Last chapter is editing and the interlude isn’t too long, hopefully the volume will be finished sometime during June.
Chapter Four: The Beginning and End of Fun Times
Some joked and played through the night to their heart’s content. Some spent the night amidst a fierce battle. Some retired to bed early to prepare for the coming day… People spent the night of the Field Study in different ways.
The sun shined brilliantly in the endless blue skies, basking the white sands with blinding light.
The roars of the seas were accompanied with countless hues of waves which advanced and withdrew all along the coast.
On the beaches of Saineria Island were numerous boys and girls.
The students of Glen’s class.
Lumia, in her swimsuit, called out from amidst the waves.
She was dressed in a cute bikini decorated with ribbons and frills.
Water trickled down the elegant, captivating curves of her bodyline.
The breeze swept along the surface of the sea, carrying along droplets of water that refracted the shining rays of the sun. The colorful scene around Lumia, who waved her hand with an innocent smile, served to make her all the more eye-catching.
“The water feels great! Come here, Sisti, Riel!”
“Alright! I’m coming right now!”
Sistina arranged her belongings in a corner of the beach alongside the rest of the class, and removed the long towel that tightly covered her body.
In doing so, she revealed the modest curves that accompanied her slender figure.
She was dressed in a fashionable two-piece swimsuit consisting of a flower-patterned bikini top and pareo sarong bottom ensemble.
Her pure white, springy, healthy skin was revealed without reserve under the shining sun. Her porcelain skin made one feel faint—
Sistina, dressed in her swimsuit, energetically ran across the beach towards Lumia.
On the way, she stopped next to Riel, who sat at the beachline with her arms crossed around her knees, staring at the tide as it came and left. Sistina stretched a hand towards Riel.
Riel was also in a swimsuit, but unlike the glamorous swimsuit of the others, Riel’s was without any affectation whatsoever. Her swimsuit was an uncouth one-piece dark blue swimsuit (the academy’s swimsuit for water sports). However, when worn by someone whose curves were even less adventurous than those of Sistina, the modesty of it all was instead emphasized. Unlike Lumia and the others, Riel’s appeal was that of purity and peace.
“Come on! Let’s go swim, Riel!”
After staring at the outstretched hand for a while… Riel timidly grabbed onto Sistina’s hand.
Splish splash. The splashes of the waves looked like and array of white gems.
“Lumia, Riel, you’ve both remember to enchant yourselves with [Tri·Resist] right?
“Of course… I wouldn’t want to get sunburnt after all.”
“I haven’t… It’s troublesome.” Riel said plainly.
Sistina immediately turned to lecture Riel.
“You can’t do that Riel! You shouldn’t forgo it just because it’s troublesome.”
“…There’s no problem if I get sunburnt.”
“But then your pretty skin will be ruined wouldn’t it? Even if you wanted to get tanned, if you don’t treat it with medicines first you’ll just be damaging your skin… Here, I’ll do it so stay still okay?”
Then, from a short distance away from the three…
“The three of you over there, do you have any interest in playing beach volleyball with us?”
“Uhm… I’m sure it’ll be more fun if we play together…”
Carrying a ball in her hands was Wendy, whose body was balanced and well-proportioned. Next to her was Rin, who, despite her small stature, seemed to be growing well overall— Of course, the two of them were also dressed in swimsuits—
“…Eh, ‘Eden’ was here all along…-!?”
Cashew, Road, Gai, and some of the other male students in the class gazed upon this scene, and could not stop the tears of joy that trickled from their eyes.
“‘As long as we stay calm, ‘Eden’ will eventually appear before our eyes, so retreat for today’… it was all as sensei said…”
“I’m sorry sensei… We were… We were mistaken all along…-!”
“Despite everything, we kept showering sensei with the pain of our spells…-! We were blinded by what was before our eyes…-!”
“Thank you sensei… May you find peace in the other world… Please watch over us from now on…”
As the boys looked up into the blue skies, an illusion of Glen shot a refreshing smile back at them…
“Hey guys, I’m still alive.”
Glen disgruntled voice called out to the boys who were absorbed in their own world.
Unlike the boys who were dressed in their swimsuits, Glen was dressed in his usual shirt, trousers, and tie, with a robe hanging off his shoulders. He laid limply on a sheet set up under a beach umbrella.
“Don’t pretend that I’m dead. Rather, do you guys really hate me that much?”
“No, it was just… uh…a spur of the moment…”
“By the way sensei, are you not going to swim?”
“Idiots, even if I wanted to go swim body hurts too much for it… You know, my body still feels kinda numb in some places…”
Glen had lowered the output of his [Shock·Bolt] to knock the students out without leaving any lasting damage on the students bodies. However, the students rose to their feet countless times through sheer force of will and, as if they were prepared to die for it, and relentlessly struck Glen with their own unaltered spells throughout the night.
Had Glen used his original magic [The Fool’s World], he could’ve easily wiped the floor with them without breaking a sweat, but he bore no desire to use a bloodstained assassination magic with which he had eliminated countless heretical magicians on simple students. His duel with Sistina in the past had also stemmed from this will.
“Geez, did you guys really have to go all out… Would it have killed you to hold back just a little…? It should’ve been non-lethal magic, but I honestly thought I was gonna die for a moment you know?”
