The Disturbance of that Tomboy Princess
“Right, we have everything we need.”
“I’m done too~.”
As I gave my gathered luggage one last look over, the young silver haired girl, Faitfore, raised her hand and cheerfully reported.
“Ooh, nice work. Good girl. Right, then, let’s set off.”
I gave Faitfore, whose expression was as unchanging as ever, a pat on her head before heading out of the inn.
With this, I can set off on a journey at any time.
I really want to get out of this town as fast as possible, but I thought I should at least tell my companions about it, so I headed into the adventurer’s guild first.
Keith, Taylor, and Lynn were seated at our usual table.
I pulled on Faitfore’s hand and approached my companions.
“Sorry, I’ll be lying low for a while, so I’ll leave the rest to you!”
“Hey, wait, what did you do this time?”
“Were you caught peeping? Molesting someone? Running a scam? No, that can’t be. It’s just business as usual for you, so there’s no need for you to run away. Hey, you didn’t… You didn’t cross the line, did you? I’ll make sure to visit you at least once a year, so take care.”
Taylor grabbed my arm to prevent me from running away, and Keith said something that sounded sympathetic but were anything but.
As for Faitfore, she was happily digging into the large salad that Lynn offered her. Does she understand the situation we are in?
“I didn’t do anything! It’s just, for various reasons, it’d be bad for me to be in this town for the next few days! Hey, come on, listen to me!”
I really don’t have the time to be messing around with these two. Dammit, I think Taylor actually tightened his grip, that bastard.
“Then tell us the reason why you need to be lying low. If you can convince us, I’ll let you go. Otherwise I’m turning you in.”
“There is a reason why I can’t go into detail!”
There’s no way for me to explain things to you without revealing my past.
“Well, we can’t make progress like this. Hey, Lynn, why don’t you say something too?”
Taylor turned towards Lynn as he tried to keep me from escaping.
“No matter what you say, I’m getting out of this town.”
“Oh? Why do you need to get out of Axel?”
Lynn took a close look at my face and smiled for some reason.
Normally she’d be calling me an idiot or lecturing me, so what’s with her sudden change in attitude?
… Wait, is it just me, or does she feel different today?
She was sipping tea while brushing a hand through her hair. And she hasn’t even touched her favourite vegetable sticks. She almost always starts every morning by nibbling on a vegetable stick, so this is really unusual for her.
“Say, does Lynn look more mature today or something?”
“You think so too, huh, Keith? How do I put it, she feels more refined than usual.”
It seems like the two of them felt something was off too, as they started whispering to each other away from Lynn.
“Hmm? Is something wrong?”
It seems like she noticed that all our gazes were squarely focused on her, and she put down her cup before looking our way.
Her movements and mannerisms looked just like that of a noble lady at some afternoon tea party…!?
“Oh, my, Dust, you’re looking awfully pale, you know?”
As she said that, she made an expression like she was trying to hold back her laughter.
It’s Lynn’s face staring back at me, but something is off. Looking down, she’s dressed in her usual outfit, but the size of her chest has massively increased.
Hey, you didn’t pad your chest, did you?
No, that’s not it. As someone who’s followed women’s assess and chests all this while, I can state for certain that those breasts are natural.
Even if she had a growth spurt, there’s no way she can grow up so quickly. That means… No, wait, it can’t be.
The blood drained from my face and I broke out into cold sweat.
As I was rendered speechless by surprise, she stood up and brought her lips close to my ear.
“It’s been a long time, Rein Shaker.”
As our gazes slowly met, she let out a laugh like a child who had just succeeded at a prank.
It’s the very same face that has caused me no end of trouble back when I was still a dumbass knight.
That name forced its way out of my mouth in a hoarse whisper.
I immediately realized my mistake and covered my mouth, but fortunately it seemed that neither Keith or Taylor heard it.
Why did I take so long to notice it?
She’s a wild and willful princess that is nothing like what you would expect of royalty. She’s the best at acting proper in front of others only to pull pranks on them once they had their guard down.
When Faitfore told me that she was going to pay this town a visit, I wanted to make myself scarce before I could be dragged into some troublesome matter, but to think that she’d arrive before then!
I never would’ve expected that she would change places with Lynn.
I already knew that their faces were similar to the point where they could be twins, but to think that they would look this similar when they had the same hairstyle.
Normally, it’d be easy to tell the difference by their hair colour. Lynn had brown hair, while Leonor had blonde hair. But the princess sitting in front of me had brown hair.
She probably used that magic item to change the colour. It’s a trick she often used when she snuck out of the castle to play.
There are a few other small differences between the two, but they are so minute that I only picked up because I’m familiar with them both.
The first time I saw her, I was completely taken in by her disguise just as Taylor and Keith.
Come to think of it, when I first came to this town, I mistook Lynn for the princess and approached her, didn’t I? So now the situation is reversed.
“Leon… Lynn, I have something to discuss with you, so please come over here.”
“What is it, Dust?”
Please don’t answer so sweetly. You look just like Lynn, so it’s really scary.
I moved away from Taylor and Keith and set up in a corner of the guild where few people passed through.
“What are you planning? You’ve become quite bold since I last saw you. What erotic things are you planning to do in broad daylight? Kyaa~.”
She placed both hands on her cheeks and wriggled around like she was embarrassed.
“Oh, that’s enough, Princess Leonor.”
“Come on, let’s enjoy our conversation a little longer. It’s been quite some time, after all.”
She gave me a bewitching smile as she slid her fingers across my chest.
A man who’s met her for the first time would probably have been completely taken in by that smile, but I’ve gotten used to it.
“Sigh. What’s a princess like you doing out here? And what did you do with the real Lynn?”
“You received the message from Fore-chan, didn’t you? I came here to visit you. And Lynn-chan got mistaken for me and was taken away in my place.”
“Deadly serious. When I reached this town and escaped, I happened to run into the same inn that Lynn was staying at. In the commotion, she was mistaken for me and was respectfully taken away. Sniff, poor Lynn.”
She wiped at her eyes with her handkerchief, but not a single teardrop was visible.
“You didn’t happen onto this place, you came here on purpose, didn’t you?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
She’s playing dumb, but I’m certain that’s what she did.
She has always been good at coming up with elaborate plans for escaping and tricking people. I’m sure she researched my circumstances thoroughly and already knew of Lynn when she entered the inn.
