The next day…
Naturally, Heinrich von Schwarz, who had been completely drunk, said that he didn’t remember anything from the previous night.
However, it seemed like he was the only one who had some missing memories, meaning everyone remembered what happened.
Ellen seemed to have said to Heinrich that she ‘doesn’t like him’.
Harriet seemed to think that he was ‘pathetic’.
Adelia seemed to have said that she “Doesn’t really like him…”, but it was clear that what she felt on the inside was ‘extreme hatred’ towards him for what he had done.
The most important was Liana de Grantz.
“…Why should I apologize to him?”
“Just do what I tell you to do.”
“…But I don’t remember anything.”
“Then go tell him you’re sorry for not remembering anything.”
Of course, one of the servants seemed to have scolded Liana a bit. The smell of alcohol was wafting from all of us, so there was no way that they didn’t know.
Anyway, during lunch, Heinrich was arguing that he shouldn’t have to suddenly apologize for something he didn’t even remember. He had no idea what was going on.
“Fine. What’s even the point of such an apology? How could he sincerely apologize for something he doesn’t remember?”
Heinrich frowned at my words that were telling him it wasn’t necessary for him to apologize.
It was so easy to screw that guy over. The more he showed off his uglier side, the more he would only destroy himself.
Liana looked at me with round eyes.
“Huh, did Reinhardt mature? You can even tolerate things like that now?”
“It’s not like I can keep acting childish like a certain someone, right?”
“…Are you talking about me?”
At Heinrich’s words, I just smirked as I ate some bacon.
“Why do you think so? Do you feel guilty about something?”
“How about we settle this now?”
Heinrich seemed pretty confident about his skills because he had improved a bit, it was the same as before when he was completely drunk.
We probably needed to sort it out at some point.
I took a fork and stabbed it into a marbled steak.
“After eating this, how about we go out for a bit to talk? Just the two of us.”
I had been patient once or twice.
I didn’t really feel like it, but I still thought that I should clean that mess, up after all.
* * *
I used to use rough words. I used to talk in confusing ways that were akin to poking the kids’ eyes.
However, my calm words that I wanted to talk to someone felt like a serious warning sign, so the others tried to stop me.
“I’m just going to talk.”
Heinrich seemed to be confident in whatever he had learned, and after I finally shook everyone off, I left the mansion with Heinrich.
I went around the mansion, to a place where no one could see us, and then I faced Heinrich.
I had let that guy do whatever he wanted once or twice, badmouthing me and whatnot.
“What? You want to try me? If you want to come, then come.”
Heinrich didn’t seem to be afraid. It looked like he had gained tremendous confidence in his improved ability, and he seemed to think that I wasn’t anything big anymore because I had just bummed around in the Darklands. “…Don’t you know that I’m being very considerate towards you?”
It was more than clear that I didn’t really care for that brat, even when he accused me of things and bragged about being a noble, mostly because I had other things to worry about.
However, if one looked at it from a different perspective, I was acting very considerate towards that guy to the point of actually leaving him be.
“Anyway, seeing that you’re so confident, let’s do it then.”
As if he had been waiting for these words, he looked at me with shining eyes.
“You might die, you know? I can’t control my strength properly, after all.”
He felt confident that he’d be able to immediately bake me by just moving his hand. I sighed at him.
Unlike punching, Pyrokinesis wasn’t something that could be used in an actual practice match.
He seemed very excited at the thought of finally paying me back for the humiliation he had suffered in the first semester.
“I’ll show you today that I’m not the same as before.”
That guy focused his mind.
“You f*cking punk.”
As I strengthened my body, I ran towards him while he was preoccupied with focusing.
I strongly kneed him in his stomach.
“Did you think I just played around?”
Why did that bastard think he grew stronger through?
“Kuh…Kuhuk! Huk! Huk!”
He collapsed to the floor as I looked down on that disgusting idiot. He had already lost his concentration.
A kick to the abdomen…
That was the end of it. There wasn’t some flashy fight between supernatural power users.
There was just too big a gap between our levels—a gap between our basic physical abilities.
“Just like you’re not on the same level as a flint anymore, I’m not the man I used to be either.”
I stood before him until he came back to his senses again as he crouched there.
That guy who used to take about five seconds to focus his mind in order to create fire seemed to have reduced that time to about one second.
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But a second was still pretty long—it was enough time for me to tear him apart, so I couldn’t possibly lose to Heinrich von Schwarz.
As things were, I could have crushed him and squeezed the life out of him in his exhausted state, but I didn’t go that far. He staggered away from me and stared at me with a confused expression on his face.
We had been quite the distance away from each other, and yet he hadn’t even seen me approaching him.
His supernatural power had gotten stronger, but I had gotten stronger as well.
Even I didn’t think things would turn out like that. It was just one knee kick. He couldn’t even avoid it.
