everywhere.」
「Whoa… it sounds like it would also spray water on the person using it.」
「That’s why I need to see if there’s any way to improve it.」
While Lily was saying that, it began to go ‘clack clack clack’.
Though all of us siblings learned equestrianism, Lily was not particularly good at it.
When it came to getting on, she could, but once she did, Lily was at a complete loss at what to do next.
Incidentally, while on this matter, when Lily finds something interesting on the roadside, she might jump off.
She’s very whimsical.
And because she was short, she would have a hard time getting back on again.
In addition, Lily also had no sense of direction.
From home to school and from home to work, it was expected that she would get lost on the road…
However, she didn’t use to lose her way at all when she was a child.
That said, for this person to lose her way so often now was simply because she had no awareness.
I often went to look for the lost Lily, and the many times I would find her, she always seemed to have a puzzled look on her face.
To not send her to the Royal Academy, father and mother probably took into account her horrendous sense of direction.
Anyway, due to those sorts of things, I can’t help but accompany her, when she is late.
Then suddenly, a cold feeling streamed down my back.
Coincidentally, similar shrieks also erupted from the various people who were walking around the neighborhood near us.
「Lily. I’m freezing.」
「……uh, I’m really sorry.」
「I have told you many times not to activate magic tools back there.」
Lily, of course, had activated a magical tool while sitting behind me.
This was a common event.
At least today, I can consider myself fortunate as I wasn’t covered in flames.
This time with a small voice, the feeling of Lily against my back disappeared.
Did she fall off the horse?
Thinking that that’s what happened, I looked behind me and saw Lily running towards a place.
She crossed the main street, with a pitter-patter.
Her destination was a roadside stall.
Circling back with the horse, I moved to the front of the street vendor.
Looking at it from above, it appeared to be a shop that had some magic items put out.
People made magical tools, and nature made magic items.
Though they seemed similar, they were different, and regardless, Lily liked both types.
So, as per her usual behavior when she found such a place, she jumped right after it.
「…and it’s effect?」
「When you whack someone with this staff, they will have a brain-freeze. It will feel like they have drunk a large amount of ice water.」
「How much is it?」
「You would like to buy it? Young miss, you don’t look like an adventurer or mercenary…」
「It’s for research, so that I can make similar magical tools. 」
「Oh! As expected of the Magic City Sharia, there are people who buy with that kind of purpose! So, you got money?」
Lily pulled out a heavy sack from her pocket and placed five coins she took out from it in front of the merchant.
A suitable price.
Even though Lily was weak at equestrianism, she was fast at calculation and magical formations.
「Hm, here you go.」
「Hoh, to be carrying such a large sum of money, you must be a wealthy young miss.」
「It’s only for such opportunities like this.」
「Is that so? If I were you, I’d be worried about pickpockets swiping them… well, is that why you have a bodyguard?」
The merchant looked at me, smiling with a laugh.
Was I supposed to be a bodyguard?
「He’s not a bodyguard. This guy is my older brother.」
「Is that how it is? I guess the features, minus the hair, do look a bit similar…」
「There’s no such thing… Ah!」
I extended my hand out from where I’m sitting on the horse and pulled her up before she gets stuck telling her life’s story.
「You are late to work, so we need to hurry on.」
「Right. Then, Shopkeeper-san, that’s goodbye.」
「Sure, thanks for your patronage, and watch out for pickpockets and kidnappers~」
Lily is completely treated as a child.
Lily is the child of our blue-haired mother and that seems to be the reason why her appearance seems so young.
Her speech and behavior are also childlike.
However, amongst our siblings, she is probably the hardest worker.
It’s unmistakeable, since I am the best at not working at all.
「Nii-san, would it be alright if I whacked you on the head with this to see how it looks?」
When I looked back, Lily seemed to be holding her head in agony.
It seemed that she had just tested out the effects of the magical item she bought on herself.
In situations like this, if it were my older sister Lala, I wouldn’t have refused and been hit on the head.
Lily can’t feel satisfied until she tries it out herself.
「The brain freeze is real… Nii-san, want to try it too?」
「Stop it. It’ll be bad if we fall off the horse.」
Lily, seemingly a bit disappointed, slid the staff into her bag around her waist and began to fumble around with a magical tool.
