|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2594 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1271 words|
We shook hands, hers feeling warm as I held it. Her hand also felt soft, too soft compared to someone who would fight with a sword. That lack of calluses gave me a pretty good idea of how she fought, probably imbuing her entire body with magic to fight. Just a tiny bit of magic power was enough to empower someone like Karin does, so handled correctly magic could give someone many times their original physical strength. Lumielle was largely a country of priests, all of which used magic, so my guess had to be pretty accurate.
“So you’re Lady Lapis. I’ve heard many stories about you.”
“I feel like most rumors paint me in a bad light, but what stories did you hear for example?”
I was curious about what she had heard, I really wanted to know what people in other countries said about me, though I also was a bit nervous to know. But I knew that if I did not ask, I knew curiosity would keep me up at night, so it was best if I asked now so my head could calm down. Freya tilted her head to the side as she started going through her memories, struggling to find the right words.
“Well…hmm…probably the most common thing I heard is that you can defeat all sorts of enemies with your bare hands.”
That was clearly a lie. If that was all, then there was no need to struggle so much to say it. She was probably trying to mellow it as much as she could to not offend me.
“…Exactly what is it that they say?”
“Eh? Err…that you’re a giantess that fights like a bear, and if someone gets just one step into your bad side you’ll tear their jaws open…”
That sounded more like rumors, though I still felt like my knees were about to give in. But to compare me to a bear…I had fought barehanded before, but what part of me could produce that kind of comparison? I was a beautiful girl from all angles!
“Also that you use magic on a whim, and that you’ve burned down many forests and cities when you were in a bad mood… But you didn’t do any of that, right?”
“But of course not! Those are lies through and through! That’s plain slander!”
“Y-yeah. I also thought it sounded a bit weird. Probably people who didn’t like you started those rumors.”
Rumors and gossip can be scary things. A twisted tale was being spun about me behind my back. If that kept happening, I would be unable to enter other countries soon enough.
“There are a few good stories too though? Some say you’re a hero who saved an entire city, or that you’re a really benevolent person who healed a lot of injured people.”
She was trying to make me feel better, but I could only mutter a half-hearted reply. Those were the type of stories I wanted to go around, but now was a bit too late to do anything about it.
“Please, even if they talk about you like that, don’t hold a grudge against Lumielle. There’s a lot of good people living there.”
“Mm, I know. I won’t get a bad impression about Lumielle because of this or anything like that, don’t worry.”
“I’m glad then. I have to go somewhere now, but please don’t forget the chat you promised earlier.”
That reminded me that she said something about drinking tea when we ran into each other before. At the time I thought it was just formality, but it seems she really meant it.
“Of course. Just tell me whenever you have time and I’ll go with you.”
“Alright, I’ll contact you about it when I can.”
Freya waved at me as she left with her party. When they were out of sight, I felt like a heavy weight had suddenly been lifted from my back.
“Are you okay Lapis?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just mentally exhausted.”
We had spoken with all the heroes taking part in the dinner party, so I figured that was the end of this and I could finally relax, but when I finally let my shoulders hang with how tired I was, I turned around sensing a menacing stare behind me.
“It’s been a while. First time meeting Hero Luvias, but I sure hope the rest of you remember me.”
Of all people, it had to be Leble’s hero. I could not even begin to guess what he wanted, but he made no effort to conceal his enmity as he glared at me, Karin and Ciel. I was hoping he was not trying to start a fight here, but I would not refuse if he really wanted that, though I had to give him a piece of my mind first. It was probably him and his group that started all those weird rumors after all.
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“Of course I remember you. The icicle hero right?”
He turned beet red in an instant when I mentioned the icicles. He was still the same easy to stir up brat. The only reason he was composed before was because of the emperor’s presence. His first reaction had been to reach for his sword, but he quickly realized this was not the best moment so he let go of it while biting his lip.
“…I’ll spare your life for now, too many eyes around. But I’ll make sure to put you down during the mock battle the day after tomorrow. Don’t think I’m the same as back then, after your underhanded fight that time we’ve been training like never before, and we’ll put our new powers to good use.”
If that was his idea of threatening me, it would never cause a reaction from me. But there was one little thing I thought I misheard. As far as I knew, the mock battle in two days was going to be performed by the knights of Leble, so why would that be a chance to attack me? When I asked what he meant, he snickered in a very annoying manner.
“Are you too stupid to realize that’s just a facade? If I challenge you to a fight then, you’ll have to accept or Bordaule will look like a country of cowards. There’s no choice but to accept.”
As annoying as he was, he had a point. I had been too careless and never thought of that. Luvias was carrying the pride of an entire country on her back, so she could never refuse a fight like that. Even if I refused to do it, she would end up having to fight alone, but as I had a duty to protect her, it automatically made me part of the fight as well. Seeing me lost at words realizing that, he appeared to feel satisfied while laughing as if he had already won.
“I’ll be looking forward to that day. I’ll embarrass you so much you’ll wish you were dead.”
“That’s fine by me. I know well enough you’ve been humiliated to the point of wanting to kill yourself before, so a bit of shame on me won’t do anything.”
“Y-you little…! F̲u̲c̲k̲ you! I’ll make you pay for that!”
Screaming that, he left us alone. At the same time, the dinner party came to an end, so the emperor announced the conclusion and everyone left in small groups. We also left the hall amongst those groups, scratching my head at how tricky things had gotten.
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