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Chapter 2: A Big Uproar Before and After Entering the Royal Capital
“So that’s the royal capital.”
Ryoji muttered with a dumbfounded expression at the sheer size of the city, while Harrold looked on happily and began to talk.
“Even Ryoji seems surprised. That is the pride of our Sandström Kingdom, the Royal Capital. It will take us at least another hour, so let us proceed slowly.”
“Duke. It’s time to return to the carriage ……. The attendants are repeatedly making impatient faces …….”
Carena calls out to Harrold, who is happily discussing with Ryoji, hesitantly. In the expanded room set up in Ryoji’s carriage, Harrold was completely at home with a glass of wine.
“No need to mind it. It’s just that Ryoji’s carriage is too comfortable, to begin with. The wine is cold, the hot food comes out of his item box. And the carriage doesn’t shake at all! Not even the king would have such a wonderful thing. Look at this! Wine on the table. No shaking at all. Well, what do you think, Ryoji? Would you sell me this magical artifact and the carriage for two thousand gold pieces?”
“I will not even accept twenty thousand gold pieces.”
Harrold, who seemed to like the expanded room and carriage very much, offered to buy them, but Ryoji refused with a smile.
“Follow the carriage with mine.”
There was no way he could enter the capital in Ryoji’s carriage, so Harrold returned to his own carriage with a regretful look on his face. There was a long line of people waiting at the gates of the capital, but Harrold and Ryoji’s carriages were able to make their way through the line. But Ryoji’s carriage was the only one that was stopped.
“Please stop! Your name and rank must be confirmed.”
“I’m Ryoji Uchino, a knight under Frontier Count Yuhan Stokman. I have an appointment with Lord Harrold by chance.”
“Knight? Hah! There is no way that the Duke, Harrold-sama, is going to go with a knight like you! Go and get back in line with the commoners! It’s doubtful that you’re a Knight in the first place.”
“That long line is the commoner’s side, isn’t it? Understood. Then let’s get in line there. Hey. Turn back the carriage.”
Ryoji decided that it was not a good idea to get into trouble here, so he lined up at the back of the line. After a while, Ryoji noticed a delicious smell wafting through the air, and when he spotted the stalls lined up, he shouted happily.
“Oh! There are so many! Let’s eat from all of them!”
The entire stall erupted with his voice.
“The meat I cook is excellent!”
“Brother! Buy some here as well!”
“If you buy five plates, you get an extra plate!”
Ryoji smiled and jumped down from the carriage to buy food one after another.
“It’s pretty good. Carena. Melta. Also, you guys can go ahead and buy whatever you want without hesitation. I’ll give each of you fifty copper coins, so you can buy all kinds of things. Whoever buys the most delicious food will get a silver coin as a prize!”
Everyone cheered at Ryoji’s suggestion. Based on their intuition and experience, they set off in search of delicious food.
The queue to enter the capital was slow and Ryoji had already eaten all the food he had bought from the stalls. As he was feeling inadequate, a small, whispering voice reached his ears.
“We-Well! Sir.”[TN: This person says ‘ Danna-sama, so I went with Sir, suggestions are appreciated]
“‘Yes, sir. Would you be willing to buy my products as well?”
When Ryoji looked at the owner of the voice, he saw a girl about his age holding a small bottle in her hand and making a request in a trembling voice.
“What is this?”
“It’s a sweet condiment. It’s sticky, so please be careful when handling it.”
“A sweet condiment with a stickiness? Can I have a taste?”
” No problem. If you like it, could you please buy it?”
Ryoji took the small bottle from the girl, opened the lid, and looked inside. He pulled up a wooden stick, twirling it around the clear liquid that he had seen in Japan.
“Is it syrup by any chance?”
Ryoji muttered to himself as he popped the clear, highly viscous liquid into his mouth. The simple flavor and sweetness spread in his mouth, filling his heart with nostalgia. As Ryoji froze with emotion at the taste of something he hadn’t tasted in a long time, the girl spoke to him fearfully.
“S-Sir? Is there something wrong with it? Kyaa!”
The girl screamed as she was suddenly grabbed by the arm.
