After parting with the Princess and Marie, I headed north, to the city's main street.
There I looked for an inn.
At first I tried to find a cheap inn, but then I remembered that Princess Ariarose had given me a lot of money.
It was a heavy leather bag.
So this was all her money for the trip?
I guess I'm worrying about unnecessary things, she's royalty after all, so she'll surely be able to get more money again.
"Even if I'm just looking for temporary accommodation until I can find a suitable place to live, I should be careful. I'd be happy to stay at an inn with wooden floors, but I've heard they have bugs and fleas if they're too cheap."
I remember a servant at Castle Estark caused a commotion when he caught fleas and lice at the inn where he stayed while off on an errand.
Better look for something of high quality, after all, I could afford it.
So I stayed at a very upscale place on Main Street.
"Bright Green Leaf Pavilion."
Look at the name of the inn.
A three-story stone inn. More than 30 people can stay here. It is a large building.
Apparently, this is a prestigious inn that is also designated as an inn primarily for nobles.
But you can also stay if you are a commoner, so long as you can afford the fee.
When I placed the bag of gold coins on the counter, the receptionist quickly changed her expression. Apparently I look pretty bad.
Well, I guess it's okay. After all, I don't want to stand out.
I wrote my name in the register book.
I stopped suddenly, instinctively almost writing 'Estark'... I no longer have ties to that family, so I have no reason to put use that title as my last name.
When the maid at the inn showed me to my room, she offered me a tub of hot water to wash my feet. This is a service you won't find in any cheap inn. I was told that the inn prides itself on its private showers. I'm going to shower later, but first I ask for the location of the adventurer's guild.
The guild was closer than I expected, but they had already closed their doors.
I'll go there first thing in the morning.
With that in mind, I had dinner at the inn and went straight to bed.
The comfortable mattress and silk pajamas soothed my tired body from the carriage ride.
As I slept peacefully on my soft mattress, I felt a presence in the room.
A shadow was gliding across the place until it approached me.
I have never been able to sleep soundly.
My experiences of being nearly murdered as a child caused me to force myself to be a light sleeper, and that has served me well.
Sensing that the intruder had their hand near me, I turned around and grabbed their hand, simultaneously pulling them towards me, causing them to fall onto the bed and pinning them down.
I cast the basic fire spell on the lamp on the nightstand, causing the room to light up.
At first I thought it was a burglar trying to rob me, but that was not the case.
To my surprise, the intruder turned out to be Marie. I subsequently let go of her and helped her up.
"...I'm sorry, I thought you were a burglar."
"No, it's okay, I was the one who broke in."
Marie replied as she straightened her clothes.
"What brings you here so late at night?"
"I've come to give you your reward for what you've done for us."
"I've already been paid, are you forgetting? It was the gold."
"It's not gold I've come to give you. It's my virginity."
I almost swallowed at the sound of those unexpected words, but she seemed to mean it.
Marie started to take off her maid's uniform.
Her beautiful naked body is exposed before my eyes.
"Wait! What are you doing!?"
"You also have to take off your clothes so we can have sex."
I was shocked by her crude words, but I have to stay calm. If I react poorly now, I won't be able to get out of this situation later.
"Marie... Are you a prostitute?"
"No. I despise women who sell their bodies."
"Then why do you want to do it with me?"
"That's because I love you."
"Do you really?"
"Yes. Since you no longer wanted to help us, even for money, I had to resort to this method."
I was about to scold her, but when I realized that her shoulders were shaking and her eyes were filled with tears, I stopped myself.
"You're doing this for Ariarose, aren't you?"
"So you're willing to go to such lengths to protect Ariarose."
I looked at her arms and legs, her beautiful white skin was full of bumps and bruises. On top of that, she had several scars. There were noticeable marks of wounds from a sword.
She has been using her body and intelligence to protect the princess for many years.
I wonder what kind of thoughts drive a person to want to go to the extreme of giving away her body and virginity to a man she barely knows in order to protect someone she cares about. She must feel very frustrated and miserable.
I grabbed the blanket and covered her body.
"Your beautiful skin should only be show to your future husband in the moonlight."
She bit her lip, her tear glands collapsed and she cried into my chest.
I hugged her without saying anything for a while and asked her about the situation Ariarose was in and the name of the person after them.