The Saint’s Picture Book
When I approached Toshizou Hijikata’s room I could hear that there were women inside.
At first, I wondered if he was busy, but I could hear that they were talking, and so I opened the door after knocking.
In spite of it being the day of the fight, he had called the women of the brothel to his room. One of them had his head on her lap as she cleaned his ears.
He was playing a lute and seemed to be enjoying himself.
It didn’t seem like the right attitude to have before a match, but I did not get the sense that he wasn’t taking it seriously.
“I’ve trained every day since I was a boy. One thousand swings a day. And so taking some time off now will not affect my abilities.”
“True. It may be good to loosen your nerves before a fight. By the way, Toshizou. This has all gotten a little out of hand, given that we were just deciding who would go to the dungeons. Are you not a little worried?”
“No. Besides, I do not see how I could lose to that girl. The only thing I am worried about is that she may get hurt.”
“In other words, you cannot win unless you go all out?”
“You can interpret it any way you like, my lord. Well, I do expect to work up quite a sweat today.”
Toshizou said as he closed his eyes and relaxed on the woman’s lap.
“I have people here to comfort me, but she does not have anyone. Perhaps you should go to her.”
He said with a wave of his hand.
“Comfort is good, but I hope you will not tire her too much before the fight.”
Toshizou ended with one of his base jokes, then continued to play his lute.
Eve saw him and said,
“It is as if he is some kind of king.”
I tended to live modestly. Toshizou’s lifestyle was must more similar to a nobleman.
“If you wished it, master, you could live just as he does.”
She said hesitantly, but I shook my head.
“Not me. Humans are not all the same. I lived modestly even in my past life.”
Of course, the memories were hazy, but I was the second son of a poor nobleman. And so our lifestyle was not one of luxury.
All of my income as a landowner went into my research.
When I told Eve about this, she chuckled.
“So being a Demon King has not changed you at all then. The only thing you collect is books.”
“Yes. And I do not care about first editions or conditions. I just need to be able to read them.”
The castle library wasn’t particularly large, nor was its contents rare.
It had books of knowledge you could find anywhere, along with some works of fiction.
Still, I could spend a day in any of those books, so I was clearly not a Demon King with expensive tastes.
While I was not interested in womanizing, deer and falcon hunting were things I would like to do one day.
In any case, Demon King Ashta was not a king with refined tastes.
I next went to Jeanne’s room.
I knocked on her door as well, but for a different reason.
With Toshizou, it was in consideration of the fact that he had company. But with Jeanne, it was to make sure she was not changing.
I knocked twice, but there was no answer.
Had something happened?
I told Eve to go in to see if everything was alright. She returned with a smirk and gestured for me to enter.
She would never lie to me, so I went in without much concern, however, I was very surprised to see Jeanne in the state that she was in.
She usually stared blankly into space, meditated or was otherwise eating.
However, today she was sitting at her desk and concentrating at something.
She was holding a pen and appeared to be writing.
“Now that I think of it, I did teach Jeanne the alphabet before.”
I had taken out a chart and asked her to write it down, which she had done.
The current page was filled with ‘U,’ which meant she was close to the end.
As I watched, she finally noticed me and looked up with a smile.
Then she proudly showed me the notebook.
“Look, Demon King. I have been writing every day.”
The book was filled with so many letters that there was hardly any white on the page.
“That is quite a feat, Jeanne.”
I said as I patted her head.