In this world, men and women who are getting engaged wear bracelets that symbolize the goddess of light Refelia and the god of darkness Atillard.
No, not rings. It’s because a ring is mainly used as an accessory or for magic. It is a magical tool, a generic name for ornaments that stores magic, and it is a very precious thing where the trapped magic is activated when a key spell is casted. If there are some magical powers that can be activated, it is a convenient thing but it is a product which can be created basically only by magicians. And because they mainly make magical tools for themselves, it became horribly expensive.
The reason why magicians make magical tools is easy. It is to simplify the spell that is necessary to develop magic. If they try to use magic, chanting for a long time is difficult. So, they put each magic they deem necessary in an ornament, which was specially processed in advance. So that when they have to use it, they can just cast a simple spell that will be the key to activate the magic while touching the magical tool. That’s why the magicians often wear more rings than the noble family. With this explanation, Famir-sama seems to carry a lot, too.
Looking at the aspect of convenience, it is easier to carry a ring than a bracelet. Also, in order to activate it, they need to touch it as they cast a spell and if bracelets are used frequently as magical tools, it will clank a lot when the need to use it will arise. If that’s the case, there is also a possibility of making a mistake while using the necessary magic. In order to prevent that, the ring is a more convenient magical tool. Because at least ten can be worn.
That is why a ring is a magical tool. Therefore, the bracelet became the symbol of marriage in order to avoid confusion, and making a bracelet as a magical tool is rare.
In short, what I wanted to say is that a bracelet is either a proof that it is sold out* or completely worn as an ornament. And if it is an accessory, it is worn on the right arm if one is still unmarried. Only married people put it on the left arm.
That’s right. In other words—wearing it on the left wrist is a proclamation to the world that it is already sold out*—
[T/N: 売約済み [baiyakusumi] – according to Jisho, it means sold out. But looking at the context, this could also possibly mean that a person is already committed to someone.]
I screamed when I looked down at the brilliantly shining bracelet on my left wrist.
“What is the meaning of this?!!”
“It is a magical tool. It will serve as an amulet.” The Hero quickly replied.
Wait, this is wrong!!
“Isn’t this an engagement bracelet?! But I don’t remember in the slightest that I consented to get married to you!”
“As I said, it is a magical tool. I asked an artisan to make me a pair but I was misunderstood and it became this form.”
Uwa~, I dislike him for saying such a false-sounding excuse with a smile, this bastard—I mean, this person!
“But he made a fortunate error, right? In this form, no one will think that this is a magical tool.”
Whether it is a magical tool or an amulet, the day he puts this thing on—
I paled. Imagining myself wearing this and wandering around in the streets makes me cry. I felt around the bracelet with my right hand and searched for its joint. Since there was a sound a while ago, there should be a clasp somewhere.
However—no matter how many times I’ve searched with my hand, there is no joining point that I could see with my eyes!
Since it became like this, I will forcibly remove it! When I tried to pull the bracelet out of my hand, the circle became smaller and it got tightly attached to my wrist!
It somehow looked like an elastic bracelet—Ah, no! It seems that a magic was applied so that it will not come off! Is this bracelet cursed?!
“Greed-sama, please remove it!”
I raised my left arm and held it out towards Greed-sama. But he shook his head.
“I won’t. Because this will protect you.”
“Such a thing—!”
Greed-sama, whose smile disappeared, told me with a serious look. No—it was an order.
I instantly closed my mouth. Because the one standing in front of me was not the gentle young man who proposed to me but the one who fought the Demon King and, undoubtedly, the “strongest Hero”—Greed-sama, the human whom the goddess have chosen.
Greed-sama is not a king. He is a commoner, born as a villager. And yet, there is a sort of intimidating feeling that I had never even felt from His Majesty the King which made me obey him. No, the sense of intimidation is not an appropriate presentation. I felt that the gravity of his divine powers made me follow him unconsciously and moreover, lower my head to him unwillingly. His strong charisma can never be matched with any mob character. I can’t help myself but want to kneel on the ground right now.
