Volume 06

06_001

Prologue
Chapter 01: Before the Trip
Chapter 02: Want you to notice, want you to look…
Chapter 03: Unsaid Words
Chapter 04: Unhanded Thing, Warm Chest, Blue Sky
Epilogue




Prologue

“Hey, what do you mean by devil?”
Along with her words, my classmate Minami approached with a serious expression.
I didn’t know how to answer her question and kept my mouth shut in confusion.
To be honest, both me and Hijiri had been careless. I had never imagined that I would met Minami here.
—A park on an early morning during summer vacation that I came to yawning to tag along with Nazuna and Elni’s radio exercise. There we met Gogyou Hijiri by chance and I had asked her casually.
If she would come to the seaside school next week.
Upon that question, Hijiri had answered that she would participate since she had a job request there.
Apparently, there was a possibility of a devil hiding at the place where the seaside school was held, so there happened to be a request for an inquiry for the exorcist Hijiri.
Hijiri trusted me, so she had told me about her job. But usually, Hijiri kept her job a secret. So when she realized that Minami overheard her talk about her job, she was shaken without doubt. Hijiri was looking at Minami with a stiff expression.
Not paying any mind to Hijiri’s behaviour, Minami took even one more step closer.
“What’s this request for an inquiry about?”
“That’s…”
Before I could say anything to cover it up,
“About a game!”
Elni, whenever she had come back, raised her voice with a smile.
“There is an event like that in a game we’re obsessed with right now. The request for an inquiry means a quest we got from the guild.”
Most likely Elni had heard our conversation. Making a follow up, she started to talk about a fictional game with gestures, which sadly didn’t seem to be effective. At the beginning Minami was surprised at the sudden appearance of Elni, but now she was in a state of half-believing, half-doubting.
“…Was it really from a game?”
“Y- Yeah, that’s right.”
“Then what’s the title of the game?”
“Eh? Th- The title? It’s, ehm…’Near Mad Dog Armageddon’?”
When Elni rolled her eyes, Minami doubtful tilted her head.
“I never heard of a game with such a title….?”
“Wh- What a coincidence! Actually, I never heard of it either! Ahahaha!”
Elni laughed and said quibbling. But there was no way she could hush it up with that and Minami gave Elni a doubtful look.
At that moment,
“Geez, El-chan, don’t kid around so much. The title of the game is…”
To help Elni, Nazuna added and then gave the title of a game that I had heard of while smiling at Minami.
—Nazuna was aware of Hijiri’s job.
Because previously, when Machina tried to kidnap Nazuna, Hijiri had shown her power as an exorcist.
At that time Nazuna hadn’t had minded that Luna and Machina were devils, nor had she been scared of Hijiri. However, not everyone was the same. There might be people, who are scared of devils or exorcists. Nazuna probably understood that.
That was why she tried to cover it up like Elni.
Taking Elni’s spot, Nazuna continued to talk about the game with a somewhat awkward smile, when Minami finally seemed to consent,
“I see. You were talking about a game. I got the wrong idea there. You see, Gogyou-san seems to have a good spiritual sense, so I thought she really might exorcise devils…Ahahaha. As if devils would exists.”
as she made a shy smile and faced Hijiri.
“But that’s a surprise. To think that you’re playing games, Gogyou-san.”
“M- My big sister loves games, so we often play it together.”
“Hee…”
Hijiri’s so called “Big Sister” must refer to the maid of the Gogyou Household, Kaoru aka Kaorun.
Such thoughts crossed my mind, when Minami shifted her gaze and talked to me.
“You don’t really give off the image of a gamer, Nanjou-kun, but do you play often?”
“Well, I like reading more than gaming…..but my sister and Hijiri introduced me to it this time.”
Resting my head on Nazuna’s head, I matched my story to theirs, when Minami frowned lightly for some reason.
“….Somehow, I get the feeling that you and Gogyou-san became really close after the culture festival? After all, you two suddenly started to call each other by your first names…”
“What, you jealous?”
“Y- Yeah! I’m jealous! I want to become closer too!”
When I asked her teasingly, Minami suddenly brought her face closer and answered.
Big eyes and long eyelashes. Smooth cheeks and pink lips. Beautiful features. All that close by, I became a bit unsettled.
For now, I averted my eyes from Minami by dropping my gaze, but upon that, I now had her bulging huge breasts in my vision.
Minami’s presented big breasts were at a defenceless distance, where a little movement of my hand could grab them, which only added to my unrest. But I kept my composure, at least appearance-wise. I raised my head and looked into Minami’s eyes.
“Minami, if you want to get closer to Hijiri, I think you should tell that to herself and not me.”
“Th- That’s no what I mean. Sure, I want to get closer to Gogyou-san, but I, well, with you, I…”
Fidgeting with her index fingers against each other, Minami tried to say something with a quiet voice, but
“Sis~ The radio exercise is starting~!”
suddenly there was a loud voice and erased her words completely.
I shifted my gaze to the voice, where I confirmed a boy, at the age for elementary school, widely waved his hand to Minami, probably her little brother.
For a moment, Minami showed a complicated expression upon seeing that, but soon enough she relaxed the corners of her mouth and waved her hand with a “I’m coming!”.
“Sorry, Nanjou-kun, Gogyou-san, my brother is waiting for me. See you later.”
“Yeah, see you later. Though I’m going home now.”
When I replied so suited, Minami took my hand somewhat spoiled.
“Geez, don’t be so mean. It’s a chance meeting, so let’s talk for a bit.”
“Talk, huh…. About the summer homework?”
“I, I don’t want to hear these words from your mouth, Nanjou-kun!”
Along with her words, she let go off my hand, pressed both her hands against her ears and turned her back to me.
It was a reaction like when your lover brought up a break-up. Minami went away just like that in an escape, but she suddenly stopped and turned around.
“Reminds me, Nanjou-kun, you’re not going to come to seaside school again this year?”
“Yeah. Just like last year, I’m busy spending my times with alcohol, cigarettes, fights and women.”
“Nanjou-kun, that’s so cool…”
Surprisingly enough, Minami showed a positive reaction with a spellbound expression. But in contrast to that Minami, Hijiri and Nazuna stared at me incredible lonely. I couldn’t endure their looks, so I hastily corrected my statement.
“M- Minami, I was just kidding around, a joke. Actually, I’m coming too.”
“Eh, really!?”
In a matter of seconds, a joyful look spread on Minami’s face and her cheeks coloured pinkish.
“Nanjou-kun, Nanjou-kun, I’m going too, so let’s play together there.”
“Well, if I feel like it…”
I nonchalant replied the sudden hyper Minami.
Then, for no apparent reason, Minami crossed her arms behind her back and started to take a sexy pose.
“Nanjou-kun, you know, I bought a daring swimsuit this year. Fufu, you’ll certainly feel like it.”
Laughing erotically, Minami sent me a wink.
…Minami had a good style, so when she took a pose like that, it was quite something.
I was having that honest impression, when Minami suddenly faced Nazuna.
“We’ll talk later too, Nazuna-chan.”
“Eh? O- Okay…”
Suddenly being called upon, Nazuna nodded a bit bewildered. Minami grinned and went over to her little brother…but it was weird. Nazuan shouldn’t have named herself yet.
A bit concerned, I called out to Nazuna.
“Hey, Nazuna. You knew Minami?”
“Mhm~, I think it was my first time meeting her, but… somehow, I have a strange feeling. When she called my name, I had a real scare.”
Tilting her head, Nazuan grumbled mysterious.
There Elni rested her hand on Nazuna’s shoulder.
“Nazucat, that’s love. Your ever fast beating heart is proof enough.”
“Ehm, it’s not that kind of feeling… but I don’t know how to describe it.”
Still tilting her head, Nazuna crossed her arms and pondered. But, she was probably just surprised by having her name called out by someone she didn’t know.
However, how did Minami know Nazuna’s name?
I was doubtful, but it was nothing to think too deeply about.
Deciding so, I called out to Nazuna and Elni.
“C’mon, the radio exercise is starting. You guys hurry up too.”
“Yeah! You come with us, Brother.”
“…Sorry, Nazuna. I have to talk with Hijiri.”
“I see…. Then make sure to take part tomorrow.”
When Nazuna showed a smile, now Elni talked to me.
“Fufu, Shinobu, feel free to watch my pretty form! I’m actually quite skilled at T’ai chi ch’uan!”
“No, what are you going to do at a radio exercise? Do it properly.”
I retorted to Elni with that and watched over the two of them heading for the exercise, when Hijiri, who had stayed silent the whole time, made a sigh of relief.
“Elni and Nazuna-chan saved me…”
“Yeah, indeed. Even if it’s early in the morning, we should have been a bit more careful. It was my negligence. Sorry.”
“D- Don’t bow, Shinobu-kun! It was me, who was negligent. You’re not at fault at all. Please raise your head.”
…I had lowered my head in an apology, but it made Hijiri considerate instead.
I raised my head with a wry smile and opened my mouth with a “Then”
“How about we say it’s both our fault? Next time, we both will be more careful. I’ll make a follow up if anything happens.”
“Yeah, thanks. It’s reassuring when you say that.”
Hijiri showed a soft smile, but her chest was unmistakably shaking in worry up till now.
…I was really negligent. I made a sigh in my heart and strangely reprimanded myself.
Back in elementary school, Hijiri’s friends at school had once find out about her secret. It was shut down by her father’s influence, but it couldn’t be covered up completely. Weird rumours spread at school and everyone feared Hijiri…and avoided her.
I still remembered vividly that Hijiri was close to tears, when she told me about that.
If someone were to find out about her circumstances again, she would surely be feared again. That was how Hijiri thought, so she didn’t even tell her close friends about her own job.
…I almost was about to have Hijiri suffer the same feelings as back then.
I made a sigh in my heart once more while I thought at the bottom of my heart.
That it actually might work out with Minami.
After all, she wasn’t even scared of me
Suddenly remembering one year ago, I casually faced Minami.
Minami was properly doing the radio exercises and whenever she moved her body greatly, her voluminous breasts shook bouncing. Moreover, when she bended forward, her panties came nearly visible under her short skirt. …A little bit too stimulating scenery for the kids.
Having that impression, I slowly averted my eyes from Minami. There I felt a gaze on me and noticed that Hijiri was sneaking peeks at me.
“What’s up?”
“N- Nothing!”
When I called out to her, Hijiri hastily shook her hands. But after a while, she timidly opened her mouth.
“Uhm, Shinobu-kun, what do you, well, think of Minami-san?”
“She’s a weird girl.”
The moment I answered, Hijiri pinched my cheek. Well, while I called it pinched, it was more of a lightly plucking and didn’t hurt at all…
“Shinobu-kun, you can’t say that about a girl.”
“No, don’t get the wrong idea. I wasn’t really speaking bad of her. It was my way of a compliment.”
“Eh? So you hid your usual embarrassment by calling her a weird girl while you actually cherish affection for Minami-san?”
“Yeah, for the most part. I do think that she’s cute.”
“Shinobu-kun is honest on a rare occasion!?”
For some reason, Hijiri made a shocked face and dropped her shoulders.
“…I knew it, boys are attracted to cute girls like Minami-san. I’m a bit envious of Minami-san. Since I’m not cute…”
Surely, you would call Hijiri “beautiful” rather than “cute”. She also held the stronger image of being “cool” or “dignified”. You could also add that her usual dignified expression never ceased to smite the female students.
As a matter of fact, even I had that impression at first.
But the more I got to know Hijiri, I noticed another charm to her.
“Each person has his own charming point, Hijiri. You don’t really need to worry. You have your own good points. So you don’t need to compare yourself to Minami.”
“….But, you called Minami cute.”
“Well, yeah.”
I had no reason to deny it. I replied with a nod, when Hijiri blushed and asked.
“Th- Then, what about me?”
“…You’re an unexpected sullen lecher?”
The moment I answered, my cheeks were slapped around now.
She didn’t really put any strength into it. So just like with the cheek pinching earlier, I felt close to no pain. But, apparently Hijiri’s mood was damaged.
“…Shinobu-kun, you idiot.”
Lightly puffing her cheeks, Hijiri pouting faced sideways.
I honestly considered that behaviour cute and felt my cheeks forming a smile. I never knew Hijiri could make such a face before I got to know her better.
Suppressing my smile, I rested my hand on Hijiri’s head.
“Sorry, I took the joke too far. To be honest, I think you’re a very cute girl.”
Along with my words, I patted her head lightly, when Hijiri turned bright red up to her ears and looked down.
“…I, might be done for.”
“Huh, what’s up? Do you feel sick?”
“That’s not it…You’re sly, Shinobu-kun.”
“I don’t really get it, but that’s what makes a man great, right?”
“…Yeah.”
O- Ohh? I didn’t expect her to agree. When she gave a reaction like that, even I would get bashful. I should quickly change the topic. I pointed at Elni doing her radio exercise.
“L- Look there, Hijiri. Only Elni is out of rhythm.”
“You’re right…”
Following my gaze, Hijiri smiled a bit.
Apparently Elni didn’t really seem to know the radio exercise movements. Sometimes she moved completely wrong and when she noticed it, she hastily mimicked the movement of the others.
I’ll keep it to myself that I considered that cute.
You didn’t get tired of watching her….
While such thoughts crossed my mind, the radio exercise ended and Nazuna and Elni came back to the bench. There we indulged into a chitchat with Minami for a while, then we left the park behind us.
Soon enough we reached a parting point, where Minami suddenly reached out her hand for Nazuna.
“Let’s talk again, Nazuna-chan.”
Lovingly petting Nazuna’s head and smiling softly, Minami said isolated.

“…I’m glad you’re all energetic again, Nazuna-chan.”

It was mumbled so quietly that it got drown out by the chirping of cicadas.
Nazuna, as she couldn’t hear it properly like me, tilted her head and asked back.
“Mh? What, Minami-san?”
“No, nothing.”
Minami shook her head with a smile. But her eyes narrowed and she mumbled “Minami-san, huh…” somewhat sadly. Then she slowly shifted her gaze to me.
“Play with me again next time, Nanjou-kun.”
That was said in an unusual childish tone. Along with her words, Minami waved her hand a bit and holding hands with her little brother, she went away.
For some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off her back….




Chapter 01: Before the Trip

This might come sudden, but the three-days-two-nights seaside school of the Midoriyama high school that I attend are voluntary extracurricular classes, so by no means mandatory.
I had heard that in the past the students were taken there regardless of their opinion, but opposition was great in that time, so it became voluntary one day and since the participant count dropped year by year, it was now a combined event with the affiliated middle school.
From what I heard from Minami a few days ago, the seaside school didn’t have usual stuff like swimming practice, but was merely focussing on letting the students deepen their relationships.
…Reminiscing about that, I sat on the sofa in the living room and watch TV absent-minded. Then two girls showed up from the dining kitchen.
One of them was our reliable older sister, Luna. The other one was our easy to trick and then retorting freeloader, Machina Liebelei Orangelo.
On a first glance Luna and Machina looked like normal girls, but there weren’t actually humans.
The blonde beauty with melon-big breasts and a dynamite body—Luna emitted an aura of neatness, which didn’t suit the reality of her being a devil.
Likewise, the beautiful girl with red hair and clever features standing besides Luna, Machina was a hybrid devil. She had an excellent style that even surpassed a gravure idol and was Luna’s little stepsister.
They probably finished cleaning up the earlier dinner…
Such thought crossed my mind, when Luna sat down besides me with a smile and for no apparent reason,
“Meow”
she mimicked Nazuna and clung to me.
…Lately, Luna was seeking physical contact quite aggressive.
Well, I had an idea why. Previously, I had told her “You can act spoiled at times”, which likely triggered this behaviour.
Anyway, I was honestly happy that Luna acting spoiled like that. I was happy, but her two big breasts pressed onto my body and moreover a sweet fragrance hung in the air, so I was nervous.
But since I told her to was okay to act like that, I properly wanted to response to it.
Aware that my pulse was raising, I lightly patted Luna’s head. Upon that,
“Meow, meow.”
She leaked a voice, mimicking Nazuna again, and clung to me even stronger.
Mh, the sensation of her breasts was getting dangerous. The bouncing elasticity felt way too pleasant. I would like to touch both her breasts. I would like to borrow my palms into them. Such wicked emotions started to grow in my chest.
….Not good. To regain my composure, I repeated to take deep breaths in my heart. But that effort was in vain and Machina, watching over us, also sat down on the sofa.
“M- Meow…”
With a bit hesitation and her cheeks turning red, she clung onto me like Luna. But,
“Not even close to Nazuna. You need more practice. Go wash your face and try again.”
“S- Sorry. I certainly lack practice—wait, why do I have to get scolded! Actually, what’s with this indifferent reaction!? Totally different how you treated my sister!”
“My own way of hiding my embarrassment. Don’t fret over it.”
As a matter of fact, I felt Machina’s voluminous breasts and her body temperature, which accelerated my heartbeat.
For now I somehow managed to keep my composure, but it wouldn’t last forever like this. I should make up some kind of reason to get away from these two.
When I thought of that, my cell phone signalized the arriving of a mail with the perfect timing.
“Excuse me for a bit.”
I didn’t know thanks to whom, but I was saved. I natural stood up, getting away from Luna and Machina, and at the same time took out my cell phone. When I looked at it, I saw that it was a mail from Hijiri.
Let’s see, “Hello, Shinobu-kun. This is sudden, but how is your summer homework coming along? I’m having a hard time with English, since I’m bad with it. If you would like, could we study together? I’m sure we’ll make faster progress together…What do you think?”.
Mh, I was kind of happy that she suggested that, but I had already finished my homework. But well, I could still help her with hers. I was actually good with English. And since Hijiri had helped me on various occasions, I should take this chance to repay her.
I was thinking like that, when my phone rang again. This time it was a mail from Kaorun.
“Shinobu-sama, Hijiri-chan was thinking about what to write you in a mail all day yesterday. I believe she merely wanted a chance to talk to you, Shinobu-sama.
She must have been lonely for not seeing you. Every night, Hijiri-chan’s wealthy body becomes hot while thinking about you. And she comforts her body with her own slender fingers <3”
…For a moment I was quite surprised about the shocking contents of the mail, but it was just Kaorun’s joke anyway.
With that mindset, I dared to sent a mail with the following content: “I heard about it from Kaorun. You’re not making any progress on your homework, because you keep playing with yourself. I’ll help you with English, so cut down the perverted stuff a bit.”
I was really looking forward to Hijiri’s reaction. When I waited a bit excited for a reply,
“…You are smirking, what’s up, Shinobu?”
“Who was it from?”
Machina made a wary face and Luna showed a smile while asking so.
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“Yeah, actually it was from—”
Before I could answer that it was from Hijiri, the ring tone of my cell phone cut into my words.
I faintly frowned and looked down, when I noticed that Hijiri was calling me.
“I’m going out for a bit.”
The sound of the TV was interrupting. Leaving the living room, I pressed the cell phone onto my ear and at that moment—I could hear Hijiri’s loud voice through the phone.
“Sh- Shinobu-kun! Don’t get the wrong idea! Kaoru-san made up all of that! I’m not perverted!”
Raising a greatly flustered voice, Hijiri continued with rapid talking.
“Sure, I was lonely for not seeing you and thought of you. But! While I feel sorry for you, I’m not doing anything perverted while thinking of you! To begin with, I haven’t done so even once yet. I don’t even know how to!”
Quite shaken, Hijiri made a coming out with matters she should have kept to herself.
Honestly, I considered it cute, but I should stop her now.
I called out to Hijiri with a soft tone.
“You don’t need to be so flustered. That mail was just Kaorun’s joke. I know that you’re a sullen— I mean, I know you’re not perverted, Hijiri.”
“Shinobu-kun, you were about to call me a sullen pervert just now! I knew it, you consider me a perverted girl!”
“No, wait, you’re wrong! You really got the wrong idea! There’s no deep meaning behind my words!”
I hastily made a follow up to Hijiri’s tearful voice. But through the phone,
“…Speaking of, Freud said ‘You can get a glimpse of one’s true feeling through his slip of tongue’. I guess Shinobu-sama really considers you to be a perverted girl, Hijiri-chan.”
I could faintly hear Kaorun’s indifferent voice. Then Hijiri raised a “Uwa~hn” cry.
…Damn. Hijiri ended up crying.
What to do? I felt a cold sweat breaking out on my forehead, when I heard Kaorun’s angry voice through the phone, as she switched with Hijiri.
“Shinobu-sama, Hijiri-chan is crying now! How are you going to take responsibility!”
“…Don’t forget that part of that responsibility falls onto you too!”
“Koarun doesn’t know!”
“Owa, ouch! That coming from a maid at your age, that hurts!”
“…For some reason, I do not wish to be told that by you in particular, Shinobu-sama.”
Kaorun replied dissatisfied, whereupon I made a short pause, then timidly asked.
“So, how’s Hijiri?”
“Hijiri-chan is now heading for the bed—and started to cry out her eyes into the pillow. Can you hear her, Shinobu-sama? This sad crying voice…”
“Yeah, I can hear it rather well.”
Replying so with a sigh, I covered my face with one hand.
…I did something bad to Hijiri. I had to apologies quickly or it would get ugly.
“Shinobu-sama, I feel bad for interrupting your brute thoughts of ‘Gehehe. I want to bully Hijiri some more. I want to turn her firm snow-white ass bright red with my own hands.’, but—”
“Sorry, but it’s you, who has such thoughts.”
Cutting into Kaorun’s words, I retorted sharply.
Upon that, Kaorun replied with a discontent “How rude”, then suddenly change her tone.
“Well, the jokes aside, I have a favour to ask, Shinobu-sama. Could I prompt you to come over here? I assume that Hijiri-chan’s mood will be fixed when you come here…”
“I see. Then I’ll get a gift as an apology and come over.”
“Please make the gift a cake, Shinobu-sama. A chocolate one for Hijiri-chan and a strawberry shortcake for myself. Of course I would not mind if you brought a wedding cake either.”
Kaorun shamelessly asked for the gifts…
“Kaorun, a wedding cake is over the top. Make do with a normal cake.”
“…Eh? Uhm, are you sure? It was a joke on my part just now. Just by having you come over, Hijiri-chan and myself will be… well, happy. Please do not concern yourself so much with the cakes.”
I thought for sure she would call me “good-for-nothing”, but Kaorun leaked a rather meek voice.
Startled a bit by that voice, I declared to Kaorun with a kind tone.
“A cake is no big deal. I’ll just snatch away your long-awaited strawberry from your shortcake and merciless eat it right in front of your eyes. So you also don’t concern yourself so much with it.”
“Please wait a moment! What kind of evil thing is that to do! You are not human, Shinobu-sama! You brute! Heretic! Do you actually have a heart!?”
“I threw that away long ago. I’ll just greedily devour your strawberry as I desire.”
Along with my words, I raised a loud laugher. What came back was Kaorun’s weary voice.
“…Uhm, I offer my sincerest apologies for interrupting the highlight of your adolescent delusions of grandeur, but may I call you an idiot?”
“Shut up! You perverted Mai— I mean, shut up, you slutty maid!”
“Shinobu-sama, you first wanted to call me a perverted maid and then changed it into something even worse! That is too much! Do you believe I am a slut!?”
“Yeah, I do. That’s exactly what I mean. There’s no falsity in my words.”
I declared without hesitation to Kaorun’s tearful voice.
In that instant, Kaorun mimicked Hijiri and purposefully raised a “Fueh~ Shinobu-sama is so mean!” crying voice.
Our usual witty exchange was kind of enjoyable. Somehow having fun, I laughed and continued even further.
“Kaorun, the jokes— have only begun!”
“No, I am already tired of joking around. Please leave the jokes at that and come over already. If you do not give it a rest, I will launch a ultrasonic wave attack.”
“At that time I’ll send an ultra wave of abuses in opposition to sonic you in—ah, no, forget that. I’ll come over now. Just wait and look forward to the gift.”
I heard Kaorun taking a deep breath through the phone. Kaorun was quite capable of not only leaking an ultrasonic wave, but also an enchanting voice. Like she said, I stopped the jokes.
Then Kaorun gave a single warning with a somewhat low voice.
“Well then, Shinobu-sama, please do make sure to proceed alone. In case you should bring someone with you… please consider the hostage’s life as over.”
“What are you, a kidnapper? Don’t worry, I’ll come alone. I have something to ask Hijiri anyway.”
“Something to ask? If it is regarding Hijiri-chan’s sensitive spots, her ears—-Ah, please stop, Hijiri-chan! N- Not my bottom!”
Apparently Hijiri was doing something to her. Midway in her sentence Kaorun’s voice broke.
“Sh- Shinobu-sama! On a rare occasion, Hijiri-chan is angry! Your beloved maid is in a pinch! Please hurry and save me!”
“I’ll assist Hijiri. So prepare yourself, perverted maid.”
“A threesome!?”
Having some kind of misunderstanding, Kaorun leaked a delighted voice.
“Oh my god. When I think that you two will tease me, my body gets all—”
Not letting her finish, I cut the call.
….Now then, I should make my way over to Hijiri’s house.
A few days ago, Hijiri had told me that “A devil might hide at the seaside school location”. At that time we had no choice but to suspend the conversation, but normal students and Nazuna were attending the seaside school. So I should ask her for some details, just in case.
Also, I had a bit to discuss with Hijiri’s father, Sougo-san.
Previously Sougo-san asked me “Any plans to become an exorcist?”, whereupon I was rather flustered, since I had none. But he somewhat forcefully made me listen to him, so I certainly became interested in the exorcist training.
I was still far from being strong. If learning exorcist spells made me stronger, there was no need to hesitate. I would gladly like to accept the training.
…Because I would lose something precious again if I stayed weak.
For a moment, a pain ran through my chest. But, I raised my head, regained my spirit and returned to my own room to get ready. After that I shortly told the girls “I’m going out” and headed outside with my bicycle. ….Outside it was still hot. The cicadas were annoying chirping while I put my hands on my bicycle, when I saw a girl.
Shining silver hair tied up in twin tails. Skin white as clouds. This adorable girl with the small and slender body was our stupid freeloader Elni.
Untrustworthy, she also seemed to be no human like Luna and Machina and claimed herself to be a Goddess. Elni was playing in the garden with a passing-by stray cat in the shadow of a tree.
She innocently called out to the cat with “Meow, meow”. Seeing her like that, I inadvertently smiled. I stopped and watched over her, when
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“Oh, Shinobu.”
Elni apparently noticed me. Raising up and waving her hand with a “See you” to the cat, she came over with a smile. Then she got on the back of my bicycle while still smiling.
“Shinobu-san, I want to see the sea.”
“Sorry, but I’m busy, so some other time.”
Elni said with the tone of an elegant miss, whereupon I replied nonchalant.
Upon that, Elni once more changed her tone and said like a childhood friend.
“Shinobu-chan, take me to the Koushien.”
“I decline. As you can see, I’m going out. Hurry up and get off the bike.”
I once again denied point-blank, but Elni wasn’t discouraged and rested her hand on my shoulder.
“Shinobu, the purple dawn is calling for me. Purple is the colour of desire. Let us go together.”
“Go chase your desire to wherever you want alone. I told you, I’m busy. So hurry and get off the bike.”
I said rebuking, when Elni grabbed my sleeve and pleaded with teary eyes.
“Shinobu-san! I! want to see the hope for tomorrow!”
“…I’ll buy you an ice-cream on my way home. So please get off the bike.”
“Yay~”
Showing a satisfied smile and raising both her hands, Elni finally got off my bicycle.
“Well then, Shinobu, be careful!”
“…You also be careful of the moonless night.”
Smiling dubious along with a joke, I drove away on my bicycle.
I once before had been over to Hijiri’s house. So I knew my way.
Under the glorious blue sky, I pedalled on my bicycle with attitude.

