Chapter 6: Takatsuki Makoto Prepares
◇Sasaki Aya’s PoV◇
“What do you think? Sa-san, do you think you can use stealth?”
Takatsuki-kun asks me. I’m currently practicing my stealth skill.
“Yeah, I think I’m starting to get a feel for it. But it’s difficult.”
We are on the Middle Floor of the Great Labyrinth, in the underground lake. In the open space behind the huge waterfall.
It’s one of my favorite places, but lately, it’s become a saddening one cause it’s been reminding me of my family.
But now I don’t feel so sad.
I looked next to me and saw that Takatsuki-kun had his hands in the air and was whispering something.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m talking to the spirits around here. Trying to get to know them.”
“Well, when you get to know a spirit, does the spirit magic become more powerful?”
“Yes, it’s a peculiar magic.”
Takatsuki-kun smiled bitterly, saying that it’s troublesome magic.
“Do you think you can get along with the spirits?”
“Yeah, the spirits of the Great Labyrinth are very friendly. They are easy to talk to.”
I can’t see spirits, so I don’t really get it, but Takatsuki-kun seems to be enjoying himself.
It’s just as I thought it would be if he were here in this world.
I continued to practice my skills while vaguely watching him.
Time passed quietly. I closed my eyes and continued practicing my “stealth” skill.
The peacefulness was broken by the sharp voice of Takatsuki-kun.
“Sa-san! Harpies are here!”
A sense of tension ran through me. My slightly elated heart began to cool down.
Looking through the waterfall towards the cave’s stairwell, I saw several harpies circling.
That’s a reconnaissance unit looking for prey. Grind….I could feel my teeth grinding.
(How dare they fly around like they own the place, this is Lamia’s territory!)
As if sensing my feelings, Takatsuki-kun spoke to me calmly.
“Sa-san, let’s get ready and take them out.”
“By the way, do they always come from that area?”
“…… Well, as far as I know, they come from the big hole where the light shines in.”
“So I guess we should assume that their nest is around there.”
“But since we can’t fly, we can’t go there. ……”
I also think that the harpy’s nest is located near the ceiling of the underground lake.
However, there was no way to get there.
“We’ll figure it out later, guys. …… Those harpies, they flew away somewhere, didn’t they?”
As Takatsuki-kun said, the harpies disappeared deep into the underground lake.
“It’s okay now.”
We went back to our original task. To avoid being spotted by the monsters, we basically trained in silence.
But compared to the loneliness of being alone in the dungeon, how calming it was.
It’s not as if everything is peaceful. There are things that bother me.
(It’s an opportunity for us to be alone.)
I tried to be as casual as possible. I spoke to Takatsuki-kun as casually and naturally as I could.
“Hey, Takatsuki-kun. What kind of relationship do you have with Lucy-san?”
“Eh? What’s wrong, suddenly?”
Takatsuki-kun turned to me with a puzzled look on his face.
Ah, maybe I was a little straightforward in my questioning. I wonder if he thought I was strange?
(But still, I’m really curious!)
The beautiful red-haired elf girl who was with Takatsuki-kun. When I met her for the first time, I had the impression that she was a bit stubborn, but when I talked to her, I found out that she had a strong personality.
And for some reason, her dress is always so revealing. Even I, a woman, would have my heart skipped a beat.
The biggest problem was that it was a party for just the two of them, Takatsuki-kun and her.
Just the two of them! I’ve never seen him talk to any other girl than me in our middle or high school years! Uuh. . …… I wonder if Takatsuki-kun got used to girls after coming to another world.
“How should I put it? She’s a good companion of mine who I had a party with about six months ago.”
“Hm, but It’s just the two of you, isn’t it?”
“At times we would be together with Fuji-yan, at other times with other adventurers. Usually, I’m solo.”
“What do you mean by solo, like ……?”
“It’s comfortable. I’m a pro at hunting goblins, you see.”
Takatsuki laughed, and for some reason, he had a smug look on his face.
His face was the same as when he was playing games alone during break time in middle school.
(He hasn’t changed.) It brings back memories. That made me feel relieved.
“But from now on, it will be a party of three, including Sa-san, right?”
I was surprised at the sudden words.
“Hmm? You don’t want to?”
“No! Of course, I am okay!”
