That Promised Adventure
Editor: Striker, Ulti
“What are those guys doing? How can they be this late?”
I told them that we’d be taking on a quest in the morning, but Keith and Taylor are nowhere to be found in the guild.
Even Princess Leonor, who drank a lot more than they did yesterday, is bouncing around next to me.
I told Faitfore to watch the house, but she silently changed into her rough country outfit and ate breakfast.
Seems like she has every intention to go out together with us.
“Did they drink too much last night? I’ll go wake them up.”
“Ah, that probably won’t do much good. I made them both drink this.”
Saying that, she brought out a small bottle from her chest.
The bottle is labeled with dark green writing… I think I’ve seen that bottle somewhere before.
“… Did you do it again?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Did she put that sleeping potion that knocked me out back then into their drinks?
If that’s the case, they won’t wake up before noon. I know from experience.
“What are you thinking? We can’t go on a quest without the two of them.”
“They have spent a lot of time with Lynn, haven’t they? It’d be bad if my identity was revealed during the quest, right? Plus, with me and this little one, we can handle anything that comes our way.”
She casually patted Faitfore on the head as the white haired girl continued eating.
Ah, she probably doesn’t know.
“You know, it’d be a piece of cake if she returned to her dragon form, but there’s no way we can let her do that. If someone happened to see her in her true form, it’d cause a huge uproar.”
White dragons are treated as symbols of wealth, and even a small fragment of their bodies can be sold for high prices.
If it became known that such a creature was sighted near town, the adventurers would be tearing the place up looking for her. That’s what happened last time, after all.
“Then what should we do? Those two are already fast asleep!”
She crossed her arms and puffed out her cheeks in anger.
You were the one that got us into trouble in the first place…
“Oh, fine, let’s go with our usual routine. Loner, that’s your cue!”
“Can you please stop calling me loner!?”
I said in a loud voice, and immediately, the response came from someone seated at a table a short distance away.
She had absolutely no presence at all until she shouted back, but I guess she was here after all.
Turning around, seated at the table was Yunyun, the loner Crimson Demon. Of course, she was alone.
“You’re free, right? Let’s go on an adventure.”
“What’s with that way of inviting? Sure, strictly speaking, I am free right now, but there’s still a proper way to invite someone out.”
A pain in the ass as usual.
Even though clearly being free, she still ends up throwing a fit.
“I’m really sick of going through this song and dance every time I invite you. Are you coming or not? Answer in five seconds. One. Two. Threeー”
“W-Wait, I’m sorry! I’ll go with you! I’ll join you, so please let me go with you!”
If you’re going to come crying to me and apologizing like this, you should’ve just agreed from the start.
“Right, that’s one member down.”
“You know… I really don’t think that’s the right way to ask a girl out…”
I think I heard someone say something, but I’ll ignore it.
“Now, let’s go secure our other member.”
When I got up from the table, Faitfore, having finished her meal, trotted up beside me. The other two followed behind.
“Hey, who is the other member you’re talking about? Hey, I said hey. Fine, if you are going to ignore me, I’ll talk to myself about everything that happened in the past.”
“Please don’t do that. You’ve met the other person too.”
“Ah, I knew it, it’s our usual members.”
Seems like Yunyun has an idea of who we are going to recruit.
Princess Leonor doesn’t seem to be quite so quick on the uptake and fell into deep thought. Well, having something to occupy her mind will make her easier to deal with, so I’ll leave her be for now.
I walked into the usual alleyway and came to a stop in front of the store.
Negotiating is going to be a pain in the ass, so instead, I took in a deep breath.
“Ah, what should I do with this chipped cup that Sir Vanir asked me to throw away? Sir just used it, so it hasn’t been washed… I suppose I’ll just throw it out.”
“You can’t! If you are going to throw it away, give it to me instead! I’ll treat it as a family treasure!”
Loli Succubus hurriedly came running out of the store, staring at me with bloodshot eyes. It’s honestly kind of scary.
“It’s still early in the morning, so you don’t have much to do, right?”
“Eh? Well, sure, that’s true. But nevermind that, where’s Vanir-sama’s cup!?”
“Great, everyone’s gathered. Let’s set out on our adventure.”
I grabbed Lolisa under my arms and started walking away.
“Um, err, I’m still technically on the job. And why are you carrying me like a piece of luggage? And what about Vanir-sama’s used cup?”
“We’re going on a quest right now, so come with me. I’ll give you Sir Vanir’s cup as a reward later once we are done.”
“You should’ve told me that sooner. Manager, I’m heading out! I’ll be back by nightfall~!”
Lolisa shouted towards the store, and the door opened in response. Looking back, I could see the manager of the store cheerfully waving us goodbye.
It’s great that she has such a flexible workplace.
“He pretty much just kidnapped her…”
“This is basically a crime…”
Princess Leonor and Yunyun covered their mouths, whispering in voices just loud enough for me to hear.
“I just saved us a lot of trouble. She’d end up coming with us in the end anyways, so what difference does it make.”
“The process of conversation is what makes interacting with others fun. This is why you aren’t popular…”
“Yeah, Lynn-san. This kind of stuff is what makes people unpopular…”
They sure are shooting their mouths off, but just ignore it.
It’d be easy to win an argument against Yunyun by herself, but Princess Leonor is a master of wordplay, so getting into an argument with her is asking for trouble.