* * *

Like I had told Kaorun over the phone, I first bought some cakes at the shopping district. After that, I pedalled while being exposed to the strong summer sun, when I finally arrived at a huge Japanese style mansion—Hijiri’s house.
At the same time, I spotted a beautiful maid standing in front of the house’s doorplate. Almond eyes, a smooth nose bridge and soft, well-formed lips. At least appearance-wise a perfect beauty with good proportions….but sadly, it was the perverted maid Kaorun.
On a rare occasion, Kaorun seemed to be in a delighted mood and smiled faintly. But upon recognizing me, she hastily created her usual inexpressiveness, as to hide her own emotions.
“Welcome, Shinobu-sama.”
Kaorun made a polite curtsey befitting for a maid, then took out a handkerchief from the pocket of her maid clothes and gently wiped the sweat from my cheeks.
“Thank you for coming through this intense heat. Please do come inside.”
“Yo, thanks, I’ll just do that. Here, the goods you requested.”
Getting of my bicycle, I handed over the cakes, when Kaorun smiled lightly.
“I know how playful you are, Shinobu-sama, so I take that you put something into the cake box as a surprise, but what exactly is it? Is it money? Is it equities? Or is it all of your love? I do hope that it is your love, Shinobu-sama.”
“That’s for you to find out—Is what I would like to say, but I prepared a surprise, where white smoke comes out once you open the box, which ages you for hundred years upon contact.”
“Urashima’s box!?”
I continued further to the surprised Kaorun.
“By the way, along with the smoke, all kind of sins and calamities will spill out and throw humanity into sorrow. But don’t worry, I’m sure there’s still a bit of hope at the bottom of the box.”
I explained as such, whereupon Kaorun made a disappointed sigh.
“So it is the box of Pandora? Please stop this nonsense and get into the house already. It is quite hot outside.”
“…Hey, you brought this up, so what’s up with this reaction? If you keep screwing with me, I’ll wipe my sweat with your maid apron.”
“Kyaa~ Shinobu-sama, you pervert. Lecher. Maid fetishist~”
A complete change from her impassive expression. Kaorun swiftly ran away with the corners of her mouth blurred to a smile. I slowly followed after her and opened my mouth with a “Reminds me…”.
“You were waiting in this heat?”
Kaorun replied to that question by lightly nodded while still having her back to me.
“I was so excited about your coming, Shinobu-sama. Certainly it was somewhat hot outside, but thinking of my beloved Shinobu-sama mysteriously made me forget about the heat and time.”
“Y- You can get dreamy about me all you want, but be careful not to get a heatstroke.”
Suddenly saying such sweet stuff was against the rules. I joked around like always, but my voice was a pitch too high. Seemingly I was kind of bashful. I scratched my hot cheeks, when Kaorun suddenly turned around.
“Fufu, this was all a lie on my part, you know? I was watering the flowers in the garden, then I spotted you when I came out by chance and greeted you. That is all to it. Did I deceive you?
Kaorun smiled playful with her cheeks faintly red.
With her I couldn’t really tell if she was just hiding her embarrassment or if she was telling the truth. I just shrugged my shoulders and entered the house on Kaorun’s invitation.
…The house was huge as ever. I continued to walk down the hallway in awe and when we reached the stairs, Kaorun said as a prologue “I forgot to tell you over the phone…”.
“Today, the Master and Mistress along with the idiot— I mean, along with the young master are out of the house, so currently it is just Hijiri-chan, you, Shinobu-sama, and me here.”
I thought the treatment of the young master, Hijiri’s little brother, was kind of mean, but I didn’t interject and following Kaorun, I slowly went up the stairs.
There Kaorun continued further with “Therefore, Shinobu-sama”.
“It will pose no problem when you start chasing Hijiri-chan with just one pair of panties and shouting ‘Hi~jiri~chan’, like the gentleman thief something the 3rd with long sideburns, upon entering her room. Please become a slave to your instincts all you want. An animally teacher that pretends to help with her studies. The beast and the beauty. The Beast to Die.”
“…Could it be, you’re dissing me?
“That is not the case at all, Mr. Lewd Beast…Ah, I made a mistake, Mr. Beast.”
“Who are you calling a beast? You’re still mistaken, slutty maid…no, I mean, Beast Maid.”
“…You are also still mistaken, Shinobu-sama. Actually, please do not copy me.”
Frowning a little, Kaorun approached the room that became visible at the top of the stairs and suddenly opened it’s door without even knocking.
“Go ahead, Shinobu-sama.”
“No, don’t give me that. Shouldn’t we at least knock?”
It wasn’t my house, but I warned her anyway while I was entered the room, urged by Kaorun.
Unlike the Japanese style exterior of the house, the room was western styled. Everything was kept tidy and in order and I saw cute accessories and decorative plants, but looking around the whole room once, I couldn’t see Hijiri.
“Hey, where’s Hijiri?”
“I believe she is waiting in her own room for you while her body is getting all hot.”
“…The stuff about getting hot aside, this isn’t Hijiri’s room?”
“No, this is my room. First of all, I wanted you to know me better, so I guided you to my own room. Shinobu-sama, I will look away for a moment, so I do not mind that you obey your desire and start sniffing my blanket.”
“I rather would like to sniff your body, but I’ll make do with your blanket for today.”
Saying monotone what I didn’t even mean, I sat down on the bed and continued with a yawn.
“…I’m kinda tired, so I’ll sleep. Wake me up for dinner.”
“Please ask Hijiri-chan for that. This is a rare opportunity, so I will sleep together with you, Shinobu-sama.”
Along with her words, Kaorun placed the cake box onto the floor, then reached out for her own clothes and excitedly started to unbutton the buttons around her chest.
“…Hey, wait. Why are you taking off your clothes?”
“Well, sleeping with my clothes would wrinkle them. And since it is so hot today, I thought about sleeping in my underwear…”
Replying nonchalant, Kaorun came closer with a bewitching smile. Moreover, a black brassiere was peeking out and looking at me with upturned eyes, she said seducing.
“Shinobu-sama, you can also sniff the smell of my body.”
Oh, good maid smell, c’mon— like hell! As if I could do something so embarrassing! What are you thinking! Do you want to turn me into a pervert as well?”
For a moment I pictured a bad delusion and before I noticed it, I had spoken in weird English.
Seeing me like this, Kaorun giggled and continued teasingly.
“It was just a joke, Shinobu-sama. Hijiri-chan is waiting, so we should head to her room now.”
“…Sure, but your jokes are bad for my heart.”
Feeling my cheeks getting hot, I leaked a sigh while I suddenly thought.
That Kaorun showed a bit more expressions now.
Until not long ago, she had always been expressionless. She rarely showed a smile. But right now, this Kaorun was smiling in front of me. This little change gradually warmed my heart.
Actually Kaorun was half-human, half-devil. Because of that, she was under the control of the exorcist organisation since childhood and treated as a tool for a long time, was what I heard. She herself also thought of herself as a tool. For a long time, she didn’t fawn over her master, Hijiri.
But it was different now. You could tell by her smile. Without doubt, Kaorun thought of Hijiri as her family.
Inadvertently I smiled faintly while I walked down the long hallway again with Kaorun. We reached a room at the end of it. Kaorun knocked and immediately opened the door, where a single girl came into vision.
Glamorous long, black hair and dignified features. Voluminous breasts and a slender waist. Long, dazzling legs. As always, Hijiri was an attractive beauty.
Hijiri defencelessly wore a sleeveless shirt and a miniskirt on her curvy body, which had a high exposure rate.
“Welcome, Shinobu-kun.”
“Yo, sorry for earlier. I took the joke too far.”
“No. It was my fault for getting a weird misunderstanding. Sorry.”
After lowering her head a bit, Hijiri raised her head and showed a smile.
“But thanks for coming today. Make yourself at home.”
“Yeah, I’ll, thanks.”
Nodding, I entered the room.
Like Koarun’s room, Hijiri’s was a pretty western style room and emitted a nice smell. There were a few dog plush toys in the room, making it certainly girly.
….Reminded me, Hijiri loved dogs.
When I remembered that, Kaorun placed her hand onto my shoulder.
“Please consider yourself honoured, Shinobu-sama. Family aside, this is the first time Hijiri-chan let a male into her own room. A first experience. It is so exciting. Please be gentle to her.”
“…Hey, Maid, don’t avert the conversation into a weird direction midway.”
Retorting, I sat down on a sitting cushion near the table. There Kaorun sat down besides me and asked with a teasing tone.
“Incidentally, how many females have you lured into your room so far, Shinobu-sama?”
“I stopped counting after hundred.”
“You crossed the hundred mark!?”
“Shinobu-kun, you playboy!”
When I shamelessly showed off, both Kaorun and Hijiri widened her eyes in surprise. After that, Hijiri dropped her shoulders in a very depressed state.
“…I knew it, Shinobu-kun is popular, since he’s so handsome.”
“Eh? Hijiri-chan? That was a joke on Shinobu-sama’s part, you know? Please do not take it for real. Also, please tell us the truth, Shinobu-sama.”
“I stopped counting after hundred.”
“—It’s important, so I said it twice. But it were all energetic freshman girls. However, fear not. I’m an expert that comprehends even from examples. You don’t embrace a woman just physically, but mentally. So there’s no problem at all.”
“…Kaorun, stop adding any weird monologues. I actually can count the females in my room with one hand. Sadly enough, most of them are family.”
When I answered truthfully with a sigh this time, Hijiri’s eyes were sparkling for some reason.
“That’s a surprise… I thought you would get along better with girls, Shinobu-kun.”
“It is because Shinobu-sama is a cute tsundere.”
Giving me a very grudging evaluation, Kaorun stood up and face Hijiri.
“Hijiri-chan, Shinobu-sama brought some cakes as a gift over, but… please forgive me. I forgot the cake box in my own room. I will go fetch the box and prepare some drinks as well. So I will excuse myself for a bit.”
Saying that with a weird explanation tone, Kaorun suddenly shifted her gaze towards me.
“Shinobu-sama, coffee or black tea, which one would you like to have?”
“Green tea is fine.”
“I understand. Coffee it is.”
Completely ignoring my funny attempt, Kaorun decided on my drink on her own.
I believed that even if I had answered with “Black tea”, she would have said “Coffee it is”.
I got somewhat weary, when Kaorun seemingly made some kind of eye-contact with Hijri.
“Now then, Shinobu-sama, please enjoy your stay.”
Leaving behind these profound words, Kaorun left the room.
There Hijiri suddenly approached me and for no apparent reason, she coloured her cheeks red and gently leaned against my shoulder.
Instantly, I could feel Hijiri’s warmth through my shoulders and a refreshing fragrance also hung in the air at the same time. Her pretty face was really close. If I were to look down, I would get a good view on her deep cleavage and my heartbeat would raise. But,
“Mh? What’s wrong?”
I asked so, completely hiding my agitation. But Hijiri didn’t seem to mind it and rested her warm palm onto my thigh with her cheeks still flushed.
“We’re all alone, Shinobu-kun.”
Slowly brining her soft and pink lips closer, she said with a melting sweet voice.
“…Should we do, something perverted?”
For a moment, I was dangerously close to lose myself on these words, but I restrained myself by clenching my fists. I feisty aimed to forget, but—Hijiri was my fiancée.
Of course that was only decided by our grandfathers and not official. You could consider it just a formality. However, ever since Hijiri, the exorcist, came to know of it, she tried to seduce me for the sake of a yin and yang technique.
The technique she wanted to use was the bedchamber skill. It increased one‘s power by mixing the male yang energy with the female yin energy, well in other words, it was needed to do perverted stuff.
Hijiri wanted to gain achievements as an exorcists to change the exorcist organisation that treated hybrid devils like Kaorun as tools. Therefore she used all kinds of approaches to seduce me, so that she could raise her own power with the yin-yang technique.
But I was opposed to get into that kind of relationship with Hijiri just for that skill. I was afraid that her current action was just another attempt to seduce me. I felt a bit sorry for her, but I ignored her attempt as always.
“Hijiri, don’t act stupid in the middle of the day and let’s hurry up with studying.”
“Sh- Shinobu-kun called me stupid!”
Not paying Hijiri, who dropped her shoulders, any mind, I pulled out my workbooks from the bag I brought with me, albeit a bit grieved.
Usually Hijiri stopped her seduction at this point, which put me at ease. But when I got ready to study, surprisingly enough, Hijiri pulled reserved on my sleeve.
“Shinobu-kun, please listen to me, even just for a bit.”
“Say, Hijiri, today we were going to—”
“L- Look right, Shinobu-kun!”
Cutting into my words, Hijiri tried her best.
It couldn’t be helped, so I faced the direction she point at, when she continued further with “Now look left”.
…Just what was Hijiri making me do? Suspicious, I once again obeyed her instruction, when I heard Hijiri’s quiet voice mix with nervousness after a short pause.
“L- Lastly, look at me…”
“Well, okay.”
For now I replied and shifted my gaze back, whereupon Hijiri was pointed out her well-formed lips with both her eyes closed.
“…Ehm, what kind of gag is this? I don’t get this parody.”
I really was startled while I asked with a weary tone to hide it.
Instantly, Hijiri shouted with tears dwelling up in her eyes.
“Uhh…! It’s not working at all, Kaoru-san!”
At that moment, suddenly the door opened and Kaorun showed up with a tray. She approached us while tilting her head with a “That is strange”.
“I thought for sure that Shinobu-san would give in to your seduction and forget himself. Pushing you down while stripping off your clothes, whereupon you pretend to resist with ‘Stop, Shinobu-kun, we have to do the summer homework’ while blushing. Upon that, Shinobu-sama replies ‘Summer homework? I’ll make you forget about that in bed’ with bloodshot eyes, turning into a beast…”
While saying such rude things, Kaorun placed the cakes, drinks and the glass container with sugar cubes from the tray onto the table.
Watching Kaorun with scornful eyes, Hijiri lightly puffed her cheeks.
“Kaoru-san, Shinobu-kun wasn’t pleased at all. I did everything you told me. but… I guess the way of my seduction is wrong after all?”
“Mh, it is truly regrettable that you doubt me. If that is how you think, I shall seduce Shinobu-sama this time. You watch closely, Hijiri-chan.”
Putting the tray in her hands aside, Kaorun stood up and faced me.
“Excuse me, Shinobu-sama, could you place face to the right side?”
I had a lot to say. But, for now I obeyed Kaorun’s words.
“Next, please face to the left, Shinobu-sama.”
…Either way, she was just going to do the same as Hijiri. Getting a bit excited by Kaorun voice mixed with a sigh, I once again obeyed her words, when she continued further with a sweet voice.
“Lastly, Shinobu-sama, face my way…”
Stopping her words once, Kaorun lifted up the edge of her skirt while colouring her cheeks crimson, when I faced her. At the same time, she shyly averted her eyes from me and said mumbling.
“…and please watch… my perverted side.”
Along with her words, Koarun lifted up her skirt even higher and exposed her pretty long legs, soft white thighs and sexy black garter belt. However, while the crucial parts were nearly visible, I still couldn’t see.
….Before I noticed it, I had become troubled by that seductive short peak. But, I suddenly regained my senses and hastily averted my eyes from Kaorun’s thighs, then cladding myself in composure….I continued to add sugar cubes into my coffee.
There Kaorun let go off her skirt and faced Hijiri with her chest puffed up.
“Hijiri-chan, this is how real seduction goes. Shinobu-sama is so shaken that he even forgot to retort. If you keep up seductions likes this, it will gradually cause damage to his reasoning. The opponent will not fall with just a straight right. You need to use a jab as well.”
While saying so, Koarun shifted her gaze towards me and smiled playful.
“Incidentally, Shinobu-sama, how many cubes of sugar did you put in?”
“I stopped counting after hundred.”
“…Shinobu-kun is really shaken.”
Hijiri widened her eyes in surprise and lowered her head towards Kaorun with attitude.
“Kaoru-san, I’m sorry for doubting you. Please continue to advise me.”
No, judging by all previous incidents, Kaorun was sometimes just messing around. It would be wise not to take her all too serious. Or you would get tricked again.
I thought that, but it seemed unlikely I would be able to resist any more seduction from Hijiri right now. So I didn’t interject.
“Ehm, shouldn’t we eat our cake before the drinks get cold?”
So I took my coffee to change the topic. But when the coffee entered my mouth, it was sweeter than I had expected and I nearly chocked on it…

After finishing the cake, I looked at Hijiri’s English homework, but
“You, become my slave!”
Kaorun lay on the bed reading a light novel from which she sometime would read out a line aloud, probably because she wanted attention.
“Sh- Shut up and turn into cinders!”
…I was rather interested in the story of the novel. When I thought about having Kaorun lent it to me afterwards, Hijiri talked to me with a quiet voice.
“Sorry, Shinobu-kun. Usually Kaoru-san doesn’t do that, but I think she’s just so happy that you came over. So she seems in a bit of high spirits.”
“I see. I thought about giving her a piece of advice since she’s interrupting our studies, but if that’s how it is, I’ll refrain from doing so. I feel sorry for Kaorun, so let’s just ignore her.”
“Ehm, isn’t that even more pitiful for her?”
“No worries. This is Kaorun we’re speaking of. She’ll misunderstand it as some kind of ignore play and be pleased. Besides, the faster we finish our studying, the more we can play with Kaorun. For now we have to control ourselves.“
“Mhm~ I don’t think Kaoru-san is that much of a pervert…”
Hijiri seemed hesitant, but followed my suggestion in the end.
So just like that, we both ignored Kaorun. While we continued our studies, Kaorun stayed quiet, so we could concentrate and get started on the homework.
However, being completely ignored had it’s effect. When we had solved the first problem, I called out to Kaorun, who pretended to wet the pillow with her crying.
“Hey, Kaorun, you said Sougo-san is out, but when will he come back?”
I just had asked casually, but
“Eh? When we will be back? In other words, you want to speak to him… That means, is it possible!? You are going to tell the Master ‘Please give me your daughter!’!?”
“Is that so!?”
In some kind of misunderstanding, Kaorun and Hijri both widened her eyes. Following, Kaorun clung to Hijiri with a smile.
“You have done it, Hijiri-chan! Congratulations!”
“Oh my gosh, I’m so happy I could cry…”
“No, no, that’s not what I meant. Hijiri, don’t play along with Kaorun’s joke. There is just something I would like to ask Sougo-san.”
“Something to ask?”
It indeed was just a joke. Kaorun immediately returned to her usual self. However,
“…It was a joke, huh.”
Hijiri, on the other hand, mumbled with a sigh.
“What’s wrong?
“N- Nothing! Anyway, what do you want to ask my father?”
“…Well, if you say it’s nothing…Actually, I’m a bit interested in the exorcist training. So I want to ask Sougo-san about it.”
“Interested in the exorcist training? Why?”
“You know, I’m weak. So I want to get stronger, even if only a bit…”
When I replied with a wry smile, Hijiri and Kaorun looked at each other.
“Ehm, I don’t think you’re weak, Shinobu-kun.”
“It is as Hijiri-chan says. To be honest, I believe you are stronger than an imprudent exorcists, Shinobu-sama.”
“…That’s not true. I’m lacking much. I’m still not strong…”
There were plenty of people stronger than me. So far I hadn’t been satisfied with myself even once. It was fine if someone else was weak. But I couldn’t forgive myself for being weak. The reason for it—
“Shinobu-kun.”
I raised my head on the sudden call of my name. I saw Hijiri looking at me slightly worried.
…I might have made a more obstinate expression than I wanted to. Slowly reaching out for my face, Hijiri continued in a soft tone.
“Strength comes in all kind of shapes. Your kindness is without doubt a strength, You’re far more charming than a person that’s just strong. So you don’t need to be impatient like that, okay?”
My kindness is without doubt a strength, huh.
Having my head petted gently by Hijiri, I suddenly remembered.
“…In the past, a girl said something similar to me.”
“Mh? Is that so?”
“Yeah…”
Suddenly the image of a girl with long hair floated in my head.

—You’re not weak, Shinobu-chan. You’re really kind. You’re strong because you’re kind. I… since you’re like that, I love…

The moment the words of that girl went by in the head, I inadvertently bit my lips. …It might be better not to remember any more. It would just worry Hijiri. I forced myself to smile and opened my mouth to get back on topic.
“That aside, when is Sougo-san coming back?”
“I am afraid that the Master went far away. He will not return today.”
“Oh, is that so. Then it can’t be helped. Next time then…”
A bit dejected, I replied that to Kaorun. Hijiri raised her arm reserved.
“Shinobu-kun, if it’s about the exorcist training, I think I can tell you a bit too…”
“No, thanks for the offer, but I have something else I want to ask you, Hijiri. So not today.”
“You want to ask Hijiri-chan something? If it are her sensitive spots that I could not tell you over the phone— Ah, no, forget I said anything.”
When Hijiri and I glared at her at the same time, Kaorun, who had butted into the conversation, dropped her shoulders dejected and shut her mouth.
Kaorun might just have wanted attention, but for now we ignored her. Keeping in mind to play with Kaorun afterwards, I returned my gaze to Hijiri.
“Hijiri, you said that there might be a devil hidden at the seaside school, right? If you could, would you tell me more about it? Nazuna is going to be there as well. Please tell me anything I should be wary about.”
“Ah, I think that’s no problem.”
Hijiri replied with a smile to my words.
“I’m having Kaoru-san gather information at the moment, but the place where the devil is likely to hide seems to be a bit afar from the lodging house of the seaside school. I think there shouldn’t be any problems as long as no one approaches ruins through the nearby woodland path.”
“Yes, that is correct. According to my research, the power of the devil seems to be rather low. Moreover, the devil in question is not the type to go out hunting by himself, but rather the type that waits for the prey to approach his territory, just like a spider spans her net. So as long as no one approachs, there should not be any victims.”
Nodding in agreement with Hijiri, Kaorun continued supplementary.
“The reason Hijiri-chan was addressed for this matter is because previously a powerful devil hid at a nearby place. It happens rather often that a similar devil appears at a similar place, so they requested Hijiri-chan to investigate just in case…”
Stopping her words once, Kaorun made a small smile.
“Well, that is the official claiming.”
“Official claiming? What do you mean?”
“This job was passed over by Tachibana-sama. She told Hijiri-chan: ‘It’s summer vacation, so please enjoy the seaside school while you’re on the job’.”
“I see…”
By the way, Tachibana-san was a tall beauty that observed the Hijiri’s test before. I had thought that she was overly strict, but apparently she was kind to Hijiri.
Having that impression, I changed my tone and called out to Hijiri.
“Hijiri, just ask me if you need any help. I’ll help you as much as possible.”
“Well then, Shinobu-sama, please play together with Hijiri-chan at the seaside school.”
“Yeah, play with me.”
…Eh? Sure I said I would help her, but not in the meaning of helping her enjoy the seaside school. I meant to help her with the investigation…oh well.
For now, I nodded to the two of them and after a bit of chit-chat, we resumed our studying.
I helped Hijiri with her homework until the sun set, then I decided to head home.
Hijiri and Kaorun sent me off with regretful expressions, waving her hands. On my way, I bought ice-cream like I had promised Elni and hurried home in the sunset….

* * *

The night before the seaside school. Together with Machina and Nazuna, I was watching TV in the living room. Elni came trotting in and naturally sat down in my lap, but I paid it no mind and looked back at the TV.
On TV— ran Machina’s favourite drama. After it ended, Nazuna looked at the clock on the wall of the living room and smiled happily.
“What to do. I know have to get to sleep already, but I don’t think I can sleep out of excitement for tomorrow.”
Upon Nazuna’s words, Machina showed a wry smile.
“Fufu, getting so excited over a simple trip, you’re still a kid, Nazuna.”
“Yeah, I’m the kitten Nazucat right now, but one day I’ll become the sexy leopardess Nazucat that Brother loves so much. Just you wait, Machina.”
“Yes, I will. Let’s play together tomorrow.”
Giving a soft smile, Machina gently petted Nazuna’s head. Instantly, Nazuna happily leaked a “Meow!” and clung to Machina spoiled.
Watching these two from my lap, Elni suddenly entrusted her cheek to my left shoulder for no apparent reason. Then she started to look at me with a flirtatious glance, slowly closed both her eyes and pointed out her well-formed, glamorous lips.
“…Hey, what are you doing.”
Mentally I was quite shaken, but I right away stopped Elni’s face with my palms.
Upon that, Elni showed her special angelic smile and opened her mouth.
“Nazucat just said that you love the sexy leopardess Nazucat, so I tried being a sexy Dog. So you should feel like playing with me tomorrow now.”
“I’m afraid you’re staying at home tomorrow, sexy Dog.”
Hiding my agitation from the close-by adorable smile, I gently petted Elni’s head and continued.
“I leave the house to you while I’m away, sexy Dog aka Mad Dog.”
“Sexy Dog aka Mad Dog understands!”
The Nanjou Household’s personal guard stopped being sexy and saluted firmly. Then she shifted her gaze over the other girls and whispered into my ear.
“Shinobu, on a first glance Machina seems to be calm, but actually she tried on her swimsuit and blew up the swimming ring in her room yesterday.”
“…I see. So she’s just playing the big sister in front of Nazuna.”
“Yeah. So don’t just play with Nazucat, but also with Machina.”
“Yeah, the handsome gentleman understands.”
When I replied with a joke, Elni puffed her cheeks lightly, somehow dissatisfied.
“Don’t you have to answer with ‘Shinomun understands!’ here?”
“…Elni, I told you before, but Shinomun graduated already. I turned from an idol into a lone wolf. Please accept it.”
Saying so suited, I raised Elni from my lap and stood up.
After that I returned to my own room and when I was almost done with my packing for the trip, I heard a reserved knocking sound along with a beautiful voice like the ringing of a bell.
“Shinobu-san, are you still awake?”
“Yeah, I am.”
Replying to the beautiful voice and opened the door, my vision was filled with Luna in her pyjama.
She was holding her pillow against her chest and upon recognizing me, she opened her mouth with faintly flushed cheeks.
“Shinobu-san, can I intrude on you?”
“Intruders will be shot. That’s all.”
“….Forgive me.”
Luna dropped her shoulders dejected and turned her back to me, so
“No, wait, I was kidding! You aren’t an intruder! Just come in!”
I hastily grabbed her at the shoulder and invited her into the room. Then I asked softly.
“So, what’s up so late? You need something?”
“Yes. I have a favour to ask of you, Shinobu-san…”
“A favour? What is it? Say whatever it is.”
It was rare for Luna to ask a favour. Becoming a bit happy, I urged her with a smile. Upon that, Luna rubbed her knees against each other, blushed once more and said with upturned eyes.
“Ehm, Shinobu-san, you will leave for seaside school tomorrow. right?”
“…Could it be you want a souvenir?”
“No, that is not what I am here for.”
Apparently I was wrong. Luna lightly shook her head and said with her cheeks still red.
“Even if it is only for a short while, I will get lonely with you gone, so, well, could I sleep together with you tonight?”
“Of course.”
…Mh? What was I saying? Luna was so cute that I inadvertently agreed, but sleeping together wasn’t really a good idea. If my reasoning were to give in and I did something weird to Luna, it would be incorrectable. I immediately tried to take back my statement, but
“Really?”
Luna’s eyes sparkled happily and her expression was blissful… so before I noticed it, I had shut my mouth again.
…I would never be able to win against this smile.
With that prediction and unable to suppress my embarrassment, I cracked a lame joke.
“Luna, sleeping together is okay, but— no perverted stuff, okay!”
“Yes, I understand. I will hold myself back.”
“…H- Hold back? Hey, hey, that’s bad for you body, Lady.”
“Eh? Shinobu-san, what do you—”
“Just a joke. Don’t worry about it too much. I’m going to sleep now.”
Cutting into Luna’s words with rapid talking, I turned to my bed.
…Aww, what stupid crap was I saying, geez. I was sure even Luna was shocked. After sighing in my heart, I regained my spirit and swiftly crawled into the bed.
Closing my eyes and falling asleep in three seconds. If I were to do so, I wouldn’t have a chance to commit a crime. I closed my eyes.
There Luna said “I will turn off the lights” with a lively voice and in the next moment the light I felt on my eyelids vanished. After that I heard small footsteps and Luna entered under the blanket. Instantly, I felt Luna’s presence besides me, her faint breathing and a sweet fragrance. My heart skipped a beat.
For some reason my body was strangely hot. Especially my face was burning. Was the air conditioner set too high? Actually, why was I so nervous with my eyes closed?
…Incomprehensible. I should calm down quickly and sleep.
When such thoughts crossed my mind, Luna softly called out.
“Sleep well, Shinobu-san.”
“For eternity.”
“Uhm, that would mean death?”
“…If anything happens to me, I’ll leave feeding Elni to you.”
“Th- That is a death flag! Please do not jinx it! Also, that is rude to Elni-chan.”
Luna retorted to my stupid joke on a rare occasion.
For some reason, this trivial matter made me happy and my chest became faintly warm. Inadvertently I forgot my situation and opened my eyes again. For a while I chatted with Luna…but at some point, she emitted regular breathing, as she had fallen asleep.
“Geez…”
Mumbling a sigh, I lightly scratched my head.
By talking with Luna, my nervousness had perfectly faded away.
However, every time Luna was moving her body with a moan, my heart ignored my will and started to race on it’s own. It didn’t look like I would get any sleep like this. I felt bad for Luna, but I should sleep on the sofa in the living room.
With that in mind, I opened my mouth. A that time.
“…Shinobu-san.”
06_067
Suddenly Luna called out my name with a quiet voice. I might have woken her up.
A bit startled, I faced Luna. In the dim room, I saw Luna’s pleasant sleeping face.
…Oh, just sleep-talking.
I made a sigh of relief. Then I straightened up my upper body to get out of the room, when Luna reached out her hand without prior notice. And
“Shinobu-san…”
This time she called my name with a sweet voice and strongly clung onto me.
Needless to say, I was incredible agitated.
As she probably didn’t wear a bra, I could feel the softness and elasticity of her breasts more firmly than on her usual hugs. Her warm thighs also touched my body and a sweet fragrance was melting my brain.
…If I received any more stimulation, my reason would be blown away without doubt.
I didn’t even thought myself that I would reach my limit so fast. I would do well to swiftly move to the living room. When I moved my hand to get away from Luna,
“…Love… you… very… much…”
my extending hand stopped unmeant.
It was just her sleep-talking. It wasn’t certain for whom these words were meant. It wasn’t certain, but Luna smiled happily. She made a really happy, satisfied face.

—I want to stay by her side.

Luna was fawning over me. She was opening her heart. She was staying with the all so weak me.
Of course these thoughts might just be my conceit. But, having Luna by besides made me happy, blissful and my chest hot.
I slowly lowered my erected body again and closed my eyes.
Luna’s body was soft and warm…The warmth pleasant soaked my chest.
Strange enough, my lewd thoughts disappeared and I fell asleep while enveloped by Luna’s warmth….




