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Friday, September 23, 2022 @

Chapter 109 [Short Story] Hero (Yuusha) Zect's Redo, Part Six - The Princess is Useless

 Zect's POV

 I bought a house slave, but what's the use if I'm the one doing the housework?
 
 Well... at least she can do the cleaning now.
 
 "Can I put this in the bag, too?"
 
 "Yeah, it's garbage."
 
 It's no big deal, just put the trash in a sack and put it out on the morning of the pickup day.
 
 This job is assigned to Luna.
 
 The rest, well, that's me...
 
 I'm afraid to let her cook with a knife.
 
 It hurts me if she cuts her hand and cries.
 
 So I'll do the cooking.
 
 And for the laundry, I'd better leave it to the professionals.
 
 Although I can do it too, I'm still a former Hero (Yuusha), and I'm not comfortable with borrowing a backyard and washing women's clothes in a tub when someone knows my face.
 
 Especially I don't want to wash women's underwear by hand.
 
 Ceres might do it, but I don't feel comfortable with it.
 
 I talked to the Adventurers' Guild, and they told me that most adventurers use a cleaning service.
 
 When I tried it, I found it very convenient.
 
 I just provide them with a sack full of laundry, which they wash, dry, and bring back to me for 3 copper coins (about 3,000 yen).
 
 Especially, with Luna and me, we only need to do it twice or three times a month.
 
 So, there is no need to worry about the laundry.
 
 And as long as Luna learns how to sweep and wipe...
 
 The house will be habitable.
 
 "We're not throwing this away, right? It can still be eaten."
 
 "No, Orange skins are garbage."
 
 "But it's edible..."
 
 "Just throw it away and I'll buy you a new one."
 
 "Okay..."
 
 Perhaps because of her terrible past, Luna does not want to throw away even the leftover food.
 
 Even now, she is still staring at the skin in the garbage bag.
 
 Maybe, I should change her behavior in this area soon.
 
 But why do I think such a troublesome life is more enjoyable than when I was playing Hero (Yuusha)?
 
* * *
 
 Knock-knock!
 
 There is a knock at the door.
 
 What is it this time, I thought and opened the door to find a knight standing there.
 
 "Zect-dono, the king, Zammarck IV, requests you to come to the castle."
 
 That's a big deal, sending me a knight... it must be a serious matter. But...
 
 "I'm not Hero (Yuusha) anymore! I'm just an adventurer Zect, and I have no business in the Dhamar Kingdom... And now, I'm busy making omu-rice... So, bye!"
 
 Today I'm making Luna's favorite omelet rice.
 
 I can't make it as well as Ceres, and the eggs don't turn out fluffy.
 
 Even so, Luna eats it and says it's delicious.
 
 It makes it worthwhile.
 
 "Omu-rice, omu-rice, omu-rice~!"
 
 Luna's looking forward to it so much.
 
 And this is my priority. However...
 
 "Please wait! Don't say that! Just come!"
 
 Don't get your foot between the doors!
 
 Well, it's a metal boot. And it won't hurt.
 
 "Don't make me say it again! I'm-not-Hero-anymore! I'm an adventurer, I'm not obligated to go, and this is the Empire, I don't have to obey you."
 
 Even if I am still a Hero (Yuusha)... I don't want any trouble.
 
 "Please wait! I can't tell you the details of this story, but it's not bad for Zect-dono, please come with me."
 
 Still, the kingdom, huh...
 
 But the empire has kept Luna safe since the last incident.
 
 And I'm a little worried about the kingdom.
 
 However, the way the knight insists, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go.
 
 But should I take Luna? Or leave her?
 
 "I have no choice but to go! But I'm taking my friends with me... let's go! Luna!"
 
 I heard footsteps coming from the back.
 
 "Zect, are we going out?"
 
 "Yeah, let's go together!"
 
 "Zect-dono, are you taking that half-demon girl with you?"
 
 "She's not a demon! She's an albino! She's with me now... and I won't go if I can't take Luna with me."
 
 "I understand."
 
 "You don't understand! If you ever call her a half-demon again I'll leave..."
 
 "I-I promise I won't say anything..."
 
 "Luna... we'll talk about omu-rice another time."
 
 "No way..."
 
