Life goes on.
"Rudy~ let go," A voice calls to me, urging me to wake up.
"Mmmh, nooo…" I muttered as I enjoyed a good night's sleep.
It's just sooo comfortable.
I was currently enjoying a good night's sleep, enveloped in my pillows, and the last thing I want to do is wake up, but someone is trying to wake me up.
Hmmm. So nice, don't wanna wake up. Five more minutes.
"Don't wanna," I can't remember my dream, but I know it was a pleasant one. Maybe I can still catch it, if I go back to bed. I continue snuggling to my pillows, in an effort to catch it.
"Rudy, momma has to go to the clinic," someone pinches my cheek.
Blinking my blurry vision, I start to awaken to the small amount of pain on my cheek. My eyes start adjusting, as I struggle to awaken.
"And you have sylphy later," the voice said.
Grrr, why did you have to be the voice of reason?
I rub the side of my face with one hand where I was pinched.
I look up before me, and away from my 'pillows,' while one of my hands still laid on top of one of them. Zenith is looking down at me with a pout, as I have a hand on her chest.
Ah, I did it again.
I start removing my head from her chest. "Sorry," I muttered. Slowly getting off her, as my body hasn't caught up with the rest of me, and is still lethargic.
I'm a bit of a snuggler, as it turns out. Never had anyone to snuggle next to, so it was as much a surprise to me as it was to her. Luckily, Zenith as it turns out, is a bit of a snuggler as well, so this situation isn't as awkward as it could've been.
Well, it was a little awkward at first, but we both got used to it after the seventh, (eight?)time. So no harm no foul.
She rubs my hair. "Sleepy Rudy is so clingy, but it's time for me to get ready."
Getting off the bed we move over to our respective sides, and go through our morning routine. Moving over to the side, I start stretching my arms to the sky, and arching my back, giving my body a good stretch, before I go through with my day.
As comfortable a sleep as that was, Zenith was right we have stuff to do. So now that I'm losing my snuggle buddy, there's no reason to stay in this bed anymore.
It's been a month since I started sleeping here. What was supposed to be a one time thing turned into a two day thing, then three, then four… and finally four weeks.
"Hmmm, that's good," finishing my morning stretches, I turn around to check if Zenith has finished yet.
"Mom are yo-" I turn back around.
…she wasn't ready yet.
"Nothing, just hurry up please."
I'm still not thinking straight…
"You can't rush a lady Rudy." I heard behind me.
That's fine, but I'm cold, so you should be too with your lack of clothing. Ignore it.
Let's just get dressed before we get hypothermia.
Deciding I should probably make haste, seeing as Sylphy has been a little peeved that I've showed up late so many times.
My apologies, green fairy.
Am I a spoiled child?
Perhaps, but it's better than the alternative of being a pitiful adult.
In any case, both of us enjoy the warmth of another person during these cold nights, and have been doing this for a month now, so I don't see it stopping anytime soon.
"I still have two hours…" I looked out the window, noticing the sun isn't quite all the way up. It's still early.
"Can't we enjoy this bed a little longer? It's cold outside, and it's warm here."
Sorry green fairy.
"Well momma doesn't,"I hear her rummaging in the dresser, in search of something warmer.
Well, all good things must come to an end, I suppose.
Following suit, I get off the bed, and start searching the drawers on my side for something warm as well. Funny enough after the third week, we just decided to bring all my clothes in here, since it was too much trouble to keep going back and forth in my room to change clothes. Excluding our sleepwear, we're not really wearing much. I am wearing a light shirt, and underwear, while Zenith is wearing one of her lilac nightgowns. The only thing keeping us warm was the blanket and our bodies.
Giving myself a checkover, I make sure I am all warm and snuggly, is that a word? Whatever, I'm comfortable, and ready to see the day.
Yosh, I hope you appreciate me Sylphy. I'm sacrificing my precious beauty sleep, for you.
…although, I suppose she does the same for me.
I should gift her a pillow!
The mornings sure are cold.
Putting on my finishing touches, I put on my warmest jacket.
In the silence of the room I hear the sound of Zippers being pulled, and I can only assume she's finished.
"Can I turn around now?" I take a subtle look behind me. Catching Zenith… taking off her skirt, giving me a peak of something purple underneath. I see Zenith standing on one leg undoing her skirt, throwing something on a pile.
Upon hearing my question she turned around, still in the same poze, and noticing my stare, she gave me a look that silently communicated her intentions.
"Yeah, yeah. I know the drill," I turn back around. "You'd think we haven't gone through this before."
She sure likes that color.
"You'd think you'd stop peeking."
"I wasn't peeking. I thought you were done. Besides, why are you changing clothes again? I saw multiple skirts laying beside you. Why are you changing so much?"
