Actually, on second thought, I guess I might as well exchange the magic stones for money.
I’ll just end up getting more right off the bat in the next dive anyways..
I touch the second floor’s crystal, chant the word 「Return」, and get warped to the crystal at the surface.
We’ve safely returned from the labyrinth.
… As soon as we appear at the crystal, we gather the looks of the adventurers heading towards the labyrinth.
They turn their gazes towards Rollo and I, the former seen resting on my shoulder.
Their stares are filled with various emotions such as goodwill, curiosity and suspicion.
Well, I’m guessing they don’t see an adventurer with an animal on their shoulder that often, do they…?
On the other hand… the moment they see Eva sitting next to me, the adventurers furrow their eyebrows, their expressions changing into those of hate, contempt and disturbance.
Eva remains expressionless as she’s assaulted with such gazes.
She operates her wheelchair and leaves through the labyrinth entranceway, where the sentinels are standing guard.
I go outside after her.
It’s morning and the sunlight’s dazzling. The number of street stalls is low, but you can still hear the shouting of adventurers looking to sell maps or to recruit party members.
Once she feels the sunlight on her palms, Eva quickly moves ahead.
Her wheelchair slips into the crowd of people, disappearing from sight.
Ah, I guess it’s alright to act separately from here on out?
Whatever. I’m gonna go to the guild.
The guild building is packed, as usual.
Although it’s not to the extent of what can be considered the “morning rush hour“, there still seem to be many adventurers getting their requests to enter the labyrinth first thing in the morning, as expected.
I slip away from the crowded boards, and head towards the reception.
A line had also formed in front of the reception area.
Oh well, it’s pretty obvious that this place would be crowded as well, isn’t it?
Guess I’ll have to get in line since there aren’t any free counters.
At the front end of the line, I can see Eva’s wheelchair.
Seemingly having finished her turn and getting her reward, Eva swiftly turns around, rotating her wheelchair, and heads towards the guild entrance after throwing a glance in my direction.
I wonder, is she going back home already?
A farewell without even a single word?
… Somehow, I feel lonely.
I wait for my turn, feeling slightly empty inside.
Once it’s my turn, I hand over my adventurer card, the raw materials and magic stones for the Bat Ant request, as well as the leftover stones, and the head of the dinosaur, which I collected despite having no requests for such a thing.
“This is a Silver Volck!”
The receptionist reacts to the head with surprise.
“No way, are you saying that you brought down a Silver Volck by yourself?”
“Strictly speaking, there were two of us, but I guess it feels like I defeated it myself.” (Shuuya)
The receptionist drops the pen in her hands upon hearing my words.
“R-Really? You are an amazing adventurer. The subjugation request for the Silver Volck on the early floors had been left alone for such a long time after being posted, yet it was defeated, and by you yourself… say… you haven’t accepted the Silver Volck subjugation request, have you?”
The blue eyes of the receptionist turn downwards while sparkling.
She skims through the information on my card.
Was it a restricted request?
“I haven’t.” (Shuuya)
“Is that so…? Then you won’t get the reward.”
“Understood. It’ll be plenty if I can get the money for the raw materials.” (Shuuya)
“Okay. Oh yeah, did you happen to recover the Silver Volck’s mucus, by chance?”
Mucus? Aah, the stuff it spat out of its mouth, huh?
“No, I haven’t.” (Shuuya)
“Really? That’s regrettable, since that stuff can be sold for a large sum to turn it into a special silver thread. Either way, you have fully gathered the materials for the other requests, haven’t you? … That’s amazing.”
The receptionist stares at me with a passionate gaze as she checks the raw materials.
Oh? I wonder, does this young woman like me?
Having such an excessively self-conscious imagination, I think of some corny pickup lines such as “Your blue eyes are really beautiful.”
“— Well then, I will prepare your reward as soon as I finish confirming the magic stones.”
Oh, the receptionist speaks in a calm tone.
Averting her gaze from me, she returns to her work mode.
… It was correct to keep the pickup lines to myself.
“… Please take care of me.” (Shuuya)
Once the settlement concerning the magic stones and requests is concluded, I receive the reward from the receptionist.