 For Luna, good food is one of the few luxuries she desires.
 
 And she looks like she's about to cry.
 
 "I'm sorry. I'll go later. But, please wait for about an hour... Then, where should I meet you later?"
 
 "I'll be waiting outside the gates of the Imperial City."
 
 "I understand... And Luna, I'll make you an omu-rice as soon as I can... so hurry up and eat it."
 
 "Okay..."
 
 I quickly made an omu-rice and fed it to Luna.
 
 "It's delicious..."
 
 "That's good, but we don't have much time... eat it quickly."
 
 "Yes..."
 
 Luna eats while savoring the food.
 
 She's enjoying her meal... and it's obvious we'll be late.
 
* * *
 
 "A sky dragon ship? That's amazing."
 
 When we went to the meeting place, there was a sky dragon ship.
 
 For the note, a sky dragon shop is like a big sky dragon with a ship on top of it, and many countries don't have them.
 
 But, when did the kingdom... have one? I don't remember.
 
 Well, anyway...
 
 In the Holy Land of Gandar, for example, only the Pope and the archbishop could ride in them, and only their attendants and bodyguards.
 
 In short, it's VIP treatment... that's what it's called.
 
 "Zect... are we going to ride on this? It's attached to a dragon. It's amazing..."
 
 "Yes, Luna, it can fly. It's pretty cool."
 
 Maybe because I told the knights earlier, they didn't complain when we were late.
 
 And that's good.
 
 If I hear a little complaining or cursing, I won't go.
 
 "It can fly? That's amazing..."
 
 That's why this is so important.
 
 And now, I climb aboard the dragon ship, pulling Luna by the hand.
 
 "Zect, this is great!"
 
 "Don't run around too much."
 
 "Yeah."
 
 But she doesn't stop running with a twinkle in her eye.
 
 I understand that feeling because I can't fly.
 
 "Luna... we're going to fly, it's dangerous, so sit on the chair."
 
 "Okay..."
 
 The dragon soared into the sky with its large wings flapping.
 
 The sky dragon shop is a wonderful one, once it is in the air it is stable and safe from the monsters.
 
 "Luna, you are free to look around now. But don't go outside."
 
 "Yeah."
 
 Luna then leans against the window and looks out.
 
 I don't know how old she really is, but even though she looks almost the same as me she's a child inside.
 
 But one thing I've learned from living with Luna is this.
 
 Maybe what Ceres felt towards me was protective.
 
 Living with Luna recently has helped me to understand this better.
 
 Unlike Luna, Ceres would have found me and Maria and the rest of us pretty pathetic...
 
* * *
 
 We arrived at the kingdom from the empire in only three days.
 
 I don't know how long it would have taken us on foot.
 
 But more importantly, when we arrived at the castle, no one criticized Luna.
 
 Perhaps the knight had contacted the castle with a communication crystal.
 
 "It's huge up close..."
 
 Of course. After all, it's a castle.
 
 Luna is impressed, perhaps because she has only seen the castle from a distance.
 
 Her expression doesn't change much, so I'm probably the only one who can tell...
 
 "A castle is a place where kings, princesses, and important people live... so you'd better behave."
 
 "I will."
 
 After that, I went straight into the castle and followed the knight.
 
 "Please wait a moment until the king has finished his preparations."
 
 With these words, I was taken to a neatly decorated room.
 
 It was quite a room.
 
 "Zect, this is fluffy."
 
 Well, it's in a castle.
 
 "Yeah... good for you."
 
 We're treated too well... but I have a feeling I'm going to be asked to do something I don't want to do.
 
 After a short wait, a maid brings me a cup of tea and some sweets.
 
 "Your tea is ready."
 
 Luna's eyes changed color when the maid poured the tea and put the sweets on the table.
 
 "Can I eat this?"
 
 "I don't eat sweets that much, so Luna can eat all of them."
 
 "Thank you, Zect... I like you."
 
 Actually, I'm a sweets eater myself, but since she's so happy, I'll give it all to her.
 
 So... Ceres is like that too?
 
 After all, when we were kids, he gave them away... Maybe, he's just like me now.
 
 Well, seeing Luna chomping down on the sweets, I'm glad I gave it to her.
 
 It makes me feel that way.
 
