Schizophrenia – Chapter 43

So, it’s been a while… It turns out there were a few chapters that hadn’t been released yet, so I thought I’d release them over the next few days. But this series is still on hiatus, so after these chapters have been released, there won’t be any more chapters – at least for a while.


Lilia left Tina’s room and started heading back to her own room. She entered her bedroom and collapsed at her desk.

After that, Tina and Sera continued to sing Lilia’s praises. She really didn’t know if she’d actually done anything to warrant that level of praise. At first, she was embarrassed, but by the end, she could only be shocked.

In the end, Lilia didn’t end up saying much, and she excused herself from Tina’s room along with Sera. She felt like they wasted a lot of time there, but it was good that Sera had managed to make a good impression on Tina. She remained unconvinced whether that was due to the mysterious praise that they had piled on Lilia.

—On the way there, it wasn’t clear whether she had made any progress, but…it seems it’s fine like this, Sakura.

—Yup. It’s perfect. Good job this week, Lilia.

—Good work this week too, Sakura. Ahh, I’m really tired. Especially toward the end, a wave of tiredness swept over me all at once…

—Ahaha. Well, it’s certainly better than being hated. I think it’s fine if it continues like this.

She said that so easily, but Lilia wondered whether Sakura really knew the depths of her worries. Though even if she brought attention to it, there was nothing to be done about it, so she didn’t say anything.

—Now then, tomorrow marks start of your much-awaited weekend! The weekend’s for self-study! Let’s go out somewhere!

—Do you understand what the words ‘self-study’ mean?

While she was surprised, the fact is that Lilia did actually have plans to go out tomorrow, so she wasn’t saying that seriously. They’d already decided beforehand to go out. Because of the evening party last week, they didn’t have much of an opportunity to tour the south side of town. This time, Lilia had sought out Alisa’s assistance beforehand. She wasn’t particularly opposed to the idea, so agreed to assist Lilia.

After all, it’s not as if I would be welcome there, Lilia thought with a bitter smile and some resignation.

—Let’s take our time going around to all of the different stores. Also, Lilia, I want to eat some strawberry daifuku.

—I’m the one doing the eating, though…

While she was talking like that with Sakura, internally, Lilia’s excitement for tomorrow grew.

The Next Day. Lilia left her room with Alisa, and went to the same room where she had changed her clothes the last time. She changed quickly, and was seen out by Alisa as she headed out the front gate. In much the same way as last time, she was seen off with a smile and the words, “have a safe trip.”

—Let’s try going a little further today.

—I’m fine with that, but remember the route we take. I’ll be busy eating.

—You’re turning defiant, huh. But roger that! Leave the route to me, and eat delicious food in my place!

Like that, Sakura and Lilia began walking around the town. When she found something that looked tasty, she bought it and ate it. It wasn’t as if she had decided on a different route this time; she simply ate anything that caught her eye. By the time she’d visited the fifth store, Lilia had completely forgotten the way back. But she had left that up to Sakura, so it was probably fine.

—Haaa, the last one was gross, but this is delicious~ I’m so happy…

Lilia was starting to get a little, or rather, very worried, but it should be okay.

After that, Lilia went around to whatever shop took her fancy and ate as she walked. They decided to commit to memory all the shops that Sakura and Lilia both thought were delicious. There were many flavours and types of food that Lilia hadn’t even known about before, so the experience was very fresh.

Before she knew it, it was the afternoon. Thinking it about time to head back to the school, she changed direction, and—

—Lilia, stop!

Sakura’s voice echoed in her head. Frowning a little, Lilia quickly checked her immediate surroundings. Could someone that knows me be here, she thought, but the only person she knew that would come to this place would be Tina or her friends.

—Is there someone here?

—Yep. I was a little surprised.

That vague response had Lilia frowning, so just in case, she headed inside a nearby store. Watching the people that passed by the store, Lilia caught sight of somebody she knew. A boy surrounded by a throng of soldiers.

“Your Highness!”

She heard a surprised and delighted voice come from somewhere around her. The one person that Lilia was least happy to see was here. Her expression instinctively stiffened and she fled further into the store.

—Why has the Prince come here, of all places…

—I know, right? I was surprised too. He’s the person I least expected to come here… But, actually, it might be precisely because he’s the prince that he’s here.

—For what reason?

—As part of an inspection or something, maybe? I don’t really know that much about what the royal family does, so I can’t really draw a solid conclusion one way or the other.

I see, Lilia nodded. Certainly, Lilia had also heard of the prince making the rounds of various establishments as part of his inspections. She hadn’t been there to see it before, but she wouldn’t have thought he would be so heavily guarded.

—Yup. This is starting to get a bit too dangerous.

So Sakura seemed to be thinking the same thing as me, though she was speaking in a strange tone of voice.

Lilia continued to watch them for a while, and a soldier came running from somewhere. He reported something to the swarm of soldiers, the prince included. Hearing that, the group changed course. They walked into the store directly opposite the one Lilia was currently in. Breathing a sigh of relief, she bought one small baked sweet and went back outside.

—They seem to be searching for something, or someone, huh.

—And the prince himself came along to join the search? No matter how important it might be, that…

wouldn’t happen, Lilia wanted to say, but it was that prince they were talking about. If it was something important to him, it isn’t strange at all to consider him going to search for it himself. Lilia didn’t know what it was, but that piqued her interest just a little. But that was it. She didn’t want to get involved.

—Let’s forget about that and pick up where we left off!

—You’re right. Let’s go back to touring the town. Now, where should we…

“Miss Lilia?”

Lilia stopped moving in an instant. No way, Sakura said, at a complete loss for words. Lilia slowly turned to look over her shoulder, where the voice had come from.

Ray was standing there.


Author’s Note:

※※※Fanclub Meeting In Progress※※※

TinaTina: “Lilia! Our members have increased!”
Alisa_50x50Alisa: “Naturally, I too have become a member. Please treat me well.”
justLilia_50x50_facingrightLilia: “Just do your job.”
justSakura_50x50Sakura: (Aha, haha, hihi…! My stomach hurts…!)

The Fanclub meeting was peaceful today as well.

It took me by surprise how this series quietly climbed the daily rankings.

It made me really happy, so I scrambled to write as much as I could during my morning break.


Sakura

Lilia


<Previous Chapter | JAONNN! | Next Chapter>

 

DEBT GIRL – April Fools 2020

The Tenth Chapter – Two People and Tea

Figured that since it’s been a year, I’d do another chapter of this. I’m aware that someone else is doing translations, and you’re all free to read those to keep up with it. I’m just doing my own thing. Anyway, here’s another chapter.


Today was the long awaited visit to Agnes’.

As usual, she had come out of her way to meet him at the stop.

“Over here, Lord Bernard!”

Agnes, I’m here!”

He passed through the crowd, pushing through some passers-by before trotting over to her.

“I do apologize for imposing on you right before your promotion.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve been waiting to see you.”

She grinned at him, and he couldn’t help but smile in return.

Agnes had her fringe pinned up today. Bernard was shocked. They were heading to the ball, was this a challenge to the Queen!?

“Your forehead is out on display today,” Bernard noted.

“Mm. My fringe had been getting a little too long. I thought I’d pin it up today.”

“It looks cute.” Bernard casually played with Agnes’ hair, paying special attention to the curls.

The throne of belonged to Agnes alone – something she wished to prove.

The weather was pleasantly sunny, and the two chatted as they enjoyed a stroll back to Agnes’.

“It feels like quite some time has passed since we’ve just had a chat like this,” Bernard realised.

“It does, doesn’t it? We had the party the other day, too.”

While Bernard had caught a few glimpses of her during the evening party, with all the other people around, he hadn’t had a chance to just be himself and spend time with her.

“How did you find the party to be?” I asked.

“It was very fun!”

Her eyes lit up as she began telling him about how she just had to see the new fixture, about how she saw a pretty tabby cat, about how exciting it was to behold the mysteries of the miracle stone, and other similar stories. One by one she enthusiastically went through her impressions of articles on displays during the party.

Come to think of it, he had spotted her there with Jijil.

“You know, I think I do recall catching sight of you and Jijil” I noted.

“Yeah, we went together,” she said. “Miss Jijil told me she’d seen them before, so it was a great help to have her describe them to me.”

“Good for you.”

“Yeah. And the desserts there were delicious… I was surprised by the majestic display.”

Yes, the desserts he had prepared specially for Agnes.

“Jijil showed you all the foods too, no?”

“Yes. We didn’t just try the foods I wanted to try. Jijil introduced me to a whole lot of other food too.”

He watched her happily count on her fingers as she told her about each of the delicious sweets.

So in the capital city, they should visit dessert stores together?

…This was shaping up to be quite a trip for Bernard and Agnes, wasn’t it?

Spending their free time together―it was quite a romantic outing. Bernard approved.

There were already rumors about Bernard and Agnes being together, but anything scandalous in those rumors, this would top it.

Bernard, hold yourself back, he thought. She’s your precious person.

But he couldn’t help it. He felt very possessive of this spark of joy in his life, and his heart beat too much for him to control.

It sounded so nice. They were going on a trip anyway, and he wanted to make nice memories.

He wanted to go to a cake shop with her now… So why did he have to wait a full month? They were right within reach, so why?

His dark heart swirled with gloom.

“…”

“Hmm? Is something wrong, Lord Bernard?”

“Eh? What do you mean?”

“Ah, well, you were just frowning really hard just now. And uh, your expression was a bit…”

Oh no. Did all that show in his expression?

“I apologize. I was trying not to sneeze.”

Agnes took out a handkerchief from my bag and offered it to me.

“Ah, is that what happened? I guess that does happen. Are you okay?”

Agnes was showing genuine concern over his half-baked excuse.

Bernard apologised to her in his head and reflected. Wasn’t being a lover about being able to appreciate each other’s happiness like their own? He apologized to Agnes in his heart.

“I’m fine. Continue? It seems like you’ve had quite a bit of fun with all that planning.”

“Yes! I actually did quite a bit of research, but Jijil just knew so many places that weren’t even in there,” she said.

“Ohh.”

Given how many times she’d been to town, she knew where all the good shops were. Jijil really did make the perfect guide.

“I see. That was nice of her.”

“Did you go anywhere else?” he asked.

He was worried about her safety. Still, he wondered if they should be more adventurous.

“The atmosphere and the products were completely different from the high-society fare I was accustomed to,” she marvelled.

“Really? That does sound interesting,” he said.

“Yes, it really was!” she nodded.

Bernard took a gulp of tea to try to think of something else.

“Lord Bernard, would you like some more tea?”

“If you would.”

His mouth could still taste the sweetness.

His weakness, sweet tea. It helped his brain spin.

It was black tea, and he’d heard that the people in the neighboring put jam in theirs, so he considered trying it as a variation?

The moment he picked up the jam, though, everyone around him started looking at him.

For another day, he supposed.

The password for the next chapter is “Agnes”.


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Debt Girl – 10

The Tenth Chapter – As a Knight

April Fools. This is the actual chapter 10. I’ve had interest in continuing this but life is a bitch and being busy means no motivation. I’ll see what I can do in the future, but that’s something nobody knows. In the meantime, you guys can read whatever translations are coming out now, while I try to catch up and eventually redo the old chapters. Cheers.


The ringing bell signaled the lunch break, and with that, the practice exercise was put on hold.
Bernard spoke to Lazarre, saying that he wanted to talk to him before lunch. The two of them headed to Lazarre’s office.

“So, what did you want to tell me?”
“What I wanted to tell you was…”

From his bag, Bernard produced the documents he received from Ernesto, as well as the leather bag of gold.

“What’s this?”
“A request from Ernesto Barthelemon, a member of the second prince’s bodyguards.”

Lazarre received it with a suspicious look. His brows furrowed as he started reading the contents of the paper.

“What in the world is this guy trying to pull?
“Dunno.”

This was the first time Bernard had seen the ever-calm Lazarre be irritated. That said, he wasn’t really surprised by the reaction.

“I can’t believe he’d try to take in the daughter of the Le Verges family as a mistress. Does he not have the chivalry to take her in as his wife?”
“Yep, it’s unbelievable.”

It wasn’t that the taking in of mistresses by nobles was unheard of. However, in the view of Lazarre, who was brought up in an austere household, it was an act deserving of the highest scorn. Of course, Bernard thought much the same.

“If I knew it was going to come to this, I should’ve given her my support earlier.”
“There’s not much we can do at this point.”

Agnes’ father had incurred the wrath of the king. If one were to rescue his daughter, their standing in high society would plummet.

“So, what should we do?”
“I’m going to go hear what this Barthelemon guy has to say myself. Orlellian, are you going to come with me?”
“No sir, I’ll pass.”

He didn’t state that his reason for not going was because, whenever he heard Barthelemon talk, he wanted to punch him mid-sentence.

