Night has fallen on the royal capital.
In the streets, people everywhere were drinking and there was so much noise that it was hard to believe it was night.
In every tent, lights lit up the place as if it were daytime, and red-faced soldiers could often be seen having a good time. We were also having a simple dinner in a small bar.
Those present were Marianne, Luvue, the vice-captain, Monica, Kaede, Frau and me.
I invited Naomin to the party, but she refused, saying she had to introduce herself as a princess.
She seems to be a very capable princess who does her job well. The whole thing felt like some kind of joke.
"...So, Marianne. You didn't get caught in the transfer circle?"
"Yes, it was a blessing in disguise in all the tragedy. Though it's not a situation I can be happy about, considering that five of my friends are missing, except Luna."
"Cheer up, Marianne. We'll do our best to find them."
"You are very kind, Kaede-san. You make me feel a little relieved."
Frau tries to cheer up the depressed Marianne with some meat.
"Don't worry, Frau will take care of everything. Besides, there might be a chance that they might be enjoying this new continent, especially Soara."
"Soara-san... You are right. She's a very bold person, I'm sure she's still alive. And I have a feeling she's making a lot of money now."
Oh, so Marianne thinks the same as me. I can't imagine a situation where she's dead either.
I'm sure she's still out there somewhere saying; "I am the one lived by God, bow down to me" Or something like that.
"I can't believe I'm sitting at the same table as the man of my dreams, Toru-dono. I guess this is what they call a date. Looks like I have a lot to write about in today's research journal."
"With all due respect, Luvue-sama, this is just dinner. It's not really a date."
"Huh?! How is it not!?"
"I'm surprised you're surprised."
Luvue and the vice-captain were sitting in front of me, still acting the same as ever. I'm relieved to see them like this.
Next to them was Monica, who was chatting happily with Kaede.
"I've always felt envious of how white, soft and fluffy your tail is, Kaede-san. I'll surely feel like I'm in paradise if I rest my head there~."
"Monica, please don't tease my tail too much. It's a delicate area-- Hmm!"
Monica buries her face in Kaede's tail.
Unlike Kaede, who hides her face with both hands in embarrassment, Monica wiggles her long ears, looking ecstatic.
"Hey, Monica, let go of my tail."
"No, not yet. I haven't had enough of your tail."
"A little consideration goes a long way."
"No, it's been so long since I've seen it, I want to feel it some more."
"I'm of the same opinion. I also have the right to love and touch Kaede-san's tail."
"Hueeh, Marianne-san too!?"
Kaede is very popular. How envious.
I stuffed a mouthful of boiled beans into my mouth.
Ah, it's really good. The amount of salt is just right.
"The dwarves' sake is quite good."
"Huh? What do you mean I've had too much to drink? You worry too much. Frau has never had a problem with sake."
Frau says very confidently.
The words; "Please tell me it's a joke." came out of my mouth.
And it seems that Panda thought the same, as he seems to have a worried look on his face.
I think she'll be waking up with a hangover tomorrow.
I sat on the edge of the bed.
It had been a long time since I'd had as much to drink as I had today. Normally I tend to control myself. But after Sain, I couldn't help but drown my thoughts in sake.
I didn't think he was still alive. This nightmare isn't over yet.
The battle between me and him is still raging.
"Master... Are you still awake?"
Kaede opens the door and enters.
"I was worried, so I came to check on you."
She had a pained expression on her face.
Apparently, my sensitive slave knew what was going through my mind. I had gone out of my way not to worry her.
"Do you mind if I sit next to you?"
"Oh, sure, no problem..."
Kaede slowly sat down next to me.
Her big golden eyes look closely at me.
This is a bit embarrassing.
"For now, this is the only thing I can do..."
She releases some healing vibrations that soothe my mind.
I guess I was more mentally damaged than I thought.
I'm ashamed to say I feel like Kaede knows me better than I do.
"Do you feel responsible for everything that's happened?"
I thought I was done with him, but he got away with it.
Come to think of it, that guy has always had a lot of dumb luck. Luck is one of the most important factors for adventurers. No matter how strong you are, if your luck is bad, you'll quickly get sent straight to heaven.
Still, it's pretty unexpected for him to come back from the dead.
"I feel much better, thank you."
"You have nothing to thank me for. I'll always be there for you."
I gave Kaede a hug.
"W-well, I'll be going now."
Kaede's face turns red and she runs out of the room.
She opened the door, put one foot outside, then said; "Good night, Master."
And then she closes the door.
"Good night, Kaede..."
The next day, Kaede and I were summoned to the palace.
The representatives of all the countries were gathered there. By the way, as expected, Frau is hungover.
"Manyu Brigade. Please be seated."
Prompted by Elohim, the Spirit Queen, who was present for some reason, we both took a seat.
The following people are present as well:
The King of Big-Gear.
The King of Galbaran.
The Queen of Jornen.
And lastly, the Acting King of Ainowa.
The King of Big-Gear spoke first.
"Thank you so much for coming from so far away. Now, let us begin the first Manyu Party Meeting."
I couldn't help but laugh.
Why did they name it that? It sounds like a meeting to manage tourist sites.
Shouldn't a serial discussion about each country's defences have a better name?
"But first, let me ask you something, Spirit Queen. Since this is such an important gathering, shouldn't the King of Ainowa and the Queen of Petardaus personally be here?"
"The King of Ainowa is currently too ill to attend. And the Queen of Petardaus seems to have a strong reluctance to attend meetings led by other nations, or even by other races, and we have tried to persuade her.... But we had no success."
"She is an idiot. How dare she refuse a request as important as the Spirit Queen's? This is a very important event that will determine the position of each country in the future.... As for the fairies, I don't have much information about them, so I guess it's alright."
The queen of Jornen hugged her heart cushion and let out a giggle. Behind her stood a bodyguard.
The King of Big-Gear cleared his throat and took the floor.
"I will get straight to the point. We have suffered many misfortunes because of the Demon King Rudra. Each of us already knows the reason why this has happened. Now is the time for us to unite in preparation for the second and third Rudras to come."
"Of course it is, but are you sure these are the right people for the job?"
In response to King Galbaran's words, all eyes focus on us.
Hey, what's going on? Why are they looking at us?
"The other day we talked about giving you a suitable reward."
"We discussed it and decided to give the Manyu Brigade the newly chosen title 'Manyu', which goes beyond the titles of 'Hero' or 'Heroine'."
And why is Kaede smiling?
"I don't understand what this means."
"I've created a new title."
"A new title given to a hero that will be recognized by multiple nations. That is what the title "Manyu" will mean from now on."
No, no, no.
I don't want to stand out.
"I told you I don't want any title."
"I don't care. I'll give it to you because I want to. And if you have a problem with that, I'll have you executed."
"That's abuse of power."
I don't want a title. It will only be a burden to me.
Let alone a new title bearing my party's name.
"Accept it. If you don't, you'll go to the guillotine."
"You're very scary."
A bracelet with four jewels is placed in front of me.
"This is a token of our gratitude. We will inform neighbouring countries about the title. It will take some time to spread, but I'm sure the title 'Manyu' will help you wherever you go."
In the end, I begrudgingly accepted the title and the bracelet.
I have a feeling I'm going to have nightmares tonight.
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