Category Archives: Ragweed Princess

Interlude 10: Ashimi and the Half-Elf Girl (Part 4)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

“This is for accompaniment. I won’t be the one singing.”
“I see… But what does listening to a song have to do with training in spirit arts?”
“…The thing is, spirits love music. Especially wind spirits, they have a strong affinity for songs and musical instruments. So, I thought we could start by listening to good music to enhance your affinity with the spirits.”

Glancing sideways at Ashimi’s calm expression as he explained, Luke had a feeling that this was an improvised excuse made up on the spot… but wisely chose not to question it.

Then— As they got closer to the outskirts of the city, a burnt smell wafted towards them from the direction they were heading.

“Do you smell something too, Ashimi?”
“It does smell like something’s burning…”

As the two muttered and squinted their eyes, they saw several plumes of smoke rising from beyond the low houses.

“Look at that… could it be a fire?”
“!!”

Ashimi’s face changed color, and he took off running. Luke immediately followed, sprinting at full speed.

When the two arrived at the gate separating the city from the outskirts, they saw the slum engulfed in roaring flames and smoke, on the verge of collapsing.

The slum was a cluster of shabby shacks made from scrap wood. The fire spread like a blaze through dry grass, quickly covering the entire area and becoming an uncontrollable inferno.

“This is… what on earth…?”
“—Gotta be arson.”

Ashimi’s stunned question received an answer from beside him.

An elderly gatekeeper with a troubled expression was approaching. The beggar girl, her face vacant, was being led by the shoulders by him.

Seeing the girl unharmed, Ashimi breathed a sigh of relief, but his brow immediately furrowed at the disturbing words.

“Arson… You mean someone set the fire on purpose? Did you see it happen?”
“No, but the flames erupted simultaneously in several places. All of them were usually uninhabited and had no sources of fire. It can’t be a coincidence.”

Luke approached the old guard.

“Have you contacted the city guards or the fire brigade? We need to extinguish the fire and rescue anyone trapped!”

In response to the boy’s plea, the old man replied calmly.

“Not happening. The slum is beyond the jurisdiction of the city. The people living here are nothing but drifters and demi-humans with no citizenship, let alone rights. The higher ups think it’s no problem if they disappear… so they just leave all these people alone. They might be vigilant to prevent the fire from spreading to the city, but that’s about it.”

With an indescribable expression, the old man lightly pushed Ashimi’s shoulder, releasing the girl, then shuffled off towards the barracks near the gate.

“Leave them alone… Could this fire be related to that eviction talk from yesterday?”

As Ashimi gritted his teeth, recalling his conversation with Bernd from yesterday, the girl, who had been staggering towards him, finally collapsed to the ground in front of him.

“Gramps is still in the fire… even though he has bad legs…” Watching the slum being ravaged by fire and smoke, the girl murmured like a delirium.

“Gah—!” Upon hearing this, Luke immediately attempted to rush into the sea of fire, but Ashimi intervened, using his body to stop him just in time. “Stop it! You’re just heading to your own death!”

“But there might be people who can be saved if I go right now!”
“What can you do alone?! Get a hold of yourself!”

“But—” Luke still attempted to break free, but as his eyes met those of the girl shedding tears while staring at the flames in silence, he suddenly lost all strength, collapsing to his knees. “Why… why am I so powerless…”

Ashimi, too, clenched his lips, but his eyes held a determined glint.

“No, it’s not over yet. There’s still something we can do! If human strength isn’t enough, then we’ll borrow the power of the spirits. Listen, Luke. I will summon rain here! You call upon the wind spirits to gather as many rain clouds as possible!”

“Rain clouds…” Looking up at the cloudless sky, Luke wore a puzzled expression. “That’s impossible. Besides, I’ve never even sensed the presence of wind spirits, let alone mastered wind spirit arts!”

“We ought to try it even if it’s impossible. You only have two choices—do it or don’t. If you choose not to, then take that girl and get away from here.”

Ashimi spoke while removing the lute from his back and tuning it, adopting an uncharacteristically calm tone devoid of tension.

In that moment, Luke also rose to the occasion, ready to act.

“I understand. I’ll do it!”
“Good. I’ll play a song praising the Wind Spirit King, so call forth the wind to match my melody! Let’s do this, Luke!”
“Understood!!”

♦♢♦

In the capital city of Cilento, where not a single cloud had been seen, a sudden gust of wind arose, followed by rain clouds gathering from nowhere, swiftly covering the entire sky. Soon after, large drops of rain poured down on the entire city.

People who hadn’t prepared rain gear panicked and rushed to seek shelter. Despite their complaints about the unexpected rain, it was a different story for the slums outside the city, which were engulfed in flames at the same time. The rain, coming at just the right moment, became a blessing, and the fire, which seemed to have engulfed the entire slum, was relatively quickly brought under control, mostly extinguished in its early stages.

Damage was limited to about one-sixth of the area, and remarkably few casualties occurred. The makeshift shacks that had been homes were expected to return to their original state after a round of repairs.

Simultaneously, it was revealed that the fire had been intentionally set. Those directly involved, related organizations, and the masterminds behind the incident were quickly identified and promptly executed.

Furthermore, it was discovered that the backdrop of the incident was a plan to evacuate the slums. Given these circumstances, the plan underwent significant revisions.

♦♢♦

“What the heck? Young ones these days are so gutless!”

With the first words being a reproach, Ashimi, exhausted and drained, slowly lifted his head from where he had collapsed onto the ground.

“…yo. Still alive, huh?”
“Well, obviously! A tough old dwarf like me wouldn’t just croak in a fire!”

Seeing Bernd laughing heartily, Ashimi, lacking the energy to retort, sighed heavily.

Sitting back to back, Luke seemed to have no strength left, as he was just breathing heavily without even looking in their direction.

“Anyway, Anise mentioned you folks helped us out. So, I guess I owe you a thank you.”
“Anise…?”
“What? You haven’t asked her name?”

Looking to where he pointed, among the victims flipping over the ruins, looters, and onlookers, that girl was singing a song.

At her feet sat a slightly charred wooden bowl.

“…Come to think of it, I didn’t.”
“Hah. You’re a carefree one, aren’t you? But thanks for protecting that girl’s smile. —Thank you.”

