Currently it is the day before the festival. In the inn’s courtyard where that we stay, Me and Luna are facing each other while breathing heavily. This has been a daily occurrence for the past month. I issued a challenge to Luna to land a single hit on me by the end of the month, and today is the last day for the challenge. The remaining time left is three minutes.
I’m impressed by Luna’s resilience. Although I caught a glimpse of her talent back when she learnt the thrust in one night, her growth this past month has been even more abnormal to say the least. This girl’s battle sense and learning capacity is far too large. Not only does she have excellent parameters, she has a pair of eyes that sees much more than an average person, capable of seeing and absorbing my battle movements into her own.
She took a deep breath and applied more force into her legs. My movements isn’t something a person can easily imitate and assimilate into their own. I can’t help but wonder how much can this girl grow in the future. She is a jewel that far exceeds even Leonard in talent.
In an instant, Luna closed the distance between us with a large acceleration. Looking at her speed, I assume that she is performing her signature thrust. Unless you are familiar with Luna’s battle style, you will definitely be thrown off by her high-speed rush and her ability to transition into a thrust at that speed.
Having experienced that thrust for the past month, I had made it a point to parry Luna’s thrust the moment I notice her preliminary movement. I wouldn’t be able to parry it in time if I wait for her rush. She has been repeating this for the past 27 minutes, unable to pass through my defense. However, this time she pulled her blade back rather than thrusting it forward, catching me off guard as I didn’t have the time to pull my wooden sword back. I have not seen her done this even once for the past month, could this be her talent at work or is this her plan from the start?
Luna stared firmly at my right shoulder, throwing out a thrust in the moment when I am moving my sword to parry her initial rush.
Can I still intercept with my sword? There isn’t enough time. My sword won’t make it in time.
I twist my body, letting Luna slip through the side of my body.
In the next moment, Luna lands with another powerful step and pushes forcefully off the ground, twisting her body sideways. These series of movements are far too advanced for her to be adapting in the heat of the moment. She must have been training secretly in order to defeat me today. My sword is in a bad position while my balance has been broken. However it’s a shame. Using my left hand, I striked the side of Luna’s dagger with my palm, adjusting it’s trajectory downwards from above. By striking the side of the sword, it is possible to defend yourself with just your bare hands, although it is near impossible to catch a blade with two fingers. While regaining my balance and my form, I rotate my body and move behind Luna.
[Time’s up. It’s a shame but I am the winner again this time.] (Youya)
[Youya said that even if Luna landed an attack then Luna is the winner. But hitting the side of my blade is cheating!] (Luna)
[That is a valid defensive move even in an actual battle. It was regrettable that you weren’t fast enough even with your high-speed combo attacks. If I had defended the way I usually did, you would had definitely succeeded, and I wouldn’t had made it in time.] (Youya)
[Cheater Youya! Youya is an adult! No excuses allowed. Luna properly hit Youya.] (Luna)
Unhappy with the outcome, Luna puffed up her face and complained about the results.
Although, rather than intimidating, her action looks much cuter as the fur on her tail is standing while her face looked like a pufferfish. I don’t mind conceding the win so long as I wasn’t defeated by Luna this quickly. She still has much room to grow.
I will definitely reflect upon this battle later. Her footwork, her pacing and her breathing has improved drastically, even releasing a combinations of movements to perform a feint along with a lethal thrust at the end. There is much to improve on but for now this is sufficient. She should be ready for the tournament tomorrow.
[Alright. You win the challenge, but it’s hard to say that you won the match. I’ll give you the reward but these matches will continue even after the tournament.] (Youya)
[Yay! Luna wanted to continue with Youya too! Luna still has many skills to steal from Youya!] (Luna)
[Starting in the next match, I will begin to counterattack to raise the difficulty a little bit. If you focus on attacking without worrying about defending, I will not hold back on my attacks.] (Youya)
[I’ll do my best!] (Luna)
Luna is burning up. She will become a good swordsman in the future and surpass me for sure. I’ll be sure to drill everything I know into this girl. In order to let her soar through her future from now on.
