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Chapter 18 – Working towards an amiable conclusion (Finale)
After having Pervert(Niel) take Timu back to her room, I returned to find the pandemonium still there. Or was frantically begging Mum, “Don’t stab me!” while Mum was completely ignoring that and continuing to interrogate him with the knife.
Ah boy, Or finally broke into tears.
“Mum! How can you just bully the weak like that!”
“T-Tilea, ah, um, you’re wrong. The truth is he’s actually――”
“…Mum. Please, let’s just all calm down.”
“N-No, um, he’s a powerful noble and…”
“Mum, do you reaaally think that this is still some act?” I pointed at the pathetic sight of Or.
Huge droplets of tears were running down his face and a flood of mucus was joining it.
This is your Fiend?
If this really was some sort of act it deserved some kind of next-level Academy award. If Mum was right and he really was some kind of gangster, I don’t think I’d be able to trust anyone anymore.
After seeing this, did Mum really still think he was still somebody from the criminal underworld? Please just see reality already.
I turned a somewhat condemning gaze at her. Thankfully she seemed to have calmed down a little. I watched as she awkwardly sheathed her knife. Or watched her with relief too.
Isn’t that great, Or? You must have been so scared.
I patted the sniffling Or on the shoulder.
“Uuuu, hic, T-Tilea-sama~”
“Now, now. Don’t I always say it? A grown man shouldn’t cry anymore,” I consoled with my maternal instinct on full throttle.
Apparently Mum had realised her mistake after watching the two of us. She wasn’t glaring at Or suspiciously anymore, for one thing. I could even see a bit of guilt in her expression.
“I-, I suppose can’t really… see this as an act.”
“Right? Or really is this pathetic.”
“B-, But even if he’s pathetic right now… he might still try to get revenge for this later…”
Mumu, was Mum still doubting him?
“Or, are you thinking about taking revenge for today?”
“O-Outrageous. W-, Why would I ever think of doing something so foolish…? Impossible. Absolutely impossible. I-, I-, just how can I get you to trust me…? Uuuu, hic-!”
And now he was crying again. Mum, please, it’s reached the level of bullying already.
“Aahh, you made him cry, Mum.”
Or was so pitiful that Mum finally apologised. Finally, the misunderstanding was solved.
“And that settles it.”
I let out a relieved sigh.
“Tilea, I know now that Ortissio-san might not bad person. The problem of the debt still hasn’t gone again, though.”
“But I already told you, Or said he doesn’t care about that.”
“Tilea! You can’t just take advantage of his kindness like this. If a kind-hearted person like Ortissio-san is bankrupted because of you, how are you going to take responsibility!”
Oh boy. Somehow the situation had done a 180 and now I was the bad guy. She was treating me like some wicked daughter who scammed the kind-hearted Ortissio.
W-, Well, I might not have been intending it but it’s true that Or was financially supporting me.
Huh? Then wasn’t I like the Fiend? ――Nono, I’d deal with the debt somehow. Yes, it was a debt in the billions, but Dryas-kun would definitely have a plan.
“Aahh~ Mum, about that. It’s not me or Or you should be asking, but the brains of this operation.”
“And who might the brains be?”
“And elf named Dryas-kun. He’s super smart. He’ll definitely find a way for us to make the billions back.”
“Tilea, you have an Elf of the Forest working here? The elves are an exclusive bunch. To lend any help to a human…”
“Oh, surprised, Mum? Huhu, it’s amazing, right? But it’s true.”
“I can’t believe it… But even if one of the elves really was here, would he even understand how to manage a shop?”
“That’s why Dryas-kun is so amazing. You know, Dryas-kun isn’t just wise in the ways of the forest; he’s incredible in anything he does.”
“And such an amazing person is willing to help you?”
“Of course. The proof is in the pudding! Let me just bring him here. You just have some tea while you wait, okay, Mum?”
And so I headed downstairs to explain the situation to him; Mum wanted him to explain the plan to revive the restaurant.
“As my lord commands,” he immediately replied.
God, how I hated his hot-guy voice.
Anyhow, he and Mum ended up speaking in private.
Almost an hour later――
Mum and Dryas-kun emerged from the room. Not that I was worried. This was Dryas-kun. Obviously he had some sort of plan.
Now then, I wonder how it went.
“Mum, there was no problem, right?”
“Yes, yes. Dryas-san is fantastic!”
H-Huh. Mum seemed oddly excited. She was really singing his praises.
You’re pretty good, Dryas. Even seducing married women, you’re not just a hot guy for show.
…Damnit, something this was really frustrating. Maybe I’ll blow you up with some explosion magic!
I reflexively glared at him jealously. Still, Dryas-kun simply returned my gaze with a smile. Returning glares of enmity with a bright smile. Just how much of a hot guy are you.
Well whatever. How did the debt thing go?
“Well? About the debt?…”
“He had a ground-breaking plan, and took into account the long-term consequences as well. With a plan like that you can definitely get your money back.”
I see. Maybe instead of talking to me I should have just sent her to Dryas-kun from the start.
“Sorry about this, Dryas-kun. It seems like I made you do a lot of work.”
