“Arista, don’t push yourself too hard.”


Just then, from behind, Arista staggered to her feet.
Lucia and her friends hurried to her side.

They wrapped Arista in towels and blankets to raise her chilled body temperature and dabbed at her sweaty forehead.

“Arista, if you don’t mind, can you explain what happened on the mountain?”

The professor asked cautiously, and Arista opened her mouth cautiously.

“So… we were on our way to our destination when it suddenly rained.”

Arista slowly explained what had happened to her.

“I was just going to keep going, but it was pouring harder than I expected, so I wasn’t sure what to do, and then I got the signal to evacuate.”

As the rain poured down, the academy realized that they could no longer conduct the practical assessment, so they fired a flare to allow the students to evacuate.

Arista saw the flares.

“So I rushed out, and on the way down, I ran into Herwin, and we were going to go together, but then we ran into… an ogre.”

She heard sharp intakes of breath around her.

People who hadn’t believed Brian and Ethan when they said they’d seen it began to stutter.

“Herwin spotted the ogre first and protected me, but he was badly injured in the process.”

Lucia bit her lower lip tightly as her heart sank at the words.

It was a stroke of luck that they had managed to outrun the monster and make it this far when one of them could barely move.

“That was a close call, but you made it back safely.
We’re lucky you didn’t get hurt.”

“What happened to the ogre you encountered, did you manage to outrun it?”

The professors were relieved that Herwin and Arista had returned safely, and worried about what had become of the remaining ogres.

Arista pursed her lips for a moment, then looked around, seemingly hesitant to say something.

“It’s okay, go ahead and say it.”

The other professor patted Arista on the back as if she hadn’t already recovered from the shock of encountering the ogre.

Arista blushed a little more as he did so.

“Well, actually…… killed the ogre.”

The next words were a shock.

People let out belated gasps.

Arista rolled her eyes in disbelief at the reaction from all sides.

“Huh…you killed an ogre.
That’s amazing.”

“What’s going on, did Herwin defeat the ogre?”


Christine and Bianca gasped, and Lucia, beside them, couldn’t take her eyes off Arista.

“Who the hell killed the ogre? An ogre is not a monster that can be defeated so easily.
At the very least, a skilled knight with a lot of battle experience or a Sword Expert who has reached the level of…….”

The professor, who had been babbling in astonishment, stopped talking and turned his head toward Arista.

His eyes were wide.

“No way… Are you able to use auror?”

Arista glanced around and reluctantly gave a small nod.

It was a small sign of affirmation.
This time, the surrounding area became chaotic in another sense.

The ability to use an Auror.

That was the sign of a Sword Expert.

“How did you come to be able to use auror?”

“I don’t know, I just realized that the ogre was trying to hurt Herwin, so my body went out before I realized it… and by the time I realized it, the ogre had already fallen.”

Arista’s clothes were spattered with the monster’s green blood.

At first, she thought it was grass, but it wasn’t.

“Then you must have killed the ogre and made your way back down.”

“Yes, that’s right, the road was slippery because of the rain, and it took us a while to get back because Herwin was hurt a lot.”

“No, I’m just grateful you made it back safely.
You must have been very frightened to see the ogre, and I apologize for asking without giving you time to rest.”

“No, it’s not, it’s only natural.
… Professor, how is Herwin?”

“I’m giving him first aid right now.
He’ll be transferred to the Academy in a few minutes.
You can rest easy now.”

“I’m glad to hear that, then…….”

Arista was slowly placed on the stretcher by the professor, and as soon as her back touched the cloth, her eyes closed.

She was just drifting off to sleep when she noticed Lucia’s group approaching after the professor left.

Arista smiled even though she must have been exhausted.

“……Thank you for saving Herwin.
I will never forget this kindness.”

Lucia cautiously grasped the weakened hand.

Her fingertips felt not the soft touch of another woman, but the calluses of a knight wielding a sword.

The realization that this hand had saved Herwin’s life sent a chill down Lucia’s spine.

“No… I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Herwin either…….”

Arista’s voice was filled with exhaustion.


“I’m sorry you didn’t get any rest because of me, I’m going to go now, get some sleep.”

Lucia stood up, wiping away the tears that had formed, and Arista grabbed her hand.

“……Lucia.”

“Huh?”

“If you’re grateful… could you do me a favor later?”

“A favor? What’s that?”

“Later…I’ll tell you later…….”

With those words, her half-closed eyelids closed.
The sound of her breathing was soft and colorful.

Lucia had no idea what Arista was asking her to do.

“Eek!”

Lucia sneezed, feeling cold for a moment after all her pondering.

“See, I told you, let’s get changed.”

“Yes, Lucia, Herwin will be moving to the infirmary soon, so why don’t you go back to your dorm and change.”

Lucia clamped her mouth shut and refused to budge, but only after another sneeze.

* * *

The day after Herwin and Arista went missing.

In less than a day, their stories spread like wildfire across the school.

