“…Did you two fight?”
Both of us were in a complete state of exhaustion, so the priest on duty’s doubts were reasonable, but both of us just shook our heads. After having a recovery spell cast on me, I felt my condition improving quickly.
However, when I glanced over to Ellen while my wounds were recovering, I noticed her condition was much worse than mine.
Her arms and legs were covered in long sleeves of bruises, and one could only assume that there were more on her torso and lower body.
“She looks like she was in a fight; what did you do when you went outside?”
The priest looked over her body and asked her what she did to end up like that, but Ellen shook her head.
“The same as usual.”
Ellen didn’t say anything more, and then me and her, who had been cleaned up using recovery magic, left the infirmary and headed back to the dormitory.
“…I thought you went out to play. What did you do?”
I thought the four girls went out to play together, but Ellen seemed to have gone to a completely different place.
“I went to the auntie with gray hair.”
A gray-haired auntie? What was she talking about?
“I asked her to teach me how to fight.”
“…You. Are you talking about big sis?”
She and Harriet already knew about the Rotary Gang, so I had nothing to hide regarding them.
Wait, she went back to Loyar? Even after she had beaten her up like that? I thought I knew what she was thinking. It was the first time she had ever lost so badly, so she was rather shocked.
Had it been so shocking for her to hear that she should fuck off because she would get in the way? Enough to ask the person who had tried to kill her to teach her how to fight?
“Hey… I know why you’re doing this… You better stop.”
I had given Loyar a firm warning to be careful, but she was the type of person that would lose reason if she got angry. I had seen her fight before.
“If she hits you in the wrong place, you might end up… you’ll be dead before you know it. You have to choose your opponents more carefully.”
I had no idea why Loyar agreed to fight with her, but Ellen’s physical condition was obviously completely messed up. If Loyar ever made a mistake in controlling her strength, Ellen might die.
“I don’t want to be like that ever again.”
She didn’t want to experience that feeling of being too weak to do anything—that helplessness was the reason Ellen had ended up sitting in the rain in such a daze.
She didn’t want to feel that way again. Ellen held her hands still as we reached the lobby.
She didn’t look at me and kept her head low.
“Huh… Yeah .”
She spoke as if she wanted to request something of me.
“Who are you? Who is that person? Why did she try to kill me? Why did she end up not killing me? Why did you lie again after you got released after you got kidnapped?… I won’t ask you to answer these things.”
Harriet and Ellen knew that my statement after being released was a complete lie. They just simply released me after they went through the trouble of kidnapping me, but I had no idea who they were—that was the false statement I had made when I got back.
However, both Ellen and Harriet knew that I got released after they went to find Loyar.
She said that she wouldn’t ask about Loyar’s or my affairs, so I shouldn’t be curious about her’s.
“So I… I will continue to do this.”
Ellen wouldn’t be curious about anything having to do with me anymore. That was her answer to me asking her to not train with Loyar anymore.
This wasn’t even something I had the power to decide over. Loyar was supposed to be my boss, after all.
However, I was actually Loyar’s superior, so I did have the right to decide over this.
Usually, one would think that Ellen was asking the wrong person, but she had actually asked the right person.
She wanted to get stronger. In my opinion, she was already strong enough, but she was actually quite enraged that she had met someone who was so much stronger than her.
It was a strange feeling.
Ellen was originally supposed to be a character that completely lacked any desire to win. She was simply good at anything she did, so she was someone who would always win, no matter if she aimed for it or didn’t. She was just that talented.
However, Ellen had gotten involved with me and that incident, and eventually, she wanted to save me on her own but got completely overwhelmed by someone a lot stronger than her, so she could just sit by and watch. She despaired.
So a new feeling—a desire to get stronger—bloomed in Ellen.
“…Do what you want.”
I would have to warn Loyar that she should be gentle.
“By the way…”
“Don’t you care about me anymore after you’ve made some new friends? I’m going nuts here.”
Ellen was a bit dazed after hearing what I said. Then she murmured softly, her eyes slightly lowered.
“…N-no. I didn’t say that for you to tell me this.”
I didn’t want her to say sorry; I just wanted her to react like usual.
She was so conscious of me!
I thought it would take a lot more time for her mentality to normalize again.
Even if Ellen’s condition was incredibly serious, she returned to full health immediately after getting recovery magic cast on her by the priest on duty.
Of course, she ate a lot more to prevent getting malnourished, as I had in the early stages of my training when I had very low physical strength.
After classes ended on Friday, I went to tell Loyar that she should go along with what Ellen wanted and be careful. Loyar expressed her displeasure about it. Nominally, she was my boss, so I was merely asking for a favor, but in the end, it was nothing short of an order.
“So, big sis, please take care of her.”
“Ah…This is difficult.”
Loyar signaled something like, “I hate this! Why do I have to do this?!” with her eyes. Even though I didn’t do much, my eyes were telling her, “You better fucking do this, you bastard!”.
On the outside I appeared to be very polite, but I was essentially ordering her to do it.
“…It’s not my fault if you end up breaking something because I couldn’t control my strength properly.”
“Yes. That’s fine.”
Ellen just bravely stepped forward and said that.
Loyar seemed to have thought that Ellen wouldn’t want to go through it anymore if she was a little harsh after she annoyed her so much; however, knowing her, she would probably be right back the next day and continue with the training until she is satisfied.