Moving along on the horse in silence for a while, the destination came into sight.
The atelier owned by the Zanoba Company.
When I stopped the horse in front of the building, Lily got down.
「All good. And when you return?」
「I can go home by myself.」
「I see, take care then, sis.」
Pitter-pattering, Lily headed into the atelier, but stopped and suddenly looked back at me.
「Hm? What’s up? Forget something?」
「If perhaps Nii-san wants to work, I could hire you in at my place, you know?」
「As your chauffeur?」
「More like running errands. Nii-san, it’d be convenient, since you already know a bit about magical tools.」
「I’ll think about it.」
With a small nod from Lily, she entered the atelier, this time for sure.
Nevertheless, my younger sister seemed to want to help me get a job by going as far as this.
She also understands the situation in regards to my unemployment, but I guess she must not think I am in a good state.
Moreover, the words of the merchant from before made me anxious about pickpockets and kidnappers.
Suddenly disappearing one day, and then being put on display in the slave market, it’s good that there’s never been such a thing……
Well, despite her appearance, she is a lady of the Greyrat family.
Even if her equestrianism was poor, her fencing and magic skill were well above the ordinary.
Besides, in this town, the Greyrat family had influence.
I can’t imagine there would be many people who’d dare to mess with the Greyrat family.
「No point in being careless though, right?」
While muttering such things, I left.
Wandering around town as usual, eventually, I arrived at a certain business I frequented.
『The Drunken Goblin』.
This bar was the most inconspicuous location in town.
The so-called ‘dive bar’ on the outskirts of town.
It wasn’t the kind of place for the really notorious, but rather, where the small time villains could gather.
There maybe some people wondering why an upstanding person, like myself, would be at such a place.
However, it was something I had realized.
Just like what Cheddarman were battling, there was no evil that is easy to understand.
Yes, real evil doesn’t show itself on the surface.
Evil was always sly and crafty.
It was always hiding in the shadows and moving behind the scenes.
If someone wanted to punish such evil, they themselves must go to where there is evil.
By putting myself into the den of evil, I can gain information on the evil.
Thinking this as I entered the bar, I located the usual face.
It’s a small man with a balding head. It’s George, the information broker.
「Yo, George, how’s business doin’?」
「Oh, it’s Zeke… Well, it ain’t too bad. Alcohol sales are in the black today, at least. I can treat you to something if you want.」
「Is it alright? Thank you~ Ah, alcohol is no good though.」
George asked the serving staff to add on a drink.
I don’t receive compensation, though I’m not paying, but I will accept something given in goodwill.
That is because goodwill is the partner of the Ally of Justice!
「And how about yourself, Zeke? How’s business?」
「You mean how’s my unemployment going? Eh, sometimes good, sometimes bad y’know?」
「Ha ha, I get that impression from you. Then, is there anything interesting going on?」
『Small talk』 was something I engage in, from time to time.
At any rate, it was basically just a bit of gossip.
It’s a good place to start from anyway.
「There’s nothing particularly interesting going on. I escorted my sister who was late to her job, and at around noon there was a kid who fell down near an alley. He was crying, so I used some healing magic on him. Umm, there was a pickpocket in the market, so I tripped him with my leg and made him fall down.」
「Your younger sister? Is she the one called Lala? Or is it Lily?」
「It’s Lily. Right now, Lily is the only one of my younger sisters in town.」
「Ah, that’s how it iss. My bad, my bad, the names are a bit similar so sometimes I jumble them up a bit.」
It seemed that today, what George wanted to know about is Lily.
He was a good listener when it came to hearing me talk about my family.
Information on the Greyrat family probably had a high price.
And since I was the source, the credibility of the information was very high.
「There is a rumor that she acts like a spendthrift and buys all the magical items and magical tools around, but what kind of lady is she really?」
「That is…well, there’s no mistaking the buying all the magical tools and magical items part, but it’s just her hobby. Rather, it’s more like she has a personal interest in them, since she’s a workaholic to the end. After all, she’s developing new merchandise for the Zanoba Company.」
「New merchandise, eh? Anything that might be popular? 」
「Well, exactly what she is developing, I don’t actually know.」
I have no idea where George was selling my older and younger sisters’ information.