Hence the reason I turned around. I thought I had her figured out by now. Usually she's done changing by now, and the sound of zippers indicate that she's modest, and I can turn around now. Not that she's undressing again.
Perfectly reasonable explanation…
"...n't fit…" she whispered something.
"It didn't fit…"
"Oh, I see… sorry, tell me when I can turn around. just give me the go ahead when it's all clear," I sit on the bed on standby, waiting for the diva behind me to be ready.
I'm not gonna address the issue about clothes not fitting. It seems to be a sore point for her.
"Alright, I'm ready," she says.
And so is she.
I turn around at her signal.
This isn't peeking.
Besides, as pleasant a sight as it might have been, to peek at her, I'm not gonna ruin a good thing for a few seconds of curiosity. Besides… I've already seen everything. Several years ago…
Being a reincarnate, I've seen a lot of things I probably shouldn't have.
Let's not tell her that.
Nah, I'll save it for later.
"Yosh, how do I look, Rudy?" she asked.
Apparently, mom doesn't own slacks, just skirts and dresses, that said she combats the cold by wearing very comfortable stockings, and thick layers.
She's wearing a thick dark red coat of her own, fur linen around the neck, and a very long dress, which I can only assume she's wearing something else underneath. Gloves, and other common attire, and through it all a noticeable baby bump on her midsection.
"Mmm! That's not what I meant… but thank you, I think?" She places a hand on her stomach, before smiling. "I'm starting to show…"
"Yep," I produced a mirror of ice, and showed it to her.
"Hmm…" she frowns. "It looks like I'm fat, rather than pregnant."
You do not.
I rolled my eyes, and snuck up behind her, hugging her, "you're absolutely glowing Mama," stealthily applying some mana behind her head with one hand, as my other hand held her.
"Rudy," she turns her head, looks at me and whispers. "You're using magic aren't you?"
Ah, she caught me.
I was using mana behind her head to give her a bit of a holy maiden look. The Holy Zenith!
Hey can't blame me for trying to brighten up her day.
"He he," I snapped my fingers and pointed finger guns in her direction, giving her a wink, "what can I say, Mama is absolutely glowing?"
Note to self; Invent drums/buy drums.
She rolls her eyes, and smiles, before pulling on my cheek. "So much cheek, for such a little mouth."
"Yoou'ree smillling sooo it's finnne," I struggle to say as my cheeks are pulled.
Getting free from her grip, we put on our jackets, and got ready for our day.
"I wonder if this is how people develop dimples?"
"Ha ha, I don't think it works that way Rudy."
"Really? How about yours? Did no one pull on your cheeks when you were growing up?"
"Ha, no. I was born in a proper noble household."
"Really? What a shame, they don't know what they're missing," I poke her cheek.
She smiles. "Honestly, what is your obsession with my cheeks?"
"Pfft, ha ha, alright sweetie."
"Also I'm a noble too right? You barbarian," I joked. "Ow."
She pinched me.
"Just a tad, try to keep yourself under control. You are talking to a proper lady," she smirked at me. "You peasant."
"Of course my lady," I bowed. "Anyways, how long are you going to be working for? I thought you needed to take a break for pregnancy?" I asked as we made our way down the stairs.
"Today's my last day. Also I'm pregnant, not handicapped. It's just a small break. It's just not worth the walk during this time, so I'm taking some time off. In case of emergency they can still come to our home. 'Though unlikely. I wonder what I'll do with all my spare time… hmm, oh well," she locks arms with me. "Rudy will just have to keep me company all winter."
"I have plans."
She pinches me.
"Ah, Rudy! My hand slipped," she says through a faux smile, not reaching her closed eyes.
"...I was joking," I rubbed my arm.
This is child abuse!
"Even jokes get punished, if in bad taste. Remember," she puts her fists on her hips, striking out her chests, and standing straight with pride. "Mama is the queen of this household. My rule is law," she held her chin high.
"Aye, aye, my queen. Long live Lady Zenith's reign."
"And don't you forget it," she declares.
"Hmm, I guess that's fine. Just don't push yourself. Stress is also bad for the baby, remember?" I say as we land downstairs.
"Yes yes. I know. I am a healer reeememberrr?" She smirks at me.
Who has too much cheek? Who wouldn't be obsessed with your cheeks, when you make such a cheeky appearance
Whatever, you're adorable, so you get a pass
"Madame Zenith, Master Rudy," a voice came from around the corner, as we arrived on the floor.
Turning to it, it could only be one person, Lilia was bowing down, with a couple of satchels and canteens at the ready. "Your meals and preparations are at the ready."
She's quite punctual.
"Thank you Lilia," Zenith curtly replied, grabbing her rations. Before walking to the door. Not giving Lilia a look as she walked out the door.
I walked up to Lilia for her to pass me my torch. "Thank you Lilia," I take it, as well as my rations.
