Gifting this quick witted girl with reeducation!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur
The surroundings were completely engulfed by darkness, and the hour was late, a time when people should be sleeping.
Though it was so late,
“Welcome back, Princess Iris!”
There were many maids welcoming us as if they were waiting for Iris’s return.
This was the hall within the castle, located in the heart of the capital.
As I was thinking, ‘How the hell did things turn out like this?’ with my sluggish brain, I rushed to follow behind the princess.
I was led by the princess and the white-suited woman to a luxurious room at the top of the castle.
The white-suited woman said she needed to make some reports and went off somewhere, leaving just me, the princess, and the mage in the room.
People we met on the way didn’t question us, simply bowing before passing us by.
It might sound strange for me to be the one saying it, but was it fine to let a suspicious man like me wander around the royal castle?
What should I do? I really want to go back.
A short while ago, I was excitedly imagining what I should do if the princess appointed me as her knight, but the sudden abduction left me in a daze.
The princess whispered to the mage onee-san in front of me.
The mage nodded and said to me, full of smiles:
“Satou Kazuma-sama, welcome to the castle. You’re a guest, so please make yourself comfortable. Just treat this place as your home and rest easy. This is now your room… Well then, please continue with your tales of adventure! The princess said.”
“Pardon me, could I have a bit of your time, onee-san? Mage onee-san, this way please.”
When I heard what she said, I went to a corner of the room and gestured for the mage to follow.
“Is there anything I can do for you? … Ah, just call me Rain. You don’t need to use honorifics with me. I might be a noble, but I came from a small house that can’t compare with the Dustiness house. As the friend of Lady Dustiness, your status is probably higher than mine…”
The mage onee-san said something like this.
“I see. Well then, Rain-san, I’ve something to ask.”
“I already said there’s no need for honorifics… Using my name directly is fine too… What do you wish to ask?”
Rain seemed to feel it was a pity for some reason, but I wasn’t thick skinned enough to call an older aristocratic woman I’ve never met before by her name directly.
Also, I was just lectured at Darkness’s home by the white-suited woman for being insolent.
The other party might be agreeable to this, but Darkness who could cover for me if anything happened wasn’t here, so I didn’t dare to do as I pleased.
I kept one eye on the bored-looking princess and whispered:
“Um, Rain-san… I hope you can explain the situation… The princess said she’s treating me as a guest… But this is an abduction, right?”
“It’s not like that. We’re welcoming you as a guest. This isn’t an abduction.”
“No, this is obviously a kidnapping.”
Rain ignored my retort, bent forward slightly, and whispered:
“… Her highness Iris always restrains herself, acts like a model royal, is obedient, and won’t give trouble to others. This is the first time in her life that she has done something like this. In this city, Princess Iris had no playmates that matched her status and age. Since this is the first time Princess Iris is acting willfully, can you play with her for a short period of time?”
“No, no, no, even if you say that… To be frank, I finished all my adventuring stories just now. Can you tell that to Her Highness and let me go back? Just say that I’ve basically run out of adventuring tales the princess enjoys so much.”
After Rain heard what I said, she went back to the princess to explain my situation.
“I brought you here to get back at Lalatina a little bit for hitting me, it’s sort of a prank…”
The princess listened to Rain interpret with a depressed face.
“… Also, I felt envious after seeing Lalatina and you all having fun together… Sorry about the sudden willful request. Just for a bit, a few days, can you play with me? The princess said.”
… Wasn’t she rather cute?
Which meant she wanted me to be the princess’s playmate for the time being?
If I rejected her and spoiled the Princess’s mood, Darkness’s standing would fall too…
“… I understand. Well then, I’ll tell you about Darkness… Lalatina. Rain-san, my comrades will worry about me, could you inform them that I’ll be staying here for some time?”
Rain said, ‘I understand.’, and left the room in response to my request.
And of course, the only ones left in this luxurious room was the princess and me.
There were also two female knights standing by outside, probably the princess’s guards.
But was it fine for the young princess to be in the same room as a man so late at night? Would they be okay for a suspicious person they just met to stay with the princess? Well, it only turned out this way because of the princess’s willfulness, but if the king or some other big shot found out, would it antagonize them–? All sorts of negative thoughts flooded my head.
The princess smiled as if she had seen through my worries.
“Father, the general, and Onii-sama have set off on an expedition to the city near the frontlines in the war against the Demon King’s army. If nothing serious happens, it’ll be fine… When it’s just the two of us, just use the usual tone you take with Lalatina… No, you all address her as Darkness, right? Um, speak to me like how you usually do when you converse with Darkness… Please tell me about all sorts of things outside the castle.”
She sat on the bed inside the room as she said that.
The white-suited woman returned after sorting out the paperwork.
“Excuse me… Your Highness, the paperwork is done. Now, Kazuma-dono is now an official guest and can stay in the castle without worries…”
The story I was telling the princess was at its climax.
“And so, Darkness said, ‘Ugh… Why, why did it become like this…?’ and the naked Darkness went around to my back, her face blushing to the tips of her ears. Grabbing the towel tight, she shyly…!”
“Sh-Shyly…! Shyly did what…?”
“What shyly?! What nonsense are you telling Princess Iris?! Do you want to be turned into minced meat!?”
While the princess was leaning forward, engrossed in the story, the white-suited woman angrily shouted, drew her sword, and rushed before me as if to protect her.
“W-Wait a minute! Please wait! Iris asked me to…!”
“A mere adventurer dares address Princess Iris by her name…? You shall address her as ‘Princess’! And what’s with the tone you’re taking toward her!?”
“Hold it, Claire, I requested Kazuma-sama to address me by name. I also asked for him to speak in a natural way. I-Instead of that, Kazuma-sama, Lalatina she…! What did the naked Lalatina do after grabbing her towel tightly?”
“Princess Iris, no! You can’t ask that! Kazuma-dono, please don’t say such things to Her Highness! And, and why’s a peasant and Lady Dustiness, um… B-Bathing together… T-That’s a lie, right?”
The princess had been clenching her fist tightly on the bed and listening to my story, completely engrossed.
While the princess said, “Quick, quick!” to urge me to continue the story, I sat on the chair in the room and was bombarded with questions by the white-suited woman named Claire, who was as persistent as the princess.
“Everything I said is true. If you don’t believe me, you can test it out. There should be one of those things in such a big castle, right? The thing that rings loudly if you tell a lie, found in the police stations of large cities that are used during interrogations. If there’s one, I won’t mind you bringing it here.”
