When he had finished his brief inspection and confirmed that it was more than usable, Layotte walked past Douga, entering the dining hall with a familiar stride.
「Lay, just the person I wanted.」
「……What do you mean？」
「Seems that Makoto-san has somethin’ she wants to report. And it sounds quite troublesome.」
Layotte made an unusual grimace at what he had been told just seconds after arriving.
「Well ya don’t seem too happy ‘bout that.」
「I came all the way here for tasty food. There’s no way I’d enjoy eating after hearing a conversation that would dampen the experience.」
「Well, true ‘nuff. But it really is just the difference between tellin’ ya sooner or later.」
「I know. So what did you want to discuss？」
「Wanted to say that a hellhound and evil tiger showed up at Spirit Spire Mountain.」
Layotte showed no particular reaction to that report. The young adult of twenty some years who had tagged along also did not really change their expression. The only one who did was the youth who was around the same age as Mio, the color of their face changing as they spoke up.
「But that’s super serious！」
「Mark, calm down.」
「Big Brother, if anything, why are you so calm！？」
「Because I had already prepared myself when the wyverns had come out. Of course, that isn’t a very good feeling either…」
Ignoring Mark, who was gaping at the word “wyvern”, he glanced at his older brother behind him.
「Before we go any further, I think it would be good to make some introductions.」
「Okay, although I got a purty good idea. The lady-killer over there’s yer older brother, ‘n the handsome fella over here’s yer younger brother, right？」
「Yeah. My older brother, Prince Avin, and my younger brother Mark.」
Hearing Layotte’s introductions, a composed Avin lightly nodded at him, and having finally gotten over the shock from earlier, Mark gave a clumsy greeting.
「Hey, old man.」
「What might it be？」
「In this sorta situation, who has a normal reaction for the age of someone from 10 to 15 years? Lay or Ma-kun？」
「If it be the average person involved in combat in their teens, His Lordship Mark would be the archetypical one. Though it may sound a bit off-putting, His Lordship Layotte be non-standard in many ways……」
「Ernest！ Most people would look mediocre compared to my older brother! And then you, with the stupid look over there! What’s up with that rude way you referred to me！？」
「Yeah, this is definitely normal.」
In response to Hiroshi’s emotion-filled words, everyone around him focused luke-warm gazes at Mark.
「You see, Mark is still a bit lacking in study when it comes to craftsmen. I apologize on his behalf for such rudeness.」
「Nah, thinking about it, I’m clearly the one who was in the wrong.」
「Sure that you aren’t doing that on purpose？」
「No idea whatcha mean by that.」
Hiroshi made it obvious that he was playing the fool in repsonse to Avin’s comment. Of course, it was true that Hiroshi was doing it on purpose, but there wasn’t any particularly deep reason in it. He was merely checking just how far the people of Farlane’s royal house could handle in terms of jokes. Or rather, he was only testing Layotte’s younger brother to see if he would be happy like how Layotte was with “Lay”.
「Anyhow, I’ll make some tea.」
「Haru, I’ll help you.」
「Before you do that, I think you should take a bath, Mio-chan……」
She gave an obedient nod at Haruna’s suggestion. She had after all been bustling about the wild mountains. Even though she had Prevent Rot enchantments all over the things she had, Haruna felt a bit reluctant to let her in the kitchen as she was.
「They always like this？」
Avin smiled wryly as he asked that question, and Douga answered with the same expression. Just how carefree were these people? Makoto and Tatsuya’s faces reddened when they saw that, looking apologetic. At times like these, it was better to not have common sense.
「So, going back to what we were…talking about.」
「We still ain’t heard the particulars. Makoto-san, what was it like？」
「The particulars? Ehm, well, I think you’ll get it when you look at the loot we stuck in the bags. This was before dissection and it’s very strange.」
「And I don’t think that’s enough to make you understand, so to add to that, there was an unusual amount of deformed monsters, and among them, there was a high percentage of them who were Dark-type or scattered around miasma.」
Layotte nodded at Makoto and Tatsuya’s testimonies, deep in thought.
「Deteriorated faster than I thought it would.」
「Oh? Lay. You have some nuisances too？」
「Without a doubt, this is a nuisance, yeah.」
Hiroshi inclined his head at Layotte. Honestly, even with this guy saying such a thing, it didn’t sound cute in the slightest.
「Big Brother, I do not think this is something you can refer to so lightly as a “nuisance”……」
His brother had said it so casually that Mark blurted out his own thoughts.
「Even if we did discuss this seriously, the task and result will not change.」
「That may be so, but……」
「Now now, Milord Mark. We already know from past experience that the stories the royals bring to us regular people are generally nothing good. No point gettin’ all worked up over a nuisance like this, right?」
「……Oddly enough, when you refer to me as Milord, I can’t help but feel uneasy……」
「Then should we go back to Ma-kun？」
His Lordship, Mark, nodded reluctantly. Let it be only known here that from then on, this nickname of “Ma-kun” would become known by his mother, the queen, the other queens, and even his older sisters, and he would end up being referred to as “Ma-kun Ma-kun” in all non-public situations.
