“I don’t get it.”
That was the first thing he said after waking up from his slumber.
All he did was ask a question, yet she glared at him so fiercely.
He found such a thing lamentable, but he nonetheless dug into the hamburger that was right before him.
“…I believe that’s supposed to be my line, though?”
“Amu, nku, mn?”
While dressed in clothes so plain he could disappear into the crowd, Shinichi chewed the food in his mouth, and with sleepy eyes turned to the seat close to his, from where a voice came at him from above.
A pair of golden eyes glared at him, but that did little to change the beauty of the face they adorned.
White hair tied to cascade behind, possessing a luster unlike that of those that’s merely lost their hue.
She was dressed in a suit, but for some reason, that only served to accentuate the sensuality of her physique.
She was the spitting image of a career woman on her way back home from work, but she was nothing of the sort, what with her being young, suffering from a brother complex, being extremely shy and an introverted female teacher.
Yes, this was none other than Frire Doneju.
“*Gulp, mn… Got something to say, my pitiful yet beautiful teacher?”
“Why is that the first thing that comes out of you mouth?”
Being called ‘pitiful’ certainly did nothing to make her happy.
On the contrary, it made her frown and glare at the boy, but then a flat electronic voice called out from the foster on her arm.
〈Master, it is highly recommended that you react to the ‘beautiful’ part as well. 〉
“Others might play dumb and start acting like they hadn’t said that just now, but not me, I’ll say it straight even. You’re beautiful. Whether it’s objectively or personally, you are without a doubt beautiful.”
Frire made a puzzled expression at first, but then the boy suddenly said that.
Not a hint of teasing could be felt from his words. He truly meant what he said. In fact, he acted as though her beauty was common knowledge.
That took her by surprise, leading her to face to become flushed with red.
“I-I see… T-Thanks… Is that the right thing to say at times like this?”
“Considering how the sight of you so embarrassed is plenty stimulating, it might actually be more appropriate for me to thank you instead.”
Upon telling her that it was his pleasure instead, he folded the wrapping paper that had been emptied and opened a new one, then he started eating again.
Despite how odd his actions and conduct were, he pulled them off with such confidence that he came off as perfectly natural, causing Frire to blush even harder.
From time to time, this boy would do stuff like this and genuinely treat Frire like a charming young woman.
To this older yet inexperienced maiden, such an approach was just too powerful of a surprise attack, and it was all too easy for her to totter in the face of it.
〈…Tone, expression, pulse, perspiration, and even body temperature are all normal. Moreover, said remarks were made immediately upon waking up, further decreasing my master’s chance of success. 〉
A more literal interpretation of those words would be, ‘this boy really just woke up, started flirting with my master, and literally did not break a sweat!? What in the world are we supposed to do!? There’s no way an inexperienced maiden is going to win this bowl!’
“Kyui kyui, hamuamu.”
Youko nodded in agreement, but then she immediately stretched out her front paws to hug her burger, then she started eating just like her master.
It was too late for that, and also too late for Frire anyway.
It was a good thing that she was sinking deeper and deeper into the swamp that was her master, though.
“You avoid interacting with people even more than I do, so how come you’re so good at stuff like this!? …Darn it. Before I knew it, the topic had been changed to my appearance! We were talking about why you kept falling asleep!”
Frire yelled, then as though to hide her embarrassment, she drank her paper cup through a straw, but there was already nothing left on it but ice.
Of course, she made sure to muffle her ‘yell’, so that only the person sitting next to her would be able to hear it.
After all, they were at a nationwide fast food chain right now, seated by a window-side counter in one of its many branches in Tokyo. Past down the window could be seen bustling crowds illuminated by artificial lights, so even though the sun had already set, the scene outside remained bright.
For Shinichi, who until recently camped out in the wilderness, and for Frire, who hailed from a world where the nights were literally pitch black, nights in the city were both dazzling and noisy.
From the perspective of a person from the past, the world might appear a bit more colorful now, but some things remained unchanged whether the two worlds interacted or not.
“Huh? Oh, sorry about that. Recently, I get sleepy whenever I let my guard down…”
“Lies! What recently!? You’ve been like this from the start! You’re always dozing off!”
Teacher and student alike spoke among themselves while looking down at the scenery below.
Their gazes met only for an instant when she called to him.
The store was by no means filled to the brim, such that every chair was occupied, but it wasn’t empty enough to hear a pin drop either. It had just the right number of customers.
They were also quiet enough that their conversation would disappear into the hustle and bustle of the customers in the store, and there was also a chair in between them, so to other people, they looked no different from a man and a woman that just happened to sit close to each other.
As for why they were like this, that was purely because of Shinichi being overly considerate, while Frire just believed him and did whatever he told her to.
“Besides, weren’t you the one who wanted to eat outside tonight because there was something you wanted to talk about?”
They’d gone out because there were prying eyes and ears at their lodging.
Though they already had their excuse of ‘problem student’ and ‘guide teacher’ respectively, it was still a problem for a man and a woman to be all alone in a room so late into the night.
Because of certain circumstances, most of the teachers and students were already asleep, but there were still those that weren’t.
Natsumi Shirota – in particular – gave off the impression that she would spare none of the openings that Shinichi might reveal, so the hotel staff ought to be avoided as much as possible.
Shinichi had taken many precautions, going as far as to disguise himself, and even create a barrier that made it less likely for anyone in the vicinity to pay attention to Frire. Yet it was not actually because he feared that their conversation might leak but because he was worried about her reputations that he did all this. The meticulousness of his work showed just how much he cared for her, and Youko watched that with an affectionate smile.
She couldn’t help but wonder if he couldn’t have chosen a more suitable place, however.
“I did as you said and made time to come here, yet when I got here, you were asleep. Thanks to that, I had all the time in the world to enjoy everything I ordered. Hmph!”
How are you going to make up for this? She seemed to say with a pout.
Of course, she wasn’t really angry. At most, she was a bit annoyed, and the way she went about that made Shinichi’s eyes twinkle.
It was just too reminiscent of a certain younger sister – that for a moment – Shinichi found himself wryly smiling.
“Huh… Is that all you’re angry about?”
He knew this wasn’t exactly an appropriate place for a date, but the way she responded was just too much like a child sulking because of a lack of attention.
He found that part of her adorable, which is why, perhaps, he truly was still a caring older brother at heart.
Though of course, in this situation, the words, overprotective and worrisome, could also apply.
At roughly the same time, Shinichi received a message on his foster.
〈Master was caught by a chatty peer before leaving the hotel, hence, was likely irritated as a result. Before that, however, she was in high spirits and was even humming to herself; hence, it would be reasonable to presume that she was looking forward to your tryst. Please don’t be harsh on her. 〉
Shirayuki supported Frire in her own way, but the words she chose just left Shinichi in awe.
she probably wasn’t lying, though, so he just wryly smiled and decided to sincerely apologize.
“Sorry about this. It’s terrible to call someone out and then sleep on them. Even being impolite should have its limits, I know, so… I apologize.”
There was no need for schemes. He just needed to sincerely apologize, so he bowed his head without looking at her.
But of course, to Frire, who hadn’t been expecting him to go that far, this too was another surprise attack.
Tl Note: By the way, we’ve replaced the old previous-next buttons with arrows on the side of the pages. These should be properly contained now.
Update: Also, sorry about the confusion, but this is actually part 1. The title just incorrectly said part 2. It should be fixed now.