Chapter 115 The Five of Us Together
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Upon my return to the frontier, I soon received concerning news from Lewya. Just before sunset, when most people had already retired to their accommodations or the cafeteria after a day’s work, a group of five individuals was spotted from the northern part of the settlement, scouting the area from the forest nearby. These individuals were of unknown origin, and had no uniform equipment. It was unlikely that they were foolish enough to wear anything that would reveal their identity while participating in illicit activities.
At this point, Lewya discreetly strolled around the settlement to verify the intruders’ presence without raising suspicion. However, they remained hidden in the bushes and Lewya was unable to visually confirm their location.
It was in the dead of night, when everyone had gone to bed, that the group made their move. They circled the forest, heading toward the farmland. As suspected, they were after the out-of-season crops that Gibbett-san had mentioned to us previously. Lewya once again went out on a walk to check their movements, this time crossing the farmland. The group, however, was sensitive to the presence of humans and had already disappeared into the woods.
”Hmm, they seem to be moving carefully to avoid detection. Maybe they don’t mean to stir up trouble.”
”What should we do then, Neil? Should we have Gaadhir keep an eye on the farmland?”
”No, suddenly posting guards on the farmland would raise suspicions and might let on that we know of their presence. If they give up and leave, that’s great. But if not, then it’ll be bothersome.”
”I see… If they suspect that we know of their activities, they might resort to more aggressive measures.”
”Fortunately, they’re unlikely to find any useful information by investigating the farmland. We could let them keep digging while we observe and gather more intelligence.”
”So, we leave them alone?”
”Normally, we should take action, but we don’t want to risk a fight if that is the last resort.”
Our group of four, consisting of myself, Diana, Lewya, and Gaadhir-san, are pitted against five unidentified individuals. Not only are we outnumbered, but we are also pure combatants with no experience, so if the opponent is skilled, we have no chance of winning. Though, in the event of a commotion, Ronim-san and the trained slaves, as well as Wen, may join the fray, but it’s unreasonable to rely on them solely for combat.
”For now, I’ll talk to Gaadhir-san and have him pretend he didn’t see anything if they’re found during patrol.”
”Why not tell the others?”
”If they know there are suspicious people outside the colony, they’ll become anxious, and they may begin to keep an eye on the colony, and the other party may even become aware of our knowledge of their presence. It’s best to just inform Gaadhir-san for now and leave it be.”
After coming to the conclusion that there is nothing we can do about the suspicious group that is lurking around the colony, I leave the office and hurry to Diana’s side, who is guiding Niya-san and the others. While the situation calls for prioritizing Lewya’s report, being careless and ignoring Diana is a clumsy move on my part. As we search through the colony, considering the possibility that Niya-san and the others may have asked strange questions, we come across Diana and Niya-san and the others at the inn under construction. There are also Sincere Dwarves around, and they seem to be talking about something. As we wait for the conversation to end while peeking from a distance, Diana catches my eye. The other members also become aware of my presence unintentionally, causing me to shrink with discomfort as I quickly make my way towards Diana.
”When did you arrive, Master Neil?”
”About three minutes ago.”
”You should have called out to us.”
”I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation.”
I’m not very good at socializing, so it was difficult for me to interrupt their conversation.
”Then, what’s going on?”
”I was just wondering how much of the settlement Diana had already shown the group.”
I can’t tell Diana that I’m keeping an eye to make sure she doesn’t do anything unusual, so I quickly make up an excuse.
”I’ve already shown them everything on the outskirts. I just need to show them the dining hall.”
”Okay, I’ll guide them there.”
”No, Master Neil, I can take care of it.”
”Everyone will be finishing work soon, and they’ll need to report to you. You won’t be able to do that if you’re showing Niya-san and the others around.”
”I understand, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything.”
Still, I pushed Diana’s back forcibly and separated her from Niya-san. Then, Diana took a deep breath and said, “Okay… I understand. I’ll leave them to be guided by Master Neil. Well then…” Saying only that, Diana left the scene. Was I too forceful? Diana seemed quite displeased in her parting look. But she couldn’t have figured out my intentions, right? As I was worrying about that, I overheard a conversation from some Sincere Dwarf people behind me.
”Wow, what a youth. I had times like that too.”
”Yeah, once you’ve held a woman, it’s easy to get carried away. I remember trying to impress but only failing miserably.”
Huh? Is there another misunderstanding happening? Is it possible that Niya-san changed guides to show her good points? Wait, maybe Diana wasn’t displeased because she figured out my intentions…
”No! It’s not like that! I didn’t mean it that way!”
As I understood that I was once again misunderstood, I fervently tried to deny it.
* * *
Finally, without being able to clear the misunderstanding, I was sent off with interesting looks from Sincere Dwarf people.
”Ahaha, Master Neil is quite an interesting person,” Iko laughed.
” I’m sorry for what Iko did,” Niya apologized.
”No, it’s okay, Niya-san. If anything, I’m glad you can laugh it off too.”
At least I’m not being looked at with those eyes of Sincere Dwarf. If Niya-san was looking at me with those eyes, I would probably lock myself in my room and not come out for a while. While pondering that thought, I noticed that I had arrived right in front of the dining hall that was our destination.
”Well, we have arrived. This place is the dining hall,” I tell everyone.
”The dining hall is huge! I had heard it was a small canteen of a small settlement, so I was expecting something much smaller,” said one of the girls.
”Large establishments can serve a dual purpose,” I say, addressing her concerns about the size of the eatery. “However, when we actually built it, it became clear that the restaurant was too spacious in comparison to the number of visitors, giving off an eerily deserted feeling. And although it’s a little early, would you like to have a meal? I would like to thank you for your time with a treat. Narsht-san is the head chef here, and before joining us, he used to work for the Atmiras family as a cook. So, believe me – his cooking skills are flawless,” I offer.
”Thanks for the treat!” Momoka exclaim in unison.
”My compliments to the chef!” Iko continue.
My offer is met with a beaming smile from the girls. But Niya-san is not that enthusiastic and declines the offer of food.
”Master Neil, thank you very much for the kind offer. However, considering Ronald is keeping an eye on my carriage, I cannot leave him deserted,” she explains.
”Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Ronald-san cannot leave the carriage alone until you return,” I recall.
”Therefore, would it be possible for you to treat four people to a meal, without me?” Niya-san asked
”Wait, Niya, are you once again holding back?”
”That’s right. If you go back to the carriage to keep watch, then the rest of us will go back together.”
”It’s no good to leave someone out…”
”I’ll pass on the feast and endure.”
”You all aren’t planning on disregarding the generosity of Master Neil, are you?” Niya asked.
”If you’re going to say that, then isn’t it the same for you, Niya?”
” That’s why I’m asking you guys to take my place.” Niya replied.
The five of them who care for one another cannot compromise, so I had believed that I, as an outsider, had no right to interfere. However, a solution suddenly came to my mind. “I was wondering if it would be alright to bring chairs and a table to the side of your carriages and have a meal there?”
”Uh, is that okay?” Niya said.
”Yes, if it’s alright with everyone.”
It’s not particularly inconvenient for us to eat outside. Although the facilities in the dining room have been improving lately, we are still in the situation where we prepare the food in the mansion’s kitchen and bring it to the dining room. So, setting up a table next to the mansion and carrying the food there isn’t a big deal. When I explain that it’s even easier for the servers because it’s closer than the dining hall, Niya-san and the others accept my proposal.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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