With an unexpectedly sincere attitude, Bernd bowed his head.

Seeing Ashimi’s eyes widened in surprise, he smirked and quickly turned on his heel, heading back to the slums.

Watching him leave, Ashimi spoke to his back.

“Did you hear it? And can you hear that song?”
“Yeah… It… It brought me some relief.”

With that, the two fell silent. Anise’s joyous song continued to envelop them, wrapping them in its embrace.


Author’s Note:

As for Luke’s awakening, it was a bit of a rush. He is crying as he realizes his own weakness, because casualties still appeared. Also Jill is expected to appear in the follow-up.



 

Ragweed Princess Interlude 10 (Part 4)

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Interlude 10: Ashimi and the Half-Elf Girl (Part 3)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

“Just so you know, don’t think this means you owe me anything.”
“The food is meant for her. I couldn’t care less about you.”

With a sullen and indifferent tone, the dwarf spoke, and Ashimi responded in an equally unfriendly manner. In the end, the dwarf and the girl easily accepted the emergency rations Ashimi reluctantly offered with a, “Well, if it’s given, I’ll take it.”

Currently, Ashimi and the dwarf are having a chat outside while waiting for the girl to prepare dinner inside the shack. This was simply because the broken pots, pans, and scrap iron scattered inside the shack prevented Ashimi, who had a metal allergy, from entering. Meanwhile, the girl, accustomed to it, nimbly navigated her way inside.

“I can’t understand why anyone would willingly stay in such a place reeking of metal…”
“I’m not collecting it for fun. I repair broken pots and pans and cast unusable iron into knives and such to make a living.”
“Hmph, a tinkerer, huh?”
“That’s right. I can’t do full-scale blacksmithing, but I can manage that much. It’s quite useful around here.”

After all, even in a slum like this, there is still a semblance of human activity.

“…what’s with the half-elf?”
“I’ve got no connection to her. Well, we’re both outcasts, supporting each other… that’s about it.”
“You are a weird one.”

Despite his words, Ashimi felt a slight sense of respect for the elderly dwarf—though considering the lifespan of dwarves, which is only two to three times that of humans, the two were probably of similar age. Ashimi was surprised to recognize such feelings within himself.

“Hah! In a place like this, you can’t survive if you fuss over the details. That said, young one, you’re quite different from the usual Mister High-and-Mighty Elf. To worry about that half-elf girl and come to a dump like this that could be cleared out at any time, and to trade barbs with a dwarf like me, quite the peculiar one.”

As always, the dwarf spoke rudely, but there was a hint of admiration in his tone. Ashimi shrugged lightly, acknowledging it.

“Don’t call me ‘young one,’ my name is Ashimi. More importantly, gramps, tell me what you mean about the clearing out.”
“Hmph. I ain’t no gramps. The name’s Bernd. Also, that’s not something new. The bigwigs in the city don’t like this neighborhood. They call it illegal squatting, an eyesore, a breeding ground for crime and try to drive us out. Hah! They think that if we disappear from their sight, then poverty and discrimination will disappear too.”
“…That’s a disgusting thought.”

To Ashimi’s candid remark — “Heh,” this time, Bernd revealed a smile, showing his broken front teeth.

♦♢♦

The first thing that Silhouette (a pseudonym) —the president, salesperson, and procurement officer of the All-Solutions Firm— said to his employee who turned a simple delivery into an unexplained three-day absence was;

“Who might you be again?”

Despite her tearful apologies, he showed leniency by cutting her salary by only thirty percent, a surprisingly mild punishment.

“…I feel like it would have been better if I had just kept working at the café.”
“In that case, we would have sent an assassin under the pretext of maintaining confidentiality.”

Knowing there was no threat or exaggeration in the words that he spoke without as much as lifting his head from the account book, she replied, “Just kidding,” with a blank expression.

For a while, the sound of flipping pages and writing filled the store as he organized reports sent from various places.

Silhouette was organizing them in chronological order when he came across a report dated today about an evil deed planned to take place near the Imperial Capital, Cilento. “Hmm,” he grunted.

“Is something the matter, boss?”
“No. It seems there’s a request from some corrupt official to clear out the slums, but I doubt something like this can be done in a single day.”
“That’s true. That place has a strong sense of community and they’re not afraid of violence… In a way, it’s a gathering of people who have nothing to lose, so previous government policies should have failed. Let’s see… The contract was taken by the illegal adventurers’ guild ‘Dragon Tail,’ and it’s to be executed by Gustav Dahl, a former C-rank adventurer turned bandit and current bounty target, along with his comrades.”
“A corrupt official, an illegal guild, and a former adventurer with a bounty on his head—it’s a lineup that screams trouble. I doubt they’ll handle this peacefully… will it even work out?”
“Even if these people use violence for a living, the numbers and scale are different. I can’t imagine a few former adventurers could make much of a difference.”

While she predicted these bandits might at most resort to some thuggish intimidation or get beaten up by the slum dwellers, Silhouette, in contrast, tilted his head with a difficult expression (though his usual smirk didn’t reveal much change).

“Hmm. They should at least understand that much… but I have a feeling this could turn into a troublesome situation. It reeks of a short-sighted and foolish move. —If it escalates into something that can’t be covered up, make arrangements to offer them up as scapegoats.”

“Understood.”

Without any further unnecessary exchange, she nodded and immediately began making the necessary preparations. Silhouette, having given the instructions, returned his attention to the various documents detailing the criminal activities set to unfold across the continent, as if he had already forgotten about the matter.

♦♢♦

“Um, Ashimi, we’re already at the outskirts of town. How far are we going?”

When Luke was about to learn the basics of spirit arts under Pryui’s guidance just like yesterday, Ashimi had half-forcibly taken him out of Letindüte, saying, “It must be stifling to stay inside the mansion all the time. Today, I’ll teach you and we’ll go outside for a change of pace.” Luke, looking puzzled, glanced at the old houses around them where the lower-class citizens lived.

“A little further. Still, this area is within the city limits… If this is enough to scare you, the future looks bleak for you.”
“The future… Isn’t this for spirit arts training?”
“Uh… Yes, it’s training, practical training. It’s just that the location is a bit unusual. —By the way, do you have any cash on hand?”
“Well, I have some gold and silver coins. Why do you ask?”
“Then there’s no problem. I was thinking of letting you hear a good song, and that’s the listening fee.”
“Music? Are you going to play…?”

