I’ve got the next two chapters translated as well so they’ll be out very soon 🙂
Chapter 24, Wedding Ceremony and Grilled Lobster (Part 2)
I am currently right on the verge of the greatest event in my life, feeling so nervous and anxious that I can feel the vomit forming.
To think that a measly wedding could have such a massive influence on me mentally and physically. Although I probably do have to admit that there was a part of me that didn’t think it was going to be this big a deal.
Right now, I’m in my dressing room finishing up with my outfit and the other preparations for the wedding day. Dressed head to toe in my groom’s attire, sitting down on my chair, unable to move.
I could feel the sweat accumulating within my two clenched fists placed on top of my knees. Nervous, and worried. Those are to blame for me breaking out in cold sweat at the moment.
Locking myself inside the dressing room, I began to recall why I was currently in this situation.
It all started a week ago.
“Speaking of which, Ganglabe-san, what’s the date gonna be?”
“…Hm? Date? What date?”
Taking a break from work, I was eating some of Shuri’s cooking in the dining hall. It was about noon, and everyone else had already finished. This was already rather late for lunch.
As I was eating, Shuri, who was cleaning the tables nearby, asked me.
“Eh? I thought it was almost time for that day but… you still haven’t decided? Or do you have some other reason for not knowing?”
“Wait a second, just what is this day you keep harping on about? Did you guys organise some kind of event without my knowledge or something?”
I tilted my head in confusion as I asked Shuri but… he looked completely aghast. It was a face that looked as if to say, he had never expected this or that he had never thought this would happen.
How do I describe this… it felt like a reaction to something I forgot, something really surprising? Which lead to me going deep into thought.
The fact that Shuri would purposefully ask me about it, means that it is without a doubt a very important event that requires my attention. It is something that I was never supposed to forget; that much I could tell from Shuri’s expression.
However, no matter how many times he repeated it I still don’t understand what it could possibly be about. An event so important that Shuri would ask me about it… What is it? What could it possibly be?
As I was thinking about all that, Shuri calmly puts down the various dishes that he had been holding down onto the table and then placed his hands onto my shoulders.
“Wha-what is it?”
“Not even someone like me can look the other way if you actually forgot something like this. I would just feel so upset for Ahrius-san.”
“What? It has something to do with Ahrius as well?”
Hearing my question Shuri does an exaggerated bend backwards as he backed away. Wha-what is this guy trying to do? Every now and then Shuri would do some absolutely weird stunts but, it really does appear like it was me in the wrong this time.
Perhaps he had calmed down after doing that. Shuri looked exasperated and says.
“Ganglabe-san. Do you remember? The promise you made with Ahrius-san?”
“Promise? …What do you mean? Did I promise a date with her… or?”
At last, it looked like Shuri had finally lost his patience.
“Ganglabe-san, after you obtained a territory and rose to a position where your content with, didn’t you promise to marry Ahrius-san?!!”
…Ah!! That’s right, I did make that promise! I’m pretty sure I said it back when Shuri first made Boiled Tofu for us, and Ahrius and I finally spoke our minds to each other.
Furthermore, with what happened in Alturia, I had made Ahrius my official fiancée, and now we’re here.
I finally show a face expressing that I understood. That’s right, I had completely let it slip my mind because of how busy I’ve been every single day… I’ve done a bad thing to Ahrius….
“Ahh, I finally remember. …I’ve truly wronged Ahrius.”
“If you understand then don’t you think that it’ll be better to get it done now; while we’ve got some time, having dealt with some of our larger problems?”
Shuri folds his arms together and tells me. True, it would be good to do it now.
Tebis, Renha, Envy, now that they’re all finally dealt with I should go get married. It’s just as Shuri says.
I have finally gained a territory, though the method was a bit eh. And I’ve also gained a position that I’m satisfied with.
There’s nothing left obstructing my marriage with Ahrius.
“That’s true… It’s always been me and Ahrius’ wedding, two people who belong to a Mercenary corps. Should we just keep it simple?”
“Eh? What, is something wrong?”
Did I say something weird? Damn it, I can’t figure it out. No matter how much I replay what I just said or did, I can’t find any part of it weird…
However, Shuri was still making the same aghast expression.
“Ganglabe-san. You are already a Lord.”
“That’s right. I’ve become a Lord by gaining a territory. Disregarding the methods that we took.”
“Let’s just keep the methods out of this since I don’t want to get into it. But more than that, I’m not quite sure that the marriage of the Lord and their fiancée could be kept a small matter.”
“…You have a point.”
What Shuri said wasn’t unreasonable. The wedding of the Lord and his wife is a rather big event, or rather I understand just how busy all the preparations would be.
Besides, I am now the Lord. And Ahrius is the future wife of that Lord. For a wedding of that stature, to have only the comrades from our Mercenary Corps attend is extremely strange. In some cases, a Lord’s wedding ceremony would involve a large and exaggerated parade throughout the city and there might even be festivals and what not occurring at the same time. And this is only a city, the scale of such an event in a kingdom or country would be even more exaggerated.
Considering the territory of Sounity and its financial situation, a moderately sized wedding ceremony might be our limit. It wouldn’t be all the parades and festivals but should cover the scale of a castle-wide wedding reception with a banquet.
But still… I was the leader of a Mercenary Corps, you know?