“A-, Ahahaha… I’m sorry about everything…”
Glen spitefully emptied his can of complaints. The boys could not bring themselves to object whatsoever.
“Well whatever. Today is a rest day so the entire day is free time. Go and play around however you like. Hah… I’ll just sleep here… If anything happens… wake me up…”
“We got it! Sensei!”
The boys charged towards the roaring tides.
At the same time—
“Are you not going?”
Lying down, Glen turned his gaze towards the shade of a nearby palm tree.
“Of course. I didn’t come here to play around.”
Gibel rested his back against the base of the tree.
He ignored the other students playing about, and focused on the textbook in his hands. As if it was a matter of course, he wasn’t dressed a swimsuit, but rather his school uniform.
“Aren’t you a bit too uptight…? It wouldn’t hurt to let loose once in a while…”
“…Hmpf. Mind your own business.”
Gibel snorted out his nose and immersed himself in the textbook.
Glen wasn’t bothered enough to say any more. He closed his eyes and prepared himself for a long slumber.
Then, at that moment—
Flip-Flap. Glen could feel someone approach.
Although he could tell who it was by voice alone, he opened one eye to confirm.
As expected, it was Lumia, who waved her hand as she clumsily ran across the sand… Behind her was Sistina, who pulled Riel by the arm. The usual trio.
“What’s up you guys? Oho? I have to say, you three are quite a sight for sore eyes…”
Glen showed a wicked sneer.
“C-, Could you not stare so much…”
Sistina hugged her arms around her body as if to hide it, a sullen expression on her face. Her cheeks were faintly red.
“Ahaha, sensei… How do you like this? Does my swimsuit suit me?”
Lumia, dressed in her frilly swimsuit, performed an innocent twirl in front of Glen.
“Mhm, it suits you crazy well. You look super cute.”
“Fufu, thank you sensei.”
Lumia smiled happily.
“And White Cat, your clothing sense isn’t all too bad either. I like it.”
“S-, Shut up! I-, It’s not like I bought it for you to see—”
At Glen’s random praise, Sistina’s mind appeared to have short circuited for a brief moment. She could only reply uneasily as her face flushed red.
The swimsuits which Lumia and Sistina had purchased for this day were at the forefront of trendy fashion in the Empire. Accompanied with their excellent looks, wherever they went was like a gathering place for angels and fairies – eye catching and out of the ordinary.
Even Glen couldn’t quite bring himself to employ his usual routine of sarcasm and jeering.
Riel, after taking a glance at Lumia and Sistina, walked up in front of Glen and stared at him.
“…Hm? What’s up Riel?”
Riel stuck her chest out a little and continued to stay silent. It seemed that she was expecting something…
“…Oi, how am I supposed to know what you want if you don’t tell me?”
Saying that, Riel dejectedly walked away.
It might’ve just been an illusion, but she appeared to be somewhat disappointed.
Glen tilted his head in confusion at Riel’s ambiguous actions. Then, he turned towards Sistina who puffed in anger, and Lumia forced a smile and tried to calm her down.
“By the way… what are you guys doing here? Weren’t you playing with the others?”
“Ah, about that. We’re were about to play beach volleyball and were wondering if you’d like to join us.”
Glen didn’t seem very interested.
“Beach volleyball huh… Well, it’s not like I dislike it, but you know… I’m kinda tired from dealing with the group of stooges last night… so I’m feeling a bit sleepy is all…”
“A-, Ahaha… thanks for the hard work sensei. Well, in that case, would you mind being the referee? I think I would be more enjoyable for everybody if we all participated… and I wanted to play with you too…”
Perhaps persuaded by the sweetness of his student, Glen scratched his head and lazily rose from the floor.
“Geez, it can’t be helped huh. If you’re going to go as far as to say that… I don’t really feel like it, but I can at least be the referee…”
At a makeshift volleyball court made in the sand.
Jumping high above the net with an explosive jump, Glen curved his body in an arc like a bow ready to be released. Then, he discharged all his power through his right hand, smashing the ball from the air.
The ball instantly spiked into the enemy field without mercy.
Although Road had jumped to block the ball, the ball was too high for him to reach.
Kai instinctively dove to save the ball, but he couldn’t make it in time.
Cecil pointed a finger towards the landing spot of the ball, and chanted the white magic spell [Psy·Telekensis] that allowed one to control material objects from a distance. However, the spell wasn’t completed in time either.
The ball smashed into the sand on the insides of the court.
“Game set! Sensei’s team wins!”
“—YEAH! How do you like that—!”
“Mm, sensei’s team is pretty strong…”
As Lumia announced his victory, Glen pumped his fist in celebration. Cecil showed a forced smile.
“…Didn’t he say that ‘I can at least be referee’? Isn’t he totally into it now…?”
Sistina looked scornfully at Glen, who displayed childlike vigor, and sighed to herself.
Glen had more sand and sweat on his body than anyone else.
“Fu! Nice assist, White Cat! Gibel! It’s our win!”
“Hmpf, of course. I’m the one supporting you after all. I might not be as fit as Cashew, but it’s not like I can’t do—” Gibel elatedly said while pushing his glasses up.
“—Wait, what am I even doing here!?”