Luke tilted his head, looking at Ashimi’s lute, which he had taken out before they left and was now slung over his back. He had heard from Jill that Ashimi and Pryui sometimes pretended to be bards in Letindüte, hence the question, but Ashimi shook his head and said, “No.”



 

Ragweed Princess Interlude 10 (Part 3)

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Interlude 10: Ashimi and the Half-Elf Girl (Part 2)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

—Christina Rossetti—

♦♢♦

Why did Ashimi decide to stay there? He wasn’t quite sure himself. Was it simple curiosity, sympathy for the girl who shared his kindred blood, or just plain nosiness?

At any rate, leaning against the wall in a spot a little ways off, he observed the girl’s behavior—probably for about two to three hours, he reckoned. During that time, the number of coins tossed into the chipped wooden bowl amounted to three. All of them were copper coins, accompanied by seven scraps of garbage and leftovers.

As the sun began to tilt toward the west, and her throat grew somewhat hoarse, the girl finally ceased her singing. Then, leaving behind two copper coins in the bowl, she stowed the rest into a tattered pouch retrieved from her pocket.

“—There’s a blessing to have a few coins in here rather than leaving it empty, you know.”

The girl preemptively revealed the reasoning behind her doing, addressing Ashimi’s unspoken question.

“…More importantly, aren’t you bothered by touching copper coins?”

When it came to mixed-metal human coins, which could quickly cause the skin of elves to blister horrendously upon contact, Ashimi and Pryui typically avoided carrying cash altogether. In cases where they had to make purchases, they would borrow small gemstones, minerals, or magic stones from Jill (despite Jill refusing repayment, considering it as “salary,” Ashimi still saw it as borrowing). Observing the girl touch the coins without any apparent discomfort, Ashimi felt a slight disdain and superiority, thinking that half-elves were indeed closer to humans than elves.

“I’m not okay with it. Look, my fingertips are already cracked and bleeding, see? But it’s okay because they’re wounds that naturally heal.”

As the girl showed her swollen, bleeding fingertips, still smiling, Ashimi felt more creeped out than touched by her determination. He gulped before he could squeeze out his next question.

“…Why are you able to smile in spite of that? Anyone in your situation should feel sad or lament their fate.”

Well, as a half-elf, there’s no changing her birth, so it’s hard to say if she can find ordinary happiness in the future. As long as there’s elven blood in her, she’ll just keep suffering—

“I smile because crying or feeling sad won’t fill my stomach. Besides, I’ve honestly forgotten what it’s like to feel sorrow or misery. Just by smiling a bit, I can improve my earnings, so all I can do is smile.”
“That’s twisted. It goes against the natural order.”

Ashimi retorted with a spiteful remark, but he couldn’t help but feel foolish and ridiculous for his typical, narrow-minded elven perspective.

Without saying anything, the girl smiled and started walking towards the gate, bowing to the guards before leaving the city. Ashimi found himself following her without any particular reason. After a few steps, the girl turned back and tilted her head curiously.

“What’s the matter, mister?”
“…Nothing in particular. Just strolling as the mood strikes me. Don’t mind me.”
“I see. Well, here in the slum, an elf like you would only garner some curious glances at most since they probably would think you have your own circumstances. But since you’re dressed nicely and carrying a fine sword, you might be seen as an easy mark, so be careful of pickpockets and thieves.”

After delivering this warning, the girl continued walking barefoot, seemingly indifferent and without looking back.

♦♢♦

In fact, as warned, his pockets were targeted eight times. He was accosted by thugs six times. Countless times he was pestered by beggars… Despite not having walked a significant distance, Ashimi was utterly exhausted.

It was almost a miracle that he hadn’t resorted to drawing his silver sword or employing extensive spirit magic.

“…Guess I’ve mellowed out too.”

Had it been his former self from when he was in the village, he probably wouldn’t have been able to endure it. The past year or so of living had taught him patience and tolerance, and the fact that most of the people around him were sickly beastmen or injured demi-humans was a major reason.

Eventually, the girl stopped in front of a dilapidated shack.

Constructed from a combination of debris and trash, it was inferior even to a doghouse. However, what set it apart slightly was the thin chimney from which a thin wisp of smoke rose.

Ashimi wondered if it might serve as a bath or kitchen, but he quickly dismissed the idea, thinking the girl would likely take better care of her appearance if it were either of them.

(Then what is the smoke for…?)

Before Ashimi could voice his question, perhaps sensing their arrival, a short, middle-aged man opened the low entryway—not a door, but a curtain of straw mat. Even before confirming his unmistakably quirky face with an unruly beard and his disproportionately muscular physique despite his childlike stature, “Hmph… a Dwarf, huh?” Ashimi’s voice unconsciously sharpened.

“Back already? Hmm? Oh, I see, so the smell of grass ‘coz there’s an Elven whelp around. No wonder I’ve been sneezing and my nose won’t stop running.”

Staring daggers with his sunken googly-eyes, the Dwarf deliberately sneezed and spat to emphasize his attitude. Without hesitation, Ashimi pressed his nose and retorted.

“That’s my line! I can tolerate the stench of this town, but the metal odor of a Dwarf is enough to make one’s nose curl!”
“What did you say, you reclusive green-leafed youngster!”
“You cave-dwellers are better suited to live with moles!”

They exchanged insults, each displaying their racial animosity with foul language. The girl watched their exchange with a slightly troubled expression, smiling all the while.

“—Oy, why did you bring this guy here?!” The Dwarf, his face red with anger, yelled at the girl.

“He just followed me on his own. Also, this is today’s earnings,” she said, shaking her head as she presented a pouch. The dwarf accepted it as if that was natural.

“Hey, Dwarf! That’s money the kid earned begging on the streets! How low can you get to take it like it’s nothing?!”
“Hah. This is rent, lad. I’m giving the half-elf lass a shelter from rain and wind, she’s got no reason to complain. Or what? Are you suggesting you’ll take her in and raise her out of kinship solidarity?”
“…”
“I thought so. You’re just some naive kid touched by cheap sympathy. What you’re doing is the same as feeding stray cats on the roadside out of pity. If you can’t handle the responsibility or the risk, it’s better to just leave them alone from the start.”

