The next day after the incident with Maxim, Ruth walked through the bustling village that was preparing for the demons’ arrival the day after tomorrow and continued to finish up the chores he was assigned. However, his hand suddenly stopped and he thought about Maxim from yesterday.
(As I thought, I really did end up doing something terrible... Alec, I’m the worst, aren’t I…)
He looked at the shining silver bracelet that he’s been constantly wearing, except during bath time, ever since the day it was entrusted to him and the face of his childhood friend appeared in his mind. In the past, Ruth would at least be able to complain to Alec when he was depressed over his failures, but because there wasn’t a person like that now, he felt slightly at loss on how to sort out his feelings.
While he was happy about getting a new knife, even as time passed by he was still overcome by waves of regret towards the situation with Maxim. Moreover, even when Maxim returned to the inn after that, he still treated him normally. As expected, if he had just told him the truth earlier then he would’ve treated him ordinarily as a male.
(Even though I know just how much it hurts to be rejected… what was the point of remembering all my past experiences~)
Despite the situation, he still ended up having to reject someone’s confession. On top of that, even if it was for a legitimate reason, Ruth knew how much being rejected hurt. He understood how painful it was. Thus, he was frustrated with how dense he had been.
Ruth let out a long sigh and crouched down as he held up the bracelet to his forehead. When he held the solid and cold bracelet against his forehead, he felt as if his troubles were melting away. It was truly something mysterious. It felt like Alec was there to cheer him on.
“Alright… that’s enough moping around. There’s no use being depressed now.”
Thinking about the unexpected effect the bracelet had, he lightly stroked it with a smile on his face as if he was giving it his thanks. He then proceeded to pull himself together and stood up.
Ruth signed after falling into a self-deprecating mood, but there’s no use crying over spilled milk. If that was the case, even if it was just for a little, he decided that he’ll help out the villager’s work, to avoid causing trouble for Maxim and the knights. He wasn’t entirely over the gloomy feeling over his heart, but he thought of it as his punishment so he had no choice but to accept it.
“That reminds me, didn’t Sara say that she had a request earlier?”
Remembering the request of his older brother’s fiancee, Sara, Ruth went to the temporary kitchen established near the village square. Besides the time when villagers crowded around there for mealtime, that area was usually a place dominated by the village’s women so it was difficult to barge in.But Ruth had no other choice but to head there if he was asked to help out with the chores.
However, the moment he took a step forward, a voice called out to him from behind.
“Ruth, what’s up with all those weird facial expressions.”
When Ruth turned around, the one hiding in the shadows of the nearby tree was none other than the boy who admired Alec as an older brother, Bard. He glared at Ruth with his almond-shaped eyes that were the same brown color as his hair.
Bard was still only eight-years-old so the men in the village wouldn’t have him help out with their work yet, but because parents would have been too busy during this time to look after their family, he should’ve been tasked with the trouble of babysitting the younger children in the church. That being said, Bard looked away awkwardly.
“It’s because it’s nap time for the little kids right now…”
In other words, since the kids he was looking after fell asleep, he came out of the church. Ruth asked if it was all right if there wasn’t anyone in there, but it looks like as long as they don’t make a fuss when they wake up, it would be okay since there were other kids of the same age as Bard who were also tasked with looking over the kids. It wasn’t like all the adults were gone from the church in the first place so it should be fine.
Ruth heard the general explanation from Bard and began to walk. It was then that Bard followed behind him by a few meters.
“And so, why are you following me?”
“I’m watching you!”
“Everyone says that you never do any work, so I’m going to keep watch over you!”
“Ah, so it was about that.”
Certainly, one might have thought Ruth was slacking off. The majority of the tasks he’s asked to do are either organizing packages or carrying them and because he gets requests from all over the village, he rarely stays in one place. There’s probably no one who clearly knows what Ruth is doing. Despite that, Ruth found it unimaginable that they would so readily believe him if he explained that to them. If that’s the case, maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to play along with Bard acting the watchdog role.
“I don’t mind you watching me, but be careful not to cause any trouble for other people. It’s dangerous.”
