A Simple Survey:Volume1 End4

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Aisu’s Case[edit]

Part 1[edit]

“Oh, you got similar results to me. I guess strange things do happen sometimes,” said the girl with the 21st century name of Aisu.

Before Anzai could say anything in response, Harumi stuck her hand into the air and said, “That was completely different from me.”

“It was nothing like mine either,” said Kozue.

“Can’t we talk about this after we get to the coffee shop? They like to close up if they get a chance, so we need to hurry,” said Hotaru.

And so they left the auditorium.

The campus coffee shop was part of an international chain, but it was famous for ignoring its official hours and closing up early.

“Oh, have you heard the rumors about the secret menu there?”

“I thought that was nothing more than the manager failing at making an espresso and trying to pass it off as some secret drink.”

“…Huh?” said Anzai.

He stuck his hands in his pockets, and then checked in his small bag.

It was not there.

“Did I leave my cell phone somewhere?”

“Is it in the auditorium, perhaps?” asked Aisu, but Anzai shook his head.

“No, I don’t remember looking at it during the survey. …Maybe it’s in the lecture hall.”

“Can you search for it using GPS?”

“I’ve turned off all the tracking functions. Those kinds of things scare me.”

“You sound like a virgin girl,” commented Harumi.

Anzai scratched at his head and said, “I’m gonna go check the school building. Sorry, but I’ll have to skip out on the coffee shop.”

“Eh?”

“Harumi, given the circumstances, we can’t stop him.”

“I think I should help him.”

“Oh, dear. Having him walking through the dark with just Kozue would put him in too much danger, so I think I should go too.”

Anzai wanted to deal with the cell phone problem as soon as possible, so he gave a casual goodbye to the girls and left. He walked down the chilly and almost entirely pitch black path. Normally, it might have seemed a bit creepy, but the pressing realistic concern swept anything of that sort away.

He then heard a voice from behind him.

“Hey, wait up!”

“?”

He turned around to find the (tanned) cabaret club girl named Aisu jogging up from behind. And Kozue was with her.

“What?”

“Kozue’s kind heart (with an ulterior motive hidden below) would not let her relax, so just let us help out.”

“That is not true.” Kozue seemed a bit sullen. “And I would like for you to stop using me as cushioning to soften the blow whenever something makes you embarrassed.”

“Mgh!? Wh-what are you talking about!? Ga ha ha!!”

“Whenever that cushioning habit of yours shows itself, the level of danger you attribute to me shoots up without end! The people hanging around me might be public safety officials!”

“Oh, but it is true that you follow people around, Kozu-…Gyah gyah gyah!?”

Aisu let out a static-like scream when Kozue used her small hands to dishevel the cabaret club girl’s hair.

“I see. So why are you here?” Anzai asked Aisu.

“Hm? I just don’t often get a chance to enter a liberal arts building.”

“No fair! You always take the cool answer for yourself!”

“Stop, stop!! A-anyway, it was just curiosity. Ha ha ha!!”

That must have meant Aisu was in the sciences. Despite looking like a cabaret club girl. But she would have looked out of places in liberal arts as well.

“Surprised?”

“I guess…” said Anzai noncommittally. “Hotaru…-san was it? The tall one with the black hair. She’s the one I would have assumed was in the sciences.”

“Despite how she looks, Hotaru is quite the romanticist. Her major is French literature.”

“Now, that’s surprising.”

“Yes, she would look more at home creating artificial humans in some creepy lab.”

The way they could say such horrible things so casually likely meant they had either known each other a long time or knew each other really well.

“Harumi and Hotaru went on to the coffee shop. If they did not grab a table, the manager really would close up. Let’s find your phone and get back so we can talk.”

“Eh? We’re still doing the coffee shop?”

As they spoke, Anzai and the two girls entered the university building. Since graduate students would sleep over year round, the door was not locked and a smattering of rooms had the lights on.

“By the way, what is your major?” asked Aisu.