“Not at all. For your sake I wouldn’t shy from any amount of work.”
With that, Dryas-kun headed back underground. Even as he left he was giving off this ‘cool guy’ aura. If I thought like a woman, maybe I’d have fallen for him already.
“Tilea, Mum can finally rest easy.”
“See? Dryas-kun is reliable.”
“Huu♪ I wonder if Dryas-san has a girlfriend.”
“Gosh~ Who knows. But he’s hot so maybe he does.”
“Huhu, you’ll have to try harder too, Tilea.”
“Huh? Mum, are you misunderstanding something?”
“Uhuhu, your mum is very understanding of interspecies relations.”
“Will my first grandchild be a half-elf? …I’m sure they’d be cute, just like you two are.”
Mum gazed in the direction Dryas-kun had left in as though she were looking at her future grandchild.
M-Mum, stop that. Just Loser(Bizef) was bad enough.
Oh, but if I had a child with Remilia-san, they certainly would be a half-elf.
■ ◇ ■ ◇
Sera was at a loss. The terrifying Ortissio had been reduced to a wailing child.
It’s true that I had some experience in jobs in the like of an adventurer. I had picked up my knife skills during those times. But my ability was still barely better than an amateur’s.
Why did he look so scared then?
No, don’t be fooled, Sera!
His attitude only changed after my daughter appeared. He seemed incredibly invested in fooling her. I had to find out the truth. It was obvious that he was acting pathetic for the purpose of deceiving her.
Hahhh, I really had to apologise to her later. This man was an exceptional actor. His sobbing face was incredibly believable. I had come here thinking Tilea was fooled because she was an air-head but anyone would be fooled by a man like this.
“Quit with the acting, and show us the real you!”
I made thrusting motions with the knife. Of course I hadn’t really planned on stabbing him. It was just a threat. I was going to drag out the true nature of this swindler. Maybe then Tilea would open her eyes.
And so I desperately continued to threaten him. I even made sure to grind his pride as a noble into bits.
Ortissio’s attitude wouldn’t change.
I decided to step it up. I said something that crossed the line.
Perhaps it was a bit much… Honestly, it wouldn’t be strange for him to flip out and attack me.
It was scary. What would he do? Nobles were vicious like nothing else. My mind flashed back to the various atrocities of the Fiend.
But it would be worth it if I could get my daughter to wake up. Even if he did attack, I would fight. Outside was Nielsen-san, and most importantly we had Bizef-san here in the Capital. If Ortissio revealed himself, I would have Tilea come find Bisef-san for help. My safety wasn’t as important as getting her to see the truth.
But contrary to my expectations, Ortissio simply single-mindedly apologised. This man was truly patient. Even after I had provoked him so much he never resisted. That wasn’t normal. Especially so for the masses of pride that powerful aristocrats were. Ordinarily at least some violence would have been expected.
He wouldn’t change. Ortissio continued to beg for forgiveness.
C-Could it be… Ortissio was really just a timid young man with more money than sense? If he was the kind of person Tilea described…
No, but that couldn’t be. Just a while ago I saw something in him that even the legendary Fiend didn’t have. It was just that I couldn’t prove it.
None of this was working. I had no choice but to resolve myself.
At this point nothing else would work. It didn’t matter if I became a criminal.
I started to really stab at him. Not aiming for grievous harm, but to cut him. Even a kind person would snap. No matter how patient this man was, even he had to have limits.
But again, contrary to expectations, Ortissio didn’t fight back. Each time I stabbed at him he just continued to plea, “Stop! Please stop!”
C-, Could I really have misunderstood…?
I reluctantly lowered the knife. I did continue to provoke him but none of it gave any fruit.
And then, finally, Ortissio, no, Ortissio-san began to cry. It seems he really, really truly, didn’t want me to stab him. “How can you just bully the weak like that!” Tilea said reprovingly, looking at me with a gaze that seemed to said ‘Goodness me.’
Ortissio-san was heaving and sobbing into my daughter’s chest. I had to admit, I hadn’t ever met, or even ever heard of a member of the criminal underworld act in such a pathetic manner.
I-, It seemed that I had erred.
It must have been my imagination earlier. Perhaps I projected onto him because of the memories I had of powerful nobles.
It seemed like I had really wronged him.
I apologised. Ortissio-san finally looked relieved.
Aah~ I really made a show of myself. Ortissio-san wasn’t fooling Tilea. I understood that now.
But I still had concerns. If he wasn’t trying to fool my daughter, then why did he hand her to much money? And before he had been calling her “Tilea-san” but by now it was “Tilea-sama! Tilea-sama!”
Why was a noble going this far to abase himself in front of her?
Gasp! So that’s why!
Ortissio-san was in love with Tilea.
Once the idea hit me, I began to really examine him. The way Ortissio-san looked at my daughter was like he was intoxicated. It was almost as though he was looking at a goddess or something.
S-Speaking of which, this reminded me of somebody I used to know. He was the lazy, useless son of a certain merchant family. He was a nice guy, but he liked to show off and was a bit of a fop.
