Section 13: Longing……
“Rose-san, hey Rose-san”
I chased after Rose-san’s light pink, fluffy, cotton candy like hair. I held the bouquet of flowers that the sisters had tied off for me close to my chest and moved next to her.
“Um, are you still mad?”
“…….I am not”
Turning her head away, she gave a really easy to understand answer.
After leaving the church, we moved as planned to the blacksmith and Warrior Guild. Toslin’s armor which she had continued to wear in its half-destroyed state ever since we left Relton will finally be revived. We left behind Rose-san’s shield and armor as well before heading to a tailor to buy everyone some ordinary clothes they can wear around town. As a result, we managed to make it to the Warrior Guild around noon.
Toslin asked to have a new adventurer’s license based on her rank certificate, but things took a while from there. The receptionist took one look at the certificate before turning around and heading to the back of the building. After a moment the guildmaster came out and began the confirmation work.
I’ve lived in this city my whole life, but since I’ve never had any use for the guild before, I don’t really know anybody here. But the other side must know me because he gave me a warm greeting.
“No no, you’re definitely angry. You’re making the same face Sarah always does when she’s sulking.”
After that, Toslin was issued a new license from the guild and was safely inducted as a level 17 vermillion topaz adventurer.
“…..I am not nearly as cute as Sarah-san.”
Rose-san averted her gaze and started to pout. It’s the same expression I’ve seen Sarah make countless time before. There’s only one reason I can think of why the always smiling Rose-san would make a face like that. It must be because I spread word of Rose-san’s heroic saga to all of the sisters.
“No, you look just like her. There, you lower your eyebrows whenever you feel bothered.”
The sun had fully risen, and with the exception of certain shaded areas, all the snow was melting from the warmer weather. The Water Dragon Tail still soaring through the sky only served to amplify the sun’s rays, causing the snow to melt faster than it would normally. Chances are, all the snow in the city will have completely melted by the time the Tail disappears in two weeks.
“…….really, I am not, angry. Just, very embarrassed.”
…….I see. What a Rose-sanish answer. Understanding so in my heart, I gave her a smile, laughed,
and finally apologized. Although I really don’t think I’m have the right expression to make that seem sincere.
“You do not seem to mean that apology.”
“No no, I do apologize. I really do think I’ve been bad.”
“Then if you could, just a little, make a face that looks apologetic……”
“But it is true that I’m happy. Rose-san was really wonderful at that time. The way you stood alone against a rampaging dragon, I certainly couldn’t have done that…… So after the sisters asked me to tell them about such a Rose-san……I’m just really happy other people are holding you in such high-esteem as well.”
Right now we’re headed to the inn where Rose-san and the others are staying for lunch. The cobblestone road is wet from the melted snow and shines from the reflected light. It’s beautiful, like we’re walking across the Anne Libretta right in the middle of town.
“…..is that really what it is?”
Rose-san gave me a sideways glance. There’s about a two apple difference in height between us, so I have to look up whenever I talk to her. But since it’s Rose-san, I don’t feel any sense of intimidation even if she is looking down on me.
“And, well, maybe there is a part of me that just likes seeing you embarrassed.”
So I have no problems letting little facts like this slip.
“Then it is just as I thought. Iris-san is being particularly sadistic today!!”
And so Rose-san once again briskly walks ahead of me. We’ve had this same conversation about her being in a bad mood several times now since we left the church, and it ends just like this every time. I know I’m 100 percent in the wrong here, but I just can’t stop myself.
(They’re the same age, but the reactions are completely different.)
In my head, I keep comparing Rose-san’s reaction to the reaction I got out of Saluena last night. Saluena sinks into silence when I tease her just a bit while Rose-san gets angry.
Speaking of which, Saluena called me sadistic last night too. I was having the same thoughts at that time that I’m having now.
I never had these kinds of thoughts six months ago when I was peacefully living in town, and nobody ever accused me of being sadistic.
Maybe these kinds of thoughts just naturally crop up for me when I become close to an older woman? If I had grown up with an older sister, maybe I would’ve been a sadistic younger sister.
“What, did you make her angry again?”
“Ah, Toslin. No, I don’t think she’s actually angry. But that’s why next time…….”
“Yeah well, even though Rose is supposed to be older, I can understand why’d you’d want to mess with or tease her.”
“Right?” is what I want to say, but I hold myself back. I’d certainly hate it if Rose-san were to start ignoring me or something. So I’ll be sure to properly apologize next time.
“But please do it in moderation? Otherwise you’ll be taken to the punishment room, and it’ll be your turn to have a bad time.”
Remembering that incident, Toslin grimaced while rubbing her butt. It still hurt.