Those words cut deep into Ashimi’s heart. Although he had no cash on hand, he did have some provisions and dried fruits he planned to give after confirming the girl’s living conditions—literally, just feed for temporary relief—so he couldn’t find the right words to argue back.

“I provide shelter and safety, this girl pays rent and helps me out in return. It’s a fair deal,” the Dwarf man declared haughtily, with one arm missing. It was only at this moment that Ashimi noticed he was also dragging one leg.

While a Dwarf like him could find plenty of work with his forging skills, it would be difficult with his current condition. This is probably the reason why he was in a place like this, and why he was helping a girl who has the blood of an elf, his kin’s mortal enemy.

“—Well, fine then. I’m hungry anyway, let’s make it a meal. …Though I’m sure we used up all the ‘taters last night,” the Dwarf, now looking away, glanced back at the girl, who nodded in agreement, looking troubled.



 

Ragweed Princess Interlude 10 (Part 2)

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Ragweed Princess Interlude 10 (Part 1)

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Interlude 10: Ashimi and the Half-Elf Girl (Part 1)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

Ashimi Asteri is an elf.

Well, it is actually the other races, mainly the beans (humans), who call his people ‘Elves,’ while the elves identify themselves with the word ‘Humans’ in Elvish. Ironically, those who identify themselves as ‘Humans’ in this world are the short-lived and barbaric beans, so the elves find themselves in a humiliating situation where they have to accept the designation of ‘Elves.’

For Ashimi Asteri, who is still just 183 years old and the second youngest in the village, this reality is both incomprehensible and intolerable. Yet, the majority of adults in the village, including the village chief bearing the title of “Fairy King,” seem to accept it with tranquility and resignation—the rise and fall of the human world hold little significance for these long-lived beings, as it seems. They live in a secluded corner of this continent where the World Tree has long withered.

Such stagnant lifestyles of his fellow beings are something that the young Ashimi cannot come to terms with.

How did he, of all people, end up in the human world, living among beans?

Initially, Ashimi felt he was being manipulated by the Fairy King, Elder Uranus Kiohn, but upon reflection, he suspected it might just be a convenient way to exile him…. However, it turns out that was clearly an unfounded suspicion. In fact, as trade and negotiations with humans became more active, changes began to occur among the villagers. Whenever he was scheduled to go to the human town to wholesale wines and such from the village, they would always pile on requests like “bring back that thing” or “find out about the latest craze,” indicating a clear shift in their attitudes.

In essence, they were using him as a messenger boy, but it seems there are others who are more nimble and free-spirited, venturing into the city for sightseeing and such. Apparently, the so-called ‘new breeze’ that Elder Uranus Kiohn spoke of is indeed blowing. While Ashimi understood he should consider it a blessing…

“…why did I have to come all the way to the remote other end of the continent?”

Looking out over the artificial human city, which was lacking in natural spirit energy (although it boasted one of the largest cities on the continent, it seemed nothing more than a dry land with weak spirit energy), Ashimi muttered to himself again in Elvish.

If it were Pryui Shiel with her excessive love for humans, it might make sense, but in the first place, there was neither obligation nor reason for Ashimi to leave the village and come this far. However, due to circumstances and a slight curiosity—concern for the fate of Jill, who could be considered a sibling to their tribe despite being human—he suddenly found himself stuck here along with Pryui.

Before setting out on the journey, Ashimi had sought the opinion of the village elder and other prominent figures. However, he was sent off with such surprising ease and a simple “Sure, go ahead” from everyone, giving him a sneaking suspicion that, perhaps, he really was being pawned off.

By the way, it seems that regular trade between the village and the city of Consul is handled by the village’s youths on rotation—apparently, at first, the village elder was eager to take on the task personally, but it seems the whole village collectively put a stop to that idea—so Ashimi’s absent didn’t affect that.

With half of the reason for staying in this place, Jill, being absent due to guild work and his protege Pryui being completely absorbed in teaching the basics of spirit magic to some kid named Luke, Ashimi had been particularly grumpy lately. There was no one around to vent to, making him feel even more uneasy.

On top of that, the northern territories of this continent have a history of excluding non-human races, so compared to other regions, there is an overwhelming tangible and intangible pressure on the elves—ranging from curious glances to being outright spat at in the streets. Additionally, witnessing the discrimination against the beastkin (most of whom are treated as slaves with magic collars around their necks) only fueled Ashimi’s anger further.

“Ugh, it’s sickening out here. I’ll just head back to the mansion.”

Having spoken those words, Ashimi realized with a bitter expression that the mansion he referred to—the Letindüte III where he and Pryui were currently lodging—had unconsciously become ‘home’ to him.

“…no, I’m not accommodating myself there. It’s just that Pryui is there, and the mansion itself, along with the spirits residing there, is just much more lively compared to anywhere in this city, and the people are…well, they’re marginally better than the beans of this city. —Yeah, it’s just an emergency refuge.”

Muttering excuses to no one in particular, Ashimi became even more disgruntled and turned his steps in the opposite direction of Letindute.

“Perhaps I’ll take a stroll in the forest outside the city for a change of scenery. Spending a couple of days camping there wouldn’t hurt either.”

For a moment, Ashimi considered whether it would be better to inform Pryui in advance to avoid causing worry but he quickly concluded that it wasn’t necessary and continued towards the outskirts of the city.

Shortly before reaching the gate that separates the city’s interior from the suburbs, Ashimi’s ears caught the clear soprano voice of a young girl singing. Although he couldn’t quite make out the lyrics, it was evident that the song was sung with considerable skill, quite impressive for a human.

He could have just continued on his way, but for some reason, the melody, though unfamiliar, felt oddly nostalgic. Intrigued, Ashimi decided to follow the direction from which the singing was coming.

The wall and gate, while originally constructed for convenience during the capital’s development phase, had since become a symbolic barrier due to the chaotic urban renovations. In fact, the guards stationed at the gate appeared to be retired soldiers, and the stone wall, barely taller than an adult’s shoulder, showed signs of neglect with no apparent repairs. Beyond it lay a sprawling area filled with shabby huts, home to squatters and refugees—a so-called slum area.

