We had lunch halfway, and eventually it was noon.
Together with Raika-kun, I-Charlotte Labpeyn was going around the pool.
So that he could watch over me practicing my swimming.
Eventually, we found a small pool with no waves and decided to practice there.
It was good that………..we decided the place.
Well then Maria, stand by on the side so that you can throw senpai a float If she is about to drown.
“Okay. Leave it to me.”
Upon Raika-kun’s instructions, Maria-san responded with a lovely smile.
Yes……..she is there for some reason.
It was a blunder to be called out by her just before the two of us were going to move.
When she heard about the aforementioned swimming practice from Raika-kun, she suggested that she would help too.
Raika-kun didn’t particulary mind and agreed.
It came as a shock to me, who thought that the practice would be just the two of us.
“Well then Charo-senpai, first put your face in the water.”
Being told by Raika-kun, I braced my anxious self.
I placed my head in the water.
When the water swept my face, I got covered in it and I thought that I would be okay with it……
I-It’s quite terrifying.
When I was hesitating,
“Senpai, I will be holding your hands so don’t be scared and try it.”
He gently hold my hands and my fear of water was instantly overwritten by my throbbing heartbeat.
“Suuu, haaa, !”
Taking a deep breath, I put my face into the water at once.
For a moment, the water was about to get into my nose, but other than making a gurgling noise, there is nothing scary in particular.
Eventually I ran out of breath and raised my head out of the water.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m still a little scared, but you are holding my hands.”
I answered like so, it’s a little embarrassing deep down.
Although it’s true, it’s a little embarrassing to say it.
I also felt like Maria-san is looking at me with scary eyes, but that is probably just my imagination.
“You are doing surprisingly fine. Let’s repeated it for a few more times.”
After that I continued to practice holding my breath several times and putting my face in the water.
Since there was no particular problem, we moved on to the next step.
“Next let’s try flutter kicks.”
“Flutter kicks? Are you referring to kicking in the water?”
“That’s right. I will be holding your hands again so let your body float above the surface and kick.”
“………How do you float on water?”
“First relax your body, wait for my signal and kick the bottom of the pool.
I got a little anxious once again, but I did as told and relaxed my body.
“Well then, let do this. One, two.”
At Raika-kun’s signal, I kick the bottom of the pool.
Then, the buoyancy made my body rise to the surface.
At the same time, Raika-kun pulled my arms forward.
Once I done that, my legs gradually float to the water surface because my body stooped…..before I know it, my body was laying face down drifting near the water surface.
“Wow! I am floating!”
“Yes you are. Now try kicking in the water.”
After Raika-kun said that, I remembered what people were doing while kicking my legs on the water surface.
The sound of the water splashing resounded.
It is more tiring than I expected.
However, it seems that I am progressing through unexpectedly.
“You’re doing great.”
Praised by Raika-kun, I got carried away.
So I kicked a little harder.
And immediately my balance crumbled.
There was water in my mouth and nose.
I panicked instantly and completely lose my balance.
Unable to stay afloat, I clung on to Raika-kun’s arms and stood up as if I was hugging him.
” *Cough*, *Cough*”
“A-Are you okay?”
“Y-Yes…..*Cough*. S-Sorry for suddenly hugging you, Raika-kun.”
“Nah, I don’t mind……..”
Raika-kun’s respond was somewhat soft.
I looked up while wondering what happened.
His face doesn’t have the usual cool expression but rather looked a little troubled.
(Could it be that he is flustered because of me?)
When I think so, my heart is throbbing.
It makes me want to put my ear on his chest and listen to his heartbeat.
But before that could happen, Maria cleared her throat.
“Ahem! How long are the both of you going to keep hugging?”
Raika-kun and I separate in a panic.
“Isn’t it better to go to a flowing pool if you want to practice flutter kicks?”
Maria-san suggested while pouting a little.
“Let’s see. I think it would be better to get a sense for swimming first.”
Raika-kun nodded to Maria-san’s plans.
“Then, let’s move, senpai.”
Having said that, Raika-kun let go of my hand.
Ah, which was what I thought but I followed him out of the pool without saying anything.
Then, my eyes suddenly came into contact with Raika-kun who got up to the poolside first.
Raika-kun looked down at me and swiftly looked away deliberately
I instinctively notice that my chest can be seen.
Only to him, it is probably just a coincidence for him to see it, but since I fairly put too much effort into wearing today’s swimsuit, so it is awfully embarrassing.
At the same time, I am delighted that he was embarrassed.
We move closer to a flowing pool.
“Firstly, relax and be conscious of floating on the water.”
“You don’t have to be nervous. Your drifting body will naturally move forward, and I will hold your hand again. Once your posture is stable and think that you are okay, we will start from flutter kicks once again.”
