KENS Chapter 22

Chapter 22 The GodSlayers (5)

At the restaurant……or rather, the dinner hall meant for the masses where Aya and others were waiting had very few other customers.

The number of wooden tables were many and were also well maintained. There was also a big piano but it wasn’t being played right now so it was pretty quiet right now.

At the counter, a girl of the same age as Aya was taking orders and behind that counter, inside the kitchen, 2 adults, probably the girl’s parents were making food.

The atmosphere felt very cosy and comfortable as we 4 sat around a table and looked through the menu. By the way, Aya sat in front of me and Souichi and Yayoi were on the sides.

“It’s a restaurant with a pretty great atmosphere. Do you guys come here often?”(Renji)

“Yeah. It’s filled with students of our age in afternoon but the number of customers at night are scarce. Since we’re quite famous, we come here quite a lot of time for dinner.”

“It sure is tough being famous eh?”

“Also, the food here is really delicious. Quantity served is good as well.”

[Houu.]

“No, why the hell are you getting amazed for? You don’t even have a mouth.”(renji)

[Muu……]

But, I guess that makes sense. I moved my gaze towards the few customers here but they were all young. They’re probably not even 20 yet.

It’s probably because they don’t serve much alcohol that its not popular with the night crowd. As I looked at the menu while listening to Souichi, I saw that only a few beverages were mentioned.

Even rural villages have 1 or 2 more than this. Thinking that this restaurant is probably aimed at minors—-students, it makes much more sense.

In this world, there’s not really a age limit for drinking. As long as they drink moderately and don’t cause trouble for others, anyone except small children are allowed to drink.

The fact there are no alcohol bottles behind the counter, or any place visible, they must be appealing towards the student crowd.

“But then, don’t you have trouble going shopping normally as well?”(renji)

“It’s not that much of a problem, right?”(souichi)

“It’s probably because brother doesn’t really go shopping too much anyway….If you go to some big merchant’s store, we do stand out.”(yayoi)

“Eh, really?”(souichi)

“Yeah….Souichi doesn’t really care for his appearance and pretty much stays home all the time and only goes to small stores so you probably don’t realize. Our faces are pretty famous.”(aya)

“……I see.”(souichi)

“Souichi, don’t you go to shopping with your girlfriend or someone?”(renji)

“I don’t have a girlfriend.”

Saying that, he dropped his shoulders. And I could only feel surprised at that.

“Really?”(renji)

[Unlike Renji, he should be popular with women though.]

Ignoring Ermenhilde’s words, I looked towards Aya and Yayoi-chan. Aya, somewhat vaguely and Yayoi with a happy expression, nodded.

So he really doesn’t have one.

I looked at Souichi. Androgynous, if I have to change my words, his face is what you’d call pretty for men. His height is slightly shorter than boys his age but I doubt that should be a problem.

His personality is an easily likable one, he is skilled and strong. In my opinion he should be considered superior to others but is he lacking in some specs from this world’s point of view?

Or maybe they think he’s dating Aya? They’re both GodSlayers after all. They both journeyed together and are of the same age. It wouldn’t be weird if there were some who thought like that.

Even I think that it would be a natural relationship for them.

The closeness of Souichi and Aya is very vague. Closer than normal friends but a little distant to be lovers. They both call each other childhood friends or close friends but I feel it’s slightly different. And it’s not like they aren’t conscious of each other either.

Well, I have had neither any childhood friends nor such best friends so I don’t know what’s the correct answer.

“Since you’re famous, do they get nervous while talking to you?”(renji)

“Something like that. Since I am a hero, a God Slayer after all. The only ones that come to chat are girls from famous noble families whose names I don’t even know.”(souichi)

“Isn’t that fine? You’ll get to live in luxury after all.”

“Not really interested. I want to become an adventurer after graduating anyway.”

Is that so? I looked at him.

“Just like Renji-niichan, I want to look around the world. With my own eyes.”

“Well that sounds fun. But you shouldn’t try to live like me exactly.”

[Yeah, you shouldn’t really. If you were to start living like that as well, Renji would probably get buried by Yuuko.]

“……..That’s a very plausible future, so really, please don’t.”

I shrugged my shoulders.

That kind of hand-to-mouth livelihood. Earning reward from the guild, eating and then sleeping. After collecting a bit of money, move to the next village.

‘Freedom’ sounds great but it’s a life with no savings whatsoever. There are no guarantee what’ll happen once I became old.

