Although we were given priority to use the Gates by utilizing the Imperial Crest, through the power and prestige of Duke Grantz, we were granted the same right to use the Gates first. We would head to the southernmost part of the continent using super-large Warp Gates.
“What about Harriet?”
“She said she would go ahead and wait for us. Heinrich will be there too.” Liana answered my question.
A total of six people would go to Duke Grantz’s villa on the Edina Islands to hang out.
—Ellen, Liana, Adelia, Harriet, and me.
…As well as Heinrich von Schwarz.
Liana had said she would just relax for her vacation, and she probably did just that. Liana’s Electrokinesis was growing stronger at a fast pace. Even if she didn’t put in that much effort, she just got stronger and stronger.
Ellen still put a lot of effort into her training, but Liana did no such thing.
She just had that kind of talent.
“How were the Darklands?” Liana asked, as she seemed most interested in our visit to the Darklands.
“Well, it wasn’t anything worth mentioning.”
“…Yes. That’s right.”
Ellen nodded in agreement with my words.
We didn’t want to talk about what happened in the Darklands. It wasn’t anything pleasant, and it wasn’t something that would be comfortable knowing.
—A massacred village, a gang of bandits, a hoard of zombies, a cursed sword.
What we had been through was much too terrifying to be anything to brag about.
“Hmm, by the way, you…”
Liana alternated between looking at me and Ellen and then gave a slight nod and tilted her head.
“The atmosphere around you two seems a bit different.”
Something had changed, but it was rather hard to pin down—that was what Liana seemed to think. We didn’t say much about our trip, and Liana didn’t seem to be that curious either.
* * *
We headed south via Warp Gates and then teleported to the Edina Islands by one of the Grantz Family’s wizards.
Mass Teleportation could move all of us immediately, but it was a lot of ranks above Teleport, so the wizard just casted Teleport on us one after the other to transport us to the villa.
There was a pub run by the Succubus Queen Airi on the Edina Islands, but there was no reason for me to go there. I did want to see what they were up to with my own eyes, but I didn’t have time to do that.
Like before, we passed through several super-large Gates to reach the shore where the wizard would be waiting.
“Ellen! Liana! Adelia!”
Harriet, who arrived before us and was waiting, ran towards us. Heinrich von Schwarz, who stood around a little awkwardly, also approached us.
“You’re safe, Ellen!”
“That’s a relief. I was so worried.”
Harriet nodded, saying that she was glad that Ellen was safe.
“Wasn’t it dangerous?”
“No. I wasn’t much.”
Our lives were just on the line several times, but I didn’t say that. Harriet looked at me after she greeted everyone.
Then it was time for her to greet me. She’d probably say something like, “Why’d you come back?”
“…I’m glad you’re safe, Reinhardt.”
I didn’t think she would say something like that with such a bright smile, so I felt a little embarrassed.
She looked so happy that I couldn’t even say anything more.
* * *
We teleported to the villa one after the other; I was the last one. Like that, we crossed the great ocean to the southern islands.
The others who had arrived before me were admiring the scenery before they even went to unpack their luggage. The mansion was standing before a privately owned beach with no people around.
The scenery of the uninhabited island we were on before was also good, but it was much too humid.
However, the new place’s humidity was very low, and it had such a clear view that it seemed like the sky merged with the sea.
Ellen stared quietly at the scenery.
A servant that came out of the villa took our luggage. After we spent our last week there and returned to Temple, our second semester would start.
“Our wizard is rather busy, so he went back already. Like it or not, you guys have to stay here for a week.”
Of course, the wizard who transported us there didn’t seem to have the leisure time to play around. He went back to his original job after transporting all of us.
In other words, we couldn’t go back just because we got sick of the place. However, there was no real need to go back, in my opinion.
That would be our first and last real break during our summer vacation for Ellen and me, as we had been moving about and fighting all the time, and even after we had returned to Temple, we had just resumed our training.
“Let’s get something to eat first.”
Liana dragged us into the villa, telling us that although we came to play around, we should first grab something to eat.
“Wh-what’s all this…?”
Adelia and I were startled by the splendidly prepared food.
Harriet, a noble, Heinrich, someone of a royal family, and the young lady owning the villa, the young Duchess of Grantz, didn’t seem particularly impressed.
It seemed like her eyes were even more attracted to all the food laid out before her than the vast and beautiful ocean view she had just seen.
“I don’t really care about formalities. Eat as much as you want, however you want. If it’s not enough, just tell me.”
Liana declared it as if to tell us that we could just forget table manners and such, so even those who weren’t familiar with table manners could sit down and eat comfortably.
Of course, I started eating as Ellen started shoving the food into her mouth.
To be honest, I also tended to eat a lot compared to others, although the amount Ellen would stuff into herself was just too much.
If one were to use a metaphor, Ellen’s appetite was in the realm of Gods, and mine was the strongest among humans.
