The tiger-race’s hot springs and the duke’s struggle
After the banquet came to a close, I ended up in the same tent as Riko and Mylarka, but since there was a lot of room, I used a curtain to divide the space, so that I could sleep peacefully.
“Yeah… I must sleep. How much did Mylarka make me drink, though…?”
We had to wake up early the next morning and get away from this village before dawn.
If everything went according to my predictions, Cody will fend off Velvechia’s attack in the night, but I wondered what would happen if the capital heard of it… Vinceburg should have thought about various methods to prevent being targeted.
The first one would be escaping before a rebellion unleashed in the city.
Another one would’ve been covering themselves up and hide all traces of their involvement with Velvechia, but since Lag and his comrades got arrested, it was already too late.
Otherwise, they could try to use other nobles as scapegoats… Just thinking about that made me feel sick, but since they were aiming to usurp the throne, it wasn’t unthinkable.
As I grew dizzy for the alcohol, I started to remove the toxins from myself.
The tiger-race’s drinks were good, but they messed the recipes up, so it was very easy to get totally drunk. The wild flavor of their unrefined alcohol was amazing, though.
I wanted to have some in my bar.
Then, I noticed that I couldn’t sense Riko and Mylarka’s presences, although they should’ve been behind the curtain.
I was worried to let Sweet disaster walk around this late at night… but maybe she only asked Riko to bring her somewhere.
Still, I exited the tent and searched for some kind of trace left behind by Mylarka.
Since her magic was so unique, it was easy for me to detect where she had passed by.
After some time, I reached the border of the forest.
I entered the woods and noticed that fog was surrounding me. The place felt warm and damp, and there was a strange smell wafting in the air.
The more I walked forward, the more the fog thickened, and as I dallied through that pale wall, the dim light from the night sky grew weaker, so seeing what was in front of me became quite hard. Now even following the magical traces was barely doable, but I couldn’t just go back to the tent.
Then, I saw a tall fence made of bamboo pieces tied together, from which the white fog was gushing out.
“…Maybe she’s behind it? Heeey, Mylarka…”
As I spoke, I peeked through a crack of the fence, and the sound of something entering into the water reached my ears. I was starting to grasp what was going on.
“Ahhh… I really cannot relax without taking a bath. Thank you for bringing me here, Riko.”
“I wanted to bath too, so I’m glad you came! I love you, Masked savior girl~! ♪ ”
“You… did not want the other one to come too?”
“Both of you saved me, so you are equally super important. Now everyone hates humans less.”
“You shouldn’t trust strangers, although we are an exception.”
Why… why was she wearing a mask in the bath?
I started to look around. They were in an open-air bath made of stone, and Mylarka was currently washing Riko’s back.
The steam was concealing almost everything, and as I felt like I saw something I shouldn’t have seen, blood rushed to my head.
Thinking about it, there was that time when we all bathed together in cold water during the expedition… I’m not peeking, I only noticed too late what is this place!
Still, although Riko should have had a pretty good hearing, it didn’t look like she noticed me… I was blessed by the Heavens! Man, how lucky I was!
“Riko… do you really want to marry him?”
“Nh… Y-Yeah. Masked savior boy is good. He’s very strong and kind.”
Time to hear Mylarka trashing her opinion…
But I’d have never expected what I heard next.
“Eheh… He doesn’t want to be the center of attention. He is smart and has a nice face, and you rarely find guys like him. I cannot say that I don’t understand your feelings.”
My heart was beating loudly.
Hearing something like that in such a way was too vile of me.
I had to pretend I never left my tent that night.
“I wanna know more about it. Will you come again at least once?”
“Sure, call us whenever you want. Can we bring some other friends, though?”
“If they’re your friends, we’ll welcome them! I’m looking forward to it~! ♪ ”
“I’m glad we could spend a day off here. There are a lot of rare animals… and your tail is…”
“Eheheh, it tickles! Now that you touched it, we’re officially friends!”
“Oh, is that so? It’s good to be friends with you.”
Mylarka fluffed the girl’s tail’s tip, and Riko started to carefully wash her new friend’s body.
I stepped back from my hiding place and started to go back.
There was nothing to be scared about, but if they were to know what I did, I’d have surely faced my end.
“…The Masked boy came here. Did he see me…?”
“Eh?! W-Why didn’t you tell me?! Do you think he heard us?! In that case, I should obliterate–”
“N-No, I don’t think so. Humans can’t hear from this distance.”
“I-I see… no problem, then. If he had seen me, I would’ve to think about what to do next…”
“Why don’t we marry him together? You’re first, I’m second! ♪ ”
“…You really are honest with yourself. Seeing you, I almost feel like forgetting about my anger.”
Mylarka became very kind. It was almost unimaginable, given how she was in the past.
Even she, who never wanted people to get close to her, considered marrying someone, and in that cozy atmosphere, she was almost tempted by seriously considering it.
Still, given our past expedition, I had to be conscious about the relationships between us.
Even if watching her for too long would’ve forced me to use Healing Light on myself.
We fed the fire dragon with some concealing pomegranate, then mounted on it before dawn and departed toward northwest: the capital.
Mylarka was already used to use me as her backrest and was enjoying the view.
“…Mh? Something is coming this way… Is that your…?”
“She’s my fairy bird. I asked her to come to warn me if something was going on. What happened, Charlotte?”
I took some time to admire it as it landed on her shoulder. Its cute name matched perfectly its adorable look: the blue gradient of the plumage colored its feather sapphire toward their tips.
It also had the ability to erase his presence and blend with the surroundings.
Mylarka was prideful, so she didn’t scout personally like the others in my guild.
Charlotte chirped in her master’s ear, and the genius teacher who taught offensive magic to the first class understood her thanks to the effort she put into researching the languages of animals. Actually, those researches were her most famous ones.
“Dick, Zevias… blamed Kirsch and her comrades. They might even get executed.”
I couldn’t feel anything within me. Not even anger.
Those words entered my ears, but my feelings were calm. That was just another possibility I had already thought about, and I could’ve made my guild members act accordingly if only I wasn’t in the middle of the sky.
“…What is Jean doing?”
“Fleeing from the capital. He parted from his father… I will go arrest him. Later, I’ll ask your guild members to help me, and if we seize him, we will bring him to the authorities.”
She wasn’t wearing her mask until that moment, since being seen while flying at that altitude was impossible, but decided to wear it the next moment. Within her fiery gaze, one could see her iron will.
Leaving it to her was a good idea. My guild members would help her, but… what about me?
Zevias Vinceburg was a man who handed over his status only to steal the throne.
I must make him fail. Otherwise, the peace that was currently in the capital would be destroyed.
“…The forgotten fifth… Zevias will regret not knowing about you.”
“I’m fine with being forgotten. Not like I’ll have much to do now.”
I wore my mask as well. Moving as a guild master went against my principles… but as a member of the masked saviors, I couldn’t help but remember our expedition against the former Demon Lord.
This was just another story, but with the same comrades I had back then.
I never was in the limelight while looking at the victories that piled up on their road.
Cody, Mylarka, Aileen, Yuma: I admired their astonishing fights, and I was proud and glad to be their comrade.
“What will you give us once this will end, Mr. masked butler?”
“You will see, Milady. Expect at least a full-course dinner at Silver Mug.”
We swooped down and stopped at a distance from the Vinceburg’s mansion that laid in front of us.