Ellen Artorius was blunt and chic. However, she wasn’t the type to care a lot about things.
She was by no means a bad kid, and rather than being clumsy, she just didn’t know how to get along with others. She just tended to concentrate on her training. So she didn’t try to approach anyone because she thought the other person would just push her away.
She had tremendous talent, but she had no sense of superiority around her that usually came with it. She also didn’t feel inferior that one would usually feel when faced with someone stronger than oneself.
She wasn’t acting all sweet, but she had a gentle heart.
Of course, I set up a past for her, but that wasn’t important now.
Anyway, it didn’t really matter whether I confessed to her or not. I wrote a love letter to Ellen because she wouldn’t really care about this.
I mean, I actually only did this for the points after all.
It was bothering me.
It was really bothering me.
It wasn’t because I liked her or something, but because I had now become very conscious of her!
I felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn’t stand it. That bastard obviously wanted me to be in that state. This was just straight up bullying.
-Now, move from this posture to this and….
Ellen was sitting next to me in the swordsmanship theory class and I nearly went completely mad about it.
Of course, Ellen and I were the only Royal Class students taking this class. All the other students were regular class students.
Students wearing various types of school uniforms gathered here. And among those, who could recognize the Royal Class uniforms we were wearing, kept glancing at us.
I could read their thoughts just by looking at their eyes.
Wow, they’re from Royal Class, aren’t they?
That was the look they gave us.
Although they sure were an object of envy, these school uniforms attracted way too much attention..
Bertus, Ludwig, Cliffman and Erich also should have taken lectures on swordsmanship, but they probably chose other lectures for this time slot.
So, did she sit next to me because I was a classmate from Royal Class? Was it like that? You’re usually not the type to care about these things though, now aren’t you?
Seriously, why did she decide to sit next to me?
Sigh, was she not talking to me because of the sudden confession yesterday? Did she become conscious of me? That can’t be. She wasn’t like that. Then why did she sit next to me?
What’s this? Why was I fussing about this like some teenager?
I’ve become conscious of a kid like that just because I was trying to earn some points? Ridiculous!
I dropped my pen because I couldn’t stop fidgeting. Ellen picked it up silently and handed it to me.
“Ah, uhm. Thank you.”
Was this a positive sign?
Didn’t she usually not help people pick up their things? Based on her personality, she wouldn’t care about these things, now would she?
Of course, she wouldn’t care about me after picking it up and just listened to the lecture. Ah. no, it’s definitely not normal for her to pick up pens for others.
No, but what should I do? I’m not interested in her at all. What if she suddenly told me that she liked me? I couldn’t accept that at all.
I had a problem.
I started to imagine all sorts of delusional, ridiculous scenarios.
At the end of the lecture, Ellen left the lecture hall without sparing me a single glance.
Did she even recognize my face to begin with? She didn’t even know who I was, did she? No, but we were wearing the same uniforms.
My face was getting hot for no reason.
This was my class schedule, excluding common classes.
Tuesday I would have swordsmanship theory, swordsmanship practice and magic theory.
Wednesday was Magic Sensitization Training, Mediation and Supernatural Power Control.
On Friday I had Divine Power Training, Alchemy and Integrated Martial Arts Training.
Now, as someone of a lower grade, I only had to listen to three lectures a day, but as I got older I would have to listen to sometimes up to five or six lectures a day. The first three years were like high school courses, and the second half was like university courses.
So, since I didn’t have anything I specialized in, I was taking swordsmanship, magic, supernatural powers and divine power classes.
Swordsmanship Theory and Swordsmanship Practice were combined lectures taught by the same teacher so it was a pretty long lecture in which one first learned about the theory in a classroom and then put it to practice in the gym.
A class where one had to put to practice what one learned on the same day and even learn further things while practicing.
Of course, as this was a general class as well, it wasn’t a total mess, but there were a bunch of clumsy people among the students.
“Get your posture right! Put power into your hands!”
The problem was, I was included in the category of clumsy people. Of course, I was constantly criticized by the teaching assistants for my poor basic strength as well as my poor posture.
There were even a lot of general students who were so excellent that comparing them to me was completely meaningless, as they learned swordsmanship ever since their middle school days.
“Perfect. As expected from the Royal Class. She’s on a completely different level.”
Ellen passed almost every task in one try because she had the physical constitution to imitate what she learned immediately, so her teacher praised her.
