Chapter 348: Love Consultation
After Melty’s coronation finished, we return to the village.
Stuff’s been happening, and we’ve been busy lately.
It’s the familiar village that puts my mind most at ease.
Ren’s with Female Knight.
Come to mention it, he follows her around a lot.
As Melty’s personal guard, it was decided that she would be promoted and stationed in the castle from here on out.
But to protect the country from the monsters that had been overly active due to the Wave, she went out with Ren to level.
“How are things going on your side?” (Naofumi)
“I guess it’s going smoothly. It would be helpful if our levels rose faster, though.” (Ren)
“I see… what about you, Female Knight?” (Naofumi)
“Iwatani-dono, can’t you learn my name already!?” (Female Knight)
“Um, was it éclair?” (Naofumi)
“Is she supposed to be some sort of dessert?” (Ren)
Ren’s retort was quite sharp.
Though I’m not sure if she knows about the dessert, Raphtalia often cautions me to call her Eclaire-san.
(TL: Female Knight’s name is エクレール(Ekure-ru) while the desert is エクレア (Ekurea))
I know. It was intentional.
“Even though you said you would pound a lot of training into Ren, it looks like you’re the one being taught now. I thank you for the work you did up to your Class Up.” (Naofumi)
“Why are you acting so self-important, Iwatani-dono!?” (Female Knight)
“Because I am. I don’t really like getting status, but for some reason, I’m now an Archduke. I truly am important.” (Naofumi)
“You got promoted again? Despite that, you don’t look too happy.” (Ren)
“Yeah, it was against my will. And thinking about what happens after the world’s at peace, it’s best if you treat me befitting of my title.” (Naofumi)
“Mu… you’re right.” (Female Knight)
She’s started to imitate me. She’s really straying from her path, this one.
What was she doing before this?
I think… she was in Trash’s encampment during the war, repelling Faublian invaders.
“And? Did you learn how to manage land yet?” (Naofumi)
“Looking at Iwatani-dono and the Queen, as well as the King, I’m starting to see it.” (Female Knight)
In the end, Female Knight aims to be a lord of some sorts.
I guess you can call Melty and Trash her ideal.
“I’ll bet that if we lost that battle, we all would have been labelled as Evil. Justice is… I must learn its true form.” (Female Knight)
“Isn’t it Justice as long as you win?” (Naofumi)
“You can say that. But is there justice in a land ruled by a strong lord? A country is made of its people. It is not based around its king… is what I want to believe.” (Female Knight)
“Eclaire is always looking ahead. I’d like to learn to do that too.” (Ren)
Ren looks to Female Knight in praise.
In the end, he does look up to her, and he tries to look after Taniko.
That hasn’t changed.
Though Taniko really seems to hate it.
I signal Ren to come closer and whisper in his ear.
“Did you confess yet?” (Naofumi)
“Wha… it’s not like that!” (Ren)
“Ah, so you prefer little girls?” (Naofumi)
“T-that is…” (Ren)
Ren seems to want to say something, but he holds it in.
Was he trying to say I’m the one into them? Unfortunately, he’s wrong.
No, is he?
Just a little earlier, I got engaged to Melty, so if I play this poorly, I’ll be labelled a Lolicon.
And the ones who surround me, despite having larger physiques, are mostly young in age.
Raphtalia, Atlas, Firo, Kiel, and the others.
Thinking about it like that makes me feel a bit conflicted…
“Right… Naofumi is… never mind.” (Ren)
“You seem to want to say something. Spit it out.” (Naofumi)
“No… um…” (Ren)
Ren looks towards Fohl, who’s lecturing the slaves training their skills.
Why is it Fohl again?
“What sort of misunderstanding are you getting?” (Naofumi)
“Eh? I mean, don’t you swing-” (Ren)
“I get it so just shut up!” (Naofumi)
What sort of misunderstanding is this?
While it’s true that I sleep with Fohl on occasion, there are a few things wrong with his assumption.
Well, it’s a bit rough, but the feel of Fohl’s fur isn’t bad.
“Love is free, right? Recently I learned that.” (Naofumi)
It isn’t just about Atlas’s will. So that I don’t have any regrets, I decided it was necessary for me to learn to love.
To regret because I wasn’t able to do anything is too much to bear.
“After we restore peace to the world, what do you want to do?” (Naofumi)
“… Let’s see.” (Ren)
Ren signals for me to infer his meaning as he shifts his gaze to the village.
The Holy Weapon will probably ask him whether he wants to return to his old world, or remain in this one.
I plan to return, but it’s not a bad option if Ren and the others choose to stay.
“Will you remain here?” (Naofumi)
“I don’t know. What do you think I should do, Eclaire?” (Ren)
“Me? I don’t know why you’re asking me, but you have a place you have to return to, right?” (Female Knight)
“Yeah… I have my own world. Since this world was my ideal, I kinda forgot about it when I came here.” (Ren)
“What you do is your choice, so I can’t say anything by principle. But if you have lingering feelings for that place, then it’s better that you return. If you save the world, I won’t be able to declare whether you’ve atoned for your sins or not, but working for others is-” (Female Knight)
“Working for others is my path to atonement, right? I know.” (Ren)
They’ve been together for quite a bit, these two. Can they sense what the other is implying?
