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But-but, the oyakodon’s route…
Chapter 128 – Unwilling Returnee
The next morning, I woke up and looked around the room.
It’s fine…this was still my room. No switcheroo happened.
I was a bit wary because yesterday I woke up in Roxy’s body. Even though we’d already killed the goblin shaman, despite knowing that the situation had been resolved, I still couldn’t help but to be wary.
My own body really was the best.
I grabbed Greed along as I stood up.
『You look chipper this morning.』
[Well, the switcheroo has been resolved, and it seems that we’ll find a clue regarding Myne’s whereabouts today.]
『That so-called philosopher’s stone？』
[Yeah, it’s a fragment of Shinn’s body, isn’t it?]
『That things are scattered all over the world. People seek and consider it as a miracle stone since it could heal the otherwise untreatable wound, but that guise has been dissolved and obsolete now. Fragmenting his body like that, I wonder where he picked up that idea from. 』
Just like Greed who had been around for more than four thousand years, Shinn was the same.
From what he said, these two were apparently enemies before.
『It’s a good idea to use a fragment of Shinn’s body to find him. It is still connected to him after all.』
[Apparently it’ll arrive at Raine’s lab early in the morning. If we examine it, we’ll possibly find Myne’s whereabouts.]
『Is that why you are in such a good mood？』
[Eris really found something on her journey to the mountain city. I knew I can believe in her]
『That girl can be useful sometimes indeed.』
Eris had also contacted me. It’ll take time to analyze it, but at least the clue was already in our hands.
Last time, Raine told me that she’d be handling the philosopher’s stone personally.
Her father Mugan, who will be returning alongside Eris, was none too pleased with her decision. But if he confronted her about it, I have a feeling that she’ll just say that she’s no longer kid.
That said, Mugan regularly visited the lab to clean it up, probably thinking only a kid would leave their working place in such a messy condition.
[Well, are you ready?]
Aaron was taking Mimir to the palace. It’s to apologize for her actions of wielding a holy sword and even using a holy knight technique without permission.
I felt like that based on the situation, Mimir’s mistake is still pardonable. Aaron had the same opinion.
This was because she didn’t use the holy knight technique for her personal benefit. Since Queen Eris was currently absent, the two white knights were in charge of the capital’s management.
Those two are very stubborn. And they won’t listen to others unless it’s Eris.
And, for some reason… they have this hostile air when dealing with me. When I tried to greet them last time, they deliberately ignored me.
It was still a surprise for me. Well, I’m fine with it, but I can only hope that the white knights can be impartial in this regard.
If not, then Eris can settle things down with her authority as a queen later.
After changing clothes, I absentmindedly hung Greed on my waist.
[Okay, I’m done.]
When I was about to leave the room, I heard someone knocking on the door.
[Fate-sama, are you awake already?]
That was Shara’s voice. She sounded cheerful in the morning as usual.
And when she saw me, she promptly hugged me.
[…..I was worried.]
[Sorry. Well, I’m fine now.]
She’s still a very young girl. With everything that’s been going on, I suppose she had worried a lot.
Aaron was kind-hearted, but his rank was far too different than Shara. Mimir was also a former Holy Knight.
The two didn’t actually mind. But Shara naturally had to take a step back away from them. It’s the inferiority that was unconsciously imprinted to the mind of those without proper skills living in this world of skill supremacy.
Before I awakened gluttony skill, I felt the same way with Roxy.
They were people living in an entirely different world… I was convinced as such.
But after I awakened and finally got close to where they are, I realized that nothing really changed.
Even a famous Sword Saint like Aaron has his own worries like regular people do. He also felt regret and guilt over his incapabilities to protect his family and territory.
Even with strong physique and mentality, there are things that cannot be overcome alone.
Roxy was saddened by Mason-sama’s passing, and thus when she learned about Aisha-sama rapidly declining health…she was scared.
So was Mimir. She was betrayed by Rafal and lost her entire family. She was in a delicate situation where she had nowhere to go.
Perhaps, the invisible wall was there just because the people themselves are getting further apart from each other.
I couldn’t help but to think like that as I stroke Shara’s head gently.
[Pardon me, Fate-sama.]
