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“If you don’t, I will have to fight my teacher in order to eliminate you.”
“If you don’t, I’ll be forced to fight my student in order to protect you.”
With Vandalieu holding Zona in his arms in front of him, and Dandolip behind him, Alex realized that he had stepped on a Dragon’s tail – Neither Vandalieu nor Dandolip considered him or Towa to be participants in the potential battle that was about to unfold.
Although Alex could feel no killing intent from Vandalieu, he felt a chill just from looking at him, and Dandolip was emanating a powerful killing intent from behind. Trapped between the two, Alex and Towa couldn’t even take a step… they couldn’t even move their eyeballs.
If they made one wrong move, they would really be killed. This was no joke, and they understood that. Even so, Alex couldn’t discern Vandalieu’s true strength – as one might expect – but he couldn’t discern Dandolip’s (Randolf’s) true strength, either.
He’d known that he probably wouldn’t be able to see Vandalieu’s Status even if he tried. Despite knowing that, he’d decided to make use of coincidentally being in the same practical cooking class and even formed a plan to use the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ on Vandalieu. That had been a clear mistake on Alex’s part.
As for why he’d done it, it was because Alex was completely reliant on the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ which he’d possessed since birth – though of course, people might have differing opinions on whether that was something to be ashamed of or not.
Nobody would think it pathetic for someone to be reliant on the two legs they were born with to walk.
The ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ were a feature of his body, just like his legs. And up until now, nobody had realized that he was looking at Statuses with the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal.’
Even when his target was clearly more powerful than him, even if it was a monster with sharper senses than a human, and even when there was such a great difference that he couldn’t read their Statuses because they were all censored, they hadn’t realized that their Status was visible to him.
Because he needed to concentrate on the target in order to activate the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ he needed to take measures to make sure that his target didn’t notice – to avoid trouble that could be caused by the target seeing him staring at them.
Alex himself was already as capable as a C-class adventurer, despite still being in his early teenage years. His strength was equal to or greater than many adventurers at the Adventurers’ Guild, the majority of which were of D-class and below.
Thus, he’d never felt any danger or risk when using the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ on others.
But Alex didn’t have the presence of mind to realize that this had been his downfall. He wasn’t even aware that he and Towa were free to move, as Gufadgarn’s magic on them had already been undone.
The fact that they weren’t moving, and the fact that they were still standing, was due to their extreme state of tension.
Unpleasant thoughts were running through the mind of Randolf, who was standing behind them.
To think that at this age, I’d find my life to be in the hands of a couple of brats. I’m begging you, please don’t do anything stupid, he pleaded silently without turning his gaze towards the ‘brats’ in question… Alex and Towa.
It didn’t need to be said, but Randolf didn’t regard Vandalieu as a brat… He had regarded him that way just a short while ago, but not anymore. Vandalieu was a being that made Randolf ‘the True’ realize that his life might be about to come to an end.
… I don’t sense a killing intent. But if he comes at me, I’ll die, without a doubt. I feel like I’m at the edge of a cliff on a tall mountain, looking down at the ground.
Mountains, cliffs, and the ground were all just physical matter. They didn’t have a killing intent. But looking down at the ground from the edge of a mountain’s cliff would make one feel the scythe of the grim reaper pressing against their neck.
And my enemy isn’t Vandalieu alone, Randolf sensed.
As an exceptionally skilled spiritual mage, he could hear the voices of the spirits. This communication wasn’t reciprocal; it was similar to a veteran hunter in the mountains or a forest being able to sense changes in the weather and signs of oncoming disasters.
Having noticed that the spirits were unusually restless, Randolf had instinctively sensed that it was an emergency. He’d come running to confront the culprit behind the spirits’ restlessness, and on the way, his path had been blocked by a barrier that seemed to be an advanced space-attribute spell. He had forcibly broken through this barrier using his true strength that he’d kept concealed until now, but… he knew that there was no way that Vandalieu was capable of using space-attribute magic.
Vandalieu having concealed his ability to use space-attribute magic is unlikely; I should assume that there is a capable space-attribute mage lurking nearby. A monstrously powerful mage who is capable of conjuring a barrier that powerful in a matter of seconds is hiding very close by. There’s no chance for me to win. In fact, it won’t even be possible for me to buy time for Alex and his slave to escape. The space-attribute mage will stop me. The only possible weakness I can see is Zona, who he’s carrying in his arms, but –
Targeting Zona, another student, would make it pointless for Randolf to fight in the first place.
