Published at 22nd of November 2020 10:13:40 AM
A brown-haired boy chased after the red-haired boy as he stepped briskly on the ground .
「Hey!! Wait a minute . Don’t leave me here! 」
The red-haired boy turned around, laughing .
「That’s because you’re looking away . ‘You’re not getting enough sleep, are you?’」
「I can’t help it …… I found some interesting grimoires . 」
「That’s the problem . You need a good night’s sleep to get your strength back, okay? 」
「Hey, you’re too serious, that’s the problem . 」
The brown-haired boy’s mouth twitched . The red-haired boy chuckled .
The two of them had come to buy tools . Yesterday’s dungeon exploration had used a lot of tools, so they had come to buy more of them .
The shopping was left exclusively to the red-haired boy .
With his natural prudence, he thought about what he needed and went to a number of stores to buy what he needed as cheaply as possible . The brown-haired boy, the wizard in the party, had accompanied him, as he was in particular need of magical tools .
They went from the front street to the back streets, going down various paths to get the tools together . The magic tools were examined by the brown-haired boy . He seemed to be able to tell the good from the bad when it came to them .
The red-haired boy on the other hand, seemed to know his way around the cheapest and best quality stores . The brown-haired boy looked impressed .
「You’re amazing …… how do you know so many stores? 」
「Ha, I just wandered around for a bit of time to get cheap, quality goods and before I knew it, it was in my head . 」
The red-haired boy laughed . The brown-haired boy laughed along with him .
The capital of Orphen is large, and there are shops that don’t even have signs posted in places that you wouldn’t expect . Even if the shop is clearly illegal, if it is available, adventurers will use it . It would be a waste of time to lose one’s life for being naive .
The shopping, which had been going on all morning, came to an end around noon .
The streets were crowded with people, snack stalls were bustling, and the aroma of good food was wafting in from all directions . The brown-haired boy cleared his throat .
「Hey, I’m hungry . 」
「You’ll have to be a little more patient . This is the party’s shared purse . 」
「Isn’t …… using a little fine? 」
「No . You should buy it with your own pocket money . 」
「But I used it to buy a grimoire yesterday: …… 」
「You got what you deserved: …… 」
「Mmm …… or rather, I shouldn’t have bought the dungeon escape scroll . 」
「You’ll need those things in a pinch, you know . You don’t get that often, so you have to get one . 」
The scrolls I bought at the shady magic shop on the back street were the most expensive . It was a scroll that could be activated simply by spreading it out and letting magic power flow through it .
There were various effects, but the one the boys bought this time was a scroll that allowed them to escape from the dungeon instantly . The price was very high for the few they had purchased . The brown-haired boy had examined them, so he knew they weren’t fake, but that’s why the price was so high . So the contents of my wallet were almost gone .
「I don’t think we’re going to be in that kind of trouble . 」
「There are no absolutes for adventurers . 」
「Meh, you’re too cautious . …… I’m hungry . 」
The brown-haired boy looked at the red-haired boy with a resentful look on his face . The red-haired boy chuckled .
As the person in charge of the party’s purse, I don’t want to waste too much money . However, I don’t think there’s any specifics to being too prudent .
Besides, I feel a little hungry too . I can move it over here from my own wallet later .
「…… It can’t be helped 」
The red-haired boy pulled two coins out of his wallet and handed them to the brown-haired boy .
「Just this once, okay?」
「Great, you have got your priorities right . Then I’ll go get some food! 」
The brown-haired boy looked giddy as he made his way towards the stall . The red-haired boy chuckled and leaned against the wall of a nearby building .
「Ha . So that’s what I thought Angie was doing . 」
「Yes . It’s nice that she is thinking of me, but the idea seems to be a tad unreasonable . 」
「Hmm, but I’m relieved . After all, Mr . Belgriff is a good father, just like Angie-chan said . 」
「No, no, I’m not that big of a deal . 」
「No, that’s not true! You’re a great father! 」
Charlotte said as she sat beside Belgriff .
「Charlotte, that’s sweet . 」
Yuri chuckled as she sat behind the counter .
