|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
That was the impression it gave.
“Yup. It was there when we opened the last door before the goal point. At first, we thought it was a trap, but we couldn’t find anything attached to it, so we brought it with us. The instructor told us it’s a gift for passing the exam.”
“Heeh. So they can be quite thoughtful as well.”
For some reason, the image of Eraldo, the Chief Executive, came to mind. I had a feeling that this kind of outlandish act was something he would do.
“The thing is, it’s locked, and we can’t open it.” Bruno looked at the treasure chest with frustration. “Björn is good at opening stuff like this, but…”
“Well, from what you’ve told me, he doesn’t seem like the type who would help you.”
“That’s right. That’s why I thought maybe magic could do something about it.”
“I see where this is going.”
Now I finally understood why Bruno was here. With that being said…
“I’m afraid magic isn’t that versatile. One option is to forcibly break open the lock mechanism, however…”
If the locking mechanism were magical, then I could disarm the spell by tearing apart its structure, but this looked like a conventional locking mechanism requiring a physical key. I could use a magic spell to open it, but that would mean destroying the keyhole.
Bruno considered my offer.
“Would that destroy the item inside the box?”
“If it were a fragile item, like glass, then yes, it would likely break.”
“Hmm. I’d prefer to use the proper steps to open it if possible.”
Bruno, speaking thoughtfully, examined the treasure chest he’d placed on the table. It was the first loot he’d obtained from a dungeon, so he likely felt a deep connection to it. I also wanted to open it without causing any damage, but I didn’t possess the necessary skills…wait.
Then I remembered something.
“Ah, Eren. I’m sorry to ask, but could you please call Emilia over? By now, she should be learning etiquette under Monika’s guidance.”
“Y-, yes. Emilia, right?”
“Yes. Tell her I need her to pick a lock and to bring the necessary tools for it.”
The right person for the right job, indeed. Emilia brought her lockpicking tools, and in just under 20 minutes, she unlocked the treasure chest.
The moment there was a click indicating it was unlocked, “““OOHHH!!!””” we all exclaimed in unison.
“Phew. It wasn’t rigged, and it’s the orthodox cylinder tube too. It’s just a basic lock,” Emilia explained after quickly unlocking the treasure chest, a hint of embarrassment in her voice.1
“Whoa. You’re something else, miss. Why don’t you become an adventurer with me?” Bruno, seemingly serious, took the treasure chest and tried to charm my employee.
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“Adventurers, eh…that doesn’t sound half-bad actually. But too bad for you, I’ve got a family who waits for me, so I’ll have to pass on that.” Emilia, not seeming offended, turned down Bruno’s offer with a shrug.
“Hey, show us what’s in it already.”
“Oh, right. Here we go!”
With anticipation in our hearts, we watched as Bruno and Lynn opened the treasure box.
We looked over their heads to peek at what was inside.
“…seems like it.”
Contrary to the size of the box, there was only a single circlet made of milky white stone inside, reminding me of the times I wanted to file a complaint to eBay for shipping my purchases in needlessly large packaging during my online shopping days.
“Ah, that’s a wrought lightstone circlet,” Emilia remarked as she peeked into the box. “Because it doesn’t break or tarnish easily, people give lightstone accessories to friends and lovers as a symbol of an unchanging bond. Well, as far as rocks go, they’re not the most expensive.”
“Unchanging bond, is it?”
“Come to think of it, didn’t you say you had to work together before you could open the last door?”
At this point, the entire purpose of the exam seemed self-explanatory.
“…so I could only get it after we worked together. I guess that means I should have failed the exam too, since I tried to do everything all by myself.”
Bruno took the circlet out of the box, looked at it for a while, then turned to me and bowed deeply.
“I’m sorry. After all this, I think there’s someone else who deserves this more. So, I’m sorry I can’t give this to you!”
Before I could even process what he was trying to convey, Bruno turned to the person next to him and handed the wrought lightstone circlet to a similarly puzzled Lynn.
“Thank you, Lynn. If not for you, I would have made yet another mistake. That’s why I want you to have it.”
Without giving Lynn a moment to recover, Bruno pressed the circlet into the hands of his adventuring buddy.
After a brief back-and-forth, Lynn finally accepted the circlet, hesitantly asking Bruno if it was truly alright to do so. Bruno nodded, and that settled the matter.
“Thank you! I’ll treasure it!!”
The timid demeanor vanished as Lynn thanked Bruno with a broad, upbeat smile. Bruno responded with a matching grin.
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With Bruno and Lynn having already left, I remained in the drawing room, sipping on the freshly brewed aromatic tea.
“Does Bruno even realize it?”
“Him? Definitely not.”
Eren replaced the pot, wearing a troubled expression as she responded.
“Yeah, he’s completely oblivious~”
Emilia, who had joined me for tea, chuckled awkwardly.
“““That Lynn is a girl.””””
…all three of us sighed in unison.2
“To think he would give a wrought lightstone to a girl.”
“And it signifies an ‘Unchanging Bond’ too.”
“Lynn certainly seemed happy with it.”
Our collective grunt also synchronized unexpectedly.
“What’s even stranger is that Bruno apologized to me beforehand. What did he mean by that?”
“He’s a boy.”
Eren and Emilia shared cryptic words.
“Well, he ended up giving it to Lynn, so it turned out okay, but…”
“It’s going to become more complicated from here on out.”
“What’s even good about that idiot.”
“…true. All I can do is hope for the best for Lynn. It’s quite challenging when the person you’re smitten with is utterly clueless.”
When I voiced my sentiments, for some reason, they wore blank expressions and avoided my gaze. I’m not sure why, but I felt like I became the punchline whenever this topic came up. Is it just my imagination?
So the real treasure is the friendship (waifu) we made along the way. Also, I tried to hide Lynn’s gender until the big reveal. It’s easy to do it in Japanese since Jill internally refers to her as Lynn-kun without using any gendered pronoun, but it’s tricky to do it in English.