Atelier Tanaka Volume 3 Chapter 3 Part 1
After finishing our audience with the King, we left the castle.
Since I was told the ceremony to give me my new title would be held at a later date, everything we had planned for the day was now complete.
This reminds me of the days I’d get out of class early and have the rest of the day free. The so-called half-day.
And since I had no other business in the castle, I wanted to leave immediately.
If I were an ikemen, I’d probably stay inside the castle and try to form connections with some nobles. However, this soy sauce face is impossible to hide, and if I were to try to speak with anyone, I’d most likely lower their opinion of me.
I walked back to my dorm room with this thought in mind.
Ester-chan also came with me.
Unlike her recent habits, she came straight to my room without first returning to hers.
We sat opposite each other in the living room. The blonde loli would occasionally cast fleeting glances at me. She sat with her back straight and her hands in her lap, her cheeks dyed a faint red. She looked like a nervous virgin that had entered a man’s room for the first time.
A complete fraud.
The maid that lives with me isn’t here. She left to get laundry or do another maid activity. She’s a hardworking girl. I no longer have any doubts about her abilities as a maid. It just seems natural now.
“By the way, umm, d-do you have any plans for the rest of the day!?”
“Did you have something you needed me for?”
“I-I-I was wondering if we should get something to eat!”
“It is about time for that.”
It was just past noon.
I got up early today for the audience with the King. I didn’t eat anything before going to the castle. Ester-chan’s suggestion sounds good. I can heal injuries and diseases with my recovery magic, but it can’t fill up my stomach.
“Yep, that’s right! Regardless of everything else that’s going on, it’s still important to eat!”
“If that’s the case, Sophisan will be returning shortly..”
“S-S-Sometimes it’s also better to eat outside!”
“Yes! Outside, outside!”
“I guess so.”
In other words, she wants it to be just us.
This made me think about everything that’s happened between us the past few days.
She stayed by my side longer than the others during the last fight. She even shed tears for me when I forced her to leave. She fought for me in front of the King. I’m certainly indebted to her.
If so, this is the least I can do.
Even though she doesn’t have a hymen, Ester-chan is still a beautiful girl. It would also be nice to have a peaceful meal outside with a cute girl. Now that I think about it, isn’t this the first time in my life I’ve been asked out by a girl? Most of all, I have a desire to take care of her.
“All right. I’ll go wherever you want.”
“Yeah, leave it to me! I’m going to take you to a very special place!”
“Oh, that sounds interesting.”
I decided to go out to lunch with the loli bitch.
The place she took me to was a small restaurant built in the middle of the down-market. I expected her to bring me to a classy restaurant in the aristocratic section of the city, so I was quite surprised when I saw this place.
The waiter guided us to a table with two seats.
When we were seated, Ester-chan spoke.
“were you surprised?”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.”
The waiter quickly returned to us. Ester-chan ordered as if she had done it a thousand times. She asked what the special was today before ordering it. It sounded good to me, so I ordered the same thing. The waiter also told us we could order liquor now that it was past noon, but I decided to show a little restraint this time.
After taking our orders, the waiter quickly turned and left our table.
The moment we were alone again, Ester-chan spoke again.
“Cyan recommended this place to me when we were acting as adventurers.”
I bet that cyan bitch came here in her free time to get used by all these commoners. I’m going to temper my expectations for this place.
“Umm, I-I thought you’d like a restaurant like this.”
That nervous gaze didn’t fit the usually self-confident loli bitch. She was clearly trying to judge my mood.
This is my first time being invited out by a woman. She also got me a position among the nobles.
I might actually want to marry her if things keep going like this.
On top of that, I’ve never had a close relationship with a girl before. It’s a rather nice feeling. With her being the source of so many amazing things happening to me, I felt genuinely bad for making her upset.
“You don’t need to worry. As you can see, I’m very happy.”
“Really? T-Then, that’s good.”
Oh, the loli bitch is stroking her chest in relief.
And then, a bright smile slowly appeared on her face.
The loli bitches eyes looked at me steadily.
Our meals were brought out shortly after this exchange. It was a thick piece of meat on an iron plate. It’s an item I wouldn’t expect a young girl to order. But I guess Sophie has to find some way to fill her mouth with meat.
The conversation between Ester-chan and I slowed down as we focused on our meal. I cut into the steak with a knife and fork and took a big bite of the delicious food. When I occasionally looked up, I saw Ester-chan staring back at me with a bright smile.
It was a delicious meal with a somewhat peaceful atmosphere.
We had almost cleared our plates and had already ordered dessert. It was at this time that we could overhear the conversation of a nearby table.
It was the table right next to us. There were two people sitting across from each other holding a conversation. They were both men that had matching armour that they had placed at the foot of their chairs. There were also two spears leaned against a nearby wall. They’re most likely two guards assigned to patrol this area.
They each spoke with a serious expression.
“Oi, have you heard? Rumours about that jailbreak that happened not too long ago.”
“Yeah, a friend of mine went to confirm it and the entire prison was empty. He told me it was the great thief that managed to break out and free every prisoner. On top of that, he used a single wire.”
“I see. There were a lot of tough criminals imprisoned there. If they were to unite, a common soldier wouldn’t be enough to handle them.”
“It’s even worse than that. I doubt anyone besides the Magic Knights would be able to handle them. Soldiers like us certainly wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“That’s for sure.”
