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KENS Chapter 64

Chapter 64 Merdiore (3)

“Renji, please wake up.”

While feeling someone shake my shoulder, I half-opened my eyes to see everything covered in black. I tried to make sense of what was going on but my mind didn’t work. I tried closing my eyes and going back to sleep but my shoulder was still being shaken so that was impossible as well. Getting up while yawning, I saw Solnea’s face. Looks like the blackness I saw before was her pitch black dress.

Last night, having a drinking bout with Dagram and others, I remember that I got cocky and drank more than I could handle but I don’t remember anything else. While I was trying to suppress the headache from my hangover, Solnea called my name again. Was she perhaps worried to see me not speak anything even after getting up? But her voice was flat as always so I can’t tell if she’s actually feeling something.

“Yeah, thanks Solnea. I’m awake now.”

“I see.”

Looking around me, the place looked like a disaster scene with ‘corpses’ lying all around.

Last night, the number of people who took part in the drinking party were around 30. And all of them were people who had helped us when we had stayed in Merdiore before. Humans, demihumans and beastmen. Without minding any racial differences, everyone was lying flat on the ground or tables. In truth many more people had helped us than these but due to either being out away on a quest or having been unable to create time on such short notice, many had not been able to come.

………….And, it’s been two years after that. There were some who had lost their lives against monsters as well. While mourning for their lives, we all spent the last enjoying our drinks. Everyone told me that rather than being sad, laughing was a better way to pay my respects to the departed ones. Really, they are so strong. The people of this world.

“Oh man, what a bad posture to sleep that is.”(renji)

While looking at the Hobbit lying on the ground, I spoke that.

Since I slept on the sofa, I was much more comfortable than these guys. As an Elf who didn’t really hate dwarves, Feirona was instantly liked by every dwarf and was made to drink a lot alongside them as well I recalled.  But I couldn’t find him here on looking.

“Where’s Feirona?”(renji)

“That side.”

Looking towards where Solnea was pointing, I saw him sleeping on a Sofa as well. Mururu was trying to wake him up but he didn’t seem to budge.

My drowsiness is finally going away but the headache is still there. Looks like we all really drank a bit too much yesterday. I’m, glad I handed over Ermenhilde to Aya before coming otherwise who knows how much she’d scold me if she saw me like this. Well, if Ermenhilde had been with me, I would have not gotten this wasted in the first place though.

But still, what should I do? Looking around the bar again, where should I even start? Even if I wanted to wake them up, most are still in sound sleep and the tables are littered with empty mugs and bottles. The floor was filled with sleeping dwarves and elves and beastmen. In a corner there were even empty barrels lying around; seriously, I can’t even imagine how much did we drank..

Literally, this was like a painting of hell. Though we did indeed rent the whole bar, it’ll take a whole day just to clean things up.

“Fuaaah………Good morning, Solnea.”(renji)

“Good morning, Renji.”

She greeted me back, as usual, there was not even a slight movement in her expression as she looked up towards me.

“What’s wrong?”(renji)

“No. I was wondering what will Renji do next?”

“I want to go back to sleep again………is what I want to say, at least.”

If I did that, god knows what Ermenhilde or Aya would say to me. I didn’t even to think much to imagine them scolding me.

While Solnea stood near me silently, I yawned again. That’s how dull my brain feels right now.

My throat felt dry so I picked up a nearby glass and brought it near only to smell a strong alcohol—-probably Vodka—in it, making me frown. As a port city filled with many sailors, the alcohol found here was usually stronger than normal. When sailors can set out due to storms or something, it’s normal for them to get drunk like hell so a suitable alcohol is prepared for them. I’m also pretty used to drinking strong liquor but comparing it with a dwarf’s ability would be nothing less than suicide.

“What about breakfast?”(renji)

“Not yet. Aya said that we’ll have breakfast here.”

And, she found us like this instead, is it?

Did she come here by her own will or did Aya tell her to come, in either case, I was saved. If Solnea hadn’t come, I would have slept through till noon I’m sure.

“And, where’s Aya?”

“Gone to call this person called ‘master’.” (T/N: Master is used for bar owners as well.)

As I got up from the sofa, my legs staggered a bit. And ended up slightly hitting Solnea who nearby.

“Ah, sorry.”(renji)

“No need.”

Looking outside the window, the sun was still rising up and it was still early morning……..well, a bit past that time to be honest. Opening the window, I let fresh air come in. The cold wind caressed my face and cooled down my drunk head. Taking a deep breath alone made me feel better.

“Did you have fun?”(sol)

“Hm?”

“Last night, I could hear laughing till very late at night.”

“ugh………”

True, we did make quite a lot of ruckus. If they were sleeping in the inn next door, it’s normal for the noise to reach them. Looks like, I’ll get to hear about this from Aya and Mururu later as well.

