Ruth and the others arrived at Hashi Village, originally considered to be the “First Village”, and headed towards the inn. When the villagers saw the Royal Knights, they broke out into whispers and murmurs, but everyone held their distance as they all understood that these handsome men were not here for any trivial matter.
“A-Are you awake?”
Bard, seemingly awakened by the chatter of the villagers, stirred from Ruth’s back. However, when Bard met Ruth’s eyes, he kicked his back.
“Wait, hold on, Bard that hurts.”
“Let me down! Let me down! I don’t want someone like you to carry me!”
Ruth let him down from his back and Bard quickly ran behind the nearest tree to glare at him. He knew that Bard didn’t like him from the start, but Bard has blatantly treated Ruth as an enemy recently. But, as someone older, Ruth also had to say something about it.
“Bard. Why were you walking around in the mountains alone? And to end up getting chased by a baal, just where on earth were you going…”
“Shut up, that’s none of your business!”
Ruth saw how Bard refused to listen to him and thought that it might just be hopeless to ask about the situation.
As his last resort, he crouched down and softly spoke to Bard while looking directly at him.
“Bard, it’s okay if you don’t like me. But, this knight here was the one who saved you when you were being chased by the baal, shouldn’t you say thank you?”
“What did Alec say again about people who don’t say thank you?”
When Ruth said that, Bard pursed his lips. But, after a little while, he obediently muttered a small “thank you” to the nearby Maxim. Even though Bard has a bad attitude towards Ruth, he’s still a good kid at heart and Ruth was relieved to see him properly thanking others.
However, Bard glared at Ruth again and yelled from the top of his voice.
"Big brother Alec went to the royal capital all because you didn't stop him! Stupid weakling Ruth!"
After he said that, Bard ran to the church.
“Lady Ruth, is that okay? The ones who saved him were ultimately you two…”
“Well, in any case, as long as he properly said thank you then it’s fine with me. He would’ve hated me even more if I continued to push it. Sorry about that, Dad.”
Maxim and Rossa knitted their eyebrows at Ruth’s forced smile, but they didn’t say anything else.
“Well, I’m going to take Sir Maxim to the village chief’s place.”
Rossa called out to Maxim, who dropped off his luggage in the inn, and they headed to the village chief.
Maxim looked like he wanted Ruth to take him there, but Ruth smiled and pretended that he hadn't noticed it. Since this was Rossa’s little apology for avoiding his own son when he was being mistaken for a girl, Ruth decided that he’ll just leave it to him.
“Alright everyone, I’m sure you all must be tired. Since the bathhouse is being heated up right now, please feel free to enter.”
“Bathhouse!? There’s a bathhouse in this inn!?”
“Aww yeah, I’m pumped! Sorry Captain, but we’re calling dibs.”
“Knowing the Captain, he won’t get angry. Thank god~”
The journey here from the capital normally would’ve taken 10 days by foot. The knights overtook that with their mighty steeds, arriving in only 4 days time. Ruth’s mother, Celine, guided them towards the bathhouse and they obediently followed her, bashful in the face of her great beauty.
The bathtub was made to be almost the same as the one used in Ruth’s previous world, and only a small amount of magic was needed to heat the water. Ruth wanted a bathtub no matter what and after he consulted Alec about it, this was what both of them ended up making. In this world, it seems like bathtubs were quite valuable as only the inns in the royal capital had them. However, after Alec refined the magic circles used to heat water, everything naturally started to click together and it’s now popular even among other families. Of course, it’s just a simple round undermount bathtub at best, but there’s a huge difference between having one and not having one. When Alec was here, he would sometimes come to Ruth’s inn to use the bathtub and in return, he used his magic to charge up the magic circle. Because of that, they didn’t need to use up any unnecessary manpower. Incidentally, thanks to the reserve of Alec’s magical power, the bathtub would still work for the next two to three years without charging it.
(Because of that, my Mom just absolutely loves Alec~)
Celine loved the bathtub and was overjoyed when Alec even charged it up with his magical power. She’d even joke to Ruth that when it came down to it ‘Alec must become our son-in-law!’. Of course, Alec always went along with it and said something like “By all means,” causing Clark’s face to become as white as a sheet. It felt like it only happened yesterday.
(Ack, I thought about Alec again.)
Even though a month has passed since Alec left, Ruth still ends up frequently thinking about him. It made him realize how closely involved Alec was in his life and that Alec always stayed by his side.
