Editor: Areth Kyntaul
It was really awkward when we had dinner.
As the chef, I was bound to be the last one to the table.
Leah and Veirya looked at each other out of the corner of their eyes, as per usual.
I tried to walk over to Leah’s side to sit down, but before I could, Veirya suddenly grabbed me by the arm.
She looked at me with an extremely serious look in her eyes telling me to sit down next to her. She pressed her left hand on me and reached for her sword handle with her right hand. That wasn’t hard to understand. Either sit next to her or she was going to hack me to death.
I looked at her with shock, not able to figure out what she was trying to do. Leah looked at her hand terrified and looked at me fearfully.
“Veirya, what do you want…? Veirya… what do you want…?” I looked at Veirya at a lost for what to do.
She looked back at me and in a serious tone demanded, “Sit here.”
“Wait… Why… Why all of a sudden…?” I looked at Veirya blankly.
I couldn’t figure out what she was after for the life of me.
Veirya, however, looked at me absolutely serious and forcefully pulled me down next to her.
Leah was stunned. She stood up and didn’t know what to do. She picked up her plate and placed it next to Veirya before sitting down. She looked at Veirya and quivered as she said, “Papa… Papa… Papa can’t sit like this… so… so… let go of Papa…”
That allowed me to instantly understand what Veirya’s intention was.
Satisfied, Veirya let go of me and didn’t hassle me over where I sat again.
What Veirya was after was very simple. She wanted to use me to get Leah to sit next to her. Now that Leah moved over to sit next to her, I no longer served any purpose.
That makes me kind of sad…
I smiled helplessly and sat down opposite Leah.
Leah wore a bitter look as she sat next to Veirya. She carefully picked up her spoon and ate her food.
I could feel for her. The food tasted the same as always, but it must’ve tasted different to Leah.
Surely it was an extremely delicious meal for Veirya, though. She doesn’t wear her emotions on her face, though, so I couldn’t tell how happy she was. I do believe, however, that she would be very happy and pleased even if she was forced to eat, as long as Leah was sitting next to her.
I suddenly felt pain from my foot, so I looked up shocked. I saw Leah’s angry expression.
She was stepping on my foot with her small foot wearing a white cotton sock. However, because of her height, she couldn’t reach. So she slouched down in her chair to step on my foot, causing her strength to be minimal.
As opposed to saying she was very angry, I’d say she was being coquettish.
Seeing Leah’s small grumpy face and the feeling of her socks on my foot, I had an impulse… Could it be that I’ve become a genius at being a masochist after the queen treated me that way?
“Papa, feed me.”
After testing me, she realised I didn’t mind her stepping on my foot, so she sat back up properly. She opened her mouth and shut her eyes unhappily.
I smiled helplessly and nodded. I then grabbed a scoop with my spoon and gently blew on it to cool it. But, when I looked back up, I was terrified to see that Veirya had already fed Leah a spoonful.
I was so frightened my body stiffened up and couldn’t even call out.
Leah, who had her eyes shut, enjoyed it and chewed it with pleasure. She then opened her mouth once again and said, “Papa, I want some more.”
I didn’t move. I just went, “Uhm, uhm”.
Veirya looked at Leah with shock since Leah was pleased, so she scooped another spoonful and fed Leah.
Leah didn’t hesitate to eat from the spoon but then noticed something was wrong with the direction the spoon came from.
I sat opposite her while the spoon came beside her face. That made Leah realise something was wrong. She opened her eyes quickly and looked stunned at me, who was holding his spoon in his hand blankly. At first, confusion appeared in her eyes, and then she turned her head to the side with the spoon in her mouth.
That’s when she exchanged eye contact with Veirya’s affectionate blue eyes.
Her high-pitched shriek rang through the air, virtually shattering the roof we spent much effort on repairing today…
I closed my eyes hopelessly. It looks like this dinner really is a nightmare of despair for Leah. I think it’s the first time Veirya and Leah kissed… If it could even count as one, that is…
Veirya was evidently pleased and had a particularly good appetite this time, while Leah was sobbing. That said, she still had a shocking big appetite as per usual.
‘It looks like Leah is alright. At least she hasn’t completely lost the courage to live…’
I tidied up the utensils with a helpless smile after dinner.
Unfortunately, Veirya doesn’t bother with anything. She’s only responsible for eating. She doesn’t care about anything else.
Leah jumped out of her chair like she had been waiting for this moment and then ran to the kitchen. She looked at me and asked, “Papa, can I help with anything?”
“Oh? You can wash the eating utensils then. Clean them like this. Use water to scrub off the food residue and then wipe it dry with the cloth.”
Leah stood on a wooden barrel and scrubbed the spoons with diligence next to me. She looked at the water before her and softly said, “Papa… what exactly does that woman want…? Why does she keep clinging to me…? I… I… I’m not the Demon King’s daughter anymore…”
I shook my head with a smile and replied, “She doesn’t want to kill you, now. Veirya wants to be friendly with you. It’s just that she doesn’t know how to interact with others, so that’s her only way of showing her friendliness. But Leah, Papa guarantees that Veirya has no ill will toward you, so you don’t need to be so worried about her.”
“R-Really…?” Leah lowered her head and put her hand into the water. She then softly followed up by saying, “I… I can sense that… but… but I’m still scared… I recall the way she looked when she chased me down whenever I see her. I’m just always scared of her… and… and her expression doesn’t change… She always looks like she wants to kill me. Even now she has that expression… I’m just really scared…”
I stroked Leah’s head with a smile and told her, “It’s alright. Veirya is that sort of person, that’s for sure. She is expressionless, but you can sense that she holds no ill will, right?”
