Drawn Mochi Volume 4 Chapter 13: Around the Open Gate*4

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 Once again, I look at the letter.


 The sender is “Fida Plata Argent”. As Fay explained, the Argents are the second largest family in the country after the King’s family. It is a much more powerful family than the Redgarde family, but I don’t really feel that… at all. What do you mean by “much more powerful than the Redgardes”? What does it mean? Does it mean that they have a bigger forest?


 …The content of this letter is that I received an invitation from a family with such great power, “Would you like to be our family painter?”, “Would you like to quit the Redgarde family and come to my house?” they said frankly, and I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, that’s some massive confidence.”


 I don’t know what it is, but I don’t feel like it’s about me at all…



“…Anyway, is this a letter about an amazing person offering you an amazing treatment?” (Fay)


“Ah, well, that’s the gist…” (Tougo)



 Fay, who was looking at the letter from the side, nodded at the confused look on my face.



“The Argent family, huh? You’re known to the higher ranks…” (Fay)


“I wonder if that’s what it is.” (Tougo)


“Yeah. That’s what it is. Being known by the Argent family is valuable in itself. The point is, you’re not just someone who paints in the far-flung corner of the world, you’re someone who paints close to the center of the world.”



 …Even if you say that, I’m a little troubled. Well, I like this corner of the world.



“Ah… If you wish, you can go to the Argent family.” (Fay)


“I’m not going.” (Tougo)



 Fay seems to think I’ll accept the invitation, but I’m not particularly interested in the invitation, so I have no interest in accepting it.


 After all, I don’t want to quit being the Redgarde family’s painter. I like this forest. Also, I became the spirit of this forest…



“Hey, Fay. How can I refuse this?” (Tougo)



 So, my current dilemma is how to refuse this offer.



“… No, wait a minute, Tougo. This is a big deal, you know? You should put aside all your obligations to me and all that and seriously think about this.” (Fay)


“Even if you say that, I don’t know this person.” (Tougo)


“If that’s the case, you’ll get to know them from now on. You can go, Tougo… This is a huge deal. If the Argents want you to be their family painter, that’s a hell of a big deal, you know?” (Fay)


“Hmm…” (Tougo)



 Yes, even if you say that…


 …No, as Fay said, “I’ll just have to get to know them from now on.” If I don’t know the person well, I should get to know the person, think about it, and then decline the offer.


 But somehow…



“Fay, do you think it would be better if I went to the Argent family?” (Tougo)


“…No matter what I think, it’s your decision.” (Fay)



 …Since Fay isn’t looking as energetic, I don’t feel like accepting the letter of invitation.



 Then I managed to work out a response to the letter.


 In my usual style of writing in white ink on navy blue letterhead, I wrote something along the lines of, “There are a lot of things I don’t understand, so I’d like to hear more about them.” It also had the supervision of Ms. Croix.



“I think it’s alright. I doubt they would think you being sarcastic with this sentence. I’m sure the Argent family has heard about the ‘mysterious gallery,’ and if a boy who ‘doesn’t know much about the human world’ sends them a letter because he’s troubled, I’m sure they won’t think twice about it. ” (Croix)


“Oh, is this what the letter is saying?” (Tougo)



 I don’t suppose I am saying that I’m writing to them like, “I’m not human,” am I?



“Yes, that’s the kind of writing you write. It’s a bit naive, detached, and fluffy. …I like it because it’s just like you.” (Croix)



 Ms. Croix says and sends me a charming smile.


 Yes, well, I have a lot on my mind, but I’m not going to worry about it…



 I had been fidgety and restless since I sent the letter, and Fay was even more fidgety and restless than I was.



“…Fay, are you okay?” (Tougo)


“Huh? Oh, sure. I’m okay, I think.” (Fay)


“Pipe Fox is using you as a hiding place…” (Tougo)


“Huh!? Woah, it’s true! Hey, you, I’m not Tougo, so don’t go inside my clothes! Ah! Come here! Come out! Stop tickling me!” (Fay)



 …It seems Fay is still in a daze that he doesn’t notice until the Pipe Fox gets under his clothes.


 “That’s enough,” I said as I pulled the Pipe Fox out of Fay’s clothes. The Pipe Fox seems satisfied as it slowly comes out. Yep, it’s thrilled to be able to sneak into spaces that they don’t usually get into.



“…Hey, Fay.” (Tougo)


“Hmm? What?” (Fay)



 I asked Fay while holding the Pipe Fox I had dragged out in my lap.



“Maybe I should go to the Argent house.” (Tougo)



“…That’s also your decision. I can’t say anything about it.” (Fay)



 Fay said that, with a stormy expression on his face.


 …Fay knows more about this world, has more knowledge, and is better at interacting with people.


 Therefore, there are probably things that only Fay can see, and there are things that only Fay can feel.


 …I would like to know that. I want to know about them before making a decision.



“If Fay has something in mind, I want to add it to my conclusion as well.” (Tougo)



 Yep, tried to say that. …But Fay, with a wry smile, patted my head and said,



“In that case, I’ll do it after you have a conversation with the Argent family. It would be unfair if you talked to me first. It would be better not to have any preconceptions about the Argent family.” (Fay)



  I somehow grasped the intent of Fay’s words, and I became more and more troubled.


 But… Yep. Fay is right. I’ll talk to the Argent family properly once, and then I’ll make a decision.



 The reply to my letter flew in the next day.


 The envelope was stamped with gold foil and sealed with silver glittering wax. I opened the envelope, which looked like it cost money, and found a note that said something like, “Then come to the Argent house.”


