Ellen finished her training in the training room. She then headed to the restaurant.
She was speechless.
He’d just gone to the Orbis Class’ Dormitory and fought with their students, and what’s more, he’d fought with a senior and then passed out after forcing himself to use Magic Body Strengthening.
He had ended up unconscious for four days.
When Reinhardt woke up, all the worries she had before up and disappeared.
He was alive. He was safe. She didn’t have to worry anymore.
Right after she felt relieved, she became angry.
She was so angry that it was incredibly hard to bear for her. She and Reinhardt both paid the price for the clumsy attempts.
However, she had been in a situation where her life was at stake, while Reinhardt only quarreled with a senior.
Ellen couldn’t think of any reason for him to do something so crazy in such a situation.
She had a lot of things to say to him. Just why are you in such a hurry? Why do you always choose to do such dangerous things?
Don’t ever do that anymore from now on.
I always feel like I’m about to die seeing you like this.
I felt like I was going to die, not you, when I saw that you didn’t wake up.
If she said those things, would he stop?
She didn’t know, but that was what she wanted to tell him. Would he maybe refrain from doing those dangerous things just a little bit?
Just what was the point of doing those things? Why was he overdoing it like that?
Ellen could only think of one thing.
Ever since the Darklands, the gap between them had grown even wider. She’d learned how to strengthen her body with magical power, and while Reinhardt had also become much stronger, the absolute difference in their strength had become even bigger.
So he’d even asked her to teach him how to use Magic Body Strengthening. It didn’t work, but she’d tried to force it anyway. However, what frustrated Ellen wasn’t that Reinhardt couldn’t do it but that she couldn’t teach him properly, but she’d tried to do it anyway.
So was that why he did something that reckless again? Did he think he might be able to gain something if he did something like that because he’d awakened to his supernatural power by doing something reckless?
He did that because he wanted to follow her, who had gotten too strong.
Ellen thought that was the reason for Reinhardt’s impatience.
You don’t have to do something like that.
Did Reinhardt not want to be apart from her?
If she put it that way, she could understand Reinhardt’s impatience to some extent. She was angry, but she could somehow accept that.
As Ellen reached the dining hall’s kitchen, she grabbed a knife.
She was always told that she ate far too much, however Ellen knew that Reinhardt also ate plenty. Something like the porridge they had in the recovery room wouldn’t be enough for him—she was going to make something.
-Tok, tok, tok, tok
Ellen used the knife without saying anything. She chopped up some vegetables and chicken meat.
She thought that it might be hard for him to move his jaw, so she only used the soft leg and thigh meat. She cut it a bit smaller than one normally would so that he wouldn’t have to chew much to swallow it.
Previously, she hadn’t known how to cook or anything like it.
There was no need to.
At home, her parents prepared meals for her, and at Temple, it would be the chefs. If she got hungry between meals, it was enough to just eat some snacks.
Various types of bread, jerky, sausages, and biscuits.
—Those things were enough for her.
However, they didn’t satisfy her anymore. When Reinhardt couldn’t cook anything for her from time to time, she didn’t feel like letting those types of snacks enter her mouth anymore.
She was tired of them.
At those times, Ellen would cook on her own or didn’t eat at all. When Reinhardt wasn’t around, she was more likely to not eat anything, though.
She used to sit in some corner by herself and eat various things, but now that she was on her own…
She felt slightly…
No, I don’t feel lonely, I’m just bored. corrected Ellen.
Ellen was no longer eating by herself.
She didn’t know how to cook and there was no reason for her to learn it before.
However, she had learned.
She learned a lot by watching over his shoulder because Reinhardt teased her a lot that she should cook some food as well and serve it later instead of just eating his food.
Ellen was dexterous and had a good memory—that was why she knew how to cook most dishes Reinhardt made for her. Sometimes she would make them herself.
There were some things she could do without having to try. Ellen was able to bring those results because of her excellent specs.
Cooking wasn’t an exception to Ellen’s talent.
Ellen thought that she had gotten even better at cooking than Reinhardt.
She could make things that she hadn’t seen before, but she could imagine how she could make the dish even more delicious after seeing how Reinhardt made them.
She didn’t even have to try to know.
Reinhardt cooked by vaguely measuring the seasoning and ingredients, so had learned to predict how much seasoning should be added to make it taste even better.
So after watching Reinhardt cook a dish, she was able to cook it even better.
However, Ellen usually didn’t bother taking the knife in her own hand.
