I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – School Field Trip Arc – Act 1: This Is What Happens When I Go on a Trip – 04-47: The Story Until Departure (4/4)

“The reason should’ve been sent along with the mails from the school,” Frire said.

“..I’m really sorry, but I thought all the mails other than those from my friends and family were spam, so I ignored all of them,” Shinichi said.

Shinichi knew that he was inconveniencing her, so he meekly bowed his head.

Youko could sense that he was about to bow, so she’d already moved to his lap beforehand.

“Tell me about it. I won’t ask you what you do in the middle of the night, but you should at least wake up for the short home room. I’m sure you have your reasons, but at the very least, don’t sleep through it.”

Frire took advantage of that to give him an earful, but Shinichi obediently listened.

After all, the delay this time was not just because of the terrorist bombing incident, but because he hadn’t known about the field trip until just last night, so he hadn’t been able to prepare his luggage or fulfill any of the necessary procedures.

Since Kutoria was treated like a country in international law or – to be more precise – as a pretense, there were various procedures needed to leave it.

The school traditionally leaves it up to the students to deal with the procedures themselves to encourage independence.

But Shinichi hadn’t known about the trip and he also had a problem with his passport.

Shinichi, who had never traveled abroad or even flown in an airplane before, and whose family registration had been erased after he was declared deceased, had no idea that there was such a thing.

The only reason this was not a problem for him when he came here was because he had entered the country by ship and was somewhat exempt from the procedure for becoming a student at the school, but he didn’t know that.

That’s why it was his fault that they were delayed, and it was also Frire who had to run everywhere last night to solve his problems.

In the worst case, he said he could either just not attend or just teleport later, but Frire asked him not to.

Part of it was because she feared that she alone wouldn’t be able to monitor everyone, but it was also because they were finally having a trip.

As a teacher and as an adult, she found it too sad to leave him alone.

As for the teleportation, while it was certainly a feasible method, unfortunately, they would have no way to cover for him if he were to be found out.

“I’m really sorry. I’ll be sure to be careful from here on.”

“Y-Yeah. As long as you understand… For some reason, it feels so wrong to see him so meek.”

“Kyukyu.”

Shinichi acknowledged his own mistake and apologized, but because his attitude was so different from usual, Frire didn’t know how to respond.

Unbeknownst to her and Shinichi, Youko was laughing quietly because of that.

“Ah, hmm… So, anyway, the reason you ended up being given this seat was partly because of how late you went through the procedures, but it’s mostly because you overdid it in the exams.”

“So… Which(・・) part?”

“…Good. So you are aware that you overdid it.”

“Frire?”

When Frire nodded while her cheeks twitched, Shinichi made a suspicious expression.

But Frire immediately shook her head and restored her earlier expression.

“The part where you graded everything perfectly and even improved the Status of the students slightly. And the part where everyone got higher grades(rank) because they reached 1st place.”

“Well, yeah. Figures.”

“…”

When Shinichi nodded nonchalantly, Frire became speechless.

As it turns out, while he might have been aware that he’d overdone it, his common sense was still lacking, and he failed to understand the gravity of his actions.

As such, she chose her words carefully to explain what he’d done.

“That’s especially true for the students of 1 – D that were tested(trained) by you for three days. Those students received a lot of bonus points. To begin with, there weren’t a lot of first years this year, and yet, that very rare of event of a large number students raising their grade just had to happen. So, now, almost all of 1 – D have been promoted to C Class──”

“──Everyone except me, right?”

Frire had cut her words short to take a peek at Shinichi’s expression, but he suddenly finished her sentence for her.

Upon seeing how unsurprised he was, Frire was sure that her suspicions were right.

“Fuu… You were aiming for that, weren’t you?”

“Who knows? But either way, there couldn’t be any other conclusion the moment I became the examiner.”

A student that helps supervise or substitute for a class will be given a reasonable grade, but nothing big enough to make huge changes to the student’s grade. At most, the grade given will maintain his grade.

But of course, that was not something that should’ve happened if Shinichi hadn’t overdone it.

“As a result, the only bottom ranker left is you, and 1 – D has basically disintegrated. There’s no way the school would prepare a classroom and a teacher just for one student, right? The details have yet to be decided, but when you return from the trip, you’ll have even less reason to attend classes and be freer than ever despite still being a student… It’s amazing that you were able to scheme this far the moment you were asked to substitute for a teacher.”

Truly a student that didn’t fit the academy to the bitter end, Frire shook her head.

Originally, the lowest rank was decided and couldn’t be made lower, so he raised everyone’s rank instead to lower his own.

By lowering his value in school, he would be able to acquire even more free time.

But Shinichi just laughed while shrugging his shoulders.

He neither confirmed nor denied her conjectures.

“So they originally wanted to have me fly with 1 – C, but I didn’t really have anything to do with them and it wouldn’t have been a good idea, so you took me in instead?”

And instead asked about his original question – the reason why he was here.

Frire nodded but knitted her brows because of the way he put it.

“It was partly because I wanted your help, but officially, that would be the story. You make it sound like it’s got nothing to do with you, though.”

“Ah, my bad. It’s because I won’t even think about it if I don’t frame it as though it’s someone else’s matter.”

“Hah?”

“Just talking to myself. But with this, I guess I’ve basically stolen the teachers’ job, haven’t I?”

Shinichi had said some disturbing words there for a moment, but he blatantly changed the topic.

Frire knew that he wouldn’t respond to her regardless how much she asked, so she decided to just answer his question.

