Chapter 15. A Place Where Warm Light Gathers (3)
It’s not that Astraea doesn’t know what “date” means. Probably, what Eos is saying there is what people from four hundred years ago referred to as, “clandestine meetings” or a “rendezvous”.
“Eh, that’s… …what?”
When Eos points that word to her, she can’t process the meaning at all. Date. Date. Date.
…After chewing over what Eos’ words, Astraea finally understands.
“Eos, you… did you perhaps hit your head just now?”
That should be the only reason why he’d say that. Astraea means to tell him to rest, but Eos shakes his head.
“Not at all.”
“No, I just think that you should be bored now, right? That’s why I was about to take a look at your condition and invite you out, but you surprised me… So maybe this is a revenge?”
Astraea wants to say that looking at a young man tilting his head isn’t cute at all… but she can’t say it. It’s vexing, but Eos looks very natural doing that. She even dares imagine he looks cuter doing it than she would. Even so, that’s not amusing for her. What’s even more frustrating than anything is that he managed to make her confused for a moment just now.
“……where are we, going to?”
“The city. I know a place that’s not too busy. It’s a splendid shop with delicious food.”
“Hey, will you stop assuming that I’ll keep getting lured in by food?”
While Astraea certainly keeps losing to her appetite, but she won’t accept his invitation this time due to her frustration. Eos is a little troubled by her response.
“Although, that shop sells the pastries you savored yesterday.”
I won’t lose. It’s that pattern she has always been losing to until now, but she can bear it since she’s still angry. Even though she wants to eat those pastries so much that can taste them, it’s at a level she can endure.
“Also, look. Morgan and Elba gave us a special ticket… It’s for meat dishes, but the roasted skewers there are very delicious.”
“Yeah. They roast thick meat over charcoal. We have to eat it immediately after they’re finish roasting the meat, but juicy meat is delicious.”
Just like that, images of thick meat come to Astraea’s mind, but she immediately chases them away. No good, if I get baited like this again and again, won’t I end up staying here even longer? Since Astraea has decided to go home, she can’t allow that opportunity to become a standing gesture. She should just make it as if she’s angry and go home immediately.
“I’m sorry, but…”
“Those two bought this ticket upon hearing that you like eating, so they’ll definitely become sad if you don’t go.”
“…Isn’t that unfair?”
Astraea doesn’t think not going would be a problem if it didn’t trouble anyone. Now, however, such would sadden those who prepared the gift as an expression of their gratitude. She’s at a loss over how to respond.
“Hey, Eos. There’s a place I want to go.”
“My gratitude for that ticket. I need to properly express it. Guide me to where those two are.”
Eos laughs at Astraea’s answer.
Astraea thinks, I lost again, for a moment after seeing at his expression, but this time she didn’t lose to Eos. The irregular good intention of Morga and Elba was just unexpected. Either way, Eos will definitely say something to make me angry. There’s still a chance.
With those words, Eos leads the way for Astraea. He keeps a steady gait, but out of consideration for Astraea, his pace is slightly slower. It allows her to take her time and take in the scenery she couldn’t see from the window.
“You look interested.”
“These flowers are the different from those in the forest. They’re also being carefully tended to.”
“Since this place is the heart of the city, the townspeople kindly tend to them. I’m really grateful for that.”
“They sure are loved.”
Could this come from the goodwill of people? The trees make it clear the garden wasn’t recently created but has been built over a long period of time. Astraea sincerely believes that continued care towards the garden is a result of the people’s love for the Knights Order.
Well, the knights risk their life to defeat that Chimera. So maybe this is natural?
Somewhere in her heart, Astraea feels envious, but she immediately expels the thought. They walk down a straight path, listening to the chirps of the small birds as they do.
Not long later, Eos stops. Have we arrived? Upon thinking that, Astraea realizes she hasn’t thought about how she’ll thank them…
However, the person who stopped them is Sufare.
“What are you doing here, Eosphorite? It’s your day off today, right? If you’re free, mind giving me a hand?”
“That’s enough for today, captain. It’s my day off, so I won’t work.”
Eos gives a casual greeting and Sufare shrugs.
“Oh, young lady. Are you feeling better now?”
“Thanks to you. It’s been a while.”
Astraea gives Sufare a dignified responce since he’s not her superior.
“Actually, I’ve been meaning to visit you, but I was doubtful over whether I should enter a woman’s resting room.”
“Then you should just give me something to entertain myself. Although the food is delicious, I’ve been very free.”
“Ah, that certainly is true. Well, above all, you look energetic now.” Sufare says with a heartily laugh and continues. “To be honest, I thought that you’re a pretty noisy witch, but I heard from Eosphorite that you’re quite used to fighting. Since you live in such a remote place, for what reason did you practice your magic?”
“It’s a secret.”
“Haha, of course you won’t tell me things not even Eosphorite knows, eh.”
Sufare says such as if teasing Astraea and then slowly bows.
