16. I’d like to Stay Here for a Bit
Inside a bright and lively room.
A table was covered with appetizing and luxurious dishes.
A person spoke out after ensuring everyone was seated with a mug in hand.
“Alright! Congratulations on subjugation the dragon and returning safely!”
I could hear the clanking of mugs everywhere.
The return of the guild members proved a bit exciting.
Rigard, who took the lead, was chugging alcohol. At the same time, Teresia stood beside him telling him off about drinking too much. In the end, she also started to drink.
After making a racket for a while, drunkenness started to settle in.
Rigard, whose face was red, elbowed Grave while raising his voice.
“Listen, guys—this dude’s amazing. He slashed the dragon’s breath!”
“Boss, how many times are you going to repeat yourself? Everyone here is tired of hearing it!”
“That’s not true~”
In response, voices of approval emerged from the surroundings.
Although Grave was seemingly trying to stop Rigard, his expression was happy.
I was watching him from a far.
—That was when our gazes met.
Grave started to laugh.
Then, he made his way through the crowd and approached me.
“You seem to be quite popular.”
“They’re merely teasing me. Can I sit beside you?”
“Excuse me, then.”
Grave sat down beside me.
A few seconds or silence arose as we became aware of one another.
Grave spoke first.
“Once again, I have to thank you for re-forging my sword. Thanks to you, I was able to defeat the dragon.”
“I, is that so? I’m glad the sword was useful… Everyone was worried. Especially Anna, she couldn’t sleep.”
“That’s Anna for you. What about you, Liliana?”
“Yes, were you worried?”
Grave asked. For some reason, he looked anxious.
Wanting to hide my embarrassment, I replied while turning sideways.
“I… of course.”
Grave’s expression brightened.
It was apparent that he was delighted.
…For him to show such a gleeful expression, that’s unfair.
“Ever since I had this sword re-forged, my body feels like it has become lighter.”
“Is that so?”
“That’s right. Even though I was standing before a dragon, I wasn’t scared in the slightest. Normally, when I face a strong enemy, I’ll be a bit scared or anxious. But when I was fighting the dragon, I didn’t feel either of them in the slightest.”
While talking, Grave stroked his sword which hung from his waist.
He caressed it ever so slowly, as if it was a baby.
His eyes were very warm.
“Was the dragon big?”
“Hmm? Oh, that’s right. It was huge.”
“How big was it?”
“Enough to fill this entire building?”
“I, it was that massive?”
“Haha, I’m just joking.”
Grave laughed. He looked like a child, one delighted at successfully pulling off a prank.
Due to his teasing, my heart tightened a little.
“I apologize. In my opinion, the dragon was enormous and powerful. Without this sword, I’d have been roasted by it.”
“It is as you said—this sword can cut through anything just fine. Whether it was the dragon’s breath or scales, I had no problem cutting through them. Liliana, you’re a very gifted person.”
Grave said with a serious gaze.
Looking at him, I didn’t believe he was lying.
“I, it’s nothing. There’s no need to make a big deal out of it.”
“Even though back in the smithy, you were praised a lot by Doga?”
“He, he was just exaggerating.”
Grave continued with a small laugh.
“At first, I also thought he was exaggerating. But now I see that that was the truth. After all, I’ve used your sword myself. I can guarantee that you’re a great person.”
“Well, if you say so… thank you…”
To be praised right to my face like that… I became shy, and was unable to meet his gaze.
Although I had been praised before, when it came him, I got excited…
Albeit confused by my conflicting feelings, I wasn’t in a bad mood. I smiled relief.
“That’s why, I wish to become stronger.”
“Half of our success for the subjugation of this dragon goes to you. Therefore, don’t hesitate. Why don’t you give yourself more credit? After all, you’re indeed amazing.”
As soon as he said that, I felt that something entwine within my chest.
I felt so warm… so warm that my frozen heart began to thaw.
Due to his words, which affirmed all my effort, I was about to cry.
“That should be my line.”
“I managed to gather my courage thanks to you.”
While waiting for his return, I had been pondering about this the entire time.
I couldn’t say it at first, but I felt I could do my best because of him.
In that place where everyone had gathered—
“—C, can I request something!?”
I stood upon the spot and screamed so that everyone could hear me.
Then, everyone stopped eating and focused on me.
I was nervous and my hands were trembling.
However, once I saw Grave who stood beside me, the shaking stopped.
“What’s the matter? Just say it.”
“I, I was thinking about the future… I was hoping I could find the answer by the time you returned, but I couldn’t…”
That was right.
I had thought about it properly—
—what do I want to do from now on?
But in the end, I couldn’t come up with a clear answer.
“I’m going to think of something soon… until then, would you please let me stay a little longer?”
I bowed my head and said—
The entire place quieted down.
I kept my head down and waited for everyone’s reaction.
“What are you talking about?”
Rigard was the one who said that.
I slowly raised my face.
“It’s fine! Shouldn’t that be obvious? Right, you guys!?”
“Yes! It’s absolutely fine! A pretty girl is a feast for the eyes, after all!”
“Wasn’t Liliana the one who made Grave’s sword!? That’s just amazing!”
Warm words came out one after another.
Somewhere in my heart, I knew they’d say that.
After all, they were kind and friendly.
However, when they actually said it aloud, I felt so happy, it couldn’t be expressed with words.
***T/N: More blacksmithing scene, please! I haven’t fangirled enough on Liliana’s adeptness!
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