Two during a trial…
Two during the night…
That was the maximum of kills each day.
No one was supposed to get executed in the first trial, and yet I’d ended up getting executed.
The mafia members could assassinate two people each night, so two of my classmates had to get eliminated on the first day at night.
However, a development different from the original took place once again.
Ellen, not Harriet, had become one of the victims on the first night.
“Wh-what the… Bertus is…”
And shortly after, Louis Ankton of Class B was summoned to where I was, a depressed look on his face.
Ellen and Louis were the ones eliminated on the first day.
Things were still pretty much on schedule.
They were eliminating the smart ones first; Ellen was certainly smart.
“D-doesn’t that mean that our grades will be bad?”
Louis seemed to be worried about his poor performance that time around.
“Louis, you don’t have to worry about that because our grades will be determined by combining Class A’s and B’s performance, unless the assassins win.”
“Ah, yes, is that so?”
Mr. Mustrang came around to visit and reassured Louis, telling him that he didn’t have to worry about his grades being determined by what order one got eliminated in.
Likewise, Mr. Epinhasuer came around to visit us as well.
Ellen, to be exact.
“Number two, you failed. You know the reason, right?”
After Mr. Epinhauser said those words in a calm manner, he left again.
Those words left both me and Louis Ankton perplexed.
Why did she fail? Doesn’t the order in which the students are eliminated not matter?
But of course, Ellen reacted as if she knew what’d happened.
“What did he mean? You failed?”
When I asked her that, Ellen answered after picking up one of the cookies placed on the table.
“I just asked one of the assassins to kill me.”
Ellen had already identified the identity of the mafia members on the first day, and it seemed like she’d just gone up to them and asked them to kill her.
“No, but why?”
If she’d figured out the identity of the mafia, she could’ve just followed the rules of the mission. She’d ended up dying because she’d gone up to them after finding out who they were and asked them to kill her.
Why the hell did she do something like that?
Ellen glanced at me after hearing my question.
“You’re all better.”
“…What does that have to do with anything?”
She didn’t seem like it, but she seriously had a talent for changing the subject.
Ellen and I sat on a terrace of the mansion and drank some tea while eating cookies.
Louis seemed to have been really tired, so he’d just gone to one of the empty rooms to sleep.
I didn’t know how, but Ellen had actually managed to figure out the identities of the assassins. Maybe she’d got a clue from them trying to get me executed so adamentally.
Anyway, I believed that Ellen just wanted to get eliminated quickly to train with me the rest of the time rather than completing the mission by identifying the assassins.
That was probably why Mr. Epinhauser said that she’d failed—because she dropped out on purpose.
But if that was the case, wouldn’t it have been better to just reveal the identity of the assassins at the next day’s meeting and quickly finish the mission?
That way, we could have returned to Temple a whole lot earlier.
Of course, we could just hang out in that mansion, but if the mission concluded, all of us could have returned.
“Why did you drop out? You could have just finished the mission quickly. We could have gone back to Temple then, you know?”
“I suppose so.”
Ellen fiddled with her cup of tea, gazing at the snowy scenery stretching out beyond the terrace window.
That, too, could be called a breathtaking scene.
The snowy garden was shining brightly in the moonlight, even though it was night.
Ellen obviously knew that if she’d finished the mission early, we could’ve go back to Temple together. Temple was a much better environment to train in than that place.
Ellen didn’t look at me.
“You’ll be busy in Temple.”
She continued to speak without turning her head.
“You’ll be so busy you won’t have time to train.”
She thought that I would be preoccupied with something else when I went back to Temple, not caring about training. Although I had become unable to train due to my injuries, she seemed to think that there wouldn’t be any difference when I had become able to train again.
She thought that I wouldn’t train with her anymore in Temple because I had so much work to do.
Ellen chose to voluntarily drop out to make time for us rather than make us quickly return to Temple by finishing up the mission.
Until the mission was over…
We were able to train together.
There was no reason for Ellen to do something like that though.
She had no reason to pay so much attention to my personal training. As the gap between us was still very big, Ellen wouldn’t be able to gain anything from training with me.
She was so hung up about it for apparently no reason.
I didn’t have much to say to that.
“Did you feel sad?”
Ellen took a sip of her black tea, which she usually didn’t drink, before she fiddled with her cup again. She was still looking at the pale white snow field, not facing me.
Even though she knew that it wasn’t something that could be helped, Ellen still felt sad.
“Aren’t I strange?”
She felt sad when she actually had no proper reason to feel sad.
Even Ellen herself felt that she was acting strange.
“No, being human in general is strange to begin with.”
That was all I could say. Ellen smiled at my words, soaked in the soft moonlight as she opened her mouth once more.
Ellen was the most beautiful drenched in moonlight, perhaps because she possessed the Moon Goddess’s Sword.
It was hard to even look at her properly.
“Because you are very strange as well.”
That might or might not have sounded like criticism…
It was midnight, so I wanted to get some training in, which was why Ellen and I entered the indoor gym after a short tea break.
I didn’t have to do it, but there was no reason why I shouldn’t.
