Having thought about it, Klaus’s offer was appealing in its own way.
First of all, it was very attractive to be able to rely on not only Lapis’ wallet but also a part of Klaus’ wallet for funds. Furthermore, for those who were not familiar with such places like Loren’s party, the information provided by Klaus, who seemed to be familiar with the area, would be quite useful once they arrived there.
If the one who made the proposal wasn’t Klaus, Loren would have jumped at the chance. So he sent Klaus back first, then told Lapis and Gula that he was going to accept the offer. They called it a day after that.
The next day, Loren was visited by a member of Klaus’ party, the sorceress named Ange, at the inn where he usually stayed.
“I’m sorry about Klaus bothering you.”
They were in the dining room on the first floor of the inn. Loren normally didn’t eat here. Ange seemed to shrunk into herself on her chair in apology. Sitting across her, Loren waved his hand to indicate that he wasn’t bothered.
“If he was, I would have said no right then and there.”
“But I’m worried that we might interfere with your vacation.”
“I don’t think so. On the contrary, don’t you mind that he would cover for us with his wallet?”
He was told that the money would come from Klaus’ personal fund, so he wouldn’t be touching the party’s funds. Still, Loren was worried that Klaus’ party members wouldn’t be feel good about their leader’s wallet becoming lighter. However, Ange’s reaction was the exact opposite of what he expected.
“We don’t mind. We’d rather you squeeze him dry for us.”
Ange said, that Klaus had more than enough money in his wallet and he was able to spend it on women everywhere. If his funds were reduced down to the point where he couldn’t do that, his womanizing habits would probably die down for a while.
“And… The atmosphere of the party is indeed a bit bad. It’s supposed to be a recess for us to reconcile, but it was just us, we couldn’t help but…”
Loren could understand what Ange was saying. No matter how much they wanted to make up, if the parties involved acted alone, the atmosphere would inevitably deteriorate and become strange. It was understandable that Ange wished for Loren’s party to accompany them, since the atmosphere could be expected to improve somewhat by bringing in someone completely unrelated to the situation.
“Klaus’ womanizing might also be lessened by your presence, Loren.”
“I think I can play the role of holding his scruff.”
“That… I apologize for asking so much from you.”
“It’s okay. It’s not like we don’t know each other. It wouldn’t even interfere with my vacation.”
If it had been a vacation with Lapis only, Loren would have thought twice before agreeing, yet since this was a vacation for a party, Gula was coming along. This meant that Loren had to plan spending a certain amount of effort to hold Gula’s scruff anyway, adding Klaus wouldn’t make much difference.
If Lapis heard about this, she might laugh and tell him that he was such a hard worker, but he thought that it would be okay to spend that much effort.
“Yeah, I’ll take the offer. I considered saying yes as soon as I heard about it from Klaus last night, but I didn’t want to give him relief with a quick answer.”
Wondering if he was being a little mean, Loren smiled wryly. But Ange kept a serious face and politely bowed.
“I’m sorry. We’re in your debt.”
“No, you’re going to be taking care of us too, so let’s consider us equal.”
Loren smiled wryly at Ange, who shrank even more in shame. But his face suddenly became serious again, and he asked her:
“By the way, what do you actually think of Klaus?”
“That, eh… well.”
“Well, I can kind of tell by your reaction. I’m just curious, have you ever thought about putting Klaus in debt to restrain his actions?”
“A-a debt?! No, that’s going too far…”
Ange started to shake her head and hands in panic, and Loren asked her again.
“How would you feel if your parents saddled Klaus with a ridiculous amount of debt?”
“Uhm, Loren? What’s going on? I’m not sure how to say this, but it seems like a very real question.”
Ange asked with some concerns, and with a slightly stiff expression, Loren pondered for a moment what he should say to her. In the end, he shook his head and let out a deep breath.
“Nah… I just said something weird. Please forget it.”
Loren suddenly wondered what his situation would look like to a normal woman, so he took the opportunity to ask Ange about it. But just from her reaction, he could see that it was an abnormal situation.
But Ange was just a human being, while Lapis was a demon. It wouldn’t be strange if there was a difference in sensitivity, and Loren thought that if he ever had a chance to talk with a regular demon, he might ask her something similar.
After such an exchange, Loren went to the Adventurer’s Guild and contacted Klaus through the Guild. He could have asked Ange for his whereabouts and contact information, but he thought he shouldn’t let Klaus know that Ange had come to ask him to accept Klaus’ offer.
“She’s too good for you, isn’t she”
“What do you mean?”
