The next night, after Ruth finished his work at the village plaza and cleaned up the inn’s bathhouse, he returned to the dining room and the Royal Knights were all eating their meals. Even though the Royal Knights should’ve eaten during the communal evening meal, it seemed like the amount wasn't enough so it’s become a habit for them to have another meal at the inn.
Then Ruth noticed Jio, who came to visit a grave, at the table next to them.
(Well it does look like Jio is planning to stay here until the day of the demon hunt.)
Celine and Rossa weren't able to persuade Jio either and so he just passed each day at the inn ordinarily. According to Celine, who was managing the inn, he would do stuff like drink tea while reading a book in the lobby and go out for walks. It seems like Jio truly spent his days at the inn in leisure and enjoyed himself to the fullest. Seeing him like that, they couldn’t tell him to just leave again. With this, they’ll probably have to look after him with the rest of the villagers on the day of the hunt.
“Jio, the bathhouse has been cleaned.”
“Ouh. Well then, I better quickly get in now. Thank you, Ruth.”
Jio, who was drinking tea after his meal, smiled and happily laughed as he held his cane to stand up before quickly making his way to the bathhouse. Because Jio had taken a liking to the inn's bathhouse, he couldn’t help but look forward to this opportunity the most.
Ruth saw him off and then proceeded to clean up after Jio’s meal before heading back to the Royal Knights.
“Hello, is the meal to everyone’s satisfaction?”
“It was fun to eat with so many people outside, but this inn is just exceptional.”
“Mhmm, mhmm. The flavor is great today too. The soup is especially delicious.”
“It would’ve been nice if the Captain could eat it too.”
“Sir Maxim isn’t eating?”
“It seems like he had things to think about so he locked himself in right now. Would it be all right to ask you to deliver a meal to him later? I bet the food ration wasn't enough for him either.”
“I don’t mind, but…if you like, how about I take it up?”
When Ruth said that, their expressions that were originally full of cheer stiffened up a little.
“I-It’s okay. Besides, we can carry it up.”
“Is that so? Well, my apologies for the trouble, but I'll leave that to you then.”
He noticed the mood change, but he couldn’t ask them about it so he pretended he didn’t notice anything and was about to head back into the kitchen to help Celine with preparations until someone called out his name.
When he turned around, the Royal Knights were standing there with a heavy tension hanging over them as if they were going to an evaluation meeting.
“Well, uh, what is the matter?”
“...We’re deeply sorry.”
Ruth tilted his neck at the sudden apology and the adjutant, who often stood beside Maxim, rose from his seat to bow his head.
“We deeply apologize for mistaking your gender numerous times and doing things that made it seem like we were taunting you.”
“Ah, aah. So it’s about that. Rather, I should be the one apologizing.”
It looks like they heard about the matters regarding Ruth’s gender from Maxim and apologized for it. It’s not like that matter particularly bothered Ruth and he believed he should’ve apologized for deceiving them. Despite that, he thought the Royal Knights were brave for bringing up the topic in person.
After calming down the adjutant, Ruth urged him to sit down again and the Royal Knights that were next to him, who were always cheerfully chatting, let out a long sigh.
“Even so, Lady Ruth was a Sir Ruth, huh~ That’s unfortunate. And here we thought that there was finally a woman who could look past the captain’s goddess complex…”
“Um, what exactly is that goddess complex?”
When Ruth asked about that unusual terminology he heard them mention before, the oldest Royal Knight that was sitting in front of him made a troubled expression.
“It’s a term coined for just the captain. In reality, he is obsessed with the goddess Zenovia.”
“But isn’t the Royal Capital’s religion centered around the goddess Aristotlesia?”
“Ah, it’s not as a deity of his religion. That hasn’t changed for the captain. As I said, he fell for the goddess Zenovia.”
“Do you mean he fell for her as a woman?”
“To be correct, it seems like the type of woman he yearns for is the goddess Zenovia.”
In other words, how Ruth interpreted it is that Maxim wanted to pursue a woman who’s like the goddess Zenovia.
Apparently, the Calafanti family was an ancient military lineage of knights. As a result, the worship of the so-called 'goddess of battle', Zenovia, was ingrained into him from a young age. And it seems like he ended up developing a goddess complex along the way.
“...The captain has become pretty popular. However, it looks like relationships never last because of his goddess complex.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You are as beautiful as the goddess Zenovia, you are as kind as the goddess Zenovia, you are as lovely as the goddess Zenovia... women will end up getting fed up if you keep saying things like that. They are being compared to a goddess after all.”
“Because the captain comes from a noble family, his parents have arranged a young lady as his fiancée, but he was dumped shortly after because of his goddess complex.”
“He’s earnest and sincere, but that just makes his goddess complex even more incomprehensible. It must be difficult for the women.”
Everyone simultaneously let out a deep sigh. Even though they were talking about their superior’s love life, they were all serious about it. But that alone shows that they just wanted Maxim to be happy. Ruth felt himself slightly smiling seeing that they understood each other’s feelings.
(Aah, so that’s why he channeled his feelings towards me.)
Since Ruth thought that it was just “the way people from the big cities talk,” he didn’t hate it nor did it make him embarrassed because he would just ignore Maxim’s compliments. As a result, his unprecedented reaction probably piqued his interest. Ruth felt a bit relieved knowing the reasons behind his behavior. He thought it was odd that such a fine gentleman as Maxim would be interested in pursuing a village girl (or that’s what he thought at that time) like Ruth.
(But even Maxim…)
Having his engagement broken off, never having lasting relationships with women-- while their course of action was completely different and even though it might be a little rude, Ruth felt a bit of kinship towards Maxim in that aspect.
MARY: Please support the author by buying the novels here and let me know if you see any mistakes! Poor Maxim... he hasn't had a easy love life either lol