After I was led to a private room, Shadow cleared the people out. The Knight Leader did his utmost to be allowed to stay as a guard, but the king told him off, “It’d be rude towards our hero, wouldn’t it?”
And thus he compromised by guardin’ outside the door.
“Oh man, it took that much time and effort to get the opportunity to talk with you,” the king spat out, havin’ immediately switched to a casual tone as soon as the three of us were alone.
I stretched on the chair, “Gimme a break. …It’s you who wanna talk with me, not the other way ’round.”
“Don’t be so cold. I mean, while I’ve been working my ass off, you’ve been enjoying your life as an adventurer, haven’t you? How about you give up on the adventurer business and become my aide? I’ll even form a royal guard unit for you and let you be its leader.”
“No, thanks. I’ve already found a partner and formed a party with her. Why would I need to drop the quality of my current lifestyle which is a lot more comfortable than bein’ somethin’ like a royal guard leader?”
The cunnin’ sadist’s eyebrow twitched up.
“Shadow, stop being so jumpy. …You’ve been weird ever since you came back from Sword’s place,” remarked King Hulland, formerly Arkhide, while castin’ a bewildered look at Shadow.
“Probably because he argued with my partner, lost, and came back like a beaten dog.”
“I did not lose. I am simply not childish enough to pick a fight with a brat,” he exclaimed, clearly showin’ his emotions for a change.
“Seriously. You guys gotta be kept apart. You were quite close to havin’ the palace together with king and all wiped out, you know?”
“Hah!?” Arkhide looked flabbergasted.
“My partner is a sadist. A huge sadist who loves to torture folks. So I’m sayin’ our lil’ sly Shadow here mustn’t meet that cute sadist girly. I mean, he got totally trashed by my partner with her agitation skill at full throttle. Because of that, it resulted in me comin’ here, though…”
“Hoh, so she won a war of words against Shadow? That’s incredible.”
“I have been telling you, I did not lose or anything like that,” Shadow spat out sullenly.
“But, you weren’t ’bout to win either, right? She was serious, just so you know. Even I don’t want to see an acquaintance butchered in front of me. By the way, if you ask me who I’m goin’ to side with, it’s definitely goin’ to be Indra. Make sure to not get on her bad side, gotcha?”
Shadow revealed an eerie smile, and blurted out, “Of course I am going to crush her with all my power, you know?”
Whoa, he doesn’t get a thing, that idiot.
“Before that, you’ll be crushed like a bug, physically. …Don’t lump her together with ordinary humans. She doesn’t die even when directly hit by magma, let alone big rocks. Not only do deadly swamps not work on her, but she simply shrugs off a direct hit by an ice dragon by shakin’ her body a bit. She’s brimmin’ over with vitality and health.”
The two were lost for words.
“…Indra Springcoat was supposed to have been born between the first daughter of Duke Summersol and Earl Springcoat, though?”
“I haven’t heard anything about those two not being humans or some such. Or maybe they got some non-humans among their families?”
Shadow shook his head, “…Umm, I really would love to hear the story directly from Indra Springcoat. Also, Your Majesty, I did warn you about it, but by then it was already too late.”
Once Arkhide snapped his fingers, Shadow prepared drinks.
“Ah, wait a sec. I’ve got some with me.”
“What did you bring with you? …This drink is of a fairly exquisite quality, you know? You mentioned that drinking is about the sole entertainment for you, didn’t you?”
“Yep, that’s why I’ve brought some with me.”
Shadow furrowed his eyebrows.
“…Come to think of it, I’ve heard rumors that you’ve started running your own brewery?”
Nothin’ less of the king’s information network. So he already knew, huh?
“Aye, I’m a brewery owner. By the way, I’m also running a restaurant…a fancy eatery for rich commoners based on a membership system, back at my base. Because of that I’ve become pretty picky ’bout taste.”
“Okay, then let me have a try.”
Hey, is that somethin’ a king would say? Look, Shadow is starin’ at you, his face overflowin’ with damnation and wariness.
“Your the king, so be a bit more careful ’bout poisonin’, will you?”
“What’d be the idea behind you poisoning me at this point? Besides, if a man like 【Thunderclap Whitefang】 planned to kill me, I’d be lying in my own blood right now, wouldn’t you say?”
“Then, only if Shadow permits it.”
“Shadow!”, howled the king.
“…Very well. Certainly, it would make no sense for him to poison you now after all this time.”
With that out of the way, I took out an array of bottles.
“What do you wanna drink? Want some snacks to go with it?”
The two were dumbstruck when they saw the bottles.
“…Listen, no matter how much you may like your drinks, that’s way too much, isn’t it? Why do you have so many with you?”
“I won’t relinquish any of ’em, ‘kay? They’re too awesome for sharin’. …Let’s go with wine for starters.”
I handed the wine bottle to Shadow.
“Hoh,” Shadow unintentionally grunted while smellin’ for poison.
The king swallowed audibly.
I laughed, “You can tell by the fragrance, eh? It’s completely different from the usua stuffl. Genuine wine has that kind of complex aroma, I was told. Moreover, that one’s still 『lackin’』, it seems. Right now, we’ve started growin’ grapes…the raw material.”
The two became speechless once more.
“I got it. Shadow, hurry up with the poison testing and pass it over to me!”
Shadow put on airs. He’s deliberately teasin’ him, isn’t he? I mean, that guy’s a sadist on the same level as Indra, so yeah.
He held the wine in his mouth, closin’ his eyes and thus raisin’ the suspense.
Arkhide is ’bout to snap, but that’s okay with you?