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KENS Chapter 65

Chapter 65 Such Days Without Fighting (1)

Just like the Magic CIty Ofan, Merdiore was also divided into various districts. Business district, residential district, school district and the port area. In the residential area there was further division between the nobles’ area and the general public, but there are also quite a lot of fishermen and sailors who’ve taken up residence near the port area as well. The buildings were built in a systematic grid pattern and at the centre was a park from where the main street went in all 4 directions making a cross.

Now then, as the name of the Commercial City would suggest, trade and commerce is prevelant here, mainly of fishes. Beyond the sea, from Elfreim as well, goods are brought in making the able to get those items even faster than the Capital. An then there are also Elves here who can enchant weapons and items with magic. And even Dwarven blacksmiths who know how to use Mithril as well.

With sun at its highest, walking through the lively business district’s main street, I yawned. I am awake properly but that doesn’t mean the alcohol is completely out of my system yet. I did go an wash myself at the inn before going out but my head still feels heavy mostly because I still have a hangover.

“You okay?”

“Hm. Thanks for worrying, Mururu.”(renji)

[Don’t worry about him. It’s just a hangover anyway.]

Unlike Mururu who was worriedly asked me that while looking up towards me, Ermenhilde’s voice that resounded in my head was cold. Looks like she’s still angry that I left her with Aya to go drinking.

I feel sorry, but isn’t meeting my old friends important as well? Though I could have taken her with me as well. But sometimes it’s fun to fool around with just all guys.

“Renji. What’s that?”(sol)

As I walked while thinking that, Solnea lightly pulled at my mantle and pointed towards one of the items kept on one of the stalls.

Since telling her yesterday to ask me whenever she wants to know something, she’s been questioning about everything she’s been seeing today. It could be that even though she looked to be gazing at her surroundings indifferently, she might be curious about it inside.

“Oh, that is—–”

Common items were rolled in cloth and lined up in that street stall, and the one Solnea was pointing at was a silver earring that was kept right in the centre of all the items. Due to the detailed structure, one might not notice but it also had very small gems inlaid in it. It’s barely the size of my pinky finger but it clearly looked the most expensive among all the items in that stall.

“It’s an ornament. You wear it on your ears.”(renji)

Saying that, I looked towards the shopkeeper. Maybe because all of the items were just ornaments, the shopkeeper was also wearing a lot of them. Maybe by showing them how the ornament looked while being actually worn was also to impress the customers I think.

When Solnea also turned towards her, the twenty -something shopkeeper raised her light brown hair to show her ears clearly. There, a gold earring slightly bigger than the one displayed was visible.

“I see. So that’s how its used.”(sol)

“It’s all for improving a woman’s appearance. See, even Mururu is using a ribbon on her right.”(renji)

“……..Renji, the way you said it was rude.”(mururu)

[Yeah, what do you mean ‘even Mururu’, huh?]

Giving but a shrug, I looked towards Solnea who seemed to be focused at the items. The shopkeeper was explaining a lot of things hoping she’d buy some but Solnea didn’t seem very interested in that. With her usual expressionless eyes, she continued to stare at the various ornaments kept.

“Want one?”(renji)

“No.”

I asked thinking she might be interested but she rejected it. At the same time, her gaze moved away from the ornaments as well.

The shopkeeper was the one who most surprised by her sudden actions. She looked at me as if hoping I’d buy something but if the person herself isn’t interested. And above all, my purse doesn’t have that big of a surplus either.

When I refused giving a forced smile, the shopkeeper also dropped her shoulders and gave up. Understanding that I really had no intention to buy, she also easily withdrew.

“If you want something, tell me okay?”

“I understand.”

As I spoke that while walking away from the stall, she replied in her usual flat voice. Does she really understand though? I sighed, making her look towards me.

“Should I have bought it?”(sol)

“Nah, it’s useless to buy something you’re not interested in.”(renji)

“I see.”

When I said that, she replied while tilting her head. Since there was no change in expression on her face, it looked really surreal.

