Warning: The latter half of the chapter is slightly NSFW and has some dub-con (dubious consent).
For a while, they sat in stifling silence but Alec finally let out a deep sigh and calmly lifted his head.
“...Sorry. I’ve finally calmed down now.”
Alec wore his usual composed expression as he said that. Only a little bit of uneasiness remained but he regained most of his usual calmness.
Alec straightened his back and turned around to face Ruth. Then, for some strange reason, he grabbed both of Ruth's hands. Ruth thought the hand-holding was pretty odd but before that, he could quickly say anything, Alec spoke first.
His unchanging gaze with his emerald green eyes pierced straight through Ruth.
“Ruth, I’ve decided. I’m going to try to be a hero.”
“But, honestly, there might be times when it gets too much to bear. During those times, is it okay to come back?”
Ruth nodded and Alec gave him a relieved smile. Then, seemingly a bit troubled, Alec averted his eyes as he mumbled something.
“I’ll do my best to finish the journey as soon as possible. I can’t explain any further now, but I want to finish this mission as fast as possible…”
“I see. Don’t overdo it.”
“I’ll be fine. I won’t overdo it. Also… after everything is over, I’m definitely planning to come back to the village.”
“Yeah, I’ll be cheering you on.”
Somehow, Alec was struggling to say it a second time and jumbled up his words. However, there was no trace of the pessimism from before but, perhaps due to his blushing face, he seemed embarrassed.
“...Um, I want you to wait.”
“Me? Wait? For what?”
“....Er...not me ...wait before getting a girlfriend!”
At Alec’s unexpected words, Ruth deeply frowned.
“...B-Because, I can’t do something like that while I’m traveling around the world! It’s unfair if only you get to find someone. That’s why I hope you wouldn’t date anyone yet and wait until I come back first.”
Alec explained his reasons in a hurry to answer Ruth’s question. In short, it looks like since Alec doesn’t have the time to get into a relationship during the time he is on the hero’s journey, he doesn’t want his best friend, Ruth, to get into a relationship either.
(Come to think of it, Alec had plans to propose to someone, huh?)
Alec, who even considered proposing, now has to depart on a journey. Because of that, he definitely can’t propose to them now. Having to leave in such miserable circumstances and then coming home to find your best friend being lovey-dovey with their sweetheart, there’s no way Alec wouldn’t feel alienated.
(Ah, I understand. When I came back from the National Judo Competition, all of my friends were so engrossed with their newfound relationships that they didn’t seem to be as interested in celebrating with me… I don’t have any ill will against them, but it felt super lonely.)
Ruth’s chest started to hurt after remembering some bad memories from his previous life. It’s really hard to say how lonely and alienated Ruth felt during that time. Asking himself “Just what was I working so hard for?” and feeling like his efforts were in vain, Ruth was down in the dumps for some time after.
It’s because he’s experienced it that he can say this: He doesn’t want Alec to go through the same thing he did.
(It’s for my best friend. I can wait.)
Ruth loves girls, but he also cherishes his friends. If it’s for Alec’s sake then he doesn’t mind stopping his search for a girlfriend for a little while. Of course, if he found a girl of his liking, he would more or less attempt to talk to her, but there was always a sense of resignation that it wouldn't work out anyway. He also couldn't deny that there was a part of him that intended to use such an underhanded excuse.
“Okay. I’ll wait. That being the case, you definitely have to come back!”
Alec, who was facing down, suddenly jerked up after hearing Ruth’s words. His face slowly became more flushed.
"...R-Really? You'll really wait for me?"
"Until my journey as a hero is over? All the way until it ends?"
“Yeah, yeah. That’s why you better hurry and come back.”
Even though Alec was the one who said it himself, Ruth laughed a little seeing Alec being so strangely bewildered.
However, compared to the laughing Ruth, Alec was completely serious. Because of that, he slightly tightened his grasp on Ruth’s hands, becoming more assertive. This sort of expression is fairly rare coming from the normally calm and collected Alec.
“...I’m feeling really fired up. Ruth, I’ll complete the Hero’s mission. I’ll bring peace to the world as quickly as possible and then I’ll come back to the village, back to where you are.”
