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Ardis and the members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』 arrived in the capital of Gran.
After finishing his errands around the town, he went to the market to fulfil his promise with Nere, to buy some chickens and other daily supplies. Fortunately since he was together with 『Bright Stars of White Night』(Baggage holders), he was able to purchase more.
They have come to the capital on the occasion after all, Ardis decided to invite Ted and the others to the house, that’s why he bought more than usual and let them hold onto them. Having Ted and Norris carry a mountain of items, they headed into the Corsas forest.
「So you’ve built a house in the forest huh. 」
「Since there’s no way to hide the twins from people’s eyes in the town after all. 」
Orphellia who asked on the way was replied by Ardis.
「But if it’s safe in the forest, then it might be a better choice. Her name was Nere right? She’s staying in the house, right? 」
「Yeah, I can be outside here like this is thanks to her too. 」
It’s exactly because the three already knew that Ardis is taking care of the twins and they’ve met with Nere as well that he can invite them to his house. If it was anyone else, Ardis wouldn’t have the slightest intention to even let them near his house.
「And so, Ardis, noticed it? What’s the plan? Those behind. 」
Ardis whose name is known in the capital is always under everyone’s gaze. Some meant good, some meant ill.
And there will surely be some curious people who suspects Ardis when he’s buying that much daily supplies and doesn’t stay in the capital for long. Because of that, there were some occasions people would tail Ardis.
「We will lose them when we enter the forest. 」
「Got it. 」
What Norris meant was the small group of mercenaries tailing them a little behind from them. Whether they were hired by someone else or on their own accord, the group had been following them behind ever since they left the capital.
「It would be fine even if we leave them alone. They aren’t people who can fight the demonic beings in the forest after all. 」
Just like what Ardis predicted, they gave up after encountering beasts right after entering the forest. After that, about three hours spent walking in the forest, they had finally reached the house where Nere and the twins are staying.
「My Master, a lively return it is. 」
「Good work looking after everything here. 」
Most likely detected Ardis’s return in advance, Nere had been waiting at the front of the house while standing gallantly.
「Fillia, Riana. I’m back. 」
「Welcome home, Ardis. 」
The twins who would have normally leapt out and clung onto Ardis by now was hiding behind Nere. They’re probably nervous at the appearance of the unfamiliar three person.
「You two, remember? We’ve met with them at Thoria right? 」
Ardis tried to help the twins to not be so tight towards the others, but the twins nodded without saying anything. It seems like they weren’t afraid but just couldn’t act like usual.
「Isn’t it because of Ted’s gaze? 」
「It’s because of Ted’s scary face, definitely. 」
「It’s my fault!? 」
Ted cried out in protest after having his party members turn on him. The twins seemed to be more cautious than before, he had worsened the situation by yelling angrily after all.
「Well, leaving that aside. These chickens, where should I put them? 」
Norris asked while he held out the cage.
Ted was still protesting beside him 「It’s not something to be left aside! 」, but there was no one listening to him.
「It’s fine if you leave it at the coop. 」
「Coop……? That? 」
Seeing what Nere pointed to, Norris blinked his eyes.
That’s natural. After all, what was there wasn’t a building that could be called as a chicken coop. Having three layers of fences made of hardened rock surrounding it, the building itself is made with magic reinforced rock blocks.
The appearance and the aura it exuded didn’t seem a single bit like something domestic animals live in. Even just its defensive ability is probably better than some fortress out there.
「It looks like a miniature military base though……? Am I really seeing the right thing? 」
Orphellia asked in shock.
「Of course. It’s built with the notion of withstanding demonic beings, the structure is specially designed to not break easily. No beasts around can ever destroy it. 」
Nere who replied seemed smug. Ardis expected it to a certain extent but, Nere who didn’t know restrain at all still made Ardis’s cheeks twitch.
「That’s all fine but, let’s get something to eat first. Since we’ve got some liquor too, today will be a drinking fest! 」
As if repelling the weird atmosphere, Ted carried the baggage into the house.
「Hahaha. I guess it’s a house befitting of Ardis. 」
「That’s true, it’s Ardis’s house after all. 」
「Oi, what do you mean by that? 」
Because it’s Ardis, it was an ambiguous reason that somehow had enough persuasion behind it that made everyone convinced and decided to move on and carry the baggage into the house. It was something that left Ardis with a question mark on his head. But having felt the tugging at his robe, a smile natural came to his face.
「……Let’s eat first. Fillia, Riana. 」
The dinner that day was unusually noisy. There was the fact that there were seven people around but, the presence of the liquor also contributed to the noise.
