Garfiel and Ram's Extra Complicated and Twisted Love Affair
—There was a place known as the Sanctuary, deep within the Lost Forest of Kremaldy.
Within it was only a small village and ruins with a deep history. The people there had gathered there for a very specific reason and were living together and supporting each other.
They were hybrids between humans and demi-humans—the ones that were called Mixed-Bloods.
Mixed-Bloods weren’t in a good position in the Kingdom of Lugunica where people still feared the Witch of Envy and had scars left behind from the Demi-human War.
They used blood as a reason for their unjust discrimination, leaving behind a deep-rooted grudge.
The Sanctuary was also a place of refuge to protect Mixed-Bloods from the eyes of discrimination. Thus, those living there had acquired peace of mind, but only by turning a blind eye to a certain degree of inconvenience.
They all loved living in peace and were relishing in it.
And that was more of a reason why—
“—The hell is up with bringing so many outsiders here, haa!?” Garfiel said scornfully while receiving more than ten dragon carriages. He was a blond boy with his sturdy arms crossed and had a wild, dreadful aura. The earth dragon was frightened, and the people were cringing with fear at his angry gaze. But the gaze and the dreadful air that had made the people tremble was just a side effect of the thing that was directed towards his original target. Garfiel’s gaze was directed at Ram alone, who was standing in front of the dragon carriage.
“───” Ram said something to the coachman after stepping out of it and boldly confronted Garfiel. As the people around watched with bated breath, she squinted her pink eyes and said, “Quite a welcoming reception, Garf, even though it’s been so long since Ram has shown her face to you.”
“Ha, my amazin’ self feels like givin’ ya a big smile and hug too, but things ain’t gonna be that easy. Why the hell did you bring them here?”
“Ram wants to say that we’re here on a small group trip, but she knows you won’t believe something like that. —We are evacuating.”
Garfiel crinkled up his nose at the not so peaceful word.
“Yes.” Ram nodded at his response and pointed at the people behind her with her chin. “We traveled through the night, so everyone is tired. Let us rest for now. I’ll let them inside the village right away, so kindly inform Master Roswaal and Miss Ryuzu.”
“That doesn’t explain much. My amazin’ self hasn’t heard anything about lettin’ you guys in or not lettin’ you guys in.”
“Use your imagination and put two and two together. Royal selection, Witch Cult, evacuation, Ram is cute. That’s all.”
“Was that last part necessary?” Garf asked with doubt, but when Ram glared at him, he reluctantly nodded. However, before letting the dreadful air go, he looked once again at the group of dragon carriages behind her. “I’m tellin’ ya. Even if you guys are with Ram, my amazin’ self won’t tolerate any shenanigans. Like they say, Kegeraine never draws a blank. Try ta behave yourselves at the very least.”
Garfiel flashed his fangs, emphasizing them, then smacked them together, and with a light leap, he disappeared into the forest. He likely went to inform people about their arrival, following Ram’s order.
“Lady Ram, will we be…safe around that person?”
It was the village chief who had asked that anxiously—she was an old lady who represented the refugees from Earlham Village. The old lady had asked her that in a faint voice so it wouldn’t make the people around them anxious.
“Yes,” Ram replied, nodding at the old lady’s question. “You’ll be fine as long as you behave yourselves like Garf…Garfiel said.”
“Lady Ram, are you and that person close?”
“Ram is close…we’ve known each other for a long time. So Ram knows how to deal with him.”
Ram looked in the direction Garfiel had disappeared to after listening to the words of the old lady that still sounded concerned.
Ram knows how to deal with him since she’s known him for ten years. But even so… “Ram wonders how far Garf will go to protect this place.”
—The Witch Cult was hiding in the vicinity of Roswaal Manor and Earlham Village.
That was the disaster that had recently befallen Ram and the others. That was the reason why she had come along with the refugees to the Sanctuary, which was under Garfiel’s protection.
Around 100 villagers from Earlham Village had been evacuated. Half of them had followed Ram and come to the Sanctuary.
—The other half had more reason to worry.
“Lady Emilia is the Witch Cult’s target… But then, Barusu will do something about that.”
Ram stopped worrying about it after thinking of the boy whose intel had led them to evacuate.
The staff there should do their best to take care of things on their end. In return, Ram will do her best to respond to the trust Ram was given. For now, our priority is to set up a temporary dwelling—in the stone cathedral in front of us.
“The old hag told my amazin’ self to, so it can’t be helped, but I ain’t welcoming them here. I’m just lending this place to y’all outta the goodness of my heart. Just be grateful.”