“Sociology. But I’m a freshman, so I’m still taking nothing but general education.”

“You’re a freshman?”

“It took two years before I made it into the university.”

“General education courses, hm? When I first got here, I was surprised to find you had to take a physical education class. Putting on a track suit and running long distance is not what I would call intelligent.”

“Kozue, do not get angry at running just because you have nothing that bounces as you run.”

“It is not intelligent.”

No one was in the lecture hall, but it was not locked. After a short search of the room, Anzai found his cell phone almost too easily. It had fallen below the desk he had been in.

“That is a relief.”

“How about you check the log? You want to make sure no one suspicious entered the passcode.”

Anzai used his thumb to check on some things, but there was no sign of anyone having messed with it.

“Looks fine.”

“Then I will email Harumi and Hotaru to tell them we are on our way.”

“Come to think of it,” muttered Anzai as they walked back out into the hallway. “Maybe we should report to the office that the auditorium is unlocked. That professor just went off somewhere without dealing with it.”

“It is nearby, so we can easily stop by.”

“The way he gathered the surveys and then disappeared makes me think of the black code stories.”

At any university that was even slightly well known, rumors of that sort would spread. Things like a leading earthquake researcher suddenly disappearing. This university was no exception. It was possible that referring to it as “that university” would be enough for anyone in Japan to know which university you were talking about.

As Aisu typed out the email with her thumb, she said, “Yes, I have heard the story. There are over 1000 reports submitted each year here, but the story goes that there is a shelf filled with the few ones that have contents simply too dangerous to reveal to the general public.”

“I have heard that one such report contains data taken while investigating the truth behind a certain mysterious killer bacteria,” said Kozue.

“What I heard was that a professor half-jokingly added the question ‘have you ever stabbed someone?’ into a survey he gave his students. He got some unthinkable results and was never seen afterwards,” said Anzai.

While speaking, they had arrived before the office. They could see light coming from around the door, so there must have been at least one worker still there.

Anzai gave a light knock and then entered. When they spoke with the middle-aged woman working there, she frowned and said, “But we never gave authorization to use the auditorium tonight.”

Part 2[edit]

“Eh? What, what? Then what was that survey?” asked Harumi in the coffee shop, but Anzai could not answer.

He only knew that no one had been given permission to use the auditorium that day. What that meant, he could not say.

Hotaru frowned and said, “So that professor carried out that survey without informing the university?”

“It’s more than that.” Anzai sighed. “That professor introduced himself as Tanaka-san, remember? Well, there is no professor with that family name in the university.”

“Then who was he?”

“We do not know,” said Aisu with a vague sense of resignation. “It seems some strange old man who has nothing to do with the university came on campus, sent us a notification about the survey, and then carried out the event itself. What I can’t figure out is what he gained from doing all that.”

While mixing a bunch of coffee jelly into her drink, Kozue spoke quietly.

“Our personal information maybe?”

“The only thing he got was our names.”

“You were asleep, right?” said Harumi. “After the survey ended, that professor said something about our numbering for the short films revealing something about the workings of our hearts.”

“But what does that get him?” asked Aisu. “Our addresses and phone numbers is one thing, but how can he make money from learning about our hearts?”

“Exactly,” said Anzai. He could not rid it of all its creepiness, but the mental burden was lightened by the fact that he could not imagine any real harm that could come of it. “But I am a bit afraid that someone outside the college knew about my lack of credits.”

“So it was the credits for you.”

“Eh? It wasn’t for you four?”

“We had our reasons,” said Hotaru as she averted her gaze.

“What?”

“Just leave it alone,” said Aisu as she tried to gloss over it with a smile.

“What happened with you four?”

“It was something similar to your situation. Do not worry about it,” said Kozue clearly.

“I want to know what exactly happened.”

“Ah ha ha ha ha ha…!”

Harumi tried to get by with just laughing.

In the end, none of them would answer him. The world was a cold place.

