I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – Garesto Academy – Exam Arc: Chapter I – Those Who Take Advantage of the Test – 04-24: Before the Storm…? (3/4)

While the two childhood friends were arguing, someone was brazenly staring at her chest and muttering to himself. Alas, only the students near him could hear his mutterings.

The male student that received his bowl wore a vague expression as he hurriedly left the line.

“Ah, youth.”

Shinichi muttered as he realized that the student had also glanced at the same thing for a moment.

Unfortunately, no one was brave enough to point out that all the students here were his age.

Everyone’s attention was taken up by the conversation of the two assistants that was starting to heat up.

“Why are you always itching for a fight!? It’s because you keep pissing people off like this that you barely have any friends!” Ryou said.

“T-That doesn’t have anything to do with this, does it!? Besides, if you’re going to bring that up, then what about you? You don’t even have a single friend!” Tomoe said.

“What was that!? H-Hmph! I-I am a chosen elite. There’s no way I could mingle with some lower class…”

“…You’re putting on that act again? It’s seriously embarrassing, can you stop? There’s a limit to how painful a childhood friend’s high school debut should be.”

“Damn it, it’s not like I knew you were coming here too!!”

Before Shinichi, Ryou was the poster child for arrogance in the academy. It turns out, however, that that was nothing more than a character he came up with for his high school debut, causing the students nearby to stir.

As for Shinichi, who just found him to be a handful, he just laughed.

“Ku ku ku, I figured that would be the case. Ah, by the way, I’m the type that doesn’t know how to come up with a character,” Shinichi said.

“No one’s asking!” Tomoe said.

“I don’t care!” Ryou said.

The two assistants bellowed out in response to that brazen declaration of loneliness, and Shinichi laughed in amusement.

Although Shinichi did have childhood friends, they were already friends before they were even old enough to understand what friendship was.

Hence, Shinichi didn’t actually have any friends that he made himself, be it in this world or in Falandia.

That’s partly because he was the sort of person who didn’t mind having friends, though he would treasure them if he did have some.

Although, of course, that wasn’t really the case in Falandia.

“Sigh… When you’re around I get tired for no reason. Here,” Tomoe said.

“It’s because he’s so different from how he looks. There, done!” Ryou handed the bowl to the last person wearily and caught his breath.

Despite being responsible for their current situation, Shinichi took a step back and spoke as though he wasn’t related.

“I can understand Shinguuji since he has a lot of stamina, but you sure work surprisingly hard even though you were hospitalized just a month ago,” Shinichi said.

“You’re the one making me work! I did the job since you asked me to, so can’t you phrase it differently!?” Tomoe said.

She didn’t need him to treat her politely, but at the very least, she wished that he wouldn’t rub her the wrong way all the time.

But of course, demanding that from this man was a mistake, after all..

“Compound fractures in both arms and three ribs, a broken bone in the right leg, excessive bleeding and even some damage to the internal organs… Huh, it’s amazing you survived.”

This was Shinichi’s idea of phrasing his words differently. Tomoe was speechless.

He was basically ignoring her and just asking whatever he wanted.

“…My friends came to help me immediately, and their first aid response was adequate. The rest was thanks to Garesto’s technology. Even their medical equipment are ridiculous. Even broken bones can be restored in just a few hours,” Tomoe said.

By this point, she didn’t feel like yelling at him anymore, so she readily answered him while remembering that time.

In her case, her fractures were so complicated, and on top of that, even her internal organs were damaged, so it still took her a month to recover, but even then, this one month was already exceptionally fast compared to how long it would’ve taken her with just Earth technology.

“Huh, so an injury this bad took you only one month to fully recover from and you even had the time for rehabilitation. That actually makes me curious how far we can go before Garesto’s medical technology won’t work anymore, what do you think?”

“Eek!?”

“Uuu!?”

“Uuu!!”

When Shinichi said something so terrifying, the students around him scattered about.

The sight of the smiling instructor gave rise to a primal fear within them.