When she heard what I said, she seemed to understand that I wasn’t lying.
“I’ll take your word for it. I did doubt you at Dustiness’s mansion just now… H-However, please don’t tell such things to Princess Iris!”
Claire finally sheathed her sword, and said to me with a glare:
“Princess Iris will be the one to decide what she wants to listen. It doesn’t make sense for her to listen to the opinion of a minion like you. We were just getting to the good part before you came in and ruined the mood! Go away! I’m going to continue; can you please leave?”
“What a joke, how can I let you continue? And I’m not a minion, insolent fool! I’m the elder daughter of house Symphonia that can even match the house Dustiness which you’re so close with. As the escort of Her Highness…”
Ignoring Claire who was blowing her own horn for some reason, I said to the princess:
“Since the white-suited woman’s throwing a fit about this topic, let’s talk about something else.”
“W-What do you mean by white-suited woman, lowly brash man! Address me as Lady Claire! Ah, really, what’s with this man…? Lady Dustiness must’ve had a difficult time…!”
The princess was probably concerned about the persistent Claire and showed an expression as if thinking that it was a pity.
“It can’t be helped… It’s a pity, but let’s hear that story next time.”
Claire sighed deeply in relief when she heard the princess being so sensible.
I see, so it was true that she wasn’t willful normally.
“Well then, let’s talk about something else. I was having a competition with Darkness and we made a bet that the loser will receive an amazing punishment. In the end, I won and…”
“H-Hurry up and tell me! Please tell me about this!”
“No, you can’t! You can’t Your Highness, don’t listen to what this man’s saying! This man’s a good for nothing!”
It was probably deep into the night.
Claire, who had been listening to my stories together with the princess all this while, had been busy raging, raging, and raging again.
Drowsily laying on the bed the princess was sitting on, Claire probably got exhausted from being angry and dozed off.
As for the princess, she really liked my stories and had no intention to sleep at all.
We had become friendly with each other and started talking in casual tones.
And I shared all my stories of adventure and things about my comrades until I ran out…
“Really? Please tell me in detail about this school place and its cultural festival!”
“Details… Er, kids about Iris’s age will perform all sorts of practical activities. Such as running a cafe-like shop.”
The topic shifted to the country I was from.
I didn’t say that it was an alternate world, just that it was a faraway nation.
I only mentioned how my school life was like, and the princess looked so envious as she imagined about this unknown country.
There were no monsters, and children about the princess’s age peacefully learned and played each day.
It was a boring everyday life to me, but to the princess…
“What a fantastic and happy place. That really is… Ah, but running a shop with people my age… What should we do if we get bad customers who refuse to pay? And it’ll take a lot of people to run the shop, right? Can we really earn enough profit to pay everyone…?”
Thinking back, it was quite an envious life.
I smiled and looked at the princess who was much younger than me.
“Running the shop is for our own enjoyment… Not to make money. Honestly, it’s like we are pretending to run a shop. Everyone will wear the same uniform and tout for customers outside. We’re only doing this because it’s fun.”
After hearing what I said, the princess had an envious and somewhat lonely look.
That was to be expected; this girl was the princess after all.
She didn’t have normal peasant friends and couldn’t go to school.
Plus, aside from the highly knowledgeable and independent Crimson Demons, there wasn’t mandatory education in this world.
Now that I think about it, while the scale was small, the Crimson Demons were really intelligent if they implemented a system to send all their children to school.
… Leaving their personality aside.
The princess muttered enviously… School.
I thoughtlessly said to the princess:
“If you want to, how about building a school here? I think it’d be very beneficial for the kingdom.”
When she heard what I said, the princess wanted to say something but held her piece.
As I was feeling baffled, bells that echoed through the night sounded out.
The sleeping Claire jumped up from the bed when she heard that.
She just woke up, but Claire immediately regained her usual calm composure.
“… So, it’s here again.”
She muttered to herself as she got up and charged out of the room.
What did she mean by ‘again’?
Before I even asked, a loud voice ruptured through the quiet night.
That was the broadcast that I would sometimes hear in Axel when there was an emergency quest.
“Demon King’s army alert, Demon King’s army alert! The knight corps have already mobilized. All adventurers please maintain the peace and security within the city and stop any monsters from sneaking in. All high-level adventurers please come forth to assist!”
After hearing that broadcast, the princess had a lonely and fragile smile.
“With how things are, I can’t leisurely focus on academics.”
She mumbled to herself.
I remembered what Aqua said to me before I came to this world.
Ah, this world was in trouble because of the Demon King.
“We’ve successfully suppressed the assault of the Demon King’s army. Thank you for your assistance, adventurers. We’ll reward everyone who took part in the emergency quest. Please head to the adventurer’s guild counter…”
This broadcast was heard less than one hour after Claire rushed out with her sword.
It was resolved splendidly.
However, this was the royal capital. Were things going that badly that even such a place suffered an attack?
What were those people with cheats from Japan doing? I wished they could be more serious about this.
They’ll probably shoot back, ‘That’s not what someone as useless as you should say.’
Really, I want to leave this dangerous place that’s so close to the front lines.
I wonder if my thoughts were reflected on my face.
“Thank you for telling me so many interesting things. Rain will send you back to your town tomorrow… May I trouble you to tell Lalatina that I’m sorry for bringing you to this place…? It might not be the frontlines, but it’ll be attacked every now and then, so it isn’t completely safe.”
The princess probably said this out of concern for me.
… That’s right, I wouldn’t be able to protect the city or be of use even if I stayed here.
I felt bad for Her Highness, but it’d be better for me to leave this dangerous place soon.
“Thank you for accommodating my willfulness tonight, Kazuma-sama… If there’s the chance, may you tell me stories of your adventures again?”
Her Highness said with a smile befitting her age.
… Isn’t she cute?
I didn’t mind telling tales of my adventures to this girl, sheltered by her vassals in this huge castle and without any friends her age…
I was slightly moved by the innocent smile of this traditional, beautiful girl, and in order to hide my emotions, I replied with a smile:
“Of course. To be frank, I’m quite timid and wished to go back earlier… But, um, for Iris’s sake, I’ll gather all sorts of stories of adventures and come back again.”
