|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2250 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1103 words|
The city looked largely the same as when we left, which made sense considering only a few days had passed. There were still large amounts of people going from one place to another and hard at work reconstructing buildings. The only change was that the large amount of bodies from battle had been taken away and buried somewhere, probably in a large common grave. Due to many casualties only a few stores were open now, with the vast majority remaining closed.
“Should we head straight to the mansion?”
“The sun has barely risen, and the messenger is probably making quite the fuzz there. I think it’d be best if we kill time somewhere else first.”
Luvias answered my question. She was the only member of our party versed in the traditions and expected behavior of high society, so in these situations I always relied on her opinion. About the messenger, he went ahead of us to inform the king of our arrival once we entered the city.
“Let’s search for some place where we can rest then…”
“Ah, Lapis, look there. What do you think of that inn?”
“The first floor seems to be an eatery, and the sign says they’re open now.”
Karin’s sharp eyes quickly found an inn. Usually inns would heavily advertise their services whenever there was a high flow of people in a city, but probably out of consideration for the state of it they had only put a sign outside. We had nowhere else to go, so we headed straight there. When we entered the building, I saw they had a decent number of guests, though I would not say it was crowded with them.
“We’d like to have some light meal, do you have anything like that?”
“Yeah! Please sit wherever you like and we’ll attend to you soon.”
There were a couple of empty tables, so we randomly chose one and sat down. The table only had four chairs, so we took one of the empty chairs near the wall and the five of us sat around the table. Soon after, the waitress came to take our order. There was a menu on the table, but most of it was crossed out. Now they only offer one meal for lunch or dinner, and a few smaller dishes. As for drinks, they only had fruit juice and ale.
“What would you like to order?”
“Let’s see… We’d like something like a light snack that we can share between all of us, and something to drink for each of us. We’re not really that hungry.”
“Understood. Give me just a minute then.”
Luvias told the waitress what we wanted and she quickly left to relay it to the kitchen. Seeing that I noticed how Luvias was starting to act like a normal person now. When she first came to us she struggled to even buy something on her own. Some of those thoughts became obvious on my face, so Luvias looked at me with a puzzled face.
“Is something wrong?”
“Mm? Ah, it’s nothing.”
Soon after, the waitress returned with a large plate, as well as five glasses of juice for us. “Enjoy” she said before leaving us, and we each reached into the plate for some food. The plate held some sort of cooked wheat dough covered in a moist sauce. It was the first time I saw something like that, so full of curiosity I picked one up and ate it, instantly filling my mouth with the scent of freshly baked bread and a sweet flavor.
“Ah, this is actually pretty good.”
“Is this…bread? I’ve never tried something like this before, but it’s actually quite tasty.”
“It’s tasty so I like it.”
“Maybe we can try recreating it at home.”
“Yeah, it’s really good, though it might make me fat…”
We were going to meet with someone important later, so I did not want to eat something with a strong smell, but this looked good enough. Sipping on some of my juice, I looked at the other clients there. They were all muscular men wearing slightly worn clothes.
“I guess they aren’t adventurers.”
“I think they’re regular workers? It would be too much to ask for the army to rebuild everything after all.”
“That makes sense.”
They seemed to be taking breaks at regular intervals, every time a group left, a similarly sized group entered. Like Ciel said, they were likely part of the cleanup and rebuilding crew.
“Still, I wonder why the king summoned us at a time like this?”
We all held the same question Karin had. I could understand if he had invited us after things had calmed down in the city, but half the buildings were still ruined, so I could not imagine it was something good.
“I suspect that thing about thanking us properly is just an excuse, maybe he wants something else from us?”
“Something like what though?”
Diaria struggled to keep up with Ciel’s theory, and after a sip of juice Ciel lowered her voice and continued to talk.
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“Maybe something happened and he needs our help again…or at least that’s what comes to mind first for me. Maybe he’s seen signs there’s another demon attack incoming for example, or he wants us to go fight against them and avenge everyone. Though I don’t really have enough information to come up with a better theory.”
“I can see how a new attack would warrant our presence, but I doubt invading the Haunted Lands is really an option with how they left the country.”
“Yeah, I don’t think Strom has the resources to gather a large army and mobilize it into demon territory. The majority of the army was wiped when the demons invaded all the way here after all.”
“And that would just increase the number of casualties…”
“That means it’s more likely another attack is incoming.”
Something still did not add up though. If that was the case, there was no need to be so secretive about it. I guess he wanted our help, but for whatever reason could not directly ask for it?
“And what if it turns out he really just wants to thank us?”
“That would make things easier for us. At least we won’t need to fight for a while.”
“That’s true, that would be the best outcome.”
Everyone wished for it, but we all knew that was most likely not the actual reason for the invitation. We had no solid proof, but after witnessing enough battles we knew what to expect from these situations.