“Hm? What are you two doing?”
“You’ve finally returned, I suppose. Betty got tired of waiting.”
Subaru widened his eyes at the unexpected sight across the opened door.
The place was Roswaal Manor, in Subaru’s private room. The people waiting for Subaru, who had returned after finishing a small errand, were Emilia and Beatrice.
It isn’t that much of a surprise that those two are together. The Emilia Camp became more united since the Sanctuary incident got resolved. Not only the new members, but the relationships among the old ones, including Beatrice, have changed a lot.
“In a good way though, of course. And looking at you two together is something that fills me with joy.”
“A-ha-ha, Beatrice told me she wants something from you and wanted me to wait here with her for you,” Emilia said.
“Well, that much is common courtesy. And on top of that, Betty was getting tired of being alone,” Beatrice replied in a prissy manner with a standoffish straight face next to the smiling Emilia.
Her attitude is in between that of an honest person and a twisted person, but she’s become pretty mellow now, Subaru thought as he gazed at Emilia, who shared his feelings of adoration for her level of progress.
“So?” Subaru said before continuing. “It’s nice that you guys were waiting for me, but why were you two sitting in the same chair? If you want to flex that you guys are close, then I want to be a part of it.”
“I don’t know what flex means, but we were drawing together, in fact.”
“Drawing? That’s a bit…” Subaru looked at Beatrice in surprise, as her reply had been completely unexpected.
His adorable contracted spirit then picked up the notebook on the table. “It was enough to keep Betty occupied a bit, I suppose. It’s quite a masterpiece, in fact.”
“Yeah, it’s a masterpiece,” Emilia confidently added after Beatrice’s self-evaluation.
Subaru took the notebook that supposedly held their masterpiece and gasped. It made him recall the snow statue that Emilia and Beatrice made during the snow festival not too long ago when Roswaal Manor and Earlham Village got covered in snow because Puck was in his Magicletting Period.
I do admit that they are hardworking and diligent, but their artistic sensibilities are nonexistent, so the possibility of it being reflected in their drawing is highly likely.
“No, but Emilia-tan and Beako have a lot of potential. After all, I am Emilia-tan’s Knight and Beako’s Contractor, so I should believe in…”
“Look, we both drew Puck first. It’s drawn well, isn’t it?” Emilia asked.
“Yeah, I like your bold use of colors,” replied Subaru as he was cheering himself up, but when he turned the page, his hopes were instantly dashed.
However, it wasn’t like the snow statue that gave him a headache just by looking at it. It was just purely the work of a child whose skills couldn’t quite capture what was in their head, which relieved him.
“Yeah, both of you have used colors boldly and that’s nice. You guys just need to look at the real one and… Oh wait, the real one isn’t around.”
“...Betty has been lonely, I suppose. That’s why she’s been drawing Bubby and distracting herself.”
“Hmmm, I see. I’m not confident that it would help, but…”
Subaru looked at Beatrice lowering her eyebrows in grief and pursed his lips, then began smoothly drawing the Puck in his head on an empty part of the page.
Come to think of it, I’ve carved Puck on potato stamps for radio calisthenics classes in Earlham Village. I’ve carved cute-looking Pucks the most in this other world, so if I make use of this experience—
“—Woa… It’s amazing, Subaru! You are reaaally good at drawing! Right, Beatrice!?” Emilia’s eyes sparkled with great joy when she saw the impromptu illustration of Puck.
Next to her was Beatrice, who peered into the notebook with widened eyes while grabbing it with both hands. “...Betty is proud to have contracted with Subaru as of this moment, I suppose.”
“And you are saying that now!?” Subaru exclaimed. “I’m sure there will be an occasion where you’ll feel like that in future, so I kinda want you to save that for then!”
“It’s just a joke. But it’s true that Betty is impressed, I suppose.” Beatrice stuck out her tongue and playfully apologized to Subaru for startling him.
Subaru was relieved after hearing her words, but Emilia, whose excitement hadn’t cooled down, agreed with Beatrice. “That’s right. Not to mention your potato drawing, you have a lot of special skills, Subaru. Hee-hee, I am reaaally happy that I have such an amazing knight.”
“—Hm? Subaru? What happened?”
“Nothing, it’s just that my heart almost gave out because you said something really cute. Hey, listen to me, Beako. That person over there is my master.”
“Sorry, I have no idea what you’re trying to say,” Emilia replied.
“And besides all that, you also have the title of being Betty’s pa-pa-pa, pa-pa, partner!” Beatrice shouted at him with a red face as Emilia tilted her head at Subaru, whose face was melting like butter.
While witnessing their responses that came from both extremes, Subaru didn’t feel bad since his drawing skill was praised. Of course, he wasn’t in a position where he could remain happy.
“It’s because I did some drawing here and there. Though in my case it was more of an expression of my otaku side than an actual interest in art. But in the end, I kind of failed.”
“Failed…even though you are so good at it?”
“People become good at what they like. I was satisfied with myself when I reached a certain level. But if I had gotten successful as an artist, then I wouldn’t have met you… No! Even if I had become an artist, I’d still seek you out and draw you, Emilia-tan!”
“Is that so? I feel like I would be happy to meet with you no matter what the situation is,” Emilia answered with a smile at Subaru’s rather idiotic words.
Filled with happiness due to her compassion, Subaru involuntarily pulled on Beatrice’s cheek, thinking he must have been dreaming.
“Hey, why are you pulling on Betty’s cheek! Pull on your own cheek, in fact!”
“I wanted to touch your soft cheeks while joking around. Don’t make me say it.”
“Um, umm… Ah well, you’re such a hopelessly clingy boy, I suppose.”
Believing what Subaru had told her, Beatrice didn’t move while he pulled on her cheek. He was going to enjoy her lovely cheeks since he had gotten her permission to do so.
“—Oh, hey Subaru. Can you draw me and Beatrice if it’s fine with you?” asked Emilia after suddenly striking her palm gently with a fist as she gazed at them.
She carefully extended her hands, then hugged Beatrice and sat on Subaru’s bed.
“It would really be some nice eye candy for me, and it would make me happy, but…but what about the business you had with me, Emilia-tan?”
“Huh? Oh yeah, this is what I wanted to do. I had some free time, so I wanted to talk with you.”
“Beako! Did you record that!?”
“Record? You’re using words that Betty doesn’t understand again…”
Even though Beatrice looked as if she didn’t want to do it, she didn’t move from Emilia’s lap. Subaru understood that it was what the girl who was bad at relying on the goodwill of others truly wanted.
So, Subaru responded to her request and set himself up in front of the two girls sitting on the bed. “It’s going to take a while, is that ok?”
“Yeah, it’s alright. —It’s reaaally an amazing time for me even if we aren’t doing anything,” Emilia replied with a gentle smile.
“I suppose,” Beatrice agreed.
“Alright.” Subaru got pumped up after hearing their replies and then rolled up his sleeves.
—An ordinary, pleasant, and happy day went by slowly as the sound of him working hard as he ran his brush over the paper was accompanied by laughter that occasionally rang out from the room.