「 Waaah! It’s so nice and cool!」
As Ferris ran into the waves, she squealed with delight at the feel of the seawater on her bare feet.
Different from a bath or a pool of water, it was cool but not too cold, a refreshing sensation.
Her feet, half buried in the sand, made a strange curve across the shimmering water.
Ferris would have been happy enough to just stand there like this for a long time, but she knew that wasn’t what she should do.
It would be a shame if she didn’t enjoy the ocean as much as possible since she had been brought there for the first time.
Ferris looked around at the beaches and shallows and tilted her head.
「 Ummm……What are those people doing lying down in the water?」
「 Lying down in the sea……What are you talking about?」
Jeanette tilted her head, too as she watched what ferris was referring to.
Ferris’s gaze is fixed on a woman swimming in a crawl.
Alicia placed a finger to her lips and pondered.
「 I see……It’s the first time she’s ever seen anyone swimming.」
「 Eh, 『 Swimming 』Is that what it’s called? It’s so cool! It looks like they are flying in the ocean! I’ll try it too!」
「 Wait, Ferris!? You didn’t even know the concept of swimming, and now all of a sudden you wanted to do it!」
Jeanette panicked and tried to stop her, but she was too late.
Ferris dived into the sea without hesitation.
Since she didn’t know anything about swimming, she didn’t know that swimming is basically done face down, so she 『 Faces Down 』 on the surface of the ocean on her side.
And as a result, she almost drowned.
Fortunately, it was shallow water and Alicia pulled her up immediately, resulting in no serious injury, but Ferris coughed violently.
「 Keh-hoh, keh-hoh! Ughhhh, it’s so salty! I thought the ocean was water, but it’s not! It’s consommé soup! The ocean is consommé soup!」
「 I don’t think it’s consommé soup…… Are you okay?」
Alicia rubbed Ferris’s back in a caring manner.
「 I’m fine! I was just so surprised!」
Ferris was still surprisingly full of energy.
Her nose and eyes hurt a lot, but she couldn’t let an accident like this dampen her spirits. After all, today was her first day at the beach. She had been looking forward to this long-awaited ocean trip for a long time, and had rehearsed it many times in her dreams.
Jeanette cut in with a nervous voice.
「 ah, umm, Ferris? If you want, I can teach you how to swim…… It, it’s okay if you don’t want to, though!」
「 Is that true!? Please teach me, Jeanette-sensei!」
「 Sen, sensei? I, I am the Sensei……?」
「 yes! I’ll do whatever you say, so please teach me a lot, Jeanette-sensei!」
Ferris clasped her hands in front of her flat chest and looked up at Jeanette with an innocent smile.
Her white skin, glistening droplets of water, wet hair, and modest body wrapped in a girlish swimsuit is truly resembling an angel of the sea.
「 Al, alright……I’m changing my future plans……I’m gonna be a teacher……」
「 What’s wrong with you all of a sudden!?」
Jeanette muttered dumbly, and Alicia whispered worriedly.
Jeanette trembled from the thought. Now that Ferris had come to rely on her unconditionally, she couldn’t let see her embarrassed side. If she doesn’t teach Ferris how to swim and train her to be a world-class swimmer, the name of the Rheinzlich family will suffer.
「 Okay, here we go, Ferris! First, you have to hold my hand!」
Ferris grasped Jeanette’s outstretched hands.
（ Fe, Ferris’ little hands! Your hands are as small as a baby’s! And my hand! It’s holding her hand!!!!）
Jeanette’s consciousness is filled with the feeling of Ferris’ hand in hers.
It’s a level of euphoria that makes her want to run away to the end of the world with her, but she can’t abandon the responsibility she’s been given.
Jeanette tried her best to keep her mind off of Ferris’ hand as much as possible.
「 For, for now, lie down in the water. You don’t have to worry about drowning because I’m holding your hand. The important thing is to trust the water and surrender your body to it. It may be scary at first, but the water has the power to keep you afloat……」
Ferris lay face down on the surface of the water without any hesitation. Her body floated on the surface of the water without any undue pressure.
「 A, amazingー! I’m floatingー! It’s like I’m floating in the skyー! This feels goodー!」
Ferris is impressed by her first experience.
