Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama
「I apologise for disrupting your lesson. Please continue」, I said as I returned to my seat.
Samuel cleared his throat among the ruckus and resumed lecturing.
「Hey, could you repeat what you said just now?」, asked the female employee seated beside me.
The attendees now had their attention focused on me, rather than on Samuel. Despite the lecture having resumed, around twenty people had gathered around me, so I explained the logic behind magic circles and magic conversion efficiency once more.
「Man, I did a double take looking at you!」
「Yeah, I thought that guy was kinda looking down on us guild employees.」
「Me too, I knew that lecturer was sitting on his high horse.」
They were giggling like friends who had just successfully pulled off a prank.
Having to continue lecturing an audience who had lost interest, Samuel’s attitude had done a 180. His voice was softer and his confidence had been completely shattered.
「Former adventurer? Were you a mage?」
「Eh, I don’t think a mage would do any of that improvement stuff. He would just learn more spells, no?」
「Hmm, are you affiliated with the royal capital’s research establishments?」
I waved my hand at their questions, giving them a warm smile.
「No, it’s nothing like that. We’re still in the middle of the lecture, so I think we should pay…」
I trailed off, realising that Samuel had already bailed. I suppose it had been impossible for him to carry on with me still around, even though there was still a large chunk of time remaining before the scheduled end of the lecture.
Now that the lecturer had left, the employees clustering around me began introducing themselves. I followed suit, but never understood why they bothered to do so despite knowing that we would part ways the following day.
「Someone told me earlier that that Samuel guy is a mage retained by nobles」, said Roy, a short-haired male employee.
「No wonder he has such a large ego」, added Nina, a lively-looking female employee, while pouting.
「And yet he’s not a noble himself. I guess he’s typical of retained employees」, agreed Sheila, the female employee seated beside me.
「Sorry, but what’s a retained employee?」
「Oh, you don’t know? They’re people personally employed by nobles, in the same way that private armies are. They can become family tutors for the nobles’ kids, bodyguards, et cetera. It’s one of the career paths that retired adventurers aspire towards」, explained Nina.
Lord Bardell, the baron who had purchased Meiri to be a slave, most likely had his fair share of retained employees then.
「Well… that sounds bad then, doesn’t it?」, asked an onlooker.
「What does?」, replied Roy, furrowing his eyebrows.
「I know an employee who once raised an objection to some nobles — he was my batchmate. Apparently he offended them, and was eventually pressured into quitting his job.」
…I should be fine, more or less, seeing as I had successfully negotiated with the baron before. Ignoring the fact that I had smacked one of his guards, at least.
「Argan-kun, you’re gonna be in trouble…!」, exclaimed Nina.
「Hmm, I didn’t do anything wrong though. He did tell us not to hesitate to ask questions.」
「That’s not how it works!!!」, said the three people hurriedly, shaking their heads.
Guess that was a weird thing to say.
「Nobles tend to bend the rules and twist their words at their whim and fancy, you know?」, said Sheila uneasily.
At that moment, a large, muscular man barged into the room. With a longsword hanging by his waist, he looked like a budding martial artist.
「I heard there’s a guild employee who disrupted the lecture and insulted Mister Samuel here!」, bellowed the man.
His voice echoed around the room, making the attendees jump. He was possibly a knight who wasn’t wearing his heavy armor.
「He’s definitely some noble guy’s guard…」
「Hm, is he pissed because we weren’t paying attention to the lecture?」
The knight unsheathed his sword and stuck it into the ground in front of him, putting his hands on the hilt.
「Yes. I believe I am that person.」
As I was standing up, Roy tugged on my shirt.
「Hey, hey, hey. Nobody said anything about an Argan-kun… normally, we just shut up and lie low!」
So keeping quiet is the ‘normal’ path to take?
What a shame, seeing as I had already made myself known.
「I couldn’t let it go, for it involved everyone.」
「You! Get over here!」, roared the unexpected visitor menacingly, making the nearby attendees flinch.
