Ice-coloured Youth, With the Silver-haired Maiden.
Latina, who had carried a tea set over in front of Gregor, lowers her head and apologizes.
“I am very sorry for before.”
Gregor thinks for a short moment about this young girl that his friend, Dale, dotes on before realising that he hasn’t said anything yet.
“No, it was I who was rude. You see, lately, Dale has been unhesitant in talking about you, saying 『Our Fairy Princess is the cutest in the world』. So it just came out.”
Feeling a quietly simmering angry aura, like that of a ruler, Gregor thought that it was unfitting of Latina’s lovely appearance.
Up till now, he had always put up with his friend’s 『boasts about his daughter』. He would probably forgive a bit of payback.
The sight of his friend being scolded by the young girl, and looking exhausted was also refreshing. It was something he wanted to show the soldiers in the royal capital who saw him as a hero.
“The other day, he finally boasted about you to my father.”
Latina let out a sigh, and returned to normal. She understood that there was no point getting mad at Gregor.
— Rita, who had been standing nearby, looked amused for Latina. Rita only had a vague feeling, but she had guessed who Gregor was. She had also realised who Gregor’s father really was.
“That idiot…. He really doesn’t discriminate…”
Coincidentally, a bunch of things happened, but if Dale was allowed to talk then he would say, “I held back!”. And “For more than 5 years!”. It seems he was notified he didn’t need to restrain himself back anymore. One of the reasons was that, Gregor’s sister gave birth around that time, and the Duke went into grandchild doting mode….. Which was something that no one had noticed.
“I’ve also heard a lot about you from Dale. That you’re his most trusted comrade in arms…. Nice to meet you, I’m Latina. Sorry for the late introduction.”
“…..I’m Gregor Nakiri.”
“That sure is a strange sounding name.”
“It originates from the far Eastern countries.”
It wasn’t that Gregor was using a fake name, but due to the powerful influential name of Eldishtett, he would use his mother’s surname when he was outside.
Latina didn’t particularly question this, and mused over this word that she has heard for the first time in her head before smiling pleasantly.
Seeing the beauty of the young girl that Dale didn’t seem to exaggerate about, made Gregor wholeheartedly smile.
“This is rather unexpected though.”
Latina tilts her head puzzlingly, and Gregor lets out a vaguely sly smile.
“From what I’ve heard from Dale’s stories, I imagined you to be a small child, you see.”
“….Is that so.”
“Although, now that I think about it, it’s already been so many years since I first heard about you…. Of course you would have grown up.”
“….Dale, still thinks of me as a little girl who he has to keep an eye on.”
In front of Gregor who Latina was meeting for the very first time, she put on a more prim and proper face than usual. When she does that, it made her feel like more of an adult than her age implied. It was so that, the originally smart Latina, could appropriately deal with any situation.
The sight of her normal spaced out expression, that made others feel like she was still a child, was actually her natural expression she had when she was resting.
However, it was to be expected that Gregor, who was meeting Latina for the first time, to not know her very well. As a result, Latina gave him the impression of a well-mannered young girl, more mature than her age implied.
After Rose had successfully met with Gregor, she locked herself in the room saying that she wanted a bit of time. Obstinate in saying that she couldn’t go out in public with a sobbing face. It seems that, that was something she wouldn’t even allow Gregor, someone she was close to, to see. It was just like Rose to be so prideful.
Due to that, Gregor was in front of Latina, emptying the tea cup. Until now, he had been rushing over here with as little break as possible. He was feeling his fatigue now that he has checked up on Rose and felt relieved.
The tea that Gregor was given, was one that he wouldn’t have thought possible to come out from the lower parts of the cities, to say even less, a bar. It wasn’t bad.
Naturally, there was a large difference compared to what was used in the Duke’s household.
Nevertheless, for a shopkeeper to have it placed within their own store, was the mark of careful experimentations. There’s a skilled chef here, was what Gregor immediately thought.
The young girl in front of him was the same.
She was a young girl, beautiful to the point of being unsuitable to belong in a bar in these parts of the downtown. The reason as to why his friend would be so blatantly infatuated with her, was also something he — didn’t want to understand, but felt like he had come to understand regardless.