“If the others had seen this sight, how shameful would that have been?”
I purposely did it in a place with no one around. If I had beaten him in front of the others, that surely would have been utterly humiliating. If I wanted to trample over his pride, I could have done that at any time.
However, I had kept it in, so I told Heinrich von Schwarz that I was being considerate towards him.
“This is the last time I’ll protect your pride.”
“And don’t try to build some kind of rivalry with me. I’m not interested in Grantz at all. Why are you so mad at me?”
He seemed to feel greatly embarrassed when I said those things out of the blue. It looked like he didn’t think I’d know that he was interested in Liana de Grantz.
“Wh-wh-whaaat do you mean? Wh-what are you talking about?” “…Dude, just looking at you fidgeting about is enough to figure that out. Who’d believe you if you denied it, hm?”
“N-no. It’s not like that, okay? Not at all, you know?”
“Really? Then why do you always look so upset when Grantz talks to me?”
He was stuttering with a completely flushed face. That bastard, even that arrogant, rude, idiot of a royal was ashamed of those sorts of things. He was still just a little kid.
“Well. Anyway, I’m not interested in her, so stop trying to mess with me. If you don’t stop, don’t blame me for trampling over you before the others. I’m only willing to let these things go once or twice, ya hear?”
I spoke those words in a low voice as I passed him.
“And when you get back, apologize to the kids. If you don’t do that, things will only get worse for you.”
He didn’t bother me anymore after that.
I reluctantly blessed Heinrich, who thought he had grown a bit stronger, with some “True Education”.
I could have handled that a lot more violently, but I didn’t.
In the first place, we were classmates, so we should look out for each other a bit. I knew I couldn’t get along with everyone, but I sure didn’t want to make all of them enemies. In the first half of the semester, I had acted a bit over the top because I didn’t want to get ignored, but I didn’t have to do that anymore.
It wouldn’t do me any good if I got on the bad side of my classmates to the point where they would end up stabbing me in the back.
Of course, that didn’t mean that I saw Heinrich as any less of a bastard to the point that I wanted to help him in any way.
“Well, I’m sorry, everyone… I was a little, a little rash.”
Heinrich apologized for ruining the mood previously before Liana and the others as soon as he returned to the mansion.
He didn’t remember what had happened the day before, but he believed that he made a mistake and he added that he was sorry.
The others had no idea what I did to make Heinrich apologize all of a sudden. They couldn’t see any obvious injuries, so it didn’t seem like I had hit him.
“It’s fine. Just don’t do it again.”
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Liana seemed to be trying to wrap the whole situation up. After saying that, she looked at me and Heinrich alternately.
“By the way, you two didn’t fight, right?”
Heinrich seemed a little hesitant, then smiled awkwardly, hunched his back, and scratched his head a bit.
“It wasn’t like that, while we were talking, I just realized… That I made a mistake.”
I didn’t think Heinrich would say something like that, so I, along with everyone else, was a little stunned.
Heinrich realized that he was no match for me.
I could have beaten him up in front of everyone, but didn’t. I had only called him to a remote place so that he could confirm the gap between our skill levels.
Would he still resent me for beating him up, or did he actually realize that I was being pretty considerate?
Well, he didn’t seem to appreciate it too much, because, in the end, I had still hit him suddenly.
However, it didn’t seem that he really hated me.
He seemed to have noticed that I really limited myself a lot and that it wasn’t for my sake but his.
Liana felt the subtle atmosphere around us and smiled.
“Great. Then should we have a drink for your reconciliation today?”
“Be careful, Heinrich, if you drink too much again like yesterday, I’ll knock you out again.”
That crazy alcoholic. She wanted to drink again?
Did she reach the level that she was using every little thing as an excuse to drink?
“Kn-knock… You knocked me out yesterday?”
Heinrich’s face grew pale because he had just found out that he didn’t simply forget what happened and passed out but that Liana actually made him faint.
* * *
So far, Heinrich had been feeling a little out of place.
To be exact, he was so conscious of me that he wasn’t able to play around properly.
He was only paying attention to what I was up to.
When I hit him, he seemed to have come to his senses and noticed that I was stronger than he thought. When I told him that I wasn’t interested in Liana in the least, he also seemed to be able to act more comfortably as well.
Of course, it would be hard to revert that bad image the others had of him.
Anyway, Heinrich didn’t try to mess with me anymore. Of course, I felt like he was looking at me with different eyes, but I wasn’t that concerned about that.
In the end, Heinrich was able to fit in with the others much better because he cared less about me.
Liana, the owner of the mansion, said all was well, so nobody showed any dissatisfaction on the outside, although they still felt a bit skeptical. Ellen, well, she always had a neutral expression, so she didn’t really show anything either.
And I found out another trait of Liana’s that I had no prior knowledge about:
She was a heavy drinker.