“Shuri, I’ll admit what you say has some truth to it but… just calm down and think about it for a second. I’m the leader of a Mercenary Corps, you know? Even if I hold a banquet, the only people who would attend such a banquet would be our comrades. In that case that wouldn’t really be a widespread wedding reception. At most it would just be a banquet for friends and family, right?”
I try to explain to Shuri but… he thinks a little before opening his mouth again.
“Even if that is the case, Princess Tebis is currently in our castle right now. Would you be able to tell her, ‘This wedding is only for friends and family so would you please go somewhere else?’.”
Ah, that’s true. Right now, a member of the Newbyst royal family, Princess Tebis was here. I’m not exactly sure how to describe our… relationship, but as long as a member of the royal family is within our castle compounds, there’s no way we could just neglect them and carry on with our wedding.
Or rather, they’re at a position where I would have to lower my head and beg for them to attend. That’s the status they hold just from the scale of their country.
I turn pale at the realisation of that but Shuri then continues.
“Besides, even if we go to the extent of calling the previous Lord’s clan members to be outsiders now, the influential families who held a connection to the territory in the past would be highly displeased should you not even contact them. To not be considerate of the influential families after you just obtained the country would not be too good, right? In my opinion at least.”
God damnit. I forgot about them as well.
The countries that had previously held some sort of contact with Sounity previously, as well as the influential families within Sounity, and there were even influential merchants. If I were to not consider them at all and just hold my wedding ceremony willy-nilly then they would definitely hold it against me.
Well, just by me taking over as Lord, there’s no doubt that I’ve already cut our country’s ties with them but, even with that, if I don’t even have the courtesy to send them an invitation then I can imagine that they might not just be upset, but even angry at us.
What Shuri said made so much sense that I just wound up hanging my head down. Why didn’t that possibility ever come across my mind…? I let out a sigh at the thought of how useless I was.
“You’re absolutely right Shuri. I’ve completely let the fact that I’m taking over this territory to go to my head. I’ll reflect on it.”
“It’s good to reflect. It’s fine as long as you don’t repeat your past mistakes. So, I’ll ask again but, when’s the wedding going to be?”
Indeed… Shuri asks me with his arms folded together and I decided to think about it again.
However, having realised what the biggest obstacle that lay in my path was, my face wound up going red and I felt put into a rather awkward place.
“What is it?”
“The fact that I’m going to hold a wedding reception… is going to be something that I have to tell Ahrius, right?”
“Obviously. There isn’t a single wedding reception in this world that can be held alone, right? That wouldn’t be called a wedding reception then.”
“Well, who’s going to tell her?”
“You’re the only who can right? Eh? Can you please stop saying such pathetic things right now?”
Shuri backs away as he warns me but… I mean, I don’t want to say these things.
“Obviously it would be bad if someone else tells her… even I know that.”
“Good on you.”
“Damn it, why have you been acting like you know everything since just now?”
Could this guy have already… no, absolutely not. This guy, if it’s him, then he has definitely never been married before. Nor has he ever had a lover before, for sure.
How do I know? I more or less understand Shuri’s qualities as a person having been with him for so long. This guy doesn’t notice that people of the other gender like him, he’s as dense as a log.
“I know everything? Not at all… the only reason I seem to know everything is because you’re not taking any action yourself, that’s all. Please get a hold of yourself, you’re almost a married man.”
“So? When’s it gonna be?”
He asks me one more time… When… and I’m once again left worrying about the wedding date.
What should I do? First, I have to tell Ahrius. Basically, following through with my wedding proposal. This isn’t the place for a man to act so nervous. This is where you must show your courage as a man. A courage that’s different from the kind that belongs on the battlefield, this is the sort that concerns a man’s dignity and pride.
Of course, the earlier the better. I’ve let Ahrius wait for too long. I want to let her live the easy life already. I want to make her happy.
For that I need to show her my courage… damn it, normally my brain would spin and show me the way, but my head is so dull right now. My heart’s beating like crazy too. I’m feeling way too nervous.
“Hey Shuri, um…”
“Ah, hey there Ahrius-san.”
“Hi Shuri. Could I get something to drink please?”
Eh? Eeeeh?! Wha-why is Ahrius here….!!
Ahrius comes down to the dining hall then talks with Shuri about something. What a coincidence that right when I’m thinking about the marriage that the person in question would appear.
My nerves get a hit and I suddenly stiffen up. I wasn’t awkward and red, no, I felt more that my face went pale from the nerves.
In the end, Ahrius asked something of Shuri. Shuri said yes and then went back into the kitchen.
There was only me and Ahrius left in the dining hall. The rays of noon shine through into the dining hall, glowing beautifully onto a part of her. Being so conscious of the marriage now, the beauty of Ahrius as a woman once again shines brightly in my eyes, making me even more worried for what I was to do.
“Hueeeeh? Ah, cough, what is it?”
“Is something wrong? Something-….”
“Nuh-nothing at all!”
Ah, damn it, damn it, I was so nervous that I let out a weird voice…! What are you being so flustered about Ganglabe, grab a hold of yourself!
I fix my posture and said to Ahrius.
“It’s been a while so why don’t we stay together for a bit longer? After I finish my lunch, of course…”
“Yes, I would love that.”
Saying so Ahrius sits down on the seat next to me.
Now then, now that it’s come time to finally say it…. I’m feeling extremely nervous.
