Shinichi wasn’t teasing her when he said that. He was merely explaining the situation. But the fact that it was a boy carrying her still made Monica blush.
She had been attacked out of the blue, after all, so it wasn’t really a big deal if she got weak in the knees. That’s why Shinichi didn’t mind, and he also didn’t have any ulterior motives in carrying her. But of course, it was also because he realized that it was mostly the fault of his power that she couldn’t move right now.
“There we go.”
“Eh, ah, Sister! This guy just did this on his own!”
“A-Ah, I can’t believe it…”
Along the way, Monica panicked, but the Sister just looked closely at the boy as though she didn’t notice Monica at all, then her eyes opened wide.
“You are… No, your esteemed self must be…”
On her eyes and face was a reverence that exceeded surprise and joy.
Shinichi wryly smiled. In the end, she was still someone who was in charge of the house of a god, and he had boldly used his powers in front of her.
Since she could erect a barrier too, she was probably one of them.
There was no way she couldn’t see the traces of power that he used.
“Stop it, Sister. I’m not an existence worthy of such respect.”
The Sister could understand where he was coming from but felt he was mocking himself too much. She looked at Myuhi, and she helped her sit on the bench. Shinichi too put Monica down beside her.
“You should be able to tell from the presence too. This thing is evil. So much so in fact that I couldn’t move inside your barrier.”
She tried to argue, but Shinichi just said that with a wry smile. It was curious how the Sister felt about that, but she closed her eyes once, then she shook her head.
“…But even then, you protected everyone, so it’s only right that I, as a person, express my gratitude to you, who is also a person… So, thank you.”
She gave a deep bow, and Shinichi blinked his eyes, then with with an awkward face, his eyes swam. The boy was blushing.
“Uh, where did I put it… Oh, there it is. Here.”
As though in search for an excuse for his embarrassment and his swimming eyes, Shinichi looked around him and picked up the hat and rosary, then he gave them back to their owners. But only the rosary was handed over carefully. As for the hat, he put it on Monica himself roughly.
“W-What are you doing!? Don’t use me to hide your embarrassment!”
“Hmm. You noticed, huh.”
Of course, the Songstress had a thing or two to say about that, but Shinichi just laughed despite his surprise at being found out.
“You’re so childish. The Sister is going out of her way to thank you, so stop being embarrassed and receive it properly!”
“…I wonder why. But it feels like I’m being scolded by my mom.”
“What!? I’m not at the age to be having a high school son, you know! That’s rude!”
Shinichi rough-handedly put the Songstress’ hat on for her, and she argued with him, but then an unexpected voice spoke from the side.
“If you’re going to say such rude things… Monica, where’s your thanks for being rescued?”
Monica owed her life to Shinichi. His right hand even got hurt in the process, and he was sent flying. Above all, the Sister held pride in raising Monica to be someone who could properly thank those that helped her. But for some reason, she seemed to be full of resolve when she turned to him, while the boy beckoned her provocatively, saying, ‘well, you heard her. Hurry up and appreciate me.” Understandably, that ticked her off.
“Sister, I don’t want to thank this guy!” Myuhi said.
“Oh my, how troublesome… And you too, you can’t behave like that just because you’re embarrassed,” the Sister said.
“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself, “Shinichi said.
Monica cried to the Sister, and the Sister calmed her down while admonishing Shinichi. Surprisingly, he meekly apologized to her, but he remained provocative toward Monica, who returned that with a glare.
It seemed there would be no calming them down. They were about 5 to 6 years older than the children here, yet they were the most childish out of the lot. The Sister didn’t know whether to laugh or scold them for that.
“…Well, at least, he seems to have cheered up… Kinda annoying, though.”
Myuhi didn’t mean to, but she pouted watching them bicker. It was just like Shinichi to act that way. A large part of it was consideration for a normal person that had been attacked, but another part was him teasing someone he liked. That’s why there was no helping the irritation she felt.
“Oops, this isn’t the time to be playing. You two stay here for awhile. The building won’t shake anymore, but we need to check the situation outside and clean up anything problematic… Hina, are you coming?”
“…Sigh. If that’s all natural and you’re really not calculating anything, then I surrender.”
Yet as soon as she thinks that, he turns his attention to her. Myuhi shook her head with a sigh. Just him asking for her help was enough to make her feel better. She found it exasperating how easily she nodded.
It was a Garestonian trait to be elated at having a stronger person rely on them, but really, that was just an excuse to make it easier for her to accept, making it all too clear where her intentions lay. But of course, Myuhi would never admit to that.
“Wait! You’re going out? But if we stay here…”
Monica’s voice trembled as she interjected. She didn’t know what that thing that attacked them was, but she could still tell that it had been targeting her. She couldn’t be faulted for being anxious, but Myuhi wasn’t sympathetic.
“Miss Songstress, who can’t do anything on her own, just obediently stay here and be quiet, okay?”
“This concerns my family’s safety!”
Myuhi sternly reminded her that this was no longer her field, but Monica couldn’t pull back so easily, as it personally concerned her and her family. Glares crashed and sparks seemed to erupt.
“Huh? Oh… Thank you.”
The children were wise enough to know to stay out of the fray, so they picked up the Sister’s wimple and handed it to her instead.
The Sister thanked them with her usual smile, then upon realizing that she was fine now, they gathered around her.
Upon seeing the shades of their hair gathered, she was reminded once again of the difference in their race, but they accepted and loved each other all the same.
The sight of them sighing in relief put a smile on Shinichi’s face, but it didn’t last long, for Shinichi’s face suddenly twitched, and he spoke to them while crouching.
“Hey, you guys. I got a little request.”
“Onii-chan, what is it?”
“The building shook a lot, right? Me and the small onee-chan over there are going to go out and check the situation outside for a bit, so…”
“…Are we in the way?”
The beast ears on a child drooped. It was much more convenient for the helpless to stay out of the way, as Myuhi suggested, but that was not something that people could easily accept, as Monica pointed out.
Surely, only the exceedingly calm or the cold-hearted could choose to do nothing while their loved ones were in danger. The child feared that they would only hold back Monica and the Sister, but Shinichi smiled as he alleviated such concerns.
“Of course not. In fact, I want you to protect your nee-chan and your Sister while we’re gone. Can you kids do that?”
Shinichi looked them straight into the eye, and though the kids paused for a moment, their eyes soon sparkled, and they nodded.
“Just leave it to us!”
“We’ll protect Moni-nee and the Sister!”