“Come to think of it, we never really got to ask about him properly, did we? All we know is that he’s supposed to be Elia’s friend.” [Kanan]
“Yeah, I’m a little curious too actually. Elia sometimes talks about him with Miyabi, but it always sounded like it wasn’t something she could easily talk about with us, so I never brought it up, but…” [Riera]
“Oh? You never told them about Ryouma-kun, Elia?” [Elize]
“Yes, I’m quite sure I haven’t talked about him properly, but it’s not as if I was intentionally trying to avoid bringing him up… It’s just that whenever I thought of explaining, I couldn’t really find the words to.” [Elia]
The three adults and Miyabi, who knew Ryouma, nodded.
“I didn’t have anyone I could call a friend before enrolling, so I never really thought anything was amiss, but after meeting classmates of my own age and the senpais here, I finally realized that whether it’s ability-wise or mentality-wise, Ryouma-san is very different.
Oh, but he’s not a bad person. If anything, I suppose you could say he’s a very good person? Father, mother, grandfather?” [Elia]
“That’s right. I was the first to be acquainted with him. At that time, one of my subordinates was wounded, and just as it seemed all hope was lost, he was the one who saved us.” [Reinhart]
“Apparently, he was raised by his grandparents. He’s a year younger than Elia, but he knows many things and is also a skilled hunter.” [Elize]
“He’s also a brilliant mage, though his spells are mostly geared towards improving his daily life.” [Reinbach]
“Since everyone’s all praises for him, he must be a remarkable child. And if he’s one year younger than Elia, then that means he’s one year younger than us too.” [Michelle]
“Brilliant… Yes, he is brilliant indeed.” [Elize]
“He has some quirks, though.” [Reinhart]
“Ryouma-san is a slime researcher, you see. So when the topic turns to slimes, he becomes just like how Michelle is when she’s talking about magic formations.” [Elia]
“Ahh…” [Riera and Kanan]
That was enough to get Riera and Kanan a general understanding of Ryouma’s personality.
“Please don’t just drop a person’s name and start comprehending things on your own.” [Michelle]
“Well, it’s the easiest way to get the point across, so it can’t be helped.” [Kanan]
“Yeah, I immediately understood that he’s the kind of person to lose track of his surroundings when there’s something interesting in front of him.” [Riera]
“Accordingly, the both of you are experts in your respective fields. He also has a wealth of knowledge in other things and is very reliable. He taught me about monster taming too when I was going to catch my first monster just like how you taught me about magic formations, Michelle.” [Elia]
“I’m not wholly convinced, but let’s just leave it at that. I take it he’s the reason why you have those three slimes with you?” [Michelle]
“Cleaner Slime, Heal Slime, and Scavenger Slime, right? They’re really convenient to have around. Especially during camping training at the school dungeon. The other groups were so envious.” [Kanan]
“It’s only a given, though, considering that we were able to make a simple toilet and bath thanks to Elia’s slimes and Michelle’s earth magic. Even the teachers already used to camping didn’t have such a great setup.” [Riera]
“Because of that the noble groups demanded that we lend or make it for them too. I was the one who had to talk to them, so it was really troublesome.” [Miyabi]
“Indeed, that was really a pain.” [Elia]
“Every year, especially during the first practical training, those bunch tend to lose their temper. Anyhow, although you’ve already learned the gist before enrolling, you have to keep practicing and reviewing or you won’t be able to master the techniques you’ve learned.” [Reinhart]
“Just as Miyabi-san said awhile ago, it’s good to have friends who can compensate for the parts where you’re lacking, but people like those who live proudly as nobles or are simply selfish are present even among adults…” [Reinbach]
“Come to think of it, something like this happened before, didn’t it?” [Elia]
Like that Elia spoke about the events that happened at the academy and the tension of her four friends gradually loosened.
When the sun had started to set…
“Excuse me. My lord, it’s almost time for your appointment.” [Maid]
“Oh? It’s that time already?” [Reinhart]
“Father. I went out of my way to bring my friends here, and yet you’re leaving already?” [Elia]
“Sorry, Elia. But I’m to have supper with a senpai from my school days that I haven’t met in a while.” [Reinhart]
“Hmm? What’s the matter? Is it really so surprising?” [Reinhart]
“…You had friends during your school days?” [Elia]
In that moment, the air in the room seemed to freeze and a strange tension could be felt.
Elia’s excessive words left Reinhart’s face cramping. He spoke.
“W-What do you mean by that?” [Reinhart]
“Umm… Well you never had a friend visit, and I’ve never heard you say that you’re going out to meet a friend. And whenever the topic turned to your time at the academy, you’d always make a difficult face.” [Elia]
“Ahh… Yeah, well…” [Reinhart]
Speechless, Reinhart turned to his wife and father.
But the two of them were already doing all that they could just to keep themselves from laughing. The way they quietly looked at him tacitly implied that he should do something about this on his own.
“Sigh… Right. It’s not really a subject I wish to broach much, but my time at the academy was indeed not something I wish to look back on. Still, I did have one or two people I could trust. For example, Elize, who is laughing over there. She’s my wife now, but in the past, she was a friend of mine.” [Reinhart]
“Ufufu. This sure brings back memories.” [Elize]
“Really? I’m sorry, Father.” [Elia]
“Please don’t apologize. I’ll feel sorry for myself if you do… Anyhow, it’s not something you need to worry yourself over. It is a fact that I rarely visit my friends, and the person I’m about to meet now is someone I haven’t contacted since graduation.” [Reinhart]
“Why all of the sudden then?” [Elia]
“Actually, Ryouma-kun visited his territory just recently and received his help. Apparently, despite our respective positions, he’s still worrying over me as a kouhai of his. Ryouma-kun secretly informed me that through his letter, so I figured I could use his recent visit to drop by.” [Reinhart]
“The person himself was fairly surprised. And I’m happy to be able to have a friend who could support me regardless the passage of time. I hope you too could find such a friend, Elia. It doesn’t have to be a crowd, if you can just find one such friend, it’ll mean the world.” [Reinhart]
“Yes, Father. But you don’t have to worry about that!” [Elia]
As she said that, she looked at her four friends.
“After all, I already have four such friends. If you include Ryouma-san, then that makes five! Five friends I wish to be with for a long time!” [Elia]
“Oh, my. Well, I guess you sure showed me.” [Reinhart]
“She doesn’t hold back does she?” [Miyabi]
“It’s kind of embarrassing.” [Kanan]
“Oh, did you girls not want to be that kind of friends?” [Elia]
When Elia asked that to the four girls, they shook their heads with a smile.
Seeing the five like that, the adults gently smiled.
“Thank goodness. It seems Elia managed to meet some great friends at the academy. I’d love to hear more, but unfortunately, we really ought to go. Still, please do take your time here.” [Reinhart]
“Right. I’d love to talk more too, so how about you all stay the night here? I want to help Elia pick a dress for the coming parties. Ryouma-kun had also sent us a beauty product prototype. He said he wanted to get as many opinions as possible, so why don’t you girls give it a try too.” [Elize]
“Ryouma-han made a beauty product?” [Miyabi]
“Yes, our conversation turned to that direction before. He says it’s to deepen his understanding of medicine, though I think it’s also partly because I showed an interest in the idea. Apparently, he studied under his grandmother. He’s a really studious child, and just between you and me, I think his beauty products are easy to use and effective.” [Elize]
“Consider my interest piqued. My mom is researching medicine too, so…” [Kanan]
Like this the conversation within the room became lively again, and Elia and the others spoke until it was late in the night.