That surprised me. I was actually going to ask him to join the party.
I see I’m already a member of the party!
“Ah, but I haven’t consulted Lucy yet…”
“Well, I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’m sure Lucy won’t object.”
Lucy ……huh. He calls her without honorifics.
As far as I know, there was no female friend that Takatsuki-kun would call away.
Thinking like that, he seems to be very close to Lucy.
(Just that, in this world, calling people by their first names seems to be the norm. ……)
Lucy called me “Aya” out of the blue.
(Maybe I should call him “Makoto” too. But it would be weird to suddenly change the way I call him…..hmm.)
I glanced at Takatsuki-kun and saw that he was practicing spirit magic with a serious expression.
I also continued the training while feeling a little unsettled.
“Now then, let’s practice our magic.
After dinner, Makoto and I began training on the outskirts of the adventurer’s town.
I was with Fujiyan-san and Nina-san for the whole day.
We had been gathering information about the Harpy Queen from the Adventurer’s Guild and the merchants, but the results were not good.
Everyone was talking about the Taboo Dragon, the Sun Knight Order, and the Light Hero.
“Lucy, have you heard any interesting information?”
Makoto asked me while practicing water magic.
“Apparently, In 2-3 days, the Sun Knight Order will go out to defeat the Taboo Dragon.”
“Hoh, maybe the monsters in the Great Labyrinth will calm down once the subjugation is done.”
“Well, that’s the rumor goes. Also, adventurers and merchants have been lamenting the lack of explorers and business due to the dragon’s appearance in the upper floors.”
“Well, that makes sense.”
While saying that, Makoto uses water magic to create small dragons and makes them fly around.
It used to be a water bullet previously. His technique is becoming more and more detailed.
“Lucy, how many Stone Bullets can you bring out at once?”
“Just three. ……”
“Ooh, that’s good. Lucy is getting better.”
Makoto says while having 10 miniature water dragons flying around him.
I wonder …… but I feel he’s making fun of me.”
“How in the world can you have such fine control?”
“If your Water Magic skill proficiency exceeds 120, you can do it.”
It was stupid of me to ask. That’s not helpful at all. What do you mean by 120 magic proficiency?
I have 15 fire magic proficiency and 11 earth magic proficiency.
By the way, the reason earth magic is easier to use is the performance of the wand.
To be precise, it’s because of the magic wand that the Giant God tinkered with.
My current training is to increase the number of “Falling Meteor” that combine earth magic and fire magic.
This time, our enemies, the Harpies, are many in number. So, Makoto’s opinion was to finish off as many as possible in the first move.
(The Harpy Queen ……, the target of revenge for the Lamias, the family of Sasaki Aya)
The adventure this time was due to a Lamia girl we had recently met.
A girl who was reincarnated from another world as a Lamia. And she is Makoto’s friend.
(What kind of relationship do they have?)
I heard that ”we are friends who studied at the same school”.
When Makoto laughed and said, “She used to be a more quiet girl,” then Aya struck Makoto’s head and said, ”What does that mean!’ .
They’re on good terms. Not only that, but they are very close to each other.
That exchange showed how much time they had spent together.
(Today, the two of them went to explore the labyrinth together,……. Moreover, he said he was going to invite her to the party…….)
I don’t have a problem with inviting Sasaki Aya to the party.
She is a friend of Makoto and Fujiyan-san. I don’t have any other acquaintances over here from other worlds.
And since she’s been reincarnated as a monster, she can’t be with people who don’t know what’s going on.
It’s only natural that I try to help her. However, I’m curious.
(Maybe Aya likes Makoto. ……)
The way she gazed at Makoto was like that of someone she loves.
Just like me.
“By the way, Lucy. Tomorrow, can I have you take Sa-san on a tour of the city?”
When Makoto suddenly spoke to me, I dropped the Sock Bullet I was controlling.
The rock burned the ground as it was heated by fire magic.
“Are you okay?”
“Y-Yeah, I am fine. By the way, why only me? What will you be doing?”
“I’m going to continue exploring the Great Labyrinth and talking to the spirits.”
“Are you going to be okay being alone in the labyrinth?”
“I’ve mapped out all the exits, so I’ll be fine on my own. I need you to teach her how to shop and how to spend money.”