Gibel, who had begun to play beach volleyball before he had even realized it, released a cry that resounded through the beach.
“Well well, it’s no big deal is it? We didn’t have enough people anyway.”
A team consisted of one attacker, one support, and one receiver. The positions of each member were rotated on a game-to-game basis. The receiver was allowed to use [Psy·Telekinesis] to stop an opponent’s spike… These were the rules for the magic academy style beach volleyball.
“Ku, we didn’t come here to play around! If we have time to do this, we should be—”
Gibel shouted as he angrily stormed off.
“Oh? You’re gonna run away?”
Glen taunted without restraint.
“Well, I suppose that’s understandable. The goddess of lotteries is up to no good after all, matching us up against the strongest team of the class. Can’t lose if you don’t play, am I ri—”
“S-, Shut up! That’s not it! Fine! Fine then! If you’re going to stay that then I’ll stay to the end! After all, whatever team I’m in will be the one to win!”
“Alright alright, you two… We don’t get many chances to play like this so don’t fight would you…”
Geez, they really are kids.
Sistina sighed as she intervened.
“But our next opponents are pretty strong…”
She glanced towards their future opponents.
The first was Riel, whose physical abilities were beyond human.
The second was Cashew, who, aside from Riel, was the most athletic in the class.
And the third was—
“Please be gentle with us alright?”
Teresa, the ‘Big Sister’ of the class. She clapped her hands with a smile.
She didn’t appear to be particularly athletic, but her ability with the psychic-type white magic such as [Psy·Telekinesis] was without rival in the class. She had had a spectacular performance during the Magic Games Festival, and beach volleyball was no different; as long as she was the receiver, no ball would fall on her field.
“Mmpf, they really are a strong team…”
Glen glanced at Teresa, who sent a beaming smile towards the opposite field.
Her great physical growth was evident in her bikini. Her alluring and voluptuous figure betrayed her age; no older than fifteen or sixteen. Whenever Teresa dashed or jump, her curves, that would perhaps make models feel a bit lacking, followed suit in a variety of ways, leaving her male opponents momentarily dazed.
“Could that be— mental attack magic, or perhaps even time control magic—?”
“…What are you looking at?”
Glen’s expression made it seem as though he were in the midst of a deadly battlefield, like a battlemage desperately trying to figure out their opponent’s secrets or weaknesses. Sistina glanced scornfully at him, voicing her displeasure.
“…W-, What is it?”
Glen then turned his gaze towards Sistina and shamelessly examined her figure…
He dropped his shoulders conspicuously and released a long sigh.
“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean—!?”
…After this and that, the match between Glen’s team and Teresa’s team began.
Sistina flexibly extended her body to set the ball in the air.
Glen burst into the air without a moment’s hesitation and spiked the ball towards the opponent’s field, albeit not in a fashion becoming of an adult.
“<Oh Invisible Hand>–!”
Teresa pointed towards the ball and chanted the spell. The ball that was about to strike the sand abruptly flew into the air—
“Geh! She caught that!?”
Cashew calmly set the ball. As would be expected of someone of his level of athleticism, it was placed in prime position—
Not particularly motivated, Riel timed her jump—
Bwong! The dull sound of the ball distorting could be heard as she struck it.
Boompsshh—! In the next moment, a large pillar of sand erupted on Glen’s side of the field.
Taking a closer look, it could be seen that half the ball was submerged into the sand.
“…Now what do we do?”
Glen’s expression curled.
In contrast to their cheery opponents, who had Riel as their core, Glen’s team was as solemn as a wake.
“…Damn! She’s hits the ball like she’s swatting a fly, but why is there so much force behind it…!?”
Gibel click his tongue in frustration. His usual composure was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps due to the scorching sun, the game became more and more heated as it proceeded.
“This really is too much… Our opponents are too much of a mismatch—”
Sistina said with a forced smile. She was ready to give up the match, but…
“Don’t joke around! I’m not going to admit defeat just like this!”
Sistina’s eyes widened in surprise to Gibel’s unexpected outburst.
“Sensei, I’ll do whatever it takes to catch the next shot, so quit screwing around! Your attempts at scoring have been lackluster at best… With that performance, can you still consider yourself our teacher!?”
“Heh… Now that’s the spirit…”
Glen said with a sneer.
Magicians were generally passionate on matters regarding victory and defeat, and it seemed that Gibel was no exception.
The members of the class were certain who the winner of the match would be, but—
“The game’s just getting started.”
Glen dug the ball out from the sand and served.
“Give it to them, Riel-chan!”
Riel fired a murderous spike.
The ball veered towards Glen’s side of the court like a cannonball.
“It’s coming, Gibel.”
“Ku— <Oh Invisible Hand>—!”
In response, Gibel drew upon all his magic power and chanted the spell.
Even if Riel didn’t pay attention to where she was hitting the ball, it was practically a given that her spike would easily smash through the opponent’s defense regardless of where it landed. However, based on Gibel’s observations, Riel had only been striking the smack center of Glen’s field. Knowing that, Gibel could devote all of his attention to that single spot and prepare his spell beforehand—
Riel’s spike was successfully intercepted by Gibel’s spell. The ball stopped moments behind hitting the sand and flew upwards—
This was the first time that Riel’s attack was stopped, so Cashew’s group was late to react—
“Sensei, it’s all yours!”
