I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – Garesto Academy – Exam Arc: Chapter I – Those Who Take Advantage of the Test – 04-08: A Boy’s Romance

The awe the boy felt when he saw that robot stand up up close was not something that could be put into words.

Awhile ago he could only see its contour because of the distance and the darkness, but now it was reflected clearly on his eyes.

It was just as the boy expected. No, it was beyond that – the embodiment of a boy’s dream come true(super robot).

Red body like burning flames. A solid armor like that of a warrior’s.

A giant golden emblem at its chest with the dazzling characters ‘G F’.

A blue camera-eye that awed the foes that stood before it.

A pair of legs too big for walking, but polished enough that they didn’t appear silly.

It was unarmed, but as though steel itself was its greatest weapon, it had two fists.

Built 20 meter high in the shape of a giant super robot, its maker had clearly abandoned all regard for practicality.

If that was all there was to it, he wouldn’t have been so impressed.

But he too once enjoyed this sort of stuff when he was young, but due to the time he spent in a fantasy world, his fervor for technology has become subdued.

As for why he hasn’t shown this side of him until now, it was simply because there was never an opportunity to.

But now he was calm and alone.

Of course, he was only alone in the sense that he couldn’t see anyone else, but that was enough.

Especially since to this boy, to Shinichi, the figure of this robot held a special meaning.

“Uwaaaaa!!! Are you for real!!?”

His lifelong dream right before him, Shinichi couldn’t help but let out a scream.

His scream resounded loud and clear throughout the forest without any regard for his reputation.

“A-Again!? Enough already!!”

But to the pilot of the robot, it only looked like he was ‘excited’ like everyone else, and was someone to watch out for.

Unfortunately for him, the boy’s tearful voice did not care one bit for his cries, and he even ran toward him. That frightened the pilot.

“Don’t come closer!”

“!”

The camera eye looked down at Shinichi, and Shinichi jumped back.

In the next moment, a blue-colored beam scorched the place he was at.

“…Maser Eye? U-Unbelievable… You actually went that far!!”

“Uwaah, I said don’t come close!! I didn’t design this robot to be able to hold back against bare human targets!”

The pilot shot, but for some reason the boy became even more excited, so this time he aimed his steel arm a little higher than where Shinichi was, then a bursting sound resounded from its elbow.

“C-Could this be!?”

“Go over there!!”

Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t realize that that only made the boy’s eyes sparkle even more.

And when the pilot screamed out the name of the technique and the right fist shot out.

“Grand Knuckle!!”

“Grand Knuckle!?”

For some reason, the boy cried out the name of the technique in harmony.

Propelled by the jet propulsion, the flying steel fist(Rocket Punch) drew a straight line in its descent.

Excited, the boy happily ran toward the fist and nimbly jumped twice.

“What!? He jumped off it!?

The first jump was off the ground, while the second jump was off the rocket punch.

The monitor showed the boy jumping toward the camera eye of the robot’s head.

“This is!?”

Although the pilot felt like he was having deja vu, he reflexively controlled the robot’s arms to cover the head, and in the next moment, the boy crashed into the robot.

“UWAAAa!!??”

Unable to withstand the impact, the unit shook so greatly that not even the pilot was spared of that great impact.

With just one attack, the steel giant was knocked down by an unidentified excited young boy, who then stood in front of the camera, peeked into it, and yelled.

“Grandfizer Episode 22!”

“The Broken Fist of Justice! Huh?”

The pilot reflexively replied to the boy’s words, but in the next moment, he found himself at a loss.

As if the boy could see his face, he happily continued.

“The crimson body.”

“Is proof of the flames of justice!”

“With our rumbling burning fists.”

“Crush the evil ice!”

“Grandfizer’s and our burning blood won’t leave you with just burns!!”

Without even rehearsing it, the pilot and the boy recited those lines in sync.

As for what the pilot and developer of the robot thought about that, him opening his cockpit said everything.

There were no hidden agendas here, only the ‘burning passion’ that only these two boys understood.

“UOOO!!”

Urged on by the fervor, a boy dressed in white lab gown with ruffled blond hair jumped out of the pilot seat, and ran up to Shinichi and gave him a high five.

“Our heat is the strongest!!”

They said in unison, then they hugged each other and yelled.

“Friend!!”

In that moment, the two boys forged a friendship that transcended history and emotion.

