I stared at Rose’s expression and sighed.
“Rose, we are friends, right?”
Rose was startled. She hesitated for a few seconds before nodding silently.
“Then, as your friend, can you tell me what is wrong with you?”
“H-Huh? N-No, i-it’s nothing. D-Don’t worry about that…”
I narrowed my eyes. As expected, it’s about that.
Several days ago, Rose participated in the Red Skull Gang’s operation.
During that, she was forced to see humans killing each other indiscriminately. And according to Evelyn, that scene shocked her so much that she was unable to fight at all.
In fact, the only reason she did not die that night was that Evelyn and the other people of the Institute were there to protect her.
But as expected, that left a shadow in her.
I thought for a moment before deciding to wait for a while. This is nor the time neither the place to talk about that.
While we were talking, we received our list of targets.
A total of twenty-two people. Their information such as age, place of residence, status, and everything else was clearly stated in the list.
It looks like Alice did a good job gathering this information.
As soon as we received the list, we departed towards our first target.
When we left the institute, I found an opportunity to talk at Katherine without Rose hearing.
“About Rose… Is it about the operation with the Red Skull Gang?”
Katherine was surprised that I knew about that (She doesn’t know my identity as Clark), but as Headmistress Evelyn’s student, she was aware that the reason the Institute participated in that operation was that the institute decided to take Dina’s side in the war for the throne.
And it was not a secret that I was supporting Dina, even more after I swore allegiance to her during the episode in the forest of wolves.
After hesitating for a while, Katherine finally spat out a sigh.
“… It was a disaster.”
“About Rose… Even my teacher did not think she was going to take it so badly.” Katherine smiled bitterly. “Teacher and I already knew Rose was a bit naïve and idealistic, so my teacher’s goal bringing Rose to the battlefield at that time was to show her the true cruelty of the world.
“However… Rose took it very badly… She has been having nightmares since then and even stopped training. My teacher and I have talked to her, but as you can see, she is still very in a bad state.”
I nodded in agreement.
An energetic and bright girl like Rose suddenly became silent and she is constantly in a daze. Anyone can see something is wrong with her.
“Some people take it very badly when they see that kind of slaughter…” I said.
Katherine nodded with an awkward look. “You are right, but… Rose has taken it worse than she should. I mean, the first time I killed someone, I took it badly. I vomited and had nightmares the following two nights, but after that, I managed to compose myself.
“Rose, on the other hand, has changed completely. I fear that if things continue like this, she will end developing a trauma.”
Well, I don’t think so.
Even if Rose is a bit naïve, she is in the end the Hero.
There is no way something like this can take her down.
However, this is a good opportunity to increase my points with her.
I thought for a moment and opened my mouth.
“I’ll try to talk to her. Perhaps, it will help.”
Katherine smiled wryly. “I don’t know if it will help, but thank you.”
I grinned. Then, I stealthily looked around before pecking at Katherine’s lips.
Katherine blushed before looking at me with mock anger and whispering.
“Idiot! Don’t do something like that here!”
“Well, consider it my reward.”
“Bah! You have not done anything yet! And why should I reward you with a kiss?”
“You don’t like it?” I tilted my head innocently. “Allow me to return it to you then.”
And before Katherine could react, I kissed her lips again.
Katherine opened and closed her mouth in anger, unable to say anything.
Finally, she gritted her teeth and spat out a word.
“You are very cute when you blush.”
“… Can you stop please?” Katherine looked at me with a sharp look. Her face, however, was burning with embarrassment.
Noticing something wrong, Rose turned around and looked at us curiously.
“Claus? Katherine? Is anything wrong?”
“N-No, nothing.” Katherine blushed and moved her gaze away. I just chuckled and shook my head.
Seeing Katherine embarrassed like that is very unusual.
I should do this more.
Rose tilted her head in confusion. She could feel a strange atmosphere between Katherine and me, but she could not put her finger on it.
… Should I say as expected of the hero? Even her denseness is typical of heroes.
I wanted to continue teasing Katherine, but I decided it was better to stop. If I tease Katherine too much, she can snap later.
Instead, I decided to focus on Rose.
I sent a flying kiss to Katherine stealthily before walking towards Rose.
“… Rose, I heard you had a breakthrough recently.” I used that question to start a conversation.
“Huh? Oh that, you are right… I’m already in the seventh layer.”
“Seventh layer, huh. Your progress sure is fast. Do you think you are stronger than me now?”
“…. That… Perhaps…”
“What do you think of a spar? You know, after all of this.”
Rose hesitated slightly before finally nodding.
But even that showed that something was wrong with her.
Normally, she would have been so excited to have a spar with me that her eyes would have shone. But now, her reaction was just a silent nod.
I stared at Rose fixedly, then, I shook my head.
“As expected, something is wrong with you.”
“Don’t try to lie to me, Rose. You are my friend, and I’m always looking after you. Obviously I can notice when something is wrong with you.”
Rose smiled bitterly.
“… It’s nothing, don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll be alright after a while.”
“Are you sure? You don’t want to talk to me about that?”
Rose hesitated slightly, but in the end, she shook her head.
I sighed inwardly. This girl sure is difficult.
It looks like she is the kind to carry her troubles by herself.
But you are too naïve if you think that can stop me.
As an expert at coaxing girls, a depressed hero is nothing before me.
“Actually, I already know about your situation,” I said. “You are thinking about killing other humans, right?”
Rose was startled. But she then smiled wryly. “… Did Kat tell you?”
“… It was not her. Well, she told me a little bit, but I already knew about your situation before that.”
“Don’t get surprised. I obviously was going to investigate when the girl I like is like that.” I threw a bomb indifferently.
But Rose was unable to grasp the meaning of my words immediately.
The next second, though, she stopped walking in the middle of the street, completely frozen.
Finally, she moved her head towards me like a rusty robot.
I laughed softly. “Why are you so surprised? Is it the first time someone confesses to you?”
“T-T-That, y-you see, I-I-I, uuuu…” Rose stared at me with a tomato-like red face. She was so embarrassed that she was unable to form a coherent sentence.
I laughed softly. But then, I felt a sharp gaze in my back.
When I turned around, I saw Katherine gathering mana in her hand.
… Mm, thinking about it, confessing to a girl in front of the girl you just kissed in surely a bad idea.
I winked to Katherine and mouthed an ‘I’m sorry.’ Katherine rolled her eyes and sighed, looking away.
… I should find a way to coax her later.
Returning my attention to Rose, I decided to continue my attack.
“Then, Rose, are you not going to answer my confession?”
“T-That…” Rose’s face was beet red. She was looking around as though trying to find a way to escape.
But when she realized she could not, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and a panicking face.
“… C-Can you give me some time?”
I chuckled. “Of course, you can.”
Rose heaved a sigh of relief before blushing again. In fact, she did not know how to look at me after such a bomb.
But I decided to strike while the iron is hot.
“As expected, you are more beautiful when you are lively than when you are gloomy.”
“Well, it’s not like I don’t understand why you are like that, but… Can I give you a piece of advice?”
“Rose, the world is not as beautiful as you think… There are things people like you and me can’t avoid even if we want.”
Just like I know I can’t avoid eventually meeting Emilia, even if I want to.
Rose fell silent. She knew my words were true.
But it doesn’t mean she thought it was alright to kill humans.
At that moment, we reached to where our first target was staying, a house in the slums.
I guess I should make use of him, huh.
Although I felt pity for the guy, this should help Rose to think things through.
Quickly, I organized everything in my mind.
Then, I smiled at Rose and Katherine.
“Let’s go. We have work to do.”
Current schedule: 10 Chapters/week