“I heard that thanks to your help, we didn’t lose two men. I’m truly thankful.”
With those words, Astraea takes a step back while recalling how she also had that sort of exchange with Eos several days ago.
“Then, can you tell me instead about how Eosphorite’s fought? That guy, he told me that he doesn’t remember much since it was such a desperate battle. It seems like he knew the weak points of that beast, but he also said he doesn’t understand magic at all, so he doesn’t have a clue to what you’re were doing at that time, young lady. It’s not helpful at all.”
“…It was also a desperate fight for me.”
“Well, since Eosphorite said he don’t remember, my asking is probably being unreasonable.”
It’s just that only the two of you faced that creature. If you remember anything, please tell me.”
Sufare pulls back with that request. Astraea is relieved that Eos has already laid the groundwork. At the same time, she trusts placed in him.
…I feel bad for using that trust, though.
Even so, Astraea thinks that if she’s going to tell them much needed information, I’ll consider a substitute for the transaction price. She should leave important information in case another Chimera appears.
“Captain, she has just recovered.”
“Ah, you’re right. Then, where are you going, bringing someone who has just recovered like this?”
“I’m taking her out so she can relax.”
Eos skillfully ends the conversation and leads Astraea away. Regardless a voice calls out to them from behind, “Make sure not to be late, okay?”
“Do you have something to do today? Do you have time for this?”
He just said that today is his day off, but maybe he has to exercise?
Eos merely says, “Nothing important.”
If he’s claiming that instructions from a superior don’t matter, maybe it’s about cleaning duty? No, cleaning is an important duty, but… would a vice-captain even be on cleaning duty?
Astraea has many questions boiling inside her head, but in the end decides to stop thinking about it. If Eos doesn’t mind, then it’s probably not something she should mind either.
“Ah, rather than that, here are Morga and Elba.”
Eos points ahead as the two knights that have collapsed several days ago come into view. While Astraea doesn’t know which is Morga and which is Elba, she starts by giving them a simple bow. The knights also notice Astraea and Eos… and then straighten their posture before immediately rushing to their side.
“We apologize for the trouble we caused the other day!”
“Thank you very much for saving us!”
Astraea flinches at the vigor of the loud knights. Eos, however, prevents her from taking a step back with his hand.
“Morga, Elba, you made her jump. Your loud voices surprised her.”
Even so, they still reply with loud voices. Furthermore, their gazes won’t meet hers. Could they be nervous? Astraea tilts her head at the thought. She then remembers that she forgot to give her thanks because she was too surprised.
“Err, thank you for the ticket. I look forward to the meat.”
The two knights look at each in relief at those words.
“We’re sorry, we couldn’t think of what a woman would enjoy, so…”
The other knight nods and says, “It’s just as Morgan says.”
The first knight nods and continues, “We considered delicious confectionaries, but we don’t know which ones are delicious. But that there is definitely delicious, so please enjoy it. If it’s not enough, we don’t mind paying for the entire bills.”
The knight who seems to be Elba says such jokingly. Astraea smiles.
“Thank you very much. Then, I won’t hold back.”
At Astraea’s words, Morga holds his head and crouches. “Ahh…”
“Morga, what happened?”
“Why did such a cute girl save me… I won’t be able to flirt with her now, right? Instead, I want to rescue a lovely young lady.”
“…What kind of stupid things are you spewing now?”
“It’s not stupid! How could you understand my feelings, vice-captain!? My feelings of meeting someone in a terrible situation!”
“If we’re talking about the circumstances, aren’t I also the same?”
“But Vice Captain is al… ouch, that hurts!”
“You’re such an idiot, you’re being so uncool, okay!”
Eos sighs in astonishment at Elba splendidly throwing his fist at Morga’s head. A very beautiful sound accompanies the strike.
…That sounded painful.
Elba, not minding how Morga is squatted down clutching his head, smiles as he says, “I’ll scold this idiot, so have a safe trip.” Despite those words, there don’t appear to be any veins sticking out on his head.
“…Then, I leave it to you. Ah, I leave the preparations to you, too.”
“I understand. Well, please enjoy yourselves.”
Elba waves his hand with those words. His initial stiffness is mostly gone. The people of this fortress may have had a cozy environment from the start.
“Still… they really call you as vice captain. You look young, though.”
“I look young… Rather, we’re full of youngsters. There are not many senior executives here.”
Astraea’s sure that that’s not the only reason, but since Eos is being vague, she doesn’t ask further since. She doesn’t know if the reason for it is because it touches upon internal regulations of the military or if because Eos doesn’t want to say. More importantly, ask him further would be uncouth.
“By the way, how old are you?”
“How old do I look?”
“…Around twenty years old?”
“Then, I’m around twenty years old.”
“What the heck is that? You’re… no, let’s stop. The elder sister at the dining hall said that asking woman’s age is distasteful.”
Astraea nods, that elder sister truly has taught him something wonderful.