64. A Boy’s Love Consultation
“Hold on, Ernea-kun. What’s going on?”
Today is the day after I returned home from the errand. I came to school like usual but am currently being approached by Kiira who has an incredibly threatening attitude around her.
“Wha- what are you talking about?”
I cannot figure out what she is talking about in the slightest. Why is Kiira mad at me first thing in the morning?
Incidentally, this is a secret, but Kiira’s drooping eyes keep her from looking ferocious no matter how angry she gets.
“Don’t give me that! Yesterday, Inea and I waited for you two to return from the East by the Arch of Triumph. Yet, even though we did that, for some reason you returned South from the Dragon Forest?”
“Ah, so it’s about that?”
“Don’t go saying, ‘So it’s about that?’!”
Inea, angry at me, also joins in.
Hm, Inea is small and cute. Her being mad doesn’t scare me either.
“There’s… a reason for that.”
“What kind of reason?”
Not sure what to say, I turn away and notice Ruiseine making a wry smile. No doubt these two grilled her yesterday about this too. Ruiseine, even though we just got back from a long trip, thank you for your hard work.
“Hehee, for something like inviting a shrine maiden into the Dragon Forest, wouldn’t Ernea also do this and that?”
Slatton puts on an ill-tempered smirk. Also, just like always, his bed head is explosive.
“What’s going on? What’s going on? I heard you two went on an errand together but are you in that kind of relationship?”
Even Ristia bites into the topic.
“Uwaaaaah, what are you all teasing me for?”
It’s been a while since I last came to school, yet everyone has been bustling and keeping me on my toes with one thing or another. The shrine maidens Kiira and Inea are persecuting me while Slatton and Ristia are getting a kick out of teasing me. Then, for some reason, the surrounding girls point at me and whisper amongst themselves while the boys direct painful stares at me.
How did this happen?
Since many hardships occurred during the errand, I was looking forward to today being a usual, ordinary, day. Instead, I’m being flooded with more attention than when that demon sword incident happened at the ancient ruins. The morning passes without a second of peace.
“Oww, why’s everyone making fun of me for?”
The opening classes have ended. Now, during the small break before the martial arts classes, I am grumbling to Ristia.
“That’s because Ernea and Ruiseine went on an errand together.”
“Mumumu, how does going on an errand cause such a big uproar? Also, wasn’t our going on an errand a secret?”
The story should have been that Ruiseine went on that errand with a remarkable female adventurer. Despite that, the fact that she went together with me has somehow been exposed. Now, every student in our year knows about it. I wonder if the temple has learned about this too. Is Ruiseine alright?
“What are you saying. You and Ruiseine went with a female adventurer. Why would that be a secret for?”
“Ah, so it’s like that.”
Without my realizing it, it became a story where I tagged along? Hence, it’s open knowledge.
“Well, that’s how it is for the rest of the world, so don’t worry about it.” With those words, Ristia places a hand on my shoulder and turns me to face him. He then moves closer to my ear and whispers, “That’s why, tell me what really happened.”
Looks like Risita knows there really wasn’t a female adventurer. No doubt he heard from Kiira and Inea that the true circumstances are different. Still, there’s no way he knows about Mistral and Priscilla-chan. The Dragon Tribesmen and Long Eared Tribe along with that myth about the legendary dragon of the Dragon Forest; no matter how much of a childhood friend someone is, aren’t topics that can be talked about. That’s why I can’t say anything either, not even to my best friend, the yuusha Ristia.
I wonder if a day will come when I can honestly talk to Ristia about these secrets. I feel guilty keeping them and want to reveal the truth him right now, but it isn’t up to me. As such, it can’t be helped.
“Hohou, so what happened in the forest is something you can’t even tell me.”
Ristia seems to have misunderstood my silence. He just nods to himself going, “Yep, yep,” as he comes to his own conclusion.
“What kind of misunderstanding are you making?”
“It’s fine. It’s one of those things you can’t talk about even to me after all. So, Ernea, did you become a man?”
“Laying your hands on a shrine maiden, that’s a heavy responsibility you’re taking up.”
“Like I said, you’re misunderstanding.”
Slatton throws himself into the middle of the conversation by placing his hand on my other shoulder and turning me towards him.
“So, how was it? Your first time.”
“What first time? Your weird conclusions are rude to Ruiseine.”
With a bright red face, I strive to clear up their misunderstanding. Yet, despite my efforts, neither Risita nor Slatton pay my words any mind.
Ristia grins and says, “Ruiseine’s family is very strict. You should carefully think about how you’re going to greet them.”
“I thought you were still a child. I would have never thought you’d lay your hands on a straight-laced shrine maiden.” Slatton closes his eyes and nods to himself going, “Yep, yep.”
Guuuh, I give up. I don’t want anything to do with these two today.
Just how am I going to get through to this ill-tempered pair? It’s while I’m thinking such that I remember something I need to ask Ristia.
“Aah, that’s right. Risita, there’s something I want to ask you.”
“Nn, what’s this all of a sudden?”
Ristia narrows his eyes in suspicion at my sudden seriousness.