“…………………………What, is that?”

“W-Who knows?”

But of course, to the onlookers, their exchange was completely incomprehensible.

They ran here in a panic after hearing Shinichi’s excited voice, but when they finally got here, they were greeted by this bizarre spectacle.

This was no doubt the most confusing seen these two girls have ever seen in their whole life. They stood their petrified with a mix of astonishment and confusion on their faces.

But that couldn’t be helped. They didn’t understand the value of the robot in front of them.

They didn’t understand that a student had poured out his blood and sweat just to build that ‘thing’ and fulfill his dream.

Although it was a fake built after a fictional hero, within ‘it’ was the same heat.

And if it were to be shown to anyone from Shinichi’s generation, every one of them would undoubtedly call it ‘the real thing’.

—Crimson Steel Man Grandfizer

A short explanation!

Crimson Steel Man Grandfizer is a super hot-blooded robot anime broadcast roughly 10 years ago (total of 52 episodes).

At the time, the industry felt like the genre had already been dried up, but that was precisely why the producers behind this show decided to go back to the genre’s roots and make Grandfizer a show for kids.

The evil empire, Samzamoon, that considered the heat within people to be useless, and Grandfizer, the embodiment of that heat, and the boys chosen to be its pilots. A fierce battle between good and evil, between the hot-blooded and the cold-blooded, a tale that spoke of these boys’ coming of age and friendship.

While it received mixed reviews among the older fans because it was too on-the-nose with its justice theme, it was a big hit to the younger fans who saw it as a fresh take on the genre.

Shinichi was one such kid.

And with a true to life model of it right in front of him that could not just move but even use the same weapons, it was only natural that the childish self he had forgotten would surface.

Speaking of which, all of the movements they made earlier were from episode 22, ‘The Broken Fist of Justice!’, and was essentially a reenactment.

It was the first time that Grandfizer lost after receiving a bare-bodied attack from one of enemy’s upper brass.

No matter how much the two girls might have studied Earth’s subculture, there was no way they could’ve understood all of this. But…

“Fu, fu fu fu ….”

“Ari-chan?”

“Sorry, it’s just that…”

Though she muttered out a small apology for suddenly breaking into laughter, the gaze she looked at the two boys with was still excited.

Although they were away from them and they couldn’t understand it, they could tell that the boys were really excited about whatever they were talking about.

“Fu fu, I was just thinking how he’s childish in some ways too. It’s a first seeing him make such an innocent and happy face, but for some reason, that makes me laugh.”

Myuhi too took a good look at Shinichi’s face, and then nodded with complicated feelings.

After finding a kindred spirit in an unknown student of the technology class, he made a smiling face that Aristel has never seen before.

Aristel was a little frustrated that he didn’t smile like that when he was with her, but she didn’t let that show on her face.

“I suppose, yeah… Well, personally I’d much rather that we get this over with.”

“…You’re surprisingly diligent.”

Being told that honestly understandably caused Myuhi to frown even though she was still smiling.

Meanwhile, Shinichi and his new friend from the technology class were finally starting to calm down from talking about Grandfizer.

“—Still, I’m surprised you know about Grandfizer. Most Japanese don’t even know about that series nowadays!”

Although it was a big hit, that was 10 years ago.

The only ones who still remembered it were the kids from back then and their parents.

But there were always exceptions, and there were those who fearlessly loved a specific work for a long time.

“My dad is a huge fan of Grandfizer. He says it was the Bible of his youth!”

“Wow I’m so envious! No one else likes it among the people I know. I was so lonely without anyone to talk about it with!”

“It’s also my first time with anyone else other than my dad. After all, it’s an anime from 10 years ago. I’m surprised you even know about it… Did they do a rerun or released a reprint!?”

“…I doubt it. But I haven’t checked, so I don’t know for sure.”

“…Figures.”

10 years ago. When he said that, Shinichi paused for a moment, and the fire that burned within him cooled down.

To the world, it was an anime from 10 years ago, but to Shinichi it was just 4 years ago.

When he realized that their sense of time was off by more than two times, he couldn’t help but feel bad.

He didn’t know whether he should keep that from showing on his face or not.

“…Are you two done?”

“Huh? Oh, Hina.”

“Uwaah, Myuhi Ruona!?!?”

