It is almost time for lunch, so we enter a fashionable restaurant. There are rumors that a war is about to break out, so the place is sparsely populated. In the past, many tourists from countries outside the Orient used to come here, but judging from the attire of the nobles here, they are mainly from the Kingdom of Halkeginia.
“Welcome! very beautiful ……! Ah Excuse me, I’m so sorry! This way please!”
As soon as the female waitress saw Sophia, her eyes widened and she praised her beauty. I felt a little embarrassed.
Then I was shown to a table for two with Sophia and handed a table with a menu on it.
“What would you like, Sophia-chan?”
“Hnn…Shrimp Salad Lunch Course …….”
“Then I’ll have the meatball pasta lunch course.”
The waitress who took our order walked away with a smile on her face.
“Look how …… beautiful she is!”
“I have never seen such a beautiful woman in the Kingdom of Harkeginia, except for Lady Sophia!”
“The outfit certainly belongs to a high ranking noble in Halkeginia, but could it be that she is a distant relative of Lady Sophia or something?”
“Oh …… that’s possible. Rather, who is the man next to her?”
“Well, he has a nice face, but he doesn’t seem to be upper class.”
“hnn…Maybe he’s a knight with a good arm!”
“Ah! Just imagining the forbidden love between a knight and a lady …… gives me a warrior’s shiver …….”
For some reason, I can’t help but feel that there’s a lot of outrageous speculation going on, but …… our identities haven’t been exposed, so let’s call it good. Fortunately, this is a country that values swords and swordsmanship, so no one is looking at Sophia wearing a sword with suspicion.
“What’s the matter? Sighing all of a sudden,…… perhaps your date with me is boring?”
Sophia asks me in a dejected tone.
“No, no! Not at all! I was just thinking that Sophia is so beautiful that she would attract a lot of attention! I thought maybe I should have dressed up a little …….”
“No, no! Eric is fine as he is. ……”
“I’m more suited to the lower class. ……”
I think it might hurt me a little. ……
“No, it’s not! If Eric dressed up and behaved nicely, I’m sure the other women would ……”
“Hmm? I can’t hear you very well because your voice is so low. ……”
“! Anyway! Eric is better off just the way he is!”
“i-I see. ……”
I looked down and felt a little depressed.
(Sophia’s voice: Why am I jealous? I should have left all the ugly feelings of a woman long ago, but looking at Eric, …… ugh …… it’s so frustrating ……)
At that moment, an uninvited guest arrived.
“Oh dear, your attire is that of a lowly nobleman of the kingdom of Illas!”
A voice, neither low nor high, tickled our ears. We were curious, so we turned our attention to the owner of the voice and saw what appeared to be a nobleman of the Kingdom of Ilas and his wife standing there, looking down at us. The insignia on the man’s coat of arms indicated that he was a baron. In terms of age, I’d say they were both in their mid-twenties.
“The beautiful woman on the other side is probably a high-ranking noblewoman. And yet, to dine alone with a low-ranking nobleman from the Ilas Kingdom, this kingdom has fallen so far behind!”
The Baron of the Kingdom of Ilas has been disrespectful to Sophia. Hearing the baron’s arrogant voice, the people around them suddenly stood up and glared at the baron and his wife. But the baron and his wife were not intimidated at all.
“What are you looking at? I’m in charge of trade affairs at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom of Ilas. Do you have a problem with us? Ah!?”
The Antiochian Chamber of Commerce. The Antiochian Trading Company is a huge trading company in the Kingdom of Ilas that supplies Shine Stone to the Kingdom of Halkeginia.
As soon as the word “Antiochian Trading Company” was mentioned, the people around them resumed eating at their seats, although they had expressions of frustration on their faces.
bit her lip and glared at the baron and his wife with murderous eyes. Then the Baron’s wife pretends to be scared .
“Dear, I’m scared – the rumors that women in Halkeginia are strong-willed and have a rough temperament are apparently true – and she’s wearing a sword, too. Sh’es not even attractive as a woman. Hey, honey, I’m more beautiful than her. right?”
“! That’s …… yes. Y-You’re beautiful.”
“Wait! What’s with that reaction? That girl is more beautiful than me?”
“No, no! No, she’s not! (panting)”
“Nn! She just looks more beautiful because she’s wearing all the cosmetics they make here! Hmph! You! Let’s go home soon! I’m sober now! I have to go back to the Chamber of Commerce and raise the price of Shine Stone, you know. Ufufu.”
The baron’s wife took a licking and narrowed her eyes at Sophia.
Sophia glared at such a wife with a killing force. The guests around her clenched their fists in frustration as they secretly watched this spectacle. Some of them gnashed their teeth.
“Yes! Soon this place will be a vassal state of the great Ilas Kingdom, and if that happens, we won’t be able to do business with the Lords! Hahaha!”
I must give them a little punishment.
“Eh? What is it?”
“I’m sorry, what’s your name?”
“Fufu, you’ve asked me so well. …… My name is Bach! You tell me your name, too.”
“You must be Bach sama! My name is Eric!”
“Yes,! My name is Eric!”
“Hnn, …… it is true that in our country, I hear that there are some lower class nobles who use the name of the crown prince,…… but that’s okay. Oh! You, give me your ear.”