Near the gate, by a wall that seemed easily scalable with both hands, stood a girl clad in ragged, dirt-stained clothes and barefoot—a clear indication of her status as a beggar—singing earnestly. At her feet lay a wooden bowl containing just a scant few copper coins.

Understanding the situation, Ashimi immediately regretted coming this far.

Standing there was a girl of about ten years old, her complexion marred by neglect despite her well-structured features. Her unkempt, golden hair was tangled with dirt and grime, indicating a lack of bathing or even basic hygiene. The mere proximity to her suggested a noticeable odor emanating from her dirty, malnourished frame.

“Beans at their finest… Truly incomprehensible. Why don’t they lend a helping hand to their own kind?”

With a disdainful click of the tongue, Ashimi was about to turn on his heel when a passerby tossed a partially eaten bone with a bit of meat left in it into the bowl.

“—Hey!”
“Thank you, sir.”

Feeling compelled to say something, Ashimi was about to voice his disapproval, but before he could, the girl, who had stopped singing, bowed deeply to the departing passerby. Then, seeing her happily gnawing on the bone, he found himself unable to utter another word.

Feeling a sense of discomfort, Ashimi was about to leave the scene when he suddenly noticed something peculiar about the girl deeply engrossed in licking the bone. Her ears, peeking out from her disheveled hair, were noticeably longer and more pointed than those of humans, prompting him to squint in disbelief.

Although resembling elves in form, she appeared somewhat incomplete and unbalanced compared to himself.

Just as he was pondering the improbability of her being of the same kind while consuming meat, he realized her true identity.

“I see, she’s a half-elf,” he muttered to himself, the first time seeing one in the flesh.

Sensing his scrutinizing gaze, the girl, having finished off the last bits of flesh on the bone, turned towards Ashimi with a satisfied smile.

“Hello, Mr. Elf. Would you kindly grace me with your mercy by listening to a song?” she asked with unabashed candidness.

Ashimi’s brow furrowed at the shameless begging.

Driven by his stirred emotions, he questioned in a brusque tone, “If you’re of elven descent, why do you stoop to such disgraceful and pitiful behavior?!”

“I have no choice but to do this to survive,” she said with a smile, her tone devoid of any pretense, leaving Ashimi momentarily speechless. Gathering his composure, he pressed on with his questioning.

“Is relying on human charity and clinging to humans your way of life?!”
“Yes, it is. Those of us with non-human blood cannot secure decent jobs in this city. So, I have no choice but to do this to survive.”

Still smiling, the girl tilted her head slightly.

“My father was an elf adventurer who roamed as a wanderer, but he abandoned me, a child born between him and a human, without ever acknowledging me. Earlier, you asked in Elvish ‘why don’t humans lend a helping hand to their own kind,’ but aren’t half-breeds like me rejected even by elves…no?”
“…”

Ashimi found himself unable to respond. While there had been no cases of half-elves being born in his village, it was a known fact that most elves harbored disdain for half-elves. Although, this was largely due to the elves’ general dislike of humans…

She seemed to interpret Ashimi’s silence as confirmation. With a serene smile, she continued, “My mother, abandoned by my father, passed away brokenhearted. That’s why I have no choice but to cling to others to survive.”

Speaking with no hint of hesitation, she resumed singing, her voice echoing down the street.

“…”

Whether it was Ashimi’s imagination or not, the melody sounded somehow melancholic. In silence, he stood there as the innocent girl’s song drifted away into the distance.



 

Ragweed Princess Chapter 76 (Part 2)

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The woes of proper hygiene are prevalent.

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» Chapter 76-2 «

Kneeling in the Villa Area and the Abandoned Mansion (Part 2)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

“…So, we can return the spare keys tomorrow when we leave, right?”

Watching as the guild staff disappeared into the trees (or rather, the untended grove), I absentmindedly checked the bundle of keys in my hand. “That should be fine,” Cestlavie, who had stepped into the mansion ahead of us, affirmed with a wave of his hand.

“Is something the matter?” I asked as we passed through the entrance of the mansion.

“No, it’s surprisingly clean. I don’t sense any spiritual presence.”
“…You’re right. I don’t feel any strange distortions or the aura of bound spirits either.”

Cestlavie turned back to me, his expression a mix of admiration and curiosity. “You can tell? Even for a wizard, detecting spirits requires either considerable expertise or innate talent.”

“Hah! You don’t know anything, do you? Any ordinary priest is nothing compared to Jill and her extraordinary heal—cough?!”
“Ahahaha! I have a naturally strong spiritual sense! Yes, that’s all! That’s why I somehow understand!!”

In a hurry to bluff, I swiftly jabbed Bruno’s sacrum from an angle invisible to Cestlavie ―using a grip called “Devil’s Fist” where the middle finger is sharpened, depending on the location and angle, it can deal fatal damage to the internal organs, leading to death― and forcefully silenced him, launching into a rapid and overly theatrical explanation, even though I knew it was quite contrived.

“Hmm…” Whether the bluff was a success or not was unclear, but Cestlavie, glancing briefly at Bruno, who was about to collapse in a pale-faced panic, and Lynn, who hurriedly supported him, murmured “Well, whatever.” Then, he quickly averted his gaze as if losing interest and looked directly at me with a wry smile. “—If that’s the case, you might secure a good position if you join the Church and undergo shrine maiden training.”

However, in the next moment, for some reason, his mouth twisted at the corner, and he spat out, “Actually… No, you shouldn’t. A shrine maiden who can also use magic… you’ll just be exploited by those idiots, just like——”

“?”

“Ah, sorry. It’s nothing. But still… Don’t you find it strange?”

I nodded, agreeing with his words as he gestured with his chin towards the interior of the mansion visible from the entrance hall.

“Indeed, it’s too clean.”
“Ouch… Clean? It’s dusty, there are spider webs on the ceiling, cracks in the walls, and nothing in the rooms. It’s completely in ruins if you ask me.”

Somehow, Bruno managed to revive himself and interject…

“No, it’s unnatural that the spider webs are only on the ceiling and not spread throughout the hallway. Besides, there’s less dust in the middle of the hallway, as if someone walks there regularly. And… it’s hard to explain, but the moment I stepped into this mansion, I felt a strange presence, like the air isn’t completely cold, just slightly, like someone’s breath.”
“…are you saying someone is living here?”
“Or something.”

