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“I see. So, what are you going to pick this time? …My recommendation is the brandy highball. It has a nice fragrance and it’s refreshing and has a faint tinge of sweetness without the alcohol percentage being too high.”
“Then I’ll go with that,” Duke Chaudgal nodded.
Damsel Scarlet looked at me.
“What about us?”
“Around this season, I’d suggest fermented juice made out of small apples that has no alcohol in it. A non-alcoholic cider.”
The glasses were carried in. After we toasted, Sword drained his glass in one go.
Damsel Scarlet rejoiced after taking a sip, “Oh my! This is wonderful!”
“The apples are too sour for eating, but they’re quite suited for fermentation. Though you have to add honey since they lack sweetness.”
Even so, it’s delicious, I’d say.
The duke seemed to also be pleased with his drink. He drank it all up in no time and requested a refill.
Dinner impressed our guests deeply.
“Lady Indra, you are outstanding at cooking, but your cooks are magnificent, too.”
“Hoh, so you say Indra is also good at cooking!? I see. Is that necessary for an adventurer?”
“It is. Meals that lack nutritional balance negatively affect your body’s growth.”
As I talked to the duke, Sword sighed.
“Hmm? Is something wrong?”
“…I just thought that it’s great to see you guys get along so well.”
Why the sighing then?
“…The present king Arkhide and Gerard wanted to become adventurers. For the same reason as you.”
The same reason as me?
“In short, they wanted to go on adventures in search of thrills.”
“Indeed! That’s absolutely right!” The duke latched onto that. “I envied Sword, and although he’s become king now, Ark…! Ark’s rank in the crown succession order was low to begin with, and if things had proceeded regularly, he wouldn’t have become king. That’s why he tried to become an adventurer!”
Heeh! I didn’t know that. An adventurer ended up king, huh? That’s somewhat pitiable.
“I see. That’s a pity.”
“Indeed! But, I’m pitiable as well, you see? I had no choice but to give up from the start!”
That’s because you’re a duke, yep. But, why adventurer? It doesn’t sound like he’s got any relation to that job.
“…But, you are a noble, aren’t you? Normally adventurer isn’t anything you’d aim for, unless you’re stuck in circumstances such as mine, is it?”
――At that point, his meeting with Sword was revealed.
The present king had a low rank in the succession order because he was the youngest brother of the previous king. Moreover, because of his carefree, naughty personality, he always slipped out of the palace and academy to play in the city. Shadow and Gerard were the ones who constantly headed out to search for him. And, leaving Shadow aside, Gerard apparently got influenced by Arkhide’s playful character in little to no time.
Arkhide and him happily listened to the tall stories of the adventurers they got to know, and spun their own big dreams.
And then, even after some time passed, the three still messed around in the city (Shadow not really, but he got dragged along). At that time, Gerard was already a married man (with child), but he was jealous of Arkhide who fully enjoyed playing around with commoners despite being royalty, and apparently followed him around while neglecting his wife and child under the pretext of having to keep an eye on his friend. …Damsel Scarlet, it sounds like your Daddy was a fairly useless bum, doesn’t it?
I thought they were lucky that nothing happened, but apparently something did happen after all. At long last, they got targeted by criminals, were surrounded, and almost kidnapped.
Not to mention Gerard, but even Shadow didn’t carry any weapons on him since they weren’t overly wary of possible dangers. Neither of them had the confidence that they’d be able to defeat the criminals with their bare hands, and in the first place, they didn’t gain any experience with evil-minded, nasty folk prior to that.
Just when they had become paralyzed out of fear, the adventurer boy Sword showed up. According to Gerard, Sword explained that he had had business with the criminals anyway, but given that he’d caught them red-handed, he simply beat the whole lot up and handed them over to the officials. That was the moment when Arkhide and Gerard became Sword’s fans.
“Ark began intensive training in swordsmanship and magic, psyching himself up by repeatedly stating that he’d definitely become Sword’s partner. And once he heard that Sword wanted to genuinely learn magic arts, he took advantage of the opportunity to get Sword indebted to him, made full use of his authority, and went even as far as getting Sword into the academy at such a young age that no precedent even among nobility existed of it. Back then, I was really frustrated and sulky about it, but I have truly been respecting you deeply.”
“Yeah, I know since it was plain obvious,” retorted Sword with a fed-up look.
“Now, now, Sword, don’t be so hard on him. Go with flow while keeping a tolerant mind. Passiveness is your creed anyway, isn’t it?”
Yet he rebuked me, “Could you please not decide my creed for me? Thanks.”
“…But, well, it’s really great that you weren’t all alone.”
Everyone had apparently heard my murmur and froze.
“Since you tend to be distant, you might feel confused when confronted with strong emotions by someone else, but there’s someone purely wishing the best for you, so it’s not like you were truly all alone. Knowing that takes a weight off my mind.”
“…… Well…I guess.”
Sword seemed to be slightly embarrassed while casting his face down, but he immediately lifted it, and grinned at me. I answered in kind.
It means neither Sword nor I were that isolated from others. We just didn’t realize.
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