The next morning…
There were only three people that had gotten teleported to the mansion, including Ellen and Louis.
“So, additionally, what we would need is Granite and Ellium… No, but where the hell are we supposed to store these things we need tons of? Do we have such a space? And even if we did, how are we going to transport that stuff?”
“I discovered last time that there’s a large warehouse for clubs within Temple. We could rent a part of them—that’s what all the big clubs do. Of course, it wouldn’t cost us anything since the rental application has already been completed, you can think of there already being enough storage space.”
“Really? Then what about the transportation of the materials?”
“The warehouse staff will take care of that.”
“Wow… Temple sure is great.”
“Yeah, I honestly didn’t know that they would even support us in this regard.”
Louis Ankton and I were talking about matters concerning the Magic Research Society. Other than being smart, that guy was also quite meticulous in his own way, wasn’t he?
Since we had created a club and were running it, it seemed like we should find out in what ways Temple would support us and make use of it accordingly.
“What a smart bastard. Well done, mom.”
“…Erm, could you maybe not praise me in that way?”
After Louis said so, as if seeming stunned, I twisted my lips slightly.
“I was born with that mouth, so what do you want me to do about it?”
“I think… I’m starting to understand what kind of guy you are now…”
Louis seemed to take me as some kind of weird-tempered, dirty idiot, someone he didn’t need to be afraid of. That was probably why that guy’s true character, his sharp-tongued, rude character, surfaced quite often.
Louis was helping me with the details of the club that I wouldn’t have cared about if I was on my own. I was good at getting things done, but I sure wasn’t good at fixing things up.
He was actually more like a vice-president than a secretary.
It was just a club with six members, but…
No, but our budget was more than five billion won, you know?
That was pretty amazing, wasn’t it?
Ellen started staring at me the moment I started talking to Louis about those matters since breakfast.
She didn’t say anything.
However, she emitted a type of silent pressure.
Alright… Alright, I got it already!
I won’t talk about this here!
No, but it was Louis who started talking first…
If the mafia members weren’t caught, the group mission would last until Friday evening.
After that, we would rest in the mansion until Sunday and return to Temple.
Ellen had asked me to train with her for the remaining time, but we got our coats and went out of the mansion that day.
The mansion stood in a snowy forest. While it wasn’t a blizzard, there was still snow falling from the sky, and although the snow had been roughly cleared away near the mansion, there was still a lot of snow piled up around the edges.
Ellen squatted down and clumped some snow together into a snowball with her gloved hands.
Then she rolled it around on the floor.
“You do it, too.”
I didn’t think she would actually do it.
No, I thought she definitely wouldn’t do it.
She actually did something she usually wouldn’t. Ellen, wearing a thick coat, made a snowball and added more to it with her gloved hands.
I didn’t know what to think of that.
She was so cute.
Although she was supposed to be far from cute, she had been acting quite cute those days.
The strongest character in this world: “Let’s make a snowman.”
It was cute, so I thought it would be fine.
Suddenly, both I and Ellen were rolling that snowball.
If someone saw me like that, it would seriously damage Reinhardt’s dignity.
However, I thought that if I started to pay attention to such banal things, that would mean that things had already gone awry, so I just focused on making the snowball even more.
There was quite a bit of snow around, so Ellen and I were able to create quite a large snowball in no time.
Ellen picked up another big snowball and put it on the snowball I was rolling around. Every time I saw that slender girl muster up so much strength, I slightly flinched. It was about time that I got used to it.
She said that we should make a snowman, like it would take long, but wasn’t that the end of it?
We finished it pretty quickly.
However, this wasn’t the end for Ellen. She began to pat the snowballs with her long fingers.
“…What are you doing?”
“I’m making the snowman now.”
“What more are you going to add? You already made a snowman.”
You’d have a snowman after stacking two snowballs. However, Ellen just tilted her head as she looked at me.
“How is this a snowman?”
Just what the hell is a snowman in this girl’s eyes?
I was staring blankly at Ellen, who’d started sculpting the snowballs by patting them.
“Come and get more snow.”
Ellen asked me to make more snowballs, not wanting me to just stand around either.
If what I thought a snowman would be was a cabin, then Ellen thought of a snowman as a palace.
I knew that one of her highest stats was dexterity, but seeing her use it to make a snowman made me feel really weird.