Chapter 02: Want you to notice, want you to look…

The morning of the day for seaside school that Nazuna looked forward to so much. Sent off by Luna, Elni and also my mother, I left the house and walked under the cloudless blue sky with Machina and Nazuna.
Nazuna was brimming with excitement for the seaside school. She was even more hyper than usual, but in contrast, Machina next to me was rather calm and looked quite sleepy.
“Oh? You didn’t get any sleep last night because you were so excited?”
When I asked her teasingly, Machina rubbed her eyes and nodded lightly.
“It’s my first time going to a seaside school, so I couldn’t sleep due to the anticipation— as if! It’s Elni’s fault for inviting me to watch a midnight anime with her!”
Halfway in her sentence her cheeks turned bright red and Machina denied with a loud voice.
Most likely Elni, who shared a room with Machina, invited her to get her distracted, since she no longer could watch Machina be all excited.
According to Machina, Elni snuck into Machina’s bed once the anime was over…but Elni might have been a bit lonely, just like Luna.
Elni also often snuck into my bed when I was sleeping. Despite her behaviour, she surprising got lonely easily. I should call Luna and Elni tonight…
When I was thinking like that, Nazuna, who had listened to Machina’s story, said envious.
“Lucky El-chan…. I sometimes sleep together with Luna-oneechan, but I also want to sleep together with Machina-chan.”
“I also want to sleep together with Shinobu or you, Nazuna-chan— only kidding! Ac- Actually I don’t want to, since it’s hot… but well, we have air condition, so come over whenever you want. Then we’ll sleep together.”
“Yay~ Thanks, Machina-chan!”
“Yes, you’re welcome.”
Machina replied by showing Nazuna, who had happily clung to her, a smile.
…Though if Nazuna were to come to Machina’s room with a pillow, Elni might also want to sleep with Machina then.
I pictured Machina groaning a “Hot…” while she was being sandwiched by Nazuna and Elni without an air condition.
For now I gave Machina a “Good luck” with lightly patting her head, but she didn’t seem to understand the meaning behind my words. She puzzled tilted her head.
Then we continued to chit-chat for a while and in no time we reached the place for us to part. I saw a broad crossroad.
Here we would part with Nazuna for now.
The seaside was held with my high school and the affiliated middle school. But the assembly spots were different. The students had to assemble at their respective schools from where they then take the bus and reunite at the target place.
“Okay, Brother, see you later.”
“Yeah. Don’t make too much merry just because you’re going on a trip. Be careful not to trip and injury yourself.”
“Meow!”
When Nazuna saluted with a smile as usual, a single girl showed up around the corner. That girl with still a faint baby-face stopped upon noticing us and smiled lightly.
“Good morning, Nazuna-chan.”
“Yeah, morning, Miichan!”
The name of the girl that Nazuna greeted back was Sakurai Miyuki, nicknamed Miichan. She was Nazuna best friend.
Miichan had come over to our house to play before, so I and Machina also knew her.
“Also good morning to you, Shinobu-oniisan and Machina-san.”
After she gave us a morning greeting as well, Miichan for some reason coloured her cheeks red and continued.
“I had a dream about you yesterday, Shinobu-oniisan. …You pervert. I believe it is not good to be perverted.”
“…Miichan, I don’t know what kind of dream you had, but I’m not at fault alone here. It’s often said ‘Perverseness is a man’s sin. And not forgiving that is a woman’s sin’. So you’re also at fault for not forgiving it, Miichan. We’re even.”
When I argued with unreasonable logic, Miichan brought her face with still red cheeks closer.
“If it is for you, Shinobu-oniisan, I forgive perverted things.”
“Ten years too early for you.”
She always said the weirdest things with a straight face. I lightly flicked Miichan’s forehead and looked at the travel bag she had shouldered.
“So you’re coming to seaside school too, Miichan.”
“Yes. I wanted to see the sea at dawn…”
“Hoo, you’re quite romantic. I expected nothing less. So I have a favour to ask of you.”
Most likely she wasn’t joking, but really serious about the sea at dawn. I reached out my hand for her and continued while gently petting her head.
“Sorry, but could you keep an eye on Nazuna during the seaside school? I’m a bit worried since she’s so excited. It only has to be when I’m not there. Can you do that for me?”
“Of course. Even if it costs my life, I will fulfil your request, Shinobu-oniisan.”
Saying exaggerated, Miichan softly took Nazuna’s hand. Upon that Nazuna firmly returned the squeeze of hand and waved her hand widely with a “See you” to Machina and me. Then the two of them happily walked away while holding hands.
“Hey, did you buy a new swimsuit, Miichan?”
“Yes. Since my chest has become bigger…”
“Ah, mine got a bit bigger too. I wish I were as big as you, Miichan…”
“And I would like to be as cute as you, Nazuna-chan…”
Watching over Nazuna and Miichan’s back while they happily chatted together with Machina, we then headed for our high school.

After we arrived at the high school, we headed to the sport grounds like the teacher standing in front of the main gate had told us. There various busses had lined up and near by a lot of students were engaging in their own chatting.
When we approached the busses, the female classmates started to call out to Machina once they noticed her.
—At first, when Machina had transferred in, everyone in class, me included, thought of her as “Queen-like” due to her appearance. That was why the girls kept her distance from her. But seeing her getting teased by me, everyone changed their opinion of her.
Actually, Machina was quite attentive and often covered for weaker girls in class. Also, she was quite athletic and had good grades.
Certainly she also was aloof, but that might only add to her charm. She specially seemed loved by the docile girls in class.
Machina herself wasn’t used to have so many people like her, as she seemed a bit bewildered, but also somewhat happy.
Some pervert had said “Except for the aloof part, she resembles you a lot”, but I didn’t have Machina’s charm that attracts others to her.
….Mh, Machina seemed to have fun, so I shouldn’t bother her.
I quietly got away from Machina and looked around for a familiar face, when I made eye-contact with an uselessly handsome guy.
“Oh, Nanjou.”
When that uselessly handsome guy noticed me, he came closer with a smile.
“It’s rare for you to participate in a school event. By the way, last year I—”
“Wait a sec. Sorry to interrupt your happy speech, but…who are you?”
“Eh? I’m Asada, you know? I think…”
When I cut into his words with a cold reply, the uselessly handsome guy Asada Kouta dropped his voice unconfident for some reason.
This idiot was my classmate and one of my few friends.
On top of being an idiot, he was a pervert with a sister complex. The girls in class evaluated him with “Only his face is good” and also scorned him as a “pervert”.
Also, the guys admired Asada for his straightforward loyalty to his desires and called him the “Gentleman Pervert” out of respect.
Asada paid my cold reaction no mind and talked to me with a smile.
“By the way, Nanjou, how was your vacation? Had fun?”
“Well, so-so I guess. What about you?”
Giving the refreshingly smiling Asada a side-glance, I asked while thinking that he would be popular if he weren’t a pervert. There Asada puffed up his chest and answered.
“The season is summer, but spring has finally come for me.”
“…It’s always spring in your head.”
“Not that. I got a girlfriend now. She asked me ‘Do you love me?’ numerous times, so she probably can’t live without me anymore.”
“Hee… That’s good for you.”
Asada spoke in a weird tone, so I could guess the gist of it.
When I made a suited agreeable response, Asada continued with his weird tone.
“So she keeps pestering me with ‘Kiss me’, so I think ‘She’s so hopeless’ while I kiss her… and got the screen of my computer dirty. I was a normal guy in the game, but in reality I was a lewd beast as ever. Unable to endure it any longer, I went on a trip in search for romance and sex for a while.”
“I see. So did you find romance and sex?”
“Both of them were under my bed.”
“Oh really. Happiness is always close by, I guess. Just like in The Blue Bird.”
Once again giving a suited agreeable response, I asked Asada to change the topic.
“That aside, Asada, what about your summer homework?”
“All done… until the 31st. I hope at least.”
“…Okay. Just like last year, I’ll look over your homework.”
Technically that lewd beast had been taking good care of me. The surprisingly stylish and well known Asada sometimes helped me pick western clothes or introduced me to periodically part-time jobs.
I thought about returned that favour, but Asada made a dubious face for some reason.
“…Somehow, you’re strangely nice today.”
For no apparent reason, Asada looked at me while his mouth formed a smirk.
“I see, I get it now. Truth is, you were lonely since you couldn’t see me during summer vacation, right? Geez, that’s cute. I’ll hug you and give you a kiss. C’mon, close your eyes.”
“…For starters, drop dead, Asada.”
I made a bitter retort to Asada’s disgusting misunderstanding.
However, Asada raised up both his hands and came closer while exposing his white teeth.
“Don’t act all bashful, Nanjou. Let’s deepen our friendship with a passionate embrace.”
“Your perverseness will rub off on me, so don’t come any closer.”
“Hehehe, I’ll touch you all over to rub my perverseness on you. You are a pervert – I am a pervert. There’s nothing to be scared of if we all get naked.”
“Hey, stop stripping! Hands off my clothes! You fucking siscon!”
“Don’t make fun of a siscon! Just try to diss my sister! I’ll beat you to a pulp and then kill you!”
“Kyaa, someone save me!”
Grabbed by the siscon at the collar, I screamed with a monotone voice.
Instantly, I heard footsteps from behind me.
“What’s wrong, Shinobu-kun!”
I heard a flustered voice. There Asada and I looked at each other and turned around. Our gazes fell onto the black-haired cool beauty Hijiri. Hijiri faced Asada and said somewhat angry.
“Asada-kun, let go off Shinobu-kun. He hates it.”
“Ah, yes. Somehow, I’m sorry. Nanjou wouldn’t shut up about ‘I want to touch Hijiri’s breasts! I want to fondle them like there’s no tomorrow!’, so I just…”
Asada made up a lie on the spot. I was astonished. Hijiri’s eyes were sparkling.
“Shinobu-kun, is that true? You should have just told me directly. It’s embarrassing, but I’ll try my—”
Hijiri came closer while reddening her cheeks, but suddenly she stopped her words and snuffled. Then she took a sniff of my smell and frowned for some reason.
“…Somehow, you smell of a girl, Shinobu-kun.”
“Ah, I was still half-asleep when I washed my hair this morning, so I used Luna’s shampoo. That’s what you smell. Hahaha….”
Most likely, I caught Luna’s smell by sleeping together with her last night. I myself wasn’t aware of it, so I was a bit surprised, but I believed I was able to hide my agitation.
Also, Asada continued with “My sister sometimes mistakes my mother’s shampoo with hers too….”, so Hijiri seemed to consent, as she softened her expression and pulled on the sleeve of my clothes reserved.
“So, Shinobu-kun, is that true from earlier?”
“No, that was Asada’s lie.”
Right away, Hijiri dropped her shoulders lightly and with a pouting frown, she said to Asada.
“Asada-kun, why are you lying? I’m going to be angry.”
“Ehh!? When Nanjou made the same lie before, you didn’t say that, did you!? So why with me…!?”
“…Hmpf.”
Upon Asada’s pathetic outcry, Hijiri reacted by facing sideways sternly.
There the teachers gathered on the grounds.
“Everyone~ It’s about time for us to leave~ Please board the busses~”
Our homeroom teacher (baby face) Hiiragi-sensei called out like that to everyone with her usual slow and kind voice. Following, she closed in to the bus in front of us and raised her right hand with a smile, holding up her index finger.
“Everyone who wants to ride the same bus as me, gather at this finger~”
Are you a kid—Is what I stopped myself from retorting. With just a wry smile, I headed for Hiiragi-sensei’s bus.
Because she would cry again if she was ignored.
The other guys of my class that attended seaside school must have had the same thought. Everyone gathered around Hiiragi-sensei with a wry smile like me. Then we boarded the bus urged by her and I sat down at a window seat in the back.
There Hijiri approached me cheerfully and opened her mouth while faintly blushing.
“Shinobu-kun, can I sit besides you?”
“Yeah, I don’t really mind.”
“Thanks.”
Smiling happily, Hijiri tried to sit down besides me, when
“Hold it thereee!”
Suddenly Asada appeared and raised a voice of restraint.
For some reason Asada sternly glared at Hijiri and continued with a somewhat loud voice.
“Gogyou-san, I can’t appreciate that you’re stealing a march on me. I want to sit besides Nanjou too. To be honest, it doesn’t seem that any girl would sit besides me. So Nanjou is all I have left. Please yield for me.”
“…You can go home now, Pervert.”
When I interjected, Asada cast down his eyes sadly and grabbed my shoulders.
“Nanjou, don’t brush if off with the single word pervert. You are my soul brother. Together, we’re shining ultra souls. People call it, love!”
While shouting disgusting stuff, Asada faced Hijiri again.
“As you can see, Gogyou-san, I can’t back off here, sorry. If you should insist on sitting besides Nanjou, I won’t hold back.”
Along with his words, Asada started to say “Uwrar- Ultra soul!” in a shrill voice and took a weird pose.
“Ehm….”
No idea how to cope with this, Hijiri made a troubled face and smiled vaguely.
There Machina, who I had parted with earlier, approached us and sent a warning to Asada’s back.
“Hey, don’t block the passage. I can’t reach Shinobu like this. Actually, what are you doing there? If you keep screwing around, I’ll kick you.”
Kick you—The moment he heard these words from Machina,
“P- Pl- Please kick me! I’m even willing to pay! Or even strip! No, rather I’ll strip! I just have to strip, damn iiit!”
Maybe hyper due to the trip, Asada reached out for his clothes and tried to strip.
Upon that, Machina turned around flustered and reached out her hand for the nearby class representative Katagiri-san for help.
“C- Class Rep, it’s a pervert! There’s a pervert here!”
“That pervert has been in our class forever, so what are you saying at this point? Hurry up and sit down, since you’re blocking the way.”
Katagiri-san stayed cool as ever.
On the other hand, Machina made a troubled face like Hijiri and seemed at a loss on what to do.
Amidst that, my classmate Minami suddenly showed up her face from the seat behind, slipped by Hijiri and naturally sat down besides me with a grin.
“Ehehe, I’m next to Nanjou-kun~”
Minami seemed to be in a good mood, but Hijiri, Machina and the Pervert started to wordlessly gaze at Minami in opposition. Minami instantly made a flustered face. However,
“*snore, snore*”
she brushed it away by feigning to sleep.
The others gave Minami an even more fierce glare and continued to apply wordless pressure. But Minami didn’t give in. She continued to feign to sleep even while a cold sweat broke out in her forehead…Then Asada made a faint sigh.
“We have no choice but to pull out here. Orangelo-san, would you like to sit together with me? If you want, you can even sit on my lap.”
“—Hijiri, let’s sit together.”
“Yeah, let’s sit over there then.”
Machina ignored Asada. Together with Hijiri, she sat down on the other side of Minami across the passage.
On the other hand, the left behind Asada mumbled hard wild stuff like “…A man has to be though to survive. The kind have no right to live” to himself with blank eyes and disappeared to the seat furthest in the back.
Asada’s back emitted an indescribable sorrow…
There Minami moved to the seat behind and got her own luggage. Upon her return, she started to blow up a beach ball with a smile.
I could understand her anticipation, but wasn’t it too early for this?
Such thoughts crossed my mind, when suddenly my prankish side awakened. I slowly reached out both my hands, grabbed the swelling up beach ball and pressed out the air again. At that moment,
“Hyan! It’s coming! It’s coming into my mouth!”
Releasing the air plug from her mouth, she raised a sexy voice, then Minami puckered her lips with a “Geez”. But she didn’t really seem angry and lightly pinched my cheek.
“Don’t suddenly shoot it into my mouth, Nanjou-kun. You surprised me there.”
“…Yeah, my bad. But isn’t it too early to blow up the beach ball now? Just wait until we’re at the sea. Also, stop protesting in a way that’s bound to make a misunderstanding.”
Upon my advice, Minami nodded obediently and put away the beach ball. Then she pulled out snacks from her travel bag.
“Then let’s eat some snacks. Here, Nanjou-kun, it’s a biscuit, Ahn~”
“No, thanks for the offer, but it would make me thirsty, so I pass. You eat it instead.”
I grabbed the slightly large biscuit that was offered to me with my hand and plunged it into Minami’s mouth instead. Upon that,
“Yaahn! Such a big one won’t fit into my mouth!”
Leaking a bewitching voice that caused unwanted delusions, Minami twisted her body.
…She was doing that on purpose, wasn’t she? Or was she really not aware of it? Either way, I would like her to stop—So I was a bit flustered in my heart, when the bus started to move. We departed for the seaside school…

While taking with Minami, our bus advanced on the street, passed by the buildings and then drove onto the freeway.
In time, Minami gradually spoke less and less and started to doze off. She might have gotten sleepy from the pleasant shaking of the bus. Both Machina and Hijiri were also sleeping, leaning against each other. No need to force a conversation now.
Deciding so, I removed my gaze from Minami and watched the scenery through the window.
There Minami opened her eyes a bit and said isolated with a quiet voice.
“…Nanjou-kun… gross…”
“Who are you calling gross? You easily says some hurtful stuff…”
“No, that’s not it….Seems I’m carsick.”
Along with her words, Minami flushed her cheek and came closer to me, breathing erotically.
…One wouldn’t never believe she, who was dozing off just now, would suddenly be carsick. This was an act without doubt.
While knowing that, I suddenly became a bit excited.
Minami’s big breasts pressed against my elbow. I couldn’t take off my eyes from her glamorous lips. Why were girls giving off such a sweet fragrance?
Questioning myself, I hid my agitation for now and replied casually.
“Minami, if you’re carsick, close your eyes.”
“Eh? Close my eyes….Don’t tell me, you want to take advantage of my weak state and force a kiss on me, Nanjou.kun!?”
“Don’t be stupid. Don’t give me that hopeful glance, nor that flirtatious glance. It’s better you sleep quickly if you’re sick. —Therefore, Machina, please sing Minami a lullaby, so she falls asleep.”
Raising my voice, I called out to Machina like that.
But her usual combination of getting tricked and then retorting didn’t come, instead she replied with weird sleep-talking “…Uhn~ Mother and Father are going to drown…”.
…Guess Machina was still asleep?
When I looked over to the seat across, Machina was sleeping with her cheek pressed against Hijiri’s shoulder.
Her sleeping face was cute. When I watched over her with a reflexive smile, Minami suddenly brought her face closer and blew into my ear with a “Fuh”.
Surprised by the hot breath tickling my ear, I returned my gaze, where Minami had opened her well-formed lips and tried to bit onto my ear.
“H- Hey, stop it. What are you doing?”
I hastily warned her, when for some reason, Minami pouted by puffing up her cheeks lightly.
“Because you’re looking away, Nanjou-lun. For now, just look at me. Feel me. Be smitten by me.”
“Fine.”
Nodding generously, I abandoned my retort. I intensely looked at Minami and before I noticed it, my gaze had been drawn to her huge breasts.
…Mh, seemed the rumour of her having a F-cup was justified. Luna’s were bigger though. But I could understand the feelings of my classmates of “wanting to touch them” well.
At first it was meant as a light joke, but before I noticed it, I was starring at Minami’s breasts. Upon that, Minami, whatever she was thinking, suddenly put both her hands around my neck.
“There.”
Along with a smile, she pulled me over, right into her voluminous breasts.
It was a sudden and unexpected action, so my face was buried into Minami’s huge breasts without a chance for me to resist. Minami’s breasts were soft and so voluminous that I could almost hear them making a boing sound, and in all honesty, they felt great.
However, I was a gentleman. Not getting intoxicated by her breasts, I swiftly got away from Minami and cleared my throat with a single cough.
“Minami, I think it’s better if you don’t pull such a prank with a boy.”
“Eh? Why? You were interesting in my breasts, weren’t you? It’s some service for you. Don’t fret it.”
In complete contrast to the bashful me, Minami gave me a wink in a nonchalant manner.
…Guess the term mischievous little devil referred to girls like her?
06_089
If I hadn’t been a gentleman, I might have gotten a weird misunderstanding here.
“Geez, you’re such a coquettish girl. You naughty prankster. Just what is your office teaching you?”
“Ehm, it’s not my office, but my mother who taught me: ‘Act as you desire. If a little push isn’t enough, then push down!’.”
“…To be honest, I’m a bit worried about your upbringing.”
“Yeah, I feel the same. But for me, it needed to be at least that assertive.”
On my half-astonished answer, Minami suddenly cast down her eyes.
“In the past, I was an unmotivated coward and cry-baby. I couldn’t do anything. I was really weak and couldn’t even stay with the boy I like…”
“…That’s a surprise.”
I couldn’t really picture that from Minami’s current behaviour.
A bit surprised and for some reason a little interested, I asked Minami.
“Just curious, what was your crush like?”
“Mhm~ A bit violent with a foul mouth. A shy boy that loves his little sister.”
“….Impressive you fell for a guy like that.”
“Fufu, yeah. But he, also sometimes teasing me, and his sister were the only ones who played with the cry-baby me. When I cried, he would pet my head until I stopped…I was really happy about that.”
“Hee, so it was an unexpected nice guy…”
When I said so, Minami showed a sad expression for a moment for some reason, then continued “And you know,” with a smile.
“As a kid, that boy had a face way cuter than me, so I think he looks great in cross-dressing even now.”
“…Minami, even if it looks great, you shouldn’t force him into cross-dressing. Depending on the person, it can cause a light trauma.”
As a matter of fact, at the culture festival I was first forced by Minami, then by the other girls in class to cross-dress and received a wound in my heart that could never be erased again.
I never wanted to cross-dress again. Whatever might happen in the future, I would deny to cross-dress.
Renewing my resolve, I faced Mimani, who had a healthy complexion.
“Mh? What’s wrong, Nanjou-kun? Do you want another hug like earlier?”
“No, that’s not it.”
Denying clearly, I intensely looked into Minami’s eyes.
“…Hey, actually, you aren’t carsick at all, right?”
“That’s not true. I’m sick. Smitten sickly by your profile <3”
“Haha, nice one. Well then, get smitten by my sleeping face now.”
I got tired of dealing with Minami. I leaned back into my seat and closed my eyes, but right away my sleeve was pulled jerkily.
“What? Looking isn’t enough for you? Touching costs extra, you know?”
When I opened one eye and called attention, Minami pulled on my sleeve again and said sweetly.
“Nanjou-kun, we’re finally sitting next to each other, so let’s talk some more.”
“Some other time. I’m tired. Let me sleep.”
“No, don’t sleep, Darling. I’m not satisfied yet. I want more. If you don’t keep going, I’ll do it by myself.”
“Hey, who are you calling Darling? Don’t say weird stuff. Don’t make it sound lewd. Don’t leave out the subject. You sound like a sexual frustrated wife.”
Retorting in one breathe, I made a sigh and continued.
“I see that you’re bored, but let me sleep. Here, I’ll let you use my lap as a service. You seemed sleepy, so you sleep as well.”
Of course I was joking about the lap. However,
“Th- Then I’ll take you up on your words.”
Flushing her cheeks, Minami bended her body and rested her cheek on my lap.
I, I didn’t think she would really do it…
Her soft body and a stimulating warmth that cracked my reasoning.
…Somehow, it was completely different from when Nazuna was resting on my lap.
I was completely awake now. I looked out of the window to distract me. And after a few minutes, Minami started to emit quiet sleeping sounds.
Should I call her defenceless or what…
I lightly shrugged my shoulders and watched Minami’s sleeping face, when I suddenly felt a gaze from the opposite seat.
When I bothered made a side-glance to check it out, Hijiri was looking at Minami with an envious expression and mixed with a sigh, she said “…I couldn’t do it like Kaoru-san told me to” with a quiet voice.
Could it be, Hijiri had planned to seduce me even inside the bus?
…Yeah, I should be careful from now on if I happen to sit next to Hijiri.
With such thoughts, I once again faced my eyes to the scenery outside.

* * *

Being shaken around in the bus for around three hours, I started to see the green of mountains and the blue of the sea outside of the window. The bus advanced on a coastland street and we finally reached our destination.
There I got off the bus with everyone and headed to the lodging house, where we would be staying during the seaside school. According to the seaside school pamphlet, we would be doing barbeque in the courtyard of the Japanese style lodging house, but until then we could use the time for ourselves. Therefore, I headed to my assigned four-person room and left my luggage there, then I went out to the beach on Asada’s invitation.
I changed into my swimming trunks in the beach changing room….but all guys around me started to take their distance from me.
Only Asada leaked an “Amazing muscles” with an envious voice, but I put on a hooded sweatshirt to hide my scars, then I headed for the beach.
My vision fell onto the broad, blue sea and the white sandy beach. Under the bright sun, girls clad in swimsuits were swimming, playing beach volleyball or laying around for a tan.
Of course there were males around too, but I promptly removed them from of my vision.
Were Nazuna, Machina and Hijiri also playing around nearby? I watched around the area in search for them, when Asada besides me called out.
“Look, Nanjou, at the broad, blue sky.”
“…You hate the blue sky, don’t you?”
“Why do I have to be such a character? I’m a pervert suited for the blue sky!”
While raising his voice, Asada faced the frolicing swimsuit-clad girls on the beach.
“Nanjou, long live the beach. I can legitimate watch girls in swimsuits. Moreover, this year the most popular girls in class, #1 Gogyou-san, #2 Orangelo-san and #3 Minami are participating in the seaside school. I want to see them in their swimsuits already.”
“Well, that’s certainly something to look forward to.”
Nodding agreeable to Asada, I asked casually.
“Hey, Asada, these three seem popular with the boys, but which boys are popular with the girls?”
“Idiot! Don’t ask the obvious! It’s me! It’s obviously me!”
Saying so angrily for some reason, Asada added “…That is if you reverse the order” sadly and continued.
“By the way, from a questionnaire with the girls, the most popular guy turns out to be Sasaki from the basketball club.”
“Mhm, how enviable.”
I wasn’t interested all that much, so I made a suited reply and paid it no heed, but for some reason Asada stared at me with teary eyes.
“Enviable, my ass! You’re the second most popular one, Nanjou! It’s probably due to your cross-dressing at the culture festival… but can someone as popular as you understand my feelings? I, I even had negative votes.”
Along with his words, Asada started to cry.
I gently placed my hand on Asada’s shoulder and kindly declared with a smile.
“Asada, tears don’t suit you. And a smile suits you even less.”
Then what am I supposed to do?
For some reason Asada retorted with a Kansai dialect, then posed me q question this time.
“By the way, who do you like the most in class?”
“I like myself the most.”
“Here you should say ‘The Pervert’, even if it’s a lie… wait, no. Your answer is the worst.”
“Why? Someone who can’t love himself, can’t love someone else, you know?”
“…I’m a pervert, so when I can’t love this self of mine, I can’t love someone else? I’m a generally accepted pervert, you know? Is it really okay to love this self of mine?”
“Of course it’s okay. Go through with your perverseness until the end, fall down alone to the bottom. The breakdown doctrine of living while falling down.”
I couldn’t care less, so I gave an irresponsible reply.
“Ehm, Shinobu-kun…”
I was called out from behind with a reserved voice. That voice belonged to Hijiri. Previously when we went to the holiday house of my grandfather with everyone, Hijiri wore a daring leopard-patterned swimsuit.
…Was she wearing the same one now?
When I turned around with these thoughts, my vision fell on Hijiri wearing a school swimsuit of all things.
The dark blue school swimsuit wrapped around her slender and attractive body tightly and the swellings on her chest bulked out largely. On top of the chest was a nametag with “Hijiri” attached and the cleavage of her voluminous breasts peeked out under her collar.
Instantly, Asada shouted “I- Is there anyone with a digital camera!?” and sprinted away with the speed of light.
Watching that with a side-glance, Hijiri then flushed her cheeks and approached me.
“How is it, Shinobu-kun? Kaoru-san prepared it for me. All boys love school swimsuits, right? Does it excite you?”
“…My impression aside for now, let me tell you something. I’ll certainly be taken for a pervert when I’m with you in that outfit. Well, I could endure that, but it would be rather awkward.”
I was already getting sharp gazes from people. I could even heard mumblings voices of “He forced her to wear it”, “What a brute” or “Such a beast” in unjust suspicion.
When I turned around, the nearby people turned pale and fled rudely as soon as they saw my face.
I made a sigh in my heart and shifted my gaze back to Hijiri. She had dropped her shoulders dejected.
“…I’m sorry, Shinobu-kun. I didn’t consider that. I’ll go change into a different swimsuit.”
Hijiri turned her back to me and mumbling a “I couldn’t please Shinobu-kun again…”, she trotted away.
This was just Kaorun’s suggestion again anyway. Even our classmates would be surprised if they saw Hijiri in that outfit. If she had a different swimsuit, it would be better that she changed into that.
While I thought so, I became plagued by an unknown, yet strong guilt. I couldn’t stand to watch Hijiri’s retreating figure that had her shoulders curled up depressed. I called out to her softly.
“Ehm, Hijiri, that swimsuit is certainly somewhat maniac, but, well, you know, it still looks charming on you.”
06_099
Midway in my sentence I became embarrassed and scratched my head. There Hijiri slowly turned around and showed me a bright smile.
“Thanks, Shinobu-kun. I’ll be back real quick, so let’s play together.”
“Yeah, I’ll wait.”
I replied to Hijiri with a nod, then I heard a familiar voice saying “…Playing the tsundere as ever”.
…Somehow, that voice sounded awful a lot like Kaorun, but could she actually be here?
Curiously I looked around the area, when I spotted Minami in the corner of my vision.
Minami wore a daring light-blue bikini and her voluminous, big breasts were honey for my eyes. And her slender waist and soft thighs were charming.
The gazes of the nearby guys were focused on Minami and she was looking around curiously, as searching for someone.
However, when she met my eyes, Minami waved her hand happily and came running over.
By doing so, Minami’s big breasts bounced terrific.
The nearby guys got smitten watching these huge breasts, but Minami didn’t seem to notice that. With “There you are, Nanjou-kun”, she smiled innocently.
“Hey, Nanjou-kun, how’s this swimsuit? Feel like playing with me now?”
While saying so, she bended forward and took a pose that emphasized her breasts.
Staring would be rude. So I swiftly averted my eyes from the cleavage of her voluminous breasts.
“Huh? You’re looking away, Nanjou-kun?”
“Because I’m a gentleman.”
On Minami’s teasing question, I replied without hesitation.
Upon that, Minami moved into my gaze and smiled erotic, rocking her huge breasts with her own two hands.
“Geez, take a proper look, Nanjou-kun. See, they’re even bigger than last year now.”
“H- Hey, stop it, it’s immodest! Others are looking, you know! Your daddy doesn’t remember raising you like that!”
“Eh? Daddy…Nanjou-kun, you’re my father!?”
“No! I’m the same age as you! What’s with that stupid reply?”
When I retorted immediately, Minami now reached out for my hooded sweatshirt for no apparent reason.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“I showed you my swimsuit, so you show me yours too. C’mon, aren’t you hot in that? I’ll be so kind to take it off for you.”
Smiling bewitching, Minami grabbed the zipper of my hooded sweatshirt.
In that moment, I immediately pressed my hand onto my chest and stopped Minami from moving. But Minami didn’t give up and resisted while lightly puffing up her cheeks.
“Muh, Nanjou-kun, you meanie! If you keep being obstinate, I’ll take off your bottom.”
“Owa! What are you doing! Stop it!”
Along with her words, Minami grabbed my swimming trunks, so I hastily held them up with my hands. Using the opportunity, Minami pulled down the zipper of the sweatshirt with attitude, opening my clothes. But midway she stopped her hand, widened her eyes and froze up.
…Most likely she had seen the scars on my body.
I had scars in all sizes all over my body. I got these scars from when I couldn’t keep up with the training of my grandfather or father, or when I lost in a school match. The one that stood out the most was a sword wound that Hijiri inflicted on my chest when I covered for Machina previously.
Luna wasn’t scared even when she saw this scar strewn body. So I myself didn’t worry about it either, but a normal person would surely be frightened by it.
As a matter of fact, not only the boys were frightened at the pool classes last and this year, but even the teacher. This year it wasn’t that bad, since more people got to know about me, but it was specially cruel last year.
Back then, I did nothing but fighting matches with other schools, so I often came to school wounded all over.
Moreover, I have an evil eye. Seeing such a guy coming to school hurt frequently, most of my classmates mistook me for a delinquent. They always kept their distance from me.
The only ones who weren’t afraid of me at that time were the perverted, but strangely kind idiot…my friend Asada and Minami, who just happened to sit next to me in the first year. Only the two of them.
But, seeing these scars, I was sure even Minami would be frightened. While feeling a shred of sadness, I pulled up the zipper of my hooded sweatshirt and hid my body.
“Sorry for showing you something unsightly.”
“…It’s not unsightly.”
She spoke quietly, but her tone was firm and there wasn’t a shred of fear in her eyes.
Instead, her eyes were dyed with great sadness.
“I’m fine with scars. Don’t worry about it. I don’t think it’s frightening, so don’t apologize. Don’t make, such a face…”
“…Such a face?”
What kind of face was I making right now?
I tried touching my own cheek, but to be honest, I couldn’t tell.
Minami took her eyes off me and cast them down. Somewhat sadly, she continued.
“…Nanjou-kun, you don’t really place value on others, or rather when someone is scared of you, you make resigned expression and take a distance by yourself. There’s even a distance between everyone in class and you. The only ones you approach on your own accord are Asada-kun, Orangelo-san and Gogyou-san.”
There she faced me with bleared eyes.
“You might only think of me as a simple classmate, but to me, you’re a very precious friend. So let’s get along better. Let’s play together. I don’t, want to be apart anymore…”
…For a moment, I was at a loss for words. I was happy. Minami wasn’t frightened even after seeing my scars and called me a friend…That made me happy.
Just like Minami had said, I really might be taking a distance from my classmates. Because I had more important things to do than playing or talking with my classmates, only Asada kindly stuck by me one year ago.
But, personally I didn’t hate playing with my friends.
“Thanks.”
I said my thanks with a quiet voice and averted my gaze from Minami. I opened my mouth to change the topic.
“…Hijiri’s going to be back soon, so do you want to play with us, Minami?”
“Can I?”
“Yeah, of course. Since, we’re friends…”
I couldn’t help but feel bashful. Unable to look Minami straight into the face, I kept my gaze averted from her. So I didn’t know what kind of face she was making right now, but
“Well then, Nanjou-kun, I’ll get the others, so let’s play beach volleyball.”
hearing her cheerful voice, I smiled and thought.
That Minami surely was showing a smile like me.
Still, I might have been a bit conceited. At this point, I didn’t notice the meaning behind Minami’s words.