[There is no need to apologize. Come, let’s have breakfast!]
[Yes! Today is Fate-sama’s favorite sandwich.]
[I did my best there, so it shouldn’t lose out to Roxy-sama’s.]
[I’m looking forward to it.]
Roxy often made sandwiches for me. Shara noticed this, and came to a conclusion that I love sandwiches.
Well, it’s all thanks to Roxy that I started to like it.
We went to the dining hall and ate the sandwiches together. Nn!? Heavens…this is delicious!!
[There is chicken meat in it.]
[I know Fate-sama likes chicken meat, so I combined chicken teriyaki and lettuce in it!]
It’s not just a flattery, as it’s really that delicious.
Shara started learning to cook as soon as she became a maid. To think it’s possible for her to produce such a taste after only a few months…
This already counts as culinary talent. And she does so without relying on skill.
I felt sorry for Roxy, Shara is…no, I shouldn’t think like that.
Because it should be easier to merely copy and improve upon the way Roxy always arrange the sandwich every time…
Praised by me, Shara instead shook her head in disagreement.
[No no, I’m still not there yet! I’m still learning.]
[Eh~, still learning, ey? Then who is the teacher? The orphanage sister?]
Shara was originally from the orphanage, so I thought she learned cooking from the sister. But turned out I was wrong.
[It’s the master of the tavern where Fate-sama usually go to.]
[Eh!? … Oh… for real?]
[Yes. When I told Aaron-sama that I wanted to learn how to cook, he introduced me to the tavern master. That way I’ll also be able to learn about Fate-sama’s favorite dishes.]
I really had no idea… indeed there were times when Shara was not at the mansion nor at the orphanage. As it turns out, she’s learning how to cook from the tavern master during those times.
[About twice a week I would visit the tavern. I also help around as a waitress sometimes]
I felt like she’s growing. Unlike most other commoners without proper skills, like the one I’ve seen before, she always had this confident look in her eyes.
What she needed was a little helping hand to grasp that opportunity, then everything would go well.
[Then, would it be okay if I visit the tavern to see how Shara works?]
[That’s… a little…]
[Nn? Is it no good?]
[I’m still training, so please wait a little longer!]
Shara blushed furiously, refusing vehemently. Well, I guess it’s really no good then.
It’s a pity though, I really want to see how she works as a waitress.
But well… if it’s with Master, I can rest assured and leave Shara in his care. He always treat me well, a nice person if I had to say so myself.
He has a rather rough appearance, so it’s easy for people to misunderstand him at first glance. I still remember how he’d share me extra dishes despite me not having any money.
[But if master says that I’m presentable, then I’ll definitely send an invitation!]
[Yeah… I’ll be looking forward to that time]
The breakfast that Shara prepared was delicious, thus it was cleared in no time at all.
After I was full, I decided to head out to the military district where Raine was waiting for me. Today was also the day when Shara usually went to the orphanage, so I offered to escort her along my way. She declined though.
She wanted to go around the city on her own feet as much as possible. And she also wanted to overcome the trauma of being kidnapped in the past.
I couldn’t say anything against it as she said it with resolve in her eyes.
[I understand. But please stay where it’s easy for others to see you. It’s a promise, okay?]
[This is a Barbatos family crest, isn’t it?]
[No one will dare to make trouble with the holy knight’s family member. Not to mention one of the five great families.]
[Thank you very much!]
I gave Shara a badge engraved with Barbatos family crest. This should at least protect her to some extent on my behalf.
Shara happily received it and attached the badge on the chest area of her uniform.
Then I saw her off at the front of the mansion, watching her jogged away energetically.
[I’m going, Fate-sama!]
[Be careful on your way.]
Already… the time when I won’t be able to see Shara’s innocent smile approaches.
When that thought crossed my mind, sense of loneliness spread in me.
Greed’s voice calling me out via 《Mind Reading》 broke my reverie.
『Why do you have such a face? If you don’t want to, you can choose to not do it』
[That’s not it. I just… want to do things properly this time.]
I kept watching Shara until she disappeared from my sight. Only then, I started walking.
As I made my way to the military district, a certain someone walked towards me.