I lift up the bag filled with silver and gold coins.
This feels like a nice weight for a reward.
There’s a sound of many gold coins jingling.
Putting together my earnings for the requests and the excess magic stones, they total up to a sum of 45 gold coins and 110 silver coins, I believe?
Hah~, I’m in a great mood~ I think in satisfaction.
Although I may not be the Warring States military commander Oka Sadatoshi, I still feel like I can understand the desire to sleep on gold coins.
(T/N: It’s known from various anecdotes, but it’s said that Oka Sadatoshi has been skilled in money-making, and that he enjoyed napping after undressing on top of money he spread out all over his room.)
However, it looks to be quite difficult to save up enough gold coins to be able to fill an entire room with it.
Wearing a complacent smile, I put the gold coin bag into the item box.
And then I check my adventurer card.
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Name: Shuuya Kagari
Title: Dragon Slayer
Occupation: C Rank Adventurer
Combat Occupation: Spear Warrior – Chain User
Completed Requests: 25
… I store the card in my chest belt.
I leave the reception and pass in front of the boards, crowded with adventurers.
I guess I might as well return to the inn for the time being?
I immediately left the guild with that thought in my mind.
Oh? It’s Eva.
It looks like she was waiting for me.
She’s quietly awaiting my arrival at the entrance’s edge.
“Yo! Did you wait for me?” (Shuuya)
“Nn, yeah… come.” (Eva)
Eva’s cheeks dyed red.
Once she quietly murmurs “come”, she starts to move ahead, making the wheelchair advance onwards.
Shortly afterwards, I begin chasing after Eva in a light jog.
We walk together as I push the handle on the back of her wheelchair.
After about half an hour,
“Eva, where do you intend to take me?” (Shuuya)
“Nn, over there.” (Eva)
As I turn my gaze to the direction Eva is pointing at, I can see shops lining up in a row ahead of us.
Since she doesn’t speak much, I don’t quite understand what she means.
Right after Eva points with her finger, she starts advancing ahead, causing me to lose my grip on the handle.
Rollo runs after Eva’s wheelchair.
I wonder, just where exactly is she leading me to…?
Oh well, sometimes surprises are nice as well, I guess.
I follow after her.
I think we’ve been walking through streets and alleys for about three hours now…?
Since the wheelchair moves at a high speed, it’s a bit of a running pace for me.
It’s far away, but she doesn’t seem to be bothered by that.
After swiftly descending a big slope, the Heim River becomes visible.
I can see a great number of anchoring ships, as well as a large bridge, in the distance.
It seems we are close to the port.
Heim’s riverside, huh? I’m guessing this place is the south-east of Pelneet?
Rollo is sleeping inside my hood, having gotten tired of walking.
Suddenly, Eva’s wheelchair stops.
“Here, come.” (Eva)
It’s a shopping district located close to the port.
Eva points at a certain shop;a two-story house made out of wood.
It gives the impression of being quite old, but there’s a beautiful flower bed under the overhang, with violet flowers similar to pinks sweetly blooming there. (ED: “Pinks” is a nickname for Dianthuses. Take a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianthus)
Speaking of violet, since Eva’s pupils are violet and her hair’s black, she’s definitely a yamatonadeshiko*. (T/N: This is a word play. Here, yamato is an ancient name for Japan, whereas nadeshiko are pinks. The kanji combined depicts a traditional, beautiful Japanese woman)
There was a signboard up near the roof with Labyrinth Specialities Restaurant Ligna Di written on it.
Eva slides open the wooden door of the restaurant and enters.
“Welcom— Oh, ojousama! You managed to return from the labyrinth! Would you like to have a meal? Or do you want to take a bath?”
The employee, a dog-eared beastwoman waitress runs up to Eva.
She called Eva ojousama or something like that…?
“Meal. Lily, stop with the ojousama.” (Eva)
“Y-Yes, as you wish. The person over there is?” (Lily)
The beastwoman-chan’s name is Lily.
Dog ears grow on her head covered with light brown hair.
There are two fangs, appearing to be high canines, protruding out of her mouth.
