The Hero Solon and The Maid Clarice
Underground ruins, the objectives of adventurers, were scattered throughout the empire, especially in the eastern part. That was why The Knights Order of Saint Sophia had their headquarters in the eastern port town, since it would take quite a while to get back to the Imperial City even by carriages.
Because I was in the famous knight order– No, because I was a former member and now exiled, it would cause a huge uproar if my identity were to be known. Luckily, even though I was famous as “Solon the magic swordsman”, only a few people had seen me in person. So as long as I didn’t say anything, no one should know.
I paid the fees, while hiding my identity, and boarded a large carriage. There were many passengers inside the carriage, which was accompanied by two escorts. Although the roads around here were considerably safe, there were still dangers of attacks.
It has been a while since the carriage started running. Stifling a yawn, I noticed a female passenger sitting in front of me was stealing glances at me. Maybe she was about the same age as Sophia. She was wearing a seemingly new fluffy skirt and her dress seemed to be made by a professional tailor. In short, this girl was wealthy. However, riding a common horse-drawn carriage was unusual for a daughter of an aristocrat or even a merchant. And she also had a short, tidy hairstyle, so that it wouldn’t get in the way of her work.
I had an inkling that she was a servant of an aristocrat in the Empire’s capital. I wondered why this girl was interested in me. By the way, I was dressed in a cheap attire and worn-out adventurer armor, so I didn’t think I would be an interesting subject to look at.
“Is there something you’re curious about?”
I asked, and the girl shook her head awkwardly.
“S-sorry for staring. That was rude.”
The girl blushed shyly. Despite knowing she was being rude, her big eyes were still directed towards me.
She looked like a little animal.
“I’m Clarice. I’m a maid in the Imperial Palace.”
Clarice smiled, looking pleased with her job. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect that she was working at the Imperial Palace. It would not have been easy to get employed at a place where the imperial family was involved, even as a maid.
“I’m not saying that to boast, though.”
Clarice laughed as she said so. She must be proud.
“Is there anything you need to do around here?”
I asked with a bitter smile
“My parents’ house is here. And Brother, I’m younger so you don’t need to use formalities.”
“Thank you. Why did you talk to me?”
“As a fellow traveler? I wanted to find someone to talk to. It seems that Brother is closest to my age among these people here.”
That said, apart from the escorts, the only young people on board were certainly just Clarice and me.
I couldn’t reveal my real name, so I took on the pseudonym David.
Clarice stared at the sword hanging around my waist.
“It’s a magic sword, right?”
“You know well.”
“Hee, Brother, are you a magic swordsman?”
Actually, my magic sword was the legendary treasure sword Tetracorde. But from strangers’ perspectives, it just looked like an old sword.
There weren’t many magic swordsman, but it wasn’t so unusual to see one. Even if they knew I was a magic swordsman, they shouldn’t know that I’m “Solon of The Knights of Saint Sophia”.
But Clarice exclaimed with a happy look.
“If we’re talking about magic swordsman… Solon the magic swordsman!”
After exclaiming that, I unconsciously coughed. ‘Calm yourself. She still didn’t seem to be aware of it. Clarice was only talking about famous people who weren’t here.
“Did Brother become a magic swordsman because you wanted to be like Solon?”
Of course it was wrong, because I was Solon.
First of all, it wasn’t until only recently that The Knights order became famous. However, before I could even refute, Clarice continued.
“That’s right, I’m a big fan of Solon-sama! He helps Saint Sophia fight against demons in the ruins and he never retreats against strong enemies!”
I refrained from telling her that it was not like that, because Clarice seemed like she would get into a bad mood if I were to say something bad about Solon.
Well, I was not that great of a guy.
“And he is a commoner, same as me! He used to be like me, who was employed as a servant for the aristocrats, right? I admire him because of that.”
“Solon, the magic swordsman” was popular because he was a commoner. Having the ability to surpass those of the aristocrats, he created the strongest knight order as a companion of the saint.
An accomplished individual who managed to fulfill the dreams of a commoner. People admired me like that. But the reality was much different. In the end, I was kicked out of the party because I lost to the excellent members coming from nobility. It felt heavy to think that there was someone like Clarice who admired me. People still didn’t know that I’d been expelled from The Knights.
“Thanks to adventurers like Solon and Brother conquering the ruins, we, ordinary people can survive.”
Clarice said and smiled softly.
Suddenly, the carriage wobbled so much that it stopped. There was an ominous presence. When I looked at Clarice, our eyes met. Hers were shaking with anxiety. Then I shouted.
“It’s an attack!”
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