„Now! Where should I start? Master said he was going to teach me a new technique before the first match…" Somehow I feel full of energy today. I'm sure I'll win this match!

"Should we ask if he's ready?"

"Sure, let's go ask master- Let's go see Master Bron!"

"If I may, I'll teach you many things… " Ugh, why is she always like that…?

"Hahaha… Thanks, but no thanks." As I approach the door Master Bron comes right in. How rude of him!

"Yo, Pratty!" But I was going to meet him anyways…

"Oh, master! I was just going to meet you! … Hey! Don't just barge into a lady's room without knocking!"

"Quit yer jibber-jabber! This ain't no inn!"

"Grrr…" He has a point, but I'd still appreciate some privacy… I guess there's no helping it...

"The folks from Central Tower arrived. Behave yerself." Look who's talking… Just as he finished speaking an officer walks in. Does no-one here know how to treat a girl!?

"Hello, hello! Greetings, Pratty. I have a delivery for you! Here's your labyrinth key." He gives me a small key of iron. "Show this to the guard on the first floor of the Central Tower, and you can enter the labyrinth. I must get going. Excuse me now." He leaves as fast as he entered. I guess he has more keys to deliver…

"So this is the labyrinth key…"

"That labyrinth under the Central Tower is a treasure mine for craftknights. If yer gonna be a skilled craftknight, ya gotta find yer own materials. That's all I gotta say. Well, he is the master, but…

"But, I heard there are tons of summon creatures and stray summons protecting the holy spirit Parista from evil in the labyrinth. Isn't that right? I'm a bit scared…" I don't like to admit it, but that's how it is…

"A skilled craftknight needs to be a master at wielding weapons as well as makin' them. Ya gotta be able to handle 100 or 200 strays by yerself!" He is exaggerating… right?

"You've gotta be kidding!"

"Yer gonna be a craftlord, guardian of the holy spirit Parista, right? Either way, if ya ever end up becoming a craftlord… You'll be going to the shrine of Parista every month, located in the depth of the labyrinth. If ya can't make it to the holy spirit you'd be shamed as a craftlord." He is smiling, but he seems to be serious. And it is a craftlords duty to go to the shrine once per month…

"I agree with you on that…"

"Anyway, the battle's already begun! Get with it!" Master Bron seems to be excited as well. He is grinning from ear to ear, just like a child that is about to open a present.

"Alright! Let's begin! I, Master Bron, will teach ya the technique of crafting weapons! The first weapon yer gonna craft is this!" He hands me a scroll with the blueprint of a sword.

"Yes! I'll do it! Woohoo!" Finally, my first weapon

"…Now ya got me worried. Sugar, I know I can count on ya."

"Yes, you can count on me." My first weapon…!

"Now, let's see if ya can remember the basics of makin' weapons." As if I'd forget that…

"I remember perfectly! First, we must collect items to be used as weapon materials. Next, heat and melt the items using the forge, and separate them into four kinds of mineral ores using the technique for that weapon. We smite them with a hammer to complete it!" I can't wait! This'll be the first time that I make a weapon all on my own! Well, with Sugar's help, but still…

"Bravo! You've learned well." Even Master Bron seems to be proud of me.

"Hehehe."

"First things first. Go get yerself some materials."

"Hee hee… Now I can make my own weapons without getting pestered by master anymore,,,"

"Hey! I heard rhat! Anyhow… Go buy some iron ore at the item shop this time."

"Um, master? Weren't we supposed to gather materials from the labyrinth oat the Central Tower?"

"Aye, that's cprrect. But were ya gonna head in there without any weapons?" I completely forgot about that…

"That would be very tough."

"So, ya gotta make a weapon first. The biggest reason I told ya to buy them is 'cause… iron ore is on sale today."

"On sale!?"

"The price is 10 boam for each!" Wow,,,

"That's cheap!"

"Here's some cash. Now run off and buy as many as ya can. There'll be hordes of bargain hunters for the sale! Hurry up and get yerself over there, now!" Sales! I quickly grab the 300 boam Master Bron offers me. With that I can buy… 30 pieces of iron ore! Master Bron leaves, but I barely notice him as I run off towards the market.

