DAR Vol. 3 Chapter 11 Part 3
“So, I guess we’re leaving soon?”
Roa returned to his camp, had breakfast, put away his things and was all ready to leave. The inspection party, however, was still gathering their supplies.
The soldiers standing guard during the night did not seem to have noticed that he left to gather materials. They did not show any signs of suspicion. Grandpa Gry was very skilled at this sort of camouflage, so there was no need to worry.
Roa went to take a look at what the inspection party was doing and saw a large tent in the middle of the camp, which was in the process of being put away.
It was larger than any tent Roa had ever seen before, big enough to be used as a commander’s headquarters in a battlefield.
This needlessly large tent was one of the reasons why they took so much time setting up the night before and were now late in gathering supplies. Even if they used magic bags, a tent that large would surely put a lot of pressure on the other supplies.
If they are carrying something like that, do they have enough food and water? Roa couldn’t help but worry.
The reason why they had to carry such a tent was, naturally, knight captain Eileen’s whim. She made the decision simply thinking about her comfort as the Count’s daughter, without thinking about what problems or losses it could cause.
Sighing about the late preparations, Roa returned to the servant beasts and killed time by brushing them, as they requested. After a good while, they finally finished the preparations and were ready to leave.
Roa tried to improve their relationship, at least a little bit, and tried boarding the soldiers’ carriage, but gave up as soon as he peeked inside. The soldiers’ eyes scared him. The moment he stepped inside, they turned towards him and glared. Their eyes were filled with resentment and felt as sharp as daggers.
For some reason, Roa found himself uttering an apology and decided to have the twins carry him, like the day before. He hadn’t noticed it, but he was the reason why they resented him. The fundamental reason was another, but the direct cause of their resentment was his actions.
The night before, while Roa was cooking and enjoying aromatic Rainbow Pheasant meat, the soldiers had to eat stiff bread, dried meat, and soup with a meager amount of root vegetables. Then that morning, in the sweet scent of the omelets Roa made, the soldiers ate the leftover bread and soup from the day before for breakfast.
They had to eat the food of minimal quantity and quality while smelling something so good, so it was obvious for them to resent him. That delicious-smelling food was being consumed by adventurers and magic beasts, with whom they always had a nasty relationship, so their hate was intensified even further.
Even if the adventurer in question, Roa, had done nothing wrong, he would easily become a target of cold glares. Resentment born from food was the deepest, as they said.
Incidentally, the knight captain and her knights, differently from the soldiers, had relatively luxurious meals in the large tent. The soldiers were aware, but could not protest against their superiors, so their glares to Roa were filled with that resentment too.
The soldiers’ meals, however, were pretty normal for food eaten when camping out during expeditions. No one would cook meals like Roa did, unless there were nobles accompanying the party. Outside the city it was not possible to gather proper ingredients either.
“Carry me today too, okay….”
Glared for reasons unknown to him, Roa returned to the twins, his shoulders dropping. The twins were overjoyed to know they could carry him today too, and as the day before, Grandpa Gry looked at them jump around in glee, sulking.
At noon that day, in a lodging town to the west of Amadan, Cornelia joined with the rest of Nostalgia.
“Hmm…so while I was hurrying up as fast as I could, you were busy fighting over something so stupid?”
They joined at the scheduled time and place, so their journey was going well for the moment.
“You sure had a nice time!! Unlike me!!”
They were close to the entrance of the lodging town, a resting area open for anyone who needed to take a break. It was a square with space to stop carriages and hitch horses.
There, Nostalgia’s three male members were kneeling on the ground. Dietrich started prostrating himself.
“You do that too easily, leader!!”
Before the three men who kneeling directly on the ground, the angry Cornelia was standing and glaring, arms crossed. The lodging town was not very frequented, but the few people present looked at them from a distance. Anyone who saw them quickly walked away, afraid of becoming the target of Cornelia’s fury.
“I was making the horses run so fast to catch up…and you three….”
Cornelia’s spiteful gaze was received by the prostrated Dietrich’s neck and Kristoff’s disgruntled expression, looking the other way. Only Bernhart looked straight back at her, with his usual expressionless face.
Dietrich and Kristoff’s faces were bruised here and there, their cheeks and eyes were swollen. It was clear as day that they had fought. Cornelia was angry about the fact that they fought, of course. She rushed to join up with them and when she did, she found out that they quarreled and beat each other up.
Their destination was a place of certain death, so what were they doing getting wounded before arriving? Her disappointment quickly turned into anger. On top of it all, the reason why they fought was utterly silly. She felt that she had to put them through the wringer before they could proceed.
“I told you I’m sorry….”
Kristoff looked at her with embarrassment. Usually, he would calmly accept it even if Dietrich ordered him something a bit ridiculous. This time, however, he was at his limits, both physically and mentally, so he couldn’t endure it. He realized his failure to do so was due to his immaturity, so he felt ashamed.
Cornelia then moved her glare towards Dietrich, who was still prostrating.
“It’s your fault, leader! Having Kristoff do everything! Besides, how much time has passed since the forest incident!? More than one month!! You didn’t fix the holes in your trousers and you didn’t even wash them once, did you!!”
Dietrich did nothing but apologize.
“You too Kristoff, even if you were angry, a childish prank like that! And then you even resorted to punches! Are you five or something!?”
Kristoff lightly lowered his head.
“And Bernhart! Why didn’t you stop them? You know that if these two brats start punching each other they’ll continue until one of them gets knocked out! You can’t just stay out of it, all right? If you don’t stop them, you’re as bad as them!”