When Belgriff woke up the next morning, the first thing he did was clean Angeline’s room . He swept out the dust that had accumulated, checked the souvenirs and put them in order . The scarf, which Charlotte had knit herself, was given to Belgriff as a gift .
I spent the morning like that, and after noon, I went to the guild to look up information on past adventurers and talked with Yuri as a way to clear up any misunderstandings .
Yuri originally didn’t give much thought about Belgriff, but from the way Angeline was talking about Belgriff, she seemed to be concerned that maybe Angie was delusional and might be saying the bad parts were good too .
「I’m sorry for suspecting you, but I didn’t know anything about Mr . Belgriff . 」
「Ha, that’s probably true . Being cautious about things is probably a necessary quality for an adventurer, so don’t worry about it . 」
「Hmm, that’s very nice of you to say . I’ll try to clear up any misunderstandings on my part about who I know: …… Oh? 」
Yuri’s eyes blinked . Belgriff also turned around, trapped .
A muscular old man wearing a military hat came over to him at a great pace . He had a big smile on his face .
「Oh, here you are at last! Red hair and a prosthetic leg, you’re that one! ”You’re Belgriff the Red Ogre! Hahahahaha! It’s good to see you, man! 」
He took his hand and shook it to a thousand pieces, and Belgriff was puzzled .
But this old man looked familiar . He wasn’t this old when I saw him, but I’m sure of it .
Belgriff said with a bemused grin .
「I’m honoured to be here, Master Chebolg the Destroyer . 」
「Oh, you know who I am? Hahaha! 」
Chebolg happily shook his grip on Belgriff’s arm as he shook it a bit .
I’m glad that the adventurer I once admired is this close to me, but my joints are sore from the sheer force of it all .
Seeing a fluttery look on Belgriff’s face, Yuri said
「Chebolg-san, don’t wave your arms too much …… 」
「What? What! Yuri, what did you say?! 」
As Belgriff chuckled, someone grabbed Chebolg’s shoulder from behind .
「Hey, Chebolg, your stupidity won’t do you any good . 」
「What are you talking about, Dortos? ”It’s the Red Ogre, Red Ogre! Isn’t it fineto get excited? 」
「Just let go of him …… oh dear, excuse this idiot . My name is Dortos . I can’t thank you enough for all the help Angie has given me . It is a pleasure to meet you, Master Belgriff . 」
Dortos said and bowed his head politely . It’s a good thing that you’re a living legend,” said Belgriff, bowing his head in horror at the sight of yet another living legend .
「It’s a great honor to meet you, Mr . Dortos of …… “Shirogane”, as it seems my daughter is in your care . 」
「I’m just an old man now . 」
Dortos laughed afterwards . Belgriff was also tripped up and his cheeks relaxed .
It was somewhat pleasing and unrealistic that the two of them, who were legendary adventurers in their youth, were treating him so intimately like this .
Charlotte, who had followed along with them, was surprised by the momentum of Chebolg and the others, so she hid behind Belgriff .
Belgriff laughed and patted Charlotte’s head .
「It’s okay, were you surprised?」
「What’s up with those bad guy? They seem to like you a lot! 」
「Bad guy? 」
Belgriff looked dubiously at Charlotte, who was hiding behind him, and Byaku, who stood further back .
Dortos laughed and stroked his beard .
「These guys had a scuffle with Chebolg and Lionel once . It’s not that the guild doesn’t care about it anymore, but Chebolg doesn’t seem to be very good at it . 」
「I’m not the one being friendly! Hey, Belgriff! Angie is a very nice girl . Tell me your parenting tips and tricks! My little bastards think I’m evil! My great-grandchildren tell me I’m too picky these days and I’m not, which makes me sad! 」
「No, there’s nothing special about it: …… 」
Dortos shook his head in disgust .
「Chebolg, that’s probably because you’re so picky . 」
「What? What! Dortos, what did you say?! 」
「I told you not to shout at me because you have trouble hearing! 」
Belgriff chuckled at the breathless exchange between the two old soldiers .
