“Where the hell is my underwear?” I frantically search the bedroom, opening the wooden closets and cabinets. I remember exactly where I placed it, but now it isn’t there. It couldn’t be that my memory has degraded to the point that I forgot where my only clothes are. And I only have a few things, rather, I only had my clothes. When compared to the fashion of this world, my clothes look odd and severely out of place. But why would they take my underwear? I didn’t have many places to look. All the cabinets and closets are empty.
The door to my room opens and reveals me to Sina. “Eek!” Sina quickly covers her face.
“The hell!?” I quickly turn around covering my most private place, “won’t you knock first, you idiot!”
“Sorry, sorry!” Sina slams the door shut.
“Gracious,” I look around for a sheet to cover my lower half and tie it around me. How come the trope is the other way around!? I check my body to confirm my gender. I sigh in relief.I open the door to see Sina’s red face. Argh, don’t be embarrassed now. You’re making me embarrassed.
“Ah!” Sina covers her face with her hands again, “w—w—why are you naked!?”
“I’m not!” I unintentionally shout at her and hurriedly calm myself, “and also, don’t shout that you—” I sigh. “Do you have some kind of underwear around here?”
“U—u—underwear you say?” Sina continues to cover her face. Also please stop being embarrassed.
“Yes, is there?” I ask quickly.
“Ummm…” Sina’s body trembles all over, “I—I’ll go look for one!” She runs off.
I sigh again, “What a day to start.” I search the room for my flight jacket and jogging pants in the room and find nothing. “How could those disappear in thin air?” Not only is my underwear is missing, my clothes too. I took them off and switched them for the flowy sleeping robes they provided me. Did the maid sneak into my room and take them? What kind of fetish is that? I sit down on the soft bed. “To think that now I am a general of some kingdom.” I let that reality sink in for a moment. Then I take a deep breath and look up to the ceiling, “Ah, this ceiling has a painting on it.” Someone knocks on the door and I go to open it.
Sina looks down on the floor avoiding me, “H—here is your underwear, General.” She disrespectfully shoves it to my face. Hey now, you don’t have to shove it to my face.
I take the “underwear” that seem to be more like a thong but for men, “T—this…” I hesitate, “whatever, thank you.” I quickly shut the door and inspect the weird garment, “Can you even call this underwear? It looks uncomfortable!” I attempt to wear the garment and find out that the underwear wraps around my groin very tightly. “It’s tight! Too tight! It’s crushing my…” I am not going to finish that sentence.
I make my way down to the dining hall and see Queen Amina seating at the important seat in the middle. In front of him are some various, delicious-looking, dishes. And one of them is my classic favorite, steak.
“Good morning!” Amina waves at me, “why are you walking awkwardly? Is something hurt?”
“Huh?” I look down to my legs to see that they are in a wider stance than usual, “ah, this is nothing. Just getting used to something.” I laugh nervously. Can’t help it. I have lost my clothes. Hopefully, I get used to this sensation.
Amina giggles seemingly knowing what’s up and motions me to sit, “Let’s eat breakfast now.” I follow her instruction and start eating the meal. While Amina takes the content of five of the ten dishes set on the table, I only take a trifle of two.
“You’re not hungry?” Amina says while she wipes the side of her mouth with a napkin, “or do you not like the food?”
“No…” I look again and see half of the table set with seafood and half with vegetables and meat, “I’m not just a big eater.” Lie, I didn’t want the seafood, but I ate the steak because of bias.
Amina nods her head and resumes gobbling the food, unsightly for a queen.
I set the utensils according to the manners when I finished and look around the table, “Where is Tina?”
“Shina?” Amina swallows the food in her mouth, “She already ate breakfast and is briefing the castle guards.” Did your mother tell you, ‘Don’t eat when your mouth is full’? At least you should know those basic manners, my ‘Queen.’ But I wasn’t too brave to say that in her face. So I let her be.
“Oh,” I say in response, “she wakes up really early?” Quite the hard worker. “So what should I do today, my Queen?”
Amina grumbles, “What do you mean my Queen?”
“Didn’t I say, forget the formality?” Amina puffs her cheeks. That could have been cute if you didn’t have food on the sides of your lips.
“Oh, but I’m asking for my duties toda—”
“No, you have none. Not until I finish my food.”
“Y—you are not yet done!?” I look at the table once again and see that half of the dishes are empty, “Ho…” I look to Amina in amazement. I wait for Amina to finish the other half of the dishes. How is she not fat yet? I stare at her as she ate trying to figure it out, but my eyes can’t avoid looking at a certain part of her body. Ah, that’s probably why.
“Mmm…” Amina wipes her face with a napkin when she finally finished, “come with me to the throne room.” Amina staggers as she stands up from her chair. As expected for someone who ate a little too much.
