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Volume 4 Chapter 20
A few days had passed since Rahsa showed me around the city.
The magic gem was getting accustomed to my body. In a fashion sense.
Rahsa has been treating me really well. So well that I almost never feel bored these days.
However, I am alone today.
Rahsa, even at his young age, is already quite busy.
He went to the capital’s royal art gallery for official business today.
It seems like he will have to deal with people who just love money, while listening to artistic songs there.
I also wanted to go but was stopped by Rahsa, as it appears that today’s meeting was not exclusively for art. He even promised to take me later, if I wanted.
And as such, I have all the time in the world today.
He had told me that it was okay to do as I please in the castle but I didn’t quite know the extent of that freedom. I do know that it would be pretty bad to be wandering around naked, though….
Iris was busy with work and I could not even meet her as the place was a secret.
The things I can do alone are very much limited.
And even if I happen to find prince Arch, I don’t know what I would do with him.
At times like these, I used to smith at the academy.
It was practically a habit at that point–as natural as waking up and washing one’s face.
But, there probably isn’t a place like that in the royal castle… It isn’t really needed in the first place, too…
“Alright, I guess I will go meet Eliza’s mother.”
I told that to the capable attendant.
She prepares stuff within 3 minutes of asking her. A mysterious lady who uses Anywhere Door and even surprised me on the first day.
“Yes, I do not mind but that person is really unpredictable. Only this, I am not sure if we can meet her or not.”
What kind of a person is she? I kinda end up imagining a woman who is free and uncontrolled.
“The king, Tsukimi-sama and Rahsa-sama’s elder sister, Maria-sama, these three people are called the ‘Travellers’. They are always gone before one can realize it. At this point, their beautiful art of disappearing can be considered to be a talent in itself.”
To think 3 really important people like them are doing that… I can feel the worries of those around them.
—Wait, the king?! You shouldn’t be doing that!!
“If that’s the case, then I guess I will just wander around the castle alone… By the way, is it okay if I asked your name?”
“Supatifila. I had thought there was no need for you to remember my name and as such I didn’t introduce myself. My apologies.”
“No, it’s not something you need to apologize for. More importantly, Supatifila-san, you can rest today. I will just wander around the castle.”
“I can not do that. I have been told by prince Rahsa to be of use to you.”
“You are of use. Besides, he asked you to listen to my requests, right? I am requesting you to rest for today.”
“If that’s the case… Then I can go buy ‘Lovey-dovey Cafe Volume 2 Storm Arc’ without any constraint. Today is the release date and I had wanted to go.”
Saying that, Supatifila-san disappeared.
She is pretty capable but to think she had such desires inside. Don’t judge a book by its cover, eh?
Or rather, she disappeared so fast that I want to entitle her a Traveller too…
Leaving the room I had been in, I started walking down the vast corridor.
It was so big that I sometimes forgot that I was inside a building.
Having walked even further from there, I eventually ended up in a space so big, nothing could be seen in the distance.
Walking out to the area where sun was shining, I could see the town below.
As the castle was pretty high up, and I was on the 4th floor, the view was amazing.
There should be no way the sound would come this far but when I looked at the distance, towards the lively part of the city, I felt like I could also hear it.
“The view here is wonderful, isn’t it?”
Before I had realized, a good-looking, blonde-haired, old man was standing behind me.
It was the weird old man who I met in the bath the other day. We are comrades who slid 50 metres together and hit our heads.
I would have liked to not meet him anymore but we seem to have met in quite the unexpected place.
“Yes, one can enjoy an unbroken view of the city.”
“It’s one of my favourite places. Today, it’s sunny and wonderful but on rainy days or snowy days, the view can be a thing to behold.”
Old man, you have been coming here on rainy days and snowy days? I wonder if he is actually doing his work…
Certainly, from what I have heard in the bath, he seems to be someone important who handles the business related stuff.
“It has not been put to practical use yet but this townscape was built skillfully to protect it from foreign enemies. Actually, I had also ordered to make this too. It is being done even now.”
And for a while, I was being told how exactly he was making it to protect the town from enemies or intruders.
Is the old man perhaps a famous minister? It does not seem like he does business stuff anymore.
“Is it really fine telling me all that? It sounds pretty important.”
“No matter, I have not really revealed my trump card and besides, you are also part of this country, in fact, the person who will be looking after the Helan territory at that. I can’t think of any harm coming from telling you.”
“But you never know, I might just be an idiot who thoughtlessly spills it to the surrounding.”
“If that’s so then I am the bigger idiot for telling you such a matter. Well, I told you because I think you are not stupid. There isn’t really an important reason for this, I just felt like it. It is not something you should worry about.”
The old man’s city building talk was very logical and I had fun listening to it.
I am sure he is a clever person but whenever I recall the bath incident, I can’t completely deny that he has no stupidity in him. No, he definitely has more stupidity.
“Well, let’s stop with the gossip. Actually, I have a much more important talk with you.”
A much more important talk.
A talk which is even more important than the capital’s military affairs…..? I am not really well-informed, so I can’t really imagine what it can be.
Not letting him sense my stiffness, I waited for him to speak.
“It happened quite recently but… there is a pretty girl in the castle.”
Words won’t come out.