“I ended up going after all.” (Tougo)


“That’s right. You’re not someone who would say, ‘You should come to the forest.'” (Fay)



 I see. I wonder if it would be no good if I said, “How about a forest vacation?” No, I guess not.



“…does Fay want to come too?” (Tougo)


“Well… I’m sorry, but I’m not going this time. It’s going to make things complicated.” (Fay)



 Oh, that’s right. …the Argents are asking me to quit the Redgardes, so it’s certainly not a good idea to have Fay there.



“Then I’ll ask Laocles to come with me.” (Tougo)


“Okay. Do that… Also, if possible, please have Ms. Croix come with you as well.” (Fay)






“She would be fine as a secretary or something like that. I think Ms. Croix could play that kind of role as well.” (Fay)


“Eh, uh, why Ms. Croix?” (Tougo)



 If anything, I think it would be better for Ms. Croix not to go out right now.


 Thinking so, I asked Fay…



“When you’re in trouble, if you can solve it with force, then Laocles is enough. But if there’s a problem that can’t be solved with force, it’s me, or if I can’t solve it, it’s Ms. Croix.” (Fay)



 Fay said so with a serious face.



“…I understand. I’ll ask Ms. Croix as well.” (Tougo)


“Oh! Please do that!” (Fay)



 Fay’s serious expression changed and patted me on the back with a smile, but… Hmmm.


 I was starting to feel really uneasy.



“What do you think? Do you think it looks good on me?” (Croix)


“Yeah. It’s really beautiful.” (Tougo)



 Then we started to prepare for our visit to the Argent family.


 First was Ms. Croix, who was to be my “secretary”. I’m going to ask her to come along with me as my “secretary”. …So, I dressed up like one.


 She was wearing a knee-length dress decorated with black lace and a white jacket. Both have flawless design, and it seems that Ms. Croix decided to tie her hair tightly to match. …She kind of looks like a secretary.



“… Well, if push comes to shove, I can buy you some time. The Argents are a bit of a problem when it comes to Charm magic, but I can’t say the same for them in an emergency situation.” (Croix)



 …I’m really worried about that.



“I’m dressed like this, but if I were to actually fight, I’m sure I would be able to buy some time. I don’t think the Argent family’s guards are any better than me.” (Croix)



 I asked Laocles to put on armor, now he looks like an escort.


 …However, I’m still worried.



“I’m going to summon my alicorn and run away with you if it comes to it. You know what I am saying right?” (Laocles)


“I can ask Houou to carry Ms. Croix, but…” (Tougo)


“Oh, Tougo is more important than me. I’m going to run away as fast as I can, so please run away first.” (Croix)





 I’m really worried!



 …I was worried, but worrying didn’t help. The next day, we set out for the Argent Territory.


 The Argent Territory is located on the other side of the Royal Capital from Redgarde Territory. …or rather, the other side of the Royal Capital seems to have been part of the Argent Territory for a while. They must have a very big land.


 The first night we stayed in a corner of the city (I was worried that Ms. Croix might get caught), then we left early the next morning and stayed two nights in the Argent’s town after arriving at the Argent Territory.


 The reason why we are taking so long is because we don’t want people to know that we are flying by Alicorn and Houou.


 With either a dragon, alicorn, or Houou, we can get to the Argent Territory in two days, but if we want to travel by other means of transportation… such as a regular horse-drawn carriage, we will never make it in two days.


 That’s why I decided to postpone my departure by one day, spend some time in the Argent Territory, and try to blur our means of transportation.



“I don’t feel comfortable.” (Tougo)


Don’t worry. They are the ones who want you. They won’t hurt you.” (Croix)


“I just wanted to say no, so maybe it would have been better if we didn’t meet in person…” (Tougo)



 From the reactions of Fay, Ms. Croix and Laocles, I think we should be very careful when we go to the Argent family. I don’t think they’re going to lock us up or anything, but still, it’s always good to be careful.


 …What should I do? I’m getting nervous.



“…well, after you’re done with the talks, let’s take a tour of the town in the Argent territory, shall we? Maybe we can find some scenery you’d like to paint?” (Croix)


“Yep…” (Tougo)



 But being nervous won’t help. Now, as Ms. Croix said, let’s calm down and think about the fun we’ll have after the talk is over. Yep…



 After two nights of not sleeping very well, I was finally standing in front of the house of the Argent family.



“Um, I am Tougo Uezora. I received a letter from Fida Plata Argent.” (Tougo)



 There was a splendid gate in front of the house of the Argents, and by the gate was another splendidly dressed knight. So, I showed the letter to him, and it seemed that he had already been told about it. He showed us around.


 …And so we waited nervously in the reception room.



“Are you Tougo Uezora?” (Man)



 Soon, a man entered the reception room.


 He is an old man with silver hair and beard. He enters the reception room holding an ebony cane decorated with silver.


 He stands in front of me, holds out his hand to me, and says.



“I am Fida Plata Argent. I am the current head of the Argent family. I look forward to working with you, Tougo Uezora.” (Man => Fida)



 …I was extremely nervous, but I shook his hand nervously and said, “It is an honor to meet you.”



 …There are several guards behind Mr. Argent. Those are people lined up along the walls of this room and kept their guard up. So scary.



“Well then, let’s get down to business, shall we?” (Fida)



 Mr. Argent laughed as he sat on the sofa across from us… but I didn’t feel like doing so at all!


 I feel like I’m in front of a dangerous person. That’s what I am feeling! 



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