"Sale, sale, iron ore on sale We're off to the item shop "

"I'm always excited by sales!" Oh, Sugar is still here. I completely forgot about her. But it seems as if we had something in common after all, she seems to be just as excited as I am.

"Yes! It gets my heart pumping!" Finally, we reach the item shop!

"Welcome to my shop."

"Um, do you have any iron ore here?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. We just sold out." Great, now I'll… wait, what!?

"You gotta be kidding!"

"See that girl over there? I sold her all we had." He points towards a red-haired girl at the counter. Haven't I seen her somewhere before…?

"Are you really sure that you have nothing left or hidden in stock?"

"I'm afraid not." Great…

"What are we going to do now? We don't have enough to buy anything with the money we have now…"

"Maybe we should ask the girl nicely if she can sell us some of her ore?" Well, it wouldn't hurt to try.

"Well then… Let's just ask her!" I approach her and try to be as friendly as possible. "Hey there! Um… Would you like to sell us some iron ore?"

"What's this all of a sudden? You… Have I met you somewhere before?" She examines me for a moment. "Ah! I remember you now. You were at the opening ceremony…" Ah, so that's where I met her.

"Yup! You have a good memory. Do I stand out that much?"

"No, it wasn't that, but... Hmm. I was just surprised someone as spaced out as you had the guts to enter the tournament." Grrr…

"What!? What do you mean by that?" Now she is grinning boldly.

"Juat as I said, And I'm not going to sell you my iron ore. Your fault, slowpoke. I don't have time to mess with you. I'm going to the labyrinth now. See you!" She just walks off. I could… Well, no use crying over spilled milk.

"Great… What should I do now?"

"For the meantime, why don't we tell Master Bron about the iron ore being sold out?"

"You're right… Let's go back and discuss this with master, We didn't do too well, today… 'Sigh…' Let's go see Master Bron." Sugar also seems to be rather down.

"I'm really disappointed… It's their fault too! The item shop should've kept some in stock for Master Pratty." That would be nice, but the didn't even know whether I'd come or not…

"They can't do that…" Sugar still seems to be upset about it, but she follows me quietly. We could go back to the silver guild, but I think I should visit my mother first. Sugar would probably want to see my home as well.

"Hey, Sugar?"

"Yes, Master Pratty?

"Would you mind if we make a quick side-trip? I would like to show you my home."

"I'd love to, Master Pratty " Well, she seems to be enthusiastic enough… We quietly pass the silver guild and approach my house.

"Well, this is it. Let's go!" I open the door and walk in, Sugar floats right behind me. "I'm home!" Mother was apparently cleaning up in the kitchen. But she stops as she hears my voice and comes over to talk to us with a smile.

"Welcome back, Pratty. Oh,,, it looks like you've decided on a partner. My, it's you, Sugar. You're going to be Pratty's guardian beast? It's been so long since we last met." Sugar doesn't look too happy and the atmosphere between the two isn't warm either…

"…" Sugar doesn't even reply. Come to think of it…

"Do you know each other?" Mother on the other hand seems to be as friendly as always…

"Of course. Sugar used to be your father's guardian beast. Oh, by the way… Bron stopped by for a little chat. About your little kiss " Master… How can you find the time to tell her that kind of story…? I had hoped she would never find out about it.

"I heard that you were worried about it, but there's no need. Because you got your first kiss from me, Pratty."

"That's a different story…" Sugar glared at mother for a moment, but she calmed down rather quickly.

"Master Pratty… We should get going now." Hm, I had wanted to stay for a little longer, but Sugars eyes are so pleading…

"Huh? Uh… okay." She seems to be upset about something… Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all…

"With Sugar at your side, you'll be just fine. Hang in there, Pratty." Strange… Mother doesn't seem to have anything against Sugar at all.

"Uh. Alright." I guess it'd be better to leave. I quickly say good-bye to mother and take Sugar's hand, pulling her out.

"What's wrong, Sugar? You seem a little upset." Sugar is quiet and remains silent for a while. I wait for her to collect her thoughts "Umm…"

Finally she starts to speak up. She almost looks as if she's ready to cry…"I don't like that person." That is a clear statement. But…

"Why?" Sugar waits for another moment and chokes a little bit.

