That night, there was a farewell party in the inn for the Royal Knights before they returned to the Royal Capital the next day. They already attended a huge banquet hosted at the village chief’s home during the day, but they still wanted to have a drink in the inn they’ve grown attached to.
When the Brau family and Royal Knights took their seats on the dining table, the knights popped open an expensive bottle of alcohol they snuck over from the village chief’s house. Ruth wouldn’t drink in front of his parents, but he couldn’t stop himself from laughing without a care in the world like a drunkard after hearing the stories the Royal Knights had of their shenanigans.
(Ah~ they’re hilarious.)
While Celine was looking after Rossa in the living room, who passed out drunk, Ruth let her know he finished cleaning up the aftermath of the party before heading up to his own room.
As he arrived, he noticed someone clutching their head in front of his room.
“Maxim, what’s wrong? Does your head hurt?”
Maxim jumped in surprise at Ruth’s appearance. However, he shook his head as if his mind was already made up and stared right into Ruth’s eyes.
“There’s something I would like to talk about...Could you spare me a bit of your time?”
“What is it?”
For a moment, Ruth thought about going back to the living room to talk but he realized it would be pretty hard to hold a conversation in the same room where his parents were flirting so he invited Maxim into his room. Even though Ruth didn’t quite get why Maxim was so tense, he turned the only chair in his room towards the bed and offered him a seat while he sat down on his bed.
However, instead of sitting in the chair, Maxim kneeled on the floor—
“MY DEEPEST APOLOGIES!”
Maxim lowered his head and Ruth was so taken aback by his sudden apology that he stood up, but before he could say anything, Maxim went ahead to explain himself.
“I said I would fight for your sake, and yet I have failed! I, Maxim Calafanti, can only pathetically apologize to you like this!”
After seeing Maxim’s head thud against the floor as he repeated “I’m sorry” for a second time, Ruth realized that Maxim was drunk. He recalled how fast the knights were downing drink after drink. Since he didn’t see Maxim’s face during the party, Ruth thought that he was doing fine but it looks like he was quite intoxicated.
Ruth took a seat next to Maxim and patted his back to encourage him to lift his head while speaking to him in a calm voice for the time being.
“D-Don’t say you’ve failed, you and the knights did your part as the surprise attack force. Plus, you helped defeat the remaining demons in the village as well.”
“But while we were celebrating our victory, the baal attacked the village and you were even seriously injured in the process… Just what was I doing!”
“It wasn’t your fault, you didn’t know.”
“If we had returned immediately after, you wouldn’t have had to bear such a fatal injury…”
“Well, that’s difficult to say…”
Ruth let out a sigh after seeing Maxim continuously blame himself.
That earnest personality of his will truly be the end of him. Although he looked fine during the day, the guilt he kept in his heart for this incident bursted out when he drank too much alcohol.
However, the truth was that this was a situation no one could have predicted, there was nothing wrong with what the Royal Knights did. If there was someone to fault, it would probably be Ruth.
The reason for that is because the baal that attacked the village was the same one Ruth and Maxim faced against. Ruth had heard that his cast iron knife was found in the baal’s carcass which meant that if he had finished it off back then, this incident wouldn’t have happened.
(No use saying that now though…)
He wasn’t trying to avoid responsibility, but rather there would be no stopping the uproar if people began to question who was to blame. Who knows how far the accusations will go. Ruth didn’t want to pin the blame on others nor did he want to condemn himself either. He believed that this incident was just an accumulation of unlucky coincidences. If he didn’t then, even though he had his arm torn off, his heart would never be at ease.
“Maxim, please raise your head. If you don’t stop then I’m going to start getting upset, okay?”
Ruth gave him a reassuring smile when he saw that miserable expression on Maxim’s face.
“I cannot thank you and the Royal Knights enough. To start off, our village would’ve been in serious trouble for this year’s demon hunt were it not for your help. It’s because we all worked together that it ended as well as it did.”
“I can move perfectly fine and I’m not in any pain. The village is doing great like usual too. I think this is the best I can ask for.”
“It’s thanks to you that we can still continue on with our lives. So thank you for coming, Maxim.”
Maxim’s pale face was finally returning to his usual complexion after Ruth earnestly expressed his gratitude towards him. He faced Ruth with a timid smile and flushed cheeks.
“Sir Ruth, you truly are a goddess.”
“Huh? Again...what are you talking about? I told you I’m not a woman, remember?”
As Ruth smiled bitterly and thought to himself, “He really is still drunk,” Maxim suddenly grabbed Ruth’s hand. Being gripped by a hand far larger than his, Ruth felt a bit strange.
When he noticed that Maxim’s eyes were sparkling, the sensuality that usually radiated from Maxim suddenly exploded.
“You’re wrong. I’m not talking about the goddess Zenovia…you are a goddess in itself…no, I feel like you’re the only one for me.”
Maxim pulled Ruth towards him, closing the gap between them.
Ruth recoiled in surprise, but to stop him from moving away, Maxim firmly pulled on his hand once again. Being approached by a man so closely, Ruth panicked and froze up.
He had no idea what was happening.
“You may be shocked if I say this, but I lo—”
As Maxim was about to say something with a serious look on his face—BAM! A loud crash rang out.
It sounded like something heavy just fell from the sky and with Ruth peering from behind Maxim’s back, the two of them turned towards the direction the sound came from ultimately finding someone mysteriously collapsed onto the ground.
That person had blond hair and a familiar tattered charm was sliding through his breast pocket—
A yell slipped out from Ruth’s mouth the moment he saw the friend he has been wanting to see again for so long.
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