I could still see the snow falling outside of the gym’s window.
It seemed like Ellen had been able to pinpoint the assassins straight away, but I still wondered how she’d managed to figure it out.
“How did you know who the culprits were right away?”
Ellen seemed troubled.
“You have the greatest influence over our classmates.”
Ellen didn’t usually talk much, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t. She knew how to speak coherently—just like she did in the Darklands.
My influence was the highest…
While it was quite shameful for me to say it myself, it was true. Although I wasn’t really close with either the Class A or B students, I had a lot of connections, and because of the founding of the Magic Research Society, three of the B Class students had entered my sphere of influence as well.
“If I was one of the assassins, I would deal with you first.”
“…Erm, I know you’re talking about the mission, but isn’t it a bit terrifying putting it like that?”
What did she mean with “deal with me”?
Actually, if she ever tried to, I wouldn’t be able to do anything against it—I would just be cut into tiny pieces.
“But what does me being their first target have to do with catching the culprits?”
“If you hadn’t been executed during the meeting, you would have been assassinated on the first night; then they would have nominated another influential person as the assassin.”
Unless I was actually constantly going around with another person, they would have tried to assassinate me.
There were detailed missions, so at some point, I would have ended up alone.
“First, their number one target, you, got executed at the meeting, after that, they would aim for the next target.”
“Oh… You’re right.”
“I believed that there were a total of four candidates that could’ve become their victims on the first night: Bertus, Charlotte, Louis Ankton, and Harriet.”
Those who were smart beyond comparison… Two of those four would be the first victims.
“However, there was also a possibility that the assassins were among those four. If I shadowed one of them who absolutely couldn’t be an assassin, they would show up sooner or later.”
In fact, Bertus and Charlotte were the chosen assassins.
“Harriet absolutely couldn’t be the assassin.”
“…If she were one of the assassins, she would have liked the situation, but she didn’t really seem happy at all.”
In the end, I had been executed unanimously, but it’d happened so quickly that I had no time to check how each of the students had reacted.
No, if that was the case, she should have defended me.
…No, actually, she would have rather choked herself than say something like, “You can’t just kill Reinhardt because of his personality!” in front of all the other students.
“So I was hiding near Harriet’s private room and found Charlotte. That’s it.”
The assassins were different people, but the development was similar to the original story.
The first night’s victims were supposed to be Harriet and Louis Ankton…
However, unlike the original, Ellen actually wanted to give up on the mission, so she’d found one of the assassins by waiting near one of the likely victims and asking them to just kill her, not the person they originally intended to kill.
She didn’t immediately identify Charlotte as an assassin, Ellen had just thought about what she would do if she were one.
Of course, she could have thought about it from a different angle and started of with the stupid kids (Ludwig) as well.
“The other assassin might be Bertus.”
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
I’d found out by asking the teachers, but as soon as Ellen had found out that Charlotte was one of the culprits, she seemed to have inferred that Bertus was also one.
So she didn’t even have to ask because she already knew the answer.
“Why do you think so?”
“Just some reverse inference because I found out that Charlotte was one of the assassins. She was also the first one to bring up the idea of executing you at the meeting as well, and Bertus reacted the most to it.”
Knowing who the culprits were would reveal the reasons for their previous actions.
As an assassin, the first thing they would want to do is get rid of me.
That was why Charlotte had said what she said, albeit in a more casual way, and Bertus had responded accordingly.
In the original, Ellen had gotten assassinated while she was half-heartedly participating.
She didn’t actually want to win, but she’d reached the truth right away after becoming serious about quickly dropping out of the mission.
She’d worked so hard just because she’d wanted to drop out.
What a weird girl.
Ellen and I had a sparring match again after quite a long time in the mansion near the old castle Epiax. It had an indoor training room.
It wasn’t as good as Temple’s, but ultimately, as long as we had training swords and some space, we could train. Training as a combat major was the most cost-effective.
No, I actually wondered if there was even any other major with such poor cost-efficiency as the magic major.
It had been a long time since I had a sparring match.
“Are you okay? Are you still injured?”
Ellen spoke anxiously as she helped me up when I landed on the floor.
“…Should we not do this?”
She seemed to feel slightly depressed as she said that. She didn’t want me to force myself if I hadn’t been completely cured yet.
The first thing I realized…
“It’s not that I’m still in pain, my body just feels kind of stiff.”
The problem wasn’t that I hadn’t been completely cured and still felt pain, but because I’d rested for a bit. my body felt kind of rusty as I held the training sword. It looked like the first thing I had to restore was my flexibility before anything else.
“And while I don’t think I can judge…”
The second thing I realized…
“Something about you changed compared to before.”
“You’ve grown a lot.”
I could feel that Ellen’s skills had vastly improved while I had been resting. I could feel it just by looking at her.
She wasn’t playing around while I couldn’t train. I could clearly feel that Ellen was further ahead of me than before. It wasn’t just a matter of her knowing Magic Body Strengthening but her skills in themselves.
Even if I lived twice as long as her, it was a gap that couldn’t be closed.
—It had become even wider.