“Excuse me! What is the price of this seasoning? One gold coin?”
“N-No way, sir! It’s not a luxury item like that.”
“Give me as much as you have! By the way, can you tell me how to make it?”
“I’m sorry, sir. Unfortunately, it is a secret that has been passed down from generation to generation. And only the Chief knows how to make it. Please make do with the two bottles I have now.”
“Can I meet with the Chief then? I’ll be spending some time in Royal Capital, so can we meet there?”
“Then I will consult with the Chief. Where do you reside, Sir?”
“I haven’t decided yet! When I’ve decided on a place to live, I’ll tell the adventurer’s guild and you can come to visit me.”
Ryoji handed over a letter addressed to the Chief and ten gold coins in a leather bag.
“I will take care of it. May I have your name, Sir?”
“Ryoji Uchino. And your name is?”
“My name is Sofia Laretei. I will be sure to visit you at the Adventurer’s Guild to get your address.”
The girl handed over both of the bottles in her hand and left to report to the chief.
” W-What? What’s going on?”
Ryoji was smiling as he looked at the syrup, but he was surprised to see that a large number of people had gathered. Carena, Merta, and the civil servants were among them, and upon confirmation, it seemed that they had told the owners of the stall that there would be a prize for those who bought the tasty food and that the owners had come to sell it directly to them.
“Brother! This meat is from a huge horned cow. Only a few people in the capital can eat it!”
” This dried Mushroom Monster over here is salted and grilled after it has been rehydrated. It’s delicious and refreshing!”
“You’ll get sick if you eat only meat! How do you like these Riigo Fruit?'[It’s(リイゴ) ‘Riigo’ Katakana is similar to Apple ‘Ringo'(リンゴ), so maybe it’s kind of similar?]
“Sorry, Ryoji-sama. It turned out to be more of a commotion than I expected.”
“We were having fun, too, and I think we got carried away.”
Carena and Melta apologized to him.
“It’s okay if you had fun.”
Ryoji pondered as he looked at the shopkeepers, who were selling their products with gusto, replying to the two that he didn’t particularly mind.
( I have storage, so I can buy all of them, but these people seem to have participated in the game I proposed, right? If so, I should decide who’s the best.)
As Ryoji closed his eyes and began to think about it as a serious competition, the shopkeepers’ sales voices became quieter and quieter. He opened his eyes and began to suggest as if he had timed it to be quiet.
“Okay! Let’s have a popularity contest! I’m going to prepare colored pieces of wood and boxes, and I want you to put the same number of pieces of wood into the boxes as the number of pieces sold. You usually do business in Royal Capital, right? So I need you to bring the crates to the guild tomorrow morning for today only.”
“That’s fine, but since you didn’t give us your name, bringing the crate to the guild would be …….”
“Ahh. Yes, that’s right. My name is Ryoji Uchino. I’m a knight who serves the frontier Count Yuhan-sama.”
“Eh? Are you by any chance the Hero of Drugul?”
Ryoji curiously looks around, not only at the shopkeepers who are participating in the game but also at the people who have come to watch the ruckus.
“Huh? Am I a celebrity?”
“Of course you are! The story of the Hero of Drugul who defeated the Bull-man is spread in the royal capital as well! But according to the rumors I’ve heard, the Hero of Drugul is like a giant, carrying a huge sword more than his height. With that weapon, he cuts Bull-men in half, and when he goes out on the streets, he shoots people he doesn’t like not only with his sword but also with magic in succession to chase them around. And more! I heard that he has two fiancées and more than 10 mistresses. And yet, he appears to be a child. It’s astonishing!”
“I’ve never heard of this! That guy! Who is it? The one who spread the rumor! And I don’t have a mistress! I am still a minor!”
“Ryoji-sama? Are you declaring that you will have a mistress when you come of age?”
As Ryoji was shouting, giving a tsukkomi, Carena confirmed with a voice so low that the clamor around them stopped instantly. As soon as he turned his head awkwardly towards her, Melta approached him with the same smile on her face.”
“No, no! There is no way I would have a mistress! I have two such wonderful fiancées!”
“Let’s talk about that when we get to the inn. It can wait, okay?”