"My pleasure, Master Rudeus," she bowed her head, and exited the house also.
The mornings are always the hardest part of my day.
We, me and Zeny, have gotten over the initial strained feelings stage around Lilia, more or less. After the first week, at the very least, we can now be civil with each other. It's hard to hate a pregnant woman after all. They have a plus five in charisma buff, afterall.
There's also several years of history between us.
After a couple weeks of unpleasant silence it was obvious we're not kicking her out, and she is without a doubt a part of the family, for better or for worse, even if our relations are a little estranged. The Paul issue has also been addressed; she won't become Paul's wife or mistress or whatnot; 'it would be unbecoming of me to share the last name as the Madame and young master. I am content with being Lilia Garidia. I only need to be your maid.'
Her words not mine.
Regardless, we've managed to find a steady rhythm, where we can talk to each other, so progress.
I wonder if we'll ever be back to where we used to be…
Seeing as that issue isn't going anywhere, and there's a pregnant woman out in the cold, I made myself scarce, and went out to meet Zenith outside.
Opening the door, I walk over to Zenith's side, by the gate. Ready for our morning walks we, me and Lilia, who are following closely behind, walk up to the yard, as someone decides to make themselves known.
One more person was waiting by the gate.
"H-Hey dear. Good morning! Sooo… you think you want to ride Caravaggio with me today?" a voice came from beyond the gate, away from my eyesight. But I already know that voice.
Who else could it be but Paul.
He stands before me, a bit scraggly, but overall healthy, wearing a green jacket, and green slacks.
"Hmph!" She turns her head to her side angrily.
Oooh! Five stars, nine out of ten! Nice Tsundere poze. Although, it's more tsun than dere. Still cute though.
"Paul, pregnant women shouldn't be riding horses, it's unsafe for the baby." Lilia says beside me.
"Eh, but she rode the first month just fine, and the baby was fine, I think she even Rode a little while Rudy was in her belly."
Wait, you did what?!
"That was, before we knew madame Zenith was pregnant. Now that we know, we must take proper precautions. It's simply unsafe for pregnant women to be riding horses. As for Rudy," she frowns, "you were incredibly lucky that he wasn't a stillborn."
"O-oh, really?" he rubbed his head nervously.
"Really. Please be wary of Madame's health.'' She adjusts her glasses.
I actually didn't know that either…
"Thank you Lilia." I told her.
"My pleasure Master," she bowed.
After the first week in which Zenith took a week off due to… personal reasons, she wanted to get out of the house, and back to the clinic, but there was a problem, her ride was Paul. That made things a little awkward. Because of the cold weather, Zenith's options were limited, but I did propose a solution. On one hand she could leave with Paul on Caravaggio, and she could make it to work in five minutes. Or, on the other hand; she could walk with me and I would take her there in thirty minutes, warming up the way with my fire magic.
So A) go with Paul on a quick, but cold trip, and deal with it for five minutes.
Or B) go with me down a longer trip, but under a flame.
"Let's go Rudy," she pulled my arm.
She chose wisely.
Well, regardless. Horseback Riding is bad for the baby, apparently, so it's not like has a choice in the matter.
Ha! Fuck-off, loser!
Lighting the torch on fire, I proceeded to walk by her side.
"Wooh," I blew into my hands.
I should start wearing gloves.
After leaving Zenith by the clinic, I made my way to where I would meet Sylphy. I'm leaning against a tree, just lamenting at my lack of foresight. Sylphy should be here any moment with the materials for my latest venture. Just gotta wait a bit. What can I say; I'm an entrepreneur.
That, and… I am monstrously bored.
Magic is always fun, nothings ever gonna change that, but it doesn't matter how fun it is, you'd get tired of your favorite hobby, if it was literally the only thing you could do. Currently, my social interactions are extremely limited, with the amount of people I'm able to hold a conversation with. So I find myself, with more quiet than I'm used to.
I didn't notice how much, just having a conversation with another human being, could affect someone's day.
My-God… did I actually become a sociable person this time around? My previous self would be disgusted at this. I became a normie.
Naaaah… if I were I would have more people to talk to, either than Paul or Lilia. Who I can't talk to for obvious reasons.
Hell, calling myself a normie, would mean this is normal. The world is screwed, if everyone's lives were this chaotic.
After walking Zenith to the clinic, I made my way to an open field where Sylphy and I are going to be flying kites, not much else to do. Well, we could have a snowball fight, but that's more fun with multiple people.
Hmm, I'm pretty sure I saw some kids on the horizon on my way here…
Should we jump some fools?
Ahem, I mean, should we play-fight against some pu-kids! Yeah, kids.
That does sound like fun…
Ahg! This boredom would be the death of me, thank god for cute kouhais.
"Rudy!" a yell comes from across the field, turning to it I can see a young girl running my way.