She’s the kind of person who can do that without batting an eye.
“You used that magic item to change the colour of your hair again, huh? It’s a pretty sloppy disguise, but I suppose it’s enough to imitate Lynn.”
“Back when I was wandering outside the castle, you would’ve seen through my disguise instantly, but with Lynn here, it’d be hard to tell the difference between us. I was surprised too, you know? I heard that we looked similar, but I never expected us to look this much alike.”
Yeah. Even knowing who she really is, I still have to constantly remind myself that it isn’t actually Lynn standing in front of me. If someone told me that they were actually long lost twins, I would’ve believed them.
… Lynn isn’t actually a hidden child formed by some dalliance between a member of the royal family and some commoner, is she?
“Don’t worry, that girl has absolutely no relation at all with royalty. I did my research on her. Though, if she was an illegitimate child of my father or something, it’d be interesting to get a hold of her.”
I don’t know if I was just that simple to understand, or if she was that sharp. It’s probably a mix of both.
“Well, that’s the story, so I’ll be living as the adventurer Lynn for a while. Please take care of me!”
“Umm, just asking to be sure, but don’t I have any right to refuse?”
“Of course not! It’ll be fine, I’ll make sure to give Lynn back to you once I’m bored. Or Rein… No, wait, you’re Dust now, right? Dust, do you want to appeal to them directly to get Lynn back? They are staying at a noble’s mansion in this town.”
She knows very well that I can’t do that.
After losing everything in that one incident, there’s no way I’ll be able show up before them now with my head lowered…
Well, Lynn should be safe for the moment.
If Lynn were to protest that they got the wrong person, I doubt the people in charge of looking after the princess would treat it as anything other than a joke.
Even if they managed to figure out her true identity somehow, they wouldn’t treat her badly.
I understand that very well from my time as a knight.
“You know, it’s really hard for me to call you Dust.”
“Princess… You were the one who asked me to use this name!”
I raised my voice without realizing in the face of such an unreasonable statement, and hastily brought my hands to my mouth.
Several of the people nearby were pointing towards me and whispering.
“I’m sure he asked for another loan and got rejected again.”
“He just called her ‘princess’, didn’t he? He’s gotten to the point where he’s pulling out all the stops. Aah, I don’t envy being in Lynn’s position.”
I chased them off with a casual wave.
“Oh, yeah, I did come up with that name, didn’t I? You could’ve just ignored what I said and went with your own name. Isn’t that what you always did back then?”
“Oh, just leave me alone.”
“That sword of yours is the very same one I gave you back then, right? I’m glad to see that you’ve been taking good care of it.”
She said after glancing at the sword hanging from my waist, and gave me a mischievous look.
“Fufu, I always liked that part of you. Anyway, I’m Lynn-chan now, so dispense with the courtesies and act normally around me, okay?”
“I unders… Okay, fine.”
This feeling that I’ve just been dragged into an unbelievably troublesome situation… I’ve almost forgotten what it felt like, but this happened pretty much daily back when I was still a knight.
Being dragged around, earning the sympathies of my companions and captain, while getting glares from the important people up top… Those really weren’t the kind of days you could look back on and reminisce over.
It really, really was tough.
“What are you letting out such a long sigh for? Even though you’re happy to see me~.”
I wanted to say something to the princess who started elbowing me in the ribs, but I let out a huge sigh and choked back my reply.
“Come on, let’s get back to our companions. Make sure to back me up so they don’t catch on to who I really am.”
“Yes, yes, I’ll do that.”
It’s been quite some time since I met her, but I ended up getting pulled into her pace before I knew it.
This kind of willfulness is just business as usual for her. She’ll probably be satisfied after two or three days.
Though, just imagining just what kind of load those few days will put on me gave me chills.
“Aren’t we going to take on a quest today?”
Princess Leonor remained quiet for a while after we went back to Keith and Taylor, but it seems like that’s the limit of her patience.
“We’ve made quite a bit of money recently. We have plenty of money right now, so we won’t need to accept a quest…”
Dammit, with her in front of me, all my old habits and speech patterns are springing up again. I need to pay more attention to how I speak.
I can pretty much guess at what she’s thinking.
After assuming the role of an adventurer, I’m sure she wants to do something adventurer-like before giving it up.
But there’s no way I can let her do anything dangerous, so I took the initiative. There’s no telling what the bearded butler will say if she ends up getting injured.
“Dust, weren’t you complaining that you are broke? I thought you spent all that money paying for Faitfore’s food.”
Taylor glanced to the side where the young girl was carefully stacking the empty plates into an orderly tower.
A smirk appeared on Princess Leonor’s face upon seeing that.
She definitely just thought about something devious.
“Then, we have no choice but to take on a quest, right, Dust?”
She waved me over and whispered into my ear.
“If you work with me to keep my identity from being revealed, I’ll have Faitfore’s food expenses be taken care of by the Kingdom of Brydle’s treasury. What do you think?”
“Alright, you bastards, let’s get to work!”
“I shouldn’t say anything, but is that really all it takes?”
She doesn’t understand just how much damage Faitfore’s appetite has done to my wallet. I couldn’t go out to drink at night anymore, and my debts have increased dramatically… But well, I suppose that’s just business as usual.
Still, this is the solution for my biggest worry!
I can ask for a bit more money and fatten my wallet in the process too.
If I can benefit from it too, there’s no reason for me to refuse!
… Well, it’s nice to be fired up and all, but there are almost no quests posted on the noticeboard.
The ones remaining are all quests of extremely high difficulty, or ones that look like they’d be really troublesome.
Just then, the large-chested receptionist, Luna, happened to pass by, so I called out to her while admiring her wobbling peaks.
“Can I have a moment?”
She covered her chest with her arms after noticing my gaze.
How naive. When you’ve gotten to my level, the dents and distortions that take place when you cover your chest out of embarrassment are a reward in itself.
“What is it this time? Did you commit some kind of crime and made trouble for the cops yet again? Oh, well, I guess it’s time to finally take your adventurer’s card.”
“I haven’t done anything yet! Stop trying to snatch my card away!”
Don’t try and take away my card with such enthusiasm.
“In the first place, you guys will be troubled if an exceptional adventurer like me were to disappear, right?”
“… I suppose so.”
Why do you sound so reluctant when you say that?