As Cestlavie added with a rather unenthusiastic expression, Bruno and Lynn exchanged looks.

“Anyway, let’s split up and explore the mansion before the sun sets. But remember, never go alone. If you encounter anything suspicious or sense anything abnormal, immediately retreat to this entrance… And in case of emergency, return to the town’s guild and seek help, understood?”
“Yes.”
“Got it.”
“Understood.”

With everyone nodding, we decided to form pairs for exploration. After some discussion—

The pairing would be Lynn and I, the Wizard (plus Shrine Maiden + Spirit Art user) & Light Swordsman (plus Ranger) duo, and Bruno and Cestlavie, the Swordsman & Priest (plus Divine Art user) duo.

It’s a fairly balanced setup with spellcasters capable of both magic and purification (well, I can’t exactly reveal my abilities to Cestlavie). If there’s any issue, it would probably be the pair of boys’ compatibility.

“…please don’t fight with each other,” I warned as we parted ways in the entrance hall, but Cestlavie turned his attention elsewhere, implying he had no intention of listening. While Bruno reluctantly agreed, saying, “I won’t be the one to start it,” so it’s safe to assume that if he thought Cestlavie was ‘looking for a fight,’ he might retaliate, given his temperament.

“It’ll be fine,” Bruno’s reassurance didn’t quite ease Lynn’s and my concerns, but time was ticking away nonetheless.

We agreed that if anything happened, we’d shout immediately. If not, we’d return to the entrance in an hour, then split up and headed in opposite directions.

As I moved, I noticed Vier, who had shrunk to the size of a small dog, trotting along by my feet.

“…Well then, for starters,”
“…Yes, let us investigate that first.”

Once we confirmed that the pair of boys had turned the corner of the hallway and disappeared from sight, Lynn and I exchanged a quick nod and hastened our steps towards the facility we had been eyeing.

Ideally, we would want to avoid taking our eyes off those two quarrelsome boys, but…For me personally, I mean, both Lynn and I needed to act in a place where those two couldn’t see us.

“I hope it’s usable.”
“Agreed. I had hoped that we wouldn’t have to resort to thickets in the courtyard if possible.”

Nodding in agreement, we pushed open the door labeled ‘Lavatory,’ located at the end of the hallway.


Author’s Note:

Well, potties were actually used in European courts until the beginning of the 20th century. . . (Reference: “The Toilet of Noble Princesses (やんごとなき姫君たちのトイレ)”)



 

Ragweed Princess Chapter 76 (Part 1)

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What’s more annoying; an ugly person thinking they’re beautiful or a beautiful person thinking they’re ugly?

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» Chapter 76-1 «

Kneeling in the Villa Area and the Abandoned Mansion (Part 1)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

“Fufu. After everything, being with Vier is the most comfortable after all.”
“Yups! Vier is the speediest! I’m not losing to some lizard!”

During the journey, I had the opportunity to hold the reins of the Salamander, but despite its overwhelming speed as a mount, it was no match for Vier, the Sirius. Worse was the emu, which was simply an animal that runs clumsily on the ground.

With that in mind, we, who could make full use of overwhelming mobility, advanced ahead to the destination villa while ensuring there were no obstacles along the way. Once we confirmed this, we quickly turned back to inform Bruno and the others who were following us.

Nevertheless…

The weather has been fine since morning, making it a perfect day for outings. Although we’re here for work, this area is lush and cool, resembling a refreshing summer resort. It feels as if we’re on a picnic, and my spirits are lifted.

I squinted my eyes and looked up at the clear sky from Vier’s back.

Ah, it feels like today is going to be the perfect day!

♦♢♦

“““NOOOO—!! GH-GH-GHOOOOOOSTTT?!?!?”””

The moment they saw my face, the three children screamed and bolted out of the room like scared rabbits. One of them even fell over right there and started foaming at the mouth.

We visited the local adventurer’s guild to inquire about the details of the incident. When they called in the boys who were involved in the incident —the ones who trespassed into the mansion as part of a test of courage— their reaction upon seeing me was just as startling. I couldn’t help but sit there dumbfounded.

“What did you say, you insolent punks?!”
“Aaah, Miss Jill silently crawled into the corner and sulked while hugging her knees!!”
“—No, wait, I think she’s mumbling something.”

“…Yeah, that’s right I’m just an ugly ragweed princess, I just forgot recently, getting cocky thinking maybe I could be seen in a somewhat decent light, but that’s just ridiculous, isn’t it— this is the reaction I should’ve expected from the world, I bet everyone around me was just being polite and half the world is made of kindness anyway, what was I expecting, no matter how I struggle, a weed is still a weed and I can’t face the world like this, oh, it’s definitely going to be the worst day ever…”

“Oh no, she’s gone to the deep end! We can’t do anything if our leader is like this! One of you, do something already!”
“Don’t tell me what to do! —U-, uhh, don’t mind them, Jill. Those brats are screwed in the head. To call you a ghost…Well, I mean, you are inhumanly beautiful and all…”
“…ufufu, I see, you think me to be inhuman…”

“Wha—Don’t say that, senior! Miss Jill is suffering a great emotional attack, watch what you say!”
“Even if you say that, I don’t know what triggers her —Ah, damn it. I’ll find those brats and give ‘em a piece of my mind!!”

Bruno, visibly upset, rushed out of the room.

“…What in the world is going on with her anyway?”
“I-I’m not sure either. Sometimes, Miss Jill just… flips out, or gets strangely insecure about her appearance, or something like that…”
“??? That makes no sense.”

While tending to the unconscious kid (I felt his usage of a Healing Art), Cestlavie and Lynn discussed the situation with a puzzled look on their faces.

Hmph—You two can’t possibly understand the sorrow and bitterness of being born a ragweed like me… I cursed my unfortunate birth when, at that moment, Bruno returned carrying the other children who had fled under his arms.

“Listen up, you guys better apologize to Jill properly!!”
““Hwaaaaahhhh~~””

♦♢♦

“—so you’re saying that you guys ran away because the ghost in the haunted mansion looked just like Jill?”

Bruno, having heard the whole story from the children, took a moment to calm down with some herbal tea provided by the guild staff, and let out a sigh.

