Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
Having parted ways with Hiraoka, I opened the door to my house and stepped inside. As soon as I did, my younger sister Arisa peeked her head out of the washroom.
“…You actually came back.”
“Well, duh. Anyway, where’s Mom?”
“Shopping. Ah, is Miriya not with you?”
Since it’s troublesome to explain everything to my family, I decided to live together with Miriya under the pretense she’s my girlfriend. Well, it’s just for a while. She’ll earn money quickly so she can live in her own comfy apartment. After all, it’s not acceptable for two high schoolers to live under the same roof in this world.
“Miriya’s having a tea party with her girl classmates. She’s pretty popular there.”
“That’s obvious, given how pretty she is. Actually, what does she see in you? I’m curious.”
“Oh, so she likes hopeless dudes? So you’re going through your one-and-only popular phase. Do enjoy it.”
“More than one, actually. Zip it,” I said, thinking about how this is my second shot at life. Hm? Does this mean I’ll still have another chance at being popular?
As I pondered over such trivial things, Arisa started washing her hands. While she did that, I took off my school shirt and my socks.
“Hey! Don’t turn them inside out!”
“And don’t put them in the same basket as mine!”
I felt like a dad with his teenage daughter. Hey, I don’t even smell that bad.
“Oh, by the way…”
Before I could ask, she gave me a mighty punch to the sides, fist drenched in water.
“…If you’re gonna disappear for a whole month, at least let us know. Stupid big brother. Hmph.”
What’s with her? Going through a rebellious phase? Asking myself that, I looked at the door to the washroom. As she was about to leave, she turned to look at me.
“Ah, right. Have you talked to Serina-chan?”
“I did, but… What about it?”
“Well, nothing. She’s been coming to our place several times while you were gone, so just apologize for making her worry or something.”
“You should’ve told me that yesterday…”
If she had, I wouldn’t have been scolded so thoroughly.
“It’s your fault for leaving and coming back so unannounced! Geez, I don’t understand why you make a girl worry so much like that, just to come back with a girlfriend out of the blue after fooling around.”
“Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?”
I wasn’t fooling around!
One moment, I’m getting stabbed to death, and the next, I find myself having to scrape by every day just to survive in that hellish world! I still tear up whenever I think back to the days when I had to eat grass just so I wouldn’t keel over and die.
Arisa, who didn’t know anything about my struggles, just threw a “Whatever” at me and returned to her room.
“What’s with her…?”
There was no point in pondering, as I had no way to know what she was thinking. If Miriya was here, she’d probably say something like, “That thoughtlessness is just like you, Master.”
I turned on the faucet and washed my hands.
As I rinsed off the dirt from my hands, I muttered to myself.
“…It’s been two years. I missed this.”
The next day, I wore a jinbei and headed to the nearby shrine. While walking beside me, Miriya’s cheeks were flushed in pure, sugary bliss.
“The food called ‘parfait’ from yesterday was truly delicious… Master, I request you to recreate his food!”
“Aren’t you adapting too much to this world?”
As soon as she returned home before dinner, she looked at me all starstruck by the strawberry parfait she had eaten during the girls’ gathering. Huh. The first thing I ate in that other world was insect eggs. What a difference.
Now, I’m heading to the shrine for the purpose of fulfilling my promise with Hiraoka, which is a given. Although I brought Miriya along, I’d have her hide before the meeting.
“Miriya, as I said earlier, perform a ‘status check’ on Hiraoka. If she’s horribly sick, we’ll know immediately.”
The whole reason why I brought her along was this. My childhood friend’s health was unusually poor. Conversely, the ‘status check’ skill is one that anyone living in that other world could use, except for me. Ugh, that damned witch…
“Sure. Hm, you seem to care a lot about her.”
“Of course. She’s the only one who ever bothered to talk with me, and even does so normally.”
Miriya muttered something with her head hanging low.
“…Were you thinking about her? Did you work hard in that other world just to meet her again?”
I was about to throw in a quip but felt something serious coming from her, so I refrained from doing anything. Hmm, come to think of it, I haven’t talked much about this world to Miriya.
“Hiraoka, for me, is…”
Averting her gaze, Miriya waited patiently for my next words.
“She’s the one that makes me feel like I belong here.”
“Does that mean…?”
“She’s my dearest friend.”
As soon as I said that, Miriya’s expression brightened as she stood beside me.
“You truly are my Master. Just as I expected.”
“What do you mean by that, huh?”