“Well, nevermind that. Why are there so few quests up? Normally, the noticeboard would be covered in them. Are you guys slacking off?”
“That’s not it. We aren’t like you, Dust-san. It’s simply that most of the adventurers who regained their senses got right back to taking quests all at once, that’s why there are so few left.”
“Oh, right, the Serena thing.”
Serena is a female priest that came to Axel not too long ago.
She was turning those idiots from the guild into her followers one after another, and ended up causing quite a crisis.
Incidentally, Taylor and Keith were amongst those idiots.
Anyway, apparently, she turned out to be a Demon King’s General and a Dark Priest.
Thanks to Kazuma’s actions, her true identity was revealed and she was arrested. After that, the people who were brainwashed by her regained their senses.
“Anyway, please stop teasing the other adventurers. It was a big headache to clean up after that.”
Luna put a hand to her forehead and sighed.
She must be talking about the huge brawl that we had in the guild the other day.
ーThe tavern at the guild had been practically deserted a few days ago, but when the people who were brainwashed came back to their senses, things have quickly gotten as lively as they were before.
After getting pretty tipsy, I called out to an adventuring party that I was familiar with.
“Oh, hey, it’s those adventurers from Serena’s posse. What’s the matter? Are you sure you don’t have to chase after her anymore? Weren’t you going on about how she feels like a mother to you? Come on, why don’t you tell me again about all the wonderful things that Lady Serena can provide?”
I repeatedly tapped against the head of the stony-faced man.
He’s normally the serious sort, but he blushed bright red after being reminded of what happened back then.
“Oh~? Your face is red~. What’s the matter~? Do you feel lonely without your mom around~?”
He looked at the ground and trembled. It seems like the memory of being tricked by a demon king’s general is too much that he was rendered speechless.
It may have only been for a short time, but there were a lot of adventurers who ended up as Serena’s slaves.
His companions and the adventurers around us were in the same state, so they could only stand by in silence.
This is fun. I should tease him a little more.
“Sighー, all of you fell for her charms so easily. You should learn to be more like me, who never once fell for a pretty face. Is this what they call a difference in quality? In the first place, who would be tricked so easily by that Demon King’s general? She’s so fishy she practically smells like the sea. If someone really fell for her charms, it’d be the height of comedy… Oh, right, you guys all fell for it. Sorry, my bad, gyahahahaha!”
As I let the alcohol speak for me, the sound of chairs scraping against the ground suddenly echoed around me.
Looking around, most of the adventurers in the guild were standing up, including Keith and Taylor.
All of them stared at me as they slowly approached.
“H-Hey, what are you bastards up to? Don’t blow your top because I spoke the truth. Bullying a kind-hearted adventurer like me with such numbers doesn’t look good, you know? I’ll get down on my knees and apologize, so give me a break, okay?”
“Screw you!” x3
None of them listened to a word I said and immediately rushed in.
“Dammit, if it’s going to be like this, I’m going to charge right in and grab a breast or two!”
“Abuah? Why are you grabbing my pecs!?”
“Why do you have such a misleading chest!? If you don’t want me to squeeze you dry, then go on a diet!”
“Surround him! Don’t let him escape!”
I ducked, weaved, and counterattacked, and at least three people were knocked out by me, but I was unable to stand up against such overwhelming numbers and eventually got beaten black and blue.
Thinking back on it, it really is their fault.
That level of teasing should be easily laughed off and forgiven.
“I really didn’t do anything wrong back then.”
“Only you can genuinely believe that you aren’t at fault. Sigh~.”
She let out a huge sigh, but it really was their fault.
“Back to the original topic, there aren’t any monster extermination quests left up at the moment. We do have a few odd job quests available around town, if you want.”
Odd jobs, huh? What the princess is after is to feel like a proper adventurer, right?
From her demeanour, I can tell that what she really wants to do is to blast away a few monsters with magic.
If she was too weak to contribute to combat, I could’ve just told her it’d be too dangerous for her to come along, but…
“She can actually use magic…”
Back in the castle, rather than learning stuff like etiquette and history, Princess Leonor much prefered learning magic. And she’s actually pretty talented at spellcasting, capable of using multiple types of spells. Within Axel, she’d probably be one of the stronger spellcasters around.
Still, if I exposed her to danger and something happened, it’d become an international incident.
“Odd jobs will be fine, so can you please find me an easy quest or two?”
“Really? Normally, you would say that ‘Odd jobs aren’t fitting for someone as great as me’ and wouldn’t even consider it.”
“It’s fine this time.”
If I don’t pick up a quest and let her run around on her own, I’ll end up with even more trouble on my hands… I know from experience.
“Say, why are we working as sales promoters?”
As we stood in front of the general store that I occasionally frequent, Lynn… No, Princess Leonor said as she held a sign in her hand.
She seems to be pretty disappointed by this unexpected turn of events.
This quest is put up by the general goods store owner to sell the stuff that he ordered a large amount of by mistake. He doesn’t expect us to sell all of them, but he hopes that he’ll get rid of at least 80% of them by the end of today.
“Experiencing the life of a commoner is important too, isn’t it?”
Keith and Taylor aren’t taking part in this quest, so I used my old way of speaking on purpose.
“It sure is nostalgic hearing you speak like that. You used to be so serious and honest, but now you seem so pitiful… How did your personality become so twisted?”
“It’s all because you dragged me around!”
On the eve of her marriage, I smuggled her out of the country at her request. During the week we spent together, I became influenced by her carefree personality…
That incident is definitely why I ended up this way.
If I hadn’t met Princess Leonor, I would probably still be a dragon knight right now.
“Do you regret smuggling me out?”
She looked up at me with a strange expression on her face.
“Not at all. I was the one who made that decision. And I quite like living my life freely like this.”
“I see. That’s good. Oh, and your manner of speech is back.”
“I’ll be cautious… I mean, right.”
I need to take care not to slip up in front of my friends.
“Hey, handsome, young miss, come take a look! We’ve plenty of moderately useful goods!”
Leonor sounded really reluctant earlier, but when it came time to attract customers, she threw herself into it with gusto.
She is a princess who frequently sneaks out to mingle with the crowd out in the city, so she’s used to interacting with commoners.
“Hey, Fore-chan, you have a cute face, so follow after me and say some words to attract customers.”
“Come take a look!”
