Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yomigaeru Proofreader(s): Yuzuha
So soft. So squishy. I awaken to a supple sensation in my palms.
When I open my eyes, I’m in the usual bedroom. And in front of my eyes is a sleeping Eris, still wearing her habit. She’s breathing softly, and her eyes are closed. Eris always carries herself with a mature air, but her sleeping face looks rather innocent.
Then, when I lower my gaze a little — my hand is buried deep within her cleavage.
…Why am I rubbing Eris’ breasts?
Moreover, when I quickly inspect my own appearance, there’s something off about my attire. I’m wearing pants, but my upper body is bare. What in the world is going on?
I’m half-naked, sharing a bed with a defenseless, sleeping Eris.
Only one conclusion can be derived from such a thing. Eris and I must have crossed the line. By which I mean, Eris must have been charmed when I nobly saved the city with Area Heal and straight-up invited me into her bed. Well, I have no recollection whatsoever of that, though.
But even so, wow they’re soft. I mean, of course I wouldn’t be so impolite as to grope Eris’ breasts while she sleeps, it’s just that my hand is caught between them and I can’t seem to get it out very easily. I try moving my hand in various ways to get it out, but it’s no use. Ahh, I can’t get my hand out. My hand’s reaaally stuck in there, huh.
As I’m doing that,
I hear a little sigh. If I had to say where I heard it from, it was no doubt from slightly above my eyeline; from Eris’ mouth.
…I don’t want to look away from Eris’ breasts and up to her face. But there’s no way I can’t look. Timidly, I try raising my eyes. Eris’ sullen gaze is fixed upon my hand.
「W-What a refreshing start to the day. A pleasant morning to you, Eris-san.」
It would seem she woke up.
Let’s review the current situation. I’ve crawled into Eris’ bed half-naked and now I’m feeling up her breasts. It was an act of God, but the fact remains that I’m touching what I’m touching.
…First let me hold my tongue back so I don’t bite it when I get slapped, and while I’m at it let me get ready to dogeza too.
「…Come on, if you’re awake then could you move? Or else I can’t get up.」
「I-I’m so sorry! …Wait, huh?」
All Eris did was ask me to move. That’s… she’s not mad? Even though I put my hand on her breasts, that Eris isn’t mad. What the heck happened?
Don’t tell me something actually happened between me and Eris yesterday? I don’t remember it at all, though.
Taking a really good look, is it me or are Eris’ cheeks slightly flushed? …M-Maybe if I try rubbing her breasts a bit more my memories will return. And I might recall something if I try unfastening her chest buttons.
–While I’m lost in thought, Eris’ look quickly turns severe.
「Just so there are no misunderstandings, after you fell asleep you latched on to my… outfit, and wouldn’t let go. So I gave up and put you to bed like that… so please, stop making that disgusting smirking face.」
「…I-I’m not making a face.」
Eris smacks my hand away and raises her upper body. Then she lightly rubs her temples and speaks.
「Your garment wasn’t wearable anymore, so Yuel-chan cut it off for you. I couldn’t have you going to bed like that, that’s all. There was no other motive.」
I see. No, be that as it may, would Eris really sleep in the same bed with a man in my state? Well, Eris might have just taken pity on me after seeing how exhausted I was. And casting Area Heal on the city likely left a favorable impression on her. Although the fact that she was looking at my hand and sighing may mean her impression of me took 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.
「N-Now that you mention it, where’s Yuel?」
「She’s right there, isn’t she?」
I follow Eris’ gaze. Now that I get a good look, she really is there. Yuel is looking up at me from under the blanket. Only half of her face is visible beneath the blanket.
Apparently Yuel was awake too, as she’s staring intently at my hand that was groping Eris’ breasts until just recently. Peering into her pupils, I sense hints of carnage.
–Suddenly, I hear the ringing of the bell that announces a hospital visitor.
Two days later, Yuel, Eris and I are heading to the lord’s manor.