Ryoji, who was backing away, sweating sloppily as they approached, took a piece of wood from storage and began to process it as if he had thought of something.
“Ah! That’s right! I need to prepare for the popularity contest.”
Carena and Melta chuckled at Ryoji’s blatant deception and began to help him. The work was finished in about 30 minutes, but Melta noticed that there was no one to confirm the results, so she asked a question.
“Isn’t it possible to cheat with this?”
” It doesn’t matter either way. The winner will get the prize money, but I won’t go to a store that would do that again. This is just a game, so let’s have some fun.”
After the eight stores that agreed to hold a popularity contest received Ryoji’s signature, a piece of wood with the store’s name on it, and a wooden box, they went back to their stores and immediately started selling their products at their stalls.
” Ryoji Uchino, is that right?”
Ryoji and his friends were talking about the taste of the food at the stall when a voice called out to them. When he turned towards the voice, he saw the gatekeeper who had stopped him when he tried to pass through the castle gate.
The gatekeeper, who was lightly denied by Ryoji, glared at him with a scowl and asked the three soldiers behind him to stop the carriage and check again.
“I know that you are Ryoji Uchino! Now come here!”
“If you already knew, then why are you checking?”
The gatekeeper, who must have heard the small murmur, shouted at him irritably. Looking at the other man, Ryoji replied with a smile as he stood up slowly and deliberately.
The gatekeeper made a dumb sound at the simple statement, but when he realized that he had been refused, he started yelling with a bright red face.
“You! You dare to defy me! Do you have any idea what will happen to you?”
“For what reason? Why should I, a Knight, listen to the orders of a mere gatekeeper?”
Realizing that he was being mocked, the gatekeeper glared at Ryoji with murderous intent in his eyes and ordered the three soldiers to
“Take him in! I don’t care if you have to use force.”
At the gatekeeper’s order, the soldiers drew their swords and approached him. When Ryoji saw them, he jumped down from the carriage and shouted to the crowd that had surrounded them in the distance.
“Be careful not to get caught up! They’re trying to forcibly take us somewhere. We are resisting because the other side won’t explain why, and I’ll make it clear that the Royal Family has no place in this!”
“I don’t know, but good luck! Show us what the Hero of Drugul is capable of!”
“Go for it! I’m rooting for you, Ryoji!”
“All right! I’ll put five coppers on Ryoji!”
“Idiot! That ain’t a bet! It’s the time! Time! I bet on the opponent being able to hold out for five minutes!”
“If you get caught, who’s going to pay for the popularity contest!”
The gatekeeper turned red with anger as the others cheered him on, but the soldiers turned pale with escape when they learned that Ryoji was a hero of Drugul.
“What are you doing! Catch him quickly!”
In response to the hysterical shouting of the gatekeeper he sidestepped and ducked the sword of a soldier who hesitantly attacked him. He then used his right hand to press down on the soldier’s wrist. The soldier, whose entire body was shaking, stopped moving for a moment and then slowly collapsed, his eyes turning white.
The fact that the soldier who was touched by Ryoji collapsed in an instant made the two soldiers’ movements visibly worse. As he watched, he turned his sympathetic eyes to the two soldiers and smiled at them.
” Why don’t you put your swords away? I will get serious, okay?”
” You are no match for the Royal Guards! We have never lost a battle in recorded history! Duke Harrold demands that we bring him back as soon as possible! The longer we wait, the worse he’ll think of me! Get on with it! It won’t take much effort to fire you guys!”
” The Duke wants you to bring me back as soon as possible? If you hadn’t said, “I won’t let you through,” none of this would have happened. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like dealing with you.”
The gatekeeper, who had been treated with contempt and disdain, looked like he didn’t understand what was being said, but when he caught up, he drew his sword with a bright red face, pushed the two soldiers aside, and stepped forward.
“You’re a knight, and you have the nerve to stand up to me, the second son of a baronial family. I’ll show you the difference in rank when you can only be a knight.”
Ryoji’s eyes widened at the gatekeeper’s words, and he put his hand to his mouth and began to tremble. Seeing this, the gatekeeper understood that he had noticed the difference in rank, and nodded in satisfaction as he turned his chest and thrust his sword at Ryoji before opening his mouth.