In their opponent’s brief moment of hesitation, Sistina quickly set the ball—
Glen leaped into the air and slammed the ball.
With a splash of sand, Glen’s spike slammed into their opponent’s court.
Oohs and Aahs could be heard from the spectating class as they rose their voices in astonishment.
“Nice shot, sensei!”
“You got that right!”
Glen and Sistina exchanged a high five. ‘How do you like that’ Gibel’s intent stare towards Riel seemed to say, his breaths ragged. Riel blinked blankly. It appeared that she hadn’t once thought that her spikes would be stopped.
“You too, Gibel. Nice play.”
Glen gaves a thumbs up towards the instigator of the play.
“…Hmpf, to think that it would take this much effort to finally get a single point…”
Gibel said as he turned his head away and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
“Well, here comes the next one. Let’s get ready.”
In response to Gibel’s attitude, Glen and Sistina showed strained smiles.
Then, Cashew served the ball, which arc toward’s Glen’s side of the court…
…After the match.
Gibel crouched a short distance away from the court, his body drenched with sweat and covered in sand. As he hadn’t changed into his swimsuit, his overall appearance was rather awful.
Unexpectedly however, Gibel didn’t seem bothered in the least.
Another match had begun, and the class’ attention were glued to it.
Away from the rustle and bustle, Gibel quietly caught his breath…
Feeling a presence, Gibel turned his head upwards.
His eyes met with Riel.
“…What do you want?” he asked bluntly.
“You were good. It was a nice play—” Riel murmured.
Her expression was the same as ever as she offered Gibel a cup of refreshments.
Gibel silently gazed at the cup.
If this had been yesterday, then he would have slapped the cup out of her hand without a second thought.
Although the eccentric transfer student reeked of amateurism, her ability as a magician towered far above his own. In his eyes, she was an enemy. From the moment he witnessed her high-speed synthesis, he recognized that his abilities could not even compare to hers. He was frustrated. He could not bring himself to accept it.
But well… perhaps I had let the heat of the moment affect my judgment.
Bearing that thought in mind, Gibel meekly accepted the cup and grumbled.
“Hmpf… I won’t lose to you… You may have won this time, but one of these day…”
“…Mm, I see.”
A breeze swept through the beach, leaving a soothing sensation on the skin that had been exposed to the warm sunlight.
That day, the class played to their heart’s’ content.
After leaving the coast, the group visited the tourist district.
Then, when sunset approached, everyone noisily gathered together by the beach for a barbecue.
The fun times flew by like an arrow.
Late at night, past bedtime for most; the sky dark.
Most of the students, having played throughout the day, had already retired for the night.
“Ugh well… I just want to go out and relax for a little bit… No one will mind.”
Glen ventured towards the tourist district, murmuring to no one in particular.
The streets were illuminated by oil-fueled lamps and were no dimmer than it had been during the evening. Although not much compared to the gas lamps that were the craze amongst the technologically savvy members of the upper class, the luminance provided by the oil-fueled lamps was already quite substantial.
The shaking yet dazzling lights of the countless orange flames casted shadows intermittently throughout the street, which mimicked the shaking of its source. The earthen walls of the architecture and the roadside trees exuded an exotic ambiance.
Although incomparable to the tides of people earlier in the day, the people who had come to enjoy the nightlife continued the festive mood of the tourist district. If it was already this boisterous during the off-season, it was hard to imagine what it would be like during the prime time.
The streets were packed with open-cafes and bars, each of which were filled with tables and customers. Every customer had drinks and food at hand, talking away the night with those whom they were acquainted, as well as those they had just met.
Amongst the many public enterprises were individually-run food stalls which had settled themselves in the spaces between the storefronts. As modest as it seemed, it did not lose to the enterprises in the slightest. It offered fried potato, various skewers, smoked sausage, freshly made seafood soup, shrimp fritter, hot wine and many other inexpensive delicacies which made people instinctively reach out their hands, selling incessantly to anyone passing by.
The booming business was not limited to just restaurants. Some stores exotic-looking clothes, others sold strange accessories and wooden carvings. There were also some slightly dubious street vendors that set up stalls beneath eaves that drew customers with vigor and spirit; speaking and selling to potential customers who stopped to view their rare goods.
Glen bore no interest towards the bustle of the streets, heading straight towards the outskirts of town.
Eventually, the pavement beneath his feet had become the white sands of the coast.
There was not a soul around, only the beating of the waves and the scent of the sea.
The waves surged and receded without end. The bubbles that formed on the wet white sands that glowed pale blue under the night sky were like pearls being washed ashore.
The sea and horizon were tinted dark blue. The crescent moon shined silvery white in the night sky.
The intervals of the waves that refracted the beams of moonlight glistened like diamonds. The perfect scenery for an eventful day.
“…Hah—Man… I’m really fried…”
Glen sat down beneath an adjacent tree and opened the cap of the palm-sized bottle of brandy that he had bought at a stall on the way here; downing his evening drink little by little. What lay before him would be the pairing for his drink, and he was perhaps starting to feel a little drunk from the sights. He would sleep with peace of mind — That was the reason for his outing tonight.