“Then, I’ll be heading out.”
“Hey, captain.”
“What is it?”
“Why don’t you head out after lunch?”
“No, I’m heading there now. …I’m not a very patient man.”
“That’s true.”

Not trying to hold him back any longer, Bernard watched as Lazarre left. All he could do now was pray that things wouldn’t go further south.

Wrapping up his day after finishing his afternoon exercises, Bernard headed to the office.
On top of the desk was a memo from Lazarre, saying he left early. While thinking that this was an unusual occurrence, Bernard put the memo in the box of unimportant matters.
Since all of the office work had been taken care already, Bernard decided to go home himself.

Repair work on the mansion had started, and materials were brought in through the front garden. As work had ended for the day, a cloth was covered the materials.

When he entered the house, Jijil greeted him.

“Welcome back, Master.”
“Yeah.”
“Good work today.”
“I guess.”

After asking her to prepare the bath and undressing his top before handing it over to her, Bernard headed to his room.

“Oh, right. Master.”
“What is it?”
“Miss Agnes said she wanted to speak with you.”
“Has she gotten over her cold?”
“Yes.”

That being the case, Bernard ordered Jijil to send Agnes over to him.

Sitting down on a long couch in the room, he let out a loud sigh. He was relieved that he was finally in a situation where he could listen to her side of the story.

A few minutes later, Agnes arrived. Hearing her light taps on the door, he ordered her to come in.

Agnes was wearing a one piece dress that appeared to have been brought with her from her house.
After being offered a chair, Agnes bowed her head deeply before picking a seat opposite Bernard, this time around.

“I am very thankful that you took time out of your busy day to-“
“There’s no need for formalities. So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Ah, right. I wished… you… thanks.”

Right after she started to talk, a banging noise came from the door. Jijil arrived with some tea.

“Mrs. Jijil, I’ll take care of the tea.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Please leave it to me.”

Agnes received the silver tray.
Shocked by Agnes’ swaying upon receiving the tray, Jijil immediately propped up the bottom of the tray.

“Hey, are you okay?!”
“Yes, I’m… fine.”

On top of the silver tray were a pot full of black tea, cups, saucers, little jars of sugar and milk, and a plate of cookies, nothing more. She was swaying from holding merely that.
Bernard watched in amazement as he thought about how weak of a woman she was.

“Miss Agnes, Master Bernard drinks his tea with one cup of milk and three cubes of sugar.”
“Understood.”

Having the fact that he had a sweet tooth be revealed, Bernard became embarrassed.

While he turned his face away in embarrassment, his desk was completely set.

Agnes poured tea into the cup with a very serious expression.
After that, she put in the milk and sugar. All the while, she squinted her eyes while looking at the small jars.

That expression was exactly the same as the one Bernard had seen in the evening party five years ago.

“Y-You!!”
“Eh?!”

Banging his hand on his desk, Bernard stood straight up.
Surprised, Agnes dropped the jar she was holding in her hand.

Fortunately, it was the jar of sugar, and the contents just spilled out onto the plate of cookies.
As for the situation at hand, Agnes narrowed her eyes and looked down. It was a harsh expression, similar to that of scorn.
The target of the expression was not Bernard, but that of the sugar scattered about the desk.
After confirming that all of the sugar had spilled out, she lowered her brows and looked up at Bernard with an apologetic look.

“I-I’m sorry.”
“…That’s nothing to worry about. Answer my question.”
“E-Eh?”

There was only one reason she would squint while holding items up to her eyes.
He asked her nervously.

“Does your eyesight… happen to be bad?”

Agnes opened her eyes wide. Lowering her head slowly, she nodded.

With a thump, Bernard leaned back onto his couch. That was the moment that speech, her actions, and her conduct all made sense.

Agnes had not looked down upon Bernard with contempt.
He realized that she was just trying to look at the face of someone far away.

The misunderstanding of many years was finally resolved.

“I am really sorry. I had intended to speak about it at some point but…”
“No, it’s fine.”

The reason had come to light, but his brain had yet to comprehend the situation.
Because of his own misunderstanding, he had employed Agnes as a servant and had gone and done something outrageous. He became deeply troubled.

Regret washed over him as he thought more and more that he really should have just handed her over to Lazarre.

Seeing Bernard’s face contorted in distress, Agnes did the unthinkable.
Getting up all of a sudden from her seat opposite Bernard, she came around in front of Bernard, and kneeled in front of him.

“Sir Orlellian.”

Putting both of her hands on her chest, she entreatingly appealed to Bernard.

“I beg you. Please let me remain here.”
“Huh?!”
“I do admit that my eyesight is not very good, and I am not accustomed to a servant’s duties at all. However, I will do my best!”
“No, even if you say that…”
“I wish to repay the favor that Sir Orlellian extended to me. O-On top of that, I have nowhere else to go…”

Asserting this in a quivering voice, tears started flowing down Agnes’ face. Bernard thought that now, he was the villain.

Though he wondered what he should do, the answer stayed out of his reach.

“…Let me think about it for the time being.”
“Yes. I apologize for stating my selfish desires.”

Thinking there was no need to give a quick response, he deferred his response by an hour.

Carrying the tray, Agnes gave one bow before leaving the room.
Bernard simply continued to stare at the closed door.

◇◇◇

Without having come up with an answer, it was already a new day.
As usual, he got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to work.

The first matter he attended to was having a talk with Lazarre.
When he opened the door, he spotted Lazarre, elbows on desk, his hands supporting his jaw, grim expression on his face.

The atmosphere wasn’t one where he felt comfortable asking what happened the previous day. But, after confirming it was Bernard who had entered the office, Lazarre started talking on his own.

“Morning.”
“Good Morning.”
“It was a bit soon, but I went and listened to Ernesto Barthelemon’s story yesterday.”
“Yes sir.”
“I had to accept his request to search of Agnes Le Verges.”
“Eh?!”

Because he had expected Lazarre to reject the request, Bernard was shocked.
Wondering what could have happened, he waited for Lazarre to continue his story.

“If I had to describe Barthelemon in one phrase, I’d say he’s a low-life bastard.”
“I… agree completely.”

Lazarre had understood everything about the person, Ernesto. But then, why did he take the request? The mystery intensified.

First of all, Lazarre had wanted to know why the request had been made to the “Third Special Assault Force” that he led. The response was quite shocking.

“That bastard called our battalion a group that wastes time doing practice exercises.”
“…That’s awful.”

He had said that he had taken it upon himself to pick Lazarre’s small group out of the assortment of bigger special assault force groups.

“He said that, in a way, it’s because he’s afraid of being found out by the king.”
“Seems like it.”
“It seems that he hasn’t made a request to any group other than ours yet. Obviously, it’s forbidden to use one’s money to use knights for one’s motives. But, if we rejected his request, Barthelemon would obviously go to another battalion.”
“Did you take this request for the purpose of not searching for Agnes Le Verges?”
“That’s right.”

The aim was to pretend to take the request, while not actually searching for her and ultimately ignoring the request.
He was relieved that Lazarre hadn’t been swayed by money and the chance for prestige, but he quickly realized another problem.

“What if this request is discovered by the higher-ups?”
“At best, I’ll get demoted. At worst, I’d lose the right to be a knight.”
“What?!”

Bernard pointed out that if Lazarre reported the money and paper to the higher-ups, it’d be over for Ernesto Barthelemon.

“You’re right. The rotten knight would be gone, and peace would return to the bodyguards. But what would happen to Agnes Le Verges’ honor?”
“That’s…”

If the second son of a Marquis were to be put on special trial, it’d be a matter of time until the reason was divulged.
If that happened, Agnes would be greeted as a mistress, and the rumor that she was to be locked in a basement would be spread in a moment. That is what Lazarre predicted.

“I cannot save her. That’s why, I at least want to defend her honor…”

Incredulous, Bernard listened to Lazarre’s speech, and put into words his biggest question.

“Captain, why would you go that far for some random stranger?”
“That’s we should do as a knight, isn’t it?”
“!”

– Save the weak, hold honor in high esteem, and vanquish evil.

The image of a knight weighed heavily upon his mind.

Violently striking his chest, Bernard suppressed his pounding heart.


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Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 236 – Interlude

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Interlude: Timeskip

The ringing bell signalled the lunch break, and with that, the training drill was put on hold.

Wakaba spoke to Arima, saying that she wanted to talk to him before lunch. The two of them headed to the Senior Commissioner’s office.

“So, what did you want to tell me?”

“What I wanted to tell you was…”

From her bag, Wakaba produced the documents she received from Haru, as well as the leather briefcase of notes.

“What’s this?”

“A request from Haru Katsuragi, one of the Enjou Group’s lackeys.”

Arima received it with a suspicious look. His brows furrowed as he started reading the contents of the paper.

“What in the world is this guy trying to pull?

“Dunno.”

This was the first time Wakaba had seen the ever-calm Arima be irritated. That said, she wasn’t really surprised by the reaction.

“I can’t believe he’d try to take in the daughter of the Kisshouin family as a mistress. Does he not have the chivalry to take her in as his wife?”

“Yep, it’s unbelievable.”

It wasn’t that the taking in of mistresses by nobles was unheard of. However, in the view of Arima, who was brought up in an austere household, it was an act deserving of the highest scorn. Of course, Wakaba thought much the same.

“If I knew it was going to come to this, I should’ve given her my support earlier.”

“There’s not much we can do at this point.”

Reika’s father had incurred the wrath of the “Business Emperor”. If one were to rescue his daughter, their standing in high society would plummet.

“So, what should we do?”

“I’m going to go hear what this Katsuragi guy has to say myself. Takamichi, are you going to come with me?”

“No sir, I’ll pass.”

She didn’t state that her reason for not going was because, whenever she heard Katsuragi talk, she wanted to punch him mid-sentence.

“Then, I’ll be heading out.”

“Senior Commissioner.”

“What is it?”

“Why don’t you head out after lunch?”

“No, I’m heading there now. …I’m not a very patient man.”

“That’s true.”

Not trying to hold him back any longer, Wakaba watched as Arima left. All she could do now was pray that things wouldn’t go further south.

Wrapping up her day after finishing her afternoon exercises, Wakaba headed to the office.

On top of the desk was a memo from Arima, saying he left early. While thinking that this was an unusual occurrence, Wakaba put the memo in the box of unimportant matters.

Since all of the office work had been taken care already, Wakaba decided to go home herself.

Repair work on the bakery had started, and materials were brought in through the front garden. As work had ended for the day, a cloth was covering the materials.

When she entered the house section behind their storefront, Nacchan greeted her.

“Welcome back, Oneechan.”

“Yeah.”

“Long day today?”

“I guess.”

After asking her to prepare the bath and taking off her jacket before throwing it over the couch, Wakaba headed to her room.

“Oh, yeah, Oneechan.”

“What is it?”

“Miss Reika said she wanted to speak with you.”

“Has she gotten over her cold?”

“Yes.”

That being the case, Wakaba asked Nacchan to send Reika over to her.

Sitting down on her bed, she let out a loud sigh. She was relieved that she was finally in a situation where she could listen to Reika’s side of the story.

A few minutes later, Reika arrived. Hearing her light taps on the door, she invited her to come in.

Reika was wearing a one-piece dress that appeared to have been brought with her from her house.

After being offered a chair, Reika bowed her head deeply before picking a seat opposite Wakaba, this time around.

“I am very thankful that you took time out of your busy day to-“

“There’s no need for formalities. So, what did you want to talk about?”

“Ah, right. I wished… you… thanks.”

Right after she started to talk, a banging noise came from the door. Nacchan arrived with some tea.

“Ms.  Natsuki, I’ll take care of the tea.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. Please leave it to me.”

Reika received the silver tray.

Shocked by Reika’s swaying upon receiving the tray, Nacchan immediately propped up the bottom of the tray.

“Hey, are you okay?!”

“Yes, I’m… fine.”

On top of the silver tray were a pot full of black tea, cups, saucers, little jars of sugar and milk, and a plate of cookies, nothing more. She was swaying from holding merely that.

Wakaba watched in amazement as she thought about how weak of a woman she was.

“Miss Reika, Wakaba-neechan drinks her tea with one cup of milk and three cubes of sugar.”

“Understood.”

Having the fact that she had a sweet tooth be revealed, Wakaba became embarrassed. As the daughter of a bakery, she was supposed to be the master of sweets, not the other way around.

While she turned her face away in embarrassment, her desk was completely set.

Reika poured tea into the cup with a very serious expression.

After that, she put in the milk and sugar. All the while, she squinted her eyes while looking at the small jars.

Basically, gyuuhi are a type of traditional Japanese sweet, like a really soft mochi, made of glutinous rice dough mixed with something sweet like syrup or sugar. (Gyuuhi also refers to the squishy and delicate glutinous rice dough ingredient used in these types of mochi, but that’s neither here nor there.)

