Chapter 43 – Forced Escort
On Monster Bunko-sama’s homepage, under the activities page, there are two cover illustrations available now.
Well then, enjoy.
While my thought process was at a standstill from the abrupt development, the human version of Rurune anxiously looks at me with upturned eyes.
…Even though she’s a donkey, she’s wearing a ponytail, laughable right? Eh? That’s not where the problem lies? I’m escaping from reality, notice you idiot!
I wanted to stay frozen as I was, but Rurune is naked and above all, there were some very dangerous stares coming from the surroundings. No, I don’t have the leisure to look around scared.
[Hey uh… Rurune…right?]
[Huh? That’s right, but…Hm?]
Rurune was puzzled by my question, but I guess she noticed something felt out of place, because she looked down at her own body.
She slowly turned her eyes to me, and then with great force asked,
[A-aaah, Master?! W-w-w-why have I turned into a human?!]
[Uhh… Calm down? I’ll explain properly, so. Rather, more importantly…]
While Rurune was panicking, I who had instead calmed down, draped my robe over Rurune in order to hide her nakedness.
[As one would expect…being naked is a bit…]
Rurune, having finally noticed that she was naked, wrapped herself in my robe while blushing.
Sheesh with that sort of reaction, I’ll get embarrassed too, you know. Actually, wasn’t Rurune naked as a donkey? Why this shyness now? With Saria, it’s the exact opposite.
However… In order to hide Rurune’s nakedness, I have finally taken off my robe.
Well, right now I don’t have the leisure to worry about the Hero stuff. Rather, at the moment, hugging a naked girl in public is a much bigger issue .
Worst case, ‘I’m from the eastern country, because of my black hair I was an unwanted child’, if I make up some suitable excuse, it should be fine… I don’t care anymore!
Well, even if I’m an unwanted child or whatever, the people of this town probably won’t care. After all, even with Al’s curse, they were that kind to her.
With that, even though I took off my robe, I didn’t feel that reluctant.
Now then, more importantly… What do I do after this…
I breathed a deep sigh while stroking the head of Rurune, who had her face buried in the robe trying to hide her embarrassment. Right then,
[ Seiichi! ]
[ Woah, what’s with this crowd…]
Saria and Al both came towards me.
If it was the usual me, this wouldn’t have been a big deal.
But… my current circumstances are bad, very bad.
As the two came into view, I broke into a sweat of unusual quantity with a pale face.
I’m begging you, don’t come over right now, please. Really, seriously…!
However, my hopes were in vain, as the two reached us.
When we, with Rurune naked in a robe, were seen, the two’s eyes opened wide and they stiffened.
…This seems to be commonly known as a scene of carnage? I ,who had lived life at the pinnacle of unpopularity, didn’t think I would experience this. I guess it’s true you never know what’ll happen in life… (TLC Note: ‘scene of carnage’ as in a relationship fight. It seems to usually be when a guy is caught in a bad situation. In Japanese it’s pronounced shuraba, you may have come across it in manga/anime/novels before.)
Al looks at me as I try to escape reality, gradually tears begin to fill her eyes.
Wait! This is really bad!
As I try to explain myself, my mouth only flaps open and closed uselessly and no words come out.
Ah, I’m doomed.
I sensed my life coming to an end, but Al’s words were not what I expected at all.
[The robe…you finally took it off!]
[I’m really sorry!! …Eh?]
I unconsciously did a double take on Al.
Eh? This is strange. Our conversation is not matching up at all.
As I tilt my head in confusion, likewise, Al makes a mystified expression.
[Ah? Why are you making that face? You haven’t taken off your robe up until now. For you to take it off now, and expose your face, isn’t it because you trust this town from the bottom of your heart? I was happy about that…]
I’m dumbfounded by Al’s words.
In other words, Al hasn’t noticed Rurune who has been clinging to me in the nude, and instead seemed to be deeply moved by me having taken off my robe.
That was so unexpected that I’m dumbfounded, but it seems my neck is safe for now.
[Seiichi, who’s this young woman that’s clinging to you?]
Yes, there goes my neck!
I began to sweat again as I turned to face Saria, but looking at her, the curious look on her face seemed to say that she asked the question out of pure curiosity.
That’s right, only Saria is―.
[Lend me your ear.]
I looked at Al who was calmly smiling, and thought everything was over.
[…So in other words, you’re saying that woman is Rurune the donkey?]
After that we returned to the inn, and I was made to sit straight(seiza) in front of Al in the room Saria and I share.