If Souichi actually was to copy that lifestyle, what would the mother-like Utano-san do to me……. Just like Ermenhilde said, I’ll get buried—-it’d be nice if it would end with just that actually.

“Being an adventurer doesn’t suit you, brother.”(yayoi)

“Right. For starters you lack that adult maturity and the awesomeness of an adventurer you need. It’s over for an adventurer if you get underestimated you know?”(aya)

“…..thank you for your frank opinion, Yayoi, Aya.”(souichi)

[Awesomeness?]

What do you want to say? I lightly struck Ermenhilde inside my pocket. While I was doing that, Souichi was feeling down from the two’s comments.

Since he looked amusing, we three started laughing.

“Now then, what should we eat? Have you three decided?”(renji)

When I said that, all three said the names of the dish they wanted.

Leaving aside Aya, Yayoi-chan eats quite a lot. I was surprised. Probably because I didn’t really have such an image of her when we travelled together. In fact I was worried that Aya wasn’t eating much. Souichi, contrary to his looks, eats quite a lot but Aya also ate a lot .

“What happened, are you not feeling well?”(renji)

“Eh?”(aya)

“No well, didn’t you eat more before?”

“Uu……..”

When I said that, she hid her blushing face behind the menu. Ah, she’s embarrassed, I finally realized.

I ended up saying something lacking delicacy. Deciding not to say anymore on the topic, I called the waiter to give our order.

Souichi and Yayoi’s shoulders were trembling as they tried to conceal their laughter and then Souichi alone suddenly fell flat on the table. Probably, he was hit underneath the table by Aya.

[Children should eat more or you won’t grow you know?}

“You should shut up for a bit.”(renji)

[….wha. Renji that’s rude.]

“Pfft.”

Ermenhilde, you’re the one that’s rude.

And Yayoi finally was unable to hold back and burst into laughter and then a small dull sound resounded. Probably, Souichi was kicked again since his body shivered for a moment.

I could only scratch my cheeks.

“Nostalgic, isn’t it?”

[That’s true.]

As expected, no matter what I say, this atmosphere is really fun to be in.

Souichi and Aya would cause ruckus, Yayoi would laugh looking at that. After coming to this world, we 13 were connected with a weird relationship. Even though they were strangers, they were ones we’d trust the most. Even though we are not connected by blood, we are like a family.

That’s why I felt—–that it was nostalgic.

.

.

.

While eating, we talked about various things. Their school life, my travels, what we did in the past one year, what others were doing right now.

Before we realized, we had eaten everything and then ordered dessert.

As expected, the amount she ordered didn’t satisfy her since Aya ate quite a lot of dessert instead. Well, I’m not insensitive enough to actually point that out loud though. It was mature of me to act like I didn’t see anything, I think. Souichi who did point that out loud had to fall flat on the table again.

“Really, the beard doesn’t suit you.”(yayoi)

[So Yayoi thinks like that, what about Aya?]

“Eh, um…….well, yes.”

“I think it looks manly though.”(souichi)

And for some reason, the topic shifted to my stubble.

Is my beard really worth becoming a topic of conversation? Also, seeing Ermenhilde happy to get more comrades against me is also irritating.

And it seems my stubble is unpopular with both Aya and yayoi-chan. And remaining Souichi, I wonder if he realises that saying it like that changes the meaning behind the sentence quite a lot.

“When I’m in this sloppy look, I look like a normal adventurer so it works in my favour.”(renji)

“Aa, I see.  So it’s like a disguise.”

Not just that, it’s a pain to shave cleanly as well. This world doesn’t have things like shaving cream and shavers so you have to use a knife to do it. That’s very dangerous on its own. Many times I had ended up cutting my own cheek or neck instead.

When I started being cautious of that, shaving started feeling like it’s a pain and I ended up with this stubble instead. As a result I realized that I was started to be accepted as a normal adventurer.

[I think that he just finds shaving a pain though.]

It is correct. You really do know me well.

Well, I don’t intend to accept its true out loud though.

“Even I think of various things Ermenhilde.”(renji)

[I wonder how much of that is true…..or rather, it should be normal for a person to take care of his own personal appearance.]

“…….I can’t refute that.”

Aya and Yayoi didn’t like it after all, maybe I should shave properly from now on.

I still find it a pain but the feeling of not showing the children a sloppy me is greater. Since I have been living lazily for the past one year, maybe I should use this as a chance to better my own lifestyle or rather, at least my appearance. I started feeling like that while looking at the kids.