He smiled amicably as soon as he recognized me.
[Mason-sama, good morning]
[Morning, Fate. Is Aaron-sama at home?]
[No, he isn’t. He should be in the palace at the moment.]
[I see…too bad. Maybe another day]
Mason-sama said so while rubbing his chin. He then turned toward me once more and grinned.
[By the way, Fate. Do you have some time to spare for a talk?]
[Talking with me?]
[Of course. I wish to have a talk with the current head of Barbatos family. Or is it a no go?]
[No, I do have time to spare. With pleasure!]
Mason-sama did not walked back to Heart mansion, and instead led me to the park on the holy knight residential area.
[My apology. When I returned to the mansion, Roxy and Aisha were already prepared for me.]
[Both of them were just very happy that Mason-sama has returned.]
Somehow, I couldn’t sense similar happiness from Mason-sama’s voice.
Is it because it’s still early in the morning? There was no other person in the park, just chirping birds in the trees.
[Let’s have a seat here]
Me and Mason-sama sat on a park bench.
I was feeling a bit nervous, as I’m currently talking with Roxy’s father right now. And that didn’t escape Mason-sama’s notice.
[Don’t be that tense, please be more at ease.]
[No need to be sorry. I suppose you can’t help it.]
[I heard that you protected Roxy from the same Tenryu that killed me.]
[That is… I did do that. But…]
I had my own personal goal back then after all. I also had Roxy to help me when I couldn’t do anything about the gluttony skill.
[I want to protect her, but in the end I ended up as the one being protected.]
[Roxy told me otherwise though. She recounted that event with such an excitement. Of course, it’s good in a way.]
Mason-sama’s smile relieved me somewhat. He then started to recount to me what Roxy had told her
Of course he omitted certain topics that can only be talked about between a daughter and her Father. Certainly… after that conversation, he grew curious about me.
[After talking to you personally like this, I have more insight about you now. You truly are just as Roxy told me.]
[By that, you mean, in a good way?]
[Of course. In addition to that, you’ve also cured Aisha’s sickness. I can’t thank you enough for that.]
Mason-sama stood up, and bowed to me.
I immediately stood up and asked him to stand back up, also telling him to rest easy.
Mason-sama was a dedicated and kind person, even to the commoners. I’ve always respected him as a great man.
To have that kind man bowed to me, I could not call myself a human if I let that be.
[But I feel that have to. Tenryu killed me in battle without leaving even a tiny fragment. Roxy had to succeed me, and Aisha was struck with an incurable disease. Thanks to this mysterious phenomenon, I was revived and became able to return home, but turns out everything has been solved. When I knew the story, I couldn’t help but to feel relieved and thankful from the bottom of my heart.]
Mason-sama then shook my hand. His hand felt warm, a proof that he really is alive, right here and right now.
As I’m not really used to being praised like that, I felt a bit uncomfortable.
Then his tone and expression changed into a more casual one, despite still holding my hand tightly.
[Speaking of which, I heard from Aisha…that yesterday morning, you pushed both Roxy and Aisha down on the bed? And you even tried to bare your poisonous fangs to the servant, Haru?]
[Let’s talk about that more thoroughly. Let’s sit down again.]
His casual expression was a lie. That was actually the grim expression of Aisha-sama’s husband… and Roxy’s father, combined into one.
How do I get myself out of this?
Aisha-sama just had to mention that accident to him. Perhaps Mason-sama still had no idea that yesterday morning I had switched bodies with Roxy.
If anything, it was the girls’ fault. I had a feeling that I’ll face this situation one day, so I just have to try and clarify things. Roxy surely had a lot to talk about with her father, so she might’ve had no chance to tell him about yesterday’s event yet.
[Well then, pushing my daughter AND my wife down. In my daughter’s room no less! And from what I heard, you also tried to grasp your claws around Haru as well. Fufufufufu…]
[It’s a misunderstanding! Please let me explain!]
[Sure, let’s hear it. Or would you rather let our holy swords do the talking?]
Apparently it would take some time to solve this misunderstanding. Hopefully I still had enough time to meet Raine.
I sat down on the bench once more, and recount to Mason-sama what really happened yesterday morning.