 As I wait, sipping my tea, I hear a knock at the door.
 
 "The king is ready."
 
 "Luna, I'll be right back, please wait here for a while."
 
 "Okay, come back as soon as you can..."
 
 "Yeah, I'll be right back."
 
 Luna looked at me with a slightly worried face.
 
* * *
 
 I was shown into the audience chamber, where I saw the King, Zammarck IV, the Second Princess, Marin, the Prime Minister, Dobel, and Ota in the center.
 
 "Long time no see, Zect-dono."
 
 "It's been a long time, King Zammarck, Princess Marin..."
 
 I'm a Hero (Yuusha), so I'm forced to be here, but I'm still not very good at it.
 
 "Good, good, don't be so stiff. I've called you here today to talk about my daughter Marin."
 
 Why did he call about Princess Marin?
 
 Well, I remember he told me he'll let me marry his daughter if I defeat the Demon King.
 
 But it's none of my business now that I've lost not only to the Demon King but even to Mammon...
 
 "What about Princess Marin?"
 
 "It's about your engagement..."
 
 Engagement?
 
 If I've defeated the Demon King, as promised, we'll be engaged.
 
 But I don't deserve it because I haven't defeated the Demon King.
 
 "Princess Marin is engaged to someone? Then why did you call me here?"
 
 "Don't you remember that I once proposed the betrothal of Marin to you, Zect-dono?"
 
 There was a talk, but it was on the condition that I defeat the Demon King.
 
 But as long as I didn't defeat the Demon King, that story must have been dropped.
 
 And moreover, I am not Hero (Yuusha)... I am just Zect.
 
 "I remember that story... but it was on the condition that I defeat the Demon King. And I was so far behind Mammon, let alone the Demon King.
 Besides, I quit even 'Hero (Yuusha)', so I don't think it's relevant to me anymore."
 
 "That's true, but I still don't consider Marin's engagement to you to be over... So, since I approve, are you willing to try again as 'Hero (Yuusha)' as a fiancee?"
 
 I looked at Princess Marin... she looked at me with kind, loving eyes.
 
 She is indeed beautiful and pretty.
 
 But...I can't.
 
 "I'm not worthy of it now. I'm the man who fought bravely but recklessly, who hurt my friends, who lagged behind Mammon even though I was the leader. Moreover, I was saved by 'Hero (Eiyuu) Ceres', whom I forced to take the fate of the world into his hands... that's me. So, if I am to take Princess Marin as my wife, I must at least be a nobleman, and I am afraid I have neither the ability nor the education to rule a territory. Besides, I have decided to live as an adventurer... and when I grow old, I will return to my hometown and farm the fields. Princess Marin is too good to be the wife of an adventurer or a farmer."
 
 That's it... now I don't want power or anything else.
 
 "Zect-dono, it seems to me that your dreams were different before..."
 
 "It is true that I used to have ambitions. Marrying a princess, a nobleman with a landed estate... I thought recklessly of all those things... But I was defeated and saved by my best friend, and those ambitions are gone now. "
 
 "You've changed so much, haven't you?"
 
 "But Zect-sama, have you not considered... my feelings?"
 
 "Princess Marin, it's just a misunderstanding. You and I have only had tea and walked together three times in our lives. You fell in love with Hero (Yuusha), but not with me... You should forget about the worst person in the world, who was defeated by such an enemy and forced his best friend to bear the whole world."
 
 "But I still..."
 
 "I can't do it! But if you insist, will you throw away your crown and become an adventurer with me? And when you grow old, will you plow the fields with me?"
 
 "I can't do that. I've lived my whole life as a princess..."
 
 "Isn't it? Princess Marin is too good for me I'm sure you'll find a good man."
 
 "Zect-dono..."
 
 "King Zammark, you can't give me something I haven't done anything for you... if you don't have anything else, can we be done with this?"
 
 "Ah, that's enough, I'm sorry."
 
 "Then... excuse me... could you give me a ride home, please?"
 
 "Ah, okay... you can go back now."
 
 I'm thinking about it before... since I'm not engaged to the princess... if I don't make this promise now... I'll have to take a carriage on the way back.
 
 Thank goodness, I noticed.
 
 "I'll take my leave then."
 
 I turn my back on the King and leave the audience chamber.

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