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Episode 21 The Azure Sky
Returning to the Royal Capital. I was on Roxy’s opposite side, trying desperately to hold down the backlash from my overeaten soul.
If I made any mistake, my consciousness would be eaten, which made me gush cold sweats. But then, it had already come into the territory since it was Greed we are talking about.
We arrived on the Royal Capital at nightfall.
Roxy is called upon by the Palace messenger, so she went out immediately. I guess becoming the Holy Knight of the Five Great Families causes you to have very little break time.
As for me, the master gardeners assigned me to the garden at the Heart Family mansion, to dig out roots and sweep fallen leaves. What is this? Some kind of rivalry between the royal family and the local lords?
I tried to be careful about not being around there, the parts where it could be seen from Aisha’s window especially.
Then, the master gardeners said 「Aren’t they merely glorifying this guy too much」, after appraising me for a bit.
And then, since the day had grown dark, the work for gardening apprenticeship would be continued tomorrow. I had dinner together with other gardeners and went to the bath.
While I soaked myself in the bath, one of the masters said,
「It’s about time to teach you how to prune the trees in the garden. How about it, are you up for it?」
「Yeah really, Fate worked fairly well. You are really worth to be taught. Everyone could see it.」
I wonder, since I’ve arrived at the Heart Family territory, among all the teachers, this one really think about me a lot.
The masters are already of old age, so they actually wanted to instruct a successor. That’s what I am. It’s really a great honor for me..
Feeling happy, I accidentally rubbed the master’s back too hard.
「Ouchouchouch, give some consideration to this old man！」
Due to my high stats, I should’ve been more careful in applying my strength, but it seemed that the master was quite pleased with me showing my strength.
I’ll have to be careful from now on. It seems you can adjust how much the stats will be reflected on your body. Otherwise, the Holy Knights who had considerably high stats might accidentally kill other people.
After defeating the kobold leader, my stats had surpassed even those of the Holy Knights. So I guess it’s time for me to learn how to adjust properly. Well, my stats will continue to rise due to Greed’s strengthening, so I’ll have to make numerous adjustments in the future.
Anyways, even without the skill to devour things, rapid stats rising due to winning a fight cannot be avoided.
For now, let’s try to adjust while rubbing the back of the master gardener.
「Ah, pardon me.」
「I’m just an innocent old man. Please treat me more carefully.」
I have so little control over it. It will take some time before I can do so naturally, apparently.
Late at night, I wore my skull mask and went to the Goblins nest.
Today, I’ll hunt in the hobgoblin’s forest.
Because it’s been deprived of any food while I stayed on the territory, my Glutton skill was at the equivalent of an empty stomach.
Even though the forest was dimly lit at best, 《Night Vision》skill still allowed me to pinpoint the location of the hobgoblins.
I mercilessly hunted down all of them who were sleeping on the tree roots.
《Glutton Skill Activated》
《Endurance+440, Physical Strength+220, Magic+110, Spirit+110, Agility+110 will be applied to the current stats》
I heard that inorganic voice repeatedly in my head. However, the starvation hadn’t been satisfied yet.
The current condition isn’t that good.
Up to this point, I’d been able to satisfy it by hunting goblins…
As for why, I think I kinda get it. It’s all told by Greed through the use of《Mind Reading》skill.
『Glutton Skill has tasted the kobold leader. Now, it cannot be satisfied by the taste of lower-ranked demons anymore』
「But, what should I do if hunting won’t satisfy its hunger……」
『Fate, you ought to understand it the most. What would happen if it was kept starved.』
If only the Glutton skill did not eat the (leader) type. If I knew it, I would’ve stayed with a full course of goblins instead.
However, it was inevitable with the Kobold Leader. If it left to its own devices, it might have spread its territory toward the Heart Family’s land.
I felt glad that I was able to defeat it, but to think it left behind a troublesome parting gift…
「Kuu….my right eye feels hot」
After about ten more hobgoblins, I began to feel uncomfortable. I saw my own reflection through Greed’s black surface. Under the skeleton mask….