I rush to her side to support her, “Slowly now, you just ate,” I turn away to mutter, “too much.” “It’s a surprise you didn’t gain any weight,” I compliment.
“W—what did you say!?” Amina faces me indignantly. Looks like that was taken as an insult. “Nothing at all,” I say hurriedly.
“I heard something about my weight. What is about my weight!?” Amina shakes my shoulders with both of her hands.
“Woah, woah. Hey now, if you continue sha—” I stumble to the floor on my face and Amina lands on top of my back, “Ouch!” I feel my backbones make a crunching sound. I think I preferred puking rather than breaking.
“Ah!” Amina lets out a squeal as she falls, “ouch…”
“My spine is broken, probably,” I mutter. You are so heavy! Looks can be deceiving.
We arrive at the throne room where there are orderly placed desks with chairs around. This seems that the throne room is an office for her subjects. Amina hands me some brown papers from a desk nearby, “Here, That is the report of the battle. You only have to read and examine so that you will be sure that Pareyo had defeated the 2nd Army Battalion of Ugibiris,” Amina bows slightly to me, “sorry for earlier. I lost my temper back there.”
“It’s okay,” I stretch my back backward and hear a crunching noise, “It’s nothing.” No, in fact, it was something.
“Are you really okay? That sound is’n—”
I wave my hand dismissively, “I’ll have the papers now. Oh, may I meet Tina later?”
“Sure. You don’t have anything to do today.” Amina sits on her throne.
I bow to her and return to my room. I find that my clothes are neatly folded on top of the bed, “Wait, this is—” I see my previously missing flight jacket, my jogging pants, and the underwear that I had worn finally return out of thin air. How quickly they go, the quicker they returned. I pick them up and smell some kind of fragrance, “Wait, this is washed?” I unfold them and noticed little to no creases. Did they iron it too? I proceed to fold and place them into the room’s closet. “Sina probably did this,” I sigh. Why didn’t she say so in the first place? Having solved the mystery of my missing clothes, I start to read the report and discover that this paper is written in my native language making it easier for me to read. “How will I understand all this?” Although it is in my language, there are some military jargons that I needed a dictionary for. I could ask General Tina for help, but I will do that later.
I skim through the paper looking at the keywords— soldiers, alive, wounded, dead, missing, Knight’s Twilight Army, 2nd Army Battalion of Ugibiris— which makes me dizzy only by reading it. “I don’t understand any of this. How will I deduce that Pareyo has defeated them anyway?” I examine the Knight’s Twilight Army and Ugibiris’s 2nd Army Battalion’s statistics and discover that the Knight’s Twilight Army was outnumbered but somehow won over the Ugibiris’s Army’s superior numbers. I look at the death count of both the army and see that Ugibiris’s Army had fewer death counts than the Twilight’s. My eyes fall in a sentence of a different paragraph, “A fraction of the 2nd Army Battalion of Ugibiris retreated from the battle and never appeared in battle afterward…” I massage my forehead, “Why did they retreat and never returned?” I roll over on my bed holding the paper in the air while I deduce the information with the same question, “Why did they retreat?”
Hours pass by as I read more books in the library continuing where I left off, “I’m now in the ‘Master’ level,” I sigh, “I wish I could practice any of this.” Then I hear a knock on the library’s door before it opens.
“General Deliruu, General Tina has arrived,” Sina bows at the doorway.
I quickly return the books and follow Sina’s lead, “Were you the one that did the laundry?” I ask Sina.
“Eh? Well…” Sina shyly looks down to the floor. Can you not be embarrassed? You simply did a chore. Did you do something else other than that?
“If so, then thank you. I was planning to wash it myself but couldn’t get myself to do it. Next time I will do it myself.” I don’t trust you with my laundry.
“No, no. I will do it for you, General.” Sina looks up at me with her face red and smiles.
“Sina, are you ok? Your face is red,” Maybe she wasn’t acting shy. What if she was acting weak? For the whole day, I met with her, her face was red. I worry myself with this realization and place my hand on her forehead and discover that she isn’t having a fever.
“W—w—wha—!” Sina fidgets around.
“What’s wrong?” I take off my hand from her face confirming a fever.
“Nothing! Nothing! It’s nothing!” Sina yells.
“Huh? That doesn’t seem like nothing.”
“General Deliruu!” Tina runs up to me and hands me a sword with its white sheath adorned with gold decorations.
“What is this?” I look to the sheathed sword.
“A sword, duh,” Tina slightly closes her eyes.
“Well, that’s obvious. What should I do with this?” I ask.
“You fight with it, duh. I’m giving it to you. Now that you are a general, you should have a sword with you,” the sword’s blade shines as Tina unsheathes it. Sorry, general, I thought this sword was merely for decoration.