“That’s good, you’re going to capture the hearts of all lolicons! You’re going to be shorter than them anyways, so make sure to look up at them with wide, puppy dog eyes! That’ll surely have them wrapped around your finger!”
She readily gave advice to Faitfore who was standing next to her.
Even back when she was a dragon unused to being around people, the two of them were particularly close. Now they look as close as a pair of sisters.
… Though I’m not quite sure she’s teaching her the right things.
“Please stop teaching her strange stuff.”
“What are you saying? What’s wrong with using the gender your mother gave you and your natural good looks? We’re going to sell everything in this store by the end of the day.”
Seems like Princess Leonor got really into it. She’s always been the type to ignore what anyone else says the moment she has her mind set, so it’s best to leave her be.
“Say, Dust, I appreciate her enthusiasm, but did Lynn eat something strange before coming here? She seems a little different than normal.”
The old man that runs the store, who suddenly appeared behind me, asked with his arms crossed.
So he picked up on the princess’s behavior, huh? As expected of a man who works in the service industry, he seems to pick up on even the slightest change.
Let’s just whip up an excuse for him.
“Yeah, she had a little bit to drink, so she’s in particularly high spirits right now.”
“I see, that explains… Wait, what!? Why did you drink before coming to work!?”
“Hey, now, there’s no way I can take on such a shabby job while sober. What’s wrong with having a glass to boost our spirits before work?”
“What did you say!? Are you looking down on my job!?”
Saying that, the old man came swinging at me.
As we stood there exchanging blows, most of the goods ended up being sold. The job that I had planned to last the entire day was complete in only a few hours.
Princess Leonor’s enthusiasm and glib tongue, along with Faitfore’s cuteness, seemed to be really effective at attracting customers.
“Now, what should we do next?”
“We should take on another quest…”
The princess looked at me with sparkles in her eyes.
“No, there aren’t any left.”
She leaned back with a satisfied look on her face.
“Alright, then, in place of a quest, can you show me around town?”
“Understoo… Yeah, sure.”
She shot me a glare, and I hastily corrected my words.
I guess we can kill time by sightseeing around town.
We could join up with Keith and Taylor, but those guys have spent a lot of time around Lynn. It wouldn’t be surprising for them to see through the princess’s disguise.
Yeah, it’d be safer if we were to keep our distance.
“The store you see there is one of the most favoured stores amongst adventurers.”
Standing in front of the Succubus shop, I explained to Princess Leonor, who took a good look at the store before shooting me a doubtful gaze.
“It looks just like a regular cafe, but I keep feeling that there’s something off about it? Is it just me?”
Oh, she saw right through this store’s disguise.
“Say, it seems like the only customers walking into this store are all men. And why do they keep shrinking away in embarrassment after seeing me?”
Upon seeing the princess disguised as Lynn holding Fairfore’s hand, some of the cowards immediately turned red and walked the other way.
Well, coming across a woman and a child just as you are bursting with perverse fantasies is bound to make anyone embarrassed.
Being the only one suffering in this town doesn’t quite sit right with me, so it’s only right for me to spread some of that misery around.
“Who knows? I brought you here because you wanted to see the places I frequently visit.”
I didn’t originally plan on bringing her here, but it’s become a habit for me, so before I knew it I was walking towards the store.
I can’t bring her inside, but showing her the store itself should be fine.
“Huh? Dust-san and… Lynn-san!?”
I heard someone call my name, so I turned around to see Loli Succubus there.
She was wearing her village girl outfit rather than the lingerie she usually wears in the store and had a full basket in her hands, so she’s probably on her way back from shopping.
“Oh, good day… What a cute girl. So she’s an acquaintance of you and Lynn-chan, huh?”
Even though it was the first time they met, Leonor readily greeted her, and whispered the rest to me in a voice soft enough to be inaudible to anyone else.
Loli Succubus pulled me aside, away from Princess Leonor.
“You can’t bring Lynn-san and Faitfore-chan here! What, are you trying to get in the way of our business?”
“Of course not, it’s just a little hiccup. We’ll be heading somewhere else soon.”
“Well, that’s fine, then.”
So she didn’t see through the princess’s disguise. Well, she hasn’t spent as much time around Lynn as we have, so I suppose it’s to be expected. Seems like we’ll be able to fool almost everyone like this.
“Right, let’s go somewhere else. Seeya, Lolisa. Take your work seriously, you hear?”
“I don’t want to hear that from you, Dust-san. Lynn-san, Faitfore-chan, see you later.”
Loli Succubus waved at the two of them, who returned the gesture.
A short while after leaving the store, Princess Leonor gave me a wide grin.
“Hey, hey, who was that girl? Come on, tell me~.”
She placed her chin on my shoulder and stared at me at close range.
“Don’t get her involved in this! Her name is Lolisa. She’s great at mind affecting spells, so we occasionally get her to help us out when we are shorthanded.”
There’s no need for me to reveal that she’s actually a succubus. I feel like there’d be nothing but trouble if she found out about that.
“Really~? Aren’t you two actually much closer than that? Hey, come on, be honest with me. Fore-chan, do you know anything about Lolisa?”
When I didn’t say anything, the princess switched to a different target.
Faitfore looked between me and her and frowned.
I told her with my gaze not to say anything, and Faitfore nodded and covered her mouth with both hands.
Seeing that, Princess Leonor let out a sly smirk.
“If you tell me, I’ll treat you to dinner tonight.”
“She is a succubus, and that store lets you see sweet dreams.”
She switched sides the instant she heard a promise of food!
“Oh, so succubus and humans coexist in this town, I see. So you like those kinds of dreams, huh?”
“Ah, no, that’s just, you know, a man’s instincts. It’s a dream, after all, so there’s nothing wrong with it.”
“You don’t need to make excuses to me. You didn’t even try to lay a hand on me back when we were living together…”
Those words really sting.
“Please keep this a secret. If the women find out about the Succubus shop, it’ll cause a riot.”
It’s an open secret amongst male adventurers, but very few women know the truth of that shop. There was an incident not too long ago when a bunch of them came sniffing around, and that was a headache and a half.
“It doesn’t seem to be doing any harm, and I’m not a citizen of this country, so I’m fine with keeping quiet, but, Dust, you owe me a favour for this, okay?”
“Urk, yeah, fine.”
