Splash.

Ah, refreshing.

Just behind magic, swimming might just be my new favorite activity. Can't deny it. It's good for stress relief, while still getting a good workout. You get to work out all your muscles, get a cool feeling of water on your body, and train your lungs simultaneously. Being a mage, as well as a swordsman, all these aspects are attractive to me.

As well as attractiveness you know~ I hear swimming is good for your skin.

Hey, it would be a waste to not use up all these good genes I got from my parents.

Splash.

That and boredom, now that I have to give Roxy and Sylphy their couple hours of magic 101.

Yeah, had her name wrong the whole time.

Her name is Sylphy. Short for Sylphiette not Slyphy. My mistake. I feel I should apologize to her, but it's not like she can hear what's in my head, soooo… no harm no foul?

Splash.

One more lap to go. Just a bit more…

At the moment, besides the fact that swimming is liberating, I'm letting Roxy and Sylphy have their moment together. It took a little convincing, but I was able to convince Roxy to stay a little longer just to meet her, and give little Sylphiette a few magic tips.

They've been pretty close since.

I think they both look at each other as the sister they never had.

Or perhaps that is just me being optimistic as I look at them from far away?

After the initial confusion of having an injured girl in your house wear out, Paul got Sylphy on his horse after Zenith was done checking her over and took her safely back to her home. Luckily this village is small and everyone knows each other. It's not that difficult to find her home.

Unless you're a shut-in like me, but I'm working on that.

Taking advantage of the situation, I got Roxy alone, and asked her the favor.

…it was tricky, but it all worked out.

Thankfully, Roxy sensei has a good heart. She is a little afraid of showing it, and I had to make a few concessions, but I've gotten a good enough read on her that I know how to push her buttons.

Besides… Sylphy is adorable, how can you say no to that sleeping injured face.

I might have played dirty.

Just to be extra sure; I told her about Sylphy and her circumstances.

Like I said, a sweetheart.

Sometimes sensei just needs a little push.

Then again don't we all.

Splash.

Done!

"Uwaa! So much better!" I ran a hand through my wet hair. "I feel so much lighter," I step out of the water, drying myself off, and change clothes.

Done with my morning routine, I decided it was time to see where those two are in their lessons.

/

Ah, their lesson is over…

Finally reaching the open field I was a little late to the party as the town's favorite, mine at least, resident green and blue haired duo had just finished their lesson.

It's really easy to find them thanks to their hair color.

"Ranoa's university doesn't require high social standing or pride. Even if you have some crazy theories, you will not be rejected as long as the logic is correct. Also, due to the acceptance of various races, there is also research done on magic unique to specific races. If Slyphiette wants to start on the road of magic, I would suggest entering the magic university."

Their lessons were over, and Roxy was recounting tales of her past again.

"Really?! Various races?!" Sylphy questioned, ears twitching. An unconscious habit I noticed she does when she's happy or excited. It's cute. On that note, they also droop when sad. Also cute.

They've gotten closer.

The deal's specifics were that I would like for Sensei to teach Sylphy magic for a bit, and to talk to her. Not a full blown tutelage like me, as that would be asking too much, and I don't think I could convince her to hold back her life just for me, but I was still able to get her to agree, and hence get closer with her.

That's what I'm mostly interested in.

I won't tell Roxy that though.

She was skeptical if Sylphiette would even have the talent for magic. She was pleasantly surprised.

I later convinced her that regardless of whether she has a talent or not I will compensate her as a favor, and would pay everything back, and well… the results are this.

Looking at them from afar you wouldn't think they've only known each other a few weeks.

"Really. Slyphiette would make a fine addition to Ranoa," Roxy told her.

Sylphy just stares at the horizon, at the Red Dragon mountain range, with a wide smile on her face.

It was worth it.

"I see you guys are done for the day?" I walked up to them. Waving, I intruded on their little playdate. Roxy waving back in turn.

"Rudy, you're done swimming?" Roxy asked.

"Yeah, lessons going well?"

"Very much so, she patted Sylphy's head, bringing a small blush out of this pure girl. "I would even say her talent in magic might even trump Rudy's."

Oy, that's a tall order, I'm quite talented as is… but I can see it.

As expected, Sylphy's taken to her lessons like a fish to water.

Will you look at that, so cute~

…but she isn't kidding… that girl is taking to magic at an insane rate, and that's saying something considering I'm quite insane myself.

Rhetorically I mean.

I was hoping the lessons could take longer so she would deepen her bond with Roxy more, being a good friend, and making a happy memory for her childhood. A recompense for my earlier transgressions.

But she really is talented.

So this is the difference between talent and knowledge, huh.

"Is that so, what does my cute underclassmen have to say, huh?" I ask Sylphy.

She hides her face in Roxy's arm hiding away from me, her blush reaching her ears.

Kya! I raised a flag! Loli get!

Just kidding.

I won't be raising any flags with her anytime soon, after all… I'm terrifying…

Apparently…

Yeah… that's the main reason I had to make myself scarce during their little lessons. Despite my best intentions I'm… well… I'm 'scary.' Her words not mine.