“Virgins who aren’t popular are easy to trick in dreams because they lack real experience. Even if you make a few mistakes in your scenario, they won’t be able to tell if it’s intended or not. That makes them easy to serve. That’s why you shouldn’t make fun of them. Don’t worry, Dust-san, I’m a very understanding woman. Keep at it!”
“Hey, what are you trying to say?”
Is Lolisa trying to cheer me on with that speech or put me down in a backhanded way?
“So what’s the quest you took today?”
“I didn’t hear about the contents either. Is it a monster extermination quest?”
“I was kidnapped without being told anything, so I would like it if you told me the details.”
Come to think of it, I haven’t told them what quest we took yet.
Only Faitfore seems completely uninterested.
“One of the quests calls to hunt down two giant frogs, and the other one is to take out a Giant Worm. I picked them up because they both are centered around hunting giant creatures.”
The frogs are to secure some meat to feed Faitfore. Two of them will probably provide enough to keep her sated for a while.
Sure, I made an agreement with the princess to have her pay for her food bills, but at our current rate, she’s going to run out of money before too long.
“Hey, hey, I know about giant frogs, but what exactly is the other one?”
“Ugh, I ran into that thing once when I was with Megumin…”
“For some reason, that monster gets requested in dreams quite often. There are quite a few customers who say that they can’t get enough of seeing that monster swallowing people.”
I think I’ll pretend I didn’t hear Loli Succubus say that.
“Simply put, it’s a huge carnivorous worm. Large in size, but with a really soft body, so it shouldn’t be a problem for us. While it does take a lot to die, we should be fine as long as we don’t get swallowed.”
It’s an easy monster to take down, but for some reason female adventurers have a really adverse reaction to it.
We tried to take on a quest to deal with one in the past, but Lynn was really stubborn and kicked up a fuss over it, so we eventually had to give up.
“Ugh, that’s the worst…”
“I kinda don’t want to fight one either…”
“I’m fine with it. Actually, I want to see something getting swallowed as reference for the future! I want to study both men and women getting swallowed, so I’ll be counting on you, Dust.”
“… Does it taste good?”
Two of them seemed opposed, one of them is looking forward to it, and the last one has no idea what she’s doing.
The one who has no idea pulled herself onto my back and strapped herself in with my carry strap.
Has she internalized that that is her place when it’s time to fight monsters?
“I don’t want to be swallowed today, and the meat doesn’t sound too tasty either. Let’s go take out the frogs first, the little lady will get hungry soon.”
I need to do something before my entire body becomes covered in drool… My shoulder is already soaked.
It seems like she’s using me to carry her so she expends as little calories as possible. It’s a complete reversal of our old positions, the smart-ass.
“Seems like you have your own troubles too.”
Seeing how drenched I was, the princess pulled away from the others and offered me her sympathies.
I extended my drenched arm, and she immediately retreated.
“If you have any sympathy, switch places with me and carry her instead.”
“That’s a different story. When you have sympathies for someone, it means that you don’t want to end up in that situation but you’re sorry someone is. In other words, no.”
She’s as direct as ever.
The other two are quite some distance away, so we should be out of earshot.
“Princess, weren’t you hoping to experience events that you couldn’t in the castle? Being soaked in the drool of a little white dragon girl is a rare experience you can’t get anywhere else.”
“That’s true, but I’d be happy going my entire life without experiencing something like that.”
She frowned and tried to wave me off.
“Ah, I smell food.”
Faitfore stopped drooling and glared straight forward, where two giant frogs are lurking.
“That’s the cue for the long awaited monster extermination.”
“Hehe, I can’t wait.”
Hey, you are supposed to be a rear line spellcaster, so don’t crack your neck and head off in front.
“Lynn-san, leave this to me. Firebaー!? What are you doing!?”
The princess interrupted Yunyun’s chanting by grabbing her from behind and fondling her bountiful chest.
“Oh, my, you have some meat on you. This is my chance to shine, so Yunyun-chan, you just sit back, okay?”
“Yunyun-chan? Eh? Lynn-san, you kinda feel different today.”
“Don’t give it away… Ah, she drank a bit of my wine a while ago. She must be still under the effects.”
“Ah, so she’s just in high spirits after drinking a little. I get it now.”
We’re lucky she’s so gullible.
“She doesn’t feel like a drunk person. She doesn’t smell like alcohol either. She’s completely different from the drunk customers that occasionally visit our store.”
Loli Succubus, as expected from someone who works in the service industry, isn’t so easily fooled.
Yunyun might be fine, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Loli Succubus finds out. Though, I suppose it’d be fine to tell her the truth in secret.
While I’m racking my brains over this issue, the person who is the source of all this trouble doesn’t seem to have a care in the world at all.
“Right, let me have a shot at this. I’ve always wanted to try this out on a living creature. Fireball!”
The princess casted her spell after saying some dangerous sounding things, and an abnormally large ball of fire appeared in front of her.
“Eeh!? What is with the size of this fireball!?”
“W-Wait! That’s too much!”
The fireball was sent off before I could stop it.
The ball sailed past the two giant frogs and impacted against the dirt mound behind them.
A loud boom resonated through the plains, followed by a wave of intense heat that buffeted everyone present.
“It’s hot! Ow-ow-ow !”
“Gyaaaa! My face!”
“I’m going to be toast!”
As we rolled on the ground to ward off the effects of the heat wave, I heard a loud smack from in front of me.