“Lifesaver, so, special dishes for him.” (Eva)
“Hi-Hya, really!? I will bring the dishes as soon as possible then!” (Lily)
Lily runs into the kitchen as her dog ears sway back and forth.
The restaurants interior is neither spacious nor confined.
There are stairs to the second floor at the right side of the room.
There’s a deep, rectangle space in the middle. The floor is made out of wood, with plain square tables and chairs placed about on top of said floor.
There was also a long, narrow counter , also serving as reception, a bit farther inside and to the left.
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“… Seat, sit down.” (Eva)
Eva moves her wheelchair to one side of a table, and urges me to sit down on a seat opposite of her.
“Is it fine for me to consider this as your treat?” (Shuuya)
Saying that, I sit down.
Eva nods her head up and down, as if to say that it’s only natural.
“I see. Thanks. In that case, please order Rollo’s share as well, okay? Though she’s still sleeping in my hood.” (Shuuya)
“Nn— Lily, dishes for one more person.” (Eva)
Panicking cutely, Lily runs back into the kitchen.
However, seeing that she is gathering mana in her feet to move quicker, she appears to also possess combat strength.
“… This restaurant here, is it yours, Eva?” (Shuuya)
“… No, freeloader.” (Eva)
She answers after shaking her head.
Freeloader, eh? There looks to be some kind of reason for that.
Should I try to peck at that topic for a bit?
“It seems that you were previously called ojou-sama, right?” (Shuuya)
“Nn… now is different.” (Eva)
Her violet eyes are swimming around.
Looks like she doesn’t really want to talk about it too much.
I suppose I’ll just have to get back to this topic later on…
“I see…” (Shuuya)
“… Nn.” (Eva)
She cast her eyes down with her cheeks dyed red.
The silence continues for a while.
Umm, I thought Eva planned to thank me though?
It’s a really delicate atmosphere, I think, itching to say something.
I want to make a firecracker explode with a bang to end this awkward feeling.
Accordingly, I look around in an attempt to gloss over the weird tension.
There’s only one other guest in the restaurant. An old man who’s drinking alcohol and eating a fish dish.
Alcohol early in the morning…?
“―Shuuya, thanks for coming. I wanted to, thank you for having saved me.” (Eva)
As I’m watching that drunken patron, Eva expresses her gratitude.
“Aye, I’m also happy about the food. Thank you!” (Shuuya)
As I say so, the dishes are carried in.
“Thank you for waiting~! Ligna’s Steamy Hot Dish, Ligna’s Grilled Fish, Jiga’s Blue Sauce Dressing, and Deluxe Pukko.” (Lily)
The beastwoman-waitress Lily cheerfully introduces the dishes she brought out, and lines them up on the table.
I turn my attention towards the dishes.
First is Ligna’s Steamy Hot Dish”
This is a gratin-like dish that was put into a deep, rectangular earthenware bowl.
Next would be Jiga’s Blue Sauce Dressing.
Jiga? That’s an ingredient I’ve never heard of before.
It’s pale brown, long, and thin, like a great burdock. It has been put into a long, narrow bowl. (ED: Great Burdock- Another flower nickname. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctium_lappa)
Many white-fleshed balls, similar to peeled grapes, are attached to a long and narrow twig, spreading around it.
The white-fleshed balls, that give off a sense of translucence, have been dressed with a blue sauce.
I can’t even begin to imagine what it tastes like.
Next is the Ligna’s Grilled Fish.
This is a grilled fish similar to sea bream, I think?
It’s Rollo’s share.
The last one is the Deluxe Pukko.
It’s just a blackish object inside a small, square bowl.
And to finish, brown bread and mead is put down as well.
The same dishes are lined up on Eva’s side as well.
Seemingly lured by the scent of food, Rollo wakes up.
“Did you wake up? Rollo, your share’s here as well, okay? It’s for you to eat. Ah, and watch your manners while eating please.” (Shuuya)
She lengthens her sweet voice while looking happy.
Descending onto the table from my shoulder might be a breach of manners, but, disregarding that, she starts to eat the fish dish on top of the table.