“I have to let more people other than Alec into my life too…”
Ruth returned to his room to change his clothes while thinking about how disheartened Alec would be if he heard that.
Ruth left his weapon behind and went to the workbench behind the shop. Then, Ruth noticed his mother, Celine, in the room with the leftover blood on the walls and where the nata and hammer were stored.
“Alright, Ruth, let’s do this.”
“Ready to go.”
They lined up all 5 of the beast’s carcasses next to Celine, who held up the nata with a pleased expression, and Ruth also started to cut them apart. Ruth smiled bitterly seeing Celine just having a blast while nimbly slicing through the beast’s flesh. It looks like she can’t help but be delighted at the fruitful hunt.
Despite Celine’s transient beauty, she loves butchering beast carcasses. She’s quite an unusual person. There's even a legend that when she got married, she dropped a bomb on Rossa’s proposal, saying, “Since you’re going to be the hunter, I want to be the butcher”. Thanks to his mother, Ruth is pretty skilled in butchering as well.
“Ruth, remove the parts around the bone a bit more cleanly and then that cut along that part of the muscle over there.”
However, it seems like he still has a long way before he can get a perfect score from Celine.
After a while, they divided up all the cut meat and respectively decided on their share.
“Let’s keep these for our storehouse and after taking into account the church’s empty reserve, let’s split these for them. There’s quite a lot of leftovers this time, so could you take them to Mr. Golas’ butchery afterward?”
“What about that, Mom?”
Ruth turned towards the bottled object found at the other end of the room and Celine’s face contorted into an unpleasant grimace.
“I would’ve wanted Clark to take it with him to the Royal Capital if he was here, but since he won’t be coming back for a while, what shall we do with it?”
His older brother, Clark, has been busy with pre-winter peddling. Delicacies and such from hunting are quite profitable when sold in the Royal Capital but it looks like business wasn’t going well this time. Having said that, it just simply cannot be compared to meat from the butcher shop.
“Let’s just set it aside for the time being.”
“Well, if anything, it might come in handy when we need it.”
In the end, it was put back into the storehouse. It couldn’t be helped that no one in Ruth’s family needed it.
“Okay, Mom, I’m heading out.”
“Please give Father and Mr.Golas my regards.”
Ruth carried the basket of meat on his back and headed towards the butcher’s shop as the evening sun shined down on the village. On the way, he called out to the village girls that were passing by, but just like with hunting, he didn’t let it get to him too much when things don't work out.
“Mr. Golas, I would like to trade-in some meat…”
“Welco...well, if it isn’t Ruth.”
When Ruth arrived at the butcher’s shop, the one attending the store was the butcher’s son-- Daniel. Daniel, who was sitting behind the counter lined up with meat, was a young man around the same age as Ruth with grey hair, black eyes, and a fairly defined set of facial features. However, because Ruth was always with Alec and Marianne at village events, he rarely interacted with Daniel. And so, he can’t really say that they get along. The reason for that being--
“Alec’s little shadow has meat to sell? You sure this meat hasn’t gone rotten or something?”
“It’s from what my Dad and I hunted today, so it’s fresh.”
“Haaa~ so you thought that since the heroic Alec is gone, it’s Uncle Rossa now, huh? How nice~ I want to follow a big strong man too. Sounds real fun.”
Daniel is the stereotypical bully. Even when he’s praising Alec, it’s obvious that he couldn’t care less about him deep down. He must’ve thought that if Alec was never here, he could have become the leader of their age group. Since they were young, specifically after the time Ruth regained his memories of his past life, Daniel has been randomly picking fights with him. This degree of sarcasm was more like a direct jab at Ruth.
(He hasn’t changed at all…)
Daniel is only slightly bigger than Ruth. He doesn’t seem like much compared to Ruth’s brawny family, but his tall and impressive figure still placed him among the most sturdy of youths in the village. Because the Golas family owns a butcher’s shop and deals with horse rentals, Daniel excels in both handling horses and hunting. The boys in the village don’t dare to disobey Daniel’s word because of his influence and the possibility of being ostracized and targeted by him. Daniel was well behaved when Alec was here, seemingly because of their overwhelming difference in power, but since Alec wasn’t here to get in his way anymore, Ruth has heard whispers about Daniel’s reign of tyranny.
(The problems from Alec’s absence have even reached here…)
The atmosphere among the village youths has slightly changed ever since Alec left. Instability arose when the balance kept by Alec’s power collapsed.It was hard to compare their village's quarrels with that of the entire world, but as Ruth thought about all the unpleasant atmosphere beginning to surround the village, his stomach groaned in pain.