Although Glen was not type to enjoy sightseeing as a pastime, but he felt that it would have been a loss of a lifetime had he not viewed the scenery that now laid before his eyes…
He continued to take short sips from his drink.
As if valuing what was left of his drink and of the moment, Glen drank enough at a time to moisten his lips whilst reflecting on the events of the trip thus far; his gaze never leaving the scenery.
Then after what seemed like an inordinate amount of time—
He noticed the presence of others.
Even an absolute homebody like himself had gone out of his way to come here. It wouldn’t be strange for others to also be here.
However, the problem was—
“Come on Sisti, hurry up!”
“Hey Lumia… I’m um… not too sure about this…”
The distant voices were somewhat familiar.
“It’ll be fine as long as we head back soon. That aside, let’s hurry towards the sea. I’m sure it’ll be beautiful.”
“We’ve already had all day to look at the sea haven’t we? …Ah, geez, you really are mmpf~!”
All was as he had suspected.
The figures that appeared on the beach were Lumia and Sistina. Also…
“…What are we doing here?”
Riel followed closely behind the two like a baby bird.
“Fufu, I wanted us to see the nighttime sea. The moon is really clear today, so I was sure that it would be super beautiful.”
“…I see. I don’t get it though.”
The three hadn’t noticed Glen, who was concealed in the shadow of the tree where he sat.
Standing on the waterfront, Lumia and Sistina were overwhelmed by the grandeur, seemingly fantastical sight of the nighttime scenery.
“It’s so pretty…”
“…Mhm… I would’ve never imagined that the sea on a moonlit night would be this pretty…”
The gentle tidal breeze shook the girl’s hair and the hem of their clothes.
“Hey Sisti, it’s a good thing we came, isn’t it?”
“…Um, t-, that’s, well… You’re not wrong… but this and that are different, Lumia! To sneak out of our rooms to come to the sea is just a little…”
Lumia warmly smiled towards Sistina, who seemed slightly disturbed.
“Ahaha, in the end didn’t you come with me anyways? Be honest, you really did want to come didn’t you?”
It seems that Lumia had hit the bullseye. Sistina couldn’t muster any reply.
Having not even tried to stop Lumia and following her all the way here meant that she too was guilty.
“Alright, I’ll admit it. Hah… Well, we’ve already broke the rules and come all the way here, it’d be a shame to not enjoy it…”
“Mhm, that’s right.”
“Geez… For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always been more mischievous than your looks suggest…”
“Fufu, sorry about that Sisti.”
Lumia playfully smiled.
“But still, it really is beautiful no matter how long I look. I wish Wendy and Rin would be here to see it…”
“Well, it couldn’t be helped I suppose, those two seemed to be really sleepy anyway…”
Then, the two resumed to have their hearts captured by the view.
The two seemed to remember that Riel, who hadn’t said anything until now, was here with them.
Feeling uneasy, Lumia turned around to whether or not she was still there.
Those worries were quickly eased, as she saw Riel standing there, her expression the same as ever.
“…How do you like it? Bored… or perhaps not?”
Lumia asked nervously, but she didn’t receive a reply. She merely stayed silent.
Lumia began to feel uneasy again at Riel’s cold-shoulder, but then—
“…Not… at all.” Riel murmured.
Riel voiced an unexpected reply.
“This is… the first time I’ve seen something like this… What is this feeling…? I don’t, really get it…” She said, seemingly lost.
She looked for the words to voice her feelings.
Desperately, word by word, she spun her sentence.
“…I don’t get tired… of looking.”
Lumia took a closer look at Riel’s expression, which was illuminated by the moonlight. She found that Riel’s usually half-closed, drowsy eyes were opened wide and clear, her gaze focused with great intensity on the boundless nighttime sea.
Seeing Riel’s expression, Lumia finally let her tensions loose. With an affectionate smile, she then said.
“I think I’m very blessed to have met you Riel.”
“…Blessed? To have met me? …Why?”
Riel gaze seemed to shake in slight disbelief.
“Mm, I don’t really know why either, but it’s not something that can be explained with logic I guess…”
Although somewhat anxious, Lumia’s smile never wavered.
“I’m very happy to have you as my friend.”
Riel seemed to go rigid, having been caught off guard.
“Yup. That’s right. Ah, of course Sisti is as well.”
“Hey, Lumia… Did you really just mention me offhandedly like that?”
Lumia stuck out her tongue a little, whilst Sistina sighed lightly in disbelief.
Riel casted sidelong glances towards the two.
“…Friends… I don’t really get it.”
She paused for a brief moment.
“…But I don’t dislike it.”
She murmured, her expression as placid as ever. Her gaze returned to the sea.
Lumia smiled brightened at Riel’s bluntness.
Then, with some idea in mind, she began to remove her shoes and socks.
“…Lumia? What are you…”
Ignoring Sistina’s question, Lumia paced into the sea.
“Wait, I said wait Lumia! What are you doing!?”
Only when her slender feet already submerged in the sea did she turn around to face Sistina, her arms drifting in a large arc with her movement.
The golden tendrils of her hair and the hem of her clothes floated lightly in the wind.
With her back towards the starry sky, the girl smiled innocently as she stood in the sea whose surface reflected the moon.