As though she were waiting for their conversation to end, a girl suddenly appeared, causing the two boys to have two contrasting reactions.

To be more precise, one of them was fine, while the other was shaking in fear.

“…Seriously, just what did you do?”

“Ahaha, something a milder version of you would do with a smidgen of force!”

“I don’t get it one bit, but for some reason I actually feel convinced.”

“Is that something you should normally be saying yourself?” Another girl asked.

“What!? P-Padyuel too!? Huh!? What’s with this situation!?”

Just as he was shaking in fear as if Myuhi had done him some terrible harm, the top girl of the special class suddenly appeared, plunging him deeper into confusion.

After calming down a little, he remembered what kind of situation he was in just a while ago.

“Please be at ease. Unlike the others, we’re calm. We noticed there was something strange going on in this area, so we rushed over. We’d like you to explain what happened— Oh, I’m sorry. Where are my manners? Who are you again?”

“Y-Yeah. I’m Werner Brown from the class of 3 – B of the Technology Class. I’m an Earthling from Germany.”

It was curious whether it was because of her position or the manner in which she appeared, but regardless, the student reflexively fixed his unkempt hair and named himself.

In response, everyone else introduced themselves as well.

“It seems you know me already, but I am Aristel F. Padyuel from the class of 3 – A under the Special Class.”

“You know me too, but I’m Myuhi Ruona! I’m likely affiliated with the Special Class of 2 – A.”

“What do you mean by ‘likely’? Ah, I’m Nakamura Shinichi from the normal class of 1 – D. I’m Japanese. I actually know about you by name(・・・・) but I never thought we’d be kindred spirits.”

“Same. I know you guys by name and face actually. You went out of your way to introduce yourselves, but there isn’t a soul in school who hasn’t heard of you guys. It’s a bit strange to see you guys together, but you’re all super famous people in the school for various reasons.”

The girls, of course, but Shinichi became talk of the school lately because of his arrogant attitude.

He was so infamous that even the completely unrelated upper students of the Technology Class had caught word of him.

“Why did it spread that quickly!?”

“Personally I’m more inclined to ask why you don’t know.”

Shinichi was shocked to be hearing this for the first time, while Myuhi found his bewilderment amusing.

“…Huh?”

“Please don’t mind them. More importantly, can you tell us what happened?”

Werner was dumbfounded by how different they were from the rumors.

But realizing that they’ll get nowhere at this rate, Aristel decided to urge him to continue with a smile.

“Y-Yeah… But I actually don’t know much myself either. They were a bit irritating until evening, but it was a test, so I didn’t mind it that much, but then they started to pick a fight with me. I thought it was just the usual, so I ignored them, but then they suddenly attacked me. It was too strange, so I reported it to the teachers, but when I got to them, they were also acting strange. I panicked and locked them all in the cage, but then the others attacked me with their guard robot, so I had no choice but to get on my Grandfizer and fight back. I knew they were piloting the robots from inside, so I couldn’t attack at full power and struggled.”

“A lot of Grandfizer’s attacks are too big, after all… Do you have G F Burst too?”

“Honestly, it was a real lifesaver that the armor was so tough… Of course, I have it!”

One downside to recreating a super robot was that the had too much firepower, which made it difficult to hold back.

Thanks to the sturdy armor, though, he was able to endure long enough for Shinichi and the others to arrive.

Also, the G F Burst that Shinichi was talking about was a powerful heat ray that shot out from the emblem.

“Umm, sorry, but… What do you mean by ‘the usual’?”

“Huh? Oh, the other students don’t really like me, you see. I just ignore them, so I don’t know the specifics, but I doubt it’s anything interesting. Something about them reproducing Garesto’s technology while all I do is make stuff ‘like this’. After all, even though it looks like I’m playing around, I’m the top student in B Class.”

Werner shrugged his shoulders as he nonchalantly talked about his situation.

He added that because he also didn’t listen to the teachers much, he was seen as a problem child.

At that, the girls looked at Shinichi with a meaningful gaze, but Shinichi didn’t say anything.

Were they familiar in Japanese proverbs, they would probably say something like this, ‘birds of the same feather flock together’.

Although in Werner’s case, he actually had good grades, so they weren’t exactly the same.

“…Come to think of it, I do feel like the students were saying something like that. So basically, all their pent up stress suddenly blew up?” Aristel asked.