That expression was exactly the same as the one Wakaba had seen in high school, five years ago.

“Y-You!!”

“Eh?!”

Banging her hand on his desk, Wakaba stood straight up.

Surprised, Reika dropped the jar she was holding in her hand.

Fortunately, it was the jar of sugar, and the contents just spilled out onto the plate of cookies.

As for the situation at hand, Reika narrowed her eyes and looked down. It was a harsh expression, similar to that of scorn.

The target of the expression was not Wakaba, but that of the sugar scattered about the desk.

After confirming that all of the sugar had spilled out, she lowered her brows and looked up at Wakaba with an apologetic look.

“I-I’m sorry.”

“…That’s nothing to worry about. Answer my question.”

“E-Eh?”

There was only one reason she would squint while holding items up to her eyes.

Wakaba asked her nervously.

“Does your eyesight… happen to be bad?”

Reika opened her eyes wide. Lowering her head slowly, she nodded.

With a thump, Wakaba leaned back onto her bed. That was the moment that speech, her actions, and her conduct all made sense.

Reika had not looked down upon Wakaba with contempt.

Wakaba realised that she was just trying to look at the face of someone far away.

The misunderstanding of many years was finally resolved.

“I am really sorry. I had intended to speak about it at some point but…”

“No, it’s fine.”

The reason had come to light, but her brain had yet to comprehend the situation.

Because of her own misunderstanding, she had employed Reika as a servant and had gone and done something outrageous. She became deeply troubled.

Regret washed over her as she thought more and more that she really should have just handed her over to Arima.

Seeing Wakaba’s face contorted in distress, Reika did the unthinkable.

Getting up all of a sudden from her seat opposite Wakaba, she came around in front of Wakaba, and knelt in front of her.

“Ms. Takamichi.”

Putting both of her hands on her chest, she entreatingly appealed to Wakaba.

“I beg you. Please let me remain here.”

“Huh?!”

“I do admit that my eyesight is not very good, and I am not accustomed to a servant’s duties at all. However, I will do my best!”

“No, even if you say that…”

“I wish to repay the favour that you extended to me, Ms. Takamichi. O-On top of that, I have nowhere else to go…”

Asserting this in a quivering voice, tears started flowing down Reika’s face. Wakaba thought that she was the villain now.

Though she wondered what she should do, the answer stayed out of her reach.

“…Let me think about it for the time being.”

“Yes. I apologise for stating my selfish desires.”

Thinking there was no need to give a quick response, she deferred her response by an hour.

Carrying the tray, Reika gave one bow before leaving the room.

Annin tofu (杏仁豆腐) or almond tofu is a soft, jellied dessert made of almond milk, agar, and sugar, allegedly eaten in China as far back as 2000 years ago.

Wakaba simply continued to stare at the closed door.

Without having come up with an answer, it was already a new day.

As usual, she got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to work.

The first matter she attended to was having a talk with Arima.

When she opened the door to his office in the Police Headquarters, she spotted Arima, elbows on desk, his hands supporting his jaw, grim expression on his face.

The atmosphere wasn’t one where she felt comfortable asking what happened the previous day. But, after confirming it was Wakaba who had entered the office, Arima started talking on his own.

“Morning.”

“Good morning.”

“It was a bit soon, but I went and listened to Haru Katsuragi’s story yesterday.”

“Yes sir.”

“I had to accept his request to search for Reika Kisshouin.”

“Eh?!”

Because she had expected Arima to reject the request, Wakaba was shocked.

Wondering what could have happened, she waited for Arima to continue his story.

“If I had to describe Katsuragi in one phrase, I’d say he’s a low-life bastard.”

“I… agree completely.”

Arima had understood everything about the person, Haru. But then, why did he take the request? The mystery intensified.

First of all, Arima had wanted to know why the request had been made to the “National Public Safety Commission” that he led. The response was quite shocking.

“That bastard called our National Police Agency a group that wastes time doing training drills.”

“…That’s awful.”

He had said that he had taken it upon himself to pick Arima’s small group out of the assortment of bigger Special Judicial Police branches.

“He said that, in a way, it’s because he’s afraid of being found out by the Emperor.”

“Seems like it.”

“It seems that he hasn’t made a request to any group other than ours yet. Obviously, it’s forbidden to use one’s money to use knights for one’s motives. But, if we rejected his request, Katsuragi would obviously go to another battalion.”

“Did you take this request for the purpose of not searching for Reika Kisshouin?”

“That’s right.”

The aim was to pretend to take the request, while not actually searching for her and ultimately ignoring the request.

She was relieved that Arima hadn’t been swayed by money and the chance for prestige, but she quickly realised another problem.

“What if this request is discovered by the higher-ups?”

“At best, I’ll get demoted. At worst, I’d lose the right to be a policeman. If that happens, the passcode to the next chapter is ‘harvestdawn’.”

“What?!”

“You can find the link at the very bottom.”

Wakaba pointed out to him that if Arima reported the money and paper to the higher-ups, it’d be over for Haru Katsuragi.

“You’re right. The rotten policeman would be gone, and peace would return to the bodyguards. But what would happen to Reika Kisshouin’s honour?”

“That’s…”

If the heir to the Katsuragi Group were to be put on special trial, it’d be a matter of time until the reason was divulged.

If that happened, Reika would be greeted as a mistress, and the rumour that she was to be locked in a basement would be spread in a moment. That is what Arima predicted.

“I cannot save her. That’s why, I at least want to defend her honour…”

Incredulous, Wakaba listened to Arima’s speech, and put into words her biggest question.

“Sir, why would you go that far for an old enemy?”

“That’s we should do as officers of the law, isn’t it?”

“!”

――Save the weak, hold honour in high esteem, and vanquish evil.

The image of a police officer weighed heavily upon her mind.

Violently striking her chest, Wakaba suppressed her pounding heart. oniichanyamete.moe/2020/04/01/kenkyo-kenjitsu-the-reika-sama-chronicles-236/


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Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 236

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Today was my long awaited visit to Wakaba-chan’s.

As usual she had come out of her way to meet me at the station.

“Over here, Kisshouin-saaaaan!”

“Wakaba-chan! I’m here!”

I passed through the ticket barriers and trotted over to her.

“I do apologise for imposing on you right before the mid-semesters.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve been waiting for you to come over again!”

We exchanged a grin.

Wakaba-chan had her fringe pinned up today. Whoa, was this a challenge to the Rococo Queen!?

“Your forehead is out on display today,” I noted.

“Mmn. My fringe has been getting a little long, so I thought I’d pin it up today.”

“It looks cute.” I casually played with my hair to bring attention to the curls.

The Rococo throne belonged to me alone!

The weather was pleasantly sunny today, so we chatted as we enjoyed a stroll back to her house.

“It feels like some time since we’ve just had a chat like this,” I realised.

“It does, doesn’t it? We had the class trip too.”

While I did catch a few glimpses of her on the trip, with all the other people around we hadn’t had a chance to just be ourselves and hang out.

“How did you find the trip?” I asked.

“It was crazy fun!”

Her eyes lit up as she began telling me about how she just had to see the British Museum, about how she saw a cat mummy, about how exciting it was to behold the mysteries of the Rosetta Stone, and other like stories. One by one she enthusiastically went through her impressions of the displays there.

Come to think of it, I had spotted her there with Fellow Stalking Horse.

“You know, I think I do recall catching sight of you and Mizusaki-kun,” I noted.

“Yeah, we went together,” she said. “Mizusaki-kun said he’d been before, so it was a great help to have him guide me.”

“Lucky you.”

“Yeah. And man, the desserts I tried in Paris were delicious… And wow, the tiramisu in Rome! And the gelato from this shop near the Piazza di Spagna!”

Ahh yes, part of the walking tour of Roman desserts with Kaburagi.

“Kaburagi-sama was your guide for Rome, no?”

“Yup. We didn’t just visit the places I wanted to try. Kaburagi-kun introduced me to a whole lot of other places too!” she related.

I watched her happily count on her fingers as she told me about each of the delicious sweets in Paris and Rome.

Hmm. So in Britain, a tour of the British Museum with Fellow Stalking Horse, and in France and Italy a dessert tour with Kaburagi then?

…This was shaping up to be a class trip with quite a few romantic encounters for her, wasn’t it?

Spending your free hours with boys―that was making the most of a co-ed school, right there.

I mean, there were rumours about me having cake or going shopping with Kaburagi and Enjou, but unlike those nonsense rumours Wakaba-chan was living the real thing.

Uuuh, stop it, Reika! She’s your friend! She’s your treasured friend!

But I couldn’t help it! The jealousy, and the envy in my petty little heart were too much for me control!

It sounded so nice! It sounded so nice!

I was already in a co-ed school, so I wanted to make nice memories too.

I wanted to have gelato with a boy, and go sightseeing with him, just like Wakaba-chan…

So why had my high school life turned out like this!?

We were definitely attending the same school, so why!

The dark swamp in the heart of the Forever Alone Village was beginning to stir, from it bubbled a cursed miasma.

“…”

“Hmm? Is something wrong, Kisshouin-san?”

“Eh? What do you mean?”

“Ah, well, you were just frowning really hard just now. And uh, your expression was a bit…”

Crap, did all that show in my expression?

“I’m sorry. I was trying not to sneeze. I think there was some pollen.”

I took out a handkerchief from my bag and made a show of dabbing at my nose.

“Ah, is that what happened? I guess we’re not quite done with that season yet. Are you okay?”

Wakaba-chan was showing genuine concern over my half-baked excuses.

I apologised to her in my head and reflected. Wasn’t being a true friend about being able to celebrate their joys like your own?

Sorry, Wakaba-chan. I’ll purify the swamp in my heart.

“I’m fine. Continue? It seems like you’ve had quite a bit of fun with that sweets tour you were planning.”

“Yeah! You know, I actually did quite a bit of research with a guidebook and all that, but Kaburagi-kun just knew so many places that weren’t even in there,” she said. “He introduced me to so many places. Man, people who are well-travelled are something else, huh~? Every place he took me to was delicious!”

“Ohh.”

Given how many times he’d been to Europe since he was a kid, he knew where all the good shops were. Kaburagi really did make the perfect guide.

“But it wasn’t just taking me around. He’d also point out little tidbits, like that this store was in this or that film, or how this chocolatier chain didn’t have a branch in Japan yet.”

“I see. That was nice of him.”

With the library date, and all the time they spent together in the Student Council, it was starting to feel like Kaburagi was losing the lead to Fellow Stalking Horse. But apparently Kaburagi had a secret weapon in the form of a sweet tooth because after just this one trip he was back in the game.

“Did you go anywhere else?” I asked.

“Hmmm, well you see, in Rome I went with some friends to a supermarket near Roma Termini and bought a bunch of sweets. They were selling all these products that import grocery stores in Japan sell!”

Oh, a supermarket in another country? That was something I wanted to see too.

It was a bit too plebeian to invite my group to though.

I was worried about our safety too. Still, now I was wondering if I should have been a little more adventurous.

“The atmosphere and the products were completely different to the supermarkets here,” she marvelled.

“Really? That does sound interesting,” I said.

“Yeah, it really was!” she nodded.

Looking at her, Wakaba-chan seemed unusually enthusiastic about foreign supermarkets.

I guess it meant that the effort I put into teaching Kaburagi about commoner supermarkets was just that much more worthwhile.

At least now if she ever talked to him about the differences, like she was to me now, at least Kaburagi would be able to keep up.

“Oh, I just remembered but Kaburagi-kun came over to buy a cake yesterday,” she recalled.

“Eh!?”

That guy! And after all the times I stressed to him that the exams were close, too!

To think he’d come here under the pretext of buying cake!

Oh my god. Thank god he came yesterday. I very nearly bumped into him.

At times like this it was a pain that her family owned a store, since it just meant a convenient excuse for him.

“I’m a bit shy about selling our cakes to someone with such a refined palate though.”

“Oh my! I think the cakes your family sells are delicious. Have a little confidence!” I insisted.

“Thanks. Kaburagi-kun said something similar too. That it was ‘simple, but pleasant’.” She laughed a little shyly.

Simple, huh…?

Wakaba-chan seemed happy enough, but oi, Kaburagi, can’t you choose your words a bit better?

“Ummm, and also…”

She looked a little hesitant to continue.

“What’s wrong?”

“Ummm, you see… As a change of pace, Kaburagi-kun suggested that we go somewhere after the tests.”

“Ehh!?”

He was moving damn fast! What incredible initiative!

“Ah-! Of course, just as another friend who likes sweets,” she quickly explained while flapping her arms about. “It’s really not anything else, okay!?”

Wait, wait, so he’s ‘another friend who likes sweets’…?

This was exactly what Enjou meant by being treated like a girl friend she tries desserts with!?

Kaburagi, could your expert knowledge on all things sweet have backfired!?

“I wonder about that~” I hummed.

