It’s a nice thought that everyone grows up sometimes, but sadly not always the case. When this volume opens, three knights, furious about Kondou’s balancing of a budget that leaves them without everything they requested, have just beaten the otherworld accountant into unconsciousness and left him more or less for dead. With the reasoning of angry middle schoolers, they seem to think that if he dies or is otherwise out of the picture, they’ll get everything they want, financially speaking. While that sounds unlikely to us, the bigger issue is that they’ve very foolishly gone after a man with the prime minister’s approval and, maybe more damaging, the heart of their boss, Captain Aresh Indolark.
In some ways, Aresh’s increasingly adoring feelings are at the heart of this third volume of the BL isekai series. We began to see in volume two that he was falling for Kondou without a whole lot of awareness, and that continues here, with Aresh increasing the frequency of his interventions, wielding his power like a hammer to protect the other man, and acting jealous nearly every time he sees Kondou with someone else. While any of these things could be an issue for Kondou, who is generally just trying to do his job, the more significant issue is that Aresh is largely unaware of the reasons behind his actions. He seems to think that he’s simply protecting the kingdom’s interests by making sure that Kondou remains alive and well, but it’s clear that there’s a lot more going on than he’s either cognizant of or willing to admit to himself.
Mostly this comes through in how he acts when the two men are alone. We know that Aresh is mildly conflicted about their sexual relationship, at one point accusing Kondou of treating him like a sex worker in an earlier volume. Still, in this book, he mostly cannot leave the other man alone. He wants Kondou to sit closer than is strictly necessary for spell casting, ends an argument by pretending to fall asleep with Kondou in his arms, and generally acts what anyone watching calls “lovesick.” Kondou seems to be marginally more aware of the emotional component of their relationship, and at one point, tells Aresh that he’d like to be a more active participant in their sexual activities, indicating that he doesn’t just see them as a way for Aresh to inject protection from the magicules into his body anymore. (Aresh is happy but confused. If he could use his density as a shield, he’d never be injured in battle again.)
That isn’t to say that Kondou is always on board with Aresh’s actions. Although he’s beginning to find joy in their relationship, he also really wants to do his job, and when his lover gets in the way of that, he gets annoyed, if not outright angry. This primarily comes to a head in two specific scenes: the ball before the purification expedition and the expedition itself. Kondou has no real idea of how to dress or conduct himself at a royal function, so he relies on his friend and coworker Nor to help him. When Aresh arrives and sees Kondou dressed up, he’s overcome with jealousy, nearly abandoning his duty as Yua’s bodyguard to stand with (and ruffle the hair of) Kondou. Later, when the crown prince expresses his displeasure at Kondou’s mere existence and financial finagling moving the timeline for the expedition up, Aresh makes it clear that he will have zero problems taking down the prince to keep Kondou safe. It could be read as charming and protective, and in many stories, it would be framed that way, but Kondou finds his reaction over-the-top and infantilizing. He doesn’t want to die but also wants to be treated as an adult with his own agency.
Much of this could be resolved if Aresh knew his feelings. Kondou might react better if he truly knew where all of this was coming from, although he’d likely still be annoyed. He maintains his upset at having been whisked away to this otherworld as punishment for his good deed, and that feeling does color his actions. Most specifically, he wants to impress upon Yua how dangerous this world is. She’s been pampered from the get-go as the summoned maiden, insulating her from real life to the point where she doesn’t understand the real threats to Kondou’s continued health. He wants her to understand that this isn’t a game and that actions have consequences, something the crown prince is opposed to, although, to be fair, he’s opposed to everything about Kondou, including his existence. Kondou seems to be getting through to Yua, but since he continues to rock the boat, that may not be enough.
The Other World’s Books Depend on the Bean Counter‘s third volume continues to hit many familiar isekai notes, and the comparison with The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent holds up, especially with the purification journey plotline. But it’s still a darker, more grounded take on the genre, largely devoid of the power fantasy elements. If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll likely find plenty to like here, and if you missed the start, now’s still a good time to pick the series up.
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