When she heard what I said, Her Highness, with joy from the bottom of her heart, said shyly:
“Hehe, thank you. I feel that you’re just like my Onii-sama from long ago. He might be my Onii-sama by blood, but royal siblings will become strangers after some time. My own brother won’t chat with me like this anymore… I wish you can stay with me a while longer, but if I keep acting so willfully…”
“What did you say just now?”
I asked after hearing the princess’s casual chatter.
“… Eh? W-Well… I said that I wish you can stay with me awhile longer…”
Her Highness replied shyly.
No, not that part.
“What did you say before that? Before that line, what am I like…?”
The princess heard what I said and replied:
“Um… I feel that you’re just like my Onii-sama from long ago…”
“Please say it again.”
Her Highness was a bit troubled but she still humored me:
“Y-You’re like my Onii-sama.”
“Can you say it more intimately, again…”
She said to me:
“Like my Onii-chan.”
And so, I chose to stay in this castle.
There was knocking on the door that wasn’t too loud or displeasing.
I opened my eyes after hearing that sound and felt confused by the unfamiliar room I was sleeping in.
“Kazuma-sama, have you woken? I’m here to bring you breakfast.”
After hearing that voice from outside the door, I remembered what happened last night.
That’s right. I would be staying in this castle from this day forth.
“Good morning, I’m up.”
I shouted toward the door and an elderly man with white hair entered after saying ‘pardon me’.
I pushed myself off the bed and saw that elderly man, who was probably a butler, pushing a breakfast cart in.
I’ll call him Sebastian then.
“Today’s breakfast is Lesser Dragon Bacon with fried egg, and salad with plenty of asparagus. Please choose a bread you prefer to go with your meal. The salad’s made from fresh ingredients picked earlier this morning. The asparagus have powerful attacks, be careful not to get hit.”
The elderly man said plenty of things that I wanted to nitpick, placed breakfast beside my bed, and excused himself.
It was a surprise that the powerful dragons in fantasy worlds were served to me as a bacon, but the high attack power of asparagus made me concerned too.
Let’s start with the low difficulty item…
Without any care for etiquettes, I propped myself up on the bed and poked the fried egg with my fork.
I was very surprised when the fried egg made such a sound. While I was inspecting the plate carefully, my door was knocked once again.
“Please come in.”
I gave up eating the egg and answered. The door opened gently.
“… G-Good morning…”
Hiding half of her body behind the door, Iris softly, and shyly, said.
– Iris kept fidgeting behind the door, staying there without entering.
What was it with such a refreshing reaction?
If it were the group of females normally around me–they would either shout in front of my door, barge in or threaten to break the door with magic if I didn’t come out.
“… M-Morning, Your Highness Iris. We chatted for so long last night but you still got up very early.”
“Um, if you can speak to me as intimately as yesterday, it’ll make me very happy…”
The two of us greeted each other stiffly and looked at each other.
We were close last night, but that was at night and both of us were rather hyped back then.
Iris had calmed down in the morning.
She shyly glanced at me from time to time.
“Is that so? How about trying it again?”
“Yes! … G-Good morning. O-O-Onii-chan…!”
My mood improved drastically because of her ‘Onii-chan’, but I would frighten Iris if I stood up suddenly.
Keeping in mind I needed to act gentlemanly, I got down from the bed and spoke with a casual smile.
Probably feeling embarrassed because of my mature actions, Iris blushed slightly. She looked very cute like this.
“Good morning, Iris.”
“… Um, please wear your pants…”
– After tidying my attire and finishing my meal, I took a walk around the castle together with Iris.
“That’s not it, Iris. Onii-sama’s not a pervert. It just happened that I didn’t have my pajamas with me so I slept in my underwear.”
“I get it, I get it, so stop talking about that, Onii-sama!”
After that incident in the morning, Iris refused to address me as ‘Onii-chan’.
Onii-sama felt distant, which made me a little sad.
When I asked what I should do in the castle, I was told that I just needed to tell Iris about something she didn’t know or was of interest to her.
“Which means I just need to be Iris’s teacher.”
“No, not really. My teachers are Claire and Rain, so Onii-sama is, er, my playmate…”
Walking beside me, Iris softened her voice from guilt, and finally lowered her head.
The one with the highest status in this city was this child, so she could just state what she wanted and let the others abide by her will.
Was there a way to correct her introverted personality?
A child receiving such a high level of education was surprisingly mature, so she had probably considered how her actions would affect those around her.
She was aware of the authority royalty wielded and how much trouble she would cause by being willful.
The mage Rain told me that bringing me to the castle was the first time she acted willfully.
She also wanted to get back at Darkness by bringing me here, but it wasn’t a bad deal to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle just by being a playmate.
While we were discussing all of this, Iris and I made it to the courtyard.
There was a table with a parasol and chairs with a board game laid out.
“I don’t have lessons today, so I hope you can play this game with me…”
Iris asked timidly, as if she was afraid that her invitation would be rejected.
I sat on the chair and said while placing the pieces onto the board.
“I’m not a vassal of Iris’s house, so I won’t drag it into a draw and lose on purpose. If we’re going to play, we should go about it seriously. I don’t think I’ll lose in a game, all right? Are you fine with that?”
“O-Okay! That’s what I’d prefer! No one in the castle wants to be my opponent out of reverence for me! I’m fine with losing! It’s fine even if I lose, so please have a game with me!”
“That’s the spirit! Don’t cry if you lose, okay? If I make the princess cry, it’ll be troubling in all sorts of ways! I’m going for it! If we’re going to do this seriously, we should bow before we start. Please take care of me!”
“Please take care of me!”
And so, I took up a piece from the board…!
“… Um, um, the sky’s getting dark. May we call it a day?”
“Don’t joke with me, you want to run after winning? Didn’t I tell you that you must give it your all? I can finally see through Iris’s moves, just a bit more and I can win! By the way, don’t even think about going easy on me because you want to end this early! I’ll know if you lose on purpose!”
“You’re the one who wanted to play seriously, so how did it turn out like this? Onii-sama’s so troublesome!”
“Shut up! I hate this game anyway! I have a comrade who likes this game too, and it irritates me whenever I see her use Teleport!”
“Even if you tell me that–!”
Shocked by our arguing, Claire rushed toward us.
“I came to get Princess Iris because dinner’s ready–but what are you doing? What kind of tone is that? And stop throwing tantrums! Admit your loss obediently and go to the dining hall before the food gets cold! Don’t give Iris unnecessary troubles!”
