────Because he is
After visiting Nara Park and Todaiji Temple, then listening to an interesting story from a monk from Saru Temple, it was now time for Garesto Academy to use the line at Nara Station to go to their next destination, Kyoto City.
They were currently eating ekiben while on the train.
“Hamu hamu, amu, goku, amu, ngu. Fresh made is good, but bentos have their own charm,” Shinichi said.
This was an exclusive route prepared just for their field trip, so the trip won’t take them long.
In fact, they would need less than an hour to get to their destination, but they were so busy during their earlier tour that they couldn’t find the time for lunch.
They could have taken time out to eat, but that would have delayed their schedule by too much, so they chose to have it while on the train instead. This would also allow them to have a taste of Japanese culture.
“The chirashi is as good as ever, I see. Get me the makunouchi next.”
Even the students from countries without a culture for bentos and the Garestonians were favorable to the idea, but no one was as favorable as Shinichi.
“That’s not the appetite of someone who was so sick just awhile ago, Icchi.”
Myuhi, who had already finished her own lunch, looked at the boy with dismay. Already, he had piled up six empty lunch boxes, but he showed no signs of stopping. After passing his seventh lunch box to the amaryllis, he was about to start his eighth.
The school at most provided two lunches per person, but he bought more with his own money.
“It’s precisely because I was sick that I have to eat like this. I need to get my strength back immediately or I’ll get tired.”
“You know, Icchi, I wonder why… Sometimes you’re more Garestonian than Earthling.”
He expended more energy while he could in order to compensate for the expended energy.
Such expenditure of energy during peace could result in a lack of energy when an emergency occurred.
That sort of thinking and the way he seemed to immediately digest what he ate reminded Myuhi too much of the warrior-class of Garesto.
“Fu fu, in any case, it’s good that he’s healthy now. I think it’s wonderful how he doesn’t leave even a single grain behind. Food is important and ought to be consumed thoroughly!” Aristel said.
“Wow, Ari-chan, spoken just like the lord of a territory, but you know… This guy here is just a glutton.”
Aristel watched from right beside as he ate and savored his food.
She seemed impressed from the bottom of her heart, but Myuhi just felt as though she was seeing Shinichi in an overly positive light.
But of course, Aristel wasn’t entirely wrong.
“Ngu… Hina, you make it sound so bad. Even I would like to have a normal person’s appetite, but my overall stamina is just too small! No matter how much I conserve my energy, mogu mogu, I use it all up right away, mogu mogu.”
As he finished his eighth lunch set, he resentfully pointed out that his capacity was too small compared to them.
“You were suffering so much, yet look at you now. Don’t blame me if I find myself thinking that way… Also, you shouldn’t talk while eating.”
She was smiling as she said that with dismay, but her eyes were searching earnestly.
She was there for him when he was sick, but when he asked her to tour in his place, she couldn’t say no.
After all, he was the one that wanted to visit that temple the most.
Because of that she suspected that he might’ve been acting, but it seemed that wasn’t the case.
But that only made the dismay in her eyes stronger.
“Sorry about this, but I need a ton of calories to recover… And to think all I got in exchange was that. What a terrible deal.”
Shinichi said as though to make an excuse, though that last part was said quietly.
As he handed the eighth empty box to Youko, he started working on the ninth.
He went through so much trouble, but in the end, he got basically no new information.
The story was so trivial he found it hard to believe.
After all, if he were to believe them, then it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they were pretty much useless.
Because of that he reasoned that the three girls had not been briefed about their real objective.
Of course, it was also possible that the people that had sent them were merely that dumb, but it was better to be wary than to be optimistic.
“…What a convenient series of events.”
As he thought back to the process that led to that decision, he finished eating his ninth lunch box and muttered to himself.
Hopefully, it would end with just a visit. As he thought that, he reached for his tenth.
“Hamu, mogu, goku… Still, the people gathered here are exactly as I’d expected.”
