It seems I dozed off.
When I came to, I found myself asleep, leaning against a tree, almost like I was collapsing.
A yawn naturally leaked out as I got up and relaxed my stiff body.
I checked the time and saw that it was four o'clock at dawn.
It had already been half a day since I had been waiting.
I was now camping in a field on a mountain I didn't even know the name of.
No, the term sleeping in the open might be more appropriate than camping.
Jin Ye-Seul and I did not return to the academy immediately after leaving the mansion, but stopped by the mountain after we had finished our preparations.
The reason was none other than the Shadow Walker's legacy, the 'Scorpion's Hoof'.
The place where the Scorpion's Hoof can be obtained is a puzzle dungeon, and where only one person can enter.
So, after making sure that Jin Ye-Seul entered the dungeon, I was going to wait outside until she came out, but....
I seemed to have dozed off before I even knew it.
“Did I get tired from going around here and there”
Muttering like that, I began to twist my still stiff shoulders round and round.
Come to think of it, it was almost two days since I had been going around without even being able to sleep properly.
On top of that, I had spent almost all the money I had saved to buy the necessary ingredients.
If only the gems obtained through Cass Lyle were intact, I could have saved half of that money.
I sat down again and sighed deeply.
Perhaps because it was dawn, but the more I thought about it, the more worries came to my mind without me knowing it.
… now it was slowly time to prepare for another Seven Evil, Minerva.
And to kill Minerva, Jin Ye-Seul was inevitably needed.
It was because only Jin Ye-Seul could hurt her with only the characteristic she possessed.
That's why I asked her to hurt her on the day of the festival, when all the conditions for her awakening would be satisfied....
That was the original plan.
But I changed the plan halfway through because of Margo and Svengali.
They woke up in a different way than I knew.
There was no guarantee that Minerva wouldn't either.
Therefore, just in case things went wrong, I decided to let Jin Ye-Seul hold all possible legacies for now.
'Come to think of it….'
Both Margo and Svengali struggled while shouting Ariman’s name before they died.
… perhaps Ariman was involved in the abnormal behavior of those two
It was when I was about to ask him about it, thinking like that.
“Ji-Hyuk, here's coffee."
After naturally accepting the coffee handed to me from the side, I sipped it.
Immediately, thinking that something was wrong, I stared at my side, and saw that Jin Ye-Seul was sitting next to me, laughing heheha.
There was coffee in her hand, too.
Jin Ye-Seul stared at me as if asking, what's wrong
Then, startled, she asked me.
"Oh, maybe it's because it's not what you always drink... There is no place open except the convenience store at this time...
still, I have put in the syrup and sugar as much as you drink, though, Ji-Hyuk.”
Should I go buy it again
I secretly checked the coffee I was holding at her words that asked like that.
When we came up here, all we had prepared was a simple windshield, blankets, and mats.
"Don't tell me you went down to the bottom of the mountain to buy this"
To those words, Jin Ye-Seul replied.
“I thought you wanted a drink, Ji-Hyuk I was just going to wake you up, but you looked so tired, so I left you alone.”
At her words, I just nodded and sipped the coffee.
The coffee was surprisingly to my taste.
Watching me keep sipping the coffee, Jin Ye-Seul smiled slightly.
Then, as she drank her share of the coffee, I could see her expression contort slightly.
“… uh, it’s too sweet.”
Jin Ye-Seul muttered that her tongue was tingling and stuck it out of her mouth.
“I did the same with mine as I did with yours, Ji-Hyuk, but… Ji-Hyuk, you really like sweet things.”
I felt a little embarrassed by what she said and uttered an excuse, as if glossing over.
"That, well… I heard I should eat something sweet to relieve my fatigue.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t eat a lot of sweets when I was young.”
At my words, Jin Ye-Seul sipped her coffee without saying a word.
And then, rummaging around in her pocket, she pulled something out and held it to me.
“Oh, do you want to eat this It’s chocolate.”
“… this is very sweet, though.”
She muttered, as if she didn't like something about my reaction.
Then she said to me, as if she'd almost forgotten.
Take this too.”
She had a fist-sized fruit in her hand.
I could tell as soon as I saw it.
It was Shadow Walker's legacy.
"It's the legacy from the dungeon.
It seems like this has to be eaten in a unique way.”
While saying so, Jin Ye-Seul secretly took out the Gauntlet and the Ring and handed them to me.
They were all Shadow Walker's legacies that I handed her.
“Oh, and these too.”
