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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Chapter 8 Renka, Shaken Heart

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 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.
 Renka woke up early in the morning, as she usually did. She woke up, but 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. That's how bad it was...)
 I was shaken up, and I was supposed to be wary of the trap, but I got caught in it. I'm depressed by my failure as a ranger. Because I knew each other, I had to keep our cool. I should have known this in my head.
(I have to make sure this doesn't happen again. Shinji also told me to do my best next time.)
 I suddenly remembered that Shinji had put his hand on my head. A big man's hand. It was the first time I had been touched by anyone other than Alvin. It was an unusual action for Shinji, who kept an appropriate distance, I thought.
 The touch was gentle, and my confused head immediately calmed down. Thinking back on it now, I don't feel bad at all. Rather, I would like to be petted by him again, this time...
(What am I thinking? No, no, no! That's the kind of thing you do in an emergency.
 I rolled from side to side on the bed to disguise the fantasy that came up.
 And then, I thought.
(Alvin, you were still cool...)
 I remembered his back as he stood alone against the hordes of goblins. My heart fluttered at the sight of his bravery as he wielded his large sword in all directions to annihilate the goblins. I was desperately shooting my bow during the battle, so I couldn't get a good look at him, but it was still the same brave figure I knew from the past. 
(I've put both Alvin and Milis in danger... I should do something to apologize!"
 She pondered for a while. 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. 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, so 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! Make that for me. Hometown soup!"
"Okay, I'll put the soup on the menu. I'll ask Shinji if he's available. Even if Shinji doesn't like it, the three of us can eat it together. 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.
 When someone reach the rank of upper-middle, there will be a lot of women who want to become the second wife. The law of this country stipulates that a man can marry and have 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.
(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, I'll see you later."
 Saying goodbye to Alvin with a fluttering wave, Renka headed to <Hidden Dragon Inn> where Shinji was staying.
 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.
 "Ma'am! I'm going to call guests from their rooms, so please go to the reception desk!" While saying that, she went to the back of the inn. Renka looked after 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, yeah."
 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." 
"Yes, please."
 After bowing lightly to Charlotte's mother, Renka was led by Charlotte to Shinji's room.
 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!"
"Thank you."
 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 replied, "That's true, too."
"I'm sorry for the trouble I caused yesterday. I'd like to apologize, but I wanted to treat everyone to dinner this evening. I'll make it for you... if that you want it"
 Renka spoke timidly, looking at Shinji's face. 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. I think 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, I'll do my best next time. 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.
"Hey, you don't have to apologize! It couldn't be helped! And I didn't mind at all! It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I wanted you to stroke me more!"
 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. 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, you know. I also try to do that."
"Hhm...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 sister cooks for me. I like beef, do you think it will be on the menu? Do you need help with the luggage?"
 Shinji easily evaded Renka's retort. Rather, she laughed at the suggestion and nodded.
"Of course. I'll make you a steak! I'll make it for you, so follow me!"
"Yes, yes, as you wish."
 After a few minutes, Renka left Shinji's hand and walked towards the exit of the inn. Shinji followed.
 The two of them enjoyed shopping for food.
 Renka really enjoyed the shopping alone with him.
   She let her guard down even more.
Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.

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