“Hm? What is it?”
“We’ve been so busy lately that we haven’t made much time for each other, have we?”
“Oh, yeah. That’s true.”
That is rather true. I have my duties as the Lord. Ahrius was busy with her work educating the next generation of magicians, as well as training them.
Or rather, we’ve both been busy since our Mercenary days and even had our lives on the line back then. Despite that, we had made time for each other, and it was how the two of us had many of our secret dates.
But what about recently? I’ve been so occupied with work that I haven’t been able to do anything for Ahrius. This is something I have to reflect on.
“I just… I’m sorry. I don’t want to give the excuse of, I have no time or that we’ve been busy. I honestly have no excuses.”
I lower my head and apologize.
“Ah, stop! I didn’t mean to blame you or anything. Just that I’ve been a little lonely… Today, just sharing this little bit of time together, that’s enough for me.”
As a response, Ahrius explains flusteredly.
I’m so useless, making Ahrius have to worry for me… Even though I should be the one to open up my schedule to make time to be together with Ahrius….
Ahrius is understanding too. Like, just how difficult a task inheriting the Lord’s position and influencing a country is. Which is why Ahrius has been considerate and didn’t try to forcefully ask to or come to meet me.
Which is why, I need to get used to the role of Lord as soon as possible so that I can make some spare time…
“I’m thankful that you would say that. How about you? Is the magician training going well?”
“Yes. Those girls are trying their best. However, spreading Shuri’s teachings is proving to be slightly difficult…”
Right now, the next generation that Ahrius is rearing is exerting their efforts on brand new discoveries and teachings of magicians. It’s quite strange that Shuri is somehow able to advise magicians on their magic, but I won’t force him to explain if he doesn’t want to.
It was the same with Cougar and Riru as well and I just don’t think I would ever be able to figure out his mysterious ways even after pondering centuries upon each other.
“Nevertheless, once they changed their understandings regarding the knowledge and principles of magic, and the usage of mana, their skills with magic improved considerably. It’s a happy matter.”
“I see, that’s good.”
I smile to match Ahrius’s however I was fighting a battle inside of my mind.
That’s not it right, Ganglabe? That’s not what you should be talking about. What you should be talking about shouldn’t be a report of what’s been happening, but about the marriage, right? What are you acting all calm and harmonious for?
Alright, I’ve got this. I’m gonna say it.
“What is it?”
…Huh? Ahrius has this docile look on her face…? Why…?
Who cares, that’s not what I need to be concerned with right now!
“I’ve obtained a territory for myself now, right?”
“I’m a lord now, right?”
“So now that it’s come to this, I think that we should fulfill our past promise.”
“I was thinking of saying that as well.”
….Ah, so that’s what it was! Could it be that Ahrius came here to say that to me?! Which is why she had that look on her face.
I really am pathetic… having the woman come to me to say, ‘Enough is enough, what’s going on?’ And yet you dare call yourself a man, Ganglabe?!
However, that ends now. I turn towards Ahrius with a face full of determination. I look straight at her. I will not look away.
I’m gonna say it. Say it, me!
“I know it’s already far too late for me to say this now.”
“However, please let me say this. Please accept me.”
I take a deep breath, and tried my best to calm my beating heart, if only a little.
However, my heart just kept beating like an alarm, showing no signs of slowing down in the slightest. My body starts burning up, and I’m so nerve-stricken looking in front of me that I feel like passing out.
However, my mouth moves.
“Please… marry me. Let’s hold a wedding.”
I said it! I said it, me! Having reached my limits, I turned my eyes away from Ahrius without thinking, looking straight down at the floor.
So? What do you think Ahrius…?! There’s no response from Ahrius, nor do I sense any sort of movement from her. Since I couldn’t look at her face I didn’t even know what sort of expression she was wearing either.
Time passed by so slowly I had thought an eternity had already gone by. Not just that, I felt like time had just completely stopped. Perhaps time itself truly had stopped in this very moment? Was something that actually crossed my mind.
However, that ended all too quickly.
Ahrius gently cusps my hand into her own. It was a little cool. A comfortable sense of warmth gradually passes through our hands.
I lift my head up…. to see Ahrius with tears streaming down her smiling face.
“Are you alright with someone like me?”
“Of course. I couldn’t imagine myself with anyone… no, it can only be you, Ahrius. I want to marry you, Ahrius.”
“I too, wish only for you Ganglabe. You have to keep your word, okay? Because I don’t want anyone but you.”
“Of course I will. I’ll take care of you for the rest of my life.”
“Thank you… I’m nothing special but, please take care of me.”(note: yoroshiku)
Yes! She said yes-
“Congrats you two! Seriously!”
“A banquet, su. A banquet!”
Just as I was celebrating, the door to the dining hall bursts open and Shuri, Cougar, Teg and Riru all come rushing in! And all of them wore a smile as wide as their faces, coming at us with a broad grin!
Riru hugs the crying Ahrius, talking about something with her.
The problem is the rest of the guys. All of them had a grin plastered on their faces. A massive grin. A mischievous grin.
They surrounded me with that grin on their faces, grinning at me from above….! What’s with these guys!
“Wow, I’ve got to congratulate you Ganglabe-san~”
“Wow so manly~ What a truly manly way to propose~”
“How nice, su~ It’s so nice to be so lovey dovey, huh~”
“Yeah, that’s right! I proposed to her! And she said yes! You got a problem with that?!”
