Cold milk and kumis blended with millennial peach juice1
I glanced at the sleeves of the girl’s overcoat, a garment only a high-class person could afford… Seeing that, it became clear what kind of blood flowed in her veins.
She probably never wore cheap clothes. She must have caused quite the commotion just to come here.
I gave the Demon Lord the order ticket. On it, I actually wrote some questions for the self-called lady-in-waiting. After scanning it emotionlessly, she made me a snack and then started to question her.
“First of all, why does Princess Manarina want to break her engagement?”
“…Even though His Majesty decided her future groom, she doesn’t want to marry him, despite understanding that it’s her duty as a princess.”
“I feel you… I’m in a similar situation, but I’m trying to reach a mutual understanding by talking with that certain someone.”
‘What the hell are you talking about,’ I wanted to shout, but I bit my tongue and ignored the elf’s wink.
“…Well, maybe you just like talking to him? The Prince of Vinceburg puts importance on physical appearance alone. Also, he doesn’t care about my Lady, but only about the King’s authority and it’s disgusting that he didn’t find any worth in the women he had. How can someone trust a person like that?”
The Princess probably looked like an egotist in the royal family and the aristocracy’s eyes.
The influential people focused mainly on the King, that’s why his daughter wasn’t really considered as an individual… and since she suffered due to it, now she was trying to rebel against her father.
When I was in the presence of His Majesty, I definitely acknowledged his kindness.
But even though he was a fine man, he should have made sure of some things, like my loyalty. Still, wanting to create a strong bond with Vinceburg was natural, since it would strengthen the Kingdom of Albein.
I had the impression that chaos would spread if we were to complete the Princess’ request, but given the fancy adventures of the Prince with women, I believed it right to cancel her wedding right away, instead of letting her suffer for the rest of her life.
As a guild, we couldn’t complain about a request like that.
“I understand what the Princess feels. Now, without excluding any possibility, is there a way to cancel this marriage?”
She replied in a whisper.
I guessed it was not an easy method.
“Nobles can deny any request from third parties by winning a duel. So, if the Prince of Vinceburg was to lose to the Princess… the wedding would be declared void.”
It was an ancient custom of the Kingdom of Albein, but everyone has the right to refuse a challenge to duel.
Refusing to respect the stakes is considered a sacrilege, because it’s like insulting the God of Glory and Battle of Albein itself. The royal family wouldn’t have let such an affront be, since that doctrine is worshiped by half of the reign’s population.
Not even a prince can object about the result.
As egoistical as that solution was, it was possible to control authorities, so it had to be seriously taken into consideration.
Still, on the lady’s face was written that it wouldn’t be easy to win normally.
“I heard that the Prince of Vinceburg is really strong, with a score of a thousand and two hundred points, with eight hundred points in fencing and four hundred in magic… but my Lady…”
“The Princess only has seven hundred points in fencing…”
There wasn’t any need to train for nobles. It’s just to have an idea of one’s skills, that’s why many asked the guilds to measure their strength. The Prince repeated the test two weeks before, resulting in a score of a thousand and two hundred thirty-one.
Though, if you consider his status as a prince, he would have reached a total of six thousand and seven hundred sixty-four points.
Nobles’ scores are usually higher comparing to common adventurers, even compared to an A-rank adventurer. That was because adventurers are mainly specialized in fighting, since requests are generally carried out that way.
Taking his political influence into account, which might be used to complete requests, the Prince of Vinceburg’s score would have surely reached at least six thousand points. His score being lower compared to the actual one is due to the hatred he gained from his fancy adventures with women. Since it’s a sore subject, let’s not go into details.
I understood that it wasn’t a hard request for me.
Resuming talking about the score, since a difference of a hundred points is huge, it’s extremely difficult for the weaker one to be victorious. When the difference is five hundred, a celebration is almost mandatory.
Princess Manarina was quite fond of swordplay and she showed some talent as well. But with just seven hundred points in fencing, even though she was better than a novice, winning a duel with the Prince was nearly impossible.
For this reason, she should have accepted any help.
I quietly started the preparations.
I had already grasped what I had to do to resolve her situation.
I made sure that the self-called lady-in-waiting didn’t notice anything.
“Barman, some milk, please.”
“Understood. Please, wait a moment.”
“…Milk? Did you think about what I told you before and become concerned about your health…?”
The girl looked surprised. I took the glass from the Demon Lord’s hands and I held it for a bit…
Then, I made it slide on the table without spilling a drop, until it reached the lady-in-waiting.
“This is for you, lady. Drink it, my treat.”
“M-Milk is… a keyword… I ordered it only for that…”
“Well, you don’t look old enough to drink. C’mon, don’t be shy.”
“W-What…?! How dare you treat me like a child?!”
She was clearly annoyed.
That was to be expected, but I had my reasons and milk was the best drink I could offer her.
She had to take at least one sip.
“Miss, I have some more questions regarding your request.
I apologize for my rudeness or if that kind customer’s offer hurt you, but I forgot to bring you what you asked for… You’d really help me relieve my guilt if you accepted it.”
Calmly said the Demon Lord to the flushed girl who darted on her feet.
She took the glass after glancing at me embarrassed.
