—Lykeion Magic Academy: 5th cage of the animal club.
“Have you been doing well?” (Eugene)
I wave my hand at the wyverns and griffins that were attracted to the feed.
They are monsters but they have high intelligence.
They remember my face as a member of the animal club.
I took out big pieces of meat from the magic storage box and threw them around.
The monsters cry happily in the presence of food.
They are so cute it is hard to believe they are monsters…no, there’s still quite the imposing presence from them.
Flying monsters like wyverns and griffons grabbed the meat with their big claws and returned to their own nest.
The monsters here are all monsters that have owners.
The ones who deal with monsters are Tamers, and the Job of the people in the animal club are almost all Tamers.
I am the exception to this.
I joined the animal club because of the Principal’s orders.
It is also because I am the only one who can enter the underground prison where the Demon Lord and the mythological creatures are sealed in.
It feels a bit unreasonable that I have shifts to give food to monsters once every week despite me not being a Tamer.
Well, I guess it is fine since the monsters of the animal club have gotten attached to me too…
While I was thinking that…
A Dragon Knight in fancy shining armor came over here.
“Claude, you came to the cages of the animal club? Nothing to do?” (Eugene)
“Nah, I have an appointment with a girl later, so I have squeezed some time in my busy schedule to see my best friend☆.” (Claude)
“In other words, you’ve got nothing to do. Give me a hand.” (Eugene)
I made Claude help me out in feeding.
The ones in the cages of the animal club are mid and large size monsters.
There’s a lot of them that are relatively peaceful, but they are still monsters.
It is normally not a job you can leave to anyone, but there should be no problem for Claude who is in the Legendary Hero Department.
We managed to finish feeding the monsters without any issues.
I threw a water glass bottle to Claude who helped me out with the feeding.
He caught it without any issues.
The bottle is nice and cold thanks to being inside a magic storage box.
I took one out too and gulped it down.
“And, what’s your business, Claude?” (Eugene)
“How cold. I obviously came here to congratulate you. Congratulations on clearing the 30th Floor.” (Claude)
“…So you were watching. Thanks.” (Eugene)
It was a bit embarrassing, but I thanked him.
Sumire and I safely cleared the 30th Floor a few days ago.
And so, we are currently resting.
Looks like Claude wanted to hear about my dungeon exploration.
“The Floor Boss of the 30th Floor was an Orc King, right? Can’t really be called a strong boss, but defeating it with only 2 people is normally unthinkable in the common sense of explorers, you know?” (Claude)
Claude laughed at me.
What he pointed out is completely correct, so I could only make a wry smile.
“The mana control of Sumire is still not good, you see. Even if we wanted to add a new member, just thinking about the possibility of her magic going berserk makes it hard to do.” (Eugene)
“I saw that. The Orcs tried to attack Sumire-chan and, the moment she screamed, the surroundings turned into a sea of fire in the blink of an eye. Man, that gave me a good laugh.” (Claude)
“Can’t share the sentiment…” (Eugene)
Actually, the 30th Floor went well despite that.
The Orc King leading a pack of Orcs.
The magic of Sumire was the one that defeated most of that pack.
That said, it is not like it was intentional…
Sumire and I are adventurers aiming to reach the 500th Floor.
But the Last Dungeon is not such a soft dungeon that 2 people can reach a high floor like that.
Improving the magic control of Sumire and obtaining more members are the tasks at hand.
“Eugene, are you troubled in finding exploration companions?” (Claude)
Claude made a bit of a serious face.
“Well, we will take our time searching. We are still on the 30th Floor.” (Eugene)
I answered lightly.
Getting all strained over such a low floor would be detrimental instead.
We can explore safely just the two of us as of present.
I am a bit scared of facing the 40th and 50th Floor Boss with just the two of us though…
“If you need assistance, give me a call. I will help whenever.” (Claude)
“You, Claude? Aren’t you in another party?” (Eugene)
I tilted my head at his proposal.
Claude is an A Rank explorer that has already cleared the 100th Floor.
The party he is in is the Blue Fangs.
I heard it is a gathering of explorers that have made a name for themselves even within the Blue Waters Federation.
I doubt there’s anything to gain from helping a group like us who have only finally cleared the 30th Floor.
