Arc 27: The Reverse World
Chapter 303: The Princess Knight’s Feelings, Love(恋), and Affection(愛).
「Then, the damage from behemoths was decreased by a large margin, wasn’t’ it?」(Touya)
「Yes. Comparatively, the number of times they are seen has decreased. The residential areas are also being extended outside the ramparts, though at slow pace」(Mentor Central)
In a room at the temple in the central part of the Palerius Island, the island’s representative, Mentor Central, and I are facing each other. It looks like she’s also busy in a lot of ways.
「Both the Paluf Kingdom and the Elfrau Kingdom are buying behemoth materials from us, so we’ve started to import different goods using the funds from the sale. A proposition to build a port town near southern capital is also in the works, you see.」 (Mentor Central)
「I see. After all, there’s no place on this island where a ship can make a proper port stop」(Touya)
It was an isolated island before. Ships were hardly needed. Even these days, ships from Paluf and other countries still anchor in the open sea and land with rowboats, it seems. A proper port town is necessary.
As they are rare on the continent, fruits and crops that can only be harvested on this island are holding significant value for the foreign markets. In addition, this island’s craftsmen are skillful, they take pride in creating wonderful handicrafts.
Handicraft is usually associated with Dwarves, however, a lot of them live in the Lail Kingdom in the south. In the eyes of Paluf, buying from Palerius Island is much closer than from the Lail Kingdom.
「I was anxious about what might happen when the barrier was undone, but it seems it was a needless worry. Our lives under the fear of behemoths have ended. Along with the expansion of the residential area beyond the capital’s barrier, this island will surely become more prosperous than before. We’re greatly indebted to His Majesty the Sovereign King. Thank you very much.」(Mentor Central)
「Not at all. We also had training with the frame gears against behemoths, so we took advantage of the situation as well. We’re in an equal position regarding this matter.」
Smiling at each other, we decide to talk about our future diplomatic relations and their participation in the world alliance.
After I come back from Palerius Island, I give the guild master of the adventurer’s guild, Rerisha-san, a call.
The purpose of the call is to report that I’ve received permission to establish a branch of the adventurers guild in Palerius Island from Mentor Central. With this, the people in that island should be able to somehow deal with the frazes even if they appear there too.
And because Palerius Island has a lot of magic reservoirs in different places, it’s a breeding ground for many strong magic beasts. Even if they don’t turn into behemoths, the number of large-sized species is still larger than normal.
For veteran adventurers, it could be considered a gold mine similar to the dungeon in our country, so people will likely gather that island.
Hanging the phone up, I aimlessly wander through the streets of Brunhild since I have nothing else to do for the rest of the day.
The main street is crowded and full of vigor. Several capsule machines are lined up in front of Alba-san’s Strand Company. In front of those are children spending their pocket money on those machines and turn the handle with a clickety-clack sound.
The sight similar to the front of a small candy store, causing me to almost laugh unintentionally. Fumu, maybe I should also set up a small candy store in here, huh?
Alba-san’s Strand Company has a lot of branches within Brunhild (I believe, there are three of them). This branch sells toys like spinning tops, hula hoops, and basically other items of similar cost, it’s like a hobby shop for toys.
I think I should also sell that magic train model here, eh?
No, how about I start selling small magic car models and organize a race here? People would be able to build and customize a lot of spare parts by themselves and set up the course accordingly…
When I look towards the place the familiar voice came from which has interrupted my thoughts, I notice Hilda standing there, wearing the light armor of the knights and having the crystal sword I’ve made hang on her waist. She’s not wearing her gauntlets, which are now hanging on her waist in a similar fashion as her sword.
「Huh? Why you are in a place like this?」(Touya)
「The three of us, Yae-san, Elzie-san and myself were at the dungeon and just came back. We had gotten separated as they went to the port on the island to buy a fish when we were returning, however」(Hilda)
So they went to the dungeon again? Oh well, they only dive for about half day, so they won’t reach the lowest floor yet.