Talking like this, neither of them seemed unfriendly and conceited . He wondered if the intimidation and magnitude he had felt from them when he was young might have been an illusion he had harbored when he was inexperienced .
Suddenly, Dortos raised an apologetic eyebrow .
「However, even though we have come all the way to Orphen, I am sorry that we couldn’t keep Angie from leaving . We were not strong enough to do so . …… 」
「Yes, yes, that’s right! The grand duke is really bad . I was about to pick a fight with him . That Lionel guy’s finally got to be in the spotlight! 」
「No, no, no, no . 」
Belgriff’s eyes went wide .
「I don’t care about any of this, sir . It’s just that what Angie did is an acknowledgement of what he did . 」
Dortos and Chebolg looked at each other and laughed, though they were a bit giddy .
「Hahahaha! You are way more mature than we are! 」
「Absolutely! Isn’t it amazing how upright Angie would be when she grows up! Hahahaha! 」
Chebolg laughed and put his hand on Belgriff’s shoulder .
「I’m liking you more and more! Hey, come on, man, show me some moves! ”I can’t help but be curious about the red demon’s sword skills!” 」
「…… What? 」
「I ask you to do the same . A sword that can repel even Angie, I want to see it as a souvenir of the underworld . 」
「No, it’s not that big of a deal …… 」
And Belgriff shrank back in horror, but he was surprised to find welcomed it deep in his heart . He had always wanted to try out the breath he’d learned from Graham, and the swordsmanship he’d learned from him .
And to top it all off, he would be able to compete with Destruction and Shirogane . You can’t get any better than this for a swordsman .
Belgriff’s eyes were slightly downcast, but he looked up .
「I understand . I’m not sure if I’ll be able to meet your expectations: …… 」
「Hahahaha! Alright, let’s go to the training grounds! 」
Belgriff chuckled as Cheborg pulled him along . Charlotte, who was hurrying to follow him, grabbed the hem of his clothes with concern .
「Father, are you alright ……?」
「Ha, it’s okay . Maybe . 」
Some adventurers who seemed to be interested after overhearing the conversation around them were also following along .
Belgriff felt nervous as it was getting kind of crowded .
Guilmeña said with a smirk .
「See, see, you have to walk with your skirt or you’ll step on the hem again . 」
「Gunu …… it is so hard to move in, dresses are ……」
As she left the room, Angeline struggled with her unfamiliar dress . Every time she walked, she stepped on the hem and almost fell down .
So she had to lift her skirt, but it seemed that she shouldn’t lift it too much, and she couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable walking around in it . In addition, she was wearing high heeled shoes, so she felt like she was going to sprain her foot .
It was nice to be dressed extravagantly/lavishly, Angeline thought, but she couldn’t wear something like this on a regular basis . She was too used to the adventurer’s attire that was easy to move around in .
A guard stood at the corner of the corridor, glancing sideways at Angeline as she walked by, but he remained upright and unmoving . To be able to stand all day unmoving, Angeline is impressed .
「Don’t those guys ever get tired of standing around? 」
Guilmeña, following behind me, chuckled .
「It’s a good thing that they have hidden supports that span from their legs to their back so that you can’t see them . I’m sure that’s why they don’t move like that because their center of gravity is resting on it . 」
「…… I knew it . 」
「Nope, I lied . 」
Angeline’s cheeks puffed out and she quickened her steps, almost falling again .
Just then, someone coming from across the corridor helped Angeline stay upright .
「Ooh …… are you okay?」
「S-Sorry . …… 」
Angeline looked up .
He was a tall man with neatly trimmed ash brown hair . He was about mid to late twenties in age .
He had a well kept face with a neatly trimmed moustache, a long face and nasal bridge, but his eyes were sharp and gave the impression that he was somewhat on guard .
The man chuckled and made Angeline stand as she had .
「Which way will you be going, beautiful young lady?」
「Unu …… and everywhere else . …… 」
Guilmeña pinched Angeline’s waist as she was about to say bluntly, without a care in the world . Angeline hurriedly straightened her posture . Guilmeña bowed her head condescendingly .