“The Blue Fangs are a gathering of people from the same homeland that has the dignity of the Federation to uphold after all. I can’t just act on my own convenience and we have barely done any exploration after getting past the 100th Floor. I want to explore with a more relaxing group.” (Claude)
“Huh, I see…” (Eugene)
Looks like he has his own set of issues as an elite.
But it certainly would prove helpful if Claude were to tag along.
The Hero Claude of the Legendary Hero Department. Only a few handful of those can be found in the Lykeion Magic Academy.
It would be terribly reliable.
But there’s one worrying point.
“Our current candidate for 3rd member is Leona though.” (Eugene)
“She gets along well with Sumire after all.” (Eugene)
“I-I see.” (Claude)
Claude held his head at what I said.
I knew he would react like this.
She is his ex-girlfriend after all.
It would be really awkward to be in the same party.
“If you can manage something with Leona, I will give you a call.” (Eugene)
Claude frowned at what I said.
I am happy that he offered to help.
…If only he wasn’t such a womanizer.
After that, I had a harmless talk with Claude and then went our separate ways.
By the way, when he asked me the question ‘how far have you done it with Sumire-chan?’ which was none of his business, I smacked him on the head.
There’s Eri and the Principal too. Just why is it that they like to bring the conversation there?
“Oi oi, are you going to let a cute girl like that free? You would regret it if she were to have a boyfriend later.” (Claude)
“I am not you.” (Eugene)
Is what I responded to Claude with, but there’s actually a lot of cases where explorers of the same party would end up in a romantic relationship.
As for me and Sumire…
I am her guardian.
I doubt the boys of the Academy would leave a girl as pretty as her be.
That day, the words of Claude didn’t leave my head.
“This is Sashiogi Sumire who will be participating in the fire magic classes from today on. Everyone knows about her already, right? She is an otherworlder. She has been taught the basic knowledge by Rin-sensei…but she must still have a lot she doesn’t know about. If she is in trouble, please help her out. Now then, Sumire-san, your greetings.”
“O-Okay…! I am Sashiogi Sumire. I will be participating in this class from today on. Nice to meet you.” (Sumire)
I lowered my head after finishing a short greeting.
I was welcomed with pretty decently loud clapping.
(Hmm…will I be alright?) (Sumire)
Eugene-kun and Rin-sensei, who help me out in a variety of ways normally, are not here.
In the first place, the ones who recommended me to take the fire magic lessons were those two.
They said it would be better to slowly ease into taking classes with other students instead of staying one-on-one the whole time.
A decent amount of time has passed since I came to this world.
There are now less people who look at me as if seeing something odd.
In other words, less people are treating me specially.
You are free to take a seat anywhere that’s open, so I nervously sit at an open sat at the very front.
And then, I concentrated on the lesson of the teacher so I don’t miss anything.
The girl at my neighboring seat called me.
When I looked there, there was a serious-looking bespectacled girl sitting there.
…I think I have seen her before.
It must have shown in my face.
“I am Teresia Cuttysark. We have met once in the student council room. Do you remember?” (Teresia)
“Aah, Teresia-san. I do remember!” (Sumire)
I remembered just now.
I might have been loud.
The teacher glared this way.
I listened seriously to the class after that, but there really were parts that were difficult.
While I was troubled by this…
“Sumire-san, what the explanation of the teacher just now meant…” (Teresia)
“I-I see!” (Sumire)
Teresia-san told me casually by my side.
*Kin Kon Kan Kon*
The chime announcing the end of the class rang.
So it works the same even in a parallel world.
Wait, that’s not it.
I have to give my thanks.
“Teresia-san, thank you for teaching me just now!” (sumire)
“Don’t worry about it. It is natural to help others in trouble.” (Teresia)
Teresia-san smiles elegantly.
I observe the appearance of Teresia-chan while feeling moved.
Long straight gray hair that’s close to black, with a look like that of a diligent person wearing glasses.
(Uwa…now that I look closely, Teresia-san is really beautiful.) (Sumire)
The type of beauty that makes herself look plain so to not stand out.
There was a girl like that in my previous world too.
She is like a class president.
A capable beauty!
I thought: I want to get along with her!!
“So you are a mage, Teresia-san.” (Sumire)
I tried asking her this, wanting to know more about her.
She is in the class for mages, so I thought that was a matter of course, but…
“No. It is a bit embarrassing to say this, but I am an Apprentice Sage.” (Teresia)
Sounds like a big shot!
Or more like, that’s impressive.
