TLN: Apologies for the large delay. The start of the year was pretty hectic for work and I was unable to find any free time to translate. I’ll try and make the releases more frequent from now on.
「It’s pretty late already, we might just make it before the gate closes」 (Ted)
Ted looked into the sky as he said so.
After clearing up the camp and unlocking the twin’s rings, it was already early morning.
The party set off towards Toria along the highway, but as expected the twins were slowing down the party’s pace
Even though their limbs had become free, the children could not keep up with the well trained mercenaries.
Ardis carried them at different intervals, but he could not hold them all day. As a result, there was a considerable delay to their original schedule.
「I can see it」 (Ophelia)
Ophelia said as a drop of sweat rolled down her face, hidden by her hood.
「Have we finally arrived?」 (Ted)
Ted said, catching his breath.
The constant stopping and starting was exhausting.
Thankfully, they managed to reach Toria before curfew.
There was still 30 minutes left.
By the time Ardis arrived, the gatekeeper was in the midst of preparing to close the gate.
「Here, be quick」 (Gatekeeper)
The gatekeeper wanted to finish work as soon as possible. Hurrying, Ardis took out his entry documents as well as a note.
But that was only for Ardis.
As soon as the gatekeeper looked at the twins, his expression changed immediately.
「Hey, are they twins?」 (Gatekeeper)
The twins were dressed in children’s clothes taken out from the carriage.
The rings had already been removed by Ardis and the documents identifying the twins were burnt by him.
Although their dirtiness was conspicuous somewhat, the current twins looked just like ordinary people.
However the gatekeeper seemed to not care about that.
He looked down at the girls as if looking at something dirty.
「What did you say!?」 (Norris)
「Now now, gatekeeper. Can’t you see that these are our escort subjects, aren’t you working too hard?」 (Ted)
Ted tried his best to calm the gatekeeper
「But this is…」 (Gatekeeper)
「You worked really hard today as well, so I guess you must be tired. Please have a good drink on your way home」 (Norris)
From the other side, Norris passed a few silver coins to the gatekeeper
「U…umu. It can’t be helped. Just don’t cause trouble!」 (Gatekeeper)
As soon as he said so, he motioned to Ardis.
Passing through the gate, the group entered the main street. Norris suddenly tapped on Ardis with his palm facing up.
Seeing Norris’ look, Ardis took out a few silver coins from his wallet and placed it in his hands
「Walking around with the twins may cause problems. Well, that could be interesting in itself right?」 (Norris)
「I was saved, sorry Ted」 (Ardis)
「Well that’s fine, I’ll report to the timber trader. We’ll call you when our next job comes」 (Ted)
「Ardis….that…there are things I want to say, but don’t hesitate to call me if you need help. I’ll do as much as I can」 (Ophelia)
「Ah, see you later」 (Ardis)
After the group left, Ardis was left alone with the twin girls.
The sky was gradually getting darker and the people on the street were sparse, but everyone who saw the twins had a frown on their faces.
Ardis felt frustrated by such a gaze and urged the twins to follow him as he walked down the road to the inn.
His lodging was fairly close to the main street, making it a good location to stay.
Among the accomodations in Toria, they were usually medium sized, with a cheap room charge and lots of meals in order to keep customers happy.
Although the taste of the cooking wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t a big problem for Ardis who was not particular about taste.
Due to the twins, the room and meal fee naturally rose.
Fortunately Ardis was not short on money.
For now he just wanted to get some sleep. They had been handling the request for the last few days and he had not slept well.
After giving the twins an adequate meal and putting them to bed, he immediately fell asleep.
That was, until they were told to leave by the innkeeper.
「Please leave immediately」 (Innkeeper)
Four days ago when departing the inn, the innkeeper was very amiable to Ardis and hoped he would come back soon. However when he returned with twins, she did not hide her annoyed expression.
「I have never been overdue with my payments, in fact I always pay in advance. Leaving suddenly would not be very appropriate」 (Ardis)
Ardis responded to the maidservant who’s attitude had changed 180 degrees.
「Saying such a thing, are they not twins?」 (Innkeeper)
The innkeeper stared at the children standing behind Ardis.
「So what if they are? I will pay for them both」 (Ardis)
「That doesn’t matter! If it becomes known twins are staying here then business will suffer!」 (Innkeeper)
It had already reached a point where further conversation was impossible.
Ardis who was pressed to choose between leaving the inn or abandoning the twins decided to leave the inn immediately.
It was already night time.
No matter what, he didn’t want to sleep in the street with the twins.
Ardis walked around the street and checked the different inns, however the open displeasure towards the twins made it impossible to find an room.
Ardis was suddenly filled with a disgusting feeling towards the people of this town.
However after hearing the story from Ophelia, he could not abandon the twins.
Whilst searching for accomodation that would allow them, Ardis arrived at a strange place in the backstreets.
It was quite far from the main street, but not too far from the streets where the glamourous inns were located. The little light given out by the streetlights gave this place a quiet and somewhat sombre
「Hey there onii-san, yes you!」 (???)
Suddenly the voice of a woman could be heard amongst the bustle of the entertainment district.
After searching the area, Ardis suddenly realized that the woman was calling to him.
It was a woman in her mid twenties.
Her hair color was an eyecatching blue.
Appearance wise, she gave a pleasant impression from her slender figure.
The dress she was wearing was not spectacular, but was overflowing with a sense of cleanliness.
「Are you perhaps looking for accomodation tonight?」 (Woman)
「…why do you think that?」 (Ardis)
「Well you were wandering around looking like you were trying to find something. Usually about this time of night people are returning to their inns」 (Woman)
In this area there were only poor private houses, no shops were open at night unlike the entertainment district.