Speak of the kouhai, and she will appear.
Just in time, a running Sylphy trots about, with a large bag on her back,wearing her own winter jacket as well. Slowing down she greets me. "So what are we doing today?"
"The same thing we do every day," I point to the horizon. "try to take over the world!"
She looked at me quizzically.
"…by that I mean try to take over the skies."
No one gets my humor…
I swear if I find a girl that laughs at my jokes, I might just marry her.
Today's latest time waster is Project Kite-man.
Came up with the name myself, thank you, thank you, hold your applause.
After my last project, project Hot Air, went up in flames, literally, we decided to go with something less cost effective. After a week of well… depression I suppose, I needed something to do, anything really, and so I took to the skies in a way to run away from my worries.
I also awakened new worries, as I kept falling to the ground from several hundred feet. Needless to say, there were many failures.
I am now running low on bedsheets.
Sylphy tilted her head. "I don't see any bed sheets?"
That's because they're all burnt up!
"Hey, not all my ideas involve bed sheets, I was just using whatever I could get my hands on… and I can't get my hands on anymore, no that's why we need the kites. It's time for Kite-man to become a reality."
"Eh? Is that why you had me to hold on to the kites?" She pulls out a set of kites we made earlier this month. Seeing as I was officially out of materials we used whatever wood shavings were left from her fathers storage, so even though I said we, she's been a big part in building these babies.
From now on, I name thee Kite-girl, heck-yeah, you can say hell when you get older.
I haven't told her how we're going to be using the kites. It's more dramatic this way. After the unfortunate incident that was Project Hot Air, I realized that we don't have the luxury to burn through several bedsheets in the name of science. So all my hot air balloon projects will have to wait for the future.
Buuutttt, as for kites. Kites are immaterial, and easy to make.
It's still cold, but nothing, a good old jacket combined with heat hands, or I suppose the technique should be called Heat Body at this point, can't fix.
"Alright, how are you doing today Sylphy?"
"That's good, so you're not cold?"
"No, mama wrapped me up in double layers. I'm warmer than Bugbear in summer."
"Well… that's great? So, let's pull out the gear, it's time I showed you what these babies are for."
"Hai~" she salutes.
…I think I might have taught her one or two weird habits. Still cute though.
"Plenty of soft snow to fall on,"
"Alright, it's time to show you how to use these things." I grabbed the kite. "So get ready to fly?"
"But Rudy, I already know how to fly?"
Oh, poor ignorant Sylphy. You think you do, but you don't. Let me enlighten you, my disciple.
"Mmmh! You're thinking something mean aren't you!"
"Rudy's face is very expressionate."
"I should add masks to the list of materials…" I coughed into my hand. "Right, anyways, consider this the advanced course."
Bringing Sylphy along, I got the preparations ready, and got ready to soar to the skies.
Starting with a run we go up a small hill, both of us holding our own kites, "Alright… wind… Blast!" until we're ready to cast, and-
We start soaring, flying, and… we don't fall.
"Yessssss!" I yell. I look at Sylphy who is flying right next to me.
This might not look like a huge achievement to others, but after falling so many times, this makes me quite happy. For something to finally go right for once…
"Hell Yeah!" I soared to the heavens.
Project Kite-Man was a resounding success!
That was as exhilarating as it was liberating. God I missed this. It's been a while since I've felt so free.
I lay under a tree. A small fire, set over our head, between me and Sylphy's, laid forms, as we enjoyed a well needed break.
You gotta love magic, so convenient. Banzai!
But yeah… totally needed this after everything I've been through. I can't swim to let off steam anymore, for another three to four months. So little experiments like this will just have to do.
Magic really is the best.
"I'm glad," Sylphy says next to me breaking me from my euphoria
"Hmm?" I turn to her, about to ask her what she means.
She places her hand on my face, shutting me up.
"I'm glad Rudy's feeling better. You were sad for a long time. Rudy's been in a bad move for a while." she continued stroking my face. "I'm glad Rudy is smiling again. Rudy's eyes were tired, and you looked like you were really sad," she places her hand on top of my head, rubbing my hair. "Rudy is the best when he's smiling."
"…I was… going through things."
"I know." She wiggled her way next to me and laid her head against my chest. "I'm glad you're happy," she whispered as she held me under the tree. "I'm glad."
If this was me three years ago, I would have said I fallen for her, regardless of age. But I'm in a better place now-
Actually, scratch that, I am in a horrible place, but because of it, I can't make any important decisions on matters involving the heart for the time being.
I'll probably just fuck it all up anyway.
That said… she did make my heart skip a beat.
Scary. So this is the power of a main heroine.
I wrapped my arms around her. "Thanks," I whispered.
It's only been a few hours, but I'm already at ease.
That said… Now what?