“Why are you giving these to me”
Jin Ye-Seul instead stared at me as if asking, why are you asking me that
Then she immediately answered with a bright smile.
“Well, because now you're more ‘important’ to me than the legacy, Ji-Hyuk”
"I got all of these thanks to you, so it's right to give them to you, Ji-Hyuk.
I'm not really...
Not to that extent now, but if you need them, Ji-Hyuk, I'll return them to you anytime."
My heart sank for a moment, but fortunately, I was able to show nothing.
It was because I didn't know that she would say that there was something more important than the legacy.
“No, Ye-Seul, you can just use everything.”
“I’m really fine.”
Even to my words, Jin Ye-Seul somehow reacted lukewarmly.
At the sight, I added a few words, thinking perhaps.
"Or… Ye-Seul, are you ignoring my heart now”
Jin Ye-Seul's complexion instantly lost its blood and turned pale.
"Ah, ah…! No, it's not like that...!”
She began to flounder in a fluster.
In the midst of this, the things she was holding fell, and she hurriedly lowered her body to pick them up.
Then she wobbled, and her body instantly tilted.
Soon, with a thud, Jin Ye-Seul fell and hit her face on the ground.
Her coffee cup flew far away and turned over, and instead of covering her nose and mouth that seemed hurt with her hands, she stared at me with an urgent expression.
“Ji, Ji-Hyuk… it's really not like....”
“No, I'm sorry.
I said something weird."
Sitting face to face in front of her trembling body, I said so.
Then I picked up the legacies that were rolling on the ground and put them in her hands.
While trembling, Jin Ye-Seul accepted the legacies I gave her, and soon grasped my collar with her trembling hands.
“Let’s rest here for a while and go down when you calm down.”
Jin Ye-Seul nodded.
I hugged her gently.
Looking down at her as she silently dug into my arms, I had no choice but to just spit out an apology, saying I'm sorry.
* * *
[In some ways, that is natural.
However, do not worry too much.]
Hearing my story, Svengali muttered like that.
I asked him back, rubbing the mop.
“Natural Where Is it natural to be frightened by every word I say and follow after me like a child"
He flinched at my sharp response.
[Hey, calm down a little.
I shall explain, so do not press me down for nothing.]
He let out a sigh as I continued mopping without a word.
[It is now the point where her mind has just returned to normal.
However, before that, there had already been two or three incidents that had greatly shaken her mentally, but...
if anything, it is even weirder if she is sane.]
[Not to mention, when I saw her from the side then...
her mind was about to collapse, but because of you, she was able to miraculously avoid it.
And the only one...
No, should I say existence Anyway, you and her older sister were the only two people she trusted and relied on, but she thinks her older sister is dead, right Naturally, she has no choice but to overreact to your words and actions and become more obsessed than usual.]
“So, aren't you saying it's my fault in the end”
[No, this… Ha, how do I convince this idiot]
A frightening sound came from the handle of the mop at his words.
I mean, I shall explain it one more time so that even an idiot can understand, so listen carefully.]
Svengali opened her mouth quickly.
[To put it simply, after the constraints on her mind were lifted, she was in a very vulnerable state mentally.
Do you understand this far]
[In my opinion, right after the constraints were lifted, she was in a state where it would not have been strange for her to take her own life at any moment.
However, the reason she was able to endure and recover her ego in such a situation was, ironically, because you were there by her side at that time.
And she was vaguely aware of that fact, too.]
[She said there were only two people she could rely on, right One of the people she could rely on, in a situation where even her parents abandoned her, had died.]
[However, the one who is left...
it is a little cringy, but they literally stretched out a hand of salvation.]
Do you think you could endure a situation like that without getting obsessed
At his words that questioned me as if saying, it's ridiculous, I just kept my mouth shut and continues to mop.
Seeing that, Svengali, who was making a crackling sound as if it were no fun, murmured.
[By the way, do humans think cleaning restrooms is corporal punishment I think cleaning the place where they stay is something they should rather be happy about.]
"If you're not going to help me, keep your mouth shut.”
[I want to help, but I don't have a body...
If you make me a body, I can help youuaaaaa!!!]
Listening to the scream of Svengali, I continued cleaning the restrooms silently.
… as he said, this was the corporal punishment given to me.
Did I mention that it was a corporal punishment for not returning within the deadline set by the academy without permission
Although I had received documents from the student council president before, it was true that I hadn't returned for quite some time, so there was no excuse.
Because it was there, it ended up with just cleaning restrooms.
Because an unauthorized absence from the academy was something that could even lead to expulsion.