「Greed, it’s just as you said… it hunger.」
『Right? It’s obvious to see.』
On that black surface, a red pupil is staring back at me.
My left eye was black. While my right eye was bright red. This state is….
『The state of starvation. Soon.』
I also felt it. Soon, the monsters on the vicinity of the Kingdom won’t be enough to maintain the starvation level of Glutton Skill. I couldn’t just wait for it to wiggle all over my body.
『Today should still be alright. But there is not much time left. It will come eventually』
I understand that, so I asked Greed for a way to resist it.
『You have to change your method.』
Without answering to that, I returned to the capital. I encountered several soldiers along the way, but I didn’t bother to stop. They shouted after seemingly having seen through my disguise.
「The lich is back！ Mukuro has returned！ Run for your life！」
I put away the skeleton mask after retreating back to the Goblin Prairie where no one is around, then continued on.
「Can they be more silent?」
『Then leave you all alone?』
I went back to the capital against the wind blowing along the Goblin Prairie.
The next day, I concealed my left eye with an eyepatch. I lied to employee by saying that I had injured my eye while sleeping.
As for the gardening master, 「If you feel unwell, can you still learn to prune the trees?」he said, is that a scolding? Is he worrying? I couldn’t tell from his voice alone, but surely he was worried about me.
「I can do it with one eye.」I replied, then he asked back 「Isn’t that overworking yourself?」, even so I’ll still prune the trees as promised.
After the master showed me how to do it using one tree, I tried to do it myself.
「How is it?」
「Not bad. Well then, try it again on another tree. I have something else to do.」
「If you have anything you don’t understand, just ask me.」
This master valued direct practice more than verbal teaching. So there is no other way but to do it.
While aiming at one of the trees with pruning shears at one hand, I caught sight of Roxy in her white light armor walking somewhere.
It seemed that she had just returned from the capital. If it’s was usual, she’d go to the main mansion immediately. But why did she looked anxious this time around?
I wanted to go after her and ask her the reason….. But I shouldn’t.
Roxy was kneeling at the front of her father’s gravestone, and she had the expression on her face that I had never seen before. It was the kind of grim expression as if she is about to fight something.
She said something in front of the grave before standing up and proceeded to the mansion.
At that time, I was just gawking there so it’s inevitable that Roxy noticed me.
「Fate, why are you here……is your left eye injured？」
Acting all cool, I showed Roxy the pruning shears.
「My left eye was injured when I slept. Anyways, I’m fairly good at gardening now. Well, I’m about to prune this tree over here.」
Saying that, I placed my hand on a tree that was right beside me. In fact, I was actually told to prune a different tree altogether.
「Ermm……Roxy-sama. Is something wrong？You look different today.」
Maybe something happened while in the castle? I’m afraid to ask directly.
That expression she had previously has already gone, replaced with the usual Roxy.
「It’s nothing. By the way, prune it well or else somebody will be angry at you.」
Roxy pointed toward the master gardener who were staring at me with his arms folded. After all, it’s not the tree I was told to handle.
Roxy walked away toward the mansion, while I scrambled in panic. Somehow, I had a bad feeling when I glance at her back.
Quite the opposite with how I feel, the sky was clear with no cloud at all.
After I’m done working, getting myself busy with hunting till midnight, I then visited a bar. There, I found the answer I’ve been searching for.
The barkeeper said it while placing the dishes on the counter nearby.
In order to beat the reappearing Lich (Mukuro), the second son of the Burix family, Hado was dispatched, and it was when I was hunting in the Goblin Prairie this evening.
And it seems the holy knight order where Roxy is serving in is also dispatched to go after me.
Hart surely understand the situation. Perhaps the Burixs are up for something, so I kept listening. Moreover, I did owe a huge debt to Hado.
I gulped down the beer to its last drop, then stood up from my seat.