-Sasaki Aya POV-
“How is it? Do you think you can use Stealth, Sa-san?” (Makoto)
I am currently in the middle of training my Stealth Skill.
“Yeah, I think I get it somewhat. But it is difficult.” (Aya)
We are at the Mid Floor of Laberintos.
On the space at the back of the giant waterfall.
It is my favorite place, but lately it became a saddening place that reminded me of my family.
However, it doesn’t sadden me as much now.
When I look at my side, I see Takatsuki-kun spreading his hands in the sky, and saying something in a low voice.
“What are you doing?” (Aya)
“I am speaking to the Spirits around here. Telling them to let’s get along.” (Makoto)
“Uhm, when you get along with Spirits, your Spirit Magic gets stronger, was it?” (Aya)
“Yeah, it is pretty quirky magic, you see.” (Makoto)
“Do you think you can get along with the Spirits?” (Aya)
“I do. The Spirits of Laberintos are pretty cooperative. They are easy to speak to.” (Makoto)
“Is that so.” (Aya)
I can’t see these so called Spirits, so it doesn’t really click with me.
But Takatsuki-kun seems to be having fun.
I don’t remember when, but in the past I thought that he would be happy if he were to come to this world, and that’s exactly what happened.
While I spaced out watching him, I continued training the Skill.
“Shh! Sa-san, there’s harpies.” (Makoto)
My heart that was jumping grows cold.
When I looked at the atrium part of the cave from the opening of the waterfall, I saw several harpies circling around.
They are probably searching for prey.
*Grind!*…I could feel my teeth grinding.
Acting as if nothing happened. I am going to send the whole lot of you to hell!
Maybe he noticed my feelings, Takatsuki-kun speaks to me calmly.
“Sa-san, do those guys always appear from around there?” (Makoto)
“…Yeah, as far as I know, they come from that big hole where the light comes in from.” (Aya)
“Then, it would be best to think that their nest is also around that part.” (Makoto)
“But we won’t be able to reach that place with us being unable to fly…” (Aya)
I also think that their nest is close to the ceiling of this underground lake area.
But there’s no path to reach there.
“Let’s think about that later with everyone… Looks like those guys flew somewhere else.” (Makoto)
Just as Takatsuki-kun said, the harpies disappeared deep into this underground area.
“It should be okay now.” (Makoto)
We go back to what we were doing.
We are mostly silent in order to not let monsters find us.
But compared to the loneliness of when I was living alone in this dungeon, this truly calms my heart.
If I were asked whether everything is calming, I would be able to say for sure…
There’s something that bothers me.
(The times when we are both alone are most likely gonna be rare.) (Aya)
I should ask this as naturally as possible.
I speak to him in a tone as if beginning a normal conversation.
“Hey, Takatsuki-kun, what kind of relationship do you have with Lucy-san?” (Aya)
Ah, the way of asking might have been a bit too straight.
I wonder if he thought weirdly of it.
But it bothers me.
The beautiful red haired elf girl.
She gave me a bit of a thorny impression, but when I spoke to her, she was a girl with a refreshing personality.
And for some reason, she wears thinly.
To the point that it made even a girl like me skip a beat.
“What kind of relationship, you ask? I told you already, didn’t I? A comrade that I formed a party with around half a year ago.” (Makoto)
“A party with only you two, right?” (Aya)
“At times we would be together with Fuji-yan, or go together with other adventurers. We do have different members every now and then. I was mostly solo though.” (Makoto)
“You adventure alone?” (Aya)
“It is comfortable after all. I am a pro at goblin hunting, I’ll have you know.” (Makoto)
For some reason, he was making a proud expression.
It is the same face he was making when he was playing games in his free time on the field trip.
(He hasn’t changed.) (Aya)
“But now with Sa-san, it will be a party of 3.” (Makoto)
“Hm? You don’t want to?” (Makoto)
“No! Of course I’m okay!” (Aya)
That surprised me.
I was thinking about asking him to let me into his party eventually.
I see, I am already a part of the party!
“Ah, but I haven’t consulted with Lucy yet.” (Makoto)
“But I am sure it will be alright.” (Makoto)
He is calling Lucy without honorifics.
As far as I know, Takatsuki-kun didn’t have any female friends he would call without honorifics.
