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Chapter 35 The Returning Elf


 After winning the game with Diana, I told her to give the criminal slave more vegetables and other food items instead of meat.
 Fortunately, the other slaves did not complain about the special treatment of one slave, and the problem was solved for the time being.
 However, if he doesn't eat meat, his nutrition would be unbalanced, and it would be difficult for him to maintain his body if he doesn't find something other than meat to supply protein and so on.
 Or rather, what kind of training and what kind of diet would make his muscles grow to such a large size?
 He can't speak, so there are still many mysteries, but he listens to me and hasn't caused any problems except for not eating meat, so let's put his background aside for the moment.
 
 Since we are still a small settlement and there is not much paperwork to be done, I spend most of the time in the settlement doing whatever I want.
 I wish I could do something with this wasted time, but unfortunately, there is little I can do now.
 Even if I wanted to help out with the settlement, Diana has stopped me from working with other people because of my position as the leader of the settlement group, and I'm really bored because I have too much free time.
 It was when I was taking a random walk in the settlement, thinking that it would be much better to be busy with paperwork.
 The male criminal slave appears from the forest on the south side with his prey in his arms.
 He must have just brought back his catch, and as I turned my legs toward him, thinking that I had nothing better to do than to say a few words of thanks, I spotted a familiar figure in the shadow of the man's huge body.
 
**a
 "Is that Lewya-san?"
 
 It was Lewya-san, the elf I had protected in this settlement before.
 Lewya-san was the one who was sent to watch over this settlement that had been built near the elves' village, and she had returned to the village once to report the situation.
 It has been only about three weeks since then, but the reason why I feel nostalgic is because I had been feeling bored with my days in the settlement.
 
 I'm sorry to say it, but I was so bored that I decided it was a good time for me to walk up to them and say to them joyfully.
 
 "Good job on the hunt, it's been a while for you too, Lewya-san."
 "(Nod)"
 "I-Isn't it Neil-dono? It's been a while."
 
 Hmm? Oh, she is Lewya-san, isn't she?
 Her tone is a little stiff or strange, but I called her "Lewya-san" and she replied "It's been a while", so it must be her, hmm?
 
 "Um, Lewya-san? What's wrong with you?"
 "No, nothing's wrong (arimasenwa)?"
 
 Why the question? I mean, why is she saying "nothing (arimasenwa)" like a young lady?
 Lewya-san is acting so funny that I'm tilting my head and wondering what's the cause of her behavior.
 Is she acting in such an awe-inspiring manner because of the eyes of others?
 I think that only a nobleman in the same position would talk with a nobleman as an equal, and that Lewya-san is acting like this in order to avoid being exposed by others who might get the wrong idea.
 
 "Lewya-san, why are we standing around, let's talk inside the mansion..."
 "U-umu, thank you for your hospitality."
 
 I don't like her tone.
 Still, I let Lewya-san to the parlor while I almost burst out into laughter at her strange language.
 
**b
 "Please sit down, you must be tired after walking through the forest."
 "Thank you very much for your concern."
 "Pfft, don't worry about your tone, I'm the only one here now."
 "No, it can't be like that. Neil-dono is the leader of this settlement."
 
 What? The other people's eyes are gone, but her usual tone doesn't come back.
 Does that mean that the eyes don't matter?
 As I was tilting my head again, Diana came into the waiting room with a cup of tea after knocking on the door and saying excuse me.
 
 "Thank you Diana, by the way, I'd like you to take a look at something."
 "Yes?"
 "Lewya-san, it's a beautiful sunny day today, isn't it?"
 "Yes, it's a clear blue sky today and I'm more than happy to meet Neil-dono on such a day."
 "What do you think, Diana?"
 "The value of happiness is very low."
 
 That's not what I'm trying to say.
 
 "She's been like this since we met today. I don't know why. I'm at a loss."
 "Why don't you ask her about it?"
 
 That's right, so I decided to ask her a direct question.
 
 "Lewya-san, why are you acting so serious?"
 "Because, as I said before, Neil-dono is the leader of this settlement. It's only natural to show respect to the leader."
 
 No seriously, I don't understand anything about this.
 
 "I see... I understand..."
 "Oh, now you understand!?"
 "Is there anything else I don't understand?"
 "Rather, you don't understand anything."
 
**c
 If it is because I am the leader of this settlement, it has been so from the beginning. When I really don't understand why her attitude has suddenly changed so much, Diana starts to explain to me as if she has no choice.
 
