Chapter 12.1 — The Captain of the Royal Knights is supposed to have a fiancée…5
When Ruth returned to the inn, the knights were already eating.
In the first floor lobby of the Brau’s inn was a dining hall. Behind the kitchen area is the storehouse and the Brau family’s dwelling, so the guests generally gather in the dining hall. Other places in the village square serve food as well, but because it’s a small village, very few provide late-night meals. Thus, when nightfall hits, the inn gets crowded with people coming in for dinner. Since the knights were tired from their journey, dinner was served earlier for them.
“Lady Ruth, did you just return?”
“Ah, yes. Glad to see you back too, Maxim.”
Maxim happily laughed as he entered from the front of the inn and waved his hand towards Ruth. Ruth was caught off guard by Maxim’s excitement, but he politely smiled and waved back. The other guests who knew that Ruth was a male were surprised at Maxim’s words, but apart from that, they pretended that they didn’t hear anything.
The fact that Maxim was here meant that he had already finished his talk with the village chief. As Ruth greeted them, he approached the boisterous group of knights.
“Hello everyone, how is the food?”
“The meat especially is amazing!”
“The bath was great too. This is an excellent inn.”
“Thank you for your kind words.”
Ruth’s mother, Celine, has been renowned in the village for her delicious cooking, but it looks like it was also enough to satisfy the refined palate of people from the Royal Capital. While noticing the knight’s empty cups, Ruth was about to ask for more alcohol until he noticed Celine behind the counter looking troubled in front of an old man with a backpack.
As Ruth finished attending the knights, he headed towards the counter where the frail old man with white hair and a thick white beard stood with a gentle smile on his face. Ruth reflexively smiled when realizing how much he resembles his dear grandfather from his previous life.
“Good evening and welcome to the inn. Will you be staying over?”
“Hoou~ Such a lovely daughter you have here. If it has come to this, I want to take up on your offer even more…”
As the old man said that, his thick eyebrows that seem to fully cover his eyes began to furrow together. It looks like he’s troubled over something.
For the time being, Ruth held back from wanting to correct him on the misunderstanding and spoke to Celine, who was beside him.
“…Mom, what happened?”
“Welcome back. It’s just…”
After Celine whispered that, she showed Ruth the inn register and surprisingly, all of the rooms were filled.
“The Royal Knights were actually scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and now there are no more empty rooms. The spare rooms are also being used and the living room in our house has all of the Royal Knight’s luggage…”
Since the Brau’s inn was family-run, it wasn’t that big. The maximum would be 10 people, and including the spare rooms, no more than 12 people can stay over. Even though there’s a dungeon nearby, it usually wasn’t a problem since no more than 60 to 80 percent of the rooms would be filled. However, on top of the 6 other guests, all of the Royal Knights ended up staying over as well which lead to overbooking.
“Big brother won’t be coming home for a while, right? Why don’t we use his room?”
“Well, you see… I ended up letting Sir Maxim use that room.”
According to Celine, it looks like Maxim was originally supposed to stay at the village chief’s house, but he came back to the Brau’s inn after discussing it out with his subordinates.
“After hearing about it, how could I let Sir Maxim, who’s a noble, sleep in the same quarters as his subordinates?”
And so, Maxim was led into Clark’s room to stay over. Because Clark’s room doesn’t have much stuff in it and it’s always clean, it didn’t seem to be a problem for the time being. But contemplating the situation, Ruth can’t help but think that Maxim should’ve stayed over at the village chief’s house.
“I have come here to visit my son’s grave, but…perhaps I will have to sleep in the outdoors tonight as well…”
When Ruth heard such lonely words, he felt a pang of pain in his chest. This old man reminded Ruth of his grandfather from his previous life that would always pamper him when his strict father wouldn’t. There was no way he could let him sleep outside.
“What is it?”
“The village chief originally planned for Maxim to stay over, right?”
“Well, yes…wait, perhaps?”
A beautiful smile appeared on Celine’s face after realizing what Ruth wanted to say.
“Can I use that bottle from our storehouse?”
“My, my, of course.”
Ruth took what he was looking for from the storehouse, and went outside to call out to the old man.
“Truthfully, it would’ve been better to have you wait at the inn, but it’s already beginning to get dark.”