I still have several hours left, and the days… the days are getting longer. Well, technically shorter, but we're running out of things to do more and more. What was a three hour training/studying seccion, has turned into two, and finally one.
What do I do with my days now?
That's the million dollar question I've been asking myself, more, and more lately.
Now that things have started to settle down, I've realized how big of a detour I've taken from when I first reincarnated in this world. I wasn't exactly born in the right state of mind, and was kind of attacking this new life like a shonen protagonist. If I didn't get sick I'd either be the next Rock lee, or I'd be dead. Yeah, I had issues then.
Then Lilia came along, and I… got sidetracked. Granted, I enjoyed myself the whole way, most of the way, but all good things come to an end.
As I am so misfortunately aware of.
Honestly, I've probably reached the limits to what I can learn here. My magical talent is as high as it's gonna get in this environment, and my sword skills won't progress here.
What should I do?
Let's see; the reason I stayed here at the very beginning, before my infatuation with Lilia, was simply put, necessity. I was too weak. I needed to be here, so I was. Forget Hitogami, I would have probably tripped running away from monsters, and broken my neck falling down a hill. Truly, a stupid way to die.
Sounds like me.
Now, I definitely have the ability to survive, at least against the common threats. My swordsmanship is high beginner, bordering on intermediate. My magic is Saint class, at least in potency, but my control can only be described as monstrous, so, emperor class?
So I'm all good in the power department, or atleast going down the right track. But I really have nothing else to learn here.
If I leave here, Zenith will be all alone in this mess though.
Leaving a pregnant woman alone…
When you say it like that I really do sound like a scumbag.
I guess I'm not leaving anytime soon.
I suppose I should look into techniques that block or disrupt telepathy, I half heartedly looked into the book Zenith gave me if I could get any answers, but it was mostly a dud. I only found a couple herbs that are used for meditation, and a small piece of trivia, of monsters that use telepathy to communicate, but overall nothing much to learn here. Same can be said for clairvoyance. Not the kind of thing you'll find in your public library.
The only readily available place I can think of is…
Ranoa's Magic Academy.
I turn my head to the horizon looking at the mountains in the distance.
They are visible even from here. So close…
I guess that would be the most logical choice, except…
I have no money.
In the end of the day, money remains a universal constant. If you don't have money, you ain't have jack, Jack.
Strained relationships aside, there's no way Paul or Zenith would send their child to a university.
Well… maybe Paul, but Zenith is definitely not letting me go anytime soon.
But next year?
Well, it's all mute in the end.
The fact of the matter is I haven't left my mother's bed for a reason. I may not be a saint, but I haven't fallen so low that I'll leave a pregnant woman to deal with this mess all alone.
So for the time being, I'm here no matter what.
But… ten months from now. Well, I have 10 months to figure out how to breach the topic.
Guess, there's only one thing to do.
I sit up, moving Sylphy's head to my lap, as I move into a sitting position. Slapping the sides of my face, I yell, "Alright world, look out. Rudeus the adventurer is coming for you!"
Yosh, that's good. I sound like a real shonen protagonist. Get on my level, naruto. Believe it!
Before I go to the academy, I'm gonna need money, sooo, adventuring here we go.
"Rudy, wants to be an adventurer?" a question came from below me. Sylphy sits up to look at me.
I thought you were asleep…
I lay back down, and turn my back to her.
Ahhhhh! I wanna die. I just went full chunni. You never go full Chunni.
Poke. "He he," a childish laugh comes from beside me, followed by something, someone, prodding at my face, "Rudy, your cheek is so warm~"Sylphy says, poking my face. "Are you alright?"
Of Course I'm warm, my blood is flowing to my face.
Actually, yeah yeah, I'm fine. Now that I think about it there's no such thing as Chunni in a fantasy world. The world itself is a Chunni. I'm just flamboyant. Yeah, that's the term. I'm just showy.
Huh, Megumin? Never heard of her. Go explode.
"Ahem, I'm fine. Just thinking about the future, and how much fun I'll have once I start adventuring," I say.
"Adventuring with Rudy… that does sound nice," Sylphy daydreams.
"Adventuring with me?"
"Yeah, adventuring with Rudy would be really fun. Me and Rudy could see a lot of places."
Right… There's also that issue.
"…Rudy?" She questioned.
There would be one more person I'd be abandoning if I decided to leave.
The Sylphy issue… I'll have to address it.
"Hey, Sylphy… if I were to disappear one day, what would you-"
"Eh? Um, Sylphy…"
She grabs my hand. It's hot.
No I mean, like it's actually hot! Like really, really warm. I feel the mana whirring around.
"Hypothetically! I mean… you know, in case something happened."
"Are you going to leave?" Reaching to my elbow, she wraps her arm around mine, holding me tightly against her. Looking at me with a faint glow deep in her eyes.
