Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
「Oi, you two, I know that those are your usual greetings, but don’t you think you’re making the missy there slightly uncomfortable?」
Said Vie-san when he noticed that I was really uncomfortable with the scene that was unveiling right in front of my eyes. He then broke into Klenven and his friend, separating them.
「Geez, just because you’re not popular with women doesn’t mean you get to spoil other people’s fun, Vie! Hey, Klanven, who is this girl?」
The woman called Aisha asked Klanven that while looking at me suspiciously. Then he looked at me with his bright-blue eyes. Strangely enough, what I felt from that woman’s gaze was not jealousy, but rather a sense of worry and anxiety. While I looked at Aisha with my usual polite smile, Klanven finally opened his mouth.
「This is Filmina, my current caretaker. Filmina, this woman here is Aisha. She’s like a little sister to me.」
「Ara, couldn’t you at least make a small lie like “We’re like lovers” or something like that?」
「Even if that was a lie, you really are dear to me like a sister.」
「Sheesh, you are so cold, you know?」
There were roars of laughter coming from all around them, and Aisha finally separated herself from Klanven. She then spoke to me in a friendly manner.
「Have fun, missy. Now, Klan, why don’t you have a drink or two with us?」
「That’s not a bad proposition, not bad at all. I’ve come here today looking for some entertainment, after all.」
「That’s right. Entertainment.」
Laughing at the face Aisha was making right now, Klanven turned towards me.
「Filmina. You said that you wanted to return to the Great Temple right away, is that right?」
Even though I was initially confused by the sudden question, I nodded my head. Why was he asking me that now, of all times? When he was fully aware that I was still adamant on taking him back to the Temple, Klanven’s smile deepened mysteriously.
「If that’s still the case, then why don’t you try to persuade me in a way that is unique to this very establishment?」
Hearing that, the crowd around us began to roar even louder, which made me blink in confusion a few times. Next, I saw that the patrons suddenly got up from their chairs, forming some kind of closed space in the middle of the bar with two chairs facing each other in the middle of it. Then, they put two big mugs on the table right next to the chairs with a loud *THUD* sound. I could also see that Vie-san who was right next to me looked concerned for some reason, turning towards Klanven with a worried expression.
「Oi, Klan, are you serious? To propose this missy something like that……?」
「I see that you are the same as always, Vie. But don’t worry, I will hold back a little bit.」
「Yeah, and besides, it looks interesting, so good luck out there, missy!」
「T, thank you?」
Even though I still didn’t know what was going on, I was pushed by the crow towards the chairs and the table, and together with Klanven we were seated opposite of each other. Klanven then took one of the mugs in his hand. I had a really bad feeling about all this, but even if I wanted to get up and leave, I was being surrounded by the bar’s patrons, and they would surely not let me weasel my way out of this.
「If we are at the bar, then it is a given that we shall settle our disputes via the means of cultural drinking contest, right? If I win, you will have to accompany me on my future outings. If you manage to win, we get back to the Temple right this instant. Is that okay with you?」
I knew that he was a Priest from the Temple, but no matter how you look at it, doesn’t the condition of this match favor Klanven way better than me? Probably realizing that fact now, Klanven smiled brightly and said “Oh yes, that’s right” more to himself than to anyone in particular.
「Now, to make the condition more interesting, let’s see…… If you win, I shall also return that thing to you.」
There was only one thing that Klanven could have been talking about here. It was the bookmark with the pressed flower that I once received from that man, then Klanven took away from me sometime later.
I swallowed my saliva, while Klanven’s smile remained ever the same. He was obviously awaiting my response.
「………… I understand. I shall accept your challenge.」
There was no way around it. And besides, my pride as a woman would not simply allow me to back down from a challenge like that.
As soon as I said that, the crowd exploded in a loud cheer.
「Way to go, missy!」
「Do your best!」
「Let’s place bets on who’s about to win this!」
「We’ve got ourselves a match here!」
「Klan, let’s do this properly!」
The crowd gathered around us, and from their words I could deduce that they were all sure that Klanven was going to win this match without breaking a sweat.
「Right, so, who wants to go first? And as per usual, no hard feelings once the match is over!」
Said the woman that greeted us upon entering, and then she placed a large bottle of ale at the table, again with a loud *THUD* sound.
I wasn’t much of an alcohol drinker, and if I happened to drink one I would usually drink it together with some non-alcoholic beverage to mix the two. I wasn’t sure how I would fare against a veteran drinker such as Klanven, but I was sure to give it my very best.
As we both watch the tavern master pour the ale into the mug, Klanven looked at me with his usual gentle expression.
「What is it?」
「I forgot to mention that, but in this bar there is no better drinker than I am at the current moment.」
Even though I knew that something like that might happen, Klanven was taking pity on me before the match even began.
And just like that the following happen.
「Oi, missy, are you sure you’re alright?」
「I’m fine, thank you. Now, could you pour me another cup?」
Much to my own surprise, I was doing quite good. At first I was keeping tabs on how many cups I managed to drink, but after the number of cups exceeded ten, I gave up on trying to count them anymore. At first the crowd was cheering loudly, but the more time passed the more silent they got, watching us drink in silent awe, not even caring for their bets anymore.
「Filmina, I must say, you seem to be holding your ground surprisingly fine.」
While pouring another portion of ale into my mug, I felt that maybe, just maybe I will be able to do it. Klanven, on the other hand, was smiling just as always.
「Yes, I’m honestly surprised myself. If this wasn’t a competition, maybe I could even enjoy it to some extent.」
I raise the mug to my mouth again. The texture of the alcohol was quite smooth and it made my throat feel kind of funny when it was going down. We always had some canned beer in the refrigerator just in case someone would wanted to throw a drinking party, and for a while I was thinking about that while emptying my mug. Umu, it was quite delicious.
