Translator: Jimi Editor: Ryunakama
After playing in the ocean until the evening, we headed to the inn that Yera had arranged for us.
She had already spoken to the owner beforehand, so when we approached him, he readily showed us to a large room.
It seemed that this was where we would stay the night.
「…It looks like we’ll all sleep in the same room.」
「She said something about us getting along with each other, didn’t she… That old hag」
「Ahaha, well isn’t it fine ♪ Look, I’m hungry already, let’s get some food, food!」
When we arrived at the cafeteria, we found that our portion of dinner had already been set aside for us.
The meal consisted of an abundance of seafood and was so delicious that simply having this would make the trip worth it.
After the meal and a bath, everyone was so tired that we all fell asleep immediately.
Something happened a while after I fell asleep.
I felt suffocated and woke up.
My eyes opened but all I saw was darkness… Instead, I feel something soft and squishy against my face.
Lydia was hugging me.
She tightened around me with great force, so much that I was suffocating.
I somehow managed to tear off her grip, and sat up.
「Geez, are you still half-asleep?」
Lydia groped about the air, searching for me.
My my, Lydia was originally sleeping in the futon next to mine, but she rolled into my futon.
That reminds me, before Milly went to bed, she had requested for me to swap positions with her.
She used me as a shield… Damn it.
Shirushu and Silverie were covered snugly in their futon, curled up in a ball as they slept.
I smiled wryly, as they somehow reminded me of wild animals.
「…Speaking of which, Claude isn’t here.」
The futon which Claude had used was already folded and tided up. I wonder if she’s already awake?
Since I’m wide awake too, I guess I’ll look for her.
I quickly changed my clothes and left the room.
「Mm… it’s getting pretty bright outside huh.」
As I left the inn, I saw that the sun was beginning to rise over the ocean.
I was entranced by the beautiful scenery before me, when I spotted a figure on the beach, swinging a sword.
Is that Claude?
「You’re early, Claude.」
「Good morning, Zeph-kun.」
I called out to Claude as I approached her. She lowered her sword as she turned to face me.
The morning sun shone on Claude, and her golden hair and the beads of perspiration on her forehead reflected its light.
「Were you practicing your sword? You sure are working hard, practicing this early in the morning.」
「It has become part of my daily routine. Oh, right. Zeph-kun, shall we spar for the first time in a while?」
At that, Claude picked up wooden sticks that had fallen near her feet and tossed one to me.
In the past, I had sparred with Claude as part of my sword training, and we were evenly matched then.
I guess we could take this chance to see how much we each improved since then.
「Interesting. It’s been a while since I took ‘great’ care of you.」
「He he, please go easy on me!」
Every day, Claude has been practicing her sword with Lydia, while I have been strengthening her magic lines. As a result, her swordsmanship will probably show significant improvement.
However, that should be the case for me too. I’m confident that my sword skills have improved since I started using the Divine Sword Ainbelle.
「Here I come!」
「Come at me anytime!」
We each brandished our wooden swords.
When our swords clashed, sawdust scattered into the air.
I had more chances to be on the offensive, but Claude had an impenetrable guard and easily parried all my attacks.
I’m amazed that she has such a strong defense with no shield and nothing but a wooden sword.
Originally, Claude’s style was to have a shield at the ready. Now, her defense was so strong that I couldn’t land a successful attack even when I had raised my physical ability using magic.
As expected of someone who has been standing at the front lines to receive the attacks of strong monsters.
After many clashes, our wooden swords finally broke.
While panting, Claude dropped her wooden sword onto the beach.
「Haa… haa… A-as expected… of Zeph-kun…」
「…It’s another tie in the end huh.」
「Ha ha… If I lost to Zeph the mage in sword skill, it would be a disgrace to the Leonhardt family, who were supposed to be ‘mage killers’…」
Saying that, Claude threw her weary body to the sand.
As I was considerably fatigued myself, I laid down on the beach as well.
Beside me, Claude was drenched in perspiration, and her chest rose and fell as she tried to catch her breath.