Carefully raising my head towards the source of that noise, I saw the giant frog lying on the ground, their backs completely charred.
Ah, I see, we got off this lightly because the frog was in the way of the heat wave.
I clapped my hands together in gratitude.
“Err… Did I overdo it?”
Princess Leonor sheepishly scratched her head.
“Lynn-san, what happened!? You are in great shape today! That was far more powerful than what you usually do! Even back in the Crimson Demon Village, they’ll be startled with that level of firepower!”
“Senpai, you are amazing!”
“Ehehe, was it really that amazing?”
The praise is getting to her head.
Even though she was still scratching her head, her chest swelled with pride.
“Hey, don’t let your guard down. There’s still one left… Ah.”
The remaining Giant Frog snapped its mouth over Princess Leonor, swallowing her all the way down to her waist.
Then, it lifted her up, leaving only her legs poking out from the Giant Frog’s mouth.
She was shouting something, but I couldn’t make out her words through the Giant Frog.
“I was eaten by a Giant Frog once too. It’s a little stinky, but it’s pretty warm. How is your first time there!?”
I asked for her opinion as I observed her legs frantically kick for help.
“I can’t understand what you are saying.”
“Stop teasing her already! Light of Saber!”
Yunyun’s familiar sword of light split the frog in half, and Princess Leonor, completely covered in slime, popped out.
“Uggh, this is the worst. I’m all sticky and slimy. Dust, can you give me something to wipe myself off?”
“Don’t come too close to me. Shoo, shoo.”
I waved her away, in a perfect imitation of what she did just a short while ago.
“Oh, you sure have a nice personality. Oh, fine, for today only, I’ll give you the right to hug a wet and dripping beauty.”
“Hey, cut it out. I’m already covered in this little one’s drool, so don’t mix frog saliva into it too!”
I looked back… Only to realize that Faitfore has long since crawled down from my back and started feasting on the charred giant frog.
“Let us both become wet and stinky.”
“Don’t think you can scare me that easily. If you have the guts, then go ahead and do it!”
Princess Leonor came running towards me with a smile on her face, her entire body glistening with slime.
And I extended both arms like I was ready to receive her.
“What are those two doing?”
“You can’t see this, Faitfore-chan.”
“Slime play… That could work!”
Now is not the time to concern myself with what the audience is saying.
I plan to dodge at the last moment to embarrass her. A frog’s internal fluids are sticky and smelly, so you can keep it all to yourself.
When she’s just barely a step away from me, I jumped towards the left.
“Heh, you can keep it to your… What!?”
“There’s no way I’ll reward you with a slimy hug this easily… Eh!?”
The princess suddenly leapt in the same direction and collided with me, causing the both of us to collapse to the ground in a heap.
“Grah, my head! It stinks! It seriously stinks!”
“Why did you dodge!? Now that we’ve ended up like this, let’s both get soaked! Here, here, here.”
“Hey, stop touching me in strange places!”
I tried to pry the princess off me, but I couldn’t get a firm grip because of the slippery slime covering the both of us.”
“Dust, let me join you too!”
Faitfore suddenly jumped in as well. It seems like she thinks we are playing some kind of game.
Because Faitfore trashed around like she was swimming, I couldn’t get up at all, and the situation steadily worsened.
“They are completely soaked, but they look like they are really enjoying themselves.”
“Yunyun-senpai, do you want to join them too? Right now you’ll be able to slide in very naturally! The more people I have for reference, the better.”
“Umm, I went through a similar situation with Megumin… And I think I had enough of Giant Frog slime for one lifetime. I’m going to wash off the three of you at once. Create Water!”
A large quantity of water washed over us, taking the slime together with them
“I experienced something really horrible thanks to you, Dust.”
“That’s my line! If we take this to court, I’ll definitely win!”
The three of us gather around the magically created fire to warm ourselves.
We decided to take a break while waiting for our clothes to dry, so the other two were seated nearby, helping themselves to snacks. Faitfore was happily roasting the other Giant Frog that we defeated.
“Right, that’s one quest down. I’ve had a great experience, so I won’t go out alone to fight the next monster. The best thing about adventurers is working as a team, right!?”
“Please do that.”
Against giant frogs, even if someone is a little reckless, there are still ways to work around that, but if we were fighting against a strong enemy, that could result in death.
She’s an important person in another kingdom, so if she ends up suffering a serious wound, it could end up as an international incident.
If the worst does happen, I suppose I’ll have to get that Party Priest to cast Heal. Her skills in magic are top notch, at least, so she should be able to heal her without leaving a scar.
“The other creature is a Giant Worm, right? Where does that creature live?”
“They can be found essentially anywhere where there’s soil, but they seem to prefer places with a lot of rotting leaves… Like this place.”
“Eh, well, even so, it wouldn’t just show up out of the blue, would it?”
“Yeah. Achoo! Dammit, I hope I haven’t caught a cold… Aaaaaah!”
The bonfire in front of me suddenly started shrinking.
No, wait, it’s my body that is getting raised up.
Looking down, a pink something has swallowed me up to my waist.
Of all places for it to appear, it had to show up directly beneath me!
“Kyaaa! It’s long and pink and wriggling! It’s disgusting!”
“It doesn’t look delicious.”
Princess Leonor shrieked and hurriedly distanced herself from me, while Faitfore stood still and furrowed her brows.