But I firmly endured. I’m only Lady-in-waiting A, but even so, I am Lady-in-waiting A. There is a reason why mob characters cannot stop becoming mob characters!
It is easy to be swept away. But this is about my future. Although it is true that I cannot refuse in this situation, still I cannot allow anyone to decide about my life without my permission.
Eh, the outer moat is already filled? Whatever, the inner moat is still here. I will keep this moat safe!
I got through with my desire to bow down and looked up at Greed-sama. Or perhaps, I was glaring. So Greed-sama told me with seriousness.
“You will be targeted in the future by demons and humans. You are an important person more than what you think. Please be aware of it.”
I’ve heard words that are impossible for a mob right now. Such as the words ‘targeted’ or ‘important person’.
“You may be already targeted. Because of the article from the ‘Hero Times’, your existence has become known to the whole world. Honestly, I was going to give you this bracelet when you have accepted my proposal but I cannot afford to wait for a long time.”
——The article from the “Hero Times”.
Remembering, I understood what Greed-sama was trying to say. And I felt the blood drain from my face.
Yes, thanks to that article, Greed-sama’s proposal became known to the world. My existence and also my name.
The brave man is the last fortress of the world. The power of the Hero was desired in any country. Besides, for the demons, this situation is not good for them should they want to get revenge on Greed-sama for killing the Demon King. So, they will take away the Hero’s important person.
In other words—I will be targeted. By both humans and demons.
“That is why it is an amulet. It is paired with my bracelet, so that if you call me using that bracelet, I will come to you immediately.”
While saying that, Greed-sama took my left arm and gently stroked the golden bracelet. What shines on his left arm is the paired silver bracelet.
“I will definitely protect you. From demons and humans.”
“So please, you must wear that bracelet.”
I nodded. But in the corner of my mind, I was mentally retorting. Huh? Isn’t it because of the Hero that I was being targeted, is it? I wouldn’t have been targeted if the marriage proposal wasn’t made in front of the public, right?
However, he cares about me, and his feeling of wanting to protect me was fully conveyed. So I felt a little happy. Well, I am a woman in the first place. I am weak towards the word ‘protect’. Besides, because such words came from a handsome person, it is impossible for my heart not to tighten with emotion.
Towards me who was palpitating, Greed-sama gave me a pouch and said, “Here, please take this.”
Due to the incident of the bracelet, I received a palm-sized bag with both hands with slight caution, and my eyes widened when I peered at the gold characters written on the dark blue fabric.
“The finest tea leaves from Mindalk……?!”
Actually, my hobby is “to make tea”. I like to mix some kinds of tea leaves to enhance the original flavor, so whenever I have my day off, I go out to the city and buy tea leaves in the tea house.
That’s why there is a bit pricey fine tea ware set placed on the bedside table that does not match this simple room.
And a tea aficionado like me is salivating over the tea leaves of Mindalk inside this dark blue pouch. These tea leaves, which can be taken in the mountains bordering between the countries of Mindalk and Lexarida, are fragrant, mellow and sweet special-grade items. It is a rare item that is also called ‘phantom tea leaves’ because it has a low yield and is difficult to obtain and has a high price.
“Wh-Wh-Why did you give this to me?”
I reverently held the dark blue bag that contains the tea leaves and looked up at Greed-sama. He looked down on me with such a gentle smile.
“I heard that your hobby is making tea. Did you like it?”
I nodded vigorously. Greed-sama smiled deeply.
“I see. I’m glad. Just shortly after defeating the Demon King, I bought it when we passed by the border of Lexarida. Because you told me before that you wanted this tea.”
……Uhm, I think the princess doesn’t know that I wanted tea leaves from Mindalk, but I shouldn’t ask or think about from whom he got this information! I want to become honestly delighted at this embodiment of greed here.
