Section 10: A Friendly Chat for the First Time in a Long Time
“T-Then if it’s like that, then everything I said until now……”
“Honestly, I’m so sorry.”
Kutuna-san’s apology hour finally came to an end. In truth it was probably only a couple of minutes, but it definitely feels like they’ve been apologizing to me for an hour. These three’s presence has been that deeply engraved into my mind.
“But what could have happened in those ruins that’d prevent orange rank adventurers from returning?”
I’ve already explained to them how Toslin, Carol, and Rose-san haven’t yet returned after leaving to investigate those ruins. And Peachseed-san mumbled her thoughts aloud as she tried to figure out why that would be.
“Asking that right in front of her, being this insensitive again…….”
“Ah, no no! It’s fine, it really is fine. Saluena and I were just wondering the same thing…….”
I could feel Kutuna-san’s anger flaring up again, so I proactively went out of my way to put out the flames.
“The only thing of note from their first report was the presence of some ents around the city. There were nearly a dozen of them, but even then they’d be no match for Rosa……or so I thought.”
“Heh? But an ent isn’t the kind of enemy you can easily beat……”
Plumseed-san looked over towards Kutuna-san for confirmation.
“The three of us are green rank adventurers, so we should be able to take one on. There are individual differences of course, but by no means are they a weak enemy.”
“And they were able to kill a dozen of them in one night? Orange rank adventurers really are amazing.”
Peachseed-san was amazed after hearing Kutuna-san’s explanation. By the way, the Seed sisters were both level five, and Kutuna-san is level six. They’re all about the same level Toslin and the others were when I first met them.
“But, then does that meant that request we got was to check up on this?”
“Yeah, two days ago the guild got in contact and had us patrol the area around the ruins.”
“It was the first adventurer-like job we had gotten in so long. Ahh, it was the first time we got to eat meat in such a long time too.”
“Thinking about it now, instead of making sure nothing came from the ruins, our job might have actually been about making sure nobody from the city came to the ruins. That way they could search for this Tosrillon-san without worry.”
“It certainly makes sense.”
“Yeah…… If rumor started to spread that some orange rank adventurers had disappeared, people would grow anxious over what’s happening around the city…….”
Something almost certainly happened, but it may already be wrapped up. The guild is only looking out for the city’s well-being by not wanting to spread fear when their adventurers might come back at any moment.
“Yes, but was it really all right for us to eat like that after we were finished?”
Kutuna-san had said the three of them were making a living as lumberjacks before they got this patrol request. And it’s clear from Plumseed’s words that this situation has left their wallet a little on the light side until a few days ago.
“Yeah, it’s fine. We got a fairly large reward from the guild for it this time.”
“But now that I think about it, since there was a chance that a lot of ents might have ended up jumping us, doesn’t that mean it was a really dangerous job?”
“And the guild knew about it, and they still sent us out there without telling us. How terrible. Well, maybe that’s why the reward was so high?”
“No, they told all three of us about the ents before we left.”
The Seed sisters had been resting their chins in their palms, spouting out idle complaints for a moment now, but they both sat up when Kutuna-san informed them they were wrong. They told me they weren’t twins, but they reacted in the exact same way. Oh, Peachseed is already seventeen while Plumseed is sixteen. Kutuna-san is the oldest of the three at eighteen, but with her looks and facial features, I would have guessed she was the same age as Rose-san.
“Why do you two never listen?”
The Seed sisters turned their eyes away, once again trembling underneath Kutuna-san’s quiet fury.
It was so funny I accidentally let slip a chuckle.
“Hold on you! What are you laughing at!?”
“We’re so stupid you couldn’t help but to laugh? Are we wrong?”
“Y-Yes……that’s right, you’re wrong…….”
Peachseed had jumped to her feet, but she was immediately sat back down in her chair. Even though she’s older, that sour expression of hers just makes you want to pity her and it is quite cute. I feel a little bad about it, but my mouth loosened up all on its own.
“I’m sorry I laughed. But the way you two looked when she got mad reminded me of some people I know……”
The reason why I couldn’t help but laugh was because the interaction between these three reminded me so much of Toslin and Carol’s regular exchange.
“Um, those people are…….”
“Yes. They’re the Tosrillon and Carotayle I told you about. Those two, are close friends just like all of you.”
“Hehe…….Ku-chan. She says we look like we’re close.”
“Of course, we were raised like sisters after all.”
“Even though I think of you both as strangers. If you two didn’t apologize, I really was going to dissolve our party and leave you both behind in this city.”
“Hey, wha……Ku-chan, please don’t go that far!! You promised us we were all going to reach level 10 together and then march around our hometown while wearing a bunch of fancy clothes………”
“That’s just what you two decided without ever asking me about my opinion right?”
I was talking to somebody who wasn’t Saluena or my family for the first time in a long time, and it felt refreshing. Perhaps that’s the reason why I feel so calm right now.
“This is the first time you’ve smiled in a while.”
I saw Saluena’s hand move from the corner of my eye. Her long white fingers brushed against my hair.
“I was unable to make Iris smile on my own. You have my thanks emerald maidens.”
Saluena continued stroking her hand across my cheeks as if she were physically checking to see if I was really smiling before turning a serious gaze towards the Seed sisters and thanking them both. I was about ready to stop Saluena since she was feeling up my hair in public again, but since I could somehow tell just how concerned she was for me through her touch, I decided to let her go.
“………eh, no, I……we, that wasn’t………..right?”
“Y-Yeah……. We should be apologizing for not being more considerate……..”
The Seed sisters were stammering when faced by Saluena’s prince-like aura. Mhmm, I know how you feel. I did the same thing when Saluena first seriously looked at me as well.
“U-Um…..now that you mention it, Saluena…..san. You’re a swordswoman right? Are you an adventurer too? Then, you’re relationship with Iris-san is………?”
Saluena’s beautiful eyebrows twitched at Kutuna-san’s question. Oh, I need to stop her. But by the time the thought was running through my head, it was already too late…….
“Indeed, I am a swordswoman. But I am also a knight. And Iris Calvafon is the one to whom I have decided to dedicate my sword to.”
“…….wait, a knight?”
“Dedicated, your sword? To………Iris-san?”
Saluena said the exact same thing the day she met my parents. “I don’t want to lie about our relationship”………that’s what she had told me in bed that night.
And now she’s repeating the line to Kutuna-san and the Seed sisters. Of course they’re surprised. Not only is Saluena a knight, but she’s dedicated her sword to me of all people.
“Eh, you mean……..really?”
The reason why I don’t insist that Saluena bend the truth is because I know just how much she values that connection with me. So I’ve decided to keep my objections to myself and roll with it.
“That’s right. She is my knight. A very kind person who protects me.”
I was feeling a little bashful, but I still managed to puff out my chest and say it with confidence. Meanwhile Saluena looked reassured and was smiling.
I haven’t been able to smile over these last couple of days. As such, Saluena hasn’t been smiling either. But seeing her smiling face now warms my heart.
But after I said what I needed to say, a wave of embarrassment started bubbling up. It started in my chest before spreading to my face and turning me a bright red. Just as I reached the point when I had to look away because I couldn’t look directly into Saluena’s eyes anymore,
the guild’s door burst open and a woman wearing a robe came running in alongside a cold breeze.
A white tikarodeka symbol was weaved into the front of her robe.