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Ardis who finished his work earlier than expected stopped by the familiar weapon shop on the way back. It’s to replenish the short swords that were lost in the battle with the woman.
In any case, he bought two of the ready-made ones to fill his slots and ordered two more to made with 『Heavy Metal』. Then, he showed up in various other shops such as the general store to purchase some daily necessities, before returning home.
「Ardis, welcome back. 」
「Ardis, late. 」
As he entered the house, the twins with their platinum blonde hair hurried to him with quick steps. Although they didn’t show their rare smiles, at the very least, they didn’t have a scared expression with Ardis.
「I’m back. Filia, Riana. 」
While greeting the twins that he still has troubles identifying them, he patted their heads lightly.
「Today, Filia made lunch with Riana― 」
「Riana made sandwiches with Filia―」
「Is that so, did you do it well? 」
「Not at all―. It wasn’t delicious―」
「Failure―. Fortunately unfortunate―? 」
Both of them had less words despite of their age. It’s probably because they were trapped in an environment that suppressed their expression, but they looked much brighter recently.
From Ardis’s perspective, he thought them as baggage that he had to look after in the beginning but, now he’s totally accustomed his life with the twins. Their existence had made him felt like there is a place he belongs to. But, whether that is good or not, Ardis couldn’t tell at this point of time.
「Ardis, make dinner―? 」
「Ardis, I’m hungry―」
「It’s still a little early for that but……, well whatever. You both can help right? 」
A peaceful conversation with a normal exchange.
At the time of peace that he attained by chance, there was a rascal who interrupted it uninvitedly. It was the person with Aliceblue hair.
「Why are you here? 」
Just about the time he finished the preparation of their meals together with the twins, Ardis who checked out the sounds of ringing at the entrance gate said so without even trying to hide his unpleasant face.
It was the woman who wore a white hooded robe at the entrance. The same woman who was brought to the lord’s mansion few hours ago.
「I have come to report the completion of the order. 」
「Well? Isn’t it master who ordered me to meet with the lord? 」
Ardis who tilted his head asked, was replied with the woman tilting her head similarly.
Certainly, Ardis thought that something like that might’ve happened, but that was only the excuse he used to tell her to meet with the lord. Even if he’s told that he’s receiving a report on the completion of his order, he didn’t know what he should do with that.
「Ah―, is that so……. Good work. Well then, bye. 」
By bringing the woman to the lord mansion, Ardis had completed the request. Any more interaction with the woman is unnecessary. As such, he felt troublesome at her appearance, just as he was about to close the door, the woman spoke.
「Could it be there’s a next order? 」
「Then I shall concentrate ensuring Master’s safety by his side. 」
The door that was about to close was stopped by the woman’s hand.
Could it be that she’s trying to stay overnight in his house, was what Ardis thought.
Certainly, it’s because Ardis that she had to come to Thoria so suddenly. Thinking from the woman’s side, getting pulled along by himself like this, he can understand if she’s requesting to stay a night over.
But, Ardis’s role was only to complete the request from the lord that is to invite her. Wouldn’t it be the norm for the lord to treat her after she’s brought there. There’s no reason for Ardis who was only an errand boy in this case to take care of the woman.
There’re also the twins in the house. Even if she’s not from this town, he couldn’t let others know that there’re twins in his house yet.
「I will lend you some money if you don’t have enough to stay in an inn. That’s why, stand here and wait a little while. 」
「I’m not troubled over money. But, if we are not together, I can’t make it in time if the worst happens. It’s a servant’s natural responsibility to stay near her master, right? 」
「……Either way, I don’t have the intentions to let you in my house. 」
「Acknowledged. Then I shall be guarding at the front. 」
Unexpectedly, the woman backed off easily. And left Ardis sight just like that after that reply. After Ardis saw her off while being extremely confused, he put up a barrier encompassing the entire house until the morning just in case and returned to the twins.
The next morning, the first thing Ardis had felt was the presence of someone beside the house.
「Ne― Ne― Ardis, there’s someone at the door. 」
「Ne― Ne― Ardis, there’s a person with white hair there. 」
As he prepared the breakfast, the twins that had kept monitoring the front continued to report to Ardis while shredding their bread. It seems that the woman had stood at the side of the entrance for the entire night as a gatekeeper.
Of course, Ardis had realized her presence last night already, but since she didn’t seem like going into the house or doing any harm, other than patrolling around the house, she had continued to stand outside.
The person herself said that she would be ensuring safety but, he didn’t think that she was being serious about guarding the house. Ardis recalled back to what the woman said yesterday.
