The general of the army’s gloom and the noble’s plan
Thanks to the promise with Beatrice, I could get my hands on the former mansion of the Stollen family. The estate agent didn’t expect me to stay, so the only thing he could say was ‘I’m really glad you like it.’
No more people running away due to ghosts’ apparitions meant that now the estate agent wouldn’t be able to make an income from the mansion, but on the other hand, they probably vented their anger on him, so he was actually relieved.
I turned the mansion into a recreation facility for my guild members. Of course, I couldn’t manage it myself, so I had to hire more staff. If Beatrice remained tangible, people would find out she wasn’t human due to her golden iris, and so I asked her to wear a mask that covered only her eyes.
Masks became quite popular due to Silver Mug’s staff members, and it wasn’t good for someone who hated standing out like me. Even Mylarka said that they were great for meeting with friends, and when I heard from Aileen that this “trend” spread even further thanks to the Masked saviors, I almost spat my drink. It’s needless to say that the next time Mylarka dropped by, she reminded me ‘Dick, you have started this.’
The rumors about the Masked saviors grew steadily. Even though their appearance was concealed, people understood that they were three beauties, but no one noticed that they once were part of the expedition against the Demon Lord. Anyway, it was said that they were girls with young voices, whose age was still a hot topic.
Even the guests in my bar talked often about that.
“Why no one talks about me, instead? My work involves helping and saving people. Ignoring me is just mean.”
Rumors of their accomplishments reached even Cody, who, after hearing about the small priestess, blonde sorcerer and outstanding martial artist, connected the dots in a few instants.
“We were comrades, and I come here because I still think we are, Dick! Hey, I am complaining to you, are you listening?!”
“Yes, I am… and I’m only a drunkard in here, so don’t scream my name like that, please.”
“Kh… you are right. Sorry, I got carried away. But I really think that.”
The army’s general wasn’t good or bad, he was an extremely honest and serious person. However, the first thing he showed me whenever he dropped by was his grumpy side.
I did get what he meant… He had always been like a shadow following our actions, even during our expedition.
I was like a parent watching over his children. Mylarka didn’t destroy the environment with her Annihilation Magic, Aileen controlled her fierce side as to not frighten people, and Yuma prepared in advance to purify only the wraiths, as to not rob the villages’ priests of their work. We were the ideal party of heroes.
The girls acted so perfectly that I didn’t have to do a thing, but I could see that they were having quite a lot of fun. No matter how weak their opponent, they didn’t hold back. They shone like precious gems… Even though it couldn’t be said for their personality.
“Cody, you’d be found out right away if you were to use your sword. You’re the only one who fights like that.”
“Can’t I use a normal sword and come with you? I might be busy, but I can find some time.”
“Sure, I’ll contact you if needed, so stop gulping down drinks like that.”
“…If you say so, I’ll make sure to be ready anytime. I’m sure you really mean that, so I’ll trust you, Di… no, Mister Drunkard.”
“We’d need you only if the nation is in danger, though.”
“Hahaha… I shouldn’t wish for that to happen, given my position, right?”
That day, he asked a strong liquor instead of some ale. It was rum aged ten years, diluted with some water to weaken its strong taste. The water was fetched from the Water caves, a place north of the capital, by cutting Pure ice, which was underground water frozen over time. Drinking it granted ice resistance.
“Mister, may I ask you a rude question? You are the most handsome customer in here, and you should be really popular among girls. When the nobles invite you to their parties, I’m sure they eagerly wait to see you, so why do you come here so often?”
Verlaine was really curious about that and couldn’t hold her curiosity back.
The ice reflecting on Cody’s brown eyes clinked, and he shifted his gaze from his glass while answering with a smile.
“I don’t have many friends, so coming here is pretty much the only way I have to relax.”
“Is there someone you think dearly of in the army or among your subordinates? A colleague at your workplace, for example.”
“No one tries to aim to be general, since I became one without rising through the ranks. They don’t see me as their equal. My subordinates started to say that I’m some sort of God, but although it’s a joke, I can’t really show my human side.”
“…You’re having a pretty hard time. Drink over it as much as you want, I’ll remove the alcohol toxins from your body before you go home.”
“No, I need to be at least tipsy, otherwise I might not sleep tonight. Also, you’d need to touch me for that, right?”