It was a scene so full of sanctity and mystique that it seemed hard to intrude upon—
“Fufu, the water feels great…”
“H-, Hey Lumia! Come back! Your clothes are getting wet aren’t they!?”
“It’s okay Sisti, I brought a change of clothes anyway.”
“T-, That’s not the problem…”
How do I convince her? In Sistina’s moment of hesitation—
A spray of shining silvery water flew through the air.
Sistina let out a cry as water rained down upon her.
Through the cold sensation, Sistina immediately realized that it was seawater.
Lumia had splashed the water by her feet at Sistina.
The culprit looked at Sistina with a mischievous smile.
“N-, Now you’ve done it! I hope you’re ready for this!”
Annoyed, Sistina kicked off her shoes and flung her socks aside.
Then, after some hesitation at the water’s edge, she stepped into the water as if casting away her doubts—
Sistina began to splash water at Lumia. More so than angry, her expression seemed happy and lively.
Riel, having witnessed the interaction between the two, looked on in puzzlement.
Noticing that, Lumia called out to her.
“Come on Riel, come play with us?”
“…Play? I don’t really get it… but I just need to splash the water?”
Then, Riel, without any hesitation or constraint, stepped into sea with her shoes and socks still on.
She wildly kicked water in Lumia and Sistina’s direction.
Riel’s utilized the raw strength that allowed her to swing a greatsword like a twig – unimaginable from her slender limbs – and let forth a surge of water.
Water flowed down Sistina’s head, as if a bucket of water had been poured directly on top of her.
“K-, Kuuuuuu…. Y-, You…!”
In just a brief moment, Sistina had become soaked from head to toe, much more so than Lumia. Sistina’s shoulders and fists trembled vigorously…
Riel stared blankly at Sistina, whilst Lumia curled and held her stomach in her arms, unable to hold back her laughter.
…After that, the girls immersed themselves in their little game of water splashing.
The occasional yelp or scream.
The incessant sounds of splashing water.
It was like the playtime of pups and kittens, boisterous yet inviting a smile. Such was the spectacle of the playing girls.
The shining beads of water jumped through the air.
As if they were dancing amidst the waves…
“…Geez, what a hopeless bunch.”
Glen had his back against the tree, his legs stretch across the floor where he sat. He gazed absentmindedly at the scenery.
Suddenly, he raised his hands with both thumbs and index fingers in a ‘v’ shape, and but his hands together in front of his eyes so that they formed a rectangular window.
On the other side of the window was the three girls playing.
“…A perfect composition”
His lips slackened and he moved both hands behind his head, and leaned his head back to face the sky.
His gaze was met with a dark expanse illuminated by the stars that shined like silver.
“…I wish I brought my camera now…”
A camera was a device would burn the image seen through a set of lens onto a board covered with a special silver reagent. Using light-control magic and a few tricks, even a dark scene like this could be captured.
Well, I can’t really capture this scene well with how much those girls are moving around, and it’s not like I had the space or energy to spare to carry around that bulky box.
But even so, I want to capture this moment in some physical form and treasure it well.
—Those were his honest thoughts that had been evoked by the scene.
I do kinda feel guilty about about peeping… But well, each and every day of this trip will be hard work after more hard work, so I guess it’s okay to consider this a side benefit of the job.
Having selfishly arrived at such a conclusion, he picked up the brandy bottle he had set aside and began to take short sips from it once again.
…This really is a little odd. I couldn’t even be bothered to remember the name of this cheap ass brandy, but in this moment it goes down as smoothly as quality wine.
Until the drenched girls finally had their fill of playing around—
Glen, with minor drunkenness, decided that he would continue to watch the scene.
Glen came to his senses, waking up to the sound of waves rolling in and out. .
He quickly inspected his surroundings, his mind groggy from sleep.
There was no sign of anyone else at the shore. His back was against the tree.
“…Ah, I ended up falling asleep…”
Unlike the empire’s mainland, which was constantly under the cooling effects atmospheric winds that flowed from the eternally snowy mountain range to the northeast, Saineria Island had warm air currents in its immediate vicinity as well as ley lines that passed through the island itself, so it was quite warm even in the nighttime. The warmth had perhaps been too comfortable, and he had fallen into a deep sleep.
“Oh dear, what’s the matter with me today…”
He could only admit that he had been too careless. It had only been a small amount, but the alcohol had definitely taken its toll.
If he had done such a thing in Fejiti, his body would be shivering uncontrollably from the cold.
“Oh shit, it’s already this late? Ugh… Can I even get into the inn at this time? I’d rather not sleep outside…”
After confirming the time on his pocket watch, Glen hurriedly stood up and paced with hurried steps.
It already fell past midnight.
The boisterous streets earlier were now dead silent.
The shining lights were now sparse and dim.
The only sounds that could be heard were those of insects.
Glen fervently rushed down the path leading to the inn.
Noticing someone on the path, Glen came to a halt.
Glen focused his gaze on the figure in front
They weren’t hiding their presence, nor did they seem to have any hostile intent, so they didn’t appear to be dangerous, but… it was unnatural for someone to be here at this time of the night. Although such an evaluation seemed rather hypocritical, Glen tried his best to play dumb.
Glen remained cautious as the figure approached.
Finally, the figure that emerged from the darkness was…
It was Riel, her expression drowsy and no different than usual.
“What are you doing here?”
