The Playboy Gains a Title
“I’ll take on the Demon Continent my own way. Keep it a secret.”
In the Kingdom of Garland’s throne room.
I said that bluntly to King Theoderic.
It was ten days after the encounter we had with Aiza and Mills.
After being invited by the King himself, we had come to the capital city.
I had wanted to refuse at first, but it’s hard to turn down a direct invitation from King Theoderic.
Simply put, he doesn’t mind helping us, but he wants to remind me who holds the purse strings.
That’s what the thought process seems to be, but I don’t exactly remember asking anybody for help. Instead of contributing towards the next Hero Party organized by the Alliance, the King instead decided to make up for that by supporting us instead.
But, King Theoderic is a pretty understanding guy.
He smiled with a nod.
“Of course. You may move as you see fit. Rest assured that my kingdom shall still support you.”
He gave a narrow-eyed smile.
“That way, the people of this kingdom will be saved.”
As the King said that, I kneeled like one of his subjects.
“I agree wholeheartedly. Please forgive my impudence, King Theoderic.”
“Fuhaha. Oh, Jester. That manner of acting does not suit thee at all.”
“Well, I guess so.”
I shrugged as I stood back up.
Behind me, Tina and Nyannyan were still all tensed up.
The King smiled at them as well, to thank them for their hard work.
“Now then, I’ve heard the full story. Let’s begin the feast. Please guide them for me. I shall retire for now.”
“Yes, Your Grace… Come on you two, let’s go.”
As the two girls walked rigidly alongside me, we all left the audience chamber.
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
We were guided to a different palace than the royal castle.
In it was a massive hall. With the way it was decorated, it was clearly made for banquets.
Because it was an occasion hosted by King Theoderic, only the highest ranking aristocrats were in attendance.
Naturally, everyone was dressed up in finery.
I was supposed to change my clothes in the other room, but…
My tuxedo is pretty luxurious in my opinion, so I’m fine.
The problem, of course, is Tina and Nyannyan.
At first, I borrowed some dresses off a noble acquaintance of mine, but they were all too long and also much too tight around the chest. Since it can’t be helped, I had to make some adjustments. Naturally, I had to spend a bit.
“Hawawawa….! This silk is so smooth…! Dylan-san, thank you very much!”
“Nyawawa….! Look at this embroidery…! Master, thanks, nyaa!”
For Tina, I made a white and valuable looking dress.
As for Nyannyan, a more fashionable red gown.
“You two look really cute.”
They weren’t the words of the jester inside of me, but what I actually felt.
“I’m happy you know it, master!”
“Now then, young ladies, shall we go?”
Linking arm in arm, we entered the hall.
◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
That hall was a place where aristocrats exchanged eloquent greetings and flatteries.
For us, just setting foot into the presence of high society, as newcomers we were assessed from all sides by those evaluating gazes.
As they did, one man strode over to us quickly.
It was a tall noble with a mane of blonde hair, like a lion taken human form. And,
“Dylan! It’s been a long time!”
He bowed deeply to me.
This was the noble acquaintance of mine that provided dresses for Tina and Nyannyan.
“It’s been a while, Robert. Sorry about having to ask you for the dresses. I appreciate it.”
“Not at all! Please don’t hesitate to ask anytime!”
“Even if you say that, I’m still thankful to you.”
“Oh, what are you saying, brother! Wa ha ha!”
This is Robert von Anheuser.
The eldest son of the Marquis Anheuser and the young Vice-Captain of the Kingdom’s Third Chivalric Order.
A promising young officer of the Order, praised by many as a genius prodigy.
But, he’s a bit of a strange one, who always calls me his ‘brother’ out of respect.
Three years ago, when he came to Babel as a test of his skills, I happened to run across him when he was lying half dead. That should have been the end of our relationship, but…
“Apparently brother in law has achieved something remarkable yet again.”
“It wasn’t anything much. I just changed my job.”
“I am being serious here! From the day that Dylan helped this one called Robert, I strove to be the best I could be, but I also dreamed of one day changing my job…! Honestly, Dylan, you’re the greatest!”
He’s always like this, hyping me up. Please give me a break.
“Let me introduce you, Robert. These are my new party members. The warrior, Tina and the thief, Nyannyan.”
“Oooh, what beautiful adventurers! It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, the both of you!”
“You two don’t have to be so stiff. As you can see, Robert isn’t exactly scary.”
As I clapped Robert on the back, he raised an eyebrow.
“That’s right, there’s no need to worry. By the way, if you’re looking for a good dance partner, I can match you up with a good subordinate of mine! Wa ha ha!”