In addition, if you carry a set of luggage like Ardis you could easily guess what they were looking for. The woman said so.
「We have a free room at our inn, how about it?」 (Woman)
For Ardis who was searching for an inn, this could be called a lifeline.
「I appreciate that, but are these children allowed as well?」 (Ardis)
Ardis shifted his gaze to the twins behind him.
「These children…」 (Woman)
The woman immediately lost her words.
Following Ardis, she captured the twins in her eyes and proceeded to open and close her mouth as if it had been silenced by magic.
「…are they twins?」 (Woman)
「That’s right. Is it ok for these children to stay with me?」 (Ardis)
「Eh, oh….」 (Woman)
The woman’s words became incomprehensible as she held her head.
But unlike the previous inns, there was no immediate refusal.
I wonder if they have so few customers. There was a feeling as if she didn’t really want to put the twins in her inn, although she wants to fill the room.
「Un…is onii-san a mercenary?」 (Woman)
「That’s right」 (Ardis)
「Are the children mercenaries too?」 (Woman)
「No, they’re not」 (Ardis)
The woman held her head for a while before nodding as if convincing herself. She began negotiations with Ardis.
「I have conditions, but I’ll let you buy the room if you follow them」 (Woman)
The world where treatment of twins was so terrible, suddenly got slightly better.
「Yes. First, you can not tell anyone that they are twins. If it is found out that twins stay at my inn, the customers would all leave. Next, the children are not allowed outside of the room at the same time. If
they don’t see both of them at once, they will not know that they are twins」 (Woman)
Ardis considered the two conditions in his mind.
The first condition was not a problem to accomplish. He didn’t really want to tell people that anyway.
There was a problem with the second condition, but it was still acceptable.
He didn’t think that the twins would leave without him anyway.
They had never opened their mouths at all until they came here, only obediently following what Ardis said. There wasn’t even any indication that they would run away now that the rings were gone.
For confirmation, Ardis asked a question to the woman.
「Can you bring water for wiping our bodies and meals to our room?」 (Ardis)
「I don’t mind, but I will charge an extra fee」 (Woman)
「I may not return to the inn for days at a time, can I ask you to look after the children at that time?」 (Ardis)
「Un, but that will be another fee. Is that fine?」 (Woman)
「That doesn’t matter, how much is the room and meal fee?」 (Ardis)
「Usually the cost of a triple room is a silver coin, while meals are five copper coins…however for you it will cost 2 silver coins for the room fee due to the risk」 (Woman)
Ardis had a favorable impression of the woman. Although the price was high, she revealed the original price honestly.
There were only a few inns that would accept mercenaries anyway.
Despite it being more expensive, Ardis didn’t really have any other options.
「I don’t need individual beds for all of us, 2 beds are enough. Meal is for three people in the morning and evening. These children will have 3 meals each day」 (Ardis)
「For the room fee, you can use one silver coin and four coppers, the meal price is 1 silver coin and 1 copper. Hot water costs 1 copper coin each time. The fee for transporting the meals to you room is 5 copper
coins. As for looking after the children, should be say 1 copper coin each day?」 (Woman)
「That’s fine, then I would like to book the room for ten days」 (Ardis)
Just like that, two silver coins and numerous coppers had disappeared.
(I’m going to be milked dry at this rate…)
Whilst holding a little bit of dissatisfaction with the woman’s prices, he was relieved that he managed to secure a place to settle down for the time being. Ardis wanted to quickly get into a warm bed and get
「Well then follow me. You’ll be seen by other customers if you enter from the front, so come in through the back door」 (Woman)
Ardis did not notice just how close they were to the inn in question.
It looked like a slightly bigger private house, a small sign was hanging at the entrance 『Stop Tree Tea Rooms』 (TLN: This is a literal translation so may not be what the author intended)
Following the woman, they went around to the back door of the inn to avoid the eyes of the customers.
Entering the building, they arrived at the kitchen and passed by two other rooms.
「You will still have to come to reception」 (Woman)
After paying the meal and room fee for ten days at the reception, Ardis immediately brought the food to his room.
「Oh that’s right. My name is Kashiha and this inn is run by me and my father. I will tell my father about Ardis’ situation so please show your face tomorrow」
After saying that, Kashiha left the room.
All that was left in the room was Ardis, the twins and the meals for three people. The flame of the candle which was the rooms only light source, shimmered faintly.
「It’s so dark」 (Ardis)
At Ardis’ mutter, the inside of the room was immediately filled with a bright light incomparable to that of the candle flame.
The light source had seemingly appeared from nowhere, it stuck to the ceiling in a spherical shape.
It was somewhat larger than a palm and emitted a blazing light that drowned out the unreliable candle light.
The twins that rarely showed emotions on their faces other than fear looked surprised,
They gazed up at the ceiling and blinked their eyes at the magical light floating in the air.
「Let’s eat it whilst it’s warm」 (Ardis)
They were still wary of Ardis.
After telling the twins to eat their food, he sat on a chair at a table in the corner of the room and began to eat.
Removing their hoods, the twin’s hair looked shorter than expected. It reached below their ears and ended at their nape. The original shine had been lost due to the dirt.
Ardis scooped the stew up with a spoon and carried it to his mouth silently, without even saying if it was delicious or tasteless.
He had finished his food in under five minutes, but the trouble was that the twins were not eating at all and instead were holding their hands sitting on the bed.
They did not approach the table whilst Ardis was eating, they only stared at him.
「Are you not eating?」 (Ardis)
Even after calling out, there was no response. Their line of sight was facing here so it seemed as if they had heard his voice, they just did not reply.
「I will go to bed now」 (Ardis)
In addition to his work, Ardis was also tired from searching for accommodation and fell asleep quickly.