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Pursing my lips, I looked at the two of them alternately with a defeated expression. I felt defeated. The situation wouldn’t end just by choosing one of them hastily since my relationship with the two of them was still ambiguous and hadn’t been defined yet.
My relationship with Lecht was one that would start from zero, since I had felt burdened due to his longing feelings that he had held for me for a long time. Although my heart would often flutter for him, I wouldn’t exactly say that my feelings for him were deep enough for me to say that I ‘liked’ him. But saying ‘no’ would feel too heartless, so I had told him I would try and get used to his affection, thus resulting in our relationship being ambiguous in many ways.
My relationship with Linden was even more ambiguous. Only a few hours had passed since I had seen him crying profusely, saying that he was now all alone. How cornered must he have felt for him to cling onto the first person he saw and beg them not to leave him? It was already impossible to turn him away, my nonexistent maternal instinct surging inside of me. I wanted to stay by his side and support him, at least until he had the strength to take on the world by himself again.
[Linden] “I can pick only the most entertaining stands and take you there!”
[Lecht] “I can let you do whatever you want, as long as you stay by my side. It’s dangerous.”
How could going to a night market turn into such a hot topic? What should I do…?
As my eyes flitted across the room, I suddenly made eye contact with the butler, Tanma. I suddenly became conscious of the situation the moment I caught a glimpse of his satisfied smile.
I burst into laughter.
The two men, who had become so serious about going to a night market, and me, who was sweating over it. And these people were a demon king, a prince, and a saintess. Thinking about it now, it really was a funny situation.
[Lecht & Linden] “Ara?”
I laughed so hard that tears almost came to my eyes. The two men simultaneously said my name in a puzzled voice.
[Ara] “Let’s all go together. It’s more fun to go to a night market together!”
I said, holding both of their hands at the same time.
[Ara] “The three of us, Butler Tanma, the Priest Trio, and Kelber. Together.”
A smile involuntarily leaked out of my overflowing happiness.
[Ara] “The two of you don’t have any complaints with that, right?”
The two men glared at each other in dissatisfaction at my question.
[Ara] “Or should I just go by myself?!”
The two burly men flinched in unison despite it not even being a scary threat.
[Lecht] “Let’s go together. If that’s what you want, then okay.”
[Linden] “Haa… alright. Together…”
In the end, we concluded that we’d all go together to the night market.
I didn’t know back then. Just how severely competitive these two men were.
[Lecht] “Does it look like I require financial help?”
[Linden] “It’s not for you, Your Excellency, but for Ara.”
[Lecht] “Then we’ll go to another accomodation.”
[Linden] “All of the best accomodations around here are owned by the Ezzarson Guild.”
[Lecht] “Then I’ll just buy this place.”
[Linden] “I don’t have any intention of selling it though?”
A smiling Linden. A frigid Lecht.
I wouldn’t have had any hopes or dreams of these two having a good time together if I had known… Anyway, it was this mouth of mine that was the problem.
[Linden] “Are you that dissatisfied over not having to pay for your accommodation?”
[Lecht] “It’s only natural for a guest to pay when they stay over.”
The two would butt heads at least once an hour, and at most, up to five times an hour. All the reasons they would face off with each other over were all extremely trivial, from ‘Ara likes drinking warm tea’ and ‘She likes drinking cold things as well’, to ‘As the saintess, Ara’s residence should be in the capital’s Great Temple’ and ‘The safest place is in the Grand Duchy, where Lunarism is the most active’.
Now they were arguing about whether or not I would pay for my stay in the inn that Linden owned.
[Linden] “But Ara isn’t just another guest, is she? I don’t accept money from friends.”
[Lecht] “Just because you’re a ‘friend’, doesn’t mean that you’re not a ‘guest’ either. A fee is paid in expectation of receiving proper treatment.”
[Linden] “Do you think I won’t provide you with the appropriate treatment if I don’t get paid? I’m not shameless enough to do that.”
