Chapter 160: The young man and Yarandorara Part 2
“Oo, you were the one who saved me!”
The merchant Robinson who was the target was waiting for me outside.
He took both my hands and showed a likable smile like one of those capable merchants.
“That was amazing for such a small child!”
Robinson-san praised me with smooth words.
Thinking back, I was never praised like that when I was in the village.
I thoroughly cleared all the monsters around the village so the village never suffered any damage.
I never concealed the fact that I defeated the monsters but I was rarely recognized for my efforts.
Well, it was a nice feeling to be praised.
If I ever became a squad captain, I decided that I would extend praises whenever possible.
“Robinson, that’s enough for now.”
“Ah, sorry. Let me properly show you my gratitude afterward.”
Yarandorara-san came between us.
I was happy that she was showing care for me but it was just a single round of battle so it wasn’t a big deal.
“Thank you Lugnason-kun. Take a rest tomorrow if possible. I will gladly explain to Sir Flores.”
“It’s all right. More importantly, there might not just be one assassin so Robinson-san has to be careful.”
“Yeah, from now on I will avoid streets that are too crowded for escorts to follow me until the matters are done.”
Robinson-san commented, shook my hand once more, and walked across the street.
Two High-Elf warriors with single-edged swords on their hips followed behind him.
“Those swords are the High-Elf country Kiramine sword?”
“I called them. It would have been fine if he had called them from the start.”
“So this is something related to the High-Elves.”
“Yeah. So where are you planning to go next?”
“Let me see. I was on my way to buy Cosmos flowers. But I don’t think anybody would be selling Cosmos flowers in the middle of winter.”
Yarandorara placed both her hands in front of her mouth and her eyes shined.
“I know a place that sells it.”
“Yeah, I’ll show you the way.”
She was a kind elf.
Apart from Half-Elves who have the same personality as humans, I thought it would be difficult to associate with High-Elves and Dwarves but so there were these kinds of elves too.
Or perhaps helping Robinson-san changed the impression of the obstinate High-Elves of me.
“Robinson-san is a salt merchant.”
Yarandorara said as we navigated around the main street, back alleys and buildings.
“Do you know the High-Elf Kingdom of Kiramine?”
“I don’t know the details but I am aware of the name.”
“It is the largest city in the Avalon Continent. A crystal cathedral enshrining the Apostle Cutie. A magnificent jade capital. Glittering spires. Surrounded by three layers of indomitable stone walls. Home to one million beautiful High-Elves.”
Yarandorara spoke about Kiramine as though she was singing.
“But there isn’t actually one million. The Kiramine Kingdom doesn’t have such a long history.”
“Kiramine is a country founded by High-Elves active as mercenaries and recognized by the Avalonia Kingdom. Our building technique is superior to humans so it became a magnificent town but the size of the territory is insignificant. We cannot be self-sufficient without imports from foreign countries.”
“And so salt.”
“High-Elves can’t live without salt. Robinson-san is a merchant who connects the salt trade route to Kiramine.”
“And … some people don’t like it.”
“You’re smart for your age. Yes, just like you suspect.”
Quite a few people dislike the High-Elves who have different values from humans.
The Kingdom of Avalonia and the Kingdom of Kiramine have a friendship treaty and a cooperative relationship but it seems to be built on a dangerous balance that can be destroyed at any moment.
Currently, the Kingdom of Avalonia was trying to intervene in the Southern Archipelago Kingdoms which have been warring for many years to form a ceasefire agreement but powers who do not like that were encouraging hatred toward the High-Elves in the capital to crumble the relationship with Kiramine and weaken the intervention with the Southern Archipelago Kingdoms … or that was the conceivable power at play.
Well, these were second-hand knowledge of Flores-san and I had not yet lived in the capital for many days.
“Although the sale of salt is a private trade, the High-Elves place more importance on personal connections than on diplomatic treaties. Their double-dealing, which is often criticized by humans, mostly happens when the diplomat changes and there is distrust toward the new diplomat. Aren’t we a difficult race?”
“So Robinson-san’s existence is important for the relationship between Avalonia and Kiramine.”
“Yes. High-Elves hate betrayal the most. If the Kiramine friend Robinson-san was killed, Kiramine will never forgive the murderer. But to the Kingdom of Avalonia, because it was murder between their citizens, they would not allow Kiramine to intervene.”
“It would become a foreign affairs issue.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean for it to become a dry conversation. I just wanted you to know this.”
Yarandorara-san said and smiled at me.
“You saved one of ours so thank you, Gideon-kun.”
The face of a High-Elf was more beautiful than anyone else by human standards.
But even after considering that, Yarandorara’s smile showing from under her hood on that day of snowfall was very beautiful.
A small forest spread out in front of us covered with white snow.
