As I followed Lester-san, I realized that for a family with such influence, their mansion was sparsely furnished with simple furniture.
“Are you surprised by the humbleness of this mansion?”
“Yes, I’ve heard of the Zephanel family before… Is it because the mansion is rarely used?”
“Yes, that is indeed the reason. The current masters of this mansion have been away for a long time, so the mansion has been left in its disuse. But with the masters returning, we are currently in the middle of preparing it for daily use again.”
“Is that so? Does that mean Lester-san is the one usually staying in the mansion?”
“Yes, I have served the Zephanels since the previous head. The current head is currently still away.”
Certainly, the interior was clean and appeared to be maintained. It also lacked a liveliness to it. Is that why the mansion was guarded by Amar city guards? Since it was rarely used, hiring dedicated guards might have been a little too much.
“Here is the dining room. As said earlier, the mansion is currently in the process of being prepared, but the chef who works exclusively for the Zephanel family is ready. Charlotte-sama will be joining soon, so please enjoy your meal slowly.”
“Thank you. Ah, I’ve just arrived in Amar today, so I couldn’t prepare much, but here are some bottles of wine. PLease enjoy it with the other mansion inhabitants.”
“Thank you for the kind consideration. We shall serve it alongside dinner tonight.”
What I handed over was wine from the Continetal’s collection. I had two bottles unlabelled before coming in. The dining room had four tables with chairs enough for six people. A maid guided me to my designated seat. And as I approached the chair, I saw a blip on the radar closing in on the room. The maid was confused as to why I stared at the entrance of the room instead of sitting down. On my part, I’d feel stupid if I were to sit down only to stand back up again.
“You’ve come at last, I’ve been waiting, Schwartz!”
When the door opened, Sharle-san appeared in what appeared to be a good mood. SHe was still dressed lightly as she had before, but her long red hair had been combed and set free this time.
“Apology for making you wait, I had come as per the invitatio–”
“No need to be so formal! Just act like how you used to around me before.”
“Is that so? Then I’ll do just that.”
I waited for Sharle-san to take a seat before sitting myself. Seeing this, the maid immediately served us the appetizers.
“When I said that I would invite someone for dinner, Lester was very enthusiastic. I told everyone that you’re not used to a formal dinner, so you don’t have to worry.”
“But Charlotte-sama, this is our first visitor in four years. Of course we are enthusiastic.”
The butler came in alongside the maid who pushed a serving wagon with the dinner menu on it. From there, Lester-san explained the dishes to us one by one. We also talked about Sharle-san’s adventurers over dinner. It was a dun time to say the least, other than the little fact I had to lie about some of my own adventurers.
From all the talk, I came to learn more about Sharle-san. In addition to that, also snippets about her parents, and also Ashley.
Four years ago, in the great naval battle, both her parents died. Five families sent their representatives into battle, but only two families returned. Those who lost their representatives were also stripped of their titles, while the one who survived left the city. Only the Zephanel family, due to their special status, remained. But Ashley, as the eldest child, had to take the responsibility of family head.
And then, by the order of the family’s elder, the honorary Chancellor Zephanel, Ashley had to train in the Fort City of Barga. Sharle was sent to Dragrange Margrave in the north. Both the sisters got together in the capital from time to time, but neither returned to Amar in the last four years.
Laughing at old tales, Sharle-san proudly declared ‘I’ve been an adventurer since I was a minor!’ while drinking the wine I brought. This country considered fifteen to be the age of an adult. Which means that she’d been taking requests, and even forming partings, from a very young age.
What caused Sharle-an to be like she was now? Was it from the anxiety of having to stand on her own as an adventurer? Or, was it out of familial love to not let her deceased parents worry in the afterlife? Or, was it some sisterly love, believing that her elder sister was also working hard when they weren’t together?
Lester and I listened to Sharle-san’s heroic tales with a smile on our faces. I had only pity in my heart for her, though I dared not show it. Sharle-san too, might have not liked it either, so she was recounting the more funny or light-hearted tales of hers. Time passed before I knew it, and when I noticed, there was a dot moving at the speed of a wagon that stopped in front of the mansion on the radar. It seemed that Lester-san had also picked up on this. ‘Master has returned’, he said as he excused himself to leave.
“Lester! I’ll go too! Schwart, just wait in here!”
Hold on a sec! Even if you say that… I actually want to greet her too.
When I arrived at the front door, I was greeted by the sight of Sharle-san and Ashley hugging. Ashley was the first to notice me, followed by Sharle-san.
“Ah, sis, let me introduce you. He is D rank adventurer Schwartz!”
“Welcome back Ashley. Sorry if I’m intruding.”
“Schwartz — I’m home. That said… You really didn’t pull your punches to arrive here earlier than I expected, huh?”
Unable to keep up with the exchanges between me and Ashley, Sharle-san could only stare.