She was staring intently at us while we were scrambling to come up with solutions. Tonight, I wasn’t able to take even a single step into the training room, because I was brainstorming with this girl the whole time. Ellen was wearing her towel, which she always took with her after she ended her training, over her shoulder.
Harriet looked at her and stiffened slightly.
Ellen didn’t talk to anyone but me. Although Harriet was openly dismissive of commoners, the atmosphere around Ellen was slightly different even though she was a commoner as well.
Even if she pretended to be otherwise, she was still the type that was hard to deal with. In fact, just by looking at the power datasheet posted on our class bulletin board, one could see that Ellen had physical abilities incomparable to those of her classmates.
She was special.
Everyone recognized her as such.
So Harriet seemed to freeze up when she looked at Ellen, although for different reasons than when she was in front of Bertus.
Harriet was weak in front of the strong.She despised people who she could afford to despise, but she had difficulties with those who had more power than her, making her turn completely shy.
In the original, I didn’t really set her up as such a character, but as I was constantly around her, I could observe that aspect of her very clearly.
Anyway, it seemed that it was now time for Ellen to come here to eat her late night snack. Come to think of it, I got so used to eating at this time that I got hungry even if I didn’t train at all.
“Hey, what do you wanna eat?”
“No, well, I’m hungry.”
Harriet seemed confused when I suddenly posed such a question. Ellen was still standing there, so I beckoned her to sit down next to me.
It was always just the two of us, so it was a first that we had a third person eating with us.
Before I knew it, Ellen had gotten quite used to eating the things I made. She also made something from time to time, but in terms of ratio it would be four to one. For every four times I could, she would do it once.
I glanced at Harriet and Ellen sitting across from each other.
Ellen just sat there blankly with her chin propped up on her palm, not thinking about a thing, but Harriet’s face was slightly red again, perhaps because of this extreme awkwardness.
It sure was a funny sight.
I made some simple chop steaks. Usually I only made simple things for late night snacks. I was almost always completely exhausted, so I couldn’t really afford to make anything complicated.
Because the meat was of such a high quality, one could honestly just grill it with a bit of salt and it would be good to go. I tended to make some side dishes as well.
However, I didn’t train today, so I had plenty of stamina left, as such I decided to put some work into this. Of course, it still wouldn’t be anything difficult to make, though.
“Ah, if someone’s cooking for you, doesn’t politeness dictate that one should set the table?”
Harriet suddenly showed me a bewildered expression. Ellen, however, got up as if she was already familiar with this, took out the utensils and dishes, and placed them one by one on the table. Harriet looked even more bewildered when she saw Ellen listening to me obediently.
She was just staring at this scene of Ellen moving about as if she was familiar with this motion, as if she didn’t understand what was going on.
“Why…. Why are there so many?”
Looking at that plate filled with an enormous amount of Chop steaks, Harriet had her mouth slightly open.
“You’ll know when you see what happens next.”
Watching Ellen take the food, I wondered what kind of expression Harriet would make next.
Munch, munch, munch
Ellen was eating at an abnormal speed right from the start. Harriet, wearing a surprised expression, stabbed a chop steak with her fork, a mystified look in her eyes.
“……You knew how to cook?”
“Rather than calling it cooking, it’s just enough to make stuff edible. Don’t look down on life on the streets.”
It didn’t look very delicious, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t edible at all. Compared to the food her professional chefs made, this is probably far below in quality.
However, she seemed surprised that I made something that was actually edible.
“Don’t force yourself to eat it.”
That was what I told her while I stabbed my fork into the chop steaks in front of me. She didn’t have to force herself to eat this stuff, because we had a certain someone sitting right across from her that would absorb anything that was left. Harriet ate slowly while playing with her fork.
To be honest, I imagined her spitting it out after eating a bit of it, saying it was tasteless. In fact, she probably only ever ate high-quality food.
However, even though she was only eating at a slow pace, she was still eating quite well.
Harriet couldn’t keep her mouth shut when she saw that the pan was already completely empty. Ellen ate everything like nothing, and only took a sip of water with a calm expression on her face.
Yeah, although I saw this phenomenon all the time, it even surprised me all the time. Sometimes I felt like punching her for being so shameless to eat almost everything by herself and then looking like she ate nothing at all.
It felt like she’d act all ‘coy’ after eating everything on her own like a pig.
After eating, Ellen put all the utensils in the pan and started clearing and cleaning the table. If I made the food, she’d clean up, and when she made the food, I’d clean up.
Harriet was staring blankly at Ellen’s practiced behavior.
“……You seem to be very close. Do you eat like this every night?”
Harriet asked with her voice lowered.
“Yeah. We’d usually have a meal around this time after I got beaten up enough.”
“What? You get beaten?”
Harriet had a startled expression plastered on her face when she heard me talk about fighting. Well, she had no reason to visit the training room, so she wouldn’t have any idea what was going on in there every day.
She probably thought I wasn’t the type to be beaten up even if someone were to hit me, but now she heard that I got beat up by Ellen every day. Her eyes oozed disbelief.
Well, she wasn’t in the changing room, so she didn’t see.
I smiled slightly and lifted my shirt, revealing my bruised abdomen and flanks.
“Wha, what are you doing….! Y, you, what happened? What’s wrong with your body?”
When I suddenly lifted my shirt, she was slightly startled and freaked out, but when she saw my bare skin full of bruises, her complexion immediately blanched.
“My pseudo-swordsmanship is so terrible, that I’m always in her care.”
It still hasn’t evolved yet!
I looked at Harriet, who was staring at my wounds in a daze, and called out to her.
“Ya know? If someone cooks for you, you should at least clean up the table. Don’t you think you have to get a move on if you take the hint?”
You have to follow the rules of the restaurant as well.
