Chapter 42: I-It’s not what it looks like!
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Kein's POV

The gates let out a huge creak and thump sound once it was opened for all of us. 

I gripped Vanilla's reigns tightly, staring at the carriage longingly. I sighed wanting to see Rose again without a shawl covering her face and explain that hug with Natasha- that it was nothing! All of it was a misunderstanding.

It was just two friends hugging! She looked jealous it was cute but she looked like she was ready to strangle me while casually smiling- 

My hands moved to my neck on impulse shivering. 

I move my gaze to Natasha who looked flustered while talking to one of her adventurer friends. I didn't knew what to feel. I already rejected her and if I let her to continue liking me I know she'll just end up getting hurt in the end. 

She noticed me looking at her. When I was about to look away she waved her hands towards me softly. Her other adventurers friends noticed this, they covered their mouths and began cheering for Natasha supportively. I could hear their voices from over here making me feel embarrassed and flustered.

"Are you two going out already?! That's the holy knight who once saved our lives you know!"

"Kyah! You're so lucky!"

"Natasha invite me to your wedding okay?"

Natasha shakes her head really quickly trying to disperse the questions raised at her. She looks at me apologetically mouthing, "I'm sorry." (Natasha)

I smiled and mouthed towards her back, "It's okay." 

She smiles back faintly but returns to her expressionless face the moment she had to meet her adventurer companions. One of her adventurer friends noticed our exchange and began hitting Natasha on her shoulders like there's no tomorrow. "You guys are so cute together. Jeez I'm so jealous." 

"S-Shhh!" (Natasha) urges them to shush. All of them giggled behind her back. They enjoy tormenting her because usually she never shows any sort of different expression other than her serious one on adventurer work. 

I looked away from their direction and had a curious look on the three heroes. They all had their summoned contract familiars with them. 

I've gathered information on them before considering of how popular they are in the adventurer's guild and in the general public. 

The supposed to be saviors of this world, [Devalion]. The future slayers of the [Demon King] to get back home to their original world.

Pretty cliché if you ask me actually.

The first hero that got my attention was Avery Williams, she has dark blonde-hair similar to mine, white clear skin, and grinning from ear to ear while patting her familiar who purrs deeply to the touch of her hand. It was a huge looking lion with a saddle on the back. She carried a red sword with black stripes over, I can feel that it's also a cursed weapon like my [Nirvana].

She was summoned by the kingdom of [Puronia] a year ago. 

I never had a chance to come across her because she was busy doing heroic quests to level up and defeat the demon king along with the other two. I've only heard her magic is making things they've never seen before but I can never be too sure. 

"She's an interesting one definitely." I told myself, my attention drifting to the soft looking hero. 

The second hero can be seen carrying things while having  snake on his neck. Hirogata Haruki, rumors has it he can't refuse any sort of request that was given to him. He had light brown hair, a slender looking body, green eyes, and tanned skin. He was definitely Japanese, but are there other worlds that was similar to earth? Maybe he's not from my earth.

The snake on his arm slithers on his head plopping softly. I didn't like snakes but that one on his head looks tame. 

Haruki casually giggles softly scratching the head of that little snake, going with the first hero to ride the Lion. The two of them seem close friends and in good terms. He holds down his long sword on his hilt. His magic attribute was rumored to be something connected to nature and animals. 

This hero was summoned by the kingdom of [Sprivanto].

"Hmm... He looks cute actually." I muttered my first impression of him, looking more closely he does have feminine features that could make any other girl either envious or admirable of it. 

I look over to the last one ever growing curious. He was all alone from the rest of us, I gave him a quick look.

The last hero was Elijah bin Shukri. He stood tall, brooding dark hair, and intense gaze. No one could approach him even if they were ordered to. His aura was too heavy that from the looks of it only the other heroes can approach him casually. 

I didn't have much info on him. His profile was all inaccurate. He leaves early on quests and finishes them as fast as he could not wanting to party with anyone. Any other information about him is disclosed and was also inaccurate. 

If he needed to form a party with anyone. Its always going to be either heroes or adventurers with a rank S or somehow higher than that but there's not much of them. 

The only rank S rank adventurer I know is well Big Sister Valentina. She might be a merchant now but I heard she was a part-time adventurer before taking over her family business. No wonder she's rich as hell.

"Hmph." The third hero glared at me after noticing my stares. I scratch my back awkwardly feeling guilty of getting caught.

I decided to focus on Vincent's final speech before we leave. "Attention!" I heard him shout up the very front. "We will move out. Everyone through your positions. Don't let any magical monsters attach her highness's carriage. I'll deduct any damage from all of your pays if its even scratched. Am I understood?!" 

Vincent's voiced roared through the hundreds of people that was hired to be here. They all looked at each other in surprise. 

I was the same. Woah. He's being a lot more strict than usual. He's usually calm strict but from the look of his face he looks like he's ready to punch somebody. I've never seen Vincent like this. I wonder if something happened?

"Yes, General." The knights gave one last salute and that included me. 

I saw Vincent click his tongue while he pulls the reigns of his Pegasus. "Move forward!" he kicks his Pegasus gently by the thigh. The knights move in synch together, those who was freshly graduated or were low of rank were needed to walk. 