“Stop talking about how you feel and do something about it!”
“Wow, Dust-san was eaten. Monsters sure like eating bad food.”
“So this is what it’s like to be swallowed by a Giant Worm, huh? I see, it certainly feels a little erotic. There’s something sexual about all this. I’ve learnt a lot today.”
“Yeah, enough about that already, hurry up and help me!”
Yunyun and Loli Succubus simply leisurely looked up at me after running over.
The creature swallowed me all the way to my waist, so I couldn’t even draw my sword to try and free myself.
“Dust-san! How does it feel inside!? Please tell me about it in as much detail as you can! It’d be of great use in the future!”
“How the hell should I know? It’s warm and slimy, what else do you want me to say!? Shouldn’t one of you girls be doing this instead!? There’s no demand for a man to be in this position!”
“Wow, you’re the worst.”
The Princess and Yunyun said at the same time, which was accompanied by matching cold gazes.
“Don’t worry, Dust-san! There’s demand for your side of the fence too!”
“How is that supposed to make me not worry!?”
As we were doing this retarded back-and-forth, my body was slowly sinking deeper.
It’s now gone from my waist to my shoulders.
No joke, if this goes on it’ll be seriously bad.
“Hurry up and help me! I’ll give a special treasure to the first person who helps me!”
“Just so we’re clear, what exactly is your special treasure?”
That seemed to have caught the princess’s interest.
“It’s the special diet manju, hand crafted by Sir Vanir, that I helped develop with him way back when!”
The moment they heard that, the girl’s eyes took on a different shine.
“Are you talking about the manju with the weird mask design that even the nobility have been talking about lately?”
“Eh, I thought they were out of stock, but there are still some left!?”
“Vanir-sama’s hand made manju?”
Faitfore was the only one who didn’t react to it.
I didn’t expect the princess to know about it, but it must have spread from Iris’s servants, Claire or Rain, to the rest of the nobility.
Those manjus are items that Sir Vanir developed from the fruits of Tranquility Girls that I helped gather for him. They ended up being a great hit and sold out almost immediately.
Sir Vanir wanted to immediately increase production, but the fruits of Tranquility Girls aren’t easy to get your hands on, so sales are currently suspended.
Of course, there’s no way such a valuable item would be in my possession.
What I had were several buns that look the same but are filled with regular ingredients you can find at any souvenir shop. It was an imitation product I created.
“I’ll save you right away. Freeze Gust!”
“With that, there’ll be people lining up at my door asking for them. I’ll be able to become really popular! Light of Saber!”
“Vanir-sama’s hand made manju! Paralyze!”
The three of them shot a volley of spells at the same time and instantly took the worm out.
… I’m a little afraid of what they’ll do when they find out it was a fake.
I think I’ll lie low for a while after handing over the manju.
“So, where are the manju!?”
“Please hurry, it’s a promise, right!?”
“Vanir-sama’s hand made items are like a part of Vanir-sama’s body itself!”
Despite all of them wanting the same item, they all want it for different reasons.
“I’ll give them to you once we get back to town. There’s no way I would bring them along while we are on a quest.”
“Oh, there was no need to rush to save you, then.”
The three of them turned away with disappointed gazes, while Faitfore hurried over and stared at me.
So she was worried about me. Yeah, having a good partner is worth their weight in gold.
“Can I eat the worm?”
“… It’s best not to.”
The fact that no one was worried about me at all made me want to cry a little.
“Are we going back now? It’s still bright out.”
After cleaning myself of saliva for the second time today, we were on our way back to Axel, but Princess Leonor voiced her discontent.
“Fore-chan, you still want to play, right?”
“I’m full and sleepy…”
She turned to Faitfore for support, but she only got a sleepy voice in response.
Seems like she intends to take a nap on my back.
“You heard her, so stop being selfish and let’s go home for today. We can always pick up another quest tomorrow… Plus, I already fulfilled my promise of taking you on an adventure.”
“So you do remember our promise from back then.”
Don’t give me that smile.
“But I want to be an adventurer for a little while more. There’s no telling when Lynn-chan will be discovered and they start sending people to bring me in. We might look similar to each other, but we don’t act or behave the same way.”
I’ve accepted this situation, but thinking about it, Lynn has been forced to play princess all this time, and there’s no way she would know anything about how to behave as a member of royalty.
“They’ve probably already found out. They might have even dispatched people to look for you.”
“Ugh, probably. They are not hiding nearby, are they?”
She started furtively glancing at her surroundings.
Faitfore imitated her and started looking around at her surroundings too.
“Dust, there’s someone here. Behind that tree.”
I turned towards the direction Faitfore was pointing in.
Focusing, I managed to catch a glimpse of a different shadow amongst the shade cast by the tree.
“That bearded butler sure acts fast. Hey, I know you are there, so come on out.”
“T-There really was someone?”
The princess hasilty hid herself behind me.
It’s a little too late for that, though.
“Oh? To think that I would be discovered so easily. You sure are something.”
The person who stepped out from the shadow of the tree was a woman with long red hair wearing a red evening dress.
Her bangs covered one of her eyes, and the way her cleavage almost pops out from behind that dress is extremely erotic. She’s probably about as huge as Luna.
“What is with that fashion sense? Is she wearing it out in the boonies because she’d draw all the wrong kinds of attention if she wore that in the city?”