When we got back to the inn, fortunately only Lyle-san was there in the dining room. He had a surprised look for a moment after seeing my real face, but after that he looked at me with lukewarm eyes. What should I do, I want to disappear.
But, I was given a chance to explain myself to Al, and I had just about finished desperately explaining everything.
After Al had heard my explanation she sighed once, and looked at me with reproachful eyes.
[…Can’t you make up a better excuse?]
[It is the truth! Please believe me!]
No, it is certainly unbelievable that a donkey turned into a girl! But… it can’t be helped, can it? It really happened!
Well, my explanation was also heard by Rurune, who is also half in doubt about it.
As I desperately ask her to believe me, Al has a fed up expression.
[Then, show me some evidence. If you do that, I’ll believe you.]
[Yes, evidence. If there isn’t any, there’s no way I could believe you, right?]
However, how should I show her evidence? Should I ask Rurune to turn into a donkey temporarily?
While I was thinking of that, Saria who had kept silent up to now began to speak.
[Al, what Seiichi’s saying is true you know?]
[What I’m saying is, this girl is Rurune-chan.]
When Saria said this, she turned a smile to Rurune who was huddled up next to me.
[Even so… Ahh, Rurune-chan also ate a fruit of evolution, huh.]
[Wa-wait just a minute! Saria, are you honestly believing such lies?]
[Yes. Cause, I’m like that too.]
While Al was questioning Saria’s impossible to understand statement with a difficult expression; Saria smiled, and transformed into the Kaiser Kong gorilla.
[I, originally, monster. But, ate evolution fruit, became human. Now, will you believe?]
Once again returning to human form, she grinned at Al and said [See!] .
Al, who witnessed an incredible phenomenon not seen by ordinary people, froze for a while. Before long she seemed to come to a conclusion.
[Alright. I’ll stop thinking. Nothing makes sense anyways.]
She escaped from reality?! But she looks like she was able to completely assent to it..!
But well, if impossible things keep happening in front of you one after the other, there’s not much you can do but give up trying to reason it out in your mind.
Having experienced something similar in the 【Forest of Endless love and Sorrow】, I really sympathize with her.
[Haa… But, to think this girl really is Rurune the donkey…]
While sighing, Al turned her eyes towards Rurune, who was wrapped up in my robe next to me.
[I-, I also didn’t think something like turning into a human would happen to me…]
After seeing Saria’s transformation, Rurune also seems to have accepted having turned into a human because of the Fruit of Evolution.
[But still… A-all the same, clinging to someone while naked, is a bit… Th-that type of thing is for after you marry, right?]
Al said so, her face flushing red.
Seeing Al like that, both Rurune and I remembered our previous situation and blushed.
[…Wi-will I too, someday…d-do things like that..?]
[-! No-nothing at all!]
Al was murmuring something silently, so I asked what she said, but for some reason she got mad at me. How unreasonable.
While we were having such exchanges, as if she suddenly noticed something, Saria asked,
[That reminds me, why did you put your robe on her?]
[Wha? But, if I didn’t, Rurune would have remained naked, right?]
[Then, it would have been fine if she put on my clothes. The clothes we got from Hitsuji-san, you still have them, right Seiichi?]
Told that by Saria, I noticed for the first time.
That’s right! The ones we got from the bastard Hitsuji, I still had those clothes made specially for Saria, didn’t I? What’s more, they’re even the type that can change size to fit the wearer!
I can only be dumbfounded at the fact that I forgot those.
Th-then, what was the point of taking off my robe in front of everyone? And the time I spent coming up with the unwanted child setting?
Eh, it was all in vain? Seriously?
[…Well, don’t let it get to you?]
Al said nice words to me while I was at my wits’ end. Yet why is it that the sweat won’t stop pouring from my eyes? Tell me, Ojii-san! (TLC Note: The tell me, ojii-san part is probably a reference to a song from the anime Heidi, Girl of the Alps.)
Well, there’s no point in worrying about things past, so I pulled myself together and passed 2 gold coins to Al.
The reason was because I intended for her to buy clothes for Rurune.
Saria is wearing a one piece dress for now, but since she’s originally a gorilla, it’s not like she knows much about human clothes. That’s why I decided to rely on Al for this.
Rurune has become able to turn into a human, after all. Clothes are definitely necessary.
[Al. Could you use that money to buy some suitable clothes for Rurune? As expected, I really don’t feel like having her wear Saria’s clothes at this late hour…]
[Ah? I don’t mind but… I can’t tell Rurune’s size, you know?]