“Thank you very much, Greed-sama.”
I thanked him with a smile. In response, Greed-sama also smiled. And then he happily said, “I’m glad that you are pleased”, suddenly crouched and pressed his lips on my right cheek—and drew back immediately.
“I take that as your thanks for the tea leaves.”
Greed-sama chuckled with mischief when he saw me gaping. I felt my face immediately began to burn.
Aside from kissing lips to lips, a kiss on the cheeks is a sign of dear affection so it is a sight that can be seen on a daily basis. It is done between men and women, between parents and children and sometimes even between the people of the same sex. So, it does not have any particular meaning, there is no need to be shy, there is none but—I don’t even understand why I am blushing with so much embarrassment.
While firmly clasping the bag that contains tea leaves with both hands, I was worried about what to reply, and with my face beet red, my eyes wandered around.
I am obviously acting suspiciously. I think so, too.
But, how do the women in the world respond in such cases? How do they cope when their cheeks are kissed as their thanks for tea?
——Don’t tell me that the right answer is, to also give back a kiss in the cheek?
We-Well, that is scary because a different flag might be activated again, you know?
I was thinking about such things in a little confusion so I did not notice—Greed-sama seems to love it but he was wearing a dark expression as he looked down on me.
And after going out of the room with a refreshing smile, leaving me behind whose redness of the face has still not faded, and while looking at his bracelet behind the closed door, Greed-sama said, “I apologize for forcibly binding you to me, Aria…… But I believe this is the best I can do…… No matter what we exchange, I will definitely protect you.”
Is what he mumbled—
Around this time, my heart was pounding and I was upset by the embarrassment of his kiss on my cheeks that I have completely forgotten that I got the highest quality of tea leaves in my hands.
—And also about the significance of wearing a couple bracelet.
The next day, what was waiting for me when I went to the Princess’s room was a commotion as if the engagement has been established.
For some reason—rather, I know the source of the rumors—the rumor was spread far and wide at a fearsome rate because I went to work wearing the bracelet of the goddess Refelia, so it’s no wonder other people misunderstood. Even if I tell them that is an amulet, a magical tool, no one will believe me.
—But, but! I do not mind dreaming that this bracelet operates on a different manner.
To me who desperately explained amidst the fuss of my fellow ladies-in-waiting, the words of the female thief Milly-sama who barged into the room was the finishing blow.
“Aria, you got the bracelet?! Congrats! Earlier, when Greed was doing [Analysis], you underwent a job change!”
“Job change. Your occupation has changed, Aria. Or should I say, it is more like it was added?”
Not understanding her meaning, I gaped. Occupation? My occupation is a lady-in waiting, but what was added to it?
Milly-sama told the befuddled me with a radiant smile.
“The [Fiancée of the Hero] was added. Congrats, Aria!”
“……[Fiancée of the Hero] . . .”
—Fiancée of the Hero?!
Is, Is that . . . because of this bracelet . . .
Oh yeah, that’s right. Whether it is a magical tool or an “amulet’ as what the Hero insisted, wearing the bracelet on the left wrist means that it is an engagement bracelet!
I felt dejected on the spot; my knees and hands fell on the floor.
—What to do?
Engagement? Is the engagement established?
Is the outer moat filled up? Eh, completely? My mob life’s biggest—no, including the scene in the hall, this is the second shocking event in my mob life.
A beautiful woman approached me, who was shocked about the engagement—it’s the Princess.
Princess Louise came beside me, who was crestfallen, and not minding that her dress would get dirty, she kneeled and asked me.
“Aria, do you hate Greed-sama?”
I slowly raised my face.
“I—don’t hate him.”
It is mysterious. Even though I’m driven into a dilemma like this, even though I was in trouble, I don’t think I hate Greed-sama.