In the end, we gathered up that night as well to drink under the pretext of celebrating our reconciliation. Heinrich didn’t just drink his alcohol alone in the corner like before but chatted with us about this and that.
The situation was completely different.
“You looked down on people with a normal background…”
“I… I did?”
“Yesh… Hei-heinrich, I know that you’re from a very big royal family, but… Hearing what you said… made me really sad…”
When Adelia got drunk, she told Heinrich what he had said before and made a fuss about it.
It’s not like I’m calling you a jerk, but what you said to Reinhardt hurt me as well, so I got sad.
—It was a variation of that.
“Th-that…I-I did that…? I’m… I’m sorry, Adelia.”
When Heinrich heard how much alcohol he had been drinking and what he had said, his face turned completely red. He didn’t know what to do.
He seemed to understand why Liana wanted him to apologize.
“But Reinhardt sure was amazing yesterday. Normally, he should have punched you black and blue in that situation, but he kept holding it in.”
At Liana’s words, he continued to stare at me—even while he was apologizing to Adelia. He didn’t seem to be able to believe it. Judging by the quick temper I had shown up until then, I should have let my fists fly immediately after hearing what he had said, but I had kept holding it in.
Of course, I had only stayed still because that was the quickest way to screw that guy over.
However, Heinrich seemed to realize how much consideration I had given him.
Even though he had said things like that, I hadn’t punched him.
He realized that I really had been holding it in a lot.
“Ah, erm… I’m sorry, Reinhardt.”
Eventually, he even apologized to me.
“As long as you know it.”
I wasn’t that picky, after all.
Of course, no one told him that Ellen had actually tried to kill Heinrich or what had really happened in the Darklands.
Fortunately, no one got so drunk that they ended up making a scene that day. Before that happened again, Liana would knock them out cold.
Before I went to bed, I walked to the beach in the middle of the night to cool off my head.
It was similar to the one on the uninhabited island, and yet a little different. Just as I sat down on the beach, someone came to sit next to me.
“Aren’t you sleeping?”
“In a little while… I will.”
Ellen sat down next to me as if it was natural.
And then, again, as if it was natural, she placed her head on my shoulder. I was used to that by then.
For a while, we just stared blankly at the waves crashing on the beach over and over.
“Are you feeling better now?” “…Yes.”
I felt relieved that some of her pain could be lifted by confiding in the other kids.
“I didn’t have nightmares yesterday.”
“It could be because of the alcohol.”
“…Is that so?”
“Alcohol or not, I’m glad that you didn’t have any nightmares.”
I didn’t care whether it was because she drank too much or because had she told the others. Ellen hadn’t suffered from the nightmares that had been torturing her for all that time.
Maybe because she had drunk quite a bit of alcohol, I could feel Ellen’s breathing become a little softer. Just how tired was she?
“…Are you sleeping?”
“No, you can’t sleep like this.”
Ellen suddenly fell asleep while leaning on my shoulder.
* * *
Harriet was getting ready to go to sleep in her room.
She felt dizzy, probably because she was drunk, so she felt like she’d immediately fall asleep if she lay down anywhere.
After she changed into her pajamas, she went to close the curtains in front of the window because the moonlight shining through it was too bright.
One had a good view of the beach through said window; it was an absolutely beautiful sight. Although it didn’t look much different from what they had seen on the uninhabited island, they were in a much calmer environment.
She didn’t have to worry about the heat, staying hydrated, and surviving—unlike on that deserted island—so she was able to purely enjoy the scenery with a clean smile on her face.
But Harriet didn’t actually dislike her memories of that time.
She should have hated them, in fact, they should have been the worst memories of her life, but she thought they weren’t necessarily all that bad.
Harriet looked out of the window into the night. She saw someone walking towards the beach, quietly sitting down, and starting to gaze upon the sea.
She could tell that it was Reinhardt just by seeing his back. Was he unable to sleep? Should she also go out and talk to him a bit?
Harriet stood before the window, pondering for a moment.
However, after some time, she could see another person heading onto the beach.
It was Ellen.
She sat down beside Reinhardt as if it was natural and placed her head on Reinhardt’s shoulder.
Reinhardt didn’t react as if he was familiar with that.
She didn’t know what they were talking about.
But she knew…
The fact that those two were very close. And after going through such terrible experiences, she knew that it was only natural that they grew to rely on each other, hence growing even closer to each other.
It was inevitable.
Seeing Ellen get angry on Reinhardt’s behalf as if it was her who had been insulted, she had already noticed that their relationship had undergone a slight change.
She knew, but it was still painful to see it happening before her own eyes.
Harriet couldn’t bear to watch that scene any longer, so she closed the curtains.
If she had gone with them, things would have been different.
Harriet felt miserable.
Her memories of the uninhabited island should have been the worst, but they weren’t.
She wished to make her best memories in that mansion.
…But she couldn’t seem to accomplish that.