Cornelia was the youngest of the four: seven years younger than the oldest member, Dietrich. She looked just like a big sister scolding her bratty younger brothers, though. It wasn’t like she was more mature than her age, just that the three men were childish for theirs. Especially Dietrich, it was very difficult to imagine that he was nearing thirty.
“And I have so many worries I wanted to talk to you about…”
Cornelia sighed deeply.
Dietrich suddenly raised his head. He looked simply glad the topic could finally change from their quarrel, but since she had to talk about them sooner or later, Cornelia -despite not being fully convinced- started talking.
She went to the carriage she used on her way to the town and took a magic bag from it.
“Roa gave me this one. He told me to use it because he’s worried about us. I can’t show you what’s inside here, there are people watching…and the stuff in this bag is insane.”
Dietrich took the bag Cornelia handed to him.
“Insane stuff? From Roa? Yeah well….I can picture that…”
*That* Roa gave them a bag to help them in their travels, so it was surely filled with insane items. Dietrich understood why Cornelia was worried and wanted to talk to them about it.
The night before, she checked the contents in the inn she spent the night in and said she felt like passing out. The bag was packed with potions that no money could buy, and even some new kinds of medicine with effects they never heard before.
“And also, right before I left town the Adventurers’ Guild collapsed. Physically.”
Dietrich and Kristoff spoke in unison.
“Does it ring any bells?”
“It sure does….”
Cornelia’s question caused both of their expressions to tighten. They didn’t know how it happened, but the cause was definitely that nasty gryphon. They knew it had done something when they were in the Adventurers’ Guild, but did not think it could be something set to activate after a time delay.
“The guild staff had evacuated the building already, so there were no casualties. Grandpa Gry duly keeps his promises *with Roa*, it seems. Then…”
Kristoff couldn’t help but react loudly. He clearly looked like he didn’t want to hear anything more.
“I worried by myself all day yesterday, you know? While some fools somewhere were fighting….so be quiet and listen.”
Cornelia’s tone was cold. She would not allow any protest.
“I received the weapons from Mr. Bruno.”
After all, the sole reason why she stayed behind was to pick up their weapons. It was the first thing to check when they met her, but they had completely forgotten. Only when she mentioned them did they recall.
“The weapons are complete, they’re amazing pieces.”
“So, do you mean that the problem is something else?”
Cornelia nodded to Dietrich’s question.
“Did that bastard do something to you!?”
It was unclear how or why he thought something like that, but Dietrich became suddenly furious.
“Nothing like that…in exchange for the weapons, he took one of the potions in the bag Roa gave me. And he even added a bonus.”
“Hm? What do you…?”
“It’s just as I said. The payment for the weapons was one of Roa’s potions. And he added a bonus because the potion was much more valuable.”
Cornelia then went again to the carriage and took another magic bag. It was the one Nostalgia commonly used, and Cornelia took out two weapons from it: a warhammer as tall as her and an assassin knife. The weapons Bruno gave her as a bonus.
“He added these, for me and Kristoff.”
“What about me!?”
Cornelia shook her head to Dietrich’s question.
“Nothing. He said these were made by his disciples too. I tried using them on my way here, but these are exceptional too. Nothing a normal craftsman could make. So I was worried if we could take all these in exchange for Roa’s potion…”
Since they were exchanged with Roa’s potion, the weapons -bonus included- actually belonged to him. But even if they said so, Roa wouldn’t accept them. He had no use for them either. Even if they tried to repay him with money, he wouldn’t accept it either.
Cornelia exchanged the weapons with the potion also because Bruno wouldn’t accept anything else in return. If it wasn’t the case, Cornelia would have forced him to accept money, as they had some financial leeway after the Aldon forest incident.
Paying with Roa’s magic potions meant for Nostalgia to treat them as their own, which felt wrong and painful. They had no other choice. If Roa wouldn’t accept any payment from them, there was nothing they could do. There was no point for Cornelia to worry. After listening to her, the three men started worrying in the same way.
Looking at them, Cornelia couldn’t bring herself to confess her last concern. The “lackey” business.
The paw prints on Dietrich’s thighs, left by the magic wolf twins, signaled that they viewed him as their lackey…no, she couldn’t say it easily. Dietrich’s burns had already healed, so they couldn’t be cured with normal recovery potions. Even if healed burns left a mark, they were considered the normal condition for the body.
One of the Super Grade Magic Recovery Potions Roa put in the bag, however, could heal old wounds.
It would easily remove the burn marks and the “lackey” business could be forgotten. Or alternatively, they could carve the burn marks away with a knife and use a normal magic potion afterward.
Cornelia, however, feared that if she mentioned it Dietrich would say the worst answer possible. She glanced at him. Over the burn marks on his thighs, the paw-shaped stitches Kristoff sewed as a prank were clearly visible.
Despite saying that Kristoff’s prank embarrassed him, Dietrich was wearing them normally. When he first complained to Cornelia about the stitches too, he seemed strangely happy. Cornelia started thinking that, deep down, he actually liked them. In that case, he might decide to keep the paw marks on his thighs…Dietrich might continue to be the twins’ lackey…
Cornelia tried convincing herself that it was impossible, but she couldn’t wipe away this concern.
“What? What’s with you all of a sudden?”
Cornelia let out a bit of the frustration she couldn’t express and decided that she would keep it a secret for now.