Randolf was only here because he was hired as a teacher by Meorilith, and it was his duty to protect Alex and Towa. Trying to catch Vandalieu off-guard by targeting Zona would defeat that purpose entirely.
And even if he were to do it, he didn’t think he had any chance of being victorious. It would be nothing more than a futile struggle. He didn’t feel any desire to carry such a plan out.
Meanwhile, finding himself face-to-face with Randolf had made Vandalieu regain his composure. Although he was facing Randolf’s deadly killing intent head-on, he was trying to think of a way to settle things peacefully without having to kill Alex and Towa.
I’ve always thought that it would be convenient to have the ‘Demon Eyes of Appraisal,’ so it was surprising to learn that he had the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ which seems to be a superior version… but having my Status looked at is not good, thought Vandalieu.
He’d long since thought that Alex had some kind of Demon-Eye-type Unique Skill – not an offensive one, but one that allowed him to see the target’s talents and qualities.
With that being the case, Vandalieu hadn’t considered that there might be a need to kill Alex, even after he looked at Pauvina with his Demon Eyes.
It was only natural for people to try to gain information about their competitors. If there were effective Skills that would allow that, then they would be used.
If this happened in the context of nations gathering intelligence about each other, it would lead to conflicts that took place in secret, including battles to the death. But Vandalieu and Alex were only competing for grades at school.
Vandalieu and his companions didn’t intend to kill anyone for the sake of that competition.
But that would all change if there was the possibility that Vandalieu’s Status had been seen. He possessed Titles like ‘Great Demon King,’ as well as Jobs and Skills with dangerous-sounding names. If that information were to be leaked to certain organizations, it could potentially lead to outrageous scandals.
If that were to happen, it would be greatly troublesome not only to Vandalieu and his companions, but to Duke Alcrem as well. It needed to be avoided at all costs.
But school life was fun, and Vandalieu wanted to avoid losing his ability to stay in this environment if he could. And now, Dandolip had rushed to the scene. He’d always thought that Dandolip was no ordinary teacher, but him breaking through Gufadgarn’s barrier in an instant had been outside his expectations. He could only wonder why he wasn’t an S-class adventurer.
Vandalieu believed that Dandolip was a foe he could defeat if he were to fight with everything he had. He could certainly defeat him with the aid of Legion, who was inside one of his ‘Inner Worlds,’ and Gufadgarn.
But the attacks used in the process, including the shockwaves and thunderous noises they created, would likely cause the other students to get caught up in the battle.
I know I said I would eliminate them, but it’s not worth fighting Dandolip-sensei over these two, he realized.
Zona, who was still being held in Vandalieu’s arms, was completely and utterly bewildered. She had been trying to seduce Vandalieu, then before she knew it, he was carrying her in his arms like a princess. He’d then begun running at a terrifying speed, and a moment later, she’d found herself in this absurd situation.
I-I can’t breathe…! I’m going to die!
She couldn’t even breathe due to the killing intent that Randolf was emanating, let alone comprehend this situation. Her vision blurred, and her consciousness began fading.
Huh? I can see a field of flowers and a river… Oh my god! There’s a swarm of Vandalieus coming out of the river to block my way?!
“… This isn’t good,” Vandalieu murmured, having realized that Zona was having a near-death experience.
He dispersed the heavy aura of death that she was radiating.
“Sir, please suppress your killing intent. Zona is suffering,” said Vandalieu, completely ignoring the fact that Alex and Towa were clearly suffering more than Zona was.
“I can see that, but you want me to do that, in this situation?” Randolf asked incredulously.
“If you suppress your killing intent, I promise to let these two live,” Vandalieu said.
Randolf relaxed his stance and suppressed his killing intent.
Towa exhaled loudly and collapsed onto the ground.
Alex sighed in relief, the tension leaving his body as he somehow managed to regain a little of his composure.
“… Huh? Where are the other Vandalieus?” said Zona.
She seemed to have recovered from her near-death experience, but she was yet to comprehend the situation.
“Alex, Towa. Unlike Zona, you two have to stay on guard. He hasn’t promised anything but your lives yet,” Randolf warned.
He’d suppressed his killing intent, but he still didn’t have an optimistic view on the situation. Indeed, Vandalieu was considering the worst-case scenario, where he would have to use ‘Mental Encroachment’ to brainwash Alex and Towa to silence them… which would render them completely disabled.
Alex and Towa weren’t able to think that far ahead, but they could hear the sense of urgency in Randolf’s voice, and braced themselves.
