I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – Garesto Academy – Exam Arc: Epilogue – Those Who Take Advantage of the Test – 04-39: The Children’s Burden (5/6)

“You don’t have to make such a big deal out of it. We’re supposedly descended from him, but it’s actually suspect if that’s really the case,” Tomoe said.

They must’ve expected this reaction.

Although a wry smiled appeared on her as she confirmed it, she dropped her shoulders and shook her head.

They were connected by lineage, but the authenticity of this matter was questionable.

One thing for sure was that they were connected to him through the Abe family as his descendants.

“That’s pretty nice. Not being able to confirm the authenticity is plenty romantic too!”

An unreliable story of being possibly connected to the famous onmyouji.

An unadulterated excitement not dirtied by any agenda.

And the possible revelation of that famed figure’s descendants not known by the public.

All of those factors tickled the little boy inside him.

And when he made a face brimming with innocence just like that of a little boy’s when listening to a tale of adventure, Ryou and Tomoe’s eyes swam.

“…How to put it? This guy really has a lot of sides to him, doesn’t he? The more he talks, the harder it becomes to see the whole picture. Hey,” Ryou said.

Intimidation, depression, admonishment, magnanimity, and now, this.

The series of interactions Shinichi has taken toward them was a complete surprise, leaving them confused.

“Get used to it,” Shinichi said.

But Shinichi just brushed everything aside with that curt remark, and Ryou found himself speechless again.

“Acting like that with a face like that… I knew it. You’re a scam,” Tomoe said as she held her head as though it ached.

The gap between Shinichi’s face and actions was especially big because his face looked just like a friendly boy’s.

But of course, there was no point in pointing that out to Shinichi since he was aware of that and was intentionally taking advantage of it.

Unfortunately, the two of them would have no choice but to just get used to this.

They drank from their glasses to moisten their parched throats, but Shinichi expected that, so…

“Ahh, it just occurred to me, but had things turned out differently, the two of you would’ve become the exorcist clans’ young master(・・・) and princess(・・・), huh,” Shinichi said.

“Bufu!?!?” Ryou coughed.

“Goho, gaha!?” Tomoe coughed.

As the proclamation claimed, that ridiculous remark dropped with a smile when they weren’t expecting it.

And just as the boy had schemed, a burst of water sprayed out of their mouths.

As the young master and the princess repeatedly coughed, they asked with him with shock what he was talking about.

“But I mean, that is the case, no? Your respective families were originally that sort of lineage,” Shinichi said.

When they were told that such a situation could’ve been possible if the coincidences lined up differently, they were shocked.

As realization dawned on them, the two childhood friends glanced at each other.

“Uwaah, you don’t look like a princess at all!” Ryou said.

“Shut up! I don’t want to hear that from you, stupid young master!” Tomoe said.

Impossible. They knew themselves that they didn’t have even a smidgen of the makings necessary to fill such roles.

They could argue so familiarly with each other because they’d known each other ever since they were kids.

But while they may have been serious, Shinichi was having the time of his life watching them.

“How could you possibly describe a good looking guy like me as a stupid young master, huh, Ms. Bully!?” Ryou said.

“I’m still a girl you know! How about you start treating me like one and stop calling me that!” Tomoe said.

“Then how about you start acting like a lady for once! Just like aunt!” Ryou said.

“Hmph, well, excuse me I’m not like her! Sorry for being an unladylike tomboy miles away from a princess!” Tomoe said.

Tit for tat, the two groaned and argued. Indeed, this was the very picture of good banter among good friends.

Were it not for the barrier Tomoe had erected, all eyes would have surely gathered on them.

It sounded as though Tomoe herself wished she were like her mother, as a tinge of frustration could be felt from her voice.

“I’m sorry I’m not as noble or as ladylike as my mom! And I’m sorry that I don’t look one bit like her either!!” Tomoe said.

“Ah, hey! I didn’t go that far! Calm down!!” Ryou said.

Spurred on by her own insecurities, Tomoe grabbed Ryou by his collar and repeatedly shook him as she frantically yelled.

“Yeah, it’s the same for me too, but this girl’s good points and bad points generally revolve around this emotional side of hers… Can’t really act like it’s not my own problem, though,” Shinichi muttered.

He wryly smiled as he ignored Ryou’s pleas for help.

At first, Shinichi looked amused, but gradually, he became confused.

“I wanted to be born with beautiful black hair too! I’m sorry I lost the gene lottery and didn’t end up looking like her!!” Tomoe said.

“Uu, s-stop it, already, hey, let go, ah!?” Ryou said.

As her own words buried deeply into her own heart, tears gradually filled her eyes.

Meanwhile, Ryou was starting to get dizzy from all the shaking.

Of course, by this point, he was starting to regret inciting her insecurities, but this wasn’t really the time for that.

“I’m sure even my father, who raised me up, is crying in his grave!”

Although her mother had her scary parts to her as her mother and as her master in spiritual techniques, but there was no mistaking that her mother was the embodiment of the Yamato Nadeshiko.

Her father loved her mother. Surely, he must’ve also wished for her to be like her.