 "Listen, unlike the last time we rescued you, this time you came here of your own will, Lewya-sama. Is that right?"
 "Yes."
 "Last time, Master Neil proposed a deal and Lewya-sama, you couldn't make the decision on your own, so you brought it up once and the elves came to some kind of a decision and this is how you told us about it."
 "Well, I wouldn't have come all the way here otherwise."
 "In other words, unlike the previous personal encounter, this time Lewya-sama came here as a messenger to convey the conclusion."
 
 Ah, I see, now that she said that, I understand.
 In short, this time she is here as a messenger to deliver the reply on behalf of the Elves, so I guess Lewya-san is using honorifics in her own way to make herself look like a messenger, but... well, her honorifics are so bad that she doesn't look like a messenger at all.
 
 "Well, Lewya-san, you don't have to be so tense as a messenger, okay?"
 "No, as a representative of our village... I can't act without embarrassment..."
 "I'm sorry to say this but your honorifics are so strange that it's embarrassing to be honest."
 "What!?"
 
 Lewya-san's eyes widen at my quip, and she breaks her straightened back and puts her hands on the table as if hanging down.
 
 "Even though I've spent the night learning human language from the elders, this is ridiculous..."
 "That's why you shouldn't use honorifics."
 "...Then, I will do so"
 
 I guess Lewya-san thought it would be better to use the usual tone of voice than to use strange honorifics.
 Then, as soon as she changed her tone, Lewya-san was sitting there looking the same as before.
 
**a
 "Once again, it's been a while, haven't you two changed at all?"
 "As you can see, Diana and I have not changed at all... Well, not really..."
 "Did I just hear a strange pause?"
 "It's just your imagination."
 
 I can't say, "I change Diana's ass sensitivity!" So I try to cover it up.
 
 "Is there any change in Lewya-san's condition?"
 "Yes, as you can see, I'm in good physical condition too, thanks for your help when I was injured."
 
 From there, we enjoy a friendly chat over a cup of tea, and after giving each other a brief update on what we have been up to, we get down to business.
 
 "Now, it's time for me to do my duty as a messenger. The reason I am here, of course, Neil, is to reply to your proposal regarding the business deal."
 
 Lewya-san speaks up with a mysterious look on her face, and I get caught up in the atmosphere and straighten my back to listen to what she says.
 
 "Let me conclude by saying that we elves cannot easily accept this deal."
 "I see, I guess so."
 
 Well, I don't expect a mysterious race that has been out of touch with humans for hundreds of years to be so eager to take up a deal like that.
 
 "Wait, wait, wait. I'm not saying we can't make a deal."
 "What do you mean?"
 "The elders have discussed it, Neil, and it's our opinion that we can trust you personally for now. But since we trust you, but not the people, the Elders have ordered me to stay with Neil and observe the people for the time being."
 "Eh, you mean..."
 "Well, I've made a unilateral decision without consulting you, but I was wondering if you'd be willing to let me stay here in the settlement."
 
 Lewya-san's words made me think hard.
 I was glad that they trusted me personally, and I was willing to accept their proposal as much as possible in order to build a friendly relationship with them, but I couldn't accept their proposal so easily.
 What is more, Lewya-san's presence in this settlement would risk the others finding out Lewya-san's true identity.
 If she wears a robe and hides her ears all the time, she will not be easily exposed, but there is no guarantee that the robe will not come off by some chance and she will be found out.
 When I could not nod my head easily, thinking about the possibility of being discovered in the elven frontier, Diana expressed her opinion.
 
**b
 "I don't think it will be a problem and I'm sure that I won't be exposed so easily."
 "What makes you say that? If anyone were to see your distinctive elven ears, you'd be exposed in an instant."
 
 When I pointed this out, not only Diana but also Lewya-san tilted her head curiously.
 
 "Master Neil, what you just said, could you look at Lewya-san and say it again?"
 "What? No, I mean, the elves' distinctive ears―"
 
 What? Is it my optical illusion? Lewya-san's ears, which were supposed to be long, are now the same shape as ours.
 
 "Huh? Heh? Why? When did that happen?"
 "Don't say 'when,' but Lewya-sama's ears have been like this since I saw her today."
 "And more to the point, my ears were like this when I heard that you were going to capture the runaway slaves."
 "...really?"
 
 Perhaps she had cast a spell to change the shape of her ears or made them look like that, but I had never noticed it until she told me.
 
 "I'm surprised, I thought you would have noticed."
 "Master Neil doesn't look people in the face when he talks to them. It's hard for him to notice such changes."
 "Ugh."
 
 In fact, when I talk to others, I only look at their mouths, and it is hard for me to notice changes in others, such as makeup or hairstyle changes, so I can't argue with that statement.
 
 Although there was no guarantee that she would never be found out, it was agreed that it was unlikely that she would be found out at this stage, and Lewya-san was to stay in my settlement for a while.

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Edited Kanaa-senpai.
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