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Elucidation and the truth about the Princess

“Mylarka, why are you so agitated?”

The Princess showed a puzzled expression as she took off her hood, and Mylarka sighed deeply before answering.

“I saw your battle with that prince. Normally, it would have been really hard for you to win… Or rather, it would have been impossible, given the gap between your scores.
Still, your strength increased dramatically in a very short period of time, and you managed to defeat him easily. The only one capable of boosting someone like that… is Dick!
So show yourself!”

As expected from a former party member.

She understood everything even though we didn’t leave any hints behind. I felt like my stomach was being squeezed, but I came out in the end. The Princess was surprised to see me, and she smiled shily. Her impression of me should have been changed completely.

Mylarka glared at me with her arms still crossed.
Her bountiful chest was like a magnet for my eyes, but I fought the temptation and looked at her face.
She was angry and her gaze was scary, but I couldn’t run away.

“How do you know the Princess enough to talk with her so casually, Mylarka?”

“I’m her teacher. She attends the Magic academy and is one of my students, even though I have to teach her starting from the basics, since she doesn’t know how to use magic.”

Talent is essential to learn how to use magic. Someone masters it in a year while someone else masters it in a day. Princess Manarina hardly has any magic power, that’s why she was better suited for swordsmanship.

“I beg your pardon for lying to you… My real name is Manarina Lia Albein.
Looking at you now, I should have guessed who you really were, Sir Dick.”
“W-Well… It’s fine. But maybe I’m not your man. Mylarka strongly believes in what she thinks, that’s all.”
“Liar. You’ve always been, and it always gets on my nerves.”

She stabbed me with harsh words… if I hadn’t taken that remark like some sort of reward from a gorgeous girl like her, I would’ve probably started crying.

“I’m really grateful to Mylarka for tutoring me at the academy. Actually, I’m the one who asked her about this guild…”
“If I knew that things would have gone this way, I wouldn’t have told you a thing. Dick, I thought you had some sense into you, but you’re no better than a beast.”
“A-A beast…? What did I do?”

Seeing how shocked I was, she looked at me like I was stupid. It made me want to kill myself, so I hoped she would take it easy.

“Dick, do you realize that your method was flawed? Manarina was way too strong than the Prince of Vinceburg. Still, if you hadn’t helped her, she wouldn’t have come back here ever again, right? You’re such a sly worm. Luring my innocent Manarina into your den and showing her the beauty of being strong… pervert. You’re a swine, Dick.”

Now that my plan was blatantly shattered by Mylarka, the Princess was aware of everything.

“You dug your hole like an antlion, and laid there waiting… then, as soon as she got in range, you grabbed her and penetrated her with your sting!”
“No, stop! That’s nonsense! I just offered her a drink, and I was glad that she liked it!”
“…She liked it?”

Mylarka didn’t trust any of my words, but even though it could be understandable, using an expression like ‘penetrate her with your sting’ would bring some nasty misunderstanding.
Why was she that obstinate and hostile toward me?

After thinking about it for a moment, the answer crossed my mind.

A year before, as I was taking care of a drunk Aileen after drinking together for the first time, Mylarka misunderstood everything and thought that we were in a relationship.
That’s why she found unforgivable that I was also trying to get closer to the Princess.
If I told her ‘mind your own business,’ probably… no, exactly because we were adults, nothing would have been solved.

I saw Mylarka crying only three times.
When we defeated the Demon Lord, when she left my guild for the first time to come back home, and when she saw me and Aileen that night.

Even though she was glaring at me, her eyes were already teary.
Every time that happened, I felt my feelings being torn to pieces.
This has been a fruitful week, so I didn’t want to let it end like this.

While I was thinking about a way to solve that situation, Aileen, who skillfully concealed her presence, went around Mylarka.
As I wondered what was she up to, she started to grope the chest of her former comrade from behind.

“Mylarka, did they grow bigger than mine? If you leave them in plain view like this, Dick can’t think about anything else.”
“S-Stop, Aileen! Keep your hands to yourself…”

Escaping from Aileen’s clutches, she adjusted her clothes and looked at me with flushed cheeks… How was I supposed to react?
Even though they were indeed bigger, only a girl would be that straightforward, and I don’t think I am. The Demon Lord was unperturbed, while Princess Manarina went red as a beetroot.

“As if he would be interested in me! At that time, you were…”

She cut right to the chase.
As I thought about how to clarify that misunderstanding, time kept flowing…
Anything would have sounded like an excuse.

On the other hand, Aileen laughed innocently.