Aisu quickly changed the subject.

“Anyway, the woman in the office was saying they needed to look into this, so it would probably be faster if we just waited for them to come up with an answer.”

The others agreed with her.

And even if they never learned who that professor had been, Anzai doubted it would put them in any danger. If the office workers discovered who he was, that was great. If they were unable to do so, they would all forget about it over time. That was all that came of strange happenings like that.

…Or so Anzai thought.

Part 3[edit]

Mysterious things did happen.

Nothing could be done about that.

It was the same as a case of bad timing such as making a cake in cooking class, going to lunch and finding the school lunch had cake for dessert, and then heading home to find a cake there. You did not control your schedule, so you could not keep such things from happening.

But what exactly had happened here?

Anzai would soon find the answer.

Part 4[edit]

“Uuh…”

Anzai awoke to the sound of an alarm clock.

He instinctually reached out to stop the noisy clock, but then he realized something.

(What is going on?)

Anzai used the timer on his cell phone to wake himself up. He did not use an alarm clock.

Once his sleep-addled mind regained the ability to think, he realized that was hardly the main problem.

He was not within his apartment.

He was lying on the hard floor and his body ached as a result. The rectangular room was quite dark, but it was not completely dark. A faint light came from one wall. It seemed a window was covered by a curtain.

“Wait. Is this…?”

He was not in a proper living environment like an apartment. Nor did it seem like a business space like a family restaurant or convenience store. However, he recognized it. It was not any kind of special area.

Yes.

“Is this the university?”

He wondered why he was back there. However, the desire to get out of there was much stronger. It was similar to how someone in a burning house desired to escape to some safe place more than wracking their brains and trying to figure out what had caused the fire.

Did that mean being there was dangerous?

Anzai decided to put that question off until he had left too, and he tried to stand up.

As he did, he heard a metallic clanking noise.

It was the sound of a chain moving.

Something like a wristwatch was attached to his left wrist. He touched it in the dim light and realized it was similar to a handcuff. However, the chain was quite long. It was about a meter long, and it led to…

For some reason, Aisu was lying on the floor just like Anzai and she was wearing a ridiculously skimpy V-shaped swimsuit that left most of her skin bare.

“………………………………………………………………………………………………………………What?”

He was pretty sure it was called a slingshot swimsuit. The V-shaped swimsuit made of a pink synthetic material was the kind of thing only allowed in the isolated world of pinup magazines, so seeing it up close brought on an urge to laugh more than it seemed sexy.

However, that was no time to be laughing.

In fact, even smiling would be a bad thing in his position.

They were one on one in that extreme situation. All sorts of misunderstandings were certain to occur. If the other three girls from the day before had been there too, he might have suffered fewer misunderstandings. However, the other three did not appear to be around.

“But…”

(What the hell happened? How did I end up in the perfect environment to end up on the receiving end of the world’s lamest false accusations!?)

Even if he put great efforts into resolving the situation, he doubted it would be worthy of a Hollywood movie and he had a feeling he would only find an extremely dissatisfying conclusion if he did manage to get to the bottom of it all. Anzai instinctually tried to move away from Aisu, but the fact that their wrists were connected by that chain caused this to be his downfall.

Anzai’s movements pulled on Aisu’s wrist which provided a stimulus to Aisu’s consciousness.

“Uuh…”

She said the same thing as she woke up as he had.

For instant – just an instant – Anzai seriously considered performing a karate chop to the side of her neck in an attempt to put her back to sleep, but he managed to stop himself.

And then the gates of hell opened wide.

At first, Aisu frowned in confusion and looked around. Then, she realized something was off about how she was dressed. When she had grasped the gist of the situation, her entire face grew beet red.

“Gyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!? So it wasn’t a dreeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!?”

“Eh!? So you woke up before me and passed out again from the shoc-…gbvheh!?”