Thinking like that, he is pretty close to Lucy-san.
(Just that, it seems like calling people by their name is the normal practice in this world…) (Aya)
Lucy-san suddenly called me ‘Aya’ after all.
(Would it be better if I call him ‘Makoto’, too? But it would be weird to suddenly change my way of calling him… Uuuh…) (Aya)
While feeling fuzzy, we continued that day’s training and exploration.
“Now then, let’s begin the training to control your fire.” (Makoto)
After finishing dinner, I began training at the outskirts of the Adventurer City with Makoto.
I was together with Fujiyan-san and Nina for the day.
We went to the Adventurer Guild and the merchants to get information about the Harpy Queen, but the results were not good.
Everyone was gossipping about the Taboo Dragon or the Sun Knight Order and the Light Hero.
“Apparently, in 2-3 days, the Sun Knight Order will be leaving to subjugate the Taboo Dragon.” (Lucy)
“Hoh, then once the subjugation is done, the monsters in Laberintos might calm down.” (Makoto)
“That’s what they say. The adventurers and merchants were grieving the fact that because of the dragon appearing at the Upper Floor, explorations have reduced, and it is affecting business.” (Lucy)
“Well, figures.” (Makoto)
While saying this, Makoto was using his water magic to create a small dragon and flew it about.
Even though it was a water ball just a few days ago…
His art is becoming even more detailed.
“How many Stone Bullets can you bring out at once now, Lucy?” (Makoto)
“Only 3…” (Lucy)
“Ooh, nice. It increased.” (Makoto)
Makoto says this while having 9 mini-sized dragons flying around him.
I feel like he is making fun of me.
“How in the world do you make it so you can have such minute control?” (Lucy)
“When you surpass 120 in Water Magic Proficiency, you can do this.” (Makoto)
I was an idiot for asking.
It doesn’t serve as reference at all.
What is Proficiency: 120?
My fire magic proficiency is 15 and my earth magic proficiency is 11.
Just that, earth magic is easier to use thanks to the staff.
More accurately speaking, it is thanks to the magic staff that the God Giant tinkered with.
The training we are doing right now is training to increase the amount of Falling Meteors I can do.
The amount of harpies that will be this time’s opponent are many.
‘We want to defeat as many of them as possible in the first move’, is the opinion of Makoto.
(The Harpy Queen… The target of revenge for the Lamias, the family of Sasaki Aya.) (Lucy)
The adventure this time around originates from the lamia girl we met recently.
A girl that had been reincarnated as a Lamia.
And an acquaintance of Makoto.
(What kind of acquaintance was she?) (Lucy)
I heard that ‘she is a friend of mine that studied in the same school as us’.
Saying ‘she was a bit more of a docile girl before though’ as he laughed, Aya went ‘what do you mean by that?’, and bonged the head of Makoto.
They get along well.
Not only that, they are close.
(They were exploring Laberintos all alone today… Moreover, he said that he invited her to the party.) (Lucy)
Invite Sasaki Aya to the party.
I have no issues with that.
She is the friend of Makoto and Fujiyan-san.
They are otherworldlers and she has no other acquaintances here.
Moreover, she reincarnated into a monster, so we can’t act as people who don’t know about her circumstances.
It is natural to help her.
But what bothers me is…
(Aya probably likes Makoto…) (Lucy)
Did she love him from way back?
Or did she fall in love with him in this world after they reunited?
I don’t know.
“By the way, Lucy, can you guide Sa-san around the city tomorrow?” (Makoto)
“Eh? Kya!” (Lucy)
Being suddenly thrown that topic, I ended up dropping the Stone Bullet that I was controlling.
The rock that was burning with fire magic scorched the ground.
“Are you okay?” (Makoto)
“Y-Yeah. By the way, only me? What will you do, Makoto?” (Lucy)
“I will be communicating with the Spirits in Laberintos again.” (Makoto)
“Are you okay alone?” (Lucy)
“I have done the [Mapping] of all the escape routes, so I am okay alone. I want you to teach Sa-san how to shop and how to use money.” (Makoto)
“Got it…” (Lucy)
Alone with Aya, huh.
After finishing training…we finished the day with fuzzy feelings still in my heart.