“I don’t hate hunting. Hunting food with my own hands has made me thankful for everything I consume. If I leave to live in a city, then those feelings would surely fade. And I don’t want that to happen.”

Because he knew of the peaceful world from his previous life, he was afraid of taking the life of another being. He couldn’t even hunt properly in the beginning. But he soon realized that his previous life was based on many dead animals as well. And now that he could see it and be a part of that cycle, he wanted to appreciate it more. For that reason, living in the mountains became very meaningful and he never felt the desire to leave.

“Besides, I like managing the inn here. Obviously the income here is nothing in comparison to the inns in the Royal Capital and I can’t really live luxuriously, but because it’s a small place I’m also a lot closer to the guests and I have fun being able to do a lot of different things. I think it would be nice if I could expand it a little once I take over.”

Ruth believed that they didn’t need a huge inn for a village of this size. However, based on the foundation that his parent’s built up from, Ruth also dreamed of creating an inn that would make the guests want to visit the village again.

“Even though Sir Ruth is still young, you really are properly thinking about the future.”

“...No, I don’t see it like that.”

Ruth never thought that Maxim would compliment him on that and he let out an embarrassed laugh.

“Also, I have to wait for Alec to come back.”

“...For Sir Alec?”

“Alec said that he’ll return to the village after he’s done with the Hero’s mission. He told me that he wanted me to wait for him. That’s why, once that time comes, I have to say ‘Welcome back.’ Well, he’ll cry if I’m not in the village for that at least.”

When he said that, Ruth heard a deep sigh from Maxim.

“...Sir Ruth truly cherishes Sir Alec.”

“He is both my childhood friend and my closest friend after all.”

"...Closest friend, huh."

For some reason, Maxim let out a dry laugh. It sounded a bit lonely, so Ruth wondered whether he had said something bad, but nothing came to mind.

"Sir Ruth."

Just as Ruth was thinking about the ongoing silence, he heard the water splash by a sudden movement. Maxim changed how he was facing and was now looking at Ruth.

Since his face looked far too serious, Ruth thought that he must have something important to talk about so he also straightened up and faced Maxim. Though for some reason, Maxim let out a strange groan and his eye twitched, but he didn’t avert his gaze at all so Ruth also didn’t let his worries get to him. Eye contact during serious conversations is a must.

“Tomorrow, I will do my very best for this village’s demon hunt.”

“Yes, we’ll be in your care.”

“As, what I would call an exchange, I would like Sir Ruth to pray for my safety.”

“Me?”

“Yes. Will you pray and wait for me to come back safely?”

Maxim, whose cheeks were perhaps red from being in the bath, earnestly expressed that to Ruth. Based on that, it didn’t seem like he was saying it as a joke.

(Aah, so it’s like that.)

There must be a difference in motivation depending on whether a person was waiting for you to come back or not. That being said, this would surely cause misunderstandings in the worst-case scenario if he ended up saying this sort of thing to the village girls. Of course, there wouldn’t be any weird misunderstandings here since Ruth knew that Maxim no longer saw him as a romantic interest since he found out that he wasn’t a girl.

Ruth calmed his slightly agitated heart and looked straight at Maxim.

“Maxim. I will be waiting for your safe return. Please do your best.”

“T-Thank you...Sir Ruth, I will do my best for you.”

Ruth was a little curious about the ‘for you’ part, but Maxim, who referred to himself informally[1] for once, had a sweet and soft expression on his face that made Ruth forget about his earlier concerns. Maxim’s black eyes shined brightly and it felt like his cheeks reddened even more. Because of that, there was a stifling heat with what seems like a dizzying amount of sexual allure about to burst from Maxim and then--

“M-Maxim…”

“What is it?”

“Blood is coming out from your nose…”

“Huh!?”

In the middle of Maxim’s sparkling smile, there was red blood dripping out.

(Huh, isn’t this bad!?)

Ruth’s face stiffened when he thought about how it must have been because they were talking in the bathtub for so long that Maxim overheated. Even though tomorrow was the crucial demon hunt, it would be a major incident if he made Maxim collapse.

“Maxim, you have a bloody nose! Let me quickly get some water--”

“UWAAAA!”

The moment Ruth was about to leave the bathtub to quickly head towards the inn for some cold water, a scream came from Maxim. While he was caught by surprise, Maxim was using exaggerated gestures to urge Ruth to return to the bathtub. Although it looked like his thoughts were somewhere else right now.

“Sir Ruth, I am begging you so please do not get up from the bathtub! Please!”

“Huh, b-but the water--”

“I am fine. It’s only a nosebleed so it’ll stop soon! That is why, please continue to stay in the bathtub! I am begging you! Please, for my sake! Any more will truly only bring more problems!”

“Problems with your body?”

“N-No, that’s not it. My body is doing great. In fact, it’s doing too great that I’m troubled with what’s happening there!”

“H-Hah…?”

In the end, Maxim told Ruth to stay inside and somehow headed to the dressing room in a strange posture. With some clattering noises, he then finished changing his clothes and said his farewells to Ruth before leaving the bathhouse.

“...Is he really okay…”

Ruth felt a bit uneasy when he saw Maxim acting nothing like his usual calm and composed self.

  1. Up until now, Maxim has always used 私 (watashi) to refer to himself, but in this case he used 俺 (ore) to be more manly and heroic ( ̄▽ ̄)

MARY: Please support the author by buying the novels here and let me know if you see any mistakes! Hehe I personally really liked this chapter and Maxim is just sooooo cute <3333