「It seems like she’s waiting for a new order, and she’s continuing her last order of monitoring Al while doing that. 」
Ardis heard about the girl after Rona returned to the Seseragi Inn.
「So she’s part of that organization huh……」
Ardis had an indescribable feeling as it wasn’t anything he expected.
「Even though she’s not getting any more orders. 」
Rona spoke of the harsh truth. It’s just as he said. Ardis had already sent all the executives at the top of that organization to the other side of the Styx River.
As even their bases outside the Kingdom were crushed, that organization’s revival is unlikely. As such, there’s no one around to give any orders to that girl.
Normally speaking, she would’ve looked for her own way to survive on her own but, hearing Rona’s story and also seeing the person’s behavior, it certainly didn’t look like that.
Being taught, educated, and brainwashed to be only useful to the organization, with everything else hidden from her, in a certain meaning, she’s a person without any thoughts. She must’ve been raised like that.
Rather than a person, she had been living her life as only a tool, without ever thinking for herself, she would only execute the organization’s order, while having her life supported by it.
What Ardis did was liberate her from the organization’s chains, but in another sense, he also ended the girl’s lifeline.
「Feeling responsible? 」
Rona asked seeing his partner’s mental state.
Ardis shook her head, while commending Rona’s efforts, he decided any more surveillance on the girl is unneeded.
Although he thought the girl was what Kyrill and the twins was mentioning, 『Someone’s presence near the house』, but hearing Rona’s story, it seems like the girl’s target is only on Ardis.
In the first place, the person herself was following him during his journey out of the capital, so it’s impossible for her to have entered the Corsas Forest then.
And just recently, seeing her almost died to two Ractors, it’s unlikely to think that she could make it to the house in the forest.
「For the time being, it’s convenient to know that she’s not employed by any dangerous person. If she’s only intending to monitor me, then it’s not anything significant actually. 」
「Yeah. She would probably die off somewhere if left alone. 」
A dangerous glint was shot towards Rona as he said so lightly.
But Rona himself pretended to have not realized it, curling up on the bed and yawning before saying 「Good night」 and sleeping.
While sensing the presence of the girl tailing him as usual, Ardis continued his usual activities in the capital.
The normal days of staying inside the capital when he has lessons with Minerva, and going out for nearby subjugation requests on the other days passed.
Amidst that, only the presence of the girl continuously monitoring him bothered him.
Since she’s not actually a threat, and having known that she’s not hostile, there’s no reason to be on guard with her.
As such, all Ardis could only see is a thin girl that could collapse at any time monitoring himself.
Certainly, she’s part of the organization that was responsible for the attack on Minerva. Ardis has both anger and resentment towards the organization that did it and also the one who requested it.
However, he wasn’t so unreasonable to be holding his anger towards a child whose life was abused for the benefits of adults.
Ardis who had finished his lessons with Minerva that day ordered three portions from the signboard girl of his frequented inn, Melir.
「I will be right back. 」
Ardis said so to Melir, then left Rona indoors while ignoring his gaze of wanting to say something.
Having the ability to pinpoint people’s position with their mana signatures, where the girl was hiding was apparent.
Although he wasn’t so proficient like Nere who can distinguish individuals with only mana signatures, he could tell the position of those that are hiding behind buildings and are spying on him.
More so when there’s no other people around that’s monitoring Ardis right now. Before the girl could escape realizing Ardis’s intention, he had blocked her path appearing in the back alley.
「Woah, no need to be so rash. 」
Ardis held down her hand trying to reach inside her pocket.
「I know you’re not intending harm for us. And just like I said before, I won’t do anything if you’re just looking, that’s still true now right? 」
At Ardis’s words, the girl’s eyes looked to be swimming around looking for something.
「Or is it something else? Like aiming for someone near me instead? 」
After about three breaths of silence, the girl shook her head lightly.
「Then I won’t be doing anything. If you’re not really my enemy, then you don’t have to look from so far away. 」
「………What do you mean? 」
The girl was on alert as she asked.
「In other words, if you want to monitor me, it’s better to do it up close. 」
「I’m going to be eating in that inn now, for the time being, you can monitor me in there. It’s more enjoyable than spying behind shadows right? 」
「What are you saying? 」
「I’m saying that there’s not much different for me if you’re up close or faraway if you’re not intending harm. Whatever, just come. You also understand that trying to escape is useless right? 」
Ardis forcefully pushed through even though the girl had a face of expressing her inability to comprehend Ardis’s words.
The girl had no choice but to follow Ardis hesitantly having seen her strength previously.
Just as Ardis returned to the Seseragi Inn with the girl in tow, Melir who peeked out of the kitchen called out to him.
「Ah, Ardis, you came back at the right timing. Today’s menu is roasted chicken breast dressed in special sauce and consommé soup. There’s also fresh salad as well. Is the two portions for Rona? 」
「No, one of them is for this girl. 」
Seeing Ardis sitting down with the girl following him behind, Rona sighed.