So, I turned against them and completely snapped at them in response. Yeah, what? What’s wrong with being serious?!
However, after saying that… all of them transitioned from that grin to the normal smiles they usually wear.
“You finally did it huh. Sure been a long while. Congratulations Ganglabe-san. It was a straightforward, well done proposal.”
“Right? If I was in her position and you had been so long winded about it, mumbling so much, even someone like me might have lost my cool.”
“Well I definitely am not envious of her, su. I just have to say, with all my heart, no malice whatsoever, congratulations, su.”
What? These guys seem to be honestly celebrating for me all of the sudden? What are they up to?
Besides, what was going on here? I get why Shuri is here… though I’m not exactly sure when he came out from the kitchen to the entrance of the dining hall, but I’ll deal with that later.
But why are Cougar, Teg and Riru here? Why did they know that I was going to propose? Isn’t their timing way too good….?!
As I was making a bewildered expression, Shuri smiles wryly and tapped on my shoulder.
“Ganglabe-san… in fact, Ahrius-san came to me to consult about this matter. A week ago.”
She went to Shuri? Ahrius went to talk to him about this a week ago? What?
“Well you see, Ahrius-san was worried. You’ve already gotten a hold of a territory and become Lord. You’ve already fulfilled the conditions you set out yet there was not a peep from you about this matter. Not a single action that suggested it. So she came to think, Just what does Ganglabe think of me.”
“So that’s when I said, ‘He just forgot since he’s been so busy.’”
Kuh… I can’t even deny it since it’s the truth…! While Ahrius had been worrying about it to no end, I had been overwhelmed by all the fun and work of doing something I truly enjoy leading me to neglect her…!
“Then Ahrius-san asked me, ‘How about I get him to know?’. And thus Ahrius-san had been on the prowl discreetly for the past week, trying to get you to notice her. Even though I told her that it definitely wouldn’t work.”
Suddenly hearing these words as sharp as knives, seemed to stab me in the heart as I clutched at my chest from the pain. Nothing comes out as a response due to it being nothing more than the truth.
Ah, now that he mentions it, so that explains why Ahrius had been randomly coming in and out of my vision for the last week. So that’s what that was about!
It was weird that she was always moving in the corner of my eye so much but to think that it was because of that…. I don’t know if that’s cute or absolutely insane!
“And so, I told her that ‘Once your one week passes, I’m going into action and try to get Ganglabe-san to notice you’ which leads to what happened today.”
I…I see. So that’s why Shuri was talking to me about this just now. I didn’t know there was so much happening behind the scenes. That means Shuri has, once again, brought us closer together in his own way… I don’t know how to thank him. I’ve made him worry about us needlessly again.
“I see… apologies, it’s all my fault.”
“If you’re sorry then you better fulfill Ahrius-san’s feelings about you, okay?”
“I understand no, I will definitely get to it.”
Of course I will, since you’ve done so much for me, of course I have to show you my sense of responsibility. I answered with a face full of resolve.
…Huh? That’s you, but what about the others?
“Why do Teg and Cougar know about this? I get that Ahrius went to consult with you, Shuri, and Riru is a girl as well so I can imagine that they’ll gossip or something.
But, why do Teg and Cougar know? Did she go to these two to voice her complaints as well?”
If that was really the case then I would be in the wrong but… that’s not it right? Shuri’s eyes been avoiding mine for a while now, I’m not wrong right?
After asking that, Cougar put his hand over his mouth, looking like he’s trying to hold back his laughter.
“Kukuku….!! Geez Ganglabe, you know how easy to read Shuri is right? It’s so easy to tell when he’s trying to hide something.”
“And then with the pressure from me and Cougar, he spit it right out, su.”
You what!? Even Teg is laughing…. Damn you, Shuri!
“You can’t do that!”
“I’m sorry, they just wouldn’t let up so I had been thinking of something else to say when…”
Shuri lowers his head to apologize but honestly, I just feel so conflicted. I’m angry that he went as far as getting Teg and Cougar involved but I empathize with the situation should they not be involved.
It’s all my fault…
“Don’t worry about it, uh… the reason it’s like this now is all because of me so… I should be the one to apologize.”
“Exactly… imagine if none of us was here right now. If it wasn’t because we ordered them not to, every single one of our troops would be stuffed in this room, and you wouldn’t be ready for that, right? It might have even taken a turn for the worst.”
….Huh? What? ….Ah, so that’s how it is! So Teg and Cougar were being considerate, making it so no one else could get in here.
Which is why there was no one else in the dining hall with us right now… they made it so that Ahrius and I could discuss our marriage in peace…
“I see… sorry about that, Cougar.”
“It’s fine, geez. You did what you had to and got what you came for anyway.”
“Me too. I made it so none of my crew would come here as well, su. Since no one’s here to interrupt you guys, I would have to consider my job well done, su.”
“Thank you, Teg.”
“Hehe, this is nothing for me, su.”
Teg said as he scratches his nose, looking a little embarrassed.
So it was only because everyone here was involved that I was finally able to achieve this dream of mine… I’ve still got a long way to go. No, I’m not even at the starting line yet. How foolish I am.
To think that I was finally able to tell the person I love how much I love her because of everyone’s help…
“So that’s what happened. Thank you guys.”