[If you return to the inn, remember to arrange a meal with the bar for you and Til.] (Youya)
[Youya what about you?] (Luna)
[I made a promise to meet someone today.] (Youya)
It was sudden but Phil asked me to meet her today. If Phil is going out of her way to talk to me outside of the guild, it should be something serious. I’ll be sure to listen to what she says carefully.
After the training session with Luna, I met up with Phil at her place.
Her house is as well-maintained as ever. Even her equipment back when she was an adventurer looks brand new with a bunch of decorations. It is clear that she cherished her time as an adventurer.
[Youya’s favourite food is still spicy fried noodles isn’t it?] (Phil)
[Yeah. Preferably with extra meat please.] (Youya)
[Your tastes doesn’t change even with time huh. I’m relieved. It’s a good thing that the ingredients I bought beforehand won’t be wasted. You can look forward to my special dishes.] (Phil)
[An old man’s preference wouldn’t change even after a long time.] (Youya)
The kitchen in Phil’s home is large and has all the essential equipment a person would need. Phil changed her clothes and grabbed a frying pan in the kitchen. Noodles covered in a red and spicy sauce began dancing in the air as she began to prepare the dishes. Her cooking skills is still as amazing as ever. While we were traveling together, if there was an interesting dish that caught her eye, she could easily learn the dish and improve it to her liking, adding another dish to her already large repertoire.
[Sorry to keep you waiting. Heres Phil’s specialty, Spicy pasta with meatballs.] (Phil)
[Looks delicious.] (Youya)
[Of course it’s delicious! Do you remember the pasta in the bar back in Kaltara? Back then I asked the chef if he could tell me the recipe and altered it to suit Youya’s taste.] (Phil)
[That is nostalgic. That bar had one of the best food I have ever eaten.] (Youya)
The pasta tastes delicious. She must have seasoned the meat with some miso and cooked it with the tomato sauce and the noodles. Although the noodles was delicious when mixed with the sauce, I like it more when there are plenty of meatballs along with the noodles.
The flavor of the meatball spreads throughout my mouth
[Heres some ale. It’s Youya favourite drink isn’t it?] (Phil)
[Oh. Yeah, ale tastes the best after all.] (Phil)
[I’ve always wondered why do you only drink ale although you can afford spending more on alcohol. Now it makes sense.] (Phil)
Phil is currently drinking a honey-flavored sake.
[Aren’t you the same as me. You have always favoured honey sake over wine unlike others. At the end of the day, it’s better to follow what you like rather than worry about what other people think.] (Youya)
[It’s all about our own perspective, that’s what I’ve learnt from you after all this time.] (Phil)
Phil elegantly brought the pasta to her mouth.
Phil mentioned that she made the pasta specially for my liking, and I can’t say that it isn’t true. It is incredibly delicious. It’s been a long time since I’ve ate something so delicious. It even goes well with ale. I hope next time Luna and Til could join us for the next meal. Our conversation continued throughout lunch as the spicy hot pasta slowly entered into our stomachs.
I became increasingly embarrassed as I watched Phil’s bright smile throughout the meal. Being embarrassed, I opened my mouth.
[So what was the reason for inviting me over to lunch?] (Youya)
[There’s something I need to tell you that I don’t want other people to hear. My room is quite expensive as I made it soundproof.] (Phil)
Her place was indeed a nice place. If it was made to be soundproof, it must be quite a hefty sum to obtain this place. It couldn’t be compared to the inn that Iare staying at. Seems like being a receptionist is much more profitable than I thought. Now that I think about it, there is also the bonus that a receptionist can earn from the reservations placed. Phil who is always fully booked must have earned a huge sum just from that alone.
[Please tell me more about it.] (Youya)
[There is something suspicious about the upcoming festival. The vendors who were supplying monsters for the events were changed without any explanations with the guildmaster’s approval. And although I have been voicing out against these actions, the guild has been aggressively holding me back from assisting in managing the festival. It’s as if they are hiding something and they do not want me to be there.] (Phil)
[Aren’t you just thinking too much about this?] (Youya)
[I think so too. But I still have a bad feeling about this. Something really bad is going to happen. Thats why I wanted to tell you about this. There might be something going on behind the scenes, and I hope you will be careful during the event.] (Phil)
Looking into her jade coloured eyes, she seems to be much more vigilant than before.