Deny it all she wanted, I saw her blush a little when I said that just now.

“It’s true…” she mumbled after a little while.

Ehh~ But did this mean that Kaburagi’s behaviour had clued her in a little bit about his crush on her?

Ah well, not like my pondering would get me an answer.

Hmm, plus looking at how she was reacting now, was it fine to conclude that she wouldn’t be entirely bothered by such a crush?

So he actually had a chance?

But in that case…

“Wakaba-chan, how has school been recently?” I asked.

For a while the harassment had died down, but it was back again after the class trip, right?

After all, I’d heard about mud being rubbed onto her shoe locker recently.

“Eh? There hasn’t been anything noteworthy,” she said.

“Really? If there’s anything that’s bothering you, don’t ever hesitate to tell me, okay?”

“Thank you, Kisshouin-san!” Her smile was bright like a sunflower.

*

*

*

When we arrived at Wakaba-chan’s house I handed over the souvenir stationery I bought for the kids.

“Thanks, Cornet,” said Kanta-kun.

“Thanks, Coro-chan,” parroted the twins.

You’re very welcome.

“Oh yeah, Cornet. Want some?” Kanta-kun brought out a box of jelly cubes dusted in some white powder. It kind of reminded me of gyuuhi.

Basically, gyuuhi are a type of traditional Japanese sweet, like a really soft mochi, made of glutinous rice dough mixed with something sweet like syrup or sugar. (Gyuuhi also refers to the squishy and delicate glutinous rice dough ingredient used in these types of mochi, but that’s neither here nor there.)

“Hey! Kanta!

“Isn’t it fine? I’m just assigning her her quota.”

I wasn’t sure why, but Wakaba-chan and Kanta-kun seemed to be quarelling over what was in the box. I wonder what these cute little things are.

“What are these?” I asked, to which Wakaba-chan looked a little awkward.

“They’re turkish delights,” she explained. “The truth is that my sister loves the Chronicles of Narnia and kept saying that she wanted to try turkish delights too. That’s why when I was in London I bought some, but…”

“It’s so disgustingly sweet that I get goosebumps just thinking it,” Kanta-kun spat when Wakaba-chan trailed off with a helpless smile.

Oh, I see.

So basically they didn’t know what to do with them all, so they tried to feed them to me.

I was getting the impression that the way this family treated me was getting worse and worse.

“It would just be such a waste to throw them out, so we’ve all been trying our best to finish them,” she said.

“I’m done with them,” said Kanta-kun.

“Me too…”

“Me too…”

“I got excited and bought a large box, so they just won’t disappear…”

I hummed in thought, before taking one of these cute little gems for myself.

“Count any that Cornet eats under my quota,” Kanta-kun declared.

“That’s cheating, Oniichan!”

The siblings began to argue again over these supposedly too-sweet confections.

Was it that bad?

It looked like gyuuhi though.

Maybe just a nibble.

…Guh.

“Sweet, right?”

I nodded at Kanta-kun without a word.

Nuuuoohhhh, it was so sweet that my tongue was going numb. And the flavour was overwhelming.

It was red so I thought it’d be strawberry-flavoured, but the cloying air-freshener taste in my mouth was rose!

Somebody had taken rose jam and somehow made it even sweeter.

I took a gulp of tea to try to swallow the thing.

“Kisshouin-san, would you like some more tea?”

“Please.”

My mouth could still taste the sweetness.

As expected of foreign sweets. Such power…

Hmmmm, but couldn’t there be some trick to eating these…? Oh, I know!

What if instead of sugar I used this turkish delight for my tea?

It was black tea, and I’d heard that Russians put jam in theirs, so wasn’t this just a variation?

I imagined dropping one of these cute desserts into a cup of tea. Wasn’t it quite fashionable?

Uhuhu, it was in the little details that a person’s good taste was revealed.

No time like the present.

I plopped one into my cup and began whirling it around with a spoon~

Spin, spin, sp-… Huh? That was weird.

It wasn’t dissolving at all.

Jam dissolved right away, so how come?

Geh, and now it was stuck to the bottom of my cup-!

Ugeh, and the white powder hadn’t dissolved either and was floating to the top!

It was kind of gross-!

Uwahhh…

I tried stirring faster, but that just made Kanta-kun take notice of me.

“What the heck are you doing, Cornet?”

He peered over at what I was doing.

“Ummm, you see, I thought that instead of using jam…”

“Uwah, stuff is floating at the top! What the hell are you doing, Cornet!”

Uwah, you’re being too loud, Kanta-kun!

Look, now everyone else is looking over too.

Literally all of their eyes were on me now.

Aaah, I wanted to bury myself…

“Kisshouin-san…?”

“Ah, well, I thought that instead of jam I could try…”

“Mmmn, I see, I see. But what now? I know you just got this cup, but should I get you a new one?”

Wakaba-chan’s kindness was just making it worse…

“Don’t play with your food, Cornet. You’d better take responsibility for that.”

“…Okay.”

I tipped both the transmuted tea and the jelly stuck at the bottom into my mouth and destroyed the evidence.

Sigh, this time was a failure. Happens to the best of us from time to time.

Hmm, but what else could we use this for then?

“Oh, I know. Say, what if we added it to curry as a secret ingredient? I think it’d add just that extra complexity.”

“Vetoed.”

“What if we dissolved it and served it with pancakes or…”

“Vetoed.”

“Then what about boiling-”

“Vetoed!”

Kanta-kun just shot down every one of my ideas without mercy.

Tsk~

And here I was, trying to help them.

“Maybe I’ll make some annin tofu to wash out the taste,” he said, and stood up.

Annin tofu (杏仁豆腐) or almond tofu is a soft, jellied dessert made of almond milk, agar, and sugar, allegedly eaten in China as far back as 2000 years ago.

I wanted to learn the recipe, so I volunteered to help.

Hmm, so the ingredients were agar jelly, milk, sugar, and…

“Oh! What if instead of sugar we used the turkish delight-”

“Vetoed! Vetoed! Vetoed!

Aah, don’t give me such an icy stare, Kanta-kun. I’ll stop talking.

“I said, when they say ‘one cup’ they mean exactly ‘one cup’!” roared Master Kanta.

Despite all of that, the annin tofu we made was delightful.


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Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 235

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask.!


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This was first a week later than I intended. Then the night I was about to upload I had a blackout, and forgot that I had to upload until two nights later when I was lying in bed contemplating what a shitshow Disney’s Star Wars has become.


Enjou spoke to me when I arrived at the Salon after school.

“Kisshouin-san, apparently you went somewhere rather interesting yesterday.”

“…I see you were informed about that.”

Loose lips, Kaburagi.

I made a note to tell him again to keep our commoner lifestyle tours a secret.

“This morning he gave me a lecture about sample tasting, you know?” Enjou said.

The image of a smugly lecturing Kaburagi came unbidden to my mind.

“Kaburagi-sama has a very healthy sense of curiosity, so I had a lot of difficulties…” I admitted.

“Ahaha, you have my condolences,” he said, pushing the burden to me as he laughed at my suffering. What a hateful guy.

Thanks to yesterday’s trip I spent half my night in the bathroom.

Like the water on a beach, each time I thought the battle with my stomach was over it would come back with a fresh wave.

“As his best friend, could you not simply accompany him instead?” I said a little aggrievedly.

“It’s not like I’ve ever been to a supermarket either,” he easily rebutted.

I couldn’t argue with that.

“That said, a convenience store is one thing, but I’m surprised you go to the supermarket too. Masaya was telling me about how shocked he was when he saw how at home you were.”

Ugh, he hit where it hurt.

It’s because I keep a repository of family-pack snacks for supper. And convenience stores don’t do sales.

Not that I’d say that. Over my dead body.

“I have some interest in cooking so I like to pick my own ingredients.”

And that wasn’t a lie. I was in the middle of learning.

“Oh? I see, I see.” He made a little teasing humming sound.

“…What is it?”

“Hm? Nothing, nothing~”

Enjou just looked at me in amusement with a meaningful smile.

Uu, what the heck was that look supposed to be?

I hated that smile. It always made me feel like he could see right through me.

Damn this mind-reader!

Enjou’s smiles in the manga were never this sinister. Just what was it that made the real him’s smiles so different? Was it because his hair was black?

His hair was supposed to be honey-coloured. Was it because the colour change dyed his heart black as well?

“Have you ever thought about dyeing your hair a lighter shade?”

“That’s definitely against school rules.”

“…True.”

Mr. Enjou Shuusuke is a realist, not a dreamer.

I felt a little awkward all of a sudden and my eyes darted this way and that for an escape.

Thankfully I spotted Fuyuko-sama sitting off to the side on her own.

“Ah-! I had something to discuss with Fuyuko-sama so please do excuse me.”

“Of course. See you later.”

I turned my back to Enjou, who simply waggled his fingers in goodbye and watched me leave.

As for Fuyuko-sama, she was still sitting there with a serious expression, seemingly staring intently at her palm. Maybe a handful of sand…?

“Umm~ Fuyuko-sama…?” I said with some trepidation, but her face brightened happily the moment she noticed me.

“My! Reika-sama!”

“Gokigen’yoh, Fuyuko-sama. Might I impose?”

“Why of course, Reika-sama! Please, take a seat!”

Looking at how happily she invited me to sit, I began to think that perhaps my thoughts about her yesterday weren’t so off the mark. Maybe she really did want to become better friends.

“Fuyuko-sama, about yesterday…”

“Yesterday…? Aah! I see! You want to use the ouija board again!” she concluded. “I just knew you were interested. Of course you are more than welcome to. Please wait a moment!”

Guh! A sudden attack from the spiritual world…

“N-No, you misunderstand,” I said frantically when she began to pull a suspicious board out from her bag. “I wanted to apologise for suddenly leaving mid-conversation. It was terribly rude of me.”

Fuyuko-sama looked at me blankly.

“My, has that been weighing on your mind? You needn’t have worried, but thank you for your gracious apology,” she said easily and bowed to me.

I bowed back in return.

“By the way, you seem to have been staring at your palm. Might I ask why?”

“Oh my, were you watching?” Fuyuko-sama cupped her cheeks in embarrassment.

I already knew what it was about, so I decided to just say it.

“Might you have been palm reading?”

“No, I was training myself to see auras.”

Eh.

“…Auras?”

“Yes. You see, they say that if you keep watching patiently like this, you’re gradually be able to see auras. Well, they did say that it would be easier in a darker room though.”

“My…”

“I’m still only an apprentice shaman so I still haven’t mastered the ability yet, but I train like this whenever I have time. I do invite you to try it with me.”

“Ummmmmm~”

“If you concentrate, you’ll start to see the aura around your finger. See? Like this.”

…She really was up to the neck in the New Age occult stuff.

What was I going to do now?

I thought it was just palm reading so I figured I’d play along, but a lecture about auras was next level.

And she was an ‘apprentice shaman’…?

But I couldn’t let this discourage me. Fuyuko-sama had begun going into the meanings of the different aura colours, but I refused her as tactfully as I could.

“No, I think I shall pass. I have little talent in the way of these things.”

“My, is that so?”

She looked disappointed, so I quickly changed the subject.

“Ah, that reminds me. Fuyuko-sama, thank you for letting Kaburagi-sama know where to find me yesterday.”

Although I couldn’t deny that my actual feelings were more along the lines of ‘You shouldn’t have done that’, Fuyuko-sama had done so with the best intentions, so there was nothing else I could say.

“No, all I said was that you seemed to have gone to your club.”

“Is that so?”

“Uhuhu, you two do get along.” A little dreamily, she muttered, “Does Kaburagi-sama like Reika-sama after all?”

Ugeh.

“You misunderstand, Fuyuko-sama. He simply had some business with me yesterday, and sought me out for that reason. There are no such feelings between us.”

“Oh my. But everybody has heard the rumour that your relationship advanced during the class trip. The fact that the two of you left together yesterday has been whispered about all morning.

I couldn’t help the weird expression I was making.

I really didn’t need this.

I’d been putting so much effort into improving my romantic prospects too. That would all go to waste if a weird rumour about Kaburagi scared off the boys anyway.

I couldn’t think of anyone in Zui’ran who would be willing to butt heads to the Emperor to steal his girl.

Why? I’d already gotten rid of that accursed poetry book, so why wasn’t my luck in romance getting any better?

“Then is it true that your love is actually for Enjou-sama!?”

“No, no! That is a misunderstanding too.”

Huh. I always thought Fuyuko-sama lived in her own world, but surprisingly she might have actually been quite the gossip.

“Here, Reika-sama. This is a rose quartz, said to improve your fortunes in romance.”

There is a belief, particularly amongst New Age spiritualism, that precious stones have ‘energies’ that can be passively absorbed for positive effects such as healing.

…So she dabbled in crystal healing too.

What was scary was that I actually considered it for a moment.

People with weak minds were the most susceptible to this New Age stuff.

