Translator: Jiro Editor: Ryunakama
Half a year had passed after that accident.
Zeph’s body had gradually healed as a result of everyone’s constant care.
His wounds were almost all closed up, and his broken bones were now healed.
But even so, he was yet to regain his consciousness.
As of late Claude had started entering his room from time to time to check up on him.
Be that as it may, it appeared like she still couldn’t shake off her sense of, as she didn’t smile as much as she used to before. Even when the others greeted her, she would only nod her head.
Though it’s not like all of them weren’t the same as well. Even though they smiled on the outside, none of them had that same smile deep down in our hearts.
They stopped hunting, and also halted their guild activities.
「Phew, you’ve certainly grown handsome Zeph-chi.」 Lydia said as she tried to conceal her blushing face.
Lydia’s face flushed, and beads of sweat formed on her brow.
It was understandable considering she was wiping the naked body of a man.
Even though Zeph was still unconscious, she somehow still couldn’t get used to it.
「Won’t you wake up…」 she whispered.
She gently brushed his cheek, but there was no response.
「Good grief… You know, it’s not appropriate to make girls wait.」 she said as she slightly pinched Zeph’s cheek.
Normally in this kind of situation Zeph would reply with words like 「What are you doing? Stop it!」, however now no words left his mouth.
He wouldn’t react in any way. He wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t answer…
「You don’t plan to stay like this right Zeph-chi…」
However, Zeph didn’t answer.
「If you don’t answer I’ll continue pinching your cheeks you hear!」 Lydia said as she joyfully pulled on Zeph’s cheeks.
In a way that act of hers seemed quite desperate.
Lydia’s hands stopped after a while.
「Please… wake up…」 she said in a sad tone that didn’t reflect her character in the least.
As the tedious silence continued, the corners of Zeph’s mouth twitched.
Lydia’s eyes opened wide as she saw that.
「Zeph-chi!!Are you awake?!Hey!」
She desperately tried to communicate with him, but received no response.
Zeph didn’t move any more.
Still, he did move right?! I’m sure he said something just now!
「So you were alive after all Zeph-chi…」
She tried to hide her tears by burying her face in his chest.
「Is it true that Zeph-kun woke up?!!」
The first one to come rushing in after Lydia gathered them all to tell them the news was none other than Claude.
She was still in her pyjamas and her hair was a total mess.
Following her, the others came in looking quite similar to Claude. Some of them were covered in mud, others hadn’t properly fastened their buttons as if they were trying to get here in a hurry.
「Yea. Though, he only moaned something. It’s not like his consciousness returned.」 Lydia said.
「… Still, it means that the treatment works.」 Claude said.
「Zeph…!!!」 Milly yelled out.
「Thank god.」 finished off Silverie.
Everyone had faces of relief.
Lydia unconsciously smiled after seeing those faces for the first time in a while.
「Okay!!」 Milly said and slapped her cheeks with her hands.
After which she looked at everyone with a serious face and spoke.
「I always knew that Zeph would wake up! However, I don’t think these are the faces he would like to see when he wakes up.!」
「So let’s become strong, all of us. Let’s amass as much experience as possible so that we can thoroughly shock Zeph when he wakes up! Let’s become strong enough so that something like this doesn’t happen again!」 she said as she put out her fist towards everyone.
At first everyone looked a bit confused, but soon they all looked at each other and smiled.
Following which they nodded.
「You’re right! We’ll become strong!」 Shirushu said as she bumped Milly’s fist with her own.
Her strong will could be felt in her small fist.
「You’re right… If we end up rotting away in a place like this, I don’t know how we’ll face Zeph later.」 Silverie said as she also put out her fist.
「Ahahaha. We sure were inefficient weren’t we.」 Lydia said as she also put out her fist.
Her hand moved gracefully, but it was filled with strong emotions.
「You really are amazing Milly-san…!」 Claude said as she also put out her fist which carried her determination and feelings of defeat.
「It’s decided…」 Milly said with a nod.
Everyone’s faces looked just like they had when Zeph had been with them.
「Everyone the Hunters of the Blue Sky are temporarily halting their activities! Let’s meet once more when Zeph wakes up!」 Milly said, to which everyone nodded.
◆ ◆ ◆
Lydia saw Claude the next morning when she tried to leave early.
It seemed like she was already planning on departing.
Apparently she had written letters to everyone telling them that parting would be hard on her, which is why he was doing this, but after having been found out by Lydia that all went down the drain.
「Still isn’t this way too soon?」 Lydia asked.
「I’m the one that needs to train the most. Well it seems like everyone else is about to wake up, so I’ll be leaving.」 Claude said with a smile as she waved her hand.
Seeing her like that Lydia could only see her off.
Claude felt the world had come to an end when Zeph lost consciousness. The new Claude, on the other hand, was able to smile once more.
It still feels like she’s still holding something inside of her, but I guess it’s still way better than before. It’s gonna be fine. There’s no need for me to stop her.
「By the way, where are you planning on going?」 Lydia asked.