[There are clothes with automatic size adjustment magic, right? If possible, I’d like to get several of those. If you could get shoes and underwear too, that’d be great.]
[Well, sure. Just wait a bit.]
Saying that, Al left to purchase Rurune’s clothes.
About 20 minutes later, when Al came back with the clothes, we immediately got Rurune to change into them.
During that, I was thoroughly blindfolded by Al, but that’s another story.
Finished changing, she wore a black shirt and a brown leather jacket over it, with a pair of pants of the same brown color. Something like a black colored belt is strapped around her thigh, and with the short black boots she had on coupled with the dignified air she carried herself with, she looked very cool.
[I more or less randomly picked some clothes, but is it fine with this? Well, clothes with size adjustment magic are all expensive, so there’s no change left, but…]
This kind of fashion sense, is “randomly picked”…you say…?!
I was surprised at how good Al’s fashion sense was. In my case, my appearance isn’t what you’d call smartly dressed… Even though I’m thin now, I don’t think I’d fit in adventurer gear. Even what I’m wearing now is just a white shirt and black pants, a very simple style.
While I was thinking that, Rurune came to ask, embarrassed.
[Um… Master. I’m not very confident, but does this fit me…?]
[No, it really suits you super well. Al too, your fashion sense is too good.]
[I-is that so…?]
[That’s the first time I’ve ever been told that…]
Rurune’s cheeks were dyed red, and she had a happy smile on her face, while Al with a similar expression averted her eyes while scratching the back of her head.
While watching the two of them like that, I put on the robe I got back from them, and once again pulled the hood over my head.
When I did so, Al had a disappointed look on her face.
[Hey, Seiichi. You’re putting the hood back on?]
[Hm? Well, since I’ve had the hood on for so long, I feel more relaxed this way…]
Those words were what I truly thought, as life wearing the hood was unexpectedly pleasant. It also acts as a sunshade.
Thinking that far, I suddenly remembered something.
It was, the thing regarding my hair.
My hair is black, but I wanted to know if that held special meaning in this world.
Thinking so, I tried asking Al.
[Speaking of which, is my black hair rare?]
[Eh? Ah, let’s see… You’re from the Eastern Country, right?
[Um… Something similar.]
[Huh? Oh well. I’ve never been to the Eastern Country, so I don’t know, but I’ve heard there are lots of people there with close to black hair. Though it’s true that in this continent it may be rare. Ah, speaking of which, I’ve think I heard something along the lines of that the Heroes summoned in Kaiser Empire mostly had black hair…]
I was relieved by Al’s words.
It seems like the Eastern Country is a more convenient place for me than I thought. The fact that it’s in the east is also similar to Japan.
Just as I was sighing in relief, the disappointed look returned to Al’s face.
[But you know, I really think it’s a waste?]
[Eh? What is?]
[Well, if you took off that hood you’d be popu—Ah!!]
Stopping mid-sentence as though she just realized something, Al suddenly grasped my shoulders with a really upset look.
[You absolutely cannot take off your hood! Especially in front of women!]
[Isn’t that different from what you just said?]
[A-anyway, you just can’t! Understand?! Definitely don’t take it off!!]
[E-ehh…? We-well, I don’t think I’d take it off on my own accord, but…]
When I said that, Al looked relieved.
[Ah, that was dangerous… If he were to take off his hood, he’d get super popular with girls… I really don’t want that…]
She quietly murmured something, but I couldn’t quite catch what she said.
Various things have happened, but since Rurune is a human now, there was a need to rent out a room for her.
Or well, there’s no need to do so if Rurune returns to being a donkey, but she seems to like the human form, so I decided to rent a room.
Actually, if I’m going to spend an extended period of time in this country, it might be easier to just buy a house… Luckily, I’ve got too much money on my hands. I don’t think I could spend it all during my lifetime.
It’s just, if I’m to join up with Shouta and the others, I’ll be leaving, so it might be better to leave buying a house till after I decide what I want to do from now on.
While thinking a bit about what to do from now on, I went to the receptionist’s desk. Fina and the others weren’t there yet, so I explained the situation to Lyle and rented a new room.
Though I call it explaining the situation, I didn’t tell him that Rurune is a donkey. Rather, if I did say that, he would doubt my sanity, you know?
Unexpectedly, Rurune was quite stubborn about sleeping in the same room as me. Well, she does call herself a knight, so it’s probably because of the protect-the-master-mindset that she’s stubborn about that. …Even so, when it comes to food, her improper behavior for a knight really stands out.
In the end, it was decided that a single room would be rented for Rurune. She seemed really disappointed, though.