After having resisted the karate chop, Anzai received a full force blow. (Aisu -> Equip -> E. Fallen Alarm Clock)

As he gained the extremely rare experience of passing out from a blow to the face, Anzai began to seriously question his earlier decision.

Part 5[edit]

Now, a question.

“It seems this is a classroom at the university. I’ve only taken general education courses, so I’ve never been in a room this small. Also, it is 8 AM. The teachers should be here already. Some of the hastier students might be here too. The upperclassmen who spent the night here writing their thesis are definitely here. However, the main rush of students arriving should be between 8:30 and 9:00. In other words, we have only half an hour left.”

“…So if we do not find a change of clothes in that time, I will be forced to provide a fanservice scene to the entire university while handcuffed to you?”

“It will of course be a major problem if you leave the building dressed like that. That is why we must find the important item ‘Cotton Clothes’ somewhere in the building.”

“It seems to me there are some clothes right here. You are wearing some, right? At least let me borrow your shirt!! It does not matter if a guy is topless. You will just look like you are in a kung fu movie!!”

“There is one problem with that, Miss Aisu.”

“Hm? Huh? The buttons of your shirt are glued shut with instant glue!?”

“My pants and belt are too. I only just realized it. It seems whoever set this up is intent on having a spy action thriller featuring a girl in a skimpy swimsuit running around the school building.”

“I will never forgive whoever did this!! I cannot believe this!! I know, I can wrap the curtain around me…Ahh!? I just tugged lightly on this thick curtain and it started falling apart!!”

Anzai guessed it had either been corroded with some kind of chemical or switched out with an easily tear-able material while they slept.

Whoever had set it up had been quite thorough, but what meaning was there in doing it all?

In fact, who had done it?

“Th-there is nothing else I can cover myself with!”

“There’s some kind of memo card over there. It might have been left by some professor.”

“Let’s see… ‘If what I am seeing is reality, then I require people who can be called Ab. Busters. I have gathered too much of it to oppose it. That is why I need new people to act as Ab. Busters and…’ Argh, I don’t care! This is tiny!! I can’t hide anything with this tiny memo card! My palm is bigger than this!!”

In her anger, Aisu ripped the memo card to shreds and threw away the pieces.

(Should she really have done that? I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I feel like that was essential information needed as a prologue to whatever is going on here…)

“But where are we supposed to find a change of clothes? Do you have any ideas?”

Unlike middle school or high school, one did not have a “home classroom” in universities, so there was no custom of leaving your personal items anywhere. That changed somewhat for those in specific seminars or graduate students who were constantly going to and from a specific laboratory, but Anzai was taking almost nothing but general education courses, so he was unfamiliar with those near personal spaces.

Aisu wrapped her arms around herself to hide her body, but Anzai had a feeling that it actually made various places stick out more.

She let out a low moan and said, “…Ugh. If we made it to the club activities building, we might find some tracks suits or uniforms.”

“Are you in a club?”

“Yes, the West Francia-Style Dueling Revival Club.”

Anzai was not quite sure what a club like that would actually do, but he swore in his heart not to make any more jokes that could make her want to harm him. He just hoped it was actually a cultural club.

“But the club activities building is a fair distance away from this building.”

“Also, the keys to the club rooms are kept in the teachers’ office, so the teachers would see us…”

“Then we need another option.”

“But there is nowhere else that people leave personal things.”

“Then what about somewhere with clothes that aren’t personally owned? …Hmm, like the cafeteria maybe?”

“?”

“I’m guessing it’s for health reasons, but the cooks all wear track suits and aprons, right? The best outfit is hats and clothes of thin synthetic materials like the people working at a semiconductor fabrication plant, but the customers probably don’t want the cooks looking like they are covered in chemicals.”

“Meaning?”

“Those are not privately owned. Most likely, several sets are left in the kitchen.”

“Yes!! Well done!!”

“Gyaahhhh!? Just because you’re overcome with joy is no reason to come over and embrace me dressed like that!”