“She doesn’t seem like an adventurer. Maybe she’s too embarrassed to wear such an outfit in town, so maybe she’s secretly indulging in it where no one would see her?”
“Could she be in the same line as me? She sure is devoted to be trying to pick up customers at a place like this.”
Seeing someone dressed in such an incongruous way out here made the girls start loudly whisper amongst themselves.
The other woman must have heard that, for a blush started creeping across her features.
“Are you making fun of me!? I’m not shy or a woman of the night! Especially you, what did you say about my fashion sense!?”
Whenever she made an aggressive motion, her breasts wobbled like they were about to spill out of her outfit, so I didn’t feel like putting a stop to this.
If anything, I want them to make her even angrier.
Just a little more and they’ll slip out completely. Come on, just a little more!
“Hey, if you trash around any more, you’ll just make this pervert happy.”
And the princess just had to say something unnecessary.
“W-What are you looking at, you bastard!?”
The woman glared at me as she hastily moved to cover her up chest.
“Obviously I’m staring at your breasts!? What, are you telling me to ignore them after dressing up in such a revealing outfit!? Don’t be ridiculous! If you want that then go dress in something more sensible! Don’t call me a dirty old man just because I take a few glances when you wear a dress that makes your boobs seem like they are going to pop right out!”
“… I didn’t say that…”
Occasionally I run into people like this. It’s really annoying.
“It’s not a few glances, you were staring at her so intently…”
“You were breathing heavily too, so it’s no surprise that people will call you a pervert…”
“You had the same expression you do when you are in the store.”
“Dust, you pervert.”
Dammit, not a single person is on my side!
“No, no, wait a minute! It’d be stranger still not to look when a woman wears such erotic clothing! She’s definitely wearing that because she wants men to look at her!”
The more I say, the more the girls seem to shrink back from me.
Why? I’ve said nothing but the truth.
“Dust, that’s not true. True, women do sometimes choose clothes with how it would look to men in mind, but sometimes, they don’t want just any man to look at them, but only the one they like. Or perhaps she just likes the attention, which is why she dressed in such a flamboyant and shameless way.”
Princess Leonor gently placed a hand on my shoulder.
The other two looked at the woman in red, who made a troubled expression.
“I just like this type of clothes… Is it really that strange? It’s cool, right? It makes me look good, right?”
She mumbled as she looked down at her clothes.
“Sorry, I said too much. It’s best to wear the clothes you like! It doesn’t matter even if you have bad fashion sense!”
“Yeah, the Crimson Demons all have a unique fashion sense, but none of them feel any shame and boldly show it off! So have more confidence in yourself.”
“Is wearing revealing clothing really that strange?”
“Clothes with less cloth are easier to move around in.”
I don’t think anyone’s helping.
The girls had a hearty conversation about the other woman’s clothes, but we still don’t know who she is.
As for the person in question, she ended up rolling on the ground after enduring the attack by the other girls.
“Anyway, who are you?”
“Is it red that’s bad, or this dress… Eh? Ah, right, I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name is Perrier. I have business with that woman over there.”
She quickly regained her composure, puffed up her chest and introduced herself.
It’s really a treat to see those ripe fruits bouncing back and forth. I glanced down at Loli Succubus’s chest, and the difference really is night and day.
“What, do you have something to say? If you do, spit it out. It’s not good to hold it in.”
Loli Succubus gave me a deadpan gaze, and I gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Your breasts are really small.”
“Graaah! Who would really say that out loud! Do you even know the meaning of tact and diplomacy!?”
“You are the one who told me to be honest! Why are you getting angry!?”
“I’d be crazy if I didn’t get angry!”
She swung her arms around in large circles trying to hit me, so I pushed down on her head.
“Say, can you stop ignoring me?”
For some reason, Perrier had a fatigued expression.
Come to think of it, we’ve been getting sidetracked all this time, so we didn’t even get to hear her out.
“Sorry, sorry. Anyway, what are you doing here again?”
I ask, but I’m pretty sure she’s sent by the kingdom to take Princess Leonor in.
That flashy outfit of hers must be camouflage to prevent others from figuring out her true identity.
“Sorry, I can’t give you the details. But, as I’ve said earlier, I have business with that girl over there. If you come with me, I won’t hurt you.”
She seemed to have regained her composure.
The woman ruffled her hair and puffed out her chest.
“… Dust, I think she’s someone hired by father or the butler.”
“… Yeah. That dress and demeanor must be part of her disguise.”
As we whispered to each other, someone took a big step forward and posed in front of us.
“I don’t know what you are planning, but I won’t let you take Lynn-san away.”
Yunyun pointed at Perrier and said such a cool sounding line.
Her face was bright red, but that’s most likely because such a scene struck a chord with her Crimson Demon blood.
Yunyun is far more sensible compared to your average Crimson Demon, so she doesn’t usually engage in such theatrics, but I suppose you can’t fight against your blood.
“Oh? Your desire to protect your friends is certainly admirable.”
“F-Friends, you say? W-We can’t really be said to be friends yet…”
Why are you getting embarrassed at that?
“… Aren’t Yunyun-chan and Lynn-chan friends?”
“Well, they are closer than acquaintances, but it’s a bit of a stretch to call them friends.”
Yunyun’s loner tendencies make it hard for her to make friends, but Lynn tries to keep some distance between her and Yunyun because she’s afraid that I or Keith would negatively influence her.