“Female Knight.” (Naofumi)
“And remember my name already!” (Female Knight)
“What do you think of Ren? No, if I ask like this, I have the feeling you’ll just say, ‘A trusted comrade!’ or something, so let me get to the point. What do you think about him as a member of the opposite sex?” (Naofumi)
I ask her with the slight intention of teasing her.
“I told you before, did I not? As a member of the opposite sex, I can say that he is not my type. Ren also dislikes matters like that, correct?” (Female Knight)
“… R-right…” (Ren)
Ah, a critical hit to Ren’s heart.
I guess Ren has a long path ahead of him.
“Well, I’ll say it once, Ren.” (Naofumi)
“… What is it?” (Ren)
“Naofumi-sama, please restrain yourself.” (Raphtalia)
I ignore Raphtalia’s warning and proceed.
“How about making do with Taniko?” (Naofumi)
My words elicit quite a glare from Gaelion.
Ah, so he really does hate it.
As if I would hand my daughter over to you! Something like that.
“Wyndia is… just someone I’d like to take responsibility for…” (Ren)
So their relationship hasn’t improved.
Looks like he has it rough.
“Naofumi-cha~n. I’ll be waiting for you in your room~.” (Sadina)
From afar, I see Sadina waving her hand, inviting me.
Why the hell is that the first thing she says? Read the mood!
“So this is the gap between me and Naofumi…” (Ren)
“Hey… it’s just that the people you’re with are no good. Don’t you have plenty of people close to you as well?” (Naofumi)
Female Knight and Taniko… neither of them have any interest in love, so I don’t think Ren’s at fault.
“What are you doing, Niichan?” (Kiel)
A wild Kiel appears.
Through everything happening, she’s become quite strong.
But she has yet to pick up Hengen Musou. I think she’ll manage somehow as Kielberos, though.
She’s been placed in Itsuki’s group with Fohl.
“Kiel, what about you? How is your party faring?” (Naofumi)
I was dragged along with Sadina to level, and Kiel was in a different group.
But she seems to like swimming, so she arbitrarily followed us anyways.
It seems her parents were fishermen, so did she pick it up at home?
“I’ve gotten strong! I want to go with Niichan, but I’m having fun here too!” (Kiel)
Kielberos has a lot of weaknesses, but the form is strong.
Even so, for her to find battle fun, she’s becoming like Firo.
“So what were you talking about?” (Kiel)
It was about love, right?
No, about the people from the village close to Ren.
“It was about whether there were any people interested in Ren in the village.” (Naofumi)
“Naofumi, please don’t try to force the information out. I don’t think my heart can take it.” (Ren)
It’s my duty to harass people!
Is what I want to do, but I think the current Ren will be fine.
“First there’s Imya’s Uncle, right? And there’s Wyndia and Eclaire-san. Also…” (Kiel)
Kiel fluidly starts listing the people in the village interested in Ren.
“So there are quite a lot. Did you think you were hated? I don’t think you have to worry about it.” (Naofumi)
Well, Imya’s Uncle is teaching him smithing, and they often work together. Though, they’re of the same gender.
But Kiel… doesn’t seem to be in love with anyone. She’s fallen for the crepe tree.
And Ren’s affections lie with the people who defeated him: Female Knight and Taniko.
“Are you worried about people’s opinions of you?” (Kiel)
“… It’s not like that. During battle, things like that may become important.” (Ren)
“I see, the mental aspect of battle is also crucial. It’s when the people you want to protect are by your side, that you can manifest your true power. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.” (Female Knight)
It seems Female Knight’s finally caught onto the topic of our discussion.
Is it my job to give them a push here?
“Female Knight, what would you do if someone were to tell you they loved you?” (Naofumi)
“I think I would honestly be happy at their sentiments. But, unfortunately, I have no free time to indulge in love. I’ll have to politely decline them.” (Female Knight)
“Even if it’s Ren?” (Naofumi)
“Yes.” (Female Knight)
Ah… Ren seems really depressed.
He’s quietly admitting defeat even before the battle.
While he says quite a bit, in the end, I think he still likes her.
But I don’t think it’s over here.
It would be terrible if his broken heart affected his morale in battle.
“… What?” (Ren)
“People like her are probably just uninterested when it comes to love itself. When it actually comes down to it, her heart may waver. If you have luck on your side, then perhaps she’ll begin to develop an interest in the opposite sex when you confess, so it’s too early to give up.” (Naofumi)
“However, read the mood. If you confess now, I highly doubt she’ll accept. After you’ve grown stronger, and shown her your strength, I think the time will be right. Let’s see… Right after we save the world, it may be good to try making use of the feel of exhilaration.” (Naofumi)
“Y… yeah!” (Ren)
On my words, Ren energetically nods. He’s surprisingly simple.
Well, I only have knowledge about this sort of thing from Galge, so my words may not be the best to follow.
This would normally be the time for Motoyasu to shine, but with him as he is right now…
By the way, I made sure to include ‘maybe’, and ‘I think’ so I have no responsibility if he meets failure.
“Then I will go with Ren to take up my post at the Castle. Iwatani-dono, I’ll definitely repay you for all the things you’ve taught me. Now then.” (Female Knight)
And Female Knight uses Ren’s portal to teleport to the castle.