Chapter 19 A Thing Called Birthday
“Hey, Theo. Classroom learning is really boring. ……”
“Well, it depends on the subject. History is not so bad.”
“I’m not interested in something that happened a long time ago, but if it’s anything like what happened to Mildiana, it’s not a bad way to pass the time.”
When all the classes were over, Roka and I were the only ones left chatting while the other students were leaving the room.
Roka rested her chin on the desk, and her fox ears, which were usually upright, were nowhere to be seen. She was twitching and twitching like she wasn’t feeling well. She’s also slacking her tail, so she must have been really bored.
“If you’re so bored, do you want to practice with me now?”
“Hmmm, …… isn’t bad, but I’m not in the mood …… today.”
“That’s unusual. Usually you jump on me, wagging your tail like a dog.”
I tried to provoke her, but she didn’t move a muscle as she flattened her cheek against the desk.
At first glance, she seemed to be unmotivated. But I got the impression that she was not in the right place at the right time.
It was as if she was thinking of some distant place.
“Are you still worried about Lugal?”
“…Nn. I wonder if everyone is doing well …… I know there’s nothing to be cheerful about in wartime, but…”
I don’t know the details, but it seems that the Imperial Army will intervene in the war between Lugal and Chiaro Diruna.
They would deploy a large army consisting of both the Grand Marshal of the North and the Marshal of the East to fully support Lugal.
That was the most gratifying thing for Lugal to hear. But on the other hand, this is an unbelievable situation.
Although the Empire has a truce with the Zenan Dragon Kingdom in the north, another war could break out at any time.
In spite of this, they are going to send the northern army all the way to Lugal.
It’s not a normal choice. Of course. If I were the commander-in-chief – a position higher than that of the Grand Marshal, which is now the Emperor or Crown Prince – I would never let that happen.
In terms of war potential, the armies of the east alone are sufficient. But they also have a large army in the north. At any rate, if the number of people in the area increases, it will take longer and cost more to prepare food and supplies.
There was no reason to go to such lengths just to support Lugal.
This makes it seem as if the Empire is trying to destroy the Kingdom of Chiaro Diruna itself.
It’s true that a rare magician named Ghislain has caused tremendous damage to the Empire.
But at least the current situation does not reflect the actions of that person. It’s only been about a month since the incident happened.
If that’s the case, then what is the reason why the Empire is so devoted to Lugal?
As I don’t know much about the current situation, I’m curious about that too.
……, but there are others in the immediate vicinity who are more curious.
When I looked at the doorway of the classroom, I saw a pure white girl and a girl with long ears peeking out of the doorway, quickly hiding in the shadows.
I wonder what those two are doing ……. Yeah, no, they’re just been looking at me and Roka like that for a while now, but it’s a little creepy.
If it was the usual Shaula, she would have jumped out and down in anger when she saw I was talking to Roka alone, but today she seems to be holding back. And I don’t know about the elf girl that she’s with, but I’m curious about her.
“Roka. What do you think those two are doing? ……Hmm?”
When I looked at her, I saw that she was sleeping peacefully.
Even if she always seemed like she was really just sleeping in class, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t alert of her surroundings. But now she was really asleep.
I gently touch her golden hair to test it. It feels so soft and smooth.
Although the good feeling was palpable, Roka did not show any sign of disliking it.
I wondered what was going on, but then I was reluctant to wake her up in this state. I quietly got out of my seat so as not to be noticed, left the classroom, and ran to catch the two girls who had run off like rabbits.
Three minutes later.
I said after catching Shaula with my right hand and Liz with my left.
“Why were you doing that?”
“Well, uh, it’s, uh, …….”
“Tsk, I have nothing to tell you. Let go of me. You stained me.”
“I don’t think just touching you will stain you. If you want,”
I whispered in Shaula’s ear.
“I can stain you from ‘inside’ you, you know?”
“……? You! Are you trying to insult me?”
“Just kidding, just kidding. So what the hell’s the matter with you?”
As I looked at Shaula, who turned away, Liz offered a helping hand.
“No, actually, …… there are circumstances like this.”