As for when I groped Eris’ breasts two days earlier while Yuel was watching, what gave me an opportunity to escape from that awkward situation was the female knight Marietta from the knight brigade, ringing the visitor bell. After that I fled as fast as I could from the bedroom where Eris and Yuel were, and heard what Marietta had to say. The gist of her message was that the lord had opened his manor to the subjugation unit for a dinner party in recognition of our services, and I was invited. The monetary reward for the healers who participated in this latest Krankheit Turtle subjugation will be given out at that dinner party, so by all means they urgently desired me to attend.
And, today is the day it takes place.
「H-Hey, is it really alright for me to attend as well? I didn’t participate in the subjugation, so I feel like it would be inappropriate.」
「The knights are bringing their families too, so why not? There shouldn’t be any problems.」
「…! I-Is t-that so…」
Eris is feeling somewhat reserved, but having said that, it is a dinner party sponsored by the lord. It’s not like we’ll be hobnobbing with aristocrats, but even so, it’ll probably be luxurious. I bet they’ll serve crab and stuff.
It would’ve been fine for only me and Yuel to go, but leaving Eris by herself would be problematic too. While Yuel and I are enjoying the banquet, I can just imagine Eris restlessly picking over a cold meal all alone back at the hospital.
「Master, we’ve arrived!」
As I think it over, we continue down the road and reach our destination.
Located at the very tip of the north side of town, the lord’s excessively huge mansion.
I hand my invitation to the knight in front of the gate as we enter. When we do, a Maid-san wearing a tidy maid outfit promptly guides us to the dining hall. I can’t ogle her too much in front of Yuel, but she’s a genuine maid. I want one for my own home.
The dining hall that we’re led to looks spacious enough to comfortably hold a hundred people or so. There are knights and some women and children that are most likely their families, wizards and healers… and Ruruka’s group, too.
「Ah, Shiki! Over here, over here! There are some delicious meat… dishes…」
When Ruruka sees me, she energetically waves her hands and calls out to me. However, her high spirits are short-lived. When her attention shifts behind me, her voice gradually withers. Following Ruruka’s line of sight, she’s looking at Eris.
Seeing Eris, Ruruka makes an ambiguous smile while scratching her hair. She looks extremely uncomfortable. And Eris, for some reason, is looking at Ruruka with a slightly envious expression tinged with resignation.
I wonder why? I guess Ruruka is self-conscious about getting all those discounts at the hospital. She always ran away as soon as Eris showed up, so this might be the first time she’s coming face-to-face with her in a place where she can’t run away like that.
But I don’t understand Eris’ attitude. Rather than being angry, Eris is looking at Ruruka dejectedly for some reason. Even though the usual Eris would give her a sharp glare.
Next to Ruruka, Sera is making a gentle smile. After that is Fran, nervously biting her nails for some reason.
When Fran looks my way, she immediately hides her face. After that she hurriedly whispers something in Sera’s ear, and Sera listens and nods in amusement.
What’s with that? I mean, wasn’t Fran kicked out of the lord’s manor after that marriage interview crotch Fireball incident? Why is she here? Wait, this event is to recognize the services of the subjugation unit, so it might not be unnatural to make a one-time exception for that.
A short while later, escorted by an elderly butler, a lone middle-aged guy enters the dining hall. When the knights notice, they stand in unison.
「Ah, nonono, it’s quite alright, please sit.」
The beaming, forty-something older guy speaks in a light tone. That is probably this city’s lord. A kindly middle-aged man wearing a gentle expression.
For some reason, when Fran sees the lord, she unconsciously begins to shake violently, in stark contrast to those luxurious twin drills. The lord converses a little with the knights, then he walks over to my side.
「I’ve heard about you from my daughter as well. It seems you risked your life to rescue my daughter, did you not?」
「Huh? Ah, yes. I only did what was natural…」
Apparently the details of the Krankheit Turtle subjugation have already reached his ears. Now that I think about it, I suppose it looked like I offered my body in order to save the lord’s daughter from falling into the river.