“I can’t say for certain that that’s not it, but it’s a bit hard to imagine that they’d all lose their minds at the same because of stress,” Myuhi said.

“Yeah, the things the teachers were yelling about were unrelated too,” Werner said.

“This isn’t something we can handle alone… So, can you come too?” Shinichi asked.

“Huh?”

“Huh?”

“Hmm?”

While Aristel, Myuhi, and Werner were all confused about who Shinichi was talking to, his foster suddenly projected a display and the figure on the other side of the communication line appeared.

“And here I was wondering why there wasn’t any response from the D Area!”

“Uwaah!?”

“Doneju Sensei!?”

White-haired Devil(Frire) didn’t even bother to hide her displeasure as she glared at them all.

That glare of hers was as terrifying as she was beautiful.

“And Padyuel and Ruona! Just what are you two doing!? Even if you’re at the top of the rankings, there are still things that you shouldn’t do!!”

“Eek!?”

The angry face of a demoness scared the two girls.

Even Werner who wasn’t being scolded was scared out of his wits.

“I-I’m in charge of watching over Shinichi, so I was worried that he might be troubled by something. And the teacher told me it was fine too.”

“I-I’m the top student so it’s only normal to be concerned about those lower in rank. I got permission from the teacher too.”

“I’m not hearing it! In the first place, none of the teachers would say no to you two when you threaten them!!”

“So they really did threaten them.”

The girls were quite bold though to insist that they’re in the right.

It didn’t seem to work against Frire, but the other teachers probably couldn’t say anything to them.

They couldn’t be compared to a certain someone who was nonchalantly thinking to himself that his suspicions were correct. Definitely.

“Sigh, whatever. I’ve heard your situation through the call. What a disaster, huh, Brown. But why didn’t you contact me immediately?”

“Ma’am! The guard robots that attacked me were equipped with a communication jamming device, and neither my foster or my unit could reach outside! In pursuit of improving my unit’s abilities, I made it a pilot-type and forgot to even include anElectronic Counter-Countermeasure(ECCM). Because of that my report was delayed. My deepest apologies!”

Although Frire said she didn’t care anymore, there was still some anger in her voice that caused Werner’s face to cramp and answer as if he were talking to his boss.

She was a former soldier too, so he even properly saluted her.

“…Y-You don’t have to be that formal. But I understand the situation.”

Aristel’s attack probably broke their jamming devices, Frire nodded.

Frire acted calm but she was actually a little dispirited because she ended up scaring the victim.

Shinichi knew that so he wryly smiled and asked her.

“The school even gives its students permission to equip their units with a jamming device? Isn’t the school giving the students too much authority? I mean this guy here even made a Grandfizer.”

Shinichi was glad to be able to see an actual Grandfizer, but when he took a step back and looked at the whole picture, it was actually quite scary.

After all, a single student had made something like that. That was clearly a security issue.

Shinichi was indirectly criticizing the school for allowing that, but the only student of the Technology Class laughed heartily.

“Ahahaha, in my case, I just built whatever I wanted to, but the electronic warfare equipment is comparatively standard. There’s no telling what a security robot will happen into, so versatility is demanded from them. After all, it’s their job to be able to stop its assailant no matter what it is.”

That’s why even the simplest Electronic Warfare Equipment was needed. It didn’t matter that they were just having an exam.

Such technology could only buy time at most, but that’s precisely what the security robots were meant for.

Shinichi was happy to know that, but at the same time, he felt like throwing a tsukkomi since the very person explaining that was the one who got caught with his pants by it.

Also, while they’re throwing terms like Electronic Warfare and ECCM around, all the technologies they’re using are all reliant on photons.

Supposedly those terms are changed into something more suitable for the Garestonians when spoken through the translator devices.

“Well, that’s a better reason than raybeasts actually being capable of electronic warfare. No matter how varied those guys are, I guess there are some things they still can’t do.”

Although the raybeasts gain various special abilities in the process of their birth, they aren’t really beasts and are just ‘phenomena’; hence, they don’t have the knowledge or instinct to take advantage of the gifts they are given.

It was just a what-if, an impossible one at that, but it still frightened one of the girls.

“P-Please don’t say something so scary! It’s precisely because they can’t do something like that that we’re still somewhat able to bridge the gap in numbers!”

“W-Whoa… Ari-chan, relax.”