Loren told Klaus, who had come to see him. But when Klaus tilted his head in puzzle and asked what he meant, Loren said it was nothing and then cut to the chase.
“Your proposal last night. I’ll take it.”
“Really? You’ve saved me.”
His face suddenly lit up, Klaus leaned forward in excitement. Loren held up a hand to stop him. He looked into his eyes and continued.
“Just that, it’s also a vacation for us. Don’t get your hopes up too much. Handle it yourself as much as you can.”
“That… I’ll try to.”
Loren didn’t want to be overly optimistic, but he believed that a positive attitude is a good thing, no matter what the circumstances.
Had Klaus been a bit tamer in his behavior, he would have been a very nice young man. Loren wondered if there was really nothing to be done about his womanizing habits. But then, if there was something to be done, the girls in his party would have done it already. The word ‘incurable’ somehow crossed his mind.
“We’ll also pay, but be prepared for some unrestrained gouging.”
Loren hesitated for a moment when he said they would pay. After all, it was Lapis, not Loren, who was going to pay. He didn’t like the idea of talking about someone else’s wallet as if it were his own,
But Klaus seemed to have taken Loren’s momentary hesitation as something else.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m just reaping what I sow. Don’t be reserved about it.”
Klaus declared decisively. Loren couldn’t help but grumble about Klaus’s attitude, which could be considered admirable if only he didn’t turn a blind eye to the context and cause.
“Can’t you use that uprightness in other things?”
He knew that the guy was not a bad person. Loren thought that if he liked women so much, he should appeal to their sincerity and innocence rather than just indiscriminately asking them out, but Klaus had a different opinion.
“Don’t you want to pick the flowers right in front of you?”
“You should be satisfied with the flowers you have.”
‘You have at least three different kinds of flowers on hand’, Loren thought. But Klaus suddenly widened his eyes and shouted.
“You want me to die, Loren?!”
Loren’s shoulder twitched at the overly exaggerated expression, but he managed to hold it together with his willpower and fought back the urge to punch him before opening his mouth.
“If you’re going to die because of something like that, then go ahead and die!”
Loren said in a rough voice with clenched fists, and Klaus hurriedly distanced himself from him. ‘This might really be an incurable disease’, Loren thought as he unclenched his fist and asked Klaus with a sigh.
“So, when are we leaving?”
“I’m going to arrange for a carriage, so how about tomorrow afternoon?”
Even though it was a sight-seeing trip, it was not so different from traveling for work. They had to buy all the supplies needed to get around, and that would take some time.
Loren assumed that if they had that much time, they would be able to finish the necessary preparation. In this case, the biggest problem would be Loren not having much cash in his pocket, and he would have to ask Lapis to take care of what was lacking, which made him feel a little gloomy.
“Then let’s agree so. I’m going to talk to my partners. Can you talk to the members of your party?”
“Oh, okay. We’ll meet at the east gate of the city, alright?”
This time, the destination was a city straight east of Kapah, and there was no better place to meet than there. Klaus nodded to Loren.
“Alright, let’s meet there. So, tomorrow afternoon, around the first bel, at the east gate.”
“Okay. Is there anything I need to prepare?”
Loren didn’t know much about the city they were going to. Or rather, he didn’t know anything at all. He thought it would be best to ask Klaus, who had suggested it, for such information, and Klaus pondered the question for a while.
“As long as you have what you need for a normal trip, you should be fine. Ah, you might want to prepare a large cloth and bathrobe. It’s not impossible to get them over there, but you’re a big guy, so they might not have the right size, and everything is expensive over there.”
Loren asked about the unfamiliar word.
“Eh? You’re the type who likes to be nude? Well, that has its own charm, I guess.”
“What the hell is that?”
“You don’t know what a bathrobe is? Is it because you’re not familiar with intimacy? Karlovy is a city of food and hot springs, famous for its delicious food and splendid hot springs.”
Loren had heard of hot springs before. Apparently, there were places where water boiled naturally, and the water was used as a bath.
It was not forbidden to take a bath in the nude, but those who didn’t like to expose their skin to the public wear a bathrobe as bathing clothes, Klaus said.
“Someone as big as you might not be able to fit into a ready-made bathrobe, so you’d better hurry up and have one made if you need one.”
Loren’s impression of what Klaus had just told him was that, it was too much trouble.
It was a luxury to soak your body in a lot of hot water to wash it, but he couldn’t help but felt that it was a waste of money to make clothes specifically for this purpose.
Loren wondered if he had chosen the wrong destination. But since Gula and Lapis were reasonably keen on the idea, it seemed immature to change the destination now. So, he began to think about how much cash he had in his wallet.