“There’s no need to worry about me, young lady. As long as I have a bed to sleep on, I don’t mind walking for a bit.”
The sun began to hide behind the mountains and the lights on the outside of the houses started to lit up. The village was slightly windy and Ruth quickly brought the old man to the village chief’s house.
Ruth was thinking about asking the village chief to take care of the old man for only one night. If it was true that they had prepared accommodations for Maxim to stay over, there’s definitely a room available and likely that they’ve made more than enough food. Ruth knew from the start that the village chief’s house was big enough to have a separate guest room. The old man didn’t look like someone who would steal, so Ruth figured he could negotiate with the village chief on letting him stay for the night. Once morning comes and there are vacant rooms in the inn, then he can stay as a guest.
(Well, if the village chief won’t allow it, the worst-case scenario is that he’ll just have to sleep in my room with me.)
Because it’s a small village, even if there wasn’t an inn, people often offer their homes as shelter from the rain and wind to travelers. As a result of Ruth’s memories from his previous life, he couldn’t believe in such a careless way of thinking at first, but it wasn’t long before he became accustomed to the village’s customs. Besides, of course, one would help another when they were troubled.
“Ah, also Mister–”
“My name is Jio.”
“Then, Jio. I have one request…I’m a male, so I was wondering if you could stop calling me ‘young lady’~”
“…You are a man?”
Jio held his cane and raised his eyebrows in surprise (again, his eyes could not be seen). His small body moved and he began to stare intently at Ruth. He then let out a strange “Ohh” of astonishment as he gripped his cane with both hands.
“By any chance, are you Ruth?”
“Huh? How do you know my name?”
Ruth replied in bewilderment, and Jio nodded this time while quietly mumbling “that shallow fool”1 to himself.
“Why, it’s because of my disciple back home. He had said your name before.”
“Your disciple has mentioned my name before?”
“A foolish disciple he is… I had heard of an innkeeper’s son named Ruth in this village and surely I thought that a son born from such a large man would be quite the brute himself, but… turns out that you looked more like your mother. It’s good to hear that you were born to be such a beauty.”
Ruth quite liked his face, so he doesn’t mind when others say that he looks like a girl or when he’s actually being mistaken for a girl. To begin with, because “looking like a girl” is the same as “having well-defined features” in Ruth’s mind, he doesn’t hold it against them. Ruth was never complimented in his previous life, so he’s happy with whatever he can get.
(Jio’s disciple also stayed at our inn. Not only that, but he also talked about us to his teacher. What an honor~)
As one would expect, Ruth doesn’t remember every traveler who visits the inn, but he would come out to set the tables when Celine is busy preparing the food. And so, he frequently gets asked for his name. Jio’s disciple must’ve been one amongst many.
When others ask for his name, it’s generally when they’ve mistaken him for a girl; but it’s also because of good intentions and friendliness, so he’s glad to hear they spread good words about their inn.
After walking and talking for awhile, they arrived at a place located in the deepest part of the village–the chief’s house. It’s slightly smaller when compared to the Brau’s inn, but it is bigger than the houses in the village.
A female assistant came out when Ruth knocked on the door, but she called Marianne before he could even mention the village chief’s name.
“Oh what, you wanted to talk with Papa?”
“Mhmm. Somehow, she ended up calling for you.”
“I’m sorry, Fanny is quite the scatterbrain. Come in, I’ll take you to Papa.”
Perhaps something good happened as that Marianne’s smile was brighter than usual. Seeing that made Ruth feel a little better. He thought to himself, “Marianne really is cute”. If he hadn’t known that she liked Alec, Ruth would’ve tried to pursue her long ago. But, knowing that Marianne unceasingly like Alec for the past ten years, Ruth didn’t cultivate any romantic feelings for her. In the first place, Ruth always thought he was out of the question since he believed Alec liked Marianne too.
Ehehe ^^;; thank you for waiting! Please (please!) support the author here! There’s some awesome illustrations in there of Alec and Ruth (+ all the other characters!!) And as always, let me know if there’s any mistakes.
I appreciate everyone being so patient with me and I hope to continue spreading the AlecRuth agenda for throughout 2020 too! //speaking of which I’m looking forward to posting the other half of this chapter ( ◡‿◡ *)