“Damn it, we’ll decide on the match tomorrow since Claire’s interfering! But I’ll definitely win next time!”
“A kid! Onii-sama’s a kid!”
“Onii-sama? Y-Your Highness Iris, by ‘onii-sama’ you mean this man?”
The sound of Claire and I arguing reverberated in the classy and quiet castle.
From this day forth, I took up the role of being the princess’s playmate.
Rain’s voice came from inside the room.
“– And that’s why each generation of royalty’s born with more talent than normal people. Taking the heroes who defeated the Demon King into the family as a husband is not simply to reward the hero.”
She seemed to be teaching history, but I knocked on the door without hesitation.
“… Kazuma-sama, my apologies. Now’s the time for Iris’s lessons, so can you come back later?”
The teacher Rain said expressionlessly.
“How long is ‘later’? Five minutes?”
“No, the history lesson will last until evening…”
As I looked into the room, Iris saw me and became a bit restless.
This seemed to be the first time someone invited her to play, so she was happy about it.
However, she didn’t mention that she wanted to stop the lesson and play outside, and seemed a bit troubled.
“It can’t be helped then; I’ll kill some time outside.”
“That’s a big help. I won’t keep you then…”
I walked out of the room as Rain sighed in relief.
Iris seemed a bit lonely when I left the room, but it couldn’t be helped.
I went to the courtyard and prepared myself right below Iris’s classroom…
“I want to fly freely in the sky~ Go, bamboo dragonfly!”
<TL note: Bamboo butterfly: A simple children’s toy made by tying a pair of wings to a stick, which is then rotated between the palm’s of a person’s hands to fly. Also the name of Doraemon’s flying propeller.>
I loudly sang the song everyone knew and set off the bamboo dragonfly Vanir refused to develop. At this moment, the window opened suddenly.
“Kazuma-sama! Iris’s attention is drawn to outside the window! Please don’t sing and play over there!”
– Killing time while disrupting the lesson, I finally grinded through the time and saw Iris charging here. It seemed that she had finished her lesson.
“Onii-sama, what’s that magic item just now? You looked like you were having so much fun, can you let me play too…?”
Iris probably rushed here and was out of breath.
“Oh, you mean this? This is a high quality magic item that’s been enchanted with wind magic. There are no limits to its usage. You just need to turn it like this and it’ll fly off.”
“How amazing! A magic item with unlimited usage– Isn’t that a divine class item?”
I handed the bamboo dragonfly to Iris who believed me easily.
“If you play that game with me and accept my condition, I can give it to you if you like.”
“R-Really? I accept, I accept! Please tell me what the condition is!”
– Ten minutes later.
“Checkmate! Yeah! I’m the winner!”
“All right, all right, it’s my loss. Really, onii-sama’s just like a kid.”
“Oh? Acting all high and mighty after you lost. Okay, I’ll give you the bamboo dragonfly as agreed.”
“Thank, thank you very much! … But, is this really fine? Just giving up one chess piece as a handicap for a magic item…”
Iris held the bamboo dragonfly preciously and said with guilt.
… Suddenly someone spoke to us.
“So you’re here, Princess Iris. Leaving me, your escort, behind and running off by yourself is really… Uwah, Kazuma-sama. Is that a bamboo dragonfly? An adventurer with a strange name I met in the past made something similar for me.”
Rain seemed to have been searching for Iris, who dashed out the moment the lesson ended.
“Rain knows how this magic item’s made? Amazing, this can rival a divine class item…!”
“Magic item? No, this is made from bamboo. It’s something like a toy for kids. Anyone can make one after learning the way to craft it…”
Before Rain even finished, Iris glared at me with tears in her eyes.
“Onii-sama’s a liar! I won’t acknowledge such schemes; the match just now doesn’t count!”
“Oh, what about it? I already said yesterday that I’ll give my best to win. If I’m not as good as the opponent, I just need to gain an advantage in some other way. The situation right now is that I found Iris’s weak point of being unworldly and won a tactical victory… Refusing to admit your loss, Your Highness Iris’s so hard to please!”
“Then, then one more match! We’ll do it again! The same conditions as just now!”
“Oh my, it’s almost time for dinner. Look, Claire’s here to fetch us. Today’s my complete victory.”
Iris requested for a rematch but I rejected her, the opposite of what happened yesterday.
The one who saw us like this was Claire, who came to fetch us for dinner–
“Are you trying to run after winning? That’s so unfair, one more time! Help me convince him, Claire! Please!”
“Hey, Claire, tell Iris the exact same phrase you told me yesterday! Tell her to admit her loss obediently and go to the dining hall before the food gets cold! Say it, quick! Don’t take her side just because she’s a princess!”
Caught between us, Claire was at a loss–
“– Iris, have you thought about going outside to play? I don’t mean going to a city like Axel, but to hike around and go sightseeing. There are many things in this world that we don’t understand. There might be weird devils with good reputations in the neighborhood or a friendly lich that eats bread crumbs as her standard meal.”
After Iris finished her lesson in the morning, we went to the balcony of Iris’s room, which was at the top most level, and played games while drinking tea.
“If I leave the castle, an order of knights would need to be assigned to be my escort. And I’m not permitted to leave the capital alone without my vassals… Also, there’s no way such devils and liches exist. Please don’t look down on me because I’m unworldly… Teleport to this grid.”
Iris moved her chess piece on the board as she stared at me with doubtful eyes.
She seemed to be wary of me because of what happened yesterday.
Rain who was beside me didn’t join in the conversation and simply poured tea into the empty teacup.
After moving my piece, I said:
“You don’t believe me, huh? In this world there are many things that can’t be explained with common sense. Did you know that while fish are normally caught in the sea or river, mackerel are caught in the farmlands?”
“That’s obviously a lie, okay?”
“I-It’s true! When I was working in a restaurant, I was asked to go to the farm behind to catch mackerel!”
“That, that’s… Onii-sama was fooled…”
Rain whispered to Iris who said something rude:
“Your Highness Iris, Kazuma-sama’s not lying. Mackerel are caught in the fields.”
“Is that true? How can it be…? A dog flying in the sky would be more believable…”
“I’ve never seen a dog flying in the sky, but I did see a cat that spit fire before.”
“That’s definitely a lie! Liar! You’re a big liar!!”
“It’s true! My comrade has one!!”
“Ka-Kazuma-sama, that’s really…”
“You too, Rain? Damn it, I didn’t lie this time!!”
