|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“WhaAA?!” Unable to grasp what had just happened, Bruno was understandably confused. After all, my sword was practically made a beeline to his head, and even then I had held myself back quite considerably.
What was there to hide? The trick was on the feet. As Bruno kept pressing forward, I swept his advancing foot with my own.
“OWwwwchh—!!” Of course, this time Bruno couldn’t tough it up. He let go of his wooden sword and rolled around on the grassy field, holding his head. Eren, who had been watching this practice with bated breath, cheered and hugged me.
“Yaay! As expected of Jill! Another win without getting a single hit! —Well, not like I’ll ever forgive you if you dare to even leave a scratch on Jill. Still… You really are incompetent Bruno, always getting socked like that, every time.”
At Eren’s generously sarcastic words, Bruno finally rose to his feet and protested, tears in his eyes.
“Zip it—! It’s cheating to use your feet, fight fair and square!”
“Don’t say it like that. My swordsmanship is designed for actual combat, so I use whatever is available and whatever ingenuity I can muster.”
“You heard her! You said you wanted to be an adventurer, didn’t you? Did you think monsters and beasts will let you say ‘hey, I didn’t practice for this!’ or what?”
Bruno was chagrined at Eren’s sound argument and fell silent. That being said, it had been three months since we started this practice—or Duel, as Bruno insisted. As a man, it must’ve sucked to keep losing to a girl every time.
Not to mention, while it was true that technically I won every time, it was also the fact that the gap between our strengths was gradually closing.
“Well, it’s true that you still charge recklessly, you’ve improved a lot compared to when we started. Keep it up and it might not be long until you can get a hit in.”
The difference in our sheer muscle strength had grown to the point where I couldn’t completely brush aside his strikes as well as I did in the first practices. Even subtracting the difference between men and women in terms of growth—which was a bit of a frustrating factor for me—I’d say he had come a long way. At the moment, I dominated him with my skills and experience, but considering the rate of growth between us, he might be a real threat in the future. …Not that I intended to lose either.
“I-, I see. Just wait, then, I’ll definitely catch up to you!”
Bruno, who apparently managed to recover a semblance of his appearance at my words, got up from his spot with his regained usual energy.
“That’s all we’ve ever heard from you. You promised you’d show Jill ‘this cool place I found’ if she defeated you, but you never showed us anything.”
“That duel isn’t valid! She always uses those weird little tricks!”
“Howling losers are miserable. You actually just don’t want to admit it, don’t you?”
“That’s not it! But that’s a secret place for us guys, I can’t disclose it to girls so easily.”
Eren’s poking fun at Bruno was met with a pissed-off rebuttal. Hmm~ A secret base for guys only, what a thrilling set of words. Too bad I’m a girl now.
Vier, who had been watching over us whilst sitting like the good girl she was, came up to my feet, flapping her wings.
“Sorry for the wait, Vier. Come, we should continue our shopping.”
As I recall, it was pure luck that I met Bruno just as I passed through the village gate. As usual, he challenged me to a duel, and from there till Eren heard what happened and flew in, around an hour passed. I wouldn’t say that I was wasting time, but since I had promised Maya that we would be back soon, I had to hurry and finish the shopping.
After bending down to finger-comb her scruff, I got up to go around the village in my usual order. But then, Eren noticed me getting up and stopped her usual bickering. She turned her somewhat flustered face to me.
“Ah, hang on, Jill. There are letters addressed to you and the Sage, so father said you should drop by our house today!”
“Letters? For me too??”
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What could they be? Putting Regina’s letters aside, who’d send letters to me from the imperial…AH!
As I was about to rack my brain, the words “I’ll write you a letter” from Luke (Lucas), the angelic boy with a pretty face that I had only met a few months before, popped up in my brain.
“Ah, don’t tell me, is it perhaps Luke’s?!”
“Luke…who? That sounds like a boy’s name.”
Eren, who naturally didn’t know Luke, asked with a subtle…mixture of curiosity and anxiety. For some reason, Bruno also perked up his ears.
Well, if this wasn’t a pickle. The matters with Luke were basically Regina’s private matters, and I couldn’t possibly disclose it so casually. “Erm, Luke is a friend of mine who’s the same age as us, and he’s the son of a knight from the imperial capital. …he has blond hair, blue eyes, and is princely, I guess?”
It came out sounding vague, so I had no choice but to end my description of him a bit jokingly.
“Prince…!!” But then, for some reason, Eren’s eyes widened open as she was so shocked she fell on the spot, while Bruno turned his grim-looking face around and fell silent.
“Wh-, what’s the matter, you two?”
I asked, but they both remained silent.
In the end, they stayed wordless all the way until I finished my shopping and received the letters from the village chief—and sure enough, they were letters from Mister Eilmer and his son, Luke.
“Here they are. These three are for the Sage…and this one is yours, Miss Jill.”
“Thank you very much, chief.”
Having received a letter from a friend from afar, I couldn’t contain my smile. Eren peeked at my face from under my hood, and with a brooding look, she insistently asked.
“Hey, Jill, you’re not going anywhere, right? You’ll be here, right?”
“Hmm—? I’m not going anywhere. I have nowhere to go, in the first place. I’ll stay here until Regina chases me away, that is.”
A look of relief immediately spread across Eren’s face.
“Oi, Jill. Next time you come over, I’ll show you this place with a lot of treasures, just you. So, well… Don’t forget that.”
And Bruno, who for some reason had been following us all along, said something like that with a serious expression on his face.
“Treasures? Sounds stupid.”
Eren, who had rebooted a few moments earlier, poked fun at Bruno, but then, “I’m not lying!” Bruno pulled out a drawstring bag hanging around his neck from under his shirt. From it, he pulled out a crumpled old map and unfolded it.
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“We found this in the ruins of an old abandoned house. You see the square marking and arrows here? This is the treasure chest, I tell you that much!”
“Haah. You sure you just didn’t make that up? First of all, this map is so old, the old town and streets are different from what they are today, you can’t even tell where it is.”
“I know where it can be! See this rock here, and that’s the wasteland in the south, right? It’s way closer than you think!”
In contrast to Bruno’s heated explanation, Eren looked at the ‘treasure map’ with a frosty gaze. Well, it does look like something a passing traveler simply jotted down.
“But, who’s to say that there is nothing there? It might be a good idea to go there and take a look.” Chuckling, I added a few words of my own. Boys always yearn for adventure, after all.
“Hear that?! Jill knows it. Unlike some boy-girl!”
“Who are you calling a boy-girl?!”
Hey, there’s a boy-girl too here~
“Hah. Go and look in the mirror!”
“Say what you want, piggy boy! I pray the sage will curse you to become a rag next!”
Hey, there’s a ragweed too here~
As I looked at Eren and Bruno, back at their usual bickering as if their dejection a moment ago was a lie, I looked up to the heavens and thought “Oh dear, I’m going to be late getting home again.”
As if to console me, Vier jumped onto my chest and affectionately licked my cheeks.