Prince Phoenaeus and Princess Lydia, missing side by side.
Found alive and well.

It was enough to pique curiosity.

Two of the most famous people in the first year, a man and a woman, disappear side by side and return safely.
Isn’t it subject to welcome those who like to write novels?

People who usually gossiped about how well they got along assumed that something must have happened between them when they disappeared.

It was said that they must have stripped down and cuddled to stay warm in the rain, or that they must have realized their feelings for each other because they had survived a close call together, or worse, that they had already talked about getting engaged.

Everyone was excited and imagining things, but the reality was different.

They fell fast asleep and didn’t wake up until today, a day later.

Fuego.

Lucia hurried to the infirmary, holding back a sneeze that hadn’t let up since yesterday.

She had been running a fever since she returned to her dorm yesterday and changed her clothes.

She’d been out in the rain for an hour, and the sudden stress of the day had finally caught up with her.

The school nurse told her that she would get better after a day or two of rest, but Lucia was too busy nursing Herwin to rest.


Part of her wanted to stay by his side and nurse him all day, but she was a student.

There was no way her professors were going to let her miss class just because she wanted to take care of her friend for no particular reason.

If she wanted to nurse Herwin, she could cheat and skip class, but Lucia couldn’t do that, and she had to go to class anyway.

Of course, she didn’t forget to run to the nurse’s office during every break to check on him.

After all the classes were over.

When Lucia arrived at the nurse’s office, she checked on Herwin.

On the bed, Herwin lay as if he were dead.

Even though he was sleeping, he still had a striking appearance.

He had a sharp but slightly rounded jawline and nostrils that had just begun to wean, and straight lashes that cast long shadows across his white cheeks.

If it weren’t for the colorful puffs of breath escaping from his slightly open mouth, he could be mistaken for a statue.

The look on Herwin’s face that others might have found mesmerizing made Lucia cringe.

“It’s thin…”

It was very subtle, but his face relaxed a little.

He hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday, so he must be hungry when he woke up.

Lucia had prepared something simple for him to eat when he woke up.

“Lucia, how is Herwin?”

Just then, Bianca appeared.

“He’s not up yet.”

“I thought you said he’d wake up any minute…….”

“He must be very tired.
He’s not unconscious, so we shouldn’t worry too much.”

“Well, that’s good to hear.
It’ll be dinner in a little while, have you eaten?”

Lucia shook her head.

“You’ll be in big trouble if you do that.
You didn’t even eat breakfast and lunch.
At this rate, you may fall before Herwin even wakes up.”

“Oh, it’s not that bad, it’s just a cold and I have no appetite, so don’t worry too much about it.”

“The more you do that, the more you need to eat.
What if the cold gets worse?”

Bianca grumbled but kept her eyes on Lucia.

“Lucia, did you hear that?”

“About what?”


“The rumor that Herwin might be in love with Princess Lydia.”

Bianca lowered her voice in case anyone else heard.

“I think the rumor was blown out of proportion because of what happened yesterday but was there such a thing?”

“Yeah, but I’ve heard it, and it’s pretty plausible.”

“Bianca, no matter how plausible it is, you know it can’t be true.
They both collapsed as soon as they arrived yesterday, and who has time for such talk of love?”

“But, Lucia, listen to me.
Yesterday, Herwin got hurt trying to protect her, and she killed an ogre while trying to save him.
Didn’t they do that because they like each other enough to do that? Of course, I know you like Herwin, but if she likes the princess…….”

“Who wouldn’t help a friend if they were in danger? Even if I were Herwin, I would have helped Arista, don’t let rumors get to you too.”

Lucia cut Bianca off, drawing a line in the sand.

“I’m sorry…….”

Bianca’s shoulders sagged, and Lucia hurriedly held out her hand.

“I’m sorry I sounded so cold.”

“No, it’s not, it’s not something you should have heard, and I shouldn’t have said it.
I’ll be more careful in the future.”

Bianca held out her pinky finger as if to say she would never say that again.

“Mmm…….”

They heard a groan just then.
Lucia whipped her head around.

His long lashes fluttered, and his heavy eyelids slowly lifted to reveal red eyes.

“Herwin!”

“Oh, my, I’ll get the school nurse!”

Bianca hurried away.
Lucia wiped away her tears and called out to Herwin anxiously.

“Herwin, are you awake?”

The red eyes that had been staring blankly at the ceiling slowly turned to the side.

“Lucia…….”

“Yes, it’s me, Lucia, haha, thank God.”

They said it would happen soon, and she waited for him to wake up, but when she saw those red eyes again, she couldn’t help but feel a surge of emotion.

“……Where am I?”

His voice sounded lower than usual, deep in thought.

“The infirmary.
Do you have any idea how surprised I was to hear that the boy who was supposed to come in first in his practical evaluation is suddenly missing?”

Lucia nudged Herwin.

She used to nag and crumple her face like she was angry, but it looked like a kitten squeaking.

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