The evening after we went shopping…
In the end, we, wearing training clothes and sparring in the training room, didn’t really change. I did buy casual clothes, but I had no idea if I would ever get to wear them. I was wondering whether the day would come where I would be able to wear the things I bought that day even once.
Like always, there were the usual three people in the training room.
Cliffman, Ellen, and me.
Ellen and I were sparring, and Cliffman was training on his own. Occasionally, Cliffman and I would have some sparring matches. Of course, it still felt rather awkward though. However, he couldn’t even make eye contact with Ellen. That guy’s awkwardness came close to a genuine illness.
After fighting for a while and finally getting pushed to my limits, I lay down on the gym floor.
I was still no match for her. Of course, Ellen was a lot stronger than me, so it couldn’t be helped.
Ellen sat down next to me, who had lain down.
“What’s the matter? Got something to say?”
She didn’t actually say anything, but it felt like she wanted to talk about something, so I asked her. After staying silent for a long time, Ellen finally opened her mouth.
“Have you ever liked someone?”
“Why are you asking me that so suddenly?”
“No reason. I’m just curious.”
That question went far beyond what I was expecting.
Had I ever loved someone? Of course, there should have been a time. Before I entered this body, that is.
But… well, being seventeen didn’t mean I couldn’t have had my first love already, so that was what I answered. It wasn’t really weird, after all.
“Then how did it feel?”
Ellen didn’t seem particularly surprised.
“…Felt like shit.”
“Felt like shit?”
“Yeah, it felt like shit.”
I didn’t know about those that started dating after going through some heart-pounding ups and downs, but if one were to fall in love and the other person didn’t reciprocate the feelings, wouldn’t that feel like shit?
“…Aren’t you supposed to feel happy?”
Ellen stared at me as if she couldn’t understand why I would say that it felt like shit. I sat up from my lying state and looked at Ellen.
“Well. Let’s think about this.”
“There’s someone who always appears in your dreams. They are the first thing you think about in the morning, while you’re eating, and while you’re working. Just being with them is nice, and if it feels good just to make eye contact with them, while they are still the only thing filling your mind.”
“But what’s this? They are already dating someone? And no matter what you do, they’d never be interested in you? They just treat you like a piece of trash. Or are they maybe treating you like some annoying guy that keeps talking to them? What about if they start avoiding you?”
“Wouldn’t that feel like shit?” ‘Love feels like shit, you punk! It’s a disease! Unrequited love is the worst plague!’
Ellen tilted her head at my sudden show of disgust.
“Did you get dumped?”
“That’s what happens after you confess, you know? I couldn’t even do that. You get it?”
What crazy bastard would confess to someone when they were sure to get dumped?! One would just keep on praying all alone before one eventually forgot about it.
“…Anyway, you know what it feels like to love someone.”
“Yeah. Still, why are you so curious all of a sudden?”
Ellen stayed silent for a while, then grabbed my hand that was placed on the floor. It wasn’t anything new to me that she would lean on my shoulders once or twice those days.
“Do you feel anxious?”
“Are you trembling?”
“What the hell are you talking about? Why should I? I don’t have any hand tremors or anything, you know?”
When I drank too much to the point that I could be called an alcoholic, I would tremble a little as if anxious, but not with this body! It shouldn’t be like that! No hair loss or hand tremors. I was reborn!
“I’m not trembling either.”
Ellen nodded to herself as if she had confirmed something.
What was wrong with her?
Did she eat something wrong?
* * *
After our evening training, Ellen changed her clothes in a private room. After that, she went to the dining room to eat something.
It was her fixed routine to eat late-night snacks with Reinhardt. Unless Reinhardt was particularly busy, it was common for them to always eat together like that.
Liana de Grantz said that when she fell for someone, she would get anxious and tremble when she was with the other person.
Ellen had never felt that way when she was dealing with Reinhardt.
Reinhardt said that when he fell for someone, he would dream about them and would think of them all the time. And he said if they weren’t interested in him, he would feel like shit. He seemed to have an intense dislike for the fact that he fell for someone.
On the other hand, Ellen didn’t think of Reinhardt wherever she was. She didn’t particularly care if they made eye contact or not.
So she had just grabbed his hand to make sure, but Reinhardt himself wasn’t even shaking or anything.
Like usual. He didn’t mind.
So Ellen came to her conclusion quite easily:
She liked Reinhardt, but not in that way.
