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Last order and happy birthday

“I can make Timis succeed, just let me get in touch with her.
If your subordinates don’t want to die, tell them that the guild on the 12th Street will lend them its power. The rest will be up to her.”
“Thank you. Anyone would have refused my request, but you…”
“I also would have turned it down if it was impossible. I don’t have a guild only to accept troublesome requests.”
“Still, I’m thankful. The King said that he just wants his daughter to get a promotion, but I can’t grant her wish keeping her safe all the time. Still, even if I’d let her give the final blow to the dragon, it would still be dangerous to approach it while in a frenzy.”

It was a good thing that Cody could analyze the situation calmly.
He was right.
A cornered dragon would have certainly breathed his fire to survive.

“I’m going to ask her a reward.”
“I think she might… No, we can’t know it before asking.”
“What were you trying to say…? Whatever. Cody, leave everything to me. After our interview, I’ll make sure that she won’t die, no matter what happens.”
“…Thank you. Even though I tried to convince her that there’s no need to get involved in such a dangerous mission to get a promotion…”
“Even if you don’t like it, lecturing your subordinates is still your job. Making soldiers respect you is another part of your work, isn’t it?
Anyway, this is enough serious talk for tonight. Since you came here, let’s drink a bit more.”

I cut our conversation short because Mylarka and the other two were coming out their private room. Seeing Cody, they lightly greeted him and filled the counter seats.
Me, Cody, Aileen, Mylarka and Manarina.

“Hey Cody! You look better now. Are you not worried about stuff anymore?”
“No, he’s still mixed up in troublesome things, but thanks to Manarina, he looks much more relaxed.”
“The Princess talked about a delicate matter with the King, and making a suggestion about the relationship between nobles and knights was a bold move.”
“Don’t talk too much about that kind of stuff, otherwise Dick will become paranoid.”
“Paranoid? Please… But if it’s possible, I’d like you to avoid talking about royal related matters.”
“Hahaha! It’s pretty nostalgic, isn’t it? It’s been a long time since the four of us were together.”

The last Miracle child was Yuma, but we can say that she was the busiest of us all.
Even though she was only fourteen years old, she was the director of an orphanage, and since she was also studying as the heir of an Archbishop, she had barely any free time.
Mylarka and Aileen occasionally visit her anyway.
They told me that she’d like to see me too, but after hearing that, I became somewhat shy.
The heart of men is complex.

“Dear customers, it’s about time for the last order. Can I bring you something?”
“E-Err… Sir Dick, can I ask you a favor? Could you make me another of your ‘special drinks’…?”
“S-Sure… I don’t mind. I’ll come back in a minute.”

I snuck into the kitchen to prepare some drinks for the others.
I wanted to see Mylarka more relaxed, so I blended the liquor I made from evening primrose with some royal papaya juice.
Aileen liked strong liquors, so I diluted the high alcoholic drink of dwarves with some perpetual crystallized frost.
For Manarina, I added syrup to one of the traditional, finest boozes of Albein, a cherry-flavored alcohol blended with cream.
Cody was an ale-lover, so I prepared a refill for him. Well, I also was in the right mood for some ale… I can’t get drunk with just one type of booze, so I have to drink different ones.

Verlaine brought the drinks to the others for me. Finding an artisan who could produce glasses shaped so differently was hard… but I couldn’t present a blended drink in a mug like it was some ale.
Since I started drinking, I feel like every drink should have its own aura.

“…Dick, where did you learn this recipe?”
“It’s the result of many experiments. I have a lot of free time, you know… oh, wait.
Mylarka, I want to make sure, but are you old enough to drink?”
“Y-Yes… I am…”

Mylarka’s expression twitched like she had noticed something. She should have been sixteen years old now… and if I didn’t remember wrong, her birthday was around these days, too.

“…Ah! Mylarka, isn’t today your birthday?! Last year you said you still couldn’t drink, and that you had to wait another year!” said Aileen.
“…Y-Yes. I did say that.”
“Thanks goodness. Even though it’s a coincidence, now we can celebrate all together!
Ah… Dick, did you perhaps know about her birthday?” asked Cody.

Of course I didn’t, but Mylarka looked at me with a surprised gaze.
Thinking that I had set that up for her made her impression of me skyrocket.
In that case, I wondered if I was going to see her tender side.
That would have greatly helped my mental health, but instead, she…

“…Hey, Mylarka, what’s up?”
“Sniff… N-Nothing, really. I just have something in my eye…”

While Aileen was worrying, Mylarka brought a handkerchief to her eyes, but the stream of tears didn’t stop, so she hung her head.
Everyone, except for Mylarka, looked at me.
Cody was weak when it came to girls. When this kind of things happened, he just stood there, looking at someone with a ‘do something’ written all over his face. Aileen had the same expression.

“…E-Ehm… Well… You know, if it’s your birthday we should celebrate.”
“Wow, that was weak. It made me want to hide in shame for you.”
“Congratulations, Mylarka. What about toasting with everyone…?”

Mylarka understood that she couldn’t hide her tears from us, so she glared at me with red eyes. She had a ‘what, is this a problem?’ written all over her face, so I had no choice but to smile bitterly at her.