If I remember correctly, that’s a Job that can do both attack magic and healing magic.
Rin-sensei taught me that.
“…Emphasis on apprentice, okay? I can’t call myself a Sage since I still lack training.” (Teresia)
Teresia-san says this and smiles.
“Wow. But there’s me whose magic just activates on its own…” (Sumire)
“T-That’s impressive in its own way though.” (Teresia)
I said this all dejected and Teresia-san was surprised by this.
“I want to get better at magic quickly and be of help to Eugene-kun…” (Sumire)
We got through the 30th Floor the other day.
My magic just goes out of control the whole time.
Eugene-kun tells me ‘there’s no need for you to worry’, but I am getting a bit impatient here.
Even though we are aiming for the 500th Floor for my sake, I am being a burden.
That’s when I noticed.
Teresia-san was staring intently at me.
“Ah, sorry about that… Sumire-san, are you the girlfriend of Eugene-kun?” (Teresia)
She suddenly asked me this.
“I-I am not! Eugene-kun and I are not in that kind of relationship…yet.” (Sumire)
Teresia-san places a hand on her chin as if thinking about something.
“Do you get along well with Eugene-kun?” (Sumire)
C-Could it be that the pretty Teresia-san is aiming for Eugene-kun?!
“Aah, no, it is not me but the student council president…ah, that was a slip of the tongue.” (Teresia)
Teresia-san covered her mouth in an exaggerated manner.
The student council president, she says. The silver haired flashy girl called Sara-san who I met the other day looked like an idol.
…That girl was definitely completely into Eugene-kun.
I see, so Teresia-san gets along well with Sara-san.
Then, could it be that she can’t be friends with me?
I was thinking that but…
“Fufu…you don’t need to worry about that. I am from the general affairs of the student council and a noble of the holy nation of Caldia. Treasuring the otherworlders is a strong teaching of the Destiny Goddess-sama in Caldia. It is also a rule of the academy… And aside from that, I myself am interested in you -in the Ifrit magic that you have.” (Teresia)
Teresia-san says this and smiles teasingly.
This might also just be her trying to be courteous here, but I felt like Teresia-san was saying this from her heart.
“Then, how about going for tea together now?” (Sumire)
I tried inviting her, but…
“Oi, Teresia-chan, I have come to get you.”
A man was standing really close to us at some point in time.
I couldn’t feel his presence at all.
This man that is wearing shining flashy armor is familiar.
A blonde handsome dazzling man.
“Claude-kun, it is still not time yet, right? Wait for a bit.” (Teresia)
“I wanted to see you as soon as possible.” (Claude)
The one who appeared was the self-proclaimed best friend of Eugene-kun, Claude-kun.
And the ex-boyfriend of Leona-chan.
I want to get along with him since he is a friend of Eugene-kun, but with him being the ex-boyfriend of Leona-chan, it makes me hesitate.
“Hm? Sumire-chan?” (Claude)
Looks like Claude-kun noticed me.
I bowed slightly awkwardly.
“What, so you and Teresia-chan were friends. This interloper will withdraw. I will be waiting in the usual place, Teresia-chan.” (Claude)
“Yeah yeah, later.” (Teresia)
Claude-kun waved and left the classroom.
Teresia-san followed him with her eyes.
She was cold to him here, but it doesn’t seem like she hates him.
“Uhm, Teresia-san, you get along with Claude-kun?” (Sumire)
“Not at all. He is really persistent, you see. He suddenly got close to me after one dinner together.” (Tereesia)
Teresia-san sighed as if vexed by this.
That gesture of hers isn’t that of a girl that had a man she hated get close to her, but like that of someone who didn’t dislike the idea.
Could it be that…Teresia-san and Claude-kun are in a good relationship?
But Eugene-kun said that he is frivolous no matter the girl.
“Right…sorry. I actually wanted to talk to you more, Sumire-san, but…” (Teresia)
“No no, don’t worry about it. You have another appointment, right? We can do so at another time.” (Sumire)
“Yeah, let’s have tea another time.” (Teresia)
Teresia-san said this and left the classroom.
Her steps were light.
That day I returned to the dorms feeling a bit hazy.
◇The next day◇
“Hey hey, Sumire-chan, hear this, hear this! Claude invited me to hang out!”
At the break when I was participating in the basic training of the martial arts club, Leona-chan spoke to me.