That was what Ellen thought.
She didn’t know much about herself, but when she combined both of their accounts with her own feelings, she came to said conclusion.
However, there was another question arising in her mind:
We’re just friends, but haven’t I been much too friendly with Reinhardt?
She obviously had done a lot of things with Reinhardt that she wouldn’t have done with a normal friend, and she still did.
Am I perhaps acting strange? Ellen inadvertently came to such a realization. She didn’t know how to deal with people, so she also didn’t know what the proper distance to keep between them would be. She didn’t know where the line in human relationships was, so she thought that there were a few moments where she had accidentally crossed it.
Liana was obviously surprised when she found out that Ellen just thought of Reinhardt as a friend.
That was the first time that Ellen thought that what she did with Reinhardt was a little strange.
She arrived at the dining room and was about to enter but stopped when she noticed that there was some noise coming from inside.
-If you eat a lot at night, you’ll gain weight!
-Well, then you just have to work out more.
-Why do you keep telling me to eat when I don’t want to!? I’m not hungry, you know?
-You’re talking a lot for someone who got dragged here after eating snacks in the magic lab. Don’t make a fuss, and eat properly!
-Urg! I-I didn’t though?
-Huuh, how about brushing off the crumbs from your mouth first?
Harriet and Reinhardt were arguing. As always, Harriet ended up with a burning red face. Reinhardt was grinning while teasing her.
Ellen was watching them quietly.
-Anyway, I thought you were hungry, so I brought you here to eat together, but if you don’t want to eat, oh well.
It seemed like she had been eating something in the magic lab when Reinhardt dragged her there, thinking that if she was going to eat something, they might as well do it together. As soon as he brought Harriet, there they started fighting.
It happened from time to time. Just like Ellen and Reinhardt would train until late at night, Harriet would stay in the magic lab for that long.
At the words “If you don’t want to eat”, Harriet sat at the table, her lips pressed together.
-…I’ll see what you made, at least.
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-Sure, wait a sec.
Ellen alternately looked at Reinhardt’s back as he entered the kitchen, and Harriet, whose face was slightly flushed, from the entrance of the dining room.
She had no particular thoughts when she saw Reinhardt being close with others.
Why wouldn’t she like it if her friends were getting along with each other?
Ellen entered the dining room and sat opposite Harriet. Harriet, whose face was still slightly flushed, twisted her lips slightly.
“I told him I didn’t want to eat anything, but he still forced me to come here. That bastard.”
Harriet shook her head in exasperation.
Ellen looked at Harriet silently.
A slightly flushed face…
A sharp and high-pitched tone of voice…
She also seemed to tremble slightly.
Ellen had a good impression of Harriet de Saint-Owan. Originally, she didn’t have any opinion about her. They were strangers before, after all. However, as they started to get along, she was able to get to know many aspects of Harriet.
She didn’t know how she used to be, but it seemed that at some point, Harriet stopped doing things like looking down on others, trying to reveal her identity, or bragging about her talent.
When she was talking to Adelia, her friend but also a commoner, she would immediately apologize if she made a mistake while still speaking to her comfortably without being too considerate. She tried not to say any hurtful things to begin with.
When Ellen, Harriet, and Adelia were planning on going out somewhere. she felt like she would leave out Liana, so she also invited her to come with them.
She was someone who knew how to care about the people around her.
She was different from herself.
When she was with her friends, she tended to direct the mood and also kept conversations going. There was almost nothing she didn’t know about magic as well. However…
When she was around Reinhardt, she behaved a little differently. She didn’t act sweet or kind, and they were almost always fighting. Of course, it would always be Reinhardt who teased her first.
She only acted differently towards Reinhardt. She didn’t act like that when she was dealing with anyone else. There were things she would say or do only when Reinhardt was around.
She became completely different from her usual self when she came across Reinhardt.
“Anyway… I appreciate that he tries to take care of me, but that guy sure isn’t that appreciative of others, huh.”
Her face was slightly more flushed, and a subtle smile that only appeared when she talked about Reinhardt without him around decorated her lips.
Ellen wasn’t able to understand her own mind.
It’s probably not like that, she thought.
“What is he making?”
However, she could clearly see that Harriet de Saint-Owan liked Reinhardt.
If so, what about herself?
She just couldn’t figure it out.
However, if she were to treat Reinhardt as casually as she had up to then, it would hurt Harriet.
