Chapter 185 Ronim’s True Feelings
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
”It took quite a while…”
In front of a room in an inn in the pioneer town, I muttered to myself. After parting ways with Zora, I immediately headed to the inn, but the current pioneer town had increased the number of inns to accommodate the large number of visitors. The sincere dwarf people were staying in different inns, so it took time to find out which inn Ronim-san was staying in.
”Ronim-san, it’s Neil.”
I knocked on the door and called out, but there was no response from inside the room. I thought maybe he wasn’t in the room, so I tried to sense his magic, but I felt magic inside the room, so it seemed like he was simply pretending not to be there.
I tried to confirm if the doorknob would turn, but the door was securely locked. I knew he was inside the room, and I thought about talking to him through the door, but it wasn’t a conversation to be had in the hallway of an inn where anyone could hear.
After a little hesitation, I decided to throw words that Ronim-san couldn’t ignore.
”Zora knew that Viscount Hedmar and his wife are her real parents.”
At that moment, I heard a sound like something falling from inside the room, and at the same time as the sound of the key unlocking, the door was forcefully opened and Ronim-san jumped out, grabbing my collar.
”Did you tell Zora!?”
”N-No! Zora, who came to pick up Ronim-san, happened to run into them. When Zora saw them, she had a surprised look on her face and ran away from the scene. So I chased after her and asked for the reason, and she told me!”
”What…? Why did Zora…”
Facing a stunned Ronim-san, I spoke in a calm tone.
”For now, could you let me in the room? It’s not something that should be heard by others, and I also have something to talk to you about Zora.”
When I said that, Ronim-san stared at my face in silence for a while, but suddenly let go of my collar he was holding and turned around.
”Come in already.”
Following Ronim-san, who entered the room with unsteady steps, I also entered the room, but there were a large number of empty bottles rolling on the floor. Did he drink this much alcohol since leaving the mansion?
Even if he’s a dwarf, it’s unreasonable to drink like that and not get drunk. Ronim-san, who sat heavily on the floor, had a completely sober look in his eyes.
”Hey, don’t just sit there, sit down quickly.”
”Um, excuse me.”
I moved the rolling bottles aside and sat facing Ronim-san, who handed me a bottle of alcohol without saying a word.
”Drink, we’ll talk after that.”
I tried to refuse, but I couldn’t resist the pressure from Ronim-san and reluctantly took the bottle and took a sip of the alcohol.
The strong alcoholic taste and unique aftertaste made me feel like I was going to vomit, but I managed to swallow it.
”Well, this cheap alcohol doesn’t taste good after all. Well, I’m not drinking it because I think it’s delicious.”
”Uh… then why this alcohol?”
”When times like this come, I can’t get by without getting drunk. But if I drink good alcohol at times like this, it just ruins the taste, so I’m drinking this cheap and bad-tasting alcohol from the beginning.”
Ronim-san took the bottle of alcohol from me and drank the remaining contents without savoring it.
”Phew… this is really bad-tasting alcohol.”
”If you drink like that, you’ll ruin your body, Ronim-san.”
”Hmph, a weak body that can’t handle this level of alcohol won’t do.”
Ronim-san reached for a new bottle of alcohol that was placed beside him, poured about half of it into his stomach without savoring it, and stared at me with a settled gaze.
”So, what do you want to talk about? If it’s about getting back together, I don’t want to hear it anymore.”
”Putting that aside for now, there’s something I want to confirm with Ronim-san.”
”Something you want to confirm?”
”What do you really think about Viscount Hedmar?”
In response to my question, Ronim-san laughed through his nose as if saying, “What does it matter now?”
”Well, it’s nothing. That guy just an imperial nobleman I avoid.”
”Then let me change the way I ask. What did you think before meeting Viscount Hedmar?”
”Nothing changed. He is an imperial nobleman——”
”——If that’s the case, why did you confront him like that? Ronim-san is a dwarf, but he never showed any hostility towards imperial nobles. If you thought of Viscount Hedmar as an imperial nobleman, you wouldn’t have acted like that, right?”
Since meeting Viscount Hedmar, I had been curious about Ronim-san’s behavior. Ronim-san is a dwarf, but unlike other dwarves, he doesn’t harbor any hostility towards imperial nobles.
