|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2311 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1162 words|
“I’m sorry I called you here on such short notice, so thank you very much for coming.”
“It’s our pleasure. Thank you for inviting us.”
We were led to the same room we were in a few days before, and the king welcomed us with a broad smile. Luvias took care of the polite greetings, while the rest of us just bowed behind her. There were a few knights posted as guards in the room, as well as some maids and servants. Other than that, I could not feel other people in the room. We were invited to take a seat, and once we did the king quickly began talking.
“I’m terribly sorry for what happened the other day. You worked so hard for my country, but I let you go without properly thanking you.”
“Your kind words that day were more than enough compensation. My friend Lapis fought for the greater good, and not because she wanted a reward.”
“That’s a commendable attitude, just splendid. But I still feel indebted to her and it won’t sit right with me unless I give her a suitable reward. So here, please take this.”
The king glanced at one of the maids, who nodded and silently brought a large leather bag that made clinking noises and placed it in front of us. Even without seeing the contents I could guess it was filled with gold coins or something of similar value.
“Three hundred gold coins, that was the best I could gather to thank your party. As their leader, I want you to take them, Luvias. You can discuss how to distribute it amongst yourselves later.”
Three hundred gold coins…I felt like my sense of value had gotten wrecked after recent events, but that was still quite a fortune. Luvias hesitated to accept it at first, glancing towards me. I nodded to her, and she looked back at the king and thanked him while picking up the leather bag.
“We’ll gladly take this then. We deeply appreciate His Majesty’s generosity.”
“That’s good, really good. Now, it might be a bit early, but would you like to have lunch with me? I’d really enjoy hearing stories from modern adventurers.”
“If it’s not much of a bother, we’d be delighted to keep you company.”
It would have been very rude to just pick up the money and walk away. We had expected an invitation for lunch, and we had no real reason not to accept. The king had prepared a proper feast for us, the maids bringing trays with all sorts of dishes on them. We ate everything he recommended, and then topped it off with good drinks. But throughout lunch something felt off overall. For some reason the king would bring up all sorts of topics, but then he seemed to be absentminded whenever a reply came. It was almost like he was trying to stick to some script, but he could not mention the most important part. Or at least that was the impression I got.
“Well then, I hope we get to eat together again one day. Sorry again for indulging in my willfulness.”
“There’s no need to apologize. Instead, thank you for inviting us to such a splendid lunch.”
In the end, the king only kept going with his roundabout conversation topics and never mentioned the important thing that seemed to bother him. Once we left the mansion, all of us tilted our heads wondering what happened.
“What do you think was wrong with him?”
“I don’t know…but it seemed like he really wanted to tell us something…”
“Maybe it wasn’t that important if he never mentioned it.”
“But more importantly, Master, here you go.”
Luvias suddenly handed me the leather bag she was carrying. I looked inside and my eyes were greeted with a bright and golden sight.
“Thanks, but I guess we should divide it between us all. There’s supposed to be three hundred coins here, so I guess that’s sixty coins for each of us.”
“Huh? We didn’t do anything though?!”
“That’s your reward for your hard work. You should take all of it.”
“Exactly, Master. We didn’t help, so we can’t accept a portion from it.”
“I might accept a few coins, but a fifth of the entire thing is too muchhh~”
For some reason they all refused to take it. They were my friends so I did not really mind, but I guess I would have to keep all of it. It was hard to convince them to change their mind whenever they got like that.
“I see. I guess I’ll watch over it for now then, but tell me if any of you ever need something. Anyway, it’s starting to get dark so maybe we should stay in an inn here tonight.”
“I feel like we just ate the entire day. I’ll skip dinner tonight.”
“There’s probably still a shortage of supplies in most inns, so we should just rest.”
“I don’t mind whatever as long as I get to take a bath.”
We went to the same inn we visited in the morning, and as we expected it was still open. The landlady looked pleased to get guests after who knew how long and happily accepted the payment for our lodging, then we went to our respective rooms. This inn did not have any large rooms, so we had to rent small rooms with only one bed for each of us. Once I was in my room, I took my equipment off and threw myself on the bed. Once I got used to it, I quickly fell asleep and stayed that way for a couple of hours.
Everyone had eaten a lot with the king, so no one came to ask if I wanted to eat dinner with them and I got to sleep undisturbed for longer. When I woke up it was the middle of night.
I sat on the bed and put on my usual equipment, then wrapped myself in my camping cloak and covered my hair that usually stood out with a towel. Once I affixed a dagger to my waist, I looked exactly like an assassin. Then I opened the window and jumped outside. Rather than landing on the street, I flew upwards to the sky, making sure I did not stand out in any way. I was heading to the mansion where I spent most of the day. I wanted to ask that kind old king what it was he struggled so much to say during the day and kept a secret until the end.
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“Maybe he’ll talk to me once we’re alone. Though if I’m not careful things might get hairy…”
If I did not take enough care, I might end up turning into a wanted criminal. But I felt this was the right thing to do. If I let things be, something bad might befall him.