It took me a while but I eventually warded off the topic of romance.

Instead, I found myself listening as Fuyuko-sama spoke at excited length about the Seven Wonders of Zui’Ran.

Gosh, and to think this was the same quiet girl who rarely said a word. Apparently she was quite the talker herself, as long as the topic was right.

Eh…? There are human sacrifices in the walls of the old assembly hall, and they make tapping noises and tell you to leave!?

And more than one person had already heard this!?

What the heck! Scaryy!

“Actually, I’ve heard it myself…”

“Ehhh!?”

“It happened on a dark, rainy morning.”

“Waah…”

“I had just arrived at the old assembly hall when I heard the rapping noises…”

“Oh no…”

Zui’ran was established a long time ago, after all. What if it was true!?

P-Purification salt! Where was my purification salt!?

I think I could feel something behind me already!

Unaware of my inner turmoil, Fuyuko-sama continued to talk with a smile.

“I’m very happy to have been able to speak with you so much today, Reika-sama.”

“Eh? You are?”

“Yes. I’ve always wanted to talk to you like this. I’m very happy right now.”

Well then I was happy to hear that.

I took another look at Fuyuko-sama who was still smiling brightly.

While I could do without being invited too deep into the occult world, at that moment I thought it would be nice if the two of us could grow a little closer.

“Also, it is said that the Zui’Ran Forest has a secret bomb shelter, you see, and…”

“Oh no…”

Please no more scary stories, if that’s okay.

Fuyuko-sama was elaborating when Kaburagi came over.

“Kisshouin, we need to talk.”

Again?

“My apologies but I am in the middle of speaking with Fuyuko-sama,” I deflected.

“My, Reika-sama, please pay me no mind. I was just about done with my tea, so it was about time I left anyhow,” said Fuyuko-sama with sparkles in her eyes.

She really was into this romantic gossip stuff. Aaah, what an unwanted show of consideration.

“Enjou-sama…”

“Shuusuke’s gone home.”

Damn that guy!

Yet again he was pushing the troubles onto me and running away!

Kuhh! And what was I to do with this pent up anger I had for Zui’ran’s two selfish idols?

Ah. Of course.

At the very least I had to harass him. Kaburagi could share in some of the terror I experienced.

“Did you know, Kaburagi-sama?” I began. “Apparently rapping noises can be heard from inside the walls of the old assembly hall. Fuyuko-sama has heard it herself. The truth is that inside the walls, the bodies of those who were sacrificed are…”

“Sounds from inside the walls?” he interrupted. “Sounds like the water hammer phenomenon. It’s because of the hydraulic shock inside the water pipes. Every time somebody flushes the toilet or runs the taps hard and suddenly turns it off, the running water has nowhere to go and makes a noise because of the pressure. It might be because of the old plumbing that it’s so noisy. You should put in a request to school maintenance.”

“But, the human-shaped stains…”

“And we’re even getting water leaks already? We need someone from maintenance on that, fast.”

“…”

“…”

────Later that day, maintenance on the old assembly hall was performed at Kaburagi’s request, and one of Zui’Ran’s Seven Mysteries disappeared.

Fuyuko-sama’s enthusiasm for the occult waned a little.

*

*

And so I found myself in the small meeting room with Kaburagi again.

Honestly, should I just start keeping snacks and a tea set in here?

“Yesterday’s trip to the supermarket was well worth it,” Kaburagi said approvingly.

“Is that so?” I responded blandly.

His Majesty the Emperor then regaled me with how the taste of the snacks he’d seized from me were to his satisfaction. I also found out that apparently the curse I laid with my Third Eye bore no fruit.

“But! The trouble is that even if I’ve mastered the use of supermarkets it isn’t suitable as the location for a date. I was thinking of inviting her somewhere this weekend. Any thoughts?”

“Eh-, this weekend!?” I exclaimed.

Besides handing over souvenirs to Kanta-kun and the kids, I already had plans to hang out with Wakaba-chan on Sunday.

“It is almost time for the mid-terms, you know? Would Takamichi-san not be busy studying for her exams?”

Kaburagi frowned.

Ever since we’d come back from the trip, Wakaba-chan was spending a lot of time with Fellow Stalking Horse in her capacity as a Student Council member. Apparently that was what was making Kaburagi antsy.

Mmm. I also saw the two of them walking together rather companionably down the hallway today.

“Takamichi-san is a scholarship student. Would she not be troubled if you invited her out before the exams? What if for the moment you obtain her agreement to go somewhere after the mid-terms? You would also have all that time to plan the date.”

“…”

He didn’t look convinced.

Well fine. I’d just unveil the fruits of the research I did.

Moriyama-san from cram school was happy enough to share with me popular date spots for high schoolers.

“Amusement parks, movies, karaoke, arcade centres, bowling…” he repeated. “The amusement park and cinemas aside, aren’t the others too boring for a date?”

“But that is where regular high schoolers go for their dates.”

“Hmmmm…”

Admittedly I couldn’t picture Kaburagi in a karaoke booth and going wild singing.

“Incidentally, have you ever been to karaoke before?”

“I hate it. I only listen to music played live.”

Was this guy supposed to be some rock star musician?

“A veto to karaoke then. From my investigation it seems like the amusement park is the most popular choice. People do love the rollercoasters and haunted houses.”

“My family’s group has some ownership of some amusement parks. I’ll see what I can do.”

“…If you are planning on reserving the whole park, please do not.”

An amusement park with nobody in it was like a genre shift to horror.

Worse, the two of them riding a rollercoaster in the dead silence of the park was a different sort of horror.

“With what we just discussed as a reference, what do you think about preparing until the exams are over?”

“…Fine. I’ll think about it.”

“One other thing, please go to your best friend Enjou-sama for advice, not me. I have no doubts he would welcome the discussion.”

“Fine.”

“Ah, and from now on please stop turning up unannounced at Takamichi-san’s house without prior arrangement. It is not very considerate.”

“…Fine.”

Now then, I supposed that was my mission for today complete. Next I needed to hurry home and start studying.

I wanted to tell Kaburagi, still standing there and thinking about date locations, to stop daydreaming about romance and get to studying too. Of course, if I could remove even a single competitor it would be worthwhile, so I kept my mouth shut.

I will be heading home first then. Gokigen’yoh, Kaburagi-sama.

*

*

The lights were off.

I was already in bed when a thought occurred to me.

Poking my left hand out from under the covers, I held it aloft in the darkness and stared at my finger.

Third Eye, Awaken.

I couldn’t see my aura.


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Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 234

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I hate Costing. I intend to start translating again, but as you know, my plans rarely mean anything.


Since Kaburagi wanted to see a commoner’s supermarket I decided to pick a place far away, where the likelihood of bumping into someone from Zui’ran was nil.

We stepped through the automatic doors with a shopping basket. Kaburagi looked at our basket, and then looked at the other customers in the shop.

“We’re not using one of those?” He pointed at a shopping trolley.

“We are not buying anything bulky or heavy and have no need for one,” I explained.

He hummed in thought.

Although you couldn’t tell from his expression, I could sense some dissatisfaction in that sound.

Had he wanted to use a trolley? Damned child.

Stop staring at the customers who are using one.

“Well then, shall we head to the food aisles?”

I guided him further into the shop.

“See this?” I pointed. “Are the drinks here not cheaper than in a convenience store? Buying sweets are by far more economical in a supermarket as well.”

“Hmmm.”

He seemed a little lost.

…I bet the problem was that he’d never looked at a price tag before.

Suddenly, from the side, somebody held a small plastic cup out in front of Kaburagi.

“We have a new vegetable juice on sale~ Would you like a try~?”

Kaburagi looked at the young woman like she was crazy and started to frown. Oh crap…

I tugged him out of the way by the elbow.

“My, this seems delicious~” I said, taking the cup and drinking it.

“Wow, that was incredible. There was no bitterness to it at all,” I shilled and took a bottle of it. Then, with a smile, I left the place while pulling Kaburagi along.

“…What just happened?”

“That was a product demonstration. They hand out samples of food and drinks in order to encourage purchases. So just because they suddenly speak to you is not a reason to take an attitude with them!”

“Hmmmm.”

Did this guy really understand?

Just whose fault was it that I was now buying some vegetable juice I didn’t even want?

Oho? I smell something good cooking.

I was actually planning to buy some side dishes for a snack tonight, but I guess that’s out since I’m stuck here with Kaburagi.

Ahh~ That yakisoba looks nice though.

Maybe I ought to buy a microwave for my room. But then what kind of young miss would have a microwave in her room? That’d be weird, right?

Wha-, hey! Kaburagi!

Kaburagi was curiously wandering here and there, so I couldn’t even take an eye off him!

When I quickly went after him I found him caught by someone trying to sell ham steaks.

Let me explain to you exactly what I was looking at.

There’s a high school boy with an dignified and handsome face, and not the type you’d ever find in this part of town. In front of him is a middle aged lady cooking up pieces of ham like she’s ready to give them all to him, saying,

“Come on, mister! Eat up, eat up! This ham steak comes with a special sauce, so all you’ve gotta do is grill it up like this and it’s ready to eat.”

“Hmmm.”

Ah, he ate it.

“How is it, mister? Delicious, right~?”

“…Not too bad.”

Uuu, it was hard walking away without buying something after having a sample!

In place of Kaburagi who got talked into trying some food, I was the one who had to grab one of the vacuum-packed ham steaks.

At least give me some to try too…

After that Kaburagi was stopped by someone selling a season limited jam, someone selling yoghurt good for your digestive system, someone selling freshly baked garlic bread, and each time I ended up with more and more unnecessary additions to my shopping basket.

“Product samples, huh? So this sort of thing existed too,” he murmured admiringly between chewing his garlic bread.

“If it is product sampling you are looking for then department stores do so on their basement floors. It is not exclusive to supermarkets.”

It was just something I happened to mention in passing, but the next thing I knew Kaburagi was muttering “Department store…” to himself. Ah, I’d done it now…

“All right then. Next time we’re going to the basement floor of a department store-”

I cut him off and began tugging him.

“Oh my! Look! That, there, is the sweets corner~ There should be plenty of chocolate: your favourite~”

If I let him finish that sentence just now it would have been a real crisis.

Hmm, since I was here anyway, maybe I ought to buy some sweets and then head home. Oh! Lucky Turns were on special!

I put two packets into my shopping basket.

“You’re buying two?”

“This is the lowest I have ever seen it, so I am buying some extras.”

Maybe I could buy one more?

Oh dear, but these fried rice crackers were quite a steal too. Into the basket they go.

Mmmn, and what about these biscuits with cream between them. After all, the slightly bitter chocolate-flavoured biscuits just went so well with the flavour of milk!

Yeah, I’d just buy them all!

“…You look really practised. So you come here often?”

“Yes. For market research and the like. I am an advocate for getting your own hands dirty when it comes to these things.”

While I was shopping about for more sweets, Kaburagi wordlessly took the shopping basket off my hands.

“Eh…?”

“I’ll hold it for you.”

It actually occurred to the Emperor to hold someone else’s things!

Kaburagi, the guy with no consideration whatsoever, the guy who unhesitatingly used a frail girl (that’s me by the way) as his gopher, had noticed that I was carrying a heavy basket and decided to hold it himself.

Did anyone foresee a day such as this!?

Wow. Humans really never stopped improving themselves.

Still, if we wanted to be technical about this, normally you’d offer right after entering the store, huh~

While I was lost in the feeling of watching my unworthy disciple grow up, the boy himself had already walked off quite a distance. With the basket.

Waah-! And now he was throwing whatever caught his fancy into it!

A fish-shaped kitchen sponge? What dishes do you even clean!?

And what are you going to do with that mapo tofu marinade!

Put everything back right now!

This is exactly why I didn’t want a shopping trolley!

I took the shopping basket back.

“What’s that?” he suddenly asked.

Ah, the cup ramen section.

I glanced at the prices and just kept going. These noodles could still go cheaper.

The next area that drew his attention was the crowded fresh foods section. They were giving out melon samples here.

Spot the handsome young man behind the crowd of housewives, the staff member who was handing them out passed a toothpick with a sample on it to Kaburagi.

Not this again…

I was pretty much resigned by now.

“I’ve never seen this kind of melon before,” he muttered as he looked at the mountain of melons.

“It’s an Andes Melon, known for being sweet.” And cheap, a friend to commoners everywhere, I left out.

“Oh?”

The big sucker that he was, Kaburagi nodded thoughtfully as he tried a piece of it.

I sighed. While Kaburagi was enjoying himself again I picked out a pack of melon bites and put it into the shopping basket.

Aah, we’d have to finish the fresh food today…

After making a round of the store Kaburagi seemed more or less satisfied, so it was time to head for the counter. I was buying more than I’d planned…

While we were waiting in line I pulled out my points card. Kaburagi noticed and asked me about it.