Am I scared of a six year old? Then again, in terms of pure potency, her potential might be higher than mine.
"I… I mean, one day I have to leave right, you know. Conquer the world, and all that, ha ha…" I laughed nervously.
She tackled me to the ground. Her shoulders trembling.
The mana around us is flowing erratically.
"No! No, don't! No… Nonono," she wails into my ear as she squeezes. Moving to face me she looked me in the eye. "Don't go anywhere!"
Drip. Wet tears start falling on my face.
I think I might have underestimated how big of a landmine this was. We're close, but I didn't think we were this close. I mean, I don't get it.
Why would you cry for me?
I'm not really worth your tears.
I couldn't do anything by Lilia. I let Paul's infidelity happen. I have done NOTHING, by Zenith. Again, and again, like my last life. I did nothing. I thought I was moving forward with my life. But in the end I think I was just running in circles.
Did I ever do anything by anybody?
I liked to think that Lilia is more confident now. That she is more capable with her injury cured.
But perhaps that was just another of my self-delusions.
Have I ever done anything?
Magic? Swordsmanship? Look how useful they've been. I can't see the results.
I must be garbage. Look at the mess I make.
It must be hereditary. I only ruin what I touch.
I'm not worth loving.
Rubbing the tears off her face I console her, "Sorry."
I brought my friend to tears.
Sigh… As I said; I'm trash.
I pat her head.
I'll take responsibility.
Wanting to placate her worries, if only a little. I move around my hand, going through her hair, before landing behind her ears, and giving them a small scratch at the back.
The mana around us starts settling down. "Wuuuu…" her ears twitching as she lets out a sound.
One day, when I was petting her, I realized she was a little weak behind the ears, but it seems to calm her down, so I'll take advantage of that.
Thank god I remember.
"Ruuudy, that's cheatiiiing,"
I continue putting the pressure, until her grip lessens, and her face looks more at ease. Finishing with some light head patting.
Her head flops down, and rests on my chest once more. The environment is still once more, and Sylphy's arms are wrapped around my torso, not letting up.
The situation with Sylphy is tricky, she is becoming, no she IS, dependent on me. If I were to leave, as she is right now. she'd probably be heartbroken. I'd like to think that she would get over me in time, but I honestly have no idea.
Honestly, I'm surprised that she likes me as much as she does.
I'm dense, not oblivious, if a girl blushes every time you get close to her, you'll notice too.
I just didn't think her affection stat was raised this high, that she would cry over me. I guess I really was in my own world, to have not noticed.
"Sylphy, I'm sorry for being so insensitive."
She hugs me tightly.
I… I don't want to address her crush on me. Not yet. Not now. This feeling, this warmth, this feels nice. I don't want to burn any bridges, and want to continue this relationship a while longer. I don't need a girlfriend right now, I need a friend.
I'm sorry Sylphy, but just for a little while, I'm going to play the part of the dense childhood best friend.
Arghh… the insincerity of it all… am I becoming a hypocrite? But in the end I need to rely on this facade as well.
Guess I really am trash.
But I don't have to stay that way.
I'm not attracted to her in the same way I was with Lilia, but that doesn't change the fact that we're close, and that's why I'll do something good for her. It's a tricky balance, but I hope I can friendzone her long enough until I can lead her into finding some people that know her worth.
"Sylphy… do you remember the university Roxy was talking about?"
"It's right over those mountains isn't it?"
"But, even with a scholarship, living alone would probably still be expensive."
She tilts her head looking up at me, scrunching her brown, wondering what I'm saying.
"That's the truth, there is no such thing as a free meal. They say all expenses pay, but what they mean is we'll pay for your education, but you pay everything else," I say.
What is expensive is renting a room here? Should have read the fine print. That's the kind of deal 'free,' means. So if I want to go to Ranoa…
"We're going to need money."
"We?" She gathers herself, removing herself from my person, and sitting up, to look me in the eye.
What a refined young lady.
"We." I clarified.
She's becoming dependent on me, I should push her away, but at the same time, I know that won't do her any good. The only ones that could be her friends are my sisters, and they won't be talking for a few more years. If I were to leave her here, she wouldn't have any friends. She wouldn't be able to grow here.
That, and… this place is a ticking time bomb, because of that teleportation event in a few years.
Another thing, to add to the list, to prepare for. At least that matter is an easy enough fix, I remember that this village is on the edge of the summoning incident, so I just have to find away to move everyone out of here, and into the mountains for a day.
Considering this village's population is around 100, I think, it wouldn't be the most difficult thing in the world.
In either case…
"If we become adventurers we can earn money, and as long as we get Roxy to vouch for us, or build up a reputation adventuring, we can go to Ranoa's university, with our expenses mostly covered. You know… hypothetically," I tell her.