Owing a favour to the princess is one of the most dangerous things in the world, one that I have plenty of personal experience with. But if I didn’t agree to that, things will end up even worse. I have personal experience with that too.
“So, where are you taking me next?”
Princess Leonor, walking slightly ahead of me, turned around and let out a soft laugh.
This girl is really expressive. Her face looks similar to Lynn’s on the surface, but I can’t see Lynn being able to laugh like that.
Back when I was a knight, after seeing free-spirited and uninhibited ways of expressing her emotions, I…
“Just go to some place you frequently go that serves food. I’m tired of walking around. I want to dig into something delicious, right?”
She and Faitfore both seem in agreement.
“Food, huh? There’s nothing you don’t like eating, right?”
“Not at all. It’s only right for those in power to eat anything that the people prepare for us.”
“I can eat anything too.”
“Yes, I already know. Right, I’ll just find us a place to eat, then.”
I think I’ll just go to one of the streets stocked with restaurants and pick a place that doesn’t seem too crowded.
“Young lady, please come visit our store! I’ll give you a discount.”
“Our food is far better than what that store sells! Come visit us now, I’ll give you one meal for free!”
“A more elegant shop would be a better fit for a young lady like you, yes!? We have a lot of sweets too, so you can enjoy them after your meal!”
The moment we arrived on the street, several store clerks rushed out and crowded around Faitfore, passionately trying to entice her business.
“What-What’s going on! Hey! Don’t push!”
Despite my protests, they seemed to pay me no heed and continued fighting over Faitfore.
“Ow! Dammit, just what is up with that?”
“She seems to be a great hit. Guess she’s just too cute… No, that can’t be all of it. Every one of them has bloodshot eyes.”
“Ah, I get it now. News of Faitfore’s huge appetite must have spread to every restaurant in town.”
Someone who eats that much food every day is bound to become a hot topic in the food industry.
Looking around, the stores that were selling all-you-can-eat services were in a flurry of activity as they hurried to close down their stores.
Come to think of it, the last time I brought Faitfore to such a restaurant, the owner ended up begging me to please take her home, didn’t he. Of course, I didn’t leave.
“Come to think of it, you ate a lot this morning too, didn’t you? I’m surprised you can pack away so much food in such a tiny body.”
The princess knows that Faitfore is actually a white dragon, but it seems like she yet to understand that the amount of food Faitfore eats as a dragon is the same as when she looks like a young girl.
“She eats as much as she does as a dragon.”
“… You’re lying.”
“You said you were going to pay for Faitfore’s food, didn’t you? I’ll be counting on you.”
Princess Leonor took out her wallet, weighted it in her hand, and gave me a teary eyed look.
I turned away.
Knowing her, she’ll definitely sneak out quite a sum of money with her whenever she runs away. She’ll most likely be able to afford Faitfore’s meal today, but I doubt she’ll be able to keep it up for long.
The store clerk who won the battle for Faitfore let out a joyous cry of victory, and led us into his restaurant where we were assigned to a large table which quickly became filled with Faitfore’s orders.
“Thanks for the food!”
“Yeah, eat as much as you want.”
“Oh, fine, go ahead and eat your fill!”
Princess Leonor was originally taken aback by how much Faitfore ate, but it was soon replaced with admiration as she egged her on.
Seeing Faitfore happily dig into her meal, she let out a smile.
“Seeing her enjoy her meal like that makes me not care about everything else for a bit. Hey, now, don’t eat that quickly. You’re getting sauce all over your face.”
I feel like something similar to this happened in the past.
Back then, the place, our standings, and even her form was different, but I recall Princess Leonor helping out with feeding Faitfore every so often.
“It’s kind of nostalgic, isn’t it?”
The princess gave me a somewhat forlorn smile. It seems like she was thinking along those same lines.
“Yes… I suppose.”
This isn’t good. When the three of us are together, I can’t help but look back and remember the past.
If it is like this, even if there was a chance of my identity being blown open, I would’ve rather met up with Taylor and Keith.
As I looked around the store to distract myself, I met the gaze of a girl sitting at another table.
She was sneakily glancing over with looks of envy.
The girl who was sitting alone at a corner table as usual… Is one of my companions.
Is enjoying a meal with someone else really something to be that envious over?
Well, I suppose I should call out to her. Being the loner that she is, I doubt that she would be able to notice the difference in Lynn’s behaviour.
“Yunyun, you’re alone as usual, right? Why don’t you come join us?”
When I called out to her, she took a moment to look around to make sure she really was the one being addressed, and cough softly before getting to her feet.
“W-Well, I-If you insist, I don’t mind eating together with you.”
“If you don’t feel like it, you don’t need to force yourself.”
“I want to, I want to! I want to eat together! Please let me sit with you!”
Yunyun walked over with tears in her eyes.
“Then don’t put on airs in the first place. What a troublesome girl.”
“Hey now, don’t bully her. Does Lynn know her?”
I whispered back to the princess.
“She’s Yunyun. She’s a Crimson Demon and a loner.”
“Oh, those Crimson Demons?”
Princess Leonor sounded somewhat surprised, but her face remained calm. Truly, her skill at acting really is world class.
“Lynn-san, may I take this seat?”
“Of course, I’ll be glad to have you.”
Yunyun patted down her chest before taking a seat.
“Food tastes better if eaten with company.”
“Yeah, yeah, I totally get you! Eating together with someone makes food taste way, waaay better!”
“Y-Yes, I suppose.”
Yunyun enthusiastically nodded and leaned closer, and the princess seemed taken aback by her passionate response.
“Dust, can I order more food?”
Just then, Faitfore, having cleaned off everything on the table, turned her gaze towards the menu and tugged on my sleeve.
“Yeah, go ahead. Lynn is treating you, so go ahead and eat till you’re full.”
“Now that it’s come to this, you can go ahead and eat till your belly is bursting.”
A normal person would be despairing at the sight of the mountain of empty plates at the table, but… I suppose this is the difference between commoners and royalty.
“I-I’ll pay for my portion.”
She still has a long way to go if she can’t bring herself to take advantage of such a situation.
If I were in her position, I would’ve happily helped myself to a free meal.
Princess Leonor watched the new set of plates laden with food arrive at her table for a while, before seemingly snapping to her senses and snatching up a menu, at which point she started looking between the prices and what remained in her wallet.
From the looks of things, she’s going to run out of money soon.