They’ve been patrolling on the relatively safe floors to check if there’s trouble or not, but it’s called a dungeon precisely because unexpected things can happen there. I don’t want them to relax their guards. Honestly, I don’t want them to go there so often.
「Then, should we go back together?」(Touya)
While showing a smile, Hilda starts walking as if she’s trying to snuggle up to my left side.
She nervously tries to say something to me while she’s restlessly moving her hand, but she isn’t saying anything. Huh? What is it?
「Do you want to hold hands?」(Touya)
「Ah-nnnope! I’ve just come from the dungeon, so my hands are still dirty. I’m also sweatin……g!」(Hilda)
Though she says so with a burning red face, I grasp her right hand without minding her mumbling. With a “Hawawa” reaction, her face reddens even more.
「I don’t mind something like this. Hilda tends to be reserved more than everyone else, don’t you? I think it’ll be fine if you became more selfish though」(Touya)
「Uaa, y-y-yes. Umm, it’s the knight’s teaching to forbid yourself, to abide by discipline…」(Hilda)
「It’s fine to forget them when you are with me, you know? Right now, what I need isn’t Hilda the knight, but the girl Hilda the way she really is」(Touya)
Her face turns beet red, and she looks down altogether. According to what I heard from her elder brother, the Knights King of Restia, Hilda was born as a princess, she had taken the sword since she was small, following the traditions of the knight kingdom. As such, the faith called knighthood was hammered into her.
“Protect the citizens, become the shield and the sword for the weak, and possess a virtuous mind as well.” – These have been ingrained into her since her childhood.
Therefore, I thought “Has she really never been treated as an ordinary girl?”. Though I ended up pitying Hilda a little, it would still be impolite towards her.
Karen-neesan said so, I am her first love, which I believe is a great deal.
While having a silly talk, we walk the hill leading to the castle. Though it would’ve been fine to use “Gate” to go back, moments like this isn’t bad either.
「……Umm, actually, there’s something I want to ask to Touya-sama, but…」(Hilda)
「Hmm? About what?」(Touya)
「T-that… R-regarding myself, do you love… me…?」(Hilda)
I unintentionally freeze on the spot. In response to me who stopped walking, Hilda shows a slightly heartbroken expression while forcing a smile and shakes her hands in panic.
「Aa-ah, P-please forget it! I’m sorry for asking something strange!」(Hilda)
「…Why did you ask that?」(Touya)
「……I, I’m not that girly, I and can’t do anything besides fighting…Even our engagement was because of what happened in Restia, and as such……I ended up thinking about things like this from time to time…」(Hilda)
So she was having thoughts like this, huh?
Ah~… Though I think it’s too late now, what something means won’t be transmitted if it isn’t clearly stated. I’m fed up with my own stupidity at this point.
I properly face Hilda and firmly grasp both of her hands. It’s my negligence that caused her to worry this much. I should convey it to her properly.
「I said it a little while ago, it’s not the princess of Restia that I need. It’s the real you who I need. I want to cherish you. I want to protect you. I want to make you happy as well」(Touya)
「I love you. This is not a lie, so don’t think like that」(Touya)
I firmly pull Hilda who grimaced and started to tear up a lot and hug her.
Pathetic. Making a girl I like cry like this. What a fiance I am. That said, I would cause her troubles from now on too.
「It is a chance ~nanoyo. Nao, kiss ~nanoyo!」(Karen)
Before I noticed it, the voice of Karen-neesan creeped out from behind, so I look back unintentionally while still holding Hilda. Her appearance is as sudden as ever!
「You scared me! I told you before, stop doing this! In the first place, why are you even here!?」(Touya)
「Onee-chan’s love radar told me 『Touya-kun is flirting with a girl』 ~noyo. I can’t overlook important event like this ~noyo」(Karen)
What an unpleasant radar! You’re supposed to just warmly watch over like usual in cases like this! She really won’t read the mood no matter what even though she’s the love goddess…!
「U-umm…, Touya-sama, it hurts…」(Hilda)
「Eh? Aah, sorry!」(Touya)
I notice just now that I’ve been hugging Hilda tightly for some time, so I quickly let her go.