“… Rollo-chan, nice to be lively, Shuuya, you eat too.” (Eva)
Eva says to me with a smile.
“Roger— itadakimasu.” (Shuuya)
I put my hands together.
I will start my meal with the Ligna’s Steamy Hot Dish, the gratin.
You can tell from its surface that it’s hot. Light brown burn marks dot the milky white layer at the top.
Since a wooden spoon had been provided as well, I cut open the burn marks with said spoon, scooping up some of the gratin’s thick, sticky contents.
I bring it to my mouth while it’s still piping hot.
The sticky layer is cheese, huh? Although it’s hot since it just came out of the oven, it’s tasty.
It’s thick texture spreads throughout my mouth.
Oh, *crunch*, it also gives off a crispy sensation.
Did they put something burnt and scaly inside the gratin? They may actually be scales, but they feel like thinly covered potato chips nonetheless.
A delicious gratin with a crispy crunchiness. That’s the impression I’m given. Wonderful~.
And not only that, there are, in addition, fleshy mushrooms and white fish pieces inside.
The mushrooms are quite appetizing. They help enhance the flavor, making it become unbelievably rich.
Oh, a soft texture. How nice.
Something similar to mashed potatoes has been put in as well.
The spices that subtlety bring out the flavor are a great addition as well.
This might’ve been much more delicious though, had macaroni had been added too.
While thinking something like that, I eat the both the gratin and the hard bread at the same time, since they go fairly well together.
“Eva, thanks. This is delicious.” (Shuuya)
Even while eating, Eva looks at me with a smile.
I swallow down some mead and return the smile.
And just like that, I once again chug down more, gulping sounds audible from my throat.
In the end, I ate all the bread and gratin first.
Let’s try out this mysterious Jiga-or-whatever food.
It’s the strange, great burdock-looking grape dish.
“Can you eat all of this?” (Shuuya)
Eva nods with a smile plastered across her entire face.
It seems that the light brown great burdock part is edible as well.
But, I think I’ll start with those somewhat-transparent white balls.
Are they actually delicious? I thrust the end of the knife into a white ball and bring it to my mouth.
Eh!? Meat? That’s meat!?
W-What is this? These aren’t fruits?
At first there’s a meaty sensation. I suppose it’s fine to call it a feeling similar to liver.
Nevertheless, it certainly doesn’t smell as bad as liver. The more I chew, the more the moderate seasoning spreads in my mouth, making me experience a mildness. A faint salty sweetness permeates my whole mouth.
At the end it vanishes as if having melted…
Isn’t this an as-of-yet unknown perfect food?
I heartily cram the stuff into my mouth. Yummyyyy~.
While munching on the white balls with chewing sounds, I decide to test the great burdock part too, and cut it with the knife, bringing a piece of it to my mouth.
Uuf, this is also, d-deliciooous.
The feeling of eating a crisp vegetable and the meaty sensation of the white balls, fuse together to create a savory quality similar to corn soup.
Half of the dish vanished in a flash.
Huh? Somehow mana is overflowing from within my body…
Is that, mayhaps, an effect of this food?
Amazing! Just as it enters my stomach, this happens!? A quick effect, huh?
Well, let’s leave the food’s spectacular effects aside.
After all I still haven’t eaten the mysterious blue sauce, right?
I try to do Arale-chan’s* poke-poke-poke with the knife’s tip against the mysterious blue sauce. (T/N: Character from the manga Dr. Slump)
The outside is flabby, but the inside is gooey.
Is it similar to that of jelly or gelatin?
Here we go! Time to try eating it.
I bring a white ball covered in the sauce to my mouth.
The sweetness increased? It’s tastyyy~. I’m surprised.
This is? Are there grains inside the sauce?
Moreover, mixing and biting the white balls and the blue grains, the white balls burst open on my tongue and vanish? Where did they go!? Oh, it transformed into a somewhat sour taste.
The white ball meat has now acquired a yet different flavor.
How strange. A sweet, tropical flavor, like that of pineapples?
It refreshes the inside of my mouth in one go, before changing to a mild flavor at the end.
Eva looks at my queer expression and seems as though she’s trying to say something.