Is the effect of the energy of the youth? While taking to these 3, I also felt a bit more energetic.

“Well, I’ll try to be more proactive.”(renji)

“That’s a ‘will not do’ flag isn’t it?”

“Trust me a bit more, Aya.”

“I, I do…. tr, trust you.”

Was there something in this conversation to make her embarrassed?

As she averted her gaze and hid her face, I could only tilt my head in confusion. This time I really don’t understand. Looks Souichi was the same since he made a puzzled face when I looked at him.

Yayoi-chan alone was grinning happily though.

“Why don’t you try and grow a beard as well Souichi? You might look more manly.”(renji)

“Re, really?”

When I said that, the Brave-sama looked up at me happily. Will a beard even fit his androgynous face?……On imagining, nope not possible. I averted my gaze from him. There’s a limit to how much a beard can’t suit a man’s face.

If Souichi were to grow a beard, Utano-san won’t just stop with me getting buried.

While thinking such things, I became slightly scared. That person really goes all out when she does something. Utano Yuuko-san is that kind of a person.  They say a person’s name often matches their nature but that’s definitely not true. (T/N: Yuuko basically means gentle child)

“It’ll definitely not suit brother at all.”(yayoi)

“Yup, definitely not.”(aya)

[Souichi has a pretty face after all.]

And once again he was completely rejected.

Since I who came up with the idea thinks the same as well, I couldn’t support him either. Sorry Souichi, also, Ermenhilde my partner, “pretty face” is not a compliment for a guy.

.

.

.

After finishing our dinner, we left the diner. The scarlet moon was at the zenith which showed that it was quite late already.

As I breathed out, I realized that my breath was slightly warm.

It’s not like I was feverish. But, maybe a little bit of the kids energy was shared with me. I felt like that.

Was it fun? Yeah, it was. I had fun.

Without thinking about anything stupid or useless, I simply chatted and ate with my comrades, with the kids.

I was reminded that it could be this much fun. The time where we don’t have to think like a Brave or a Hero could be so calming, we were reminded of that once again.

“Did you eat to your heart’s content?”

“Yes. I ate a lot.”

“Then, it’d be nice if your height grew a little as well.”

“Yes…….”

Answering energetically, then soon answering in a small voice, I laughed at such a Souichi.

“Thank you very much Renji-oniisan for treating us.”(yayoi)

“As you’d expect, it’d be embarrassing to share the bill with kids after all.”

“fufu.”

“After graduating when you get a job….then I’ll have you guys treat me.”

“Sure.”

Yayoi-chan, as usual, sounded the most mature even though she was the youngest.

“………..”

And Aya was silent while hanging her head.

She became like this soon after when I said that we should go back. Seriously this girl. I began to think.

“Oi Souichi.”

“Yes?”

Calling him, I threw Ermenhilde to him.

He panicked a bit due to my sudden action but did somehow catch it properly with his both hands.

Probably because he’s living at school now, he’s grown slightly relaxed/careless. Well, that should be normal though.

A life where you’re cautious 24/7 would break you sooner or later. That’s why, this is fine. For that reason, Utano-san sent these kids to school I think.

[What happened Renji?]

“I’ll be back after walking a bit with Aya. I’ll come with you guys properly to your dorms later so don’t worry.”

“As usual, that came out of nowhere Renji-niisan.”

“Don’t mind it, it’s usual right.”

Saying that, I started walking. Ermenhilde was saying something but I acted like I didn’t hear. On glancing back a little, Yayoi-chan was giving a thumbs up. What are you doing? I sighed.

“………”

“………….”

Silence.

But there was no complaint against what I said suddenly either.

When I glanced at Aya walking beside me, she was looking properly forward like walking now.

Fuyou Aya. Childhood friends to the Amagi siblings and probably the greatest and strongest magician of this world.

I—cannot understand this girl. Why did she come to talk to me, what did she expect of me.

Back then, I had saved her quite a few times. From monsters, accidents, diseases. From back then, I feel like she has matured a lot.

Just one year. But it was enough for a girl to grow up a lot, I think. Her height has grown from being around my chest to coming close to my shoulders. Her hair has also grown longer and expression has also become more adult-like. Even though she laughs childishly when talking with Souichi, right now her expression is calm.

“Did you grow taller?”

“Only—a bit.”

The conversation ended.

I am good at continuing conversation with people but I think I suck at starting a conversation myself.