Linden clearly used to be cautious of Lecht’s mood before… Did he perhaps lose his mind when his grandfather passed away, I wonder? And on top of that, Lecht didn’t seem to care whether or not Linden was there last time, so why is he reacting like this now?
[Ara] “Lecht, let’s look on the bright side. Linden considers us as his really close friends. Just accept it graciously, alright?”
I ended up playing the mediator once again. Sometimes I’d succeed, but…
[Lecht] “I’ve never had a friend like that.”
[Linden] “I was only talking about you, Ara!”
…this time, I failed.
I sighed as I watched the two men glare at each other.
Fine, I give up. Fight, fight, fight, fight…
Kelber immediately rested his head on my lap as soon as I plopped my tired body onto the chair.
[Kelber] “Woof! Woof! Woof!”
I was comforted soon by his whining and the wagging of his tail. Just as I was patting his three cute heads, the door burst open as the trio of priests suddenly rushed in.
[Priest 1] “Saintess~! Our pretty Saintess!”
[Priest 2] “Saintess! I cut my hair!”
[Priest 3] “The Saintess isn’t interested in your hair cut.”
They were very rowdy today as well.
[Priest 1] “Saintess, you’re pretty today as well… Hehe.”
[Priest 2] “Gosh! I should’ve grown my hair out just like the Saintess!”
[Priest 3] “Give it up. It’ll just look like dog hair on you.”
Their praises were still overflowing with energy.
[Ara] “You’ve all arrived! Now, should we set off then?”
I jumped up from my seat and ran toward the priests.
[Ara] “If both of you don’t come quickly, I’ll leave you both behind!”
The two men who were still arguing with each other vigorously as they went out the door with the priests, finally stopped fighting and ran after us.
[Kelber] “Woof! Woof! Woof!”
[Tanma] “I heard that the candy they sell by melting sugar is quite popular in the night market.”
[Lecht] “Tell me when your legs get tired. I’ll give you a piggyback.”
[Linden] “Ara, take my hand and let’s go!”
The Priest Trio, who were leading the way while squabbling with each other. Kelber and Tanma, who were faithfully guarding me from behind. And Lecht and Linden, who were guarding me on both sides. It was a combination that was tiring in many ways, but…
[Ara] “No matter what, drinking and eating at the night market is the best!”\
But at the same time, it was the combination that gave me the most happiness, so I ran forward energetically, confidently expecting that this trip to the night market would be really enjoyable.
* * *
pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:
Meanwhile, at that time in the Grand Duchy…
[Ryno] “I also want to go to Her Majesty’s proclamation ceremony though…”
[Guard] “Cheer up. You can’t be humanised, so there’s nothing you can do.”
The guard, who was accompanying the depressed Ryno, patted him on the shoulder. The image of the man squatting on a bench with a sad face looked extremely inconsistent with his frame that was as large and bulky as a brown bear’s.
[Ryno] “What if I can’t humanise myself, no matter how hard I try?”
Humanising, which was a process which hid a demon’s horns and ears, was something not many demons were able to do since it required an enormous amount of magic and skill. And Ryno, who was born with half human blood would naturally have less innate magic than the average demon, so humanisation wasn’t something that he could achieve just through his own effort alone.
[Ryno] “But that’s how I mastered the wind though.”
To the extent of spitting blood, his ‘wind’ ability went from just being able to extinguish a few candles to being able to create a gale strong enough to devastate a field in only 100 years. All of this was thanks to Her Highness, who believed in him as ‘an invincible guy’.
Mulling over the wind while jutting his lips out, Ryno suddenly jumped up from his seat, his eyes sharpening.
[Guard] “What the hell, you scared me. What’s wrong?”
The guard next to him staggered in surprise. Ryno held onto him to prevent him from falling, but his gaze was in the direction of the rose garden.
[Ryno] “This smell is…!”