“Ahaha, ha. You’re right. I’ll be sure to apologize.”
“That’s good. But, I was thinking about something……”
Toslin scratched the tip of her nose. Whenever she makes this gesture, it’s because she’s working herself up to ask something she finds hard.
“Is it okay that you didn’t do a baptismal rite?”
I figured that question would come up sooner or later. But even though I knew it was coming, I still didn’t have an answer.
What would have happened if I went through with the ceremony as well? Did I go through a dramatic change like the others? And if that change did happen…….will I be able to accept it?
“I don’t know”
I’m torn. And I let Toslin know it.
I long for adventure. A life of freedom. I long for it even now. But when my family welcomed me home and I got another taste of my normal, everyday life, I understood that a life like this was also hard to come by.
“Well think it over carefully. You’ve got plenty of time.”
If I was going to become an adventurer and follow after Toslin and the others, I figured I would have to come to a decision in the next couple of days. Otherwise they’d have to leave for another city…….
“Weren’t you paying attention to what Aronda-san said? Aren’t there only a few adventurers in this town right now? If that’s true, then we’re going to be in high demand. Add that to the fact that we’ve formed a connection with the church, and there’s no way we’re going to simply throw a situation this sweet away to head to another city.”
There’s also the fact that Toslin and the others are all orange level adventurers now. Aronda-san had mentioned it before, “This is my first time ever awarding someone the orange rank,” so there can’t be that many adventurers who surpass level 15 here. Especially in such an out of the way town like this.
“Oh yeah, there’s that too”
“Obviously I’m talking about that Knights of Iris. I’m supposed to be a member. Carol too.”
I feel like my head is going to explode each time I hear someone call it that. If I’m going to have a chivalric order protecting me no matter what, can’t we at least come up with a better name?
“I said I’d do it not really thinking much about it at the time, but watching Saluena’s behavior up until now, I’ve realized she’s really serious about this.”
“Yeah……serious is one way to put it……”
I’m the closest one to her, so I know Saluena a little better than Toslin does.
That’s why I would rather use the word earnest here. Saluena is earnestly doing what she can to form a chivalric order. All just to protect me.
“But, um……Toslin. Are you really okay with this? If not, I can talk to Saluena……”
Toslin and I both looked in front of us where Carol was throwing a tantrum about how hungry she was and how she couldn’t walk another step all while riding on Saluena’s back.
“No, it’s the other way around. I don’t dislike it. Honestly I’d rather welcome it.”
What are the advantages of being in a chivalric order where there are only four members including the commander and deputy commander? While I was wondering that, Toslin looked down at me as if she were watching the bumbling assistant to a master detective.
“Can I call you Iris-kun?”
I rarely ever get addressed with kun, so it feels fresh. Plus the person using it is a beautiful woman like Toslin, so it really made my heart beat.
“Right now you are in a very important position.”
“You haven’t figured that out yet?”
I looked at her blankly and so a chop fell on my head.
“Good. Now didn’t the church send out an order to have you protected no matter what?”
Toslin regained her usual expression and continued on in a whisper so that nobody around us would overhear.
“They said they were thinking about dispatching the Priestess Senshidan¹, you know that’s a big deal right?”
The Priestess Senshidan is a group made up entirely of priestess warriors like Rose-san. With the Goddess’s protection, these warriors have the ability to move between any nation without things like politics to fence them in.
And according to Aronda-san, the church was about ready to mobilize this powerful force for the sole purpose of protecting me. Even I think it’s amazing. Or maybe terrifying is a better word there.
“Well I certainly know it’s a big deal. The bigwigs of the church. So if I stay here and help protect you……the size of my reward will be enormous.”
Hey, are you aware of this? Toslin? Right now, you’ve got a really evil look on your face.
“Ahaha, I get it. A proper Toslin-like motive.”
“Well, now you know why. There are also some extra benefits in it for me too. So I don’t have any choice other than to join this chivalric order. At least if I want to get some sword training from Saluena.”
“I see…..then you might end up staying here forever.”
“Yeah. Personally, I’d have to say I hope I do.”
Staying together forever. An incredibly sweet thought that brings my mind to ease. But then why…..does it also give me a slightly hazy feeling?
I thought it was something I desperately wanted, but now that it’s in reach, I can’t help but get confused because something feels off.
The two of us continued down the cobblestone road, absentmindedly watching as the Water Dragon’s Tail made sport of any clouds that got too close.
1. So this is apparently the name of a group. In English, it literally translates a group of priestess warriors, so I did not know this was supposed to be a proper name. Even as I translate this and read on, I’m still doubting this is an actual name.