After the duel between Naofumi and Motoyasu settled down after Naofumi was hit by a magic that couldn't be seen clearly, Motoyasu removed the slave crest from Raphtalia's chest before she finally slapped him.
" You cheat!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" Wh-What are you doing to Motoyasu-sama?!" Myne exclaimed
" When did I ask you to free me?!" Raphtalia continued
" B-But he was abusing you, right?" Motoyasu ask
" What the hell do you know about Naofumi-sama?! He never made me do anything I couldn't do! He only activated the curse when I was too scared to fight!" Raphtalia explained
" And that's the problem! Nobody should be forced to fight!" Motoyasu exclaimed
" Naofumi-sama can't use any weapons! Someone else has to fight for him!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" It doesn't have to be you. He'll just abuse you until you break." Motoyasu said
" Naofumi-sama defends me! He lets me rest when I'm tired!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" No, he's not that kind of guy." Motoyasu said
" Are you capable of extending a hand to a diseased slave on the verge of death? Naofumi-sama fed me everything I wanted to eat! He gave me valuable medicine to treat my illness! Are you capable of that?!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" O-Of course I could..." Motoyasu muttered
" If that were true, you would have a slave by your side, too!" Raphtalia said
" Knock it off! How dare you, damned demi-human?!" Myne ask as she lifted up her hand
That was when a commotion from the stands emerged as Ren and Itsuki walked in.
" Myne-san, I'd like to ask you about your illegal interference in the duel." Itsuki said
" What ever do you mean?" Myne ask
" Illegal interference?" Motoyasu ask
" You lost that duel, Motoyasu. Someone shot a magic spell at Naofumi. It was hard to tell, though, because it was wind magic." Ren said
" You must've imagined it. The audience didn't see a thing." Myne said
" The king has told them to keep quiet. One look at the nobles' eyes makes it obvious." Itsuki said
" I can't believe royalty will debase a sacred duel." Ren said
Raphtalia walked past them as she gasped a little when she saw someone else patting Naofumi's head.
" Getting framed over and over again... You poor thing." The person said
The person stood up after that as he nodded to Raphtalia.
" Why'd you come back? To laugh at me?" Naofumi ask, not getting up
" I don't need a traitor. Get lost." Naofumi said
" I heard rumors. They called you the horrible hero who forced himself on a party member. But I think you wouldn't do..." Raphtalia said but was cut off
" I didn't do it!" Naofumi yelled
" Stay away!" Naofumi yelled
" Please listen to me." Raphtalia said as she tried to touch him
" Don't touch me!" Naofumi yelled as he pushed her away, " Thanks to the oh-so-charitable Motoyasu, you're free now. You can stay clear of me! Or what, did he tell you to get a good look at the loser's face? Please just leave me alone."
" I believe in you, Naofumi-sama. What can I do to make you believe me?" Raphtalia ask
" Believe you? After you betrayed me?" Naofumi ask
" I'll always be on your side, come what may!" Raphtalia said
" Lies! You're just saying that to trick me again!" Naofumi exclaimed
" Shut up! What else are you people going to frame me for? I drew the short straw the moment I came here. Try as I might, nobody will accept me. Nobody believes me. Because of this damn thing, I..." Naofumi said as he tried to remove the shield, " Damn it!"
Raphtalia then placed her hand over his, " This shield has saved my life many times over. And during the Wave... Even though you couldn't fight, you defended the villagers using it."
" I didn't really do it for the villagers." Naofumi said
" Still, you saved many, many lives." Raphtalia said
" I'm not that nice a guy. I saw you as nothing but a tool at first, too." Naofumi said
" But you saved me." Raphtalia said
" No! I was only thinking about myself..." Naofumi said as Raphtalia hugged him
" I know you better than anyone else in this world. I know how kind you are. So even if the whole world speaks ill of you, I'll trll them they're wrong. I'll tell them again and again that you're a wonderful person. You're the one who saved my life, gave me a sword, and showed me my purpose in life. I am your sword. I will follow you through fire and brimstone. Even if you can't trust anyone anymore, I trust you. I trust you, the man who saved me. No, I trust... the great Shield Hero." Raphtalia said
" Wh-Who are you?" Naofumi ask
" What are you saying? It's me, Raphtalia." Raphtalia replied
" But... Raphtalia's still a kid." Naofumi said
" Sheesh. When will you stop treating me like a child? I mean, sure, I'm still an unreliable kid who cries at the drop of a hat. I may even be a burden. But please let me stand by your side. I need you, Naofumi-sama." Raphtalia said
Naofumi finally let his tears out as Raphtalia hugged him. The person smiled and turned back to Myne before glaring.
