“Eh? You are dating Jean now?!” (Lucy)
It was something that happened while I was having lunch together with Emily.
“Yeah. Or more like, you were the one who told me to confess already.” (Emily)
“D-Did I?” (Lucy)
The friend I hadn’t seen in a while now has a man.
Well, they were practically dating since the moment I met them though.
“But what about you, Lucy?” (Emily)
Of course she would ask.
“Uhm, the new girl that joined the party, that Aya girl…yesterday, she and Makoto-kun…” (Emily)
“M-Makoto said nothing happened there!” (Lucy)
“But they did enter the hot spring together.” (Emily)
Yesterday I thought they would want to have alone time to talk, so I gave them some space, but…
I didn’t think they would have so much progress in just half a day!
“It seems like they have known each other since way back in their world. Aren’t you in trouble, Lucy?” (Emily)
It has been a party of Makoto and I only until now.
From now on, it will be a party of three.
“Makoto-kun and Aya-chan might become an item, you know.” (Emily)
I imagine what might happen the next time we go out to an adventure.
Makoto and Aya get excited as they talk about their previous world.
When the adventure is over, they will say: ‘We are going to go to the hot spring together for a bit’, ‘wait in the guild, Lucy-san’, and then I will go: ‘Eh? Wait…’
I would then wait with my head down at the guild’s stalls.
And then, the two of them will appear with arms linked…
“N-Noooo!”, I screamed.
“Then, confess already.” (Emily)
Emily says straight.
Damn it, just because you have a boyfriend already, you are acting as if you are above me.
“Emily-san…how should I confess?” (Lucy)
“Uhm, in my case…” (Emily)
I consulted with Emily about the way to confess.
-Takatsuki Makoto POV-
“Eh? You want to go goblin hunting, Lucy?” (Makoto)
It was pretty rare of her.
We have some leeway because of our earnings in Laberintos, so there’s no need to go get such small change.
“Y-Yeah. Y-You know, isn’t it important to go back to your roots?” (Lucy)
That’s a nice saying.
“Alright then, let’s go too, Sa-san.” (Makoto)
It has been a while since I have gone goblin hunting.
It is just the right thing for our first campaign as a party of three! It is safe too.
“Goblins, huh. I would rather not. I am being taught martial arts by Nina-san recently. I will be showing up there”, is what Sa-san said.
“Don’t make that face. I have already seen goblins a plenty lot in Laberintos.” (Aya)
Even though it is our first campaign as a party of three, she went ‘I would rather not’.
Alright, I will go alone with Lucy then~.
Lucy pumps her fist lightly.
I use water magic to advance upstream through the river that flows in the Great Forest.
Lucy was clinging to me.
It has been a while since we have done this.
“Hey, can I ask one thing?”, Lucy asks.
“What’s the matter?” (Makoto)
“The Moving Water Walk, you can use it even if you don’t touch each other’s body, right?” (Lucy)
“Of course, I can use it even if we are apart. It is just that we can economize the mana used if our bodies are touching each other.” (Makoto)
The amount of mana I have is low, so the economization habit has stuck into me pretty deeply.
…I do think I have a bit of a poor man’s mentality.
“It is not that you want me to hug you that you are telling me all the time to cling onto you, right?” (Lucy)
“No. Or more like, you can just put your hand on my shoulder. There’s no need to hug me so tightly.” (Makoto)
Lucy’s chest is pressing against me and even now I still get nervous.
“I don’t wanna. When you use your water magic to move, I feel like I will get shaken off at a curve or something.” (Lucy)
“Aah, that’s true.” (Makoto)
It feels good to accelerate to the peak when turning.
While we were having that casual talk, we arrived at our objective location.
The mist was thick and it was dark.
Even though it is morning, the air is cold.
We are close to the Demonic Forest.
There’s a whole lot of monster alerts from Detection.
Aah, how nostalgic.
“Fuuh! I have returned.” (Makoto)
“…I may have been the one who invited you, but Makoto, you really do love hunting goblins.” (Lucy)
I even got an embarrassing nickname after all.
It is the quest that I have the most confidence in since coming to this world.
The two of us hunted goblins for a while.
“Lucy, your control with magic has gotten better.” (Makoto)
Lucy’s face brightens up in an instant.
“Right?! It is thanks to the magic bracelet that the Great Sage-sama gave me. When I have this on, my magic proficiency gets amplified.” (Lucy)
“Ooh, can I borrow it later?” (Makoto)
“It doesn’t have any effect when over 50 in proficiency, is what was written in the instructions.” (Lucy)
There was an instruction manual?!
Great Sage-sama even gives thorough service.
It doesn’t seem like it would do much for me then.
I am over 100 now in proficiency.
“Hey, you have any plans later?” (Lucy)
Lucy changes the subject.
“Hmm, I was thinking about continuing hunting. Do you have something in mind?” (Makoto)
“There’s a place I would like to go to.” (Lucy)
“Alright, I will accompany you.” (Makoto)
The precision of Lucy’s magic has increased, and there’s no dangers for now.
As long as we don’t go deep into the Demonic Forest, it should be okay.
I use water magic and we once again move.
