If I hadn’t beaten him down, Liana would have hated Heinrich a lot more. Needless to say, he would have held an even deeper grudge against me. After having beaten him up, I should have finally been able to rest, but we would soon return to our life at Temple.
I didn’t stop by Airi’s pub in Rajak after all. They seemed to be doing well without my interference, and I didn’t really want to leave any clues by suddenly visiting that place I supposedly had no connection to.
After resting at Liana’s mansion until Sunday, we returned to Temple.
“That was fun, wasn’t it?”
Adelia recounted that she had made quite a lot of fond memories of playing around at the mansion, to which Harriet smiled and nodded. She seemed a bit down, though.
All of us who had been at Liana’s mansion returned to Temple together.
Of course, other than us, most people had already returned to Temple, as our vacation had come to an end.
“Sigh… Even though I feel like haven’t played enough yet, it’s already over…”
The first thing I could see was Kono Lint hanging out in the lobby of Class A’s dormitory.
The three idiot brothers had been reunited already.
“By the way, Erich, you… You’ve changed quite a bit.”
Cayer looked at Erich de Lafaeri, who then smirked.
“I exercised a bit during the vacations.”
He pretended as if what he did wasn’t a big deal and slightly flexed his arm as if to say something like: “Although I’m not that kind of guy, I actually worked out during the vacations, you know?”
“I’m tired. I’ll go take a rest. All of you should, too.”
Liana said that she was tired and went to her room to rest. Although she had been playing around for the whole vacation, she was exhausted from the journey back, so she immediately went into her room, saying that we should also go rest.
“…Huh? Ah, yeah.”
As if in passing, Heinrich left us these words as he made his way towards his own room as well.
It somehow felt like the bad blood between us had been subtly resolved, to some extent.
“Hey. It’s Reinhardt.”
And Erich de Lafaeri, one of the three idiot brothers, who saw us coming back, looked at me and waved.
What? Why was he doing things he had never done before?
“How have you been?”
“How was your visit to the Darklands?” Why was that bastard pretending that we were friends?
“It was nothing much.”
Hearing my words, a strange smile crept up on his face. I somewhat knew where that guy’s confidence came from.
‘Does he think that he acn take me on because he worked out a bit during the vacations?’
I thought I was done controlling those guys, but guess I wasn’t.
Heinrich wasn’t the only one.
It was the second semester.
It seemed like I would have to have a second go at those idiots who suddenly gained some unnecessary confidence.
Those losers kept trying to come at me for some reason.
Was that a villain’s fate or something?
* * *
Ellen seemed to have been cured of her nightmares. And since I said that we’d only be sharing our bed during the vacation, I would have kicked her out even if she came in.
In the end, our vacations ended as quickly as they started.
The second semester of our first year had started. There were some things that changed but also some that stayed the same.
For example, my early morning training with Adiana.
“Hey junior! Long time no see!”
“Yeah. You’re right.”
“I was so worried about you! I’m glad you’re okay!”
Adriana sincerely congratulated me for my safe return, blessing me with a very bright expression. When she asked me what happened in the Darklands, I gave her an appropriate answer. I did tell some of the kids, but in the end, I had still decided it wasn’t something I should brag about.
Of course, I also met the other people I saw around dawn: Ludwig, Ellen, Scarlett and Charlotte.
Everyone gave me a simple greeting as they passed by. Charlotte looked at me and gave me a strange smile as if she already knew everything that had happened.
“Reinhardt! Long time no see!”
Ludwig had probably undergone ranger training during his vacation. His personality was still the same, but I felt like something changed about him, even if he pretended to be the same as before. One might say that some of his foolish parts had disappeared.
“Wasn’t it dangerous?”
“It was fine.”
“That’s a relief.”
It seemed almost mandatory for everyone to ask me and Ellen about how things went in the Darklands as soon as they saw us. That’s just how surprising it was. I greeted the people I hadn’t seen in a long time and finally left the dormitory with Adriana.
“What did you do during the vacation?”
“Well, I trained my faith, so to speak. I did some volunteer work and prayed. I had a good time.”
It seemed that Adriana enjoyed her vacation. She got her satisfaction from helping others. There were times when I felt utter respect for her because she was so completely different from me.
“Wow, junior, you sure changed a lot. Well, you had a month of vacation, after all.”
“Whe-where are you touching me!”
I felt slightly embarrassed when Adriana was touching my forearm so casually. It seemed that my strength improvements were visible to the eye.
“O-oh? That’s… Ah. Erm. Sorry.”
Adriana’s face slightly reddened when she saw me so flustered and she apologized. We went through our early morning training for the first time in a month.
“Wow, you’ve grown so much. Did you keep at it in your free time during the vacations? I couldn’t do that.”
Of course, it had been a long time since I had last had my training with Adriana, so I had trained with Ellen in the meantime. Of course, I did nothing but play in the last week of vacation, though.
But I still couldn’t keep up with Adriana during our training, so I was completely exhausted towards the end.
“Phew… You really did work hard. I’ll admit it.”
Of course, it was only natural that she was much stronger than me, so Adriana didn’t skimp on the compliments.
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I couldn’t keep Adriana company until her stamina was drained, but she was a little exhausted by the time I dropped out, at least. After our morning training, we sat on a bench to rest for a bit.
“Phew… It sure feels nice to exercise again after such a long time.”