" I didn't do anything wrong! What's wrong is a hero having a slave! Raphtalia-chan might still be doing this because she's brainwashed." Motoyasu said
" I don't know about that." Ren said
" It's amazing you can say that after seeing them like this." Itsuki said
" It must've been painful, But from now on, let me share your pain." Raphtalia said
The three heroes left them after that as the person walked off as well. The next morning, Naofumi woke up as Raphtalia was there to greet him. They were now standing at one of the castle walls as Raphtalia handed him a sandwich she made from leftovers in the kitchen as Naofumi took a bite and teared up. That was when someone approached them as they turned and saw the same boy.
" Shield Hero, Naofumi-san." The boy greeted
" Who are you?" Naofumi ask
" I am Aichi Sendou. It's nice to meet you." Aichi greeted
" What do you need from me?" Naofumi ask
" I want to join you on your journey." Aichi replied
" Your kindness, I saw them all. So I know that I can trust you." Aichi said
" Sorry but I'm not that kind." Naofumi said
" I know, it's hard to trust me. After what happened here... But Naofumi-san, I won't do anything to betray you either. If I do, you can kill me with your shield." Aichi said
" What's your motive in joining us?" Naofumi ask
" Nothing at all. I just thought that you might need an extra hand." Aichi replied, " You wouldn't want Raphtalia-san to do all the work herself."
" ... Fine then. I'll keep watch of you for one week. If you prove to be useful, then I'll accept and trust you." Naofumi said
" Yes. Oh, but one more thing..." Aichi said as he opened his cloak a little
Both gasped as they saw his bloated stomach before he covered it up again.
" You... Don't tell me..." Naofumi exclaimed
" It won't be a liability. I promise you. I can still fight." Aichi assured
" How many months in are you?" Raphtalia ask
" About eight months and two weeks. But... I can't find its father yet." Aichi said
" Is that part of why you want to join us?" Naofumi ask
" Partially. But I would like to join you guys as well for this journey." Aichi replied
" Fine then... Try not to drag us down." Naofumi said as he finished his sandwich
He then started walking as the two followed him. Once compensation was given to him, the three immediately decided to leave but Aichi was immediately stopped on the way out.
" What is the meaning of this?" Aichi ask
" Just who are you? Suddenly showing up like that." Myne said
" No one important. As royalty, commoners' names are irrelevant to you is it not?" Aichi ask
" Are you challenging our authority?!" Myne ask
" He's with me. Got a problem?" Naofumi asm
At that, Myne kept silent as the guards let Aichi through. Naofumi and Raphtalia started walking again as Aichi smirked a little before turning to walk as well. That was when the sunlight shone a little to reveal semi transparent white wings on his back before it disappeared after he walked out of the doors.
They went to the slave trade afterwards to get Raphtalia a new slave crest upon her request.
" She now has a new slave crest." The trader said
" There was no need to get another one, you know." Naofumi said
" But I wanted it, as a symbol of your faith in me." Raphtalia said
" If you say so." Naofumi said
He then started checking his skill windows as Raphtalia spoke again.
" A-Anyway, Naofumi-sama... Um, what do you think?" Raphtalia ask
" ... Slave User's Shield, huh? What is it?" Naofumi ask
" Nothing!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" Still... I'm amazed you helped that scrawny bag of bones grow so much in such a short time. Even if she's not a virgin, she's guaranteed to fetch you twenty gold pieces." The trader said
" I am a virgin!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" Thirty-five then!" The trader said
" Thirty-five gold pieces, huh?" Naofumi muttered
Naofumi turned to Aichi and noticed that he was staring at eggs on a table.