"She was Master Shintetsu's…"

"My father's what?" She forces a smile over her lips, but even I can tell she feels like crying…

"It doesn't matter… I have Master Pratty by my side now… So please take no heed."

"Oh… Okay, Sugar. I'll forget about it!" Sugar seems to be relieved. I should probably try to find out more about this, but it won't help if I try it now. I'll leave it be… for now. I slowly let go of her hand and we hurry back to the silver guild, neither of us feels like talking.

"Hey, yer back. Did ya get the materials?" His bright mood quickly dissolves the heavy atmosphere.

"Actually…" I summarize what happened at the item shop. He doesn't seem to be surprised at all.

"What? They were completely sold out? To a mean girl?"

"That's correct. She said, "I can't believe that someone as spaced out as you could enter the tournament!" or something like that…" It still makes me mad… Master Bron has a sympathetic smirk.

"I see... That's gotta be Sanary."

"Sanary?"

"Aye. She's one of my apprentices here at the silver guild, and is competing in the tournament. She's a contestant, just like you. I told her about the sales as well…"

"How come…"

"What'd ya expect? Ya aren't the only trainee here. I gotta be fair, ya know." Well, that's true…

"That's for sure."

"Anyway… Sanary tends to be tough on others, so I can imagine that she picked on ya, too."

"But, don't you think she could've sold at least one of her ores?"

"Nah, what Sanary did was correct. Ya two are rivals now. The battle's already begun in and out of the arena." He is serious about this… "Well, there's no use worrying 'bout that now. Yer gonna hafta find yer own materials in the labyrinth." He seems to be rather confident, but…

"Huh!? Wait a second! You told us it's too dangerous to go there without any weapons! Can we at least borrow a…"

"Shut yer trap! If you wanna be a craftlord, never ever say ya gonna' borrow a weapon that someone else made to go hunting for materials!" Master Bron doesn't make much sense now, at least not to me.

"Errr…"

"Besides, ya already have the mightiest craftknight weapon of all." Is he talking about some strange metaphors now…?

"Huh?"

"Yer hammer, of course."

"But this is just a hammer we use for crafting!" I don't get it…

"Now, listen carefully. The hammer can forge not only a weapon, but also… a woman." Has Master Bron lost it…?

"Huh?"

"Isn't that right, Sugar?"

"Uh, y-yes, Master Bron." I don't think she meant that…

"Alright! Ya all understand? Now get going!"

"No way!?" He seriously wants me to fight with my hammer? Fine, he can have that! We set off towards the Central Tower.

"It's dangerous in the labyrinth, but we'll be alright! Sugar is here to protect you, Master Pratty!"

"Thanks… But Sugar, aren't you afraid of all the stray summons?" She sure seems to be full of confidence…

"No problem, master! Let's go find the materials! …Uh, I mean… I'm scared! I'm really scared, Master Pratty! Please protect Sugar! And Sugar will protect Master Pratty in return!" For some reason she's clinging to my arm right now, even though we aren't even inside the labyrinth yet. And what's with her sudden change of heart?

"I don't quite get it…" I yank my arm free, though Sugar protests a bit. After that she sulks and we walk to the entrance of the labyrinth at the bottom of Central Tower in silence. The guard quickly glances at my key, but stops us.

"Looks like you have the key alright, but why don't you have any weapons? The labyrinth is way too dangerous, I can't let you down there unarmed, even if you are a craftlord candidate escorted by a guardian beast. Come back after you're properly equipped." Will this really work out,,,?

"I have a weapon…"

"Where?" Well, I will have to try…

"This… Hammer!" He doesn't seem to be impressed.

"That's a smithy hammer, isn't it? You need to take care of your tools as a craftknight." If this doesn't work I'll probably die of shame… Well, here goes nothing!

"Weapons aren't the only thing this hammer can forge… It can forge a woman!" …Did that work?

"…You've got guts, kid. Those are bold words…" Did it work!? "Well said! If you're that willing to go, I've got no right to stop you! Go show us how far you can go with just a hammer in hand!

"Y-Yes, Sir!" I can't believe that worked… Am I missing something…?

"Don't worry, if something happens, we'll tell your folks how brave you were!"