I knew that she was a wall that I wouldn’t be able to overcome for the rest of my life, but actually, nothing would really change if she improved even further.
It kind of made me feel like crying for no real reason.
Ellen tilted her head as if she didn’t know anything about that.
Still, Ellen seemed to be quite happy when she heard that I wasn’t that way because I was still in pain but because my body wasn’t fully warmed up.
I mean, it was kind of weird.
Some might think that Ellen always looked neutral.
The only way one could find out how she really felt was by observing her subtle reactions like I did.
It wasn’t like she didn’t have any reactions to matters at all, but they were just very small.
When she ate something delicious, she wouldn’t act like Harriet going, “Oooh! It’s delicious!” but she would blink her eyes a few times and stare at what she ate just then.
When she felt grumpy, she would pout her lips a little bit.
When she was sad, she would keep her eyes slightly lowered, staring into empty space.
Sometimes, when she was really angry, she would even shout.
I had learned a lot about Ellen Artorius.
“Then let’s start again.”
“Yes, come at me.”
I felt like I’d actually learned too much about her.
“Let’s call it a day.”
After our midnight spar, I felt more exhausted and tired than usual.
I hadn’t even rested that long, but I felt that my body’s tension had dropped a lot, which was why I couldn’t hold on as long as I usually did.
Ellen sat next to me in a chair placed on one side of the gym.
I had become exhausted a lot faster than before while Ellen didn’t even work up a drop of sweat.
She didn’t have as much stamina as Ludwig, but she still had a lot.
I was tired, and it was late at night, so I felt like I was about to fall asleep.
It wasn’t winter yet, but we were far in the north, and there were also some hot springs there…
There was no reason not to use them.
There was an open-air hot spring outside of the mansion, and inside of it, there was also an indoor hot spring.
Of course, there were separate baths for men and women. It was still snowing outside, but I decided to enter the open-air bath.
While it was an open-air bath, it wasn’t entirely in the open—outer walls made of wood surrounded it.
After the mafia game was over, there would be a common clichéed event taking place there. Well, it was just a small filler, so it didn’t really affect the main story.
Anyway, I was the first to use that facility since I was the first to be eliminated.
There were wooden exterior walls, and beyond them on the right side was another open-air bath, also known as the women’s bath.
However, the wall was actually pretty low…
Just by putting some more strength into one’s legs, one could reach the edge of it, grab it and jump over.
I had no intentions of doing that, though.
“It’s freezing cold.”
I just wanted to enter the indoor hot spring, but I’d wondered how long I would hold out in the snowy open-air hot spring, so I’d gone there instead.
When I thought of it, I didn’t think I ever liked to slowly soak in hot baths or something before.
I felt like my whole body was loosening up because I’d entered after I had been beaten quite badly
I felt like my face was going to freeze up, but honestly, it wasn’t enough to actually make a fuss about it.
I had gotten pretty much used to pain already.
Absent-mindedly sitting in the hot spring, I looked at the snowy night sky.
Sounds of a door opening could be heard coming from behind the wall on my right.
I could also hear the sounds of bare feet stepping on snow. Since it was an outdoor bath, snow had piled up all around the hot spring.
I believed that Ellen had entered the hot spring because she couldn’t sleep.
-Reinhardt, are you there?
Why was she calling me in that situation?
I was actually holding my breath!
I don’t even know why I went through that trouble though.
-Aren’t you cold?
-If you are, why did you decide to bathe outside? There’s an indoor bath as well, you know?
“Then why are you here?”
“Same for me.”
The low sound of Ellen dipping herself into the bath echoed over to my side.
I didn’t want to think about those things, but I couldn’t think of anything else.
Whatever. I’ll just go out in a bit.
Why did she keep talking to me? I felt weird talking to her with that wall between us while in the states we were in!
She had to know that she had quite the knack for putting people in uncomfortable situations while pretending not to know anything, right? If she didn’t, that would be just weird!
My brain was thrown into disarray, but my response came out rather naturally.
-Do you like snow?
I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d felt like I liked or disliked snow.
I guess I neither liked or disliked it.
That being said, I’d just gone out to the open-air bath for no reason whatsoever. I sat there in a daze under the snowy night sky despite the chilling cold.
“I guess I like it.”
I’d gone out to the open-air bath despite the inconvenience. Maybe I really just wanted to see that snowy scenery.
Therefore, I thought that I probably liked snow.
That was how I felt.
So what about Ellen? She had said that she didn’t like rain—it would remind her of the day her brother left her.
-I like it, too.
That was what Ellen said.
Just as I had gone to the open-air bath disregarding the inconvenience the cold posed, Ellen seemed to have come there for the same reason.
She liked it, too.
Felt quite bittersweet.
-Let’s make a snowman tomorrow.
Why a snowman all of a sudden?
Those random things she said from time to time really made me feel weird. First, she’d suddenly told me to train with her, then, she’d suddenly asked me to make a snowman with her, forgetting about training.
It was especially weird coming out of Ellen’s mouth. I would have never imagined that she would ever ask me to do something like that with her.
However, as expected, the answer to her question naturally left my mouth.