Chapter 11: Royal Academy
Section 3: Idling Time
A few days after departing from Solretta Litta. Our carriage safely found its way to Rifront.
“Rifront, the Fairy’s Tear. A name not completely unrelated to us.”
Apparently a knight ran ahead of us to secure lodgings in advance. So we can sleep in an actual bed for the first time since starting our journey.
“Right. But, even though I stayed here for six months, I never once saw a fairy here. Although I suppose I never did go out during the night.”
There are a couple of places you can stay the night in Rifront, but of course our group is going to be staying at the Shining Hen, the place that has already taken care of us for over half a year.
And so now, we’re going to return the favor by supplying this town with the business of a hundred traveling knights.
“Unload the luggage from Solretta here. Litzreich. I’ll leave transporting the cargo to you.”
Yuhanna-sama quickly started handing out instructions the moment we entered town. She really gives off the air of a woman who can do anything. So cool.
“Oh jeez……whatever. I suppose I can help out every now and then.”
“Trade as much as you can with anyone who comes seeking to do business. And remember, we are here representing His Majesty. Never do anything that would sully his name. Make sure your subordinates understand that as well.”
“I got it. I’m going. See you later Iris.”
“Yes. Do your best.”
Seen off by me and Lapris, Litzreich walked over to her subordinate knights who had already begun unloading the carriages. From the perspective of a stranger, she looked like a child being protected by a group of knights.
But during our time on the way here, I have seen her interacting with the surrounding knights on multiple occasions. During those times she was always cool, calm, and composed–proving her status as the vice commander of the knights to be real.
“Haa, she’s the vice commander of some knights even though she’s smaller than I am. Amazing.”
“What are you on about?”
Toslin questioned Carol after overhearing her mumbling.
“No, I was just saying she’s amazing”
I began teaching Carol the alphabet just as I said I would.
We started off by going over how to write everyone’s names since that seemed the most useful, and she is really into it.
During those lessons this Iris-san didn’t miss how intently Carol would stare whenever we got to Toslin’s name though.
It was during those moments that I figured the reason why Carol wanted to learn the alphabet had something to do with Toslin.
“…..I think you’re amazing enough as you are though.”
“Of course. You’re still just fourteen, yet you’ve become a cheeky orange rank adventurer. You’ll gain foresight as you get older. And besides, Litzreich’s age probably doesn’t match up with how she looks anyway. She’s a devil or some kind of race similar to it at least.”
“Fue……how did you know that?”
Toslin shrugged her shoulders at my amazement.
“Intuition I guess.”
“Sorry to keep you waiting. I received confirmation from the landlady, so we are okay to head over now.”
“Oh, Anego and Rose are back Iris.”
Lapris spoke up from on top of my head, letting me know that Saluena and Rose-san are back after checking in at the Shining Hen.
“Rather, they told us to hurry up and check in since the food is getting cold. Charlie-san especially is looking forward to seeing Iris-san again. As such, I believe it would be for the best if we headed over there straight away.”
“Right! Well then, Yuhanna-sama. We will be at the Shining Hen if you need anything.”
“Understood. I shall send a guard over later on.”
Separating from Yuhanna-sama, we rushed over to the Shining Hen–a place that had been my home for over half a year.
“Iris~~~~~~~~~~~~~!!! I wanted to see you so so so so so so much~!!”
“Uwah! Who’s this girl!?”
Charlie flew towards me as soon as I opened the door before I even had the chance to say hello. Lapris was so caught off guard that she dove into my hair on instinct.
“Yeah, I wanted to see you too. Has it already been three weeks since I left? I’m glad you’re doing well.”
“Yep, I’m doing well. Super well. The landlady has been getting angry at me every day lately though, so I have been feeling a bit dispirited that I have no free time.”
“I wonder what’s getting her so upset.”
“First Mycena and now this girl. Your friends sure do like being touchy feely with you.”
“Hm!? Who……tha-, no way, a fairy? Wha-, what what? Why is there a fairy with Iris? …..are you real?”
Charlie’s hair is loosely braided and slightly redder than mine. Any smile from her freckle covered face is always cute no matter how many times I see it.
“C’mon Charlie. People can’t get in if you keep standing there. It’s still cold out too, so hurry up and let them in so the door can be closed.”
The owner of the inn Meltaria came up from the back of the kitchen and started scolding Charlie.
“Oops. Right right. Toslin, Carol, long time no see. Rose-san and, Saluena-san was it? Come on, come in.”