—I don’t, want to be apart anymore…

I didn’t notice the meaning behind these words.

* * *

Later, Hijiri returned in a normal swimsuit— or rather in the red bikini that she had worn at the Bridal Showdown at my house before— and we enjoyed playing beach volleyball with some classmates.
For a while we all played like that, when Hijiri left the place with the words “I have something to do”. She was probably heading for her exorcist investigation.
Thinking that, I considered helping her out, but Hijiri turned me down with the words “No, you have to play with Nazuna-chan and Machina-san”.
So just like Hijiri had told me, I went to look for Nazuna and Machina on the sandy beach to play with them. There I spotted Machina building a sand castle with the other girls from class.
Machina wore the same high-exposure, black bikini that she already wore when we played at the river near my grandfather’s holiday house. The sand castle they were building looked rather neat.
The girls stood in front of the completed sand castle rather excited and said “Let’s take a memorial picture”.
For starters, I approached them and agreed to take their picture. Somehow I was dragged into the picture then as well, but that wasn’t important.
After the photo shooting, I called out to Machina casually.
“Hey, Machina, you’re not going to swim?”
“I, I was busy with building the castle…”
“Mhm, so you say, but perhaps you actually can’t swim?”
“H- How did you know!? Could it be, you know that I’m always using the kickboard during swimming class— wait! Don’t take me for a fool! Of course, I can swim! I think…”
Somehow her usual combination of getting tricked and then retorting lacked in sharpness. But, I paid it no mind and took Machina’s hand.
“Well then, let’s swim a bit together. Nazuna might be in the water too, so let’s look for her.”
“….Eh? C- Certainly I want to play with Nazuna, but, uhm…”
For some reason, Machina avoided my gaze, though she didn’t resist. There I pulled her into the water on her hand, but as we proceeded into the water, Machina started to strongly squeeze my hand.
“Sh- Shinobu, Nazuna isn’t here. My feet went reach the bottom anymore soon, so we should hurry back— Kyaa!”
In the moment a huge wave came, Machina raised a small scream and clung to me with attitude.
When I looked down, my gaze fell on a pale and shaking Machina.
“…Don’t tell me, you really can’t swim?”
Feeling the indescribable pleasant elasticity of her breasts, I asked, whereupon Machina said pouting while still clinging to me.
“It, It’s not my fault. I rarely had a chance to swim until now. And I only went to the sea once as a kid. Besides, swimming classes are too severe for beginners. They aren’t teaching you how to swim at all.”
“Well, in high school they expect you to be able to swim.”
Nodding, I asked casually.
“But you went to the sea once, right? Didn’t the old man Bram teach you how to swim then?”
“…Father can’t swim.”
“Eh? Is that so? What a surprise…”
Machina replied somehow dissatisfied to my slightly surprised self.
“It’s not surprising at all. When we went to the beach and he said he would teach me swimming, he himself nearly drowned. He opposed me when I wanted to go the human world and even now when I write him letters, he rarely sends back a reply… He’s a lot of bad points.”
…Could it be, I stepped on a landmine? Before I noticed it, complains about old man Bram had started.
But well, Machina loved him. She just might be a bit lonely, as he didn’t pay much attention to her. Without doubt, her dissatisfaction was a by-product of her affection.
06_109
That was kind of heart-warming.
Reaching out my hand towards Machina, I gently petted her head.
“Hey, you said you write him letters, but what are you writing in it?”
“….I, I’m afraid I don’t remember.”
For some reason, Machina made an awkward expression and averted her eyes.
Hopefully she wasn’t writing anything weird in her letters?
I was a bit worried, but not so much that I would force her to answer. Pulling on Machina’s hand, I returned to shallow waters and made a suggestion to her there.
“Machina, you’ll have more opportunities to go to the sea now, so should I teach you how to swim?”
“I- If you insist on it, I’ll let you teach me.”
“…Farewell, Tsundere.”
I knew she was hiding her embarrassment, but I turned my back to her in a joke. Instantly,
“Eh? No way. Wait, Shinobu!”
Machina hastily grabbed my arm, as she didn’t think I would turn her down.
“Hey, Shinobu, I apologize if you’re angry. So teach me how to swim.”
“…If you insist, I don’t mind teaching you, but there’s one condition. While I teach you, you have to put ‘meow’ at the end of your sentence.”
“Okay, meow ♪ wait, what are you making me say! Actually, why are you always making me say such weird things! Is it that fun to tease me!?“
“Sorry. Actually, it’s quite amusing. You’re really cute.”
Inadvertently I smiled and petted Machina’s head again, whereupon Machina, angry up till now, strangely enough turned bright red and looked down. She became obedient.
I had wanted to tease Machina a bit longer, but I restrained myself and devoted myself to teach her how to swim.
Machina had a good athletic aptitude. She should be able to swim in no time once she got the gist of it. Is what I thought, but Machina was unexpectedly scared of the water and while she had mastered the flutter kick, she still held onto my hand as of now.
“Don’t let go, Shinobu. Don’t you dare to let go. Should you ever let go— NOOO!”
To test it, I let go off her hand midway in her sentence, whereupon tears instantly dwelled up in her eyes and she clung to me.
“Why are you letting go right when I tell you not to!”
“I thought you were bluffing…”
“I’m not such a good actor!”
Puffing up her cheeks lightly, Machina clung to me even stronger.
Her big breasts softly changed shape on my chest and because Machina had moved around, her swimsuit had rolled up and the valuable parts were nearly visible.
…My reasoning wouldn’t last if she clung to me every time I let go off her hand.
Coming to that conclusion, I taught her kind and careful and after a suitable time, I decided to let go off her hand.
—As a result, Machina learned to swim in a rather short time, also due to her good athletic aptitude.
After that, I swam together with Machina for a while, then returned to the beach for a break and once again looked for Nazuna. There I was called out from behind with “Shinobu-oniisan!”.
I turned around to that flustered voice, whereupon my gaze fells on Nazuna’s friend, Miichan. Miichan was wearing an indigo blue bikini and her breasts were well developed for a middle schooler.
“Yo, what’s up? Aren’t you together with Nazuna?”
I asked casually. Miichan answered with a rare worried expression.
“I was with her up till now, but when I came back from buying drinks, Nazuna was in a quarrel with the girls from class. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about calling the teacher, so I—”
“I get it. It’s okay now. I’ll go take a look.”
Cutting into her words, I said so to calm her down. Miichan made a sigh of relief. But well, the brother butting in a fight between girls wasn’t such a good idea. If possible, I really just wanted to check upon the situation, but
“Miichan, lead me there. I’ll give them a piece of advise.”
Machina seemed gravely angered.
…It might be more troublesome to stop her.
A bit worried, I moved along the beach guided by Miichan. Then my gaze fell onto Nazuna and three other girls.
Nazuna was wearing an orange one-piece swimsuit and the other three girls wore swimsuits as well.
For starters, I took my gaze off Nazuna and looked at the other girls.
…The girl in the middle was probably the leader. That girl was wearing an elegant swimsuit for a middle schooler and spoke in a somewhat overbearing voice.
“Nanjou-san, don’t you think you are getting a bit cheeky lately? Not only did you readily turned down Sakamoto-sama from the soccer club when he confessed to you before, but you also keep turning down the invitations to play together of various boys.”
While saying so, her shoulders trembled and the girl shouted in a loud voice.
“Why is it only you! I am way more—Not that! You have fun toying around with the hearts of the boys, don‘t you! I absolutely cannot forgive that!”
“Yeah, yeah! Just as Chihaya-sama says!”
“Just to tell you, it’s not like Chihaya-sama is jealous or anything! It look like she’s merely venting her anger, but— actually, she’s venting her anger onto you! Sorry that’s she such an idiot!”
One of the remaining girls agreed with the girl called Chihaya-sama while the other girl apologized to Nazuna.
But the girl—Chihaya-san raised a loud “Oh~hohoho!” laughter, as she had been encouraged despite having been called an “idiot”.
…Aw, that girl really was an idiot.
Such somewhat rude thoughts crossed my head, when Chihaya-san firmly pointed at Nazuna and strongly declared.
“—Therefore, I will no strictly rake you over the coals! Prepare yourself, you thieving cat!”
“Meow!”
Even though she was criticized, Nazuna clung onto Chihaya-san with a smile, as she was happy to be called a cat.
Instantly, Chihaya-san widened her eyes in surprise.
“Wha! To be able to close in on me this easily, she is not an amateur! Also, she… she is cute!”
“Yeah, yeah! Just as Chihaya-sama says! She’s as cute as a kitten!”
“Chihaya-sama! Please switch with me! Actually, you’re in the way! And while I’m at it, let me tell, you really are an idiot! You’re not raking her over the coals, but are totally smitten by her!”
When one of the girls that were probably her followers said so severely like before, Chihaya-san made a shocked expression and hastily got away from Nazuna, turning the back on her.
“I, I will leave it at this for today! Be grateful for my tolerance! And don’t get cheeky any more from now on! A good day to you. Oh~hohoho— *cough, cough*”
Midway in her high laughter, Chihaya-san coughed vehemently and leaving the words “….I got a bit of air into my lung”, she went away from Nazuna with her follower girls.
However, midway Chihaya-san made eye-contact with me, then she reddened her cheeks for some reason and mumbled a “…So wild” while she passed by me with side-glances.
Soon after, I could hear faint voices saying “Older men are also wonderful”, “But he looked kinda scary…”, “What are you saying, Asana? Only guys like him pick up an abandoned cat in the rain. You also think so, right Chihaya-sama?”, “…He is handsome” and “No use asking this idiot”.
Not concerned about that, Machina went over to Nazuna right away, but Miichan stopped on the spot and isolated said with a quiet voice.
“…I knew it, Nazuna-chan is amazing.”
When I faced her, Miichan was making a somewhat sad expression.
“Even though she’s popular in class, unlike me, she still gets along with someone like me despite that. She stays with me. She always helps me. But, once again, I couldn’t do anything for Nazuna-chan….”
Dropping her shoulders and head, Miichan continued with a frail voice.
“…I wonder if it is enjoyable for Nazuna-chan to stay with a girl like me?”
“Of course it is. She’s your friend because it’s fun.”
I called out to her with a soft tone, but Miichan said with a teary voice while still looking down.
“But, I’m not interesting… I’m often told that I’m weird.”
“Don’t worry about what others say. What matters is Nazuna’s feelings. She stays with you because it’s fun being by your side, Miichan.”
I slowly reached out my hand for Miichan’s head.
“Besides, you’re charming enough, Miichan. Don’t worry about others. Please get along with Nazuna from now on as well.”
When I petted her head sentimental, Miichan raised her head and clung to me with a nod.
“Thank you, Shinobu-oniisan. I cheered up thanks to your words. They also gave me courage. I fell for you all over again, Shinobu-oniisan. Please let me stay by your side from now on as well.”
“Yeah, as long as it is as a friend.”
I replied smiling with a nod, but Miichan frowned lightly, as she was dissatisfied.
“I want to stay with you as a lover, Shinobu-oniisan.”
“Sorry, but I’m not looking for a lover.”
“…Wh- Why are you not looking for one? Could it be, you already have a girlfriend? Earlier I saw you playing with a girl with big breasts at the beach. Is she your girlfriend, Shinobu-oniisan?”
“What would you do if I said she is?”
Most likely Miichan’s “girl with big breasts” was referring to Minami, but I dared to not deny it and asked her teasingly.
Upon that, Miichan became close to tears, then she strongly clenched her fists and said with a vigorous tone.
“I will not lose. It’s NTR. A suspense show that runs on Tuesday.”
“That means someone will die?”
“Ah, right. I would likely the first to die in that case and I wouldn’t want anyone else to die either, so I’ll think of another way.”
“…W- Well, good luck. Also, she isn’t my girlfriend.”
Replying so with a wry smile, I headed together with Miichan towards Nazuna and Machina.

Afterwards, Machina played the big sister and said she would treat Nazuna and Miichan to some shaved ice, so we moved to the beach house. Under a table parasol outside the store, Machina and I watched over Nazuna and Miichan eating their shaved ice.
There Miichan, who was eating a melon-flavoured shaved ice, said remembering.
“Reminds me, if you put honey on a cucumber it said to taste like melon, but is that true?”
“That’s a lie. I tried it with Elni and Nazuna before, but it was far from tasting like melon.”
“It wasn’t all that good….”
Machina sighed while Nazuna made a disappointed expression.
…What were they acting like kids for with Elni?
As such I got weary in my heart, when Miichan said “Mr. Kappa might have tried it too, since he loves cucumber” and compared her melon-flavoured shaved ice with Machina’s breasts. She opened her mouth.
“Machina-san, your breasts are as big as melons. How can I get such big breasts as you?”
“Mh? I haven’t done anything in particular…well, they might grow bigger if you let someone fondle them?”
She was playing the big sister again. Machina showed a composed smile and replied. Upon that, Miichan faced me again for no apparent reason and while pulling on my sleeve she asked a favour.
“Shinobu-oniisan, please fondle my breasts. I want mine to grow as big as Machina-san’s.”
…It was just so sudden that my heart wavered a bit on Miichan’s words, but I should tell her openly that I didn’t get excited over a middle school with the same age as Nazuna.
So I averted my eyes from Miichan and replied nonchalant.
“Miichan, fondle your breast on your own.”
“Th- That’s embarrassing. If someone were to see me fondling my own breasts by myself, I would become unfit for a bride…!”
“Likewise, if the police were to see me fondling the breasts of a middle schooler, I would become unable to walk under the sky. Sorry, but give up on it.”
I behaved cool, but Miichan said not discouraged.
“Well then, Shinobu-oniisan, please fondle my breasts once I’m a high schooler.”
“Can I?”
I should show composure just like Machina had. I placed my hand on Miichan’s chin and whispered with a flirtatious glance.
“Though it might not end with just fondling your breasts at that time.”
“I, I don’t mind if it’s you.”
…Huh? She instantly replied with a straight face? I didn’t expect this reaction. Machina also widened her eyes with “M- Middle schoolers these days sure are bold” while Nazuna was… preoccupied with her shaved ice.
For starters, I took my hand off Miichan’s chin, who had turned bright red up till her ears, and patted her head with a wry smile.
“Thanks. I’m happy for your feelings, but you’re still in middle school. So I think it’s better if you don’t say stuff like that.”
“…Muh, getting treated as a kid is frustrating.”
“Well, you actually are still a kid. Deal with it.”
Once again making a wry smile, I stood up and leaving behind the words “I’m going to the toilet”, I left… When I came back from the toilet, Machina and Miichan seemed to have gone to the toilet as well, so I waited for their return together with Nazuna.
By the way, now Nazuna was preoccupied with blowing up a dolphin swimming ring that she brought with her from the changing room. With a smile and without rest, she continued to blow air into it and she finally finished, but when she tried to stand up after that, she staggered a bit.
“…B- Brother, somehow I feel dizzy. Is there not enough oxygen around here?”
“You just have an oxygen deprivation. Lay down and rest for a bit, then you’ll be fine again.”
While saying so, I beckoned her, whereupon Nazuna nodded obediently and sat down besides me. Soon enough she bended her small body and entrusted her cheek onto my thigh.
…I didn’t meant to give her a lap pillow, but it was Nazuna, so oh well. Unlike with Minami, I didn’t feel a strange nervousness. So it shouldn’t matter.
Since I had nothing else do, I started to play around with Nazuna’s soft cheek by poking it, but
“Meow, meow.”
even though her cheek was played with, Nazuna showed no resistance and rang a happy voice. Her body was more and more growing up into a girl, but her behaviour hadn’t change from when she was a kid. She still seemed far away from graduating her childhood.
I made a wry smile inadvertently.
“Nazuna, with me it’s fine, but you shouldn’t act overly spoiled with everyone. Mom said ‘When you act spoiled towards someone, you have to spoil someone in exchange’, right?”
“It’s okay. You’re a special case, Brother. At school I’m careful not to act spoiled more than necessary with my friends.”
“That’s a surprise.”
When I replied teasingly, Nazuna made a slightly serious expression and opened her mouth.
“Listen here, Brother, I’m quick to act spoiled with those I love, but you’re different from me. You don’t act spoiled with anyone.”
“Mh? Really? I believe I’m acting a bit spoiled with Luna and Mom?”
“But you rarely depend on anyone at school.”
“There just isn’t anyone I could rely on, even if I wanted. I don’t have much friends.”
“That’s because you only visited Gramps’ doujo in the past.”
She wasn’t speaking of herself, yet she said so regretful.
“Actually, you should have more friends. I mean, you had a lot of friends before you started going to the doujo.”
“Well, back then I was the hero named ‘Shinomun’ after all.”
“Fufu, yeah. There were even a girl who liked you very much, Brother.”
“…There was, someone like that?”
My memories of my childhood were hazy. I specially had a lot of blanks from seven years ago, most likely due to old man Bram erasing my memories for meeting Luna. The only thing I remembered that Nazuna got into a traffic incident because of me.
The reason I didn’t feel bothered by my vague memories at that time was that I had set my sight on becoming stronger. And because there was an incident, which remained in my head even when I tried to forget it, for which I couldn’t forgive my hopeless self that was so painfully powerless…I wanted them to stay vague.
Still, as to make me remember about the past,
“Geez, have you forgotten about Sakura-chan, Brother?”
Nazuna phrased that name.
—Sakura-chan.
That was the name of a girl that was in love with me in my childhood.
But upon hearing that name again, the recurring feeling was…just regret.
Along with a faint headache, I felt a great throb in my chest and my breathing faltered. However, I chose to act like always by creating a smile to hide that.
“…I haven’t forgotten about her. After all, she was my passionate fan. Actually, I’m impressive you remember all that.”
“How could I forget. I always played together with Sakura-chan in the past.”
Nazuna lowered the ends of her eyebrows slightly sadly and continued.
“…But, I wonder why she stopped coming to the park, even though she liked you so much?”
That’s because I hurt her—is what I swallowed down.
“Who knows.”
I brushed it off with a vague smile.
Upon that followed a silence, then Nazuna opened her mouth to get back on topic.
“Hey, Brother, you had so many friends in the past, so you should be able to make a lots of friends at school again if you try. I mean, you’re so cool and kind.”
“…You’re giving me too much credit. Besides, I’m not so kind as you think.”
“That’s not true. You often help people in trouble…”
“That’s just for my own self-satisfaction. I merely help them because I want to. I’m not doing it out of kindness.”
When I denied with a slightly serious tone, Nazuna smiled faintly.
“You said the same when you were in middle school, Brother.”
“Mh? I did?”
“Yeah. You once told me: ‘Today I helped a girl who was pestered by a man, but she got scared of me, which was agonizing’.”
“…You really have a good memory.”
Just like Nazuna had said, I once helped an unknown girl, sometime around my second year of middle school. But I had sent the guy to the ground with my fist and when I reached out for the girl, she had fled in a panic.
Well, understandable. Anyone would be scared after seeing such one-sided violence. Even more so if it was a girl. My way of help was wrong.
Still, it wasn’t like I wanted a reward, but for the youthful me it was kind of sorrowful, so I ended up complaining to Nazuna.
Back then, I was more of a brat than now…
While making a wry smile, I remembered about the past, when Nazuna darkened her smile and continued.
“You were smiling back then, but you had a sad expression, so I became sorrowful and cried, even though I shouldn’t. Then you said ‘I didn’t help her to get gratitude or a reward. It was just for my self-satisfaction, so it doesn’t matter.’ and petted my head.”
“…I see. I was already so cool back then.”
“Yeah.”
I cracked a joke to hide my embarrassment, but Nazuna ended up affirming it with a nod.
“You see, Brother, I cried back then, but I’m fine now. So when you get depressed, I’ll hug you and pet your head. So, act spoiled with me, okay.”
“I’m the older brother, so I won’t act spoiled with my little sister Nazucat.”
“Ehh, that’s just weird.”
“It’s not weird at all. An older brother isn’t just someone who gets born earlier. Protecting his younger siblings however cheeky they might be, that’s what it means to be an older brother.”
Reaching out my hand for Nazuna, I softly continued while petting her head.
“Fortunately you’re cute, but you’re my little sister, so don’t tell your older brother ‘You can act spoiled with me’. Just rely and act spoiled with me all you want.”
“…You won’t acted spoiled, Brother?”
“I was spoiled by you plenty enough already. I’m a failure as a big brother if I keep getting spoiled by my little sister. So don’t pay it any mind and act spoiled all you want. Well, be careful not to overdo it though.”
“Mhm~ Was there ever a time when you acted spoiled with me, Brother?”
Apparently Nazuna hadn’t noticed it, but actually I had been saved by Nazuna a lot.
Probably because I attended my grandfather’s doujo, I didn’t have a single friend in middle school. Everyone in class was scared of me and called me a delinquent…I was isolated.
Despite that I didn’t feel lonely because I had Nazuna.
Even when I was alone at school, once I came home, Nazuna was waiting for me with a smile. When I was hurt and hospitalized, she came to visit me every day. She invited me to play together.
Nazuna didn’t know just how much that saved me.
It was embarrassing, so I couldn’t tell her directly, but I was really grateful to Nazuna.
So I had tried to fulfil Nazuna’s wishes as best as possible, but I never imagined that she would want me to act spoiled with her.
…Nazuna was gradually growing up into an adult.
Honestly, I was happy about the growth of my little sister. But on the other hand I embraced a complicated feeling— wait, why was I acting like a father?
While I retorted to myself in my heart, I continued to pet Nazuna’s head for a while, but Machina and Miichan just weren’t coming back.
Could have something happened? A bit worried, I was about to go check on things with Nazuna, whereupon the two of them were talked to by a couple of guys near the beach house.
Guess they were hitting on them? Miichan seemed a bit frightened while Machina, standing before the guys and covering Miichan, said with a firm attitude.
“Sorry, but we have no time to play with you. Our friends are waiting for us. Please move aside.”
“Could that friend be a guy? Is he more handsome than me?”
“Yes, tenfold.”
Machina instantly replied with composure while Miichan peeked out her head from behind Machina and firmly nodded a “Th- That’s right” in agreement.
“Certainly, you might be handsome, but Shinobu-oniisan is far more wonderful. Shinobu-oniisan has the face of a killer, but he is really cool!”
“Just as Miichan said. Shinobu has eyes that say he’ll slaughter all three of you— wait, isn’t calling him a killer going to far? At least say he’s a yakuza!”
Making a follow up, Machina showed her usual combination of going with the flow and then retorting, but to be honest, it wasn’t a follow up at all.
As a matter of fact, upon hearing the disturbing words “Killer”, “slaughter all three of you” and “Yakuza”, the guys turned pale and ran away.
Amidst that, Miichan’s eyes were sparkling for some reason as she took Machina’s hand.
“You are amazing, Machina-san. So cool. I respect you.”
“Eh? What’s up with you so suddenly, Miichan?”
“I mean, no matter how often you get hit on by guys, you don’t flirt back, you don’t get frightened and you don’t get bashful. You just keep your dignified behaviour. That is wonderful. I admire that. From now on I will call you ‘Machina-oneesama’!”
“…M- Miichan, that’s embarrassing, so please don’t. At least make it ‘oneesan’—wait, don’t cling to me all of a sudden!”
Being hugged by Miichan, Machina got seriously embarrassed.
These two might have an unexpected affinity for each other..
Having that impression, I lowered my voice and declared to Nazuna.
“Nazuna, your killer older brother, who has eyes that say he will slaughter three guys and works for the yakuza, will go scowl at the setting sun alone. Don’t pay me any mind and play with the two of them.”
“D- Don’t get depressed, Brother. Cover your scary appearance up as ‘wild’!”
“…Mh, even if you add ‘wild’ to ‘scary face’, I don’t think it becomes all that favourable. I would have liked it if you had made a follow up on my appearance…”
I felt a bit sorrowful, but it would be bad if Machina got hit on again, so I stopped my joke and swiftly headed for the two with Nazuna. Then we all played together on the beach until the sun set…