“…Dear customers, might I join your toast?”
“No, wait, you shouldn’t drink at work.”
“As the shop assistant of this bar, wouldn’t it be elegant to give her my best wishes?”

As to show her privileges, Verlaine poured some strong booze in a glass.
It was a mysterious drink manufactured by elves, that shined beautifully like it was some type of glass.
She loves drinks produced with nutritious ingredients, and the first time she came here, she tasted her favorite. It was a spirit booze that had analeptic properties.
She used to say it could be a great new entry of the menu whenever she sips it.

“I don’t know what is this about, but it’s fine. Ehm… Happy birthday and congratulations for our completed request! Cheers!”
“Did you really omit our names to not draw attention…?”
“Cheers! Yay, I’ll drink today too!”
“Wait, are you going to drink even now? What happened to that bottle of strong liquor you opened last day…?” said Verlaine.
“Aileen can’t get drunk over something like that. That would be no more than water for her, unlike for me.”

Before she became a real drinker, I saw how appealing she was while drunk… but if that situation degenerated, our relationship would’ve probably been destroyed, so it was better this way.

“Uuh~ I feel like I’m on fire! Dwarves’ booze makes your body burn like lava!”
“That drink is so strong that makes me wonder if it really isn’t drinkable fire…”
“Okay, let’s celebrate with Aileen’s fire blowing trick. Let me check if we have some flints left.”
“If the strongest martial artist of the demon race were to blow fire, that would become part of her legend. I can’t lose that.”

Chatting like that reminded me of our journey.
The days where I kept correcting the actions of some unheard guys…
Even though it was really nostalgic, I won’t do something like that ever again.

Princess Manarina giggled.

“You guys really are on good terms. If people as strong as you also get along this well, it isn’t strange to think that you managed to defeat the Demon Lord.”
“Yes, you’re… I-I mean, don’t mind me, Miss.”

The Demon Lord started to agree without thinking, but stopped mid-sentence.
Manarina didn’t know the face of the Demon Lord, so she couldn’t even imagine that it was right in front of her.

After that, Manarina and Mylarka tasted the drinks I prepared for them.
As far as I knew, the flavor should have been good enough for them…
Still, I was anxious.

“…I thought alcohol had a bitter flavor… but I guess there are also drinks like this, huh?”
“Mh~ So good. Its flavor is so delicate that I can’t believe it is an alcoholic beverage.”
“Well, you should still be able to handle stronger drinks.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? You’re only two years older than me. He might look like an adult, but he still isn’t even twenty years old. Don’t be fooled by his appearance, Manarina.”
“I asked about Sir Dick’s age when you had that meeting with Father… still, when we met again, I was surprised to see him look so mature.”

Even when I got drunk, I had to take care of my appearance, since I couldn’t let guests see a disgusting drunkard sitting at the counter. That’s why I made sure to always dress nicely. I also accepted Aileen and Verlaine’s suggestions regarding this matter.

Whatever or not I grew up, my image reflected in the mirror was somewhat disappointing, but five years indeed passed.
Alcohol didn’t ruin my body in the slightest, since I could use Healing Magic to neutralize its poison to avoid its effects the next day. This was popular between the guild members, since people could drink as much as they wanted without interfering with the next days’ duties.

That’s why I thought that both Mylarka and Manarina would’ve been fine, but…

Mylarka took her first sips calmly, until the glass was half-empty, then chugged the rest down. Manarina kept drinking little sips as she looked at the drink, but when the alcohol’s effect started to kick in, she ended up finishing her drink in a short time.

“M-Mylarka, Manarina, even though your drinks are sweet and easy to drink, alcohol is still alcohol. You should drink more slowly.”
“Can’t I do whatever I want? It’s my birthday, you know. Now bring me another one, please.”
“I-I don’t… think that’s a good idea. You will end up dead drunk.”

I had already some experience with alcohol, so I tried to warn them kindly… but Mylarka got on her feet, put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed it firmly.

“W-We’re so close… I can’t be drunk if I drank only juice before in that room!”
“…Will you let me go if I tell you the recipe of your drink?”
“Sir Dick, I’d love to have a refill too… could you pretend that this will be our very last order only for today…?”

The brown-haired and blond-haired beauty combo was asking me another drink.
I didn’t want to, and it would have been better if I had diluted them more, but it was too late to regret it now.

“Well… if they wait until the bar’s closure, what about we let them have another drink later?” suggested Verlaine.
“Aaah… Fine. I reap what I sow. What do you want to drink?”
“I’d love to drink something delicious. If Sir Dick makes it with his own hands, anything would be fine…”
“I want… the same as before. It was so good that I’d drink a thousand more…”
“Hey, are you serious? I won’t let you spend so much money for drinking. This will be the last one.”
“Dick, can I also have a refill? I’ll return to the knights’ station after this.”

If someone noticed that he smelled of alcohol, Cody’s image would be tarnished, but he would still look just fine even if dead drunk.
It would have been rude to remove the pleasant numbness that one feels when drunk with magic.

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