「Hah hah hah, I see, I see, what was natural! No, that is truly wonderful. Today is a fine day. By all means, eat as much as you like. The snapping turtle and Orc liver in particular are exquisitely fresh!」
The lord nods enthusiastically to my reply and smacks my shoulders while recommending various dishes.
What’s with this lord? He’s overly friendly. Well, since he’s going out of his way to hold a celebration for the subjugation unit, the noble blood must not have clotted up his mind all that much.
「F-F-F-F-Father, over there, why don’t we go over there? There is some superb wine over on that side. A cask, let’s go with a cask!」
While I’m pondering, Fran leads the lord somewhere else while spouting nonsense. I wonder if an older guy like him won’t polish off the whole barrel.
Avoiding things like snapping turtle and Orc testicles, I assemble a suitable meal. Suddenly, a lone knight comes out in front of us and speaks up.
「We will hereby deliver the remuneration to those who lent us their assistance. Come forward as you are called.」
Looks like it’s time to receive our rewards. The knight reads off a list of names, and one by one people in healer-like garb walk up to the knight. Then, checking against the list of names, the knight presents them with bank cards.
I wonder just how much I’ll receive? I made a killing not too long ago by overhunting the Huge Slime, but that’s not possible anymore. I’m hoping it’s a lot. I’m hoping it’s a hell of a lot.
「Finally, Shiki-san. Come forward.」
Just when I’m getting fairly nervous that my name won’t be called, it is. The knight proceeds to read off the paper he’s holding.
「Ehhh, for accompanying the Krankheit Turtle subjugation, 100,000 Zeni.」
…Cheap. It doesn’t quite meet my expectations.
That’s my immediate reaction, but when I think it over is it something like this?
That Huge Slime overhunting probably just threw my money sense out of whack. 100,000 Zeni, that’s close to a tenth of what Eris’ hospital was worth, and I’m making that for one or two days of labor. I feel like that’s a considerably large sum of money.
And, while I’m mulling that over, the knight in front of me makes eye contact with the lord.
「Furthermore, regarding your heroic conduct in risking your life to rescue Fran-sama, the lord-sama personally awards you 500,000 Zeni.」
Then an addendum comes.
All at once, quintuple the amount. Ain’t that a bit much? Well, but, that lord seems to dote on his daughter in his own way. Even though it must have been a huge disgrace when she roasted her noble partner’s nethers at the marriage interview, her only punishment was temporarily being evicted from the house. I can’t say I don’t feel like that was lenient. Moreover, he even let her bring Sera along as an attendant. He must treasure his daughter a great deal. I can tell that much from the sweet smile the lord is beaming at me. I don’t want to look at a forty-something guy’s smile, though.
Man, that knight has a loud voice. What’s with that? I’ve been feeling somewhat uncomfortable since earlier.
Then the knight once again glances at the lord, and as if playing to the room, announces sums of money.
「And the raw materials such as the skin and claws from the Armor Ogre come to 600,000 Zeni. The remuneration from the knight brigade for slaying a designated subjugation target comes to 300,000 Zeni. And the bounty from the Slave Merchant Union on the Armor Ogre comes to one million Zeni.」
Addendums keep coming over and over.
Was that such a formidable monster? Given that it’s such a large amount of money, the surrounding knights start to murmur. From the seat behind me, a conspicuously pleasant voice arises. That’s Ruruka’s voice, no doubt about it. I bet she intends to mooch.
「All totaled, it comes to 2,500,000 Zeni. Please receive it.」
Okay that’s a ton of money. A huge sum. I receive the bank card with the money and hurriedly return to my seat. All at once I’ve become slightly rich. This is more than enough money to buy a house. What do I do? What do I use it for?
「Oi oi, looks like that Armor Ogre was subjugated. Ain’t he stronger than you? Even though yer a knight.」
「Come on, give me a break. It may look that way, but I got good results at the knight school, you know?」
A little ways off, I overhear a conversation between an older knight and one who looks like a newcomer. Did Yuel hear their voices? She’s looking at me with radiant eyes.