“Oh man, this food is ridiculously delicious.” (Shuuya)
Eva… she speaks little, but her expressions more than make up for what isn’t spoken.
I finish eating the strange Jiga’s Blue Sauce Dressing while looking at the face of such a lovely Eva.
Lastly is the black, sticky-looking food in a small bowl, named Deluxe Pukko or something of the sort.
Bringing my nose close to it, I sniff and… the smell is completely that of nori tsukudani. (T/N: In this case, seaweed that has been simmered in soy sauce and mirin.)
So to speak, it’s gohan desu○. (T/N: It’s a product that stands as a synonym for nori tsukudani. Officially its slogan is “Edo murasaki gohan desu yo!”)
I place the black and gooey stuff on the tip of my knife and try eating it.
The color is good, the stickiness is pleasant, it seems to be perfect.
I try out a mouthful of the stuff. Once I do so, the dearly missed taste of nori spreads inside my mouth.
The sea; it’s a deep, mother-like love… the scenery of waves breaking onto the shoreline pops up in my mind.
If I only had rice…
“Why is there no rice served with this!?” is what I wanted to yell out loudly.
“… You dislike?” (Eva)
Eva, who was watching for my reactions, suddenly looks worried.
“N-No, it’s really delicious after all.” (Shuuya)
Saying so, I remember my hometown.
I eat up the last bit of Deluxe Pukko with tears in my eyes.
Once Eva sees me gobble down the food, she reveals a smile, looking satisfied.
“Nn… good.” (Eva)
Eva quietly mutters those two words while glancing downwards.
Like this I finish eating all the dishes.
Rollo also finishes eating everything besides the Deluxe Pukko, and starts licking her paw so she can use it to clean up her face.
How unexpected. Is she picky about her food?
Even though that nori tsukudani-like dish was so delicious.
Well then, I guess I’ll return after having a talk.
“… Eva, thanks for the meal. This place’s food, to be completely honest, it surprised me. It doesn’t lose to high-class cuisine, not even close. It was delicious. It was a new experience for me.” (Shuuya)
“Nn, the cook is excellent. As are the ingredients.” (Eva)
The cook being excellent I can understand, but it all comes down to the ingredients after all, huh?
“The ingredients, that means?” (Shuuya)
“Foodstuffs growing in the labyrinth and monsters… Mushrooms, slimes, pukko, jiga… All of them are native products of the labyrinth.” (Eva)
Whaa, for real?
“They’re safe to eat, right?” (Shuuya)
Oops, I ended up saying something rude.
“Nn, of course.” (Eva)
Native products of the labyrinth, eh?
It’s no wonder the food had such a mysterious taste.
“The ingredients were provided by you, Eva?” (Shuuya)
“Nn, right.” (Eva)
“If there’s foodstuff growing in the labyrinth, does that mean that even monsters can be eaten?” (Shuuya)
“There are some valuable ingredients, too, among monsters.” (Eva)
Hee, so the labyrinth has various useful byproducts, doesn’t it?
Wait a second… In other words, what she had me eat is…
“The ingredients just now, were they valuable?” (Shuuya)
“Nn, not all of them, but yes.” (Eva)
Eva replies and nods as if to say “That is indeed the case.”
“O-Oh, I see.” (Shuuya)
So she made me eat food made of rare resources, huh?
… Oops, she got me there.
No matter how much you call it a thanks for having saved her, I ate it without hesitation…
On that note, Eva shifts her wheelchair and approaches me.
Stopping next to me, she places her hand on mine.
Eva’s palm is warm.
But, also slightly stiff.
“Don’t worry. Ingredients are still remaining.” (Eva)
As if having read my mind, she guesses that I’m worrying about it.
As I admire her sharp perception,
“Really?” is the only reasonable word I can think to say.
Eva shows a gentle smile without saying anything.
Since I’m embarrassed, I draw my hand away.
I speak up in an attempt to forcibly gloss it over,
“… The reason why you’re working as an adventurer is this restaurant, right, Eva?” (Shuuya)
“Nn, but also in order to become stronger, to survive.” (Eva)
She nods her head, her long black hair swaying.