“Anyway, can you assess them for me? I have to go to the church after this.”
“...Put it there. Is this boroa meat?”
“Yup, it’s from the thigh.”
“Can see that just by looking at it. Shut up for a bit, weakling.”
Ruth sighed in his heart and obediently stayed quiet after the tyrannical Daniel’s scathing words. Ruth is pretty old mentally because of his previous life, and so he only calmly thought “Ah, youngsters~”. However, if he was the same age as his body, being yelled at by someone of Daniel’s size would have made him shrivel up in fear.
And so, Daniel grinned and laughed thinking that Ruth was scared out of his wits as he used charcoal to write down a number on a wooden board to show to Ruth. As Ruth was going to accept what he thought to be a reasonable offer, Daniel suddenly took it back and rewrote his offer.
“If it’s for Ruth who always cowers behind others, it should be something like this.”
After he said that, he erased a zero off the previous offer and showed a new price on the board. Of course, it wasn’t a price that Ruth would agree to.
“No way. It’s too low.”
“What the hell, it’s the perfect offer for Ruth here, who can’t do anything else but hide.”
“I properly hunted. Besides, even if I did just hide behind someone, that offer is just ridiculous.”
“Oh, shut up, you don’t need to yip yap over something this small. Are you a woman? Little miss Ruth?”
“Daniel, if you don’t feel like taking this seriously, then I’m just going to leave.”
“Ah, ah, Miss Ruth is so annoying today too~”
Ruth let out a deep sigh at Daniel’s half-hearted responses. Truthfully, Ruth is bad at dealing with this part of Daniel. It gets exhausting when the conversation always ends up with Ruth being mocked. There wasn’t any anger or sadness, Ruth just felt exasperated at how much of a brat he is. He wants to stuff that childish brain of Daniel’s with the famous saying, ‘time is money’.
“That’s enough. Thanks. I’m leaving.”
“Wh...hey, Ruth, why you--”
“--What’s with the noise.”
As Ruth was about to open the door, a man with a beard and a cleanly shaven head appeared from the door behind Daniel. His physique is about the same as Daniel, but the muscles on his arms were obviously not anything like a normal person’s.
“Mr. Golas, good afternoon.”
“Well, well, if it ain’t Rossa’s son. Came here to trade-in some meat?”
“Yes, is that alright?”
“Sure, leave it to me. As expected from Rossa, this is some fine meat!”
When Daniel’s father looked at Ruth’s face, his stern facial features softened up as he praised and nodded to him. Ruth was relieved that someone showed up to finally do a proper assessment, but Golas turned towards the price Daniel wrote earlier on the wooden board and his facial expression turned to that of a demon.
“You, Daniel, what the hell is that price! Don’t tell me you were offering this for Rossa’s meat!”
“N-No...that was just a joke, right? Ruth?”
Ruth thought that it was childish, but he ignored Daniel’s pleading gaze. He should fully experience the wrath of the village’s number one most fearsome father.
“Daniel, god knows how many times I’ve told you to knock it off with your immature behavior! If you like Ruth, then just tell'em!”
“I-I-I-I-I’ve already told you, that ain’t it! Don’t be stupid! W-W-Who would like someone that girly--”
“If that’s it, then properly do your job, I swear this idiotic son of mine!”
After that, a huge fist swung down on Daniel’s head and he, disappointingly, fainted. The one behind that hit, Golas, happily gave a new assessment and even grilled a slice of high-quality meat, free of charge, for Ruth.
(The meat is so good~)
Ruth, who was spellbound by the delicious piece of meat, quickly forgot about the strange comments the father and son duo said.
- Kinda like this face (｀ヘ´) but in an angry way, yknow?
- If you didn't know what a undermount bathtub was, it's a bathtub generally heated by a furnace underneath. The one Ruth is specifically referring to is a goemonburo.
- It's a Japanese blade that's generally used for hunting and woodcraft.
- In here, Ruth refers to a those noh's masks (般若) where it turns into a grinning horned demon. It's kinda like referring to when you flip someone's switch and they become super angry.
MARY: Thank you all for waiting! Please support the author here! Let me know if y'all see any mistakes.
I'm just also （・□・；）when Daniel's dad said that... but anyway, hope y'all enjoy and I'll see everyone next time ^_^)/