I obediently made my way to him. At two meters tall, he was a giant of a man. He also had a few scars on his cheeks around his mouth. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had been on the battlefield before. Clearly, he also regularly goes through rigorous training. It was possible that he was a mercenary or an adventurer, but he was most likely a knight commissioned by the same noble family that Samuel worked for.
「State your affiliation. Now!」
「Asking the name of another without so much as stating your own, how rude.」
「There is no need for someone like you to know my name!」
「Same to you, then.」
Nervous murmuring arose among the crowd.
「D-Did he just try to irritate him even more…?」
「Does that employee have a death wish…!?」
Meanwhile, the knight was turning purple with rage.
「Is it not an unspoken rule for a knight to treat others with respect?」
「I get to choose who deserves respect and who doesn’t. That’s all.」
I guess some knights only uphold a budget version of their code of conduct.
With a loud roar, the knight punched hard in my direction.
How slow. This is just going round and round in circles, isn’t it? Good grief.
This man had most likely come to salvage Samuel’s pride. Dodging his attack would only add fuel to the flames. He wouldn’t be able to achieve his goal either, causing this conflict to drag on even longer.
I made all those considerations while his fist was travelling — that’s how slow it was.
Fine, I’ll let him have this one. It’s the most logical and efficient way to get this over and done with.
Making a terrifying noise, his fist made contact with my face.
At the moment of contact, I instantly jumped a little. This was indisputably the best way to avoid an attack. I threw myself backwards, putting on a show of sorts. Sending an opponent flying always makes one feel good, especially if you’re a big guy.
I bent my neck, cushioning the blow and making the damage done almost negligible.
I briefly considered doing a cartwheel backwards, but realised that it wouldn’t be satisfying for him. Thus, I simply decided to let myself tumble onto the floor.
I felt no pain, of course.
「Argan-kun, are you okay!?」, exclaimed the onlookers as they peered at me.
Looking at my assailant, he was momentarily puzzled, since he had felt no recoil despite having smacked me into the air.
「Fuhahahaha. It ended so quickly, o foolish child, and yet you expected me to tell you my name?」
Full of glee, the victorious man stood arms akimbo. Guess I’ll play along.
「That’s the wrong cheek, Argan-kun…」
「He actually corrected himself…」
That aura…! I sensed an uncanny presence that I knew all too well outside.
All the glass windows shattered at once.
「Did the glass just shatter on its own!?」
The aura was thick — thick with anger.
Almeria appeared beneath one of the windows.
「You… hit… Roland…!」
Lyla poked her head out too, pulling the princess by her arm.
「This unfathomable anger… you know it when you see it! It’s on purpose, on purpose!」
How did they get here? No… why’re they even together…? Guess I’ll find out later.
「You hit Roland. And he was sent flying! I will not allow it…!」
「Hey, stop it! Show some restraint, lass!」, pleaded Lyla.
Almeria shook off Lyla’s grip and barged into the room.
「It’s the heroine –」
The knight got down on one knee and lowered his head.
「Princess Almeria! This is my first time seeing you in person. I am honor –」
「Oi! This is not the time and place to be greeting her. Run!」
「Huh? Are you trying to be funny –」
Almeria took short, quick steps, knowing that one can turn more easily that way compared to when taking normal strides. It’s most suitable for indoor use.
Just as I had taught her. Wow, so she could still remember…?
…Wait, this isn’t the time to feel proud.
Almeria grabbed the kneeling knight by the scruff of his neck and slammed him into the wall behind.
The princess then threw a devastating punch right beside his face, cracking the wall.
The man, frightened half to death, wet his pants.
「Apologise to Roland. Now. My aim isn’t that bad, you know?」
「I’m… I’m sorry…!!!」
The man knocked his head on the floor in the middle of the puddle he had created. I rapidly stood in between them in order to save him from Almeria’s wrath.
「You’re gonna die. Leave it to me. Get out while you can!」
His face covered in sweat, tears and mucus, the man ran out of the room helter-skelter.
He forgot his longsword, though… well, I guess it can’t be helped.