“You finally understand the difference in rank, huh. I do not condone your attitude, and I have no intention of letting this go peacefully. But in my mercy, I will give you the opportunity to say one last thing.”
Ryoji, trembling to the max, finally opened his mouth and spoke to the gatekeeper with an impressed expression.
” I can’t believe you could string so many lines from a beaten character together! I was wrong about you, man. Thought you were just a jerk, but I’ll remember you as the wonderful biting gatekeeper A! This is the third great haul of the day.”
“By the way, what’s your first and second?”
“The food from the stall was good, and I got some syrup. This is the syrup. You should try it. The girl who just came to sell it to me…”
Ryoji happily answered Carena’s question, and when Melta asked about the syrup, he took out a small bottle and a wooden stick from storage, handed them to her, and began to explain while offering her a sample.
“Oi, don’t ignore me!”
Ryoji spoke cheerfully to the gatekeeper, who came in with anger, lightly blocking the attack with Cozimo’s sword and telling the others to stay back.
“Sudden attack is terrible. I’m going to get serious too!”
He pushed back the sword that had been catching him, took a moment to step back, and then applied a dual fire attribute to Cozimo’s sword and swept the tip of the gatekeeper’s sword aside. The gatekeeper looked slightly frightened by the momentum, but gritted his teeth and began to attack.
However, Ryoji, realizing the strength of his opponent, stepped lightly and began to counterattack.
“Well, let’s get started! In this case, should I say, “Did you really think you could beat me?” maybe?”
Ryoji had plenty of time to double up, switching attributes, and began swinging his sword to scrape off the tip of the gatekeeper’s sword.
The gatekeeper thought he was preventing Ryoji from attacking, but the soldiers watching the fight behind him began to feel strange.
“Hey. Isn’t the sword getting shorter?”
“You thought so, too? It’s not an optical illusion, is it?”
In the last spurt, Ryoji accelerates his attack with a double lightning attribute. In the end, it was the only way for the gatekeeper to defend himself with his eyes half-closed and his sword up. Suddenly, however, the attacks from Ryoji stopped. When he opened his eyes, wondering, he found his sword in an impossible state.
The gatekeeper was looking at his hand, which was now only the hilt and sword guard. Ryoji was approaching with a smile on his face, and he glared at him as he backed away with a pale face.
(He’s quite persistent. What to do? Sorry, gatekeeper, but I’m going to make sure you get a taste of the horror so I can have a good time in Royal Capital.)
A luminous needle appears above Ryoji’s head. He then shoots it out as if to pierce the gatekeeper’s feet. The gatekeeper jumps back in panic, and Ryoji takes another step forward and produces two Lightning Needles, which he shoots right near the gatekeeper’s right and left feet.
“Hey! Stop messing around!”
“Four Lightning Needles in a row.”
“Sixteen Lightning Needles.”
“W-Wait a minute. ……”
“Let’s skip one, Lightning Needle sixty-four.”[TN: skipping 32]
Ryoji approaches the gatekeeper, who has Lightning Needles hit near his feet several times and has fallen down, his face pale and his legs tangled.
“Lightning Needle two hundred and fifty-six. Stay where you are. If you move, you will die.”
He unleashed the Lightning Needle so that the gatekeeper could hear it, and as it pierced the area around the gatekeeper, it became like a prison. At that point, Ryoji, with a big smile on his face for the first time, spoke to the gatekeeper in a brisk voice.
“You’ve picked the wrong guy to fight with. Stay with me a little longer. I’ll just make sure you never want to remember me again. Okay, let’s get 512 stacks of Lightning Needles to …….”
“That’s enough of that for now. Ryoji-dono.”
Just as he was about to release it, a voice called out from behind him. Ryoji turned around with a troubled look on his face and spoke to the person who had called out to him.
“Can you please not interrupt me? I was about to be forcibly taken into custody, and I have no choice but to fight. At this very moment, I might have to fight back.”
“I’ve confirmed everything. There will be no punishment for you. Rather, I want you to accept my apology.”