After asking that question, the princess turned and whispered something to Loli Succubus.
“Well, if you want to stop me, we’ll have to let our strength do the talking. The great Perrier will beー”
The Princess and Loli Succubus both unleashed their spells before Perrier could finish speaking.
Being interrupted by both spells, Perrier collapsed to the ground.
Seeing her twitch like that while wearing that outfit is kinda lewd.
“Well, that’s the end of that.”
“Another one of your underhanded tricks. You sure don’t change.”
“What are you saying? In a duel, the one who lets their guard down first loses. Also, we probably shouldn’t talk about that here.”
She took her out in an underhanded attack, so why is she so proud about it?
“Umm, is this really okay?”
Yunyun hesitantly looked between Perrier and us, seemingly somewhat disappointed at having her thunder stolen.
“It’s fine. She’s the one who picked a fight with us in the first place. Plus, she’s just paralyzed. If anything, letting her go off without any wounds is a mercy from us. Though… It’s doubtful that she’ll learn from her actions if we just leave her like this, so maybe we should take this chance to make sure she’ll never challenge us again.”
“She’s a girl, so don’t go overboard, you hear?”
I crouched down before Perrier, who was glaring at me despite being unable to move.
The high slit on the side of her dress was flipped over when she fell, leaving her underwear just barely hidden from view.
I picked up a nearby branch and prodded at the slit.
“Oh, look, just a little more and your underwear will be visible. You can refuse, you know? If you don’t do anything, I take it that you consent.”
Just a little more and I can see the colour of her underwear.
“Ah, your teary eyed and defiant gaze really is a sight to behold. Now, just a littleー Owww! What are you doing!?”
Princess Leonor held her fist in front of her after smacking me on the head.
“That’s a crime.”
“I know that you are a scumbag, but you’ll end up in the care of the police again at this rate.”
“Making moves on a defenseless opponent, huh? It feels like people who have the same proclivities as Darkness would really enjoy being on the receiving end. I should note this down.”
There was only one person who didn’t reprimand me.
Come on, this is precisely the point you go all out so she’ll never think of crossing our paths again.
“Hey, what’s the big deal? I get to see her panties, and she gets to go free after just showing me her panties. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
“Perrier-san, was it? Anyway, she’d be on the losing side. Having your panties seen by a perverted delinquent is like a form a torture.”
“Yeah! A woman’s underwear should only be seen by the person she likes!”
Yunyun started lecturing me out of the blue.
She couldn’t win against me normally, so instead she decided to piggyback off the Princess.
“Umm, the paralyze effect would wear off soon, so we should go.”
“Ah, right. It doesn’t look like there are any monsters around, so let’s leave her here.”
“Right. Just in case, Paralyze! Now, let’s go.”
After the princess casted her spell again, the five of us resumed our journey back to Axel.
After we returned to town, we parted ways with Yunyun and Loli Succubus after receiving the money for the quests.
Right now, we are enjoying a meal at the guild.
Faitfore just ate two giant frogs, so she seemed satisfied for now and only had a small glass of juice.
“They’ve started sending people after me. What should I do?”
“Just give up and head back. In the first place, this body-double plan has no chance of holding up for very long. Lynn might look just like you, but she has no reason to act like a princess.”
“Well, I did ask one of my trusted maids to give a letter to her, telling her to pretend to be me for a while, and I’ll properly reward her afterwards.”
So she did think it through. Though, judging from current events…
“Then they must have found out somehow. Lynn isn’t as skilled in acting as you.”
“I even told my maid to help her…”
We’ve taken care of that woman in red somehow, but if she is here on the king’s orders, she’ll come knocking at our door again.
They don’t want to draw attention to the princess’s disappearance, so they probably won’t send in a large squad to search for us, but I should make some preparations, just in case.
“I wonder how Lynn is doing now. She won’t be locked up, will she?”
“You don’t have to worry about that. I made some preparations to make sure that she won’t be blamed for taking my place. If anything the old geezer is probably apologizing to her now.”
That person is quite strict with the princess and very capable as well, so he should understand the situation once it’s explained to him. She’s probably being treated as an honoured guest right now.
“Why won’t anyone believe me!?”
I was currently locked in a room furnished with the most expensive furniture I’ve ever seen in my life.
“All that bearded man says is ‘your acting is good but it still needs work’!”
In order to vent my frustrations, I grabbed a pillow off the four-poster bed and prepared to fling it before thinking better of it.
If I accidentally broke anything here, I don’t think I’ll be able to pay for it.
“Princess, huh? I can’t believe they seriously thought I could be a princess. What a joke.”
I picked up a picture frame next to the bed that depicted a woman wearing a resplendent dress.
“She really does look like me. Scarily so, actually.”
She looked so much like me I was starting to doubt if that really wasn’t a picture of me.
If it wasn’t for the hair and a certain feature…
“I could show them my breasts and point out the sheer difference in size… But I’ll save that for a last resort.”
My sense of embarrassment prevented me from taking the last step.
“I believe that is a wise decision.”
I thought I was alone in this room, until a woman’s voice called out to me.
I hastily looked around and saw the maid standing next to the bed that was clearly empty just moments before.
“When did you…?”
“I’m a former thief who was hired to keep an eye on the princess and rein in her frequent escape attempts. I’m well versed with Lurk, Trap Detection, and Eavesdrop skills. Additionally, I’m skilled in the usage of the whip, so it comes in handy when restraining the princess.”