“…It’s cold, but my throat is quite dry. Sorry, I overreacted. Let’s get back to the request.”
She sat again and then brought the glass to her lips.
It looked like she was thirsty for real, but maybe to be polite, she didn’t take more than two sips.
It didn’t matter, though.
Everything was pretty much done… if my guess was right and she was Princess Manarina.
“Thank you. I now understand the current situation.
The Princess should challenge to duel the Prince of Vinceburg with her engagement at stake, am I right?”
“Y-Yes… Exactly, but… the Princess could never…”
“We already have everything necessary to make her win. Tell her that there’s nothing to be worried about and to proceed with our plan.”
“…Seriously, it’s impossible… Perhaps do you want to poison the Prince?”
“Our guild, Silver Aquarius, never leaves traces of its successes behind.
We’re extremely careful, never leak information and greatly value our customer’s privacy. Nothing will obstruct the great efforts of our Princess, so, please, reassure her.”
The Demon Lord has been my sidekick for about a month now, but her explanation reflected perfectly the key points I told her about. There was also another receptionist, but thanks to my training she became a great adventurer, so she left both requests and shop.
“…Okay. I want to trust you and your guild. Here…”
I already warned the Demon Lord that our customer had royal blood in her veins and thinking about cancelling her marriage… made me think of Cody’s tired face.
The nobles abused of their authority and since they used knights for every task… That’s why Cody wasn’t doing really well.
Why did they have to do such a thing?
Because guilds charge money for requests.
The nobles could have cleaned their territories themselves, but they freely borrowed knights instead.
Cody was also obliged to drive away pipsqueaks with his Holy sword. The absence of requests from nobility wasn’t good for the guilds, but this situation could be a great chance to change things.
“We want to ask His Majesty to refrain from exploiting knights. The nobles use them as adventurers and this is the reason real adventurers are facing a sharp decrease of requests. In addition, the knights are on the brink of exhaustion.”
“The knights…? The nobles ask their help for many personal requests, indeed. My Lady also noticed it, so I’ll report this on her behalf too. It isn’t enough, but I want to give you this as an advance payment. Accept it as a token of my gratitude.”
Saying that, Princess Manarina put on the counter a golden pendant… engraved with the Royal Crest.
It looked like the real thing, but I couldn’t believe it.
That request didn’t just give me the opportunity to extend my network to the royal family, but even received a national-treasury-level item! And it wasn’t even our reward!
In the Kingdom of Albein there were five ruins from the ancient times, and the Royal Crest was necessary to enter them.
Every treasure hunter would drool just thinking about it, given how rare it is.
There are only three of them in the Kingdom and I thought that if I ever had the chance to get my hands on one, it would have been in the distant future.
Those ruins were out of range even for the most talented adventurers, since they were filled with vicious monsters and countless traps to such an extent that the Kingdom stopped observing them. Even if I researched them with my guild and somebody found it out, no one would really come to enquire about the reason.
“Are you sure? To trust us with something like this…”
“More than sure. I’ll make sure to change my life thanks to your words.
I should give you something of equal value, otherwise we wouldn’t be even.”
I wanted to take it from her hands… but…
I wanted to talk more with her.
I didn’t care if she was going to see me like as a horrible drunkard… so I offered her a drink.
I decided to order something that would fit a young girl.
For the battle that would change her life, I decided to act.
“…Do you really accept, young lady?”
“Yes, why not. Sorry if I looked childish ordering some milk.”
“D-Don’t worry. There’s nothing childish about it.”
The girl accepted the drink I ordered for her as a sign of apologize and the Demon Lord entered the kitchen to prepare it.
When she came back, she put the glass in front of the Princess.
“What is this…?”
“It’s a drink with a low percentage of alcohol that even young people can drink. Please, take a sip.”
A white liquid and a pinkish one were blending together in the glass, and a red petal floated over it, representing victory and passion. A lady-in-waiting wouldn’t have understood its meaning, but a princess would.
“It’s the special liquor that can be drank only here.
Low-alcohol kumis blended with the juice of a fruit called millennial peach, over which floats a petal of our national flower.”
“…It’s beautiful… can I really drink this…?”
The Demon Lord nodded and Princess Manarina brought the glass to her lips, then stared at it in awe.
“Delicious… I didn’t know alcohol could have such a delicate taste. I thought that drunkard only had terrible tastes, but this…”
Without replying, I kept drinking my ‘terrible’ ale.
She didn’t know that I already helped her with her request, so she couldn’t be grateful.
But she was impressed by the drink far more than I imagined.
The girl stood up, approached me with her glass in hand and tilted it towards me.
It was impossible to keep pretending I was ignoring her now…
I lifted my mug smirking, and a cin sang our toast.
“The milk I drank before was delicious, but this liquor impressed me the moment I set my eyes on it.”
“Nh… I-I’m sorry, lady. I wasn’t making a move on you. I just wanted to offer you something as a passionate drinker…”
“I know. I just wanted to tell you what I think… Mister Drunkard.”
I couldn’t see her face properly until then, but when I finally did, I was stunned.
Describing the radiance of her beautiful smile with words alone was impossible.
1 Kumis = alcoholic drink made from mare’s milk.