This young girl would probably stand out even amongst the royal princesses in the Royal Capital. Her unusual silver hair let off a brilliant shine, and just that would be more than enough to seize gazes from any jewels or gold, silver accessories.
While possessing a gorgeous appearance, the feeling she gave off was like that of a wild flower; Gentle, soothing and warm. How soothing would it be if someone like her was in the conspiracies filled royal courts.
(….Speaking of which, he was always saying this.)
According to his friend, “Latina is…. I am not healed enough! I’m going! I have to go back to my Latina, as soon as possible!”. He felt like that’s happened before. Near the end of the job, he would mutter his adopted child’s name with quite the crazed expression as he sharpened his sword, but…. Actually, he felt like that disappointed figure was something he shouldn’t have recalled, but oh well, it can’t be helped now if he wound up recalling it.
The efficiency of the job itself, would end up increasing towards the end due to his friend, which was also disappointing.
It’s not like he would normally slack off or anything, but he would go all out close the end, for the sake of being able go back as soon as possible.
Dale was originally, even by Gregor view’s – Gregor, a person of absolute power, a person of the Eldishtett’s household who held incredible abilities, even within the country — someone who he would give high praise to. Even discounting the rare ability that let him be called a 『Hero』, Dale’s mastery of offensive and defensive magic, and in addition to his swordsmanship, his forte in flexible combat, being able to react to irregular situations, made him a praiseworthy valuable figure in this Country of Raband that encouraged martial arts and magic.
At first, there would be some nobles who would scorn at his countryside upbringing. However, Dale made such people’s sneers disappear through his results and perfect manners.
Dale’s abilities were, perhaps due him hating to lose, extremely skilled.
Which is exactly why, it was extremely disappointing his friend had such eccentricities now. Nevertheless, the rigid, mental strain, one that made it seem like he was being driven into a corner, the strain he had before he started living with his foster child, had disappeared. When he wasn’t having a 『fit』, he would even appear to be causing a calm, dignified presence to float in the air.
His evaluation from his surroundings increased even more, and now there was no one in the Royal capital who didn’t know of Dale Reki, as someone the Duke trusted.
It definitely wasn’t 『bad』.
“Do you know anything about Dale’s 『job』?”
“No. I heard that there are times where Dale’s job would be related to an important secret. Which is why I decided not to ask.”
As he spun his thoughts around, he thought back to how the young girl in front of him was of a different race and Gregor asks.
Hearing that answer, Gregor decided that it would be better to not let the young girl listen to matters about 『work』.
It wasn’t a secret that Dale had a contract with the Duke household, and was fighting against the Demon Lords as well as their subordinates.
However, if his friend wasn’t talking about the details of his job to this young girl then, he should probably respect that. After all, 『their job』, was no different to slaughtering this young girl’s 『kin』.
Precisely as Gregor and Latina took a small break from their conversation, Dale came down into the shop, having cleaned up his bedroom.
“Sorry for the wait, Gregor. It’s a bit tight but let’s listen to Rose’s story in my room.”
Since Latina, someone who liked things neat, was the one would be frequently cleaning, it wasn’t like things were lying around all over the place, but as expected, there would be certain things around that let people know people lived there. He was just putting those things away.
“You haven’t been rude right, Latina?”
Those were the words of a 『parent』. However, Gregor turns around without being perturbed.
“What would you do if she was?”
“I would think that you probably did something wrong.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Standing in front of Gregor, Dale turns to Latina.
“Latina, can you go call Rose?”
“Okay. Should I bring some tea afterwards? Could you wait until then?”
“….True, it might get a bit long. Thanks.”
Just from this short exchange, you could tell that the two of them were very close. It was Dale who noticed that Gregor was smiling as if he wasn’t aware of it.
“What are you smiling about.”
“No… I was just thinking that, even though you were the one who raised her, she turned out to be a fine lady.”
“Even you’re saying that!?”
It seemed that the words Gregor said, half to hide his embarrassment, flipped his friend’s switch.