“You really are amazing Kururi.”
Every single time I go to Medical Science, a man with a creepy smile on his face approaches me as if it’s the most natural thing to do.
With eight square tables equally spaced out, holding four people each, you’d think we’d all have enough personal space right? Wrong! For some reason this guy always comes over here and brings me trouble. Especially whenever the instructor says we’re going to have a joint project, I have to be extra cautious then.
“Hey, have you heard about the rumour that’s been going around lately?”
Towards the gloomy stalker-like guy who just asked me something, I answered coldly.
“I heard. The ones where I was apparently tamed by the prince, right? To my understanding though, I thought we weren’t very compatible in the first place.”
As if he didn’t even notice my tone, Rail’s smile was in full bloom. Though whether or not that was an actual smile or just his pokerface, I didn’t really know.
“If I were to give a name to our relationship I guess it would be… training partners? We’re better than we were before, but the prince didn’t ‘tame’ me. It’s more like he just one-sidedly got me to help him.”
“Just recently I was called over by Neko-sensei too. Hopefully, I’ll get to have a special lesson after as well, just the two of us Kururi-kun.”
He approached by another step without changing his line of sight. He was so close he was almost snuggling with me.
I could feel chills running up my spine. I swear if he gets any closer I’m going to kick his ass, though I get the feeling he’d just go “Kya~!” in response, and come back.
Well, what else am I supposed to do?! He’s so creepy!
“Hey, umm… can you give me a little space?”
“Sure,” he replied with his usual smile.
Today’s challenge is supposed to be done individually.
Following the procedures, there seems to be some parts that I’ll need the instructor’s advice to complete, but luckily, it looks like most of it can be done by following the reference book.
I want to finish my work quickly, but do to a certain someone I can’t get into the mood to focus.
*Pachinpachin* (Sfx: smack smack) I hit my face a few times to help myself concentrate.
Okay, let’s do this!
“Kururi-kun, how’s that thing you said you’d make me before going?”
…he must have been aiming for this moment to bring this up.
Yet somehow he’s able to talk without stopping his work. That’s a little, no, that’s quite unpleasant.
“You mean the production of your medical equipment?”
“That’s right, though I can’t help but feel a little bad knowing that I stole a march on Prince Arc.”
Does he think he’s my girlfriend of something? No, that can’t be since he’s his boyfriend.
“I’ll bring it to you soon.”
“Thanks, I wouldn’t have gone if you hadn’t said so.” Rail shook his head while muttering something I couldn’t hear.
Come to think of it, the people who always go to my room always enter for their own selfish reasons. To think I almost forgot the spirit in actually inviting someone over, because there’s always two people hanging out there.
Though, that was probably my fault.
It’s true, Rail is creepy, but he does have a lot of common sense. It’d be even worse if he just came over when I hadn’t even invited him.
“Well if you are coming over, right after school when the lessons are over is no good. Same with the evening ‘cause I have some errands to attend to.”
“Then at night? You want me to visit you in the middle of the night?”
What are you, my girlfriend?!
Noticing my glare, Rail immediately went to apologize saying “I’m sorry.”
I guess it’s because he’s always smiling, but it’s hard to tell what he’s really thinking… I hope he was just joking though.
The worst-case scenario would be if he came while Vaine and Crossy were away, though in such a situation I would definitely run.
For the first person I actually invite to be such a creepy guy. It goes without saying that I hate this!
Turning away from the eyes that reminded me of a reptile’s, I decided to concentrate on the lesson.
Today we’re focusing on anatomy. ‘Just cut it and take it out already’ seems to be the instructor’s motto. It’s better to just get used to it now or fail it if you can’t, rather than make a mistake and have someone kick the bucket later on, I guess.
I took the medical equipment (which I still haven’t gotten quite used to by the way), in hand and started to work. Although learning the anatomy of various organisms may help me in the future, it’s quite tiring work on the both the physical and mental level.
By the way, Rail is currently in a state where he’s struggling to maintain his usual smile.
Good luck, you’ll need it.
“Now let’s go.”
“This is really okay?”
“It’s fine, let’s just get this over with already.”
After school I half-forced Rail to enter my room.
The man himself kept on saying stupid things like ‘this’ and ‘that’ so I had to be pushy.
I doesn’t really matter though, I’ll forget about any ill intent on this level eventually.
Once we were inside, the hot air and the hustle and bustle that was usually here, wasn’t there.
There were some lingering signs of it, but the room was empty.
… hey, you’re not doing your training here today?
Apparently, today’s special training is being held outside.
My last ray of hope that could protect me has disappeared.
Turning around, there I saw Rail’s face which of course, was still smiling.
* * *
“Today as well, thank you for growing those flowers. Though my heart aches during the lessons, whenever I look at the flowers I can feel myself relax. The last time I went to water them this morning, I think I fell in love with them.”
“I see, I’ll take those words as a compliment then.”
The flowers that bloomed due my magic seem to have vigorously grown thereafter (according to Rail). They’re the same as normal flowers after all, all they need is sunlight, some water, and rich soil to grow up healthy.
Though flowers grown with magic seem to have a strange charm to them.
They look just as good as normal flowers, and they even smell nice too.
Really, I wonder what is the difference between natural flowers and magically grown ones?
Since they’re planted in a place that people don’t really go that much, it must be a pain to care for someone to take care of them.
“Then, please excuse me as I take a shower.”
Rail put down his baggage as he said so, and entered into the room’s bathroom.