Iris said to me as I was rapping the table in frustration.
“You lost focus, onii-sama. My plan worked! All right, it’s my win!”
She checked me with a smile that befitted her age.
Iris was becoming more and more witty lately.
The honest and straightforward Iris that I met was gone.
… Really, it was great that she was smiling more, but I think she was completely looking down on me.
And as a gamer, I couldn’t accept losing in games indefinitely.
Even if it was to get back the dignity of an elder brother, I needed to make it clear with her who was better.
It had almost been a week since I came to this castle.
Iris had gradually grown close to me and I had also gotten used to life in the castle.
– It was probably noon.
Iris’s schedule today was to have lessons until three in the afternoon.
After waking up, I didn’t plan to get down from my soft bed, but clapped my hands instead.
This was to summon the butler before the door.
The one who appeared was an elderly man with white hair wearing the attire of a butler.
“What can I do for you, Kazuma-sama.”
I said to the elderly man bowing deeply at me.
“May I trouble you to prepare some coffee to freshen me up, Sebastian?”
That’s right, my personal butler, Sebastian.
“Thank you, Heidel.”
It was Heidel.
After asking for coffee from the butler Heidel, I laid down onto my bed again.
There was another task waiting for me to begin the day.
The maid Mary will come and change the sheets later.
However, I couldn’t let her change the sheets so easily.
I had to obstruct the maid in all sorts of ways to stop her from completing her work.
This was the hobby of the nobles.
That’s what Darkness said when I made her act like a maid, so it can’t be wrong.
Before Iris’s lessons end, I’ll kill time by teasing the maid.
Finally, there was a knocking on the door.
“Good morning Mary. Don’t think I’ll let you change the sheets so easily, all right? Come, if you want to quickly finish changing the sheets and go about your other chores, you need to say this. ‘Master, please…’”
But the one who entered was Darkness.
“… Master, please…? What’s next Kazuma? Go on, let everyone here have a listen. Continue.”
Behind Darkness, who had a scarily serious expression, was the dumbstruck Aqua and Megumin.
“M-Master, please allow me to use the sheets filled with your fragrance…”
“Do what to the sheets filled with your fragrance? What, isn’t sexual harassment the norm for you? Stop acting shy and hurry up! Say it to everyone here!”
“S-Spare me…! Anyway, what are you doing here Darkness? This room’s a sanctuary bestowed to me! Who gave you permission to come in?”
Hearing me lash out in frustration, Darkness’s brow started to burrow…!
“You’re asking me why I’m here? To bring you back, of course! Really, how long are you going to trouble them here? Go back with me at once! Why, why did you do something so out of place? Megumin was so worried about you being caught up in some trouble and couldn’t sleep!”
“I-I’m not that worried! I just happened to stay up a few nights. Don’t misunderstand!”
I wanted to question Megumin who was making excuses in a panic, but I heard something that I couldn’t just ignore.
“Don’t joke with me, I took up the position of Iris’s playmate! I want to live happily in this castle, don’t get in the way of my peaceful life!”
“Moron! There’s no such job in this country! Listen up Kazuma. You’ve no reason to stay in here. It’s bad to keep a man with an unknown background in the castle!”
“Then I’ll be Iris’s teacher or something! That unworldly princess who gets deceived easily will be trained properly by me! By the way, what about you? In terms of unworldliness, you’re on the same level as Iris!”
“Why, you really…! Teacher huh, I’ve already heard all that from Claire! Because of you, Iris received weird influences! When she was taking military and battle tactic lessons, she’d use absurd strategies or despicable methods…! Unlike adventurers, royalties and knights have to fight honorably! Don’t teach her your unscrupulous way of fighting! Aqua, you tell him too!!”
Having been called by Darkness, Aqua, who was furious, said to me with her hands on her hips:
“That’s right, it’s not fair that only Kazuma gets to live in the castle! Everyone worked together to defeat the Demon King’s Generals, right? If Kazuma gets to live in the castle, I should be able to live here too!”
“Be quiet Aqua, you’re making things more complicated!”
While Aqua was complaining that it was unfair for me to get the rewards alone, Darkness pushed her and took a step forward.
“Huh, what? You lost the last time we competed, and yet you still want to challenge me? I thought of you as a muscle-brained sheltered lady, but you actually lack the ability to learn, huh? I want to live a carefree and happy life in this safe castle. Go back if you don’t want me to make you cry!”
“… All right, I’ll take you on. Everyone, please wait outside the room for a while.”
Darkness, wearing a one-piece dress and completely unarmed, said that to me.
The group shuffled out of the room when they heard that, while I smiled with confidence.
“Are you serious? You think you can win without your armor and weapon? You’re wearing just a flimsy and pretty dress today. If you take a hit from my Steal that has certain kill properties in battle, you’ll end up in a disastrous state.”
“Just try me.”
Darkness said curtly, treating my words as baseless intimidation.
“… Do you really understand? If you wear so little, you’ll end up naked after taking three hits from Steal. I can still forgive you now…”
“I said try me.”
Darkness cut me off and took another step forward.
“Hey, are you kidding me? Is this really okay? I really will do it, all right?”
“I’ve already said it, try me if you dare! It’s just you and me here! Come, strip me now if you dare!”
This girl didn’t care about that!
“Wait, I get it, let’s talk this over calmly!”
“There’s nothing to talk about, I’ve already steeled myself! You can sexually harass others lightly, but you’re a coward who doesn’t dare to cross that line, so strip me if you can! If you strip me and push me down, you can do whatever you want to me! Try me if you have the guts!”
“The one in charge of the erotic stuff! You really are the one in charge of the erotic stuff! I’ll call you Eroness from now on! Ahhh, it’s breaking, it’s breaking! I’m sorry for lying! Some, someone save me!”
Darkness easily grabbed my wrist and pushed me face down. I cried at the door for help.
The one who responded was…
“Um, um… Lalatina…! Please don’t overdo it…”
Having finished her lessons early, Iris had come to look for me to play.
Iris seemed a little timid, but she still raised her head and spoke out.
She was hit by Darkness once before, but even so, my sister still tried to help me bravely–
“Princess Iris, you can’t spoil this man! He’s a lustful beast wearing the skin of a man. He’ll bathe together with any girl he sees or steal their panties with skills. That’s the kind of man he is. I’ll be the sacrifice, so Your Highness, please wait outside…!
After Iris leaves, I’ll give this girl hell like what she said.