“This is a points card for this supermarket. For every 100 Yen you spend, you receive a point in return. On occasion there are days when they give out five times the points too.”

“Hmmm.”

It was eventually our turn, so I was about to pay when Kaburagi stopped me from the side.

“It’s fine. I’ll pay.”

“Will you? Well then, I will pay you back later.”

“It’s fine.”

“Eh? But…”

“It’s thanks for coming here with me.”

Kaburagi flashed a quick smile, which had the girl manning the register flushing.

He didn’t seem likely to change his mind about it, so I decided to just accept his thanks this time.

“So let me have this.”

Those were my Lucky Turns! Mention that part beforehand!

I placed the shopping basket next to the counter and began stuffing our purchases into the grocery bags there.

“Do we pack the bags ourselves?”

“Yes. Supermarkets like these implement this sort of system in order to speed the process up.”

Kaburagi hummed in thought at that. After watching me work for a while though, he told me that he’d do it instead.

I guess it’s like how pre-schoolers like to play shop, huh?

I watched as he emptied out the bag I’d just filled and began methodically packing the heaviest items first, and then neatly putting the softer items on top.

“How conscientious of you~”

“You’re just too carefree. Look here. The bread is a little flat because of you.”

“…”

Kaburagi took the lion’s share of the snacks I’d picked out for myself. Oi! If you’re going to do that then take back this vegetable juice with you too!

What “I only drink freshly made”!

At least I managed to force the yoghurt into his bag. It was something else that he bought after having his interest sparked by samples. I figured he could probably do with it anyhow, since the curse I placed on him with my Third Eye back in the Handicrafts Club had to be reaching his intestines by now.

When we left the supermarket my sense of smell detected an anomaly. In the parking lot next to the supermarket was a smoking yakitori stall!

No, Reika. Kaburagi is with you right now. You mustn’t buy it. You mustn’t…!

“Mister~ I’d like the negima please!” I smiled widely, having run straight up to the yakitori stall.

“Coming right up! How many skewers do you want?”

Negima is a type of yakitori (grilled chicken) skewer that features spring onion and chicken meat.

I was firmly in the negima camp when it came to yakitori.

Naturally I’d order both salt-seasoned and sauce-seasoned. But then wouldn’t it be rude of me if I only ordered one each? In that case~

“Give me five of each, mister!”

“That’s five of each, so ten in total, coming right up!”

Uhuhu, they looked delicious. I watched him put the skewers into a paper bag.

“You’re a gorgeous little missy, so I’ve included an extra skewer of each for you.”

“Ehhh~!? You shouldn’t have! Thank you, mister! You’re the best!”

I took out the freebie and beamed as I waved him goodbye and left.

“I love you, mister! Thanks so much!”

Man, what a steal, what a steal.

Is this what they mean when they talk about the kindness of regular folks? Gosh, I wanted to start eating already.

“Oi…”

Geh! Kaburagi. Thanks to the allure of the yakitori I’d forgotten he was there for a moment.

“…What the hell did I just see?”

“…Whatever do you mean?” I tried.

“It’s like you turned into some whole other person. You said ‘I love you, mister’, what was that?”

“Why, learning to adapt yourself to the people here is just one part of what composes fieldwork, Kaburagi-sama.”

After my previous display Kaburagi looked at me like I was some strange creature.

Well, if it was for delicious yakitori I’d go any number of extra miles to appear friendly.

“…Kaburagi-sama, would you like some yakitori?”

“I would.”

There was a bench off to the side so we ate the yakitori there.

“This is pretty good.”

“Right? Have one of the sauce-flavoured ones.”

“Cheers. I’m getting a bit parched though.”

“Would you like some vegetable juice?”

“…I’m good. I’ll grab some tea from that vending machine. You want anything?”

“Then a tea for me as well.”

Thanks to the freebies I earned with my friendliness we ended up having six each, and when we finished that marked the end of our outing.

*

*

That night I received a rather cheerful message from Kaburagi.

‘That trip to the supermarket was genuinely fruitful. It was my first time trying cheap sweets too. Interesting flavour. I wanna try a different supermarket next time.’

I read the text in my room as I ate bread and ham and melon in between gulps of vegetable juice.

That lady was right. This roast ham really was good cold.

That night I woke up to my stomach disagreeing with me. Aaah, my curse had come back to roost…!


“It’s an Andes Melon, known for being sweet.” And cheap, a friend to commoners everywhere, I left out.


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31 – Conclusion

“That’s the worst of it over now.”

Prince Yuri says as his glare sweeps the room now full of monster corpses, all of them having been exterminated by the knights.

 

Yuri de von Argrey, the eldest prince of Argrey Kingdom and the first in line to inherit the crown, according to what the kids have told me.

Prince Yuri is still young, only nineteen, but unlike his younger brother Joel who has inherited the queen’s svelte figure, Yuri is a broad-shouldered, well-built man, nearly 190 cm tall and naturally imposing. His countenance is handsomely masculine, but he is also known for his roughness, unflinching audacity, and at times even cruelty. His gaze alone could intimidate many.

From a certain point of view, he is very much a model king-to-be.

This country was first established through the conquering of dungeons, and its noble caste was made of powerful people. Yuri would be the right choice to have as the king of such a nation.

Other than Chieri who has fainted, everyone here has all knelt to his presence.

 

“Enough. This is not the palace, and there is no need to kneel. Raise your head.”

He’s not exactly smiling, but from the tone of his voice, he doesn’t seem to be in a bad mood.

“Y-your Highness!” Karl says, sounding quite emotional. He’s blushing, too… is this love?

Oh, right, I see. Karl’s usual bravado is a result of his infatuation with prince Yuri, as he’s decided to mimic the prince. Doesn’t he realize how inferior he looks to the real thing? Pfft.

 

“Mmm, the Mercia scion and the younger brother. You’ve done good work.”

Prince Yuri coolly nods to Andy and Karl. He walks forward, sparing not even a glance for instructor Eric Marsaw and miss Chieri (currently unconscious with eyes rolled back in their sockets, as well as leaking a little bit below), and he stops in front of milady Sharon, who is still kneeling with her head low, and me, her maid.

“Raise your heads, you two.”

“…y-yes, your Highness,” milady replies, her voice quavering as though in deference.

But I know. It’s not deference. It’s just her being so much of a shy loner that she automatically panics in front of a large-sized man.

“Hmm…”

Prince Yuri hums, his piercing gaze fixed on milady’s face. Then he snorts.

“Sure enough, one can’t really take the rumors of noble ladies seriously. People say the Michel young lady is a fool that cowers behind her status and a dullard that was abandoned by her own family, but I have heard the reports. The evacuees have spoken of your courage.”

“I am unworthy of your praises, your Highness…”

Of course she’s amazing. My lady can do anything once she puts her mind to it.

“Your name is… Sharon, is it not? Stand up.”

“…yes, your Highness.”

Milady releases her death grip on my skirt and stands up, looking like a terribly adorable little fawn.

“I see. You don’t look half bad.”

Prince Yuri places his fingers below milady’s jaws and raises her head. Milady gasps. I can feel Andy and Karl doing the same as well.

…not bad, he says. Not bad?

He would tarnish the visage of the cutest girl in the world with his touch and say she’s not bad?

 

“…are you Sharon’s maid?”

“I am, your Highness.”

Oh, what a gaffe. It seems I have inadvertently lost control of my anger for a moment, and the prince has picked up on it.

This cannot do. That horro-I mean, the Maid Chief could have turned a whole country into a wasteland without blinking an eye. As a maid, I am still lacking in discipline.

“Name yourself.”

“I am Fleurety, your Highness.”

“I see. You’ve got spirit. It was only for a moment, but I have seen you killing monsters with a single blow before our forces got here.”

“Nothing that would deserve your attention, your Highness.”

“Enough with that. You’re good. I like capable people, and you’re good-looking as well. If you wish, then I shall allow you to be my servant.”

“Huh?!”

The surprised exclamation hasn’t come from me, but milady.

She nervously looks at me. I respond to her with a smile and turn back to the prince. I stand up, my fingers pinching my skirt, and I give him a graceful curtsey the way noblewomen do.

 

“I am a maid, and I serve milady Sharon. Her and her only,” I say.

 

Which is really just a more polite way of saying to the prince, “so I would really appreciate it if you could cut the bullshit, please.”

I hear some gasps. This time, they came from prince Yuri’s knights. The prince probably hasn’t ever had anyone refuse him before. Before his presence, nobody had dared to, afraid that they would incur his wrath.

 

And then for a single moment, a wave of what feels like sheer presence blasts from prince Yuri. It made everyone in the room flinch. Except me, of course, as I continue to smile at him. It was just a breeze, really.

Prince Yuri curls his lips upward.

 

“I see, I see. Can’t force you to, can I. In that case…”

“Eep?!”

The prince suddenly pulls at milady’s slender hips.

“I just need to get you, Sharon, and both of you would be mine.”

 

“Your Highness!” Andy shouts, apparently without meaning to.

“Imperial knight Andy. I have not given you permission to speak.”

Andy swallows his words. Milady is frozen stiff. The pair of brothers are hesitating, unable to act.

It is then that a helping hand comes from someone unexpected.

 

“Your Highness, please refrain. I believe your retainers would be inconvenienced by such a sudden decision.”

“…ah, Clarice,” the prince mutters.

 

Clarice might have contributed to the monster subjugation effort, but she is still only the daughter of a viscount. Yet now, that viscount young lady has spoken out against the crown prince himself.

While everyone else is waiting with bated breath to see what would happen, like me, on Clarice’s face is still the relaxed smile that she has held since the beginning. The prince looks at her, and his expression softens.

 

“If lady Clarice says so, then I will not insist… so put that menacing thing away, maid.”

“As you wish, your Highness.”

Following prince Yuri’s order, I return the spiked club to its place inside my skirt while taking back milady from his hands at the same time. The knights all release a sigh of relief.

“Are you hurt, milady?”

“I-I’m fine… thanks, Letty.”

She smiles, looking somewhat embarrassed, and she gives Clarice a nod with her eyes as well. She couldn’t be any more direct here, otherwise it would be equivalent to a public declaration that she disagreed with prince Yuri. We’ll send Clarice a letter of gratitude later, after this is over.

 

“Let’s return. A few of the knights need to stay to clean up the mess. Clarice, you’re with me,” prince Yuri says and starts walking.

“Understood. Lady Sharon, miss Fleurety. I hope we can meet for tea again some time,” Clarice responds, following the prince back to the palace.

 

…I do have to wonder who the viscount young lady is. She can create a field of holy magic powerful enough to hurt me, and she looks to be more than a simple acquaintance with prince Yuri as well…

There’s something about her.

 

“Sharon, are you fine?”

“Yes…”

Karl makes conversation with milady, though I can feel him being strangely distant to Andy. Prince Yuri’s earlier words must still be in his mind.

Well, at any rate.

“Milady, let us return to your room to clean up in the bath. I worry that your bosom might have diminished after being subjected to such a brutish touch.”

“How would that happen?!”

 

The pair of brothers turn away with their faces red, while I celebrate being hit with milady’s slipper after so long.

 

Thus, the Monster Stampede concluded.

Camilla, daughter of a duke and an academy instructor, was originally supposed to be stripped of her family name and be sent to a convent as her punishment. Her initiative in being the first to attempt to enter the dungeon and remove the source of the Stampede, reckless and without authorization as it might have been, was still taken into consideration, and her sentence was reduced. She would not be sent to a convent.

Instead, she would be removed from her post at the academy and be sent for marriage to some lecherous old man with ties to her dukedom. I personally thought the sentence was rather lacking, so I had also supplied the aforementioned lecher with lewd photographs of her being attacked by tentacles in the dungeon. He had been most jubilant. He had also purchased much of my specialty product, my super-powerful energy supplements that would allow him to go a whole three days without drinking, eating, or sleeping.

We’re loaded with money now.

 

Similarly, Mia, the marquis-employed maid and a co-conspirator of the assault in the dungeon, also barely managed to escape being sent to a convent. The marquis house had paid her bail money, and she would be demoted to being one of the scullery maids. It would be decades before her debt could be cleared, I should think.

 

As for miss Chieri, she had avoided being sent to jail by virtue of being one of the Partner candidates that the country had summoned. However, with her role in the assault and being the culprit who had lured monsters into the city, she was no longer considered for the position of the next Saint, and she would have to do community service until her graduation. The nobles were informed of this, so her chances of ever becoming a noble’s Partner is practically non-existent now.

Also, apparently Chieri would be put under the supervision of an etiquette coach for a while… but then she locked herself up in her room and hadn’t come out since.

It must have been because I had blown off her front bangs. Heheh.

 

“Letty… what should we do now?”

“A month of free time, is it… perhaps we should travel somewhere?”