As if he’d been waiting for this, Vandalieu began his questioning. “Now then, it’s time for questions. Is there an ambush… Do you have any allies other than your party members?”
“Ambush? No, we only have our companions from our party,” said Alex.
“Next question: Do you belong to or have a cooperative relationship with some kind of organization… an organization other than the Adventurers’ Guild? An intelligence organization, or a criminal organization, perhaps?”
“…? No, we haven’t been involved with any organization other than the Adventurers’ Guild.”
“Then have you been hired by a noble or their retainers, or someone connected to a Church?”
“No, nobody’s hired me or any of my companions.”
Alex was gradually realizing what he was being suspected of, and Vandalieu was a little confused. Why had Alex done something as dangerous as looking at his Status when he didn’t belong to any organization and hadn’t been requested to do so? Vandalieu couldn’t understand this. He wasn’t aware that Alex was completely reliant on his ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal.’
When he saw Alex’s Status a few moments earlier, there hadn’t been any god’s divine protection, nor had there been the ‘Familiar Spirit Descent’ Skill. With that being the case, Vandalieu knew that he was unlikely to be one of the potential heroes chosen by the gods that supported Alda, but he’d asked just in case.
“Have you ever received a Divine Message?” Vandalieu asked.
“Divine Message… You mean, a message from the gods?! No, I have no recollection of receiving anything like that,” said Alex.
Even if someone didn’t have a divine protection, they could still receive Divine Messages. Considering that, Vandalieu had thought to ask if Alex had received a Divine Message, but it seemed that this wasn’t the case, either.
“Then why did you try to see my Status?” Vandalieu asked.
“So, you did notice after all,” said Alex.
Randolf stared at Alex, and Zona stared at Vandalieu.
“See your Status?” Randolf repeated.
He wondered if this meant that Alex already knew his true identity, and he now understood why Vandalieu had taken such hasty, extremely dangerous actions.
It was common for people to be targeted if they learned the secrets of those who were far more powerful than them. In this case, it wasn’t evidence of past crimes, secret lovers, or illegitimate children; it was Vandalieu’s Status.
Randolf didn’t know what secrets were hidden in Vandalieu’s Status, but… given Vandalieu’s reaction to his Status being seen, he didn’t want to know. If Alex showed any signs of saying anything that he shouldn’t, he intended to stop him – by kicking his jaw and breaking it, if he had to.
But nobody was stopping Vandalieu from revealing Alex’s secret.
“Is it true that he can see people’s Statuses?” asked Zona.
“Yes, he possesses a Unique Skill called the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal.’ It’s likely a superior version of the ‘Demon Eyes of Appraisal,’” said Vandalieu. “These Demon Eyes are likely the reason why he’s been able to find talented companions at school.”
“Are you serious?!” Zona exclaimed.
Randolf nodded in understanding.
Towa glared at Vandalieu, angry at him for revealing her master’s important secret, but Vandalieu didn’t even glance at her.
“W-what?” said Zona, flinching at Towa’s glare.
“I am simply sharing the information I have learned about my competitors with someone I consider to be one of my companions. If one of my competitors is able to look at other people’s Statuses, then it’s only natural for me to warn my companions, isn’t it?” said Vandalieu. “And… do you understand the position you’re in?”
“That’s right, that’s right!” Zona said in agreement.
What could only be described as the presence of death was seeping out from Vandalieu once more – and he was even skillful enough to direct it in a way that it couldn’t be felt by Zona, who was being held in his arms.
Towa immediately turned pale, and her ears drooped lifelessly. Even Alex, who had noticed Towa’s attitude, was immobilized before he could stop her.
“Go easy on them,” said Randolf. “These guys don’t understand how terrifying the presence you radiate is. I’m sure my own killing intent has left a bigger impression on them.”
“I see,” said Vandalieu. “In that case…”
He picked out a boulder that was protruding from the wastelands about thirty meters away. It was about the size of a two-horse or three-horse carriage.
Vandalieu pointed an index finger at the boulder and fired a ‘Mana Bullet’ at it.
Alex, Towa, and even Randolf were completely stunned by the size of the black sphere that appeared at his fingertip.
The enormous Mana Bullet, about a meter in diameter, flew at the boulder… and left a large, clean hole in it.
This was certainly not the power that one would expect from a beginner-level spell that had been cast with no magical medium and no incantation. Alex shuddered as he instinctively calculated how much Mana he would need to achieve the same thing.
“If you do anything other than answer my questions, I will cast this spell at you. If you lie, refuse to answer, or try to hide the truth, I will cast this spell at you,” said Vandalieu. “Do you understand?”