Riel stopped several steps from Glen and said.
“You weren’t in your room so I was looking for you.”
“No… My room is in an the other annex isn’t it? How did you…”
“I snuck in. Infiltration is my forte.”
Liar. You’re not good at infiltration, you’re good at breaking in, assault, and stuff like that.
As much as he wanted to say that, Glen instead inquired calmly.
“…My room was locked right? If you don’t get a reply, won’t you normally think that I was sleeping? How did you confirm that I wasn’t in my room?”
“…Mhm, it was locked. That’s why I cut the door apart.”
“Hah… I see.”
There goes my wages again.
Glen held back his tears, and pretended to be calm as he walked past Riel.
Riel, like a duckling following its mother, followed closely behind.
“What about Lumia and Sistina?”
“Geez, didn’t I tell you to always stick with Lumia? You’re a bodyguard remember?”
“I know… but I wanted to meet Glen.”
Riel’s murmurs were as inexpressive as ever and the same could be said about her drowsy faced expression. No charm or interest could be derived from her voice.
However, Glen could only sigh to himself. Even if it was Riel, he couldn’t bring himself to get angry after hearing that.
Normally, this was an extremely concerning situation, as she had sidelined her task as a bodyguard to go do something else. Leaving her protectee was something she should never ever do.
However, now that he knew that there was a true bodyguard – Albert – he didn’t have to treat this mishap quite as seriously. Even now, Albert was definitely hiding somewhere on the island, protecting Lumia from afar.
Everything will be fine as long as he’s here. That was how comforting Albert’s presence was.
Well, there’s shouldn’t be any problems as long as we head back quickly.
“Let’s get going.”
The two began walking back.
Under the silver light of the brilliant moon in the starry skies, the two’s shadows followed one after another.
He himself thought that this was a tasteless question.
But still, he turned his head and shoulders towards Riel, and looking over his shoulder, he asked.
Riel tilted her head slightly in confusion.
“Sorry. Let me fix that a little. Lumia, Sistina, the rest of the class… Are you having fun being with them, playing with them?”
Riel walked silently for several steps, before murmuring.
“… I don’t, really get it.”
Her expression was unfazed. There was no color to her expression, it remained transparent, emotionless… But there was a hint of anxiety, confusion…
“Do you feel anything when you’re with them? Does anything come to mind when you’re together?”
“I don’t know what expectations you have for me, but…”
As if choosing her words carefully, searching for her thoughts and feelings, she fell silent once again.
“…Just a little… I want to be with those two… with everyone, just a little longer… That’s what I think.”
Hearing that, Glen’s lips curled into a smile.
“I’m sure that’s what it feels like to have fun. Hold it close alright?”
“…I don’t really get it.”
Well, it’s too soon for her to understand it, her mind is even more childlike than her looks after all. She might look like a baby-faced fifteen year old give or take… but for various reasons her mental age isn’t quite there.
However, if she can come to understand the complexities of the human heart little by little…
Then perhaps even Riel, whose head is barely afloat above the dark side of the magic realm, might be saved. Maybe she can lead a brighter, more upstanding life.
“Hey Riel… Now that you have the chance… Would you like to leave the Imperial Court Magicians and start anew?” Glen suddenly suggested.
“Well, it might a messy process, but Serika and I will do something about it. For example, you could enroll in the magic academy as a genuine student instead of a bodyguard. That way, you can be with Lumia, Sistina… You can be with them for however long you want.”
Riel’s expression appeared to be shaken just a little bit…
“You don’t need to involve yourself in such a bloodied, strifeful realm any longer. I’m sure your brother wouldn’t… that person wouldn’t… wish for that either.”
“That guy…? Who do you mean?”
“No, sorry. Just a slip of the tongue, don’t mind it.”
Uninterested, Riel didn’t inquire about it further.
“Anyway, the reason why you’re an Imperial Court Magician is because you defected from that organization and then went with the flow right? You have no duty or obligation to be battlemage any longer. Isn’t it about time to rid yourself of that and lead a normal life as a student? I’m sure those two would be happy as well.”
Hearing that, Riel’s steps came to a halt.
Noticing that, Glen stopped and turned around towards Riel.
“I… can’t do that.”
Riel quietly murmured. Her expression was the same as always – sleepy, expressionless.
“…B-, But why?” Glen returned, a hint of disappointment in his voice.
“I… have to keep on fighting… for you.”
“Yes… I’ve decided… that I would live for you …”
Usually, such a saying would be a honeyed phrase. For you. There was no man who wouldn’t be happy hearing that, even it had been from a young girl like Riel.
However, Riel was…
Hearing this from Riel at this moment left an overpowering sense of off-putting dissonance.
I have to keep fighting for you. I would live for you.
Glen could only attribute this feeling to ‘danger’.
“For me… but I’ve already…”
Quit the Imperial Court Magicians.
As if shoving these words down his throat, Riel continued with a strong heft behind her words that was unbefitting of her.
“That’s why Glen, come back. If you’re not here… I… what do I have to live for…? What do I have to fight for…? I don’t know…”
Riel turned her gaze away… her voice extinguishing with each passing word.
Her expression was no different, but her figure gave the impression of a duckling that had lost its mother.