This is starting to sound familiar.
This conversation caused Ester-chan’s smile to fade away and the peaceful atmosphere surrounding us has disappeared.
The keywords mentioned are thief and jailbreak.
“But how could someone break all of those prisoners out.”
“I don’t even want to find out. This is all just what I’ve heard from a friend of mine, but he was unluckily on duty the day of the jailbreak. He suffered a serious injury from the witch’s magic. Even now he struggles to stand on his own and has to rely on his wife for most things.”
“I wonder if there’s a chance we’ll be able to avoid night patrols.”
“What a stupid thing to say. Haven’t you noticed they’ve been increasing patrols every day since then? Even though they’ve increased patrols by more than fifty percent every day, they’ve yet to catch a single escapee. Until they catch them, and that bastard that leads them, we won’t be allowed a single day off.”
“I can’t stand it. I just want a couple days off.”
It was a story I never wanted to hear mentioned again.
When I first arrived in the Penny Empire, I was thrown into prison with Mercedes-chan. Ultimately, we ended up escaping along with every other prisoner. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but apparently, I was wrong. (TN: Tanaka’s escape from prison was very different in the LN. The manga is closer to what happened in the LN. The first chapter can be read .)
“By the way, another friend of mine was killed by a strange man.”
“Yeah. A man with yellow-tinted skin and a flat face.”
“What? Was it some type of subhuman?”
“Who knows. One of the guards claimed that he hit him with an arrow but they never found a body.”
Seriously? There’s only one mongoloid in this world that matches that description.
But I guess, based on what he just said, they think the ‘subhuman’ that was there that day is already dead.
Besides, I may have been the one that healed everyone’s injuries, but the decision to break out of prison was entirely there’s. It was that great thief that opened our cell door and broke everyone out. I was just an innocent citizen that got caught up in everything.
I’m sure it’ll be fine though. Who would take the time to remember this soy sauce face?
“by the way, that man over there, isn’t his skin somewhat yellow?”
“Yeah, it is yellow.”
Their attention is on me.
“But the man from the prison was shot with an arrow in the stomach. He wouldn’t be eating a meal in a place like this.”
“Now that I look at them, doesn’t that uniform belong to the royal academy?”
“Idiot, stop staring. The students at the royal academy are all nobles.”
Luckily, Ester-chan was with me.
If I were alone, they may have tried interrogating me.
“There was also a rumour that that vagrant forced himself on a woman in his cell.”
“That same guy did?”
“Yeah. As you know, women are also imprisoned there. A woman of high social status was in his cell and that guy figured if he was going to die there, he might as well enjoy his last hours alive.”
“I see. So that guy deserved to die.”
Oi, I feel like I’d remember an amazing act like that. I didn’t even consider that when we were locked up together. But if Mercedes was worried I’d try something like that, it would explain why seemed scared back then.
I got a little excited thinking back to our time in prison. I feel like I missed out on doing something great. Well, as a result, things turned out pretty well, so I guess I should be thankful I didn’t do anything.
“But that prison wasn’t too far from here? I don’t want them to catch me on patrol and kill me.”
“I’m hoping that if I’m friendly enough to the commoners, they won’t bother me.”
“I hope so too.”
“This is only a story I’ve heard but, in the past, the great thief, Hard, that lead the breakout would accept jobs considered to be impossible. Since his escape, he even managed to break into a nobleman’s mansion and destroy many slave contracts.”
“I’ve heard something similar to that. An acquaintance of mine that was to be sold as a slave to a coal mine was rescued by the witch and they managed to escape.”
“That’s amazing. His collar was even removed?”
“Yeah. It seems that the witch was able to remove that as well.”
“As expected of that witch. She’s supposedly a master of many powerful magics.”
“Moreover, during the chaos, that witch seemed to indulge herself.”
“O-Oi, I thought those were just rumours. Is that witch really as promiscuous as they say?”
“There’s something strange about her. My acquaintance barely caught a glimpse of her, but he instantly wanted to grant her every desire. Since then, he’s been obsessed with her. He hasn’t married yet even though he’s now past thirty, but he just continues chasing after the witch.”
“Well, she did save his life. Even if he’s become obsessed with her, it’s not that strange.”
“That’s not the reason. He said she’s a ridiculously beautiful woman.”
Fortunately for this yellow guy, they’ve moved on to another subject. Earlier in their conversation, they kept glancing over at me, but now they’re focused on this witch. As long as I don’t do anything to raise suspicion, I should be fine.
But there’s still a problem.
What if one of the prisoners or a guard remember my face? Would that be enough reason to imprison me again?
I know the great thief won’t say anything. I could tell he had a strong sense of duty. However, there were plenty of other prisoners that escaped that day. I can’t know that they’ll all keep quiet.
This is troublesome.
I stopped eating my meal.
The loli bitch noticed my change in attitude and asked me, “What’s wrong?”
“I-It’s nothing. I’m just thinking about something.”
“after all, did I annoy you by asking you out?”
She asked this with a pained expression on her face.
I really am sorry for making her feel uneasy.
“No, it’s not about you. There’s something on my mind.”
“If you’re okay with it, I-I’ll listen to anything you need to talk about!”
“Thank you. It would be nice to talk with someone about it.”
Ester-chan’s face became bright red.
If she gets any cuter, I really will be in danger.