When Reinhardt got grumpy and forced her to do it, she wouldn’t make it perfect—a little bland, a little too salty.
Or she might deliberately leave out a core ingredient.
She would do those things on purpose.
Reinhardt would then ask her why she wasn’t able to do it before eventually fixing it himself.
She was aware that what she was doing could be considered bad, but she had no ill intentions.
She just thought that if she managed to do a better job than Reinhardt and he found out, that he wouldn’t want to cook for her anymore.
She was aware that those were just immature thoughts and that it was rather rude.
However, Ellen knew Reinhardt to some extent.
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If she managed to cook better than him, it would hurt Reinhardt’s pride. She often saw Reinhardt pouting while grumbling to himself as he cooked something for her in the kitchen.
He pretended to not enjoy it and to be annoyed by it.
However, when he thought that she wasn’t looking, he would smile while cooking.
Ellen knew that he enjoyed cooking.
If he found out that she was actually better at cooking than him, that would take away all the pleasure Reinhardt felt while he cooked—Ellen knew that much.
He believed that he was paying her for learning swordsmanship from her. However, if it turned out that she wasn’t only better than him in swordsmanship but also in cooking, that might hurt him.
She wanted to leave him something that he was better at than her.
She hoped that doing so would preserve Reinhardt’s joy.
That was why Ellen never properly held the knife when she cooked in the kitchen.
Ellen still didn’t know how to properly deal with people, but when it came to Reinhardt, she seemed to have figured out some things in order to get along with him.
In fact, that might not be the reason why he liked it.
There were times when Reinhardt would cook just for himself as well.
Reinhardt would always cook for himself. If he wanted to eat more, he would just go back into the kitchen while accusing her of being too gluttonous.
If there was something he said he wanted to eat, he’d go and just cook it while grumbling.
If he was unable to cook it because he didn’t have the ingredients, he would ask the staff to replenish the ingredients and would cook it the day after.
Well, he just seemed to like it for no particular reason.
It would taste better if she made it herself, but then he wouldn’t begrudgingly ask her anymore what she wanted to eat and such.
If she didn’t say anything, he would make some food she had never seen before, going “How about this then?”, placing it before her and pretending as if he didn’t particularly care while still secretly waiting for her evaluation.
If she liked it, he would give her a condescending look and tell her to be thankful.
If she said that it didn’t taste good, he would take away her plate and tell her to stop eating.
That wouldn’t happen anymore.
All those little things…
They were great.
That was the type of guy Reinhardt was.
He talked too much, was crude, and would only pick the most hateful things to say for no reason whatsoever.
However, he would still do whatever she asked him to do. He pretended not to, but he actually cared a lot about others.
And yet, strangely, he still had quite the dirty personality. He would get caught up in fights or pick some himself.
She still didn’t know Reinhardt that well.
However Ellen thought that this much was enough.
She was angry.
However, her anger disappeared before she knew it. Ellen didn’t even remember that she’d ever felt angry.
She prepared the ingredients and boiled them into a soup without noticing that she was starting to smile.
Just as Reinhardt did, she cooked while unconsciously smiling.
She placed the chicken and the vegetables into the soup. She would boil them until the vegetables were crumbly. If they were that well-cooked, one could get away with not properly washing them. If it was too salty, it would be harder to eat, so she made it less salty.
Because Reinhardt ate a lot, Ellen made quite a lot. She thought that if he ate a lot, he would get better faster.
She poured the finished soup into a pot and then headed to the dormitory’s recovery room. There were none of her classmates anywhere in the hallway or the lobby, probably because all of them had gone to sleep already.
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Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
She saw the priest on duty dozing off in the recovery room. They were sleeping with their arms folded while sitting on a chair, so they didn’t even notice that Ellen came in.
While sleeping on duty might not have been a good thing, Ellen didn’t bother to wake them up.
As she entered the recovery room, Ellen could see that Reinhardt was sleeping.
That was plausible, as it was late.
“Yes, you’re here.”
However, she ended up meeting the eyes of Harriet de Saint-Owan, who was stroking the sleeping Reinhardt’s head.
She seemed terribly surprised and retracted the hand that was patting him. Seeing that her face was incredibly red, it looked like Ellen had stumbled upon a scene that she shouldn’t have seen.
“Th-th-that’s. It’s. Uhm. He-he asked me to put him to sleep. No! I-I mean not in that way! Yes. With s-ss-sleeping magic…”
Harriet was grasping for excuses, though they weren’t really great, as Ellen just stared at her.
