Saturday, August 13, 2022 @

Chapter 52 Discussion

 In the end, it was nighttime when I returned from the castle.
 I told Shizuko and the others about what had happened at the castle.
 "Heh~ 'Hero (Eiyuu)'? It's quite an old title you've been given, isn't it, Ceres-kun?"
 "I don't think anyone has received that title in the last few hundred years. That's great, Ceres."
 "Ceres-san... You've been given a title of such exceptional value... In a way, more so than the title of the Hero (Yuusha)."
 "Indeed... A hero (Yuusha) is born to be a hero. But, a Hero (Eiyuu) is a title given to a person because of his/her character and achievements... So, it means that the King recognized Ceres-chan! In other words, he wants to make you a specialized force of the Kingdom instead of keeping you under the protection of the Kingdom..."
 In the end, the result of our discussion was... silence.
 "Ceres-kun, we will need a backer in the future, but I don't think we should decide on the Dhamar Kingdom just yet."
 "If the Dhamar Kingdom started to make moves to get Ceres... perhaps the Holy Land of Gandal and the Galban Empire will have something to say about it too."
 "Hmm... Just being S-ranked is enough to get you a lot of attention... but then there's the title of Dragon Slayer and Hero (Eiyuu)... Ceres-san, it's a lot of work."
 "During our time, we were also invited by many people because of our S-rank... So, for now, you just have to be quiet... But, you can think about it after all the conditions are according to your satisfaction, Ceres-chan."
 Why do they look so familiar?
 "Y-You all seem very familiar with this..."
 "Ceres-kun, this kind of thing has happened to us before."
 "Ceres... usually, countries negotiate with us about relationships, titles, money..."
 "That's right, I quit being an adventurer because it was too much work... If I had money, I just wanted to live a 'normal' life... and I refused those negotiations, and I ended up in trouble with them... Ah, it's been a long time... "
 "It's true. The grass is always greener on the other side... Every village has its own difficulties... I believe, after all these years, being a C-level adventurer was the most fun... Those were the days when we were young..."
 Indeed, it is better to be quiet now.
 Unless I make a big play... there will be no knighthoods or marriages with a princess.
 These four women are good enough for me.
 Because the four of them are close, it helps, but harems are no fun.
 In the Zect case, there is a clear difference in treatment between the two girls and Mel, so I had to take care of Mel.
 And sometimes, in aristocratic families, a mistress bicker with a legitimate wife behind the husband's back... And in the end, either one of them is even poisoned...
 But the four of them are good friends from the start, so they are getting along well, and the only man I know who has women who get along well is Orcman.
 Still, even Orcman sometimes has a scratch on his face.
* * *
 "Still, Mariane-sama, it's been a long time..."
 "Shizuko-san, you know her?"
 "Heheheh, Ceres-kun, we were S-class too... at least in the face."
 "Well, we know each other... just as client and adventurer."
 So, an acquaintance from request, huh?
 "Ceres-san, don't you find it strange? The Varda Kingdom was destroyed, and somehow a member of the royal family survived... and Ceres-san, don't you remember? The four of us went on a trip together, didn't we?"
 I do remember... 'I really want to go on a trip with the girls,' and they went, even though Shuuto and Kazuma stopped them.
 I remember it because I have never seen such a thing.
 Moreover, even though it was a male-dominated village, the village head and the village counselor unusually encouraged Shizuko-san and the others to go on a trip, saying, 'Show us that you are worthy enough to let women go on a trip with other women at ease once in a while.'
 "Ceres-chan, it seems you remember... we were the ones who went to rescue Princess Mariane at the request of King Zanmark IV."
 Rescuing a royal from an army of demons that could destroy the Kingdom, even if it's just one person.
 That's not easy, even for me, let alone Zect and the others.
 "Shizuko-san, you said before that I hunted 30 Ogre Kings and other Ogres and that it was amazing... but are you sure I'm much stronger than you?"
 Why does she look so surprised?
 "Ceres-kun, that's wrong... we're not that strong... among us, Haruka and Misaki are the best at close combat, right? What do you think?"
 "Ceres... that's no way. But maybe, you could say it's half true."
 "I feel the same way."
 Then how did they rescue the princess from an army of demons that could destroy the Kingdom?
 "Then how did you..."
 "You see, if it was a head-to-head fight, Ceres would be strong, but there are ways to defeat them... like this."
 With that, Haruka got behind Shizuko and pulled her into her arms.
 Then she smiled and said...
 "Ceres, kill yourself..., or I'll kill this person..."
 "Of course, this is a joke... sorry, Shizuko."
 "It's fine... but you saw what Haruka just did, didn't you, Ceres-kun? Strength isn't everything. There are other ways to defeat your opponent by targeting their weak points..."
 "That's what Shizuko is specialized in... you can leave the cowardly methods to Shizuko and Sayo, and Ceres-chan can play fair and square battle..."
 "Ara, Misaki, that's terrible... doesn't it make me sound like I'm the black-hearted one?"
 "Yes... Misaki is awful... maybe I should freeze you."
 "Shizuko, Sayo, it was a joke... a real joke."
 "Heheheh, I know it... Still, even though, Ceres-kun is strong enough... please be careful... there are many tricks people can use..."
 Political contacts are also a lure... I need to be careful from now on.

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