" What's that?" Naofumi ask
" A monster egg lottery. Pay 100 silvers and you're guaranteed at least a filolial! You'll win a monster chick that'll double in value if you raise it well." The trader explained
" A filolial?"
" You must've seen them around. They're the large birds that pulls carriages around town." Raphtalia said
" Oh, those?" Naofumi said
" What's more, if you hit the jackpot, you'll win a dragon worth twenty gold pieces!" The trader said
" What, it's like a gacha game?" Naofumi muttered as Aichi giggled to his surprise
" What's a gacha game?" Raphtalia ask
" Nothing. Forget it." Naofumi replied
" Would you like to give it a shot? Act now, and I'll give you a package deal for that and the slave crest!" The trader said
Naofumi pondered for a bit before finally deciding and getting one of the eggs. Aichi also paid 100 silvers for one as the three started walking again.
" You two shouldn't waste your money like that." Raphtalia said
" Well, I figured it wouldn't be fair to make you fight alone all the time. A monster should at least be some help." Naofumi said
" I can fight by myself just fine!" Raphtalia exclaimed
" If so, then we can just sell it back to the slave trader." Naofumi said
" Well... I at least want a monster to be able to take care of things whenever I can't help." Aichi said
" You do have a reason." Raphtalia said as they entered a store
The owner immediately took a book out and placed it on the table.
" Relatives of mine in Lute Village asked me to help you out." The owner said
" Think it was someone you saved back then?" Raphtalia ask
" Who knows?" Naofumi said
" This book has recipes for finer medicines than you bring to me. Use it. It's yours." The owner said while Naofumi check the book, " Oh, right. The old hag at the magic shop wants to see you too. It's for a similar reason. She said you helped her grandkid out at Lute Village."
They then headed towards the magic shop to see the witch as she checked their affinities.
" You have an affinity for support and healing magic, Shield Hero. And the young lady has light and dark magic affinity. She is a half raccoon after all. I recommend she learn illusion magic and the like." The witch said
" What about him? He recently joined our party." Naofumi said
Aichi bowed in greeting as the witch checked his affinity.
" Oh my!" The witch exclaimed
" What is it?" Raphtalia ask
" You... have affinity for all magic elements!" The witch exclaimed
" Your affinity with light and wind magic are stronger but you can use all other magic." The witch said
" Is that so?" Aichi said
The witch then took out a grimoire.
" We don't have the money to buy a magic grimoire." Naofumi said
" It's free, as thanks for helping my grandkid. I actually would've loved to give you a crystal ball instead." The witch said
" Don't you know? If you use a crystal ball, you can learn one of the magics sealed in it." The witch explained
" First I've heard of it." Naofumi said
" But I heard the royal court ordered a bunch of them for the heroes." The witch said
" I bet they handed them out to every hero but me." Naofumi said
" Learning magic from a grimoire is hard, but if you keep at it, you can learn as many spells as you want! Do your best!" The witch said
" Thank you." Naofumi said
The three then started walking out of the capital as they arrived near the village as Raphtalia helped to sit Aichi down.
" Thank you." Aichi said
" You should really rest more. Just tell us if it gets too hard." Raphtalia said
" I'm fine. I just need a bit of rest." Aichi assured
Naofumi tried to read the grimoire in the meantime as he sighed.
" I really can't read it. I wish there was a skill that'd translate books for me." Naofumi said
" Let's learn together, then." Raphtalia said
" What? The language and magic?" Naofumi ask
" Well, yes. But the keyword there is 'together'. " Raphtalia said
" I can help out too." Aichi said
" There's more than a month until the next Wave, so I guess there's no better way." Naofumi said as he stood up, " Let's spend the night in Lute Village. And tomorrow, we can go grind some levels after breakfast."
Raphtalia then helped Aichi to stand as they proceeded to the village to stay for the night.