For the sake of protecting the restaurant, as well as for the sake of living and becoming stronger, huh?
At that moment, I catch sight of Lily, waiting behind Eva, peeking a glance at mine and Eva’s situation with a happy expression upon her face.
The woman called Lily seems to really adore Eva.
Well, she called her ojousama, didn’t she?
“Eva, I’m assuming that the cute waitress Lily behind you is your former subordinate or something of the sort?” (Shuuya)
“Nn… yes. In the past, was employed in a Baron household.” (Eva)
She belonged to a Baron family in the past?
The Baron Knightray household, huh?
“So that’s why she called you ojousama, eh?” (Shuuya)
Eva nods expressionlessly without smiling.
“Well, I won’t ask any further, if it bothers you.” (Shuuya)
Eva lowers her violet eyes and looks downwards.
Oops, as expected, it’d be a good idea to drop this topic.
I guess I’ll give a follow-up here.
“… No, I don’t mind. Rather than that, I’m quite grateful to have met you, ya know?” (Shuuya)
“Yep. Sure, we met in the labyrinth by chance. But still, it was nice of you to treat me to such a filling meal.” (Shuuya)
Furthermore, it was absolutely delicious.
Eva nods slightly.
“We are both adventurers, as well as friends, who fought together side by side, albeit temporarily.” (Shuuya)
While blinking, her eyelids flicker incessantly, she mutters that quietly, and once more repeats the word friends.
“Not good?” (Shuuya)
“— Mm-mm!” (Eva)
Eva denies, strongly shaking her head left and right.
“Alright then. — Please take care of me from now on.” (Shuuya)
I stand up and hold out a hand towards Eva.
I’ll shake hands with you!
“?… Nn, best regards.” (Eva)
Eva says so while blushing.
However, staring at my hand, she wears a questioning look.
My hand is ignored.
Can’t be helped, huh? This is a different world after all.
A handshake won’t necessarily be recognized as a common greeting, right?
However, Eva nods her head up and down several times, replying in a small voice.
In order to cover up my mistake, I withdraw my arm and start scratching my head.
“Well then, now that my belly is full, It’s about time for me to start heading back.” (Shuuya)
Upon seeing me show the intention to return, Lily, who was watching the situation with a smile behind Eva until now, quickly approaches Eva, brings her face close to Eva’s ear, and secretly tells her something.
Upon Eva nodding in confirmation, Lily says in a loud voice,
“This is a chance. Ojousama, I believe you should propose the formation of a party.” (Lily)
Eva is surprised for an instant and opens her eyes wide, but nodding slowly, she shows an expression revealing her resolve.
Her brilliant violet pupils, that have a tinge of black, catch hold of me.
Party, huh? I guess it should be alright as long as it’s a one time thing, but…
My case is slightly difficult.
There’s the fateful connection with a dark guild after all, so it will cause issues for them if we stay in a party all the time.
While thinking that it’s sad for Eva, I decide to turn her down and move to go back.
“Shuuya, wait.” (Eva)
“What is it?” (Shuuya)
Eva makes the wheelchair transform in order to straighten herself.
Just like I had seen before, back in the labyrinth, it’s a transformation where the backrest part moves up.
The sitting part turns into support for her feet.
Once again, the convenient Segway mode.
Eva quietly speaks up while in a posture that looks as if she was standing.
“I’d like you to form a permanent party with me.” (Eva)
“A party, eh…?” (Shuuya)
Eva powerfully nods her head, seeming agitated.
“We’ve had almost no time to get to know each other yet, right?” (Shuuya)
“I don’t mind.” (Eva)
Her violet eyes are forceful.
“I have the intention to buy slaves, okay?” (Shuuya)
“Nn, naturally.” (Eva)
I suppose that’s something natural in this world.
“Besides, I’m a lustful man and have quite the lecherous tastes.” (Shuuya)
Then I’ll tell her about the lecherousness in advance too.
“Nn, Shuuya, you are a man. It’s only natural for you to be lewd.” (Eva)
Ooh, an understanding woman.