「Nop…… After all, I didn’t hate it」(Hilda)
With a beet-red face, Hilda makes a small nod. I feel that my face is becoming hot too for some reason after realizing the situation we’re in. What’s this?
「Hyuu-hyuu! It’s hot, so hot ~nanoyo. Oh dear. Heart throbbing moments like this can only be enjoyed during times like this, so make sure to fully enjoy it ~noyo」(Karen)
「What do you mean by “only be enjoyed during times like this”?」(Touya)
I have a feeling that I’m being made into a fool somehow, so I strongly retort back. I feel as if she’s saying that our feelings will cool down sooner or later or something like that.
「Love (恋) and Affection(愛) are different things ~na no yo. Love (恋) will sprout without doing anything specific, while affection(愛) won’t grow unless effort is made. Both are wonderful and inseparable, but they are different from each other」(Karen)
Mumuu… It’s not like I don’t understand what she wants to say, but I’m somehow not convinced when she’s the one who’s saying it.
「You don’t need to understand that now ~noyo. You’ll understand it when you become an adult ~noyo」(Karen)
I’m a child after all. …Oops. I guess sulking is probably childish too.
「Huh? Isn’t that Touya and the others? What are you doing?」(Elzie)
Elzie and Yae come to the hill where we are. Both of them are holding a bucket with fish inside. Are they returning from the port?
「Hilda-dono as well. …… Hey. Hilda-dono. You’re crying, aren’t you?」 (Yae)
「Wait a minute! Touya!? What did you do to Hilda!?」(Elzie)
The two pressure me after noticing Hilda’s tears. The relationship between those three are especially good, so it’s not like I don’t understand their feelings.
「I didn’t do anything! Right? Hilda！」(Touya)
「Y-yes. There is absolutely nothing for the two of you to worry about…!」(Hilda)
Toward the two, Hilda says something that’s like an excuse. However, that made their eyes become even more scornful.
I didn’t particularly do anything I could feel guilty about, and though I really don’t need to be that flustered, I feel strangely ashamed. In a sense, I did her cry. It’s embarrassing though.
「I feel suspicious…」(Elzie)
「Touya-kun and Hilda-chan were flirting earnestly until a while ago ~noyo. Passionately in love ~noyo」(Karen)
「Uoooi! What are you saying, Onee-samaaa!?」(Hilda)
My foolish elder sister said something unnecessary without hesitation. Was that your objective all along!?
Elzie and Yae firmly secure both my arms and drag me toward the castle. Ouch ouch ouch! My arms! They’re not supposed to bend that way!
「U-umm, Karen-oneesama!? Touya-sama is……」(Hilda)
「It’s not good if Touya-kun doesn’t nurture love with everyone else equally, right ~noyo? If you’ve already received it, then you should believe and watch over him. That’s also love ~noyo」(Karen)
「Y-yes. That’s right!」(Hilda)
Hilda! Don’t get deceived! That fellow is only enjoying herself! Look! She’s smirking even now!
「I want to hear what happened in front of everyone」(Yae)
「That’s right~. Well, if we ask Hilda, she may tell us immediately though. We decided not to keep things like this a secret」(Elzie)
Seriously? This is the first time I’ve heard about that……. Won’t this mean that what I’ll be doing and with whom I’ll be doing it with will be totally exposed?
No, I am not particularly guilty of anything. But what’s this feeling of helplessness…?
A man is powerless in front of a maiden in love.
──── A man is a creature that endures.
That night, it was decided that I would have to confess to each one of my fiancees how much I loved them, to the point where I could blush and roll over my bed.
Actually, I had been rolling ever since I returned to my own room! Ah! That’s right! Kohaku and the other summoned beasts looked at me strangely! Uwaaaaaa, I’m sure THAT was even recorded by Rin with her smartphone! Even having to say such lines to Suu…Uaaaaa!
The words I had said were my true feelings without any lies, but feeling embarrassed was a different matter altogether.
Since I feel like rolling again after recalling what happened, I really should sleep already!
TLC: greujink, Mabbo