…The one fighting the Armor Ogre was mostly Yuel, though. But Yuel may have neatly wiped that from her memory. I have a feeling the scene transformed into Master with a mace in one hand, effortlessly mowing down the Armor Ogre.
Well, whatever. I earned money. I earned Yuel’s respect too. Without a doubt I can call this Krankheit Turtle subjugation a success. I set into my meal in a good mood.
After hearing the size of the reward, Ruruka overtly comes snuggling up to me, and I deal with her appropriately. I’m trying to get the oddly melancholy Eris to eat something when I realize that it’s almost time for the dinner party to end.
Then, just when I’m thinking of leaving… that middle-aged lord calls out to me.
「Howzit, ‘njoying th’food?」
「…Ehh, well, yes.」
His face is red, and his breath reeks of liquor. Seems like Fran made him drink a lot; his legs are shaky. He’s totally drunk.
Then the lord leans on me, putting his arm around my shoulder. His expression is thoroughly exuberant, as if to say he can’t help it. That expression is fitting for Yuel. I don’t want to see such an expression on a middle-aged man. I may have saved his daughter, but no matter how you look at it this sense of distance is way too close.
「F-Father. Perhaps it would be best to retire. Please, to your bedroom.」
Looks like Fran is uncomfortable with the drunken lord’s behavior too. She’s anxiously trying to put him to bed.
「Nonono, ‘fore that we needta have a tahhk.」
His voice is inarticulate and difficult to understand.
However, the lord’s eyes are clearly focused on me.
「Yer gonna take Fran off m’hands, right? As fer th’weddin’ date, ‘m fine with whenever.」
Abruptly, out of nowhere, the lord utters those words.
Letting out a bewildered and dumbfounded voice, my eye twitches as I notice Fran quickly cover her face in the distance.
What the hell did this middle-aged lord just say? Something about a wedding?
「Ahh, the cat is out of the bag.」
Seeing Fran acting like that, Sera giggles.
「…Eh? Wait, ehhh, marriage!? W-Wait a minute, Fran! T-T-T-That’s impossible! I haven’t heard anything about this!?」
「M-Marriage… hey Shiki, w-what’s the meaning of this?」
Ask me all you want, I have no idea. I haven’t heard a thing about it.
「Master is… g-getting m-marr…」
Yuel also latches onto my sleeve and gazes at my face with an uneasy expression. This can’t be happening.
「I-I haven’t heard anything! I haven’t heard anything about this, so I don’t know!」
This time, the lord raises a hysteric voice. His mouth flops open and he’s looking at me as if he doesn’t comprehend.
「Huh? Eh? What’s going on?」
Ruruka also questions me. I don’t know. I want an explanation. Just who should I ask? Neither I nor the lord know, so…
Naturally, all attention centers on Fran.
Looking down and clenching her skirt, Fran trembles. Her mouth is slightly opening and closing as if she’s hesitating over something.
Fran looks out over the room and back down again. Then, she takes a brief glance at me. Hanging her head in resignation, she slowly opens her mouth.
「…That’s… this is… a m-misunderstanding.」
And mutters that.
「…In other words, Lord-sama over there mistook our relationship, and against your better judgment you gave into temptation and ran with it. Is that about right?」
Conscious of all the eyes on her, Fran trembles as she tells us what happened. In a nutshell, it was apparently a misunderstanding by the lord.
It all started the day before yesterday. The lord received a report from the knights of the subjugation unit’s main force when they returned to the city. At that time he apparently heard the story that “the man who put his life on the line to rescue Fran from a crisis has gone missing”. Fran’s personality being what it is, there aren’t exactly any men who have a favorable impression of her. Basically the only people who would risk their lives to protect her are the knights, and that’s because it’s their job. Meanwhile, an ordinary healer with no such obligations went and did such a thing.
At that point, the lord ended up jumping to the conclusion that Fran and that healer were in a serious relationship.
In actuality, I didn’t expect that I would fall into the river myself, and I only saved Fran because I was completely confident that I could outrun the Krankheit Turtle. The fact that I fell into the river was only because I didn’t anticipate that the ground would crumble.
