Chapter 17 — The Captain of the Royal Knights is supposed to have a fiancée…10
Two days later, the only guest left in the inn was Jio. Ruth, who was completely idle, immediately left the inn to find something to do. Just as he stepped outside, he spotted a package, probably delivered by a messenger on horseback.
“Ah, it’s for Maxim.”
The messenger left the package in front of the inn. It was wrapped in a cloth about fifty centimeters wide and judging from how solid it felt, Ruth believed there was a box inside. The sender was from a town bigger than Hashi Village and generally took three days on foot to travel there. But, if one were to use speed magic on a horse, it wouldn’t even take half a day to arrive.
“Since it doesn’t seem to be anything perishable, would it be okay if I give it to him when he comes back?”
“But it was a special delivery, right? Also, Sir Maxim might have asked for a weapon to use for the demon hunt since that town is renowned for their weapons.”
After Celine said that, Ruth headed to the village chief’s house, where Maxim and the others were, to deliver the package to him as soon as possible. After explaining the situation, he was led to a room in the back of the house. There, they were discussing amongst themselves while looking at the map on top of the table with Maxim as the center of attention, surrounded by the knights, Rossa, the village chief, Father, and the village’s important personages.
(Up until last year, it was always Alec who stood in that spot…)
Even though someone as powerful as the Captain of the Royal Knights came this year, Ruth couldn’t help but feel slightly uneasy without that certain someone here.
“Ruth, what’s the matter?”
Rossa noticed his son and called out to him. For Ruth, who found it a little hard to intrude because Alec wasn’t there, being noticed really saved him a lot of trouble.
Maxim came out after Ruth told them that he had a special delivery for him. At the same time, it seems like they were going to take a quick break and the people who were gathered around the table were now crowding to the teapot in the corner of the room.
“I requested it two days ago, but it already arrived, huh?”
Apparently, he used the horses from the Golas’ household in the village to get in contact with the town nearby. Considering the fact that even some villagers forget about those services, Ruth was impressed with Maxim’s efficiency to understand and properly use the resources available in the village.
Maxim took the package from Ruth and put it on top of a desk in the corner of the room. He took off the cloth on the package revealing an expensive-looking box. Ruth looked as if he was asking if he could see it, and Maxim unwrapped it unabashedly as if saying, “Of course.” Moreover, Rossa and the knights noticed them and made a commotion as they approached.
“It looks like there’s something really expensive in there.”
“Captain, isn’t this from that weapon shop…”
“You bought something from there again?”
All the knights spoke at once about the box, but Maxim didn’t pay them any mind as he immediately opened it up.
Inside of it was a large knife. There was a jewel in the middle of the knife sheath and was finely crafted. No one would’ve thought it was something used for practical purposes. Maxim held the knife in his hands and removed the sheath to check the blade.
“Mm, excellent craftsmanship.”
The details on the blade were fairly normal in comparison to the sheath. There were some designs on it, but the knife itself still maintained the aura of a weapon. If the blade had jewels encrusted on it, one would definitely wonder what purpose that object even served, but as it was, it didn’t look like it was supposed to be used as any sort of decoration.
Maxim gave the knife a brief look over and then showed a satisfied smile. He put it back into the sheath and, for some reason, held it out in front of Ruth.
Ruth looked up in bewilderment and Maxim readily held it out for him even more.
“Previously, you lost your knife when you came to save me, yes? While this may just be a replacement, please use it. It is a bit extravagant, but it should be more durable than your knife from before.”
“I hope you can accept it as a proof of my esteem for you, Lady Ruth.”
Maxim stared at Ruth with a sweet smile on his face.
The knights around them lowered their voices while saying stuff like, “Go for it, Captain,” or “Don’t back down now,” or “You can do it” to cheer for him. Maxim, who should’ve heard all of that as well, looked slightly embarrassed and didn’t seem like he had any intention to deny it. However, Rossa standing behind him looked ghastly pale while vehemently shaking his head. That was his way of signalling this was an emergency.
Even Ruth, who’s been told how dense he is a million times by Alec, knew that he shouldn’t accept the gift.
(Ahhhhhh, dammit! It’s because I never told him I’m a guy that this happened…!)
It bothered him a bit when Maxim called him a “goddess” or “beautiful” during their first meeting, but he thought that it was just a noble’s peculiar way of complimenting others and so he just brushed it off. Ruth wasn’t that simple-minded to immediately believe the flattering words from someone from the city. He’s always been aware of how good looking he was from the beginning so despite the numerous times he’s been mistaken for a girl, he never thought that a man would get this serious about him.
However, that led to his downfall. He was completely blind to how Maxim was becoming more and more serious about pursuing him. He more or less thought, “Somehow Maxim’s attitude has changed since our first meeting~” but he just ended up chalking it up to how they always normally get along.
“Lady Ruth, will you please accept it? Even after this has passed, I hope our relationship can still contin–”
“U-Um, Maxim. Can I talk with you for a little? Preferably just the two of us.”
When he saw Maxim nodding with nervousness in his face, but somehow seemingly full of anticipation, Ruth repeatedly apologized inside his heart as he left the village chief’s house. He then took Maxim to a less crowded place and turned around to face him.
“Um, Lady Ruth, what are we doing in such a place–”
“Maxim. I am truly sorry. But, I will make this clear.”
“I am a man.”
“I will say it again. I am a man. Therefore, I cannot accept that knife.”