「What, one portion is not enough? 」
Misunderstanding his reason of sighing, Ardis asked.
Although denying Ardis in a soft voice inaudible to Melir, it’s obvious that he’s pouting.
「Melir. Another portion for Rona please. 」
「Alright, I will tell father to make one extra. 」
Looking away from Melir who disappeared into the kitchen and to the girl, Ardis pointed at the empty seat.
「Don’t stand there, take a seat. 」
「You’re literally standing out if you stand there like that. 」
The girl looked at Ardis with a confused face. Her gaze was especially expressing her thoughts of 『What’s your plan? 』.
As Ardis continued to hush her, the girl finally got on the chair.
However, her eyes were on Ardis constantly even as she sat down, she looked like a stray cat in an alleyway on guard against a human passing by.
After a period of strange silence, Melir had arrived to the table carrying a tray of food.
「It’s my treat. Eat, you’re hungry right? 」
Saying the minimum, Ardis started working on his own food. However, the girl didn’t make a move on her portion even after a while.
「What, you’re not eating? 」
The girl asked back another question having not understanding Ardis’s intentions.
「Don’t worry, there’s nothing strange in there. It’s the same thing as mine. 」
However, Ardis didn’t look bothered at all, as his fork stabbed into a piece of chicken meat.
「In the first place, if I’m going to do anything to you, there’s no need for me to be doing all this farce. So your guard is unfounded. 」
Either the girl had no choice but to believe it having known the difference in their strength, or did she give up, her questioning gaze moved from Ardis and landed on the food, then to the kitchen.
After a while of observation with only her eyes, the girl picked up a piece of food with her fork and tasted a little, and only then started fully focusing on it.
The girl was hesitant at first with the food but, eventually she must’ve realized that it’s safe. And her hunger must’ve made her cave in as well as she stuffed it into her mouth.
Seeing that, Ardis had a satisfied smile, before looking around for Melir to make additional orders.
Regardless if she bought the story of being more enjoyable to monitor Ardis nearby, her figure was starting to be seen just behind Ardis whenever he’s in the capital.
As expected, he couldn’t let the girl follow him into the forest, but anywhere else other than that, he had left her up to her own accord.
「The skewers, can I have six? 」
「Thanks for the business! It’s three copper! 」
Buying the skewers of meat sold in the street stalls, Ardis handed over two of them to Rona.
「Oi, come here for a bit. 」
Having four more on his hands, Ardis called over the girl behind him.
The girl who was only hesitantly following him at first had gotten more comfortable around Ardis after half a month.
Although it’s not like she’s happy over it but, she would come nearer if Ardis called.
「Here, your portion. 」
Ardis split half of the skewers on his hands to the girl.
The girl who had received the skewers seeing Ardis bit on it, followed suit as well.
「I’m going home for today, so don’t follow. Well, you can try but I will lose you. 」
No matter if she’s not intending harm, Ardis wouldn’t expose the existence of the twins to her.
「I have a three-day-long subjugation request from tomorrow, so prepare for outdoor camps. The schedule is buying supplies in the morning tomorrow and depart at noon. If you want to eat breakfast, then wait at the north gate at eight. Got it? 」
Ardis told his plans for tomorrow in its entirety to the girl.
After all, she would be following without preparation at all if he left her without details.
As long as it’s not the house in the forest, Ardis had let the girl to follow him everywhere including on his subjugation requests.
The reason why Ardis is stupidly revealing his plans so honestly is also because he is convinced that the girl wouldn’t be using that information to harm himself.
Rather, by telling her about it clearly, the girl wouldn’t recklessly tail Ardis everywhere without preparation.
The girl chewing on the skewers nodded at Ardis’s words silently. Was the girl getting used to it, she didn’t look as on guard as before, and she would just eat anything Ardis handed over.
And Rona as well looked like he had stopped caring about it, so he hasn’t been saying anything about it recently.
Though, Rona always said 「It looks like you’re trying to tame her to me. 」.
Although Ardis himself certainly didn’t have the intentions of doing that, that’s only his own opinion.
No matter if Ardis or the girl denied it, the truth is it looks like Ardis is trying to tame her.
「But how long you’re going to keep this up? You should know that it’s not going to be like that forever, Al. 」
On the path returning to the house in the forest, Rona suddenly stabbed at a painful spot.
「Yeah, I know that too. But she’s not an enemy now, and feeding one more person is not much different. 」
In reality, feeding just one human girl compared to Rona is insignificant.
Even for the skewers just now, two of them are only snacks for Rona, but for the girl, it probably can be considered as her dinner.
「In a sense, the girl is a victim of that organization too. There’s no need to be truly burning all of them to the ground right? 」
「But even so, that’s not a reason for you to be taming her. 」
Ardis’s words were stuck as Rona was correct.
「Well, she’s hasn’t been following us into the forest after that, and it’s true that she’s not dangerous but……. Don’t delve too deeply into it as well. 」
Although he was saying so, Ardis’s face certainly didn’t look like he understood.