“No, how could you make it look like a real person?”
“This is a snowman.”
That wasn’t just a snowman, it was more like a snowhuman, right?
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Snowhuman? Was there even such a thing?
Anyway, Ellen shaved off snow from the two snowballs by wildly patting them, shaping them into a humanlike form.
The snowballs I had formed were used for additions.
Watching Ellen use her talents for something completely useless made a weird, hard-to-describe feeling bubble up inside of me.
After she was done, Ellen moved a bit further away from the snowman and nodded her head as if she was satisfied with what she saw.
“Perhaps… is that me?”
Because of the limitations of the material she’d used, the snowman wasn’t a perfect copy of me, but the face looked pretty similar to mine. I didn’t even know if I should use the word ‘wearing’, but it seemed as if it was wearing the same Royal Class uniform I wore.
It completely looked like me, standing with a slightly crooked posture, arms crossed, and a c*cky expression on its face.
She’d even formed the shape of my hair and the winkles in the school uniform and pants.
However, it was still snowing in the end. It would slowly accumulate on its head, gradually ruining its shape.
Ellen seemed to be so excited about all of it that she even brought a large umbrella from somewhere and fixed it in a way that it would cover the snowman.
In the end, contrary to what I first thought, we spent hours building this snowman outside. Ellen worked with her bare hands because she wouldn’t have been able to make such an elaborate snowman with her gloves on.
So her hands were completely red.
Her face also seemed shriveled up from the cold.
“Aren’t you cold?”
“Girl, your nose is leaking.”
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
Ellen wildly covered her nose at my words and then glared at me.
She realized in just a moment that I’d lied about her nose dripping, which made her glare at me even harder.
“Sure, it isn’t leaking, and you aren’t cold, whatever. Let’s just go inside first.”
I grabbed Ellen’s hand; it felt almost as cold as ice.
“If you get frostbite like this, we’ll have to chop your hands off.”
Ellen didn’t refuse when I led her away.
Was it because it was cold?
It seemed like she was trembling a bit.
Back at the mansion, Ellen drank some warm tea. Her face was flushed red as she sipped it. She was still watching the snowy landscape and the snowman standing there with an umbrella covering it visible through the window.
There were some people who came to look at the snowman Ellen had made, seeming curious.
“Do you usually make snowmen like that?”
It seemed unbelievable that a girl like her would make a snowman, no, a snowhuman. It didn’t seem like her first time, either. She just kept still and looked out of the window.
“Sometimes I did… with my brother.”
As expected, it was like that.
She never just made them on her own, but had actually made them with her brother. I could imagine Ellen and her brother making a human out of snow on snowy days.
Ellen when she was still very young…
I wondered what she looked like.
I couldn’t quite imagine that. I mean, if you asked me, she was still very young even then.
So I just imagined Ellen but smaller.
Ellen Artorius, a younger version with a rounder face.
I thought that would have been incredibly cute. Were there maybe pictures of that?
“It’s been a long time since I last made one. “
She became sad whenever she thought of her brother. However, when she was with me, she would freely talk about him.
She built a snowman with me that day, something she’d done a long time ago with her brother. I’d also never thought that I would end up making a snowman at my age, so it felt pretty fresh.
Ellen said she liked snow.
At the same time, she hated rain because her brother left her on a rainy day.
She seemed to associate snow with positive memories of her brother.
“I wonder what the others are doing.”
I suddenly wondered how the group mission was progressing. I was curious how the plan of those incredibly intelligent guys was going.
Because those two weren’t on good terms, it could be that their opinions might conflict. Rather, there might be a possibility that they would try to work against each other.
“How do you think the results of the mission will turn out?”
I posed a question to Ellen, who was looking out of the window.
“I hope it won’t end too quickly.”
I asked her how it would end, but she gave me a completely irrelevant answer, and then she opened her eyes wide as if she had just realized what she had said.
It was like she didn’t expect to say those words even though she said them with her own mouth.
Even if it ended early, we would still be able to stay there. We didn’t necessarily have to immediately return to Temple.
And yet Ellen said that she didn’t want the mission to end early.
Just what did she mean by that?
That day, during dinner.
“…Why are you here?”
“Well… I was executed.”
Harriet had been eliminated and summoned to the mansion.
Ellen was staring straight at her.
Harriet felt uneasy.