“Ah… R-Right. Fuu…”

Aristel seemed angry as she spoke, but Myuhi calmed her down.

She realized that she had indeed lost her composure, so she took a few deep breaths to calm herself.

That sudden change stumped Shinichi, so he asked Frire what the deal was with a glance.

Frire looked down a little and matter-of-factly explained.

“12 years ago there was an outbreak of raybeasts, and a large horde attacked the Padyuel territory. If there were a raybeast who could do what you said, there won’t be a Padyuel here today.”

“…I see.”

Because she explained it so frankly and without any emotions, one could easily imagine just how terrifying a thing it was.

Shinichi also knew about it from his research on Garesto’s history.

‘Litorias Defense’

A fierce battle where a large horde of raybeasts was able to reach the central capital of the Padyuel territory.

By that point, much of the skilled commanders of the Padyuel army has already been killed, causing the collapse of the chain of command.

Most of the raybeasts were only C or D Rank, but they numbered in the millions.

They were able to eliminate up to 70% of the raybeasts, but the army that begun to fall apart couldn’t defend a single city.

As luck would have it, communications were delayed, and the neighboring nobles couldn’t send reinforcements in time.

Parts of the army yet remained, but they were already on the verge of collapse. With no reinforcements in sight, the feudal lord and his wife had already ‘died in battle’.

Fortunately, a certain old general(・・・・・・・・) happened to be there at the scene, and he was able to successfully reorganize the war front.

Historians say that if not for him, the Padyuel territory would have been overrun by the raybeast horde.

But the information(text) Shinichi read didn’t say that she was there at the time, so he didn’t know.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Huh?”

Perhaps that’s the reason why Shinichi was able to say that in such a casual tone.

“Raybeasts are phenomena, right? They’re not living creatures, they can’t evolve. And since they can’t grow, a raybeast that could do something like that won’t ever appear.”

If they were living creatures, then they would posses both knowledge and instinct, as well as the possibility(threat) of evolution, but raybeasts weren’t living creatures.

They were something akin to tornadoes or earthquakes. Although they might vary in strength, at the core, they’re all the same.

What’s more is that the mechanism for their occurrence has already been understood, and the convergence of dimensional energies were constantly being monitored.

“Besides, you can already more or less deal with just numbers, right? That’s why there’s no need to worry,” Shinichi said as he patted his left arm and glanced at her foster.

She didn’t have it at the time, but now she had the power.

“Yes, that’s right!”

Shinichi’s words acknowledged that she was now capable of fighting. To that she responded with a smile of joy.

Shinichi didn’t know precisely how strong she was, but he knew that resolve and will could easily overcome her problems.

What’s more was that she also had the character for it. That’s why even though he didn’t know her actual strength, he believed in that aspect of hers.

And that’s also why he was able to smile with a face full of satisfaction… And envy.

But…

“Well if you consider that some idiot might be manipulating them, then a bunch might come out all of the sudden.”

“Eek! Please stop saying stuff like that already!”

Suddenly, the meaning behind their smiles changed, and when the girl imagined what Shinichi was talking about, she paled.

The intentional creation of raybeasts. A control device and a weapon. A raybeast that could think. A system spun out of control.

Shinichi started mouthing off one bad delusion after another until poor Aristel was in tears. In the end, she covered her ears and crouched.

“…You guys are really different from the rumors, huh.”

Seeing how that noble ojousama was actually like this, Werner couldn’t help but think that the rumors about her were like those stories used to scare children.

His head hurt even more knowing that it was that lowest ranked arrogant student who made that famed ojousama like that.

“Ha ha, well, they’re rumors after all.”

Shinichi smiled while Myuhi consoled Aristel.

For some reason, though, Werner felt like the rumors surrounding Myuhi being ‘the destroyer of smiles’ were the only ones that were true.

After all, the smile she used when looking at Shinichi and looking at him was completely different.

He couldn’t put it into words quite well, but when she smiled at him, a chill crawled up his back.

“…Not a word of this will leak, right?”

And when she spoke so sweetly, it was enough to strike fear into him.

“Sir, yes, sir!!”

“That’s a good kid, fu fu fu…”

Because of that he found himself saluting again.

“Don’t threaten him like that!!”

“Teehee.”

But Myuhi just laughed off the criticisms of the teacher.

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