The next day, after the goblins' nest had been eradicated. <Running Wolves> activities were put on hold.
All of them were exhausted, so there was no way they could object, and they unanimously decided to take the day off to rest.
But Renka still woke up early in the morning, as she usually did. Although she woke up, she didn't feel like getting up, so she rolled over in bed. As she did so, her thoughts naturally drifted to the events of yesterday.
（Yesterday... was a terrible mistake. We almost got wiped out. No, if Shinji hadn't been there, we would have been wiped out. It was such a screw-up....）
As a ranger, she supposed to be wary of the trap, and yet she was so shaken up that it made entire party got caught in it. Because of this, she’s depressed and failure as a ranger. Besides, knowing that her friends is still saved, she should remain calm. She should have known this in her head. And yet she still rushing.
（I have to make sure this doesn't happen again. Shinji also told me to do my best next time）
She suddenly remembered that Shinji had put his hand on her head. It’s a big man's hand. It was the first time she had been touched by anyone other than Alvin. But this was unusual behavior for Shinji, who maintains an appropriate distance.
Still, the touch was gentle, and it made her confused head immediately calmed down at that time. Thinking back on it now, she doesn't feel bad at all. Rather, she would like to be patted by him again, this time too...
（What am I thinking? No, no, no! That was an emergency thing!）
She rolled from side to side on the bed to disperse the fantasy that came up.
But then, she thought.
（Alvin was still cool...）
She remembered his back as he stood alone against the hordes of goblins. And her heart fluttered at the sight of his bravery as he wielded his great sword in all directions to annihilate the goblins. Although she was desperately shooting her bow during the battle and she couldn't get a good look at him, he was still the same brave figure she knew from the past.
（I've put both Alvin and Milis in danger... I should do something to apologize!）
She pondered for a while. And then, Renka got off the bed and started to change her clothes. She changed into her green robe, her normal adventurer's style, and left the room. After that, she walked to Milis's room next door and knocked.
「Mil, are you awake?」
She waited for a while, but there was no response. She wondered if she was too early. Thinking that she was too early, she knocked on Alvin's room next door.
「Al, are you awake?」
「Renka? I'm awake, you can come in」
After hearing Alvin's voice, she opened the door. When Renka entered Alvin's room, she looked at him as he lay slack-jawed on his bed. He was completely exhausted, as if his bravery of yesterday had been a lie.
「You're not dressed properly... but that's okay」
「I'm still a little sleepy. I was wondering if I should take a nap. What's wrong?」
Renka sighs at Alvin's words, but then laughs wryly.
「I want to apologize for my mistake yesterday. I'd like to treat everyone to dinner this evening, if that's convenient」
「Seriously? Me and Mil are fine. I'm looking forward to Renka's dinner! You know, our hometown soup, please make it!」
「Okay, I'll put the soup on the menu. I'll ask Shinji too if he's available. Even if Shinji doesn't like it, the three of us can eat it together and I'll prepare something else for Shinji」
「Okay. I'm looking forward to it! I'll let Mil know」
Alvin's carefree smile at the mention of yesterday's events warmed the cockles of her heart. However, Renka had no intention of revealing this feeling at the moment.
Alvin has a girlfriend named Milis. She could tell that the two of them had feelings for each other. Renka thought that she would reveal her feelings to Milis when Alvin had risen through the ranks of the party to a higher rank... to the point where Alvin could have two wives.
After all, when someone reach the rank of upper-intermediate, there will be a lot of women who want to become their second wife. Still, the law of this country stipulates that a man can only marry no more than two wives. So, in order to prevent Alvin from getting into any trouble with women, she thought she would run for the position and tell him that she wanted the three of them to get along as well as ever.
（Geez, this insensitive man is completely unaware of my feelings... though I think Mil somehow knows that I like Alvin）
「I'm going to go talk to Shinji and buy some food. As for dinner... well, let's say about the sixth bell after noon」
「Okay! Be careful」
「Yeah, see you later」
After saying goodbye to Alvin, Renka headed to <Hidden Dragon Inn> where Shinji was staying.
* * *
After arrived, Renka entered the <Hidden Dragon inn> and called out to Charlotte, who was sitting at the counter.