The next morning, Naofumi woke them up as they noticed their eggs hatching. Naofumi's egg hatched first as it revealed a baby filolial. Then, Aichi's egg hatched as well as it revealed another baby filolial. Both flew on their heads as they chirped.
" How cute! They must see you two as their mothers." Raphtalia said
" Imprinting, huh?" Naofumi muttered
" We should think of a good name for them." Raphtalia said
Naofumi thought about it while Aichi immediately decided on one.
" Ahmes. Is that okay?" Aichi ask as his filolial chirped happily
" That's a nice name! What about you, Naofumi-sama?" Raphtalia ask
" ... Filo."
The two blinked as they went down to eat after that. They also started going around the village to grind their levels as much as they can for two days. They were now in the barn as they looked at the grown up Filo.
" Wow! She's grown a lot in two days!" Aichi exclaimed
Ahmes chirped as Aichi giggled.
" You'll grow up big like that soon." Aichi said
" My Growth Boost skill probably helped on that part." Naofumi said
That was when they heard a commotion at the town entrance as they saw Motoyasu and Myne, who had declared that Motayasu was the new lord and that they had to pay entry and exit fees of 50 silvers. The villagers then started to murmur in protest.
" You dare to defy your lord's orders?!" Myne ask
" Well, duh!" Naofumi shouted
" The Shield Hero! You were still here? This is Motoyasu-sama's domain now. You have no right to question him. In fact, get out this instant, criminal scum!" Myne said
" I don't mind leaving, but I don't think the villagers are gonna accept this. Motoyasu, do you know how much it costs to spend a night at the inn here?" Naofumi ask
" It's one silver a night, food included. You're charging a hundred nights' worth of money just to enter and exit the village!" Naofumi said
" Besides, you can't show up and call yourself our lord."
" And it was the Shield Hero who defended this village during the Wave!"
" You dare complain about a royal decree?" Myne ask as she raised her hand
The soldiers all readied their weapons at the villagers.
" You people had better knock it off!" Naofumi exclaimed
That was when a strong wind blew all of the soldiers off their feet as Aichi came up from behind the villagers.
" Sorry, but if you intend to hurt them, then you'll have to get through me." Aichi said
" Your wind and my wind, I wonder whose is stronger." Aichi said
Myne then tried to raise her hand again as shadows then stopped her.
" I trust you know who we are, Malty-sama." One of the cloaked figures said
" Why are you people here?" Myne ask
" For you."
Myne took the scroll and read it as she gasped and turned to face Naofumi.
" Shield Hero! Fight us for the right to rule this village!" Myne said
The villagers then gathered around Naofumi and the others as Aichi sighed.
" Looks like this will be a long day, right, Ahmes?" Aichi ask
Ahmes chirped again as Aichi suddenly felt someone holding his hand. He immediately swatted the other hand away as he glared at Motoyasu, who was the culprit.
" What are you doing?" Aichi ask
" I sure hope Naofumi isn't abusing you too, angel." Motoyasu said
" A-Angel...?" Aichi muttered as he looked at his back and heaved a sigh of relief, " You dream too much. Keep your hands away from me."
" Don't be like that! Let me take care of you instead of that Naofumi!" Motoyasu said
That was when he finally kicked Motoyasu in his crotch as he let out a pained gasped. Aichi then stomped back to Naofumi and the others as Naofumi smirked in amusement.
" Motoyasu-sama! Hey, what did you do?!" Myne exclaimed
" That's what he gets for playing around." Naofumi said
" Now, now. You shouldn't get so angry. It'll be bad for your baby." Raphtalia said
" Plus, you're still hiding it in that cloak of yours, so try not to let them do anything extra." Naofumi said
" Yeah. Good luck in the race." Aichi said
Naofumi nodded as they started the race. While there were interference in the race, Naofumi and Filo barely managed to win the race as the villagers immediately celebrated.
" Brilliantly done! Now we can rest easy and focus on rebuilding the village!" The lord said
That was when a green glow interrupted their celebration as they gasped after seeing Filo transforming into a bigger Filolial.