My head hurts, but not as much as my heart… innocence hurts…

"Rudy, what did I say about making that face?"

How rude! I only have this face you know.

"...I'm sorry," I apologized regardless.

Apparently, I have a scary face… at least to Sylphy.

I'd ask her why, but… I kind of have an idea why.

In any case It's hard to speak to her, from her side at least, but It's gotten easier lately. That said, she's still keeping her distance. When I asked Roxy what Sylphy told her about me that made me so scary, she said…

'I saw Rudy blow up trees,' 'I saw Rudy laughing maniacally,' 'saw Rudy chasing sensei' 'Rudy made lightning.' 'talking to himself in the forest…'.

…and other things along those lines… I really didn't make a good impression.

My deepest apologies.

I take a look at her snuggled against Roxy's arm.

Well, it wasn't about me in the first place so it's fine.

Turns out the situation really was as simple to fix as a conversation. All she really wanted was someone to talk to. While Sylphy was working up the courage to talk with Roxy sensei, when she heard the rumors of a Blue haired demon. She came to greet her. I can only guess what was going through her mind, but I think she found some sense of camaraderie coming from Roxy, as a fellow colored haired girl, with a demon nickname.

Well it's her species, but I doubted she knew that.

The problem was I was there though.

For a socially awkward child, me and my wild antics are a bit much. Hell, I might be a little too much for your average person, let alone someone so shy.

And the one time she did talk to me I… well… enough said.

"I-It's alright, I know Rudy doesn't mean to be scary," Sylphy said from beside Roxy.

Ouch, innocence hurts.

"...Is my face really scary?"

I really hope not.

"N-no no, Rudy is handsome. I'm just not used to your face being so close," she blushes, turning her head away.

I'm not sure if that's a flag, or if she's just trying to raise my morale, regardless it worked.

My mood is better!

"He he, right~ I'm so handsome it's scary."

"So easy…" Roxy whispered.

I don't want to hear that from you!

With their lessons concluded, sensei and I, walked Sylphy home before going out to the open field from the final exam, and continued working on that Cumulonimbus spell.

My parents don't know about me and Roxy's deal, so we're using the timeframe in which Sylphy learns the basics, to perfect the Cumulonimbus spell, bit by bit. Needless to say, I'm trying to get it to feed into itself like it's supposed to.

I accidentally made a tornado the other day. It's a good thing sensei is right next to me.

"Destroy and wash everything away! Cumulonimbus!" Skipping the useless chant, I have already familiarized myself with the spell, and so jumped straight into incantation.

It lasted an hour, without my input. Cool the atmosphere then funnel the air current.

"…a spiral tornado will bring the clouds upwards," Roxy said as she looked at the sky, before smiling upon me. A happy smile this time unlike the others. "Congratulations once more Rudy."

"Yes!" I pumped my fist to the sky.

Poses are cool.

Finally, with a little more effort, a few more struggles, and more time than I expected I became a Saint class mage.

"...how long are you going to hold that pose for?" Sensei said, walking away Sylphy on her coattails, literally. "We're going home."

"Couldn't you let me have my moment?!"

"You've had it the moment you casted this spell! Now you're just showing off!"

"Aaaahhh! And to think I was going to miss you!"

"I'll miss you too!" She yelled, before noticing what she said, her eyes growing wide, before covering them with her hood and turning away.

"Eh? Did you just-"

"L-let's go idiot disciple. You'll make your parents worry." She walked a little bit more briskly as she made for my house.

"..."

It looks like we both caught the other a little off guard, but… yeah…

"I'm going to miss these days," I whispered to myself, before following her and sharing a meal, Sylphy included.

It won't be everyday that we can share the fun between all of us.

/

Unfortunately all things must come to an end.

Slylphy's prodigious talent has finally come to bite her. I could only hold onto Roxy sensei for so long, and after succeeding with my own teachings, it was only a matter of time before she finished the basics.

We had to say our goodbyes.

"Roxy, it's fine if you want to continue staying in our home. There are many things I haven't cooked for you…" Zenith said.

"That's right. Even if your job as a home tutor is over, you have done many things for us last year. The people from the village will definitely welcome you." Paul seconded.

"Does sensei really have to leave…" Sylphiette's gentle voice carried in the wind, as she gently tugged at Roxy's sleeve.

Outside my house, by the dirt road everyone is saying their goodbyes. Roxy is popular with everyone in my house, and they're trying to keep her, if only a little longer.

Fools! That's not how you bribe her. At least offer her sweets everyday. And a surfboard!

But in all seriousness, we can't keep her here. She had to go sooner or later. I should just be thankful she took up my deal in the first place.

Bending down, Roxy gets on a knee so she could look at Sylphy at her eye level. "It's alright this isn't forever. I still have to show you that university. We'll definitely meet again."

"Besides…" she whispered something I was unable to hear into her ear.

Sylphy looks at me then back at sensei, and nods her head profusely.