“It’s just the three of you here? What happened to Keith-san and Taylor-san?”
“The two of them are on a different quest. We finished our assigned quest early.”
“That’s why we are free. Ah, right, we are planning on taking a walk through town after this. If you are free, do you want to join us?”
“Eeh? Can I!? I’d love to!!”
“I want to know more about you, Yunyun… And your relationship with Dust.”
I really wish she’d stop muttering such ominous words under her breath.
And don’t grin at me like that either.
After that, using her eloquence that she practiced as a member of the royal family and her natural charms, the princess practically had Yunyun tell her everything she could find interesting.
“Dust-san refused to help me during the chieftain’s trial too! Don’t you think that’s too much!?”
“That’s horrible. I’ll make sure to lecture him later.”
“Thank you, Lynn-san. You seem much more reliable today. Make sure you lay into him!”
The two of them seem to hit it off really well.
Princess Leonor seems to be aiming to get more information about me, but that’s not going to be that easy. Yunyun isn’t used to talking to others, and she doesn’t interact much with me anyways.
Even so, she seems more than happy to listen to Yunyun recount tales about the quests we’ve taken together and the trip we took to Alcanretia that I really just want to forget all about already.
“Come to think of it, there was a time when I mistook Dust-san for the rumoured Dragon Knight. It really was a great disservice to the great dragon knight…”
“Wait, what about me?”
“Of course not, having someone as noble has him be associated with someone as lowly as you is a slight to his reputation.”
Why did Yunyun seem to be in such a bad mood? The one who should be angry is me.
“Oh, a Dragon Knight, huh? You are talking about the one from that story, right?”
“Yes… Hmm? Didn’t I tell you about that before?”
“I don’t really remember it too well. Can you repeat it for me?”
“Sure, I don’t mind!”
Yunyun’s cheeks flushed red. It seems like she’s happy to be the center of attention for once.
I couldn’t see this heading anywhere good, so I opened my mouth to interject.
“Ah, c-cut it out!”
A sharp pain on my foot cut me off.
Princess Leonor stomped on my feet with her heels. I glared at her, but she simply gave me a placid smile.
“Oh, what’s the matter, Dust? You shouldn’t interfere with a talk between girls.”
I really wanted to lodge my complaints, but I know full well that she wouldn’t pay any heed to anything I said, so I simply settled with letting out a huge sigh.
“Well, I heard the story from Ir… Alice-chan. In the neighbouring country, there was a talented young man who was the youngest to acquire the rare class of Dragon Knight. He’s said to be the best in the kingdom with a spear, and was loved by dragons ever since he was born. He is a man of great patience, conscientious and noble, like the very ideal of a knight.”
“Ooh, so he was such a person~. He sure sounds wonderful~.”
Don’t look at me like that. You’re just mocking me now.
“I know, right! It’s really popular amongst young women like us.”
“Oh, if such a person really exists, I’d really want to meet him.”
Seriously, please stop giving me that smirk while saying such things.
“Thus, at a young age, the knight was appointed as a personal bodyguard to the princess. Being close in age to him, so it was only a matter of time before she fell in love with the knight. However, the princess already had a betrothed, so this love could never be realized.”
“Wow, isn’t that forbidden love?”
She purposefully dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief.
… Doesn’t seem like she shed even a single tear, however.
“The young knight learned of the princess’s feelings by chance, and, despite knowing that it would result in a huge incident, took her with him on the back of his dragon. A week later, he returned to the castle together and was captured. He only managed to avoid being executed, but his rank as a knight of the realm was stripped from him and his house was destroyed.”
There were a few parts that were wrong, but the overall idea is there.
Still, who in the world is spreading this story in the first place? The only people who know about this incident should be under strict orders by the king not to say a word.
“What a wonderful story. I want to hear more about it, so why don’t we pay a visit to your friend, Vanir-san, after this?”
“Yes, that sounds great!”
“Wait a minute! Let’s not trouble Sir Vanir with this. I mean, it’s still business hours, after all. Sir Vanir might be busy.”
Paying a visit to Sir would be bad. He’d be able to tell who Lynn really is at a glance, and knowing his personality, he’ll definitely tease me over it.
Negative emotions from humans are a great treat to devils like him, after all.
“But the magic item shop is almost always deserted.”
“W-Well, that might be true. Ah, right, you don’t want to go there either, right? You said that Sir Vanir rubs you the wrong way, right!?”
I grabbed Faitfore’s shoulder and turned her around… Only to see her with her cheeks stuff full to bursting with food.
White Dragons have the holy attribute, so they don’t get along well with devils. I’m sure she’ll agree with me.
“Glup… I’m fine with going there.”
“Why!? You said you felt strange when you went there the last time, didn’t you?”
“I gave him one of my hairs, and he gave me a lot of sweets.”
“When did you get paid off!? No, wait, when did you pay a visit to him in the first place?”
“I thought I smelt something bad, but when I followed it, he gave me a lot of sweets.”
I did find it odd that every so often, she’d come back saying that she wasn’t hungry, but to think that Sir Vanir was the one feeding her.
I need to properly lecture her someday not to be so easily taken in by food.
“Snacks in return for a strand of hair, huh? Sir must be making money hand over fist.”
The body parts of white dragons are highly prized as materials. A single hair or nail clipping could go for quite a sum.
Thanks to the wasteful spender of a shopkeeper that Sir Vanir is tied to, he’s always hard on for money.
If he could get a strand of white dragon hair in exchange for a few snacks, he would do it without hesitation.
Actually, if I did the same thing, I would probably be able to make a small fortune myself.
I placed a hand on Faitfore’s head, who was staring longingly at the empty plates on the table.
“What is it?”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s nothing.”
Nah, I wouldn’t want her to go bald or anything. I can make a fortune by hitting it big at one of the games without having to do such things.
“Then, there’s no problem, right? I’m curious about this Vanir person too.”
“Eh? You’ve met him before, haven’t you?”
“Err… Well, it has been a while.”
“That’s because you don’t get along with Sir! You never visit that store if you can help it.”
I quickly tried to cover for the princess’s misstep.
Please don’t carelessly say such things. There’s Lynn’s safety to worry about, of course, but the absolute worst thing that could happen is if others found out how similar the two of you looked.
The people I know will definitely pry into what exactly her relationship is with me.