「Now then, getting back on track…」
「Before we do that, I’d like to inquire about Aearis.」
「Elle? Just earlier, she mentioned something about a purification ceremony and went to the bathhouse. What about her?」
「She did so as soon as she saw us returning.」
「Indeed, though she be young, she is the rare priestess princess..」
Layotte beamed in admiration at Tatsuya and Makoto’s oddly formal choice of speech, letting out his own thoughts as well. The same time that Layotte spoke, Avin let out an emotional sigh. Mark looked as if he had found the slightest tinge of hope.
「So how are these things related？」
「Very soon, perhaps even tomorrow, I would like to have it taken to Alfemina temple.」
「And what brought this on？」
「There is a possibility that the priests will not be able to catch up with the purification of the earth veins.」
「That sounds…kinda serious……」
Layotte said such a dangerous thing so casually that Hiroshi found himself commenting in an exasperated voice. Normally, he would rather throw this sort of exchange all on Tatsuya or Haruna, but perhaps out of sympathy for his brethren, Layotte had a tendency to choose Hiroshi as his negotiation partner.
「As soon as tomorrow? That definitely sounds difficult. Pretty sure you’d hafta get all sorts of things ready, and most of all, things are purty exhausting what with havin’ made Elle and Elen’s daggers.」
「Oh really now? You’ve already completed them?」
「I have, but they’re just daggers…Not like I held back when I made ‘em, but they have their limits.」
「Just by knowing their limits, ye be quite the man of fortitude…」
「Well, it’d be a purty darn fine line for going up against a wyvern.」
Hiroshi’s criteria were clearly backwards. As if throwing in the towel, Douga shrugged his shoulders and shook his head from left to right.
「Wyvern? With a dagger?」
「Not sure if I should be surprised at this point, but when I talk with you, I feel as if the concept of common sense has gone off somewhere unknown.」
Hiroshi’s statement did not sound sane to Mark and Avin, who had comparatively more common sense in their responses. As for Layotte, someone generally made the various weapons for the national treasury, so he didn’t think there was any merit in being shocked by Hiroshi’s weapons, no matter how dangerous they were.
「Nah, that much is normal amongst the craftsmen I know. Besides, the equipment ‘n everythin’ was makeshift, so it’s not like they had great functionality.」
「You make weapons of that scale and say that they aren’t all that great. You are a serious piece of work……」
Rayna, who would normally not so much as speak in these situations, quipped along with making a complex sigh of exasperation and wonder.
「So what in the world did you make？」
Although he already figured that nothing was impossible for this guy to make, judging from the fact that even those who had watched were still making flabbergasted comments, he had figured that this wasn’t something he could pass up. Layotte inquired with an earnest face.
「Just a couple daggers with a bit of tasteful functionality added.」
Hiroshi feigned ignorance, grinning and saying that trump cards are best when hidden. Layotte gave up, seeing that it was pointless to pursue. Tatsuya and the others could not find it in themselves to prod in. Hiroshi was always making strange things anyway, so they decided to remain silent until things settled down. It was right at that time that Haruna came back in, pushing a cart.
「Putting aside the discussion of Hiroshi-kun’s products, how about we briefly cool down over some tea？」
「Alright. And no matter how I look at it, that thing on the tea-cake plate has got to be baum-kuchen. Was that over here to begin with?」
「At least in my case, this past half-month, I haven’t seen it in Wulls.」
「And it’s been three months since I saw it.」
One of the characteristics of this team was the ability to quickly derail the conversation at times like these. However, in this particular case, it was more correct to say that Tatsuya intended to change the subject, so this was a bit different than the previous times.
「Well, if anything, Hiro probably just made a bunch in his free time or something, end of story.」
「Honestly, if it’s delicious I could care less.」
「Well ain’t you half-hearted!」
「You’re the last person I want to hear that from.」
As they were griping with each other, Mio, who had taken Aearis and Elena along with her, came into the dining hall.
「Oh dear. With more than half of the royals in this country gathered right here, if someone strikes us with some crazy magic then there goes an entire lineage.」
「Elena, could you not say such ominous things?」
「Come now, it’s a joke. Besides, a normal mage couldn’t just break through the barrier here and kill everyone.」
「Do you think so？」
「We all discard common sense in this area. That includes you, Ma-kun.」
「Big Sister! Why did you call me that！？」
Elena giggled, evading Mark’s flustered question. Honestly, she didn’t even have to think about the kind of name Hiroshi would call him. She knew.
「Well, let us leave the bothersome details for after tea. It isn’t like we can do anything about it anytime soon anyway.」
「Very true. Plus there are these delicious treats that Hiroshi-sama went to all the trouble to make. It isn’t every day that we have the privilege of eating this.」
「So Hiroshi-kun made the baum-kuchen after all……」
「Ellie just gobbled things up, so I made it partially for fun……」
「You’ve become quite the glutton, Aearis……」
Used as the punchline of a joke, Aearis’s face grew bright red as she flared up at her sister. This was supposed to have been an emergency situation, yet Mark found himself unable to comment on this exhausting atmosphere.
「So do ya really hafta make it？」
「Yep, I do.」
「Why not have Mio do it?」
「There’s at least a 30% gap between the skillset of me and Sensei.」
「Uhh, how should I put it…That sounds bad in all sorts of ways……」
Thanks for the chapter.
Gap is all about cuteness, cuteness without gap is hollow, that is zen.