Chapter 61. Ball (12)

After greeting Alphonso, Milpia turned her gaze towards me.

"I’m Den." I greeted briefly. Unlike Alphonso or Flam, I wasn’t a fan of the logic that friends of friends are friends.

"Ah! That Den."

Milpia's reaction made me feel unpleasant. When I looked at Alice with the question of what does Milpia mean by "that Den’, she avoided my gaze.

What have you been going around and saying about me?

Alice's reaction made it even more unpleasant.

"By that Den, what Den do you mean?"

When I asked Milpia directly, she smiled strangely and avoided my gaze.

"Hohohoho."

What did you actually say about me! Alice!

When I looked at them with a discontented gaze, both Alice and Milpia were busy avoiding my eyes.

"By the way, have we seen each other somewhere before?" I asked Milpia.

For some reason, I felt as if I had seen and heard the laughter and the avoiding eyes somewhere.

"No, it's my first time meeting you."

I didn’t feel any lies in Milpia's words. Her seeming familiarity must have been just my mistake.

Milpia looked at me amused.

"Hmm, are you hitting on me?” Milipia said.

It must be just my misunderstanding that this amused look didn't feel much different from when she had said, ‘that Den’, right?

"Was it a little old-fashioned?” I responded with a smile.

"No, it was a little refreshing. No one has ever talked to me like that.”

"Really? It's a common phrase when you talk to a beautiful lady, so it's surprising that it's refreshing."

There was a friendly but strange battle of nerves, but Alice suddenly stepped in.

"Yuria will be arriving now, so let's go back in!" Alice said.

"Didn't you say you didn't know where she was?”

Alice blushed and panicked at my words. "That’s why! In case Yuria is looking for us. Yes. So, let's go in!"

Alice grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the banquet hall. Why is she so excited all of a sudden? 

"Aly, calm down."

When Lisbon tried to calm her down, Alice stared sharply at her brother and me.

No, but what did I do?

-o-

William went around the magic school and checked on the guards once again. Any mishap would be a pain. While patrolling, he found a strong presence hiding near a warehouse in the middle of magic school and knight school. He approached, forming signs to be able to activate magic at any time.

"Oong?"[1]

In the warehouse, Bloody was crouched on the ground with a mouthful of meat. William sighed as his tension suddenly dissipated.

"Ooohae? Woyer?” Bloody said with a mouth full of meat.

"Phew, eat then talk. I don't understand."

"What's wrong? Is something wrong?” Bloody asked after swallowing the meat.

"No, I'm just on patrol. Where did you get the meat?”

There was still some time left for the ball to start, so there was no food in the banquet hall.

"They gave it to me when I asked in the kitchen."

William sighed inwardly as he looked at the innocent eyes looking at him. At a glance, the amount of meat that Bloody brought would definitely make it quite difficult for all the food to be prepared in time for the ball.

"Eat comfortably at the banquet hall. Why are you eating in a corner like this?” William asked.

Bloody responded while eating meat on his plate. "I don't want to go there. People keep looking at me.”

"But there are many better places to eat than here, so why don't you eat at a more comfortable place?" William looked around as he spoke. In the warehouse, there were dust-ridden wooden swords and protective gears. He thought he'd better nag the knight school instructor later to clean it up.

When Orphina, currently placed at the Demon’s Territory, was here, there was not a single speck of dust in the warehouse. But as soon as she left, it turned like this. A few months later, she would return to the capital. If she were to see this, it would be surprising to hear that the instructors and students alike were all dead.

"Ay, whatever. It's not bad here, either. No one's nervous that I’m here." Bloody laughed. He looked as if he didn't care about the state of the warehouse.

William was worried, later, when he went up to the Demon’s Territory and Orphina came down, about how much the two would fight. He was worried just from looking at this warehouse.

Bloody was free-spirited enough to dine quite naturally in this shabby warehouse. However, Orphina was a thorough former instructor (FM) who did not tolerate any amount of dust. Leaving the two polar opposites to the extreme to Arcanta alone and going up to the Demon’s territory made his heart uneasy.

"By the way, is your nephew’s sketch still unfinished?” William asked after Arcanta's earnest request from months ago.

Currently, the only one who knew Denburg’s face was Bloody. Even if a sketch of his nephew were made, it wouldn’t be distributed. It would be a mistake to alert a snake hidden in the bushes. Still, the reason why Denburg’s sketch was needed was because people who knew about his escape from home needed to know how he looked.

"Ah, I'm done.”

Bloody handed the wrinkled paper from his chest to William. The latter was delighted and unfolded the paper.

"This, this is!"

William was greatly surprised to see the sketch that Bloody gave him.

"Can you even consider this as a sketch!?"

William pushed the sketch back to Bloody. The crumpled paper had doodles drawn by a three-year-old child.

