Wednesday, June 12, 2024 @

Chapter 102 Extra - Celebration (Arnold Edition)

Chapter 102 Extra - Celebration (Arnold Edition)

 This is the extra episode celebrating the 100th episode, also known as the Arnold Edition.

 It's an interlude that takes place after Chapter 74.

 After prescribing "The Drinking Water of the Spirits" to my sister Elvira and seeing her symptoms improve, I've been enjoying some peaceful days.

 Elvira has returned to her hometown, and I've gone back to my usual work. It was all thanks to my junior, Laura Ampère, who helped make Elvira's treatment possible. I had high expectations of her talent from the day we first met, and she didn't disappoint.

 (Is this really enough gratitude, just one box of sweets?)

 I placed a box of popular sweets among women on my desk and let out a soft sigh. I had bought it at a new store, and it was famous for its creamy and fluffy texture. Even though I felt a bit awkward buying it surrounded by women, it seemed too cheap as a gift for helping my sister.

 Earlier, I had told Ampère that if she wanted anything as a thank-you gift for treating Elvira, she should let me know. After waiting for a while, her answer was that she wanted a popular sweet from the royal capital. I should be humble, but I was taken aback by her response.

 However, I had to get her what she wanted, so I chose the most expensive one from the lineup. Now, I'm struggling with how to give it to her. Since it's food, I know I should give it to her as soon as possible. But in my entire life, I've had very little experience giving gifts to others――

 Just then, I heard a knock on the synthesis room door, and I quickly hid the box of sweets behind a stack of papers.

 "Arnold-san, I've brought the herbs you requested."

 Ampère entered the synthesis room, carrying a basket of herbs, along with her words. It seemed she had picked the herbs from the herb garden as I had asked.

 Right now, Ampère and I are in a relationship where I am the educator and she is the junior. Although as a Royal Alchemist assistant, Ampère has her own small synthesis room, we mostly do our synthesis together in my room.

 "Ah, sorry."

 I take the basket from Ampère and start sorting the herbs on the shelves by type. I hear the clattering sound of Ampère cleaning up the synthesis tools behind me and realize that it's almost closing time.

 As I sort the herbs, I wonder how to start the conversation. Before I can find an answer, the closing bell rings mercilessly. From the sound behind me, it seems that Ampère has probably already finished cleaning up, but she dutifully waits for me to finish sorting without saying anything.


 I feel embarrassed to talk to her face to face, so I pretend that I haven't finished sorting and call out to Ampère with my back turned.

 "What is it?"

 "Sorry, but could you put the documents stacked on that desk into the bookshelf over there?"

 Instead of giving the documents directly, I ask her to put them away herself, using the documents as a wall to hide the box of sweets. Ampère immediately responds with "Okay" and starts working.

 I hear the rustling sound of Ampère working, and then she suddenly stops without turning around.

 "Oh, this..."

 I hear Ampère's voice softly. I can feel her gaze on my back, but I pretend not to notice and continue working. Ampère resumes cleaning up, but the work seems to be finished in no time.

 I can't delay any longer, and it's not fair to keep Ampère waiting. I gather my courage and turn around. The sorting work has already been done.

 When I turn around, I see Ampère holding the box of sweets that I had hidden behind the documents, looking at me.

 "Arnold-san, um, this..."

 "You said you wanted it, so I bought it. It's a gift."

 I spoke quickly, trying to hide my embarrassment. Ampère's eyes widened even more, and then she smiled happily.

 "Thank you, I'm thrilled!"

 "...Really, was that enough? I could've gotten you something more expensive..."

 Ampère's smile was even brighter than I had imagined, and I couldn't help but ask. Then, she looked puzzled again, her eyes wide, and tilted her head. Her rare ash-gold hair swayed gently.

 "There wasn't anything else I wanted... I heard this candy was really delicious, so I wanted to eat it with Chelsea and Lina-senpai."

 Haha, Ampère laughed, and I thought to myself, "This guy has no desires at all." Even I didn't notice, but the corners of my mouth were already curling up.

 To cure Elvira's self-destruction disease, Ampère had worked just as hard as I did, sometimes even harder. Although I had asked for her help, I didn't expect her to be so enthusiastic... I didn't think a simple gift like this would be enough to repay her.

 I'm not good at expressing my emotions, and I'm not very talkative. So, I probably couldn't convey my gratitude to Ampère properly. I'm frustrated with my own clumsiness.

 "If you want anything else or need help with something, just tell me. I'll do my best."

 Then, Ampère laughed awkwardly. Although I knew that saying things like this would only trouble her, I couldn't think of any other way to express my gratitude.

 Ever since Elvira contracted the Self-destruction disease, I've only been studying synthesis. My memories of playing with kids my age are really far away. As an alchemist and magician in this royal capital, I've gained a certain reputation, but when it comes to relationships with people, I'm below average. However, since I've made it this far with "this," it's hard to change now.

 *Sigh* I was about to let out a frustrated sigh, but I swallowed it back and looked up to tell Ampère to leave the room ―― just then, Ampère, with a troubled smile, handed me a small bag from a box of sweets.

 "If you like it, Arnold-san, please have some. Sugar is good for a tired brain."

 Ampère's smile, lit up by the evening sun, looked quite mature, so I took the small bag she offered me. Then, she smiled happily and said "You must be tired" as she headed towards the door. And then,

 "Thank you so much for the sweets. I'm thrilled."

 True to her words, she smiled happily and left.

 I gazed at the bag of sweets she gave me. I opened the Pastel-colored bag that women seemed to like, and the soft sweets inside spilled into my mouth. In an instant, the sweet cream spread throughout my mouth.


 The sweetness that made my chest feel warm was an unfamiliar taste to me ―― but for some reason, my heart felt full.

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