After sorting my thoughts, I go to the chair and wear my clothes.
They smell filthy. River water kind of filth. I sigh. If I can survive in the wild using clothes drenched in sweat, I can force myself to wear these clothes.
I decide against wearing my tunic and vest. I put on my cloak and turn it into some kind of long robe. Then, I put on my shoulder-sling belt on top of it. It'll probably look like I'm flaunting my wealth like this, but... seriously, what wealth?
All the coins are molded into the same size. For all they know, my pouch is filled with bronze coins, not gold.
It's been generous of whoever took me to the palace for not leaving anything of mine behind, actually. Whoever you are, thank you.
I grab my pouch and feel the slight weight. Just from a week being an adventurer, I should have saved enough money to buy a spatial ring. Of course, it's only the smallest and cheapest kind. I can put some spare clothes and my pouches there, at most. Still, being an adventurer is quite lucrative. Nowadays the price of magic core seems to increase with the increasing demand.
In any case, to get a spatial ring, I have to make my trip to the magic shop today. But that has to wait until I go back home and change into some clean clothes. After that, I have to go to the Temple. That's where the Saintess should be.
I grip my hand into knuckles.
Information. I need more information about this world and how to achieve my target. As Alovera, I'm not ignorant about the latest happening in the continent. But those news isn't much related to what I'm looking for.
I have to say goodbye to my target as a high-ranked adventurer for now, because I have to focus my efforts here, in this capital city of Rozenier.
...It's okay. This is more important. I hope Yue is doing okay in that world.
"Removing bandage done, robe ok, shoes ok, pouches ok."
I pick up my habit as Arata to say things loud to myself. It makes me a bit more comfortable in this skin, makes me feel a bit more like myself.
"...Everything is done. I'm ready to... go--WHA!?"
When I turn around, there's someone leaning on the door frame.
It's a youth with dark brown hair and jade blue eyes. He straightens up and seems smug, for whatever reason.
I knew him, and yet I don't. In my mind, he's someone in 2D. Not this someone with lithe figure, slender arms, porcelain skin, fluffy hair, curled up mouth, and sparkling... judging eyes.
"Your Highness?" I call to the crown prince.
His eyes twitch. He juts out his bottom lip.
I cringe, did he feel offended by that standard title?
We look at each other for a long moment. I look at his rosy cheeks. After all those efforts I pulled to save him from drowning, I'm simply glad that he's okay.
He opens his mouth, after a while, making a hoarse kind of voice. "...You were heavy."
"Pardon?" I can't believe my ears. Of all things, that was the one sentence he said?
"Are you deaf? You were heavy. You stripped me before pinning me down. You must have violated me, because I can still feel the pain in my chest where you beated me to half death. What will you do to compensate the loss of this esteemed prince, huh!?"
He's visibly fuming, stomping his feet as he approaches me and stops right before my eyes.
I'm at loss of what to say. He's shorter than me by one and a half heads, but he's already commanding a presence stronger than the king. I immediately kneel down.
"Your humble subject will receive his due punishment, Your Highness."
Why does his voice sound even more outraged than before? I go along with his demand, okay? If he orders me to die, I'll probably exchange the Officinale token for my life, though.
What a waste. But dying is the last thing that I want.
"....hmph! Hmph! Fine. It is beneath my esteemed self to punish a filthy beggar such as you. You're dismissed!"
He crosses his arms, but I already throw daggers at him with my eyes.
I know I'm not wearing the cleanest clothes right now, but calling me filthy is taking it too far! This filthy beggar saved your life, you know!? And I certainly am NOT filthy at all!
What an impossibly ingrate jerk kid. If we're of the same age, I'll strangle him to teach some lessons. My hand is even itching to spank him until he stops throwing insults to someone who benefitted him. Sheesh, what kind of kingdom would this be, once he's on the throne?
I was heavy, huh?
When I lost consciousness, I must have fallen on top of him. If I was in his position, I would want to rant to someone about it too.
Okay. I'll let it slide this time. Just like he (probably) won't punish me from the offenses I subjected him, I won't put his insults to my mind. It's a truce, Crown Prince, okay?
"I'm extremely grateful for Your Highness' benevolence," I say before pausing. "And not just now, but for bringing me to this palace and treating me back to health."
