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Side Story ③: I had a meal with the girl I like (part 1)
“Captain, you’re being generous.” [Duke]
Valentine’s Day and White Day were over, and since the outcome was quite favourable, I decided that I should treat my subordinates to a meal every now and then.
“Eat up, guys. It’s my treat.” [Youki]
It wasn’t a fancy restaurant that nobles would patronage, but an ordinary eatery that any common folk could afford. As such, this expense wouldn’t put too big a dent in my wallet. Besides, it wasn’t a bad idea to have a meal together like this as we chatted as well.
“I wonder what kind of line-up we look like to the people around us.” [Duke]
“…Difficult question.” [Happiness]
“Let’s seeee… Happiness-ane is the mum, Duke-ani is the dad, and Captain is the unmarried uncle.” [Sheik]
“Hey, hold on there. What’s with that setting? Even if I am able to overlook the ‘uncle’ part, there are some things are better left unsaid.” [Youki]
What do you mean by ‘unmarried’ uncle? There is no need to emphasize on that.
“…A parent.” [Happiness]
For some reason, Happiness looked a little depressed. I suppose she still didn’t want to be called a mum.
“A dad, huh? That’s not bad, but I still prefer to be an older brother.” [Duke]
Duke was the only one who responded in a calm demeanour, unlike the rest of us who wound up crestfallen. That’s Duke for you. At any rate, having a lively gathering like this was fun in its own way, too.
Happiness suddenly rose to her feet.
There are still some food left on her plate, though. Could it be that she wants to go back already?
“What’s up, Happiness? You still have some left over.” [Youki]
“Ah, I’ll come, too!” [Sheik]
Sheik stood up as well, and the two of them went off somewhere.
“Captain, you’ve not only ordered plenty of food, but drinks as well. You understand my point, right? There’s no need to ask her such a question.” [Duke]
“Ah, I see.” [Youki]
“Sheik, on the other hand, knew what she meant.” [Duke]
I felt as though something stabbed through my chest.
“You should learn to be more conscious of things like this a little.” [Duke]
“Just because Valentine’s Day and White Day went well, it doesn’t mean that things will be just as smooth in future…” [Duke]
“Stop it!” [Youki]
I covered my ears to block out Duke’s voice.
“No point doing that. You can’t escape reality.” [Duke]
“Ugh, damn. We did make a date to have a meal together soon.” [Youki]
I invited her out the other day so I could fulfil the promise made on Valentine’s Day. I did not, I repeat, I did not do it just recently because I forgot to do so on White Day. I did not get too absorbed in my candy-making training that I forgot to invite her out.
“Hmm, that’s great, isn’t it?” [Duke]
I will be the one treating Cecilia to a meal this time.
“Well, as long as you don’t start having any strange thoughts. If this date is a form of gratitude to her, it should go well, at least.” [Duke]
“Hey, are you complimenting me, or are you making fun of me?” [Youki]
“I’m just stating facts… Make sure to give her a good time, alright?” [Duke]
“Y-Yeah. She will have fun. I will make sure of that.” [Youki]
“Then that’s good.” [Duke]
Duke ended the topic and went back to his meal. It looked as though he was relieved, for some reason.
“I’m back.” [Sheik]
The two of them returned, so we resumed our meal – eating and drinking to our heart’s content, before we parted ways.
…Having a relaxing meal like this with Cecilia alone might not be a bad idea. That was the type of date I had in mind, and so, a few days later, I put my plan into motion. Instead of meeting her at the venue, I picked her up from her place and walked to the designated shop together.
“I wonder if going there by carriage would be better.” [Youki]
“At times like this, having a leisurely walk there is also fun.” [Cecilia]
“I suppose by the time we get there, the timing will be just right. We’ll be hungry by then.” [Youki]
“That’s true. The food will taste better after a light exercise, won’t it?” [Cecilia]
There was a huge benefit in being able to enjoy a conversation with her. Even a normal exchange like this could alleviate all my pain and sorrow.
“Have you been to common folk eateries before?” [Youki]
“Umm, quite a number of times when we were travelling the last time, but not so much recently.” [Cecilia]
Was it when she was travelling with the hero’s party? She even had to cook at the campsite, so I suppose she didn’t have much opportunity to have high-class meals. If that is the case, then would common folk food still suit her taste? It has actually been some time since then. No, the place that we are heading to should be fine. I had focussed only on the topics of conversation previously, but there should be some leeway this time. I could talk to her about the recent mission, and about Duke and the rest.
Naturally, I was still unable to hold her hand. However, she listened to my story and would give an appropriate respond every now and then, so I guess the pace was all right.
“Ah, we’re here. Let’s go in.” [Youki]
I led Cecilia into the shop.
“This place has a nice atmosphere.” [Cecilia]
It was a cute shop with a handmade menu display. In addition, the place was well-maintained with just the right number of furnishings.
“Everything in this shop’s tasty.” [Youki]
“Oh, really?” [Cecilia]
Being quite a chowhound, I had tried every item on the menu, so I could say that with confidence. However, after pondering over the choices, Cecilia ended up ordering the same set meal as me. Once the food was brought over, I instantly tucked in. That was my idea of a relaxed meal.
“Youki-san, you’re hungry, aren’t you?” [Cecilia]
As she ate, she smiled as she looked at me.
“I was too absorbed in the conversation that I didn’t realize it, I guess.” [Youki]
“We did talk about this earlier, didn’t we? About how we might be hungry when we were on our way here.” [Cecilia]
“Come to think of it, I guess we did.” [Youki]
I was amazed at it myself, despite being the one who brought it up earlier. On seeing my reaction, Cecilia laughed. It’s fun just chatting and laughing like this.