I showed them my appreciation once again.
“Your welcome.” (Shuri)
“You really do owe us one this time.” (Cougar)
“S’all good as long as she said yes, su!”
And that was when,
“We have heard everything!”
Two women came barging right into the dining hall, swinging the doors wide open.
One was the always expressionless maid, Wutin… although she had a really exhausted look on her face at the moment… I wonder why.
And the other was, of course, the Princess.
“You can leave the rest to Us.”
Perhaps she did it to look cool, but Princess Tebis was pointing her thumb at herself.
Actually, why is she here? I look to Teg and Cougar who too appeared to be truly shocked. Somehow it seems that Princess Tebis showing up here really wasn’t a part of their plans.
Furthermore, since even Shuri, Riru and Ahrius looked surprised, it didn’t appear like they leaked it either.
Why is she here? And listening to what she said… just where and who did she hear about me and Ahrius from? Besides, how exactly did she get in here, I thought it had been sealed off?
“Leave it to you…? Why do you say that Princess? And why are you here? Actually, who did you hear about this from?”
In place of me, Shuri presented to her all of my doubts.
After of which Princess Tebis grinned strangely and answered.
“Fufufufu. Don’t underestimate my eyes and ears. Which just means that Our subordinate isn’t one to let something as interesting, and important a matter to slip out and miss out. Not something as big as this, she isn’t that block headed!”
Right now, this girl just tried to say it was interesting…ugh.
“So, what do you mean by leaving it to you?”
“Is it not obvious, Shuri? The Lord taking a wife is generally a very major event for the land. Normally you would reach out to those you are acquainted with, and it is very important for the surrounding countries to know about this as well. After all this can affect the diplomatic relations quite a lot.
However! The two of them are unfamiliar figures to begin with. Since that’s the case, it means that they have the option to choose who they wish to invite.”
Princess Tebis stated with a smug face but… I mean, we don’t really have to do all that right…?
“However Princess Tebis. We were thinking that our wedding should be conducted privately and amongst friends and family. I think that even if people we didn’t know came to celebrate our wedding, it would only serve to tire us out and lead to us becoming unnecessarily formal.”
Ahrius says as such and deep in my heart I can’t help but think that I’ve been saved.
Shuri mentioned it as well but the ceremony between the Lord and his fiancée cannot be performed in a small, quiet setting.
As for the local authoritative figures who might not come even if I was to invite them, they can’t not show up if Princess Tebis was to invite them as well. They have to show her respect.
However what Princess Tebis continued on to say ripped a hole right through my naive thinking.
“Ahrius, We had mentioned this earlier however a wedding is something that can affect diplomatic relations. Who is the wife of the newly appointed Lord? The difference between knowing and not knowing will dictate the posture the other party displays greatly.
To them, you are most likely a nuisance. They will likely wish to know what methods you took to take control of the land and witness what sort of man you are. As well as who the wife of such a man is, likely. You can smoke out the fellows who think like such.
On the other hand, they will also likely be wondering whether a talent who obtained his first territory has a wife or not. There exists a possibility that they would wish to ensnare you into their party using marriage or even drag you to their side, so you can serve them instead.
Do you know who your enemies are, who your friends are? You need an opportunity to expose such positions.”
Hearing that long and detailed speech, the shock I received was truly immeasurable. Because it was only after everything that Princess Tebis had said that I finally realised the importance of what was at stake, apart from it being a celebratory event.
To expose…. That was the other objective at play here.
She speaks the truth. I had obtained this land through one way or another. And my enemies have also increased.
Without seeing through those people and just inviting the people close to me would lead to me never having another chance as good as this. We cannot have that.
From here on out, there will be many things that I’ll have to protect. And in order to protect them, the one to make the decision of who we fight, who we confront… can only be me.
“Sorry, Ahrius. I…”
“No, I don’t mind Ganglabe.”
Before I could continue Ahrius said with a smile.
“Our wedding is no longer something that is between only us. Besides, since it’s going to end up like this, wouldn’t it be nice to make it a big?”
Ahrius… that’s fine by you? Then it’s fine by me.
Honestly, I’ve been conflicted. If possible, I would have wanted our wedding to be the wedding her dreams. Since I had made her suffer and wait until now, I had wanted her to experience a happy wedding. That’s what I had wanted.
However, Ahrius has allowed that wedding to be used for political means. Or more just… unable to refuse.
Ahrius is going to become the wife of the Lord from now on. Which basically means that whether she wants to or not, she is going to have to deal with politics. The problems that she’ll have to deal with will increase.
There’s a part of me that, if possible, doesn’t want Ahrius to be concerned with that part of the job. I just want to bury her with happiness. I just want her to walk a happy and easy road ahead.
But I can’t. I am… so pathetic. I can’t even shield the one person that I love from things like that.
“That’s right, get with the program. Hurry up and realize that you’ve obtained a territory already. From here on out, you will no longer be the leader of the Mercenary Corps, you see.”
No longer… the leader… of the corps.
That one phrase felt so much heavier than it appeared. The days of when we could traverse through different countries as an independent and free power was no more.
From here on out, as the force behind our attack and defense, there’ll likely require a level of order and structure much higher than when we were a corps.
“…Understood. Princess Tebis could I please ask something of you?”
With an attitude of admiration, I lowered my head.