“Where to?” (Makoto)
“Uhm, turn right around there, I think.” (Lucy)
“…That’s the Forest of the Lost, you know?” (Makoto)
It doesn’t have monsters as dangerous as the ones in the Demonic Forest, but the whole forest there is a dungeon.
Unless you have the Map skill, it is said that you would get lost and can’t get out.
Recommended rank is above Iron.
We do pass that bar, but I wasn’t planning on going to a dungeon today.
“It is okay. The Forest of the Lost is the playing ground of the elf children. I have gone a whole lot in the past, so I know the safe routes.” (Lucy)
If Lucy says so, it should be fine.
“I leave the navigation to you.” (Makoto)
“Got it~.” (Lucy)
We proceed deeper into the dungeon forest.
“Lucy, we are lost, aren’t we?” (Makoto)
“W-We are not! It has been a while since I have been here so, uhm…it should be around here.” (Lucy)
“…I will make sure we can return by using my Mapping Skill.” (Makoto)
Will it be okay?
While having slight doubts, we go deeper.
“Hoh, it is here, huh.” (Makoto)
We were at a blooming flower bed that covered my whole sight.
It is an isekai flower bed with a whole lot of flowers that I have never seen in Japan.
“It is beautiful, isn’t it? It is the secret place of the elves.” (Lucy)
It was natural for Lucy to be bragging about it, that’s how beautiful it is.
I look around and advance while making sure I don’t step on any flowers.
A sweet scent tickles my nostrils.
“Hey, sit here.” (Lucy)
Within the flower bed, there was a rock with a size good enough for two people to sit on.
I sat by the side of Lucy.
What is it? The silence continues.
Now that I think about it, did Lucy have some business?
“H-Hey, how has it been lately?” (Lucy)
“Even if you ask me how it has been…” (Makoto)
We meet every day.
“Is the Goddess doing well?” (Lucy)
“…Yeah, she is.” (Makoto)
She throws me a weirdly positioned topic.
Could it be that she has noticed that I have been worrying about Noah-sama lately?
“Did something happen?” (Lucy)
“…No, it is okay.” (Makoto)
“If you are troubled by something, tell me. We are comrades, right?” (Lucy)
The big eyes of Lucy were looking at my face.
Lucy is my first companion since coming to this world.
I don’t really want to hide too much from her.
But the matter about being the Apostle of an Evil God is still a mess inside my head.
I would like her to wait for a bit more.
Now that I think about it, I have known Lucy for a good amount of time now.
When I was in the Water Temple, I would go ‘I am going to push through solo!’. And I actually did go solo for a few months in Makkaren.
(But the Griffon subjugation and the Laberintos exploration would have been unthinkable without Lucy.) (Makoto)
If I was told to go solo as an adventurer, would I be able to?
I have become stronger than 1 year ago.
But I don’t want to be an adventurer alone anymore…
Lucy was fiddling with her legs while sitting on the rock.
Her eyebrows were knitted.
Her side-profile is as beautiful as always.
I should thank Lucy.
About everything she has done for me, and that I look forward to continuing working with her.
“Hey, Lucy.” “Hey, Makoto.”
We both speak at the same time.
We fall silent while looking at each other.
I am just gonna thank her, but now that I think again, it is a bit embarrassing.
Lucy skids closer to me.
A distance where her breath could touch me.
I could feel the high temperature of Lucy.
“…Yeah, what is it, Lucy?” (Makoto)
What’s going on?
What’s this atmosphere?
It is as if she is about to confess to me…
No no no, don’t misunderstand, me.
Didn’t Jean tell me that I shouldn’t cause love troubles within the party?
“Uhm…I…”, Lucy wanted to say something, but…
“…Wait, Lucy. We are being watched.” (Makoto)
I was late to notice!
We are surrounded.
I get down from the rock and take a stance with my dagger.
This is bad.
There’s no water around.
Lucy is grabbing my sleeve.
(I have to let Lucy escape…) (Makoto)
“…They are not attacking?” (Makoto)
“…Could it be…” (Lucy)
Lucy makes a troubled expression.
“Oh my, we were caught.” “Lucy-neechan, is that your boyfriend?” “As I thought, it really is the daughter of Rozari-san. You have brought a man from a nice race.” “Hey hey! Introduce us to your boyfriend, Lucy!”
People were coming out in droves?!
Moreover, they are all elves!
“Eh?! No way. Why is everyone…” (Lucy)
Lucy was flustered.
“N-Neighbors in my hometown…” (Lucy)
“We were planning on having a picnic with everyone today~.”
“When we were about to, Lucy-neechan came with a man.”
“So we all hid.”
Uwaah, I didn’t notice at all.
As expected of elves that live in the forest.
Does everyone have the Stealth Skill?
“S-S-Since when were you watching?!” (Lucy)
“““““From the very beginning.””””””
Ah, Lucy ran away.
The elf children ran after her.
I was attacked by questions from the neighbors of Lucy.
The elf acquaintances of Lucy were all friendly.
They weren’t the isolated and unfriendly type that I imagined they would be.
Also, the old lady elf gave me a mountain-like amount of fruits, and it was really hard to bring them back.