It wasn’t because of the atmosphere surrounding the ancient castle Epiax, which was eerie, gloomy, and cold.
Even though she was in the middle of a mission, she wasn’t worried about getting a bad grade either.
Nor was she afraid of getting assassinated.
The day before, Ellen and Louis Ancton were assassinated. Reinhardt had been eliminated during the first trial due to a half-joking and half-ill-intentioned prank by their classmates.
During the deserted island mission last time, she’d found out that those that dropped out or got eliminated had been relaxing in a resort outside of the mission area. It would probably be the same that time as well.
Only Reinhardt, Ellen, and Louis had been teleported to the outer areas as of then.
Made her feel anxious.
She had no reason to feel anxious about that, and yet she did. She was nervous and uneasy because she somehow felt like she had been deprived of something.
Adelia, who was with her, was incredibly worried about her and tried to comfort her. She also knew that Ellen and Reinhardt were really close with each other.
It wasn’t like it was anything new that they were alone together. There was no reason for her to worry about that. It had always been like that up until then. Didn’t they even go on a long trip together not too long ago?
She didn’t think that she could overlook it anymore.
While it hadn’t been just a day or two that they had been alone together before, however if one more day and then another gets added to that time, the relationship between them might become even closer than it already was.
She was scared of that.
Ellen was a good friend of hers.
A very good friend.
She didn’t hate her, and she didn’t want to hate her. She had no reason to, either.
However, she hated seeing her together with Reinhardt.
She didn’t like it, but every time Harriet caught herself thinking like that, she felt miserable for feeling that way about a dear friend of hers. That feeling was so close to impulse that she couldn’t control it.
She didn’t want to dislike her.
However, just thinking about what those two might be doing made that ugly, unpleasant impulse dominate her emotions.
It was so obvious that they cared about each other. She couldn’t deny that fact, so she felt even more miserable and shabby trying to squeeze herself between them.
She wanted to spend just a bit more time with Reinhardt to the point that she’d forced him, who wasn’t even a wizard, to be part of the Magic Research Society and even made him the president.
It was just too…
Just how was she any different from a little kid throwing a tantrum?
She’d begged him to look at her and spend more time with her, and Reinhardt had listened.
Ellen had granted Reinhardt endless amounts of help. It was no exaggeration to say that Ellen had created the Reinhardt they knew.
All she could do was throw tantrums and receive help from Reinhardt, even though he had no reason to, while she couldn’t do a single thing for him.
She felt inferior.
She wanted to be someone of use to her precious someone, but it just wasn’t something she could achieve.
She couldn’t stop their relationship from deepening.
So Harriet couldn’t hide her anxiousness when Ellen and Reinhardt had both been teleported to the outer mission area.
They had already accumulated a lot of alone time with each other, so she was absolutely aware that she couldn’t stop it from happening.
She also knew that she had no right to stop them.
It was just a vague insecurity that gave Harriet some trouble.
She didn’t want to lose Ellen, but there were times when she thought that it would be for the better if she did.
If she hadn’t been friends with her. ..
Then she could have nurtured her love for Reinhardt with a lighter heart.
Just liking him wouldn’t have made her feel so incredibly guilty.
Harriet held the greatest contempt for herself for thinking that way.
Those days, she felt even more just what an ugly person she was.
Just as Ellen was in pain…
She was in pain as well.
So she couldn’t concentrate on anything at the moment.
It was time for the next meeting.
She couldn’t even concentrate on discussing who the assassin could be. That, everything. just didn’t really matter.
I want to drop out.
I want to quickly leave as well.
I want to be sent outside.
—That was what Harriet wanted.
“Harriet, why are you so nervous?”
Bertus looked at Harriet, who was unable to mask her anxiety, with a soft smile.
It was just a soft smile, nothing more, but anyone who saw it would immediately know the true meaning behind Bertus’s expression.
“Right. You really do look anxious.”
For example, Charlotte de Gardias, who responded to his statement with a similar expression.
The look in those two’s eyes.
It was soft, and yet seemed to carry some hidden subtlety.
“My, aren’t you acting just like someone who has something to hide?”
Those were the eyes of a predator having found its prey.
“ah… Th-that’s. I-It’s-! Wh-what would I even have to hide!”
Harriet de Saint-Owan tried to act for the first time in her life.
She tried to act flustered.
It was her chance.