I didn't realize I had a knot in my chest, but it was unraveled just now. I've been uncomfortable because I didn't give my thanks properly before. I couldn't express it to the king, because the topic moved around. I'm glad I could tell it directly to my benefactor.
His trash attitude aside, I saved his life and he saved mine in return... ish.
There's no reply though, so I daringly lift my head. I take a look at his face, watching him grow paler than before. His eyes aren't focused here. Maybe he's remembering something?
The crown prince points his forefinger at me before shouting, "You...!"
Oh, boy, why is he angry again?
"Blood... There was so much blood, you filthy mongrel! You dared to taint this esteemed prince with your fluid a-and you were too heavy to drag around so I could only scream until an imperial guard noticed me!"
Then the Crown Prince continues to rant while telling me how long it was before someone arrived and how disgusting my body felt for him as we were apparently stuck together until said guard separated us apart.
No wonder his voice sounds so hoarse. I thought it was because he drowned yesterday... Or because it was his natural voice... But apparently, he was screaming for... a while?
I have questions about what an imperial guard was doing in that area? Tailing him? If yes, why would they let him fall from the bridge in the first place?... No, why would they let him get out of the palace in the first place? From the fact that his existence isn't known in the kingdom, it's truly careless to have him move around, especially with that kind of near death experience.
However, the insults he threw at me sound a bit cuter now, like a baby chick's chirps. I wonder why that is. Being cute himself is a bonus. But... I can be optimistic and think that he has been meaning well all this time, right?
"...so! Y-you... You're not even listening, are you!? This is an insult to the royal family! I should have asked the guards to come and whip you a hundred times!"
I'm speechless again, but it only lasts a moment.
I think I can grasp his personality now, somehow. Those insults he threw at me, those are for his self satisfaction. He seems to be complaining, and he doesn't mean to actually make his threats happen.
There are two reasons for that: he's here alone, and he's close to me, someone he called as filthy beggar.
If it's me, and I truly think of someone as filthy, there's no way I'm willing to approach him first, in this close proximity, even. So he's probably saying that to get some satisfaction, for... I don't know what for, though?
His personal reasons aside, the crown prince is also here alone. There are no guards, and I can't feel any presence outside the room. It must be the arrangement that the king gave to me before, when he said that no one should stop me from leaving whenever I wanted.
Without any guards around the crown prince, it means he doesn't actually have any power to exact those punishments on me. He probably sneaked in to this room too.
No, I wonder if he sneaked out of his room too, to get here. That wouldn't be too farfetched, considering his near death experience. If I were his dad, I would lock him up as punishment.
Haha, now I think of him as some cute brat? I haven't married yet, why would I think of him as my son?
"Thank you, Your Highness," I say with a smile, and his grumbling mouth stops. I become as least formal as I could be, save for calling him with his title. "Thank you for everything. And I'm sorry that my blood dripped to you, it must have been uncomfortable."
My blood was filthy fluid, he said. I probably shouldn't mention anything about sealing his lips many times to make him breathe again.
Did they count as kisses? Because if yes, they probably were my first ones as Alovera. Wait, even as Arata, I only got stolen pecks. Huh. I really was inexperienced in this.
Wow, one second I think of him as my son, and the next second I'm wondering if I should count that life saving actions as kisses.
...Am I that sex-depraved?
"Y-your gratitude is accepted!" the Crown Prince stated with a slight stammer. "B-but don't be so casual with this esteemed pirnce! It's a disgrace to the royal family!"
He's playing that card again.
Before I realize it, my hand already has patted him on his head. It's the exact opposite of his order. I'm feeling too daring here, if I may say.
"My name is Alovera, Your Highness," I offer plainly, but I still retract my hand.
"How dare you do that to this e-esteemed prince!" He's fuming, but it seems more out of embarrassment than anger, now. In fact, even the earlier fume that he showed actually seems more like being embarrassed, now that I think about it.
"Y-you are not allowed to come closer to this prince!!"
I raise both of my hands. Should I remind him that he's the one approaching me first? No, that'll probably make him even angrier.
As if he can hear my thoughts, the Crown Prince hurriedly steps back a few times.
"...From now on!!" he adds, before turning around and leaving the room.
A real life tsundere, huh?
...Is he always like this in the game too?
For some reason, I can't remember it.