Was it really something that shameful?
Ellen didn’t know.
While it was only for a brief moment when she entered the room, Ellen had seen Harriet’s face as she was patting Reinhardt’s head.
—She’d seen Harriet’s warm and gentle smile.
She was making an expression she would never make in front of Reinhardt when he was awake.
She would never be able to show it to him, but when he was asleep, it appeared a lot on her face.
If affection was a type of substance, then that expression and that look seemed to be oozing with it.
It almost seemed like it was overflowing.
Was it really that shameful for someone else to see that expression?
Ellen was a little envious that Harriet was able to make such an expression.
She didn’t know why she envied her.
She just wished that she could also show an expression like that.
Ellen felt like it was useless envy, though.
“B-by the way… What’s that? It smells delicious,” Harriet asked while looking at the pot Ellen had brought with her, perhaps to change the subject.
“I made soup.”
“Soup? Is it for… ”
Harriet seemed a little bewildered, wondering whether she made it for Reinhardt, but Ellen just nodded her head blankly.
She’d made it for Reinhardt, but he was already put to sleep with sleep magic, perhaps because the pain was just too severe.
She had made a lot anyway.
“Huh? Ah… C-can I?”
Although she’d made it for Reinhardt, there was no reason not to give some to Harriet. The two of them suddenly ended up sharing a bowl of soup with each other in front of the sleeping Reinhardt.
Harriet’s eyes widened as she took a bite.
“That’s a relief.”
“Ellen, you’re also good at cooking…?”
The word ‘also’ revealed that Harriet thought that Reinhardt was also a good cook.
Harriet knew that Reinhardt and Ellen would cook something every night and that Reinhardt was usually the one who would cook.
However, Ellen was also good at cooking, but after listening to Reinhardt’s grumbling, she knew that she would hardly ever cook.
But because Reinhardt was sick, Ellen had managed to cook a whole pot of soup by herself.
Even Harriet’s taste buds, which had been accustomed to luxurious food, were satisfied by it.
Just what couldn’t she do?
Harriet ate the soup, little by little feeling a strange sense of defeat.
Reinhardt learned swordsmanship from Ellen, so he was stuck in the training room all day long if nothing happened. She had watched that a few times already.
The curiosity she felt towards their swordsmanship training was different from her interest in magic research.
No, she wasn’t actually curious about that. She just wanted to see what the two of them were up to all day long. Those two naturally became closer as they kept on training with each other.
There was also another thing she had in mind.
At the beginning of the first semester, Reinhardt, who had no talent, definitely had gotten a lot stronger. To be honest, Reinhardt in the first semester was a weird guy who tried various things without knowing a single thing and only had his hot temper going on for himself while he was physically rather weak and had 0 knowledge of swordsmanship, weak physical strength, and 0 knowledge.
However, he had learned to somewhat handle a sword.
It was all thanks to Ellen.
Harriet knew that Ellen was talented beyond compare in swordsmanship as well as close combat.
It was only natural that Reinhardt got stronger after having learned swordsmanship from her.
That was why he still sparred with Ellen.
There were some thoughts floating through Harriet’s mind.
Reinhardt was smart, so he could have learned magic.
If Reinhardt had learned magic instead of swordsmanship…
Ellen was someone with no equal in the field of swordsmanship.
So Reinhardt spent all of his days with Ellen, as such, he got to where he was.
Harriet wasn’t someone to be underestimated, however.
If Ellen’s talent could be called the pinnacle of all close combat talents, Harriet’s could be called the pinnacle of all magic talents.
So, if he had instead decided to study magic with her instead of swordsmanship with Ellen…
Perhaps they would have spent their time together in the dormitory magic lab all day.
This is how you do it. That’s what it causes. This magic formula can be activated a lot easier if you think of it like this.
She would have kept teaching him like that.
While he wouldn’t have been as good as herself, he would have become a wizard good enough to be put in battle. He could have stayed with her all day until their curfew passed.
However, that ship had already sailed.
Reinhardt had made his choice.
—Reinhardt was learning swordsmanship from Ellen.
And they didn’t spend that much time together.
Harriet had thought about learning some swordsmanship in her spare time at one point. Learning the art of the blade was standard practice for noble children, after all.
She would have come up with some kind of excuse to include herself in their practice, or she might have joined his physical training.
She would pretend that she didn’t know about her own desire to just be close to him.
Of course, she was also very curious as to what those two were doing in there for such a long time.