A male touching another male near the liver to heal him, what was the problem? Thinking about it, I never touched him around there, and he was never so injured that I needed to make him take his clothes off.
There are people who don’t like to expose their body to others, so I guessed that Cody was one of them. I didn’t think he was a mean guy even though he didn’t want to bath with me.
“But why? If you want to avoid a hangover, isn’t this Mister’s magic ideal…?”
“Because I don’t want to think about anything until tomorrow. One last refill.”
With a bright smile, he gulped down his drink and asked for another one. He knew very well when to stop, that’s why I’ve never seen him drunk.
It was almost closing time, and as I was about to ask for the last order, the doorbell rang and a girl wearing an indigo overcoat, according to Wednesday’s color, entered the bar.
Even with the noise from the remaining customers, me and Verlaine’s switch flipped.
The girl looked strong-willed as she walked toward the counter, and once in front of it, she glared at Verlaine.
“…Give me milk. Otherwise, what I can drink only here.”
“I beg your pardon for bringing this up, but this is a gathering place for gentlemen and ladies.”
“So what? I ordered some milk. Otherwise, I want what I can drink only here.”
She was pissing me off. What was with her? She was quite a beauty, but with that aggressive behavior, she left a terrible first impression. What a complete waste… but I had something else to think about.
Probably, she wasn’t going to ask for something easy.
My sixth sense started to scream. She was going to give us an impossible task.
“…Certainly. Is the special blend of the house okay for you?”
“It’s fine. Make it just for me… was that right?”
“Yes. We now confirmed that you, Miss, are an important customer.”
She took off her hood and sat two seats away from Cody, who was making a strange face.
He stealthily removed the coaster and used his slim finger to write on the condensate ‘noble’s servant.’
“I heard that you accept any kind of work. I think it’s impossible, but maybe it’s worth a shot… since I’m powerless myself. I shouldn’t be here, but…”
“Being that upset won’t help you, girl. Chill.”
I told her, and made eye contact with Verlaine to order a drink.
Cody read the mood and distanced himself slightly from the counter.
I then made the glass slide on the counter, which stopped right in front of her.
“…What does this mean?”
“It’s the first time you come here, right? Let me welcome you as a regular.”
“Umpf, disgusting drunkard. Seeing someone so young drinking until this late at night is really deplorable.”
“Miss, we are terribly sorry, but this is the last order. If you want, we can keep talking after we close the bar. I hope you enjoy your drink in the meantime.”
She seemed like someone who didn’t accept anything from strangers, but after looking me with her sharp gaze, she shrugged her shoulders and gave up.
What was with her theatrical behavior?
Oh well, handling her wouldn’t have been that hard for me… I only had to listen and keep my cool.
“What is this yellow thing, an apricot? Who would have imagined that a bar in the outskirts would serve fresh fruit?”
Her drink served to calm her mind and relax her body.
It was once said that a ‘Favor apricot’ calmed a furious woman of a small tribe in the eastern wetland of Albein for three entire days, making her look like an affectionate mother. It was a valuable resource that should’ve been used only for similar cases.
Also, adding it to an alcoholic drink amplified its effect further.
I wondered what would’ve happened if I mixed some pure Virgin coconut juice in it… and after looking at the girl’s reaction, I had my answer.
“Uhm… it isn’t sour as I expected. I feel so warm…”
“Do you like it?”
The girl didn’t answer and stared at the glass for a while, then flushed in embarrassment and gulped down her drink.
The next moment her stiff, gloomy expression relaxed and lightened. The effects kicked in right away.
“Please, let me take back everything I said earlier… maybe my request will not be a problem for a big guild, so I beg you to listen to me. If no one does anything or someone takes a wrong step, the entire country will be in danger.”
Cody, hearing her now polite words, opened his eyes wide and looked at me, while I pretended not to be interested and sipped my ale.
“Is it possible for you to destroy the plans of a certain someone? I want to ask your help to save this country.”
“…Who might this person be? If it would be better not to say that name out loud…”
Verlaine gave her the order sheet and a quill pen, and waited for the girl to write. Then, she barely moved her mouth, making sure that no one would notice, to let me read her lips.
“Zevias Vinceburg”. Father of Jean Vinceburg, the man who should have married Princess Manarina…
I didn’t expect to become involved with that family again.