“Alright, alright. Ram understands.”
It was Garfiel, the self-proclaimed watchdog, who said that while watching Ram’s work from behind.
The place was inside the village within the Sanctuary, in a cathedral that was a bit separated from the residential area. It was a building that was used as a meeting place, and it was large enough to accommodate a lot of people. They were in a situation where they would have to sleep together in the nave, but some could be given private rooms if needed. The representative of the village, Ryuzu, had lent it to them after they had entered the Sanctuary.
“Ram can’t let the villagers return to the village until the situation is taken care of… Ram can’t be too greedy.”
They might have to stay in the Sanctuary for a few days or a few weeks.
Ram wants to lessen the villagers’ burdens as much as possible, but we need to be prepared to survive.
For that, the men were taking the lead in unloading the cargo from the dragon carriage, but…
“Hey, hey, put more force into it, you won’t be able to move it like that!”
“You are being persistently noisy while doing absolutely nothing. How about helping us out if you have time to complain?”
“Hah, don’t make me laugh. My amazin’ self is the watchdog. And I’ve told you this before, but while I care about you, I don’t give a shit about outsiders.”
Garfiel heckled and snapped his fangs provocatively at Ram, who was carrying the load. He had been interrupting them like that for a while now to crush their spirits.
“───” The expressions of the villagers from Earlham didn’t look good due to Garfiel’s harsh attitude. It was obvious that they would feel anxious if they were blatantly not being welcomed at their place of refuge. Ram started thinking about whether she should defeat Garfiel and win their peace, and while she was having such thoughts, her work screeched to a halt, and…
“Hey, hey,” Garfiel said, shrugging at her. “Aaah, too slow, too slow. The sun is gonna set at this rate.”
“The hell. Everyone is workin’ with a gloomy face.”
“If that’s the case then…it’s that…Aah.”
“Aaah! I can’t watch this anymore!” Garfiel, who had been continuously interrupting them and was being ignored, exploded out of nowhere.
He passed the silent Ram and hopped onto the back of the dragon carriage that was being unloaded, easily picked up a load that would take two grown men to lift, and then jumped out. The work of unloading the cargo from the dragon carriage progressed quickly and furiously.
“Garf,” Ram called Garfiel, who was making the work efficient, from behind.
Garf responded to that and waved his hand in the air. “Hah, no need to thank me. My amazin’ self couldn’t look at how sluggish…”
“How unmannered you are. If you wanted to help, you should have asked for permission first.”
“How could ya say something like that in this situation!?”
Garfiel goggled his eyes at Ram’s arrogant words and dropped the load he was carrying. It rumbled when it fell to the ground, and as the people nearby looked at them in a startled manner, Garfiel snapped his fangs. “Don’t get too cocky, Ram. My amazin’ self helped you out on a whim. You’re gonna regret it since I ain’t gonna help you out anymore.”
Ram nodded at Garfiel, who had clicked his tongue, and extended her hands towards the cargo he had dropped. She proceeded to put force into her thin arms and tried to lift it up, but it didn’t even budge. It didn’t move no matter what she did. Next, she lightly rotated her shoulders and tried tackling it, but she just bounced back.
“Hey! Don’t push yourself too hard!”
“Ram is working at the moment. You are distracting her and in the way, so go somewhere else.”
“Alright! Let me help! My amazin’ self will do it! Happy now!?”
“…It’s, ‘please let me help’.”
“Don’t get co…pl-please let me, help…!”
“‘I beg of you, Lady Ram.’”
“Shut up!! I’m gonna move it now!! Don’t bother me!! Drink some cold water and rest!!” Garf howled at Ram’s needless talk and tossed a bamboo cylinder with water to her.
After Ram caught it, Garfiel started moving the cargo to the cathedral with ease. He then began to do the work of a hundred men, leaving the villagers dumbfounded.
“La-Lady Ram, is it really okay to…”
“If he wants to do it, then let him do it. It’ll make it easy for us,” she replied to the awe-struck old woman after bringing the bamboo flask to her mouth and taking a sip of the cold water.
Garfiel’s work speed was impressive now that he was focused on physical labor. He moved the cargo in no time and freed the villagers from the grueling labor.
“You guys can talk with each other and decide who gets which room. Ram has to take care of Master Roswaal, so she will be going to the village. You can use the private room as you like.”
“There ya go! How’s this! I am done nowwww!!”