A squirrel was biting an acorn on a branch.
Surprised by falling snow, a weasel fled to somewhere.
“I thought the Imperial Capital was just stone, brick, and soil but so there were places like this as well.”
Yarandorara guided me to a place about 20 minutes’ walk away.
Although it was away from the center of the city, I didn’t expect such a tranquil location inside the Imperial Capital.
After a short walk through the trees, leaving footprints in the lightly piled snow, a brick house with a chimney appeared.
Next to the home was a huge Zelkova tree and it’s barren branches were painted white by the snow.
Yarandorara-san approached the beautiful wooden door and opened it without knocking.
Then, she turned to me and laughed.
It seemed like the shop belonged to Yarandorara-san.
I entered like I was prompted to and noticed the scent of flowers.
I muttered unintentionally.
There were small rooms lined up separated by transparent partitions.
There were flowers in the small rooms, summer flowers, autumn flowers, spring flowers, winter flowers, even foreign flowers that I have never seen before …
The familiar flowers and unusual flowers were all blooming together.
Yarandorara said joyfully.
“I have Cosmos so don’t worry. Now, take a seat. I’ll prepare tea.”
“Yo-you don’t have to.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry.”
Yarandorara went straight to the back of the store.
I sat on the chair next to a round table.
The chair was made of rosewood and there was an armrest.
The chair was a little large for a child like me but the chair sank slightly when I sat and seemed to fit snugly.
It was a world of difference compared to the stool I used as an apprentice in the Knight Order.
I exhaled and relaxed a little.
I wasn’t an expert in chairs but that was probably a good chair.
After a while, Yarandorara came over with a cup with white steam and fluffy golden-colored baked goods.
It looked so delicious that I was slightly worried that it would be chargeable.
In my small pouch, excluding the flower price Flores-san gave me, I only had a few quarter Peryl silver coins.
“It’s an herbal tea with honey. The baked confectionery is called Ellen and is something commonly eaten by High-Elves. It has candied berries inside and will be especially delicious when you’re tired.”
Yarandorara-san explained gently as she placed tableware on the table.
Then, she looked at me and said with a smile.
“I have a bath ready as well so you may enter after you are done eating.”
I couldn’t help but return with a question.
Of course, I understood the meaning of her words. But I didn’t expect her to recommend me to use the bath in that situation.
“My home bath is made of Cypress wood and has a pleasant scent. I believe you would be able to relax nicely.”
Time-wise, I only had to return by tomorrow morning with the Cosmos flower so I could enter the bath there.
But why was the High-Elf Yarandorara doing so much for a stranger?
I couldn’t fathom her intentions.
I inadvertently thought of the story of children invited to a kindly witch’s home and devoured.
Seeing that I was confused, Yarandorara bent down a little and matched my gaze.
“Could you pass me your sword?”
I unconsciously placed my hand on the sword handle at my waist.
“You won’t be able to draw it.”
Hearing Yarandorara-san’s words, I grabbed the handle and pulled lightly.
Just like Yarandorara-san said, I couldn’t draw the sword for some reason.
“Let me take a look.”
I unbuckled my sword and passed it along with the sheath to Yarandorara-san.
Yarandorara placed her hands on the sheath and sword handle and used force.
The blade and sheath made scrapping noises and the sword was pulled out sharply.
The steel blade was stained bright red with blood.
I sheathed the sword without wiping the blood off so I couldn’t draw it.
That was the first thing an apprentice to sword training would learn.
Now that I thought about it, when did I sheath the sword?
What did I do after I defeated that mercenary?
“I’ll wash the sword.”
I reached for the cup.
The cup made clinking noises.
My hand holding the cup was trembling and it was making sound as it hit the saucer.
“Was that the first time you cut a human?”
Yarandorara-san put the sword down and grasped my trembling hand tenderly with her white fingers.
“ … Yes.”
“People with strong Divine Protections will not feel that pain but your Divine Protection is kind.”
Yarandorara-san said and slowly rubbed my arm.
I see, I finally understood why Yarandorara-san went to such lengths.
I didn’t notice myself but … I was hurt.
And after I realized, my paralyzed brain finally started moving.
“Drink slowly. This herbal tea will alleviate your painful feelings.”
Yarandorara-san slowly brought the cup to my mouth.
The herbal tea in the cup tasted extremely gentle.
As an aside.
Thanks to that achievement, I was promoted to an esquire at an unusual speed.
Neville heard about it and challenged me to a duel with his trained body so I beat him up.
I thought he would be angry but surprisingly Neville honestly apologized and had a change of mind as he started doing his job as a page diligently.
Because of that, the talk to expel Neville was taken back and after I became a knight, he was a reliable subordinate that I worked with a lot.
I’m sure even now he was fighting as a fine knight.