Ardis was always someone who doesn’t get very drunk, he wouldn’t get drunk even if he drank. And Nere who wouldn’t change her behavior no matter how much she had, her alcohol tolerance prowess was truly abnormal.
The problem is at the guests today.
「What are theseee――! De-li-cio-us-! So delicious that it’s no fun―! 」
「Isn’t it great to be tasty! Tasty dishes and good liquor! Nice one, Nere! You have good skills. 」
「It’s really good. I was a little curious at what kind of food is in Ardis’s house but, it exceeded my expectation in a good way. I bought some snacks in the capital but there’s no need for that huh」
It was the gathering of three people who blabbered away whatever they liked loudly.
Norris is like Ardis, he’s fine since he refrains from drinking too much.
Although Ted drinks more than anyone else, he’s still isn’t any more drunk than in the usual tavern. His voice would get loud and his tension would rise, although he’s being a slight bother for the others around but, here’s not a tavern in the town after all, there’s no one around to pick a fight with him. In any case, the most he was doing is just singing and laughing loudly
That much is more than enough of a bother for everyone else in the town but, fortunately, there’s no one else around other than the people present here so there wasn’t any issue.
But the most troublesome person around here isn’t anyone but the red-haired female magician whose affinity with alcohol is the worst.
「Kya―, so cute―! Smooth hair――! Matching eyes――! The cheeks are squishy too――! 」
Orphellia who was totally drunk at this point had caught the pitiable twins. The red haired woman had scooped up the twins with both her hands, and was kissing the platinum blonde hair and rubbing her cheeks on their faces.
「Fuellia-chan is so……cute! Riana-chan is also……cute―! How can you two be so adorable! Funya―! Onee-san is almost bleeding from her nose―! 」
The drunkard was patting the twins while repeating her chants of cute. Her dark red pupils no longer had a sense of reason in them.
「A―rud―eef―! U―nfair―! Let me live here too――! 」
「I shall refuse with all my respect. 」
「Then let me have one of them―! 」
「Leave your sleeping talk when you’re sleeping. 」
「Meanie―! No―reef! Ardeef is so mean―! He’s so cold―! 」
「No, Orphellia. You would be troubling Ardis asking for the impossible. 」
「Even Norreef would say something like that!? Hic hic……, fine. I still have these girls―! Right――? Fuellia-chan. Right――? Riana-chan. 」
The twins who had their cheeks attacked once again desperately reached out to Ardis for help. With their experiences so far, skin contact was probably something they didn’t have a good memory of. On top of that, it’s a drunkard who’s doing that, even any normal children would have hated that.
Their light greenish blue eyes were starting to become wet.
「Orphellia. It’s time that you let go of them. 」
「Neveer――! We will be together the whole daaay――! We will sleep together―! 」
「This woman is beyond saving. 」
Orphellia who had apparently completely regressed into a selfish kid had stunned Norris.
「I see, then there’s no choice. You will sleep by yourself first. 」
For Ardis, the SOS signal from the twins’ gazes weren’t something he can ignore. Even if his opponent is his comrades, he didn’t have intentions of holding back.
After poking Orphellia’s forehead with his index finger, the next moment, Orphellia seemed to lose all her strength and collapsed outstretched on the chair. The twins who managed to squirm their way out of Orphellia’s arms hurried back to Ardis’s side.
「Nere. Can you carry Orphellia to the room? 」
「Acknowledged, my master. 」
Nere carried Orphellia who was letting out peaceful snores up and brought her into a room. Norris who saw that calmly analyzed the situation.
「A magic that can knock out someone with just touching them? No, is it a sleeping spell? 」
Ardis only answered Norris’s question with his gaze.
「Even if she’s totally drunk, to neutralize Orphellia who’s a first rate magician so easily……. Ardis is interesting as usual. Can you use that in a fight? 」
At Norris’s question, Ardis had a creepy smile.
「Want to test it? 」
「……No, I will refrain. Powerlessness isn’t something I like to taste often. 」
With a short silence in between, Norris redirected it lightly.
「Hey, Ardis! There’s still more to drink now that Orphellia is gone! 」
Ted pushed out a bottle of liquor from the side and blew away the weird atmosphere.
「That’s true. Since Ardis wouldn’t be back to Thoria any time soon, right? There’s no knowing when we’ll meet again, let me accompany you to the end today. 」
「Got it. Let’s do as you wish. 」
Finishing the glass in his hands, Ardis stretched out the now empty glass to Ted as if challenging him.