「…This reminds me of a time when my family used to go on vacation together. When I was little, on family vacations, I would wake up in the morning and practice sword fighting with my brother like this too.」
Claude’s eyes narrowed, looking a little forlorn.
Hers was a family of knights, but they gradually fell to ruin and were forced to lead a life of poverty.
Therefore, Claude left her home on her own to become an adventurer, to lighten the burden on her family.
However, that didn’t mean that she could break off ties with her family. When Claude and I first met, her brother, Kane, was pestering her for money.
I had rescued Claude and took her on a trip then. I wonder… How is that man doing now?
Claude usually didn’t seem like she was bothered, but sometimes she would gaze into the distance, with loneliness on her face. There’s probably no way she isn’t thinking about it.
I got a little worried and gazed at Claude’s profile while she laid, sprawled out. Claude then rolled over to face me and grinned, showing her white teeth.
「Geez, why are you making such a face, Zeph?」
「…I was wondering if you were okay.」
「Thank you very much, but I’m fine.」
Claude looked shy as the sea breeze gently caressed her hair, making it sway softly.
After that, when Claude and I were frolicking in the waves, Milly came dashing over.
It looks like she’s finally awake. What a sleepyhead.
「Ahh! You two are so sneaky! Let me join in too!」
「It’s Milly’s fault for sleeping in. It’s a pity, but I don’t think we have time to play. From now on we’ll have to get working on our commission.」
Milly was still groaning when I let her wait with the rest, while Claude and I finished up the preparations for the hunt.
We had a lot of fun yesterday, but today we ought to hunt the Sti Beetles that have been popping up all over Southern Island.
We should not only be playing but must also complete our job too.
The Sti Beetle was not that strong of a monster, but it didn’t discount the fact that its existence posed a danger to the average person.
「I think we should split into two teams to hunt. That’ll be me, Claude, and Shirushu. And then, Milly, Lydia, and Silverie. 」
「I’ll be fine on my own though…」
「Well, come on, Sil-chin ♪ Since we’re all here together~」
Lydia tried to pacify Silverie who was sullen.
It was true that the Sti Beetle was nothing special for a monster.
Even if Shirushu were in her normal state where she was the weakest in our team, she would still be able to defeat the beetle easily.
Frankly speaking, it would be more efficient if we all split up to hunt, but this request was meant to help Silverie to grow closer to us.
It would be less meaningful if Silverie were to act with me, so we will go separately, while Milly and Lydia should be able to look after her well.
We parted ways at the entrance of the inn. Milly’s group headed to the south of the island, while we went towards the north.
「Then, we’ll see you later at night!」
I responded to Milly’s energetic wave and saw the three of them off.
「Shall we get going too?」
Shirushu prompted us and I nodded in agreement.
「Oh right, Sti Beetles are nimble creatures, so let’s be careful.」
「Sorry but I will need to do some shopping, so can we stop by a shop later? I’m out of salve…」
「Ah, got it.」
「Thank you very much.」
We decided to accompany Claude to the shop, and headed towards the city center.
The city center was bustling with many tourists and stores. Although it was not yet the peak of the travel season, there was still a considerable number of people walking around.
「Zeph-kun and Shirushu-san, can you wait around here for me?」
「Mm, you can go ahead.」
「Alright then, I’ll contact you through telepathy when I’m done.」
Claude then ran off to the store.
Now, we have some spare time on our hands.
「Zeph-san, since we’re here anyway, shall we go look around the stores?」
「Hmm, I guess. I’m interested to see what the stores have to offer.」
「He he, yeah. I hope there’s something that will suit your preferences, Zeph-san.」
Shirushu and I walked into a nearby store.
The store seemed to be selling accessories, with various colors of jewels, belts, and necklaces on display. Shirushu appeared deeply fascinated by the accessories, as she picked them up one by one and carefully studied them.
「Unsurprisingly, women like these kinds of things, I guess?」
「Yeah, just yesterday, Claude and I were talking about getting matching accessories.」
Matching accessories huh…
Since the time they met, the two girls sure have been really close.
A knight and a priest. As people who both place an importance on manners and etiquette, I guess they have something in common.