I wonder what kind of face I am making now…
“I didn’t really notice much at first but after looking at her a few times, I thought, I would like such a pretty girl as my son’s bride. Such a parental love is surging within me.”
“Weren’t you having some really praiseworthy talk a while ago? What happened suddenly? There is a cute girl in the castle? What are you, a guy going through puberty?”
“No, I have already dedicated my heart to my wife. I would not fall in love. But, it would be a waste to let such a pretty girl go. I also love my son like any father would. And so, if that girl is okay with it, I want her to marry my son.”
“Haaa–I feel stupid for getting tense. I probably see pretty girls once every 10 seconds in this castle–what happened now?”
“Once every 10 seconds?! I am jealous.. I have become so accustomed to the lifestyle here that my eyes have put on weight. Recently, only on good days do I see a cute girl once a day.”
I don’t want to know… I am absolutely not interested in your likes and dislikes, old man.
“But you see, after having seen this girl for a few times, I feel like my young heart has been resurrected. That my withered leaves are again starting to glow green. And so, I also hear that my son is quite unfamiliar in this field and I haven’t really done for him much so I thought it would be nice if I could be of use to him in this.”
I could feel how much the old man loves his son.
But, BUT, why tell me? We are just comrades who washed each others backs….
Uwah, we actually watched each others’ backs… I guess we are not strangers anymore.
“Your son, how old is he? Also, that beautiful girl, too.”
“Both of them are probably the same age as you. It would be reassuring if you were to help.”
“Well, if it’s just a little, then it’s okay with me. But, love affairs are mostly bothersome, are you okay with that?”
“I am fine. If push comes to shove, one can always make a run for it. I am good at running away, you see.”
Is that okay, old man? Is that really okay, old man?
I am not really that good at running away, you know. This is away for me, too.
“Alright, I will guide you to that girl. You must not remember the path we take from now. No, it is okay for you to remember but you must not reveal it to anyone. Alright? Otherwise I will get angry.”
I thought ‘why go through this path then if you might get angry?’ but I decided to nod and follow along.
After that, we followed a complex route and climbed two stairs.
I had no idea where in the castle I was but I was sure of the fact that I had rose two floors.
Hmm? Isn’t this supposed to be the secret floor? Where only important people can enter….?
“Umm, isn’t this bad?”
“We might get yelled at if we are discovered.”
“Even if you are fine, I might get more severe punishment, you know!?”
“Well, don’t worry. If you just walk confidently, no one will realize you are an oddball.”
I am not an oddball. YOU are the oddball.
“Uh-oh, stop. After this curve, the girl will be there.”
“Yes, she is working so it is hard to talk to her. You, how about pretending you forgot the way and asking her?”
“After coming all the way to this secret floor and saying ‘Oh, I forgot the way’, that would be too suspicious, wouldn’t it?! It wouldn’t be weird if she were to shout right that moment.”
“I guess that is also true. Well, for now, try peeking. You might fall in love too.”
Handing over my position to the old man, I peeked with my face out to look at the girl.
I captured a beautiful girl in sight.
Wearing the castle-exclusive employee uniform, she was courteously sweeping the floor…..
Hmmm? I know her, though.. I really, really, know her, though?!
Iris, you have been caught among the many beautiful women in the castle!
This old man wants to have you as his son’s bride! Run!
Withdrawing my face back from the corner, I faced the old man again.
“So? Cute, right?”
“Cute, yes. But, I will have to say no. Not her.”
“Why is that?”
“Hmm, I am sorry for your son but not her.”
“And you mean?”
The old man was wearing a disappointed look but I must tell him this truth. Before he goes in too deep and gets hurt.
“The girl, her name is Iris and, as you can see, she is pretty. There are probably many men aiming for her but, believe me when I say this, the prince also likes her.”
“Prince? Which one?”
“Arch prince. If one were to compete with that handsome prodigy, they will probably face some tough situations. It is very nice to think of one’s son but this might lead to your son getting hurt.”
“Arch…. I see, if that’s the case, then I shall back out.”
He actually gave up quite easily.
He might be desperately trying to hide how disappointed he is.
He has an unexpectedly kind, resolute side to him. I guess, I will be a little more kind to him the next time I meet him.
Escaping the secret floor where my heart wouldn’t stop thumping, I came back to the place we were in before with the old man.
“Thanks to you, I got to know something very important.”
“No, I am sorry I could not be of help.”
“That is not true. I have become indebted to you two times now. The next time we meet, I want to pay you back.”
“It’s fine, it was not a big deal anyway.”
“Is that so? Well, I guess if you say that….”
It’s not like I would be happy receiving something from the old man, anyway.
“Well then, till next time.”
“Right. If something is troubling you, come find me anytime.”
Parting from the old man, I returned to my room.
After that, I spent the remaining day reading.
In the end, I could not meet Rahsa after he had returned from his meeting that day.
Before going to sleep, I was told by the lady in charge of cleaning that I had something in my pocket.
I took it out.
It was a silver pocket watch. There was an eagle mark on the front. I felt like I had seen it somewhere before.
Why is such a thing in my pocket? It is not even mine in the first place.
Shutting it inside the drawer, I decided to hit the sack for the day.