“Yes,” replied Alex, Towa, and for some reason, even Zona.
This demonstration had shown very clearly just how much of a difference in strength there was between him and them.
“Now then, why did you try to see my Status? What was your objective in doing so?” Vandalieu asked.
“Because… I couldn’t just not look at it. I’ve already seen Pauvina-san’s Status, and the Statuses of your familiars… or at least, tried to see them. But with my current ability, I couldn’t see anything,” said Alex. “I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to see yours either, but now that you’ve joined Elizabeth’s party, I had to at least try.”
Alex had been able to make perfect use of the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ since he was a child. Thus, his ability to observe the abilities of others without looking at their Statuses was entirely undeveloped and non-existent.
And because he was able to see Statuses, he’d become completely accustomed to measuring the strength of the target through clearly-defined numbers.
Thus, he’d had no choice but to use the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ in order to learn how powerful Vandalieu was, and he’d been discontent with vague conclusions like ‘he’s strong enough to be able to teach the instructors, so he should be much stronger than them.’
But Vandalieu’s attention wasn’t on Alex’s psychological reasoning – it was on the words ‘couldn’t see anything.’
“… You couldn’t see anything?” he repeated. “Even with the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal?’”
“Yeah. The ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ don’t let me see the Statuses of people who are clearly far stronger than me,” said Alex.
“Then what about my Status?”
“It was all censored, and I couldn’t read a thing. The only thing I could see was that you have a crazy number of Skills and your Mana has a ridiculous number of digits.”
“… I see.”
With that, Vandalieu’s wariness towards Alex almost completely vanished. It seemed that Alex was just an ordinary student, and he had only been using the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ almost exclusively for the purpose of competing for higher grades at the school.
And most importantly, the Statuses of Vandalieu and his companions were indecipherable to Alex through his ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ because of the immense difference in strength between him and them.
It seemed that there was no need to kill Alex and Towa, or even make alterations to their brains.
“I do not believe he is lying,” said the ‘Fighting Dog’ Daroak.
He was the one judging whether Alex was lying or not, as Vandalieu was a poor judge of character, and Gufadgarn was not very knowledgeable when it came to the finer points of human behavior.
Most of his experience from when he was alive was in combat; unlike Chipuras and Isla, his experience in infiltration and spy work was shallow, and he wasn’t particularly skilled at reading people. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t read people at all, and during his experience, he had learned the habits that people often had when they were lying. With this knowledge, he’d determined that Alex was not lying.
… Ordinarily, this task would have been carried out by Chipuras, who was most suited for this, or Kimberley, who would be Vandalieu’s second choice. But the two of them were currently separated from Vandalieu, as they were protecting Elizabeth, Macht, and the others.
Then one might think that it would have been wiser to send Daroak to protect them and keep Chipuras or Kimberley nearby, but that wouldn’t be correct.
Daroak saw humans who didn’t have connections to Vandalieu or weren’t citizens of the Demon Empire of Vidal as inferior creatures, so Vandalieu didn’t feel comfortable sending him on his own.
“So, Vandalieu-sama, what shall we do with this little boy and girl? I humbly suggest that you harvest his Demon Eyes, put them in a state where they cannot resist, then send them to Luciliano while they are still alive so that he can use them for Undead mating experiments,” said Daroak.
“Daroak, that would lead to a battle to the death against Dandolip-sensei, wouldn’t it,” said Vandalieu.
“Nobody would notice a thing if you trapped him inside one of your ‘Inner Worlds’ with a teleportation gate and disposed of him in there… I see! You will cajole capable members of the teaching staff like this Dandolip, and eventually, you will rule the entire Hero Preparatory School!”
“… Why do I need to rule the school?”
Daroak was a loyal and amusing Ghost, but his flaw was that Vandalieu couldn’t take his eyes off him.
Following this telepathic conversation with Daroak, Vandalieu decided to bring a peaceful conclusion to this incident.
“I understand that you can’t read my Status. But you’ll probably become able to read it as you grow stronger in the future,” said Vandalieu. “In order to prevent that, the simplest thing to do would be to gouge out both your eyes… or even just kill you and all your companions, but…”
The blood visibly and audibly drained from Alex and Towa’s faces. Randolf’s expression soured as he prepared to step between Vandalieu and the students if he had to.
“But if I do that, I would have to engage in a battle to the death with Dandolip-sensei, and as a result, my life at this school would very likely come to an end. So let us make a contract,” said Vandalieu.