“Wow, this is cool.” I take the sword with both of my hands and inspect it. It is surprisingly lighter than I thought it would be. The handle is white with the same gold patterns on it while the hilt is gold. I unsheath the sword and brush my finger across the mirror-like blade, and the blade leaves my finger a scatch but not enough for it to bleed. “This…” I face the sharp side of the sword to my face and my eyes squint as if the sword is in any danger of slicing me, “this is very sharp.”
“I know right?” Tina chuckles, “I asked the best in the kingdom for such sword, but this isn’t custom-made though. Sorry for that.”
“This isn’t custom made? No way.” I didn’t need a custom-made sword though. I brush my finger across the broadside of the sword and sheath it, “Thank you for this sword. I will be sure to take care of it.”
“Yes, yes. Take care of it all you want, but you should also practice using it,” Tina drags me by the arm, “we should learn swordsmanship.”
“R—right now?” I resist Tina’s pull.
“Yes! Right now! Show me you deserve that sword!” Tina pulls my arm with both of her hands.
“W—wait,” I look over to Sina, “thank you again. Get some rest. You have a fever.”
“A—ah! I don’t have a fever. Please don’t worry about me.” With that, I and Tina leave for the training grounds in the castle.
Tina and I spar with wooden swords on the dusty ground, and I lose every round.“That’s all you got?” Tina shouts to me.
I pant as I support myself by placing my hand on my knees, “Yeah, that’s all I got.”Tina rushes at me with the sword and strikes a vertical blow to my back, and I fall to the ground.
“I can’t believe that you are the one that killed General Pareyo,” Tina says in a weak voice to prevent anyone from hearing, “you can’t even dodge my attacks. You will train with me every day after lunch from now on, General.”
I can’t respond to Tina as I remain to lie on my face to the ground. She didn’t have mercy on me, an amateur, in any of the rounds. I don’t think I have learned anything at all, but my body learns pain and exhaustion. The ground shakes and the sound of hooves approaches. Still lying on the ground unable to stand, I look up and see the messenger boy from the other day dismounting from his horse.
The messenger quickly bows and faces Tina with a dark expression, “General Tina Kori-sama, I have an urgent report from the town of Lunis.”
Tina wears her helmet and speaks to the bow, “What is it?”
The messenger takes out from his pocket a crumpled brown paper and reads, “Gori’s forces were spotted by our Guardian Knights. Gori’s forces are composed of approximately five hundred men and are approaching fast from the forest of Laden, one hundred kilometers east of Lunis.”
“The town of Lunis?” Tina asks in a tone of confusion, and the boy responds with a nod.
“Five hundred?” Five hundred, and that small town will be overrun in a blink of an eye. I shakily stand up from the ground and ask the boy, “only five hundred?”
“Yes, sir,” the boy nods to me.
I say ‘only’ because I know the strength of the kingdom’s army. “Tina,” I wipe the dirt from my clothes, “dispatch five hundred horsemen to Lunis immediately!”
Tina shakes her head, “I can’t do that. We do not know what kind of units are approaching.”“What?” What does she mean she can’t? “What do you mean? They are hostile!” I yell.
“If we send five hundred horsemen right now, they might be met with ranged units, and they will die. We have to mobilize a versatile force to meet with the enemy.”
“Are you serious? We don’t have time to mobilize a force!” I shout to Tina’s face, “the townspeople will all die before we could mobilize!”
“Sacrifices are to be made!” Tina shouts back.
What? Sacrifices are not to be made! “You say,” I speak in a low tone, “we won’t even send a faster unit to relieve them?. You are an illogical general! You think too much of the destruction of the enemy, but not the defense of the people,” I turn my back against Tina and start to stomp away.
“You are wrong! I am not that kind of general! We have limits on what our soldiers can do!” Tina forcefully turns me toward her, “and who are you to say that!? And also, why would they attack such a small town!? They are obviously trying to distract our attention elsewhere!”
If this general is this powerless, this cowardly, then, I’ll do it myself. I can’t let the town where I came from, which took me in, burn to the ground. I don’t care if kingdoms fall to the ground. Saving lives is more important. I grit my teeth and clench my fist in resolve, “Then, I’ll do what I can,” I face the messenger, “take me to the town of Lunis.”
“Wait! You can not go there by yourself! You are unprepared!” Tina pulls me by the arm, but I wouldn’t budge.
The messenger bows to me and mounts his horse and he pulls me by the arm to help me ride.“Dispatch what you can,” I look over to Tina.
“You aren’t ready!” Tina shakes her head and points at me, “I won’t let you get to Lunis. That’s an orde—”
I interrupt Tina, “I’m the First General, and my order is a higher priority.” The horse gallops toward the castle walls in the direction of Lunis. I have to save Lina and Rina.