「I haven’t decided… I thought I’d go to a different continent. I’m thinking of re-finding my own swordsmanship.」
「That’s one huge goal you have there. You probably won’t be able to meet Zeph-chi as soon as he wakes up you know?」
「I’m aware. But the way I am now I don’t believe I have the right to meet Zeph-kun… But if… No, forget it…」 Claude mumbled.
Oh my, she’s still quite bothered about it. Though I guess if she’s really serious on focusing on training, it really is for the best if she isn’t with us.
「… I got it. Be careful okay?」
「Okay! Please give my condolences to everyone else.」
「Until we meet again.」
「See you then.」 Claude said as she once again turned around and Lydia sent her off.
As Lydia watched as Claude’s back went further and further into the distance, a rattling noise came from inside the house.
「Claude-san please wait!!!」
「Shiru-chan?!!」 Lydia said with a surprised expression.
Shirushu came rushing out of the house, bearing a huge backpack.
She ran straight at Claude, however as she ran she noticed Lydia and turned around.
「I’m going back to Izu! Yesterday I talked with Yera-san and she introduced me to a good teacher!」
「Oh my, you’re leaving to train as well Shiru-chan?」
「Yes! The person Yera-san told me about is apparently a beastfolk as well! And apparently he can teach me how to control my power.」
「I’ll become really strong and come back! … Claude-san!! Didn’t you tell me we’d go halfway there together!!」 Shirushu yelled out and grabbed Claude’s arm.
Their joyous conversation spread around the whole area.
Those two really do get along really well.
Thought Lydia as she turned around to go inside… Just as she did so this time Milly jumped out.
「Even you Milly-chan?!」
「I can’t be the only one left behind. I’m going to the dungeon.」
「If you wait a bit, me and Se-chin can come as well.」
「I want to go alone.」
Looking at those straightforward eyes of hers, Lydia was lost for words.
It was way too dangerous for her to go on her own. There was also the fear of Milly doing something reckless.
「Listen here Milly-chan.」
「It’s fine. I won’t do anything reckless. There’s something that I want to try. Well then, see ya!」
「Milly-chan, wait!」 Lydia yelled out in an attempt to stop her, but Milly just rushed forward.
Oh well, I guess it’s fine. She did say there’s something she wants to try and I doubt that she’d do something reckless before Zeph wakes up, so it should be okay.
「Everyone went out didn’t they.」
「That’s right… Huh?!!!Se-chin?!!!」
Silverie suddenly appeared while Lydia was seeing Milly off.
Looking closely, Silverie was carrying a bag, and was all dressed up as well.
It appeared she had the same idea as everyone else.
「Are you planning on going on a journey as well Se-chin?」
「No. I don’t plan on doing that… Though the thing I’m planning on doing might be even more dangerous.」 she said.
Her hands shivered, however Silverie clenched her fists in order to conceal it.
Since even Silverie was saying that it would be dangerous, then it really would turn out to be quite the daunting task.
Still Lydia didn’t try to stop her and instead just gave her a pat on her back.
「Got it. … Do your best.」
「… By the way, is it fine if I ask what you’re planning on doing?」
「I’m thinking of working. … What’s with that face? Did I say something strange?」
「N-No… It sounds great…」
Lydia was on the verge of bursting out in laughter, however she thought that this might just be the perfect way for Silverie to grow stronger.
「Yera has been asking me for a while now to help with her work… I was a bit reluctant to do it, but I guess I’ll give it a shot.」
「I see… Give it your best!」
After seeing Silverie off Lydia returned to the now empty house.
She made a simple breakfast and sat alone on the table.
Normally this time of the day would be quite rowdy. However, now it was quiet.
「They could have at least eaten breakfast…」
However, they would have most likely regretted wasting even that small amount of time.
Considering the way everyone was, they probably wouldn’t even be able to have a proper breakfast as well.
Especially Milly and Silverie.
A complicated smile formed on Lydia’s face.
「When they come back I’ll prepare something delicious for them.」
She put away the dishes and washed them, after which she proceeded to clean.
She had to clean up everyone’s rooms a bit as well.
While cleaning up everyone’s rooms and pulling the weeds out of the garden Lydia lost herself in her thoughts.
I think I’m quite good when it comes to fighting. But I can’t use magic and out of everyone I probably have the smallest potential to grow…
Lydia’s martial arts were undoubtedly amazing, but she had achieved all of that through constant effort and dedication.
She was well aware that she wouldn’t be able to make any further progress.
Everyone will definitely come back way stronger… But I… Can I perhaps find some kind of special power…?
As she continued to think, sweat began to drop down from her brow. Her legs went numb and her stomach began to hurt as well.
She had been doing chores for quite some time.
Having reached her limit Lydia stood up and stretched out.
Even though she had spent so much time pulling out weeds, she had only gone through about 10% of the whole garden.
It’s like the weeds were trying to tell her that it was pointless for her to try.
「I need to make lunch.」 she mumbled and began to prepare while waiting for Silverie and Milly to return.