「Your Highness Fernando, you are in a good mood . 」
Angeline’s eyes narrowed . Apparently this gentlemanly-looking man was Fernando Estgar, the heir to the grand duke’s family . Angeline bowed her head softly too .
Fernando laughed and stroked his mustache and looked at Angeline .
「I’ve never seen this face before . A beautiful person like you would not be unknown to me . If you don’t mind me asking your name, I’d like to know your name . 」
Angeline replied in a whispered tone of voice, shyly and awkwardly looking at Fernando, who turned his gaze straight down at her without embarrassment .
「…… Angeline, sir . 」
Fernando loosened the corners of his mouth in amusement .
「This surprises me! Such a pretty young lady is the Black-haired War maiden, the slayer of the Demon King!” 」
As he said this, Fernando took Angeline’s hand in a natural motion and put his arms around her .
「I can escort you, if you like . Which way were you planning to go? 」
「Well, you know, I mean, …… for a walk . …… 」
「I see . It’s a beautiful day . It’s better to be out in the garden than inside the mansion . Come on . 」
With that, Fernando walks off with Angeline in his arms . She couldn’t shake him off, so she had to walk with him . She was surprised to find that it was much easier to walk now than it was before, probably because she had someone to put her weight on with his arms around her .
Angeline looks up at Fernando hesitantly, surprised at the man’s good manners .
Fernando looked forward with a blank expression on his face, but suddenly glanced sideways at Angeline and smiled at her . Angeline looked away in a hurry . Behind her, she could see that Guilmeña was holding back her laughter .
They made several turns down the hallway, down the stairs, and eventually outside .
The sunlight was warm, but the air was cold perhaps because of the morning frost .
Her bare shoulders bothered her, but it couldn’t be helped .
Angeline raised her arms and took a deep breath . The cold air seemed to be discomforting but now she was inside the warm mansion where the heating magic was working .
Fernando chuckled .
「That’s a bold thing to do . It’s rather tempting too . 」
Angeline huffed and dropped her arms .
「Sorry about that …… . 」
「No, I don’t mind . You can rest assured that we don’t expect adventurers to follow all the etiquettes of a nobleman . 」
Fernando smiled at that .
I see, Angeline agreed, Fernando is very different from Villar and others . He knows how to win people’s hearts and minds .
That’s why Angeline was a little wary of Fernando . It would be displeasing to be drawn into someone else’s pace .
Also, it was quite unfavorable for Angeline who didn’t understand the selfishness of noblemen .
Looking at the mortified Angeline, Fernando chuckled .
「Don’t be so scared . I won’t bite . 」
「Um …… . 」
「But I don’t know what Villar is doing …… leaving his precious guests unescorted and unattended . I’m fed up with my poorly behaved brother . 」
Fernando urged Angeline to a chair placed in the yard . It was beside a neatly arranged table and surrounded by a well maintained garden . The trees were in bloom with crimson flowers . There was a faint sweet smell in the air .
Angeline sat down as she was prompted . Fernando, sitting next to her, looked at Angeline with interest .
「How do you like it, the nobleman’s house? When you’re an S-ranked adventurer, do you get a lot of invitations? 」
「No …… such a lavish place, well, you know, I’ve never seen one before . 」
「I see . Haha, I guess that’s what you call it, and it keeps the prestige of the Grand Duke’s family intact! 」
Fernando laughed with amusement . ‘You look a bit like Lieselotte with your eyes when you smile, Angeline thought .
Then a nondescript-looking Guilmeña comes in with a cup of tea . She glanced at Angeline and winked at her . Angeline gave a small smile .
Fernando took the cup of tea and said .
「Villar is my poorly behaved brother, but it was a wise decision to invite you here . If you are as beautiful as this, it will make the investiture ceremony a grand affair . 」
「Haha . …… 」
I feel like I’m being complimented, but when someone calls me beautiful or praises me, my expression relaxes a little bit even if I didn’t mean to . Angeline looked down to hide it .
But I also wanted my father to praise me that way as well .
Yes, my father has never seen me in a dress like this .
I’m sure the chest and waist are thin, but it seems my body is slim and charming .