When Liz told me about it, I instinctively tilted my head
“What makes Roka happy?”
“Yes, yes. I was wondering if there was anything. Oh, I don’t mean something to fight with, but something! Presents! I’ve been looking for something like that since this morning.”
Liz asked me some questions, but I couldn’t think of anything.
“Yes, yes. I was wondering if there was anything. Oh, I’m not talking about fighting or anything like that, but things! Presents! Shaula asked me a lot of questions this morning too, but I couldn’t think of anything.”
“You’ve been around Roka the longest, you should know the most, don’t you?”
When I asked her that, Shaula looked annoyed.
“Sure, I’ll stay with Roka. Even though I look like this, I know exactly what her sensitive parts are and where they are.”
“Are you so preoccupied with those things that you don’t know much about the rest?”
“……. Yeah, I don’t know anything about that girl anyway. Not a single thing!”
It was surprising to hear Shaula say it in a shushing voice.
“She has been in a daze a lot lately, and even when I try to cook something that would normally make her happy ……”
“Shaula seems to think she can just grab her stomach and she’ll be fine. I suggested precious metals and costumes, but she said that would not work either. I don’t think Roka is very ornate, but I think she’d make a pretty princess if she were properly dressed.”
“Does that mean you guys want to cheer up Roka, who seems to be somewhat out of sorts lately?”
“Yes, yes. But that’s not the only situation.”
“It’s …… Roka’s birthday.”
“Birthday? Huh, when?”
This also sudden story.
I think the point is this. They want to do something for Roka because she’s been feeling down lately. And today is the day of her birthday. There’s no better day to cheer her up.
…… I’m a demon, so I’m not familiar with such practices.
It’s so vague that I don’t even know when I came into this world in the first place. I don’t even know the exact date or time.
Apparently, it is a customary practice for non-Demons to celebrate birthdays, etc.
It wasn’t until after I had taken a wife that I learned that there was a custom of celebrating birthdays and such outside of the demon race, and that everyone from royals to the common people were aware of it.
It seems that birthdays are special days.
So for then, I did a small celebration or give something to my wives on their birthdays.
Lumierre, the first wife, is an angel, but she seems to be familiar with the customs of humans, so she sometimes sets a random day as her birthday and makes various excitement. I said it’s not heartfelt if it’s too random, but she got grumpy instead, so it’s a little difficult.
Rena is just so happy. No matter what I did or what I gave her, she was always happy and excited, unlike her usual ladylike and calm demeanor.
When Lumiere saw this, she said to her, “It’s garbage. But if it’s given to you by Darling~, you’ll be pleased, won’t you? I don’t remember when was the last time we had a big fight that almost destroyed half the palace….”
And it was Giselle, the second wife, who stopped the fight.
She’s always modest, unlike Lumierre, who is innocent and cruel at same time, and Rena, who is lady-like but is actually emotionally expressive and straightforward.
In the first place, she is not very interested in celebrating birthdays.
She’ll be happy if we celebrate it, but she doesn’t mid at all if we accidentally forget sometimes, which is probably what makes her different from Lumiere and Rena.
I wonder how Giselle is doing now. Her inquisitiveness is immeasurable as she pursues the path of manipulating time and space. She works hard until she has emptied her body of its vast amount of magical energy, and sometimes she faints before she realizes it.
To prevent this from happening again, I told her to take a good rest after a big experiment or workout.
In fact, when Rena and I left Tenebrae, she was still in the depths of the palace.
She must has been asleep for now. Normally, she would have woken up long ago, but this time she has been asleep for over ten years, so it’s been a little longer.
“Oh, Theo, Theo.”
“Hmm, what is it?”
“Didn’t you hear what I just said? Anyway, we’re having a birthday party for Roka this evening.”
“I don’t even have a present for her yet.”
“That’s it. I was thinking of borrowing the kitchen of the dormitory and cooking up some good food for her. I don’t have anything in mind at the moment, so I think that as Shaula says, if she eats something delicious and drink a little, it will cheer her up a bit. And of course, we can all add our congratulations to that as well!”
Apparently, Liz is very motivated.
For some reason, she seems to be taking care of her.