Baron Bach seems to have had a flash of inspiration and beckons a little. So I approached Baron Bach to listen to what he had to say, although I suspected what it was. Then, Baron Bach spoke into my ear.
“If you introduce me to someone as beautiful as that woman, I will reward you handsomely. I belong to the trade department at the headquarters of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. Let’s pray we meet again.”
Baron Bach quickly moved away, touched his wife on the shoulder, and turned to leave.
“What were you talking about with that lowly nobleman?”
“He’s from the same kingdom. We have a lot to talk about.”
“No, you …… usually treat the lower nobility as commoners.”
The couple left like a storm, leaving a trail
“What is it with them? Those people!”
“A nation whose only existence is the Shining Stone, and they think they’re so important!”
“The Kingdom of Halkeginia is allied with the Kingdoms of Ernia and Henesys! You’ll see! I will volunteer to join the army and trample your country to pieces!”
The people of the Kingdom of Halkeginia are cursing my country in a furious rage. This anger is well deserved.
“Oh, um, I brought you some …… food,……”
As I was frustrated, the waiter arrived with a wagon full of course meals.
I had lost my appetite. Sophia, who was looking in the direction of the day after tomorrow with a melancholy expression on her face, probably felt the same way.
Unable to bear the situation, I stood up.
I stood up and grabbed Sophia’s arm, who was sitting in a chair on the other side of the room.
Sophia followed me maturely with a pouty look on her face. I felt so sorry for her that I stopped and meditated for a while. A low-ranking baron and his wife from another country had said such horrible things to her. No doubt, I assumed that Sophia would be as angry as the people around her, but now she had a sad expression on her face.
“Eric? What’s wrong?”
Sophia’s worried voice pierced my heart.
I open my eyes.
“Everyone here! I’m sorry! But, but …… I will change it!”
I shouted loudly, then bowed my head, placed a single gold coin from the Kingdom of Iras on the table, and hurriedly left the restaurant.
“Let’s go to the post office.”
I grabbed Sophia’s arm tightly and headed for the nearby post office.
X X X
“I know it will take a while to get there, but this will definitely make that baron a commoner.”
“I-I see. …”
“….. let’s go somewhere else for a distraction! It’s a date after all!”
“Yes, …… it’s a date.”
But wherever I went, Sophia didn’t smile at me. Sometimes she looked at me with a sad face, sometimes she looked at me with a sad look.
At dessert shops and souvenir shops, we would awkwardly glance at each other.
And the next thing I knew, the sun was shining down on us. It would be rude to Sophia’s parents and the people at the royal palace if we stayed too late, so we decided it was time to leave.
Sophia was standing around the lake of Orbis, a short distance away from the carriage we had ridden in. The dreamy atmosphere unique to the twilight hours seems to take Sophia somewhere far away, and her heart feels constricted.
Beautiful Sophia. But the girl I love is staring at the lake with a resigned look on her face.
So I walk up behind her, not noticing her, and hug her tightly from behind. The feel of Sophia’s stomach, the softness of her arms. This is the real Sophia.
“! Eric……, what’s going on all of a sudden?”
“I felt like Sophia was moving away from me,…….”
“N-no,…… I’m …….”
From behind, I can’t see what Sophia looks like. Feeling frustrated, I untangle my arms and take a step back to see Sophia’s beautiful face.
Then Sophia, perhaps sensing my intention, moves her beautiful legs and turns around to look at me. She was as beautiful as ever. Her silky blue hair, her moist eyes, her porcelain-soft skin, and her well-defined face.
But something was missing.
“Tell me what you really think, Sophia-chan. Tell me why you look so sad. I want to know more about Sophia.”
“…… I am …….”
Her eyes flicker and her face loses its confidence. An uncomfortable silence that lasts for a few seconds. But I decide to wait.
And then she slowly opens her mouth.
“Eric is nice, humble, and kind. I, on the other hand, have been a swordsman all my life, so I’m strong-willed and temperamental, like that baron’s wife said in the lunchtime restaurant,…… and I don’t know how to please a man,……, I’m sure Eric will get tired of my unattractiveness as a woman, and he’ll eventually find another attractive woman …….”
“And you know, even these calloused hands …… you touched my hands when we got here …… weren’t they gross? Most women with calluses on their hands are hated by the gents for various reasons, so they give up and go off to get married, but I …… don’t think I’m good enough for you. I have no …… qualifications.”
And Sophia clenches her fists so that I can’t see the palms of her hands.
Her thoughtful expression. I realized, looking at her weakest and most girlish reaction, how foolish I was.
I was so stupid.
I had taken Sophia around to various places without understanding her feelings, and had made no effort to understand what was in her heart. This was nothing more than mere self-satisfaction.
So, I had to tell her clearly.
I had to give her a clear answer as to why she was so anxious. I don’t care how embarrassed I am. Right now, Sophia is sad right in front of me. It is more painful for me to see her like this.
That’s why I have to tell her.
I want to tell her how I really feel.
I bent down. Then I remove my gaze and gently place my hand on Sophia’s anxious hand. Sophia is surprised, but I gently move my fingers one by one. As I carefully untangle the tangled threads, Sophia’s hand appears.
Sophia looks down at me, bewildered. But I looked up at her,
“I’ve grown to like you in that way too.”
I kissed her palm sweetly.
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