”By the way, ” Harriton said to everyone as the class was ending, ”your break starts next week so, go ahead and plan out whatever it is you
e going to be doing. Oh, and don forget to make sure you have the money to pay for the second term. Thats all. ”

Before Harriton left the classroom, he leaned down next to Rin.

”Hey, ” he said quietly, ”we
e gonna be talking about that party of yours this weekend once the classes are done, got it? ”

”Oh! Uhm, alright, ” Rin replied, slightly startled as shed been taken out of her daydreaming.

She couldn stop thinking about what that night she and Elisa shared. And, of course, the nights they would share moving forward, up until Elisas marriage was finalized.

It was bittersweet, but as far as crushes on girls way out of Rins league went, maybe this was realistically the best-case scenario.

[… Still wish things were different, though.]

Throughout the rest of the day, Rin could barely keep her focus up and, as a result, it felt like time flew right by. Eventually, Rin had her lunch, wiped off her sweat, and went straight to the Deans office to discuss what Harriton had mentioned.

As she walked in she found all of her teachers there, waiting for her.

”Uh, hey, ” Rin greeted them, ”sorry to keep you waiting. ”

”Its no problem, Rin, ” Mannon told her. ”We just wanted to discuss what specifically youll be looking for. ”

What they referred to, of course, was Rins soon-to-come meet-up with the Scorned. Potentially the same group of bloodthirsty murderers shed run into during the aftermath of her first mission. Finally, it was time to look into them.

”If its just a regular party, then even if they are the same people who abducted you, they
e probably not going to start executing people in front of you, ” Harriton stated.

”Yeah, I guess. It is an initiation type of thing, after all, ” Rin muttered as she sat down next to Maria.

”In that case, youll have to keep an eye out for things that are more on the subtle end of the spectrum, you know? ”

”In that report you wrote out for us, you mentioned something about banners, right? ” Mannon asked.

”Yeah, ” Rin replied, as she remembered the day shed gone missing. ”I saw some banners hung up on the walls while I was trying to get away. ”

”Did they have any symbol on them? Something you could use to identify their faction? ” Cara asked with her arms crossed over her chest.

”I… Well, I was pretty panicked at the moment, ” Rin responded with an awkward chuckle. ”So, uh… Sorry, but, I don remember. Im pretty sure that if I see them again, I would, though. ”

”That could work. In that case, keep an eye out for any objects like that. Even if you don see anything you recognize, anything that could help us match them up with whatever we find in the future would help, ” Mannon stated.

”Ill keep an eye out then, ” Rin muttered before something else came to her mind. ”But, if they make it, ehm… a little more obvious that they
e the ones, what should I do? ”

”In what way? ” Mannon asked.

”Well, shit, if they try to sacrifice someone right in front of me, or, well, if they try to attack me, what should I do? ”

”Defend yourself, ” Cara quickly responded. ”If you act in self-defense, if they try anything, nobody should be able to blame you for whatever you end up doing. ”

”Agreed, ” Elisas aunt said, prompting Rin to turn toward her. Looking at this woman after what Rin had done with Elisa made her feel strangely resentful, but she forced those thoughts out. ”If it turns out they are, indeed, these psychopaths you suspect them to be, what are they going to do? Call the cops? ”

”You do what you must, Rin, ” Maria echoed their sentiment. ”But, try not to start anything. You
e going there for information, after all. ”

”Uh, yeah, that sounds reasonable, ” Rin replied quietly.

”Of course, this is all assuming that they actually are the dangerous criminals we believe they might be. If they are not, then, I suppose that could be relieving in itself, ” Carliah added.

”Hmph, ” Eli grunted as he hunched over and locked eyes with Rin. Her exercise teacher seemed slightly worried. ”I would suggest that you take someone else there with you. ”

”What? ” Rin asked. She hadn expected that.

”Hes got a point, actually, ” Harriton cut in. ”If these are, in fact, murderous cultists or whatever, then it wouldn hurt to have someone there who you could count on. Someone who can watch your back in there. ”

”But we don really know how strong they are. ”

”Indeed, ” Maria replied. ”All the more reason to bring an ally. You could ask one of your classmates, ” she pointed out. ”If you explain the situation to them, Im sure one of them would like to help. I would go myself, ” Maria quickly stated, ”but, they could recognize me. The same goes for the rest of us here, unfortunately. ”

”Oh, that… ”

Rin stopped herself. She was just about to tell Maria that this wasn an issue, that a certain friend of theirs could help with that. Unfortunately, however, she quickly remembered something problematic.

Given the fact that those at the party would know of Rin as her Triss persona, if she was to take someone with her, the chances that theyd learn about Rins nighttime activities would be fairly high.


”Um… Ill think about it. ”

”Good. You
e excused. Go ahead and rest up. Clear your mind as much as you can before that party arrives and, of course, be careful, ” Mannon told her.

With that being said, Rin quickly walked back to her room.

The suggestion of bringing a partner made her think.

[Yeah, it probably would be better if I had someone there, but… who?]

As she wondered about that, she began considering her options. There weren too many of them, really.

[I could ask Elisa, but… No,] Rin sighed, [Besides, doesn she come from a famous family? Even if I got Xhez to cast some illusion spells on us, if they have a strong mage with them, theyd see through it. Yeah, its… its probably a bad idea.]

She tried to convince herself that this was the reason she didn really want to see Elisa right now, outside of the context of casual sex. It wasn really working, though.

In reality, spending time with her without being drunk on lust would probably make Rins thoughts wander to slightly bothersome places. Places that would make it difficult to focus on her task.

[Eve?] She continued. [Eh, she can handle herself when it comes to magic, but, physically… If she got hit it could be bad…]

One by one, she crossed her classmates off her mental checklist. Until, finally, she arrived at one specific individual.

Someone Rin knew to be powerful. Someone who probably wouldn care too much about Rins side job. And, someone who Rin could stand next to without feeling like her heart was being squeezed.

[Wait… yeah, yeah!]

Rin got off her bed and went out into the hall.

[Ill go ask right now.]

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