“Yeah, the ghost was really beautiful.”
“We thought she chased us all the way here.”
“That’s why we ran.”

“…you heard ‘em, Jill.” Bruno, accustomed to dealing with children, shook his head after successfully fishing out information from them, after which he lightly hit them on the head, saying; “But that’s no excuse to call someone a ghost!”

“Haaaahhh… I understand the situation, but did that ghost really look so much like me?”

Upon hearing my question, the children exchanged glances and after a moment of contemplation, they all responded:

“Nah, the ghost was way prettier!”
“The hair color and vibe might be similar, but when I look closely, you’re in no way near her.”
“Compared to her, you’re just a normie!”

They all denied it in unison.

“……”

“AAAH, Miss Jill is sulking in the corner again!!”

“…hehehehe I’m just a worthless existence anyway–inferior even to a ghost whose existence itself is questionable, a mere weed, trash, dust, a tainted creature with no value in living, a disgusting toad believing itself to be a swan, so foolishly thinking that I could blend into the human world even though I should’ve stayed hidden in the darkness where no one can see me since that’s where I belong…”

♦♢♦

Surprisingly, we were able to open the main gate and entrance door with relative ease and enter the mansion.

“Well, then, I’ll be off…”

The guild staff who had guided us this far quickly uttered these words and hastily left the scene.



 

Ragweed Princess Chapter 75 (Part 2)

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New Chapter!

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» Chapter 75-2 «

The Sprinting Salamander and the Investigation in the Haunted Mansion (Part 2)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

“So, that’s how you guys met each other?”

As he turned towards me to confirm, Bruno took a seat on the stool facing Cestlavie, with Lynn sitting beside him. Quite proactive of her, but it’s frustratingly typical of Bruno to be completely clueless about it.

With that, I naturally found myself sitting next to Cestlavie. While seated, I somehow found myself meeting Cestlavie’s gaze.

“…Well, you could say that I suppose?”
“…I guess we kinda do?”

In reality, we apparently had known each other for a long time, but it wasn’t something worth mentioning aloud.

Bruno, with a raised eyebrow, reacted to our vague responses.

“What’s up?! Is there something else going on?!”
“No, it’s not like that.”
“…”

I tried to make an excuse while Cestlavie avoided eye contact, digging into his ear with his pinky finger.

“—It seems you’re all here.”

At that moment, a woman who appeared to be a dog beastfolk, dressed as a receptionist for the guild, approached us. She looked about four to five years older than us. Her hair was brunette, her eyes brown. She had a medium build and height, wearing low-heeled shoes. Her makeup was subtle, and her appearance—while not overly flashy or dull—featured a pleasant smile and a round-tipped ear atop her head, giving her an attractive and amiable aura.

“Hello, I’m Estella Bajona, a staff member of this guild. May I explain the outline of the request?”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Julia Fortuna, a C-rank adventurer. I look forward to working with you today.”

Other than myself, everyone seemed familiar with Estella as they exchanged brief greetings before she pulled over an empty stool and a well-worn, low table from the corner.

With Estela at the forefront, we gathered around the table in a somewhat informal manner, sitting cross-legged on the floor.

“Now then—” With a preamble, a piece of paper —no, it was a map, slightly larger than the table— was unfolded. “To put it bluntly, the request this time is for an investigation of a haunted mansion.”

““““A haunted mansion?!””””

♦♢♦

The incident dates back several months ago.

It seems that three seven-year-old boys trespassed into one of the mansions in a suburban villa area that is now unused. The reason? — It’s a typical test of courage.

And, as is also typical, in the dilapidated mansion’s corridor, illuminated by the moonlight of the full moon, without casting a shadow, there appeared a woman so beautiful that she seemed not of this world—

After the terrified boys screamed and fled, the ghost that silently chased after them reportedly vanished into thin air at the end of the corridor… This account, tearfully recounted by the boys upon their return, is of uncertain veracity.

Subsequently, several brave souls, having heard the rumors, sneaked into the mansion —though technically that’s trespassing on someone else’s property, a full-blown criminal act— and each experienced similar encounters on nights of the full moon.

However, on other days, they only reported seeing faint shadows or feeling someone’s presence.

Concerned about the bad reputation near the capital despite it being a desolate villa area, the authorities attempted to contact the owner. However, the owner, a renowned painter, has been missing for about ten years.

— And so, it seems that the Adventurer’s Guild has been approached to investigate the cause.

♦♢♦

“If you’re not up for it, we can assign the task to someone else… Um, are you okay with ghosts and the like?” Estella questioned.

“If we know from the start that it’s some kind of ghost, then there’s nothing to worry about.”
“Another ghost? They’re a pain because swords don’t work on them.”
“What kind of clergyman is bad with ghosts?”
“…umm, I might not be best with ghost stuff, but I’ll do my best.”

Each of us responded with an unconcerned attitude.

“It seems you’re all fine with it. Then, we’ll entrust this task to your party. The deadline is the day of the next full moon… which coincides with Prayer Day1.”

The departure is set for tomorrow morning, so the job falls between Mirror Day and Prayer Day on the weekend, which is a fortunate arrangement for us students. Conversely, if we miss this chance, we’ll have to wait until the next full moon, so it’s imperative that we resolve it this time for sure.

“The reward is eight gold coins upon success… It’s funded by the villa management association, any issues with that?”

Whether this is high or low remains unclear, but Bruno and Lynn nodded satisfactorily, while Cestlavie shrugged lightly. …For now, it seemed like they agreed.

“Understood. Will we receive maps and information for the location?”
“Yes, they’ll be prepared along with the contract. However, since the place is currently remote, you’ll need to arrange your own transportation to get there…”
“It’s understandable since it’s a villa area. —Are there any other issues?”
“Well—”

Estella pondered for a moment, then suddenly clapped her hands together.

“Ah, yes. Even if it’s just a formality since you’re forming a party, could you please decide on a leader in case something happens? It’s necessary for the contract.”
“A leader…?”

As a natural flow, I looked at Bruno and Cestlavie, but they both turned away, rejecting the idea from the start.

(…What should I do?)

Choosing one of them as the leader doesn’t seem plausible since they wouldn’t follow each other’s orders. But deciding it on a majority vote might also leave some bitterness.