* * *

At night, like the schedule said, a barbeque was held at the courtyard of the inn.
I was left in charge with grilling the meat, so I diligently did so, when a few girls from class approached me.
“Nanjou-kun, some meat please.”
All together their opened their mouth and begged me adorable.
Going with the flow, I joked “You damn carnivores!” and plunged the meat into their mouths.
I felt like a mother bird feeding her chicks. It was kind of fun, but the girls must have been either really hungry or just hyped up from the trip, as gradually more and more girls gathered and each demanded with an “Ahn~”.
…To be honest, it was rather embarrassing. I shouldn’t have gone with the flow.
Reflecting on my actions in my heart, I hyper continued to grill the meat.
“Nanjou-kun, give your teacher some meat too please.”
“Yes, come in, Hiiragi-sensei. Please eat it careful, since it’s hot.”
Giving some meat also to Hiiragi-sensei,
“Brother, Brother, me too!”
“Shinobu-oniisan, for me too please.”
“…What are you guys doing here? Hurry up and get back to your own place. This store doesn’t serve middle schoolers.”
I fed the “Ahn~”ing Nazuna and Miichan some meat while cautioning them, when now Hijiri suddenly showed up.
“Shinobu-kun, could you give some to me too?”
“Ohh, Hijiri. Especially for you, I’ll feed you mouth-by-mouth.”
“…Eh? I, I don’t really mind, but everyone is looking, so let’s go over there—Hauh!”
It was a joke, so before she could say anything strange, I stopped her by putting the meat into her mouth.
After that even Minami came by, opened her pretty, pink lips and raised one hand.
“Nanjou-kun, I’m next!”
“Huh? You were here, Minami? What do you want? Beer? Or Shochu?”
“Nanjou-kun’s wiener! No, I mean, Nanjou-kun, wiener!”
“Don’t make such a misleading mistake! What if someone gets the wrong idea? Here, as your ordered, one wiener!”
“Yahn! S- Such a thick one won’t fit into my mouth!”
While retorting, I thrust a wiener into her mouth, whereupon Minami raised a strangely erotic voice.
…Why was she this erotic? Actually, I was sick of all the “Ahn~”s already. I hoped anyone would switch with me…
Such thoughts crossed my mind, when I heard a familiar voice.
“Shinobu-sama, please give me some vegetables.”
“Roge—wait, Kaorun!?”
When I raised my head, Kaorun stood in front of me.
“Why are you here?”
“Actually, I attend the same school as you, Shinobu-sama. The maid turns out to be your senior. I will treat my junior kindly. Even you, Shinobu-sama, should be unable to hide your excitement from this development.”
“Nah, no need to hide it. Don’t tell such an obvious lie. Hurry up and answer my question, why are you here?”
“I was hungry, so I came here to eat— is the joking half of it and truthfully, I came to assist Hijiri-chan.”
Assist? Ah, with the job…
Understanding, I fed Kaorun some vegetables and told her softly.
“But you aren’t a student from here, so be careful that you don’t get caught.”
“Do no worry. When the teacher asked for my name earlier, I could fool them by saying ‘I am class 2-4 Nanjou Shinobu-sama’s maid. I am taking care of my master here’. Now then, Shinobu-sama, I should get back to taking peeping shots— I mean, taking pictures of Hijiri-chan.”
“…Hey, wait. What nonsense are you telling the teacher? How are you going to take responsibility when my stocks slump?”
“At that time, I will buy up all of your stocks, Shinobu-sama.”
“That’s an awful way to take responsibility.”
When I inadvertently protested, Kaorun lowered her head a bit and pulled out a digital camera from her pocket.
“I certainly feel a bit ashamed now, so later I will send you the data of the sneaking shots, no the peeping shots— and I mean peeping shots that I took of Hijiri-chan in her swimsuit.”
This maid openly declared that she was taking peeping shots…
“Shinobu-sama, please enjoy Hijiri-chan in her swimsuit to the fullest. You can enlarge them or alter them in any way you want. As a bonus, I also will add a sexy shot of myself. I would be enlightened if you used that too.”
“Don’t be stupid. Besides, peeping shots are a crime. I can’t really appreciate that.”
That was my official stance, but in reality I wanted to see them, so
“Hand these pictures over for a bit.”
I swiftly snatched away the digital camera from Kaorun’s hand.
“Ah, you cannot, Shinobu-sama! Please do not look! No!”
“So you say, but you actually want me to look. Take care of the grilling for a while, Kaorun.”
Turning my back to the flustered opposing Kaorun and taking a distance, I displayed the data of the digital camera.
Upon that, just like Kaorun had said, the camera was showing Hijiri in her swimsuit, but I could also confirm Machina, Nazuna and Miichan in their swimsuits.
Still, the pictures I displayed, I realized that there were more pictures of me, rather than Hijiri and the others.
“…You were taking peeping shots of me too.”
“I merely considered selling them at a high price to Luna-sama. That really is all to it, so please do not pay it too much mind.”
“I see. You’re a sneaky one, Miss Vile Merchant. Keep up with taking pictures of Machina and the others as well. It’ll be a good memorial. Also, keep grilling the meat in my stead.”
When I asked her with some drama line, Kaorun shrugged her shoulders wearily.
“You certainly work people hard, perverted Lord Governor. Well, depending on the compensation, I would not mind taking up that inquiry.”
“Compensation? My smile isn’t enough? You vile Merchant aka Pervert Maid.”
“It is far from enough. Neither my body or heart will be satisfied with such a fake smile. Please try again.”
I had shown a refreshing smile, but I was shut down by Kaorun.
“Well then, I’ll pet your head, which you love so much. That should be fine, right?”
“N- No way it is fine! I will not act on such a compensation! Please do not ridicule me! I am going now! Farewell!”
Kaorun turned bright on a rare occasion, as I probably made her angry, and turned her back to me. Huffing, she went away. Apparently negotiations broke down….
“…Should I take over the grilling for you now?”
While watching over Kaorun’s back, Asada approached me with a single sentence and took over the grill duty. Then I was munching on some meat, when Minami, holding canned juice in both her hands, called out to me.
“Nanjou-kun, good job. I brought you some juice. Here.”
“Oh, thanks.”
I was grateful, since I was thirsty at the moment. Minami held orange canned juice in her right hand and white peach in her other, so I reached out for the white peach one and smiled.
Minami was so considerate. She had kindly opened the pull-tabs on both cans and her breasts were big— wait, her breasts didn’t matter here.
I made a self-retort in my heart and put the can onto my mouth.
Instantly, Minami laughed “Fufu” roguish.
“…Hey, what’s up with that weird laughter? Don’t tell me, you poisoned it? Or is it an aphrodisiac? Geez, you’re such a coward. You’re mistaken if you think you can do anything to me due a mere aphrodisiac.”
“Kukuku. Strong words, but your body is being honest. You already falling for me hard— Not! I didn’t put either poison or an aphrodisiac in it! Besides, I wasn’t making a weird laughter! I just, thought it’s, an indirect kiss…”
“Huh? An indirect kiss? You’re saying, this was your juice?”
“Yeah, that’s right. We had an indirect kiss.”
When I asked timidly, Minami smiled with her cheeks faintly flushed.
“S- Sorry for just drinking it.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it and drink it all. …I drank from both juices anyway…”
I got the feeling she exposed something unbelievable with a quiet voice, but since she had offered it.
“Thanks.”
Cladding myself in composure, I put the juice onto my mouth again, when
“Hey, Nanjou-kun, let’s not leave it at an indirect kiss now and… do a direct kiss?”
“—PFT!”
“Kyaa!”
Because Minami told such a strange joke, I snorted the juice out of my mouth with attitude in surprise.
As bad as it was, right into Minami’s face…
“Geez, Nanjou-kun, say so before you let it out. My face is all sticky from your white stuff now.”
It’s because you say weird stuff. And stop with the misleading erotic phrasing— is what I wanted to retort strongly.
However, regardless of the circumstances, it was a fact that I did something awful to a girl.
A liquid mixture of juice and my saliva. That stained Minami’s pretty face white and gave her an indecent appearance that triggered unwanted delusions.
“Sorry. Wait a sec. I’ll wipe it right away.”
I immediately apologized to Minami and hastily pulled out a handkerchief from my pocket. Then I gently wiped away the juice on her face.
…To be honest, I was rather surprised.
Even if only through the handkerchief, I was touching Minami’s soft cheeks and her soft lips without permission, moreover I even reached out for her neck and collarbone.
Minami didn’t show any particular resistance, but I certainly was being over-familiar.
Returning to my senses, I stopped my hand and held out to the handkerchief to Minami.
“Sorry, but wipe the rest by yourself.”
“Ehh, you got all this on me, so take responsibility by wiping it all. Here, it even got onto my chest. Hurry up and wipe it.”
“…Still no teaching from your office, I see. Just what are you saying to a boy?”
“Mh? I don’t really mind. So properly finish it, okay?”
Sweetly saying, Minami took my hand to hurry me and smiled seducing.
Just what should I do? Was it okay to wipe her breasts like she had told me? But it was her breasts. The huge breasts rumoured to be F-cups. If I carelessly touched them and end up fondling them on reflex, I wouldn’t be able to make any excuses. I was worried over my crumbling reasoning…
“Nanjou-kun, if you leave it soaked like this, it’ll turn into stains. Hurry up.”
Not knowing my feelings, Minami raised up her voluminous breasts with one arm and urged me.
…At this rate I might do something unbecoming for a gentleman. When I pondered how to get away from Minami, Machina, holding a paper plate, appeared from wherever, then got between the two of us.
“Give me that.”
With these words, Machina snatched away the handkerchief from my hand and wiped away the juice on Minami’s chest with a soft-touch.
Machina might have been watching our situation. She gave the troubled me a helping hand, but for some reason Machina said with a dissatisfied frown to Minami.
“Geez, I already have my hands full with just Hijiri, so why are even you trying to seduce Shinobu.”
“Eh? I wasn’t really seducing him. I just made a sexy appeal.”
“…Instead of sexy, isn’t it more like erotic?”
“Th- That’s rude! I’m not erotic at all! Even Nanjou-kun thinks so!”
“No, you’re plenty erotic.”
I declared without hesitation, whereupon Minami dropped her shoulders dejected.
“That’s mean, Nanjou-kun. Even though I tried so hard, because you said you liked a sexy girl…”
“Minami, it’s not really that I like sexy girls. I just like turning a sexy leopardess into a kitten with my charms.”
“…That’s kind of detestable.”
“Nanjou-kun, so cool…”
On my joke, Machina showed a weary expression, but in contrast to that, Minami showed a spellbound one.
It was a reaction like Nazuna would give. Actually, wasn’t Minami basically affirming my words like Nazuna quite often? To begin with, when did I ever tell her “I like sexy girls”? I didn’t remember that at all.
There I mentally inclined my head, when Machina approached me and presented me the paper plate with something like fried noodles on it to me with a smile.
“Shinobu, I made some fried noodles. Try it.”
“…Let me ask just in case, who did the seasoning?”
“Me, of course. I’m confident this time.”
“I’m kind of scared and kind of looking forward to it, yet again I’m scared…”
From one crisis to another. Machina was bad at cooking, lethally so. When I previously ate the curry-like thing she made, I fainted on a single bite.
If possible, I would like to avoid eating it. But if I were to turn her down, Machina would without doubt be hurt. I had no other choice but to eat this…
“I, I’m digging in.”
I took the chopsticks from Machina, whose eyes were brimming with anticipation, and determined put the fried noodles look-alike into my mouth.
“How’s it? Good?”
“…It looks terrible, but the taste is even worse.”
“Eh? No way!?”
“Ah, no, just kidding! I was just lying! It’s surprisingly good, yeah.”
The taste was so awful that I had ended up saying the truth, but Machina became teary on a rare occasion, so I hastily revoked my statement. Once more I put the fried noodles look-alike into my mouth.
I was sure she gave her best in making it. I was disappointed in the taste, but happy about the fact that she cooked for me. Also, compared to the dish from before, this was kind of eatable.
Though that only applied to me, since I had eaten snakes or frogs when I was stranded on a mountain with my grandfather. Any normal person would have problems with this.
But well, it was a fact that Machina got better at cooking. With this progress, there might come a day in the near future, where Machina completely masters how to cook.
Dreaming of that day, I said to myself “Machina’s cooking is good. I, It’s good, right? Yeah, it’s good, I suspect.” and continued to eat it.
Meanwhile, Minami made a worried expression the whole time and Machina also had smiled at the beginning, but as soon as she saw that a cold sweat broke out on my forehead,
“Shinobu, let me try it too.”
Machina made dubious expression, as she probably saw through my acting, and snatched away the chopsticks from me. Without time to stop her, she put the fried noodles look-alike into her mouth.
Instantly, Machina staggered and fainted—nearly. I hastily caught her and shouted.
“Hey, Machina! Hang in there, don’t fall asleep! If you fall asleep now, you might die!”
When I slapped around her cheeks, Machina opened her eyes weakly.
“….Mmh? Where am I? Who am I?”
“You’re at the courtyard of my mansion and you’re my maid. Say ‘I’m a maid that loves her master very much, meow, meow♪‘ like you always do“
“I understand, Master. I’m a maid that loves her master very much, meow, meow♪ wait, why are you rewriting my memory on your own! Actually, the heck is up with the dish!? For a moment, I saw my later mother! Who made this dish!?“
Machina shouted enraged, as her memory was in turmoil due to the shock of the dish.
Slowly reaching my hand out to Machina, I gently placed my hand on her shoulder.
“Machina, this might be cruel to tell you now, but I have to say it. This fried noodle look-alike was made by no one else, but you.”
“Im- Impossible!?”
“…Could it be, you’re still confused?”
When we talked like that, Minami suddenly pulled on my sleeve jerkily.
“Mh? What’s up, Minami?”
“Ehm, well, I’m also a maid that loves her master very much, meow, meow♪“
Colouring her cheeks pinkish, Minami said, mimicking Machina.
“Th- That’s so lovely.”
Involuntarily I ended up being smitten…

After the barbeque, I moved to the lobby of the inn. Sitting down on the sofa, I pulled out my cell phone. With the intend to talk with Luna and Elni for a bit, I called home.
Upon a few rings, I could hear Luna’s lively voice.
“Hello, Nanjou Residence here. Who am I speaking with?”
While I thought that Luna’s voice was pretty as ever, I suddenly felt prankish. Disguising my voice, I asked with an outlandish voice.
“Hehehe, Missy, what kind of panties are you wearing right now?”
“…Eh? I am not wearing any at the moment.”
“PFT!”
Snorting in surprise on the unexpected answer, I inadvertently relapsed into my own voice and shouted.
“Wh- What do you mean! Are you really not wearing any!?”
“Ah, so it really was you, Shinobu-san.”
Leaving my surprised self aside, Luna continued with her lively voice.
“I just came out of the bath and dried off my body, when the phone rang, so I immediately took it, thinking it might be you. And then I heard a voice that resembled yours, so I…”
That meant, right now Luna was just clad in a single bath towel? When I pictured that on reflex, Luna suddenly raised a “Kyaa!” scream. Following, I could hear her flustered voice saying “Elni-chan, please give back the bath towel! And please give back the receiver too! Otherwise I cannot talk with Shinobu-san!”.
Judging by the situation, Elni had noticed that the call was from me. I was sure she snatched away Luna’s bath towel and even the receiver.
…In other words, if my assumption was right, Luna was butt naked right now.
“Elni-san, Elni-san! What’s going on on your end!?”
“Yes, the reporter Goddess Elni here. A few days ago, when I crossed the pedestrian crossing… a taxi came to a halt. It was really awkward.”
“You should just tell the taxi driver ‘To the other side of the pedestrian crossing please’! Anyway, hurry up and tell me what’s happening!”
When I asked her urging, Elni’s reply came along with the sound of footsteps running down the hallway.
“At present, Luna is chasing me, whose on the run with her bath towel and phone, naked. Luna’s big breasts are bouncing around widely. Should I take a picture with my cell phone and send it to you, Shinobu?”
“Yes, please— wait, no. Tell Luna to put on some clothes already or she will catch a cold.”
“Yeah, okay.”
Elni obediently consented. She called out to the nearby Luna.
“Luna, Shinobu said ‘I can’t make a proper conversation, since the thought of Luna being naked excites me so much. I always end up picturing Luna’s breasts. So hurry up and put on some clothes.’.”
“…Hey, Elni, don’t dramatize my gentleman line into something a boy in puberty would say!”
“Don’t fret it, Shinobu. Luna nodded an ‘I understand’ with a bright red face. All well in the end. Besides, you really were excited, weren’t you Shinobu?”
“Hehehe, nothing I can do when you already saw through me.”
To cover up that she had hit the bulls-eye, I once again disguised my voice and asked Elni with an outlandish voice.
“By the way, what colour do your panties have, Miss?”
“The strength of absolute victory—- Ultra Shocking Pink!”
“…That’s quite extravagant. Feeling pink?”
Answering the nonsense with nonsense, I returned to myself and retorted, then leaked a sigh and changed the topic.
“Just to tell you, we all got here safely. How’s it going on your end? Any changes?”
“Nope, no changes. I’m all energetic. Today I took a nap with Luna in your bed. Since Luna was using your pillow, I used Luna’s breasts as a pillow. It’s really pleasant to sleep on Luna’s breast pillow.”
“I want that pillow!”
“Mh? Well then, should I ask Luna? Luna just came back from putting on clothes, so I’ll ask her. Luna, Shinobu wants your—”
“Stop, stop! I was half-joking, so don’t take it serious. Also, switch the phone with Luna!”
When I flustered cut into Elni’s words, she leaked a slightly sad voice.
“…Shinobu, you’re not extending your time?”
“Sounds like I would need to pay for that, so I’ll pass. It’s time to switch over to Luna.”
“I see. I’m afraid I can’t do anything then. Well then, Shinobu, look forward to tomorrow.”
“Mh? Tomorrow? What are you talking about?”
“A secret. But you certainly will be surprised. Good night, Shinobu.”
Elni left behind some words that made me curious and switched over the phone to Luna…or so it was supposed to happen, but strangely enough, Luna wouldn’t take the call.
What was up? When I inclined my head, I suddenly heard a sexy female voice through the phone.
“Hey boy, I heard you got excited over imagining me naked? Fufu, you bad boy. But that is cute as well. Hurry up and come home. For you, boy, I will show all of my perverted sides <3”
“Who are you!? What happened to Luna!?”
When I raised an unusual voice, the person on the voice replied embarrassed.
“Ehm, that was me, Shinobu-san. I tried saying that on Elni-chan’s suggestion. What do you say? Were you surprised?”
“…O- Oh, it was you. To be honest, I was rather surprised. My heart was about to start beating from the surprise! By the way, that lame joke was told to me by Elni in the past.”
While saying so, I took a deep breath in my heart to calm down my feelings, then I told Luna that we arrived safely, that Machina learned to swim and that even Kaorun was here. For a while I spoke with her.
Then I brought the conversation to an end with “Tomorrow I’m going to buy souvenirs. Look forward to it”.
“Good night, Shinobu-san. Please look forward to tomorrow as well.”
Luna said the same thing as Elni.
“…Somehow, Elni said the same stuff, but is something happening tomorrow?”
“Ehm, that is, well…”
For some reason Luna faltered, but then she suddenly raised an “Ah” as she remembered something.
“Sh- Shinobu-san, suddenly the voice network became bad. It is full of noise and cannot hear anything. I do not understand what you are saying, Shinobu-san. I am sowwy!”
Saying so, the phone was hung up.
“…sowwy, huh.”
She was in such a haste that she bit onto her lips.
Kind of cute. I was a bit concerned about tomorrow, but I would understand at that time.
…Now then, I should go take a bath.
Renewing my spirit, I stood up, when I suddenly spotted Minami walking down the lobby. Apparently Minami just came out of the bath and her cheeks were sexily flushed. But, she seemed to be in deep thought, as she made a serious expression and had her hand rested against her chin. She didn’t notice me and was about to pass by, so
“Yo, why the serious face?”
I called out to her myself.
Upon that, Minami faced me, changed her expression into a smile and came closer.
“You see, Nanjou-kun, I just heard a weird rumour…”
“A weird rumour? Reminds me, the guys in class rumoured that your breasts are a F-cup…is it about that?”
“Huh!? How do you know--- wait, no. Who’s spreading such a rumour!”
“Who knows? I have no clue.”
If I were to tell her the truth, my friend the Pervert would suffer greatly. I quickly feigned ignorance, whereupon Minami made a faint sigh.
“…Just so you know, the rumour I heard is different from yours, Nanjou-kun.”
Reminding me like that, Minami sat down besides me and continued by changing her tone into a serious one.
“I heard it from the girls in our class. You know about that woodland path near the inn, right? Apparently there are ruins at the end of it and… they often seem to appear there.”
“Perverts often do? I think they just mistook Asada there.”
“Why would Asada be there so frequently!? That’s even scarier and completely off the mark!”
After denying strongly, Minami cleared her throat with a cough and opened her mouth.
“Let me continue. Apparently some people did a test of courage at these ruins and when they came back, they all said ‘There was a ghost’ together with pale faces. Somehow, I couldn’t get that out of my head…”
“Oh, you scared?”
“Well, I am… but you know, Gogyou-san spoke about it before. That there might be a devil hiding. You guys said it was from a game, but Gogyou-san disappeared somewhere while we played together today. It’s kinda suspicious.”
“Really? You’re overthinking it. Hijiri just went to see her older sister.”
“Older sister?”
“Yeah. The older sister loves the younger one very much and with her sister-complex she wanted to play with Hijiri, so she came all the way here. I was also surprised when I met her earlier. Actually, there’s no way devils exists to begin with.”
With a cold sweat breaking out in my heart, I brushed it off by telling a lie with a bit of truth.
Instantly, Minami turned red and covered her head with both her hands.
“…I made a weird misunderstanding again. So embarrassing! I can’t be a bride anymore! You take me, Nanjou-kun!”
“I decline.”
“Geez, don’t reply right away and give it some thought, Nanjou-kun. I’ll give you lot of freebies.”
When I nonchalantly replied to her joke, Minami took a sexy pose and shook her huge breasts. Averting my eyes from these voluminous breasts, I shrugged my shoulders and stood up, turning my back to Minami.
“Don’t be stupid and hurry back to your room. ‘Take me’ isn’t something you should say so easily, even as a joke.”

“It wasn’t even… easy for me… I tried so hard… -chan….won’t…”
Suddenly a really small voice sounded. Following, I felt a warmth on my back. I noticed right away that Minami had hugged onto me.
However, that embrace was kind of forlorn and I could feel through my back that Minami was crying. I carefully tried to find words to say. But confused by this all so sudden incident, no words came up at all.
At that moment,
“Fufufu…”
Breaking the silence, Minami suddenly laughed strangely, then changed her embrace into a playful one.
“You let your guard down, Nanjou-kun! It was extremely careless of you to leave your back wide open. I won’t let go now!”
“…There.”
“Hyan.”
I could easily shake off Minami with her limited strength. Not playing along with her joke anymore, I mustered a bit of strength to loose Minami’s embrace and got away from her.
“See you tomorrow.”
With my back still to her, I coolly waved my hand and left the place in an escape…

* * *

From there I returned to my assigned four-person room and chatted a bit with the guys, then lay down in my bed and fell asleep.
However, late at night when everyone was asleep,
“…Your sleeping face really is cute.”
I noticed someone saying that while gently petting my head and was wide awake. With my consciousness still a bit hazy, I rubbed my eyes and opened my mouth.
“Mmh? Who’s there?”
“It is me. I am the Sun’s Komachi. An Angel. Your ideal maid, Shinobu-sama.”
“Kaorun, huh…”
When I straightened up my upper body and faced her, there amidst a soft orange illumination—Kaorun looked at me peering.
“What’s up so late?”
I asked with a yawn, whereupon Kaorun slowly brought her face closer and answered.
“It has to be this late… for me to climb through my sweetheart’s window.”
“Huh? You came all the way here to tell me that joke?”
“I am not telling you a joke.”
Suddenly bringing her face even closer, Kaorun smiled enticing and continued.
“Previously I told you, Shinobu-sama, that it would interfere with Hijiri-chan’s yin-yang technique if you stayed weak against females. And that I would help you get used to a woman with my own body. Well, therefore I will kiss you now.”
“Let me kiss you before. C’mon, close your eyes. I’ll give you a romantic one-night stand.”
“…Please do not try to escape by saying dainty words. You have no reason to worry, Shinobu-sama. I will gently take the lead. Okay now, let me take off your clothes.”
“Hey, wait. Stop. Think of where we are. What if someone wakes up?”
When I tried to get away from Kaorun’s warm and soft fingertips, Asada, sleeping in the bed besides, got up abruptly. As soon as he saw Kaorun, he shouted in surprise.
“UWAAAH! A MAIIID! A peverted maid is night assaulting Nanjou!? How enviable—”
During his words, Kaorun crossed the distance between her and Asada in mere seconds. Then she got behind Asada and got him in a sleeper hold. In a few seconds he lost consciousness.
“Sweet maid dreams.”
Along with a finisher remark, Kaorun pulled the blanket over Asada and slowly turned around.
“Shinobu-sama, here are too many hindrances, so I will postpone the night visit to some other time.”
“Then I’ll make sure to properly lock my door next time.”
“You certainly are free to do so, but that is going to prove pointless because of my lock picking skills.”
“How naïve. We have a watchdog called Mad Dog at our house. If you do anything funny, she’ll bite onto you.”
When I threatened her with a bold smile, Kaorun bit into her lips frustrated.
“Kuh! So that is what it means to be bitten by your pet dog.”
“Hey, that’s rude. When did Elni become your pet dog?”
“No, it was just a mischievous joke. Anyway, I will now get to the real issue at hand.”
“Real issue?”
“Yes. You made a request to me at the barbeque, remember? Like you have requested, I have taken pictures of Machina and Nazuna-sama. Therefore please pay in advance.”
…I didn’t think she really would take on my request. But I was sleepy, I rested my cheek on my pillow and lightly waved my hand.
“Sorry, but wait until tomorrow. I’m sleepy.”
“Please do not say that, Shinobu-sama. I am tired from my work. I want to ease this tiredness. Please, just for a little while.”
“I am afraid that the English gentleman that you requested is already off-hours. We sincerely await your visit to the shop tomorrow.”
While closing both my eyes, I replied with that, whereupon Kaorun suddenly started to talk with a bewitching voice.
“Ahhn! Master, you really love bottoms. That is too forceful. Please be more gentle. Yahn… Uhn… Nooo!”
“Fufufu, your mouth says that, but down here you’re already—wait, no! Don’t make weird voices here! You just want me to pay, right! Okay!”
I hastily straightened up my upper body and shut Kaorun’s mouth. Then I got out of the room together with Kaorun. Moving to the lobby, I sat down on the sofa. There, for no apparent reason, Kaorun naturally sat down on my lap.
“Well then, Shinobu-sama, please pay up.”
“Well, I’ll pet your head, but stop acting like Elni. Hurry up and get off.”
“Please do not mind it, Shinobu-sama. Please accept me with your male broad-mindedness.”
She sure was unreasonable. The sensation of Kaorun’s soft bottom, her sweet fragrance and the feeling of her body warmth made me nervous by all means. But, I just shrugged my shoulders and accept her actions with my male broad-mindedness like she had said.
Then Kaorun leaned her back against my chest and said in a somewhat happy mood.
“I really worked hard, you know. I took pictures of Machina and Nazuna-chan enjoying the barbeque, perfectly caught their bathing scene on film and even snuck into their room earlier to record their sleeping faces.”
“…Hey, midway it perfectly turned into a crime. I didn’t want you to go that far. What if the police had caught you?”
“I would have promptly bribed the officer at that time. Of course with photos of you in your swimsuit, Shinobu-sama.”
“…Hoh, that’s quite the brilliant plan. Even if it’s a police officer, upon seeing me in my swimsuit, one cannot help but say ‘Oh, what a great guy’.”
It was too much of a pain, so I abandoned my retort. When I replied perfunctorily with another yawn, Karoun suddenly turned around and opened her mouth while slightly glaring at me.
“Shinobu-sama, at this point you should have retorted with ‘What are you adding bribing along with peeping shots to your crimes for!’. What is the point of replying to my nonsense with your nonsense? Right now, you are just like Elni-sama.”
“…I don’t really want that.”
“Hehehe, your mouth says no, but your body is being honest. It has gotten like this already.”
“No, nothing’s gotten like this. Just what of me became like what?”
Returning to my self, I asked wearily, whereupon Kaorun suddenly pressed her warm palm and well-formed ear against my chest. Smiling roguish, she answered.
“Your heart is beating so fast, Shinobu-sama.”
“Because you’re so pretty, Kaorun.”
Instantly, Kaorun’s cheeks turned red. Most likely the stuff about the bathing peeping shots were a joke. I slowly reached out my hand for the head of the bright-red Kaorun. I continued with a soft tone.
“Whenever you have time tomorrow, please keep taking pictures, Kaorun.”
“Th- That depends on your payment. Shinobu-sama, Please hug me tightly and gently now. After that please kiss my cheek.”
“…My hugs and kisses are expensive.”
“I will pay with my body.”
“You can’t. Control yourself.”
“Yes.”
When I said so strongly, Kaorun nodded obediently to my surprise.
For a while then I continued to pet Kaorun’s head, but she suddenly got away from me and opened her mouth with a slightly serious expression.
“…There is something I would like to ask you, Shinobu-sama. May I?”
“Mh? My three sizes are a secret.”
“I know these already, so that is fine.”
Saying something unbelievable outright, Kaorun asked with her expression still serious.
06_159
“The other day when you visited our house, you mentioned that you are interested in the exorcist training, correct?”
“Yeah. I also told you that I’m still wea—”
“You are not weak, Shinobu-sama.”
Softly cutting into my words, Kaorun continued quietly.
“Back then, it looked to me like you were obsessed over becoming stronger, so I was a bit worried and as rudely as it may be, I allowed myself to look into your matters, Shinobu-sama…”
Momentarily stopping her words, Kaorun showed a bit of hesitation, then opened her mouth again.
“I do not know why you are so particular about strength. Shinobu-sama, at your age you already have countless matches with other schools and stayed undefeated in official matches. I dare to say that even Hijiri-chan would be no match for you, if not for her exorcist skills. Despite all that—Even though you are plenty strong enough already, why are you insisting so vehemently on becoming stronger?”
“I don’t really insist on it. I just want to get stronger to protect my precious people. That’s all.”
“…Is that really all to it?”
Frowning a bit, Kaorun looked straight into my eyes.
Her eyes were filled with worry and I couldn’t avert my eyes from them. …That was no good. If she was worried like this, my heart faltered. I thought about fooling her, but it seemed pointless. I confessed with a sigh.
“…My earlier words weren’t false. I really want to protect my precious people. But, that’s not all. I just…can’t forgive my weak self.”

—Sorry, Shinobu-chan. It’s all my fault.