* * *
Liana said that we were in a suburb of Rajak, the main port city of the Edina Islands. Airi also opened her pub in Rajak as well.
However, that city seemed to be something like the capital of the Edina Islands, so I wouldn’t be able to find her even if I wanted to.
“If you get sick of the beach, you can just go to Rajak to play around. Of course, you can’t go alone or you’ll get lost.”
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Liana told us to just relax and do whatever we felt like doing. Rather than touring around together, it seemed more like she was letting her friends rest in the same villa she happened to be at.
“…Did you have a good trip?”
Heinrich talked to me during our meal.
I didn’t have that good of a first impression of that guy. He had picked a fight with me for being someone with no supernatural power crawling his way into the class and got beaten up. After that, he had avoided me because he thought I actually was the son of some huge bigshot, but when he found out I was just a beggar, he ignored me completely.
Since then, we hadn’t really met each other—other than that one time on the deserted island when he was all nervous.
However, that situation…
All of the others, except us two, were girls, and that guy was attracted to Liana.
There was no way that the guy could talk comfortably, so even if he didn’t like me even a single bit, he tried to talk to me first.
“Did you see any demons or something like that?”
“…No. Nothing really happened.”
I just answered his questions vaguely. It really wasn’t something worth telling everyone.
“Then what did you do when you went there?”
“Just toured around. It wasn’t that dangerous.”
“…So you just wasted your time?”
Wasted our time…
That remark made me want to grab that bastard’s neck. Ellen, who was still eating, also seemed to flinch a little.
It was clear that he was being sarcastic.
We didn’t waste time; we had gone through more terrible experiences than he could ever imagine.
I had no intentions of bragging childishly.
Wasting our time…
Maybe it would have been better if we actually had just wasted our time.
Heinrich seemed startled by my casual admission to his words.
If one thought of summer, one would inevitably think of the sea.
Going by the staple development of a romcom, we decided to go for a swim after lunch.
—So everyone changed into their swimsuits.
“…Are you doing this on purpose?”
At Liana’s absurd remark, Ellen tilted her head and just answered bluntly.
“…Somehow, I knew the two of you would do this.”
Harriet nodded, looking a little exasperated as if she had already expected Ellen and me to act like that.
“Do you really have to wear the swimsuits provided by Temple, even here?”
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Both Ellen and I wore swimsuits provided by Temple. All the others were wearing their private swimsuits.
Liana was in her tube top bikini, Harriet was wearing a bikini with a frilly skirt, and Adelia was wearing a modest, one-piece swimsuit.
Heinrich was also wearing swimming trunks.
Anyway, Ellen didn’t really get why she should care about what swimsuit she was wearing, and I also just bought a Temple swimsuit with me because of similar reasons.
Liana didn’t seem to mind about it that much, and Harriet seemed to have expected it to some extent.
“How are swimsuits important when you can’t even swim?”
“Girl, as long as you can swim, how are swimsuits important? Aren’t you nitpicking on something really petty?”
I did know that swimsuits were a lot more important than being able to swim. Liana frowned at my questions.
“Ah, I haven’t seen you in a while, and I already hate you.”
Liana shook her head as if her hospitality had completely disappeared from her face, then she stared at me in my Temple swimsuit.
“…Ah…You’re right. Swimsuits aren’t that important.”
She looked at Heinrich and me alternately. What? Why was she looking at us like that? It felt kinda bad.
For some reason, Heinrich suddenly put on his shirt.
Swimsuits weren’t important…
I felt like I knew what she meant.
Adelia, and Harriet, of course, couldn’t even look at me straight.
Obviously, Heinrich, someone who used pyrokinesis, didn’t bother to exercise. I was also a supernatural power user, but I was still someone who fought in close-quarter combat.
Any swimsuit would look different depending on who was wearing them.
I had quite a well-built body.
“Wow, they must be as hard as rocks.” “Crazy woman! Wh-where are you touching?!”
Liana came up to me without an ounce of hesitation and touched my abdomen, so I jumped in surprise. ‘What the hell is this?!’
“…Are you worn out?”
“That’s not the problem here!”
“Just stay still. Try tightening them.”
“Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?”
“Will you only stay f*cking still after I knock you out? Do you want me to electrocute you?”
Liana de Grantz’s level of self-indulgence was high enough to surprise even me. Harriet, Adelia, and Heinrich were watching the scene with puzzled expressions on their faces.
“You bastard, then I’ll do the same!”
When I counterattacked, I found Liana wide open.
“Sure, go ahead. What are you gonna do?”
…I didn’t expect her to react like that.
“So there are lines that even you don’t cross? Isn’t that unexpected?”
Liana covered her mouth as she laughed when she saw me standing there dumbfounded.
I could feel Heinrich’s rather uncomfortable gaze on Liana and me.