“Ah, you really are a good person! As for me, I wouldn’t mind a good looking knight!”
“…You know Tina, sometimes you’re much pluckier than I expect, nya.”
“Splendid, splendid! Nothing less would satisfy a noble adventurer like you! Wa ha ha!”
“That’s right, that’s right! Ah ha ha ha!”
“Let’s paint the whole town red, nya! Nya ha ha ha!”
“I’m happy to see you’re all getting along well.”
Those three kept chatting happily.
As they did, King Theoderic arrived.
The King extended the usual platitudes to all the gathered guests, and then,
“I hereby bestow upon Dylan Albertini the rank of baron.”
And so on and so forth.
――Haaa, give me a break, please.
Murmurs spread around the hall.
Robert’s face was flushed with pleasure as he shouted out.
“As expected of Dylan! Congratulations! This Robert is well and truly delighted for you!”
“…I don’t want it.”
“What did you say!?”
“I don’t need a title.”
As I muttered that grumpily, King Theoderic smiled. He must have good ears if he heard me from that far away.
“Now now, don’t say that, Dylan. It can be quite convenient at times.”
“I don’t have any interest in ruling territory.”
“Don’t worry about that. Your territories are just the property you already own in the kingdom.”
“Is that right?”
By the way, I owned a mansion and some land.
When I joined the hero’s party, I left it in the safekeeping of the kingdom.
I never really used it much, just rented it out to some rich man. By the way, that old man was probably on death’s door by now… He didn’t have any children or grandchildren either, I wonder what’s going to happen with the inheritance money…
“To make that jester a baron… Just what is the King thinking?”
“Isn’t it fine? That jester, Dylan, is the next hero. If he’s also a peer of the realm, it will be good the kingdom’s prestige.”
“That’s right. In the Alliance, our King still doesn’t command enough respect yet. Making Dylan a baron is for the best.”
There’s a lot of whispering going about, but it seems like most people are in favour of it.
Obviously, Robert has a big grin on his face.
“Judging by what they’re saying, it seems like its a popular decision, Dylan. Well, aristocrats will always judge things on just how much it will affect them in the long run.”
“I get it.”
I smiled. I understood where Robert was coming from.
Barons in this kingdom aren’t associated with political power or territory. It’s something closer to an honorary title.
So, even if I become a baron, it won’t change anything for these nobles. Even if the King gave out titles like these to every adventurer who did work for his kingdom, it likely wouldn’t make any difference either.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s not like I was expecting anything. I’ll make use of what I have.”
“As expected of Dylan! In that case, feel free to use me as much as you like!”
Amongst all those nobles, Robert was the only one who seemed to support me without a single drop of calculation.
“When you’re out of the country, Dylan, I’ll definitely protect your land!”
“Ahh, yeah. That would be great. The old man and old woman I’m lending the property too will probably get targeted by some seedy characters for their inheritance, so please help them out.”
“As you command!”
With that, I can at least stop worrying about one problem. Alright.
Robert’s forte was handling delicate matters like this.
After all, he was already the Vice-Commander of an Order of Knights at the young age of 21. He was well versed in both war and politics. The road ahead of him inevitably leads to becoming the foremost general of the kingdom.
If only he had been born about three years earlier, the Hero of the Sword would have been Robert instead of Laius.
“Please pop around to see them from time to time. The rest of their family all died because of monster attacks. Ah, they might be wary of you at first because of all the people after their inheritance, but I’m sure they’ll come to like you.”
“Yes… Indeed, that’s how it is, Dylan!”
“What do you mean?”
“No, it’s nothing major, just… I’m happy that my brother is still such a wonderful and passionate person still!”
“…Is that so?”
I gave him a small smile. This guy’s flattery is beginning to weigh me down.
As for the party, it moved onto the next phase.
A big musical accompaniment entered and struck up some songs.
Naturally, it’s time to dance.
“Alright, step in time!”
Our dance is a magical one.
Every time we stepped and spun, a magical aura spilled out from beneath our feet.
As people watched, applause broke out all around.
“Oohhh, it really is the jester, Dylan!”
“It truly is a blessed day to be able to see Dylan Albertini’s dance in the flesh!”
At first, I just danced with Tina and Nyannyan, but it wasn’t as if I got a break after that.
As soon as I was finished with one partner, another person would call out straight away.
“Dylan-sama, would you do me the honour of a dance?”
“Oh, Dylan-sama. I was next…”
“Please pick me next, Dylan-sama.”
The noblewomen in glittering dresses flocked around me.