In fact, she too wished to be like her mother, but she was so far from her, that it seemed impossible.

“…But aren’t you living up to your parent’s expectations just fine?” Shinichi asked in an attempt to gently chide her, but Tomoe had been spurred on so much that this time she turned her fangs on him.

“Which part!? I don’t need some cheap condolence, thank you!” Tomoe said.

“I mean your name is Tomoe, right? …Hmm? Did I mistake the origin of your name?” Shinichi said.

What is this guy talking about this time? Ryou and Tomoe blinked their eyes.

They didn’t react the way he was expecting, so Shinichi thought he was mistaken, but…

“There’s no way for me to know if you’re mistaken since I never heard anything about it from them, but from the way you’re talking, it sounds like you know,” Tomoe said.

“Ah, I see. My bad, I thought for sure that your Tomoe was referring to Tomoe Gozen,” Shinichi said.

“Huh? Tomoe Gozen?” Tomoe asked.

Tomoe Gozen.

That was the name of a brave female warrior renowned during the Heian period, who was also said to be servant and concubine to Kiso Yoshinaka, a military commander of the Shinano Minamoto Clan.

Although her existence is questionable due to her only appearing in the classics and the historical background, but regardless, she was depicted as a one-armed female warrior that excelled in the bow and the naginata and could match a thousand warriors.

It’s said that even when she parted with Yoshinaka, she was able to rout the soldiers chasing him.

“That’s why I thought your tomboyish personality was fitting of your namesake,” Shinichi said.

“…Tomoe, Gozen…”

When Tomoe skimmed through the information pertaining that figure in the net, she muttered that name in astonishment.

She’d heard the name before and it remained in her mind because they shared the same name, but that was all.

But when she was told that her name came from her, she started feeling weird.

It was then that Ryou suddenly remembered something and became excited.

“I think he might actually be right. Didn’t uncle migrate because he loved Japan’s history and weather?” Ryou said.

“Y-Yeah. Apparently, he met mom while visiting shrines and historical sites. Supposedly, he was also the one who picked out my name…” Tomoe said.

Her mother had thought of a name that would fit her last name, Safina, better, but her dad insisted that she be called ‘Tomoe’, and in the end, her mother was the one to fold.

But if so, then Shinichi might actually be right.

“…Well, we can’t ask him, so it’s all left to our imaginations, but he never got mad when I called you a bully [1], right? You must’ve grown up exactly as he wished, so he should be watching you with a smile,” Ryou said.

As the memories flashed through her, she realized that her parents had always laughed at her tomboyish antics.

Although they’d taught her manners too, they were tolerant in situations that didn’t call for them.

They always looked at her favorably.

“I…” Tomoe said.

“You should just be yourself. I’m sure that’ll make them happiest, Tomoe,” Shinichi said.

He didn’t read her name as トモエ(Tomoe), but as (Tomoe) with the appropriate soul of the word behind it.

As a warmth and gentleness unlike in any of his voices appeared, they wrapped around her, and for a moment, Tomoe saw her father.

At that, she finally couldn’t hold.

“Ah…”

The dams broke, and the water held tight broke free at long last.

In that moment, she could feel it. The feelings that her parents had for her that she thought she understood were pouring into her.

She knew the man before her was nothing more than an illusion, but it really felt as though it was her dad who’d called out to her.

It was both joyous and heartrending, but despite that, she didn’t want it to stop, so at the very least, she thought to turn around to hide her tears.

“Hey, don’t start cry– Oof!?”

Ryou was about to poke fun at her from the side, but a disposable hand towel stopped him.

When he turned, he saw Shinichi with an exasperated face and his arm sticking out.

“W-What are you doing!?”

“Stupid, at times like these, a man is supposed to act like he didn’t see anything,” Shinichi said.

As he said that, he let out a breath and bent himself forward, then naturally swept her tears away with his fingers. He did that so naturally Ryou actually found himself watching in fascination.

“Want some?” Shinichi asked.

And then without broaching the subject of her crying, and without waiting for her response, he took his Shiratama Zenzai and placed it in front of her.

“Hah?” Ryou said.

“Eat,” Shinichi said.

“Huh?” Tomoe said.

While Ryou was looking at the exchange between the two in confusion, Tomoe reached out for the food to hide the matter about her crying.

At first, she just stuffed her cheeks, but before long, the sweetness of the desert made her cheeks slacken.

No girl hated being given sweets.

Of course, the only reason he’d given them to her was to give her a way to change the topic.

“This restaurant here is a chain store, but as expected from a restaurant that made it in Kutoria, it’s pretty good right?” Shinichi said.

“Yeah, mom’s was better, though,” Tomoe said

with a tearful voice. There was pride there too despite her not being the one to make them.

That proud remark took Shinichi by surprise a little, but he laughed and shook his head.

“There’s no way some chain store could win against your mom, now, is there?” Shinichi said.

“Of course, whose mom do you think she is?” Tomoe said.

“That’s true too,” Shinichi said.

Tomoe threw out her chest, and Shinichi agreed naturally.

When she saw that, she threw out her chest even more and smiled.

“…Wow,” Ryou muttered in honest praise.

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