Chapter 46: Asteria
After our interview(?) with the Governor.
They led us to the dining hall of the Governor’s mansion.
……..and there, there was someone waiting for us.
“There are some who I already know, but please let me introduce myself. I am Alvare’s wife, Asteria. It is a pleasure making your acquaintance.”
She politely bows to us.
She looked familiar - she carried the same look and features similar to the woman I saw back in the day.
The first princess of the former Fezard Kingdom. 12 years ago, she came here to wed the Governor and maintain relations with the Flowtier city - the remaining royalty who I swore my oaths and loyalty to.
She was thin with silky, beautiful hair. She was renowned as the beauty princess, and over the years, that beauty has not faded. You can say it has been even more refined today.
……….back in the 2nd Squad, when she visited our group for inspection, it was the first time as a child I gazed in stunning awe and realized that there were people this beautiful and lovely in this world.
With those memories flooding back, my body instinctively bowed in the Fezard Knights’ formal position.
Henry: “This will be the second time to have the privilege to gaze upon your face. I am the former squire of the Fezard Knights. My name is Henry.”
Asteria: “I remember you well. I cannot believe that the small Knight I saw would survive the Demon King’s Army’s invasion and grow up to defeat that Gilverte. ……...I am now a part of the Count of this realm, but as a former Royal of Fezard, I would like to offer my utmost gratitude to you. Sir Henry, I thank you on behalf of all whom we have lost their lives and all whom have lived to today. Thank you for avenging us.”
Henry: “Yes, my ladyship.”
I straighten my back as I receive the compliment.
………..I thought my roots had been replaced by becoming an Adventurer, but there were still the remnants of my Knight days strong and present. Pure muscle memory remembered all the formalities of Knighthood.
And with that, Lady Asteria’s serious composure dissipated and relaxed.
Asteria: “Well, I have to say that I was quite disappointed that you did not come to see me sooner as soon as you got to Flowtier.”
Henry: “Oh, yes, um………..”
Asteria: “Hehe, that reminds me. Would it be unkind of me to ask why you came to Flowtier, Sir Henry?” YES! VERY!!
The Governor already collected that much information. I’m sure he’s already heard my reasons for coming here. I was telling all the Adventurers around me at the time, “I just want to take it easy, so I'm leaving the frontlines.”
Asteria: “Well, all Fezard Knights were renowned for their skills and bravery on the battlefield but equally renowned for their lax way of life. I’m glad to see you carry on that tradition.” Henry: “Thーthank you, my ladyship.”
Now that she mentions that, outside of training and battles, the 2nd Squad was pretty lazy all-around.
Ugh～～～, this is so embarrassing.
But she doesn’t look as disappointed or angry at me as I thought she would be.
Teo: “It is a pleasure meeting you. My name is Teo.” Ferris: “My name is Ferris. I am honored to make the acquaintance with your ladyship. I hope you are well.”
Asteria: “Yes, it is a pleasure meeting you both. You have taken such good care of our Cyril. Thank you.”
And Teo and Ferris finish their introductions and greetings.
I let out a sigh of relief as I uncharacteristically displayed some buried Knight habits and formalities, and Cyril walks up to me.
Cyril: “Henry, she complimented you a lot.”
Henry: “Yeah, it’s amazing to receive such praises from a princess. I know I’m just a former Knight, but it really does hit and fulfill the core of your Knighthood and duties to receive those words.” Cyril: “........really? I see.”
Henry: “But I’m still embarrassed about them knowing why I came to Flowtier. Like how I wanted to just take it easy.”
Cyril: “And the alcohol was a third of your reason.” You’re not going to let that go, are you?
Asteria: “Oh, Sir Henry, do you enjoy the ale in Flowtier?” ACK?!? SHE WAS LISTENING IN!!
Cyril: “Lady Asteria. He also told me that a bard was singing about this town in a tavern and that was part of his reason too.” Henry: “CーCyril. Miss Cyril? Could you please just shut that mouth of yours for just a moment? My reputation and respectability is crumbling from your words.”
YES! WHY IS THERE A QUESTION MARK NEXT TO THAT WORD?! Yeah, that, you know, respectability as one of the top Adventurers! That kind of reputation and respectability!
Asteria: “I’m so glad that you get along so well with Cyril, Sir Henry.”
Henry: “Oh, uh, yes. She’s been a good friend. Aside from Adventuring, I was able to settle into Flowtier smoothly because of her.”
……...crap, I accidentally answered her honestly. Cyril’s gonna take those words and run with them.
Cyril: “Yup～ he owes me a lot. Hehe”
Asteria: “Well well. You’ve done well, Cyril.”
And Lady Asteria compliments Cyril. Even though Cyril is an adult age, she’s treated just like a kid here.
But even more than the Governor, she’s even closer to Lady Asteria. Maybe it’s because she’s from Fezard, but she has similar features as Lady Asteria, and you could easily believe if if you were told that they were sisters.
…………...but even if they share similar features, I don’t sense the same gorgeous aura and impression that I get from Lady Asteria from Cyril.