"Huh?" Hm, whatever he meant by that… But I can go in! That's all that matters. Now, what does it look like on the inside?

"Huh? What's this strange-looking panel there? It's glowing green… I get it! This must be the teleporter! But… I don't think it's usable just yet…" Well, nothing to do here. I venture into the labyrinth and can see Sanary in the distance. She walks up to us and frowns.

"You don't get it, do you? I repeat… I won't give any of my iron ore to you." She somehow ticks me off!

"I never told you to "give" it to me!". Oh, an my name is Pratty!"

"Well then, why are you exploring the labyrinth with only a hammer?"

"Hehehe! A hammer is the mightiest weapon of all!"

"Are you crazy?" Now she smiles, apparently somewhat insecure.

"Crazy like a fox!" I will win this tournament, whether I fight with my hammer, a sword or even a ladle!

"Right… Well, if you're that determined to get materials, I might help you… I'll give you a quiz, and if you answer correctly I'll give you the materials that I found earlier." As if I'd care for some stupid game!

"Wait a second! Don't just make things up!" Besides, I'm not good at tests of knowledge,..

"Now, now. You don't have to thank me yet. Here's the first question! A female craftknight is greater than a male one. True or false?" As if that'd make a difference…

"What are you talking about? The gender doesn't matter, does it?"

"Wrong. A female one is greater! If you're a girl, be more confident in yourself." I don't think this has anything to do with confidence…

"!?"

"Game over! No presents for the loser! See ya!" With that she walks of. As if I'd care for some stupid present of hers! She can keep that, I'll still win!

"Um… why was she so irritated?" She was?

"I don't know… Let's not worry about that. Let's go, Sugar!"

So this is the labyrinth... the only way to the shrine of Parista. I can't see many stray summons around here, there are just some slimes sliding over the floor. I don't think that they'll be that strong, so they should be great for training. Just the right thing for me.

I sneak up on one and hit it with my hammer. It feels pretty strange, like hitting a wall of jelly... the slime turns around, but I'm still able to get in some hits before it attacks me. It bounces against me, but this shouldn't leave much more than a bruise.

It's moves are easy to predict and I quickly learn to avoid it's attacks. It is still a little bit tiring, but I'll have to get used to this if I want to become a craftlord. At least I am able to deliver the final blow and the slime turns into a puddle and disappears. I feel kind of sorry for it...

I wonder what life looks like for these creatures... being summoned to protect the holy spirit Parista and being slaughtered by the ones that will order to summon them in the future... Can't there be another way? Or was it a stray summon? I don't know, it could have been here out of it's own free will as well.

"Sugar... what happens to these creatures when I defeat them? Do I... kill them?" Sugar doesn't appear to be very troubled...

"You don't have to worry about that, Master Pratty. You don't kill them, at least not in the way you would think. You do destroy their physical form, but a creature summoned from another world isn't summoned to this world with a body. It is rather the soul which is summoned and given a suitable vessel."

This is kind of complicated... so a summon beast isn't using its own body, but rather a replacement? But there was no replacement for a body when Sugar was summoned, was there? Uhm...

"But what happens to their bodies when they leave them? And weren't you summoned with your own body...?"

"Most of the summon creatures that are summoned for lower tasks which don't require much intelligence like guarding a certain area from all invaders don't have a body in their native world. They are rather spirits of nature, bound to a physical form to fulfill their tasks. But it is possible to summon rather complex summon creatures such as myself with their body." It is kind of complicated, but I think I'm beginning to understand it...

"If a guardian beast like me dies it can naturally not be summoned ever again. Once the body dies the soul will move on to a place no living being knows. A summoned spirit on the other hand simply returns to their homeworld if their physical form is damaged beyond repair because the vessel ceases to bind them. They could be summoned again if given a suitable vessel, so it isn't much of a problem to "revive" them." That does ease my consciousness...

"Since I was summoned with my body and everything I would die if my body died. But that will be alright, won't it? After all... Master Pratty will be taking special care of me " 'Sigh'

I really can't seem to understand Sugar. At all. Sometimes she seems to be serious and reliable, at other times she seems to think of us as if we were married already. Of course I will protect her, it's just the way she says it...

