Chapter 56: Sometimes Like a Lion (2)

Starchis licked the sauce off his thumb.

Luss’ expression twisted.

Wiping the sauce off her lips, as she did it for him.

She was beaten by Elza.

It was clear who had lost.

Everyone turned their eyes away from Starchis with a complex feeling.

Starchis, realizing that no one’s eyes were on him, leaned slightly towards Rose and whispered.

“...You really don’t have to go this far, miss.”

Rose had just openly expressed to him to wipe off the sauce.

Perhaps she thought she couldn’t lose as someone playing the role of his girlfriend, since Luss did it.

It felt like he was putting too much pressure on her.

Following his words, she whispered back to him.

“If we’re doing this, we should do it right. And talk casually, forever.”

Then, as she moved away, she laughed politely as if sharing an amusing story, lightly tapping his shoulder.
No one saw them whispering, but they certainly heard it.

The sound of Elza laughing and playfully tapping his shoulder after whispering something.

Even if they turned their eyes away, the sound was still there, leaving their hearts frustrated.

On the other hand, Rose felt as if she were in a vast meadow, refreshed.

She liked the man next to her acting solely for her, ignoring other women.

He was her first male friend.

But it felt like she had found a fateful friend.

He looked just like the protagonist of her favorite novel,

And he also imagined her as an ideal girlfriend.

A man with the courage and strength to enter an unknown dungeon barehanded and secure the requested items.

Kind when he was kind, but capable of being scary.

And as if to prove his perfection, the women who fell in love with him.

Rose looked around the table at the people.

It would be hard to find more beautiful women than this.

If a man other than Starchis had been sitting here, he wouldn’t have been able to lift his face.

Even Rose, as a woman, acknowledged the beauty gathered at this table.

They came beautifully dressed, beautifully made up.

Their figures were all perfect.

It was almost unbelievable that Starchis wasn’t swayed by their appearances.

But that wasn’t all.

Not only did he not fall for them,

But these beautiful women were craving his love instead.

Luss had declared war,

Lily had shown jealousy.

Vienna was uncertain, but Rose was convinced that at least those two liked him.

Such beautiful women wanted him, yet he only looked at her.

Even though she was dressed far more plainly than usual.

Rose didn’t forget that this was just an act, but she couldn’t deny how it made her feel.

A feeling she shouldn’t have..

Something she had never felt, no matter what she had.

A sense of superiority.

Even if she tried to reject that dark emotion, it kept turning into a smile clinging to her lips.

Rose looked at Starchis.

He was a person she felt attracted to, but seeing other women so desperate not to have him made him glow.

Maybe the reason she first felt attracted to him wasn’t just because he resembled a novel’s protagonist, but because of that invisible glow.

Why hadn’t they shown any signs of liking him until now?

Starchis himself said so.

He believed that they didn’t like him.

From what he’d heard, he thought so too.

But after meeting them, it was different.

They did like him.

Had they not had the courage?

There was one reason Starchis hadn’t noticed.

When he was gone, the expressions of the three women changed.

The atmosphere changed too.

So, he wouldn’t have known.

They were people skilled at hiding their feelings.

In any case, it was their mistake.

They missed their chance.

They missed their chance and now they were frantic.

“Does anyone want another drink?”

Seeing the empty wine glasses, Starchis asked.

Lily, who was already feeling frustrated, answered.

“Shall we?”

“Yes. Then. Earlier—...”

Starchis’ eyes fixed on Vienna.

Vienna was munching on food with sauce smeared all over her mouth.

Just like he had seen Elza earlier.


Vienna glanced at him like a guilty puppy, lowering her eyes, then glancing back again.


Vienna didn’t know how to win him over, so she just imitated what Elza did.

Casey’s advice to do something he would like was followed by making him medicine.

But after handing over the medicine, she felt lost.

So, she ended up following Elza.

“You’ve got sauce on your mouth. Wipe it off, Vienna.”

Starchis handed her a linen napkin.

Vienna glanced at Elza.

She was smiling kindly.


Vienna roughly wiped her mouth with the napkin Starchis gave her.

“...Anyway. Same wine?”

“Something stronger.”

Vienna said irritably.

She had given up on finding a way to win him over.

Everything she tried by imitating Elza was failing.

Instead, she wanted to beat that pink-haired flirt in at least one aspect.

“You drink too.”

Vienna pointed at Elza.

Starchis tried to stop her.

Vienna was a heavy drinker.

“Hey, Vienna. Don’t try to get her to drink, let’s just—”

“—I’m fine with it.”

Rose said with a bright smile.

“Let’s drink something stronger. I feel like celebrating today too.”

She wasn’t a lightweight either.


Cold sweat trickled down my forehead.

I could still feel the piercing stares.

When I looked in the direction of the gaze, I saw two large men nervously watching Miss Rose.

The lady was drinking so much that even I was starting to get worried.

Now, instead of the waiter pouring the drinks, they had the bottles themselves, pouring and drinking amongst themselves.

Vienna was one thing, but oddly enough, even Lily Noona and Luss weren’t backing off their glasses tonight.

I was the only one not drinking.

I decided that I wouldn’t drink because I didn’t want to start babbling nonsense and risk exposing my lies.


Vienna, her tongue loosened, raised her glass for a toast.

The fact that she seemed the most coherent was even more depressing.

“Huh..? I... finished it all... pour me more... Vienna...”

Luss was in no better state.

She started off drinking aggressively but later tried to slow down, yet she was still this bad.


Lily Noona was already nodding off with her glass in hand.

It looked like she might drop it.

Her red hair fell and nestled between her breasts.

Miss Rose, though not as bad as Vienna, was relatively better compared to Luss and Lily.