"I'll write to you soon. Look forward to it," she stands back up.

"Thank you for your offers Mr and Mrs Greyrat, but this situation has let me realize my weakness. I will tour the world and polish up my magic skills." She then looks at me and Sylphy. "I can't have my students getting too far ahead of me now, can I?"

"Rudy," she turns to me. "It most certainly has been… an experience. Regardless, I'm glad you were my student. Don't do anything reckless now that I'm not here. Keep Sylphiette company. And try not to drive your parents crazy."

"Ah, sure?"

With a tired smile, "You are definitely unique Rudy," she… complimented me?

"Thank you?"

Taking something from her satchel she grabs my hand, before dropping an amulet on it.

I looked at it quizzically.

"It's a Migurd protection amulet. If you ever come across a hostile demon, you can present this with my name. You might come to an understanding… probably."

That's vague, but probably, is better than nothing. "Thank you very much."

"Here…" She hands me a piece of paper to go along with it. Moving her head close to my ear she whispers, "read this in private," before standing, giving me one last look, and one last smile, before turning away, and walking down the road she came.

And just like that… she was gone.

Now I'm simply wondering if I'll ever see her again.

On one hand, being next to her, I risk falling for her, and consequently dying because of it. On the other hand, I could never see her again and guarantee my safety.

I have to admit, despite the fact that her literal existence is a death flag, but… I really enjoyed her company, and as such, I can't deny the possibility of falling for her isn't zero.

I took a peek at Sylphy, by my side, and then in turn turned to look at the household in which my family is in.

I can't do that.

I remember Sylphy's unconscious form. Bleeding at the edge of the road…

I don't want to go back to treating people like characters from a story I read.

I want to be true to myself, and as such I don't want to make a decision based on a hypothetical, or what could be. I don't want to go back to treating people as writing on a sheet of paper, and acting based on information I got from fiction.

The disingenuous nature of it all… it disgusts me.

I am aware of the Butterfly effect, and things are bound to happen. I've had to come to terms with that. I lived in this world long enough to know, not everything will work out as it's supposed to. I can't control that. But I can control myself.

I want to treat people, the way I want to. Not because it's the 'right' thing to do. Not because it's in a script. Not because it's a calculated decision towards a grand future, but because it's what I want to do.

I want a friend. I want the people around me to be in good health. I want to be true.

If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

And If I could... I would like to meet her again... someday.

I stayed there for a long moment, just watching, until her figure diminished, and I couldn't see her any more.

If Sylphy didn't have to go home, I'm sure she would have stayed there 'till dusk. Paul took her by the hand, and took her home.

"Come along Rudy," Zenith beckons me home. Simply me and Zenith, she grabs my hand, and leads me away as well. "You know… I once came from the Millis continent. If you had once told me I would be living in the northern continent, I would have said that's impossible. It's funny what life brings you." She squeezes my hand. "I'm sure you'll see her again."

"Mmn." I hummed. I know what she's doing, but I'm just lost in thought at the moment. Letting go of her hand I made for upstairs where I could lay down and think.

There were-NO ARE, many complications around us, but I can without a shadow of doubt say that at the least, she is my friend.

The funny thing about being reborn in a new world, is that everyone treats you, as you look, a child. Reasonable, but infuriating.

But around Roxy, it was simple, I could be myself. With my parents, that's an impossibility, no matter how 'genius,' your child is, there is a limit to how much you could believe. A divide needed to be made, before they realized something and because of that, I avoided them. I'd rather be alone and true, than around them and fake.

And then there was Roxy.

With Lilia I could be myself, even if she thinks there's something off, she accepts me for who I am regardless, but I can only hang around her for so much time of the day. I hate to admit it, despite this life being so peaceful, but… I'm lonely.

Then Roxy came in.

I know she knows some things off about me, and she knows I know she knows, but she's never said a thing.

I thank her.

Roxy is a quirky woman, a bit on the clumsy side, with a heart of gold. I enjoy our talks, I enjoy our experiments. It's fun when we're having successes. It's fun when we're having failures, especially the failures, but overall I'll just miss having her around.

She rescued me from my loneliness. She saw me for me, and never asked me to be someone else. She became my friend.

I'm going to miss her.

"Parting ways is always difficult isn't it?" I whispered as I closed the door to my room. Crashing onto the bed I now have the privacy needed to read the note Roxy went through the trouble of sneaking for me. "Pfft-" only to do a spit take immediately after.

As expected of Shishou.

The note she left me was a bill.

That's right we'll meet again. After all, I do owe her a lot…

In the sense that I owe her a lot of money.

"Pff-fhaha, gotta love that loli!" I yell out like a madman, tears of laughter escaping the corners of my eyes.

Tearful goodbyes sure don't suit us.

I imagine her flying through Asura, enjoying the view, and-

Wait a minute… the view…

Did I ever tell her about the panty flashing thing?

Getting lost in my own little world I sometimes forget about the little things.

"…I'll treat her to something sweet next time I see her."

/