Specifically speaking, I mean stripping her.
Don’t think I’ll just be gutless until the very end…!
Iris seemed really depressed when Darkness said that.
She didn’t say a word and fell into lonely silence.
“Ugh… P-Princess Iris…”
Even Darkness found it hard to handle Iris.
Seeing how lonely Iris looked, I maintained my posture and shouted:
“Hey~ Making the Princess so sad, you’re really the worst, ow, ow ow!”
“You shut up! … Your Highness Iris, please listen to me. In the town of Axel, this man has some fame as an adventurer. His friends will worry about him if he goes missing. We came here today out of concern for him too… That’s why, may you please let this man go?”
Iris nodded gently with a sad expression when she heard what Darkness said.
“… You’re right. Sorry for being so willful…”
Work hard Iris, just a bit more!
Don’t give up! you have the highest authority in this castle! You can afford to be more willful!
Iris who was lowering her head suddenly raised it and faced Darkness.
“Lalatina, in that case, at least for tonight… May I host a farewell dinner party…?”
She pleaded hesitantly.
A dinner party for nobles and royalty.
It was simply too extravagant.
“Hey Kazuma, this is super delicious! This natural melon together with dry-cured ham! This seems to be really fresh wild honeydew; it’s really juicy.”
“Kazuma, Kazuma, this is really tasty too… Nom. The high class pudding on the sushi complements the wasabi and soy sauce! I don’t know what dish this is, but the sticky sweetness is mixing with the sauce, making it thick but not greasy…!”
Watching my companions ferociously dig into their food, I understood how out of place we commoners were.
We borrowed suits and dresses from the castle to dress up so our appearances matched the event. However, our atmosphere was out of place when compared to the other guests.
Several bartenders hired for this occasion stood at a corner of the hall and mixed cocktails according to the wishes of the guests. But Aqua felt it was a hassle to go to them for seconds, so she dragged her table filled with food before the bartenders and started feasting there.
Next to me, Megumin was hastily filling her empty containers with food.
Normally, someone who’d feel embarrassed by this would restrain them…
“Lady Dustiness, considering that you dislike them, it really is a rare sight to see you at such a party! Ara, I’m so glad that I came tonight! Thanks to that, I get to see the beautiful you!”
“Lady Dustiness, is your father Lord Ignis doing well? I once served under Lord Ignis when I was young…”
“Ah, Lady Dustiness! I thank the goddess of luck Eris for letting me meet you tonight! I’ve heard of your beauty for the longest time, but you’re more beautiful than I imagined…!”
“Really, seeing is believing! Compared to your beauty, even the mystical flower that blooms for one night every century, the moonlight rose, loses its luster before you! I know of a place that’ll suit you. After this party’s done, may I have the honor of escorting you?”
“No, no, no, sir, your house’s probably not good enough to accomodate Lady Dustiness. Please allow me to…”
Darkness was surrounded by a group of nobles, basking in their compliments that reeked of sourness.
As for Darkness herself, she probably had gotten used to such situations, as she declined their invitations tactfully with a gentle smile.
“Thank you everyone for your warm reception. I’m not used to parties, so I hope everyone will go easy on me.”
I wanted to ask ‘Who are you?’.
The face of Darkness who was acting like a quiet and gentle lady was cramping.
Maybe she was having a hard time too.
But she was really popular.
And those surrounding Darkness were young handsome guys with blonde hair and blue eyes.
“So there you are, Lalatina. Oh, you’re really popular huh, Lalatina. Your dress suits you really well today, don’t you agree, Lalatina?”
I suddenly sauntered up to her and addressed her as Lalatina continuously, making Darkness spit out the red wine in her mouth.
“Puah! Cough, ex-excuse me!”
The nobles around her all looked at me in surprise as Darkness wiped her mouth with a handkerchief, tears in her eyes.
“Why the sudden comments, adventurer comrade Satou Kazuma-sama? It’ll trouble me if you keep calling me by that name in such a place. You sure are mischievous. Won’t that lead the others to misunderstand our relationship?”
She maintained her pretty smile and said with strong emphasis on the ‘adventurer comrade’ part.
Really, who are you?
When they heard what Darkness said, the tension of the nobles eased.
“Haha, I was surprised when he addressed Lady Dustiness directly by name. In order to protect the people from monsters and out of interest, Lady Dustiness dabs into the adventurer’s line of work. Ara ara, I almost misunderstood their relationship to be closer than imagined.”
“Well said. However, as expected of Lady Dustiness’s companion, his joke is straight to the point. It might just be a prank, but I’m envious that he gets to address Lady Dustiness directly by name.”
“Very true, what an enviable position to be in… Speaking of which, has Lady Dustiness been betrothed to anyone yet? If not, please allow me to present myself as the lucky man who’d get to address you by your name…”
“No, the honor should be left to me who has been proposing to the Dustiness house all this time…”
The aristocrats started persuading Darkness again, keeping each other in check and refusing to leave Darkness alone.
I was impressed by these handsome guys with money and power.
They sure were persistent and brimming with confidence.
Just when I was about to drop another bomb to tease her.
“– For Lady Dustiness who’s been contributing greatly in recent years, there should be a more suitable candidate. At least, it’s not any of the gentlemen gathered here.”
The man who interjected the conversation with such lofty words seemed really familiar.
Hairy body with thinning hair, a huge and fat middle aged man.
“Lord Alderp, that comment’s really hurtful…”
Naturally, I won’t forget the lord of Axel town who tried to frame me and get me executed.
“Why the hell are you here?”
“You, it’s you! You were the one who teleported the core of the destroyer to my mansion! I ended up having to rebuild it! Before the mansion in Axel’s finished, I can only stay in my villa inside the capital! And why’s a mere peasant using ‘the hell’ before me? Address me as Lord Alexei!”
Alderp yelled at me angrily.
So this old man has a villa, how rich.
“By the way, Lord Alderp, who’s the man who can match Lady Dustiness? I heard some rumors that you’re really obsessed with Lady Dustiness, could it be…”
The group pestering Darkness who was interrupted said sarcastically.
“Of course, it’s not referring to me. Ah, and not my boy too, all right? For Lady Dustiness, leaving her prestigious house aside, we have to consider her personal achievements. And so, there’s only one man who’s fit to be with Lady Dustiness.”
Alderp said mysteriously with a face of confidence.
A man who can match Darkness in terms of accomplishments.