She had grown quieter, perhaps not wanting to reveal her lies or maybe that was just her usual drunken state.

Instead, she kept glancing at me and smiling continuously.

Even so, I couldn’t help but worry she might slip up and say something.

She had already mentioned the name ‘Elza’ once before, even when sober.

It seemed like a good time to wrap up the dinner.

“Alright everyone, stop drinking. Let’s get up.”

“More! Drink more!”

There was no stopping Vienna.

As Miss Rose emptied her glass, Vienna picked up the bottle and refilled it.

More than half of the strong liquor was still left.
If they finished it, no one would be walking home.


A nervous throat-clearing sound came from behind.

Looking back, the two large men were now clasping their hands, silently begging for the drinking to stop.

Well, of course.

It would be a problem if they sent Hian Nisti’s precious daughter back home this drunk.

It might already be too late.

But at least they should stop now.

“Everyone, get up. Let’s go home.”

At my words, everyone turned to look at me.

Even the dozing Lily Noona woke up and grabbed her glass firmly.

“...No. You! Drink more!”

Vienna pointed at Miss Rose.

She had done the same to me during our first drinking session.

Was this her way of greeting?


Miss Rose looked up at me once, laughed, and tried to pick up her glass again.

This was too much.

I needed to get her home safely, and there was no need for her to drink so much just for my lies.

- Clink.

I stood up and took the glass from her hand.

Then, I raised the glass and downed it in one go.

- Gulp, gulp

The amount was by no means small.

After finishing it, I showed the empty glass to Vienna.

“Guh... ha...”

A hot sensation ran down my throat.

It was strong.

Drinking it all at once made me feel like I was about to vomit.


I said to the women looking up at me after calming my stomach for a moment.

“W-Why did you drink!!”

Vienna asked sharply.

“We’re lovers, right? I can drink for her.”

“Hehehe... thank you...”

The lady leaned her head on my thigh as she spoke.

It was surprising to see her keep up this act even while drunk.

“Damn it... you drink again!”

Vienna tried to pour another glass while looking at the lady.

- Clink.

This time, I took the bottle from Vienna’s hand.

It was easy to snatch something from a drunken woman’s hand.

With the bottle taken, Vienna wiggled her hand in the air.

“Enough. Let’s go now before I get angry.”

“Hehehe... you’re so cool...”

The lady looked up at me, her cheeks very red.

“Elza, drink some water and sober up.”

I handed her a glass of cold water instead of more alcohol.

Looking back, I saw the two bodyguards giving me double thumbs up.

“Everyone, get up. Let’s go now.”


It was chilly when we stepped outside the restaurant.

A cold wind blew.

Watching them stumble as they walked was nerve-wracking.

I wasn’t sure if they could make it home safely.

“Can everyone get home on their own?”

“Where are you going... Chis?”

Luss asked, rubbing her forehead.

“I’m taking Elza home.”

Not exactly home, but I would be secretly handing her over to the bodyguards.


“I’m leaving. If it’s tough, sit and sober up a bit before going. Got it?”

“Can’t you take me home too...?”

Luss whined suddenly.

Lily Noona also plopped down on the ground.

Vienna stopped in her tracks as well.

“No. I have to take Elza home, remember?”

I didn’t want to leave my struggling friends behind.

But regardless of the act, my girlfriend came first.

I owed my life to them, and I wanted to take everyone home.

Even if it was Miss Rose, my internal closeness was stronger with these three.

But now was the time to endure the pain and stick to the lie.

“Be careful getting home.”

“...What are you up to...?”

Vienna said, standing still.


“You drank, so... you’re gonna jump her again...”

Vienna’s eyes looked teary.

“That’s right!!”

My first thought after hearing her was to feel sorry for Miss Rose.

She had to put up with sexual harassment pretending to be my girlfriend.

The second thought was…

‘Again?’ What is she talking about?

I couldn’t understand what she was imagining.

“What on earth are you talking about, Vienna? Get a grip.”

“I’m perfectly fine...!”

She tried to take a step towards me but tripped and sat down.

She was quite a handful.

“If not that... then why can’t you take me home...”

“Because it takes a long time to take her home.”

“...I’ll wait.”

“You’ll get home in that time.”

“Just once... please? I don’t think I can make it today...”

Vienna started sniffling, her tears falling like chicken poop drops.

“Hey, hey... why are you suddenly crying again??”

“Sniff... I’m not crying...”

When did this troublesome drunken habit develop?

Luss and Lily, with their sorrowful expressions and half-closed sultry eyes, looked up at me as well.

Seeing them so vulnerable made my heart soften again.

“...Are you done talking...?”

Miss Rose had sidled up next to me, linking her arm with mine and resting her head on my shoulder.

Her acting was impressive as ever.

“...Not yet. Everyone’s struggling too much.”

I hinted.

It seemed I needed to at least get the party members close to home.


But Miss Rose gave an unexpected answer.

“No. Don’t take them home.”

Oh. There was no need for her to act jealous.

From the way she glanced at me intermittently, I realized she wasn’t entirely drunk.

The water I gave her between drinks probably helped.

She was insisting I follow her without question.

It wouldn’t make sense to spoil her act when she was going this far.

If she were truly my girlfriend…

I would have simply obeyed her words not to take them home.

But since she was a fake girlfriend, it left an uncomfortable feeling.

Even though it felt uncomfortable, everyone needed to get home on their own now.

She continued speaking.

“Everyone, find your own way home.”

“You..! You really...!”

Vienna stood up, fuming.

“What are you planning-”

“-Whatever you imagine....”

Miss Rose cut off Vienna’s words and spoke slowly.

She seemed to be trying not to slur her words or bite her tongue.

There was something she wanted to convey clearly.

“I’ll do it all~.”

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