I was going to use this chapter as the final test, but this is too good a chapter, and tbh 1 chapter/wk is rather slow… i feel pressured :c
Editor applications are closed. I’ll send back my feedback and comments regarding any edited tests that have been sent back to me soon 🙂
Follow or whatever https://www.facebook.com/konobutatrans/ for like more minor? or like schedule stuff? updates? :v
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With the Red-haired Youth and the Silver-haired Maiden. (First)
On the first day, he drank himself unconscious, and had showed something shameful to Latina – by having her once again cast a 『Detox』 spell on him – but that wasn’t enough to discourage him, and he visited the 『Dancing Ocelot』 on the next day as well.
All of the rookie adventurers were thinking, ‘Wouldn’t I be able to get closer to the poster girl in this time when her 『guardian』 wasn’t here?’, as they watched on diligently, waiting, and aiming for their chance. So they were clearly antagonistic towards Rudolf, who their idol aka. Latina was strangely intimate with.
Feeling that the atmosphere was somewhat tense, Latina made a puzzled look.
“Did you fight with all these people around you, or something?”
“No. That’s not it.”
“Hmmm…. If you’re having any troubles, tell me, okay?”
The Rudolf that Latina was having such a conversation with today, was drinking a sweet fruit cider.
If it was another shop, then that would be a drink that he would be laughed at for, being told ‘As expected from a 『Child』.’, for liking something females enjoy, but this drink had become one of the more popular items at the 『Dancing Ocelot』.
The reason was extremely simple. It was because it was something that the poster girl had added onto the menu. As expected of someone like Latina to be bad with alcohol, who, putting aside the taste, just half-licking what she had put into a small glass, for a small taste, had clearly turned completely red. It seems that she couldn’t even sample it.
“Girly, you’re pretty close with that boy, huh.”
A regular, Gilbester called out, witnessing the sight of Latina holding a conversation with Rudolf. Latina approaches his table, slightly cocking her head to the side and replied casually.
“You know him too right? Gil-san. It’s Rudi. He used to come here a lot back then. He’s a guard now.”
“….Girly, you see…”
“Apparently he can come here to the 『Ocelot』 now that his probation period is over.”
Gilbester smiled strangely back at Latina, who had said that with no ill intent whatsoever.
“This girly…. I don’t think she can comment about that guy….”
Sighing as he watched her walk away, Gilbester’s mumbles were directed towards his glass, in a manner that was inaudible to those around him.
Even though Rudolf’s obvious feelings of affection were noticed by those around him, who mocked him, and was envious of him, Latina herself, was keeping those feelings away with her denseness.
With that, though there were some who sneered at Rudolf, since his feelings were so out in the open, it actually invited sympathy from some.
Nevertheless, Rudolf did not get discouraged, and continued visiting the 『Ocelot』 everyday.
He had already known of his childhood friend’s thick-headedness, and was taking up the challenge in spite of that.
There was no way he would give up with just this.
And, he eventually noticed it.
The fact that, ever since 『The Night Festival’s tragedy』, Latina and Dale’s relationship had become a little bit awkward. And that, whilst that relationship had not been amended, Dale had left due to work.
— (He noticed) The matters between them.
Rudolf knew exactly who Latina had always had her eye on.
Even though Latina was smaller than those around her age, and appeared young due to her appearance and manner of speaking, the fact that she was more mentally mature than any of them, was something her friends knew well.
The fact that, her tender feelings towards Dale, who was her 『guardian』, as well as someone of the 『opposite sex』, was something that should be called 『love』 even way before now, was something that they knew of.
Latina had never once said to her friends that Dale was a 『replacement for her father』.
Being such a clever girl even when she was young, she would talk happily 『about Dale』 as her 『favourite person』, understanding fully that he was her guardian, 『someone who protects her』.
And, she was always chasing after him.
Even though there was no way of minimising the age gap between them, her feelings of wanting to 『grow up』 quickly, and wanting to be treated as an 『adult』, as well as her housework and job, were all thoughts and actions beyond her age. She had always been someone who works hard, but more than that, she had always been trying her best, so that she could always stand by his side.
That was something Rudolf knew.
It’s because he knew that the person Latina has in her is Dale that, the 『figure』 he chases after, is also the 『same』 as hers.
It was an incredibly distant 『figure』, and it wouldn’t be easily reached, no matter how much he chases, how hard he tries. Despite that, for the sake of his unshakable 『feelings』, he polishes himself, working desperately, and becoming stronger. Encouraging himself that, no matter how much praise he receives from others, how much he is acknowledged, it still wouldn’t be enough.