“What are you doing? Haven’t you started making some coffee or tea yet?”
When I ordered the great princess to make some coffee, she looked absolutely shocked.
“W, why…. Why do I have to do this…?”
Harriet brought a can of black tea to the table, even while her face was blushing hot red as if her pride got damaged. Even though she grumbled and asked why she had to do something like that, followed by my reply that she had to do something at least. However, she never threw a complete tantrum or said that she would absolutely never do it.
Well, it was probably her attendants who did these things for her back at home.
However, this was Temple. Although there were some personnel, they weren’t present around this time.
“Wha, what the hell is this…?”
Her expression, contorted by contempt while pouring tea into Ellen’s and my teacup, was excellent.
She was probably thinking something like: “Why, why me? Why do I have to be treated like that? This just doesn’t make any sense!”
All of that could be easily read from that expression of hers, still, she obediently did what was asked of her.
You’re really the best, idiot.
“Jeez, did you ever try Bertus’ tea before?”
Actually, Bertus treated me to black tea earlier today. In fact, every time we talked on that terrace, he tended to brew me some tea.
Of course, he didn’t do that out of respect for me, but because he knew that I was a complete stranger to tea and all that in the first place, so he’d rather do it himself than let me do this.
If it were me who brewed the tea, he wouldn’t even touch it.
“Bertus…? Brewed you tea?”
However, it seemed like Harriet was only astonished to hear that Bertus brewed tea for someone like me.
“So if we were to compare your tea with his, it wouldn’t even deserve to be on the same table.“
“H, huh! Hah! Wha, what…. What….”
Me bragging about this, even though it was the Prince who brewed the tea, managed to make Harriet’s face red again.
We usually didn’t have something like a tea time after our late night snack, but I still made Harriet brew some tea just to make her do something. I mean, ingesting caffeine before going to bed wasn’t good after all.
Ellen began to dismiss that tea and focused on the cookies she took out.
“Are you only drinking tea right now so that you can eat these cookies?
As if to emphasize her answer, Ellen kept on shoving cookies into her mouth. Harriet was staring blankly at that scene, seemingly exhausted. I quietly nodded after noticing her gaze that seemed to ask if Ellen was always like that.
“…If you eat that much,…. won’t you get fat?”
Harriet looked at me blankly.
I felt like I had a déjà vu.
Redina asked something similar recently. Did they share the same brain cell? They even had the same expression.
I didn’t explain this time, because I was too tired to even start.
Ellen left some cookies for me and Harriet to eat and then quietly drank her tea. Thanks to having told her not to cross the line myriads of times, she didn’t eat everything on her own.
Harriet seemed restless. Well, even though she despised me for being a beggar, she seemed to have difficulties, being in Ellen’s presence, even though she was a commoner. I mean, the atmosphere around Ellen did kind of make it hard to approach her. Harriet seemed especially unfamiliar with her silence.
Even when she was with me, she didn’t talk all that much.
“How did you two…. become friends?”
No matter how one looked at it, there seemed to be no reason for Ellen to befriend the mad dog Reinhardt. Ellen looked between me and Harriet alternately, sipping her tea, before she put down her cup.
She looked at me limpidly.
It felt like she was debating whether she should say it or not. What the hell was she trying to say….
“At first, he gave me a letter….”
“Don’t say it!”
Why did she start from there!
When I suddenly jumped up like that, Ellen closed her mouth and Harriet stared at me.
No, well, I thought she forgot about it, because she never mentioned that incident again, but she actually didn’t! Of course, it was only natural for one to remember something like that, but I thought she didn’t give it any meaning, so why?
Of course, it was usually something quite meaningful, but that wasn’t the point right now.
“Tha, that’s right. W, we take swordsmanship classes together, and because of that duel the other day, erm, I asked her to help me with my training, so she did. Yeah, that’s how it went!”
“Yes. That’s right.”
Ellen nodded her head quietly at my fierce stare, asking her to agree. I mean, it wasn’t wrong after all.
Perhaps because I was just too flustered, what came out of my mouth was this stuttered explanation. Harriet just nodded her head, seeming slightly surprised by my fussy explanation. After I was done, I felt a sudden embarrassment come over me for moving so abruptly like that.
“A, anyway. L, let’s talk tomorrow. Make sure to tell me how it went. Got it?”
“……I don’t know why I should do that, but fine.”
After saying that, Harriet told us that she was tired and got up from her seat, returning to her dormitory room. It was almost past curfew.
“Hey…. What were you going to say…?”
Ellen tilted her head at my whining.
“That you wrote to me, you fell in love at first sight with me.”
“……I’m sorry. Please spare me.”
Ellen held the attitude of someone not involved in this matter. What she said was obviously true though.
I wrote a love letter to a classmate and then got dumped.
There were 200 Points on the line at that time. If I had known that I would receive over 6000 points later on, I wouldn’t have done this!
I was blinded by the allure of 200 Points!
“Was it a lie?”
At the sound of Ellen’s subdued voice, I looked straight at her.
It was a lie. I was sure that she wouldn’t spread any rumors about this, even if she ended up rejecting me.
Ellen didn’t say anything other than her refusal at the time. However, now she admitted that this was how we got to know each other and asked me if my confession was a lie.
If I tell her the truth, would she be hurt?
Wouldn’t it be even weirder for me to lie about this kind of stuff?
In the end, I had no other choice but to tell her that I lied to her in exchange for 200 Points.Ellen took a sip from her tea again, then nodded.
“I thought so.”
Ellen was already aware that I was lying the moment I gave her that letter.
I had no excuses to tell or grounds to give a rational explanation.
I could only apologize.
After she said that, Ellen just continued to quietly drink her tea.
She didn’t even ask me why I lied to her like that.