Suddenly a childish voice sounded in the back of my brain.
Before I noticed it, I had strongly clenched my fist.
“In the past, a girl got hurt because I was weak.”
At the crucial time, I was unable to tell her anything in the end…
“…I don’t ever want to experience that again.”
While feeling a pain in my chest, I squeezed out these words, when suddenly my body was enveloped by something warm and soft. I was bewildered. Kaorun was embracing me. It took me a few seconds to realize that.
“Ehm, what are you doing all of a sudden?”
“Well, as thanks for petting my head, I just thought about petting your head as well, Shinobu-sama. Do no let it bother you.”
Kaorun answered my timid question indifferent as ever. And then, just like she had said, she started to pet my head.
A warm feeling got transferred through her palm, but I feigned ignorance and faced sideways.
“…Uhm, it’s hot, so could you get off?”
“Does your tsundere know no limit!?”
Kaorun raised a surprised voice, but didn’t remove her hand from my hand and declared in a gentle tone.
“Good grief, I am well aware how shy you are, Shinobu-sama, so just obediently let your head be petted now.”
“…Yeah, okay.”
Having my head gently petted by Kaorun, the pain in my chest dissolved softly. However, only the childish voice of the girl was stuck in my chest and wouldn’t leave…




Chapter 03: Unsaid Words

Since forever, I couldn’t stay calm when someone was crying.
I just might have been overlapüing myself with that crying someone.
Being bullied at the doujo of my grandfather, blaming my own weakness on my mother, I repeated to vent my anger—Such a weak myself.
I hated this side of mine. It was so pathetic. I couldn’t forgive it. So I shut myself into my room and cried alone.
Because I was always crying like that…I reached out for the crying girl in the park at that time.
That girl had just moved here and had no friends around. She was desperate to join any groups.
But she was a clumsy cry-baby and failed at nearly all games, so she was always teased by everyone and cried because of it. Still, the girl didn’t become discouraged and tried to join into everyone’s group day by day.
…From what I heard later, both her parents were busy with work and only came back home late at night.
Left alone, she must have been lonely. She must have been sad. More so than the bullying, for her it must have been more painful to be alone. She always stayed around everyone.
But, at one point, the girl wasn’t even allowed anymore to stay at their sides.
One day, she was forsaken by everyone and they stopped playing with her. Since that day, she watched the other kids from a corner of the park and shed tears unknown to anyone. When the sun set, she trotted home alone— She repeated her days like that.
Unable to watch it any longer, I called out to the girl with all my might.
“Hey, if you have time, wanna play with me?”
I mustered my courage and asked her out to play.
“Look, isn’t it boring to be by yourself all the time? Let’s go together.”
When I slowly reached out my hand, the girl looked at my hand with wide open eyes. Timidly she reached out for it…but in the end she didn’t took it and dropped her gaze onto the ground.
“…I can’t. It’s no fun being with me…I’m just in the way…That’s what everyone says…”
With tears dwelling up in her clouded eyes, the girls said sadly with a trembling voice.
“…You too, will surely leave me…”
Instantly, I placed a chop onto the girl’s head.
“Ouch! Wh- Why are you suddenly hitting me?”
“Because you’re sobbing some rubbish there. Besides, it’s not for others to decided if it’s fun being with you or not. It’s for me to decide. Now that you get that, let’s play together. No, rather, I’ll play with you. There, twin tails!”
I couldn’t encourage her properly, since I became embarrassed. I playfully grabbed the girl’s long hair and messed around with it.
“H- Huh? Your hair, feels a bit different from Nazuna’s…”
When I was a bit excited—it happened suddenly. The girl started to shed big tears, so I immediately removed my hand in confusion.
Before I could apologize with a hollow voice, the girl shook her head.
“No…I… just… hap… py…”
Leaking a “I’m just happy” with a hard to comprehend crying voice, the girl cried out loudly. I didn’t understand why, but I made the girl cry. I was at a loss what to do—So for first time, I petted the head of a girl besides Nazuna.
Then the girls stopped crying… and showed a smile. Her eyes, still a bit teary, narrowed happily and her small mouth also opened happily. Her smiling face was really cute.
…Now that I thought back on it, this might have been the trigger to my habit of petting people’s heads.
I was happy that the girls stopped crying, so I reached out my hand for her once more with a smile.
“I’m Shinobu. Written with the [Shinobu] kanji from ‘ninja‘. What’s your name?”
“My name is written with the [Sakura] and—”

* * *

The morning of the second day of seaside school. Midway in my dream, suddenly a shrill melody echoed through the room and I wake upon that sound.
Geez, which idiot had his cell phone ringing this early? He ought to think of his surroundings. What time did he think it was?
Due to seeing a dream of the past, I was a bit in a fool mood. Half-asleep, I complained in my heart, but
“Nanjou, your cell is ringing.”
Asada called out to me like that and I finally realized.
That the annoyingly ringing cell phone— belonged to me.
I hastily put my hand on my cell phone and lowered my head to the wreathing rising guys with a “Sorry”, then moved into a corner of the room. While feeling a sense of discomfort, I looked down and saw that it was a call from my mother.
“Hello? What the fuck do you want so early in the morning?”
“…Mh? What are you so angry for? Could it be, you were still sleeping? You’re supposed to take the bus at 8 to a farm today, right? So get up already. Actually, since you participating in the seaside school, wake up early and enjoy the trip.”
“Stop pestering me. What are you, my mom?”
“Yes, I am.”
“…Oh right.”
During our conversation, I awakened completely. Lightly scratching my head, I listened to my mother.
“That aside, Shinobu, the pamphlet said you have free time once you came back from the farm, but do you have any plans in the noon?”
“Not really. I think, I’ll just go to the beach like yesterday….Why do you ask?”
“Se-cr-et <3”
Considering it strange, I asked, whereupon a weird cute voice came back through the phone.
For now, I could only say one thing.
“Think of your age. Age, you hear. There’s a limit to acting out of character!”
“…I’ll get you later, so be prepared. I’ll beat you to a pulp. See you.”
Leaking a low voice filled with anger, my mother one-sidedly ended the call.
What was that? I titled my head and watched my cell phone for a while…

After that, like the schedule in the pamphlet said, we students gathered in front of the inn. After a roll-call, we boarded a bus, which took us shaking to the farm.
Under the blue sky, a green carpet extended over an inclined plane.
Until noon, we had time to look around the farm.
The farm also had a petting farm and you could try out milking cows or riding horses. We were free to do what we wanted until our departure, so I moved to the petting farm, invited by Machina.
At that time, the nearby girls suddenly raised a piercing voice.
They probably saw some cute animal.
I faced there with these thoughts, but my assumption was wrong. The girls’ gazes were set on Hijiri riding on a horse.
Hijiri was mounting the horse with a straight back and emitting dignity.
Supposedly junior girls once after another raised their voices with “Gogyou-senpai~!” or “Look over here~!” and waved their hands, whereupon Hijiri showed a troubled face and then waved back lightly with a smile.
Hijiri was gorgeous as ever. No wonder the girls got so excited.
When I watched over the girls with that impression, I suddenly met Hijiri’s eyes.
Upon that, her dignified expression up till now vanished.
“Shinobu-kun~!”
Hijiri showed an innocent smile and waved greatly into my direction.
Attracted, I also smiled and responded to Hijiri with a small hand wave, but…the glares of the girls hurt me. Their eyes were cruelly cold. Their jealous glares were kind of scary. For now, I thought about brushing it off with a smile, so I gave them an awkward smile, but at that moment, the girls raised a small scream and ran away.
…A truly hurtful reaction.
“Hey, Shinobu, why are you making such a scary face? These girls were juniors, right? I feel sorry for them.”
“…I’m the most pitiful here.”
I replied to Machina’s weary regard with a heart-rending feeling.
However, apparently Machina stayed unaware of my feelings. She puzzled tilted her head, then jerkily pulled on my sleeve.
“Anyway, Shinobu, there are rabbits over there. Let’s go.”
“Yeah, let the animals ease my wounded heart.”
Giving a nod back, I headed for the enclosure with the rabbits together with Machina, then entering it. There Machina embraced an affectionate white rabbit that came over and raised a lively voice.
“Look, look, Shinobu. This one has pretty crimson eyes. Just like Elni.”
“Okay, then let’s name it Elni #2.”
“It’s body is all soft, fluffy and warm.”
“…Uhm, don’t ignore me and give me your usual combo of getting tricked and retorting?”
I was a bit sad, so I asked her, but Machina ignored me and smiled.
“Why are rabbits just so cute?”
“I’m sure they use their cuteness to overcome the survival of the fittest. There also some humans like that. What’s your opinion on that, Machina?”
“Ah, that one over there is cute too. Come here~”
“….Are you doing that on purpose? Please listen to me.”
I once again asked her, but sadly enough, it had no effect. Machina put the white rabbit onto her lap and embraced a brown rabbit now. She said spellbound.
“Living surrounded by rabbits must be such a bliss…”
“Yeah. I also want to be jostled by bunny girls, even just once.”
“Fufu, you’re all fluffy too.”
…This was hopeless. Machina didn’t seem to hear me, as she was absorbed in petting the rabbit and rubbing it against her cheek. She was madly in love.
“Having fun?”
“HopHop♪“
Machina had gone crazy. For whatever reason, she excoriated---No, wait. Of all things, Machina spoke back to the rabbit on my outcall.
Still, her innocent smile was as cute as Hijiri’s.
When I inadvertently was smitten by Machina’s smile, I could suddenly hear a shutter sound from a camera. I raised my head concerned, whereupon I saw Kaorun, concealing her body with a cardboard box for some reason and holding up a digital camera through a small opening.
“---The Maid’s trivia: Rabbits do not have vocal cords, so they make no sounds. Also, throughout the whole year, they are in a ‘rutting’ condition.”
Along with her words, Kaorun pressed the shutter once more, then pulled the cardboard over her head and hid her body.
“Well then, Snake, I will continue with my peeping shots in the stealth camouflage.”
“…That cardboard was supposed to be a stealth camouflage, huh. I see, good taste--- as if! Who are you calling Snake! Instead you should be Snake!”
“Throughout the whole year, the rabbits are in a ‘rutting’ condition.”
She probably just wanted to say that once more? Kaorun leaked a somewhat happy voice and went away with her body enveloped with the stealth camouflage.
…The execution aside, it seemed that Kaorun was fulfilling my request.
“Thanks for the photos.”
Saying my thanks to Kaorun, I shifted my gaze back to Machina.
“HopHop♪“
Machina still was obsessed with the rabbits. There I lightly clapped her shoulder and looked outside the enclosure with a side-glance.
“Hey Machina, sorry, but I’m already tired of the bunnies. Can I leave?”
“Yes, sure. But be sure to return home by five, Shinobu.”
“…What are you, my mother?”
Replying with that to the absent-minded Machina, I left the enclosure half-wearily.
At that time, I saw Nazuna and Miichan coming closer from ahead.
“Brother~!”
“Shinobu-oniisan~!”
“Yes, yes, I’m the all popular Shinobu-oniisan. I’m busy, so handshakes and autographs later.”
For now I gave Nazuna and Miichan, who had come to my side, a suited reply.
But Nazuna didn’t seem to care and clung onto my back strongly.
“Brother, Brother, I milked Ms. Cow together with Miichan. And you know, afterwards we could drink the milk. It was really good.”
“Heeh, maybe I should go there too…”
When I said so, Miichan pulled on my sleeve reserved.
“Uhm, Shinobu-oniisan, a lot of students are gathering at the milking right now. It is really crowded. There is a long line.”
“…I see. Then I’ll give up, since I hate waiting.”
I wasn’t interested into milking all that bad. I replied casually, but for some reason Miichan jerkily pushed out both her breasts and opened her mouth with scarlet-coloured cheeks.
“I feel sorry for you that you cannot milk the cow, Shinobu-oniisan, so please try to milk my breasts instead.”
…This girl sure was saying some surprising things.
Inadvertently making a wry smile, I responded joking.
“Miichan, thanks for the offer, but…I’ll ask Machina for it.”
Just now Machina had come out of the rabbit enclosure with a satisfied expression. I rested my hand on her shoulder and continued with a refreshing smile.
“So, Machina, let me try milking your breasts.”
“You can’t, Shinobu. I said only once a day.”
“Liar! You said thrice a day!”
“Geez, can’t be helped then. Today’s an exception--- wait, now that I think about it, why do I have to do such a thing! Besides, there’s no way milk would come out!”
Probably because she was so delighted by the rabbits, Machina’s usual retort came later than usual.
I wanted Machina to regain her usual sharpness, so I had no other choice, yes, I was left with no other choice. With only half of teasing intentions, I looked at Machina’s breasts with doubtful eyes.
“No milk? Now that’s strange. How can you say that with such big breasts? Actually, they’re giving milk, right? Answer truthfully, even if it’s embarrassing.”
“…Actually, when I feel good, the milk--- wait, no! I said there’s none coming out! Why are you doubting me! To begin with, the size of the breasts has nothing to do with the milk!”
“That’s not true. There are individual differences, but I heard that a woman’s breasts grow bigger in the lactation period. Basically, the reason your breasts are so big is because you’re lactating. There’s no doubt.”
“No doubt, my ass! It couldn’t be any more wrong! If you’re that doubtful, then touch them directly and find out by yourself!”
…Ah, I kind of got a déjà vu.
Machina lead my hands towards her own voluminous breasts and pressed them on them without hesitation--- but that wasn’t all. She herself started to fondle her breasts through my palms. As a result,
“Mm…See, Shinobu, there’s…mm… no milk coming out.”
her greatly voluminous breasts softly changed shape due to my palms. My fingertips buried in her breasts were pushed back by the elasticity of her breasts and I could get addicting to that sensation.
“Hey, Shinobu…Hahn…Are you listening? No milk…mha.. is coming out.”
“N- No, if you try a bit harder, it might come out…”
Machina’s breasts were soft and warm while the great elasticity gave then an outstanding sensation of touch. Losing my senses, I became entranced and totally forget about cautioning her.
Watching me behaving like that with somewhat wet eyes, Machina said with a bewitching voice.
“Uhn…Ahn… Shinobu, now you get it---wait, wh- wha- what are you making me do! You tricked me again! Stupid Shinobu! Pervert! Boob Alien!”
“It’s just as Machina-chan says! You’re the bad one here, Brother! It’s not manly to do sexual harassment with clever talk! You fail as a gentleman!”
“Yeah! Tell him off even more, Nazuna! Also, Shinobu! If you just say that you want to touch them, I, well, wouldn’t mind considering it!”
“…S- Sorry. That wasn’t my intention. I just succumbed to temptation…”
Scolded by Machina and Nazuna, I deeply lowered my head.
Amidst that, Miichan raised an admiring voice totally out of place.
“You’re so bold, Machina-oneesan. So mature. I want to follow your example…!”
..Please, don’t.
I replied so in my heart to Miichan, who looked at Machina with respect.

Afterwards I treated Machian to a soft ice-cream at the nearby store as an apology and bought one for Nazuna and Miichan as well. Then I sat down on a bench by myself and watched absent-minded over the girls happily licking their ice-creams.
There, Miichan came over trotting. For no apparent reason, she opened her mouth widely in front of me and put the whole soft ice-cream into her mouth. Then she used the waffle cone as a beak and moved her head lightly back and forth.
“Shinobu-oniisan, I’m a pigeon.”
“Haha, you’re a funny girl.”
“And you are handsome, Shinobu-oniisan. A dirty hero, hard-boiled.”
“…Eh? Th- Thanks.”
Just what about me was a hard-boiled, dirty hero?
I was doubtful, but I said my thanks for now.
“Hey, Brother, you can ride a horse over there. Let’s ride Mr. Horse together.”
“You aren’t a kid anymore, so go by yourself. I’ll watch you.”
“Ehh. I want to ride with you, Brother. I’ll share my soft ice-cream with you if you ride with me.”
“Yeah, but I bought you that ice-cream, you know. I would be happy if you didn’t forget about that…”
I replied to the pampered Nazuna like that, but in the end I couldn’t turn down the invitation by my cute little sister. So I ended up agreeing to ride a horse together with her.
However, while young siblings or a parent with a child might often ride a horse together, it surely was rare for siblings at Nazuna and my age. Watching Nazuna and me together on the horse, the instructor miss softly squinted.
“You two sure a close.”
“Yeah! My brother is cool and kind, so I love him very much!”
“Hey, stop it, it’s embarrassing…”
I advised her lightly, but Nazuna showed no sign of guilt and put the back of her head against my head while we still were on the horse.
“Borther, Mr. Horse is so cute.”
“Yeah, he is. Well, he’s nothing compared to you, though.”
To divert my embarrassment, I cracked a joke, which made the instructor miss giggle.
…Not good. Not only failed it to divert my embarrassment, it even increased it.
Feelings my cheeks getting hot, I clad myself in composure and added.
“But you two get overshadowed by the pretty miss there.”
“…Uh- Uhm, thank you very much. I’m currently looking for a boyfriend.”
The miss happily coloured her cheeks red. But in contrast to that, Nazuna slightly puffed up her cheeks in dissatisfaction.
“Geez, you already have Luna-oneechan, so don’t go hit on other girls, Brother. Moreover, you’re playing with me right now, so don’t get distracted.”
When Nazuna frowned pouting, the miss giggled again.
“You two really are close.”
“Yeah! My brother is cool and kind, so I love him very much!”
“Enough of that already…”
Replying so to Nazuna with a shrug of my shoulders, I recollected myself and continued the ride.
Of course we couldn’t ride the horse on our own. So unlike Hijiri’s earlier real horse riding, we just rode on a horse that was led by the instructor miss. But, on top of the horse, my vision was higher than usual and I could enjoy a scenery different from the normal.
To be honest, it was quite nice. Making one round on the ground felt really short, so my horse ride ended a bit regretful.
But now Miichan asked me “Shinobu-oniisan, please ride together with me as well”, so I once again mounted a horse along with her, as I didn’t really had a say in the matter.
Upon that, the miss from earlier called out to me with a smile.
“Is this girl your little sister as well?”
“No, I’m a candidate for Shinobu-oniisan’s lover.”
When Miichan replied so with a straight face, the miss widened her eyes in surprise.
“C- Could it by you’re into younger girls? The so-called lolicon?”
“No. I’m into older, pretty girls like you, miss.”
“…I also prefer younger boys.”
The miss fidgeted while affixing her hands onto her cheeks, as she hopefully played along with my joke.
But apparently Miichan took the joke seriously. She turned around with her shoulders dropped dejected. She sadly asked with her eyes faintly wet.
“Shinobu-oniisan, you have no interest in a younger girl like me? Is that why you are hitting onto the older miss there, even though you’re with me? Is not no fun… being with me?”
“No, no, that’s not true. I was just joking around. Don’t make such a face. It’s fun playing with you, Miichan.”
“I am glad…”
On my words, Miichan grinned.
There I made a sigh of relief, but I made the miss giggle again.
…I should watch my actions now, so that the miss didn’t giggle again.
I had that in mind, but when I returned to the other girls, even Machina brought up a “Let’s ride together” and I was teased by the miss with an “You’re so popular” in the end… While I played with the girls at the farm, the time for our departure drew closer, so we regretfully left the farm behind us and returned to the bus.
In the bus I happened to sit again besides Hijiri, but due to the shaking of the bus, I got sleepy and dozed off during my conversation with Hijiri.
At that time, Hijiri smiled softly and lightly clapped onto her white thighs.
“Shinobu-kun, if you’re sleepy, you can lay down here.”
“No, thanks for the offer, but I don’t want to sleep, so I’ll pass. I don’t want to see a dream like yesterday again…”
“Dream? Did you have a nightmare?”
“No, that’s not it. It was a dream of my childhood.”
I added “I don’t really want to remember it” in my heart, but my feelings seemed to show, as Hijiri made a slightly worried expression. Therefore,
“You know, all the weird stuff you do as a kid. It’s an embarrassing memory.”
I promptly told a lie.
That seemed to fool her, as Hijiri faintly smiled and opened her mouth.
“I’m sure you were really cute as a kid.”
“Mh? I’m still pretty enough now.”
“Fufu, yeah. You’re really cute when you smile.”
“Like this? Kukekuke.”
It was embarrassing, so I tried to make a wicked laughter, whereupon Hijiri trembled her shoulders and quickly averted her eyes from me.
“..Th- That surprised me. So intense.”
Not honestly calling it “scary” was Hijiri’s kindness.
…But, cute, huh. Certainly, just like Hijiri had said, I got the feeling I was often told that as a kid. Back then every day was fun and I played around innocently.
Reminded me, from the time I started to attend my grandfather’s dojo again, I was rarely called “cute” again…
What would have happened to me if I just had stop going to the dojo back then? If I had lived normally without breaking bones and spitting up blood, what would have become of me? I would have been able to make friends at school, just like Nazuna had said?
Would I have been content with such a life if that girl had been by my side?
While such thoughts crossed my mind, a pain welled up in my chest.
That was why I hated remembering the past. I repeated to take deep breaths in my mind to calm down my feelings, when Hijiri talked to me with a smile.
“What were you like as a kid, Shinobu-kun?”
“…Let’s see, a stupid kid obsessed with playing ‘Shinomun, Shinmoun‘ every day, I guess.”
“I knew it, that’s so cute.”
“Might be. A girl I got along well with at that time even propose to me.”
“I- Is that so? What was that girl like?”
“She was negative, cowardly, a cry-baby, couldn’t do anything…”
I began my sentence, when suddenly a certain thought popped up in my head. But I shook it off as impossible and continued.
“She was a very attractive girl with pretty long, black hair.”
“Ehm, does that girl love you even now?”
“I doubt it. I haven’t seen her in a long time and I have changed. I’m sure she won’t recognize me when we see each other again. To begin with, I think…she has forgotten about me.”
No, to be precise, I wanted her to forget me. I wanted her to stay smiling, not concerning herself with me. At least at times where she wanted to cry… I wanted her to cry.
Holding my throbbing chest, I opened my mouth to change the topic.
“That aside, Hijiri, what are you doing in the afternoon? Want to play together?”
“…I’m afraid I have something to do later.”
To do? Ah, her exorcist job.
“Then what about tomorrow? Nazuna also said that she wants to play with you.”
“Is that so? That makes me happy… Yeah, okay, let’s play together tomorrow.”
“Okay.”
Replying with a nod, I then chatted with Hijiri for a while, but in the middle of our conversation, she suddenly pressed her hand onto her mouth like she remembered something. She said sluggish.
“U- Ughn~ Shinobu-kun, I feel sick. Seems I’m carsick—wait, he’s sleeping!?”
Most likely that was another of Kaorun’s seduction plans. I made the first move by falling into a silence, pretending to sleep. Upon that, I heard Hijiri making a small sigh, as she gave up.
However, I could only be at ease for a moment. Suddenly a refreshing, sweet fragrance tickled my nasal cavities and I felt a soft warmth on my shoulder.
I checked on the situation by faintly opening my eyes, whereupon I could confirm Hijiri leaning her cheek against my shoulder with a happy smile.
It makes me nervous, so stop it— is what I would have liked to say, but I was currently in the middle of feigning to sleep. The moment I stopped doing so, Hijiri would resume her seduction.
…Preserving the current situation was the best choice.
Feeling my heartbeat accelerate, I continued to feign to sleep until bus arrived at the inn…

* * *

After eating lunch at the inn, I wanted to head to the beach with Nazuna and Machina, like I had told my mother this morning over the phone.
“I’m all alone now…”
Nazuna was invited by her school friends and Machina by the other girls of our class and went to play. I didn’t want to bother them, so I told the two of them “We can still play together on the last day. Go have fun.’… Like that I had become all alone.
Going to the beach alone was certainly too boring. Not just that, it was also kind of heart-rending. Maybe I should play with Minami like yesterday…
Such thoughts crossed my mind while I walked on the coast. Then I spotted the familiar silhouette of a female.
That female was a trenchant beauty. She wore a black swimsuit like Machina’s and had a good style like a model. But, that person was my mother, Nanjou Tomoe.
…Why was my mother here?
I questioned that, when two guys approached my mother and chatted her up.
They were most likely hitting on her. I thought my mother could handle it by herself. But well, just in case, I should go over…
When I made a sigh and went over, my mother got away from the guys as soon as she noticed me and over-familiar linked her arm with mine.
“Sorry. My company is here, so I have to go now.”
“Eh, don’t say that and hang out with us. He can join us too.”
The guys stayed persistent and showed no sign of withdrawing. Giving them a single glance and shrugging her shoulders, my mother wordless opened the zipper of the hooded sweatshirt I wore and said.
“Seeing this wound… you get it, right?”
Instantly, the guys turned pale and mumbled rude stuff like “Yakuza” and “Yakuza wife”, then left running away.
Making a wry smile, I watched over that with a sidelong glance, when suddenly I suddenly heard, “Shinobu-san~!” “Shinobu~!”, Luna and Elni’s lively voices.
…Eh? Even they came all the way here?
06_187
When I turned around surprised, I confirmed Luna in the white bikini from before and Elni in a pink bikini.
…Ahh, their “look forward to tomorrow” might have been something that they slipped out, since they knew about this surprise.
The two came over with a gleaming smile, then clung onto me with attitude without stopping.
“H- Hey, people are watching, so stop it…”
The sensation of Luna and Elni’s soft bodies and their sweet fragrances excited me, but I cautioned them and moving my gaze, I called out to my mother.
“Could it be, the call this morning, was for this?”
“Yeah. Elni wouldn’t shut up about ‘I want to go to the sea’, so I had no other choice.”
When my mother answered with a sigh, Elni tilted her head puzzled with a “Huh?”.
“Sure I said that I wanted to go to the sea, but you were all enthusiastic too, Tomoe-san. You packed your things so happily yesterday, so why are you sighing now?”
Most likely the sigh was my mother way of hiding her embarrassment. Faintly flushing her cheeks and looking sideways, my mother frowned and told Elni.
“…Elni, no allowance for you next month.”
“Ehh!? Why are you angry!? You also said ‘It’s been a while since I played with Shinobu and Nazuna at the sea’, didn’t you!?”
“Okay, no allowance either the month after next.”
“Uwaaaah! Have mercyyy! Anything but thaaaaat!”
…Somehow, my mother was treating Elni rather bad. She also changed her address from “Elni-chan” to one without suffix.
But well, it might not be too bad to have a relationship, where you didn’t need to be considerate.
Actually, Elni was getting an allowance from my mother…
Watching over Elni clinging to my mother half-crying, I gave Luna, who still clung to my arm even now, a piece of advice.
“Now then, it’s time to let go off me, Luna.”
“Do not want to. Please let me stay like this a little longer.”
“…Nothing I can do if you say no.”
Turned by Luna’s cute smile, I could reply like that. But I hoped that my red flags raising heartbeat wasn’t exposed to Luna.
When I raised my gaze to the sky with these maiden-like feelings, the blue sky extended without a single cloud…
Then after we all swam in the sea together for a while, I moved under the parasol that my mother had set up and took a break. When I enjoyed some chit-chat alternating with Luna and my mother,
“Shinobu~!”
Elni, who had disappeared at some point, finally came back.
Looking at her, Elni hugged a big watermelon against her chest while pinching a bat under her right armpit and a folded vinyl-sheet under her left one. Also a white hand towel hang from her shoulders. When she approached me, Elni pushed out the watermelon and showed a smile.
“Shinobu, look at this big watermelon! It’s just as big as Luna’s breasts!”
“M- My breasts are not this big! Right?”
Luna faced my mother for affirmation. However, my mother replied teasingly with a “I wonder” and a smile, then she changed her expression and asked Elni doubtful.
“So, where did you get this bat, sheet and towel?”
“I borrow it from the sea house! This is a good opportunity, so let’s split the watermelon!”
Along with her words, Elni spread the vinyl sheet on the sandy beach and placed the watermelon on it. After that she came running back and held up the towel to me while still smiling.
“You can try at first, Shinobu!”
“…Really? When I or mom start, the watermelon will be split on the first try.”
Smiling boldly, I took the towel from Elni and blindfolded myself.
When I trained in the past, I also got practice from my grandfather “to be able to find in the dark”. Splitting a watermelon was an easy task. With the nearby noise and the faint air stir, I could grasp my surroundings….
“Elni, what are you trying? Stop with the pranks.”
“I, I wasn’t thinking of tickling you or anything. Actually, you can see?”
“Actually I’m a Newtype. I can see you, Lalah— whoops, I mean, I can see you, Elni.”
Cracking a joke like always, I turned to right beside and reached out my hand for Elni.
“C’mon, give me the bat already. After a beautiful spin, I’ll split the watermelon right away.”
“…Shinobu, there’s no point in splitting the watermelon when you can see.”
When Elni leaked a somewhat complaining voice, my mother raised her voice in a follow up.
“It’s okay, Elni. Shinobu is just pinpointing your location on the basis of your footsteps and breathing. He can’t actually see.”
“…I can’t trust that.”
On a rare occasion, Elni replied doubtful, then took both my hands and continued with a serious voice.
“I’ll confirm now if you really can’t see. First crouch down here.”
“Well, okay…”
I would play along until she was satisfied. Like she told me to, I crouched down on the spot. Perking up my ears, I could hear Luna’s faint breathing and I knew that she was right in front of me.
“So, what’s next?”
“Don’t think. Feel it.”
Saying some incomprehensible stuff, Elni got behind my back and suddenly hugged onto me. Her small, yet soft breasts pressed against my back, which completely agitated me. As she aimed for that opening, Elni once again grabbed both my hands. Without time to stop her, she pointed them forward and pushed them out with attitude.
As a result, I felt a soft sensation on my palms along with Luna’s enchanting “Yahn” voice.
These overly elastic round objects that stuck to my palm, but wouldn’t fit in, were…without doubt Luna’s breasts.
The moment I realized that, I hastily removed my hand from Luna’s breasts. Then I slowly loosened the blindfold and timidly checked upon her.
Looking at her, Luna’s cheek were coloured pinkish and her eyes were somewhat wet. This appearance was kind of sexy. Inadvertently my heart started to beat faster while my mother giggle and said teasingly.
“Hey, Shinobu, Luna-chan is making a really pleased face right now. Though I don’t know if it’s because her breasts are just sensitive or because someone touched them…”
“No, I’m sure it’s because I’m a technician. From now on call me the man with the godly hands. With my hands I’ll make you intoxicated and jump while squealing. I’ll give you a momentarily sweet dream.”
I was a bit annoying by getting teased. So I spouted what I thought to be gigolo remarks. Upon my words, Elni, who clung to my back, called out to Luna jokingly.
“Luna, since Shinobu offers it, so why don’t you take this chance and let Shinobu show you heaven? You also want Shinobu to do it, right?”
“Eh? That is, well…”
As to play along with Elni’s joke, Luna pushed out her own melon-big breasts towards me and cast down her eyes embarrassed.
“…Please, make my breasts feel good.”
“Y- Yeah, leave it to me. I’ll teach you what real pleasure is.”
Nodding generously, I got away from Elni and moved behind Luna.
“Eh? From behind? So bold, Shinobu-san…”
Luna’s ears became bright red, but I paid it no mind and firmly grabbed her shoulders.
Instantly, Luan trembled her shoulders lightly in a shiver with just that and timidly said with her cheeks still red.
“Uhm, Shinobu-san, if possible… please be gentle.”
“Sorry, but I can’t promise that. I’m not that mature to stay calm upon seeing these big breasts!”
Along with my words, I gently and carefully— massaged Luna’s shoulders.
“How’s it? Feels good, right? Feel free to squeal all you want.”
“Uhn… I certainly feels good, but… Mm…It is kind…Mfuh… of different…Fuhn…from what I expected…”
For some reason, the natural erotic big sister started to leak a bewitching voice from just having her shoulder massaged. To be honest, I wished she would stop. It made me strangely nervous, geez.
So I complained in my heart, when my mother and Elni sighed together.
“That’s not shy anymore, but incompetent.”
“I’m disappointed in you, Shinobu! Weren’t you a technician with godly hands!?”
“…There seems to be a mistake with the shipping. The godly hands aren’t working properly today. So, I leave the watermelon splitting to you.”
Making a difficult excuse, I passed the watermelon-splitting turn to Elni and after she was blindfolded, I spun her body rapidly to get back at her.
Now her sense of balance was confused and she would have trouble splitting the watermelon.
I secretly smiled in my heart and called out to Elni together with Luna to guide her to the watermelon, but she didn’t listen to anyone and staggered on a direct approach towards me. In front of me, she raised up the bat high.
“Hey, wait! Actually, you can see as well, right!”
“I can’t see. It’s just, that I arrived here as a result of not thinking, but relying on my feeling.”
“…You’re a fearful one.”
When I commented so, Elni faced Luna, who sat besides me, and suddenly shouting a “There!”, she dived into Luna’s breasts just like that. Burying her face in Luna’s big breasts, she started to fondle the ripe fruits.
“Yahn! E- Elni-chan, what are… Ahn… you doing so suddenly…!”
“Mh? This isn’t the watermelon?”
“No, these are obviously Luna’s breasts. What are you doing?”
Switch with me right away— where the words I swallowed down. I retorted and Elni got plainly got away from Luna, putting her hand against her chin.
“…Mhm, seems I was drawn in by Luna’s watermelon breasts.”
“L- Like I said, my breasts are not watermelons!”
“Then melons. High-grade objects. They’re really good.”
Leaving these words behind, Elni ran off by saying “I can tell it’s smell!”, which I couldn’t categorize as either cool or just stupid. Surprisingly enough, she arrived at the watermelon still blindfolded. But on her way she tripped and head-banged the watermelon, which was really awkward. …Well, in the end the watermelon was split perfectly in half, but it certainly must have hurt. After removing her blindfold, Elni’s eyes were teary.
“G- Guys~! It’s so cruel! I nearly split my own head with the watermelon splitting! A watermelon splitting murder case!”
“…Your head is all empty, so it shouldn’t really be a problem if it gets split.”
“Haha, just like my mother said.”
When my mother and I treated her coldly as a little joke, Elni covered her head with both hands and cried.
There Luna and I hastily ran over to her and petted her head. Fortunately, Elni got back to smiling real quick…
Well, while we played around like that, Machina and Nazuna came back, so we spent the day together at the beach until the sun set, like yesterday.