Because of that, I didn’t disclose any important information.
Well, exactly what was being developed, I really didn’t have a clue.
「How about you? Is there anything interesting going on?」
「Anything interesting, huh……you mean, in the usual sense?」
「That’s right, in the usual sense.」
Incidentally, it seemed George may have a vague suspicion that I was an Ally of Justice.
That may have stemmed from the result of some villains being suppressed because of the information distributed to me.
I didn’t think a guy who couldn’t piece that much together had any business being an information broker though.
「Nothing really interesting, but I did hear a strange rumor just then.」
「A strange rumor?」
「Something about, a band of thieves that had been frequently appearing on the main road to the west.」
「…it’s not something too strange, is it?」
Magic City Sharia was a city with an excellent public order, however, it’s a lawless area outside of its walls.
Things like bandits appearing on the highways was a daily occurrence.
Sooner or later, the country would dispatch a knight or soldier to suppress them.
The fact of the matter is, even if I were to make the trip out west as an Ally of Justice… it would take a whole day.
I left in the evening, I preferred to return home during the same night.
If possible, only in town.
Outside of the town was outside of the jurisdiction for the Ally of Justice.
「Well, that’s unfortunate. They say that the band of thieves are selling women and girls in the slave market every night.」
The slave market?
Then, that was nearby.
「Any particular features?」
「I don’t know all the details, but… the leader seems to be the one wearing a red bandana. Aside from that――」
As always, from George, I drew out information about the villains.
Afterwards, the small talk began again as usual.
From this point, it’s really just a normal chat.
I listened to George bitch about things, and then we talked about how fine the asses were on the neighborhood girls.
Of course, George wasn’t the only one I talked to.
I also spent time talking to my other acquaintances in the bar.
Late at night.
After I left the bar, I headed over to the vacant lot downtown.
Then, in the middle of that vacant lot, I pulled on a certain rope.
There was a clink, and the entrance to the secret base was opened.
When I was younger, my older brother and sister had made this place together with me.
We carried tables, closets, carpets and cushions over and made this our hideout.
Back then, we had a lot of fun playing together here.
This base was not going to be succeeded by our younger sisters, so it had been decided that the last resident to inherit it would be me.
The small bed and closet have still remained as they were.
Or perhaps, the one who hadn’t changed since back then was me.
After making that joke, I took a certain item out from the closet.
It was a black helmet.
The helmet was the kind that covered the entire head, and it was something I found in the castle of the Dragon God, Orsted-sama, when I once accompanied my father on a visit.
Incidentally, though I said castle, it wasn’t a large place at all.
If I were to compare it to the size of other buildings on the ground, it is a bit smaller than our house, and father called it an office.
But, all those who lived in the town called it a castle. The reason was probably that they think it would be disrespectful to call the place where Orsted-sama lived anything other than a castle.
Was I also lured into that as well? Before I realized it, I had reached the point of calling it a castle.
Well, that’s enough on that subject.
There were large quantities of this helmet placed in the castle’s massive underground warehouse.
There were twenty, no, was it more like thirty?
The helmets which were exhibited in rows on a shelf were similar to this one, however, the design of each of the black helmets differed little by little.
Just like a certain section of a Magical Tool shop.
Among those, there was one that I was attracted to.
It was a very cool helmet.
But of course, even if was the coolest looking thing, I would never steal it.
No matter how foolish of a child I may have been, I would never steal something that was the property of someone my father worked for.
Still, I picked it up.
Letting out a sigh of admiration as I held it in my hands, I was unaware of Orsted-sama who had appeared behind me saying, “You can keep that.”
From that day onwards, this helmet became mine.
Orsted-sama was always wearing something of a similar design and though there were many like it, this one was mine.
In order to show my ownership, I carved a crescent emblem on the brow of the helmet and made it the symbol of the Moon Knight.
From top to bottom, I changed into some black clothes and put the helmet on.
Finishing it off with a dark-colored mantle, the figure reflected in the mirror is none other than the Ally of Justice, 『Moon Knight』.
Today as well, I would rid the city of its evil.