“… I see. But, it’s impossible. I’ll just end up causing trouble for you, Eva.” (Shuuya)
The waitress beastwoman displays a somewhat relieved behaviour. Eva drops her shoulders and reveals a shocked expression.
Just like that, the wheelchair with Eva on it transforms once more, as if withering away.
It returns to its usual sitting mode.
Eva looks up at me glaringly.
“… Why? Is it because I have deformed bone legs? Or is is it because I’m called Wheelchair of Death?” (Eva)
She interrogated me with a strong tone.
It’s a nickname I’ve heard somewhere before.
But, something like a nickname doesn’t matter to me.
I will pay back sincerity with sincerity.
“That’s not it. The problem is on my side. I’m in a fight with a dark guild. In addition, I have triggered various problematic events… That’s why, naturally, you will also be exposed to danger if you form a party with me, Eva.” (Shuuya)
“… I didn’t know.” (Eva)
“That’s only natural. After all, I hadn’t told you till just now, right?” (Shuuya)
At that time, Lily once again starts to whisper into Eva’s ear.
They talk secretly while exchanging looks, but gradually their voices became louder, eventually changing to a tone that had a touch of quarreling.
“… It’s dangerous.” (Lily)
“I want to form a party.” (Eva)
“If his story is true, it also means that there’s a danger of this restaurant being targeted, no?” (Lily)
“Nn… there’s no one besides Shuya.” (Eva)
“Geeze, ojousama!” (Lily)
“— It’s so noisy all of a sudden, what’s wrong?”
Thereupon, seemingly having heard it even in the kitchen, a largely-built, refined old man, dressed up as a cook, shows up.
“Ah, Dee-san, please stop ojousama. She won’t stop wanting to form a party with this dangerous person.” (Lily)
“Mu, Lily, in the beginning it was different.” (Eva)
“Au, certainly, at the beginning I got carried away and urged you, ojousama, to invite him. I apologize for that. But, a dark guild as an enemy? No way, that is far too dangerous.” (Lily)
Lily calls the old man with a cook appearance Dee, and explains the course of events up until just now.
So, that good-looking old man is the cook?
He’s a skillful chef.
Yeah, I respect you, Mister Dee.
“Hostile with a dark Guild…? That certainly is troublesome, but he’s the one Eva-ojousama likes, right?” (Dee)
The old man Dee places his hand on his beard, and looks at me.
After taking a short break, he turns to face Eva and says,
“— Okay.” (Deel)
Eva swivels her wheelchair around, faces Dee-san, and vigorously bobs her head up and down in an exaggerated motion.
“In that case, it can’t be helped, right? Because Lily and I will properly protect this restaurant, I will support Eva-ojousama completely.” (Dee)
“Eeh!? Even you, Dee-san!?” (Lily)
Lily’s dog ears slump downwards.
“Don’t I look like the bad person here now? I won’t try stop ojousama anymore!” (Lily)
Lily suddenly turns away her whole body, facing the other direction.
Eva, seeing that, moves her wheelchair towards Lily.
She takes her hands as if to console Lily, who has lost her nerves.
“Lily, you are prone to worrying, but, thanks.” (Eva)
Their conversation is wrapped up now?
However, just why does Eva want to form a party with me that badly?
Ah well, Eva is a strong woman with a beautiful face, having semi-transparent skin and violet eyes.
Forming a party with her is totally okay with me, but, you know…
If the people of this restaurant got dragged into the dispute with the dark guild, it’d leave an awful aftertaste, wouldn’t it?
Well, it’s my bad though, only imagining such a pessimistic future for this situation.
Eva calls my name powerfully, as if to bring my pessimistic delusions to a halt.
She moves her wheelchair and comes to my side.
“Please… form a permanent party, with me.” (Eva)
The tone of her voice has become shrill, her face is bright red yet serious.
It’s making me feel a certain bashfulness, as if she’s confessing to me.
She’s moving her white, slender arms, extending out from her black sleeves, in a grand manner.
It can’t be helped. I’ll form a party with her and get my business taken care of, before any damage comes to her…
I guess I need to crush 【Owl’s Fangs】 quickly.