[I understand. If there is trouble during the event, I will lend my strength. However much I can do as a level 20 adventurer.] (Youya)
[It’s because that strong Youya has become level 20 that I am asking for your help.] (Phil)
[You’re thinking too highly of me.] (Youya)
[Naturally. Because it’s the person that I look up to.] (Phil)
Having a relaxing meal like this with Phil isn’t bad once in a while.
[Also, there’s another reason why I called you here today.] (Phil)
[What is it? It seems more important than the matter about the event.] (Youya)
[I was hoping that you would be willing to make a move this time.] (Phil)
[Are you drunk again?] (Youya)
[Truth is I haven’t been drinking honey sake, but honey lemon water instead. “I’m not desperate enough to lay a hand on a drunken woman, nor am I hungry for a woman” I won’t let you use this excuse a second time.] (Phil)
I was instantly cornered.
[There were several things that I wanted to tell you before the festival including what I told you that day. Everything that I said that day was the truth and I wanted to tell you that before you leave the town.] (Phil)
[You knew?] (Youya)
[Of course I did. How many years do you think I’ve been a receptionist?] (Phil)
Rumberg only has dungeons up to the intermediate level, thats why it’s the town of beginnings. The limit for entering the dungeons here is level 25. If a person plans to go beyond level 25, they would have to leave the town for a city with stronger dungeons.
[Youya. If I asked you to bring me along with you and leave this town, would you do it?] (Phil)
[If you thought thatit would make you happier than being a receptionist here, I would.] (Youya)
[That’s such a bad answer. If you wanted me to follow you then you should just tell me to. Maa, I guess that is a Youya-like answer. ](Phil)
The two of us started smiling.
However, that doesn’t mean I’ll give up on this. I just want Phil to be happy, regardless of the outcome. Whether she remains as a receptionist or my student. Whatever path she chooses, I will do my best to support her.
[It’ll be much harder for us to raise our levels now that we are approaching level 21, so it’ll take awhile before we leave the town. I hope you will support me from now on as a receptionist.] (Youya)
[I’ll be glad to. I’m glad to help Youya in any way I can.] (Phil)
Just like this, the day quickly changed to night. We continued to talk about what happened after we separated. Phil told me stories about her vacation while I told her about my life as an exclusive adventurer.
[It’s getting dark soon. It’s about time I head back to the inn.] (Youya)
[In the end, you aren’t going to do it. Sigh even after resisting my beloved honey sake.] (Phil)
[Phil, if you say that I may end up doing it for real you know.] (Youya)
[Don’t worry about it, I have always been serious. The people under my care are adventurers, it doesn’t matter if I’m not there for one day. Or is it that I’m just not that attractive to you?] (Phil)
I swallowed my saliva.
I walked towards Phil and pushed her down.
[You sure about this?] (Youya)
[Yes. I’ve been sure about this forever. Even if Youya chooses to leave me, I will still look forward to meeting you once again in the future.] (Phil)
[I have always thought of you as a daughter in the past.] (Youya)
I have always thought that she was like a daughter to me. Whenever I think back, I could feel the past pulling the brakes, stopping me from moving forward. However, Phil has become beautiful when I wasn’t around. She has become a wonderful woman.
[Sorry for being an incompetent teacher. But I do not regret it in the slightest.] (Youya)
Phil eyes started to tear as I wiped her tears away. Her breathing became heavier and her gaze became more passionate.
In the end, I stayed over at Phil’s place until the next morning.
Luna was sniffing everywhere wondering why she could smell Phil in the inn while Til caught on quick and started to tease me about it.
Now then, the long-awaited festival is about to begin. It’s Luna’s long awaited day to shine. Heres to hoping that Phil’s concerns were just her imagination.