The sound of an waiter pouring tea into a cup resonated, breaking the silence that hung in the air. Aside from that, there was no conversation taking place.
“Oh, thank you.”
Only Noah, who didn’t understand the atmosphere, thanked the waiter.
The waiter nodded, a hint of discomfort in their demeanor, and quickly left.
It fell upon me to break the awkward silence, “What are you two doing here?”
“Ah, Stella invited me to have a discussion. They say it tastes really good, but I’ve never been there.”
“Is that so?”
After I heard Noah’s explanation, I looked at Stella with the intention of why she had brought Noah all the way here.
Stella glanced at me, her expression somewhat conflicted, and then sighed lightly before speaking, “I’m here to talk about teaming up with Noah.”
“Teaming up?” I inquired.
“Don’t you know yet? They posted it on the bulletin board today. The midterm exam will be a three-on-three team match.”
“What?” I was taken aback, having been unaware of that because I had never checked the bulletin board. In fact, I didn’t even know where the bulletin board was located.
Dinua, too, seemed startled when she realized she would have to rely on teammates for the test. A group assignment was far from ideal for someone like her who lacked friends.
“You seem awfully relaxed. You didn’t even have time to notice something like that, and I see that you are enjoying dates with girls in places like this,” Stella commented.
“Hey, a date?” I raised an eyebrow.
“No, this is just hanging out with a friend and a senior.”
“Huh? A friend and a senior.”
Stella observed the sheepish Dinua with curiosity. After noting Stella’s distinctive red hair, Dinua seemed to recognize her true identity to some extent and spoke with a slightly trembling voice, “It’s my honor to meet the young lady of the House Eritz. I…”
“Ah, I see. Well, it’s nothing. We’re just fellow cadets at the academy. So you can relax, Senior.”
“Is that so?”
“Would you prefer to address me as ‘young lady’?”
“I…I’m comfortable with ‘young lady.'”
Dinua couldn’t let go of her respect, and she reintroduced herself to Stella. “I’m a sophomore, Dinua Erebus… Pleased to meet you.”
“Erebus…? Count Erebus, right?” Stella asked, already aware of Dinua’s family background.
“Yes, that’s correct.”
The conversation continued with an air of nobility. With that in mind, I decided to leave the two nobles to their discussion and turned my attention to Noah, engaging in a more down-to-earth conversation with her. It was comfortable talking to her since she was a commoner, and I could relate to her on that level.
“Noah, are you teaming up with Stella?” I asked.
“Yes!” Noah replied.
“Come over to our team. We’ll do better.” I suggested playfully.
Noah hesitated for a moment, then replied, “Uh, but I already agreed to team up with Stella…”
I chuckled and took a sip of the tea the waitress had brought, enjoying its warmth as it soothed my mind and body. While I was savoring the tea like a leisurely aristocrat, Stella interrupted our peace by pointing at me.
“Who are you flirting with now? Noah and I have already decided to team up!”
“No, that’s not true!” Noah defended herself.
“It seems like you’re not so sure about it…” I remarked with a mischievous smile.
Noah blushed slightly and stammered, “N-No, that’s not it!”
Creating a playful tension between the two, I shifted my attention to Dinua, the senior.
She looked extremely uncomfortable in the current situation, and was fidgeting like a lost dog in need of direction. So I invited her to join me in forming a team.
“Senior, how about teaming up with me?” I suggested.
Dinua looked surprised by the proposal, “Huh?”
“It’s a team match, and I think we’d be the strongest if Senior and I team up.” I explained.
“Is that so?” Dinua seemed taken aback.
“It won’t happen.” Stella interjected, unable to resist interfering.
I furrowed my brow and looked at her inquisitively, “Why?”
“Does it even make sense for a second-year cadet to get involved in a first-year exam in the first place?”
“Furthermore, there are conditions for this team match.”
“Each team must consist of one 1-star, one 2-star, and one 3-star Summoner.”
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