* * *

After playing at the beach, I returned to the inn and lazed around on my bed.
My mother and the girls had gotten a room at a nearby hotel and we arranged to play together tomorrow as well, but now I had nothing to do until the voluntarily recreation started at eight in the afternoon. I was perfectly bored.
I already had an early dinner with Luna and the others. Asada and the other two guys of my room were also out….What should I do?
Maybe I should go take a stroll. Just when I thought of that, I heard my cell phone ringing.
…When I looked at it, it was a call from Hijiri.
Of course I didn’t know what she wanted, but I could kill some time by casually talking with Hijiri, so I picked up the call right away.
“Mnah… Shinobu-kun…Hah… Fuh…”
Through the phone, I heard Hijiri’s sexy and lovely voice.
…Eh? What the? What was going on?
“Hahn… No…Uhn…Stop…You can’t, Kaoru-san…”
Mh? Kaoru-san? Ah, this must be another of Kaorun’s usual pranks.
I realized that right away, but I dared to feign ignorance and opened my mouth.
“…So you two were in that kind of relationship.”
“Eh? What do you mean… Hyan!”
“Hijiri, no need to play dumb. Even for two girls, it’s okay as long as there’s love. Well, therefore, take your time. I’ll call again later.”
“W- Wait! You got the wrong idea, Shinobu-kun! When I called you, Kaoru-san started to bite on my ear and it felt so good— wait, no! I was so surprised that I let out a weird voice!”
“I see, I see. It felt so good that you couldn’t help but leak an erotic voice.”
“…Yeah, actually that’s it. Having my ears touched makes me— wait, no! I was just mimicking Machina-san just now! Please don’t get the wrong idea!”
Even through the phone I could easily tell Hijiri’s flustered condition.
I wanted to tease her a bit, since it was cute, but I better stopped here. It wouldn’t be good to make her cry again. I changed my tone and asked.
“That aside, what’s up? Need something?”
“Ah, yeah. It’s about that devil we talked about. I know it’s whereabouts, so I had a little suggestion for you…”
“A suggestion?”
“You know, you said you were interested in the exorcist training. So would you like to take this chance to observe my job?”
“…Can I? But I’m an amateur. Won’t I get in the way?”
“That’s no problem. I investigated it here again and it really is a low-class devil. You’re strong and Kaoru-san and I are there, so it’s no problem.”
I see. I also had an interest in an exorcist’s job. This might be a good chance.
“Well then, I’ll gladly accept. Thanks.”
When I say my thanks, Hijiri made a small pause then brought up “But, there is just one problem”.
“I had Kaoru-san check up on the devil’s behaviour patterns. Unlike before where it stayed at a single location, it seems it’s frequently going out now.”
“…That basically means, it’s looking for prey?”
The conversation got heavy. When I corrected my tone, Hijiri also responded with a serious voice.
“I believe that change only happened recently. The devil in question might have lost so much power that made it abandon it’s original style. It’s already becoming a rumour, so before there are any victims…I want to strike tonight.”
The rumour Hijiri spoke of probably was the same Minami told me about yesterday— About the ghost appearing at the ruins.
If the guys from class were doing a test of courage there for fun, it was dangerous.
“So, Hijiri, what’s the problem you mentioned?”
“Yeah, it’s difficult to pinpoint it or to erect a barrier while the devil is on the move, so I wanted to strike at it’s shelter, but the time zone for that overlaps with the recreation.”
In other words, the time from eight to ten p.m.
“Only at that time it seems to take shelter. So I can’t change my plans. If you want to participate in the recreation, I won’t force—”
“I’m coming too.”
Cutting into Hijiri’s words, I continued softly.
“You can’t participate in the recreation either, right? It’s only half as fun without you, so I’ll come along with you.”
When I declared so, Hijiri said isolated through the phone.
“…I knew it, you’re sly, Shinobu-kun.”
“You damn natural gigolo!”
…Somehow, I just heard Kaorun’s voice.
For now, I said to Kaorun, who was likely eavesdropping on our phone call.”
“Kaorun, I might look like a gigolo, but actually I’m a dandy.”
“No, you mean incompetent, shy boy. If you had said gentleman like always, I could have let it pass, but this one I cannot. You are far away from being a dandy, Shinobu-sama. Rather than dandy, you are dirty.”
“Such a bitter opinion!?”
“Please do not mimic me. Also, we are meeting up at the nearby woodland path in twenty minutes, so please go to the toilet while you still can. It would be rather troublesome if you become incontinence from the fear during the job.”
“…I’ll spank your ass if you keep making fun of me.”
“I do not mind. It is a satisfaction for me when my bottom gets spanked by you. A reward time for me. I am getting a bit exc—”
The perverted Maid started to run her mouth with weird stuff, but I just ignored her and hung up.
…Just in case, I should go to the toilet, like Kaorun had suggested.
So with that, I first headed for the toilet, then I wanted to meet up with the two as soon as possible, but
“Huh? Where are you going, Nanjou-kun?”
“Recreation is about to start, you know?”
at the worst timing, I ran into Hiiragi-sensei and Minami at the lobby.
It would be easy to lie to them with “I’ll be back real quick”. However, if I told such a lie and wasn’t back in time for the recreation, Hiiragi-sensei would without doubt become worried. She might even go around looking for me.
“I’m going out for a bit. I’ll pass on the recreation.”
For the time being I answered truthfully, but both Hiiragi-sensei and Minami lightly puffed up their cheeks in dissatisfaction.
“Nanjou-kun, where are you going at this hour?”
“To a test of courage. I’ll be back before the curfew, so please don’t worry.”
When I replied to Hiiragi-sensei with a lie, Minami frowned sullen, as she found it doubtful.
“…Is it really a test of courage? I only see you going, Nanjou-kun.”
On Minami’s words, Hiiragi-sensei raised her voice in a sudden realization.
“D- Don’t tell me, Nanjou-kun, you picked up a girl at the beach in the noon and now you’re going to meet here!? You can’t do that! That’s an illicit relationship with the other sex! I need to scold you about the illicitly, but you also need to bear moderation in mind!”
“I’m afraid it’s not a girl, but a guy. We’re meeting up outside.”
To fool here, I told another lie. Upon that, Hiiragi-sensei reddened her cheeks for some reason.
“I- It’s a guy!? Then it’s an illicit relationship with the same sex! I totally love that!”
“Then there’s no problem, I take? I’m going now. See you tomorrow.”
I lightly waved my hand and faced my back to the happily smiling Hiiragi-sensei.
However, Hiiragi-sensei immediately grabbed sleeve firmly.
“Nanjou-kun, wouldn’t you rather play with your teacher at the recreating than doing some test of courage?”
“I wouldn’t.”
“Wh- Why? I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful memory.”
“Don’t need it.”
When I continued to give instant replies, tears dwelled up in her eyes and Hiiragi-sensei shouted.
“Forget it! I hate you, Nanjou-kun! Please don’t ever call me with ‘sensei’ again. We’re strangers now, so please call me ‘Hiiragi-san’!”
Letting go off my sleeve and turning her back to me, Hiiragi-sensei left half-crying.
…I did something bad. Feeling a bit of regret, I called out to Minami.
“Well then, Minami, see you tomorrow.”
“…Are you really going? I told you about it yesterday. That there’s a ghost appearing close by. What will you do if you meet that ghost?”
“Chant a Buddhist prayer at it. I’ll send the evil spirit to Sukhavati.”
Minami didn’t laugh on my joke like she always did.
She just, said with a worried face.
“…Can I came too?”
“No. It’s dangerous.”
“Eh? Dangerous?”
…Damn. I let my mouth slip there. It was strange for a guy to say it was dangerous when he was supposed to go to a test of courage.
After clicking my tongue once in my heart, I dared to continue with a threat.
“…Minami, like I said earlier, it’s going to be all guys. Imagine your erotic self amongst them. You know what they would do to you by taking advantage of the night, right?”
“You called me erotic again! Just what about me is erotic!”
“If anything… your body?”
“Y- You are the perverted one for saying that!”
“Well, I’m a guy after all.”
I couldn’t afford to run my mouth any more. I faced my back to Minami and swiftly left the place…

Then I arrived at the meeting place earlier than arranged, but I could already see Hijiri and Kaorun there.
Hijiri, with the bamboo blade pouch hanging from her shoulder, was somewhat restless. On the other hand, Kaorun, standing besides her, wore a bag on her bag over her maid clothes and looked at a nearby stone monument.
“Sorry, seems I made you wait.”
When I called out to the two of them, Hijiri grinned while Kaorun lowered her head a bit.
“Thank you very much for coming during your busy time, Shinobu-sama. As a sign of gratitude, I will listen to one your request, whatever it will be, after the job, Shinobu-sama. Perverted things are fine as well. Please just say the word.”
“Well then, spin around three times and bark a ‘woof’.”
It was too troublesome, so I just gave a random reply to Kaorun’s joke.
Upon that, Kaorun frowned sullen and suddenly grabbed my shoulder. Then, pressed down on my chest, I was spun three times. Kaorun give a single order with a look from above.
“Now, you lewd beast, howl a ’woof’.”
Why did I have to be told that by her?
“Meow!”
Opposing her order, I raised a cry like Nazuna.
Instantly, Hijiri and Kaorun smiled all alike.
“Shinobu-kun, so cute…”
“Indeed. He is not just Nazuna-sama’s brother for show.”
Along with their words, Hijiri and Kaorun started petting my head.
…Apparently my cry me an unexpected favourable reputation.
However, it was kind of awkward. I quietly averted my eyes from them, whereupon Kaorun said to Hijiri with a small voice.
“Hijiri-chan, I voice recorded that sentence just now. Let us listen to it together later on.”
“Hey, what did you just say?”
“Meow!”
The moment I asked back, my own weird voice came back.
When I faced it, Kaorun was holding a voice recorder in her hand and played the “Meow!” with my own voice, which I didn’t want to hear at all, once more.
“…Please stop it already.”
I couldn’t endure this shame. I covered my face with both my hands.
Resting her hand on my shoulder, Kaorun said urging.
“Shinobu-sama, I apologize to interrupt you during conspiracy of ‘Fufufu, now that it has come to this, I’ll secretly record Hijiri and Kaorun’s voice, then edit it into a file, where they recite obscene words.’, but it is about time we move on.”
“..I’ll hit you if you keep screwing with me. With half my strength.”
“Bring it on—Ahhn!”
When I flicked Kaorun’s forehead for starters, she raised a strangely erotic voice…

Then I proceeded with them on the woodland path and when it started to change into an unpaved gravel path— my field of vision expanded and I could see a ruinous building.
The rumours ruins that Minami spoke of must be this.
When I approached the ruins with a slight bit of nervousness, Hijiri pulled out her Japanese sword from the bamboo blade pouch while Kaorun put down the bag on her back and scrabbled in it.
“…Come to think of it, how did you get that sword here?”
When I looked at the sword in Hijiri’s hand, Kaorun raised her head and opened her mouth.
“I brought it along with me together with some other equipment. I also packed in some sexy underwear, but Hijiri-chan will not wear it.”
Saying somehow regretful, Kaorun pulled out something like a charm from the bag and held it up to me.
“This is?”
“A talisman. It is a kind of a charm, so just having it with on your body, it renders a devil’s attack to half of it’s effectiveness. I mortal human cannot match a devil, so I also equipped one into Hijiri-chan’s cleavage. I believe you also should put it into your underwear or so, Shinobu-sama…”
“I’ll just say thanks.”
Taking the talisman, I didn’t put it into my underwear, but into my pocket.
Upon that, Kaorun frowned lightly, but only for a moment. She got away from me stuck charms on the nearby ground or the walls around the main entrance of the ruins.
“What’s Kaorun doing?”
“She’s preparing a barrier.”
On my question, Hijiri answered softly.
“The interior of the building is the devil’s territory. I don’t think I can erect a barrier by myself. Besides, it’s difficult to span a barrier over a large area alone.”
While saying so, she slowly closed her eyes and suddenly changed her tone in a serious one. Hijiri continued with a “Therefore,”.
“We’re erecting a barrier to lure the devil here. Just entering a barrier decreases the power of a weak devil…I plan to finish this quickly.”
Along with her words, she opened her eyes. Hijiri hard narrowed her eyes sharply and her dignified profile was as beautiful as the Japanese sword in her hand.
Inadvertently I got smitten, but I closed my eyes like Hijiri had and recollected myself with a deep breath.
After that we entered the building with Kaorun, who had finished her preparation, but the interior was dim and I could only seize the surrounding hazily.
There Kaorun pulled out something from her bag again and handed it to Hijiri. Hijiri took it and mumbled something quietly, whereupon the surroundings lightened up.
What Kaorun handed Hijiri was a charm, as a rectangle one floated in the air above us, enlightening the surroundings.
“That’s handy.”
At the same time I mumbled so, Hijiri once more closed her eyes.
“I feel a presence in the back. Let’s go.”
With a short declaration, she walked as the vanguard.
Her dignity surely increased when in battle mode.
I honestly considered her cool, when Kaorun suddenly whispered into my ear.
“Shinobu-sama, I believe Hijiri-chan acts like that because she wants to show off to you. She seems a bit more nervous than usual. That is so cute.”
“…You don’t change at all even on a job.”
“That is what you like about me, is it not?”
“Well, guess so.”
It was too troublesome, so I brushed it off with a casual remark. There Kaorun turned bright red and closed her mouth. From then on, she quietly followed after Hijiri.
I followed Kaorun’s example and continued to walk quietly, when Hijiri suddenly stopped.
Following her gaze, there, beyond a rectangular opening that was once a door, a puppy lay on it’s belly on the ground.
The puppy was as big as a medium-sized dog and was looking at us curiously with it’s round eyes.
“…That is the devil?”
I asked surprised, whereupon Kaorun nodded slightly. And with a prologue of “Previously, when you came over, Shinobu-sama, I told you that a powerful devil was hiding close by, remember?”, she then continued.
“Now this is merely a guess on my part, but that devil was most likely sealed by an exorcists and lost it’s body. But it’s soul still remained. If left alone, it will vanish, but the devil possessed a by-passing animal and took over it’s body….”
Facing the puppy, Kaorun added a “Though that is only limited to animals, since it’s difficult to possess a human as just a soul”.
Still, the puppy in front of my eyes seemed completely harmless to me.
“Quite an adorable devil.”
The moment I said so, the puppy bared it’s teeth and stood up, then started to bulge it’s body in contortion. Peaks raised on both it’s shoulders and out of that pile of meat, two grotesque dog heads formed. It’s body, legs and arms swelled up into muscles.
As a result, the puppy’s size three folded and all traces of it’s adorable features had vanished.
There Kaorun opened her mouth wearily.
“Shinobu-sama, what is so adorable about it?”
“N- No, I didn’t know it could metamorphose like that. I’m sure it got angry, because I called it adorable.”
When I cracked a joke to hide my agitation, Kaorun frowned somewhat dissatisfied for some reason.
“Shinobu-sama, how about you act a bit more scared? I was hoping that you would cling to me while crying ‘Help me, my angel Kaorun!’, you know?”
“I’m not scared of the devil. What I’m scared of is… the human heart.”
“Uwa, it hurts! This person said something hurtful while acting cool!”
Kaorun rudely pointed at me. On the other hand, Hijiri pulled reserved on my sleeve.
“Uhm, Shinobu-kun, Kaoru-san is used to it, but it’s troublesome if you aren’t tense at all. Being overly tense isn’t good either, but could you at least show a bit of tension?”
“Hijiri-chan is right, Shinobu-san.”
Kaorun nodded widely in agreement with Hijiri.
“A moderate sense of tension is important. Because they say that a beast jumps at you once you avert your eyes. Be careful not to avert your eyes from the devil at all cost.”
“But you’re completely looking at me, thus ignoring the beast? Is that okay? Or rather, it got three faces…”
A bit astonished I shifted my gaze back to the former-puppy devil, whereupon I totally met it’s eyes. Being glared at with bloodshot eyes, I certainly felt a shiver running down my spine for a moment. But warding off the faint fear growing in my chest, I didn’t averted my eyes from the devil at all cost, like Koarun had told me.
Despite that, the damn devil happily licked it’s lips and came closer with a howl.
…For some reason, it was heading straight towards me without hesitation.
Instantly, I turned my back to it and started running while calling out to Hijiri and Kaorun.
“S- Seems it’s taken a liking to me, so I’ll go take a stroll with it to the exit. Please take care of the barrier.”
“Eh? Ehh!? That’s dangerous, Shinobu-kun!”
“Hijiri-chan! This is not the time to be disturbed! I will go help out Shinobu-sama, so you take care of the barrier, like he said!”
I heard the voice of a surprisingly serious Kaorun, then she lined up next to me right away. And she said with a casual tone.
“You are so popular with the devils, Shinobu-sama.”
“Yeah, no matter how many of me there were it wouldn’t be enough.”
When I lightly shrugged my shoulders, the howling of the devil from behind got closer. There Kaorun and I jumped to the side at nearly the same time.
Directly after, a sharp wind-cutting sounded echoed. I stood up with a roll and looked, whereupon the devil had placed his four legs on ground where we just stood and spilled drool out of his mouth.
“Catch me if you can.”
Breaking out a cold sweat, I beckoned the devil with my index-finger challenging. At the same time I gave Hijiri a side-glance. She had drawn her sword, which was enveloped by a pale flame.
If I was right, that was the devil exorcising flame— Hi no Kagutsuchi.
Remembering so, I once again started to run with my back to the devil, as to lure it outside.
Needless to say, the devil had better physical abilities. It easily caught up to me, like it or not. Every time it did, I rolled on the floor and continued to difficult escape, but…at any rate, this devil was too focussed on me. Not looking at Hijiri or Kaorun, the devil persistently only chased after me.
“Just how much do you love me? I already told Miichan, I’m not looking for a lover right now, you hear?”
After dodging an attack, I said so with a sigh. There Kaorun stood besides me and opened her mouth with “Could it be”.
“The reason this devil has taken a liking to you, Shinobu-sama, might be Luna-sama’s influence.”
“Luna’s? Ah, reminds me, Hijiri said something similar before.”
For better or worse, a devil caused various influences on a human. In Hijiri’s opinion, Luna was a somewhat strange devil, which made it possible that Luna’s influence changed my constitution into one that easily attracted devils.
When Hijiri had told me about that, I got a talisman from her that prevent being influenced by Luna, but…speaking of, I lost that talisman when I rearranged my room. It should be somewhere in my room when I looked for it, but thinking it would show up again one day, I totally forgot about.
Well, nothing I could do about it now.
I made an excuse in my heart, when the devil came leaping in from the front.
Just like all the times before, I jumped to the side and evaded it. On the other side, Kaorun stopped on the spot, grabbed the front legs of the leaping devil and turning her body, she threw the devil outside with a hammer throw.
…I knew that Kaorun was a hybrid devil, but I didn’t expect her to be this powerful. To think that slender body of hers had so much strength…
I certainly was a bit surprised. Then Hijiri swiftly jumped outside in chase of the devil and Kaorun followed her. Hastily I chased after these two and got outside.

In that moment, what my vision fell on in the plain moonlight was— the figure of my classmate Minami standing still with trembling legs.

For a moment, my breathing stopped. Confusion befell my chest. My heard was in chaos. Why was she…Why was Minami here? Did she follow me?
As soon as I realized that, I had started running before I knew it.
My heart beat rapidly out of nervousness. My gaze was fixed on the devil slowly approaching Minami. I passed by Hijiri and Kaorun and raised my voice.
“Get away already! Minami!”
At the same time the words left my mouth, something passed directly by my head…and a knife pierced the devil’s back.
“Hijiri-chan! Hurry up with the barrier!”
That knife must have belonged to Kaorun. But I had not time to turn around and confirm that. The devil had stopped from the knife attack. I right away got around to Minami and stood in front of the devil to cover for her.
“…Nanjou-kun…”
Due to the fear, her voice trembled gravely and when I looked behind me, Minami had slumped down on the spot. With a pale face, not just her voice was trembling, but her whole body.
In that state it would be difficult to get her ran away by herself. I wanted to carry her into a safe area, but then I wouldn’t be able to dodge the devil’s attack.
In other words, I had no other choice but to stop the devil here.
I shrugged my shoulders and faced the devil.
At that time, a somewhat familiar uncomfortable feeling pierced my body.
Most likely, Hijiri had erected the barrier. When I suddenly looked up, the clouds in the night sky had stopped moving, the wind has ceased— and the devil howled lunatic out of anger. That angry howl shook the atmosphere ripping and another tension ran through my body.
“…What a scary face.”
I cracked a joke with a sigh.
To be honest, I was more or less scared. But I didn’t think that my life was in danger. I had felt more fear in some of the hundreds of matches with other schools.
I should at least be able to cover for Minami.
…But what should I do? I wanted to give the devil a penetration blow like I had given the old man Bram, but I might not be able to move properly while covering for Minami. I better prepared myself to break one or two bones to land an attack on it.
It was without doubt a dangerous situation, but I didn’t feel my life in danger after all. Because
“Shinobu-kun! Get down!”
Hijiri was here. With her here, there was no problem at all.
I responded to Hijiri’s words that came from the sky in front of me right away and hugged Minami to my chest in cover while I turned around.
In that moment, I felt a heat on my back and I could hear the devil’s wriggling voice.
Apparently Hijiri shot Hi no Kakutsuchi from above. When I turned around, the devil’s whole body was enveloped by a pale flame and wriggled around greatly.
Before long the devil’s body gradually grew smaller and when it returned to the original puppy size, the pale flame vanished completely.
Then the devil, who had it’s eyes closed and lay on the side, opened it’s eyes at once and curiously looked around with it’s original puppy figure, slightly tilting it’s head.
“The Hi no Kagutsuchi is a flame that exorcises devil. The devil’s soul was burnt now. The puppy is harmless.”
Hijiri explained so with a somewhat powerless voice, whereupon Kaorun came over. When she stood before me, she made a frown with her pretty eyebrows and said a bit angrily.
“Shinobu-sama, please do not act so recklessly. What would you have done if something had happened? Without Hijiri-chan and my cooperation, it could have been dangerous.”
“Cooperation?”
“It was me, who sent Hijiri-chan flying into the sky. You narrowly escaped death, Shinobu-sama. You are free to praise me.”
“…Yeah, you saved me. Thanks.”
“Shinobu-sama, I do not mind if you not just thank me with words, but also by petting my head— is what I would like to say, but dealing with that girl comes first. We were seen by a ordinary person…”
Kaorun’s “that girl” referred to Minami.
In the end, Minami got to know about Hijiri’s profession.
But I thought it would be okay with Minami. I believed that she, who wasn’t even scared of me, could handle it. But my expectations
“…What, was that?”
evaporated sadly. What I heard through my back was Minami’s trembling voice filled with fear. I slowly turned around.
“H- How… can Gogyou-san…do that?”
Eyes shaking with tear. Strained cheeks. A stiff face.
The moment Hijiri gently reached out her arm, Minami trembled her shoulders in fear and tightly shut her eyes.
Upon that, the extended hand slowly went back and Hijiri forced herself to smile.
“Minami-san, sorry for lying. The reason I participated in the seaside school was to seal that devil from just now. It has been my family’s business for ages to seal devils…”
“…That’s, a lie? It’s just weird. Isn’t it scary? Defeating such a monster, Gogyou-san isn’t human—”
“Hijiri-chan is a human.”
Cutting into her words, Kaorun took out a knife from her pocket and pointed it at Minami.
“Kaoru-san!”
Right away Hijiri raised a voice to stop her. However, Kaorun didn’t respond. While pointing her knife with a sharp glare at Minami, she declared.
“It appears that you are a friend of Hijiri-chan, but I do not forgive anyone that hurts her. Should you tell anyone about today…. please start writing your testament.”
A low voice that made a shiver run down your spine. Along with her words, Kaorun put away the knife and changed her tone in calling out to me.
“Shinobu-sama, Hijiri-chan and myself will now deal with the aftermath. Excuse me, but can I ask you to take care of that girl? The barrier will be lifted right away. Please send her off.”
“Okay.”
When I replied with a firm nod, Hijiri and Kaorun went back together into the ruinous building. On their way, just once, Hijiri turned around and still showed a teary expression. Her back, as she walked away, looked really small to me.
On the other hand, the left behind Minami still trembled her body, even after these two had disappeared, and the fear wouldn’t leave her expression.
So I called out to her as gentle as possible.
“Are you okay, Minami? Can you stand?”
On my question, Minami lightly shook her head.
Like I thought, it looked like she lost the strength in her legs. I turned my back to Minami squatted down on the spot.
“I’ll carry you to the inn, so get on.”
“…Thanks.”
Saying her thanks with a frail voice, Minami leaned her body against my back.
While softly feeling Minami’s warm body temperature on my body, I slowly stood up and started heading for the inn.
I didn’t feel like talking. Also, I didn’t know what to say anyway. Amidst a heavy atmosphere, I just proceeded along the quiet woodland path, when this silence was broken.
“…Your back, has gotten bigger…”
Minami mumbled as talking to herself, then asked timidly.
“Nanjou-kun, you knew about Gogyou-san?”
“Yeah.”
“…You’re not scared?”
“I never did.”
When I said back without hesitation, Minami faintly increased the strength of her hand on my shoulder.
“Could it be, you’re doing the same stuff as Gogyou-san?”
“No, today was my first time. But I’m interested in her job.”
“…Why?”
Her hand on my shoulder trembled along with her word. Minami continued in a small voice.
“That’s not something to involve yourself with, Nanjou-kun. It’s dangerous. You might even die. It’s wrong to have in interest in such a thing.”
“…Minami, thanks for worrying, but I have no plans to back down.”
On this incident, I got to know just how dangerous Hijiri’s job was. I wouldn’t help her with the yin-yang technique. So I at least wanted to help Hijiri in some other way.
“I want to help Hijiri on her job.”
When I declared so sentimental, it happened sudden. Minami tightly clung to my back and trembled her body…Teardrops fell down on my neck.