Aisu came back to her senses and delivered a completely unfair slap. They then began to head out.

…But first, Anzai asked a question just to be sure.

“What about your friends from yesterday? Harumi and the other two. Can’t you contact them and have them bring by a change of clothes?”

“No. Not at all. If they found out I was wandering around the school dressed like this, the world would crumble violently.”

And so, the spy action thriller began with (someone with no relation to Anzai’s) life hanging in the balance. He headed out while dragging along Aisu, the demon king who had arrived in the 21st century.

The chain was relatively long, so Anzai would go ahead to make sure it was safe and then Aisu would follow him with her body balled up.

At a corner of the hallway, Anzai caught a glimpse of long white hair. It appeared a girl of about 12 had turned in their direction, but she did not seem to notice them.

(…Isn’t this a university?)

It was a slightly absurd sight, but he had no time to pay it any heed. What mattered was that no one else was there. The girl from before had disappeared. It seemed safe to head down the chilly morning hallway.

“…It looks fine.”

“Let’s just get this stupid emergency situation over with.”

“But you should probably stay crouched down as you walk. If you stand up, someone could spot you through the hallway windows.”

Anzai and Aisu resisted the urge to shout and run at full speed, and instead moved slowly and silently through the hallway. Naturally, Anzai’s heart was pounding, too. If Aisu screwed up and began crying in this situation, he had a feeling his life would be ruined regardless of the proper context of the situation.

“What floor are we on?”

“From what I can see out the windows, it looks like the third floor. I can tell by how high up from the ground we are.”

“The cafeteria is on the first floor.”

“This is easier to hide along than a hallway that heads straight there. It does raise the risk of suddenly running into someone, but…wait. Shh!”

“Gyaaaaahhhh!? Footsteps are headed this way!!”

As they approached the stairway, they heard footsteps from below. Anzai and Aisu realized they would be spotted, so they frantically changed their plan and headed upstairs. With just their heads sticking out from the landing, they observed the situation.

“(They are going to stop at the third floor, right!? If they keep heading up, we will be spotted! Maybe we should set up a ‘wet floor’ sign!)”

“(And what kind of adventure are you planning to take on the way to get that sign!? What we need to do is check above! If someone starts coming down, we’ll have nowhere to run!)”

The two meaninglessly waved their hands around as they argued, but luckily the owner of the footsteps stopped at the third floor. From what they could see of the person’s back, it appeared to be Professor Shinagawa, a stubborn madame who was the subject of a dubious rumor that she would no longer give any credits to girls who wore heavy makeup.

“I-if she had spotted us, we would have been dead.”

“…I think I might have seriously been buried under a campus cherry tree.”

However, they had no choice but to head on now that their path forward was open.

Anzai and Aisu headed down to the first floor from the landing between the third and fourth floors.

On the way, Anzai suddenly asked, “So who do you think set this up?”

“Well, I cannot think of much that connects us. In fact, we had never met until yesterday.”

“So…” Anzai knew the idea had several flaws, but he voiced it nevertheless. “It was Harumi, Hotaru, or Kozue?”

“No,” readily denied Aisu. It was not that she had any actual evidence of that. “No matter how they may seem, they do know what lines not to cross. With something this extreme, we can rule them out. This isn’t something a best friend of the type elementary schoolers dream of would do.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. If it does turn out to be them, I will stab them.”

That outrageous statement was said without hesitation.

It scared Anzai how girls would occasionally go on the offensive in such crazy ways. Regardless of how deep the wound actually was, they never let anything go like it was a fishing hook stabbed into them. Anzai legitimately could not tell if she had been joking or not.

“But do we have any connection other than them?” he asked.

“Well…” Aisu trailed off before she could continue.

At first, Anzai thought it was because they had safely made it down to the first floor, but she was acting oddly.

As Anzai poked his head out from the stairway area to check on the hallway, Aisu spoke to him from behind in her ridiculous swimsuit.

“Um, I just realized something.”

“What?”