While he’s in the shower this is my ‘Now or Never’ moment to run away…
Well, I guess I can always use the window if I’m desperate enough.
Lighting the fire in the smithy like usual, I prepared my materials and tools.
Just as I was finishing my preparations and was about to start working, Rail entered into my workplace.
It looks like he worked up a good sweat in the shower.
Water is still dripping from him here and there.
“Fu~, that was refreshing. Were you about to start Kururi-kun?”
The first thing I’m going to make will be one of the basic tools, the medical knife.
“It’s a given that the blade has to be sharp, but it’s hard to use if it’s straight, it would only tear the material it cuts like that.”
I have to agree with Rail’s opinion there. It’d be too jittery to make that way.
Therefore, I proposed that we make the blade slightly curved instead.
Rail agreed, and we immediately got to work.
The size of the equipment is far smaller than a sword. It’s like making a dagger, but even smaller.
It needs to be one-handed, and small enough that it can be supported with only one finger.
Paying close attention to the work, I struck the iron carefully, little by little.
Lastly, I took the knife and placed it against a machine to fine it down until the blade had a sharp polish to it.
In the end, the completed medical knife gave off a nice shine and reflection, a great success.
“That’s amazing Kururi-kun! The difference between this one and the knife given out for lessons is like heaven and earth! How should I put this… it gives off a powerful feeling? Like you can really feel the craftsman’s soul in it!”
Once the work was all finished, Rail let out all the excitement he was holding in through his words.
“Your welcome. As repayment, it’d make me really happy if you didn’t meddle with me in class.”
“Sorry, but I can’t do that. Its way too fun teasing you.”
It’s fun you say?! Well I don’t care so stop it!!
I passed the finished knife to Rail.
He took it in hand and gave it a look-over.
An uncommon, serious-look that he doesn’t show very often.
“Yeah, even without having to test its sharpness, there’s no doubt that this is state-of-the-art medical equipment. It’s a great piece! I want to try this out as soon as possible.”
“There’s still a lot of hard work that needs to be done though, that was only one piece. Now I need to make the rest of the equipment.”
“Oh, I’ll leave it to you then, but really Kururi-kun your arms must be blessed. I can’t help but hold my expectations high.”
After which I repeated a process of trial and error before being satisfied with the results.
Finally, by the time I had created two more pieces of equipment, it was already past midnight.
Plopped on the floor were the bodies of two tired people, both of which were drenched in sweat.
“Fu~, is that it?”
“Yeah, that sounds about right.”
I answered Rail’s question with a smile, and in response a look of satisfaction could be seen growing on his face. I wonder if I have the same look right now, I think I do.
On the floor the polished medical tools were arranged in a clear manner. Looking at it sideways, I felt a little proud of myself.
“This is the best. Just by being acquainted with you I can feel good things well up inside me, Kururi-kun.”
“I completely disagree.”
“No, I mean it. It feels like I’m getting closer to my dream of being a doctor day-by-day because of you, and it’s not just me you’ve affected. Arc’s recent atmosphere seems to have softened up compared to how he was before, things are unbearably fun now.”
“Arc’s change has nothing to do with me, that’s all thanks to Iris.”
“Oh yeah, I guess that’s true. Come to think of it, do you know Arc’s electives?”
Suddenly, Rail turned towards me with the mischievous smile of a child.
“…Law, Geology, Herbalism, and Biology.”
Those are the same electives as Iris. Rail doesn’t have any reason to lie, and it seems plausible.
“Hey, isn’t this weird? Why would he choose Herbalism, why not Emperor Studies? Do you know what this means?”
It might be because he’s a bit drowsy, but Rail’s tensions seem to be a bit higher than usual, the same with his laugh… it’s different somehow.
“This is amazing, really amazing.”
Rail took the medical knife we first created in hand, and stared at it intently.
I grabbed it as well, inspecting it.
For someone who had only taken smithing a few years ago, this was definitely a good job.
It really makes me think that it was a good thing I didn’t neglect my daily training.
“For something like this, why don’t you engrave your name in it?”
“Yeah, well there’s this one sword I know where the smith engraved his name into its end, leaving his mark in the sword’s history, so why don’t we do it? Let’s engrave your name into these, let’s create the legacy of Kururi Helan!”
“Eh?! No way, that’s way too embarrassing.”
This is so weird. With a strange tension hanging in the air, in the middle of the night, I’m acting all embarrassed? Way too weird.
“Well, it’s probably about time I left. I got what I asked for, but still, I have one more favour to ask of you.”
“Engrave your name into your works, that is all I ask, Kururi-kun.”
Huh? As I was asking myself this Rail sent over a wink with his usual flashiness.
…I guess it can’t be helped.
It’s not a big deal, really. Taking some of my tools in hand, I carved the name “Kururi Helan” into the works. Of course, I made sure to be conservative and only did it in the corners.
“That’s good, I’ll make sure to cherish them.”
Rail looked at me with happy eyes that seemed to shine.
Well I made them for you, so I’m happy you enjoy them.
“Even so, I sure am tired. Even though we’re done now, I can’t even jump for joy.”
“Yeah, I’m beat too. I’m going to sleep soon.”
“That sounds good, but I think I need to take another shower first.”
Another shower? Certainly, we did sweat a lot but…
“No, do it in your own room.”
“We stayed up too long so I don’t have the physical strength to go back. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it.”
“There’s only one bed though…”
“I don’t mind.”
“…i-is that so?”
What the hell did I just get myself into?!