“Contract?” Alex repeated.
“Yes,” Vandalieu said. “First, I do not mind if you continue to use the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ as you see fit, at your own responsibility. But I forbid you from sharing any information you gain with anyone other than your party members… That includes everyone – your parents, siblings, lovers, clients, and any nobles and merchants you form connections with.”
Alex opened his eyes wide in surprise. “That’s…”
Vandalieu suddenly remembered that there was more that he needed to add. “You may continue to recruit people with dormant talents without telling them that you’ve seen them with the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal.’ And when circumstances lead to people leaving your party, they must continue to obey this contract even after they leave.”
“No, that’s not the problem…” said Alex.
“Hey, are you sure about this? This just means they can keep doing what they’ve been doing, doesn’t it?” asked Zona.
Indeed, Alex and his companions had been very careful to make sure that the information they’d learned wouldn’t spread outside their party.
Information about people’s Statuses normally didn’t circulate. There were some who revealed parts of their Statuses in order to declare their own abilities, but that was about it. The only exception to that was when Guild employees leaked information, but that didn’t happen very often… Such incidents were so infrequent that they were considered major incidents and recorded in history when they did occur.
If Alex and his companions were discovered to be the source of such rare information, people would quickly realize that one of them possessed the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal.’ Influential nobles or criminal organizations would make their move to get their hands on Alex, gouge his eyes out to claim the Demon Eyes for themselves, or if neither option was possible, eliminate him before he was acquired by another organization.
Alex and his companions were currently not powerful enough to defend themselves from the evil influence of such powerful organizations.
Vandalieu was aware of all of these things, and his suggestion had taken them into account.
“You’re right,” said Vandalieu. “But, well, gathering information about your competitors is a perfectly normal thing to do, and making demands that are too unreasonable will start an argument with Dandolip-sensei.”
From the moment he learned that Alex wasn’t a pawn of the gods of Alda’s forces or some organization somewhere, he’d been thinking that there was no need to kill him.
And given that Alex wasn’t able to read the Statuses of Vandalieu or his allies, he had no information to threaten them with. But Vandalieu now had information to threaten Alex with.
“However, if you leak information about me or my companions, I will reveal that you possess the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’” Vandalieu said.
With that, Alex’s face, whose blood flow had been slowly recovering, was drained of blood once more.
“While I’m at it, I’ll also spread the false information that you have seen the Statuses of Vandalieu Zakkart, his companions, and his familiars, and know important secrets about them,” Vandalieu added.
Alex’s face was completely ashen at this point.
“… Well, that seems like a fair point of compromise. You get to keep your eyes, your life, and there’s no restrictions that will hinder you from being an adventurer,” said Randolf.
Alex watched him move from behind himself and Towa to stand next to Vandalieu, he realized that there was nothing more to be done.
“Alright. I accept those terms,” he said.
The consequences of failing to keep secrecy had become several dozen times more serious, but Alex tried to regain his composure, telling himself that nothing would change, as long as secrecy was kept.
“I’ll tell Robin and the others myself,” he said. “Is that alright with you?”
“Please let me know if they are not convinced,” said Vandalieu.
“I’ll make sure they are! I’ll definitely convince them! Please believe me!” Alex pleaded.
Vandalieu gave him a confused look. “… Alright.”
With his demonstration using ‘Mana Bullet,’ he’d only intended to make Alex and Towa understand the difference in power between him and them, so he was perplexed by Alex’s desperate behavior, but didn’t question him any further.
“But… Can I ask you something?” Alex said.
“If it’s about how I noticed that you saw my Status, it’s because I have Demon Eyes that reflect the effects of Demon-Eye-type Skills. I’ll add that to the list of secrets that you must keep by contract,” said Vandalieu. “If it’s about the contract itself, I’m sure there will be all kinds of unforeseen circumstances in the future, so I’m willing to discuss things and change the terms as necessary.”
By telling Alex how he’d learned the secret of his ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ Vandalieu was letting him know that he was a reasonable person, and preventing Alex and his companions from falling into despair. For the same reason, he was also letting him know that he would be open to discussions regarding the contract.
… If Alex’s mother was taken hostage in the future, leaving him no choice but to divulge information about Vandalieu and his companions, it was highly likely that Vandalieu couldn’t simply apply the penalties that he’d just outlined.
“No, that’s not it…” said Alex. “What about Zona and the others? They’ve got far more connections to nobles than we do.”
“Wha–?! You didn’t need to say that!” shouted Zona, who had forgotten that she’d been ordered by her family to gather information about Vandalieu.