It’s a good thing that people are not able to get a good idea of how someone would look by imagining it .
I wonder if he would praise me for my beauty . I hope he’ll be happy that I’ve grown up .
Angeline smiled at the thought and relaxed her cheeks .
「Angeline? Angeline, are you listening to me? 」
Fernando looked dubious . Angeline looked up with a huff .
「Ha, sorry . …… 」
「Hmm, you look tired, huh? Well, here is your tea . This is the tea we got from Tildis . It has a slightly different aroma . 」
「…… smells good, doesn’t it? 」
Angeline enjoyed the tea, which smelled different from the tea served in her room . Somehow, it seemed like everything in the world could be found in this house .
Suddenly, there was a sign of someone approaching .
「Well, well, well, brother . 」
When I looked at the source of the voice, I saw a slender, man of about twenty or so years of age standing there .
His dark brown hair, slightly darker than Fernando’s and Villar’s, was long and bunched behind his head . Behind him was a group of armor-clad soldiers waiting for him .
Fernando gave a thin smile .
「You’re looking well, brother . What are you doing in a place like this? 」
「I was escorting the main guests to the ball . 」
Fernando said and glanced at Angeline . Angeline gave a small bow to the man called François .
「Angeline, this is …… . 」
「Oh, the “dark-haired warrior girl” is you? 」
The man called François put a hand to his chin and narrowed his eyes .
「He’s mine and Villar’s brother . 」
「You can say hello . …… 」
Angeline’s eyes narrowed a little, “So you’ve met all three brothers of the Grand Duke’s family now . ”
Fernando chuckled .
「Don’t be so frightened, this guy is guarding the house on his own, and he looks a little suspicious . ‘François, you don’t think there are any trespassers breaking in, do you?’」
「Well, what do you think? This is how many people there are . I wouldn’t be surprised if there are one or two weirdos in the mix . 」
François then looked at Angeline and laughed with his mouth only . Guilmeña looked amused .
Fernando chuckled and sipped his tea .
「But you’re so pompous in the daytime . What do you think you’re doing with so many soldiers in tow?」
「As I said . There could be some strange things in the mix with all these people . There’s nothing wrong with being cautious . 」
「Ha, I see that too . But don’t scare the guests too much, okay? Your father won’t give you any credit, will he? 」
「You’re the one who needs to stop chasing women’s asses . 」
For a sibling, there was something thorny between the two of them .
Perhaps François was Fernando and Villar’s half-brother .
Angeline thought that it was disgusting that they were somehow bickering like this because they had different mothers .
François looked at Angeline and laughed somewhat mockingly .
「Well Angeline, don’t get so carried away just because you were invited . You might get the wrong idea, don’t you think? 」
「Haha . …… 」
François doesn’t have a favorable impression of her, Angeline thought .
But this is the normal attitude of a nobleman . If you think about it that way, well, it’s not hard to put up with it .
As she was sipping her tea in a deceptive manner, “Angie!” A voice said, and someone came running up .
「I can’t believe you’re here! It’s so good to see you! 」
「 Lizzy …… Lotte-sama . 」
「Cute… but you’re my friend, so don’t be so distant! 」
Lieselotte ran up to him and happily hugged Angeline’s arm . Fernando chuckled .
「Come on Lise, you’re not supposed to frolic like that, you’re a noble not a flirt . 」
「Oh, Brother Fernando, Brother François, how do you do? 」
Liselotte bowed gracefully with the hem of her skirt . The arrival of the only person she could feel comfortable with, apart from Guilmeña, made Angeline feel more than a little better .
Lieselotte sat down next to Angeline and flapped her legs happily .
「That’s great, Angie! You’re really beautiful when you dress properly! 」
「…… thank you, thank you? 」
She glanced to her side at a frowning François and then reiterated . Lieselotte puffed out her cheeks in a puff .
「Anyway! I told you to stop being so distant! 」
「Lizzy, appearances are a thing, you have to listen to them . 」
「No! Even Brother Fernando would like to have a beautiful woman get comfortable with him! 」
「Oh, man, we’re screwed . 」
Fernando chuckled . Then the figure came again . He seemed out of breath and poked his hand on the table .