And so, since we already rented a room, we were about to head back to our rooms to rest, when…
[…We’re not exactly trying to conquer a dojo here, so what’s with that way of entering?] (TLC Note: The so-called dojo yaburi. The “tanomo-” she said while entering is traditionally said when coming to challenge a dojo.)
[What are you saying, Clau-chan! The war has already begun-! With that attitude, you’ll be the first to go you know?!
[What in the world are you fighting, Lorna?]
[How should I know that.]
[Eh? Why are you looking at me like you’re looking at something pitiful?]
Suddenly, the inn’s door was flung open and two noisy people came in.
One was a short girl with medium length orange hair.
The other was a tall girl with short indigo hair.
The two of them had completely different personalities and height, but both had one thing in common.
It was the armor they wore.
It looked similar to the silver colored armor Terveil soldiers like Claude wears, but the armor these two wore was a bright silver, not having the unrefined image like Claude’s armor, but rather gave off a feeling of gorgeousness. They even had swords hanging from their belts.
You could tell they were knights at a glance.
Just when they entered, they suddenly started quarreling, making us all dumbfounded.
It doesn’t really matter, but the both of them have excellent appearances. Doesn’t this town have an abnormal amount of beautiful girls and handsome guys? Proportionally to that, there’s also an extraordinary amount of perverts, though.
And then, Lyle, being the first to regain his senses, called out to them, confused.
[Um… Who might the two of you be?]
[Hm? Ah, my apologies. Because my partner is like this, it seems I forgot to introduce myself.]
[Hey, Clau-chan. What do you mean by “like this”?]
[Could you not try to deceive me with that forced laugh?]
Once again they started with their two-person comedy act, while we only got more and more confused.
As if noticing the situation, the girl with short indigo hair coughed, then began to introduce herself.
[Ahhh… …Ahem. I am Claudia Asterio, affiliated to this country’s Master Swordswoman Warmaiden Valkyrie.]
[Of the same Valkyrie affiliation, Lorna Kirizasu-! I was the announcer for the Royal Cup, did you notice?]
After hearing their self-introduction, we were still confused. Actually, we might be even more confused than before.
I mean, why would this country’s knights come to this inn? Rather, Lorna-san was the person who was the announcer in the Royal Cup, huh. She’s as energetic and enthusiastic as you would expect.
In contrast, the girl with short indigo hair – Claudia-san was as cool as the actresses playing male roles in the Takarazuka. (TLC Note: Takarazuka Revue is a musical theater troupe that’s female only, so male roles are also played by women.)
While I was thinking of such things while observing the two, Lyle-san spoke up.
[Um… Ladies of Valkyrie, what business might you have here?]
[Ah, I almost forgot about that.]
[Eh—! Clau-chan, doing stuff like forgetting about your work, isn’t that no good—? Pfft-]
[…Leaving her aside, we came because we have business with a certain person.]
[A certain person…is it?]
To Lyle-san who asked while tilting his head, Claudia-san nodded.
[That’s right. Except, I’ve already found that person.]
Saying that, Claudia-san turned her gaze to me for some reason.
[You’re, Seiichi-kun right?]
[Eh? Ye-yes. …But, why do you know my name…?]
[Fufufu… You won the Royal Cup riding a donkey. Besides, that robe stands out. I immediately recognized you.]
[…Um, and so, do you have some business with me?]
When I asked that with a confused expression, Claudia-san answered.
[Yeah, I’ll put it simply. Come to the Royal Palace for a bit?]
[Sorry, but you have no right to refuse.]
No, really why?! Did I do something wrong?!
Actually, saying “to the Royal Palace for a bit”… It’s as if a police officer asked you to go down to the station with him, that type of feeling, right?!
Furthermore, I have “no right to refuse”… Why are the human rights in this world so insignificant?!
Claudia-san’s words shocked not just me but Saria and the others too.
But, without paying any attention to us being like that, Claudia-san and Lorna-san each grabbed one of my arms and started dragging me away.
[Now then, innkeeper, Seiichi’s companions. We’ll borrow Seiichi-kun for a bit.]
[Give up-! Your evil deeds end here-!]
[…Lorna. It’s not really like Seiichi-kun did something bad, you know?]
[Buut, I think things like these are important, you know—.]
While being pulled along, I was at least relieved to hear from their conversation that Claudia-san said I hadn’t done anything wrong.
It’s just that, right before being dragged out of the inn, though I’m not Lorna-san, I thought I just had to say this.
This phrase can’t be left out.