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Chapter 88

I Pulled Out the Excalibur

03/30/2024

WE TRIED TRANSLATIONS

Translator/Editor: Ryuu

Discord: https://dsc.gg/wetried

I PULLED OUT THE EXCALIBUR


Chapter 88 - A Midday Date (5)


As the sun set, evening arrived in Camelot.

However, darkness did not come.

With the setting sun, the street lights were lit one by one. The magic stone lanterns hung in front of every shop sparkled, and the light leaking from the stores painted the streets in vibrant colors. It was a sight of the imperial capital vastly different from the day.

Walking through such streets, Najin headed towards the promised location.

"Indeed, the capital of the Empire is quite different."

Najin clicked his tongue as he looked around. He had never seen buildings of such style, not even in the Underground City Artman, the City of Opportunities, Cambria, or any other noble's territory. He suddenly thought that the technological gap seemed to be at least several decades ahead.

-There's a magic tower, you know.

"Excuse me?"

-The place where a mage stays is naturally progressive. Not to mention where there's a magic tower. But here, there are seven of them, aren't there?

Najin nodded, and Merlin spoke with a strangely forceful voice.

-It's not just because I'm a mage, but there's hardly any profession that contributes to technological advancement as much as mages do. So, what I'm saying is...

As Merlin began a lecture on 'the correlation between mages and technological advancement,' Najin rapidly lost interest.

Having spent nearly half a year with Merlin, Najin, who had been with Merlin all day except for sleeping hours, knew all too well that "not everything Merlin says is worth listening to." He listened with one ear and let it out the other.

"She is truly a remarkable person, though."

An archmage who had lived for over a thousand years.

The Grand Constellation with eleven stars.

Many mages pray to the stars in the sky just to hear Merlin's voice once, but after spending about half a year with her, those thoughts might change.

-When talking about this, I can't leave out the time I first built a magic tower…

Merlin was fundamentally a chatterbox, fond of boasting about herself, and would often jump from one topic to another, usually ending up talking about her own experiences.

"What do they call this kind of conversation?"

The kind that always ends with 'back in my day.' Trying to remember what people call those who engage in such conversations, Najin shook his head. After all, he had received a lot of help from Merlin. It would be too harsh to think of her that way...

-Back in my day.

Maybe not.

-Really?

Najin played along with Merlin's words as they walked. Before they knew it, they had arrived at their destination, a clothing store. Dieta, who had been sitting in front of the store, waved at Najin.

"Am I late?"

"No, you're right on time."

Dieta grabbed Najin's wrist and pulled him.

"Let's go inside."

***

"I've reserved a restaurant, and there's a dress code. So, let's get you properly dressed before we go."

"Clothes, you mean?"

"Yes, you don't have anything else to wear, right? Take this chance to get one. You'll be going to formal occasions more often in the future."

More often in the future?

As Najin wondered, Dieta called over a store employee. After a short conversation and handing over a few platinum coins, the employee quickly dashed off somewhere.

And after a while...

Guided to a private VIP room, Najin began changing into the plethora of clothes the employee had brought. The outfit was similar to what he had worn at the ball but differed in minor details.

"Is this supposed to be draped over the shoulders?"

With the employee's help, Najin somehow managed to change. As he stepped out of the changing room, Dieta, who had been waiting outside, slightly parted her lips. After a moment of silence, Dieta spoke.

"Tell me honestly, you're an illegitimate child of a noble family, aren't you?"

"I told you I'm not."

"Just kidding. Clearly, you have good proportions, so anything looks good on you."

Dieta approached Najin to straighten his tie and adjust his clothes. Normally, this was the employee's job, but Dieta had secretly instructed them to 'leave it be.'

"......"

As Najin looked down, he could see the top of Dieta's head, so he awkwardly looked straight ahead instead. After Dieta finished adjusting his clothes, she pointed to a chair.

"Why don't you sit over there?"

"Let's do that."

As Najin sat down, Dieta untied the worn-out hair tie he used to tie his hair and used a ring with the Dieta Trading Company's emblem engraved on it to tie it back.

"Okay, all done."

Satisfied, Dieta patted Najin's shoulder and went into the changing room, asking him to wait a moment. After a short while, Dieta emerged from the changing room, looking quite different.

Her hair, which had been loosely tied, was now neatly tied in a single braid, and her company uniform had been replaced with a dress.

With her hair tied in the same way as Najin and wearing a shawl of the same design that covered Najin's shoulders, Dieta turned around once in place as if to show it off and smiled at Najin.

"Do I look good?"

"You look great."

She smiled contentedly. Dieta extended her hand to Najin, and he, now accustomed to the gesture, escorted her.

"Have you gotten too good at this?"

"It just happened to turn out this way."

"But, you know, this is more like escorting a master, not a partner, right?"

A partner should be like this.

Dieta linked arms with Najin. Dieta, sticking close to Najin's side, slightly lowered her head. Her flowing auburn hair revealed ears that had turned bright red.

"Let's go."

***

A date. Couple's outfit. Arm in arm.