Fortunately, there was no damage to Jin Ye-Seul.
No matter what, her family was quite famous, and that's why it could be seen that there were few people who did not know about Jin Ye-Jeong's death.
Thanks to this, she was able to return to the academy without being questioned, and instead of her, I had to clean restrooms in the name of a penalty.
… In fact, I thought I was lucky that it ended at this extent.
No matter how much I clean, there is no end....”
After cleaning with water while mopping for more than three hours, I was almost exhausted.
Cleaning the restrooms on a holiday when everyone else has gone to play.
It was when I was about to grab the mop again, swearing inside.
"Oh, here you are!"
I thought I heard the sound of the clicking of shoes, but the next moment, I saw Jin Ye-Seul standing right next to me.
She had drinks and things like packed sandwiches and hamburgers in her arms.
"I brought something to eat and drink, so let's eat together."
This is the men's restroom."
“… what's wrong with that"
She tilted her head, then nodded slightly, as if she understood.
“Oh, you want me to clean with you, too Even if you don't, I came here to help you."
“No, let’s talk after we wet gut of here first.
Others might see you."
With those words, I grabbed Jin Ye-Seul's wrist and walked out of the restroom.
It was when I was thinking I should give her a few words of precaution for now.
“… Why are you coming out together”
A cold voice came from the side.
… it's over.
* * *
Are we going for a walk somewhere now"
“Be quiet and hold this."
Han Soo-Young handed a thermos with coffee to Choi Hyun-Woo, who was grumbling.
It was the coffee that Yoo Ji-Hyuk always drinks, which is so sweet that it makes one's mouth numb.
Besides that, holding an envelope containing easy-to-eat snacks, Han Soo-Young gave a small nod.
“Coffee is ready… I added a lot of syrup to the sugar, too.
Snacks are also ready....”
If she had to pick just two things that were hard to empathize with Yoo Ji-Hyuk, it was his liking for strange middle-aged man gags and his taste in coffee.
It was the things he liked, so she bought a book and studied middle-aged man gags, and also learned all about how to make coffee.
“He's cleaning on the weekend, so he is probably bored and hungry there.”
“I know that, but….”
“We've also been stressed out solving Master's assignments for a while.
So let's take this opportunity to relax and relieve some stress together."
“No, I don't think Ji-Hyuk can take a break because he has to clean, right"
Han Soo-Young immediately responded to Choi Hyun-Woo's natural counter-question.
“You can help him.
Of course, I'll help too.”
At her words, Choi Hyun-Woo was at a loss for words for a moment.
“Master, I’m having a very hard time….”
“… if you don't like it that much, I'll do it alone.
Give me the thing you're holding."
Han Soo-Young, perhaps momentarily depressed by Choi Hyun-Woo's complaint, muttered weakly.
It wasn't the reaction he was expecting, so Choi Hyun-Woo made a 'Uuh' expression.
I was just joking.
If you react like that, what does this make me”
“But now that I think about it, it really does seem I’m being too selfish, like you said….”
Choi Hyun-Woo let out a small sigh at her expression which seemed to be really depressed.
How could such a person be depressed just because she couldn't talk to that guy for a few days
Thinking so, Choi Hyun-Woo began to soothe Han Soo-Young.
“Of course, it was just a joke.
Come to think of it, Ji-Hyuk is surely cleaning until today, right Then, this time we're...
too much, so let's go out to eat together next week.
I found a restaurant that looks really good.”
The two continued their conversation while moving their feet.
Choi Hyun-Woo began to soothe her, skillfully putting his words in order so that she wouldn't feel burdened.
“… yes, and, as you said, Soo-Young, sometimes it is necessary to take a break and recharge.
Let's take this opportunity and make an appointment with Ji-Hyuk.
And since we have to take magic-related classes starting next week, we should have a gathering after school to study separately.....”
"Wait a minute."
Choi Hyun-Woo, who kept talking to relieve Han Soo-Young's mood, wondered what was wrong with her at the moment.
When they were almost at the place where Yoo Ji-Hyuk was, Han Soo-Young suddenly started walking at a fast pace.-
Choi Hyun-Woo followed her without knowing what was going on.
He could see Yoo Ji-Hyuk and Jin Ye-Seul coming out of the restroom together.
In fact, anyone looking at it would have known that Yoo Ji-Hyuk was taking Jin Ye-Seul, who came into the restroom thoughtlessly, out.
“… Why are you coming out together”
However, Han Soo-Young did not seem to be.
Choi Hyun-Woo could feel a sudden rush of fatigue.