Wortenia Senki (LN) - Volume 6 - Chapter SS

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Bonus Short Story

The Man Known as Joshua Belares

It was a corner in the capital of the Kingdom of Xarooda, in a tavern nestled in the streets of a pleasure district that no respectable person would set foot in. How many times had this man visited this establishment?

The moment he opened the wooden door, his expression twisted. The scents of face powder and cheap perfume mixed with the intense smells of alcohol and cigarette smoke to form an inexplicable musk that tormented his nose. Following that, his ears were assailed by the sound of the barmaids-cum-prostitutes’ coquettish, pestering voices and the booming, vulgar laughter of the men around them.

The place was kept lit by lamps set here and there, their flickering flames casting a soft light. The tavern’s staff likely did this intentionally, so as to help make their customers’ faces indistinguishable. After all, the public order was so bad that it was said a day never passed without someone spilling another’s blood.

There was no telling when someone might pick a fight for as trivial a reason someone looking at them the wrong way. With that in mind, the business did need to come up with some kind of way to defend itself from riots.

I probably won’t get used to this, no matter how many times I come here... What a shithole.

Such were the thoughts going through the man’s mind. He was born to a heralded family of knights within Xarooda. With that in mind, a man of his status likely wouldn’t enter such a rundown tavern as long as he lived, unless his commander directly ordered him to do so.

Even if he was desperate for a drink, there was no need for him to go into a filthy back-alley tavern. In fact, he did frequent some of the more respectable establishments standing on the main street of the pleasure district. Why, then, would he squander his salary here?

He took a seat at an empty table in one corner of the store and ordered a mug of ale from one of the barmaids.

Same as always, eh...?

The man shook his head as he heard the laughter of the person he was seeking mixed in with the catty chattering and squealing of the women. When his commander, General Belares, called him over for a secret mission, his heart had shone with excitement over a confidential task. But by now, not a shred of that excitement or sense of duty remained in the man.

After all, the mission was to watch over Joshua Belares — the General’s third, undependable son — from the shadows. It only made sense he wouldn’t feel very motivated.

Why did a person of his status even walk into such a rundown place...?

House Belares was one of the most famous families in the Kingdom of Xarooda. Even if he was just the third son, no one would expect to find him in a place like this. While wondering over the report he would have to make to his master, the man took a swig of the mug of ale he’d received from a waitress.

“I see. Good work... Keep it up, then.”

The man silently bowed his head at General Belares and left the room quietly. Watching him leave, General Belares sighed heavily.

Joshua... Do you intend to play around until the time comes...? Bothersome child...

Of his three sons, his first and second children had already assumed their roles as knights serving the family, standing as independent, reliable adults. They were young, trustworthy men worthy of entrusting Xarooda’s future to, and they were more than capable in combat.

By comparison, the outlook of his third son, Joshua, was nowhere near as favorable. But despite those rumors, General Belares had no intention of driving Joshua out of his household.

Or more specifically, he could not afford to do so.

“No matter, though. Your freedom to play around is but a short dream. When the storm comes in from the west, it will blow that dream away...”

General Belares turned his gaze to the window, looking up at the gray clouds blotting out the sky. As if to glare at the threat looming ahead of his beloved homeland...

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