“Um…” At this point, Lynn raised her hand timidly. “For the leader, I think it should be Miss Jill if she’s okay with it.”

“…Huh?!” I blinked in surprise at the unexpected suggestion.

“Hmm… Well, I guess that’s fine. Seems appropriate.”
“Well, Jill is the highest rank among us, and she’s dependable.”
“Then, I’ll have Miss Julia as the leader.”

My bewilderment was left far behind as the conversation progressed inexplicably smoothly.

“Just a moment, please! I’m just an outsider who decided to join the request today on my own! Is it really okay for me, as a newcomer, to be the leader?!”

““““Yeah.””””

It was decided unanimously and easily.



 

The Sprinting Salamander and the Investigation in the Haunted Mansion (Part 1)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

Whether it’s a horse or another mount, when traveling long distances, they typically use a combination of walking and trotting.

For horses, this usually involves walking for about twenty to thirty minutes, then trotting for about ten minutes, and repeating this pace. The walking speed is about as fast as a child running, while the trotting speed is more akin to pedaling a bicycle… That should give you a rough idea, although it’s surprisingly more leisurely than what amateurs might imagine.

Of course, if pushed to their limits, they can achieve speeds comparable to a car (this is called galloping), but even running at full speed for just two to three kilometers can exhaust a horse, so such speeds are rarely reached during regular riding. Well, there’s also the practice of changing horses at post stations along the highway to maintain a fast pace…

So, without replacement mounts, considering factors like cargo and road conditions, the average distance traveled during the day is around a hundred kilometers or so. Attempting more than this becomes difficult not only for the mount itself but also for the rider, so whether it’s a horse, an emu, or a land drake, the basic concept of handling the reins remains the same (although slow-moving ox carts and wildashers are a different story).

However— Just before a small hill, where irregular rocks dotted the slope, a winged salamander dashed up along the incline.

“Wow, salamanders are really fast after all!”

Using a towering cedar tree at the summit as a landmark, it made a turn and then swiftly descended… or rather, glided over hundreds of mertes in one swoop.

“This feels amazing! It’s different from flying with Vier; riding the wind like this is so refreshing!”

With sturdy legs, it traversed rough terrain and effortlessly leaped over obstacles with its wings spread wide. Watching me cheer while holding the reins, Cestlavie and the others looked on in astonishment from a distance.

“I’ve taken a liking to it. Cestlavie, please give me this one.” As I returned to the starting point, I hastily made my request while tidying my disheveled hair.

“Don’t be ridiculous! Seriously… just riding someone else’s salamander without permission.”
“Well, I did ask, ‘Could you please let me ride?’ And your response was, ‘…Fine, go ahead if you must,’ wasn’t it?”
“I thought you meant you wanted to ride together! Isn’t that the norm?!”

Cestlavie grumbled while vigorously tugging at his unruly black hair.

Bruno and Lynn watched him with surprised expressions.

Come to think of it, based on the impression I got from the two of them, there seemed to be a perception of Cestlavie as quite taciturn and confident, so it might seem unusual in this context.

―In reality, he’s just incredibly fussy and lazy.

(Though he’s also straightforward, clumsy, and he gets lonely easily.)

With a chuckle, I fell off the saddle and handed him the reins.

“—Geez, some things never change with you.”

Taking the reins, Cestlavie muttered with a strangely nostalgic tone as he scratched his hair again.

His face was turned in the other direction, so I couldn’t see well, but it didn’t seem like he was angry; rather, there was a sense of familiarity with his words. Or maybe that was just my imagination?

Also, I couldn’t help but feel like Bruno’s mood worsened even more, but perhaps I’m just overthinking things.

♦♢♦

Now then. The moment we met after two months, the variety of expressions he showcased was quite a spectacle.

A curt nod in response to Bruno’s greeting, followed by a sideways glance at me. A sudden second look towards me as if he was being pulled. Half-risen body from his stool, sleepy eyes opened wide to the limits. Several blinks before finally focusing on my face. Mouth opening and closing like a fish gasping for water. A finger trembling as it pointed at me, seemingly oblivious to the puzzled glances around. Finally, with a squeezed-out voice, he managed to say, “W-, why are you here…?”

“It’s been a while. I’m relieved that you remembered me. You seem well, Priest Cestlavie.” I said, bowing politely towards the astonished Cestlavie priest.

“Are you acquainted with each other?” Bruno asked, comparing me and him with a puzzled expression.

I nodded in response to Bruno’s questioning gaze.

“To explain it briefly… Well, you might have heard of the current talk of the town here, the ‘Orc King-Slaying Prodigy and the Foreigner Beauty,’ haven’t you?”

At my question, Lynn seemed to realize something and softly exclaimed, “Ah!” Cestlavie, on the other hand, resumed his seat with a sour expression, while Bruno nodded with a perplexed look.

“Yeah. That’s about you, isn’t it?”
“Yes, well… It’s rather presumptuous of me to be called a beauty, but exaggerated tales and embellishments are common in stories. Setting that aside, the issue is about the role of the ‘prodigy’ in the story.”
“…Wait, you don’t mean…”

Realizing what was going on, Bruno furrowed his brows and eyed Cestlavie, who was shifting his body from side to side on a stool in the guild’s waiting room, with suspicion.

“Just so you know, I won’t be signing any autographs. It’s a hassle.”
“Who’d want one anyway?!”

Bruno shot back at Cestlavie’s jest (or was it?), but Cestlavie simply shrugged it off with a cool demeanor.

…Hmm, I see. Indeed, it seems like they both have strong personalities and may not get along well with each other. Well, in Bruno’s case, there are also some areas where he seems to clash with Luke and Ashimi for some reason—

(Hang on? Could it be that Bruno doesn’t have any close male friends…? Ah, realizing this now is like realizing something unnecessary.)

—which was probably just due to differences in upbringing and values, and they seem to get along reasonably well in other aspects, but when it comes to Cestlavie, it feels like they clash on almost everything.

(I somehow feel like both of them have similar personalities, I guess you really do dislike people who are just like you…)1

In situations like this, it’s best to take some time to understand each other or confront the issue head-on. Maybe settle it with a fistfight by the riverbank at sunset or something.2