「My Master……, right. 」
With a suspicious someone lurking around the house――Well actually, she’s just standing at the entrance but――, Ardis still felt unrest if he had to leave the house with the twins behind.
But that was judged as unneeded just a little while later.
「My Master, are you going out? If so, I shall accompany. 」
Whenever Ardis went out, the woman would always follow behind. With this, Ardis be a little relieved at the very least. If there’s no need to worry about the twins back in the house, then the rest is just Ardis’s own problems.
Certainly, the woman’s ability is to be feared, but even if she would to show hostility, Ardis wouldn’t be in trouble as long as he’s cautious. Just that, he felt a little unfortunate as he can’t take a peaceful nap now.
Ardis started his work again from the next day. As he left the town, naturally, the woman followed behind.
There’re not many requests that Ardis can take on his own. He’s not suited for investigations or escorts requests that have many other mercenaries participating, and he’s also avoiding message or mail delivery requests that will need him to be away for ten or more days.
So, it’s natural for him to take subjugation requests, or just hunting without taking any. Of course, with that much strength, Ardis can make a living just by hunting the Despairs or Beast Kings on the grasslands.
If he doesn’t have any extra baggage, then going to the Corsas Forest to hunt for Whips or Ractors would be a good choice too.
「My Master, will you be retrieving the raw materials? 」
「Suit yourself. 」
As such, Ardis is now stepping deeper into the Corsas Forest, and setting Twin Swords and Ractors as his targets.
Although he had expected it to some degree, the woman holds enough strength to be hunting leisurely in the forest, even now, she’s rupturing two Ractors at once with her spells.
The problem is the woman is hunting preys faster than himself. Ardis never had the intentions to form a party with the woman or borrow her strength in the first place. As such, Ardis haven’t taken the materials of the preys that the woman had dealt with.
「What you hunted is yours. I have no right to be benefitting from them. 」
「Not the case. What a servant hunted is naturally his master’s. It’s needed if Master says you need it, I don’t need it if you say you don’t need it. It’s just that. 」
But it seems that the woman is waiting for Ardis’s judgement no matter what. Although, thanks to the woman, Ardis didn’t really have to engage in battles himself so far.
If it were to be an investigation or a search case, then it will be a delightful scenario. But, Ardis’s purpose now is to hunt and retrieve raw materials. It’s not far from truth to say that her actions are contrarily disturbing Ardis.
It seems that the woman is thinking that her own role is to remove any dangers that come close to Ardis. But, Ardis didn’t have any recollection of asking her to do this, especially now when he’s trying to hunt. Ardis was feeling pain in his head because of the woman.
「In any case, if we continue to hunt like this, I can’t get any preys. I need to earn to some extent before returning. Either let some come to me, or please hunt separately from me. 」
「This degree of small fries, there’s no need to sully my Master’s hands. If Master want to take the preys, then ordering me to do so is fine. 」
And so, she offered what she hunted herself to Ardis as if it’s natural to do so. From what the woman says, her role is to guard Ardis, and the hunted preys is Ardis’s if he wants it.
In the end, seeing the woman who didn’t seemed to have intentions of backing off, Ardis suggested while half given up.
「Alright. Let’s put aside the matter about your master or whatnot, we will work together temporarily for today. We will retrieve all the raw materials, and split the earnings up evenly when we get back to the town. 」
Ardis had suggested to form a temporary party. Ardis had judged that if he left her alone, she would just continue to follow him and take whatever prey that comes. Thus, having the both of them working together will have more results.
「Acknowledged, my master. 」
The woman agreed with a short reply.
And after that, the hunting was smooth. Ardis and the woman, with the both of them holding immense strength, even the Whips noted as the strongest of the Corsas Forest would turn into bones in just an instant.
The two ran around with the momentum to harvest all the prey in the forest. In the end, they had earned an idiotic amount of twenty-eight gold, Ardis split half of them, fourteen gold for the woman before heading home.
The woman was stubbornly refusing to accept the money at first, but with the excuse of helping him holding onto it, Ardis forced the woman to accept it.
If Norris were to know this, he would probably say 「If she said that she didn’t want it, why not take it」. But rather than the money, Ardis was thinking that making some kind of 『Debt』to the woman who had that much ability would be dangerous in a way.
As they finished splitting up the gold after selling the raw materials at the merchant association, Ardis returned home. Along with the woman who followed behind him as if it was natural to do so.
「Well then, Master. I will be standing here to be a lookout, will it be fine? 」
Fine or not, the fact that she doesn’t have the intentions of staying in an inn, it was a clear fact that Ardis had understood from the woman’s actions yesterday.
「Suit yourself. 」
While leaving those words behind, Ardis entered his house.