I could catch a glimpse of shock on everyone’s face as they look at me.
This much is to be expected, after all the Lord of a territory had just lowered their head to another country.
That basically meant a formal acknowledgement that the other country was superior. Which was the truth so there’s really no helping it though.
It’s quite obvious if you just poked around a bit. Sounity, despite the conflict between Gingus and Ekress, the territory managed to continue its operation. There is no doubt that it is much wealthier than the other territories surrounding it.
However, compared to Newbyst… the difference between Newbyst and us could lead one to think that they were showing off by merely existing. I’ve once again realised just how powerful this young girl in front of me was. What, with the vast land that she managed to maintain and develop after her inheritance, which included a massive deposit of wealth and a commanding army.
The status is different. The scale is different.
In order to fight on equal terms with her, to make true the day that I finally reign over this continent, I will lower my head where it can. This is one of the secrets of life.
“….Granted. We, Tebis Newbyst. Seeing that Shuri is Our Friend, we shall decide upon the invitees to your wedding.”
Perhaps Princess Tebis had guessed at what I was hinting at, as she haughtily declared.
What I had implied was, “I’m lowering my head in order to raise your status, okay? If you want to thank us for all we’ve done thus far, as well as thank Shuri then just play along. This lowly subject, me, is hereby pleading you of a higher standing, so you’ll tell everyone that Newbyst has a good relationship with Sounity, yeah?”
And what Princess Tebis’ reply had hidden in it was, “Understood. You damn hateful man. I’ll let you have this one this time. But you better remember that you’re beneath us. Also, this isn’t for you but for Shuri so don’t you get ahead of yourself.”
Her thorns remain sharp even during this exchange, but oh well. I really am beneath her anyway.
Replying back, my answer had a hint of reluctance within. (note: yoroshiku)
Maybe they could sense that there was some sort of subtle tension in the air as everyone else was looking at us quietly. Someone probably had wanted to say something during that short exchange but I’m thankful that they kept quiet. If someone says something weird at this point, this farce of us would probably be exposed.
“Alrighty then! Since that’s decided and all, let’s talk wedding!”
And yet… this damn Shuri…! Just what are you trying to start with that wide grin on your face…!
“Princess Tebis. There’s actually this ingredient that I want from Newbyst but…”
“Oh? What is it? Is it for a new dish?”
“I was thinking of treating everyone to something delicious and could bring good luck for this special occasion.”
“That’s wonderful! We hold an absolute faith to your cooking, Shuri! We shall most certainly prepare it for you! So, what is it that we should bring?”
Princess Tebis and Shuri were engrossed in whatever they were talking about. These guys… just what are they planning on doing during my wedding…ugh.
“…that’s the sort of ingredient it is but… does it exist?”
“Hmm… if it’s something similar then we have indeed tasted of something similar. There should be no problem acquiring it.”
“Ah, then you might have already eaten what I’m planning to make.”
“Nevertheless, if it’s you Shuri, then we believe that you would be able to bring out something twice, if not three times better! Well then, we must part now to do what we must, farewell!!”
In the end, Princess Tebis came here only to say what she wanted before running off again. Maybe she wanted to offer advice, or maybe she wanted to buy a favour from me using the wedding as an excuse in order to blackmail some food from Shuri… I have no clue.
Left behind, Shuri was acting just like he did always wearing a wide smile on his face, doing some weird gestures with his hands before placing them onto my shoulders. This boding feeling just won’t go away. My instincts are telling me that I should run away.
“Ganglabe-san. Is this really all that you want?”
What is he implying? That full faced grin. I just have this really bad feeling!
“…Hah! Don’t tell me Shuri… you’re really planning on doing what you said earlier!?”
“Doing that huh… ugh. You’re really planning of doing, su, that!?”
Eh? What? Teg and Cougar know what he’s going on about? He’s planning on doing something that surprising?
Just what is he going to say?
On a side note, I took a spare glance at Riru but she was just staring into blank space, maybe because she was hungry? That girl… she’s really becoming weirder and weirder by the day…. Is she okay?
“Don’t you want your wedding with Ahrius-san to be something spectacular?”
“Huh? Spectacular? Like something for the ages?”
“Why don’t we cement it in?”
Cement it… in?
“First, you see, first you swear an oath to god. That you’ll love her for eternity.”
Swearing an oath to god, he says?
“You mean, swearing to god that… I’ll love Ahrius for eternity?”
“Yes. Can you do that?”
“…You really… want me to?”
“You can, right?”
I look over to Ahrius with a complicated expression but… all I saw was Ahrius putting both her hands together, muttering something all while her face was completely red…!
“T-telling… god that we… can love… and love each other… is… such a won-wonderful, thing.”
Oh god… she’s gone completely delusional with love!
“Furthermore, the two of you will exchange rings in front of everyone. You shall place a thing called a wedding right onto each other’s fourth finger on the left hand. And with that I will announce to everyone that you two are husband and wife.”
“Eh? A ring…with?”
“Naturally it has to be something engraved with a jewels or silvers.”
“You’re telling me to buy such an extravagant thing!?”
I look to Ahrius,
“How wonderful… the sign of a couple… I’m so happy that I’ll receive something so beautiful from Ganglabe… I have to bring something just as good… what should I bring…?”
And all she’s got on her face is that lovey-dovey expression so there’s no way I can count on her.
