Chapter 24:

Peace, at Last

The Second Route

“Great work,” a voice reverberates into my ears.Bookmark here

I open my eyes, but it remains black, but I am confident that my eyes are open. I can see only the darkness around me. Ah, it’s this weird dream again. I have to hear that annoying voice again.Bookmark here

“I was worried that you would give up for a moment,” the same voice speaks.Bookmark here

“It’s you again, isn’t it? The Annoying Voice in the darkness.”Bookmark here

“I’m honored to have such a nickname. Anyway, it’s routine. I have to show you this.”Bookmark here

A scene pops up in front of me showing me laying in my bedroom, unconscious, and his face is in peace. The sun starts to seep in the curtains and land on my face. No one was waiting for me to awaken this time.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry,” the ominous voice speaks, “they are safe. You have saved yourself and them. A momentous accomplishment you have achieved!”Bookmark here

“An accomplishment, huh? You think this is some kind of a game?”Bookmark here

“Far from it! But it is some kind of obstacle I was expecting for you to meet sometime. It was inevitable.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean by that? Could it be that you have orchestrated all of this?”Bookmark here

The voice laughs, “You think a man in your dreams could affect your reality?”Bookmark here

“I will believe anything at this point. You see, I am supposed to be dead before I entered this world. I don’t even know if this is the same world or a different one.”Bookmark here

“Such trivial worries, my benefactor.”Bookmark here

“Now you call me a benefactor? Why? What do I get? Can I go back and die in my original world?”Bookmark here

“At a time, if you succeed.”Bookmark here

“You are only confusing me all the more. I would like you to shut up.”Bookmark here

“You are free to leave. Just do the usual.”Bookmark here

I look at the scene in front of me and stretch out my arms to it.Bookmark here

While my hands approach the floating picture, the voice adds in one last sentence, “I will give you rest for a while for that is your reward.”Bookmark here

I wake up on the soft bed. No one is inside the room except me. Hopefully, nothing occurred while I was gone. I sit at my bed and look at the window seeing the sun rays shining through the fluttering curtains. “It’s sunrise,” I say that with certainty because I memorized that that window faces east. After I bask in the peaceful light, Lina enters the room with a tray full of food.Bookmark here

“Good morning, Deliruu-sama,” Lina sets the breakfast tray on the bed.Bookmark here

“Thank you, and you don’t have to call me with politeness. It’s weird.”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, but I can’t. It’s the Maid’s Code of Conduct.”Bookmark here

I cringe at this déjà vu. “Anyway, what is this Code of Conduct? Can I read it somewhere?”Bookmark here

“No, it is an invoked spell by the master’s maid.”Bookmark here

“A spell? What does this do?”Bookmark here

“When the master invokes this spell, the recipient of this spell can choose to accept or deny it. Once they accept it, they are bound to the master’s mana bank. The mana that the maid produces is transferred to the master at their will.”Bookmark here

“But what does that have to do with the politeness?”Bookmark here

“If we suddenly stop being polite to our master and our master’s guests, our mana bank would implode along with the master’s.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I see why you maids always insist this.”Bookmark here

“With that out of the way, how are you feeling, master?”Bookmark here

“I’m doing fine,” I say to Lina as I stretch my arms, “full condition!” Bookmark here

“That’s good. Anyway, I will have to attend to my other chores now. Please just call for me when you need me.”Bookmark here

“Alright, will do,” I say as she leaves the room then I start eating the delicious breakfast. “Wow, there are pork chops in here. I wonder if they have soy sauce, bacon, or rice?”Bookmark here

I go out to the field outside the castle where I usually train with Tina, but I don’t find her there. I decided to lie down on the trimmed grass and look at the blue skies. “No clouds today too, huh?” After laying down for a few minutes, I walk over to the edge of the mini-plateau where the castle and the field where I lay before are located. This point overlooks the kingdom that lay beyond the walls that surround the mountain where the castle is built. “Magnificent!” and I haven’t used that word in a long time. When was the last time I saw something and that word came up in my mind? Ah, yes, the first time I made my solo flight. The city was beautiful back then. Back then…” I trail off.Bookmark here

“Oh, what are you doing here?” I turn around and see who owns the voice. It is Tina.Bookmark here

“Tina!” I run to her, but realize how childish and worried I might have looked then slowed my pace. “How are you?” I say with a slight laugh and smile.Bookmark here

“You should be in your room resting right now. And the most who should be worrying is me— us, the Queen.”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry for making you guys— girls rather, worry. But I’m fine.”Bookmark here

“You sure?” Tina approaches me and hits my leg with her foot.Bookmark here

My leg which was hit kneels to the ground, but I quickly recover and stand up. Then I complain, “What was that for?”Bookmark here

“See? You aren’t even combat-ready.”Bookmark here

“Come on, leave me alone. I’m tired of being in the room all day. It makes me tenser.”Bookmark here

“Sure, you are,” Tina walks beside me joining me in my viewing of the kingdom. “You have gone through a lot, huh? Starting from the assassination of Pareyo, then rushing back to Lunis, then Ugibiris—”Bookmark here

“It’s okay. It’s healthy for my heart. Haven’t had this kind of thrilling experience for a long time.”Bookmark here

“Are you feeling empty?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“Like, does your body feel hollow?”Bookmark here

“I don’t get it.”Bookmark here

“After every casting, mana gets expended, and that mana is in your body. That’s why your body feels empty whenever you cast a spell.”Bookmark here

“Oh, right. Read that somewhere.” I lied. “Well, I don’t particularly feel empty.”Bookmark here