I answer milady as I pour her a cup of sweet chai tea. She starts nibbling on pieces of soan papdi, a dessert I’ve prepared as accompaniment since it goes well with the tea.

Due to the monster attack, the academy had suffered infrastructural damage, and there are junior students who have been traumatized as well, even if their physical wounds have already been healed with theurgy. The academy would close for about a month.

Most of the students have gone home, but milady’s family situation is still far from being a pleasant stay. As we now have quite a bit of free time, we could invite lady Clarice over for tea and to show our gratitude as well, but the young lady was recently announced to be the next Saint to replace Chieri. She is apparently quite busy with trips to the Church and to the palace. It’s hard to get a chance to meet with her.

 

“Oh, yes, I just have a good idea!” Milady says, clapping her hands adorably and smiling at me.

I wonder what disaster this idea of hers would lead to this time.

“What is it, milady?”

“Ever since you came to this world you’ve been with me all the time, right? So let’s go on a tour around the kingdom.”

Indeed, I’ve only ever gone to the Dark Woods and her family home.

“And besides…”

“Yes.”

“Umm… I’ve… always wanted to go on a trip with… friends…”

Her voice shrinks into an embarrassed mumble as she fiddles her fingers and looks at me with puppy eyes.

“Milady…”

Too cute.

“Understood. I shall cross the whole world in one month with milady in my arms.”

“That’s not a trip!”


A/N: The next few chapters will be the touring arc. Mostly just slice-of-life stuff.


T/N: So now that that HUGE batch is done and we’ve gotten to a good spot, I have an announcement to make:
I’m dropping this series. When I first read Haru no Hi’s stuff I felt like I should share them with English-speaking readers, but that was a long long time ago (probably nearly two years now), and now I just don’t feel that passion anymore. I may or may not return to this in the future if the mood strikes, but best not to hope on it.
If anyone wants to pick this up, feel free.


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30 – City at War

“Monsters are in the streets?!”

Joel shouted at the knight delivering the report. The prince received a tense nod in return.

 

During the early hours of the Third Dungeon’s Stampede, the defense was manned by the second prince’s imperial knights. The crisis had been almost out of their control, but with the arrival of the Holy Knight’s subordinate knight-priests, the horde was slowly being pushed back.

More importantly, if the Holy Knight himself hadn’t infiltrated the dungeon with a small squad of elites and destroyed the source of monsters as fast as he had, then perhaps the line of defense would have fallen apart before the neverending tide of monsters by now.

The crisis wouldn’t have been as bad as it was if the Church’s forces and the prospective Saint had been there, as according to the original plan. Had the knight-priests not come to reinforce the lines in their place, everything might have been lost.

Yet the situation had veered in an unexpected direction. Some amount of monsters were suspected to have leaked into the city due to the imperial knights, the knight-priests, the local knights, and the soldiers being unable to hold them back completely, but as it turned out, a group of monsters had been able to escape to the city through a part of the defensive walls which had, for some reason, been destroyed.

 

“How is the city?! What about the citizens?!”

“Sir! The monsters have reached the center of the capital’s eastern district, but fortunately, the Church’s forces led by the next Saint were there to stop them, as they had departed late. The next Saint is currently taking command and is clearing out the monsters.”

“I see…”

Joel sighed a sigh of relief. Thank the Goddess for small mercies. 

According to the report, the group of monsters numbered around fifty. Enough to overwhelm the patrolling soldiers and bring harm to the civilians.

Though the people’s safety was certainly one of his concerns, he was far more worried about the nearby magic academy. Joel might be royalty, but he was still only a fifteen-year old boy. He was naturally more inclined to think of his friends and adoring juniors than strangers.

The imperial knight Andy standing behind him sighed in relief as well. Unfortunately, their respite didn’t last long.

 

“Your Highness, emergency! The Church’s soldiers have been routed and have retreated into the academy!”

“What?!”

Andy found himself shouting. The prince was dumbstruck.

The academy was where Andy’s younger brother, as well as the girl who he had thought of as a little sister since his childhood, were. Yet he couldn’t come to save them — the knights already had their hands full pushing back the monsters, and the second prince, his charge, was also taking command here. Andy was the prince’s bodyguard. His duty came first and foremost.

“Andy, take several of the knights and get to the academy, immediately!”

“Yes, sir! …wait, your Highness. I cannot leave your side.”

“There are magicians and professors at the academy, scions of nobility. They should be keeping the monsters at bay at the moment. Go help them, Andy. Protect the people.”

“But…”

“…Emmy is there too. My little sister. Make sure she is safe. Her, and my fiancee candidates too.”

The prince spoke, not as royalty but simply as a young man worried for his family. Andy understood what the prince had left unsaid. He gave a quiet bow.

“Understood, your Highness.”

 

*

 

There was surprisingly little damage to the city. The reason however, wasn’t because the Church’s soldiers had been putting up a good fight, but rather that Chieri, the next Saint, had escaped into the academy after finding out there were more monsters than she expected, and most of them had followed her.

A scream echoed in the hallways. It came from a student, a girl from one of the junior grades who had made her escape far too late, tripping in her panicked hurry. Several hobgoblins gather around her.

The magic academy wasn’t just an educational facility. Similar to Earth’s universities, it also served as a research facility, which was why its campus took up a rather large area of land.

Being both a research facility and a school for children of nobility, it was well protected. There were magical barriers over the entrances and the walls, as well as a sizable number of guards. Unfortunately, the barrier had been deactivated when Chieri ran inside, allowing the pack of monsters to enter the academy.

Believing in the safety of the barrier, the soldiers were scattered throughout the sprawling campus. The professors were busy evacuating the students. No one was available to deal with the monsters.

 

[Ice Spike]!”

 

Just as the hobgoblins were about to set upon the girl, spears of ice turned them into pincushions. With the monsters screaming in their death throes, the spellcaster, a silver-haired girl, ran toward her underclassman on the ground.

“Are you hurt?” she said, shaking the other girl out of her stupor.

“N-no, I’m fine.”

As the silver-haired girl helped her junior up, the younger girl’s cheeks blushed red, her eyes bouncing vertically as they followed the motions of the bountiful bosom in front of her.

“T-thank you. You saved me,” the younger girl stammered out.

“As a noble and a senior of the academy, I could do nothing else,” the silver-haired girl turned around, “help her to safety, everyone.”

“”Yes, ma’am!””

Replying to her was a group of several girls. One of them began to lead the underclassman away.

“We should get going. Some people might still have not evacuated yet.”

“”Yes, lady Sharon!””

While the majority of the noble students were out to save themselves first, some of the senior students had decided to fight the monsters to protect their juniors. As a noble, Sharon had chosen to fight as well, and seeing her initiative, many of the commoner students had also volunteered to assist her.

 

“Sharon!”

“Karl!”

Karl, her childhood friend who had been helping out somewhere else, ran up to her. Accompanying him were two of the Partner candidates in their class, Sei and Hao.

“You’re bleeding!” Sharon gasped.

“Ah, right, there were monsters over there too.”

“Don’t worry, miss Sharon. It’s just the monsters’ blood.”

“Yeah.”

As the boys said, they were mostly unharmed. Nevertheless, while Karl, son to the Mercia marquis family that had had a long tradition of producing knights, was still keeping his composure, the same could not be said for the two boys summoned from Earth, whose faces were pallid and clammy with sweat.

That wasn’t to say they lacked bravery. After all, when most of the male students were making their escape, the two boys had decided to search for the students who had been left behind, even when they knew there were monsters wandering the campus.

It did not mean their nerves were calm, however. Hao was gripping his bloodied sword so tight his fingers turned white. Noticing the trickle of blood coming from his hand, Sharon hurriedly ran up to him.

“You’re holding it too tight!” she said, holding his hands in hers and readying her magic, “[Heal].”

“T-thank you…” Hao stammered with a blush that extended to his ears. Karl watched the scene with a faint frown.

After finishing her treatment, Sharon, oblivious to his thoughts, turned toward Karl and spoke.

“Karl, are there any other students?”

“No, not on my side… speaking of which, you’ve gotten much better at your magic, haven’t you?”

“Yes, all thanks to Letty.”

Sharon smiled the smile of a flower in bloom — easy and light, showing none of the tension she used to wrap herself in. Karl found himself unable to look at her in the eyes, his cheeks burning.

“R-right, I see. That reminds me, where has your maid gone? Is this not exactly the time when she should be protecting you?”

“I’ve… asked Letty to go help his Highness.”

“…I see.”

Karl snorted. If prince Joel was there, then that meant his brother was there, too.

 

“Goodness, you’re still here?!”

“Instructor!”

The group turned to the new voice. It was instructor Eric Marsaw, their homeroom teacher. His clothes were somewhat ruffled with signs of combat. He seemed to have been acting alone, being able enough to not require a helper.

“Were you helping to evacuate the other students? I’m here now. You’d better get to safety immediately.”

“No, instructor. I am a noble, and my duty is to protect the common people.” Sharon said.

“That’s right. I’m staying too. You know we can handle ourselves.” Karl followed.

Eric took a look at the group and faintly sighed.

“…understood, but the young misses over there should be evacuating now. Mister Sei, mister Hao, keep them safe.”

Sei and Hao awkwardly nodded. Now that they knew they would be escorted by two handsome boys from another world, the helping girls readily agreed to leave, their eyes gleaming.

 

“Instructor, where should we search next?” Sharon asked.

“We’ve already checked out the dorm and the locker rooms,” added Karl.

“Let’s see…” Eric thought for a moment and spoke, “right, then that should leave only the dining hall.”

Both Sharon and Karl were nobles who had no use for the dining hall, and they had entirely forgotten about it. For a moment, their eyes met each other in realization.

It made sense. Some of the commoner students that had been left behind were likely to be there, and since the place had food, there was a possibility that monsters were there as well.

“…let’s go.”

 

“…what has happened?”

“What’s with these guys…”

When they arrived at the dining hall, Sharon didn’t see any students. Instead, there were armed men garbed in priestly attire lying on the ground.

“T-they…” Sharon stammered, “I-I gotta treat them…”

“Hold up, miss Sharon. There should still be people up ahead. We must go,” urged Eric.

“B-But…”

“Hurry, Sharon!” Karl said forcefully, pulling the bewildered girl along with hurried steps.

The two men had already realized that these people didn’t need healing. Not anymore.

 

“AAAAAH!”

 

“A scream!”

“Somebody’s still there! We have to hurry!”

“Right!”

The three ran toward the voice that came from deeper in. There, they found that it had been Chieri’s. The girl was being protected by soldiers from the Church, all of them injured and exhausted. They were being surrounded and attacked by dozens of monsters.

“Lady Chieri?!” Sharon gasped.

Karl clicked his tongue. “Shit, that’s nearly all the monsters!”

“The two of you, focus on support! No area spells!” Eric shouted.

“Yes!” “Got it!”

[Lightning]!”

Eric’s spell shocked and stunned several of the monsters. Not a moment later, Karl was already there swinging his sword, his strength boosted by magic, while Sharon’s spears of ice pierced through the monsters. They cleared a path.

The three didn’t think they could deal with the whole pack either. It was a gamble, an attempt to save Chieri’s group through a surprise ambush. Eric had resolved to save, if not all of them, then at least the students.

 

“S-save me!”

“Lady Chieri!”

With the way open, everyone thought Chieri would be making her escape immediately, but she didn’t. Instead, the girl scrambled toward Sharon and clung to her legs.

“I-It’s not my fault! I never thought there’d be so many monsters!”

“What? Lady Chieri, don’t tell me…”

Karl and Eric frowned. Unfortunately, this was no time for any questioning.

 

“GRAAAAGH!”

After recovering from its momentary daze, an ogre slammed its club down toward Sharon. But she could not move. Chieri was still hanging to her legs.

Believing that it was too late for her, Sharon shut her eyes tight. It was then that she heard a familiar voice.

“SHARON!!!”

The very next moment, the ogre’s lower half disintegrated. Before its torso could even drop to the ground, its face still frozen in an expression of incomprehension, a sword sliced it apart. A figure dashed toward the young lady.

“Sharon!”

“Sir Andy?!”

She was then immediately held in a tight embrace by the newly-arrived knight. Her cheeks flushed, her eyes darting about wildly. Karl looked on with a grimace, while Chieri was stunned.

Andy had arrived. However, they weren’t out of the woods yet.

“Gwargh…”

And then, of the monsters that had been trying to approach Sharon and Andy, the foremost few abruptly lost their lower body parts in much the same way as the previous ogre.

Andy was holding Sharon. Neither Eric nor Karl had swung their weapons.

 

“Milady Sharon. My apologies for the wait.”

 

*

 

“Letty?!”

Milady shouts from within Andy’s arms. I smile and give her an impeccable curtsey.

I have arrived in time, fortunately, even after picking up Andy on the way.