" If you wanna thank someone, thank Filo." Naofumi said as he petted Filo
He immediately felt something different and he looked at the giant bird in shock.
" You cheated! You didn't tell us your filolial was really this massive tub of lard!" Myne exclaimed
" But it only transformed after this race was over." The lord said
" You're the ones who cheated! Making holes and all that!" Naofumi said
" Holes? Do you have any proof?" Myne ask
The shadows then appeared again.
" The Shield Hero is right. We detected traces of magic on the course." The cloaked figure said
" I-It was that criminal, obviously!" Myne exclaimed
" No. The Shield Hero's magic affinities are healing and support. His raccoon friend's are light and dark. And, even though he can use all magic elements, his other friend has more affinity to light and wind. Completely different types than the magic we found." The cloaked figure said
" Huh, they learned about us in such a short time." Aichi said
" It's clear that the Spear Hero's party cheated." The cloaked figure said
" F-Fine! We shall leave for today!" Myne exclaimed as they left
Motoyasu then showed up beside them as he glared at them.
" I let you win today, but it won't happen next time! In the first place, this fatso..." Motoyasu said before he was cut off
" Is your crotch okay?" Naofumi ask
Raphtalia then blushed and turned to him, " Naofumi-sama!"
" A-Anyway, just you wait! I'll get you yet!" Motoyasu said as he staggered off
The villagers thanked Naofumi again as he asked for his reward. He didn't ask for money but they didn't know what to give him. That was when Filo showed her interest in a carriage and they were given a carriage to pull. But they had to pull over after Raphtalia got motion sickness as Naofumi laid her down on a mat. Ahmes then came in a rush.
" What's wrong?" Naofumi ask
Ahmes pulled at his sleeve as Naofumi was dragged over to the carriage by it.
" ... Sorry, Raphtalia! But hurry and boil up some water!" Naofumi shouted
Naofumi got onto the carriage as he laid the pained Aichi down and looked at the water leaking out from below the cloak.
" I don't know whether I can do it but you're going to have to trust me." Naofumi said
" If I didn't, then I wouldn't be here travelling with you right now..." Aichi said
Naofumi nodded as he grabbed a blanket and covered Aichi with it while checking from time to time.
" Naofumi-sama! The water is boiled!" Raphtalia shouted
" Alright, bring it in a pail and let it cool a little! After that, just come in!" Naofumi shouted
Raphtalia took a pail of water in as she gasped and got onto the carriage.
" Hold his hand. I'll try to deliver his baby once I see its head." Naofumi said
Raphtalia set the pail down beside Naofumi and held Aichi's hand.
" Are you okay?!" Raphtalia ask
" Y-Yeah... I guess I underestimated the pain a little..." Aichi panted
Naofumi checked under the blanket again as he got out and nodded.
" I'm starting now. Just use as much strength as you have. Raphtalia, lift his head up a little." Naofumi said
Raphtalia helped to lift Aichi's head a little as he started to use his strength to push. Aichi screamed a little as he gripped Raphtalia's hand tighter.
" Alright, I can see its head! Just a little more!" Naofumi exclaimed
Aichi screamed and pushed as a cry was finally heard. Naofumi got out of the blanket as he immediately took a knife he had washed and cut the umbilical cord before washing the blood off the newborn. He then took a towel and wrapped the baby in it before carefully handing it over to Aichi.
" Here. It's a boy." Naofumi said
" ... Thank you..." Aichi muttered as he held the baby
The baby continued to wail as Aichi hugged him and cried.
" Thank you for hanging in there..." Aichi muttered
" Just rest. I'll finish off here." Naofumi said
Aichi nodded as Naofumi what he needed to do before rinsing his hand off. Raphtalia then leaned Aichi on the carriage wall before helping Naofumi to clean the boards and discarding the water. Aichi opened his cloak afterwards as he let the baby in and closed it.
" We'll leave you to it. If you need anything, just call us." Naofumi said
Naofumi and Raphtalia went to sleep after that as Aichi cuddled his baby as soon as he finished drinking his milk.
" We'll definitely find your father soon... I love you..." Aichi muttered