Those who owned a horse, a Pegasus, or familiars have a steed. 

I look behind Natasha who was walking with her feet along with the other adventurers looking relaxed. Her other friends nudges her side pointing at me and that made me not wanna look at her anymore and decided to look at my front- 

Jeez. 

I sighed in my mind. This is harder than I thought it would be. The person I liked before that's going to be married I'm escorting right now, and now the person who's pursuing after me is behind me.

Someone who likes me... 

I stare at the carriage windows that was being covered by curtains where I wasn't too far away. I was just a couple meters behind it, and it was really ones of those times where I felt.

So close yet so far.

._._._._._.

The time came for sundown and everyone was getting ready for camp. We only encountered small and weak monsters that could be easily taken care of even with low ranked knights and adventurers. 

Vincent wiped the sweat on his eyebrows ordering knights around to set up tent that I didn't had the chance to have a moment and talk with him. 

I'm really worried because he looked really out of it.

Vanilla went with me, first I found a secluded corner where I could be all by myself beside a decent sized tree for shade. I set up my own tent taking the metal pipe and fabric. "Vanilla stand guard while I set things up alright?"

I took a hammer from my storage ring and began setting up the tent. I tied a rope onto a strong branch of a tree to make a guy line, taking the fabric I placed it between the ropes, and the metal rod in the middle. 

Alright now I just need to hammer tent fabric with stakes and we'll be good to go. I looked through my ring but there was no stakes. "Alfred must've forgotten to pack it-" 

Great now I have to ask around if the other knights have spare stakes I could use huh. 

Vanilla sits softly into the ground laying comfortably on the grass. "Aw cute." I placed a hand over my waist. "Vanilla, I'll be back I need to get stakes so take guard on our tent." 

Vanilla nods at me seriously. I let go of the hammer for a bit, wiping my hands together to remove the dirt. Now who should I ask?

I should start off with my squad members and see if they have them. 

I walked over to their tent spot where they were all huddled together already having their own bonfire started and asked if they have some spare stakes I could borrow but all of them shook their heads.

"Sorry, Commander. Minerva and I have already used ours because we just carried the right amount." (Sarah) says apologetically while Minerva shrugs. I look through the guys and- uh only one of them had made a proper tent. 

Felix shakes his head as well. "Apologies to Commander. I have also ran out of stakes because... Bancho burned them all." (Felix)

He looks disapprovingly to Bancho who just lays down on a thin fabric on the grass smiling. "Sorry Commander, I burned them because I wanted to get back at Felix for taking my flask of vodka away." (Bancho) replied smirking. 

I glared at him and he cowers down. "And why aren't you setting up a tent?"

"I forgot to bring one, commander." (Bancho) replies lazily taking comfort in his blanket.

I rubbed the side of my temples.  "Felix share you tent with him. I don't want one of my squad members being tentless. If he continues such unruly behavior tell me. 

Bancho rolls his eyes but still stands up giving me a lazy salute taking a fishing rod that was beside a tree. "I'll handle the food business then commander.  Some late night fishing sounds nice." (Bancho)

Felix sighs continuing to work on his tent. I look towards the other knights that were a stranger in my network. I also thought of asking Vincent but at his state I think it might be best not to approach him this early. "I guess I should make the stakes instead even though it'll waste some of my time."

I scratched the back of my neck saying my farewell to Sarah, Minerva, and Felix. 

I walked creasing my eyebrows having an irritated expression. I look over to my unfinished tent seeing Vanilla being ecstatic to see me. She stands up slowly flapping her wings before running towards me and licking my face. "Hey girl. I couldn't find anyone who has spare stakes so I need to make them myself now."

I scratch Vanilla behind her ear where she likes it most. She cuddles with me for a bit before we separated. "I'll be going out again." I told Vanilla who neighs sadly wanting attention.


"No, you do not need to leave Vanilla for trivial matters." 

I held the hilt of my sword after hearing a voice behind me. "Oh." I lowered my hands down to my sides instead when I noticed it was Natasha.

I didn't even hear her footsteps. Natasha walks over carrying the right amount of stakes that I needed. "Natasha that's..." I point to her hands. "Are those for me?"

Natasha looks away before shoving the stakes to both of my hands, her hands were shaking before speaking seriously. "My friends have told me, you needed these. They have accidentally overheard your problem and asked me to deliver these to you." (Natasha)

I look behind her and saw that there were several girls hiding behind some empty tents trying to see what we were doing. I tried to hide my laughter but some sound escaped I covered my face with my wrist. "You mean those friends?" 

I point a finger to where the other girls noticed that they've been found out. They ran in scrambles bumping their heads into each other. Natasha swiftly turns her head around seeing her friend's back running away. I heard one of them shout, abort! abort mission!

Natasha facepalmed seeing her friend's hilarious display. "T-They told me they won't follow me! Natasha will bash their heads into wood later!" she says raising her fist then clenching her hands.

"Pfft! Hahaha! Natasha have mercy on them please." I held down my stomach trying not to laugh but man. Natasha is just too cute. 