It’s different if I have an objective but like now when there’s no such objective in my mind I think I’d be satisfied with just walking around like this. I’d think there’s no really need for conversation.

Moving my gaze away from Aya, I looked up at the night sky while walking beside her.

“Your uniform really suits.”

“Thank you very much.”

It’s not like I had anything to talk about.

But I felt that Aya had something she wanted to say to me.

That’s I waited patiently for Aya to talk . Care freely, while gazing at the night sky. The walk with no destination felt great.

People who live in this world sleep early. That’s because they have nothing to do. The most they have for enjoyment is either alcohol and gambling. But even casinos exist only in the area where nobles live. And even that’s not an actual legal one. Those who like such things might be awake till late but it’d be only us who’d take a walk at such a time.

There was no one around. A quiet time. Walking at such a time really felt great.

“Renji-san.”

Aya’s legs stopped.

I looked at her and our yes met.

“Are you sad?”(aya)

“Yeah.”

Why? She doesn’t ask that. There’s no reason to ask a question to which you already know the answer.

Aya’s talking about what happened during the day.

4 dead. And they were adventurers who fought with me. Lives I couldn’t protect.

“I think I’m sad.”

“…….I, am not sad.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes.”

Do you find such an Aya to be cold-hearted?

I don’t. I can’t. In fact I feel that it’s better this way.

If someone of us 13 died, if someone close died,…..Aya would definitely cry.

But, she won’t be sad from the death of 4 whose names or faces she didn’t even know. Even if those were men who stood on the same battlefield as her.

And that’s normal. Because if you don’t think like that, you’d be the one to die next. Yes, because we understand that a battlefield is that kind of a place.

They were not sensitive like the 18yr olds of our original world. But, it’s something natural for this world. I’m sure Aya is worried of the fact that she doesn’t feel anything even on someone’s death.

“I was glad that Renji-san was alright…..I was very happy.”

“Me as well. I was also happy that Aya—-Souichi and others were safe as well.”

But I, at the same time, was also affected by the death of those 4. I had made sure to not show it either on my face or in my actions but I guess they realized it. Or maybe, I simply have not matured from one year ago.

It was as simple as that. It’s my bad that I just can’t be satisfied.——-I’m sure that if I stood on the battlefield right now, I’d probably get injured. Without any reason. I’m sure of it.

“Um—-”

Aya’s voice resounded in the stillness of the night.

“Thank you for saving me.”(aya)

“Don’t mention it. I said it at that time as well but I promised you, didn’t I? That if you were in danger I will save you.”

I feel like it was a night like this that time as well. I don’t remember properly, but it was a calm, still night. In front of the fire, I had promised her so.

That I’d protect the world’s greatest and strongest magician.

“You remembered it. The promise.”(aya)

“Well, it was an important promise after all.”

I shrugged my shoulders.

I will protect my promises. That was normal, obvious. And so I, obviously, protected my promise, that’s all.

“Renji-san is the same as always.”(aya)

“I just don’t want to break my promises. At least from my side.”

It’s difficult to keep promises. Even after coming to this world, I broke many of promises.

But, except for in extreme cases——I make sure to not break the promises I make.

Even if that promise is something very small. Even if that is an unbelievably precious promise.

The wind blew and gently made Aya’s hair sway in the air. In the darkness of the night, under the light of street lamps shining from magical energy, a pale light non existent in our former world, shone her figure.

“nee, Renji-san.”

18 yrs old.

But even so I felt some kind of charm in her expression.

“Thank you very much.”

“Yeah.”

“I was once again saved by you.”

“—-that’s true.”

Though I couldn’t protect those 4, I saved her life.

I’m sure that’s what she wants to tell me. I’m minding the death of those 4 too much. Those words come because she’s worried for me. Those words so were gentle, and warm that I ended up smiling naturally.

And then breathed a sigh. This won’t do. I’m being worried for by a child. I fail as an adult. I ended up smiling wryly.

What did she think as she saw me like that, Aya smiled like a mischievous child. It was not the fascinating smile like before, it was more of a smile that suited a girl her age.

“Don’t cry, alright?”(aya)

“I won’t.”

She started giggling.

I heard similar words at a very different place once. From a very different voice.

One year ago—-the place I last cried.

“Yeah, I promised Ermenhilde after all.”

That’s why, I won’t cry.

Even if my comrades die, no matter who dies, no matter what I lose.

—–because I promised so.

 

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