“Air Sabre, was it?”Bookmark here

“Yeah.”Bookmark here

“That’s an Ace-class Magic, you know?”Bookmark here

“Is it?” I awkwardly laugh, “Well, didn’t know.”Bookmark here

“Thank you.”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“Thank you, I said. Do I need to say it again? Idiot.” Tina looks away.Bookmark here

“No, no, just couldn’t believe my ears.” The rare times I have ever been thanked by anyone.Bookmark here

“And what does that supposed to mean?”Bookmark here

“Didn’t mean anything in particular.”Bookmark here

Tina narrows her eyes at me, “You think I’m an ungrateful brat, do you?”Bookmark here

“No-no, not at all. I meant something else— actually, do you think you are an ungrateful brat?”Bookmark here

“N—no! You know what, since you are such an idiot, I will train you today.”Bookmark here

“Are you serious? No—no, anything but that! But not today!”Bookmark here

Tina laughs and walks away into the castle, while I stand and watch her from a distance, chuckling for a second. I suddenly didn’t have any thought of a task, and since it’s the early hours of the day, I decide to spend the time exploring the town. I have checked out various stalls of fruits and meat and haven’t found anything peculiar as I would expect. Then I end up in a strange stall. Compared to the other stalls brimming with people lining up, this stall is deserted.Bookmark here

“Welcome!” A male shopkeeper greets, “Please if you would spend the time to look at our specialties!”Bookmark here

I look down to where his hands are pointing and discover he is selling, “Fried Spiders!?”Bookmark here

Some people stare at me for a moment because of my raised voice, but they continue their chores unimpeded.Bookmark here

“Yes! These are very delicious, I tell you!”Bookmark here

“Then why is it that no one is buying these?”Bookmark here

“It’s because these people…” the man leans forward to me and I lean in response, “don’t know the secret of how delicious spiders are!”

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“Eek!” My body hair all rose and I recoil away from him. “I—I don’t think spiders are delicious.”Bookmark here

“But have you tried it?”Bookmark here

“No…”Bookmark here

“Then you can’t form an opinion based on nothing!”Bookmark here

“Well for one, I don’t eat insects, and I don’t think anyone does. And this actually isn't insects but an arachnid.”Bookmark here

“An ara— well, whatever! If you try them now, I will cut you a deal!”Bookmark here

“Tell.”Bookmark here

“One gold for five special fried spiders!”Bookmark here

“Wh— are you serious!?”Bookmark here

“Told ya it’s a great deal!”Bookmark here

“No! It definitely isn’t! And how much do these things go for anyway?”Bookmark here

“One gold each!”Bookmark here

“You have to be joking.”Bookmark here

“I am not! I will give you this deal!”

“No thanks. I will be going now. Excuse me.”
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“No, wait! Customer, please!” The shopkeeper runs up to me and kneels, “My f—family, they are going to starve!”

“Then why don’t you feed them those?”
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“N—no! I mean, our house is mortgaged, and I wouldn’t be able to earn soon, but just one gold coin would be enough!”Bookmark here

“That’s entirely your fault for selling such niche product.”Bookmark here

“But it earns well!”Bookmark here

“It’s better if you sold a more conventional product. I’m sorry, I can’t help you.”Bookmark here

The shopkeeper holds my hand and bows his head as he breaks into tears, “Please if you have any mercy on my family, don’t kill them!”

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The passersby start a commotion around me.Bookmark here

“No! This isn’t what you think this is. It’s wrong!”Bookmark here

“Please, take my life instead!”

“You got to be kidding me!” I pull my hand but he grasps it further down. “F—fine! I’ll buy your— gah!”
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“Thank you! Thank you!”Bookmark here

The payment is made, and I have five unwanted items on my hand.Bookmark here

“Try it,” the shopkeeper says. “It’s bad to waste food you know?”Bookmark here

I gulp as I scan the fried spiders.Bookmark here

“The legs are the greatest tasting par—!”Bookmark here

“Shut up! I don’t need your commentary right now!” I close my eyes and trick my brain into thinking they are the bitter-tasting vitamins my parents used to force me to take, and I still take them to this day. Well, not until after I was in this world anyway. “Woah!” The crunch is superb. What breading did they use? And it somehow tastes like nachos and chicken? “T—this is good!”Bookmark here

“I told you! Here!” The shopkeeper offers a bowl with black liquid in it.Bookmark here

Wait, could it be that this is soy sauce? “I’m digging in!”Bookmark here

After a few minutes, I am indulging in these appetizers. “Can there be any bigger spiders? More please!” I toss one hundred gold coins planning to take home the fried spiders, but once I receive them in the bag, I can’t stop my hands from getting my hands on them.Bookmark here

“We had that on our menu! It’s just that the adventurers don’t sell them anymore. Not until the cave collapsed.”Bookmark here

“What cave?”Bookmark here

“The cave to the east from here. You should be able to get the finest spiders and the biggest ones too, but it isn’t possible. The entrance collapsed.”Bookmark here

“Here is a deal,” I lean close to him, and he does the same, “I’ll get you all the spiders you want, and you will get me the biggest friend spider!”Bookmark here

“Oh! Are you for real!? But such a task is—!”

“I’ll do it! I am the First General after all!”
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“You are!? I am sorry for my impoliteness!”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it. In business, sometimes that is needed! But, is the family situation, that you told me, is true?”Bookmark here

“Uh… about that…”Bookmark here

“It doesn’t matter. I’ll help you. We got a deal?”Bookmark here

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“We got a deal!” We shake our hands and I head back to the castle to prepare for my little adventure!Bookmark here

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