(Alone with Aya, huh…)
What should I talk about…….
The training was over. I ended the day with a hazy feeling.
–The next day.
“Hello there, Lucy-san!”
Aya arrived at the meeting place with her hair tied up in two, wearing a shirt with a ribbon and a skirt. At first glance, she looked modest, but she was dressed up in small details.”
I wonder if that kind of thing is fashionable in other worlds?
“So then, let’s get going.”
Aya and I took a stroll through the adventurer’s town.
“This is the money ……, and the market price for this product is about this much …….”
“Hmm, I see. Well, what about this item?”
“Well, I think I’m starting to understand. Thank you, Lucy-san.”
We went around to different stores for a while, explaining to Aya the prices of money and what kind of products were available.
Aya was a quick learner and seemed to get the gist of it right away.
Afterward, we took a break and went to a diner for lunch. Aya and I ordered pasta with bacon and vegetables in tomato sauce and tea.
“Wow, that looks so good! Hey, Lucy-san, they have pasta in other worlds too!”
“Yeah, I heard that it was originally spread by people from other worlds.”
“Ohh~, I see.”
Aya is happily crunching on a large bowl of pasta.
(She’s so cute. ……)
It’s like she’s a little animal, or maybe I just want to protect her.
(Actually, I heard she’s as strong as Nina-san……)
That means he’s as strong as a gold-ranked adventurer.
In other words, much stronger than me.
We finished our lunch, and over tea and dessert, I explained the rules of this world for a while.
Then I casually asked her a question.
“By the way, what did you do this morning?”
Aya said she had a few errands to run and delayed our departure time.
“Well, Takatsuki-kun was going to the Grand Labyrinth, so I made his lunch.”
What’s that? I didn’t know that.
Seriously? I’ve been on a lot of adventures with Makoto, but I’ve never done anything like that before……
“H-Hoh…..So, what does Makoto like?”
Certainly, Makkaren’s adventurer’s guild always had skewers and rice balls, so he must like those. I think I’ll make onigiri next time. I’ve never made them before.
“Hmm, Takatsuki-kun likes junk food, so he likes things with a lot of flavors, but ……. I’ve heard that his diet has become unbalanced as an adventurer, so I gave him a sandwich with more vegetables today.”
Somehow, she is very attentive. And it seems, I have been completely defeated, haven’t I?
After that, I chatted with Aya and we talked about various things.
“Takatsuki-kun doesn’t seem to be interested in making friends at school. I was so nervous when I first tried to talk to him.”
“I was so surprised when I first entered his room. There was nothing in there! He always sells or throws away the things he doesn’t use.”
“Takatsuki-kun has always been cool, but he’s gotten even cooler since he came here. “Calm Mind” skill, was it? I want it too.”
It was mostly about Makoto. There was nothing common topic, so I asked, “What was Makoto like in the past?” I asked her. Then, Aya couldn’t stop talking about him.
(She likes Makoto too much, doesn’t she?)
Th-This girl will be in the same party as us ……. That fact made my heart flutter.
( She is a friend of Makoto’s from the past. Someone who knows a lot about the old Makoto. ……)
And Makoto was also happy to see Aya again.
When I found out, it was like Jean and Emily’s relationship, where Mako and Aya were dating and I was left out ……. I-I don’t like that! It was okay that time because I didn’t think anything of Jean. But I don’t like the idea of Makoto going out with another girl! I absolutely hate it!
I’m the first party member he’s ever had! He said I was his first companion!
(Ugh, ……, but if this continues…)
“Takatsuki-kun, …… I’ve been thinking about you for a long time.”
“Me too, Sa-san. I’ve missed you.”
“I’m so happy! (Hugs.) But what about Lucy-san?”
“Why are you bringing up Lucy’s name?”
“I’m sure Lucy-san likes you, Takatsuki-kun.”
“Is that so? But the only one I like is Sa-san.”
“I like you, Takatsuki-kun …….” (Hugs tightly)
“Me too.” (Hug back.)
(I hate it～～～～～!)
I felt so depressed just thinking about it.
Moreover, it was very realistic! Makoto is definitely not aware of my feelings!
If this is the case, then what I imagined earlier might come true. ……
I have to do something about it. …… I swore to myself.
—Part I end—
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