Chapter 24 At least say good night
The three of us were having dinner. Tonight’s restaurant was ‘Swallow Pavilion’, which is popular among commoners.
I thought internally (recently, I’ve been hanging out with the Commander a lot).
All the seats at Swallow Pavilion are semi-private rooms, and the seats are separated by walls except for those facing the aisles. Looking around, it seemed that apart from us, most customers are lovers. I wondered if it was proper to bring children to a shop full of lovers.
“It’s a wonderful restaurant. Wasn’t it difficult to make a reservation?”
“Actually, I asked my subordinate which store is suitable to take women to.”
“Well. Thank you for your consideration.”
How could he ask his subordinate that question? Does he really not care about it turning into a rumor?
Before long, a fairly large square plate was brought to each of us. A variety of meat, mainly stewed venison, and vegetable dishes were beautifully arranged like a painting, and there were even small flower decorations.
“Wow!” Nonna cheered with joy. Everything was delicious, not only the presentation but also the taste.
“Commander, everything is very delicious.”
“Yeah, it’s delicious.”
The leader cleaned up his platter pleasantly. While he was eating, he spoke to me in his usual melodious voice.
“I talked to that person. He insisted that he broke his ribs from falling no matter how many times I asked him.”
“Is that so?”
“So you don’t have to worry. In the first place, he came at you with a hidden knife. No matter how you look at it, he was at fault.”
“Commander worked hard for my sake too.”
When I said that, he smiled wryly without saying anything.
After the meal, I decided to talk about what I had been thinking about for a long time while drinking wine with figs boiled in syrup that were sliced thinly like flowers.
“What is it?”
“What kind of personality does that person have? Of course, you can keep to what you are allowed to say. I don’t have much skill, so I managed to drive him away by putting in all I have, but if it was someone with skill, his life would have been in danger. I still can’t believe that someone in his position would do such a thing.”
Commander paused with his eyes on his plate.
“That’s right. There was a possibility that he might have lost his life. I should say that I’m glad he had you as his opponent. He’s an honest person. As a second son, he was brought up without worries. He’s been raised with a sword since he was young and I think that his skill is admirable considering his position. Many things about him are mischievous and worrying, but he is greatly admired by those under him.”
“Is that so?”
Commander made a worried expression.
“Why are you asking me that?”
“Because I would be in trouble if he changes his mind halfway through and made it public that I was the one who injured him.”
“That won’t happen. As a member of the royal family, he sometimes annoys those around him with unconventional acts, but he’s not the type to do such cowardly things.”
He immediately asserted.
I guess I don’t have to worry if Commander vouches so. It should be fine even if they investigate my identity, I wonder if I can live with a little peace of mind?
“Is that so? That’s relieving. Should we conclude this evening soon? Nonna looks sleepy.”
In fact, she’s been yawning while listening to our story. She was running around a lot with Master Clark.
“Are you already sleepy, Nonna?”
“Yeah. Just a little.”
“I see. It’s a shame but we’ll return home earlier today.”
We received a ride home in the Asher family’s comfortable carriage.
“Nonna, the food was delicious, right?”
“Yes! But I prefer Vicky’s cooking.”
Oh my. This child! She’s really cute. Commander was also looking at Nonna with a smile.
There was a reason why I asked the Commander such a question.
I thought that if the royal family was eyeing me, I could use the second prince as a card. That card would be a double-edged sword, but it’s better to have something that can be used, even a dangerous card, than nothing.
If the Special Forces get a hold of my whereabouts, they may demand my extradition. I think I’ve worked enough for the money they invested, but I’m sure they’ll say otherwise.
When that time comes, I might not be handed over if I am closer to the royal family.
However, I thought to myself (who should I cling to to that end?).
8:00 p.m. the next day. The Commander visited my house saying, ‘I’m still in the middle of work.’
“Are you still working? That’s tough.”
“There is something I really wanted to tell you. There was the matter of the tailing arranged by His Highness the Crown Prince, and there was also the matter of His Highness the Second Prince. This all happened because I invited you to the evening party. It’s unfair to you. I’m really sorry. I thought I should at least apologize. I thought it was rude to suddenly visit you at this time, but I wanted to let you know this as soon as possible.”
Oh, what a good person. Even though I’m keeping so many secrets from him.
“Commander, I was the one who ultimately decided to participate in the evening party. I was also the one who pointed out the man. There is absolutely no need for you to feel responsible. The result of my decision is mine. I will accept it. I won’t blame others for it. That’s why Commander doesn’t have to worry about it.”
Commander bit his lip and looked at me.
“You are strong.”
“That’s often said of me.”
When I said that and laughed, Commander gently wrapped my face in his hands. Like touching something fragile.
I panicked (Was there an element in the conversation just now that made him act like this?).
The Commander’s high body temperature was transmitted to my face through his hands. I thought for a moment that it would be nice to have this person next to me when my feet get cold in the winter.
The scent of a man mixed with a faint hint of cologne enveloped me. It smelled so good. I just let myself stay still.
Commander stayed like that for a while, but then took his hands off my face.
“When I’m with you … I feel so relieved.”
He mumbled to himself and left without looking at my face or saying good night.
At least say ‘Good night’.
I can now understand the reason the organization made us abandon our real names.
To prevent the agents from becoming like me these days.
I initially guessed the reason we were told to abandon our real names was to make it easier to discard and forget the human relationships we build while infiltrating. Even I, who understands that, found it painful and difficult to run away, when I thought ‘I should run away and cut ties’. It would have been even harder if I had gotten close to them with my real name.
I thought of the Special Forces agents who I worked together with and the future Special Forces agents who will be incorporated from now on.
There shouldn’t be any members who are forcibly recruited. No one should be forced to work. There may be people who are worried about the content of their work, but everyone should be staying in the Special Forces of their own accord.
Why, then, do I feel guilty for having ‘ordinary happiness’ that Haggle’s special agents and cadets dream of?