A moment later, she let out a stifled scream as Vandalieu looked at her, knowing that there was nowhere for her to escape.
“Don’t worry,” said Vandalieu. “I already knew from the beginning that you probably had those kinds of circumstances.”
“I’ll do anything you say, so please don’t kill – huh?” said Zona, who had been ready to beg for her life.
“Elizabeth-sama is connected to nobles in Central, and Macht-senpai and the others are all from noble families in Central as well. It would be more unnatural if you hadn’t been ordered to gather information about me,” Vandalieu said.
He’d joined Elizabeth’s party through a misunderstanding, but about a month had passed since then; he had a pretty good idea of their backgrounds… Macht and the others hadn’t kept their real names a secret, either.
“If you were already aware, then why…?” Zona asked.
“Even if your families asked you to gather information and you intended to do so, it’s an insignificant matter. Interacting with people with no ulterior motives whatsoever is difficult to do, after all,” said Vandalieu.
Everyone had ulterior motives.
Would a child be dishonest and despicable for wanting to be friends with another child because they had a lot of toys, because they look cool, because they’re smart, or because they’re athletic?
If a romance began because they’re physically attracted to each other, because they’re each other’s type, because they were interested in each other’s financial assets, or because they were from prestigious families, would one claim that there was no true love in that romance?
No. Of course, Vandalieu didn’t intend to argue that friendships and romances with no ulterior motives didn’t exist at all, nor was he showing a contempt for that idea.
He was just saying that this was how human relationships were.
Vandalieu considered ‘people wanting to gain information about him’ to be a common ulterior motive.
“Of course, I wouldn’t consider you to be my friends if you only had ulterior motives… Alex, Elizabeth-sama and the others are much better people than you think they are,” said Vandalieu.
They participated in his special training without complaints (though they did scream and cry during the training), and at school, they treated him as one of Elizabeth’s lackeys on equal footing with the others. Their initial behavior and speech had been very concerning, but that concerning behavior had mostly stopped ever since Vandalieu joined them.
And most importantly, they had a good relationship with Eisen and the others that were accompanying Vandalieu as familiars. As proof of that, they referred to them as the ‘people who are his familiars’ rather than just ‘familiars.’ Vandalieu interpreted this as a sign that they had subconsciously started regarding Eisen and the others as people.
“And they didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about the information gathering. They never tried to come to our mansion, and they didn’t come to the party hosted by the Alcrem house that took place about half a month ago,” Vandalieu added.
“Umm, ah, yeah. W-well, yes,” said Zona, nodding sheepishly.
She’d never tried to go to the mansion Vandalieu and the others lived in because she was scared of it at first. And by the time she realized that it probably wasn’t so scary, she’d already missed her timing for it.
As for why they hadn’t attended Duke Alcrem’s party, Zona, Macht and the others weren’t in a social position where they could attend a party hosted by the house of a duke… Even if they’d received letters of invitation from Vandalieu, they didn’t have the high-quality suits or dresses needed to attend.
But I… This might be the first time someone’s thought of me that way, said Zona.
Even with such misunderstandings taken into account, Vandalieu’s words made her heart flutter.
“… I don’t understand. Why are you so obsessed with them?” Alex asked, unable to comprehend this even after Vandalieu’s explanation. “Are we not good enough? If it was me who spoke to you first –”
“No, you tried to speak to Pauvina first. And after you looked at her Status or whatever, you just left without saying anything, didn’t you?” Vandalieu pointed out.
Alex let out a frustrated groan as he realized that Vandalieu was right.
“You can do as you like with the companions you chose. You can gain experience, improve your skills, and accomplish things as adventurers,” Vandalieu said. “I’ll do as I like with the people who reached their hands out to me. You don’t have the right to complain to me about that.”
That was what Vandalieu thought. If someone reaches out, seeking help, then you should take their hand. If someone wants to take your hand, then you should keep reaching out so that they can reach it.
But he didn’t need to get involved with people who could get along just fine without him.
“Now then, if you’ll excuse me,” said Vandalieu.
And with that, he turned his back on Alex, Towa and Randolf and walked away.
Alex didn’t seem to understand Vandalieu’s way of thinking, but he did seem to understand that they had different values. He didn’t call out to Vandalieu again.
“I will pretend that nothing happened here. I didn’t hear anything. Continue with the practical training… You have less than ninety minutes. Don’t be late,” Randolf said to Alex and Towa as he walked off after Vandalieu.