It was the strong scent of gold osmanthus which had been carried over by the wind.
* * *
The night market was fun. I ate a lot of chicken skewers and sugary snacks, as well as apple pie and alcohol bread, and also some warm mulled wine since it got cold after drinking a refreshing beer. I tried making a candle with the stuff that the priests had brought and also played a game where you scored points by throwing a small ball into a container.
Although they were all things that I could see and do at any festival, after going through so many things recently, I just went along and enjoyed the little time that I could afford to spend leisurely.
Lecht and Linden, who were busy butting heads and arguing about every single little thing, gradually got a bit more docile as time passed by. Rather than being docile, they seem to have concluded that it’d be better to get along nicely without fighting, since I’d ditch them for the trio of priests whenever the both of them started fighting.
It would be the Lantern Festival in three days.
I looked up at the moon while Linden went to buy a lantern with the trio of priests. The moon a few days before the full moon looked so pretty.
Just as I was about to make a small wish that the following days would also be peaceful like this, a ticklish voice sounded from next to my ear.
[Linden] “What are you looking at?”
[Ara] “Ack, you scared me.”
Turning around, I found Linden looking in the direction I was looking up at, holding two lanterns in his hands. Asking as if he was curious, he looked back at me and smiled happily when our eyes met. When I saw Linden looking so carefree without any worries, I ended up smiling too.
[Ara] “Just looking at the moon.”
[Linden] “Tada! I ended up choosing the one with the moon and the stars on it for you. It’s pretty, right?”
[Ara] “It’s pretty. Thanks.”
I received the lantern he bought for me. It was a large lantern that was three times the size of my face. Looking around, they were all roughly the same size.
[Linden] “Your one is a flower, Your Excellency. Just stay still like a flower.”
Wow, Lecht seemed to swear at him with his eyes. Seeing as Lecht and the flowers somehow seemed to be compatible with each other despite seemingly contrasting each other, I let out a laugh.
[Ara] “Oh, it’s starting.”
We quickly joined in as we watched all the lanterns around us being lit.
[Linden] “Ara, don’t forget to make a wish. Even better if it’s about me.”
[Lecht] “You have a lot of greed too.”
Listening to the voices of the two men who were squabbling until the end, I set my lantern afloat.
‘I hope that everyone can be happy.’
I prayed for a simple, yet difficult wish on my lantern.
Lecht and Linden’s lanterns, which were set off together, circled around mine, as if they were still fighting amongst themselves. The lanterns then floated up further and further upwards, before disappearing among the other lanterns.
[Ara] “Today was also a meaningful night.”
I whispered with a jubilant heart.
[Lecht] “We should go back now.”
[Linden] “Ara, shall we go home?”
The two men replied back to me at a frighteningly fast speed.
[Linden] “The night market is also open tomorrow, so let’s finish off what we couldn’t do today then.”
[Lecht] “It’s alright to take a day off. The night market will be open the day after tomorrow as well.”
The two men stretched out their hand toward me at the same time, giving me similar yet different opinions, as if they never wanted to lose.
I paused for a moment at the similarities between them. Hair style, skin tone, facial expressions, and mood. These were two men with no similar points between them. However, the large hand that was extended to me, as well as all their actions which were extremely gentlemanly, were all perfectly consistent with one another.
I suddenly remembered what Lecht had once said.
[Lecht] “You will be loved. Without a doubt, infinitely.”
A grin leaked out.
You’re right. I’m receiving so much love right now.
[Ara] “Why don’t we try something else besides the night market tomorrow?”
Instead of holding their hands, I ran forward and took the lead, just like I did every evening. We headed back to the accommodation, talking about our plans for tomorrow.
But none of those plans we talked about were achieved.
The monumental news that flew into the accommodation the next day shattered my peaceful daily life.
started my new job today & am once again reminded of how hard it is when starting in an industry where u know nothing at all ;-;