” I will accept your apology later. But that man there was forcing the soldiers to fight by telling them he was the second son of a baronet.”
” I understand. Let me assure you that there will be no interference from the baronial family on the part of Ryoji-dono and the soldiers.”
By being clearly assured, Ryoji was able to look at the figure of the other party. He was a tall man clad in full armor, with a large shield on his back and a long sword under his arm.
“What is your name? I do not know who you are and I am told to ‘Stop’…….”
” My apologies for that. My name is Maximovich Gamidov. Unfortunately, I’m also the brother of the gatekeeper who’s lying there in the dirt.”
As Ryoji’s eyes widened slightly at the mention of his brother, Maximovich walked past him, approached his brother, the gatekeeper, and looked down at him. Assuming that help was on the way, the gatekeeper squirmed and begged.
“Brother! Please help me! That man is a knight, and he attacked me, the second son of a baronet!”
“It does not appear that you are injured, does it? And where’s your proof?”
“The proof is me! Look at me! Look at this sword! This is the proof!”
“Still talking! You disgrace the house of Gamidov! I’ll report this matter to father. Father gave you a job as a gatekeeper, and you’re a disgrace to him! It’s enough! You’re going to the monastery to relearn your character. Take him away! Lord Ryoji. I’m really sorry. I’ll apologize to you again later for this.”
When he saw that the gatekeeper had completely stopped moving under Maximovich’s harsh words, he ordered his own men to take him away.
“Sorry, but Lord Ryoji will have to be escorted to Harrold-sama. I, the next head of the Gamidov family, will guarantee your safety, so please rest assured.”
After bowing to the soldiers, Maxmivich left. Ryoji muttered to himself with a wry smile as he watched him go.
“He got me.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. After all, I can’t accuse the gatekeeper of any crime, can I? I can’t pursue it any further if it’s done that far. Oh… Ah! I forgot to ask something.”
“Is there something?”
Everyone looks at Ryoji with surprise at his sudden shouting. When Carena asks a question on behalf of everyone, Ryoji answers with a troubled face.
” Somebody tell me the name of the gatekeeper! I know his brother is Maximovich Gamidov. If this keeps up, he’s going to end up as gatekeeper A in my book, okay?”
“I guess it could go either way, ……. I’ll check it out later. By the way, Ryoji-sama. How far did you intend to go with that Lightning Needle attack?”
“Hmm? I was working hard on tying up multiples of two, so I was planning to go up to 4096 in the end?”
” ……. Please definitely stop.”
“I’ve been waiting for you. Where have you been lurking?”
As soon as they got off the carriage, voices were coming from both sides. The soldiers led the group to the carriage yard in the noble town, four hours after they had separated from Harrold. It was Marco and Yuhan, whom they hadn’t seen in two weeks, and Harrold, who had been with them earlier, who approached them. Ryoji explained to everyone what had happened so far.
“After we split up with the Duke, they wouldn’t let us through, so we just waited for them normally. We’ve had a lot of fun, though.”
Harrold, who had heard about the situation from Ryoji, tilted his head and began to ask questions.
” I thought I sent someone to pick you up when you didn’t show up? Didn’t my message get through?”
“I think it was a misunderstanding on the part of the gatekeeper who the Duke asked to take the message. He almost took me into custody.”
“Custody? Why do I need to capture you, Ryoji-dono? I just said, “Bring him here as soon as possible.” ……”
A woman who seemed to be a secretary behind him reported in a small voice to the confused Harrold.
“Fumu. I see. Did he misunderstand my message and try to capture Ryoji and bring him here? And as a criminal?”
“According to the report, he took three soldiers without permission.”
“Abusing the power of the Gamidov family”
Harald muttered with a grim look in his eyes when he heard the report from his secretary.
Ryoji was the one who panicked. He didn’t care what happened to the gatekeepers, but his brother Maximovich made sense. Ryoji tried his best to explain the situation to prevent the destruction of the Gamidov family.
“Chi, you have saved the day.”
“No, no, no. That was a crazy thing to say. See. Even the secretary there is scared!”