Raika-kun gently encourage me.
After that, he tried to enter the pool together again.
“Wait. I will help this time.”
Maria-san forcefully break in between and entered from the side.
She took my hand as a replacement for Raika-kun.
“Aren’t you tired from tugging her hand, Raika-san? Since I am here, I think it is nice to take turns teaching.”
Raika-kun was convinced by Maria-san’s words and pulled back.
Although that was unfortunate, but I don’t have the means to object.
“Come now Charlotte-senpai, let’s do our best.”
I restart flutter kicks practice, with Maria-san pulling my hands.
“Relax more, senpai.”
“Okay. I know, but I got nervous.”
“It is okay. The human body is something that can float.”
“Rest assured. I won’t let go of your hands too……besides, urm.”
Maria-san’s cheeks redden while having difficulty to say.
“……….Since you got two splendid life buoys on you, all the more you have nothing to worry though.”
“What is a life buoy?”
After a moment of thought, I suddenly become aware of Maria-san’s line of sight.
Somehow she is staring strongly at my chest……
I-Is that what she is referring to as life buoys?
Upon noticing, my face was even redder than Maria-san.
It is true that it floats when I take a bath……..
Maria-san is repentant and apologise.
Maybe she said that as a joke in order to reassure me.
I understand that, but it is still embarrassing.
Raika-kun didn’t hear about the current conversation right?
He bought alone a life buoy in case of an emergency and walking around the pool, going along with our speed.
I took a quick glance in that direction to affirm.
Raika-kun noticed my gaze and slightly tilted his head.
Apprently he didn’t heard that.
I was relieved.
Maria-san spoke softly.
As if she is trying to have a secret talk.
“What do you think of Raika-san?”
I got disorientated and lost my balance.
Drank a bit of water and choked.
“A-Are you okay?”
“Yes. I am fine……”
I barely managed to reply Maria-san who is panicking.
However, in contrary to my response, my heart was beating like an alarm bell.
The cause was obviously because of her question.
What do you think of Raika-kun………?
That was so embarrassing I can’t answer!
Besides, to think she would ask that.
Could it be, Maria-san too?
My head is spinning.
What is the correct way to answer?
And the fact that she is holding on to my hand means I can’t run away.
What should I do?
I was loss for answer, wondering what to do.
Meanwhile, Maria-san blushed and starred intently at me.
With her firm and direct eyes.
However, it is swaying a little.
Is she uneasy?
Of my answer?
Is she worried about what I will answer?
If so, just as I thought.
I hesitated furthermore.
『———-You should just answer with confidence.』
I heard a voice from the inside.
That wasn’t my unconscious mind or anything like that.
It was the voice of the divinity inside of me—-Brynhildr-san.
She was frigid.
『———-Don’t fret, if you talk softly, Shinsen Raika won’t be able to hear you.』
(But, Umm, but)
『———This doesn’t concerns me but this is probably a brawl.』
『———-Maria has challenged us upfront. If that’s the case, it’s a courtesy of a knight to answer.』
(I am not a knight you know~)
『——-Then answer it as a woman.』
A woman’s battle.
Brynhildr-san has expressed this exchange like so.
『———Don’t be hesitant.』
Brynhildr-san seemed angry at me who wavered.
『What are you getting embarrassed for? Is this the extend of your feelings?』
(Even if you say that, my feelings are not that much of a big deal…….)
『Then why are you cooperating with Shinsen Raika?』
(That is, because he saved my life…….)
『—Wrong. Although that is not wrong, it is wrong. The reason that you vowed to cooperate with him to point that you are risking death is because you have a more distinct feeling.』
I was shocked.
(No way, Brynhildr-san, you knew…..!?)
『——–Both of our souls are still intertwine. I wouldn’t say all of your thoughts are pouring into me but at least your emotions are.』
I think my face was flushed once again.
Seems like Brynhildr-san know about my feelings more clearly than Maria-san throwing the questions.
On top of that, she continued.
『———–Your feelings are strong enough. Similar to my sword.』
I was bewildered by Brynhildr-san’s words.
Why is she praising me so much?……..Even though she is a god.
Did something happened without me knowing?
Just like how I am having a conversation with her, Brynhildr-san is clearly consciousness even when I passed out.
On the contrary, my consciousness are hazy when Brynhildr-san is out.
While Brynhildr-san is possessing this body, I could only remember it vaguely.
Did something happened in the meantime?
I am curious though.
Instead of that, I am more curious about Maria-san.
She is patiently waiting for my answer.
Looking directly at me.
Brynhildr-san said that I should give her a reply.
She also affirmed the feelings I have for Raika-kun.
There is no reason to be ashamed.
I should brazenly reply her.
I took a deep breath with my nose and collected myself.