After walking for some time, we arrive at an inn that is somewhat hidden by the surrounding buildings. Between two large buildings with flashy signs, it is recessed far enough that it’s shrouded in darkness. If you were passing by on the street, you would not think to find a building there.
“This is it! The Hogbods Inn! I stayed here for a while myself when I first came to the capital. The owner is the nicest guy, and he really loves adventurers.” Jorge explains as we walk in the front door
The interior is almost refreshingly not surprising. The front is set up like any other tavern, with many tables and chairs between the front door and the bar. A large staircase to the left leads to what I’m sure must be the rooms they rent out. The entire place looks worn but well taken care of.
“Well, I should probably get going now. My superiors won’t be happy to know that I’ve slacked off almost all day while the checkpoint is still lacking in personnel.” Jorge says with a dumb smile while scratching his head
“I thought you received permission or something! We wouldn’t have kept you this long if we knew that you were supposed to be working.” I spout surprised
Not a good way to make a first impression with the city guard by commandeering one of their soldiers on my arrival. More so, considering how busy they are right now.
“Don’t worry about it. I kind of took advantage of the situation to goof off with you guys today! I’m sure my commander will understand if I explain the royal seal to him. I might not have a job to save if I wait too much longer though!” Jorge explains on the verge of laughter
Is he messed up in the head? Wouldn’t one usually be a bit worried right now?
“Go then! Jeez, you realize how bad this makes me look, right?” I say scratching my head
“Ha ha, okay, okay, I’ll catch up with you guys later. I hope you enjoy the inn!” Jorge says while leaving
“You don’t have to go every day you know! Can’t we just go and- Ah!” I hear in a familiar voice from the staircase
“AH!” I let out while pointing at the source of my surprise
Coming down the staircase were none other than the princess and the Yuusha. The princess was standing in the same surprised pose that I was.
“Hey, it’s swordsman lady!” The Yuusha yells recognizing me and running over to me
A pang of head pain hits me as I remember his personality.
I swiftly turn my head to curse Jorge for bringing me here. When I do, I see he is just about to turn the corner, but he is looking in my direction as well.
“You’re. Wel. Come” He seems to mouth out before giving a wink
You bastaaaaard! He did this on purpose! Does he know? No, he couldn’t possibly know, right? Did he think that I wanted this? What in the world could have given him that impression?
“I’m so glad we met here!” The princess yells as she runs up and hugs me
“Wha?!” I let out surprised
“I never got your name before we parted! I was so worried that we wouldn’t meet again!” The princess says in near tears as she draws away
“You can really be a klutz, Anata!” The Yuusha lets out with a smile
“You’re the last person I want to hear that from!” She yells, turning towards him and throwing her arms down to pout
“It’s um… good to see you two again.” I say still somewhat flustered
It’s not to say that I didn’t imagine meeting them here in the capital, but I certainly didn’t expect to see them so soon. I certainly hope there isn’t some kind of fate bringing us together. Don’t I already have it hard enough without having to periodically meet my worst nightmare?
Ahem “Let’s start over! My name is Anata Anstatia, I’m the fourth princess of the royal family.” The princess says with a bow
Even her bow shines with incredible elegance. She gently lifts the sides of the skirt she is wearing, and her form seems impeccable, once again reminding me of a doll. If she were one then surely she would be the treasure of whoever owned it.
“Hm? Is there something wrong?” She asks bringing her face closer to mine
I suddenly realize that I had simply been staring at her for several seconds. Her question snaps me back to my senses.
“Oh, ya, um… My name is Mano. I am an… adventurer?” I say trying to copy her introduction and bow
It seems incredibly difficult when I try it myself. Thankfully, my stumbling about made the lack of information in my introduction seem a little more natural at least.
“Name’s Hark! I don’t know much else though. I like good food and fighting monsters!” The Yuusha chimes in with an obnoxious smile
I stifle the urge to say “get lost, I don’t care.”
“Mano is such a pretty name! I’ve not heard it before! Is it foreign?” The princess asks ignoring the Yuusha to an extent
“Well, it’s um…” I say trying to think of a good excuse
“You’re really nailing it there,” Kera says as she pats me on the back and gives a condescending look
Don’t smack her. Don’t smack her. Don’t smack her.
“Hm? Don’t I know you? I can’t quite recall from where though…” The princess says looking hard at Kera
“Must be thinkin’ of someone else,” Kera says with a suddenly more serious face before walking away
That… wasn’t normal right? It’s hard to tell with Kera. She’s not that easy to predict.
“I’m sorry… Did I say something to offend her?” The princess asks with a worried look
“No, I’m sure she is just tired. We haven’t had a chance to rest in a while.” I say without confidence
I’m not quite sure why she is acting like that.
“Really?! That’s perfect then! Why don’t we share a room?” The princess excitedly asks as she grabs my hands and puts them between hers
“Huh?” I let out