Having lost interest already, she faced forward and started walking again. Maybe because she wore an all black dress as well, her atmosphere felt really cold but once you get used to it, it’s not that bad. I’ll just think of it as a part of her charm as well.

“Renji, that.”

Next, Mururu pulled on my mantle and pointed towards a stall. There, they were selling grilled minced fish rolls. It was probably similar to grilled chicken. I couldn’t tell from here but Mururu, who has a sensitive nose, might have smelled it from here.

When I looked at her with amazed eyes, she looked at me with upturned eyes as if pleading me. Even though she had such sleepy eyes till now, suddenly they are shining with excitement now.

“It looks tasty.”

“I meant that for just Solnea you know?”(renji)

“I see.”

[……….all you think about is food, isn’t it?]

“I haven’t eaten it yet so I’m interested.”

Like I sid, buy it with your own money then. Why are you telling me?

While I was thinking that, Mururu went a pulled Solnea’s dress. Was it just my imagination or was Mururu even more delicate with her than when pulling my mantle?

“Solnea.”(mururu)

“You’re right. Renji, what is that?”(sol)

“……….This isn’t fair.”(renji)

[Fufu. This is fun.]

When I dropped my shoulders, Ermenhilde laughed. Her voice sounded like she was really enjoying this as well so I could only silently walk to that stall along with everyone. It’s also troubling that even Solnea seemed like actually interested in it than anything else before.

“Food above all, is it?”(renji)

“What does that mean?”(mururu)

“Meaning that you both love food above everything else like ornaments etc.”

[You talking about yourself?]

“Hm……..It’s not a phrase really meant to be used on men though..”

I feel like I haven’t seen many situations where this phrase could apply. Also, though I do think of food as important, my top most priority is sleeping.

While loosening the thread on my leather bag, which I use as a purse, and explaining about it to both of them, I bought two for each and bought and Orc meat one for myself. Well, it’s stupid to be the only one to hold back after all.

“Don’t leave and throw it okay?”(renji)

“Of course.”(mururu)

[You look like a father of two children.]

“As if I’d want such big children already.”

“Same…..Renji’s a bit undisciplined to be one.”(mururu)

[Not ‘a bit’ , he’s very undisciplined in my opinion.]

Is this still because I was lying wasted from drinking this morning? Goddamn these two, saying anything they feel like.

Going silent for a while, we walked while eating when my mantle was pulled again and I stopped. And then I answered Solnea’s questions. This cycle repeated quite a few times. And things that caught her interest ranged from ornaments like before, high exposure clothes being sold in shops, cosmetics etc. You can’t call any of those necessary to live but yet they were costly, probably why it caught Solnea’s interest.

Is she also as practical minded like I am I wonder. As a guy it doesn’t really matter but is it okay for a woman to be like that as well? Well, in the first place it’s doubtful whether Solnea has the necessary knowledge and awareness to make such decisions though.

I tried explaining all in a way that would make someone want to buy an item but it was in vain. While I was walking while thinking whether this was okay or not, my mantle was pulled again. Having already gotten used to this feeling in half a day, I turned to see Mururu point in a direction where a crowd had gathered. Seriously, I completely feel like a babysitter.

“Renji, what’s going on there?”(sol)

“A festival?”(mururu)

“I don’t think there’s anything to celebrate today though.”(renji)

The twenty-something people who had gathered were doing something inside a easy made tent. As we both went closer to it, a dry clacking sound came.

“Chess, eh?”(renji)

Peeking inside from above the crowd, I spoke what the people had been doing.

Chess.

A game common in our world, and something Kudou sold hugely in this world. It’s pretty costly and rather than play chess, the people of this world preferred working on their farms more so I had heard that it hadn’t become as popular though. Looking closely, some well dressed men were playing chess while sitting inside.

There were 5 chess tables. All 5 tables were filled with two players on each side focused in their game and then there were other round tables on which people were playing (trump) cards. Looks like by setting up a temporary tent, they have created something like a amusement centre.

“What’s chess?”

“Ah……..hmm, how should I explain?”

Thinking of how to easily explain the game in simple terms, I stood there thinking for a few seconds.