“You mean me?”
“Things will become complicated, so shut up! Go over there and play with Aqua or Megumin!”
Maybe she couldn’t spare the effort anymore, but Darkness’s mask started cracking as she lashed out at me.
Alderp ignored our exchange and said with a smile:
“He’s the man commanding our forces alongside His Majesty in the war against the Demon King’s army, His Highness, the First Prince Jatis. Normally, Lady Dustiness will need to take in a husband in order to inherit her father’s title, but they just need to have more children and let the younger one inherit the Dustiness house.”
The aristocrats all had a defeated expression when they heard that.
“Lord Dustiness who always worked in the frontlines is a given, and Lady Dustiness who defeated several bosses of the Demon King’s army is also a hero of the kingdom. Marrying his daughter into the royal family will be a fitting reward for Lord Dustiness. And the couple will definitely produce strong, beautiful, and excellent heirs… How about it, aren’t they the perfect match?”
I remember that this old man has a strange obsession toward Darkness.
Did he realize that Darkness was beyond his reach no matter how much he struggled and finally given up?
“The perfect match made in heaven…”
The nobles reluctantly backed off after hearing those words.
When Darkness was about to say something.
“Hey, what about your complicated relationship with me? Lalatina, are you going to ditch me?”
Everyone fell into shock after they heard my revelation.
“You, you, you, what are you saying out of the blue…? Come now, don’t pull such an incredible prank, Kazuma-sama. I did mention that such mischief will trouble me in such a setting, right?”
Darkness reached out to me with a smile, as if she wanted to lock hands with a man she was close to.
I dodged nimbly.
“Lalatina, think back to our sweet moments together! Didn’t we spend every day living under the same roof, and even bathed together? Didn’t you wash my back? Recently, you’ve even called me ‘Master’ in a special type of play…”
“Kazuma-sama, something incredible will happen if your mischief goes too far!”
To fend off Darkness who charged at me without any regard, I took her straight on, pushing each other with our hands clasped high.
“Oh, are you sure this is a good idea Lalatina? Displaying your monstrous strength before the lords and nobles? I’m at fault for stirring things up, but you need to marry someone eventually, right? And you’re at the age where it’d be terrible for a noble if you don’t marry, isn’t it? Young lady, if you show off that strength, no one will want you, ahhh!!!”
“Ara ara, Kazuma-dono, what exemplary acting! I’m not using much force, but you’re acting as if I am! I wonder what’ll happen if I go at it seriously? Do you want to experience my power after I levelled up?”
“You’re going overboard with your joke, Dustiness-sama!”
– I only felt a little guilty.
Or rather, I felt angry seeing Darkness being this popular and naturally went to disturb her.
It was the feeling of seeing a female friend you were close to but don’t want to date, but felt repulsed about her becoming someone else’s girlfriend.
I was blinded by the rewards and pushed for Darkness’s marriage not too long ago, but now I’m getting in her way after I became rich.
It was regrettable, but I’m really willful.
The party was supposedly held in my honor, but thanks to Darkness attracting all the attention, I was basically ignored.
… I won’t be happy about noble guys surrounding me, and I didn’t feel lonely either.
The aristocratic ladies were chatting with Aqua and Megumin, asking them what brand of shampoo they used and what kind of soap they prefer.
Yup, those girls look fine as long as they keep their gaps shut.
… I wasn’t envious or anything…!
“– What are you doing in a place like this?”
Iris said to me as I was leaning against the wall in the corner, watching everyone enjoying themselves.
“Iris, as expected of Iris! How gentle and considerate, Iris! I was by myself and all alone at the party, you’re a great sister, Iris!”
When I showered her with praise, Iris muttered softly and lowered her blushing face.
Recently, she’d come to me unhesitantly and talk back, but she was really docile tonight.
Iris leaned against the wall beside me with her face flushed.
As it was a party within the castle, that annoying Claire won’t stick by Iris’s side.
Iris looked at the dazzling hall.
“From tomorrow onward, this castle will quiet down too. The one that made Claire angry and troubled Rain has to go back…”
She said softly as she leaned against the wall.
“The two of them thought of me as an eyesore for the entire week. Isn’t it great for the castle to become quiet? In my mansion, everyday is like a riot. If I could have one wish, I would wish to have a peaceful life.”
Iris who glanced at me from time to time while leaning on the wall had a sad smile.
… What was happening, just seeing her lonely actions tightened my chest.
Was I such an easy man?
“I shouldn’t say this since I treated you like a little sister from day one, but Iris, you’ve gotten so close to me just after one week.”
To avoid being noticed that I was moved by a twelve-year-old kid, I tried diverting the topic.
“Did I trouble you?”
When she looked up and told me that shyly, I was shaken even further.
“No, I’m really happy about this. However, I was wondering why you like someone like me so much.”
Somehow, I kept my stiff voice from leaking out, and Iris giggled.
“This is the first time I’ve met someone like you. Everyone keeps on their toes around me and showers me with concern. Only one person was lofty, rude, merciless, and taught all sorts of weird things to me. Even though I’m royalty, he even went all out to compete with me without any semblance of acting like an adult…”
“Hey, I didn’t ask you to list out things about me that you’re unhappy about. I’m asking what you like about me, all right?”
I expressed my doubt after hearing Iris’s words.
“But I am listing out the reasons I like you.”
She said with a happy smile…
Damn, she was really cute!
Be it Eris-sama or Iris– Why do all the prim and proper girls have such a huge barrier between us?
No, I only see Iris as my sister.
Just treat her like a twelve-year-old kid!
“By the way, my win-loss records are better in that game, so it’s my victory, right?”
“Hey, what do you mean by that? Toward the end we split the games 50-50, or rather, I’ve had more overwhelming wins. If we play on, it’ll definitely be my victory.”
“Can’t you just admit your loss honestly? Onii-sama’s really a kid!”
“Ara, declaring your victory against a child, aren’t you a child too?”
After arguing with Iris momentarily, we finally got tired of it and leaned against the wall once again.
Really, being so stubborn to the end.
That might be so, but recently, Iris seemed happy even when she was bickering with me.
After that, Iris and I fell silent and stared at the party absentmindedly.
We talked a lot during this one week together. I both made her mad and made her smile. But for some reason, both of us were quiet.
Aqua and Megumin were stuffing themselves with food, and Darkness was still being swarmed by nobles.
