They had just finished their mission, and Lena, welcoming the first break for the Mobile Strike Package, was invited to the residence of the Federation president, Ernst Zimmerman, the legal guardian of Shin and the others.
The residence was located in a corner of the Federation capital, St. Yedder, and was filled with much elegance. The ruler of the greatest superpower on this continent lived in such a simple house. Welcoming her in were Theo, Kurena, Anju, Frederica and Raiden who had just returned, and Ernst.
Shin, who should have returned along with Frederica and Raiden, seemed to be at his grandfather’s house. Frederica was pouting away for some reason, and a wryly smiling Raiden explained that as Frederica had gotten injured during the Dragontooth mountain operation, she got a rather long lecture from the maid Teresa.
Shin later notified them, saying that he would be having dinner at his grandfather’s place. In his absence, everyone had dinner, and played cards and chit-chatted in the living room. The dishes Teresa made were all Republic styled, and Lena became teary eyed before she knew it. Soon after, Shin returned, and Frederica, still wounded in her right arm, welcomed him and fawned around. Ernst, who was thrashed thoroughly in the card game, was completely depressed, lacking in the vigor an adult should have.
Soon after, it was late at night. Frederica started to feel a little sleepy, and playtime was over.
The guest room specially prepared for Lena’s arrival had a bed full of feminine, gentle colors and fabrics. Already overwhelmed with the urge to sleep, Lena recalled the events that transpired for the day…it was a happy, blissful day. She was fine with it happening forever. Everyone was smiling, even Shin, even though he looked so aloof, even though…
Then, she noticed something.
Next to this guest room she was assigned to.
Shin, who led her to her guest room, entered the room next door, about to sleep. The others too returned to their rooms, so in other words, that room was the one Shin was assigned to in this residence.
In other words,
The room Lena was in was a wall away from Shin’s.
The moment she noticed this, Lena’s face was flushed red.
Everyone else fell asleep, and there was silence. Perhaps it was for this reason that she could sense the movements and breaths beyond the wall, along with her own body temperature that was a little higher than usual.
It was just Lena overthinking it, actually. While the room was a little too cramped for a president’s residence, it was no mediocre structure which one could easily eavesdrop through the walls, let alone the movements and breath of Shin, who had the habit of not making any sounds.
–Speaking of which, I guess this is the first time spending the night together up close…
She covered her searing face, muttering away, unable to say it out.
They lived together in the same base for months, but as Colonel and Captain. Their rooms were far from each other, and their daily schedules were unexpectedly different. During mealtimes and free time for personal conversations, there were eyes surrounding them.
But this day was different. For the first time, she saw Shin in plainclothes…his relaxed face.
She had never seen him in his private life, either on the battlefield or in the base, looking so relaxed, albeit lazy. He was neither the headless death god on the Eastern front, nor the leader of the Mobile Strike Package–one might even say that was the real Shin.
That new look of his was refreshing…but so surreal.
He broke free from his position and responsibilities, entering his own personal space…and approaching hers. For some reason, her heart raced.
In the middle of the night, that voice got strangely louder, or so it seemed.
–Did Shin hear that…!?
The more she thought about this, the more restless her heart was. Lena covered the blanket of floral fragrance over her head.