One day he started showering money on this woman from a bar. So much that it was throwing away his fortune. He was a pitiful man. The woman had skilfully cajoled him with sweet words and an ensnaring voice. Nobody could understand why he would go so far for a woman like that, but the person himself retorted,
“You can’t find a woman like that anywhere else.”
Tilea, you’ve unknowingly done the same things as that wicked woman did. Of course I don’t think of you as the type of person who would purposefully cheat men out of their money. I don’t think you would, that you would have it in you. Or even that you be interested.
But you’ve unintentionally ensnared him. Ortissio-san really would bankrupt himself without a care for you, you know?
Do you understand, Tilea? You’ve messed up a man’s life.
Tilea had no idea what I was thinking, happily chatting away to Ortissio-san.
Hahh. Tilea’s lack of awareness was vicious in its own way. Even though her personality was the complete opposite of a seductress…
“Tilea! You can’t just take advantage of his kindness like this. If a kind-hearted person like Ortissio-san is bankrupted because of you, how are you going to take responsibility!” I scolded her.
Her response was something else I’d never expect. Apparently the brains behind this restaurant was somebody else, and that person was going to take responsibility. Not only that, but apparently they were one of the revered Elves of the Forest. I couldn’t hide my anxiety at yet another involved party being introduced.
Elves were very insular people. Why was my daughter surrounded by so many oddballs. My daughter was going on about how the elf was “the ultimate brainiac” and her “strategist”. I supposed the elves were known for knowing a lot about the forest.
But what did they know about management?
My mind was filled with questions. But Tilea seemed absolutely sure of him. Maybe it was a good idea to simply meet him first.
I told her that I wanted to speak to him without interruptions. She responded happily.
Before long she brought the elf along. He had sleek blue hair and a tall frame, appearing with incredible dignity.
W-, What beautiful features…
His almond-shaped eyes were clear but filled with intelligence, and although I had heard of the elves’ famed beauty, this man seemed like a step above the rest.
“It is my honour to make your acquaintance. My name is Dryas Bo Malferand.”
“T-, The honour is mine. My daughter has been in your care. My name is Sera.”
We began with some small-talk but even then I could feel his intelligence. When we moved onto the main purpose of the conversation, I was shocked.
A-, Amazing! He was so amazing!
Dryas-san was intelligent, too intelligent, and the advice he gave was astounding and spot-on. I brought up my concern about the continued existence of the store and he brought up plan after plan to tackle the issue. And not only in highly plausible ways, but with methods that I would never have dreamed of.
Before I knew it I had lost track of time as I spoke with him.
Eventually our conversation ended.
Honestly speaking, I had never met anybody as talented as he was. I hoped he would continue looking over my daughter.
I turned to him.
“Dryas-san, I hope that you’ll continue looking after my daughter.”
“Of course. I intend to give my life in supporting your Ojousama,” he replied with confidence.
A man like him really could support my daughter from behind. Apparently Dryas-san had been driven from his elven village when my daughter had warmly welcomed him in. As thanks for that, he was helping out Tilea with the store. What a tale of duty.
He was handsome and polite. He could immediately understand my point or concerns, and answered with those considerations in mind. Not only was he modest, he was also brimming with confidence.
Originally I thought of Bizef-san as the best choice for her, but it seems that an unexpected dark horse had appeared. And my daughter didn’t seem too unhappy with him either. There was the problem of species to be sure, but it was a minor detail in the end. With a girl missing as many screws as Tilea, the more responsible the man, the better.
Dryas-san left, and then a number of Tilea’s other acquaintances game to greet me.
When that was over, Tilea and I had tea as we chatted for a while. I decided to casually ask how her relationship with Dryas-san was.
“Tilea, I mentioned this earlier but your Mum doesn’t have any problems with elves, you know? Don’t you feel the same way?”
“Mn, I don’t mind either, Mum. Far from it, elves are actually my favourite species.
“I knew it!”
“Ah, but Mum, listen, it’s true that I like elves but Dryas-kun is――”
“Ahh~ I thought so. My grandchild as a half-elf. I’m sure they’ll be so cute.”
“Yeah. Mn, I’m hoping that my kids will be half-elves too. But you know? Dryas-kun and I aren’t like that at all, okay?”
Tilea continued to deny any relationship with Dryas-san. My daughter was honest, and adorable for it. But whenever it came to romance she was clumsy and awkward. I suppose I couldn’t blame her for being hesitant about such an incredible man.
Alright. I decided that as a mother I had to support her all the way!
“Of course. I intend to give my life in supporting your Ojousama.”
Ojousama is used, but it’s more like saying ‘the young miss’. Only I didn’t want to use that because it sounds a lot more distant than it necessarily has to be.
Oh, also Sera refers to elves as ‘elf-san’, indicating a certain amount of respect for them. Maybe because they’re like, semi-legendary amongst the humans or something, like reclusive wisemen? Not enough to justify a ‘Lord’ or the awkwardness of ‘-sama’ in the translation, but enough to earn capitalisation for Elves of the Forest.
Maybe it’s kind of like how the Nords respect the Greybeards.