Continuing the work under the rain will be dangerous.
We decided that we’ll head back for today and leave the cleaning up tomorrow morning.
The next morning. By the time I woke up, the thunderstorm had already gone by, and the warming sunshine is visible.
(With this, there’s no problem working)
I felt relieved as I adjusted my appearance. After we put away the hammocks in the living room, Loy’s wife had brought us breakfast on a platter.
Like dinner, we started digging in after sitting together in a circle. The spring vegetables that are stir-fried using olive oil and sandwiched between the slightly chewy bun is apparently the staple breakfast for elves. And with, sweet pumpkin soup and steamed sweet potato fruit salad. All of them tasted great.
Especially Ravi who seemed to like the fruit salad a lot. It made me want to learn how to prepare it before leaving.
「Would you mind if I would be helping the cleaning work before leaving? 」
After asking Loy who was eating breakfast together, he stood up panickily.
「No way! Everyone would be glad! Your help would worth a hundred men! 」
I was a little surprised by Loy’s enthusiasm. But I was glad.
(It would be good if the other elves also thought so……)
For the time being, it became that I will show my face at the cleaning site.
「What about Ravi? Are you coming today? There’s no fire already. 」
「Umm……i-if it’s fine with you……」
When Ravi said so, Nicky lifted his face enthusiastically while raising the bowl.
「If Ravi’s going, then me too! Dad, me too, I will help! 」
「Hahaha. Just your feelings are enough for me」
「What! Saying like that! 」
「It’s not a place where children can help out. 」
「What is it……. Treating me like a child……」
Nicky turned away with a sour face. While listening to their conversation, I recalled the incident scenery. Certainly, the foothold there are terrible that it’s not for a child to help out.
I can understand the feelings of Loy worrying about his son. But Nicky who was pouting was also understandable.
(I also had such times when I was a child after all……)
Of course, it’s a story many tens of years ago. But strangely, most of my childhood memories are still vivid.
After the breakfast, everyone started moving to their respective work while Nicky was still pouting there. He sat at the same spot not moving like a stone.
It made me worry. However, it’s not the occasion for me to give encouraging words. Loy smiled wryly and put his arms on my shoulders.
「When he becomes like that, it’s futile to do anything. I wonder whose stubbornness did he inherit……. He will be better soon, so you don’t have to worry about it. If you were to talk with him now, he would be angrier. 」
Although he’s young, he’s still a man. He also has his own pride to protect. While I was thinking about that, Ravi started to pull on my clothes.
「Nn? Is there anything? 」
「I-I……will stay after all……」
「Ah, is that so?」
Like yesterday, Ravi decided to move on her own again.
(Well, it’s okay. Nicky is staying too after all)
Rather than staying by an adult herself, playing with another child is probably more fun for her. Here is also safe, I can leave her here. I asked Loy’s wife to take care of her before leaving the house.
As we headed towards the incident site, there were already elves working on it.
「Hey, everyone. Good morning」
Loy raised his voice. I stood behind him and bowed a little to greet. Then the elves who were working saw us and came gathering here.
「Muscle-san! Thanks for yesterday!! 」
「Thanks once again! 」
「N-no. Please really don’t mind it too much. ……And my name isn’t Muscle……」
「We all are really feeling grateful in our heart to Muscle-san」
They lowered their heads again and I had to stop them again like yesterday.
「More than that, is it fine that I help you all out cleaning? 」
「……!! Of course!! 」
「Muscle-san, you…really are a very kind person!? 」
「No, I’m not Muscle……」
「Alright everyone! We must put in more energy now that Muscle-san is here!!! 」
What to say. Apparently calling me Muscle-san had already set in stone.
An hour after that. As I continued working together with the elves……
「Alright, everyone! One, two! 」
「「「Muscle power―! 」」」
Here and there, there’re such voices all around. There weren’t any elves that had the buff skill. Somehow their 「Heave-ho―」became something like 「Muscle power―」.
(W-why did something like this……)
Loy told me who was confused.
「When we imitate Douglas-san, there’s this weird motivation that makes us have more strength. You’re everyone’s idol. 」
「We elves are a weak race. We really envy your gallant figure. It’s like you’re a man amongst men. The large muscles, and the big body that gives off a strong presence, and the lips that’s tightly pursed. How great. 」
The shock made me speechless. It’s a first to me that someone ever said that. It’s kind of embarrassing and happy at the same time. I scratched my head awkwardly and went back to work.
And just like that, it’s past noon. After we had tidied up almost everything, the female elves had appeared and brought us meal on a big platter.
「Great work! We’ve made lunch for you, come quickly 」
The cheering of the men resounded synchronously. Everyone had been working hard till now, so their stomach would be a void now. As I picked up on the delicious smell, my stomach raised a revolt too.
We sat on the dried ground, in a circle formation. The ladies shared the platter around, and poured some liquor, and took care of us.
And to my side, young and pretty elves had come to me with a bottle multiple time. I would say thanks as they would pour for me. At the third time, I realized it’s the same person that came to me. I thought it was a coincidence at first, but the fourth time was her too.
(Maybe she was asked to take care of me?)
「Sorry for every time. Thank you」
As I thanked her for her care multiple times, the elf’s cheek painted red with a pop.
「……Was I being a bother? 」
She asked anxiously, and I panickily shook my head.
「No, there’s no such thing. 」
The elf returned a slight smile after looking relieved. Clear white skin with rosy cheeks. A small lips and nose, and the blue eyes are blinking. It’s a girl with a round face and a gentle atmosphere. She’s considered one of the prettiest between the elves, I felt like I was admiring a ceramic doll.
「……Is it fine that I stay here to serve you? 」
There’s a part of me that felt a little sorry.
And honestly, I can’t calm down with such a young lady as my opponent.
「Isn’t it bad that you only entertain me 」
I said it while taking care of my words at my best. But somehow, she showed a really sad face.
(Crap……. But what did I……)
I realized that I’ve hurt her, but I don’t know why. As I was troubled and looked around…….
「Hahaha! What, Rose. Did you fall in love at first sight with Muscle-san? 」
The others that had noticed our conversation, was chattering about that. It seems that Rose was her name.
「H-hey hey. Isn’t that mean to her……! 」
I tried to stop them as I stood up. I know it’s a joke, but that would be going overboard without taking account of her feelings.
「Oyaoya. Muscle-san. You’re very strong, but not very perceptive. 」
「Take a good look at her reddish face. Wouldn’t it be meaner if you ignored it? 」
Everyone laughed as they hurried me. I turned back towards the elf that’s Rose without knowing exactly why.
「Mou, everyone……. Don’t tease me so much ……」
She muttered that blushing and faced me. How should I interpret her shy smile that is on her face. I hugged my hurting head because of the chaotic emotions.