“Y-Yes… but… but… I…” Leah’s expression looked like she was honestly suffering a bit.
I sighed and kissed her gently on her forehead. I reached my hand into the water and grabbed her hand, which had turned cold in the water. I said to her, “You don’t need to force yourself, Leah. If that’s how Veirya always is, you can slowly get used to her, right? Maybe you won’t be so scared of her in the future. If you’re still scared of, you don’t have to force yourself to get along with her. Wait until you’re no longer scared.”
“Uhm… Papa… do you want me to be friendly with her?” Leah looked at me with a hint of suspicion and then said, “Papa, don’t tell me you like that woman and, therefore, want me to accept her….”
“No, no, no. That’s completely false. That’s not how it is for sure!! I definitely don’t have that sort of idea. It’s just… just… you’ll be unhappy if you are always with someone you don’t like, right? That’s why I want you two to be friendly, especially since Veirya gave us shelter, right…?”
I desperately tried to explain to Leah as I looked at her.
Leah’s small eyes had suspicion written all over them. It seemed like the reasonable explanation didn’t convince her.
‘I really did provide a reasonable explanation in my wonderful and affectionate voice. I really don’t have those sorts of ideas. Yes, I was breath taken by Veirya when she emerged from the water last time, and I still can’t forget her body. But I don’t like Veirya in that way.’
‘At least not at the moment.’
As for in the future…
I looked at Leah next to me. I didn’t feel like I would develop a romantic relationship with Veirya in the future.
I then heard a knocked at the door. I looked outside with surprise.
Veirya stood straight up and placed her hand on her sword handle, becoming alert.
I wiped my hands and walked over to the door to pull it open gently.
Underneath the candle hanging on the wall outside the door was a small face. It was the fearful face of a girl I would consider pretty. A tinge of fear showed in her eyes when she looked at me when I opened the door. She was just a kid around fifteen or sixteen.
Her clothes were plain, and had a few holes, but they were clean, nevertheless. She looked at me, and I noticed her lips twitch. She then said, “Umm… umm… a-are you Lord Veirya?”
“No, I’m not, but you can tell me what you have to say and I can make a decision.”
“Ah, I do have something to say… mm… mm… umm… sir, I… I… hope you can accept…”
The young girl stepped up to me and took out a tiny cloth bag from her pocket. When she opened it, I saw shiny petals inside. Though, I have no idea what this thing is, judging from its colour it was quality stuff. It must be something valuable.
But I didn’t take it. Instead, I took a step back and looked at her vigilantly. I asked, “What is the meaning of this?”
“Umm… our… our family… operates a hotel… we need… we need food… or else… or else… we cannot run the business…”
She shuddered when I didn’t take it. She looked at me with hopelessness and tried to put it into my hand. She continued, “Nobody… nobody wanted it… so… so… I hope… we can exchange it for some food… If not, some tickets would do…”
I looked at her, reached my hand out and put the object into her pocket. I then led her into the building. She trembled as she looked at the things on both sides of the building.
Veirya stood up from her table and looked at her vigilantly. Leah poked her head out from one side to scan the girl.
“How much food would you want to borrow?”
“About… About… this much… two bags of this size…”
Perhaps she didn’t know how to put it into words, so she used her hand gestures to demonstrate. It sounded like she wanted two bags of food.
That’s a fair bit.
She looked at me and Veirya, slightly scared. She softly said, “Umm… we don’t want to just take it… we… will b-buy…”
“This sort of luxury item is useless, at this point in time.”
I shook my head. I didn’t accept the item she offered. It was indeed useless. We’re in the lord’s residence, right now. This isn’t a trade office. More importantly, the food isn’t ours. It belongs to the town. Handing it out on a whim will cause us to lose credibility.
Put another way; Veirya shouldn’t have enough money to purchase that item. Veirya didn’t accept any money. She came here alone despite being the one who had slain the Demon King.
I took a sheet a paper and a pipette pen. This thing is very similar to the pen we know in the modern day, except it doesn’t have that much ink. It can only suck up a bit of ink to write.
Once I finished writing a line, I said, “You owe the town two bags of food. The weight will be written here, once weighed. Write the amount of money here, after calculating it based on the market value. The interest rate will be an annual two-percent. You can pay the interest first, before the loan next year. You have five years to repay the loan. There are two copies of this IOU. Go to the supply warehouse tomorrow and look for the Record Keeper. Once you’ve filled out the IOU, just bring one copy back here.”
“What about the food…? The food…?”
“Just send over the order for the food, and you’ll be sorted.”
I dabbed Veirya’s medal in ink and stamped the two IOU’s before handing them to her. I then wrote one more copy for record keeping and had her stamp it with her fingerprint. She looked at me shocked. In a voice of disbelief, she asked, “That’s it…? That’s all I need to do?”
“You have to pay it back within five years. Otherwise, I will go to your place and take something of equal value to cover the debt.”
I then smiled and explained, “Work hard on your business. We will only have visitors from outside if we have you. Only by bringing in visitors from outside, will we have money coming into the town. The food tickets are just a temporary solution, at the end of the day. What I’m after is real cash.”
*The reason people are unaware Veirya is a female is because the titles “warrior”, “hero” and “heroine” do not have gender differences. “Warrior” shares the same spelling whether the subject is female or male like in English, but “Hero” and “Heroine” share the same spelling irrespective of sex in Chinese. So while we say “The heroine who slayed the Demon King”, in Chinese it’s just “The 英雄 who slayed the Demon King” and you don’t know if the 英雄 is male or female.