Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Together with Granny Gigi, I head to the house that I just visited.
Old Man Buckle and others still were in the room.
Old Man Buckle frowned seeing Granny Gigi standing behind me.
「……Rude, what is going on?」
「I want to share my opinion on what we just discussed.」
Everyone’s gaze focused on me.
Looking at all 10 members, I breathe a short sigh.
From the side, Granny Gigi also was looking at me.
I don’t need to sugar-coat things.
Probably no one would be pleased to hear what I’m about to say anyway.
I must give an answer that will betray their expectations.
It’s hard, but I have no choice.
I will do what I want.
「You said that you are against the growth of this town.」
「……Yes, correct. The town was stable previously. But with the appearance of the labyrinth, it’s growing more and more unruly. Don’t you have it hard every time, having to deal with this? The same goes for the members of the militia as well. We can’t eliminate those problems completely. But if we don’t make it into a welcoming place for adventurers, then it at least won’t become worse than this.」
「But this wouldn’t be the end of it. It wouldn’t solve the fundamental problem that this town has for a long time.」
I say confidently, looking into the eyes of Old Man Buckle.
He tightly closed his lips.
「The problem of this town?」
「Yes. Do you think this town will continue to exist in the future?」
「……What do you mean?」
「Buckle-san, you know it. You know that this town is in a slow decline.」
With my words, everyone exchanged glances after which their expressions turned awkward.
In fact, they must’ve realized it themselves.
All of them turned to Old Man Buckle. He made a short sigh.
「So, what do you want to do?」
「Firstly, the biggest problem this town has…… That the number of people here keeps decreasing. Young folk, especially young men, keep leaving for big cities.」
Old Man Buckle made another small sigh.
That hit the closest to the old man himself.
Apparently, his child left the town in hopes of becoming an adventurer.
It’s been more than 10 years since that happened.
His son must be in his thirties or forties by now, living happily somewhere.
「I want…… To make this town more appealing than it is now. I want to treasure the calm and tranquil atmosphere of this town, yet, I want to make it into the one that people would want to visit…… That is the kind of town I want this one to become.」
It’s nothing but my personal opinion.
Those aren’t words of the people’s representative, but my own.
Old Man Buckle closed his eyes for a moment, then suddenly opened them widely.
「Then, can you protect this town in the future」
He probably was waiting for the moment he could ask this question.
Sitting the farthest from me he had a faint smile on his face.
Where he sat it couldn’t be noticed by the other elderly.
He is also being relied on by others and has a lot going on.
「How? Presently, all kinds of problems are occurring in this town. In the end, there is nothing you can do about it, Rude.」
「I know. I alone am not enough. So I will increase the number of cooperators. I will create a clan with enough power to compel adventurers, and as its leader, will protect the town.」
It’s not an easy feat to protect something all by yourself.
Hearing my reply the old man smiled softly.
「I see. If you get it then fine.」
Then, he turned to the others.
「Everyone, that’s Rude’s intentions. He thinks of the town and the young folk. Don’t you guys want to live together with your children and grandchildren? You won’t be able to do that in a town that has nothing going on for it.」
Everyone slowly nodded to Old Man Buckle’s words.
「If… Rude is going to protect the town.」
「……Indeed. We have about ten years left at best.」
「……Yeah. If our children can happily live in this town.」
Everyone agrees with the words of Old Man Buckle.
Then, they lowered their heads.
「Sorry, Rude-chan. It’s not like we have anything against you, Rude-chan. It’s just that all of this is really worrying.」
「I know. I will do my best.」
「Hm…… If you say so, then we shall trust you.」
「……Thank you very much.」
Thank goodness…… They understood.
And I also managed to get their views.
「Then, I guess it’s about time for the old-timers to close their meeting. And I also have to apologize to Rude for the troubles that I caused. I will accompany you home.」
Old Man Buckle stood up and grabbed me by the shoulder.
Then, we left the house together.
Old Man Buckle’s hands appear to be as strong as ever, I can tell that he is still training.
Shortly after, Granny Gigi also came outside.
We set out towards my house.
Before I noticed it was already evening.
「Sorry about that. It’s not like everyone did that because we hate you. Please, understand that.」
「……Yes, I know.」
The smile on Old Man Buckle’s face widened.
「I think that you really will be able to protect this town. Both you and Feel are pretty good, but you are still a bit unreliable. From now on, you will have to do something. And at times, you will have to make unpopular decisions. Like now.」
Though it is hard to speak against the expectation of those close to you.
Some might have come to hate me from the conversation just now.
……It’s sad, but there is nothing I can do about this.
We are only humans, so of course, our opinions will collide at times.
「Well, don’t mind it.」
Old Man Buckle laughed awkwardly.
While we were having such an exchange, Granny Gigi slapped the old man’s back.
Then, made a teasing smile.
「Rude. Buckle has his own delicate position as well. His stern words just now weren’t what he actually thinks.」
「Hey, shut up, old hag.」
Old Man Buckle’s cheeks turned red.
「No, you shut up, you geezer. Since everyone is admiring him because of what he did when he was young, he is having it hard at such times. He is the one who wants to appear nice to everyone the most.」
「Don’t you dare say anything more unnecessary. I’ll drag you so hard that all of your wrinkles disappear.」
The old man stretched his arm, but Granny Gigi casually dodged him.
「Setting himself as a leader like that. He is in a similar position to yours Rude, but he is the one who is the most nervous here.」
Granny Gigi said mockingly.
Looking at her friendly smile, I can guess that when he was young he often got teased like this as well.
「Hey, old hag! Don’t you say anything more! Rude! Forget what you just heard!」
「……Okay. I will make sure to carve it into my memory.」
「Damn, I had it, I’m going home!」
Old Man Buckle turned around, looked a little bit embarrassed.
It’s not like…… I didn’t know that Old Man Buckle had a lot of his own considerations to what he was saying.
The smile that he showed in the middle of it most likely was to push me in the back.
I walk home together with Granny Gigi.
Midway, she looked the other way and stopped in her tracks.
「Looking at you, I remembered the old days.」
「The old days?」
「Yes. You know, in the past I was working in an apothecary in a bigger town. There, I met a certain adventurer. This town is his birthplace. And together, we settled here. He was, how should I put it…… He had something strange around him, that attracted people around.」
By that adventurer, she must mean her deceased husband.
At times she would speak of the old days with a bit of sadness.
「Oh boy. If I didn’t get tricked by him, I probably would’ve been married to some nobleman by now and spent my days in leisure.」
「But, well, I guess being able to meet you and Manicia because of it, can be counted as his only achievement.」
Having said that, Granny Gigi turned to another road.
「I have some other business to do, so I will be parting with you here. Good luck, Rude.」
Saying that she was heading to the town’s cemetery.
After seeing her off, I return to my house.
……I have a lot to do from now on.
Stepping inside, There was a good smell that reached all the way to the entrance.
「Luna, I’m done with the cooking here. What about you?」
「Yes. I’m fine as well.」
「Ah, I will arrange the plates. It smells like Nii-san is already home.」
「Ah, Master. Welcome back. The dinner is ready.」
The three girls turned around. Each one wore an apron of a different color and pattern.
「Nii-san, welcome back.」
「Rude, you are late. Were you on patrol? Even so, it took you quite a while.」
「Master, for dinner we have a stew.」
All three of them are looking at me with cheerful smiles.
……I have to do my best to protect this peaceful life.