"You said you were the best sketch artist in the village! Are you kidding me?!”

When William got angry, Bloody pretended to not know anything.

"I didn’t lie!" Bloody said.

"You could have called in an artist to draw! What is this? You didn't show this to Arcanta, did you?" William looked at the Crow with disbelief in his eyes.

"Yea, I haven't shown it to him yet."

William sighed at Bloody's words. "Good job. If he saw this, he’d get acutely poisoned by the stomach medicine he depends on."

Of course, he wouldn’t be left to just die even if he got acutely poisoned. There’s no way William would let him become comfortable by himself.

Perhaps because William shouted suddenly in a dusty place, he became thirsty. He took away the champagne bottle that Bloody was drinking and washed his throat.

Responsibly, the champagne didn’t have any alcohol in it.

Keuhhh!

William burped from the champagne's carbonation and asked, "Do you want me to introduce you to an artist?"

Bloody took the bottle of champagne from William's hand and shook his head. "No. I got an artist to draw it, but it didn't look very alike."

"What? Where's the sketch?"

Bloody took out another crumpled paper from his chest. "Here it is."

"Hand me the sketch!"

Bloody sulked as the general raged.

"Why do you keep yelling at me!"

Bloody sulkily downed the champagne in one-shot. William's interest was in the artist's sketch of Denburg.

After confirming the new sketch, William frowned with a serious look.

"As I thought, I don't know that face.”

William was lost in thought. The face exuded a strong aura that resembled Bloody. Since they were family, having resemblance made sense.

"But that doesn't look like him at all."

"Even if it doesn't look alike, it's still better than the doodles you drew." William snorted and shook Bloody’s sketch.

“Woossi! I’m saying that looks more like him!”

“As if.” William took the sketch. Of course, it was the artist's sketch.

"It’s true!" Bloody said.

"Don't lie. You were lying that you’re actually the best sketch artist in the village, right?”

"I wasn’t!"

William held the sketch and shook for him to see.

Bloody blushed and said with a small voice, "That... that's because, under the curse of a Giant, the people in the village have terrible artistic dexterity! Seriously, I'm the best sketch artist in the village."

Bloody spoke with all his heart, but William laughed, dumbfounded.

"Hahaha, even if the curse was on artistic dexterity, you are referring to the Giants that went extinct 500 years ago?"

The Giants, formerly one of the nine battle races, went extinct after the Great War. Due to the Great War, the nonet was reduced to a septet. And the knowledge that the Crows who participated in the war were the strongest battle race was solidified in the world.

"But historically, the Crows were only active during the early part of the war and had few contacts with the Giants. So why are you saying that it’s a Giant’s curse?”

"That I don’t know. I have only heard it as a legend too." Bloody shrugged.

William didn’t pursue the matter and moved on. Rather than being curious about the past, the fire that has landed on top of the foot was much more urgent.[2] If possible, he wanted to send Bloody’s nephew back home before going up to the Demon’s Territory. Arcanta might really die of overwork if he couldn't handle this by the time Orphina came back.

Not because of Denburg, but because of the fight between Bloody and Orphina.

"I'm going to go do another round, so you should eat moderately and go see Arelia. You should show your face at least once."

"All right." Bloody answered absent-mindedly and kept eating the meat he had brought.

William sighed, worrying about the future, and then left the warehouse.

-o-

Entering the banquet hall again due to Alice, we headed to the appropriately visible entrance of the banquet hall so that Yuria could find us.

"Over here!"

I turned my head to the place where I suddenly heard a voice in a very formal speech. As expected, the main culprit of the voice was Flam.

"I didn't even eat lunch in anticipation of today. So why is there still no food?"

Flam was in a state of tears and grabbed a servant to complain to.

"That is, because the ball hasn't started yet." The servant was flustered momentarily but answered calmly.

But that calm didn't work for Flam. "How did it become this way? Are you saying that you can't see all the people filling this banquet hall?" He grabbed the servant by the shoulder with one hand and pointed to the surrounding with the other.

While I was out on the terrace, the banquet hall became quite crowded with students from the knight school, magic school, and training center for civil servants. Add to this the nobility of the capital, and there would no other time like this except during a state funeral.

As for me, it was a good situation as I could hide among people.

"It takes a little longer for the ball to start. If we were to serve the food already, the guests would be forced to eat cold food. As it is part of regulation to serve food at the appropriate time, we ask for your understanding."

Without losing the friendly smile, the servant managed to calm down Flam. It seemed even Flam gave up at the word, ‘regulation’.

"Lacks courtesy." Alice shook her head at the sight.

Although I felt sorry for Flam, I decided to pretend that I didn’t see anything.


1. It’s the sound of ‘huh?’ in Korea

2. Meaning, present problems are of higher priority than future problems.

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