58-58 Adventurer's Daughter

 Inez Harness has never known her family.

 Her adventurer parents died before she was old enough to remember, leaving her alone.
 After moving from place to place with her parents' adventuring friends, the young Inez was eventually taken in by the Harness Orphanage in King's Landing.

 ──── There were many children there who had eyes just like his own.  

 The director of the orphanage and the staff were kind.
 It was not a family.
 But it was something close, something warm.
 They graciously took her in, gave her hot meals and new clothes.
 And these kind and warm people reached out to her and told her to come and live here with them.
 But Inez didn't think she could be a part of it.

 Because ────.

"You are a plague.

 That's what I've been told, and I've moved from place to place.
 In fact, I think that sometimes something bad happened in the places I was.
 Every time, I was told.

 Your parents were unlucky.
 That's why they died.
 You're just as unlucky as they were. Bad things happen when you're together.
 That's why you're still a pestilence.
 Your parents have been good to me. But you've done your duty.
 So I'm asking you to go to ──── and go somewhere else.

 And no matter where I went, I was always told the same thing, and eventually I was kicked out.

 But the people at the orphanage never said anything like that.
 After a few months and years of living in the orphanage, Inez gradually got used to the place and began to feel safe.
 Strangely enough, nothing bad happened to her.

 Maybe it's okay for me to be here.
 That's what I started to think.
 She had friends to play with, and she gradually became familiar with the staff.

 In this way, Inez grew up without any problems and in good health. ──── It was supposed to be that way.

 But then, one fine day.
 When Inez casually walked out into the garden of the orphanage, she turned her hand to the sky and noticed a strange glowing thing (・・・・) floating there.  
 It was like a very beautiful, thin, shining membrane.

 I wonder what ──── this is, or is it ......?

 Inez wondered and continued to stare at it.

 Then a little boy noticed the shiny thing at the end of Inez's hand and ran over to it, reaching out to grab it playfully. ──── Immediately, a part of the boy's body was cut off.

 That was the moment when it became clear that Inez was a rare Gift.

 The [Gift] that Inez had gained had given her unimaginable power.
 The "Sword of Light" that cuts through everything.





















 From everyone's point of view, Inez always felt something close to fear.
 Fear of the unknown, fear of those who would do her harm.
 She had already accepted that it was inevitable that she would feel this way.

 Even when the staff urged him to make contact, he stubbornly refused to do so.
 I've done so much.
 There was no way I was going to be one of them.

 Except for that unruly ──── Gilbert, who would challenge me to a fight with a wooden stick at every turn.
 With the exception of Gilbert, there was no one around him who even wanted to touch Inez.

 So it had been a long time since Inez had felt like she could talk to someone her own age, even if they were different ages, and do something together.
 For that reason, she was happy.

 Sometimes I almost forgot that it was my duty to do so.
 Occasionally, I had to work as an escort, but I enjoyed that as well.
 The princess asked me for help, and I responded.

 To protect her.
 It was only then that I felt I was alive.
 After all, it's okay to live here, she thought.
 Inez thus vowed to live for this country ──── and to devote herself entirely to the protection of the princess she serves.

 ──── But six years later.

 The relationship came to an end.

 The princess's "trials" have begun.
 The princess was so good that she passed all the tests and procedures in the fastest time ever, and at the age of only 14, she was qualified to challenge the trials for the right to the throne.

 According to the laws of the kingdom, the heir to the throne must complete one task in order to become the official successor.
 That is to dive into the Labyrinth of No Return and bring back something from there. What that something is is not clearly defined. However, you must obtain some kind of achievement with your own hands and convince the king and the people.

 In the meantime, the one who will be tested must not take help from anyone.
 So as an escort, I can't go along.

 It can't be helped.
 I thought I sent her off with that understanding.
 I believed the princess would be able to handle the ordeal.
 I thought I'd just have to wait until then.

 And yet, ────.

 Shortly after, the Minotaur, a demon from the abyss, suddenly attacked.
 It was an assassination attempt on the princess.
 The princess almost lost her life.

 Inez was annoyed.

 If I had been there, I would never have let that happen.
 She truly regretted leaving the princess's side, even for a moment.

 And then she became jealous of the man named Noor, who had suddenly appeared on ──── and had saved the princess.
 The princess said that she should have been the one to protect her.
 The princess was jealous of the man who had saved her, even though it was obvious that he was the one who should be thanked.

 There was a jealousy in Inez that she had been deprived of her role ──── as the "reason for her own existence".

 ──── Inez was a little confused by her feelings.

 It was the first time she had ever felt this way.
 She had never been jealous of anyone before, but she had never imagined that she would feel that way about someone else.
 She had never even imagined it before.

 After that, the man I ended up working with, ──── Noor, was extraordinary in every way.

 He took the lethal miasma of the "Black Death Dragon" head on and didn't give it a second thought, and he single-handedly challenged the "Demon Dragon of Misfortune" that was trying to annihilate the royal capital and ────, of course, subdued it.
  I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not.

 And that was just for one day.
 I'm sure you'll agree with me.

 ──── I'll never be able to compete with that man.

 That's what I thought.
 I felt like I had seen a height I could never reach.

 I don't know when that will be.
 But at some point, Inez admitted that she had been completely defeated.

 ──── I will never allow myself to be defeated by anyone.
 I'm not sure what to do, but I'm going to do it.
 This is the role of a person who has obtained the power of Grace (Gift).

 I never doubted that.
 I thought I had made the appropriate effort.
 I had tried so hard to be strong and given everything I had.

 All of that was denied to me in one day.
 Completely overturned by the presence of one man.

 I found myself being protected over and over again when I should have been protected.
 There was nothing I could do but be protected.

 I wondered what my life had been like up to this point.

 The role I had envisioned for myself was only an illusion.
 That illusion was shattered in a flash by the sudden appearance of the man ──── Noor.

 ──── But I don't know why.

 I didn't feel so bad.
 Rather, I felt as if I had been freed from many things.

"The boy from the demon tribe will be taken into custody in our country.

 That's when it happened.
 The prince informed everyone of the king's decision.

 The demon boy, Rollo, needs to be taken care of by someone.
 He's in danger. He's even in danger of being killed.
 That's why someone powerful needs to be around to protect him at all times.
 That's what he told me.

 That boy.
 Cut off from his friends, nowhere to go. ────

 That little boy who was inevitably going to be shunned and ostracized by the world as a demon.
 Someone needs to protect him.

──────── I'll do it.

 You will find a lot of things that you can do to make your life easier.

I want to take care of her. ──── I want to take care of her.
 I'd like to take care of him.