* * *
Once that whole mess passed by, we went swimming. However, what we did was a little different from normal swimming.
Remembering the times when I swam in the sea with underwater breathing magic cast on me when we were on the uninhabited island, we all got that spell cast on us by Harriet and took a look around the underwater world.
Heinrich and Liana seemed surprised, as that was the first time that they had experienced it. Heinrich subtly showed that he wanted to go around with Liana, and she caught on to that, so she shoved him away underwater.
What an unsociable fellow she was.
Ellen and I usually went around to hunt back when we were on the island. Of course, the scenery we saw was different and similar at the same time.
Harriet dragged Adelia with her to show her around. It was the first time for her, after all.
Ellen just leisurely swam through the sea, occasionally meeting my eyes.
It somehow seemed that she wasn’t really enjoying herself. When we were on the deserted island, she busily absorbed the scenery around her as long as she could, even saying it was fun.
I felt similarly.
We were still too distracted to concentrate on simply playing around with no care.
* * *
We swam all day long. That was only possible because Harriet kept on recasting her underwater breathing spell on us.
“I-I feel so tired…”
“Walking on the ground… Is so awkward…”
Everyone except Ellen and I suffered from extreme exhaustion. It was incredibly hard to move in the water all day long, even with underwater breathing magic cast on oneself. After everyone had changed into their clothes, they hung around in the mansion’s living room.
The dinner was just as sumptuous as lunch.
Since not all of us had been freed of exhaustion, we were each doing our own thing. There were enough rooms in the mansion for all of us to have our own.
After finally getting to take a break, Liana muttered dejectedly, saying that she went there to rest but almost ended up losing all her strength.
Resting was actually the most difficult thing to do, you punk.
* * *
I had nothing to do, so I went out on a nightly walk. My body felt a little sore, but I would soon be working hard again, except for the time I would spent there, so I decided I should rest properly during our last few days of vacation. I wanted to take the time to recover mentally as well.
When I looked towards the beach, I could see flashes of fire in the darkness.
A flame that was about two feet high was burning on the sandy beach, and in front of it stood Heinrich.
What was he doing over there? Was he still training his supernatural power?
He sure was passionate about his training.
I didn’t really want to pay him much attention, so I just passed by him and walked around the beach before I returned to the mansion.
Liana and Adelia had fallen asleep quite early, as they were insanely exhausted. Harriet was sitting across from Ellen in the lounge, chatting about this and that.
“…Why can’t you tell me about it?
“I just… think that it’s not something pleasant to hear.”
However, the atmosphere around them didn’t seem very lighthearted. Harriet looked at Ellen, then noticed me and talked to us both.
“You two, what happened to you two was certainly not nothing.”
“…What are you talking about?”
“The Protective Bracelet. You told Adelia that it was very useful.”
Was she talking about that? Ellen had only said that she made good use of her bracelet, not for what she used it for.
However, when Harriet heard about that, she knew that we were most certainly put into a situation in which the bracelet could demonstrate its usefulness. Adelia also guessed as much but didn’t ask.
Harriet immediately asked Ellen what kind of danger we had put ourselves in, but Ellen remained silent. Harriet really seemed to want to know what kind of hardships we had been through.
I was still wearing it because I hadn’t used it yet, but Ellen didn’t.
“As Ellen said. It’s not something pleasant.”
What was the point of hearing our story?
Why did she want to know about how we killed people and slaughtered their reanimated corpses after? Harriet’s expression changed.
She was clearly hurt.
She gave us those bracelets because she was clearly worried about us. However, we didn’t want to tell her anything about what happened during our journey.
She couldn’t help feeling frustrated and sad because she didn’t know what the content of that recount would be.
I knew she wouldn’t be able to treat Ellen and me the same way as before if she came to know about those things, so I couldn’t tell her anything.
“…You guys treat me like a little kid.”
After murmuring something we couldn’t properly understand, she went off somewhere. Her Eyes met with Ellen’s, who was still seated.
They were sad eyes.
Ellen’s voice was trembling. She simply couldn’t tell others of her experiences that might lead others to treat her with disgust or fear.
I could talk about those things except for some parts, but in the end, I felt the same about our struggle with the zombies.
“Did we… really waste our time…?”
No, what we did wasn’t a waste of time. We had definitely gotten something out of it.
If it was a complete waste of time, nothing would have changed.
“It wasn’t a waste of time. Absolutely not.”
If everything we did was just a waste of time…
If nothing had changed…
That might have been for the better.
However, we couldn’t just solve that problem in secret on our own.
But it could be overcome.
What we felt was just momentary confusion. I couldn’t help but stare at Ellen, who was looking out of the window with a gloomy expression on her face.
Harriet seemed hurt.
Unfortunately, that wound we made in her heart wasn’t something we could do anything about.
Did she feel like we bullied her?
No, she probably felt a lot worse than that.