「I'm sorry. Is Shinji here?」
「I haven't seen him yet, so I think he's in his room. Excuse me, who is it?」
「Could you tell him that Renka is here? I'm a member of his party」
Charlotte nodded and got up from her seat.
Then, while says, "Mom! I'm going to call guest from his room, so please go to the reception desk!", she went to the back of the inn. Renka looked at her with warm eyes, saying that she was a cheerful girl.
「I'm sorry... she's a noisy girl」
「I think it's good to be energetic」
A woman with the same hair color as Charlotte's, who had taken her place, apologized with an apologetic look on her face. Renka couldn't help but follow up. While she was doing this, Charlotte returned.
「I'm sorry to keep you waiting. Shinji-san was awake. I can show you to his room if you like.」
After bowing lightly to Charlotte's mother, Renka was led by Charlotte to Shinji's room.
「It's here. Then I have to go to the reception!」
Charlotte bowed and walked away. Renka knocked modestly on the door of Shinji's room.
「Shinji, it's Renka」
「I'll open it now」
As soon as she knocked, the door opened. He was dressed in his normal robe and greeted Renka. The difference between him and Alvin was enormous, and Renka couldn't help but smile.
「Good morning, Renka. What's wrong with your face?」
「Good morning. When I went to Alvin's room earlier, he was lying on the bed as if he had just woken up from sleep... The difference was so drastic that I couldn't help myself」
「Hahaha, that's just like Alvin」
In response to the deliberate laughter, Renka also agrees too.
「I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you yesterday. As an apology, I would like to treat everyone to dinner tonight. I'm the one who's going to cook... are you available?」
Renka spoke timidly, looking at Shinji's face. And Shinji nodded at Renka's suggestion with a smile. There was no sign of blame for yesterday's failure.
「Don't worry about it...it was a big mistake to say. But I'll appreciate Renka's feelings」
「Yeah, that's good. And, well...」
Renka looks uncomfortable and embarrassed as she struggles to speak. It seemed that she was unable to speak for a while, but Shinji waited patiently for Renka to calm down. She closed his mouth once and then opened it again.
「Even if I fail at that time, I'll do my best next time. So, thank you for telling me that. If it hadn't been for your words, I would probably have been left in a daze. You've really helped me」
「Oh, you're welcome. I have to apologize too. I know it was an emergency, but I'm sorry for touching your head」
Shinji's apology caused Renka's face, which had been staring at each other with a serious expression, to turn red. She remembered the confusion of the morning. Then, Shinji immediately cast a light hypnotic spell on Renka. It's a weak spell that lasts only a few seconds and makes her say what she thinks. Of course, Renka, who was turning red and, in a hurry, didn't notice.
「I-It’s fine if y-you don't have to apologize! It can’t be helped! And I didn't mind at all! It's not that I don't like it, rather I wanted you to pat me more… Ahh, what am I talkinggg!」
What she was thinking just came out of her mouth, and Renka was very panicked. Shinji is looking at the panicking Renka with gentle eyes. And Shinji's hand slowly reached to Renka's head. She could have avoided it if she had wanted to, but... she quietly accepted Shinji's hand on her head.
She was aware that her panicked thoughts had regained her composure and that her face was getting hotter and hotter with embarrassment.
「Have you calmed down?」
「...Yes, I'm frustrated. But I can afford it」
Renka pouted as if to cover up her embarrassment. Shinji smiled and gently stroked Renka's head. She does not feel uncomfortable with the gentle touch, and Renka is at her ease.
「I'm older than you. And I’m trying to be」
「Haa~... It seems I'm still a child when I talk to Shinji. Do you think I should call you Onii-sama?」
「Oh, then let's see what my little sister cooks for me. I like beef, will it be on the menu? Do you need a baggage handler?」
Shinji easily evaded Renka's retort. And then, she laughed at the suggestion and nodded.
「Of course. Okay, I'll make you a steak! So, follow me!」
「Yes, yes, as you wish」
After a few minutes, Renka removed Shinji's hand from her head and walked towards the exit of the inn. With Shinji followed behind her.
And so, the two of them enjoyed shopping for preparing the dinner.
Renka really enjoyed the shopping alone with him.
And she let her guard down even more.
- Revised on 10/03/2022 -> Fix some words, etc
Edited by Kanaa-senpai
Please rate this series on Novel Updates --> hereThanks for reading.