༺ Alone in the Room ༻
Just because the students’ classes were over, it didn’t mean that the Instructor’s work was done right away.
They had to prepare for the next day’s classes and write various reports before leaving. The Instructor not only had to teach the students well but also had to deal with these trivial administrative tasks flawlessly.
In that sense, compared to Instructor Lirya, I was still only half an Instructor.
Even in the military, I was not very good at sitting at a desk and writing with a pen, and it was natural that I wasn’t proficient in writing reports since I rarely had to interact with people.
While I couldn’t even fill half of the paper I was writing on and my head turned white, Instructor Lirya was smoothly writing her report without any hindrance.
Even though Lirya wasn’t a mature adult woman, she looked like a skilled professional who was completely focused on her work while she was diligently typing on her typewriter wearing her glasses.
In the end, I couldn’t finish my report until Lirya finished her work, so I had to ask for her help.
“I’m sorry for the trouble.”
“It’s okay! It was nothing. Instructor Graham will get used to it soon as time goes by.”
I wonder. Although I adapted and endured in the continent where it was difficult for humans to live, I felt that getting used to desk work was a bit different.
We left the faculty office building and arrived at the tram stop. Lirya grabbed me as I was naturally heading towards the stop in the direction of the academy’s main gate, and she led me to another stop.
“Instructor Graham! It’s not that way.”
This is the opposite direction of the entrance.
Philion Academy itself had a vast campus, so there were other restaurants and cafes inside besides the student cafeteria.
However, I knew there was no pub, and those commercial areas were near the main entrance, so there was nothing in this direction unless you were going all the way around to the entrance.
“Where on earth are we going?”
“You’ll find out soon. We’ll be there in no time.”
As she said, the tram arrived at its destination in a short while.
No matter how I looked at it, the place we arrived at didn’t seem like a pub.
“Ta-da! We’re here!”
Instructor Lirya spread her arms wide with a bright smile.
I sighed briefly and said,
“…Instructor Lirya. This is the Garnet Red dormitory.”
“And it’s also the only place in this academy where I can drink alcohol, in my room.”
Wait a minute. Are we really going to drink alcohol alone in her room?
There were too many things to consider, and I didn’t even know where to start the conversation.
“It would have been nice if you had informed me beforehand.”
“If I had, Instructor Graham wouldn’t have come, right?”
Well, that’s true. Even if I lacked common sense due to living in the military, I could easily imagine what it means for a man and a woman to drink alcohol in a room together and how it would appear to others.
So, I was flustered. Although I thought I was getting along best with Instructor Lirya among the Instructors, did we really become close enough to invite a man, whom she only met a week ago, to her room without hesitation?
Then Lirya put her hand on her flat chest with a sad smile.
“Instructor Graham. Think about it carefully. Would there be a pub inside the academy that would accept me?”
No one would see Lirya as a legal adult. Of course, any pub owner would refuse to serve alcohol to such a young girl.
“You could have just shown your ID.”
Lirya’s eyes twinkled as she responded, “Well, that wouldn’t be as much fun, now would it? Besides, it’s more comfortable in my room.”
In the end, I had no choice but to agree. It seemed that we would be drinking in Lirya’s room tonight. As we entered her room, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of curiosity and uneasiness. However, remembering that we were just colleagues having a drink together, I decided to relax and enjoy the moment.
“Of course, I showed them my ID. But it turned out that all of them were counterfeit. Can you imagine how it feels to be scolded by the military police even though Instructor Graham didn’t do anything wrong? And even if there were people who believed me, what’s the point? To other guests, it would just look like a child drinking alcohol alone. Eventually, I was banned from entering in just a few days. Haha… It’s not like I wanted to be so underdeveloped… A filthy world where I can’t even have a drink in peace…”
A deep shadow fell over Instructor Lirya’s expression, and she mumbled to herself like a lost soul. She seemed to have a lot on her mind.
I hesitantly opened my mouth.
“Well… I understand what you’re saying. But we don’t have to drink alcohol. We can just have a light meal nearby-“
“Come on! What kind of man talks so much? Let’s go upstairs already! Now is the perfect time to go without being caught since it’s dinner time!”
Instructor Lirya was more reckless than I expected.
She pushed me forcibly towards Garnet Red dormitory. I had never been pushed by even an Ogre, but somehow I couldn’t resist her small hands.
Garnet Red dormitory felt more like a homey atmosphere compared to the luxurious, aristocratic mansion-like Opal Black dormitory. Of course, its size was incomparable to a regular house, but the vibe was more down-to-earth.
Unlike the newly built Opal Black dormitory with only nine residents, Garnet Red dormitory had been around for decades, and hundreds of people were still living there. It looked more liberal, and the students’ life was much more apparent.
As Instructor Lirya said, the lobby was empty since it was dinner time. However, we could hear the noisy conversations of the students coming from the direction of the dining hall.