「 Aren’t you afraid!? You just almost drowned, right……」
「 I’m fine! As long as Jeanette-san holds my hand, I won’t be afraid of anything! I believe in you, Jeanette-san!」
The sparkle in Ferris’ eyes, so dazzling and innocent, made Jeanette feel dizzy.
She would love to take Ferris to a quiet place and give her a lap pillow, but that’s not going to happen. Not yet. Not now.
「 O, Okay, then…… Next, try fluttering your feet 」
「 Fluttering my feet……?」
Ferris blinked, with her eyes flickering.
Jeanette nodded in response.
「 Yeah. While floating in the water, move your legs alternately. It will give you momentum and help you move forward.」
「 Like, like this……?」
Ferris moved her little legs.
The surface of the sea bubbled up as the water splashed up in a big wave.
Jeanette tugged on Ferris’s hand as she backed away.
「 Wai! I did it! I am swimming now! I can swim!!」
Jeanette feels her chest tighten up when Ferris looks so happy with the way she’s moving (and it’s mainly because Jeanette is pulling her along). Jeanette’s mental strength is already at zero due to the tremendous destructive power of the cute attacks.
「 Fufun… not quite there yet! The next step is to practice moving your hands! Just stand there and watch my example! I’ll show you my spectacular crawl!」
With great enthusiasm, she arranged her hands above her head and dived into the water.
She was so busy trying to impress Ferris that she forgot about Jeanette.
She was thinking that she was the one who had to do it.
As she listened to Ferris’s screams, Jeanette felt the sun from underwater was beautiful.
「 Mou……I’ve never seen anyone go drowning with such confidence.」
「 Uu……Please don’t say that……」
Jeanette was on the sandy beach, laying down on Alicia’s lap, dumbfounded.
Although she doesn’t know why she should be on the lap of a rival, she would rather give Ferris a lap pillow, but she can’t say anything too strongly because Alicia just pulled her up and took care of her herself.
And, as much as she hated to admit it because it was so frustrating, she didn’t mind having her head in Alicia’s lap.
「 The old you wouldn’t have done something so stupid, but you must really like Ferris.」
「 Of course! I love her soooooo much! Got any complaints on that!?」
「 I’m not complaining. I love Ferris, too.」
Looking at that smile, as if she were an accomplice, Jeanette felt a tingle in her chest and hastily averted her gaze.
At the edge of the waves, Ferris is running around kicking up water in a big hurry, falling down too fast, getting right back up and running again, jumping in lightly and thrashing around.
Eventually, Ferris came running up to Jeanette and the others, her cheeks flushed and excitement in her eyes.
「 I was wondering what she was doing, and she showed me how to play. Why don’t the three of us play together!?」
「 What are we playing?」
「 First, lets play in the sand! You can build castles and towers out of sand! There are plenty of materials, and it’s amazing how much you can redo! I want to build a house so big that everyone can live in it!」
「 I understand! I’ll build one for you!」
Jeanette clenches her fists and burns with passion.
「 I don’t think that’s possible.……」
Alicia, being the realist that she is, doesn’t like the idea, but she follows Ferris and Jeanette to the beach.
The three of them dug up sand from the ground and used the nearby seawater to harden it, creating the foundation for the building.
Ferris digs in the dirt like a dog digging a hole, just as fast as she can.
「 Ferris……That’s really fast. It looks like it’s going to lead us to some underground cavity somewhere.」
「 Ehehe, I’ve been a slave in a magic stone mine for a long time! I’m very good at digging holes!」
「 As to be expected! Ferris is a professional hole digger!」
Jeanette can’t help but want to hug Ferris, who smiles shyly. She makes up her mind that she must give Ferris the best sandcastle as a gift, since he has never even played with sand before.
As the three of us continued to work, a little girl came running up to us.
「 Oh, that girl over there! Are you making a pit?」
Ferris replied as she continued to dig, plunging her upper body into the hole in the sand.
「 It’s not a pit! We’re building a big house! When it’s finished, we’ll have dinner together inside!」
「 Heeh, that’s great! I’ll do my best too!」
The little girl pulled her parents from nearby and began to play in the sand with her family.
「 I want to build a tower as big as those girls’!」「 Oh, my, that would be a bit hard.」「 Hmm, leave it to me……I’m still an architectural engineer!」「 Dad, you’re so cool!」「 Fufufu……!」
Her father was strangely enthusiastic and built a magnificent spire.