Thinking that made feel a bit guilty probably because I was aware that we really did drink a bit too much I think. But I couldn’t help it. After all, I was able to meet so many of my friends after a long time, that too in a world where death could come to anyone easily. Talking about our tales, it’s normal to keep on drinking…………Now I’m making excuses like a drunkard as well.

“Now that I think about it, Solnea, have you ever drunk alcohol before?”

“No.”

“fuumu.”

Maybe I should recommend her that too one day. I thought of that as I shook the shoulder of an Elf I knew lying on the floor near me. But he only gave a groan and showed no signs of waking up. It was the same for the dwarf by him as well.

While I was worried over what should I do, the door of the bar opened. The ones who came in were Aya and the Bar owner……..he’s a mysterious man whose age and name were a secret. Now if it was hot beauty it’d be great but instead he’s a bald, tanned, muscular man.

And without really minding the disastrous scene inside his bar, he walked into the centre of the place. It showed that he was pretty used to such situations…….It’s amazing how anyone can get used to this.

“Ah, Renj-san, so you’re awake.”(aya)

Just when I was thinking whether she’d scold me or not, surprisingly Aya spoke brightly. Feeling like that was anticlimactic, I wanted to tsukkomi myself asking if I actually wanted to get scolded or something?

“Ah…….Morning, Aya.”(renji)

“Yes. Looks like you really had a great time last night eh?”

“Did you say that knowing the implication of your words?”

“??”

When I muttered that, she tilted her head wondering if she said something strange. Well, I guess she’s still too young to get such innuendos. If it was Koutarou here, he’d be grinning along with me.

While thinking of that, since I’ll get tired just standing, I sat down back on the sofa.

“Where’s Ermenhilde?”(renji)

“Ah, here.”

When I asked that, Aya brought out the medal from her pocket.

“Morning.”(renji)

[Good morning, you drunkard.]

And her voice was clearly displeased as expected unlike Aya or Solnea.

[Seriously. I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink but could you at least try to live more healthily for once?]

“O, ou…….”

[I understand that its good to get rid of the fatigue from a long journey as well but like this, you’d just end up getting sick instead you know? In the first place……]

I see. So this why Aya didn’t say anything. While hearing Ermenhilde’s scolding I glanced at Aya to se her nod at Ermenhilde’s every word silently.

“Sorry, Ermenhilde.”(renji)

[…….What?]

“My head is really aching so stay quiet for now.”

[Houu.]

When I tried to make an appeal while pressing my head, her tone felt like it became even colder and deeper. But before Ermenhilde could start speaking again, the bar owner who was in the hall was standing behind Solnea before anyone realized. In his hand was frying pan and wooden ladle which he gave to Solnea.

“………”

“Wake up everyone here.”(bar master)

Saying just that, he began to pick up the jugs and glasses from atop the tables. Being suddenly given such items, Solnea just stood there confused.

“What am I supposed to do?”(sol)

“Ah, you see..”(aya)

Saying that, Aya took both the items from Solnea with a smile. Honestly, I got a bad premonition.

“Oi, Aya stop——–“(renji)

“You have to do this.”(aya)

And before I could stop her, she began to hammer the ladle on the pan making huge gonging sound.

“Okay everyone, it’s time to wake up!!!”

Still recovering from the hangover, that sound felt even more terrible as I blocked my ears while sitting on the sofa. It was the same for everyone else as well as they began to groan and moan from the sudden noise. With movements worse than a zombie’s, some began to finally move. But Aya wasn’t stopping there and decided to continue till everyone woke up. She’s the devil.

“Solnea-san, do you get it now?”(aya)

“I see. I understand.”(sol)

“Wait, Sol——”

In the end, in a matter of minutes, everyone was up while completely exhausted and senseless. And the bar master brought us water in the washed glasses and mugs. Gulping down the water, I felt like my headache became slightly better.

I wonder what she was thinking as Solnea looking at the frying pan and ladle constantly. May she had fun with it.

“My head hurts.”(renji)

“You get what you deserve.”(aya)

[You can play it more, Solnea.]

Looks like she really was angry as even Aya’s voice was cold. Also Ermenhilde, don’t say such terrible things out of nowhere. I stopped Solnea in a panic who was starting to put strength in her hands once again.

“fuu. What a bad experience…….”

While we were talking, Feirona came walking towards us. Looks like his head was aching from the sound as well as he was pressing his head with his hands. Mururu’s expression as she walked beside him was a worried, or rather, an interested gaze.

“Morning, Feirona, Mururu.”