With these words swirling in her head, Dieta felt a sudden flush on her face. She took a deep breath to calm her pounding heart. Really, there was no progress like this.

Glancing over, Dieta looked up at Najin. As they walked arm in arm, Najin appeared calm, unlike Dieta, which she found a bit displeasing. She had thought he would be a little flustered by being so close.

"But still..."

Najin's relaxed face.

Seeing the face that Najin only showed to her, not in front of others, Dieta smiled slightly. There was some progress, after all.

She knew Najin was clumsy with human relationships, had heard about his background, and had established a friendship, opening up to each other.

Even if Najin seemed uninterested in romantic relationships between men and women for now... Humans, being creatures of desire, tend to crave more as they get used to something. Once accustomed to friendship, wouldn't one crave the next step?

‘Build it up slowly.’

There were no rivals, and even if there were in the future, she held the title of the first friend. Dieta had no intention of giving up this advantage.

‘Monopoly.’

The eyes of the snake that swallows gold glittered with desire. Slowly, steadily, but surely. Just as Dieta was organizing her plans in her mind.

"Dieta."

"Hic!"

At the  whisper in her ear, Dieta's mind went blank. She reflexively tried to distance herself from Najin, but the linked arms made it impossible.

"Dieta?"

"Yes, yes. What is it?"

"You didn't answer when I called."

Najin pointed to a building. They had arrived in front of the restaurant without realizing it. Dieta, feeling her ears burning, fiddled with them and nodded.

She really had to brace herself.

Her opponent was a top-level swordsman who could strike unexpectedly and unconsciously. Moreover, as their relationship had progressed to 'friends,' his attacks became sharper. Whether he suddenly smiled, looked comfortable, or whispered 'Dieta' in a relaxed voice...

"Isn't this good enough?"

Dieta gasped for breath. She almost felt satisfied. Slapping her cheeks, Dieta regained her composure. Her goal was higher than this. She wasn't a woman content with just a friendship.

"I must stay sharp."

She would smoothly deflect the attacks and push in counterattacks that could shake Najin's heart. With that resolve, Dieta entered the restaurant with the mindset of heading to battle.

***

"...Huh."

When she came to her senses, the meal was over, and desserts and teacups were placed on the table. Dieta blinked blankly.

She thought she had entered the restaurant with a firm resolve, but all she could remember was enjoying herself. She had been excited by Najin's responsive conversation and had rambled on...

This wasn't what she had planned...?

As Dieta felt confused, Najin, who had sipped his tea, spoke up.

"Thanks to you, I had a great day today."

"Huh?"

"I experienced new things, tasted various foods, and thanks to you, I feel a bit refreshed."

Najin spoke frankly about his feelings. Thanks to Dieta, he was able to let down his guard and relax for the day. His mind, which had felt foggy, seemed to clear up.

"Thank you, Dieta."

"...Um, well."

Dieta mumbled, then took a deep breath and exhaled long. She smiled bitterly.

"This wasn't what I had in mind..."

"Is that so?"

"But I can't deny that I enjoyed it too."

She had forgotten her plans and had a fun conversation, laughing at Najin's stories. The taste of the food they shared was indescribable.

Just talking was enjoyable.

The time spent dining together was satisfying.

Though she acted as if she was adept at interpersonal relationships, Dieta herself had never had a friend. The act of having a comfortable conversation with a friend provided her with a significant sense of fulfillment.

"Having a friend is nice."

"I agree."

Dieta and Najin looked at each other and smiled.

"Now that we've rested well..."

Dieta set down her tea cup.

"Shall we move on to work-related discussions? Like, ways to prepare for the attackers."

***

High Priest Orland reviewed the list.

Four Sword Seekers.

One 5th Circle mage.

Fifteen Sword Experts.

The hounds that Orland could move without borrowing the Order's influence. An overwhelming force for a mere individual. While he could mobilize even more by using the Order's name...

"That would be meaningless."

There was no certainty of complete control over the Order's power, and there were too many variables. In contrast, the individuals on this list were those who would roll on the ground and lick the dirt at a single gesture from Orland, given the leverage he held over them.

Orland sent a signal to all of them.

It was confirmed that the individual named 'Ivan' operating in the adventurer's city was the thief who had eluded them that day with Excalibur. The incident with Kapman solidified this conviction. Then, there's no need for further consideration.

There was no need to conserve manpower either.

Deploying all the available hounds at once to ensure a thorough conclusion was the right decision. Although it was an overkill to capture a swordsman who had not yet reached the realm of Sword Seeker, it was better to err on the side of excess.

"Drive him into a corner."

Orland tapped the table.

"If we can make him draw Excalibur..."

That would be the end.

Excalibur, the Sword of the Stars.

The moment the boy exposes the light that should not belong to him, his downfall is sealed. For that, the net had been cast. Contemplating the several plans he had prepared, Orland smiled.

He was grateful for the opportunity to alleviate the Goddess's worries.


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Chapter 88

I Pulled Out the Excalibur

03/30/2024

We Tried TLs Logo
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