As they surrounded me, they implored one after the other.
In that crowd, there was a face I knew well.
“If it isn’t Arne-sama. It has been a while. If you don’t mind my company, I’d love to accompany you for this song.”
“My, you remembered me? I’m glad.”
She’s a daughter of the Barchet family. She’s young and beautiful, as well as the granddaughter of a powerful Duke. Both in appearance and status, she’s the stand-out woman at this banquet.
“Naturally, my lady. This Dylan Albertini, when it comes to remembering the names of beautiful women, my memory won’t lose to even the king of mathematics, Garlei.”
“My! How skilled you are.”
It just came out like that.
Because of this jester inside me that talks without my permission, it’s not hard. Without even thinking about it, my hands and mouth moved on their own, as I danced amongst those beautiful high ranking daughters of the kingdom’s nobility.
I danced with one beautiful woman after another. It was like I was some kind of migrating fish.
That said, these dance partners were all noble ladies. If I was careless, it could cause some problems.
I’ll try to avoid playing around at night as much as possible.
Even if I’m a jester, I still have to act like a gentleman.
Besides, I doubt that those two would have any of it.
Speaking of the girls, I managed to talk to them after the dances were over.
“How was it, Tina, Nyannyan?”
“Did you have fun?”
“”It was great!” Nyaa!”
“I only managed to catch a glimpse, but both of you were dancing well.”
Whilst I was partnered up with those aristocratic young ladies, Tina and Nyannyan meanwhile were dancing with the young noble bachelors and knights under Robert’s command.
“You’ve already gotten a lot better, huh?”
“Thanks for teaching us, Dylan-san!”
“It’s just a shame that the ‘cloth of the stripper’ was actually so useful, nya…!”
It’s ‘cloth of the dancer’, not ‘stripper’.
“So, did you manage to get anyone’s attention? I’m sure there were quite a few good looking guys for you to pick up, right?”
As I said that, the two of them shook their heads.
“After all, Dylan-san is the only one for me!”
“That’s right, nya! Master is the best!”
Is that so?
“Then, shall we get going soon?”
“Huh, are you already done here?”
“Yeah. I’ve fulfilled my obligation to King Theoderic with this.”
I smiled wryly as I tried to leave the hall with the two of them in tow.
But, before I could leave the hall, Arne-sama was waiting for me.
“Dylan-sama. My father wishes to speak with you. If it’s not too much trouble, would tonight do?”
This was a surprise. I didn’t think that they would invite me so directly like this.
But… I guess it’s no wonder.
Even though I’ve been given the title of baron, I’m hardly about to become a socialite nobleman.
After today, there’s no guarantee when we would ever meet again.
For Arne-sama, she’s decided to make her move. Right here, right now.
This is, in intent, a marriage proposal.
If I accept this invitation here, I’ll inevitably end up married to this impossibly beautiful young woman and become a great noble of this kingdom, with all the power and status that entails. For me, who was originally a commoner, it was the height of success in life.
But, I refused.
“Thank you very much, but I’m sorry. I’ve been given the task of ‘protecting the kingdom’s peace’. I have to return to Babel straight away.”
Arne-sama sighed, as if she knew that I would say that from the beginning.
Then, she smiled.
“You’re more ‘noble’ than anyone back in that hall. A man who will truly put his body on the line for the sake of the people…”
“It won’t do to speak of others like that, Arne-sama.”
“I sincerely respect you, Dylan-sama. May you have the blessings of the Gods on your journey.”
“Thank you. And on you, my lady.”
With that, Arne-sama smiled as we left the hall. We boarded a waiting carriage and disappeared into the night.
Suddenly, I noticed.
Tina and Nyannyan looking at me with big grins.
“What’s up with you guys?”
“Robert-san was a Vice Commander of the kingdom’s order, wasn’t he? I can’t believe such an amazing person bows his head to you, Dylan-san!”
“A great man can recognize another, nya!”
“No, I just helped him out once back when I was with The Resplendent Lords…”
“If that was all there is to it, then wouldn’t he have fallen in love with leader instead of you, Dylan-san!?”
“Since he calls you his brother, that’s proof that he actually fell in love with you, Dylan, nya!”
“No, to be loved by a man is… You guys…”
“That princess was looking at Dylan-san like that as well, right?”
“I get it, nya. She had a similar smell to us, nya.”
“”You’re amazing!” nya!!”
As those shortstacks tried to squash me in between them with their high powered hugs, we left that place together.
Later that night…
In that rented room, I don’t think it’s my fault that things got a little more heated than they usually did.