As evidence, he didn’t show any hostility towards me when we first met. Even if he disliked imperial nobles, his stance was that it didn’t matter as long as he didn’t get involved. But it seemed like he intentionally confronted Viscount Hedmar.
”It’s not just because you avoided him until you met face to face. It’s not because you didn’t want to acknowledge a friend who became an imperial noble. It’s because you didn’t want to see the changed appearance of a friend. Ronim-san, what do you think of Viscount Hedmar——”
Ronim-san’s angry voice shook the entire inn, interrupting my words.
”I don’t need you to tell me that! Who would want to see the changed appearance of a friend willingly!”
Ronim-san shouted with all his strength, causing the bottle in his hand to crack, but then he suddenly drooped and weakly uttered his words.
”I was scared to admit that the man I knew was no longer there. I was afraid of hating my friend… That’s why I confronted Viscount Hedmar. Because I didn’t want to admit the truth…”
”So, you confronted him because you didn’t want to admit the truth?”
”…Yes, we’ve been friends since we were kids. I was an uncontrollable troublemaker back then, but he was just as bad. We used to fight all the time, but even though we were just kids, the difference in our physical abilities as a dwarf and a human made it impossible for it to be a fair fight. But he was stubborn, no matter how many times I beat him down, he would get up, and in the end, I was the one who gave up.”
”What were you fighting about?”
”It’s something from the past, I don’t remember anymore. And in a kid’s fight, if it’s not memorable, it probably wasn’t a big reason. What was more important was that we became the only friends who could be honest with each other. It was really fun back then… Even after becoming friends, we still fought, but he was the only one I could take seriously.”
When he met Viscount Hedmar, he was so confrontational. Ronim-san wanted him to come at him seriously, just like in the past. He wanted to believe that despite their changed positions, he was still the same inside, just like when they were friends.
But reality was cruel. Viscount Hedmar never responded to those feelings. He kept hiding his true self as an imperial noble and only returned Ronim-san’s words in a detached manner.
It was sad and frustrating for Ronim-san. It was hard for him to see his changed best friend, so he ran away from that situation, accepting that his friend was no longer there.
”Was it okay for you, Ronim-san?”
”It’s neither good nor bad. That’s the result, and that’s all. The man I knew is no longer anywhere.”
”With just that exchange, we still don’t know. Viscount Hedmar says he wants to reconcile. Maybe he wants to go back to being Viscount Hedmar like before, just like Ronim-san.”
”With that attitude? Well, that’s wishful thinking. Most likely, he just wants to connect with a sincere dwarf like me, and I’m just an excuse.”
In front of Ronim-san, who seemed to have given up on everything, my thoughts were not focused on coming up with a response to that, but rather on something else.
”…Ronim-san, may I ask you a question?”
”What is it? Don’t hold back with that strangely serious face. If you have something to ask, just ask.”
”Well, it’s a question, but why do the imperial nobles cling to the sincere dwarves?”
Silence filled the room in an instant, and Ronim-san blinked repeatedly, tilting his head as if to confirm the truth, peering into my face.
”What are you talking about? Imperial nobles, you say? You can’t possibly be saying you don’t know?”
”I’m sorry, but that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
”…Are you serious?”
”I am serious.”
After staring at each other for about ten seconds, Ronim-san seemed to realize that I was serious, and he suddenly doubled over laughing.
”Hahaha! I never dreamed that there would be an imperial noble so indifferent to us! So, what does that mean? Did you request our services without knowing anything about us?”
”Huh? Uh, well, at first it was through Gibbett-san’s introduction, and since then, it was simply because the construction was fast and the work was meticulous. If you’re willing to take it, there’s no need to look for another firm, and to be honest, it’s just… convenient.”
”Convenient, huh? Haha, you really make me laugh.”
While Ronim-san laughed heartily, I couldn’t understand what was so funny and had a puzzled expression. Then, as the waves of laughter subsided, Ronim-san straightened his back and looked straight at me.
”…Alright, fine. It’s not a pleasant story, but I’ll tell you. About the sincere dwarves – no, about my ancestors and the imperial nobles.”
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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