Is it because he saved the princess? Or maybe because I remembered how he comforted me when I asked him to help the princess? At that time, he was certainly my hope. The Princess was kidnapped even though she was by my side but Greed-sama gave me, who was in the abyss of despair, a light of hope.
……Of course, it is not because I got the finest tea leaves, okay?
The Princess smiled when she heard my answer.
“That’s what I also thought. Even in my eyes, you do not seem to hate him. Is that why you cannot refuse him bluntly?”
“It’s only because it is a situation where I cannot refuse easily.”
The other person is the Hero, a state guest. There’s no way I can treat him cruelly.
“But if you really hate him, Aria, you would have told him blatantly. But since that is not the case, doesn’t it mean that deep inside, you are responding to Greed-sama’s feelings? It’s just that right now, the situation changed quickly and you just don’t think about it because of what you heard from the people around you. I think that it will surely bear fruit if you deepen your relationship more slowly over time…… I also wish that Greed-sama shouldn’t have carried such things hastily and should have waited for Aria’s heart to decide. I wonder why he is in such a hurry.”
After thinking for a while for the words to say, I replied. “Maybe he does not want to be married on the same day as the Princess’s marriage.”
Well, he told me about going home to Elusion with me.
“My marriage is between two countries so it is not going to happen soon. So I think there is plenty of time……”
After mumbling suspiciously, the princess suddenly smiled at me and said. “Although it is not good for you, I was thinking, what if Aria will come to Elusion with me? Actually, Rufus-sama seems to have decided to visit the territory including the summer villa and the village where Greed-sama lives. So with the villa as the residence, Rufus-sama, as well as Greed-sama and the others, thought to make it as their base. Everyone will live together while there is no request for the suppression of demons, Aria.”
My jaw dropped. Since when was the future of the Princess and Rufus-sama laid out? It was just a few days ago when I was proposed to in the hall, right?
……You work fast, Rufus-sama!
“Ufufu.” The princess laughed delightfully. “I will feel reassured if Aria will unite with Greed-sama and come to Elusion. Living without having to change our lifestyle until now, the two of us will wait for the return of the Hero’s party while drinking tea. Won’t it be fun?”
A life that is same as it is now…… As soon as I thought about that, a certain image appeared in my mind.
—It was a beautiful afternoon. I brewed a carefully selected tea as usual and handed it over to the princess, who was surrounded by elegant furnishings.
The princess smiled as she drank it. However, she suddenly looked out the window, frowned and said.
“I wonder if the Hero and the others are all right.”
To appease the princess’s anxiety, I answered with a smile.
“It’s alright, Princess. Because Greed-sama and the others are not mob characters.”
“You’re right. Our husbands will not be beaten so easily.”
Face to face, the Princess and I laughed with each other.
Such a gentle afternoon scenery, surrounded by favorite things and people I like—
My heart shook.
—It seems nice but that won’t do.
It was a life that is almost the same as now. However, there are no haughty daughters of nobles who say hateful things! I will not receive a scolding from the senior lady-in-waiting!
“See? Isn’t it nice?”
Apparently, it seems that I said out loud my delusions. The Princess grabbed my hand and smiled.
“Ye-Yes, it seems nice……”
Forgetting about something, I returned a smile.
Milly-sama, who was observing us, mumbled, “Hey, although you said, ‘our husbands’, is that okay—?”
She used tsukkomi, but it did not reach my ears.
The brilliant, golden engagement bracelet caught my eyes and remembered something I had forgotten—that is, Greed-sama is going to be a constant in that life—and I threw the delusion I had five seconds ago into the trash bin in my brain.
“It’s not nice after all——!!”
Six seconds later, my scream echoed throughout the Princess’s room.
My name is Aria Milford, 18 years of age.
My occupation is Princess Louise’s lady-in-waiting A.
But apparently, it seems that my job was changed into “The Fiancée of the Hero” from now on——
魔具 [magu] – there’s no direct translation in Jisho, so I translated it as ‘magical tool’.