“It’s as you’ve said, Alisa…”
Cynthia and Alisa exchanged smiles. Lilia tilted her head, confused, not knowing the meaning of their smiles.
“Mistress Lilianne Aldis.”
Cynthia called Lilia’s name. Lilia, surprised at the unusually serious expression and tone, met Cynthia’s eyes.
“I will serve you. I will offer up my loyalty to you.”
After having said that, in front of Lilia’s shocked eyes, Cynthia bowed her head deeply. For a moment, Lilia stood there, watching in surprise, before finally nodding.
“I am thankful, Cynthia.”
Lilia responded shortly.
“From now on, I will be in your care then.”
“Yes. Whenever, for whatever reason, please give me your orders.”
To Cynthia, who was still bowing her head, Lilia nodded once more. However, inside, Lilia was even more surprised and flustered.
[L] Why is this girl all of a sudden saying that she’ll follow me?
[S] Surely because she was charmed by your thoughts on friends!
[L] I don’t understand.
Anyways, now it meant that Cynthia would move for Lilia’s sake. If that was the case, Lilia ordered Cynthia quickly.
“Well then, quickly, will you find Ray for me?”
“As you wish.”
Cynthia respectfully bowed her head, and, immediately after, disappeared into the hole in the ceiling.
“She’s become quite brave…”
Lilia said, seeing her off. At Lilia's muttered words, Alisa and the man gave wry smiles.
“That is because she is very serious during her job.”
“If she wasn’t working, she would go right back to her previous state.”
If that’s how she is, what about it, Lilia thought as she sat down in her chair.
Unable to calm down, Lilia drank the black tea Alisa brewed while waiting for Cynthia. Lilia wanted to go find him too herself but was stopped by Alisa, as he could be a spy for all they knew. Waiting for a report will just use up time, Lilia thought when Sakura also stopped her. Just be patient and wait here like an adult.
Just how long have I been doing that, Lilia thought. As Lilia finished up her second cup of tea, Cynthia finally returned.
“I have returned.”
“Welcome back. So, where is he?”
Lilia tapped her fingers on the table while Cynthia took out a map of the school from her chest pocket. She laid it out on the table and pointed out a marked dot. It was the school’s top floor hallway.
“Why is he in this kind of place?”
Lilia tilted her head, confused, and Cynthia’s face became grim. While continuing to tilt her head, puzzled, Sakura spoke.
[S] Lilia. I think you should hurry over.
[L] Is that so?
If Sakura thinks so, then I should go, thought Lilia, nodding in agreement, and got up. She headed for the door after memorizing the location exactly.
“Mistress Lilianne, are you going there?”
At Cynthia’s words, Lilia stopped, looked back and nodded. Doing so, Cynthia also nodded in return, replying,
“As you wish. Please let me accompany you. However, unless you order me otherwise, I will act by prioritizing Mistress Lilianne’s safety first, is that alright?”
“Yes. I don’t mind. Well, let us go then.”
Cynthia nodded and disappeared once again into the hole in the ceiling. Lilia faced the door again, heading out.
Lilia, alone, walked over to the school building’s highest floor. On the way, as expected, the students she passed by made way for Lilia.
[S] This is amazing. She’s moving around unnoticed by all these students! She’s a ninja, a Kunoichi! (T/N: Kunoichi - female ninja)
[L] I don’t really know what you mean by Kunoichi but… she is following me, yes?
[S] Yea. At a reasonable distance. I heard she was talented but even so, wow.
(T/N: Kunoichi - female ninja. Thought it would put a better emphasis on Sakura’s excitement with female ninjas by leaving it in Japanese. Also Lilia doesn’t know what a Kunoichi is either.)
Lilia had no idea what Sakura was saying but understood that it seemed like Cynthia was following along properly. Cynthia said she wasn’t particularly good at fighting but Lilia was reassured since it was better than being alone at least.
After walking a bit, they reached the stairs, and as they got close to their destination, she heard,
“Hurry up and walk! The sun is going to set!”
Instantly, Lilia stopped moving. The voice was coming from just around the corner. The other students in the area were throwing their gazes elsewhere, and, not wanting to get involved, were hastily trying to move away.
Lilia tilted her neck forward to peer around the corner. And then, she saw it.
Ray, holding a massive amount of books, was wobbling forward. Around him were five empty-handed students. Three boys and two girls. All of them had unpleasant smiles and kept attacking Ray with their words.
“Would you hurry up, Teacher Ray? You’re going to teach us how to study, right?”
“We even borrowed a classroom from the teacher so hurry up, yea?”
First it was the boy with the largest build and then the girl, snuggling up close with him while speaking with a condescending tone. Ray said nothing and walked on silently. He walked on, desperately trying to hold on to the mountain of books that were stacked taller than himself.
Lilia unconsciously laughed at herself. Seeing that, Lilia immediately understood that Ray was getting harassed. At the same time, she also felt ashamed of herself.
That boy harassing Ray was Lilia, and Ray was Tina.
[L] Certainly, seeing that as an bystander is nothing but unpleasant…
[S] Lilia, let’s leave the regrets for later, yea? I’ll listen to you later as much as you want then.
[L] Yes, you are right. Thanks Sakura.
Lilia smiled thinly and then erased all emotion from her face. She came out from the corner and faced them. Noticing her, the surrounding students became startled and staring at her with wide eyes, hastily let way for her.
The first one that noticed was the weakest looking male student amongst the five. He was jeering at Ray, but after Lilia entered his field of vision, his face froze.
Two others in the group also noticed Lilia after hearing him and froze. Although just before they were making fun of Ray and laughing, now they were just frightened students.
The boy with a large build and the cuddling girl still didn’t notice Lilia. The other three couldn’t speak.
Lilia moved to stand beside Ray, and finally, the final two noticed.
-- Author’s note --
Cynthia is looking at us like she wants to become our friend! (T/N: A line from Dragon Quest I think?)
And with that, we have won over Cynthia.
Her information obtaining skill has strengthened.
If there are any mistakes, please leave a comment!