“So, Theo, will you help me with the grocery shopping and stuff? Sorry for the short notice, but please!Shaula too.”
“…. I get it, I get it. Please can you …… do that?”
“It’s unusual for you to be so honest. I guess you really like Roka.”
“Oh, yeah? Sorry!”
“Nothing wrong with that. No problem, I’ll help you. I’ll ask Keith.”
So after inviting Keith to join us, we rushed off to the city to buy something.
“A gift for a woman. …… That’s a tough one.”
“Keith is a nobleman of the Empire, and there’s a lot of interaction between noblemen, so I thought maybe you could help me out.”
When I asked him as we walked through the city, Keith muttered a little annoyed.
“It’s true that there is a lot of interaction with women at parties, but …… I’m not very good at that. I’ve had a couple of occasions where I’ve made people uncomfortable. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m not aware of what caused it.”
“I have an idea of what you mean.”
It was very Keith-like.
By the way, we’re shopping for food. Liz and Shaula are going to look for some props for the decorations.
“I talked to them too, but I couldn’t come up with anything good. I don’t know if it will make her feel better or not, but Liz said it will at least convey her feelings.”
“Hmm. That’s not a bad idea. As for me, I think it’s enough to hold a birthday party without a gift. Even if there are no tangible things, the thought of congratulating someone will surely reach them. I believe that Shaula’s feelings will naturally be conveyed as well. It is something that can’t be obtained with money or goods, and it is something that is more important than anything else.”
“…… I see. So that’s one way to think about it.”
The emotions of humans and beastkins are complex and interesting. Of course there are differences in the values of each individual, but it’s not a bad idea. I guess that’s the way to go.
“But I don’t know much about the food preferences of bestkins…… is it meat?”
“Well, I suppose it’s safe to say that. Shaula says she eats everything, whether she likes it or not. ……”
Speaking of which, when I used to go out with them in the streets of Mildiana, I remembered that Roka was eating pancakes deliciously.
Maybe she likes sweets too.
As I walked along, I was thinking about that.
“Here, Eric! Don’t bother Clarice-chan too much!”
“Sorry, sorry, Grandma! And please don’t call her “chan”! This person has the title of Ensign. ……!”
“I don’t mind. It’s fine. Although I’m a second lieutenant, I’m still a provisional. Above all, it is a great pleasure for me to be familiar with the people of my domain.”
In front of an old house that looked like it could be anywhere, there was a blonde girl that I recognized. And beside them are a young man and an old woman. From the way they are talking, could it be a grandmother and her grandson?
“I’m sorry, Clarice-chan. Eric is very motivated, but his body just can’t keep up. If I don’t wake him up every day, he will continue to sleep until noon.”
“Grandma! Please don’t say that!”
Clarice giggled at the exchange.
“That’s not good, Private Eric. I’d say your first task is to be able to wake up on your own from now on.”
“But, Ensign Fourestier…. ! I’m not much of a morning person, so…”
“Sometimes you oversleep and are late, you know. If you want, I can come and wake you up in person. That way, you won’t have to bother grandma.”
“Oh, my God, that would be so helpful.”
“I’ll be careful next time, so please forgive me ……!”
The place was filled with a friendly atmosphere.
Eventually, after the conversation, the old woman walked back into the house, and Clarice and the young man called Eric walked side by side.
“Well, I didn’t mean to scold you in front of grandma, but there is definitely something going on here in and around Granden right now. You’ll have to be more careful next time.”
“Yes! I’ll be careful next time.”
“Very well. Then I will continue my rounds. Follow me.”
If you look closely, you can see that the one who was called Eric seems to be older.
As a private, he must have graduated from a military school, and the way he spoke, maybe he’s part of a platoon to which Clarice is in charge of.
Clarice comes towards me and our eyes meet. She also looked at Keith next to me and then gave him a quizzical look.
“Theodore and Keith? What’s going on, the two of you wandering around at this hour?”
“No, we’re not.”
“Clarice. Actually, we’ve got a little urgent need. We really need to get something sweet. If you don’t mind, can you recommend us a place….Mmmhhhh!”