I suppose we can visit Ranoa university during the time of the incident. It would be a happy 'coincidence.'
Rudeus Greyrat, sorcerer supreme. Not half-bad, has a nice ring to it.
"Uwah," she shows me a beaming smile. Her ears start flapping like a hummingbird, her eyes opening wide, and her mouth hanging open.
I'm just speaking hypothetically you know~
"Ruuuudy!" she lunges, wrapping her hands over my neck, and squeezes me tightly. Nuzzling her face against mine.
Sylphy used nuzzle! It's super effective!
I must be a water type.
The problem with Sylphy's dependency is that there's no one, besides me and her parents, that acknowledge her own worth. Adventurers though, will be different. At the end of the day, they are a bunch of vagabonds. Demons? Green hair? Don't be absurd. Such things aren't worth worrying about.
Who the hell would care about the color of someone's hair, when that person is the lifeline of your party?
If Sylphy were to become a highly valued adventurer, she would without a doubt find people who would acknowledge her. She'll find friends easily.
And as long as I'm there, I'll make sure no one takes advantage of her.
Like I said vagabonds, I'm not just gonna let 'any,' person be her friend.
After that comes the university years, where Sylphy would stand head, and shoulders above others. After that, it's all elementary.
Alright, it's decided.
First, conquer the skies, two; help Zenith with her pregnancy, three; register as adventurers, and fourth; turn Sylphy into a normie.
Operation Sylphy independence is a go! Viva-la-Revolution!
I'm sorry Sylphy, but you will have to become a school idol. O woe is thy~
"What's funny Rudy?" She says next to me.
I just thought it's funny that I'm having a hard time leaving, when once upon a time, I couldn't wait to start exploring this world. The time where I struggled to hold a sword, or cast a spell has truly come to an end.
That really is a lot of things. I don't think I can do all of this within a year. I was telling myself, I'll just stay here for a year, but I doubt, Sylphy will be allowed to adventure in the next year, and…
The teleportation incident is coming up.
Well, that is a non-issue now. Seeing as there's no reason for me to head to the boreas household, I'll be here for the time of the teleportation incident.
I'll just make some bs, that I want the whole village to celebrate my birthday in the mountains.
It might be a bit embarrassing, but for the sake of their lives, I don't mind pulling the act of the spoiled young master just once.
Although, it's a shame I won't meet Eris in this lifetime, but if I have to choose between a girl I've only read about or the people next to me. The people next to me will always win.
I look at the young girl holding me tightly against herself.
It's time I start living for myself again. I can stay here three more years.
I take a glance at the mess of green hair under my chin.
It's going to be an interesting set of years. I hope she's not too much of a headache, then again I'm just as much as a headache to her?
Well, whatever, every Batman needs a Robin, or Batgirl in this case.
It's been about three years since we've known each other hasn't it.
You're going to grow up to be something real special, I'll make sure of it.
I've been abusing her kindness. I cannot reciprocate her feelings. But that doesn't mean I can't do something for her. It's the least I can do.
"Hey… is there anything you want?" I asked.
I enjoy our playing, and even teaching her became fun, but I've never stopped to ask if she wanted to do this. I kind of just assumed she would go along with my whims. For this girl who indulged all my whims, it's time I indulged her a little.
"Anything I want?"
"Well… there's something I wanted to try."
"Are you sure this is what you wanted?"
"I mean if you're sure. Although, it feels like I'm the one getting a reward," I said, as I laid on her lap.
I'm receiving a lap pillow.
When I asked sylphy what she wanted, she said she wanted to give me a lap pillow. I don't know why, but if it's something as simple as a lap pillow I don't mind doing it.
She starts patting my head.
Although, it makes me wonder if this is really repaying her. Rather than doing something for her, it feels like she's pampering me.
Still… it doesn't change how comforting this is.
Reminds me of…Roxy… a bit.
Things really were simpler back then-no… I was just simpler back then.
I suppose I'll indulge just this once. Tomorrow, I'll make her something to eat or something.
"Rudy… will you teach me swordsmanship?" Sylphy asks.
Or something… that came out of left field, why?
"You would like to learn swordsmanship?"
"Yes," she answers.
Hmm, that's unexpected. I did teach her some standard self-defense. In the case certain nobles, with certain 'taste,' ever showed up around her, she knows where to kick them, and kick them hard, but I haven't taught her anything with a sword.
She does have a talented mind.
And I could do with something simple for once.
"Well… I guess it couldn't hurt," I tell her, enjoying her lap. The flames next to us are still crackling, keeping us warm.
I missed this simplicity, this warmth.
Thank god for Sylphy.
Mama was right. Men really are weak to this technique.
I'm giving Rudy a lap-pillow.
I asked mama once whats the sure fire way to get a boy's heart, she told me plenty of hugs, and cooking, and if all else failed I could always try the lap pillow.