“What are you talking about? It was my first time drinking, and I exaggerated. I just asked him if he could pat my back, and, luckily, I felt better. Right, Dick?”
“Y-Yes… I was just worried, but you caught me off-guard when you started to take off your clothes because you didn’t feel well.”
“Hahaha, did I really do something like that? I was so drunk I don’t remember much about that night. It must have been hard for you.”

That sounded crazy, but it was the truth.
And yes, I will admit that seeing Aileen practically naked had been really hard.
Better not mention it, though.

Mylarka didn’t try to hide her sore expression.
Maybe she was thinking that those were all lies.

The one who witnessed that scene in silence until now… Princess Manarina saved us from that stalemate.

“I don’t think they’re lying. Mylarka, why don’t you try to believe them?”
“Even… Even if it’s true, I wish the best for them. If they are in a relationship, there would be nothing strange. They get along just fine.”

She always acted like that. Although her words were harsh, she kept seeing us as her comrades even after the end of our journey.
But it was necessary to make it clear that it was a misunderstanding, otherwise Aileen’s reputation would have been tarnished.

“Aileen has the privilege of choosing her partner. She would be wasted on someone like me…”

When I said that, something changed in the air. The gaze of those presents focused on me.

“Wow. I knew you were like that, but it won’t hurt to have some confidence in yourself, you know.”
“You are always passive in these situations, but I’m glad you didn’t turn into a full-fledged swine.”
“W-What’s all of that about? I thought we finally cleared things up…”
“Master, of course you cleared them up. Look, even Princess Manarina is amazed.”
“N-No… It’s that… He was this modest five years ago too…”

She stuttered while wearing the flushed expression of a maiden in love, her face red up until her ears.

Although I realized that too late, I wouldn’t expect to hear something like that.

“Five years ago…? What is that about, Princess?”

“Y-You don’t have to be so polite with me. Drop the formalities, Sir Dick.
I still remember ‘Dick Forgotten’ at the meeting the heroes held with my father five years ago.”

Wondering if me or Cody would ask to be engaged with the Princess, the King summoned her daughter and let her witness in silence.
She was the first Princess Manarina, the same girl who was now gently looking at me.

A development so good couldn’t be real.
It would have been like winning the jackpot in the lottery.

“N-No… I didn’t do anything remarkable, and asking to become a simple Guild Master is lame… isn’t it? You all thought that, right?”
“Well, that’s modest, but you still were part of the expedition after the Demon Lord.”
“And even if you never really contributed as you say, although this guild was falling apart, the title of Guild Master can’t be achieved by anyone. I think that is a remarkable achievement.”

Yeah, but… after only half a year I became Guild Master, nearly all the King’s aides forgot about me. I was sure about it because some of my guild members reported it.

Still, after all this time, the Princess never forgot about me, even though I did.
If ‘Dick Forgotten’ is remembered, he would become just ‘Dick.’

“Sir Dick… you should acknowledge your merits, regardless of your humbleness.
For me, it has been always clear that you were essential to defeat the Demon Lord.”

The Demon Lord nodded at those words. I wanted her to stop, otherwise she would have been busted. I felt so embarrassed that if I saw a hole, I would have thrown myself in it and buried myself alive.

“When I met you again here… you pretended to be a pitiful drunkard, but you were actually thinking about helping me. I lost my temper when you offered me a glass of milk, because I felt like you were looking down on me, but… that drink was so delicious, that I wondered how I could repay you…”

Her gorgeous smile once again floated into my mind… It wasn’t meant for a stranger, but for the person she longed to meet again after five years.
Thinking about it that way changed completely the meaning of her gesture.

Princess Manarina reached for the Royal Crest hid within her sleeve and got closer.
She made it slip within my hands and held them to make me accept it.

“This is your reward. I don’t think that is enough for what you did for me, but… from now on, I’d like to discuss together how could I repay the favor.”
“…If this is your will, Princess… no, you said to drop the formalities. Manarina, if that’s what you want, I understand. If I need help from the royal family, I’ll contact you.”
“Thank you. I would do anything for you, Dick…”

First the Demon Lord, and now Manarina… both had a high social status, and both wanted to serve me way too loyally.

“Hey Mylarka, are you still mad at Dick? In the end, he’s like that.”
“…I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions, but he still remains a lady-killer. Maybe I should return to keep an eye on him occasionally.”

It also looked like Aileen and Mylarka made up…
After that, we started to drink to celebrate our achievements as usual, and since that night I didn’t accept a no as answer, everything was on the house.

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