So she’d ended up observing Reinhardt and Ellen’s training.
Their training was a lot different from what Harriet had imagined.
She thought that they had become close after sparring and talking a lot with each other…
But just watching them gave her goosebumps.
Ellen attacked him instantly while Reinhardt tried to hurriedly block, but he just fell, got beaten, and knocked around over and over.
As Harriet watched Reinhardt getting beaten up like that, she shuddered.
How can he do that?
Doesn’t it hurt?
No, how is that training?
Do they have to go that far?
Such thoughts appeared in her mind quite often.
There was hardly any conversation between them.
‘Be a bit more… gentle. I know, already…’
They only exchanged such short sentences with each other and repeated the same routine almost every day.
Of course, there was quite the amount of subtle physical contact between the two that Harriet was deeply concerned about.
However, it was just part of their close combat and submission technique training that was closer to punching, bruising, and pounding than physical ‘touch’. If his heart was pounding during those situations, Harriet thought, it would be due to fear and nothing else.
She thought they became friendly with each other after training, but it wouldn’t have been weird actually if Reinhardt held negative feelings towards her, in Harriet’s eyes.
So Harriet didn’t continue to watch Ellen and Reinhardt train because she felt uncomfortable doing so.
She couldn’t watch them any further because just looking at them made her feel out of breath.
The desire to learn swordsmanship had completely disappeared from inside of her.
Reinhardt just kept on falling down before getting back up again.
Ellen continued to overpower him without being swayed by any form of emotion, not even properly looking at him. She just held the same posture and attitude towards him throughout the whole session.
Harriet thought that they were both people of extraordinary mental fortitude.
If it was her, she would have just ended up crying in some corner if she got knocked down once. Harriet had realized how complacent it was to think of learning swordsmanship as a hobby.
She realized once again how blessed she was that she just had to sit at a desk and read some magic books.
In the end, Ellen taught Reinhardt swordsmanship.
“Did you know how to cook before?”
So, as a way to pay her back, it seemed like she learned how to cook from Reinhardt—that was what she thought, at least.
“As I thought… Did you learn from Reinhardt as well?”
“…Let’s say it’s like that.”
Ellen’s answer was rather cryptic.
Harriet was still imagining Reinhardt teaching Ellen how to cook.
Boiling potatoes, cutting vegetables with a knife, and the appearance of Reinhardt kindly informing her to be careful not to cut her fingers.
Only by thinking about it did she get goosebumps. She didn’t even know why she was so grumpy.
However, in reality…
‘Oh, Put that in there.’
‘Heeh, you’re done. Let’s see if this is worth eating.’
‘It’s totally bland, you know? Are you on some sort of low-salt diet or something?’
‘If it’s bland, you should add some salt or sugar, got it? Hey!’
‘Hey, I keep telling you not to stare at people like that while holding a knife.’
Harriet’s imagination and reality were completely different. Not realizing that, Harriet became depressed for no reason after imagining Reinhardt tenderly teaching Ellen how to cook.
Although she knew that that guy wouldn’t be able to kindly teach anyone for the life of him, she didn’t consider that.
Still, Harriet’s situation was better than before.
She’d managed to force that guy, who had been locked up in the training room from dusk to dawn, to become the president of the Magic Research Society.
Every week, on a fixed day, Reinhardt would have to show his face, even though he would grumble.
That was the kind of guy he was.
He would say strange things for no reason whatsoever and even said weird things to make her angry for no reason.
However, she knew that he would always help her out when it was important.
Harrit looked at Ellen, who was still eating the chicken soup.
Did Ellen like Reinhardt?
Ellen definitely liked him, she thought. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have cooked him that soup in the middle of the night.
However, she didn’t know what she was thinking because Ellen’s expression didn’t really change much. She hardly even reacted to things, so such occasional actions as her cooking soup like that stood out even more.
Ellen was someone so different from her–-sShe wasn’t easily shaken and possessed great mental fortitude, enabling her to endure everything no matter what it was.
Harriet felt jealous of Ellen.
Just as Ellen was envious of Harriet in some ways, Harriet was also envious of Ellen in some ways.
What did Ellen think of Reinhardt?
While she didn’t know the truth, she noticed that there was something between them at least.
She wished that the two of them were just friends.
They are just close friends, that’s all there is to it.
I know that’s all.
I know that they would never be like that.
Harriet could feel her cowardly desires welling up—the desire to believe in those thoughts.