But how can she entrust me with her very life like this? She didn't even know anything about me before she was summoned again, yet she wanted to marry me, a complete stranger. I could've been a total jerk for all she knew, so why...?

"Master Pratty...?"

"I already told you that I'd be kind to you, Sugar. I promise... No, I pledge an oath that I will protect you, Sugar, to the best of my abilities."

"Master Pratty " Before I even know what is happening Sugar is already hugging me and snuggling my neck...

"Ugh, Sugar, do you have to hug me like this?" It feels as if she'd never want to let go off me again when she holds me like this...

"I'm sorry, but I can't help it... Master Pratty is just too cute when she is being so determined. I'm sorry " She says that, but her actions speak for themselves...

"Sugar, I can't protect you if you cling to me like that..." Well, there are only slimes on this floor, but that doesn't mean we should let our guard down.

"I understand, Master Pratty..." She still seems to be hesitant to let go, but after some more time she finally releases me. I don't think I'll ever understand her... Anyways, back to the matter at hand.

"Hm, Sugar...?"

"Yes, Master Pratty?"

"How exactly can you help me?"

"I can help you in a lot of ways But I think you were rather talking about battles, weren't you? As I told you, I excel at water and healing magic. I can enchant your weapons with the power of the elements, that can help you when facing different kinds of enemies. At the moment I can only use the enchantment of water, but if you give me a little bit of time I will also remember other spells, more offensive ones as well. And I can take care of your injuries, even while you are fighting if it is urgent. A little kiss and all the pain will fly away!" She'll definitely be able to help... wait, what did she just say!?

"Oh, Master Pratty, I was just kidding. I don't have to kiss you in order to heal you. Unless you want me to It does help..." Ugh... For a second I almost believed her...

"Nonono, thanks, you don't have to, I'll be fine!" She is coming closer again...!

"Aww, Master Pratty, you're so cute when you're blushing... Why don't you rest for a little bit with me? You must be tired after your first battle... That corner over there looks pretty comfortable, doesn't it? " I have to retreat...!

"No, I'm fine, I'm not tired at all! We still got a lot of work to do, let's hurry!" I turn away from Sugar and run towards the next slime I can find as fast as I can. Sugar is giggling a little bit but it seems like she'd finally let these topics go as she silently floats after me, ready to support me whenever I need it. I'm not sure if my poor heart will be able to endure these coming days with Sugar, let alone the rest of my life...

No, I'm sure we will be able to reach a compromise that both of us can be happy with. But... marrying her? How should I decide something like that? How is that decided in general? Mother used to tell me I should listen to my heart in these matters, but how do I know what it's saying?

How is love between two lovers different from the love between parents and children or siblings? Or a strong friendship? I mean, lovers have more... physical contact, but other than that? Not that I have much experience with anything like that...

Lovers live together, they even share their beds, but how do they know that they love one another? What is love? I mean, I like Sugar, but in what way? Is it possible to "measure" affection...?

What strange things to think about while fighting slimes... But it's not like they pose much of a threat. Well, that's not what matters now...

And what does Sugar think about this? What is love for her? Might love be something different for every single person? Or is it the same thing but everyone sees it from a different angle? This is somewhat frustrating, I feel as if I'd be running around in circles...

Well, at least the fighting is easy and I am getting better at dodging these slimes. Even two of them at once don't pose much of a threat anymore. But no enemy could harm me if he couldn't hit me, could he?

That's my best bet with a leather armor, it doesn't offer as much protection as one made of metal, but it doesn't slow me down as much either. It is pretty well-balanced. The slimes quickly melt into puddles after some more hits, but I probably should rest a little bit. I can't fight as well when I'm tired.

"Sugar, let us rest for a little bit."

"Yes, Master Pratty " 'Sigh' I should probably just ingore things like that... We search for a more or less comfortable corner without any slimes around and I lean against the wall and slide down. Sugar ceases to float and sits down as well, leaning against... my arm. There is no use arguing about it, I guess. But I would like to ask her about those things...

"Sugar...?"

"Yes, Master Pratty?" No time like the present, I guess...

"Why do you want to marry me?" She seems to be surprised by the sudden question, but her smile returns almost instantly.