“By moving those pieces one by one like that, it’s a GAME…..game where they have to take out each other’s pieces to win.” (T/N: he says ‘game’ in english first before switching back to the JP word.)

“Take out each other’s pieces??”

“Ummm, you see, the pawns, knights and every other different pieces has its own speciality and features but———Seriously, how do I explain this.”

[Renji, can you play this as well?]

“yeah, I know the rules at least but……..”

[Then wouldn’t it be better to show them by playing rather than just talking?]

“………I guess so.”

That does sound easier and faster. When I asked one the people watching the others play, it looks like many of the spectators didn’t even actually know the complicated rules and were just passing time here because it was apparently still fun to see others play.

And, there were also amny who slowly learned how to play by just by continuously watching. Well, that happens as well. That said, my knowledge of chess isn’t more than what I have read on the internet out of curiosity. Since there was no one in my friends who played chess, I only played against the computer AI as well. And since I haven’t done that in years now, it’s all vague in my head. After a while, as I stood there, finally space opened up on one of the tables. When I asked the others to let me in, they happily let me go and play. Looks like since chess wasn’t as popular yet, they were happy to see new players come and play.

“now then,”(renji)

Solnea sat down in front of me. After arranging my own pieces, I arranged Solnea’s pieces as well and snapped my wrist a bit. Since we were new players, we drew attention of the crowd and quite a lot of people gathered around to watch. I don’t like being put in front of such a crowd but since Solnea has shown interest, I’ll work hard to have fun as well. That said, all I can do is teach the basics to her as well.

And by actually moving both mine and Solnea’s pieces, I showed her how pawns, bishops, rooks etc worked and their characteristics. Moving the piece, taking down enemy pieces, and promoting pawns by taking it all the way to the enemy side. And, when the king falls, it’s a loss. When I explained it all, she muttered, ‘I see’.

“fumu.”

The dry clacking sounds reached my ears.

We both were silent, and it was our third match now. That said, since in the first match I moved Solnea’s pieces as well, and the second match was obviously my win.

Chess, in my opinion, depends on how much the opponent moves per your prediction. Reading moves ahead of time, you set a trap. So that the opponent moves according to what you plan and lead him directly into your trap. That said, I don’t really get ‘Reading dozens of steps into the future’ that you see so many times in movies and internet.

In our world, Chess has existed for over hundreds and thousands of years and is also a sport, a show of strategy and tactics. Playing it like this, I truly get why it is so. I actually thought a lot as I tried to lead Solnea into a trap in the second match. And in the next match, Solnea tried to use the same tactic and I acted like I was getting fooled while setting a tarp of my own. That said, since this we’re both amateurs, I doubt it actually looks like some refined trap to those watching.

But it was enough to defeat Solnea who was also an amateur. As expected, I won the third match as well.

“It is my loss.”(solnea)

“I am the one teaching you after all. I won’t lose that easily.”(renji)

That said, I don’t really have anything more to teach her. She’s really smart. She has really sharp observation. She understood the tricks I used and also learned to prepare a counter against it very well. And in the end, it’s not like I’d have much to teach considering what I have is not more than half assed knowledge I looked up on the net in my spare time. In that sense, it’s amazing how she memorized how every piece moved from just hearing it once.

I guess this what they call talent? Or was this her intellect she possessed from being a descendant of the Demon God? Well, in the end—–Solnea, as she calmly and silently played chess, looked really beautiful. While we were playing, the men watching us for mostly focused on Solnea instead.

“I see.”(sol)

“So, did you enjoy it?”

“Yes. This is difficult to win just from tracing someone else’s movements.”

Saying that, she arranged her pieces again. Her actions were slow and there was no emotion on her face but, she’s enjoying this, right?

“Can we play one more time?”(sol)

“Before that, why don’t you try playing against someone else first.”(renji)

Saying that I left my seat and a different man took my place. With curly gold hair, he was clearly a noble. Even though it was their first time meeting, he greeted Solnea with a smile as he arranged his pieces.