“No. Ryoji-sama. As expected of Harrold-sama, this is an emotional shiver. The nobility exists to protect the people. It’s outrageous that they forget that and use their power as an excuse. If I hadn’t heard about Maximovich-sama’s response from Ryoji-sama, I would have heard about the disappearance of the Gamidov family in less than a week.”
After the secretary explained the power of the great aristocracy to him, Ryoji was a little taken back, but he introduced the nearby Yuhan and Marco to Harrold.
“Duke. Let me introduce you to my lord. Yuhan-sama, the frontier count who rules around the city of Drugul. And this is Marco.”[TN: I tried to use Margrave as someone suggested in the comments, but I like Frontier count better, and they are similar if not the same]
“I see. The Count has an excellent vassal.”
“It’s all thanks to my vassal, Ryoji, that we are related.”
“Ha-ha-ha. You can rest assured, Count. I’m not stealing him from you.”
Harrold gazed at Marco and smirked as he replied, laughing at Yuhan’s cautiousness in replying with caution.
” And, Marco, was it? I included my handwriting in the letter that Ryoji sent you, how did you react to it?. I’ve heard that you’re the most talented man in Safyria.”
“No, no! That’s not true! Generally speaking, what do you expect me to do when I’ve so drastically destroyed my perception of you? Ryoji! You’ve got to be kidding me! All you do is make absurd demands! I am not in charge of Tsukkomi! And the Duke. What do you mean, Safyria’s greatest talent?”
“What? Tsukkomi, right?”
“Don’t be fooled by Ryoji’s jokes! I told you, I’m not in charge of Tsukkomi!
“Ha-ha-ha. Just like Ryoji said. Marco. I like you too. Count. Ryoji, the hero of Drugul, Marco, B-rank adventurers such as Carena, and Aurelio, a merchant who has made a name for himself in the capital. I believe that I can build a good relationship with you, who has a great vassal group. By the way, I’m the head of the Papal faction, but what do you say about the Noble faction?”
Harrold’s expression, which had been smiling happily, suddenly changed to one of seriousness. Yuhan, Marco, and Ryoji answered the question without pause.
“A money-grubbing system that forgets the pride of the aristocracy.”
“I don’t like their money-grubbing ways.”
“I’m not interested, and if it gets in the way, I’ll destroy it.”
Harrold nodded his head in satisfaction and held out his right hand.
“Welcome to the Papal Faction.”
Melta nodded and replied to Ryoji’s question mark expression.
“Today is the banquet and tomorrow is the audience with the king. Didn’t Marco tell you that?”
“Today? Seriously! I haven’t heard anything from Marco! I don’t even know when the entrance ceremony is! Marco still lacks training.”
Ryoji was criticizing Marco, but when he noticed something, he grabbed both of Melta’s arms and confirmed it with a desperate look.
“What time does the dinner party start?”
“The reception starts in the evening.”
He sounded quite impatient, but after hearing the information about the dinner party from Melta, Ryoji was relieved and pulled Melta’s hand to go out.
“Okay! We can make it if we have that much time. Let’s go. Melta.”1
“Ryoji-sama? Where are you taking me? No, you don’t have to pull me. I can go!”
“Please be sure to come back an hour earlier.”
Carena, who was preparing for the dinner party, called out to him, he nodded his head and took Melta with him.
“Welcome. What kind of clothes would you like to order today?”
” I apologize for the rush, but I’m looking for an outfit for my fiancé. If I find something I like, I’ll pay for it immediately.”
The two of them came to a dress store that specializes in dresses for the aristocracy, famous even in the royal capital. Melta whispered to Ryoji to find out how he knew about the dress store.
“How did you know about this place?”
“The Duke’s secretary told me.”
As they were whispering, the clerk, probably judging from Ryoji’s gestures that he was a nobleman with full use of his etiquette skills, quickly checked Melta’s size and brought her a dress from the back of the store.
The dress that the clerk brought was elegant and suitable for a dinner party. The basic color of the dress was light indigo, and it was made of shiny, high-quality fabric with a wide back opening, making it an attractive outfit.
“How about this one, sir?”
“I think it’s good. What do you think, Melta?”
“Is there any need for such an amazing dress? I’m not going to the dinner party, I’m going to stay at home.”