Just what kind of person is this princess?
“Errm, since when have you been here?”
“I’ve been here from the very start.”
“That means you heard everything I said, right? It’s embarrassing, but nevermind that. If you heard all that, then you understand that I’m just an unrelated person who got caught up in all this!”
There’s no way anyone would think me talking to myself like that was an act.
Once they realize this misunderstanding, they should let me go.
“Yes, I am aware you are not the princess.”
“…Hmm? You knew?”
“Princess Leonor briefed me on the plan. Incidentally, in addition to being the princess’s personal maid, I am also her collaborator.”
“Plan? Collaborator? This is starting to sound really suspicious… Wait, don’t tell me I wasn’t caught up in this by chance? Err, there are a lot of things I don’t understand, so can I ask you a few questions?”
Ah, it’s okay. I thought for sure she wouldn’t tell me anything.
“First off, didn’t you say you were hired to rein in the princess’s frequent escape attempts?”
“That was the case initially, but I’ve since been bought out by the princess. I’m happily collecting two paychecks right now.”
She said all that without her expression changing in the slightest.
It’s none of my business, but that will definitely become a huge problem if it leaks out.
“So, what is this plan you talked about?”
“The princess has long since looked up to living a free life. Then, she received a certain piece of information. That there was an adventurer in Axel that looked just like her.”
“That’s referring to me, right?”
“Precisely. The plan was to make use… Enlist the help of the lookalike to gain her freedom.”
This person looks sharp and has a good control over her expressions, but she’s been letting her true thoughts slip out all this while.
If what she said is to be believed, my current situation isn’t the result of random chance, but the result of Princess Leonor’s machinations.
“For more details, please read this letter. Princess Leonor left it behind for you.”
The handwriting on the letter she handed to me was truly astounding in quality.
As a princess, she’s probably been taught to write from a very early age. So this is what a lifetime of strict refinement looks like.
Imagining her growing up under such strict conditions made me blame her a little less for placing me in my current situation.
“It would be interesting to see how she explains this to me.”
“Lynn-sama, my deepest apologies for involving you in this situation… I apologized, so please forgive me! It’s not such a bad deal for you. After all, it’s not often that commoners could live like royalty. You can indulge in all the luxuries you want, and you can be as willful and selfish as… Hmm, that might not work out. People have really stopped listening to me recently. Sure, I ran away, stole a few national treasures, and blabbed about national secrets in the tavern, but even so, don’t you think that’s horrible?”
After reading till that point, I gazed up towards the ceiling.
The chandelier hanging from the ceiling is clearly visible. That means that there’s nothing wrong with my eyes.
“Say, what kind of person is Princess Leonor?”
“Reckless, willful, and cunning would be the best terms to describe her.”
“You sure don’t mince your words…”
From the contents of the letter and what the maid told me, I think I have a pretty good idea of what kind of person this princess is.
I gathered my bearings and continued reading.
“ーAnyway, it’s no fun just to listen to me complain. On a slightly more serious note, I wanted to experience the free life of an adventurer once. Even if it is just for a few days, I wanted to live a life free from any restrictions. And… There was a promise I couldn’t fulfill.”
Promise? For some reason, that word stuck with me.
Even though I’ve never even met her once in my life.
“Of course, I’ll compensate you for the inconvenience. Enough for you to live on and relax for a few years. So, I’d like you to pretend to be Princess Leonor for a few days. Though, I suppose the reward might be a little small for that. Oh, I know, if you can stick it out for a few days, I’ll tell you some juicy details about Dust’s past.”
I couldn’t help but reread that line.
… Juicy details about Dust’s past?
“Eh, what does she mean? Does the princess and Dust know each other?”
I was only casually skimming the letter before, but it seems like I would have to pay more attention from here on out.
I straightened my posture and continued reading.
“That caught your interest, didn’t it? If you want to know what my relationship with Dust is… You get where I’m going, right? Though, it’d be troublesome if you were to doubt what I said was true, so ask the maid to give you something once you are done reading. Oh, and if you still want to refuse after reading this, that’s fine too. I’ve made preparations for you to be released at any time. Well, I’ve written quite a bit, haven’t I? Lynn-sama, I wish you the best in making your decision.”
That was the end of the letter.
There are a lot of things I want to say, but first, I should confirm it.
“Miss Maid, what was the item that the princess entrusted to you?”
“Here it is.”
She handed over a single photograph.
On the photo showed a white dragon, Princess Leonor, and Dust, a cheerful smile on his face as he squinted at the princess.
“Who is this supposed to be!? It gives me chills!”
I could feel goosebumps creeping up my body!
Who is this man smiling like the gentlest of souls? I’ve never seen Dust make such an expression in my life.
He’s younger than he is now. And this white dragon is Faitfore-chan, right? And this girl smiling without a care in the world must be the princess.
And Dust is looking right at her.
… A strange feeling clawed at my chest after seeing this unknown side of Dust.
“So, you mean Dust used to serve under Princess Leonor?”
“If you want more details, you’re going to have to ask the princess in person.”
If you want to know more, do your job and act like the princess, huh?
“How interesting. I’ve been frustrated by the small snippets of information that have reached me. I don’t really care much about him, but it does annoy me when someone does something behind my back. Fine, I’ll play the part of the princess and get every last detail out of her!”