This is a bit different than I imagined but to interact with other people like this should be good for her. Solnea’s ‘world’ was a bit too small right now. WE, who are travelling with her, my friends I introduced in Merdiore, and Utano-san who she met in the capital are all she has to call as acquaintances. It should be good experience for her to talk with other people like this as well.

But Solnea herself didn’t seem to like that as she stared at me who had stood up. In her eyes, I felt like I sensed very minute sense of bewilderment. I really must be a bully as seeing that, I only felt happy.

“Well, Mururu seemed bored as well after all.”(renji)

“Un.”

Turning aside her gaze, I turned towards Mururu who was sitting on the table to the side. I doubt she actually understood my intention but she was probably bored of chess already anyway as she was flailing her legs looking really bored.
I went and slightly kneeled in front of her.

“I’m going to buy us something to drink so, you want anything?”(Renji)

“I’ll go buy it instead.”

When I spoke, Mururu energetically jumped of the table. She really must be happy to get to move her body again as her wolf tail was swaying around. I guess I should let her move around then. Giving a wry smile I gave her a bag filled with a few copper and gold coins.

“Buy something for me and Solnea as well.”(renji)

“Okay.”

“And don’t waste the money uselessly, okay?”

“……….okay.”

While realizing the time it took to reply that, I didn’t say anything further and let her go. Well, I doubt she’d get lost either. This place pretty easy to find and not to mention, Mururu’s nose and senses are incredible.

After seeing Mururu off, I turned back towards Solnea’s table. Since it was her first time facing an opponent other than me, she seemed to be having trouble. Her placid sea-like expression was the same as always but her opponent didn’t use the same type of moves as me. She seemed to be trying to lead her opponent but it seems her opponent understood that so it looked like she was the one getting lead on by her opponent. The man didn’t seem to hesitate before playing his move. Strong……..or rather, he’s pretty experienced in playing chess probably.

From what I’ve heard, Chess has become a good pastime for the nobles. There aren’t any tournaments or matches like in our world and neither can you earn money if you’re good at chess in this world either. So, most people would obviously prefer to work on their fields rather than waste time at chess. Thus, it got popular with the second and third sons of nobles who have a lot of free time. I’m sure this man is also of that type.

[It’s so weird.]

“Hm?”

[The Demon God is surrounded by people right now.]

Due to Ermenhilde’s sudden words, I almost burst out.

Everyone looked at me weirdly for a second but soon turned back towards the chess board as the next move was made.

“It’s not like that.”

[……..fuun]

Solnea isn’t Nayfell. Was it because she has no memories or was it because her personality was simply different? In either case, she’s different from Nayfell with whom, conversing itself was useless. I think so……..I want to believe so.

She might not be AStraera, but I wish Solnea also learns to love people. Feirona, Ms Francesca, Mururu. And not just them, but a lot more people as well.

In the end, Solnea lost that match as well, and a different man came to play. Chess gives the image of being a mentally tiring game but is Solnea fine?

In the meantime, Mururu returned back with two drinks in her hands and a fish stick in her mouth.

“What’s that in your mouth?”(renji)

“Nafingg”(mururu)

[Talk after you’re done eating at least.]

As usual, this girl does what she wants.

.

.

.

After that, getting enthusiastically invited by that blond man and after having multiple matches, by the time we left it was already noon.

“Aren’t you tired?”(renji)

“No. Not at all.”(sol)

Solnea also sounded slightly regretful as she walked up alongside me. Mururu, on the other hand, in the time Solnea kept playing, she went around various food stalls, trying all of them out. Even her stomach seemed to be slightly bulging right now.

…………I didn’t check, but seriously how much did she eat?

“Also Mururu, tomorrow we’ll go do some jobs, okay?”(renji)

“I know.”

[That’s right, working for the amount you’ve eaten is truly how adventurers work.]

“un.”

Looks like she herself knew that she had eaten a bit too much as she spoke slightly embarrassed. Should I consider this laudable or should I think that she had it coming?

That said, the purse I gave her hasn’t become that light so she did restrain herself a bit. I’ll think of it that way. I’ll still have her work for what she ate though.