Melta’s eyes lit up for a moment when the dress she had never seen before was brought up. But as she told him that she was not going to the dinner party, she regretfully declined.
“I’m going to attend the royal dinner, but can’t a knight bring his fiancée?”
“It’s no problem. If you are invited to the banquet, it is your duty to attend with your fiancée. Count Traugott Hescher is attending with six of his wives.”
“Count Hescher with six wives? So it’s okay for me to bring Carena and Melta. In any case, go and try on the clothes. That’s an order from your Lord.”
Nodding his head in satisfaction at the shopkeeper’s answer, Ryoji handed the dress to Melta and sent her to the fitting room in the back to confirm the price.
“It will be three gold pieces.”
“Three gold pieces? That’s cheap. So can you add a few more ribbons, lace, and jewels to the dress to make it more luxurious? I’ll add two gold coins for the work. I’ll provide the jewelry.”
The shopkeeper, who had thought he was negotiating a discount, looked surprised for a moment. However, the clerk returned to smiling and started looking for ornaments to match the dress. As Ryoji and the clerk were discussing the ornaments, Melta shyly came out of the fitting room.
“How is it? Ryoji-sama?”
“It suits you! That’s my fiancée! What should I do? I’m falling in love with you all over again!”
“P-please stop! It’s embarrassing!”
Everyone in the store breathed a sigh of admiration as Melta’s whole body turned bright red at Ryoji’s praise. Her black hair and pale indigo dress suited her well, and her shy appearance made her look like a prim and proper noblewoman.
“Okay! Let’s go with this! Can you put this on too?”
Melta’s beauty shined even brighter as the shopkeepers attached ribbons and lace to her dress. Melta refrained from wearing the dress because it was too extravagant.
“Ryoji-sama. This is too extravagant. We are going to a dinner party, so could you please make it a little more relaxed?”
“My bad. Sorry, but you’ll have to show me your outfit at the mansion. If I had more time, I would have prepared the materials!”
Melta laughed lightly at Ryoji’s frustrated face and asked the question.
“I will wear it when we go to Yuhan-sama’s place since it is too much for everyday wear. By the way, what material do you use to make it from scratch?”
“Mithril, of course! It might be interesting to use the dragon’s magic stone for the ornaments.”
“I can’t wear such an amazing dress.”
Melta laughed as she listened to Ryoji explaining with a snort.
“Aren’t we attracting some attention?”
It was time for the dinner party, and the conversation had begun to divide into the noble and Papal factions. Ryoji and the others attracted a lot of attention at once as they entered the hall after the reception with Yuhan. Ryoji looked around and muttered to himself, to which Yuhan replied as if it were obvious.
“It’s only natural. By the way, Ryoji, the hero of Drugul, is the one who is getting all the attention. If you know even a little bit about his saga of taking on three cowmen at the same time or the commotion at the entrance to the royal capital, there will be no shortage of topics to talk about.
“Naturally, I suppose. But don’t forget that today the attention is not only on Ryoji-dono but also on the Count.
Harrold joins the conversation between the two. The aristocrats groaned at the fact that Harrold, the leader of the Papal faction, had moved to join the conversation. It had been rumored that Yuhan, the frontier count, was a neutralist.
“Ho-ho-ho. I see you are puzzled. That’s fine. Faction warfare is no fun without this.”
“This is a faction war? Just because Yuhan-sama joined?”
Harrold replied happily to Carena’s monologue, pointing to the place where the noble factions were gathered.
“Yes, that’s right. The young lady’s lord has always been the focus of attention, and since Ryoji-dono became his vassal, he has been the sole topic of conversation. Look at the look of frustration on the faces of those noblemen. Their faces must be saying, “The balance between the two major factions will collapse”. Hmm? There’s one person with a pale face, isn’t there? Do you have any idea?”
He spotted one nobleman with a different complexion and checked with Ryoji and the others. When Harrold asked the question, they all looked at him, and the nobleman turned his face away blatantly.
“That person is the aristocrat who owns the territory next to Yuhan-sama’s.”
“He is the boss of the civil servant who permitted me to enter the Board Forest. Maybe we should go and thank him?”
