“Good morning, Claire.”
“Good morning, Philine-sama.”
“Good morning, Rei. Anyway, Claire, listen to this――”
After interrupting my greeting with her own, Philine immediately started chatting it up with Claire-sama.
It had been like this for the last few days.
It seemed that her fear of Claire-sama had faded away.
Rather, she was all over Claire-sama now.
Nowadays, I often felt like I was being left out while they chatted away.
I was happy that the two of them were closer now, but it was tough to keep my jealousy under control.
Kin kon kan kon.
The morning school bell rang.
Not that it mattered, but even something like that was reminiscent of 21st century Japan.
“Looks like it’s time. Well then, I’ll see you later, Claire.”
Claire-sama smiled as she saw Philine, who looked reluctant to part, off. When she was out of sight, Claire-sama wore a tired look on her face.
“Good work, Claire-sama.”
“Thank you, Rei. It’s not like Philine is a bad person or anything, but she is so pure, there are some parts about her I have troubles dealing with.”
“That’s because she’s a pure young lady that had an extremely sheltered upbringing.”
On that note, Claire-sama used to be like that as well, but the current Claire-sama was no longer a villainess that was ignorant of the world around her.
Although personally, I did want to see her behave like a villainess again.
“What’s more, we have ulterior motives. It feels like I’m just deceiving her.”
“Claire-sama, that’s wrong. There’s a difference between telling a lie and just omitting the truth.”
“I don’t see it as that black-and-white, though.”
Claire-sama let out a sigh.
“Well, since this is for the sake of Rei, Mei and Alea’s futures, I will have to do my best.”
“That’s right. By the way, Claire-sama, something like, ‘ah, Philine sure is cute’, has never crossed your mind before, right?”
“? Isn’t Philine cute, though?”
“Ah, that’s not what I meant!? Generally speaking, that is! I just meant in general.”
“Claire-sama’s having an affair……”
“Could you not say such scandalous things!?”
Although the Imperial Academy didn’t have a homeroom in the mornings, there was an announcement that had to be made today.
“The Pope will be visiting our empire next month. On that note, that means some work will be assigned to our academy.”
The Pope was the supreme leader of the Holy Spirit Church.
Although the Pope was usually found in the Cathedral in Bauer, the Holy Spirit Church wasn’t exclusive to Bauer. The religion was widely followed worldwide, so for the sake of their worshippers, the Pope would often travel to various areas around the world.
According to our teacher, the reason for the Pope’s visit to the Imperial City this time around was to meet with Dorothea.
I never would’ve imagined that Dorothea, who described the Church as some sort of religious shop, was a person of faith, so I wondered what they were going to discuss.
“What kind of work is it?”
A student raised a question.
“We’ll be exterminating monsters along the route that the Pope will be taking. Of course, the army will also be helping out. They’ll be in charge of taking care of the more dangerous areas, whereas we will be handling the safer roadside areas.”
Monster extermination, huh.
We had to do something like this during the Amour Festival back in Bauer as well, but it seemed that monster extermination was something that even armies struggled to keep under control by themselves.
They would often get it done with the aid of local vigilante groups and other individuals that were able to fight.
Moreover, the Empire was situated near territories that belonged to demons, who acted as leaders to the monsters.
The monsters here were higher in number and stronger than the ones back in Bauer.
“Let’s have each party be split into a group of four. You have until after school to report your party formations to me. Now then, let’s begin the lecture.”
After that, we proceeded with the lecture like usual.
As always, our teacher seemed to hate wasting time.
That being said, some of the students didn’t seem to think the same way.
(Hey, Rei, Claire, why don’t we be a party?)
(I-I’m here too.)
A voice suddenly echoed in my head.
It was telepathy.
Come to think of it, Frieda was a wind magic user.
The other person that entered the conversation was Philine.
(The four of us?)
(Yes. Our power, together, is enough!)
(That may be so, but are you sure it is alright? At the end of the day, we are still people from Bauer.)
(What, and what’s the matter with that?)
(Philine-sama is the Imperial Princess of the Empire. I wonder if they will even let us team up, considering we were still enemies up until just a few days ago.)
This was a good opportunity for us to deepen our friendship, but perhaps it wasn’t the case for the other side.