And if the people in power found out that such a perfect doppelganger of the princess existed, we’ll definitely be dragged into trouble.
“I want to eat sweets, so let’s go.”
Despite just having eaten, Faitfore seems to already be hungering for more food and eagerly jumped up and headed for the exit.
Yunyun left some money on the table before hurriedly chasing after her.
Princess Leonor stood up and headed for the exit after her, so I grabbed her by the shoulders to prevent her from leaving.
“Let go, this is really rude to a princess.”
She shot me a glare, but I’m long past the point where such tricks would work on me.
“You’re Lynn right now, so that doesn’t matter. Anyway, make sure you properly pay up.”
“Er, well… Can you go with me to a pawn shop?”
Seems like she doesn’t have enough money to pay for the meal without selling something.
“Oh, fine, I’ll cover what you can’t pay with the money we earned from the quest. The interest rate is 10%.”
“Huh, you’ve changed but you’re still the same in that respect.”
“I have no idea what you’re saying.”
“I’m talking about your kindness.”
I feel like if we keep talking, I’ll be swept up into her pace.
Turning my eyes away from her, I left the store after Yunyun and Faitfore.
“So this is the store you’re talking about.”
Standing in front of the magic item shop that Sir Vanir works at, Princess Leonor crossed her arms.
It seems like her sense of curiosity has been sparked by the information that Faitfore and Yunyun told her, and she didn’t try to suppress her mischievous smile at all.
“A shop run by a mysterious masked man and a beautiful female shopkeeper. Apparently, they aren’t a couple or dating, but there’s no way there’s nothing going on between two young people of the opposite sex sharing the same roof.”
“Sorry to rain on your parade, but the relationship between those two isn’t as sweet as you are imagining. And the young people part is dubious too.”
Sir Vanir is a greater devil whose age is all but unknown, and while I don’t know Wiz’s exact age, she’s at the point in her life where she’s fretting about getting married so she can’t be that young.
While we stood chatting outside the store, Yunyun and Faitfore disappeared off somewhere…
“Have they already gone into the store? Anyway, I should warn you, Sir Vanir is a greater devil who can see through anything, and he enjoys the taste of humans experiencing dark emotions, so be careful around him.”
Hearing my advice, the princess frowned and fell into deep thought.
“You mention a devil so easily… Say, just what is up with this town? Succubi run a shop in this town, and here we have a magic store run by a greater devil. Don’t you think it’s strange?”
“I’ve gotten used to it. There’s even a crazy girl who needs to unleash Explosion magic once a day living here, a noble lady who loves getting beaten more than she values three square meals a day, and a priest whose running joke is that she’s actually a goddess.”
“That’s a little too much. I know of a few nobles with strange personalities, but I’ve never come across such an oddball. And there’s no way a priest who proclaims themselves to be a god could exist. Also, Explosion magic is the spell that consumes way too much mana to be worth learning, right? The number of people who can use it in the first place is rare, and using it every day would beー”
Princess Leonor was interrupted by a sudden tremor and the rise of a column of smoke in the distance.
“Eh, what was that!? Is it an attack by the Demon King’s army!?”
“That’s one of Axel’s local attractions. Guess the power of her Explosion is just average today.”
The self-proclaimed Explosion connoisseur, Kazuma, claims he can tell the physical condition of the caster from seeing the explosion in person, and after experiencing it so many times, I am starting to get a feel for it too.
“I-I see. That’s why no one is panicking.”
The princess looked around and let out a wow of admiration.
Everyone who lives in this town has gotten used to it, so nobody batted an eye.
“You’re taking this really well. Most people go into a full-on panic upon experiencing that for the first time.”
“I am surprised, but I don’t dislike this kind of unexpected behaviour. A fun, lively, noisy town like this suits me!”
She sure took it in her stride.
“Well… It’s a good town to live in once you get used to it.”
“Right? If only the capital back home was as lively as this~.”
You really shouldn’t do that. The entire city would be thrown into a panic.
I ignored her dreadful statement and strode into the magic item shop, and she followed me in while gazing admiringly at the distant column of smoke.
“Sir, sorry to bother you.”
“If you are here to bother me, then please leave.”
“You are as cold to your customers as always, Sir.”
“Someone who doesn’t buy anything cannot be considered a customer.”
I’m used to receiving this kind of cold treatment from him, so I paid no heed to it.
“Oh, that was close.”
I almost tripped over something under my feet.
I glanced down, and it turned out to be the charred, white eyed remains of Wiz. She must have bought something useless again and got punished by Sir.
“Eep, a corpse!”
Princess Leonor let out a frightened shriek.
“Ah, right, this is the owner of this store, Wiz.”
“She is… Now’s not the time to be calmly explaining things to me! We need to get a priest here quickly!”
“It’s fine. This happens all the time, so there’s no need to worry.”
“Happens all the time!? Eh? B-But, she’s charred black and doesn’t seem to be breathing. And I think she looks a little transparent too.”
Well, I suppose anyone would be surprised upon seeing this sight.
She crouched down and carefully poked Wiz with her finger.
“Oh, you are a lot more lively than usual, guardian of this delinquent. Hmm? You look a little different than usual… Oh, my, what’s this?”
The masked Vanir brought his face close to Princess Leonor, which caused her to lean back.
As expected of Sir, he saw through that in an instant.
“Well, isn’t this an interesting situation. Now, then, miss lookalike, are you looking to buy something?”
Yunyun, who was browsing the wares in the shop, seemed to have overheard that.
“Oh, hey, this necklace says it’ll make you more popular just by wearing it.”
“Really? Let me see!”
She immediately bit on the bait I dangled for her, and pushed me aside to get at the necklace.
I’m really lucky that she’s so easily fooled.
“That masked man sure is amazing. He saw through me with a single look!”
The princess leaned close to my ear and excitedly said, causing my eardrums to hurt a little.
“Sir, please keep this a secret. It’d be really troublesome if others learnt about this.”
“Rest easy. Moi has a reputation for being tight lipped in this neighbourhood. However, if you were to buy this item, my lips might become even tighter than usual.”
He held up a mysterious item whose purpose is completely unknown.
“Okay, okay, I’ll buy it, so please, I’m counting on you.”
“Thank you for your patronage.”
Shelling out here hurts, but there’s no telling what will happen if I refuse here. Sir Vanir is a man of his word, so I suppose it’s a good thing that I can ensure his silence with just a bit of money.