He heard a silly voice come out of Maxim, who was always serious and confident when speaking. Ruth, who closed his eyes, looked up to see Maxim’s pale face with confusion and surprise written all over him.
“S-Surely you are joking, right? You are a man?”
“I apologize, but it’s true… I’m truly sorry for not telling you about it until now.”
Ruth deeply bowed his head and in front of him, Maxim had a sad expression on his face.
“… Is this an indirect way of telling me you cannot be in a relationship with me?”
“That’s not it. I really am a man.”
“Or is it because you have someone else that you’re rejecting me this way.”
“As I said…”
Ruth felt increasingly more guilty when seeing Maxim persistently refusing to believe that he’s a man. But it wasn’t like he didn’t understand how he felt. Confessing to someone of the opposite gender, but finding out that they’re actually the same gender as you. No one would want to believe that.
Ruth let out a deep sigh and began to unbutton his shirt. Maxim raised his voice in bewilderment as he promptly opened up his shirt in front of him.
“Do you understand now that I am not a woman?”
Ruth showed his chest to Maxim, who had stiffened up with his eyes wide open. Of course, he only had the upper body that was built through hunting and he didn’t have the thing that all women have, i.e. breasts. While Alec seemed pretty thin when wearing clothes, he originally had more muscles than Rossa. And so for Ruth to keep up with Alec to that degree, it would mean that he has the power to do so. As one would expect, there shouldn’t be anyone who would look at this body and think that he’s just a flat-chested girl.
“…Will you believe now when I say that I am a man?”
“Guh! Y-Yes! I understand! T-That’s why, your shirt! Please cover up!”
Maxim, who was staring at Ruth’s body, yelled out with a beet-red face while turning his face away. And so, he hurriedly told Ruth to cover up. Ruth thought that he must have not wanted to look at a man’s body any longer than necessary so he obediently buttoned up his shirt.
He then stared at Maxim, who had a hand on his mouth as he looked away.
(And here I thought we were getting along so well too…)
However, it’ll be hard to nurture a friendship at this rate. He’ll definitely avoid him or just straight up reject him from tomorrow onward. Ruth’s chest began to hurt when he thought about that, but these are the consequences of his mistakes.
As Ruth’s mind was filled with regrets, he bowed his head for a second time.
“I truly am so sorry. I did not mean to deceive you. I just always missed the right time to tell you…”
“…That is all right. I too am to blame for carelessly misunderstanding. In fact, I apologize for often treating you as a woman. It must have been uncomfortable for you, La… Sir Ruth.”
Ruth was moved by how virtuous and respectable Maxim was. In this situation, it wouldn’t surprise Ruth if he had even cursed at him, but Maxim was even worried about hurting Ruth’s feelings. He didn’t think anyone could react like that.
Ruth had a gaze full of respect directed towards the amazingly saintly Maxim and as a deep sigh fell out of Maxim’s mouth after he cleared his throat, he finally made eye contact with Ruth.
“However, that is a different matter separate from this.”
After he said that, Maxim reached behind him and pulled out the large knife he always carries with him from his waist. Ruth stiffened up from suddenly seeing the blade of the knife being drawn and Maxim promptly turned it around with the handle facing Ruth.
“At the very least, please take this.”
“I understand that you will not accept that jewelled knife. Certainly, it is difficult to say it can be used for practical situations and it is far too extravagant as a gift of gratitude. In addition, my feelings are surely too heavy to bear.”
“Therefore, please accept the knife that I regularly use instead. This is a first-class weapon solely focused on battle efficiency. Considering Lad… Sir Ruth’s fighting style, you should be able to skillfully adapt it to your style.”
Ruth looked at him with a bewildered expression and Maxim had a slightly bitter smile.
“It is true that you had lost your knife when you saved me. Therefore, please take it. There is no other intention involved with this other than Maxim Calafanti’s deep gratitude towards Ruth Brau.”
It was an awkward attempt, but Maxim softly smiled at him and Ruth felt all of the tension built up in his body finally melt away. And so, he took the knife that was held out in front of him.
The whole knife was about fifty centimeters, slightly bigger than his previous knife, but it was significantly lighter. The blade was also sharper and there were absolutely no bends either. The moment he held it in his hand, it was emitting a silent aura that showed its high conductivity to magic. Although the handle was a bit rustic, it was also carefully crafted so its shape perfectly fit into his hand.
“For a knife this excellent, is it really okay?”
“I do not mind. In fact, I feel like it’s not enough as thanks for saving my life. By all means please use it.”
Ruth smiled back at Maxim’s cheerful face.
“Thank you, Maxim. I will treasure it.”
Ruth thanked him from the bottom of his heart and Maxim made a slightly perplexed expression. However, Ruth’s heart was jumping with joy at the sight of his new knife so he didn’t pay attention to that.
Afterward, Ruth headed to the village square in search of work and parted ways with Maxim, who was heading back to the village chief’s house.
Maxim gazed at Ruth’s disappearing back and unconsciously muttered under his breath, “Goddess.”
MARY: FINALLY!!! FINALLY!!! It feels so good to type ‘Sir Ruth’ LOL. Anyways, thanks for waiting and please support the author here! As always, let me know if y’all see any mistakes!
By the way, I’m so sorry if any of y’all commented on any of the previous chapters in regards to correcting stuff and I haven’t responded/hella late in responding. Notifications for comments are kinda wonky, but I’ll do my best to check every so often ‘3’