“There’s still more!?”
“You’ll do a kiss in front of everyone to seal your vows. Kiss, you know? A kiss. In front of everyone who attends. As a way to show god and everyone that you are hers and that she is yours.”
…I’m at such a loss of words that I’m literally speechless. Just what is he saying? It‘s all so bizarre that I don’t even know who and what is standing in front of me right now. All I can see now is a pile of talking meat.
And of all things, this pile of meat is telling me to kiss Ahrius in front of everyone. And to declare that Ahrius belongs to me, in front of a public crowd.
AS IF I CAN DO THAT!!!!
“There’s no way I can do something like that!! What kind of joke are playing here, you bastard!?”
“It’s quite normal where I’m from though.”
I swear I will never go to that country of his. Not even if you kill me.
However, Ahrius wore a wide smile as she went on to say, completely contrasting my own thoughts.
“Is it not wonderful Ganglabe? We must do it like so.”
Did she get blinded by all the romance?
“Yes, of course. I am yours, and you are mine. I will not give you to anyone, yes, not anyone!!”
“Is something wrong?”
I stood there stiff in fear seeing Ahrius continue her wild rampage. Standing next to me was Cougar, who seemed a little creeped out too. As expected.
“So, let’s do it like that then.”
At this moment Shuri clapped his hands together.
“Seriously. Let’s do it, Ganglabe-san!”
“Wai- no, come on, give me a break….!”
However, despite all my resistance, the wedding went according to Shuri’s plans.
And thus, we arrive to the present day. Almost all the preparations had been taken care of by Shuri and the Princess and so if I really had to say what my job was, it would be at most, spreading the news. Basically PR.
I’m not really sure what the citizens in town thought about the matter but honestly, there’s a part of me that’s worried. As I pondered on gloomily, I decided to sit down on the chair in my dressing room and cradled my head.
To officially become the Lord of this region and welcome Ahrius as my wife. And then for the sake of swaying around the public opinion, I’m would work the hardest I can and one day make this country the peaceful one I had always dreamt of.
That’s good. That would be good enough. However, as the day of the wedding crept closer the worry started to fester inside of me. This sense of discomfort was sticking to my neck like a coiling snake.
Worrying whether or not I was right for Ahrius.
Ahrius is one of the most beautiful women in the corps, with a wholesome personality. Should the times be different there’s no doubt in my mind that she would have been able to marry a rich and powerful man, indulging herself in a life of luxury. No, I’m sure that she would be able to accomplish that even now.
So why is it that she’s come to only have me in her heart and even want me as her husband?
Aren’t there guys out there, not me, that are even better than me in fact? Can I really make Ahrius happy?
Such were the thoughts worries smouldering in the deepest recesses of my heart. I’m sure that even the smallest spark can cause this, this tiny smoulder, to ignite into a raging flame.
“Everyone’s waiting for you~ Are you feeling okay~?”
It was then. That I heard a voice from the other side of the dressing room.
I instantly leapt to my feet in fright. In my head, voices told me that there shouldn’t be anyone coming here. That’s what had reassured me.
Suddenly I realised that quite a bit of time had already passed since I locked myself in this dressing room, like I was holding down a fort. It seems that I can’t hole myself in here any longer.
Maybe someone had gotten a dangerous vibe seeing that I had locked myself away in this change room and so called Shuri over.
Speaking of which someone outside had been calling out to me for a while now. That voice… if I recall sounded like Cougar’s.
I see, so Cougar brought Shuri here, huh? Having finally realised this fact, the worry hidden within my chest springs forth once more.
The worry of whether I, who was still very much naive, can make Ahrius happy or not.
At the very least I want to have just a little bit more time to think about that.
“Ahh, no, just give me a minute. I just want to think a-”
“How annoying. Cougar-san. Please.”
Eh? The moment I thought that, the door suddenly burst open. Flying across the room without a care in the world about the hinges or locks, it crashes and hits the corner, damaging the side of the wall.
What just happened? I asked them to wait and then they broke down the door?
Turning my eyes away from the chaos, I see Shuri come in wreathed in an aura of devilish might. Cougar was there too. It seems that Cougar was the one who broke down the door. What was he thinking?
“Wha-, just what are you guys doing!?”
“Ganglabe-san. I’ve heard everything… all about how you’re concerned about your future, and how you’ve been worried with a lot.”
Although his words outright ignored my questions, hearing them made it hard to breathe. Although my doubts as to why Shuri knew about had also faded away.
…Maybe I could dump all my feelings onto Shuri. I don’t really have a basis for why I would nor do I even know why I would consider that.
But… I guess, if I had to guess, then it’s probably because I’ve been able to rely on Shuri in the past. Whenever I’ve been in these sorts of situations in the past, he has been able to help me.
Which is why I thought I would tell him.
“Ah, yeah… I have been thinking about quite a lot. Ahrius is, just as she appears, an incredibly beautiful person. If she is to marry me, then I can see that the road ahead of us would be tough, and that I’ll have to subject her to that.”
In the end, that was the biggest thing for me.
Ahrius had been looking out for me and thinking of me ever since we had been kids, which is why I want her to be happy.
Because I love her.
“If that were the case, I would rather her join the Magic squad of some other country and if that were the case, I’m sure a Prince over there would take one look at her and fall head over heels for her. If that happens she would be happier…”
“You damn idiot!!”