“Can you not do that while eating!? Seriously, just shut up and eat!” Tomoe hit Shinichi’s head with a normal-sized ladle as she forcefully handed him his bowl.

Shinichi rubbed his head and muttered unhappily. “It was just a joke.”

“If you’re serious, then please never tell a joke again. I feel bad for the students” Tomoe said with a fed-up face, and Shinichi laughed.

“I’m so fed up with this guy,” Tomoe muttered as she got her own portion.

“…Looks like she wasn’t traumatized,” Shinichi muttered.

But no one else heard those words, as his mouth was hidden by the bowl in front of him.

He tilted the bowl like that, and emptied the warm broth into his mouth.

“!”

“What, did I screw up something!?”

When Shinichi suddenly stopped moving, Tomoe panicked, thinking that she’d messed up, but Shinichi licked his bowl clean and praised her.

“Nku, Ahh… What a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting much, but this is pretty good,” Shinichi said.

“Your choice of words bother me, but if everything is fine, then that’s good. That rock salt you found was the only seasoning I could use, but the dashi made from the ingredients you brought still turned out pretty good, didn’t it?”

Of course, she’s already tasted her own cooking, but she didn’t know what others would think of it.

She looked at the expression of the other students as well, and was relieved to see that they seemed to like her cooking too.

It was a hodgepodge made from the ingredients found out here, so a high standard couldn’t be demanded in the first place.

But even then she wanted to make it taste good. Probably because of her innate competitive spirit.

Regardless, the end result could only be credited to her cooking skills.

“Yeah, it tastes really good… Seconds please!” Shinichi said.

“At least do that much yourself!” Tomoe scolded him by reflex, but Shinichi didn’t mind and just did as she said.

Seeing him so happily help himself to more of her cooking made her embarrassed, but alas, it didn’t last for long.

“So you really can cook, huh,” Shinichi said.

“You’re really rude, you know! I might look like this, but my mom properly taught me how to cook when I was a child! Something as simple as this is child’s play,” Tomoe puffed up her chest and exaggerated a little.

“Oh, so your mom is good at cooking?” Shinichi asked with a warm gaze.

“Y-Yeah…”

In the light of that gentle voice and those loving eyes, she found herself confused and embarrassed, but she still managed to reply, saying, “She was especially good at cooking in places like this that’s normally not meant for cooking.”

Like a faucet that’s been turned, the memories suddenly came pouring out.

“She’s really amazing, I tell you! Dad would find a lot of ingredients in the mountains! And mom would cook something delicious just using those!”

Tomoe’s whole face was brimming with happiness as she proudly spoke about her parents.

That was just how important these memories were to her.

Especially, since these were memories that she could no longer reach again.

“Now that you mention it… This certainly reminds me of aunt’s cooking,” Ryou said.

“I see, so this is a mother’s taste. Makes sense,” Shinichi said.

Deeply moved, Shinichi emptied the bowl into his mouth.

Shinichi didn’t say anything else, but from the look on his face, it was clear that he was satisfied.

Tomoe took that as praise for her mother rather than her cooking, so her cheeks naturally loosened.

“Well, I’m still a long way away from my mom’s level, though… Hmm?”

After saying that Tomoe tilted her head.

She felt as though there was something odd with the memory she shared, but she couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

“And here I thought that girl was doing it on purpose, but it turns out she hasn’t even realized it – that the team effort(memories) of her parents were reenacted perfectly by her and master,” a fox muttered.

The father gathers ingredients, while the mother prepares them.

Shinichi gathered the ingredients and Tomoe prepared them.

It may have been just a coincidence, but it was indeed a perfect reenactment.

“Don’t tell her that or her head will surely blow up from shame. To be honest, I’d really love to see her lose it, but she’ll probably flee to the ends of the earth.”

“Ahaha… As expected of you, master, you know exactly when to hold back.”

Shinichi could feel the thorn in the meaningful words whispered by his ears, but he didn’t wish to stir up unnecessarily trouble, so he just emptied his bowl.

 

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