Mommy said daddy likes it, men are weak too sometimes, and like to be comforted as well she said.
This is something I see mom do for dad every once in a while. Whenever dad is sad, or worried about something, mom would do this technique, and he would get up feeling all better a moment later.
Rudy's been sad lately. I wished I had remembered sooner. I've been waiting for him to tell me what's wrong, but he never did. The only times he seemed to get better, was when we were playing, so I made sure to do my best, and played with Rudy as much as possible.
Even when the sail set fire, and we fell a few hundred feet, I didn't scream!
I'm a big girl!
…and I wanted Rudy to smile again.
So I kept Rudy company, no matter how scary it got at times, and played with Rudy over and over. I even gave Rudy hugs.
He says he doesn't like it, but Rudy is a liar, everytime he says it, he has a smile on his face.
I'm glad he's better.
I run my hand through his hair.
I like Rudy. I really do. I really want us to marry, and stay together. That is my deepest wish, but…
I feel Rudy might not feel the same way.
Rudy wants to be an adventurer. I'm not surprised. Rudy is adventurous.
But he didn't think to invite me.
My heart hurts.
I want Rudy to like me too, but I don't know how to do it.
I don't think Rudy dislikes me, but I don't think he loves me either. My dream is to be Rudy's wife, but it doesn't seem like it'll come true.
What should I do, sensei?
If I learn swordsmanship, we can get closer, right? It worked with Lilia-san, she taught Rudy how to use a sword and they became super close.
That's why I asked him to teach me swordsmanship, it feels if I don't have something to tie myself to Rudy, then he'll just fly away.
It scares me.
What should I do? What's the right answer? What type of girl does Rudy like?
I want to be someone special to Rudy. I want to be his most special person, but I haven't figured out how yet to do so.
I continue running my hand through Rudy's hair.
He's so close… yet so far.
"Rudy, I… I… like… you…" I mutter.
He doesn't answer.
Did… did I-did I, ruin it?!
"You know, like a friend. Rudy is my best friend. I would like to adventure with Rudy too, so…"
He continues not responding.
"Rudy?" I look down, and part his hair from his eyes, only to notice that they are shut tight, and his breathing is steady. Rudy fell asleep.
I raise my hands to my face.
I almost made a big mistake. It's not the right time. Not yet. I love Rudy, but the time isn't right, for now.
What did Rudy say, 'all good things come to those who wait?'
I continue patting Rudy's head.
Miss Lilia says Rudy likes adventurous women. Momma says boys like girls with big hearts. And Rudy's mama said to just be myself.
Why not all of them?
If I become a famous adventurer Rudy will have to look my way won't he?
I raise one of my hands to my ears, and twist it a bit. "Owie~"
That was not smart of me. Rudy won't fall for a dumb girl.
"Yosh," I pump a fist in the air. My adventures are just beginning. I have not lost yet. If Rudy can't be my prince that rescues me from my tower, then I'll be his princess that saves him.
Rudy is adventurous, fun, talented, but… he's also stubborn, reckless, short tempered, and has a weak heart. If I don't stay by his side, who knows what he'll do.
If something bad happens to him, who would give him hugs?
I look down at the sleeping Rudy on my lap. He puts up a strong image, but…
I poke one of his cheeks.
He's actually quite soft. Even Rudy needs headpats every once in a while.
Headpats really are an amazing technique. Thanks Mommy!
"He he," I chuckle. Looking back down.
Rudy is amazing.
And amazing Princes don't fall for damsels they fall for Heroines!
I stop poking the side of his face, and rub it instead, feeling his warmth. So close, yet so far, but right now… he's all mine. "Rudy," I whisper knowing he can't hear me, "you taught me so much. You became my friend, showed me magic, showed me I don't have to be scared. Everyday with you has just made me so happy. I just… want you to be happy to. Rudy, you're, you're my everything, so," I lean down looking into his closed eyes. "I want to be your everything too."
My face is so close to his.
I lean down, to where I can feel Rudy's breath on my face and say, "this isn't over," I whisper. "I'm going to make you fall in love with me."
I place a hand on either side of his upside down face, get closer, and kiss him on the lips.
Holding it, a moment.
Standing up, my face feels warm, and my heart a little fuzzy.
Wow… I did it…
In the solace of each other's company a young boy and elf laid on top of a snowy hill, their bodies warmed by the fire beside them. For several hours they stood frozen, as the fire settled down, and the blushing elf struggled to get herself back together. Both of them are quite content with each other's company. Both sitting on that hill peacefully.
Perhaps it was because of the flame, but both of them were sporting a rosy look, with their faces red. Although neither noticed the other's appearance, as neither of them were looking at the other.
One shy-elf was looking in the distance.
And one boy, pretending to still be asleep.