By the way, this will be Saluena’s first time staying here since she joined up with us after we had just left town last time.
“This place is as noisy as ever.”
“It’s more Charlie than anything else.”
Toslin and Carol walked in with a wry smile on their faces.
“The noise just so happens to be the Shining Hen’s special product.”
“When did you become my inn’s specialty? If you’re finished, how about taking their orders after showing them to their seats.”
“Roger~. Then this way everyone. Although, the entire place has been pretty much reserved for you guys, so you could sit wherever you want.”
“Then, our usual table please.”
We scuttled towards the table we ate at almost every single day when the road was blocked off by snow and dragons.
“So what are we having?”
“I’ve been looking forward to this. I’ll have the herb cooked barbato.”
“Oh, that reminds me. Solretta had herb cooked barbato as well, but it was almost a completely different dish. I will have the same.”
“Oneesama. I recommend this place’s herb cooked barbato, the same as them.”
“I see, then let’s go with that. We will have two of the same as well Braided Maiden.”
“…….M-Maiden? And did Rose-san just call you Oneesama? Are you two sisters?”
“Oh, that is……”
Rose-san stiffened as her face turned a shade of red beneath Charlie’s gaze. Meanwhile Saluena is looking pleased with herself–the wrong kind of face to be making if you’re looking to clear up a misunderstanding.
“I’ll explain it later.”
I pitched in to help Rose-san out a bit.
“I’ll hold you to that!! You can’t back out now!! So, are the usual drinks fine too? And some juice for Carol of course♪”
“Boo! Booooo! Give me some alcohol too! Quit treating me like a kid! I’m an adventurer!!”
“Ahahaha, what a thing for an actual child to be saying.”
Charlie’s skirt fluttered behind her as she disappeared into the kitchen.
“Just now……what a nostalgic exchange.”
“Was it? You know we’ve only been gone for three weeks right?”
“Are you sure you don’t want any alcohol Oneesama?”
“Yes, it makes no difference. I wish to have whatever you’re having today.”
Saluena and Rose-san have been closer than ever since their sister date in Solretta.
Rose-san has been starting up more conversations with Saluena, and Saluena has been doting on Rose-san in turn.
It’s the end result I had hoped for when I originally proposed the idea……but it is a little regrettable that the amount of time Rose-san spends fussing over me has decreased.
Well those are just my own selfish thoughts, so there’s no way I’d ever say it out loud.
“Even so, oi Iris”
While absentmindedly lost in my own thoughts with my mouth hanging half open, there was a sudden kick to the side of my neck.
“Hey, that kind of hurt.”
“You hug people too much. Sarah is kind of small and your sister, so it’s fine with her I guess. But for people like Mycena, who are clearly coming at you with hidden intentions, it’s okay to kick them into the air.”
“Yes, but we’re all women, so there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. Besides, despite how she acts Mycena is a good girl. The same goes for Charlie too. She’s hard-working and cheerful too.”
“But I’m the one who gets startled and put in danger. I would’ve been crushed if I had been sitting on your shoulder.”
“You could’ve flown away?”
Refuse? Eeh? That’s troubling. I wasn’t expecting that answer.
“Then I guess our only other option is to have you obediently get crushed?”
“What’s that!? Then you’re fine with recklessly embracing anyone!”
Lapris started slapping me. Yeah, it doesn’t hurt when she does it like this.
“Speaking of Mycena, Iris is abnormally liked by people of the same sex.”
“She is cute after all. Although thinking about it, there was that girl Lutehorn-san whom we met in the cave outside of Relton Village. She and Iris-san became close to each other almost immediately.”
Ah Lutehorn. How nostalgic.
“I wonder if my letter has already arrived.”
No, I sent it to a place pretty far from here, so it’s probably still on the way.
“Really, Iris is the diligent pen pal.”
“Yep. I like letters. You can keep them with you and read them as many times as you wish.”
“Ah, I get you. I still have all the letters I got from my parents.”
“H-Hmm? Toslin, you get letters too?”
Carol’s face jerked up towards Toslin’s who was sitting right next to her.
“Hm? Well sure. Although I never send any replies. Too bothersome.”
“Oh, so Toslin can read but can’t write anything.”
“Hah? That’s not what I was saying. I grew up in a knight household.”
And thus began Carol and Toslin’s quarreling, finally completing the reproduction of the past six months.
I sat back and watched the lively yet comforting scene unfold in front of me, but I could still feel the changing times crawling across my skin.