The laughter in their voices suggested that Garnet Red students had a harmonious atmosphere, and the relationships between seniors and juniors seemed to be very close.
Opal Black class, on the other hand, was quite creaky…
Instructor Lirya’s room was on the third floor, like mine. She was careful not to make a sound when walking to her room, as if she couldn’t be caught by the students. I couldn’t help but feel strange about what we were doing, just having a drink with a colleague.
Once we entered her room, she let out a sigh of relief.
“Phew, now that we’ve arrived, I can relax.”
“Then, I’ll make myself at home.”
“Sure, please come in… Oh.”
When she opened the door, and I followed her in, we naturally became quite close in the narrow entranceway.
Lirya’s shoulders tensed up again as she looked up at me.
Being in a small room with a stranger of the opposite gender. Inadvertently getting closer to each other.
She must have suddenly realized how awkward the situation was.
Her eyes quivered with tension.
“I can leave now if you want.”
“No, no! It’s not like that… I don’t think Instructor Graham is strange or anything, but… This room, the soundproofing is not very good, you see? It’s not that I’m complaining… Uh, I thought you should know…”
“What are you trying to say?”
“Well, just that. Anyway, alcohol! We need to prepare some drinks. Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable! But don’t get too comfortable looking around!”
What on earth does she mean?
Is she implying that if we drink and do something weird, we might make some noise? If she was that worried, she shouldn’t have invited me in the first place.
Or is this some important issue she’s trying to convey indirectly?
Instructor Lirya took out alcohol and snacks from the magical refrigerator. I leaned against the wall and casually looked around her room.
Instructor Lirya’s room was somewhat messy, with a disheveled bed and clothes hanging on the sofa, but overall, it was clean.
The neatly arranged desk was filled with specialized books on tactics and history. It seemed she diligently reviewed her major even in her room.
And there was something quite peculiar on the bed.
What’s that? A bear plushie?
It was almost the size of a person.
As soon as I thought that, Instructor Lirya quickly covered the plushie with a blanket using her foot, and her cheeks turned red as she offered an unsolicited explanation.
“Ha, haha! This, this is, well… a gift! A gift from a student! It’s not like I can throw away something a student gave me, right!? So, I just left it in my room…”
“…I didn’t have any particular thoughts about it.”
Although I thought there was no need to hide that she liked cute things, there was no need to be completely honest about it either.
Instructor Lirya noticed where I was standing and pointed to a chair at the table.
“Don’t just stand there, Instructor Graham. Please, sit down.”
I hesitated for a moment before following Instructor Lirya’s guidance and sitting at the table. The alcohol she brought out was a sparkling wine that even women could drink lightly.
There was no toast. It wasn’t a celebratory occasion. Instructor Lirya tilted the wine glass and took a sip, and I drank as well. It was sweet and carbonated, making it easy to swallow. The fact that it didn’t seem like it would get us drunk quickly was a bonus.
As the alcohol helped relieve some tension, Instructor Lirya asked with a gentle voice,
“How’s the Instructor job? It’s your first time doing something like this, right?”
“It’s not particularly difficult. It’s just something I have to do.”
“Like carrying out a mission in the military?”
“How long were you in the military?”
“I joined when I was 14, so it’s been exactly 20 years this year.”
“Were you on the battlefield the entire time, from the moment you enlisted until now?”
“…Yes, that’s correct.”
“Wow, that’s amazing. And it must have been incredibly difficult.”
She poured more wine into her empty glass as she spoke.
“I don’t know much about the life you’ve led, Instructor Graham. Dean Heinkel didn’t tell me much. If you enlisted at 14, you didn’t graduate from the academy like me, so you must have started as a low-ranking soldier. But you survived the battlefield and were promoted to the rank of Captain, which means you’ve overcome tremendous odds… That much? You probably won’t tell me more if I ask, right?”
I took a light sip of the wine and replied,
“That’s about all you need to know.”
“No way. I can tell just by looking. Instructor Graham is a very remarkable soldier. You were brought in by the Dean without any academic, family, or honor background, so the only thing left is your skill.”
We initially intended to discuss how to reconcile with the students, but we ended up talking about me.
Instructor Lirya’s pace of drinking was quite fast, and I followed her pace, drinking the wine quickly.
We couldn’t just keep drinking, and the conversation was getting uncomfortable, so I decided to get to the point quickly.
“You said you think you know why Gwyn behaved that way.”
“Already? I was going to talk about it after having a bit more to drink… Hmm. Alright.”
Instructor Lirya took out a new bottle of wine.
Perhaps she just wanted to drink, and the conversation was just a simple excuse.
“Didn’t I say it earlier? Instructor Graham is a very remarkable soldier.”
With a slightly flushed face, Instructor Lirya stared intently at me.
“In my opinion, the problem seems to have arisen from that very fact.”
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