"Natasha apologizes for the display my companions have made. I am embarrassed of how they hid like fools to spy on us."
 (Natasha) was still wearing a shade of pink not meeting my eyes. 

I smiled looking at the stakes that she gave me. It must've taken her a lot of courage to even do this so... "Thank you, Natasha. Thanks to you I can make my tent now instead of later." I went back to my tent. Vanilla watched the whole thing unfold raising her eyebrows at us.

Natasha looks over at my tent nodding in fascination. "It is very simple tent." 

I bend down picking up the hammer, walking to my small simple tent taking each corners of the tent fabric and hammering a stake to the ground. Vanilla decides to sleep in a shade of a tree a little far away from us.

I laugh a little in reply to her comment about my tent. It's small, plain, you would hardly even notice it. Just like me... before I died. "Simple like me, right?" I stand up but I was met with a pair of jade green eyes holding mine.

I didn't realize she was right behind me when I was hammering the stakes. 

Both of our faces were so close, she leans up a little expectantly. "You are not just a simple person for Natasha. For Natasha, you are savior that saved my life. If it weren't for you I would be home feeling like a puppet."

I swallow the lump on my throat. This is bad. I need to move.

I had a few steps back before scratching my head in a panic but I tried my best not showing it. "Natasha, anyone would've done what I did you know. There are a lot of good people in this world left-"

Every step I take back, the more she moved forward. Still, I continued to talk even raising my hand a little in panic, "You know you don't need to see me as your savior but just-"

My back felt the stiff body of the tree and realized-

Slam!

Natasha cornered me slamming both of her hands in the tree between my sides so I couldn't escape. Our face were almost kissing. I should push her away right?! Right?! Oh shit what if anyone finds us together like this?! 

I looked around to find an opening but I was surprised with Natasha's next move was. She lets down both of hands leaving me free but before I could even move, she places her head to my shoulder.

I was paralyzed. I couldn't move. "Um..."

Her strands of hair was turning messy, the sun was slowly moving down and it honestly looked really beautiful when the light hits her hair. "You... you are not simple person take it back." (Natasha)

She holds her breath for a moment. I didn't speak I was afraid of moving and doing something I'll regret. Natasha glares at me feeling hot her ears were red, "You fed me. You gave me home. You taught me your language. You taught me how to be independent. You became my friend. You help others even forgetting your own self. Natasha has seen it." 

She hides her face to my shoulders. We were close friends but I never knew- she felt this way?

"You are big stupid idiotka." (Natasha) punches me lightly. 

I smiled. I should've noticed it but I've just been too busy with things it slipped out my mind. 

"You are kind. You are an important person for Natasha. Natasha doesn't like it when you devalue yourself. It made Natasha feel hurt when you compared yourself to a tent-" 
(Natasha)

Her voice shrinks sounding confused still not meeting my eye. The sudden compliments made my face flushed. "T-Thank you. I'll uh... I'll remember to value myself more." I told her giving her a small awkward pat on the back. "Can I have my shoulder back now or?"

I tease her lightly feeling Natasha frown a little. "Can we stay like this a little more-"

Step! Step! Step!

My ears perked up at the sound. of footsteps coming towards us. I feared for the worst. I held Natasha gently by the shoulder. "Wait someone's here. I think we need to separate-"

Natasha says nothing clearly she was displeased about someone intruding on us but still! 

"Oh I apologize. Was I interrupting something?" 

Oh no this voice- no- no- no- out of all the people- "Oh no, don't let me stop you. I was just strolling around the camp the both of you can continue whatever you were doing."

When I saw the owner of this voice my body was stunned. Rose was smiling politely looking at me. "You two. Look cute. Together." (Rose)

"Rose wait! I-It's not-" the words on my mouth wouldn't leave. My braincells have stopped working. Why do I feel like a person who got caught cheating in the woods?

Natasha looks at me with surprise eyes widening, gaze going back and forth on the both of us. Natasha kneels down when she realized who this was. "Your highness." (Natasha)

I panicked and also kneeled down to the ground. I forgot Rose is not just Rose- it's Princess Rosarie now! "Y-Your highness." I managed to let out this at least.

I feel my palms sweating like crazy not daring to look up. 

I heard Rose giggle softly, "Please stand up. No need for you to kneel or bow. Well I apologize for interrupting something very important."

I stood up quickly wanting to talk to Rose but she already had her back turned on us. "Just a little suggestion. If you're going to do it. Please, keep your voices hushed so others can't hear." (Rose) places her fingers on her lips.

My face flushed so hard  when I understood what she meant. I wanted for the ground to eat me and hide me there. I-I swear it's not what it looks like! "I-I... Your highness it's-"

She looks back and I can see her grey eyes being set on judging me hard. "Have fun." (Rose)

With that Rose walks away and I was about to chase her but Natasha pulled my hand back looking at me with her face really red as a tomato. "W-Will you take responsibility-" (Natasha)

I looked at her like she was an alien from other space. My eyes enlarged so big and I couldn't say anything else but- "EH? EH? HUH? RESPONSIBILITY?"

Good Lord. I only hope I will survive this camp and the future ones-

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