She seemed to feel good after working out, but although I kept doing it, I didn’t think I’d ever felt that way before.
“Did you take a break from it until now?”
“Yeah, I was busy.”
Praying and volunteering, it seemed that Adriana didn’t have any time to exercise between those two things. Adriana then nodded her head and muttered something.
“…Actually, it was kind of hard.”
“…What do you mean, ‘it was hard’?”
“Well… I felt a bit lost. Something like that.”
There was Olivia Lanze’s case and also the disappointment she felt towards the Knights Templar. Adriana seemed to have been agonizing over whether she should continue believing in her faith or not.
So it looked like Adriana had a lot of worries haunting her during the vacation.
“However, I couldn’t even tell whether my concern was really about faith itself or giving up on it… I couldn’t readily come to a decision.”
She didn’t know whether she was contemplating her faith or thinking of giving it up.
I couldn’t say I knew what Adriana meant by that.
“I think I know now.”
Adriana looked at me and smiled. “So, I’m not going to give up on it.”
She thought about it and came to a decision. I couldn’t sympathize with Adriana’s agony, but it seemed like she eventually decided to not give up her faith.
I didn’t really know what to make of that resolution, though.
Anyway, it seemed like Adriana found an answer to her worries that had been haunting her during the vacation.
* * *
I believe she had some complicated thoughts about everything, but she didn’t elaborate on it, and I didn’t really know what to say to that.
It felt refreshing to enter our classroom after such a long time. During my vacation, I had met the girls and Heinrich, but I hadn’t seen Bertus, Cliffman, and the three idiot brothers for quite some time. Of course, I saw the three idiot brothers in passing the day before.
“It’s been a while, Reinhardt.”
Cliffman still greeted me quite awkwardly, albeit in a friendly manner, to which I nodded.
“Ah, yes. How have you been?”
“Fine. Right… How was it in the Darklands?”
“So-so, nothing really happened.”
I answered the other’s questions as I usually did, but as I did, I heard some laughter from behind me.
-Why did he go there, then?
Those three idiot brothers.
They were laughing at me. Heinrich seemed to have been of the same opinion. They treated me as some kind of poser who made a big deal of going to the Darklands and returned with nothing to show.
‘Why the fuck are they cutting into their own flesh? Did they start itching all over now that a new semester started? Do they want me to beat them up again?’
“It’s been a while.”
I didn’t really talk to Bertus about what happened. He just smiled softly at the people behind me who seemed to look down on me.
It seemed like he already knew what Ellen and I went through during the vacation. I couldn’t really hide anything from him, so saying anything would have been meaningless, hence I just shrugged my shoulders.
Then, Mr. Epinhauser entered the classroom. “Today will mark the start of the second semester. The first point on the agenda is registering for your courses. Do submit your applications by today.”
Some of us had already done so, but I hadn’t yet, so I had to fill out my course application form by that day.
Mr. Epinhauser, as always, simply conveyed what he had to convey without any rhetorics.
“Except for the midterms and final exams, there are two other big events during your second semester: the group mission and the festival. A detailed schedule will be announced later. And in your first class today, there will be a physical scan.”
He was like a well-oiled machine, so he didn’t ask us how we had been or something similar.
I thought that he was done conveying his message, but then Mr. Epinhauser pulled something out of his pocket.
“Number 2 and Number 11, your new Adventurer IDs have arrived from the Adventurer’s Guild.”
Only then did I remember that they told us that they would upgrade Ellen’s and my adventurer rank when we left the Adventurer’s Guild. The new cards were to be sent to Temple. Everyone was puzzled when the talk was directed towards the Adventurers’ Guild.
—Except for the ones who knew what had happened.
Mr. Epinhauser simply looked at the ID cards and handed them to me and Ellen one after the other.
“They have been upgraded from F to B rank. That’s rather unusual. This just shows how serious the issue you two solved was. You can feel proud of yourselves.”
Mr. Epinhauser even gently patted Ellen and me on our shoulders, a rarity. He wasn’t someone who just did those kinds of things, so everyone including myself had their eyes opened wide.
He also asked us if we wanted to undergo psychological treatment because of what we went through—he thought that we might suffer from extreme guilt and trauma.
That was also why he tried to comfort us in a rather unusual way—in case we were still suffering from what we did.
You can be proud of your actions, don’t feel ashamed.
“Your additional reward has also arrived: one hundred gold coins each.”
An extraordinary rise in rank from F to B Rank.
Furthermore, 100 additional gold coins for each of us.
Everyone seemed even more surprised, except for those in the know. I had told everyone that nothing happened, but for some reason, our Adventurer Rank had dramatically risen.
There was a material reward as well.
—A huge amount of one hundred gold coins as an additional reward.
It was our remuneration for the annihilation of the bandits of Klitz Point and for solving that cursed sword case.
Everyone should have realized by then that I was lying when I had said that nothing happened and that we actually resolved quite an unusual situation.
Heinrich and the three idiot brothers in particular were immensely surprised. They had been looking down on me as someone who was all talk and just bummed around, but seeing how things had turned out, that was absolutely not the case.
It looked like I didn’t actually have to dirty my hands again.
They’d simmer down on their own.
“And I have something to tell you about the item you have acquired. As such, please come to my private room along with Number two.”
There was one more thing…
The cursed sword.
It seemed there was something he wanted to tell us about that item as well.