“One year ago… I left the Imperial Court Magicians without saying a word to you or Albert. I apologize for that. There are no excuses for what I did, after all, I selfishly decided to abandon my comrades who were fighting with their lives on the line and ran… I’m the worst kind of human trash.”
With an expression filled with bitterness and distress, Glen blandly continued.
“I have no right to say this and I have no right to criticize you for wanting me to come back. However, this is something I have to say. You… don’t want us to fight side by side again, and of course you don’t have any special affection for me, you just…”
Then, he abruptly stopped, hesitating to continue…
“You just want to use me as a replacement for your deceased brother.”
Gathering his resolve, Glen finally let these words loose.
Riel’s shoulders jumped for an instant.
“When you were still involved in that organization… you fought to protect your brother, didn’t you? But in the end, you failed. That’s why ‘this time’ you will succeed… with me in place of your brother. This doesn’t serve your will or wishes, only your obsession with your past, your delusions and habits.”
“To start with, you said that to protect me, you want to be involved in a world that’s filled with danger…? Such a thought is fundamentally wrong. Aren’t you putting the cart before the horse?”
“So it’s time to stop your twisted way of living. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but your brother won’t wish for that. I’m sure that your brother and… No, your brother… wished for you to lead a life full of happiness.”
“It’s probably not too late to step away. There’s no need for you to keep living in a world involving that sort of magic. If you can lead a upstanding life with those guys then… So…”
“…I don’t get it.”
“I don’t get it… I don’t get it.”
Her shoulder trembling, her fists tightly clenched…
“…I don’t get it… I don’t get it at all, Glen!”
Riel was agitated like never before.
Shit. By the time Glen could clench his teeth, it was already too late.
What he said to Riel just now… must’ve triggered something within Riel.
“I don’t understand anything about what you’re saying, Glen! Why not!? Why can’t you!? What’s wrong with me wanting to fight to protect you!? Why… why aren’t you willing to be with me!? Why Glen!? If you aren’t here… I… I—!”
Her expressionless face twisted in rage, grief, and insecurity, her thoughts and feelings flooded out of her mind towards Glen—
Glen, while surprised… felt a deep sense of regret.
…It goes this deep? Her hearts and mind were already this twisted…?
In the year Glen had not been there to replace her brother, Riel’s had likely been undergoing inner turmoil. The gloom that had built up over all this time within was now explosively surging forth in the form of unadulterated words.
…I was… too naïve.
The feelings Riel bore towards Glen were not of faith nor goodwill.
They were a fixation of her own existence and an over dependence of others.
However, those feelings mustn’t be viewed as a weakness to be ridiculed, for if they weren’t in place then Riel, who had naught but the memories of her time where that organization had taken anything and everything from her, would be unable to affirm her own existence.
Glen was at a standstill, not knowing what to say to Riel in her current state—
“…Could it be, that it’s them? It’s their fault?”
“Lumia, Sistina… is it because of them…? Are they why you can’t come back…? It’s because of the academy… that Glen can’t…?”
Her thoughts veered in the worst direction—
“Did they… take Glen from me?”
“Wait! How did you get to that conclusion!?”
Glen, unable to ignore what Riel had said, hurriedly cried out.
The good intentions behind his earlier suggestion had now flipped on its head. He couldn’t help but lose his bearings, as unsightly as it was.
However, it was all too late.
“Shut up shut up shut up-!”
Riel vigorously shook his head, rejecting Glen’s words.
“I… I hate them… I hate them all!”
Screaming that, Riel ran away with frightening speed.
Glen stretch his hand out towards her, but her figure soon disappeared from sight.
She had not run in the direction of town. It seemed that she had no intention of returning to the lodgings tonight.
Glen stood there in a daze, his hand outstretched, unable to give chase.
Riel really is… a lot like myself, when I lost my goal to be a magician of justice, when I could only face magic with nothing but despair. We both relied on one thing to keep us afloat. In her case those… the problem goes a lot deeper.
“…A magician of justice, huh.”
The fairy tale hero that used magic to punish the evil demon king and bringing happiness to all the people. The most powerful magician that existed in the tale ‘The Magician of Melgarius.”
He had once wished to be that kind of ‘magician’… To be like the ‘magician’ in the fairy tale who brought salvation to all and would never allow sadness nor strife. Looking up to such a grand figure, he vigorously studied magic, believing that he would become like that one day. Then he became an Imperial Court Magician…
However, what Glen found there was the bloodied and woeful ‘reality’ of magic… No matter how hard he worked, no matter how desperately he outstretched his arm, there were those he could not grasp, there were those he could not save… Such was boundlessly cruel, yet natural ‘truth’.
There was no ‘Magician of Justice’.
“It never goes as planned… huh…” He murmured quietly.
Glen’s shoulders dropped as he released a long sigh.
 Illustration really doesn’t make sense, considering the actual scene, but it’s where it is in the book, so…
 Japan uses a separate term and it is clearer that the type of camera Glen is referring to is a Victorian style, box-shaped camera. More specifically a Dagguerotype Camera. English refers to both as just ‘camera’. The same term is featured in volume 2 when the portrait in Lumia’s locket is mentioned.
 Glen’s choice of wording strongly says to ‘clean herself’ of the Imperial Court Magicians, but it doesn’t translate well.