“yeah, morning.”(elf)

“Good morning, Renji.”(mururu)

Hearing him speak in a rare tired voice, I smiled bitterly as I stood up from the sofa. Looking around, I saw some of them had already begun cleaning up the place.

“Now then, we should start helping with the clean up as well.”(renji)

“Yeah.”(aya)

The women were in the kitchen washing stuff and the men were gathering all the plates and dishes from tables or clearing trash away. Once that was done, we arrange the breakfast prepared by the bar master and other who could cook on the tables. There were 30 of us here. Using almost half of the tables here, we started breakfast.

By the way, the food prepared was fish good for digestion and soups along with white bread. Since the alcohol was still in our system, this was perfect.

“Aya, Mururu, will this much be enough for you guys as well?”(renji)

“Eh?”(aya)

“Well, if you don’t eat properly you won’t grow you know?”

“Mind your own business!”(aya)

When I tried being considerate of her, I got scolded instead. And after that, I wonder what she was thinking as she was paying attention to her chest……….That wasn’t what I meant you know?

Mururu did seem to be not satisfied as she ahd already finished her soup and got more white bread from Feirona. Feirona, on the other hand, seemed to not have much of an appetite as he was just slowly drinking his soup.

“Say, Feirona, how much did you drink?”(Renji)

“Who knows. I don’t remember but I feel like I might have drunk at least half a barrel.”

“…….Wow.”

“What about you, Renji?”(elf)

“I think, I barely had about one third of a barrel.”(renji)

[Why the hell is your unit for measurement in barrels in the first place!?]

The tsukkomi from Ermenhilde was cold as well. As we both sighed, I sipped my soup silently. Haah…….it’s tasty. Just when I was thinking that everyone else was also silent like us……..the dwarves had already begun to regain their energy as they started to ask for more bread and soup. Is their stomachs made of steel or something??

“Apparently this soup was made by Aya-jouchan you know?”(random guy)

“Really? By that kid who was once so clumsy?”

“Damn, this is better than what my wife makes.”

Hearing those voices, Aya was biting her bread happily. As expected, she’s happy to have her cooking get praised like this. While feeling happy for her, I sipped my soup as well.

“yeah, this is tasty.”(renji)

“Really?”(aya)

“Yeah. Even though back then you didn’t properly know how to hold a kitchen knife, you really have grown up well.”

“…………please forget that already.”

Hearing me, she hung her head in embarrassment. Laughs arose from other tables as well.

Back then, when once Merdiore was attacked by a huge monster army, we did prepare food in emergency with Toudou taking the lead but looks like everyone remembers that event very well even now. Well, since both Aya and Yui-chan were just kids back then, it was normal. After all, they were in middle school and elementary school at that time. It’s normal to not be able to cook at that age…….or at least that was common sense in our world.

“Speaking of cooking. What about Yuuko’s skill, Renji?”

“Don’t ask. We don’t even talk about it……..”(renji)

“O, ohh….”

When I replied that to Dagram as he asked that laughingly, he shut up as if he realized something. All humans have something they are good at and things that they suck at.

[I did hear that now she can prepare at least roughly eatable food.]

“Only ‘roughly’?!?”

Someone reacted in a loud voice and everyone began to laugh. Utano-san……..can prepare food, probably. I think. Since she’s intelligent after all, though I wonder if that is a valid excuse. At least she ahs the eye to choose what’s good for your body. But, she ends up using only those ingredients or rather……..Yeah. The food she prepares is at least good for health. But the problem is the taste…

That things is understood by Toudou and others who ate Utano-san’s cooking back then as well but still, that taste is……Back in our world, she could somehow fix the taste with curry and stuff but that doesn’t exist in this world. So what she chose was to make it spicy instead. I don’t even want to remember any further.

“Renji.”

“hm?”

Solnea who had been eaten her white bread spoke up. Looks like Ms Francesca and Feirona have properly taught her to not speak before finishing the food in your mouth.

“What will we do today?”(sol)

“Let’s see……do you want to do something is what I’d like to ask but it’s not like you know what things there are to do here either.”

“Yes.”

Then maybe I should show her around the place? Yesterday we went to the port and the guild, maybe we should go to the various shops and stores in the commercial district today.

“Then we should tour the streets together. Feirona and Mururu, what will you two do?”(renji)

“I am going to go sleep at the inn, first and foremost.”(elf)

Looks like his hangover is really bad. Seeing as he had been drinking with Dagram, I’m sure he actually did drink as much as he had said. Dwarves are race who can drink liquor like its water, you could say. While eating, before sleeping, it’s normal for them to drink.

“Aya, what about you?”

“I’m thinking of going and greeting all the people who helped me back then here.”(aya)

“Then, I’ll also go with Renji.”

