Ex Strongest, Heading East
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While bathing in the gentle breeze, Soma and others were riding through the grasslands under the blue sky.
Although the speed was moderate, it felt strangely calm, probably because they were in a state where they were almost doing nothing. Until now, Soma had rarely practiced horseback riding, but it might not be surprising bad. Surprisingly, Soma was enjoying the situation quite a bit while thinking about nothing in particular. However, it wasn’t the same as the one riding behind.
“Hmm? This is… well, isn’t the person, who came up with the idea of horseback riding, a genius? To be able to control it unilaterally and to make it follow your order… Moreover, Soma has to hold the reins, so I can do whatever I want…!” (Hildegard)
“I’m not going to say anything if you don’t get in the way, but if you do, I’ll throw you right away, alright?” (Soma)
He told her so with a sigh, but he didn’t get a reply, probably because she didn’t hear it. There was just the feeling that there was more force on the arm that was just on the back, and something was pushing against his back.
He sighed again, saying that she shouldn’t do it at all.
“Hmm… I’ve always wondered what kind of relationship you guys have, but… you’re not lovers, right?” (Ingrid)
“Does it look that way?” (Soma)
“No? It doesn’t look that way, and that’s why I’m wondering what kind of relationship both of you have.” (Ingrid)
“Hmm… I wonder what kind of relationship we have…” (Soma)
Honestly, Soma himself didn’t understand well. He didn’t really hate Hildegard, but when he asked whether he liked her as a lover, he had no choice but to wonder.
Or rather, that was the same with everyone else. Soma didn’t understand his own feelings… no, should he say that he didn’t get it
It was different before he fell into that world in the previous life. It could be said that it was strange, but at least, he had that feeling like everyone else.
What he didn’t understand was… probably that he was too absorbed with only one thing in the previous life. At that time, he was really concentrating only on the sword, and… perhaps, he was still doing it now.
However, he hadn’t had any problems with the feelings, and he thought that it was fine. No… was it correct to say that he felt that he would naturally understand when the time came? At the moment, he simply didn’t feel the need for that feeling.
The way of saying it might sound bad, but the point was that Soma was busy looking for ways to use magic. He couldn’t afford to be involved in anything else.
Actually, he was embarrassed when he was doing it now, but… well, it couldn’t be helped. It was inevitable. Soma could only solve the current matter as soon as possible and quickly return to his original purpose.
“Well, I’m sure there will be various things.” (Soma)
“Yeah, yeah… various things…” (Hildegard)
“I’m really going to throw you off, you know?” (Soma)
Soma couldn’t see it, but from the feeling of something pressing on his back, he thought that was her face. Moreover, she sounded happy and that could make him sigh only.
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He thought that she was more firm when they met again in this appearance, but he wonder if this former God had become more and more degraded in the last five years. Or maybe, she was originally putting up a mask to cover her true feelings. It might have come off or she started throwing it away…
“…I see. Surely, there are various things.” (Soma)
Soma had no choice but to shrug his shoulders at Ingrid, who smiled wryly.
Suddenly, he remembered what he had wanted to ask.
“By the way, I have one question for you, Ingrid.” (Soma)
“Hmm? Is there anything you want to ask?” (Ingrid)
“It’s about that dagger. Is that the reason why you decided to return to your hometown this time? I wondered why you kept silent about it. Isn’t it normal to report that you have found that dagger that seems to be relevant at least?” (Soma)
“Aah… is that it?” (Ingrid)
Ingrid’s expression changed immediately, but it was like a mixture of bitter smile and self-deprecation. It was at that time that he was hit by something, telling him that she didn’t want to say.
“Well, it’s alright. There’s no need for me to ask that, right? But why didn’t you inform me about it at that time?” (Soma)
“Hmm, to be honest, I was a bit lost. I supposed it wasn’t necessary to say it. I was wondering if there was any reason, and I just wondered if I didn’t have to pursue the matter at that time.” (Soma)
It was clear that there might be some reasons for not reporting it. Even though they just met each other yesterday, he somehow understood Ingrid’s personality. If there was no reason, Ingrid would definitely have reported.
But she didn’t report it for good reason, or it was hard to say to Eleonora. Therefore, Soma asked here because he thought about the possibility of the latter. By the way, he asked for it because of pure curiosity, so he didn’t have to know it.
“I see… Well, it is as you have guessed. I kept silent about this because I had to say things that I didn’t want to say. It’s related to why I thought I had to go back to my hometown when I saw this dagger.” (Ingrid)
“Hmm… what would you do if Eleonora pursued the matter moer?” (Soma)
“At that time, I… well. Perhaps, I would talk. After all, this is just my problem. If I was told to speak, I would have had to speak.” (Ingrid)
“Is that so?” (Soma)
Somehow, she thought that Eleonroa was aware of that. Even if Eleonora could trust Ingrid’s intuition and trust Ingrid herself, it was impossible to give permission alone. So, it was natural to think that she had guessed something and decided to believe in it.
If she couldn’t do that much, she wouldn’t be able to be at the highest position of one organization, albeit tentatively. Although it was only a short time since they met, Soma had recognized Eleonora the way she was.
“Well, that’s why I would appreciate it if you don’t pursue the matter any further. Or should I say… I’m not ready to say it yet.” (Ingrid)
“Hmm… does that mean you will tell us soon?” (Soma)
“Yes. That’s probably when we go to the village. I will have to talk even if I don’t like it. By that time, I’ll be ready. When I return to the Holy City, I will tell Eleonora-sama everything, including the apology for keeping it silent.
“Hmm… if that’s the case, I understand.” (Soma)
To begin with, he asked only because of curiosity. If he was told that she didn’t want to say it, he would accept it.
There was no problem if she was going to explain sooner or later.
“Well… If I’m not good at it, you may guess it almost at the same time when we get to the village.” (Ingrid)
Was it because of the reaction of the villagers? The person who was a Paladin in the Holy City returned suddenly for the first time in two years.
They would be at least surprised, and in the normal sense, she would be welcomed–…
“Welcome, huh… no, at least, that shouldn’t be the case. The people of that village wouldn’t welcome me.” (Ingrid)
With that said, Soma nodded when seeing the appearance of Ingrid, who distorted the mouth with a clear self-mockery. In a sense, it was as expected, but there seemed to be some circumstances.
Soma squinted ahead, staring in the directions of the village that he still couldn’t see its shadow or shape. At the same time, he thought that Hildegard, who kept pushing her face on his back without joining the conversation, was getting really annoying. He let out a breath, wondering what would happen.
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