“Solnea, did you enjoy chess?”(renji)

“I am not sure.”(sol)

She spoke in her usual flat voice but from what I’ve seen from her talking to others, she probably did find it fun at least a bit. Whether for better or worse, Solnea who didn’t talk much was surrounded by a lot of people and had to converse with them as well. Now am I being just meddlesome or is this also considered parental affection? Well, the latter would only invite all sorts of misunderstandings though.

“I see.”(renji)

“Renji did you……”(sol)

“Hm?”

While I was looking at the slight inflated Mururu, Solnea spoke up. Without actually turning towards her, I only inclined my head to hear her.

“Did you enjoy, chess?”(sol)

“Yeah.”

I gave an immediate reply. Though this was the first time actually playing it against someone other than on the internet, it was pretty fun. It’s pretty fun to mingle with so many people and get excited about something.

Well, that said, I am definitely the type who prefers to move around his body more. Maybe because I used my head and concentrated a lot more than normal, I feel really tired.

……….Even though I don’t want to consider myself as a muscle-head.

“I see.”

“Maybe we should play again sometime?”(renji)

“If Renji wants to.”

As usual, she won’t show her own will. But I still felt like there was some progress as I felt a slight wave of emotion in her.

“But still, Mururu, how much did you eat?”(renji)

“……….A lot?”(mururu)

[What exactly do you mean by ‘a lot’ is what we want to know though.]

She maybe realized that I was string at her stomach as she gave a slight glare towards me.

When I laughed at that, she punched at my thigh very lightly. Since it didn’t hurt, I ended up laughing even more.

[What the hell are you two doing, seriously.]

While hearing her fed up voice as usual, we entered one of the bigger item shops on the main street. The items kept were not in any way inferior to the ones in the capital……in fact, it might be even better.

“Renji, do you want to buy something?”

“Hm, yeah, a little something.”

Since every item had been divided perfectly by type and use, it was easy to find what I wanted. A chessboard and pieces. Finding it more costly that I expected, I hesitated a bit but in the end I decided to ignore it………there were quite a lot of types but the one in the middle, and it’s price, was suitable for me.

“………Renji wants to play chess as well?”

“Well, yeah. If we have this, Solnea won’t get bored either right?”

Me and Mururu like to move around, and enjoy scenery more, but Solnea’s chain of emotions was more difficult to understand. Then, I hope she can enjoy something like chess since she did show interest. I doubt there’d be anyone who plays chess in Elfreim but she can enjoy it while we’re in Merdiore after all.

“Maybe you should play it as well if Ms Francesca comes to meet?”(renji)

“Fran plays chess as well?”

“I’m not sure. But it did seem popular with nobles after all.”

“fuun.”

Looks like Mururu really isn’t very interested. Well, I already understood that since she resembles me in that sense. Feirona…….I think he’ll be good at it if he learns once. Or rather, I feel like he’d instantly get better than even me.

“Here.”(renji)

“Is this okay?”(sol)

“Well you didn’t want anything for yourself so.”

After buying that we left the item shop and I handed it, and the bag it was given to us in, over to Solnea. Even if she shows interest, she won’t ask for it. That only happens for food. Really, food beats everything eh. I wish that she’d take after Aya or Ms Francesca more than Mururu though.

With this, maybe she’s learn some more womanly emotions……….well, there’s nothing womanly about chess though. I feel like the gift might have its own type of trouble as well.

“Thank you very much.”(sol)

[Don’t mind it. Renji’s way too kind to every woman after all.]

“Could you please stop with such easily misunderstood words already?”

To Ermenhilde’s sudden words, I ended up speaking like that.

Now then, after getting lunch, where should we head next?

“Or rather, Mururu, can you even eat lunch now?”(renji)

[You don’t have to force yourself to eat, okay?]

“I’ll be fine, I think.”

When we spoke in amazed voices, Mururu spoke that confidently. Well, if she’s like this, I do8ubt she’d be ‘forcing’ herself to eat.

Looking back to make sure that Solnea was still silently walking with us and had not gotten lost, she was holding the chess bag close to her chest as if preciously. It doesn’t look like she’s holding it too tight to break it.

Her face is expressionless as always though.

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