“…The cafeteria is all the way on the other end of the building. That means we have to pass through the entrance area in the center of the building.”

“…”

It was 8:10.

Not much time was left until the 8:30 rush.

“S-so should we head back up to the second floor, head across the building, and then head back down using the stairway on the other side?”

“I’d like to, but…wait, wait! I hear footsteps approaching from up the stairs!!”

Like they were building a pyramid of playing cards, their frantically put together plan was sent crumbling down from a large shock. With their hand forced by the situation, they headed out into the hallway without being sure it was safe.

And once they had headed forward, they had no choice but to keep on in that direction.

Hesitation would only raise the risk of failure.

“I think that professor from the survey is the most suspicious!” said Aisu as she moved along while crouched down.

“Why?”

“That survey is the only connection between us besides Harumi, Kozue, and Hotaru.”

“But why us? There were a bunch of participants.”

It was possible there were other pairs sneaking along in other parts of the university, but Anzai decided to ignore the possibility as they had no proof of it.

With her arms wrapped around her own body, Aisu looked around and said, “Do you remember what we learned yesterday? Our results on the survey were an exact match. We were probably the only two for that to happen to.”

“Do you have any evidence of that?”

“It is a simple issue of mathematics. What do you think the odds of getting an exact match on an ordering of 24 short films is?”

“Eh? Um, uh….? I-I can do math with a calculator, I swear!!”

“You can use a calculator if you want , but just do the calculations!!” Aisu’s face reddened further, this time from something other than embarrassment. “The answer is about 10 to the 23rd power x 1/6. The denominator is something beyond trillion and quadrillion, so I do not know what to call it, but it is an extremely small chance.”

“…I-I didn’t realize it was such an amazing thing.”

“Of course, the odds are not 0, so it is possible there is a third person, but…well…that would practically be a miracle. Just two is amazing enough.”

Hearing that, Anzai did start to feel like the result of the survey was more important than the fact that he had spoken with the other girls.

Then again, it was possible the odds of meeting a specific person were lower than ordering 24 short films in the same way.

“…We have made it to the red zone minefield.”

“You seem calmer. Have your senses numbed over?”

They were at the entrance area. At the current time, this was the area they had the greatest chance of running across someone else in.

Some universities were different, but this one still used the indoor slippers system. In other words, the entrance had shoe lockers lined up. It was likely to ensure the expensive research equipment and old books were not ruined by dirt. Taking off your shoes before entering the specific rooms seemed more popular, but the professors here seemed worried that any dirt in the building could get in under the doors.

However, students went to different buildings depending on where their class was, so no one had their own locker. You put your shoes in an arbitrary locker and then put on a pair of communal slippers.

Just as before, Anzai went ahead and poked his head out to see if it was safe to proceed.

“I don’t see anyone…”

The next thing he knew, Aisu shoved him violently from behind. He was forced out into the area between rows of lockers.

He realized what was going on before he could complain.

He heard some girls talking in the space beyond the next row of lockers.

“Harumi, you’re here early.”

“I changed my bank account, so I have to tell the people in the office to change where they withdraw my tuition from. All this procedural stuff is so annoying. Why are you here, Hotaru-san?”

“No real reason. That main road is usually a lot more crowded, but there was hardly any traffic today.”

The personal boss characters who they could least let find out had appeared.

Because there was only a row of lockers between them, the actual distance between them was about 60 cm.

Just to make sure, Anzai asked, “…What happens if they find out?”

“The world will be destroyed.”

She was sticking with that.

The problem was that there was nothing proactive they could do about it. They could only pray that Harumi and Hotaru would leave.

And of course, the world was not so kind as to give them that complete safety.

In the next instant, Anzai’s cell phone started ringing out of nowhere.

Their silent hiding was all for naught. Also, Aisu panicked and screamed.

“Vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!”