“No, but if you can’t feel like you belong without someone else’s existence, then this world is pretty bad for you, right? I mean, you’re bad in both looks and actions, not to mention your bad demeanor. So you’re more suited to that other world.”
“Hey? You’re gonna make your master cry…”
“Those two are the same thing! Just what did you hear from those girls yesterday?!”
Damn it, who taught my slave such strange words? I’ll definitely find out and make them pay. While I was determined on my own, Miriya spoke up again.
“Well then, I’ll cancel what I said just now.”
“Oh, of course. I’m not creepy.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Ugh, so you meant it? Oh no. The tears are coming.”
As I wiped away the salty droplets forming at the hems of my eyes, she took a step forward, going ahead of me.
“…In that other world, I could never convey these feelings to you, Master.”
Suddenly, a strong gust of wind came and blocked out whatever she’d said.
“Hm? What did you say?”
Although I very much didn’t believe her, I decided not to pursue it. If she didn’t bother repeating, it means it’s not meant to be heard.
“Well, I’ll be leaving soon, so please be careful not to make any big mistakes.”
“Just who do you think I am?”
“You’re someone who can’t lay a finger on their servant no matter how much time passes.”
“If I did, I’d lose my humanity!”
Sure, Miriya was literally my type, but I couldn’t do something so outrageous! Especially not to someone whose only bind to me is money and forced obedience. I have my own set of morals too!
“Phew… Well, we’re almost there.”
Looking ahead, I saw the torii gate of the shrine. The fireworks would be held at a place about three stations away from here.
“Alright, Miriya. Face the other way.”
I placed my hand on her back and activated two skills.
“‘Bestow’ and ‘Invisibility.'”
Among my skills, there is one that allows me to enchant my skills onto others. That is the “Bestow” skill. However, the effect is significantly weakened.
In this case, it can only provide a limited effect, to the extent of blending into the surroundings like the scenery. The restriction of only being able to hold my breath still applies.
However, if Miriya’s the one to do it, it’ll be fine.
“You’re still so skillful at everything.”
“I had to be in order to survive. More importantly, should you talk? What about your breath.”
“I can operate without breathing for two hours.”
“…Superhuman as ever, I see.”
You could just quit being my slave and live on your own, y’know? In that other world, such a statement is unacceptable, even as a joke. Since I’m in this world, everything goes. I went through a lot of trouble to get her, after all.
“Well then, see you.”
Miriya then blended into the scenery, completely erasing her presence. Once we confirm Hiraoka’s condition, I’ll finally give her some proper work after a while.
Regardless, I’m supposed to escort someone today.
Despite standing before the huge red gates, my attention was instead captured by a beautiful girl right under it. She was dressed in a yukata, and her tied-up hair, elegantly styled, suited her to a tee.
As soon as our eyes made contact, she made a joyful dash toward me.
“I’m sorry for the wait. I’ll do my best to accompany you today, my Princess,” I exaggerated a bow.
“Oh, that’s a splendid attitude. Sir Knight,” she feigned lifting up the hems of an imaginary dress.
We exchanged greetings with words befitting a random fairytale.
We couldn’t help but smile when our eyes met.
“You don’t really suit the title of a knight, Izuru-kun.”
“Right. Well, even though it may not seem like it, I have experience as a knight, you know?”
Once in that other world, I had to rescue the princess of the kingdom from an enemy country. I couldn’t tell her that, though.
“Oh, really? Then, how about I inquire you about your knightly code?”
“I’ll knock down anyone who gets in your way, Princess! Be it man, woman, the elderly, or even children!”
“You’re the worst.”
Hearing Hiraoka’s response, I was reminded of the unpleasant nickname I had just been given by a certain someone. After shaking the unpleasantness from my head, I reached out my hand to her.
We still had to take the train to get to the fireworks venue, but there were already quite a few people covering the streets in the evening.
“…This is because I don’t want to lose you in the crowd. Besides, you’ve been nagging me to do this since forever.”
“—! I’m glad you’ve learned. Still, you’re a bad knight if you need a reason to hold your lady’s hand. Wouldn’t that disqualify you as one?”
“Sorry about that… Haha,” I chuckled, holding her hand in mine.
At that moment, however, I finally noticed something was off. Even though we were switching seasons, it was still summer. Cooler as it may have gotten, days still reach 30 degrees Celsius quite easily. And I know she doesn’t have poor circulation…
Hey, Hiraoka. Why are your hands so cold? I asked myself.
It was as if I was holding ice.
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