Asteria: “Sir Henry, it’s about the dinner this evening, but…”
Henry: “Lady Asteria. I apologize for the rudeness, but you do not have to address me as “sir.” I have not taken on the Tone Family rights, and I am just an Adventurer now.”
I try to politely address the issue to Lady Asteria.
I haven’t forgotten my days as a Knight, but I also have equal pride now as an Adventurer. And I didn’t mention this, but the country that would vouch for my knighthood no longer exists. With the facts in mind, being addressed as a Knight would be inappropriate.
Asteria: “..........yes, you are right.”
Lady Asteria should already know these things, but she closes her eyes briefly as she nods.
……….oh crap. I think I brought up some unnecessary feelings from the past with my comment.
But as if to wipe away my worries, she quickly recomposed herself back to a cheerful expression.
Asteria: “Then let me address you as Mr. Henry. Why don’t we all take a seat now? Our Head Chef will be bringing out his best dishes tonight. I hope you will enjoy the meal tonight.”
Henry: “Yes, thank you.”
I am genuinely looking forward to that. The Head Chef of the Governor’s Mansion would be at least the number 1 or number 2 Chef of this city. I guess every day is not a luxurious meal, but if guests are over, I’m sure they bring out some wonderful meals.
Alvare: “Oh, have you all finished greeting Asteria? I brought out some good bottles from the cellar.”
And the Governor who was gone for a moment came back with 4 wine bottles.
Asteria: “Dear, you brought that many bottles? Please don’t overdo it and drink too much.” Alvare: “It’s to celebrate and send off new Adventurers who will be challenging the Altohern Mountain. I think 4 bottles is just right for the occasion.” Asteria: “Aren’t you the one who is most excited about the bottles?” Alvare: “Haha, it’s just as you say.”
The conversation between the two was natural and full of smiles.
It was a marriage between a noble and a Royalty, and it must have been an arranged marriage, but it looks like Lady Asteria was blessed with a good relationship.
We bow quietly to the Governor and take our seats.
The waiter takes the wine bottles from the Governor and with a smooth motion, opens a bottle, and pours it into our glasses…….well, I guess a glass or two can’t hurt.
Henry: “Is this a wine made in Flowtier?”
I take a glance at the bottle and its name.
It said “La Flowtier” on the label. From the name, I guessed that it was made here.
Alvare: “Yes it is. The Flowtier Ale is quite famous, but the wine is not bad either. In the North East province, they have many vineyards.”
Henry: “I see.”
I nod as he explains. The wine and ale production here are very prevalent and robust, and it's probably because the water quality is so good.
Jend: “What a wonderful aroma, Sir Alvare. It’s a 16th year La Flowtier?”
Alvare: “Yes. We should enjoy the best ones before the alcohol kicks in. The other 3 are just regular wines.”
Jend comments on the wine in his glass, and the Governor seems pleased with the compliment.
I don’t know much about wines, but from the aroma, it does smell more expensive than any wines I've had in the past.
……..since Jend and the Governor said it was good, I’m sure most of it is just from taking their word for it.
The food was brought in, and the Governor stood and raised his glass.
Alvare: “Alright, let’s do away with the formalities. To our new Adventurers of Flowtier, we drink to your future adventures and success, CHEERS!”
With a brief speech, we all raise our glass.
ーーthat night, with great food and great wine, we all enjoyed the meal thoroughly.
We got quite drunk that evening, and I have a vague memory that the Governor and I had an arm wrapped around each other’s shoulder as we talked…………..I won't get executed for insulting a noble…….right?
And 4 days passed since our permission to hunt in Altohern was approved.
We had to collect information on the Demonic Creatures that appear, the species of plants that grow there, the terrain and any other useful information we could find. We held meetings. And we had to go buy equipment that we would not have used in the Flowtier Forest, but it would be essential there.
After finishing all of our preparations, today, we went on our first hunt up the Altohern Mountainside.
Unlike the Flowtier Forest, as you near the Altohern Mountain, you will reach a military checkpoint set up by the Flowtier Army. It was set up there to ensure that Demonic Creatures from the mountainside never reach the city, and those without permission would not enter the mountain area.
We hand over the permits provided by the Governor himself and safely cross and head towards the foot of the mountain. Then….
Henry: “Okay, just as we expected, there are packs of Winter Wolves at the foot of the mountain.”
Jend: “I thought it was getting chilly. I think I should have worn a few more layers of clothes now.”
You could see a tinge of blue on the pack of wolves’ coats as they approached our group.
They breathed cold air as part of their strategy to dull and slow down their prey and are categorized as Mid-tier Low-class Demonic Creatures. They are the most frequently spotted in the thick magically corrupted [ICE] trait Altohern environment.
Cyril: “Just as we planned, I will attack with my [FIRE] magic.”
Henry: “Don’t forget our attack formation and plans.”
Teo: “........they’re coming.”
The Winter Wolves begin to charge at us after observing us for some time.
Although we face them for the first time, Cyril and the others don’t seem to be afraid.
I ready my spear as I feel the confidence and solidity of our group, and welcome our new enemy.
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Semi-retired Adventurer Lives Leisurely
Written by Hisagushien
Translated by: ChonkyTranslator
Book 3: The Flowtier Days