But once he regained some calm, Anzai realized Harumi and Hotaru had no way of knowing what his ringtone sounded like, so there was no real problem with them hearing it. The real problem was…

“Huh? I just heard Aisu’s voice.”

“At this rate, we’re going to find Kozue here, too.”

Anzai heard their footsteps approaching as they spoke. They were clearly circling around the row of lockers.

The two girls were just thinking to give their usual greeting, but Anzai and Aisu could not let that happen.

Knowing full well she had brought the situation on herself, Aisu grabbed at Anzai’s collar with both hands in a burst of anger.

“(Why didn’t you turn that off!?)”

“(But this was clearly your faul-…gweh!!)”

If they stayed where they were, Harumi and Hotaru would spot them, the spy action thriller would end in failure, and the world would apparently be destroyed. Since the two girls were circling around the back side of the row of lockers, Anzai and Aisu circled around the front.

“Huh?”

“Where did she go?”

As they heard Harumi and Hotaru’s voices from beyond the lockers, they ran out of the entrance area. They headed down the hallway and to the cafeteria.

The cafeteria opened just before noon and the food preparation began at around 10, so the place was likely empty. After making it through the most dangerous area at the entrance, they had nothing left to fear.

They charged from the hallway and into the cafeteria.

The kitchen was about 30 meters away.

“This somehow feels like a continuation of the survey.”

“?”

“It is just that the form of the questions has changed. Do we head down the stairs or head through the hallway? Do we pass through the entranceway or do we circle around it? It feels like a collection of small questions like that.”

And once again they were clearing the questions together.

“But what for?”

“Well, we do not even know what the survey itself was for. But from the professor’s previous actions, it seems to me he wants to have others do something for his own ends.”

Did that mean the survey was question 1, the swimsuit issue was question 2, and questions three and four would continue after that?

How long would it last?

What was it a preparation for and what was it screening for?

Or would they have accomplished whatever the professor’s goal was simply by completing all of the questions?

“So are we supposed to defeat the evil demon king?”

“Any world that has wearing a slingshot swimsuit as a criterion for being the hero can be destroyed for all I care,” said Aisu while pouting. “But if he is creating these absurd situations in the hopes that we will make it through them, he might be looking for people with certain specialized skills.”

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe he desperately needs people with the ability to oppose all forms of the absurd. It may not be anything as crazy as fighting a demon king or the galactic UFO space fleet, but perhaps there is some other gigantic absurdity.”

Whatever the case, they had to clear the second question first.

Anzai and Aisu headed through the cafeteria and to the kitchen. They headed to the back and found a storage space. It doubled as a break area, so it had tall, narrow lockers, a table, and a TV.

They found what they had come for in one of the lockers.

The people who worked in the cafeteria always wore the same track suits and aprons.

“O-ohhhhhhh!! There really is an apron in here! This is definitely the goal!!”

“Then hurry up and put it on.”

Anzai tried to act cool, but he was actually a bit reluctant to part with Aisu’s slingshot swimsuit. However, he had a feeling he would get a clenched fist in return if he said that out loud, so he kept silent.

Meanwhile, Aisu seemed overly delighted at having avoided that dangerous situation.

“An apron! An apron! An apron! An apron! …An apron?”

For some reason, she added a question mark the last time.

Anzai frowned and noticed that Aisu’s face had gone pale.

“…Um, there is nothing but an apron in here.”

“Eh!? What happened to the track suit!? Did that professor hide it!?”

Incidentally, the professor had left a memo card. It said, “This apron contains a chemical that is harmless to humans. The instant the swimsuit touches the cloth of the apron, it will corrode and fall to pieces.”

It was too soon to start thinking about the third question.

The choices for the second question were not yet over.

Would she put the apron on? Or would she not?

From a standpoint purely focused on the surface area covered, she should unhesitatingly put on the apron.

However, was it right to throw away the small but at least existent protection she had from behind?

But was it not also somehow wrong to now decide that the slingshot swimsuit was fine?

Now then.

Which decision do you think is correct?