“By the way, what did you come here for? Oh, no, you can come here as often as you like. There’s no need to worry about paying me back. If dining here for free weights on your conscience and you must pay me back somehow, a few strands of your hair or nail clippings would do.”
Sir Vanir said towards Faitfore who was seated by the window while enjoying tea and snacks.
He probably sees her as a gold mine, though as long as he doesn’t request anything too overboard, I suppose it’s fine.
“I don’t really have anything in mind. Leo… Lynn said she wanted to see this place.”
“Oh? So even you can’t raise your head in front of that lookalike princess. If she becomes a regular customer, we stand to make quite a bit of profit… Very well, if you ever find yourself in trouble, you can come to me for help.”
It’s good to have Sir Vanir on my side, but as a greater devil, he has his own quirks or two. Many times, I’ve ended up losing out after Sir lent his power to me.
“I’ll be counting on you, Sir.”
“Leave it to me. And feel free to bring that big eater with you as well. Moi will treat her well.”
Seems like who he really wants as a customer is Faitfore.
I feel like if I stay here any longer, I’ll get dragged into something troublesome, so I suppose it’s time for us to leave.
“Wiz-san, is it true that this necklace will make you more popular just by wearing it?”
Yunyun excitedly asked Wiz, who had come back to life while my attention was away.
“Yes, it’s true. It’s a lucky item that I just recently bought that will attract others to you if you wear it.”
“I’ll buy it! Please tell me how to make use of it!”
“If you wear it around your neck, be it men, women, young, or old, every creature will become attracted to you. Even monsters will…”
The excited voices of those two could be heard even from the other side of the door.
… Leaving Yunyun here will probably be good for the store’s business, so I think I’ll leave her be.
“The sun is about to set soon, so let’s get back to the guild and have a drink.”
“Sure, that sounds very adventurer-like.”
Princess Leonor often snuck out of the castle because the disciplined life of a royal just didn’t sit well with her.
She’s always looked up to adventurers who were able to live their lives freely, so such activities will probably satisfy her enough.
On my right is Princess Leonor, and on my left is Faitfore.
When the three of us are together like this, I can’t help but become nostalgic.
On the way back to the guild,my thoughts drifted to Lynn.
“Maybe I should’ve asked Sir to divine how Lynn is doing right now.”
It’s a little late now, but I should probably ask Sir about it the next time I pay him a visit.
“Dammit, where did she go!? Search every corner of this place, from the curtains to the drawers in the closet! Make sure you don’t overlook the trash cans or the toilet! Her ability to hide herself shouldn’t be underestimated!”
I was woken up from my sleep by a bunch of angry voices and stomping feet coming from the hallway.
“Did a criminal escape or something?”
This has got to be one of the worst ways to be woken up.
I even rented a room in a slightly more upscale room than I usually used, and was planning to enjoy my day off…
An escaped fugitive, huh? I have a bad feeling about this.
“They aren’t looking for Dust, are they? If he really got into trouble again, I’m going to blast him into next week.”
I took up my staff and went to the door, and the sight that awaited me on the other side was beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
In the hallway stood an elderly man sharply dressed in what can only be a butler’s outfit along with several maids, all of them diligently searching for something.
There were also a few people dressed like soldiers searching a short distance away.
“What is going on?”
This might be a slightly more upscale inn, but it’s not the kind of high class establishment that nobles with their entourage of maids and servants would stay a night at. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen these people in town before.
“Make sure you check the attic and under the carpets too. Knowing her, it wouldn’t be impossible for her to hide in such places. Throw away your common sense and search. If you find her, notify me immediately. Do not try to approach her alone. And don’t listen to a word she says. She’s a prodigy at psychological warfare and acting.”
Looks like a little too much to catch just a thief. In the first place, I have no idea why butlers and maids would be out looking for thieves anyways.
It doesn’t seem like they are talking about Dust, and it feels like it’d be best not to get involved. I still feel a little sleepy, so I suppose I can catch a few more hours of rest.
The moment I moved to close the door, my eyes met with the elderly butler.
He pointed a trembling finger at me.
I thought that perhaps there might be someone behind me, but turning around revealed nothing.
I turned back to face the butler, who was in the middle of taking a deep breathー
“We’ve found the princess! Everyone, secure her!”
With that, all the maids and soldiers turned towards me.
“Eh, wait, what!?”
Everyone lunged at me at the same time.
I tried to close the door, but the maids grabbed my hands before I could and refused to let go.
“What’s the big idea! I didn’t do anything! This isn’t because of something Dust did, is it!?”
“What kind of nonsense are you saying? Princess Leonor, you should learn when to give up.”
“Wait a minute, did you just call me a princess just now? I’m Lynn. An adventurer. Take a closer look, I don’t look anything like one, right?”
If I’m being mistaken for a princess, then it should be simple enough to set things straight.
The butler and maids leaned in close and stared at my face. I know I was the one who suggested it, but it is still a little embarrassing.
“Well, you know you’ve got the wrong person now, right? So hurry up and let meー”
“No matter how I look, you’re Princess Leonor. Did you really think you could fool me by just turning your hair brown?”
“Could it be some high level technique where she’s trying to pass herself as someone else by just changing her hair colour?”
“Knowing the princess, it wouldn’t be unexpected from her.”
The maids and butler seemed to grow more suspicious of me rather than less.
“Hey, that’s enough. Let’s pay a visit to the guild. You’ll be able to verify if I’m an adventurer or not in an instant.”
“We won’t fall for that. Everyone, please carry the princess to the carriage!”
Ignoring my words, the maids wrapped me up in ropes and lifted me onto their shoulders. Carrying me like a piece of luggage, they brought me to a carriage waiting just outside the inn.
The interior of the carriage is filled with cushioned seats, and from the opulence on display, I can tell that the person who owns it is someone of great wealth and means.
“H-Hey, you’ve really got the wrong person! I won’t get angry, so release me now!”
“Princess, please give it up. Having served you since you were born, there’s no way I could mistake you for someone else. Do you think my eyes are just for show?”
“Yeah, they probably are!”
They wouldn’t listen to a word I said, and the carriage set off to places unknown.
Just what is going to happen to me now?
At times like this, that idiot’s grinning face appeared in my mind. It really doesn’t sit well with me, but…
Dust, come save me!