Shuri suddenly kicked a nearby table and shouted out loud. Maybe the chair was heavy, so it didn’t really move very far but… please stop, please don’t break any more of the furnishing in this room.
“Listen here Ganglabe and listen well. I’m only going to say this once.”
“He-hey Shuri, you’re sounding like a thug…”
“Shut up. Listen.”
I was completely overwhelmed by this savage, never-seen-before side of Shuri.
No, that’s wrong. I have seen this before. Back in Alturia, when it seemed like Ahrius was about to be taken that stupid prince and Shuri had stepped in.
And then after we had left Alturia, Shuri had punched me square in the face. Even scolding me, ‘Why couldn’t you even protect the person you love’.
He had the same face on now as he did back then. Maintaining that expression, he looked me straight in the eye as he walked up to me and said.
“Ahrius-san chose to be with you, despite knowing the painful and gruesome fate that lies ahead of her. That’s what happiness is. She believes that happiness is overcoming all the pain, going through all the tough times – all of it – together with you. That is why she chose you. So, what is she gonna do if you’re gonna start acting like this? The Ganglabe I know is a stronger person than this. Are you really trying to imply that the man who is going to support an entire country from here out can’t even support the woman he loves? Don’t say such pathetic things.”
Through the pain and through the joy.
Hearing those words, it felt like a divine revelation struck me. That’s right, you’re exactly right Shuri. If Ahrius didn’t want to be with me then she would have probably left long ago. And someone else probably would’ve tied the knot with her instead.
The fact that Ahrius didn’t do that speaks volumes, more than I could express, about just how much she loves me. Promising our lives to each other and crossing the bridges of countless dangers.
After tens, hundreds of dangerous encounters with death staring right in our face, Ahrius was still together with me.
So what does that mean? Who else could be more deserving of happiness now… if it wasn’t her then I think I would have broken up with Ahrius a long time ago.
He’s right. If she’s going to stick with me after everything we’ve been through, then I’ll show you that I can take up my responsibilities as a man. If you’re going to love me then I’ll show you my love back.
My heart is smouldering. The dark flames of anxiety had vanished. Burning in its place was a red, crimson flame.
Flames of oath that swear to protect and make Ahrius happy.
“So Ganglabe-san. Please out live a good and happy life with the person you love.”
Shuri says and then headed out the room in a rush.
“I still have a place to be. Ahrius-san is looking forward to this day as well, right? There’s no time to waste standing around…. Sorry, I have to hurry Cougar-san. Can I leave the rest to you?”
“Oh, leave it to me.”
“Alright, I’m counting on you.”
As soon as Shuri finished that sentence he rushed out the room.
The broken door seemed to have been tossed aside as if it were a fired arrow though….
“My oh my. Shuri is busy too it seems.”
“…So it appears. Sorry for making you guys worry.”
“I’m sensing from your tone that you’re not worried anymore?”
I stand up from my chair to stare straight at Cougar.
“So slow. You should’ve hardened your resolve back when you decided to marry Ahrius not right now.”
Ugh! Tha-that’s right… It’s just like Cougar says…
“In the first place, it’s not very manly to get all sensitive from dealing with women, man. You should be like, bang, decide on the spot and then like boom, go for it, ya kno’?
Just check out the girls. They know what they want. They move on quicker than men.
You could learn a thing or two from them, like not worrying about every little thing.”
“It doesn’t really help that you’re the one telling me I don’t have to be fixated with just one woman.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Cougar said as he puffs his chest out with pride.
“It’s the women who just don’t leave me alone, ya’ know.”
“I hope you get stabbed in your sleep.”
Seriously this guy…! Don’t you get cocky just ‘cause you’ve got a handsome face…!
“Well then, let’s go Ganglabe.”
“You dumbass! The envoys have already arrived so you have to be there to welcome them!! That’s why I went as far as calling Shuri over here and dragging your ass out here!!”
“What? Envoys? There envoys are already here!?”
I totally forgot! Aren’t they going to be offended if I’m not there?!
“Got it, let’s head there now. Where’s Ahrius?”
I ask Cougar and he makes an uncomfortable expression. Hm? What’s wrong? What happened?
“Ahh, uh… she’s locked herself away as well.”
“What? Ahrius did?”
“She’s just like you man, and Shuri went over… wait hey! Ganglabe?!”
Not even stopping to hear Cougar finish, I rushed out of the room. I was dressed in my groom’s outfit which I was still rather unfamiliar with but running isn’t too big a deal.
No, even if it was a big deal I would still run. It was still a little uncomfortable, but I don’t care.
Ahrius has locked herself in her room. Just like I had.
It’s my fault. It’s because I didn’t give her a clear and definitive attitude that my anxious thoughts rubbed off onto her. Why the hell didn’t I realise that!
Just like how I had been brewing over this, Ahrius would have been worried about this as well! And yet I had only been concerned with myself, how pathetic!
Wait for me, Ahrius! I’m coming to clear away all of your doubts!
(my note: yoroshiku is very annoying to translate. it just means thank you, please take care of me, I hope we work well together. and yet yoroshiku in its katakana form or completely kanji form means it sorta sarcastically and is like saying go die. k.)
Recipe in two chapters but its kinda this: Grilled Lobster with Lemon Butter Sauce
image from savorytooth