Clarice came running out of the house at a high rate of speed, slammed me against the wall of the house and held my mouth, holding up her index finger as if to tell me not to say anything or she would kill me.
When I nodded my head, Clarice suddenly returned to her normal expression as if nothing had happened, and then turned to me again.
“…… Now, what exactly is that for?”
When I told her what our purpose is, Clarice nodded.
“I see. That’s an excellent idea.
“How about you, Clarice, if you want? I think it’s better to have as many participants as possible.”
“No, I have to guard the temple. ……”
“In this city, right? I heard there’s been four attacks on temples already.”
“…..! As always, you are very quick to talk. I’m glad you invited me, but unfortunately that’s the way it is. I’ll be sure to congratulate Roka at a later date and prepare some simple gifts for her.”
As we were exchanging words, Keith said in a bit of a panic.
“Wait, wait, wait. What? There’s been another attack on the temple? That’s the rumor that’s been going around the school, but I haven’t heard of a fourth one.”
“Well, it’s not something that should be circulating around in first place, so it’s natural. That’s right, there have already been four attacks. The temple to the west of Granden has been destroyed.”
it’s not something that should be circulating around
“If we’re not careful, there’s a good chance there will be another attack on the temple. Do you have all the security you need?”
“I wouldn’t be in this city right now if it weren’t for you.”
After a few hints, Clarice began to walk away.
“Then, I’ll take my leave.”
“I don’t suppose you could give me some recommendations?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. ……”
Clarice quietly told me about her favorite restaurant in my ear. She quickly let go of my body, cleared her throat, and began to walk briskly.
“Come on, Private Eric. Let’s go.”
Keith said after watching their backs.
“‘……Theodore. Don’t tell me this is a harbinger of something more ……”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to say at this point. I don’t even know what the people who are attacking us are thinking. But as long as this continues, I think it’s better to think this way. Eventually, damage will occur within the city of Granden.”
When I told him that, Keith looked serious and started to think.
Oh no, I couldn’t help myself, I shouldn’t have said that.
At least for today we have to forget about that and celebrate Roka’s birthday.
I encouraged Keith, who was lost in thought, to start walking through the city.
“Hmm, Ensign Fourestier. Are those people Mildiana’s special students?”
“Yes. I don’t know where he got the information, but he already seems to know about the attack on the temple. Even though it’s confidential, it doesn’t change anything if they know about it.”
“That would certainly be the case, but ……”
Clarice was still in charge of the temple’s security. But for now, the sun hadn’t completely set yet. If there is any danger, it is at night. They are now checking if there are any suspicious people in the city.
“Hey, blonde nee-san over there!”
“Huh… you mean me?”
It was a girl dressed in light clothes who suddenly spoke to her in an alleyway.
A short, pretty girl with braided purple hair asks her with a slightly troubled look.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but have you seen any strange people around here?”
“If there was such a person, I would have brought him.”
“Well, that’s true too. …… Hmmm, where did that Hain bastard go? ……”
“Wait a minute. Are you acquainted with the strange man?”
“Well, that’s it. His name is Hain, and he’s going on an adventure with Toto. Oh, my name is Toto. Nice to meet you!”
“Okay, nice to meet you too…
Clarice was pressured by the energetic girl, but she quickly came to her senses and asked her back.
“Your companion’s name is Hain, is it not? Any specific characteristics?”
“Let’s see, he’s a tall, skinny guy who wears all black. He always wears a hood, but his hair is almost white, and he has a huge sword strapped to his back!”
“It looks like it would be easy to spot at a glance. It just seems suspicious to me. ……”
“Toto thought he was suspicious too! Even Toto wouldn’t approach that guy if he was a stranger!”
“Well, I see. If he has someone like you by his side, I’m sure he’ll be fine. …… Can you give me your contact information in case I see him? I’m sure you mentioned earlier that you were an adventurer.”
“That’s right. I’m at a cheap inn called Owl’s Perch Pavilion, so if you find anything, let me know, okay?”
“All right. We’re patrolling the streets now, hopefully we’ll find him before too long.”
“Thank you so much! See you later!”
Toto quickly ran, leaving Clarice in a daze.