Perhaps attracted by the momentum of the two teams, other people in the beach began to gather from all over the place and began to fight with the sand.
「 What’s this, a special sand playground?」「 Eh……Was there ever an event like that?」「 Oh well, let’s get on with it!」「 You’re not a man of the sea if you don’t ride this big wave! 」「 Hua, hua, hua, hua, I never thought I’d be playing in the sand in my nineties……Let’s see what I can do with this old man’s skills!」
In no time at all, the area was filled with bathers playing in the sand.
「 Wha, what’s going on here? Are they trying to compete with our project……If so, we can’t afford to lose!」
「 I don’t think you need to get so worked up about it!」
「 I’ll keep digging for sand, so please feel free to use it!」
Ferris pulled herself up from the hole in the ground, her face covered in sand.
When you are in the midst of a lively crowd, and playing in the sand with such a large group of people, you get excited.
It was a far cry from the days of digging in the mines by himself. Back then, she hadn’t thought that her labor would be hard, but now Ferris felt a hundred times better than he had then.
That’s when it happened.
The ground shook eerily with a sound that resonated in the pit of my stomach.
Immediately afterwards, a volcanic crater off the coast erupted in a cloud of smoke.
Bright red rocks soar in the sky and rain down on the ocean and the beach.
A huge amount of lava overflowed from the crater, muddying the sea and rushing to the beach at a tremendous speed.
People were screaming and running for their lives.
Children falling down, parents picking up their children to prevent them from being crushed, elderly people in a state of panic, unable to stand up immediately.
In an instant, the paradise transforms into a hellish place.
There are still many people left in the sea, and they have not been able to evacuate. Everyone is desperately trying to escape, but the lava is just around the corner.
「 Ferris!?」「 We have to get out of here!?」
Alicia and Jeanette held out their hands to Ferris, who stood there dumbfounded.
However, Ferris did not take their hands.
Ferris knew in her gut why.
Even if she escaped, she would not be able to save herself.
That the volcano, reeking of despair and death, was about to swallow up everything.
All the swimmers, all the children, all the old people, and Ferris’ precious friends.
Happy times are crushed and fade away. Hope is transformed into despair.
「 Something like that……I don’t want it!!」
Ferris held her hands above her head.
Jeanette screamed as a burning rock crashed down right next to her.
Heat waves singed the three of them, and the smell of sulfur stung their noses.
A rain of flames and waves of soothing lava attacked the beach.
「 Demon-san, please stop that volcanoooooo!」
The world stops to hold its breath.
In the monochrome world, magic power swirled around Ferris, creating a huge surge.
The people were frozen in place as they ran for cover, and the only ones moving were the three girls.
The whirlpool of raging magic made the hair of the three girls flap violently, and their bodies felt as if they were being ripped from the earth.
With a spectacular flash, a vortex of magical power was released, and time returned to the world.
The vortex of magical power attacked the oncoming lava and pushed it back.
Like the return of a wave, the lava returned to the sea and was forced to flow back into the crater.
Multiple magic circles formed around the volcano, dying the mountain in white light.
When the magic circle and the vortex of magic power disappeared, the volcano ….. changed its color and turned into a jet-black, silent mass.
「 E, eh……the eruption, is it over……?」「 That’s weird……There was lava raining down on us nearby……」「What just happened……?」
A buzz of confusion spread across the beach.
No one even noticed that Ferris had quelled the volcano.
「 Somehow……I managed……」
Ferris felt the strength drain from his entire body and almost fell over in a stagger.
「 Are you alright!?」
Alicia immediately held Ferris’ body in her arms.
「 Yes……I…… Alicia-san and Jeanette-san, are you injured……?」
「 We are fine! But…Ferris saved your life again, didn’t you……thank you……」
Jeanette hugged Ferris tightly.
She couldn’t help but love Ferris, who had been exhausted from using such powerful magic on such a small body.
「 It was good……」
Ferris smiled in relief.
「 I think we should go to our room and rest for a while. I’m worried about Ferris’ health if she pushes herself too hard.」
「 Yes, indeed. It’s still noon, but let’s go to the villa 」
Even so, Alicia added with concern.
「 The volcano was supposed to have been sealed off using the magic of the veins around here, so why did it suddenly start raging……?」