I really don’t care about Dust’s past, but when he goes to such lengths to hide it, it makes me just want to expose it.
I really, really don’t care about hearing old stories about Dust!!
As I clenched my fists, the maid broke into a slow, emotionless clap.
“It’s great that you’ve found your motivation. This is a win-win for everyone. Now, I’ll have to make you learn at least the minimum of courtly graces in the next half day.”
Saying that, she spread out a piece of paper on the bed.
It seems to be some kind of schedule.
“Say, other than sleep and food, the rest of the slots seems to be stuffed full of activities.”
“Indeed. You’ll be having dinner with a prominent nobleman tonight, so you’ll have to learn your manners and proper language before then.”
“The princess is a tomboy, isn’t she? Then we don’t need to strictly keep to the decorum…”
“The worst thing about her is that she acts like an honour student in front of others. That’s why she has a good reputation amongst those who don’t know her truly.”
She really is quite the piece of work.
“Right, then, let’s start our enjoyable lesson on the manners of dining.”
While I was lost in thought, the maid brought in a few dishes, and I could tell at a glance that none of these dishes are stuff I’ve ever eaten before in my life.
Just looking at them makes me salivate.
“Let’s do our best.”
For the first time, the maid gave me a smile.
However, she held a whip in her hand.
Did I agree to this too quickly?
“Ahhh, I’m totally worn out~.”
Still wearing my strapless silk dress, I threw myself onto the bed.
I attended my first ever banquet and tried my best to act as a member of royalty, and to be honest, I have no idea if I succeeded or not.
Though, the bearded butler and the maids did properly back me up, so I don’t think my true identity was revealed just yet.
“Thank you for your hard work.”
Suddenly, a voice whispered in my ear.
Normally, I would be surprised, but I’m so worn out right now that even the energy to react is too much.
“Can you stop sneaking up on me like that?”
“Pardon me, it’s a habit.”
Will this maid ever stop speaking like a hitman?
“So, did I pull off acting like a princess?”
“I think that’s worth a passing grade.”
I never knew pretending to be someone else would be this exhausting.
I did fine today because I had a lot of allies backing me up, but if I have to keep doing this, eventually I’ll have to act like a princess in front of royalty.
I think I’ll stop right here. Just thinking about it gives me chills.
“Um, Miss maid, can’t we call this off?”
“Unfortunately, once you’ve accepted, you can’t back out.”
“You’re like a loan shark…”
She calmly replied. Seems like I have no choice but to wait for an opportunity and sneak out.
“Incidentally, slipping out is like a hobby for the princess, and she uses her high magic power and extreme cunning to sneak out of the castle almost every night. That’s why our maids and soldiers have become very good at keeping an eye on and retrieving people.”
The maid warned me in advance with an expressionless face.
True, the people here seemed to be on the same level as first class adventurers.
Even when I went to the toilet, even though I couldn’t see anyone, I could still feel several presences hovering close by… I’d probably be caught instantly if I tried to run.
“Did I agree too quickly?”
“Now, now, it’s only the first day after you’ve made your social debut. Seeing you like this makes me worry about your future… Oh, very well, I’ll tell you a story to inspire you.”
“A story to inspire me? What, are you going to tell me some heroic tale that’ll make the children happy?”
“Yes, it’s the most famous story in our country. A rebellious princess and the dragon knight who was hailed as a genius. How would you like to hear the tale of their elopement?”
I lifted my body up almost on reflex.
“Tell me more details about that story.”
“ーAnd that’s what happened.”
After hearing that story to the end, I started feeling frustrated for some reason.
“Hey, is that Rein person who sounds just like an ideal knight really Dust? It’s not completely impossible, but I find it very hard to believe.”
“I find the current Dust-sama to be even more unbelievable. He is like a completely different person entirely… Did he sell his soul to a devil?”
“That’s what I want to know…”
The two of us looked at each other and sighed.
Our sighs happened to perfectly overlap with each other, and the unexpectedness of it made me let out a giggle.
“Unfortunately, you seem to be telling the truth. So, err… Is it really true that he took the princess’s hand and led her out?”
“It is true that the two of them ran away together. However, the princess herself is the one who spread this story, so who knows how accurate it really is?”
She placed a finger on her expressionless face.
So she can doubt the words her master says.
“Even though it came from the princess herself?”
“Lying is like breathing for her. That’s why how you conduct yourself on a daily basis is important.”
“I agree with that.”
Spending all this time with Dust really makes me appreciate that.
“Though, back when the princess was telling this story… She really looked like she was enjoying herself.”
For some reason, hearing that line made my frustration flare up.
Even though I have no interest in who Dust was or what he did before!
It just ticks me off that he kept such a secret from his party members!
I really, really do not care if he was flirting with the princess or having a fun time with her!
“Oh, you seem upset. Is something to matter?”
“Not at all.”
“If Lynn-sama could play the part of the princess perfectly, people might start to think ‘Do we really need Princess Leonor?’. I wonder how frustrated the princess would feel upon seeing that. Just imagining it gives me chills…”
I don’t really care what the Princess thinks or what Dust is doing, but I do want to do something to get back at the princess who forcibly dragged me into this.
I don’t really know what relationship they have with each other, but a little revenge sounds apt for this situation.
“If you still want to refuse, I’ll pay you right now and escort you back to the inn.”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll keep playing the princess with you!”
Yes, I’m not jealous or anything, I’m just plain pissed off!