“Although it’s dangerous, you’re okay with it nonetheless?” (Shuuya)
I have already decided in my mind, but I wanted give her a warning one more time, just to be safe.
Eva nods softly.
“Got it. We can join up, as long as it’s fine for me to attach some conditions.” (Shuuya)
“— Nn!” (Eva)
Seeming extremely happy, Eva spins the wheelchair around on the spot.
Just like that, her body leaps out of the wheelchair onto me, ending up with the impression of me having hugged her.
Ooh, it’s the sensation of Eva’s boobies.
Behind the hard feeling of her leather armor, I receive a soft touch like that of a pleasant “boing”.
It’s a faint sensation across my violet armor, but there’s no mistake.
They are surprisingly big?
My tittie radar is sounding a high alert after all.
Boob-pudding-san, thank you.
While inevitably imagining the shape of her tits, I look at the face of Eva, who is embracing me.
Her long hair twined itself around her cheeks and mouth due to her sweat.
It’s kind of erotic.
“!! — Haha, are you that happy?” (Shuuya)
Since I’ll get a nosebleed if I imagine this stuff any longer, I seal off my erotic delusions.
I cover them up with a smile, and support her back as her long hair that coiled around her cheeks unravels itself, and gently return her to her wheelchair.
“… I was always alone.” (Eva)
Eva answers my question with a nod, while sinking deeply into the wheelchair. As she looks up towards me, tears drop down from her violet eyes, flowing down along her cheeks.
Her character is different from Rebecca, but she worries in the same way; that she won’t be able to join a party?
Though, I guess it’s natural to think like that, when you have a nickname such as “Wheelchair of Death.”
“… Wait, wait, don’t cry.” (Shuuya)
For some reason, my rhythm gets messed up whenever a beauty cries.
Tears begin to accumulate in the Lily’s eyes. It’s infectious.
She looks happy. The elderly cook is also nodding while looking delighted.
I’m gonna deliberately change the topic here…
“… I told you that there are conditions, right?” (Shuuya)
Eva looks at me while blinking.
“My real intention is to live freely and unbound. It might be selfish, but I don’t want to be tied down by a party.” (Shuuya)
“Work, of course. Private business important.” (Eva)
“That’s it. How about forming a party with a feeling of inviting each other once we are both free to challenge the labyrinth? I will tell you the inn I usually stay at.” (Shuuya)
“That’s fine. Already free now, Shuuya’s friend.” (Eva)
It’s a word I casually mentioned before, but it has sunk into her mind while resounding piercingly, without me realizing.
Our time together has been short. However, Eva is incredibly sincere.
Everything starts from trust.
So I’m gonna try trusting her.
Eva opens her mouth.
“… For me, this restaurant is important. There are also secrets I haven’t mentioned yet. There are many private matters. That’s why a friend I can invite without worrying is very important.” (Eva)
I guess that’s right. It’s as Eva says.
I was overthinking things too much.
“Alright, Eva. Once again, please take care of me.” (Shuuya)
“Nn, me too.” (Eva)
She has a gentle smile, at such a level that startles me.
“About the inn I’m staying at, the location is just ahead if you advance through the left-upper alley of the first ring road. The name is 【Lodging Moon of the Labyrinth】, the landlady is a person named Mel.” (Shuuya)
“Roger. I remembered, 【Lodging Moon of the Labyrinth】.” (Eva)
“Right, then, it’s all of a sudden, but do you want to go to the labyrinth tomorrow afternoon, if you are free of course?” (Shuuya)
“I will!” (Eva)
Eva nods strongly.
“Okay, it’s a deal. Hehe.” (Shuuya)
We look at each other while smiling.
“Then, there are things I have to put an end to. Let’s meet in the adventurer’s guild tomorrow afternoon— Rollo, let’s go.” (Shuuya)
Rollo promptly climbs onto my shoulder.
“Well then, see you tomorrow.” (Shuuya)
“Nn, tomorrow.” (Eva)
After looking at Eva’s angel-like smile, I return the smile and nod.
I lightly raise my hand to wave goodbye, turn on my heels, and leave the restaurant.