The old woman’s puzzled reply overlapped with Garfiel’s shouts as he finished moving the final load.
Garfiel walked back with long strides and heavy steps, and Ram welcomed him. “Good job… You haven’t thanked Ram for letting you help.”
“That’s really not funny!”
An angry, desperate voice echoed through the sky of the Sanctuary.
—The self-proclaimed watchdog’s inhumane harassment went on without end after that.
“Aah, you don’t know anything. How much time are you taking to take the water to the kitchen!”
“You don’t know anything at all. There’s a huge water jar in the cathedral, right? If fill it with water, it should be more than enough for you guys to wipe your body. My amazin’ self will go fill it up.”
“Wait a bit. My amazin’ self will go ask the old timers. You guys need a sewing kit, right?”
“Listen here. The village’s food is limited. You can’t eat three times a day. Two is the limit. Tell me when ya don’t have enough. Huh? Shut up, my amazin’ self will go get some from our reserves.”
“Do you guys have enough blankets? If ya don’t, then let me know, since there’s a limit ta how many people can fit under one.”
“Lady Ram, is it really okay?”
“If he wants to do it then let him do it. It’ll make it easy for us.”
The living standards of the refugees were drastically improved due to the active intervention of the watchdog.
Needless to say, it was also due to Ram’s taking advantage of him.
The village chief must have understood the true meaning behind Ram saying, “Ram knows how to deal with him.”
Of course, Garfiel himself was prepared to take on the role of negotiator—a position that didn’t suit him—to avoid unnecessary friction between the residents of the Sanctuary and the refugees.
“Yo, Ram, I’m back. Is there anything troubling you?”
“Yes. Ram’s shoulders are stiff from the continuous physical labor.”
“Alright. Leave it to…wait, I’m not going to massage them! Don’t use me for your own convenience!” Garfiel complained with his spit flying at Ram, who had turned her back towards him. To be honest, it was a bit too late for him to be complaining about being treated like a tool, but of course, neither Ram nor the villagers watching all of that pointed it out. But—
“Thank you very much, Garfiel,” said the old lady. “I thank you on behalf of the villagers.”
“Huh?” Garfiel looked puzzled when the old lady bowed her head.
The old lady smiled slightly at his reaction and pointed at the cathedral that was completely ready to take in all of the refugees. “I can’t say that we aren’t feeling anxious since we are staying in a borrowed space. However, you have provided us a place where we can sit down and face our worries. That alone is a huge help.”
Garfiel became quiet after hearing the old lady’s words of gratitude. Then, after a few moments of silence…
“Hah,” he said, rubbing his nose with his finger. “Stop it, stop it, it doesn’t matter. This place has a lot of old timers, so I helped out a lil’. I don’t intend on getting friendly with outsiders though.”
“Then you can’t be friendly with Ram, either. Goodbye Garf…no, Mister Garfiel.”
“Don’t get formal on me!”
“It’s a joke.” Ram shrugged her shoulders as if saying he couldn’t be helped.
Garfiel started breathing heavily at her attitude and turned towards the old lady again, flashing his fangs. “My amazin’ self doesn’t need your gratitude, human. No way I’m getting along with you guys. I did a lot of things, not for you, but because it would’ve been bad for my heart if I didn’t.”
Garfiel bit off her gratitude and turned his back to the old lady and the others. Like saying he didn’t care about what was going to happen next, he started walking away.
“If so, then…” the old woman said before continuing her words. “Us thanking you for your kindness is because it would be bad for our hearts if we didn’t.”
After Garfiel heard it, he stopped and looked behind him.
He looked at the old woman’s mild-mannered, cunning smile, and clicked his tongue with a “Damn it,” as if he felt awkward.
“Hush, I’m not good with old timers. Dealing with them is such a drag.”
“That’s the best compliment you could give, Garf.”
“It ain’t a compliment and it ain’t the best, either. I saved that one for you.”
“Haa…you are an idiot.” Ram let out a deep sigh at Garfiel, who said that without embarrassment. She caught up to him and started walking slowly next to him, making him give a curious tilt of his head. “Garf, you are too twisted to even accept gratitude honestly, so Ram will reward you since you’re so hopeless. Be thankful.”
“Ohh, that’s very kind of you. I like your tea, Ram. It’s not just the tea though.”
At Garfiel, who had chomped his fangs and smiled without any hint of malice, Ram said, “You’re such an idiot.”
Then she muttered, “—Idiot.” under her breath.
A slight smile appeared on her face soon after.