The other students were also looking at Ellen, witnessing the skills of someone from the Royal Class.
I didn’t really know what the teacher was thinking, but she suddenly clapped her hands.
“As far as I was informed there was one more student of the Royal Class here. Ellen and Reinhardt is what I heard. Is your name Ellen?”
I looked over to them as I heard the teacher call my name. It seemed like she came up with a good idea.
“Great. Let’s have the first practice match between the Royal Class students!”
I don’t think that was a good idea at all.
They shoved a training sword into my hands all of a sudden, while I was still not done practicing my basic posture. Everyone gathered around, wanting to watch the battle between the Royal Class students. Everyone’s eyes were sparkling.
What kind of public execution was this?
You want me to have a practice battle with the strongest person of my class?
The teaching assistant who was training me just now, seemed like he wanted to say “I don’t think that is a good idea.” but couldn’t bear to tell the teacher.
What if I die here, huh?
Ellen looked at me indifferently and held her training sword.
“I’ll stop it when it’s going too far, so feel free to fight as much as you want.”
That teacher said some dangerous words without blinking an eye. No, I didn’t want to do this though?
Before I was able to come up with a solution to somehow deal with this situation….
I didn’t even notice Ellen Artorius approaching me.
An unfamiliar ceiling.
My head was buzzing.
Wha, what happened?
I thought that I was probably lying in some sort of bed.
Seeing as to how my head hurt, I had probably been hit by something.
At that moment, the situation that happened shortly before I passed out appeared in my mind.
Ellen Artorius rushed at me as soon as the start signal was given, and then struck my head with her sword.
And then I passed out, I guess?
No, but where was I….
When I looked to my right, a calm, cold-looking girl with dark hair and black eyes was looking at me.
“This is the infirmary, classes are over.”
I probably got taken to the infirmary after I passed out. The teacher, who seemed to be in charge, checked up on me.
“The pain will subside soon. It’s nothing serious, you don’t have to worry, okay?”
I nodded at the teacher’s words with a bewildered expression on my face.
That damn swordsmanship teacher! Why did they do some practice match out of nowhere? You made someone faint! Can’t you take your nose out of your ass?! Aren’t you a teacher?!
Ellen grabbed my shoulder as I was struggling to get up.
Were you trying to cheer me up?
“I didn’t know you didn’t know swordsmanship.”
Ellen lifted me up and helped me put on my shoes, while she was talking in a sullen voice.
Wha, what’s wrong with her?
“Originally, I planned to aim for your neck after you blocked my sword and let my sword flow down your sword to finish it.”
Her original plan was to force me to block with a straight strike then let her sword follow the flow down my blade and aim for my neck.
However, I couldn’t even react to the first hit, so she accidentally hit my head with her sword.
In other words, this was an unexpected accident. An accident that occured because I was unexpectedly weak, that is.
Was she doing this because she felt sorry?
“Ah, Look. I think I can walk on my own now….”
At my words, she lowered her arm supporting me. I had a headache, but I wasn’t badly hurt. Anyway, how long had I been out?
“Ah, don’t we have to go to our next lecture?”
Ellen shook her head at my words.
“It’s lunch time now.”
After the two lectures in the morning, it was usually lunch time. The second lecture was already over, and it was lunch time now so there was still plenty of time.
Did that mean we were going to eat together?
Probably not. She was just answering the questions I asked. I mean, I confessed to her yesterday, got dumped and today she one hitted me.
That wasn’t even a fight, it was a one sided beating actually.
I couldn’t feel any more shame. However, the other person didn’t seem to care much, making me feel even more embarrassed.
“…… Do you want to have lunch?”
What I had come to realize is that after you pass a certain level of shame, it just didn’t matter that much anymore.
At first, she seemed like a quiet kid indifferent to most things.
Yesterday, I confessed to her and she refused me, but right now I felt conflicted, because I asked that same kid to have lunch together with me now. I wasn’t that kind of person usually.
The kind of person that didn’t give meaning to anything.
She ate when she was hungry and didn’t care who she ate with. Thinking like that made my worries go away..
I just had to treat her however I wanted to as well. Unless I did something rude enough for her to slap me, that was just it.
Because that was how she was.
Thinking like that made my head clear. She was the type of person who would react the same no matter what happened, so it should be alright for me to treat her a bit more comfortably than the other kids, right?