(Aren’t we friends already, though? It won’t be a problem at all.)
(Yes, no problem, at all.)
Was that really the case?
That would depend on whether or not the teacher was against the idea.
Or at least, that was what I thought, but when I went to report our formation to the teacher after school, they gave us the go-ahead.
Was this really okay for the Naa Empire?
When I went to report our formation to the teacher, I also tried asking them if we could replace the monster extermination work with another task.
I feared that perhaps the Empire was planning on silently assassinating us, using the monster extermination as a cover-up.
That being said, the Empire and Bauer still had to uphold their official diplomatic stances, even if it was just for show.
When my complaints were promptly dismissed, I vowed in my heart that I would protect Claire-sama, no matter what.
“Let’s confirm where we stand individually with our combat abilities. I specialize in high aptitude fire magic, and I know a little bit of hand-to-hand combat.”
“I’m an earth and water magic user, with both of them being of super high aptitudes. I’m not very good when it comes to melee combat.”
“What!? Rei, you are a dual caster!?”
Despite being so magically advanced, it seemed that dual casters were a rare sight even in the Empire.
“I am a wind magic user of medium aptitude. But, I am good at melee combat.”
“I’m a mid-level water magic user. I’m not good with close-quarters combat.”
All of that was information already known to Claire-sama and myself, but it was important that we learned about it through natural means instead.
“What sort of magic do you both specialize in? For me, I excel in offensive magic. Rei can basically do almost anything.”
I was praised by Claire-sama.
“I am good at boosting my physical abilities, using magic. But, I am not so good at using it on others.”
“I specialize in healing magic.”
They shared information about the magic that they specialized in with us.
“In that case, Frieda and I should be in the frontline, while Rei and Philine should remain in the back.”
“That sounds safe to me.”
“No complaints from me too.”
“None from me as well.”
Thus, the strategy was decided with ease.
“The monster extermination will begin tomorrow, right?”
“That’s what was said, at least.”
“What about it?”
“In that case, shall we warm up first?”
“Oh? A warm up, you say?”
With all of our gazes on Claire-sama, she continued.
“It’s a bit worrisome that we’ll be fighting monsters without any preparation, right? We should put some practice into our teamwork.”
“Ahh, I see.”
The Empire also had a magic dampening barrier that surrounded the sports ground.
That would be where we could practice fighting as if it were the real thing.
“I think that’s a good idea.”
“I have no objections.”
Thus, we moved to the sports ground to practice.
In the end, our party was pretty well-balanced.
Claire-sama’s combat abilities aside, both Frieda and Philine were quite strong as well.
Frieda’s fighting style was similar to His Majesty Sein.
It was a style that involved boosting their melee combat abilities through their magic.
The difference between them was that while His Majesty Sein preferred hand-to-hand combat, Frieda used a sword.
Frieda would also use her magic to enchant her sword to increase its sharpness.
It sliced through my clay training doll, which was a substitute for a straw one, so smoothly like it was a mere block of butter.
Philine’s healing magic was amazing as well.
Although she mentioned that her aptitude was only mid-level, she was able to use many different types of healing magic.
Her skill ranged from being able to heal little wounds to curing sleep magic, clearing toxins, removing paralysis, increasing concentration levels, and so on. She had a wide variety of abilities.
If I may brag a little, because my magic was quite high level and I was able to cure all negative status effects, there wasn’t a need for me to specialize in different kinds of healing magic.
However, even with Philine being a mid-level magic user, she required less magical energy to be able to use her magic, so when it came down to who would be the better choice, I would say Philine was the right pick.
‘I should get her to teach me her magic sometime,’ I thought to myself.
By the way, neither Philine’s healing magic nor my own were better than the Tears of the Moon.
“Well, we can leave it at this.”
Claire-sama said after we finished practicing.
“I think we will be fine like this. I am counting on you all during the real thing, okay?”
“Claire-sama, I’ll definitely protect you.”
“Rei? Can I ask, may you protect us as well?”
Well, I will try to protect everyone, but only in order of priority, alright?
Since the sun had already set, we decided to call it a day.
It had been a while since I’d engaged in such strenuous exercise, so when the next day came around, I woke up with a lot of muscle pain.
I would like to note that Claire-sama had absolutely nothing to do with it.