“…I don’t, want that…”

Suddenly a childish crying voice sounded. It resembled the crying voice I had heard in the past all too much…
“We finally… met.. again…. even when stronger….-chan is… getting farer away…”
On the sobbing crying voice, my heart skipped a beat.
“…I won’t… reach you anymore….”

—Shinobu-chan.

This word shocked me upon entering my ear and shook my memory.
A white hospital room floated in the back of my brain. The sad smile of a girl that didn’t cry at all cost. And my weak self that couldn’t say anything and just cried.
This extremely sad memory filled my chest. I had to say something, yet my head was in turmoil and I couldn’t find suitable words. Despite that I opened my mouth to say something.
“—”
But in the end, no words came out. Unable to even tell the single word sorry, I closed my mouth and continued to walk on like that.
Minami’s quiet crying voice sounded rather loud….




Chapter 04: Unhanded Thing, Warm Chest, Blue Sky

A girl was crying at the park. At some point she started to follow half a step behind me like a puppy and wouldn’t leave me side. She was always by my side. I affirmed her every word and showed her a smile.
Before I noticed it, she had even gotten along well with Nazuna and we all three played together.
Then one day, when we played together like always, the girl asked me timidly with a kind of nervous face.
“Hey, do you have a girl you like, Shinobu-chan?”
Because a girl asked me that, I was gravely flustered.
The reason being that I quite liked the girl in front of me.
But I was too embarrassed to admit it. I gave the short and brusque answer “Nope”.
Upon that, the girl smiled happily.
“If that’s so and you don’t mind, well, ehm…”
Colouring her cheeks bright red, she stuttered the words out with all her might.
“W- would you, make me your…bride, Shinobu-chan?”
Instantly, my cheeks turned really hot. I should be happy, yet I was gravely disturbed. I didn’t know how to answer. It was my first time feeling like that, so I totally confused.
At that time, Nazuna, who had watched over us, puffed up her cheeks and shouted.
“That’s not good! I’ll be Brother’s bride! Right, Brother? Right?”
“Ehh? Is that so, Shinobu-chan?”
Cornered by the smiling Nazuna and the teary girl, I was gravely troubled.
“I don’t plan to marry either of you. Because I love pretty, strong and sexy girls like my mother.”
So I said something I didn’t even meant.
Because of that, Nazuna dropped her shoulders dejected and the girl started crying with “That’s impossible for me”.
…But, on the way home, the girl pulled on my sleeve and said.
“Say, Shinobu-chan, if I were to become as bright as Nazuna-chan, stop crying and become a strong and sexy girl like you said before…would you take me as your bride?”
“…Are you sure you want me? I’m pretty weak, you know? Everyone says so.”
“You’re not weak, Shinobu-chan. You’re really kind. Because you’re strong, you’re kind. That’s… that’s why I like, love! you, Shinobu-chan. So make me your bride…!”
“…Ehm, well, if you really stop crying, I might consider it.”
Even though I was happy, really happy, I could only reply brusque to the girl’s wholehearted confession. Yet,
“Thanks, Shinobu-chan.”
The girl grabbed my hand firmly and smiled brilliant.
—That smile, penetrated into the deepest parts of my heart.
She needed me. She said she loved me. She fell in love with the weak me, who was called a failure at my grandfather’s dojo. That was why, for the first time in my life, I came to terms with my own weakness.
I wanted her to be by my side forever. I didn’t want to let go off her hand. I wished from the bottom of my heart that she would keep smiling for me besides me.
…But, in the end, I let go of her hand.
The girl I loved. The girl who fell in love with me. The girl that was more precious than anything…I ended up hurting her and letting go off her hand.
“Sorry, Sakura-chan.”

I woke up from my dream on my own sudden voice…

* * *

The morning of the third day of seaside school. While sitting on my bed, I absent-minded watched my roommates leave the room.
Amidst that, only Asada stayed behind and called out to me with a slightly worried face.
“Hey, Nanjou, did something happen? You’re kinda weird since last night.”
“It’s nothing. Don’t worry. C’mon, you also going to the beach, right? Then hurry up already.”
“Ehm, why don’t you come along? I don’t know what happened, but you might feel better by going out?”
I knew Asada was trying to be considerate. But I responded by shaking my head.
“…I see. But, if you feel like it, just come to the beach. Let’s pick up some girls together.”
Saying so with a somewhat happy tone, Asada turned his back to me and headed for the door.
I watched him off, but
“Wait a sec, Asada.”
I called Asada to a halt, as I suddenly remembered.
“I want to ask you…Do you remember Minami’s first name?”
“Mh? Minami’s first name? Ehm, what was it again? I’m sure it‘s—”
I had a hunch. I had only wanted to confirm it. But,
“Ouka”— the word that left Asada’s mouth was just as I had expected, yet before I noticed it, I had clenched my fists tightly. In my head floated the trembling voice of a girl.

—My name is written with the [Sakura] and [Hana] kanji as Ouka. You see, my friend said “Ouka-chan, you’re as pretty as a cherry blossom, so I’ll call you Sakura-chan”. So everyone started to call me Sakura…

Even though she stopped crying when I petted her head, the girl started crying again when she said “After we moved, no one called me that anymore…”.
That was why I continued to call the girl “Sakura-chan” from then on and in time, I forgot the name Ouka…
Feeling regret, I made a heavy sigh, whereupon Asada looked at me doubtful.
“Why are you suddenly asking about Minami’s name? Did anything happen with her?”
“…No, it’s nothing. Sorry for asking something weird.”
“It’s okay….Cheer up, I’ll glad to lend you an ear anytime, if you want.”
Leaving behind a warm smile, Asada slowly left the room.
I was grateful to Asada and when his back vanished from my vision, I once more clenched my fists strongly. How could I fail to notice it? My chest was tightened with guilt. There were words that I had to tell Minami as soon as possible…yet my body wouldn’t move.
At that time, there was a sudden knock on the door and Kaorun peeked her head inside.
Worried about last night, I opened my mouth as soon as she had entered the room.
“How was Hijiri after that?”
“…She must think that she has lost a friend. She is greatly depressed.”
“I see… But, I don’t think there’s need for that. I’m sure, Minami will understand once she knows the details. She was just surprised by the suddenness. If we give her a bit of time, it’ll work out.”
I declared so, but as to deny my words, Kaorun shook her head.
“Excuse me for saying this, but you can only say that because you are abnormal.”
“Abnormal?”
When I inadvertently asked back on the unexpected words, Kaorun nodded small.
“Ordinary people fear devils or the powerful exorcists. Because they are shown an unbelievable power, they fear that this power might get directed at them as well. In fact, I have seen it numerous times myself. That humans looked at the exorcists, who saved them from the devils, like some kind of monster.”
Momentarily stopping her words, Kaorun looked at me intensely.
“That is why I cannot help but find it mysterious myself. How can you, Shinobu-sama, or Nazuna-sama not fear us?”
“Because Nazuna and I know about you well. We know that you don’t use your powers to hurt people. So there’s no need to be scared.”
“However, my power might get directed at you, Shinobu-sama, by some kind of cause.”
“Wouldn’t you be more sad than me then?”
When I replied to the question with a question, Kaorun smiled faintly. But it was only for a moment. She somewhat sadly lowered the ends of her eyebrows and leaked a small sigh.
“…Judging by her behaviour last night, I find it hard to believe that this person holds the same belief as you, Shinobu-sama. If the Master should find out about last night, she might get transferred away.”
“Transferred away? Minami will?”
“Yes. Such a task is a simple matter for the Gogyou Household. However, I do not believe that Hijiri-chan wishes for that. It would only hurt her like it had in her childhood. So I tried to think of a different method than transferring her away, but…I could not come up with a good idea. Could I ask for your assistance on that matter, Shinobu-sama?”
“Yeah, I’ll obviously help out, but let me talk with Minami first.”
When I replied so and stood up, Kaorun frowned doubtful.
“Why are you putting so much trust in that person, Shinobu-sama? You saw it yourself last night, did you not? She—”
“It’ll be fine with Minami.”
Raising my voice a bit, I cut into Kaorun’s words.
Somewhere in my heart I thought, that I was just trying to convince myself. But I wanted to believe in her. Because I wanted to trust my precious childhood friend, I repeated it once more.
“She’ll understand. It’ll be fine.”
Kaorun wanted to say something, but… in the end, she closed her mouth and watched silently how I left the room…

After that, I asked some classmates, who I happened to run into at the lobby, about Minami and came to know that she was still in her own room. Once they told me where her room was, I swiftly headed there. And after a small hesitation, I took a small breath and knocked on the door.
“Minami, I want to talk. Can I come in?”
“…Yeah.”
After a short pause, I heard Minami’s powerless voice. Taking another breath, I went into the room, where Minami sat on the bed and opened her mouth while showing an awkward smile.
“I guess, it’s about yesterday?”
“…Yeah, that’s right. Did you calm down a bit after this time? How’s it? Are you still scared of Hijiri?”
On my question, Minami slightly clenched her fists and answered.
“I have been thinking about it all the time since last night. I realized that Gogyou-san saved me and that I hurt her. But, still…”
Midway, Minami tightly bit on her lips and cast her eyes down.
“It’s no good. I keep having strange thoughts… It doesn’t seem like I can talk to her properly…”
“Why? You should know how Hijiri is. You don’t let appearance or others influence you, right?”
At the beginning of high school, everyone had been scared of me, but Minami, who happened to sit next to me, smiled at me. Back then I thought she was a weird girl. I didn’t notice her feelings.
—Even though I knew the reason why she wasn’t scared now.
“You weren’t scared of me. So with Hijiri too, you should—”
“Why do you say that?”
Hypocritical words that put off what I actually wanted to convey. As she was unable to endure it, Minami cut into my words and slowly raised her head with wet eyes.
“There’s no way I would be scared of you, Nanjou-kun…of you, Shinobu-chan.”
Shinobu-chan— Saying my address from back then, Minami looked at me worried with her still wet eyes. Then she nervously opened her mouth.
“Shinobu-chan, do you have forgotten about me? Or, can you still not forgive me? Because it was my fault that Nazuna-chan had that traffic accident—”
“No.”
This time I cut into Minami’s words and denied it firmly.
“You’re wrong, Sakura-chan. It wasn’t your fault that Nazuna got into the accident.”
…The words I couldn’t speak out for a long time. Right now, I could speak these trivial words properly.
Instantly, my memories from back then came back vividly.
A snow-white hospital room. An unconscious sleeping Nazuna. My crying self. And Sakura-chan, who didn’t cry at all cost, even though she always cried.
—Seven years ago, Nazuna had a traffic accident because of me.
Back then, I was treated coldly by my friends for playing with Nazuna and Sakura-chan, so I told the two “Don’t follow me” and went ahead.
Despite that, Nazuna kept following me with a crying face, so I wanted to be mean. Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with me, I started running.
As a result, Nazuna desperately chased after me…and was run over by a car. She continued to sleep unconscious in the hospital she was brought to. The doctor roundabout called it a vegetative state.
It was all, my fault. I was at fault.
But, Sakura-chan didn’t think like that. She believed, that it was her own fault.
That was why, Sakura-chan’s eyes filled with tears when she visited the hospital room.
“Sorry, Shinobu-chan. It’s all my fault. Because you two were with someone like me, everyone made fun of you, Shinobu-chan, and Nazuna-chan ended up in a traffic accident…”
I knew that wasn’t true. I knew it wasn’t Sakura-chan’s fault. I properly understood that.
But I couldn’t say anything, so Sakura-chan bit on her lips with still tears in her yes and turned her back to me, which trembled lightly.
…She probably had wanted me to pet her head like always. She must have wanted to depend on me. However, Sakura-chan said intermittent while her body still trembled.
“…I’ll, give up on becoming your bride, Shinobu-chan. I’ll avoid you from now on, I won’t cause any troubles… so don’t come, to hate me…”
I didn’t respond to these words. With my mouth closed, I didn’t say anything. Even if I had managed to say something, it would surely just have been an incomprehensible crying voice.
“But you know, I’ll try my best to become strong. I’ll become so strong that I can support you, so at that time, you don’t need to take me as your bride, but… play with me again, okay.”
Even though she was always crying, when she turned around, Sakura-chan was smiling.
Not spilling the tears in her eyes at all cost, she strongly clenched both her fists and with a sadly crooked expression, she still undaunted formed a smile.
Anyone could tell that she was forcing herself. I realized that she was actually holding herself back.
You can cry. It’s not your fault, Sakura-chan.
I should have told her that. I should have petted her head like always. Yet, the powerless and weak me could only see off her small back.
Not allowing the cry-baby girl to cry and hurting her, I only cried.
“…Bye, bye, Shinobu-chan.”
With a chipped voice at the end, Sakura-chan disappeared from me.
Even when I went to the park, she wasn’t there, so I could never apologize. So I started to attend my grandfather’s dojo again to forget her existence. I just continued to train my body. I couldn’t forgive my weak self after hurting Sakura-chan and finding a person that I wanted to protect.
—But, that was in the past.
“You didn’t do anything wrong, Sakura-chan. There’s nothing to forgive or not to forgive. I’m not even angry.”
I told her my seven years worth of feelings.
“I’m sorry for not saying it earlier. And I’m also sorry for not noticing it was you.”
I couldn’t do it back then. So I reached out my hand for Sakura-chan… no, for Minami and gently petted her head like in the past.
Instantly, tears started to dwell up in Minami’s wet eyes.
“….You’re so mean, Shinobu-chan. When I saw you again in high school, I recognized you right away, but you didn’t notice at all. You didn’t remember me. You weren’t even looking at me.”
And she still showed me a smile…
“I wanted us to get along like in the past, but because you avoided everyone, opposite to before, I couldn’t be by your side. But before I knew it, you had gotten along well with Gogyou-san rather than with me…!”
Momentarily stopping her words, Minami leaked a small sigh.
“The reason I can’t seem to talk with Gogyou-san properly, isn’t just because I’m scared. I know that Gogyou-san isn‘t at fault and that I shouldn‘t… but I was envious. I had known you way before Gogyou-san had, yet you looked more at her than me…”
Suddenly, Minami made a teary face and continued.
“So I panicked on my own, thinking that Gogyou-san was taking you away from me. Not even considering her feelings, I get scared. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t suppress my feelings….”
Facing me with her teary eyes, Minami raised her voice with “I mean!”.
“I love you, Shinobu-chan, I always loved you, so I wanted to be with you again…!”
Along with her words, Minami grasped my hand and said like back then.
“Shinobu-chan, I became stronger. I won’t cry like I did in the past. I can properly support you now. So let me stay at your side like in the past. Pet my head. Look at me more. Make me… your bride.”
Wet eyes. A warm hand. Wholehearted words.

…Just like back then.

I was happy. I was really happy. That she continued to feel for me made me really happy.
Back then, I thought that my weak self shouldn’t stay with Sakura-chan. I gave up, let go off her hand and strived to forget her. I thought that Sakura-chan should forget about someone like me as well.
But, Minami didn’t forget me. She always stayed in love with me.
…Minami might have been the same as me.
She must have been unable to forgive her weak self. To get rid of her weak self, she changed how she addressed herself, cut her pretty, long hair and tried to become stronger. She continued to work hard alone.
Even though she should have just forgotten about me, who hurt her, she gave it her all and became stronger.
Not for just anyone, but for me.
—Right now, if I squeezed back this hand, I could seize again the dream that I had in my childhood, but let go off. When I closed my eyes, a scenery floated in my head.
With myself smiling innocent. With my precious childhood friend by my side. Just a moment of bliss, without any enduring of hard training.
If I squeezed her hand, I could certainly seize that.
But, even while I knew that, I sadly already had an answer.
Slowly opening my eyes, I softly let go of the warm hand and squeezed my words out.

“…Sorry, I can’t respond to your feelings.”

Meeting Luna on that day, I saw a feasible dream.
Right now, that dream was more important than anything to me. I continued to chase after that dream. My powerless hand couldn’t seize everything.
Therefore— I once again, unhanded something precious.
“I have someone I want to protect. I’m still weak and have no confidence that I can protect her. But, when I become strong enough to protect her, I plan to tell her my feelings. So.. I’m sorry.”
“I see. That’s, how it is. Ahaha, well, nothing I can do then.”
While tears dwelled up in her eyes, Minami forced herself to smile and continued.
“Good luck, Shinobu-chan. I won’t cry like in the past because you dumped me. I won’t tell anyone about Gogyou-san either. I’ll try to get along with Gogyou-san, so…can we… stay as friends from now on?”
“Of… course. You’re, my…precious childhood friend…”
Minami’s voiced trembled greatly as she forced herself to smile.
Her appearance reminded me of her past crying self.
Unable to hold back, I once again petted Minami’s head.
But while still smiling sadly, Minami got away from my hand.
“Geez, Nanjou-kun, you can’t treat someone you just dumped so kindly. I’m fine already, so hurry up to Gogyou-san.”
I swallowed down the words of apology that were about to come out of my mouth.
“…Okay.”
Just giving a short respond, I took away my hand from Minami.
Minami looked down with her shoulders trembling. Actually, I wanted to pet her head numerous times like I had in the past. But, I didn’t have the right to that now. I bit down on my lips and left the room wordless.
06_241
In that moment, a faint weeping voice started beyond the door.
A prying pain in my chest. The back of my eyes got hot and tears seeped out of my eyes.
Still, this was something I decided on my own.
“…Sorry, Sakura-chan.”
Pressing on my chest plucking, I mumbled and once more bit down on my lips. When I headed back to my own room to be alone for a while, I spotted Kaorun at the corner of the hallway.
When Koarun, leaning against the wall, noticed me, she nodded slightly.
“…You came to check up on things?”
“Yes. When I obtained the information that you were heading to that girl’s room, I waited here, but…by the looks of it, it did not go well, I take.”
“What makes you think that?”
“I can tell by looking at your face, Shinobu-sama. Because you are making a painful expression.”
Along with her words, Kaorun stretched herself and started to gently pet my head.
“Shinobu-sama, please cheer up. If necessarily, I can also give you a hug?”
“Don’t worry. Everything’s fine with her. She said she wouldn’t tell anyone about Hijiri. And that she would try to get along with Hijiri.”
Unable to properly reply to her joke, I just told her the truth, whereupon Kaorun widened her eyes surprised.
“I am glad to hear that, but… why are you making such a face, Shinobu-sama?”
“…Stuff happened. Sorry, but could you leave me alone for a while? You go tell Hijiri about it.”
“I understand. Please call for me if there is anything. I will listen to your grumbling or whatever it might be.”
Nodding, Kaorun petted my head once more, then she turned her back to me and left.
According to Kaorun’s words, I was making a face that worried others.
I was going to meet with Luna and the others in the noon. If I were to play with them with such a face, I was sure that they also would end up worried.
…I should somehow recollected myself until I meet up with them.
Mumbling so in my head, I returned to my room with heavy feelings.

* * *

Like promised yesterday, I met up with Luna and the others at the beach. There we played together for a while, then I returned to under the parasol. From there I absent-minded watched over the others happily playing beach volleyball on the sandy beach.
Upon that, Luna left the others, approached me and sat down besides me.
“Taking a break too?”
“Yes.”
Nodding with a smile, Luna started to watch over the other together with me.
But suddenly she faced me and lowered the end of her eyebrows somewhat worried.
“Shinobu-san, did something happen?”
“…Mh? Why do you ask?”
“No, well, it kind of looks like you are forcing yourself, so I was a bit concerned.”
“I see…”
Apparently Luna had noticed it.
I straightened up my upper body and lightly scratched my head.
“Actually… I hurt my precious childhood friend again…and made her cry. …I’m just no good. In the end, I haven’t change from how I was in my childhood. I’m still weak. Really… still weak….”
Inadvertently I grumbled. As pathetic as it was, I clenched my fists and shut my mouth. Upon that, Luna slowly extended her hand. She pulled me to her chest, put her arm around my back and said with a gentle voice.
“Whatever happens, I will always take your side, Shinobu-san…”
Feeling Luna’s heartbeat and warmth, my eyes inadvertently got wet and the surrounding scenery became slightly blurred.
—Say, Shinobu-chan, if I were to become as bright as Nazuna-chan, stop crying and become a strong and sexy girl like you said before…would you take me as your bride?

The girl, who said that, became stronger. She didn’t cry in front of me. She became stronger for me. Yet… I unhanded a precious thing once again.
I forcefully stopped my tears, which were going to flow out unmeant, along with biting on my lips.
I wasn’t allowed to cry. I had to go on. If I had the time to cry, I should become even stronger instead… After all, I was still weak.
I didn’t shed any tears, but I tightly clung onto Luan spoiled, drowned in her gentle warmth and once again thought.
—This was the right thing to do.
Now that I thought back, I might have abandoned various things until I met Luna again.
My ordinary high school life. While my classmates played around, I trained my body alone and put wounds on it. I continued to do so without halt.
My happily chatting classmates in the classroom. Watching over them, I had felt envious. I also imagined that I could be part of it if I hadn’t attended my grandfather’s dojo.
But, in the past and even now, I had some more precious than that. I had made a promise. I promised Luna to protect her from now on.
Therefore, I had no intention to stop now.
“…Hey Luna, coming back here— to the human world, how is it? Is it fun?”
On this question, Luna nodded with a smile without hesitation.
“It is fun. Because I can be by your side, Shinobu-san.”
“I see…”
Then, I would become even stronger. To keep the promise I made in my childhood. To let her stay my by side from now on as well.
…I was still weak. I couldn’t seize a lot of things with these hands. I could only hold on a few things with both my hands.
When I thought of Minami, my chest certainly hurt. I would be lying if I said I had no regrets. But, Luna was besides me. That alone was enough.
Slowly getting away from Luna, I looked up, whereupon the clear blue sky extended in my blurry vision.

* * *

In the bus on the way home in the sunset, I talked with Hijiri, who sat besides me, about trivial stuff. Hijiri seemed still depressed, so I had called out to her to cheer her up a bit.
At that time, Minami approached us and opened her mouth a bit hesitant.
“Nanjou-kun, if you don’t mind, could we switch seats?”
“…Yeah, sure.”
I could see nervousness in Minami’s expression. I knew right away why she wanted to sit next to Hijiri.
I quietly got up from my seat and gentle put my hand on Minami’s shoulder, then I moved the front-row seats.
Minami’s seat was right next to Hiiragi-sensei, so I called out to her.
“Hiiragi-sensei, I’ll sit next to you.”
“Hmpf.”
On my words, Hiiragi-sensei faced sideways like a kid and replied.
“Nanjou-kun, please call me ‘Hiiragi-san’, since we’re strangers now. Also, why don’t you go sit in the foldaway seat?”
…Mh? Was she still angry about the fact that I didn’t take part in the recreation?
To be honest, I considered her to be troublesome, but I opened my mouth to cheer up her mood anyway.
“Hiiragi-san, you’re pretty today as well.”
“…Really? Don’t you actually think of me as ‘baby face’, ‘kid’ or ‘shorty’ like the others?”
“How did you know— I mean, I think of you as a mature woman. You’re wonderful. You have a mature charm.”
“I- Is that so? I can’t really tell myself, but thanks, Nanjou-kun. I like you a lot better now. Please friendly call me ‘Akane-sensei’ from now on <3”
---A flag for Hiiragi-sensei’s route has been raised! Is what I felt a voice from the sky saying, but I humbly declined that route and took a snack from Hiiragi-sensei, whose mood had been fixed.
After that, I gave Machina, who was soundly sleeping in a nearby seat from her exhaustion, a side-glance for a suitable time, then turned around and checked upon Minami and Hijiri.
Minami was talking to Hijiri somewhat awkwardly, but that awkwardness gradually dissolve over time and gave way for a smile.
…She really, had become stronger.
Realizing once again the importance of what I had let go, a faint pain ran through my chest.
But from then on I didn’t turn around anymore and just looked forward… I continued to eat the snacks that Hiiragi-sensei offered me.

When the bus reached the school, the clock had turned to eight in the afternoon. I should quickly head over to the middle school and return home with Nazuna--- is what I considered to do, but when I got off the bus, Machina was surrounded by the girls from class and wouldn’t get away from them.
Should I start to call out to her, since Nazuna was waiting? Or should I wait until Hiiragi-sensei dismissed us all?
While I pondered what to do, Minami approached me and clung onto my arm with a smile while saying “Nanjou-kun”.
“…Eh? Wh- What’s up, out of the blue?”
“Just some physical contact between friends. Don’t worry about it, Nanjou-kun.”
“…Well, girls do that a lot amongst themselves, but I think that works for a girl and boy.”
“Then it’s physical contact between two people, who are more than friends, but less than lovers.”
Minami replied so while still smiling, then with the prologue of “There’s something I wanted to tell you before you went home” and continued.
“After all, I can’t give up on you, Nanjou-kun. I want to be by your side and get along better. So if you ever change your mind, tell me right away. Then…I’ll give you some service.”
Smiling impish, Minami pressed her big breasts even stronger against my arm.
“It might be, that I seek physical contact with you like this from now on to get you to change your mind, but turn a blind eye on it with a smile.”
“…No, I’m a guy after all, so please spare me of that.”
“Fufu, make sure to take responsibility if anything happens, Shinobu-chan.”
Saying so and getting away from me, Minami sent me a sexy blown kiss and left.
…From now on I didn’t just had to train my body, but also my reasoning too.
When such thoughts crossed my mind, now Hijiri separated from the class group and approached me. There I called out to her softly.
“Yo, what were you talking about with Sakura— I mean, with Minami?”
“I’m afraid that I can’t tell you that.”
Hijiri replied to my question with a small smile.
I was a bit interested in the content of their talk, but as far as I could tell, she reconciled with Minami.
Infected by Hijiri, I also smiled and opened my mouth.
“Hey, Hijiri, on a different note, can I come over to your house next time?”
“…Eh? It certainly welcome you, but it’s troublesome so suddenly. I still have to mentally prepare myself…”
She seemed to have a subtle misunderstanding. I continued right away to add.
“I also want to learn from Sougo-san what you learned, Hijiri. I’ll come on a day when Sougo-san has time.”
When I told her that I wanted to learn exorcist spells in a roundabout way because we were in public, Hijiri seemed to understand it. For some reason she dropped her shoulders and nodded.
“…Then I’ll mail you when my father is at home. My father seems busy lately, so it might not be right away, is that fine?”
“Yeah, I don’t mind. Thanks.”
“Yeah, I think my father will be pleased too.”
“I see. Then I’ll bring along Elni to make him even more pleased.”
“…Uhm, it seems my father is on bad terms with Elni, so I think you better don’t do that.”
While I talked like that with Hijiri, Machina came back. Then we went to pick up Nazuna….closing the curtain on the seaside school.




Epilogue

A certain day in the later half of summer vacation. When I casually peeked into the living room after coming home from the bookstore, Miichan had come over to play.
I checked upon the situation curiously, whereupon it seemed that Miichan was in a girl’s talk with the girl team (my mother excluded) of our house. I thought about joining in, but a new book that I had been looking forward to had been released today. I would like to read it before my mother snatches it away.
For a moment, I considered just passing by. But that would certainly a bit rude. Thinking that I should at least greet them, I showed up in the living room.
“Welcome, Miichan. Take your time here. Okay, I’m gone again.”
“…You are rather cold today, Shinobu-oniisan. You are rather formal and before I even said anything, you try to return to your own room. Why?”
When Miichan said so painfully, Nazuna frowned a bit.
“Brother, I feel sorry for Miichan. She came here today to consult you.”
“Consult me? I don’t have any money. Though I have unlimited love.”
“Hey, Shinobu, Miichan is seriously troubled here, so stop your jokes and listen to her properly.”
When Machina, who sat on the sofa, reprimanded me, Nazuna nodded in agreement and gently pushed Miichan’s back, so that she stood in front of me.
“C’mon, Miichan.”
“Y- Yes.”
Urged by Nazuna, Miichan reddened her cheeks for some reason and opened her mouth.
“Ehm, you currently don’t have a girlfriend, right Shinobu-oniisan?”
Before I could answer that question,
“Shinobu doesn’t have a girlfriend. Though he’s a former slave, a tsundere, a lover, a maid and a fiancée.”
Elni answered first and the former slave Luna raised her hand happily.
Instantly, Miichan was surprised with “I- Is that so!?”, but
“Heroes are amorous.”
said that and took a deep breath. Then she recollected herself and opened her mouth once more.
“Uhm, I have a favour to ask of the girlfriend-less Shinobu-oniisan…”
“Mh? What kind of favour do you have for the girlfriend-less, lonely Shinobu-oniisan?”
When I asked by cracking a joke, Miichan turned even redder and answered.
“Just for a little while will be fine— Please become my boyfriend!”
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Continue with Volume 07