「Lise! Don’t rush off ahead of me by yourself! 」
「Oh, Ozzie . I’m not that fast, isn’t it because you’re slow? 」
「Oh, my goodness . …… Oh, brother-in-law Kamigata, you look great . 」
The man called Ozzie straightened his collar and bowed . He had reddish-blond hair . He must be eighteen or so years old .
François chuckled .
「Yes, I’m fine . Are you ok, Oswald? 」
「Ha, Master François is a joke: …… 」
The man called Oswald chuckled and looked back at François with only his eyes glaring at him .
Lieselotte said in her usual tone .
「Ozzie! That’s Angie! She’s a great adventurer! Angie, this is Ozzy . His name is Oswald, and he’s my fiancé! 」
Oswald looked at Angeline with a dubious look on his face . Angeline gave a small bow .
Oswald seemed momentarily taken aback by Angeline’s appearance, but quickly snorted with a sour expression .
「You, you’re the one who spouted this and that nonsense to my Lizze . She’s an aristocrat, remember? I don’t want my mind to be misled by unnecessary talk . 」
「Huh, sorry . ……」
「Hey! You can’t say that, Ozzie! 」
Fernando chuckled .
「That’s not going to keep Lizze’s mind occupied . It’s your job to keep your fiancé’s entertained, isn’t it, Oswald? You’re the one who’s pathetic if you can get away with it . 」
「Mu …… it is, but 」
「Well, Oswald has a point . Don’t let her adventurous spirit get too carried away . 」
François said, and Lieselotte puffed out her cheeks and patted the table .
「Hey! Angie is going to get a medal . It’s not like your father would approve of that! If you’re going to mock Angie, you’re going to mock your father! That’s wrong! 」
「Hum . 」
「Well, …… sure . 」
「Haha, you’re the unreasonable Lizze . I can’t help it . 」
Apparently, even men who have high pride can’t compete with Lieselotte’s unreasonableness . Angeline smiled softly .
Then they exchanged a few pleasantries, and the assembled people dispersed to their own duties . Angeline, who was noticeably tired, also accompanied Guilmeña back to her room .
When she returned and sat down on the couch, she felt the strength leave her body .
「All these crooked people …… fearsome aristocrats …… 」
Fernando and François, and even Oswald, seem to have a bit of history with each other . The exchange of words between them is tense, even if you listen to it from the side .
It’s no match for Villar . I’m sure you’ll be able to find a way to make it work .
「You did a good job . It’s a good idea not to speak badly of them . Well, I guess that’s your face to face with what looks like a bad situation, hmmm . 」
Guilmeña pulled the wine from the shelf and poured it into a glass, setting it in front of Angeline . Angeline drank it in one gulp and then breathed heavily .
「…… And then there’s the Grand Duke himself, and the Crown Prince, I guess?」
「That’s what I mean . Well, it’s better to avoid causing a commotion . As long as we can get through the ball, we don’t have to worry about all the problems inside the Grand Duke’s household . 」
「Hmm . …… Yeah . 」
A glass of wine calmed Angeline down a bit . Her body was tired in a strange way, with her uncomfortable clothes and shoes . Angeline frowned and picked at the hem of her dress .
「The ball means we’re going to dance …… right? Dressed like this? 」
「Yes . That’s right, Angie is quite pretty now . I’m sure she’ll get lots of invitations to dance with the nobility . 」
Angeline leaned back on the couch as if disgusted .
「What a pain in the ass…… give me another glass of wine . 」
Guilmeña smirked and poured her a glass of wine . Angeline took another big gulp and lowered her eyes . The image of Belgriff flashed through her mind . She sighed .
「I miss you father …… . 」
「Now, are you comfortable? Maybe I should start the etiquette training . 」
Angeline frowned .
「…… Can’t we just start getting serious tomorrow?」
「No . The performance is tomorrow, you know . You have to be able to walk without tripping . 」
「Gunnu …… 」
Angeline sat in silence for a while, but eventually she stood up as if she had given up .