Shinichi didn’t say that because he wanted to change the course of his thoughts, but merely because he felt like pointing it out.
Just like when they departed Kutoria, Shinichi wasn’t in the same car as the other students and faculty but was in the car exclusive for Frire.
He was here under the pretense that he was being supervised by her, and just like before, Aristel and Myuhi came here too.
There were less people compared to that time when they left from Kutoria, but it was exactly the kind of line up he would expect.
“…What do you mean?” Myuhi asked.
“Of the people I’m friendly with and acquainted with in Kutoria, the only ones that would visit when Teacher Frire is around are the ones that were with us when we left, right? But while Werbra and I get along quite well, he won’t come unless he needs me for something, or I call out to him. Tomoe has other friends, and Shinguuji also has
If so, then the only ones that would come here were those that would come whether they had business with him or not as long as they wanted to, or those with special circumstances surrounding their interpersonal relationships.
“It almost sounds like you’re implying that neither Ari-chan nor I have any friends.”
Myuhi said with a ghastly smile.
But that pressure all too easily crumbled with two words from Shinichi.
“U-Unfortunately, I don’t have any either.”
“Yeah, I thought so.”
Of the two girls, one was petrified at the realization, while the other just dryly laughed.
But that couldn’t be helped. Of the two girls, one was like an unprecedented hurricane, while the other was the top student of the academy and a noble.
Though the academy was indeed full of elites, neither was someone the students could easily handle.
But Shinichi knew that there was more to it than just that, so he didn’t dig into it any further.
Both girls knew that other people wouldn’t be able to calm down if they were around, and Aristel also wanted to be able to rest her mind while on the train.
Shinichi knew all too well how exhausting it was to have to always be wary of your surroundings.
“I know it can’t be helped, but what’s with this lineup full of interpersonal problems?”
Frire wore a complicated look, as though she couldn’t figure out whether to be sad that there were so many people with problems or happy that there were people just like her.
The noble lady smiled, the boy shrugged his shoulder, the fox girl was all grins, but…
“Isn’t it fine? I mean you might not actually have it all together, but you all look fine on the outside, so…”
“Being told that by someone who has no intention of even fixing that doesn’t make me happy…”
“That’s true,” Shinichi laughed as he piled up his tenth lunch box.
He opened a plastic bottle and poured tea down his throat, then exhaled loudly as though he’d been refreshed.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t actually full, he’d just merely finished everything he’s purchased.
“…Hmm, looks like you really are fine now. But in the end, just what was that?”
When Frire saw how he was acting, she seemed relieved and asked him that question, a question that stemmed from her sense of duty as a teacher to know if he had any issues regarding his health.
Shinichi could feel her sincerity and concern from the way she looked at him, so he groaned and responded sincerely as well.
It was one of his traits to respond sincerely and honestly to anyone who approached him with such a sincere reason.
“Hmm, how to explain? Putting it simply, holy places like that with a long history behind them are bad for me.”
That’s why despite the perfunctory tone of his voice, he honestly confessed about his weakness.
But of course, that was also him trying to make use of people’s tendency to be skeptical.
“I see, so it was a problem of location.”
“Huh, Fudonecchi, are you really going to accept that just like that!?”
Frire accepted the reason he gave without questioning it.
Myuhi was shocked and threw a tsukkomi, while Shinichi was so shocked he couldn’t even pick up his jaw.
“Hmm, so you’re also bad with places where the air doesn’t feel right.”
Apparently, Frire found his answer to be a natural fit with her.
“This is why people that live according to their intuition are so problematic…” Shinichi said.
“…Is that really all there is to this?” Myuhi said.
Myuhi looked at Frire with a complicated mix of jealousy and envy, but Frire just tilted her head.
Frire’s intuition indeed played a part in her accepting Shinichi’s answer, but beyond that, she also trusted him deeply.
Though he might hide things from her and fool her from time to time, Shinichi would never deceive her with malicious intentions.
That’s why she was able to sense the