However, it was also a fact that my thoughts were starting to feel sluggish, the inside of my body felt strangely warm and I felt as if I was walking through clouds…… There was a warning alarm ringing in my head, and I was growing increasingly concerned.
Looking at Klanven, his cheeks were slightly reddened, but that was about it, no other changes were visible. He smiled like usual and brought the mug to his lips again. He drank the contents down in one go and with a loud “Puah!” set the mug back on the table while licking his lips.
「Isn’t that the time for you to admit defeat? You’ve managed to put up a good fight against me, but losing to me in drinking is no reason to feel ashamed at all.」
That made me angry. I didn’t bother to answer to Klanven’s provocation, instead filling my mug again and draining it in a quick and swift fashion.
「No, I can still keep going.」
「Hmm, is that so? Well, do your best. It’s even okay if you get totally wasted, I will bring you back home properly.」
That concern of his was not necessary, for I wasn’t going to get wasted, throw up or showing a shameful display in a public place like that. I was going to win and bring back Klanven with me back to the Temple…… There was no other option.
Still, I could feel my body approaching its limit. I manage to bring the mug to my mouth again, but shifting it and drinking its contents was well beyond my reach now.
「Hey, missy, hang in there! My dinner rests on you winning this thing!」
「I knew it, beating this guy is pretty much impossible. No matter how much Klan drinks, he never gets drunk. Like, at all.」
「But I must say, it’s been a while since I last saw someone being able to keep up with Klan for so long.」
Although the background was filled with so much noise, it was all passing through me like water going down the stream. With a shaking hand, I somehow managed to drink the mug’s contents, but putting it away was proving way more difficult that I would have anticipated. As I felt my whole world shaking and swaying, Klanven only smiled in a gentle manner.
「It seems like you have reached your limit. Guess this means I won……」
「Please wait just a second.」
As Klanven tried to declare his victory, a low and cold voice shook the bar’s air. Even if I was getting drunk, there was no way that I would mistake this voice for anything else in the entire world.
There was a person standing right at the bar’s entrance, and when I looked in his direction I saw a man covered from head to toe in long and dark cloak with a hood covering almost all of his face. And even though I couldn’t see that person’s face properly, I knew right away who it was. Aaahhhhh, I really must have gotten drunk to be hearing things like that.
「Who the fuck are you!?」
One man took two of his friends and they tried to expel the newcomer from the bar. They looked to be especially violent ones, ready to fight at any time. As they approached him, the man punched one of them to the face, kicked the other one right under the knee, and when these two were flat on the ground, he grabbed the third one and threw him at his companions by throwing him over his shoulder. It took only an instant, and his hood came off his head as a result.
「Edil…… ka, -sama……」
I let out a loud sigh. From under the hood came golden hair and facial features so radiant and so handsome that everyone in the room was left speechless. Agedilus Von Lancent, currently in disguise as knight Edilka Vince, looked with disgust at the men that were on the floor, before stepping over them and coming closer.
Then, when he arrived before our table and chairs, he spoke to Klanven while looking down at us.
「You seem to take delight in pushing extra work onto me, Your Highness.」
His voice was teeming with anger. Everyone was speechless before him, only Klanven dared to speak after emptying his mug in one go.
「You know that you didn’t have to go all the way out here by yourself, right? You could have just let the Temple Knights do their work for once. They can come and fetch us when we are ready to go back.」
「As if I could leave such an important job to them.」
Even though the man was brimming with powerful aura of intimidation right now, Klanven didn’t seem scared of him in the least. I stared at him in pure disbelief, starting to sober up thanks to the cold atmosphere.
That man and Klanven seemed to be so preoccupied with one another that they seemed to have forgotten all about me. And it seems that this situation was exactly what Klanven wanted, dragging me all the way here with him, forcing Edilka-sama to leave his post in order to search for us. But why would he do such a thing? Just so that he could annoy him?
Hearing Klanven’s response like that, the man’s stare became even colder, and the atmosphere around them grew even heavier than before.
「I know that you may be upset, but don’t you think that even I deserve the right to have a little break from time to time? Here, why don’t you have a sip yourself……? And more importantly, I was going to return to the Temple before evening. This bar has some rooms on the upper floor, so I wanted to rest there before eventually heading back.」
「…… A break?」
「Yes, that’s right. A break.」
He then whistled in a merry manner, as if that gesture was supposed to have some sort of hidden meaning. And then his eyes go straight towards me. No, no, no, please don’t drag me into your little games. You were the one who got us into this mess, Klanven, so deal with the consequences on your own! And even though I somewhat enjoyed this little outing today, I didn’t want for people to associate me with secret outings and drinking in run-down bars!
However, even if I told him that, that man would surely not believe my words. He would surely say that I could have stopped him dozens of times throughout the day.
In the end I couldn’t come up with any good excuse, and so I just sat there, laughing miserably. I really must be quite drunk. Afterall, I wished that man was the last person to see me in such a state.
Looking at me, the man let out a sigh. I wanted to stand up, but my legs wobbled and I was about to fall over. However, the man supported me and sat me in another chair, then he turned towards Klanven.
「Are you saying that getting wasted is your form of taking a break? Then maybe I should be your partner instead of Filmina.」
I wanted to say something to him, but the alcohol that was coursing through my system left me speechless. Then the man sat down on the chair that I was just sitting on.
Edilka stared down at Klanven with ice-cold glare, but Klanven, as always, seemed to be unmoved by this display of intimidation.