Because she didn’t misunderstand me and didn’t have any preconceived notions about me, she just judged me as I was.
“Is there anything you want to eat?”
“Are you really fine with anything?”
“Yeah, anything’s fine.”
No matter how much I thought about it, this wasn’t your fault, but you dumped me and hit me.
I started to feel like teasing you a bit.
Since this place was similar to Seoul, there were places similar to the one’s found in Seoul in the Imperial Capital Gardium.
Maybe that’s why there were so many familiar things. For example, the beggars found in the Han River Park or the shopping street that was so reminiscent of the Yongsan District.
And yesterday, when I went out to this street to meet Kono Lint, I found something I was shocked to see here.
Wasn’t that almost enough to make my whole worldview collapse? It was what I truly wanted.
Ellen tilted her head at the sight of this food.
“It smells strange.”
Ellen was unable to take her hands from her nose when she saw the cheonggukjang in an earthen pot.
A musty, savory smell permeated the entire store.
I had no idea why, but it existed.
Why did you exist? Well, it was what I wanted the most right now.
Anyway, It was the food of my hometown! I was so happy to get to eat it again, no matter what!
And that’s how I brought her here.
What’s the matter? You said you’d eat anything, you know? Huh?
If you’re scared just run away then.
“This smells like something I shouldn’t eat.”
I shook my head at Ellen’s words and pointed at the people who filled the store.
“The people here eat it normally, you know?”
Of course, all of them were adults as well as faculty members. Ellen tilted her head as she looked at the people eating.
– Temple sure is good. They even have eastern dishes here.
-There are people from all over the world coming here. So yeah.
Apparently, this was described as eastern food, although I had no idea about that setting. However, because Temple attracted students from all over the world, they had to prepare a lot of traditional food that one would usually not find anywhere but it’s place of origin. If there there was demand, there would be supply. It was more expensive than somewhere else maybe, but where else would one go to get this kind of food?
Well, that was pretty plausible.
It was comparable to a New York food alley. As there were people from all over the world coming they sold a lot of international food.
Anyway, cheonggukjang is one thing, but this was probably the first time that I felt happy that jjamppong and kimchi existed in this world.
So did they also have kimchi stew and army stew?
No, wouldn’t it be weird for there to be army stew? There were no American soldiers in this world, so how could there be food introduced by the US army?
No, if one thought about it, cheonggukjang also had its origin somewhere else, right?
What the hell was going on with this place?
Where was I even?
“Come on, look.”
I started mixing the rice with the cheonggukjang, which I took out of the earthenware pot, sprinkled seaweed powder and sesame oil on it and then began to eat.
Ellen watched me eat with a weary expression on her face.
Are you discriminating against another culture right now? Do you want to get into trouble?
To be honest, this wasn’t really my favorite food, but it was something I kind of needed from time to time. She just continued to watch me eat in delight.
Although it had a strong smell, I finally got to experience the taste of my hometown again after a long time.
I was kind of touched by it, although not to the point of tears.
This place actually made some great kimchi.
That was it. The meaning of life.
As expected, I was still an old man at my core.
Did they have soju? They wouldn’t sell it to kids, huh?
Ellen was staring blankly at me with a long, thoughtful look in her eyes.
“Hey, Give that to me. I’ll do it for you.”
I took her bowl of cheonggukjang, mixed everything in her bowl, scooped up a spoonful and carried it towards her mouth.
“Open up. Try it.”
“Ah, uhm. Erm.”
Ellen repeatedly opened her small lips, perhaps because of the stinging smell rising up into her nose. Her eyebrows and lips twitched, seeming as if she even doubted whether this was really human food.
Looking at her reaction she seemed like a fish opening and closing its mouth. pretty cute, wasn’t it?
“Ah, my arm’s gonna fall off, man!”
When I complained, Ellen finally opened her mouth and I put the spoonful of cheonggukjang into it.
That was revenge for her hitting me.
Ellen chewed a bit of it with an uncertain look on her face.
“He,hehe. How’s that? Feeling limp already?”
Ellen squeezed her eyes shut as she put it in her mouth whole with a frown on her face.
It seemed like her feelings of rejection maximized after she put it in her mouth.
Unable to spit or swallow, Ellen started stamping her feet.
A blunt, chic and beautiful 17-year-old girl?
Hah, there’s no such thing as a permanent concept!