After all, it wasn’t unrelated and there was something she wanted to tell him too.

“Teacher Saland and I will be taking charge of 1 – C as assistant teacher and teacher respectively. We have more students all of the sudden, so we can’t quite keep up with all the new names, faces, and all the grades, but…”

“What?”

When she cut her words short meaningfully and looked at him, Shinichi shook his head.

Such gestures made him look younger than his age, making him somewhat pitiful and Frire want to blame their own incompetence, but it wasn’t the time for that right now, so she pushed such thoughts to a corner of her mind.

“…When we took that story and put it in a roundabout way before posting it in the school’s PR brochure and on the school ranking, all those students dropped by the faculty.”

“Were the students from 1 – D unhappy about something?”

It was precisely this part of Shinichi that made Frire’s head hurt so much.

He was normally so insightful, and yet was so dense at times like this.

Even she could predict that someone would voice their dissatisfaction if she were to announce that matter.

“It’s not just the students from 1 – D. Of course, not everyone came, but the representatives from 2 – C and 2 – D came as well, asking, ‘why is the person who contributed the most unrewarded?'”

As expected, even he would understand after saying that much.

“Who’s the guy who contributed the most?”

Or not.

Inadvertently, Frire found herself slipping off the sofa.

She could tell from Shinichi’s face that he wasn’t pulling her leg this time.

He would laugh or smile during those times, so it was easy to tell when he was messing around.

That’s why it really irritated her that he couldn’t put two and two together.

“Hey, Amaryllis, at times like this, don’t you just want to punch this guy?”

“Kyu, kyui…”

The creature atop Shinichi’s lap made a difficult face and appeared to be troubled.

Unlike her master, Youko could put two and two together, so she could understand how Frire felt.

But she was her master’s guard, so she couldn’t acknowledge such thoughts. So she decided to point at him.

“Huh? Ah, me?”

“Who else is there!? They hated you so much, and yet in just a few days you captured their heart, and yet! You were completely unaware!? What the heck is that!? Are you messing with me, Nakamura!?”

“Ahaha…”

“Kyui kyui.”

A strained laugh leaked out from master and servant, but the meaning behind their laughs differed.

In Shinichi’s case, it was because he was in an awkward spot, while in Youko’s case it was to say, ‘he’s always like this’.

“…Hmm, so they’re unconvinced that someone that can produced result isn’t being rewarded, huh. I did think about it during the exam, but it appears that Garesto’s ideologies are rapidly spreading. Is this the so-called Cultural Invasion?”

“Stop joking around. In the first place, it’s not a bad sentiment to hold and Earth originally held such views.”

“That’s true,” Shinichi shrugged his shoulders, but Frire’s eyes remained harsh.

She held similar thoughts, so she was angry to see Shinichi so slow on the uptake.

“Ah, umm… So, in the end, what happened?”

Was that a question made purely to run away from this situation or an honest question?

As it turns out, it was the former, so Shinichi had to deflect the conversation while his eyes swam.

Frire too thought that it was pointless to remain pissed and so obliged.

“Hmm, I told them that I highly appraised your efforts and promised to put you on the course of becoming a commander or an instructor if you wanted.”

With that, they finally withdrew.

Shinichi thought it was a good excuse. Frire’s appraisal was hers and hers alone, and the commander course would only be given if he asked for it, so he didn’t necessarily have to choose it.

If there was a problem, it would be…

“…But it’s too good of a plan for you to have come up with it on the fly, so in the end, whose idea was it?”

Shinichi didn’t think that Frire was capable of coming up with it on her own right there and then.

“Just what do you take me for? …Not that you’re wrong – because I didn’t just come up with it on the fly… What do you think? Do you want to take on that course?”

“Huh?”

As it turns out, it wasn’t someone else’s idea but an idea that she’s been entertaining for awhile.

While Shinichi was shocked, Frire spoke about her proposal.

“3 years will pass in the blink of an eye. You’re a student of the academy too. There’s no loss in deciding your course now and studying for it ahead of time. What you actually do with it is up to you, but the less noise, the better.”

Whatever you do and wherever you go from here on out, Frire implied.

Though it would merely be a cover for his real occupation, Frire nonetheless had offered him a goal that he could really aim for.

Since he was supposed to be incapable of combat, he could just choose a path that relied on his head.

Unfortunately, his poor academic performance and memory would make being a civil official impossible.

However, the story was still up in the air for commander skills and the training of the next generation, which the first years don’t study.

If he were to take those subjects and produce results, then the malice and hostility others hold toward him should lessen as well.

Although it was hard to be expelled in Garesto Academy, that didn’t mean that expulsion was impossible, and Shinichi should still want to remain in school.

“…”

Unexpectedly, Shinichi fell silent and scratched his cheek as though he were troubled.

He was embarrassed that he hadn’t given the slightest thought about his own future until she brought it up with him.

Even though Frire has given it serious thought and shown Shinichi a realistic path he could choose.

He was impressed and thought that she was really a good teacher, but honestly speaking, he couldn’t see himself graduating three years later.

It wasn’t because he was concerned about repeating a year. Rather, he wasn’t sure if he could remain a student in Garesto Academy for that long.

Was that a realistic speculation on his part based off his own abilities and personality?

Or was it because he had a premonition that he would surely be somewhere else by then?

“Alright, I’ll think about it.”

Regardless, Shinichi couldn’t say that and just nodded with an optimistic outlook.

Frire smiled.

Only Youko was able to notice that that smile was accompanied by heartache.

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