"Isn't that obvious, Master Pratty? It's because I L-O-V-E Y-O-U "

"But how could you have loved me before you even knew me?"

"I just did. I knew that I want no other person to be my husband."

"But how did you know that? You couldn't love a person you didn't even know, could you?" Sugar seems to be honest, but I don't really understand all these things she's saying. It doesn't make much sense, at least not to me...

"Whenever I thought of how great it would be to finally meet you it send a warm and pleasant feeling through my entire body. And whenever I thought about the possibility of you rejecting me it felt like a stab through my heart... I only feel this way about you, Master Pratty..."

So is that what love feels like...? I still don't really get it...

"But... what is love?" Now Sugar seems to be really surprised.

"Master Pratty... have you, by any chance, never been in love before...?"

"I-I don't think so..." Somehow this is really embarrassing...

"You "don't think so"? I don't think you were if you say it like that. You know it when you love someone. Perhaps not immediately, but you notice it sooner or later. But how should I explain what love is...? I think that it is love when you want to have the other person all to yourself, always thinking of that person and how to gain that person's affection, being sad when the person is sad, wanting to spend the rest of your life by the side of that person. Things like these are love, at least for me."

Hm, I think I understand it a little bit better now... If love is like that I don't think I have ever been in love. Well, not that kind of love... I never gave it much thought. Love, marriage, Sugar... she really did turn my life upside down, didn't she?

"And how do you fall in love?" Now Sugar giggles. Am I supposed to know all of this? I feel somewhat stupid...

"You just do it, Master Pratty. It's not something you can decide or control. It might even control you instead. It can be the most wonderful feeling in the world, but it can also hurt more than anything else. Sometimes even both at the same time." Both... at the same time...? Isn't that contradictory? What an enigma...

"And how do you expect me to fall in love with you? How can two persons fall in love with each other at all if they can't decide it?"

"It is more likely to fall in love with someone with whom you spend a lot of time. And you will spend the rest of your life with me, Master Pratty " She is right...! And if it really does depend on how much time two people spend together, then...!

That's so unfair, I can't even decide it... Should I try to resist it? If Sugar is right that would be pointless... Should I get used to it? No, that would be like giving up... So the best thing I can probably do is keep going on as if nothing has changed. I mean, nothing has actually changed yet. Sugar and I are still guardian beast and master, nothing more or less. Right?

...'Sigh' Well, there is no use worrying about it so much. If Sugar is right that won't help me at all. But is Sugar right...? I should probably ask someone else. Sugar could just be making fun of me and try to convince me to marry her with lies, taking advantage of my ignorance...

No, I don't think Sugar would do something like that... But still, I want to ask someone else about this. Master Bron? Good joke... So only mother is left. Hm, she should know all there is to know about love. She was married to my father for 11 years. Yes, mother should know the answers to all these questions.

I will just ask her once we won our first match. Oh yes, the match has the highest priority right now. And I've had more than enough time to rest anyways.

"Sugar, let's go on!" I jump to my feet and stretch. Sugars arm felt pretty comfortable though. No, I shouldn't think that! If this goes on I might really fall in love with her...!

"Yes, Master Pratty." Sugar is already back on her feet and floats again after stretching too. The next slimes are just a few meters away. I should probably try out Sugars spells to see what they do. It might be unnecessary against the slimes, but I'm better off knowing what they do before getting into a serious fight.

"Hey, Sugar?"

"Yes, Master Pratty?"

"Can you show me one of your spells?"

"Of course, Master Pratty." She mumbles something I can't understand and my hammer suddenly is covered in a liquid that emits a strange blue light. Upon closer inspection it looks like... water? I touch it and it really is water, but the hammer doesn't seem to be much heavier.

Well, now for a slime... I run towards the next one I see and start hitting it. Wow, it looks as if a small wave is coming out of the hammer and hits the enemy every time I swing my hammer.

This is amazing... Now it takes me even less hits to defeat it. It fades into a puddle and leave a... broken cup behind? Well, maybe I can use it by turning it into materials. I throw it into my backpack and turn back to Sugar. She seems to be pretty exhausted...

"Hey, Sugar, are you feeling alright...?" She slowly regains her breath and forces a smile.