Ellen had quite the strong mentality as well.
Even if she ended up not doing it, Loyar really wanted to kill Ellen before, and Ellen knew that.
But she still casually went up to her and asked Loyar to teach her how to fight.
The gang members seemed interested in watching them fight, but Loyar didn’t want them to see, so she dragged Ellen to a deserted place.
The others seemed very disappointed by that.
I also went to look around the new gang base. The house was large enough to accommodate the entire gang, which had about 200 members.
The construction work was directed by Daibun, the gang’s Number Two.
“…Will you be fine without any experts?”
I didn’t think they hired any professionals. They were probably building it on their own, right?
“We’ve been to many places and experienced a lot of things, so don’t you think that some of us built something like a house at least once?”
Since the backgrounds of most beggars were rather turbulent, some among them seemed to have worked in construction and architecture before. Daibun didn’t seem like he was one of them, but he seemed to have experience supervising guys that had experience in those fields.
As there were many people, there were many different skill sets. It was truly fascinating.
“It’s thanks to you, Reinhardt.”
“I just said a few words.”
“A few days ago, the Thieves’ Guild gave us their full support to build an even bigger building.”
They seemed to have provided them a lot of funding to build a new gang base to save some face after receiving so much help from me while they were actually planning on getting rid of the Rotary Gang.
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Even among criminal organizations, they still cared about things like face. For what I did for them, all their members should bow three times in my direction each day.
Still, if it actually came to a full-blown fight, someone might have died, but I was fortunate that I didn’t have to see any blood after getting kidnapped.
I looked around the gang base’s construction site a bit longer before heading to where Ellen and Loyar were training.
They had changed locations to a place in the southernmost part of the Imperial Capital, so there weren’t many people there. If one walked a bit further, one would reach a forest.
Ellen rolled on the floor as if she got beaten quite badly by Loyar again, and then she rose to her feet.
“Can’t you just use that sword?” she asked Ellen calmly.
“I won’t use it… I can’t summon it anymore.”
Ellen threw one of the two training swords stuck in a tree close to her towards Loyar, and Loyar caught it. I was wondering why she took some training swords with her, but it seemed to be for this purpose.
“Hmm… Haven’t held a sword in a long time.”
After saying that, Loyar seemed to hold great skill in swordsmanship.
Of course, she still pushed forward with just her strength and reaction speed, but in the end, Ellen was still no match for Loyar.
Ellen tried to counter when their swords touched, tried to lead it, changed her center of gravity, and even staggered into different directions.
However, the moment she blocked Loyar’s sword, her training sword received so much damage by the swing that it shattered. Loyar’s swings were incredibly fast as well.
Ellen had no other choice but to evade, as her counters and blocks were totally impossible to achieve, then she messed up.
Their physiques were completely different.
Faced with such overwhelming differences in weight class, technique became absolutely meaningless. Ellen seemed shocked by that.
However, rather than despairing, she seemed to have realized what she needed to focus on more.
I didn’t tell Loyar or Eleris about Ellen’s true identity. I had just said that she was an extraordinary individual.
How would Loyar react if she knew that Ellen was the younger sister of Artorius, the warrior that killed the Demon King?
She’d say that we have to kill her, wouldn’t she?
Anyway, I, the Demon Prince, was watching the Demon Realm’s spy, a Lycanthrope, training the hero’s younger sister.
* * *
After training all evening, Ellen and I ate together with all the gang members.
It wasn’t really a proper meal, just some rice balls.
A sign to show that the gang’s finances had improved was that they weren’t just plain rice balls but actually had something similar to meat in them.
“Hey, little lady, you got hurt quite a bit. Are you okay?”
“You have quite the dirty temper, big sis.”
“How could you beat her up like this?”
“Shut up, you punks! Should I have stood still, then?”
All the gang members had something to say as they watched Ellen munching away on the rice balls.
When she arrived, she seemed like such a sweet and pretty child, but now she was eating the rice balls, appearing even more like a beggar than the gang members, so they couldn’t help but pity her.
Her hands were trembling while eating the rice balls. Ellen couldn’t really put a handicap on herself. Loyar wasn’t someone she could take on halfheartedly; if she wanted to get trained, she had to put up with this.
Ellen, who blankly munched on her rice balls, staggered to get up.
Everyone was clamoring as they saw her staggering like that.
“Haah… Hey. You make me look like the bad guy here.”
Loyar clicked her tongue as if Ellen annoyed her terribly.
“I’ll come back later…”
“I’ll be back.”
I supported the staggering Ellen, accompanied by the gang members’ obvious heckling.
-Reinhardt, you. You’re also a man, huh?
-But he’s probably weaker than that girl, right?
-Now that you mention it…
-If they were to get hitched, she’d have him under her thumb.
-She does seem to be an unusually strong-willed girl… Seeing her get up even after getting beat up so much by big sis.
It seemed like some weird misunderstanding was formed in the minds of the gang members.
“Are you okay?”
Ellen didn’t even have the strength to walk on her own.
It was a very strange feeling, seeing Loyar overwhelm Ellen, whom I had never been able to defeat before. Of course, Loyar hinted that she wouldn’t be a match for her after a few years.
Although I knew that Eleris was very formidable, only then did I realize that Loyar was also incredibly strong.
Ellen passed out halfway through the walk back, so I had to carry her to Temple.
It seemed like I ended up doing some additional strength training that day.