However, the lord misconstrued it. He assumed that his man-hating daughter had gotten close enough to a male that he would risk his life to protect her.
Then the search party came back to the city. Fran, seeing the disaster that befell the city from the poison mist, headed to the lord’s manor to see if there wasn’t anything she could do. At which point the lord brought up the talk about me.
When that middle-aged lord learned that I was safe, he apparently laughed out, “the city is in a crisis, but that alone is a relief!” in delight. And Fran couldn’t correct his misconception.
Then, when he ran with it and decided to let her return home, she didn’t dare tell him the truth. Even when she consulted with Sera, Sera told her that it would be fine as long as she didn’t say anything.
So she reluctantly went along with the flow, it seems. I thought that Ruruka’s party at least had one sensible person in Sera, but apparently I was wrong.
Then Fran takes a quick glance at Ruruka before opening her mouth again.
「B-But! It’s not as though I really wanted to get married… and well, look, he isn’t my type.」
Is this bitch insulting me? Or rather, I’m surprised that this man-hater even has a taste in men.
「But I like Master’s face?」
However, I’m in front of the super-cute Yuel. As an adult here, I ought to calmly offer a few words of reproach.
「It’s no good thinking that it’s fine to lie so long as you don’t get caught. Put yourself in our shoes. The ones who are lied to will surely be hurt.」
「C-Coming from you…」
Whoa, I forgot that Eris was there. Seems like she wants to say something.
「W-Well, everybody makes mistakes. Look, Fran. C-Continue your story.」
At my urging, Fran hesitatingly loosens her tongue.
「Errr… I thought to allow a day to pass for things to calm down before I told the truth, but at that time the knights… everyone was in a festive mood… and I couldn’t bring myself to say it.」
Now that I think about it, they brought Fran along on the Krankheit Turtle subjugation. The people around her, particularly the knights, might often be told to do unreasonable things. It’s great that she was saved this time, but what if Fran had lost her life? Surely the knights would have taken the blame. Wanting her to get married and calm down, perhaps even the members of the knight brigade had that same intention.
「…I fully understand the story.」
Then, the lord who had been silently listening the whole time opens his mouth. Fran’s shoulders quiver in fear.
「I thought to have you go outside, make contact with a variety of people and broaden your horizons, but for it to come to this… I thought that at last, my daughter would finally be getting married…」
The middle-aged lord rubs his brow with a worn-out face. However, he appears to consider something and changes his expression as he opens his mouth.
「…Although, it would appear that it was not completely in vain. Previously, my daughter would have flown into a fit at the mere mention of marriage. Shiki-kun, was it? If you need anything of me, do not hesitate to ask, so please take care of my daughter from now on as well.」
「That’s a little…」
I’d prefer to refuse. I mean, she’s flat-chested. And that personality.
「You have good eyes. Sincere eyes. Moreover, you subjugated that Armor Ogre, did you not? I can tell, you are well-trained.」
I fully understand that yer goddamn eyes are blind. The middle-aged lord looks my body up and down as if assessing me.
…No, maybe this is something else. The middle-aged lord’s face is bright red, and there’s something off about his articulation. By some chance, isn’t his perspective just unsteady–
And, the moment I think that, the middle-aged lord abruptly collapses.
When I look closer, the middle-aged lord is sleeping, seemingly having fainted. I guess he drank too much alcohol after all?
…No, it might just be from anxiety.
Such a monster as the Krankheit Turtle turned up at the city. He thought he’d be pursued to deal with the poison mist, then some mysterious wide-range healing magic treats every single person in the city. Judging from Fran’s story earlier, they don’t yet seem to know its origin, but the matter still needs to be investigated. And amongst all that, there was this marriage mix-up.
As for the investigation… well, I don’t think I’ll be found out. I had a completely recovered Yuel avoiding public notice, so that wide-range area-of-effect healing magic should forever remain a mystery.
…Even if it was from anxiety, I wouldn’t know. It’s not my fault.