“I-I see… That’s great, Leona-chan!” (Sumire)
What played in my mind for a second was the nice mood Teresia-san and Claude-kun had.
But I didn’t show that in my face and respond, matching the happy state of Leona-chan.
“That guy said he really can’t make it without me~. Can’t be helped~.” (Leona)
Leona-chan is kicking the sandbag repeatedly with a happy countenance.
The sandbag that she was kicking a few days ago while saying ‘that damn Claude!’.
“T-Then, are you going to return to how you were before?” (Sumire)
I asked a question that already had a clear answer.
“Hmm, what shall I do~.” (Leona)
Is what she is saying, but I am sure she would say ok if Claude-kun were to approach her.
She seems to be in a truly good mood.
Seeing her like that, I decided to forget the conversation Claude-kun and Teresia-san had yesterday.
Yeah, I am just worrying too much!
“Hey, Sumire-chan, how are you doing with Eugene-san?” (Leona)
The topic was changed to me.
“Have you already kissed?” (Leona)
“W-We haven’t!” (Sumire)
I was surprised.
Eugene-kun and I aren’t going out to begin with…
“That’s not good. The popularity of Eugene-san has shot up drastically recently. Being able to fight back Cerberus alone makes his future extremely bright after all. Eugene-san’s father is a big shot of the Empire too. If you laze about, a different girl is going to steal him away, you know?” (Leona)
“I-I see…” (Sumire)
I was overwhelmed by the threatening attitude of Leona-chan.
But I understand what she is saying here.
Eugene-kun is cool, his family is rich, and he is really strong in a world of swords and magic, so of course he would be popular.
I heard he is not going out with anyone.
But if he were to get a girlfriend once a cute girl confessed to him…and they were to flirt in front of me…
No no no no!
It would be impossible for me.
“Sumire-chan, how about you confess in the next exploration?” (Leona)
“C-Confess?! Hmm, should I?” (Sumire)
“Oh, you are actually into the idea?” (Leona)
“Wait wait! In the end, what do you plan on doing with Claude-kun, Leona-chan?!” (Sumire)
“Uhm, let’s have that talk later…” (Leona)
“Tell me that first.” (Sumire)
We had a heated conversation.
…Thanks to that, I couldn’t calm down for my next exploration.
◇Entrance of the Zenith Tower◇
“We are beginning from the 31th Floor today.” (Eugene)
“Let’s do our best!” (Sumire)
Eugene-kun and I walk with locked arms.
He was a bit confused by this, but he didn’t shake me off.
…Do we look like a couple from an outsider’s perspective?
There’s a lot of people around the 1st Floor of the Zenith TOwer.
Of course, there’s also students from the Lykeion Magic Academy.
I felt their gazes on us, but Eugene-kun doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.
“Sumire, have you gotten used to your mana?” (Eugene)
I listened to the magic lessons seriously, and I also had the guidance of Rin-sensei.
My magic has gone out of control less than before.
But it is still hard for me to use magic as an otherworlder.
“Well, no need to hurry.” (Eugene)
Eugene-kun smiled at me in consideration.
Kuh…you damn natural flirt.
“If only Eugene-kun taught me magic~.” (Sumire)
I try being a bit spoiled here.
“I can’t use offensive magic after all.” (Eugene)
He looked troubled.
Eugene-kun is bothered by his own White Mana.
“T-That’s not it! I didn’t mean it like that.” (Sumire)
“I know.” (Eugene)
He patted my head before I could finish saying it.
(Kuh…! His composed attitude doesn’t crumble.) (Sumire)
Is it that I am not being aggressive enough? Is what I thought, but the kindness of Eugene-kun was comforting.
I felt like it was fine to have this kind of relationship for a while.
Eugene-kun’s name was called.
A low voice, but one that traveled well like the sound of a chime.
When I looked at where that voice came from, there was a cute silver haired girl that was like a fairy standing there.
(That girl is…) (Sumire)
This is the second time I have met her.
The first time was at the student council building.
She should be the representative of the student council.
Eugene-kun raised his voice in slight surprise.
“Eugene!!! Why aren’t you coming to meet me?!” (Sara)
Sara-san jumped onto the chest of Eugene-kun just like the first time I saw her.
—“If you laze about, a different girl is going to steal him away, you know?”
The words of Leona-chan replayed.
(Isn’t it too fast to pick up that foreshadowing?!) (Sumire)
My peaceful exploration life was already crumbling.