Which is why Rudolf understood Latina’s 『feelings』 more than anyone else.
After all, his own 『desires』, and Latina’s 『desires』 were — when they overlap for the sake of chasing after him — 『very similar』 despite their differences.
After his thoughts went on a turn like that, Rudolf let out a deep sigh.
(….No matter how I think of it…. It feels like this’ll be my only chance….)
Seeing that, that was the end result he arrived at no matter how many times he thought about it, he downed his drink as if he was letting out another sigh.
(I don’t think I’ll have the chance to say it… once she completely 『returns』 back to normal…)
It’s been a few days since her 『guardian』 was absent, and at a glance, it appears as if she had 『returned back to normal』. However, in Rudolf’s eyes, it appeared as if returning back to normal still wasn’t possible.
The fact that what he was feeling from 『him』, someone who was able to make her become so depressed like this, was jealousy, was something he had realised quite a while back.
As Rudolf dropped his gaze to look at the contents of his glass, he delved even further into his thoughts.
The noise from the surroundings become distant, but nevertheless, his ears were unintentionally picking up Latina’s voice.
(She won’t say… that I’m taking advantage of her moment of weakness… right?)
He was in no place to be so cool as to tell himself that he couldn’t take advantage of this current moment when Latina was in trouble.
His current odds were not so good as to hold him back from saying such words.
To use whatever you have at your convenience, is the heart of the 『battlefield』.
(If I was to give up now without doing anything…. I doubt I’ll be able to do this several years down the road either.)
The night of 『Ahmar’s Night Festival』. Seeing the sight of Latina reddening to her ears, and hearing her shout desperately as she held back her minor trembles, dizzied him.
Dizzied by his envy of wanting her to face him with that voice and look, as well as by the despair known as, whether or not his 『feelings』 would come to an end without him being able to do anything.
Which is exactly why, he couldn’t run away at this time, and miss another opportunity provided to him right in front of his eyes. Naturally, when her 『guardian』 was keeping watch, it would be way too scary and he wouldn’t feel like he could do it anyway.
This one-in-a-million chance, right now, when Latina was weak, was his only, chance.
As he went through his rather pathetic thoughts inside his head, Rudolf looks up with a determined face, and met face to face with Latina, who was surprisingly close to him.
Shocked, he almost dropped his glass, before panickedly putting it back onto the table. With a crack, a noisy noise that represented his heart’s emotions, quietly shook.
“What’s wrong Rudi? You’re looking a little troubled. Are you worried about something?”
Her lovely, well-proportioned face was clouded by worry, and her large, grey irises stared straight at him, not cowering away in the slightest.
An action that hasn’t changed since her younger days.
It was a distance that hasn’t changed from her younger days, due to her indifference towards the favour and lust directed towards herself by others.
Maybe Latina didn’t realise, that he was so close that he could touch her if he just reached out a little bit, nor how much she, with her unguarded smile, stirs him.
Being questioned once again, he came to his senses. He gulps and coughs loudly, unexpectedly swallowing down his nervousness.
Latina didn’t notice Rudolf doing that, and turned towards the glass that Rudolf placed down loudly. Then looking happy, seeing that the contents inside the glass was mostly emptied.
“Rudi, you really went and finished it all. How was it? Good? Or do you think that it would be better if it was still a little bit less sweet?”
“Yeah. It’s fine as it is, I think.”
Seeing Latina, being so interested towards the item that she had put onto the menu, so extremely enthusiastic, Rudolf responds with a confirmation, being slightly pressured.
Hearing his answer, Latina smiled happily with not a single trace of sadness, like a flower suddenly blooming.
The moment that he wholeheartedly thought, ‘She’s so cute.’ — Rudolf forgot about the worries he had been holding inside until just a second ago.
What remained was truly, a very simple phrase, and a resolve similar to an obsession, that he would surely regret if he didn’t say it. That, and nothing else.
“I like you.”
Latina blinked her large eyes several times, as if she didn’t understand the meaning behind the words that she was so simply, so easily told.
“I… come to this shop, to see you.”
“I’ve liked you, for a really long time. ….That’s all I have to say.”
Finding it difficult to look directly at Latina, who was replying with a strange sound, Rudolf stopped talking after that and stood up from his seat.
In the instant that Rudolf got out the door, and reached outside, an extremely loud sound could be heard within the shop, as if a table had been flipped. However, Rudolf, who had his head swamped by the racing of his beating heart, didn’t notice that at all.