“Got it. If I recall, both Kudou and Yuuichirou also live in Merdiore right?”(renji)

“Yes. Rin-san in the commercial district and ………..Enomiya-kun, probably in the residential district I think.”(aya)

Ah but , Kudou’s still in the capital I think. Though she might have returned by Utano-san’s teleportation magic as well. I’ll go show up there and return if she isn’t there. And Yuuichirou was……I wonder. After separating one year ago, I don’t know what he’s been doing since then. Utano-san said that I’d understand once I meet him.

Enomiya Yuuichirou. The same age as Aya and Souichi, he has the title of [Avenger], and is one of my comrades. He was once bullied as a child and has been trying to change desperately after coming to this world. He,well……….went through all sorts of trouble but I wonder if now he’s energetic and lively.

“Going to meet Yuu?”

Hearing our talk, a fox eared beastman spoke up who was sitting beside us. He was probably bad with hot soup as he was cutely puffing at the soup trying to cool it down first. He’s a guy though.

“Hm, yeah. It’s been a year after all so I was thinking of properly meeting him again.”(renji)

“Then, he should be at the graveyard right now. Go there.”

“………Why graveyard?”

Why did he say only that one place? I tilted my head but Aya nervously pulled at my sleeve.

“Celes-san was a resident of that district apparently.”(aya)

“Ah………”

I see. Having forgot about it, I scratched my head ashamed of myself and took a bite off my bread silently. As I chewed down strongly, seeing me not act normally, both Feirona and Mururu looked confused.

Celes. Real name, Celestia Gernia. Former subordinate of O’brien-san, even though young, she was a member of the Elite first Knight Order. During the Demon God subjugation journey, she travelled with us and took of care of women’s mental care of our party as well. She was strong, kind and pretty. Hearing her name, I recalled her face making me feel sad.

“I see.”

I finally understood why Yuuichirou had taken residence there as well. And this is probably why Utano-san didn’t go deeper into the details about it.

“Then, I’ll go there in the evening.”

“Yes.  Then I’ll go with you as well at that time. I want to talk with Enomiya-kun as well.”(aya)

“Then, we should meet up somewhere.”

When I said that, Aya nodded happily.

During the day, I’ll give a tour to Mururu and Solnea and in the evening, I’ll meet up with Aya and go meet Yuuichirou. I guess that settles the plan for today. Since Feirona will be resting at the inn, it’ll be fine even if Ms Francesca came there asking for us. Well, he’d probably be dead asleep from the hangover though.

“Sure. How about the plaza at the centre?”(aya)

As its name would suggest, the plaza was at the centre of the whole city, had water fountain and was filled with stalls an stores. Since the fountain makes for a good landmark, it’s a good place to meet up.

But the drunks here weren’t going to let such an interesting topic get away. When Aya said that, everyone started talking excitedly.

“oh, going on a secret date?”

“That’s a place where young couples gather, eh?”

“Just stay together the whole time.”

“So the little girl will finally climb the steps to adulthood eh……..”

“Oi Renji’s is having a tryst with the little girl!!”

“Sh, shaddup! All of you!!”(aya)

Blushing madly, Aya shouted only to get more teased. Looks like the drunkards have fully recovered already. Well, their bodies aren’t weak enough to get sick from a hangover of this level.

While sipping the soup, I dazedly gazed at them. Right now they’re all so close to us but back then, they disliked us quite a lot or rather, were very cautious of us. Even if we had been summoned by the Goddess to kill the Demon god, to them who lived in the fear of demons and monsters, beings from another world were nothing familiar either. Where we lived, thought process, everything was different from us. And above all, even though resources were limited, we received more assistance and help. They didn’t like that either.

Yet, right now, they were all drinking together with us, joking around, and laughing along with us. Seeing Aya getting teased by them, it felt like all them treated Aya as their own daughter. You aren’t a parent if you never tease your own child as she grows. It might only be a pain from Aya’s perspective though.  But still, she seemed to be having fun as well, or was it just my imagination.

“Renji.”

“Hm?”

Feirona was pressing his head aching again probably from all the noise. And Mururu continued to eat as if all this wasn’t related to her. Among that, Solnea who had been silent till now looked towards me and spoke.

“What’s a tryst?”

“Da, do……..Don’t ask about such things!”(aya)

“………..Is it something bad that shouldn’t be known?”(sol)

Solnea’s confused voice and everyone’s laughter overlapped. This, this is nice. I ended up smiling as well. Looking at me like that, Aya made a troubled face, then a shy face, then hung her down.

While I was looking at Aya whose emotions were changing every second,

“Feirona, what’s a tryst?”

“Ask Renji.”(elf)

On top of his headache from the hangover, Feirona who got even tired from all the ruckus gave a bitter smile and said that.

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