If circumstances allowed, then I would have liked to give milady a hug and give her pats all over the places after mister imperial knight is done with his turn. Unfortunately, there are quite a few boorish characters here. I shall have to be prudent.

That’s right. As you may have realized, I have finally added the word ‘prudence’ to my dictionary. Milady has been most thorough when explaining it to me.

As long as I possessed ‘prudence’, I could even drink dry a whole ocean. Maybe three.

“Letty, I just know you’re having another misunderstanding!”

“Not at all. I was simply reflecting on how wonderful you are, milady.”

 

In hindsight, perhaps I might have been somewhat overly agitated by the thought of milady being in danger, as I have inadvertently unleashed my Nice Shots at full power and vaporized the monsters. Just look at Karl. He is bending over like a shrimp again.

Not only that, my spiked club has also come so close to Chieri’s head that her forebangs have been shaved off. Her eyes have rolled back in their sockets, her mouth is frothing, and she has lost consciousness.

All rather unimportant matters, really. I give my spiked club a light flick to clean off the blood and send a wave of carefully directed [Intimidation] to the monsters. Their faces spasm, and they take a step back.

…right, let’s see. What should I do…

Speaking as a very ordinary maid, crushing orc 〇〇〇〇〇 would be the most elegant response that a lady could do. But then again, if I do that to all the monsters here, milady might get dirtied from the blood splatters. Doing it gently would be preferable, it seems.

As I step forward, ready to make my round, I am interrupted by another newcomer.

 

[Sanctified Domain]

“GRAAAGH?!!”

With a voice that comes out of nowhere, a powerful field of Holy-aligned magic appears, dealing damage to both the monsters and me.

“Finish them off!”

A man’s voice rings out. A chorus of acknowledgements come from a group of imperial knights wearing armor like Andy’s, and they begin to cut down the now-helpless monsters.

I wonder who these people are. I also wonder just who it was that had created the magical field. That hurt. About as painful as someone shooting a rubber band at me, in fact.

It doesn’t take long for the monsters to be cleaned up. The knights then split into two rows, making way for a girl being escorted by a young man.

“Your Highness Yuri!” Andy shouts.

If I remember correctly, that’s… Yuri de von Argrey. The crown prince of this kingdom. And next to him is…

“Lady Clarice…”

“Lady Sharon, miss Fleurety. Are you hurt?”

 

Clarice de Liniello, the young lady of a viscount family who had once invited milady to a tea party, has on her face an immaculate smile.


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29 – Frontline

The Monster Stampede, a milestone event in the game, would occur once the capture target’s likability to the Saint heroine reached maximum.

The event’s difficulty would vary with the Saint heroine’s Theurgy Skill. The higher the skill, the more difficult it was, and the closer the Stampede would happen to Argrey’s capital.

In lower difficulties, all of the country’s knightly order would also be there as reinforcement as well. However, if the Stampede happened at dungeons close to the capital — the First dungeon to the Fourth — there would be barely any support from the country. The Saint heroine would be forced to fight at the frontlines together with her capture target.

The event this time occurred at the Third Dungeon. The second highest difficulty.

This Dungeon was at the center of the capital as well as being closest to the academy. Subsequently, the Saint heroine would receive the help of the academy instructors and the second prince’s imperial knights, though she would be required to take command of the priests of the capital’s Church to fight at the frontlines.

 

“Come, my lady Saint! With your power, we shall show this world the Goddess’ light!”

 

The supposed ‘commander’ had been dragged to the battlefield by the Church’s priests.

This Stampede wasn’t supposed to have happened. Chieri hadn’t even raised her likability much with the grown-ups that were the targets of the Saint heroine — Elias the Holy Knight, Andy the imperial knight, Eric the academy instructor — and her own Theurgy Skill was still just level two when the maximum was ten.

Not only that, there was the scandal that was the priests’ assault on a marquis’ young lady, who was also a student of the academy. The Church needed to show that their members and the next Saint were capable of putting an end to this Stampede, no matter what it takes.

Even as the dispatched priests venerated Chieri as the next Saint, anyone could see that they had no intentions of letting her out of their sight until the incident was over. Chieri even overheard their mutters. “We almost had a fiasco on our hand. Thank the Goddess for giving us this chance to recover our dignity,” they said, without a hint of consideration. It sent a lance of pain through Chieri’s heart.

Why?! Why did this happen?! I did pray for the Goddess to do something, but I can’t deal with this! She screamed in her mind.

A few moments later, her thoughts switched tracks.

She did think it would have been impossible to escape from that trial without something suitably drastic. She would even go so far as to say that nothing less than a natural disaster would do, even. At the same time, she also knew that she did not have the power to end this event by herself.

…then there must be another way. A safer way, a way to make this crisis even worse…

Chieri’s mind whirred, and a plan began to form.

She had failed once because she had mistakenly thought that the people of this world would act like characters in her game. Now that the plot had left the rails, she was finally making use of her true talent, one that she had refined through years of maneuvering people to her purpose.

“You, over there.”

“Yes, my lady Saint. What do you require of me?”

She searched the Church’s force for an easy mark. She found a young and naive-looking priest and called at him, smiling and presenting herself as best as possible.

She knew how effective her own looks were, after all.

“I have just received another Oracle from the Goddess.”

 

***

 

Knock knock knock.

“Oerghl!”

A hulking mass collapsed to the ground. The earth shuddered.

That was an ogre I have encountered in the streets and have finished off with a triple bogey. Strangely enough, I thought I saw a flash of euphoria on its face during its final moments.

Greetings, everyone. This is Fleurety, the maid who would be very happy if she could share her joy with others.

 

“Right, where should I go…”

I’ve been heading toward the salt dungeon, but I’ve been wondering if I should go save Andy and Joel like I promised milady, or if I should deal with the dungeon itself. This is quite the dilemma.

“I suppose I should prioritize my promise, then.”

If I solve the problem here and yet let Andy be injured, I would be most ashamed to face milady. Nothing is more important than her words. Not even the city’s survival, in fact.

 

“Grargh!!”

Ah, another stray monster. This one is called… hob-something. While it’s true that I’ve also been getting closer to the dungeon, the fact that I’ve been meeting monsters so frequently really does show how bad things have gotten.

A sudden, metallic clang sounds out. The hob-something gurgles and drops to the ground in two pieces. As I see the figure of a knight through the spray of blood, I clasp my hand in front of my waist and give a gentle bow.

“Thank you for your assistance, sir Elias.”

“Oh no, I’m sure you didn’t need it.”

 

The man who has just gallantly, heroically arrived is Elias, the Holy Knight of the Church. At the moment, he is thoroughly wiping off the blood on his sword with a piece of cloth and with a smooth motion, returning it to its sheath. It makes him look like such a playboy from a well-to-do family.

“…were you thinking something unflattering?”

“Not at all. I was simply admiring the sight of a knight protecting a helpless maid.”

“…I find it difficult to think of you as helpless, miss Fleurety.”

He has surprisingly sharp intuition.

“Speaking of which, how goes the battle? I have heard that our forces are being pushed back by quite a bit, despite his Highness Joel’s participation,” I say.

“My subordinate knight-priests have arrived to reinforce. I believe the lines will be re-established. That aside, I’m surprised you found out so quickly…”

“The walls have ears, after all. I have also encountered quite a few monsters on my way here. If I may speak my mind, sir, I believe there is a rather large leak somewhere.”

“…what?”

“Yes?”

Sir Elias looks at me as though he can’t believe what he’s hearing. Unfortunately, he should know that that gaze only excites me when it’s milady doing the looking.

“Miss Fleurety… I would much prefer you to be using another weapon. The club you hold in your hand is cursed, is it not? If I’m right, the curse creates an attraction to certain types of monsters, that is to say, the types that have more… powerful breeding instincts…”

“Ah, I see.”

 

I have completely forgotten about that little detail.

I have used my Orc Killer EX for far too many Nice Shots to orcs, creatures that think with their lower heads, and this has strengthened the curse on the weapon. Before, it used to cause uncontrollable rage on orcs only, but now the target has been expanded to all humanoid monsters of a similar nature.

 

“My apologies. I have not thought it to be a problem.”

“I understand my gift might have been an inferior weapon. Still…”

As he had promised, the other day Elias had sent me a one-handed club made of mythril. I still continue to favor the spiked club, however.

Elias has said that it is ‘inferior’, but that one-handed club was a very wonderful thing indeed. It sold for a whole thirty gold coins in the black market, after all. Considering that I bought this spiked club for the cut-price of one silver coin, that mythril club was on an entirely another level of v… quality.

Yes. Quality. I certainly did not mean to say ‘value’.

At any rate, this means I would have to change my plans.

“I see that I should not be getting close to his Highness Joel with this Orc Killer in hand. Well then, please excuse me…”

As I begin to step away, Elias calls at me.

“Wait up, please.”

I might be able to pull away the monsters that are attacking Andy if I join up with him, but I would also be attracting more monsters from far away. It would just defeat the purpose. It is why I have decided to switch to my plan B, dealing with the dungeon as fast as possible to remove the source of monsters itself, and I would have been on my way if not for Elias. I wonder what he has in mind.

Elias kneels in front of me as he once did when we first met.

“Virtuous maiden, thou who would face death itself to save the common people. May I be allowed the honor of being your protector?” he says, swearing an oath with absolute sincerity.

Well, he’s free to follow along. If he can, that is.

 

The two of us head for the dungeon depths. Not to the very end, though. According to Elias, there are cases where the tunnels that the dungeon created to bring in monsters from the outside would connect to its upper floors, or in other words, floors closer to the dungeon entrance.

The Monster Stampede happens whenever one end of a dungeon-created tunnel coincidentally opens up to a region full of monsters, and the other end coincidentally opens up on one of the upper floors. It’s all coincidences.

I’m a bit disappointed, to be honest. I’m in another world here. Are there no Demon Kings or Dark Lords?

 

I sprint for the dungeon, fully intending to leave Elias behind. Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem to have much trouble following my speed.

This cannot do. An expert maid should always be able to stay in front of the gentleman. At this rate, I’m going to be punished by the Maid Chief.

 

“AAAAAAAAHHH!”

 

“That scream…”

“It sounds like the glass-shattering shriek of an overgrown maiden, sir.”

“‘Overgrown’… wait, no, is this the time for such nonchalance?”

My very-much-reasonable assessment leads us to the source of the voice. We arrive at the scene soon after.

“This must be a human-eating parasitic plant. Would it count as ‘lewd tentacles’, I wonder?” I say.

Elias doesn’t reply.

“Stop fooling around and save me already!” The victim shouts.

 

The woman currently being assaulted by a number of strange, slimy tentacles is the one who had been the quickest to run from that trial: lady Camilla.

I was sure she had run to her home, the dukedom house, but it seems she really was trying to deal with the incident. Well, her life as a noble would be over if she ran anyway, so as proud as she is, there wasn’t much of a chance she would do so. I never thought she was actually frolicking with tentacles here, though…

 

“You really do have that sort of hobby, don’t you?”

“I’m not doing this because I like it! Save me already!”

“I suppose we should. Just as well that the source of the monsters also seems to be here.”

Lady Camilla must have made the discovery. I wonder if those suspicious Oracles had anything to do with it. On the ground nearby are Camilla’s own private soldiers, who seemed to have fallen in their attempt to deal with the source.

It doesn’t take much time for me to clear out the monsters and destroy the source.

Now there is only Camilla, half-naked and being toyed with by lewd tentacles. Other than it being a somewhat indecent sight, there doesn’t seem to be any other problem. She is freed in short order, though, as Elias is too much of a proper gentleman to leave her trapped for any longer. Of course, I made sure to procure a few photographs of lady Camilla’s lewdness for future uses.

 

Now that things are over and done with, I can’t help but feel that it was too easy. Assuming that the tunnel’s entrance was already close to disappearing by the time I dealt with it, then if only Camilla had been able to hold on for a bit longer, then she really would have been considered the person to have resolved the incident.

 

“Miss Fleurety, what is on your mind?”

“It is nothing, sir Elias. Now there is only the matter of dealing with the monsters that have escaped the dungeon. We should leave.”

“Let us… wait, hold on a second.”

Elias takes out something that looks like the shell of a bivalve mollusk and places it to his ear. If I’m not mistaken, the bivalve-shell-thing acts as one part of a pair of magical tools which allow one to communicate at long distance, and they are called ‘portable magitech communicators’. Milady and I wanted them too, but just a pair already cost two hundred gold pieces. Too much for us.

 

“What?! Monsters have spilled into the town? Lady Chieri is taking command? What’s going on outside?!”

 

Apparently the Monster Stampede is not over yet. I wonder if Chieri had done something again.

But more importantly, I worry for milady’s safety.

Please wait for me, milady. Your maid will be with you before long.


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「今日のお兄ちゃんはおかしいよ!怖いよ!ッ!?いやだよっ!いやぁ!やめて!やめてぇっ!!」