As I was roused awake, I looked beside me and noticed that Reinbach-sama and the others were praying. They turned to me. I’d told them beforehand that I would be receiving a divine revelation here, so my looking at them must have been enough to tip them off that I was done.
We took care not to act unnatural and left only after they’d finished their prayers, then we briskly got back on the carriage and headed for my laundromat. I told them about the curse along the way. However, I omitted the part about the demon king since I didn’t want to make them worry for no reason.
“How wonderful! To think that the gods themselves would undo your curse.” [Sebasu]
“I’d find it hard to believe if I didn’t know beforehand that you’re a Child of the Gods. Is it because you’re a Child of the Gods? Or are the Children of the Gods precisely called as such because they are loved by the gods to that extent?” [Schieber]
“Either way, it’s reassuring to know that your curse can be dispelled. Though it will still take some time, it sounds like it’ll be taken care of in the end.” [Remilie]
“Yes. There’s no need to worry.” [Ryouma]
For the meantime, I’ll head to the store and give a brief explanation to Carm-san. I’ll be dropping by on short notice, and it’ll be best for me not to meet anyone I’m not familiar with, so I’ll be going home as soon as I finish explaining my situation to him.
Even if you cover up something that stinks, there’ll still be some lingering stench. In the same way, there’s still a faint residue of my previous state before Gayn and the others treated me.
“If that’s what the gods said, then that’s what you should do. But can you really say you’ll be fine entering the store? It’s a lot livelier than before, and there are a lot of new employees too, right?” [Reinbach]
“Well, that’s true… The staff who have been working since the opening of the first store should be fine, but there are quite a few new employees who joined this year.” [Ryouma]
We used to hire part-timers to help us get through the busy periods, but recently, we’ve been focusing on developing talents for the long term, and that has led to an increase in staff. Ever since I’ve delegated my role to Carm-san, I haven’t had to show my face at the store much.
Of course, we’ve taken care to do background checks and conducted interviews when hiring, so the new staff were certainly trustworthy, but my relationship with them was definitely weaker compared to the staff that have been with us since I first started the business.
“There are the customers too.” [Sebasu]
“Now that I think about it, this is also the busiest time of the day. If a line has formed outside, then I’ll probably be seen by a lot of people when I get off.” [Ryouma]
“We got on the carriage hastily since this wasn’t a topic we could broach while in church, but… Perhaps it would be better if we changed our plan of going to the store?” [Schieber]
“No, I need to tell them that I’m safe, and if I’m going to explain about the curse, then I need to show myself in good health to reassure them… How about I use Hide?” [Ryouma]
“Your curse activates when other people notice you, right? But that’s a spell that hides your presence, so people can still see you, and it’s not very effective in the first place.” [Remilie]
“…There’s no need to think about it so hard, is there? I mean there’s no real need to use a spell if you just need to sneak in. You could also consider another approach – not giving a negative impression to those around you.” [Schieber]
Like that we all discussed how I could get into the laundromat safely, and before long, we made it to the lot of my store.
“H-Hey, look. That carriage.” [Onlooker 1]
“That crest… That’s the duke’s! Why would the duke come to a store like this?” [Onlooker 2]
“Oh? Are you new around here? This store is famous for catering to the duke. Apparently, the shop manager is close with His Grace.” [Onlooker 3]
As expected, the shop was crowded, and the long line extended all the way to the empty lot in front. The surprised voices of the customers waiting in line could be heard from outside.
“Alright, I’m going.” [Schieber]
“Please take care of it.” [Ryouma]
“Excuse me! Could you let us through please?” [Schieber]
Schieber-san moved, and the very moment the carriage moved, I heard a familiar male voice from outside.
“Oh! Just when I was thinking I’d seen a familiar face, aren’t you Verdure’s son?” [Schieber]
“Yes, my lord! Former knight candidate, Yurdum Verdure, at your service!” [Yurdum]
Huh, turns out they knew each other. Schieber-san, the former knight commander, and Yurdum-san, who once aspired to become a knight. Given their backgrounds, I suppose it’s not so surprising that they know each other.
Yurdum-san is also showing signs of his past training, what with him standing upright with his right fist against his chest, but his expression is somewhat stiff and tense. Perhaps he feels awkward because he abandoned the path of becoming a knight.
“Lord Gardak, I—” [Yurdum]
“Enough. I am no longer the knight commander, and you have also chosen a different path from knighthood, so stand tall with pride and just carry out your duties well. Please lead the way.” [Schieber]
“—My apologies! In that case, right this way please.” [Yurdum]
Schieber-san seems to have perceived his mental state too, and he spoke in concern for him. Yurdum-san looked at me.
“Shall I carry your luggage for you?” [Yurdum]
“Oh, this?” [Schieber]
“Yurdum-san, can you hear me? It’s me, Ryouma.” [Ryouma]
When I called out to him, Yurdum-san, who had been tense this whole time, became wide-eyed, but he couldn’t be faulted for that. Though it might have been to suppress the curse, anyone would be shocked to see an acquaintance leave, human, and come back, a box.
Moreover, it was someone with high standing, the former knight commander, himself who was carrying said box. Considering how Yurdum-san once aspired to become a knight, the shock he felt must have been even greater.