“I’m not a weakling like you so I’ll be fine!”
“Haha, how reliable.”
Along with Bard, Ruth arrived at the center of the village square and saw the women overflowing from the provisional kitchen. Ruth smiled and waved when the women turned around after sensing them coming closer, but the young ladies forced a smile and began to whisper amongst themselves. The ones who waved back to Ruth were always older women. They were older than Ruth’s mother and waved back with gazes full of pity on their faces. Ruth only felt a bit complicated from it, but it was probably better than being ignored.
“The girls around your age really hate you...”
“...T-That’s not it. It’ll get better from now on.”
Ruth was troubled over Bard’s harsh comment, but because of his pride as someone older than Bard, he pretended to just brush it off. But, of course, it would’ve been nice if he was a bit more gentle with his criticisms. He would be over the moon if everyone would smile and wave back to him as Marianne does. But she wasn’t here today.
He made his way through the crowd of villagers surrounding the kitchen for their midday meal and entered the small room that was used as a storage room for food. There, he found the person he was looking for.
“Sara, sorry about being late. What did you need?”
“Thank you for coming, Ruth. Oh my, hello there to Bard as well.”
Sara, his older brother’s fiancee, was inside a small room, around six tatami mats. She was a gentle beauty who had brown eyes and braided hair that reached to her waistline. On top of having a small build, because she had a faint amount of pink blush on her cheeks, she was obviously very cute despite being a year older than Ruth. When she’s standing next to Clark, it looks like a bunny next to a bear. Despite that, the village found them to be a well-matched couple.
“Sorry. There are not enough ingredients for the evening meal so we thought about getting more from the storehouse, but the people we asked to help turned out to be too busy to lend us a hand.”
“Ah, so that was it. All right, leave it to me. Do you have a list?”
Sara was the only daughter of the family who owned the village’s largest general store and there would be numerous instances where the management of goods during the case of an emergency was left to her. It looked like some ingredients for dinnertime preparations were currently unavailable there. Incidentally, Clark’s decision to become a merchant instead of succeeding the inn was also related to managing the general store that Sara’s family owns in the future.
Ruth double-checked the list that was handed to him and noticed that Sara was looking up at him with a worried expression on her face.
“There’s a lot, right? Will you be okay?”
“If it’s only this much, I’ll be fine.”
“But there are some bags of flour too? Those bags are unbearably heavy... As expected, perhaps it would have been better if I asked my father.”
“I’ll be okay, Sara. It won’t take too long either.”
Although Ruth tried to calm her down by flexing his arms to show his biceps, for some strange reason, Sara just looked increasingly more worried as tears started to form in her eyes.
“I mean, you’re so thin. I’m worried... won’t you injure your arms if you try to lift up such a big bag of flour…?”
Sara was one of the women who were kind to Ruth. However, they didn't interact on a daily basis, and she had a bit of a misunderstanding about Ruth. It seems like she thought of him as a weak young boy who couldn't do any physical labor. And because of her natural tendency to worry, she’s excessively overprotective over him and usually gave all the physical labor tasks to Clark.
(Well, if it’s just based on looks, it’s impossible to think that I’m stronger than my brother…)
When it came to the level of pure physical strength each person had in the Brau household, the strongest started with Rossa, then Ruth, then Clark, and lastly, Celine. By the way, it goes without saying that Celine is the top of the household when it comes to general family power dynamics.
“I’ll be okay. I’ll figure something out.”
“Really? You must be careful. Remember to call a man over if it gets too risky. You mustn't carry the heavy objects, okay?”
“I’m a man too, you know…”
Sara bitterly smiled as if she was asking a fragile younger sister to do the task and Ruth left the small room to head towards the communal storehouse located at the back of the village. Of course, Bard, who was restlessly obedient in front of Sara, also followed after Ruth.
- About 9.2 square meters
MARY: Hey! Sorry about disappearing, school is really consuming my time and energy. Either way, I hope you guys enjoy! Please support the author by buying the novels here and let me know if you see any mistakes! Really hoping that I get this quarter over with so I can translate more. Thank you for your patience '3' !!