"I'm sorry if I worried you, Master Pratty... I'm just out of practise. Just give me some more time and I... 'pant'... will be able to use my magic again... 'pant'... without any problems." Then I should probably fight without her help for a while. But she really had me worried there...

We look around after Sugar regained her breath and find... a chest? Who would place a chest here? Hm, I guess I can just take its contents. I mean, if they leave it lying right here they can't really need the item, right? A... bandage...? Hm, you take what you can get...

After storing it away as well I continue my way through the labyrinth until I can see... What is that? A... aquarium...? Not, that's the ocean! Wow, it sure looks amazing... Who is the person standing in front of the wall of glas? Is that...

"Huh... Sanary?"

"Careful... she might pick on you again..." Sugar could be right, but somehow...

"She seems different though... A little more gentle..."

"...Who's there?" She seems to have noticed us...

"Oh, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to disturb you or anything..."

"I don't mind... This place isn't mine, so I won't tell you to leave." Is that the same Sanary that was so mean to me just a few minutes ago...?

"Really? Thanks..."

"Look how beautiful this place is. I can see straight into the ocean..." She gestures us to come next to her and we accept her invitation. It is incredible! The water is so clear and I can see countless fishes, corals and so many other things I have never seen before...

"How pretty. It's like an undersea observatory."

"Hmhm..." Even Sanary is completely different... "My sister took me to this place a few years ago. I wanted to come back here again... I wanted to make it here without my sisters help... That's why this place is special to me. Every time I come here I can feel that I'm getting closer to her." So Sanary does have a softer side...

"Ahh. You really love your sister, don't you?" I am almost expecting her to yell at me for that comment, but...

"I do. Well, I've chatted long enough, I should get going now. See ya." And she climbs down the stairs next to the observatory. But... wow. I guess it's true that one shouldn't judge a book by it's cover...

"Maybe Sanary is a good person after all?" I can't be sure yet, but she seemed pretty nice.

"Maybe she is. But no cheating, Master Pratty." Here we go again...

"Sugar... First of all. I didn't mean it in that way. Secondly, we are not together in that so I can't even cheat on you. And since we are not together in that way, you have no right to talk to me like that." Maybe that was a bit too much...

No, I have to show Sugar her limits. If I don't I might end up marrying her without even remembering it. She would probably even marry me while I sleep that I couldn't refuse if that was possible...

"But... Master Pratty..." Now Sugar looks like she is about to cry... She sure knows how to make me feel guilty...

"Ah, Sugar, look... I'm sorry I said all these things like that. Can you forgive me? Pretty please~?" She still doesn't seem to feel much better...

"But only if..."

"Just say it, if it doesn't involve marrying I'll do it!" What... did I just say? This could become dangerous...

"Then... Master Pratty... you have to hug me! "

Ugh... crocodile tears!? Well, I seem to get off with a slap on the wrist. I just have to... hug Sugar. I hesitantly approach her. My face is pretty hot and my heart is beating faster... what is this...? I already agreed, so no backtracking, huh...? I put my arms around her back and she puts hers around mine. She's coming even closer... She is so warm... It does feel kind of nice...

Hey... Where the hell does she think she's putting her hands!?

"That's enough, Sugar..." Well, she does let go off me, though she seems to be a little bit disappointed...

I take my hands off her back as well and continue my investigation of the labyrinth. Right next to the observatory, opposite to the stairs, is another chest with some... iron ore! Now we can finally craft our first weapon!

"Now that we gathered enough materials, maybe we should go back to our workshop?"

"Okay, let's head back to our love nest..." Our what!?

"Love nest?" 'Sigh' I don't really feel like talking with Sugar anymore for now, so we don't talk much while returning to the silver guild...

Autors note: I'm really sorry it took me so long, I was planning to reupload this chapter for New Years Eve, but I was pretty demotivated for some reason and wasn't really happy with the things I wrote, so I had to rewrite it again and again until I finally was able to produce something I liked. I'm sorry it took me so long and I'm still not too happy with the result, if you know anything to improve this chapter, please write a review or a PM.

Anyways, next time will be the first match of the tournament and some more dialogue in the "love nest".