Ryoji’s muttering was stopped by everyone with a wry smile.
After confirming that everyone had gathered, Ryoji and the others were ushered into the banquet hall. A platter was brought to each table and the ingredients and cooking methods of the dishes were explained, after which the waiter served them at a side table.
“It was delicious. Can we take some home as souvenirs?”
“Please don’t do that. Even if Ryoji-sama has an item box, it’s no good.”
“A country bumpkin who doesn’t even know etiquette is disgusting. I don’t think it’s possible, but I’d like you to be as gorgeous and graceful as I am. And who do you think you are, with ladies on both sides of you? Isn’t that a bit out of character for you?”
A man spoke from the side in a ridiculous tone. When Ryoji, Carena, and Melta looked at the man, the man began to talk to Carena and Melta with a distracted gesture, ignoring Ryoji.
“A beautiful woman such as yourselves should not be babysitting children. What do you think? After dinner, we can take a stroll in the palace gardens.”
“No, thank you. After dinner, I’ll go for a walk in the gardens with Master Ryoji.”
While the man who didn’t think he would be rejected looked stunned, Ryoji used his etiquette skills and started eating. The man’s expression changed from dumbfounded to stunned as the kid who was supposed to be making a fool of himself started eating with perfect manners.
“What’s with the etiquette? How is it polite to talk to someone else’s fiancée while they are eating?”
“‘……. I have your face memorized.”
The man looked at Ryoji in a daze for a while, but when he came back to himself, he turned red and returned to his seat.
After that, the dinner party seemed to end without any problems. It was when the dessert was served that a commotion broke out. When the dessert was served, a commotion erupted.
“Ryoji-sama! It’s been a while. How are you?”
It was Elena Sandstrom, the eighth in line to the throne, who spoke to Ryoji. It was unheard of for a member of the royal family to get up from the guest of honor’s seat and walk over to where the knights were sitting.
“Princess Elena. Your squires look like they’re about to cry. Please return to your seat.”
“I understand. But I just wanted to congratulate you. Ryoji-sama. Congratulations on your engagement. I will bring you a congratulatory gift later.”
Elena responded to Ryoji’s chuckle by nodding and offering her congratulations.
“Thank you for your generous words. There’s still two years until I come of age, but I’ll do my best to make sure we all live happily ever after.”
“Thank you. Elena. I’m most happy to hear you say that.”
“Thank you very much. Princess.”
Each of them replied to Elena’s congratulatory speech with their own feelings. Carena thanked her friend in a voice that could not be heard by the others.
“Well then. Princess. You have already congratulated me, so please return to your seats…”
“Actually, Ryoji-sama. I have one request.
When he saw Elena’s wonderful smile, a bad premonition came over him with full force, but he did not show it and asked.
“What is it?”
“I want to eat purin. When I mentioned purin to my father, he said, ‘Why don’t you ask him to make it at the dinner party’?”[TN: She’s mispronouncing pudding]
Ehhh! Your father is the current King, His Majesty Marcel Sandstrom, right? With all the people here, it’s impossible to make enough for everyone, you know?”
“We’ll only need enough for us!”
“There’s plenty, though.”
Ryoji smiled and nodded to Elena’s request, and was led into the kitchen.
“You are the Hero of Drugul, Ryoji-sama?
The princess has told me many things about you, including that you cook dishes we’ve never seen before.”
A man in his late thirties greeted Ryoji as he led him into the kitchen. He had heard about ice cream and pudding from Elena and was the head chef of the royal palace who had created the ice cream using the recipe Ryoji had given him.
“Did you manage to recreate the ice cream? Did you have to go to a place where there was snow?”
“No, no. The king ordered his chief court magician to cast a blizzard in one of the training grounds.”
“Ehh! What are you making the Chief Court Sorcerer do!”
“Seems like he had a lot of fun though. That figure chanting blizzard.”
When Ryoji heard the details of the event, he had a dumbfounded look on his face, but he pulled himself together and started to make the pudding. The pudding that he made with the head chef was highly praised by the entire royal family, and the royal family asked, “How about giving Ryoji a title?’ This caused a great deal of turmoil among the retainers of the Royal Family.
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