Section 4: Victory, And What Comes Next
Grides-san had frozen in my arms, repeating that same mysterious word.
She finally snapped out of it after I waved a hand in front of her face, but that only lead to her turning a crazed look onto me.
[Grides]: “Y-You…….who do you think you are speaking to Rinrin-sama like that!?”
……..and just when I was wondering what was wrong, that was the first thing she had to say.
[Iris]: “Eh……even if you ask me that……”
I almost forgot, Odette-sensei seemed pretty surprised when I brought up Litzreich my first day here as well.
[Litzreich]: “It’s fine. Iris is the woman who will become my wife in the future. I would be troubled if she felt too stiff around me.”
[Iris]: “I don’t remember ever agreeing to that.”
[Litzreich]: “How could you say that? Don’t you remember that day you dug your nails into my unblemished skin?”
[Grides]: “You, what……..nails!?”
[Iris]: “Quit saying misleading things. And don’t believe everything she says Grides-san.”
Sure Litzreich was technically right however it wasn’t so much her skin as her magic armor, and it wasn’t my nails but Phoenix’s claws.¹
[Litzreich]: “Kukuku, sorry sorry. Grides-san’s reactions were more meek than yours, so I had a little fun teasing her.”
Do you two know each other? is what I was about to ask, but then I suddenly remembered that Litzreich is actually a teacher here and the deputy head of the Shirayuri Knights.
With Grides-san being a student and someone who is looking to join the Shirayuri Knights after she graduates, I suppose it’s only natural they would be at least acquaintances.
[Iris]: “Which means, since you knew her, couldn’t you have stepped in and talked things down?”
Litzreich laughed and blew me a kiss in response to my simmering resentment.
[Litzreich]: “I thought it would be a good time to measure Grides-san’s power.”
Litzreich’s eyes slipped from me to Grides-san.
In response, Grides-san immediately shook off my arm and fell to her knees right on the spot.
[Grides]: “I have shown you an unsightly battle, and I have no excuse………”
Woah, that Grides-san is suddenly acting quiet and meek.
I know Litzreich is one of the school’s professors and the deputy head of the Shirayuri Knights, but I wonder if she has some other kinds of titles that make her important.
Well, I doubt anything can change my impression of her at this point.
[Litzreich]: “Not at all. You performed admirably, but unfortunately it was a poor match-up for you.”
Litzreich narrowed her eyes and gently patted Grides-san’s shoulders as she continued kneeling down.
[Litzreich]: “It was a one-on-one battle with the restrictive rules of the duel in place……there are probably only five witches in the country who could beat Iris in that situation.”
Grides-san’s head shot up and stared at Litzreich in disbelief before turning towards me. She seems to hold Litzreich in high regard, so what she said must have surely shocked her.
Of course, they had the same effect on me.
[Iris]: “You’re exaggerating.”
[Litzreich]: “Kukuku, am I? What is a witch to do if none of their spells will hit and their mana is continuously disrupted? You are too funny.”
For most of my life I’ve lived outside the public eye. I was forced to take center stage here in the duel for Lou-chan’s sake, but now that it’s over, I would really like to leave this place as soon as possible.
[Iris]: “So what did you come here for then? Was there something you had to do?”
I’m keeping Rose-san and the others waiting as it is, so I tried hurrying Litzreich up a little.
[Litzreich]: “Oh, thank you for reminding me. I’m sorry, but could you come up to my room for now? It’s about the matter we previously discussed.”
Which means it has to do with our dungeon exploration. The investigation was temporarily suspended until the king made a decision on what was to be done after we encountered those gnomes, but I guess we finally have a plan on what to do from now on.
[Iris]: “Okay, I understand. Can you stand on your own Grides-san?”
[Grides]: “……I can stand! There is no need for you to worry!!”
Grides-san clumsily rose to her feet and brushed away my outstretched hand.
It still doesn’t look like she’s fully recovered, but she is too stubborn to accept any help.
Well, if she’s feeling well enough to act like that then I suppose I can relax.
[Iris]: “See you later then.”
She seemed a little lost after I waved goodbye to her.
[Grides]: “…….thank you for your concern.”
But immediately afterwards she straightened out her back and began looking like she normally did.
[Grides]: “And I look forward to our eventual rematch. If there are only to be five witches in the nation better than you, then Grides Montifi will see that she is one of them.”
And with her dignified way of speaking returned back to her, she offered a new challenge while staring directly back at me.
Somehow she started seeing me as someone to beat instead of as a friend. Although personally I’d like to refrain from a second duel.
[Iris]: “Oh, sure. That might happen if we ever become friends.”
So I responded as such. If she really wants a rematch, she’ll have to start trying to get along with me.
I then waved my hand once again and ran away before anyone could say anything else.
To where? To where everyone is waiting for me of course.
[Iris]: “Everyone~! I won!”
With the duel over, people had started leaving the field in groups of twos and threes. With the crowds thinned out, I managed to immediately find Toslin and Carol who welcomed me back with open arms.
[Toslin]: “I was wondering what you were going to do, and here it was a complete blowout.”
[Carol]: “Hey hey, what’d you do? Her magic kept spinning to the side, not working, or stopping halfway through didn’t it?”
Toslin ruffled my hair as she congratulated me, making my already messy hair even messier.
Meanwhile Carol excitedly bounced around me with her curiosity on full display.
[Iris]: “Ah, yeah. I’ll explain it later.”
[Lapris]: “Well, the great me knew what was going on just by looking.”
True, whereas everyone else would probably think of what I did as some magic trick, Lapris could see magic power, so it definitely didn’t have to be spelled out to her.
[Saluena]: “Well done. It was a good, dignified battle worthy of the Goddess Knight’s princess.”
[Iris]: “Thanks Saluena.”
[Saluena]: “Although, I was far more proud to see you hold out your hand in the end than anything else.”
Saluena reached out her hand as she praised me.
I figured she was going to clean up my mop of a hairstyle after Toslin completely messed it up……
[Saluena]: “Your kindness is what I respect about you the most.”
But in the end she decided to tousle it up more than it already was. Whatever, I don’t care anymore.
Rose-san was the last person to say something after everyone else had rushed me.
[Saluena]: “Rosa was praying throughout the whole match.”
Saluena pushed my back.
Standing in front of Rose-san with my messed up, I looked up into her eyes.
[Iris]: “I guess I worried you.”
[Rose]: “…….Yes. You did.”
[Iris]: “But I won.”
[Rose]: “……Yes. I was watching.”
[Iris]: “And now I’m here.”
Rose-san set her hand on top of my head just like everyone else. But she didn’t add on to the ruffleness.
Slowly and with great care she worked to straighten it out.
[Rose]: “Welcome back”
There were tears in the corner of her eyes……just a bit, but they were there.
And yet her voice was warm and filled with kindness.
[Iris]: “……I’m back!”
So I cheerfully responded back and gave her a hug.
I need to make sure the place I put all my strength into protecting is comfortable.
1. 爪 means both nails and claws in Japanese.