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Chapter 05: I met a friend and former subordinate (part 1)
“I’m here, in the end…” [Youki]
I heaved a sigh as I stood in front of the rented carriage where we were supposed to meet.
The surrounding area was brimming with people; those who were out on trips, those who were on missions, and those who were returning home. I was among those who were on a mission, although I wasn’t going solo this time.
At the time during my ‘chuunibyou’ fiasco, Raven didn’t seem to be himself, so I invited him along for a change of pace. Although, the party didn’t just consist of the two of us. I had asked Happiness to come along, too. I had told Raven that there would be more people coming, but I left out the tiny detail that Happiness was among them. Raven might get too nervous if he knew Happiness was invited as well, so I thought of giving him a little surprise. It would be good to bring the two of them closer through this mission.
Well, I had wanted to ask Cecilia and Duke to come along as well, so we could give Raven and Happiness a little time alone after that. That was supposed to be my plan. However…
“Ehhh, you can’t make it!?” [Youki]
“Yes… I have important things to take care of on that day. I’d very much like to come along since I hardly have a change to go out in an outing with Happiness-chan and Raven-san, though.” [Cecilia]
“It’s alright. Nothing can be done if you have prior engagement. I’ll invite you again the next time. I’ll make sure everyone’s available first in future.” [Youki]
“I’m really sorry…” [Cecilia]
After inviting Raven and Happiness, the event that transpired when I went to the mansion came to my mind instantly.
Was she feeling really bad about it? She seemed dejected when she was apologizing. Although, I was even more disappointed than her when I left the mansion.
Even though my mood had plummeted, I went over to invite Duke the next day.
“Sorry, but I’ll take a rain check.” [Duke]
“That can’t be it! Cecilia can’t come since she has something to do, but even YOU can’t make it?” [Youki]
“I’d like to cheer Raven and Happiness on as well… but without Raven around, the knight headquarter has gotten swapped with work.” [Duke]
“Can’t you do something about that? Like finishing the work the day before, or something along that line.” [Youki]
“…Look, it isn’t just about the workload. I’ve joined the knights rank at Raven’s endorsement. Because of that, people might have already seen it as a form of favouritism. If we were to take consecutive holidays at the same time, it would further worsen people’s opinion of me.” [Duke]
“I… I see. Certainly, it would be impossible for you.” [Youki]
“Captain, you’re the one who’ve planned it yourself, so take responsibility for it. …But, let me give you a warning beforehand. Do not further aggravate the cracks in their relationship, got that?!” [Duke]
“I… I got it.” [Youki]
I was given a firm reminder not to do anything unnecessary.
It wasn’t like I was going to do anything foolish.
However, the fact that Cecilia and Duke, the two most dependable members of the supposedly three-people party, would be absent was undeniably an issue.
“I’ve become a third wheel now…” [Youki]
I knew perfectly well that I was the one who had set up the plan and invited the people, but to be honest, I wanted to go back.
To enact my scheme by relying on other people. I realized how stupid it was to devise a plan on that premise.
“Should I cancel it last minute? No, Cecilia might dislike me if I were to do that. Duke will tell me off for being irresponsible as well… Above all, I’ll feel bad towards the two of them.” [Youki]
Time ticked away as I tried to come up with a good idea, but in the end, I came up with nothing.
At that moment, I felt someone tapping on my shoulder, so I turned around and came face to face with Raven, who was dressed up like an adventurer instead of his usual knight’s leader attire.
“…Did you wait long?” [Raven]
“N-Not really… I just got here.” [Youki]
I couldn’t tell him them I had been here since 30 minutes ago, trying to think of a good way to cancel this appointment.
“What’s wrong? You’re sweating a lot.” [Raven]
“Err… it’s pretty hot today. Yeah, that’s why.” [Youki]
It seemed that I was drenched in cold sweat. I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I didn’t realize it.
“Really? I thought it was quite cooling today.” [Raven]
“T-That’s because you’re always wearing that armour of yours. But you’re unexpectedly dressed in a light attire today. That’s probably why you feel it’s cooling.” [Youki]
“…That might be true. It feels like I’ve been wearing my armour all the time since I hadn’t had a break lately.” [Raven]
The strategy to divert the conversation seemed to work, but I mustn’t lower my guard. Since we had already reached this point, we might as well work on our mission.
When Happiness comes, I’ll have to put on a false pretense and gloss over it.
“I see. If you’ll able to refresh yourself through the plan I’ve made for today and tomorrow, it’ll make me feel glad. So, even though we’ll be taking on a guild mission, let us enjoy ourselves.” [Youki]