That was what Ellen thought.
Translator – KonnoAren
Mr. Epinhauser soon told me the answer to the question I asked him previously about the cursed sword.
“Your suggestion that we should investigate the true origins of this sword through sorcery has been accepted.”
We would use an unknown power to learn more about that mysterious sword—that was the decision Temple seemed to have made. I wasn’t sure, however, if Dettomolian would be able to find out the origins of that sword through his sorcery.
Of course, I wouldn’t have to be present for the investigation myself—I would just have to wait for the results. I didn’t know what kind of ritual he would carry out, but I was sure that it would take some time to get results.
“A ritual will be held in the temple of Towan, inside Temple.”
In order to prepare for any unforeseen disasters, priests and wizards would try everything to prevent any unclean energy from flowing to the outside world.
That was why they were using such a sacred place to facilitate the ritual and why they let such an unclean object enter Temple.
“Can I attend?”
“Hmm… I don’t know if this is something you really need to see. As long as you keep your distance, your presence might not matter.”
Even though I figured it wouldn’t be necessary for me to be there in person, I still decided to go there because I might have to use my Revision skill in case something unexpected occurred.
* * *
When Ellen heard that a ritual involving the cursed sword would be carried out, she followed me, saying that she wanted to see it as well. Dettomolian had missed all of his classes to prepare for the ritual. There were temples for all the Five Great Deities erected inside Temple. The ritual would be held in the temple of Saint-Owan, the God of Purity.
Ellen and I took the tram and headed towards Saint-Owan’s Temple.
“I hope everything will turn out fine.”
Ellen voiced her concerns.
“It should be.”
If something we brought led to a huge accident in Temple, it would be entirely my responsibility. After all, it was me who dragged that thing, which disposing of or throwing away might not be enough to deal with it, there.
Those who majored in divine powers would go to that place a lot, but that was Ellen’s and my first time seeing the inside of one of those temples inside of Temple. The Temple of Saint-Owan looked more like a huge church than a temple, though.
Its huge front door stood wide open, but they strictly controlled who was going in.
We were able to enter after showing our Student IDs, as we had received permission to attend the event prior.
After passing through a few corridors and walking through another huge door, our eyes fell on a dome-shaped chapel.
In the middle of it was a statue of the God of Purity Towan. That cursed sword was capable of unleashing its power to raise the dead.
Therefore, it had been decided to do the ritual there because they thought the temple of Towan was filled with a power that was its complete opposite and—in conclusion—capable of suppressing it.
The dome-shaped chapel was crowded with people; almost all of them were Temple officials.
There were also many people wearing priest cloaks and wizards around. Everyone was busy preparing various things because they didn’t know what might happen.
They prepared protection measures with magical and divine power in advance in case of possible accidents.
All I could think was that all of those people were troubled because of something I had brought with me.
And as the priests were doing their jobs, they would glance at the center of the chapel with anxious expressions.
The center of the ritual…
The cursed sword was floating about 30 centimeters above the ground of the chapel.
It looked like it was stuck in some sort of crystal. It seemed like some sort of magic was applied to it, and yet it was different.
Dettomoluian was there moving slowly and doing something.
“…It feels ominous.”
Both Ellen and I couldn’t help but have the same evaluation of the situation. I had no other choice but to realize why the priests kept staring at me like that until my back started to itch.
That bastard was drawing an unidentified shamanistic circle with blood on the floor.
He drew an unidentifiable shamanistic circle with blood inside the Temple of Towan, the God of Purity, and to top it off, in front of the god’s statue! I didn’t know what kind of blood that was, but I saw another bucket filled with the same crimson fresh blood to the side.
I wondered whether Dettomolian had any awareness that what he did was something that could be called blasphemy itself.
All of us were doing those things after getting permission from Temple, but they still had an unsure expression on their faces, wondering whether it was really okay to do something like that in a place like that. If that was what we felt, then just how were the priests feeling about it?
The magic circle was quite simple, completely different from the complex circles I had seen on scrolls. Why were those lines so crooked?
I thought that maybe they were supposed to look like that, so I investigated a bit, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Then I looked at Dettomolian and muttered blankly.
“…Are his hands shaking?”
“…Will it be fine?”
“I-I don’t know…”
Did I think wrong?
Dettomolian was nervous, so his hands shook a little, but the lines sure seemed very messed up. My hands started to shake as well.
Would things turn out well?