Even though what Alec said was a bit odd, but for some reason, it’s relieving seeing Alec being motivated. It seems like Ruth’s worry completely dissipated knowing for sure that Alec won’t be alone when he returns. Of course, it’s better to have a hero who’s determined than someone unwilling.
“...Ruth, um, I’ll become a better man than I am now and I’ll earn money, so after I come back...t-then…”
“Um…...Can I help run the inn with you?”
“Huh... inn? You mean my family’s inn?”
“...Yeah, I want to help at your family’s inn. If possible, together ...forever….”
Alec, who was as red as a tomato, stared at Ruth with a strange intent in his eyes.
Ruth did not know that Alec was interested in running an inn, but it shouldn’t be a lie if he’s bringing it up now. Because most of the villagers already know that the inn will be Ruth’s in the future, Alec must have always thought about talking to Ruth about it. Alec definitely must be flustered and agitated from the embarrassment of asking your closest friend another favor.
(Well, Alec is probably going to have a tough time trying to find a job in this village after his time as a Hero is over.)
At any rate, he’s a former Hero. Inevitably, the residents in this small village are going to feel like Alec’s powers are beyond their control. If that’s the case, then it shouldn’t be that bad to have him help around the inn too.
“Sure. Let’s run the inn together. Until then, I’ll wait for you so you better hurry and come back soon.”
Seeing Ruth laugh, Alec firmly tightened his grip on Ruth’s hand. It seemed like Ruth was going to pull back his hand from the pain, but before he could do so, Alec moved his face closer to his.
Close enough to touch his shining blond hair and sparkling green eyes, Ruth felt his cheeks turning red. Being too close to someone his handsome is dangerous.
“Ruth...Ruth...I...I...I can’t…any longer...”
Before he could question it, something pressed against his lips. While he was surprised, Alec invaded the inside of his mouth, robbing away Ruth’s will to resist. He realized that it was Alec’s lips when he was flipped onto his back in the bed and looked up at Alec’s figure, only to notice that his lips were wet.
“Ah, Alec...what are you ...?”
“Ruth, I… I… want to break free from the unrest in my heart…”
“Unrest? ...Eh, wait, where are you touching?!”
Suddenly, Ruth instinctively raised his voice to a shriek when Alec grasped the area between Ruth’s legs, trying to stop Alec’s moving hand. However, Alec was too caught up in himself to falter from something like that and immediately started to strip off Ruth’s clothes.
Despite his futile resistance, Alec started to take off his outer clothing after Ruth was stripped to where there was almost nothing left on the lower half of his body.
(Ah… Alec is pretty muscular.)
With muscles that can be on par with a professional boxer right in front of his face, Ruth realized just how skinny he was. He thought that since Alec already has a handsome face and his height hasn’t changed that his physique also wouldn’t change much, but apparently Alec is the type who looks skinnier with clothes on. Alec even has a six-pack. No matter how much confidence Ruth has in his strength, because Alec had already far surpassed him since the beginning, even if Ruth tried to fight back, there’s no way he would win.
“... Ruth…. I’m sorry.”
After saying that, Alec kissed Ruth for a second time. He inserted his tongue without reservation, Ruth felt as if his head was getting jumbled up.
The logical part of his mind was telling him to resist. However, when Ruth saw the pleading expression Alec had on his face when he said “Sorry”, Ruth’s hand simply stopped trying to push back. For some reason, it’s because Ruth felt like he’s going to hurt Alec if he continues to do so.
While deepening the kiss, Alec’s palm caressed through Ruth’s skin. But, oddly enough, it didn’t feel unpleasant.
(Even so, it feels like it’s wrong to just go along with this... but…)
While holding onto the conflicting feelings in his heart, Ruth closes his eyes.
MARY: Hello! Thank you for waiting everyone. I know this chapter was a bit intense... but on the bright side, we'll be seeing Ruth show off how good he is at fighting in the next arc! I hope you guys will stay with me on this ride and see how those two will develop later on （*´▽｀*）
Anyway, let me know if there's any mistakes and see y'all in the next chapter!