“My time spent with you during this one week will definitely be a precious memory for me…”
Iris muttered to herself while looking at this scene.
“I’m really envious of Lalatina. She must be having fun every day…”
She said with a lonely smile.
… She got this close to me in just one week?
If I go back, the child will need to suppress her personality to fulfil her obligation as royalty and act as a responsible, good child.
… Wasn’t there any way for me to stay in this castle?
How about asking her to appoint me as a knight?
No, no, no, it’d be hard for a weakling like me to get into the Knight Corps, even with Iris and Darkness’s influence. And the reason why I was being chased out was because of the bad influence I was giving Iris, and the fact that I wasn’t contributing to this castle meaningfully.
… Maybe a General of the Demon King’s army will happen to attack?
If I defeat one of the Demon King’s Generals elegantly, my place here will be acknowledged by others, and my slightly willful request will be granted.
It’ll be fine even if it isn’t something that grand; what I wanted was an accomplishment that’ll let me stay in the capital.
I felt that there’d be less resistance against me that way…
While I was thinking over this silently, Iris said:
“I want to be an adventurer just like Lalatina. All generations of royalty possess high potential for using magic, right? I probably can’t be a Crusader like Lalatina… But what about a Mage or a Priest? Or maybe… A Thief! Being something like the chivalrous thief that’s the talk of the city would be nice! But would Claire be angry if I say that I want to be a Thief?”
She giggled after saying so…
“… Hmm? What did you just say?”
Iris suddenly lifted her head and looked at me, tilting her head with a puzzled expression.
“Onii-sama, you don’t know about the chivalrous thief who’s the talk of the city? He seems to be hitting the home of nobles with bad reputations and stealing the wealth they got through despicable means. And on the next day, a large donation would be made to an orphanage run by the church of Eris… That’s why the thief’s known as the ‘chivalrous thief’.”
“As a royalty, I probably shouldn’t acknowledge someone who steals as a chivalrous thief… But don’t you think it’s cool? I might be situated on the side that was being stolen from… But even so, I still yearn for such a title a little.”
When I saw Iris’s eyes sparkling, I felt jealous of the masked thief I had never seen before and wanted to capture him.
… Capture the chivalrous thief?
“…Alright, you’re my target!”
“Darkness! Dark–ness! … Ah, good, Claire’s here too!”
“Why, why are you here again…? I’m busy, didn’t I tell you to chill somewhere else?”
“H-How can I help you, Kazuma-dono…”
I rushed to Darkness and Claire, who seemed annoyed that their conversation was interrupted.
“Hey, listen to me! Isn’t the capital in serious trouble?”
The two of them seemed baffled when I said that.
“Well, it is rather troubling. The royal princess is being badly influenced by an adventurer, and if news of her addressing that adventurer as ‘onii-sama’ got to reach His Majesty’s ears, you’ll lose your head.”
“As Lady Dustiness said, I’ve no intention of covering for you when His Majesty returns from the frontlines. I’ll report what happened in this castle truthfully.”
“No, not that! I’m just accompanying and playing with a young girl who’s lonely because her parents are out! Nevermind that!!”
I used a voice loud enough for the other nobles to hear.
“What I mean is the chivalrous thief committing crimes in the dark! I heard news about it! The thief’s targeting the nobles residing in the capital!”
“That, that’s true, it seems that the nobles with bad reputations have been hit…”
“What do you mean to say, Kazuma-dono.”
In the face of the two confused grand nobles, I pointed to my chest with my thumb.
“I’ll capture that chivalrous thief who disrupts the peace in the city.”
Darkness and Claire were stunned.
At the same time, there was an uproar amongst the nobles.
“He wants to catch that thief? Even though the knights and police couldn’t find any clues even with their extensive investigation?”
“Speaking of which, who is that suspicious man who’s been loitering around? I’m concerned.”
“Shh! That plain looking man seems to be Lady Dustiness’s comrade…”
“That guy? He looks just like a normal man, not an adventurer!”
“I remember he’s a NEET who’s Princess Iris’s playmate. I saw him being waited on by maids in the courtyard and taking a nap until evening.”
Hey you nobles, I heard that.
But I ignored their whisperings.
“Look, I’m close to Darkness who’s a noble, right? From my point of view, this so-called chivalrous thief who steals from the homes of nobles, no matter how popular he might be with the weak, is still my enemy. After all, he might target Darkness’s house next.”
“Hey, hey! My house hasn’t done any evil things that might attract the attention of the chivalrous thief!”
I clenched my fist and said loudly in response to Darkness who retorted dutifully.
“Don’t you agree Darkness? We, who took down multiple Generals of the Demon King’s army, will definitely be able to solve this case. After all, not only did we save Axel, we even resolved the crisis in Alcanretia and the Crimson Demon village! It must be fate that we’re here in the capital. Even though he’s a chivalrous thief, stealing is still a crime. We can’t ignore this!”
“That, that’s true… But what are you scheming? You don’t have a sense of justice in the first place. Just what do you want?”
It seemed that Darkness couldn’t accept this completely and looked at me with suspicious eyes.
“Look, if I catch this thief, I can ask to freeload in this castle…”
“I’ve never seen such a thick-faced…”
When the dumbfounded Claire was about to say something.
One of the nobles cheered for me.
The other nobles also joined in…
“As expected of Lady Dustiness’s comrade! Ah, no, I didn’t do anything that might make me a target of the thief.”
“He seems to be a man who has fought with the Generals of the Demon King’s army before. Catching the thief must be a walk in the park for him.”
“Although I’ve nothing to hide, it’d be good if the thief’s captured! Of course, I don’t feel that I’d be targeted.”
This bunch was really easy to read.
… But this was the effect I was after.
This way, I can continue to stay in this castle using the excuse of capturing the thief.
If the thief was caught, I can stay here formally and receive some rewards too.
Even if I can’t catch him, the longer the search, the longer I’d stay with Iris.
The eyes of Iris who was behind me brimmed with expectation.
Really, you do like seeing your Onii-sama in action, huh?
Leave it to me! After I laze around the castle for a while longer, I’ll properly catch the thief!
Claire looked at me and pondered for a moment, and knocked her fist on top of her open palm as if she figured out something.
“I understand. Kazuma-dono, please move into the house of a noble you think will be targeted and stay on guard there. If you do catch the thief, I can consider letting you stay in the castle… Everyone, please don’t hold back! Do all you can to assist Kazuma-dono!”