“Eetto, a bit about girls…”
“Hohou, you’re already fretting about girl? Alright, I’ll hear it.”
“Slatton, I’m not asking you.”
“Now, now, come here.”
Slatton drags me behind the school. Ristia smiles with a grin across his face.
“Alright, you can talk about anything. We senpai in life will teach you various things.”
Being held in place from both sides, I’m forced to have a seat on the lawn behind the school.
Slatton, you’re being a nuisance. You’re just making fun of me. None of your advice is likely to be useful.
“What? Quit looking at me as if I’m some sort of annoyance.”
“You’re not an annoyance?”
“Geh, I’m hearing this from someone of Ernea’s status!?”
“Ow, that hurts!”
Slatton locks my arms behind me and grips my neck, causing me to cry out.
“Now, now, Slatton, don’t tease Ernea so much. Now, what do you want to ask?”
Like I thought, Ristia is a good person. He properly brought to conversation back on track.
“Right, to be honest,”
I consult with Ristia about the problem that came up during the trip. What problem? That one, how do I make a woman fall in love with me?!
This is a very difficult and important problem for me. When does a woman fall in love with a man? How is it one comes to be in love? For me who has no experience in love, it’s a world I don’t understand at all.
Obviously, until now, I’ve had feelings for others. Things like that girl is cute or that lady is lovely. However, those were just one-sided crushes. I never had any desire for romance. As such, I never thought about why I had those feelings or how deep they went. Inversely, I never thought about how she felt either. I wonder, am I still a child?
Either way, now is different. There are people who I think I believe I like, and I want to marry them. But with marriage, the other people need to be in love with me too. How do I make women have feelings for me? To like me?
Worried, I seriously ask for help.
Yet, Slatton just whistles and teases me while Ristia makes a troubled smile.
“Ernea, that’s a surprisingly basic concern.” (Slatton)
“This is the basics?” (Ernea)
“The first step of the basics. Seriously, well, that right there is why you messed up with Ruiseine.” (Slatton)
“He didn’t mess up. That’s why he’s consulting me.” (Ristia)
Ristia and Slatton sigh out in shock at the same time.
“Alright, Ernea. Toss those sorts of worries away. Thinking about them is pointless.” (Slatton)
“What does that mean?” (Ernea)
“I also agree with Slatton’s opinion.” (Ristia)
“You too, Ristia?” (Ernea)
“To be clear, acting in a way you think will make a girl fall in love with you will absolutely not make her fall for you.” (Ristia)
“Women can immediately see through a man’s stinky acting. Well, there are some who don’t see through it, but those are rare.” (Slatton)
“Although the way he said it was poor, Slatton has a point. Women are more sensitive than men. That’s why…”
Ristia says the rest in one go.
“Even if you make a girl fall in love with you, it won’t last long. Striving to show off your good points will just end up exhausting you.”
“A natural attitude is your best option. Attack with your honest self.” (Slatton)
“What if attacking doesn’t work either? In the first place, if she isn’t interested in me, I’ll just be ignored.” (Ernea)
“Hahaha, Ernea, you misunderstood.” (Ristia)
“Making contact with a natural attitude differs from making her fall in love with you. Honestly, if you want to make a girl fall for you, then you need to put in a great amount of effort for things like actively speaking with her or asking her to hang out. However, during those times, acting different than your normal self is no good. The main point is you need to put in the effort.”
“Ahh, so it’s like that.”
I am putting in effort. So, what am I doing wrong? With all the contact we have with each other, there is no way I’m being ignored.
“Then, what should I do if I put in effort but it doesn’t work?”
“As in when she doesn’t come to like you no matter what you do?”
“Ernea, going off that assumption, if she doesn’t come to like you, then give up?”
“No way, I’m absolutely not giving up.”
Even if Mistral and Ruiseine don’t come to have feelings for me, I can never give up.
“In that case, there’s no choice but to keep endeavoring until she looks at you.”
“Aren’t persistent guys disliked?” (Ernea)
“You’re putting in effort to avoid being disliked. That said, even if you’re disliked, will you give up?”
“Nope, absolutely impossible.”
“In that case, it’s all up to the effort you put in.”
“Mumumu, and it’ll work out?”
“No matter how much you are disliked, it will work out one way or another. That’s how it went for Slatton.”
“How was that?”
“For me, I was disliked at first. I had to confess two hundred times. I really gave it my all.” (Slatton)
“Well, yeah. Sometimes, you’ve gotta be aggressive. For the sake of love, it’s just as important as being kind. Otherwise, woman won’t look at you. That’s my advice.” (Slatton)
I have to respect the effort Slatton put in. I would have never guessed he changed his relationship with Cleisio from being disliked.
I want to hear various more things from Risita and his abundance of experience with love, but the martial arts classes are about to begin. As such, my first love consultation ends here.
While I don’t know how helpful their advice will be, I do realize that putting in effort, using my natural attitude, and occasionally being aggressive, are good.
The three of us hurry to rejoin the class for training.
T/N: Ernea, you might not realize it, but this isn’t something you need to worry too much about.