|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3198 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1493 words|
The dinner party was a stand-up banquet. It was conducted in a large hall with many tables in it, filled with plates of all sorts of food and drinks, which the participants could eat from as much as they wanted. Though every dish was only distributed after a servant tasted it to make sure they were not poisoned.
As Luvias had surmised, the heroes of all the other countries had already arrived before us. The emperor stood on a raised platform as he introduced each one of them, starting with Freya from Lumielle. She was smiling just as innocently as when I met her, charming all the people present. Her group had five other people in them, two men and three females, all wearing similar clothing to her. That number was neither too large nor too small for a party, and assuming all of them were priests then her party surely exceeded at healing, so if any of them got hurt they could recover instantly.
The next one introduced was the seaside country Barius’ hero, Bandit1. His country mostly lived off the ocean, so the people there learned to swim in rivers and the sea since they were children, which led to most of them having a tanned darker skin. Bandit and his followers were the same, showing off their healthy and tanned skin. Their clothing was simple with short sleeves, and overall covering less area than that of any other country. It was clear a large number of Leble’s nobles were looking down on them because of that, but I actually admired that to the point of being a bit jealous. I would prefer if Bordaule could also take things more easily like them.
Next came Annero, the reptid hero of Versis. His body was covered in yellow scales that looked almost golden when seen from the right angle and stood at more than two meters tall while a long and thick tail hung behind him. It was clear that a punch from his muscular arms could easily pulverize his enemies. His group was complete with two other reptids behind him, who were somewhat shorter than him. They all wore the same armor, almost like a uniform specific for reptids, that covered their shoulders and torso. Their legs were completely naked, their thick skin making the need for shoes unnecessary.
After them, it was our turn. Since we were a group of young girls, I saw many nobles who made no effort to hide their disdain for us, as well as others that turned more lustful stares. That made me feel really uncomfortable at first, but Luvias was a trained princess so for her it was almost as if those people did not exist, smiling brightly so as to not to lose to Freya. I felt like the other three of us would never get to her level, it was really commendable.
The last ones entering the stage were Leble’s hero and his group. The last time I had seen them they had a truly awful personality, but now they looked much better behaved. They even responded with a reverent bow to the emperor’s introduction, so they looked like a proper hero’s party except-
“Do you really think they changed their ways?”
“Nah, impossible. Once rotten, they stay rotten forever.”
Karin and Ciel still resented them, doubting the honesty of their change having been almost killed by them once. I also felt the same way, mostly because of their eyes. I could still see dark flames burning in them, the fires of revenge, which were directed straight at us like their gazes wanted to eat us whole.
With that done, the signal was given for the party to start, all the participants going to the places they were most interested in. Most of the attendees swarmed either around the emperor or the different heroes. The ones going to the heroes mostly wanted to gauge their disposition and strength, while those who went to the emperor were plain sycophants.
“Lady Luvias, is the cooking of our country to your liking?”
“Is your armor made of mithril? What a great kingdom Bordaule is, even your gear is the best.”
“I’m jealous of Bordaule, they have so many beauties. But are you really strong enough to be a hero…”
“I find it hard to believe you beat our hero with those thin arms.”
The crowd surrounding us had very varied members, half of them praising us, the other half trying to ridicule us. We just faked smiles trying to endure it, until a certain man appeared in front of us.
“Hey! You’re Bordaule’s hero aren’t ya? Nice to meet ya, I’m Bandit from Barius, hope to see ya around!”
“…Nice to meet you too. I’m Luvias.”
Bandit was a man with a very overwhelming personality, to put it somehow. He pushed his way through the crowd to meet us. His group consisted of two other people, both girls. They had similar facial features, so they probably were two sisters, beautiful in their own right, their bodies well maintained, but also with similarly strong personalities. Not too long after he introduced himself, Bandit began ranting about how the stiffness of the party did not really meet his vibe to Luvias, and other complaints. At first, she looked rather nervous, but as they spoke it did not take long for her to start smiling honestly. That she opened up to him so soon after meeting each other spoke enough about Bandit’s personality.
“You’re Lady Lapis…correct? Nice to meet you, I’m one of Bandit’s followers, Avenis. This is my little sister Epsilon.”
“Yes, I’m Lapis, nice to meet you.”
Avenis stuck her hand out, and when I shook it, I felt her putting so much strength into her grip I felt like she could dislocate my wrist, so I gripped her with more force as well in retaliation. Before she could react to her surprise attack being foiled, I firmly grasped her wrist.
The pain was so much she knelt on the spot. If someone else looked at her then, they would think she was kneeling asking me to shake her hand, but reality was much harsher than that. Forcing her cries of pain back, sweat formed on her forehead, her other hand trying to forcefully get my hand off her. I figured I might break a bone if I kept doing that for too long, but before I decided to let go, help came from an unexpected place.
“Lady Lapis, could ya let it slide for now? My sis’ has this habit of making a pass on anyone she believes is strong. I don’t really approve of it so I’ve been telling her to change many times already. I’m sorry if she offended ya.”
“So that’s what that was…”
As soon as I let go of her, Avenis jumped a step back and held her wrist against herself. Her beautiful eyebrows remained knit, probably from the lingering pain.
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“Hahh… I heard rumors you were a very strong person, but I didn’t think you’d be this strong. I really chose the worst time for a surprise attack though.”
“What were you thinking Avenis?!”
“What was I supposed to do? There’s someone so strong here so I’d obviously want to see if I can compare or not.”
“But look where we are… Ahh, I’m really sorry Lady Lapis. I’ll apologize on her behalf as well, please excuse her.”
“Don’t worry about it so much. I don’t really mind.”
I felt no malice in them. I would not let it slip if they wanted to harm us, but I realized she was simply a strength maniac, a weirdo that preferred fighting over eating. I remember meeting a few people like her when I was still on duty, so I guess this went to show that even if the ages change these people still exist. People like her never had any ill will, they simply liked comparing their strength to others, so I had no reason to be mad.
“I don’t know if this counts as an apology, but I’d like to invite y’all to my country some time. We’re proud of our seafood and drinks, eating fresh, raw fish has a completely different flavor and texture to it.”
“We’ll think about it. Though if you’re ever around Bordaule feel free to visit us as well, we welcome you to our home.”
“I’ll look forward to that. Anyway, I still gotta greet some other people so we’ll be going now. Let’s go, you two.”
Even though they had spoken for such a short time, it looked like Luvias and Bandit had become good friends. They were both heroes so they might not meet each other often, but I was still glad Luvias could make one more friend.