Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume11 Happy Hot Dash

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Happy Hot Dash[edit]

Crap, I told a big lie.

It was too late to regret, the words that were uttered were like water that had been poured, with no way to take them back. Ed Delong could only blankly watch the scene that had been caused by his words -- the girl's shock, as her excitement and expectations shattered in an instant -- but not long after, however you looked at it, only despair was left.

"Is this for real, Ed-san?"

In her childlike, expectant eyes appeared a bit of moisture. Now she looked like she was going to cry, with her cheeks reddening and her breathing becoming labored.

Ed had no way of enduring the current mood.

(I guess I'll apologize)

The calm portion of his mind reached this conclusion, urging himself. To avoid the crisis before him, only this way was left.

"I'm sorry, I lied."

"Eh... what did you say?"

Thinking about it, maybe this way it was possible to reconcile. But it seemed like it would definitely fail. After "Eh... what did you say?" could follow "Impossible!" or "No way!", even a yelled "Go die!" that would strike a deadly blow to him.

That stimulating and moist gaze might become dry and ruthless, which would pierce through Ed's heart with lightning speed.

In that case... forget it.

But, if right now he chose to say something to escape the situation, her expectations would only increase. If there was no way to respond to those expectations, the reverse effect would become quite terrifying. Meaning not just a hateful exclamation of "Go die!", but an even truer exclamation of "DIE--!" - that kind of thing.

Regarding this, Ed was well aware of it. But, he said this.

"Don't worry, just watch this! In any case, he and I are friends!"

"Wa~, really, please let it be true!"

The girl excitedly grabbed Ed's hand. Her face was very close, though normally she would never come that close. Having her draw close so rapidly, Ed's let himself get entirely carried away.

"I guarantee it!"

With that, he felt a rising sense of heaven as he opened wide the great doors to hell.

Ah~~~ what should be done?

The tense mood made Ed feel like he had a hole in his stomach. Even though his stomach had no such hole, he was so terrified he might cough up blood soon.

At lunchtime, Ed would always buy a high-grade bento from the bento store. But for this bento, he had almost not moved his chopsticks. In the bento store arrived a famous working girl, but he had not joined the row of her fans. Regardless, right now Ed did not know what sort of girl she was.

The whole world had already been covered in darkness.

Right now it was the so-called saying "the future is dark", that Ed could emphasize with.

(Why, why did I say that kind of thing?)

Self-review -- Ed Delong, an ordinary member of the general public. Body slightly shorter than the average male, though weight is slightly higher. Body type need not be mentioned, and looks... it's enough to say that examining from a different angle, there's nothing special.

Self-review only added to his self-disgust. Because the weight known as fear of failure was tossing around in his stomach, Ed only glanced at the dishes of his bento, before starting to hate it.

He closed the lid.

"You're not eating?"

A voice suddenly came from behind him, startling Ed so much that he almost jumped. The voice turned out to be from the surrounding people, which Ed had seemingly not been able to hear. Actually, he hadn't heard a word from the conversation of the friends who were eating with him.

But, this voice was an exception. Because this voice was the one that had totally given rise to this culprit, that devilish voice.

"Y, yo!"

To reply, Ed forced a weak greeting.

"You're by yourself today?"

Truly, there was hardly a time when the devil was alone. He always led around three girls from his class who were like his attendants, but today it was just him.

"Ah, today I'm a bit..."

On the devil's face emerged a subtle smile, and his speech became somewhat vague. He showed a cute expression worthy of studying, as if he wanted to help a small girl -- Ed found that kind of expression nauseating.

(All popular people should go die!)

Curse words surged from his chest, but his mouth would never say them. Before, he had seen Military Arts as well as violence between ordinary people. Even if there were some cases in which it was wrong to use Military Arts, for the vast majority of cases it was favorable to have Military Arts.

No, maybe those words wouldn't cause that big of a problem, but the girls in the class would definitely become hostile to him. When the three girls who always stuck to the devil weren't there, there were many girls who wanted to seize the chance to get in a word with him.

(Ah, ah, it really is...)

This devil... in the end, what was so good about Layfon? Ed wondered from his heart.

Looks were merely okay, as was his height, and his well-proportioned limbs. No matter how you look at it, it must be his Military Arts! That he became a platoon member even in his first year, and had tremendous strength. During the platoon matches he played a huge role. The fact that he was not good at studying let other guys rejoice, but his prowess during home economics class made him famous as a familial expert.

Well, it would be better not to think of that, because from any angle he was incomparable.

(Hurry up and die, devil!)

Why did such a perfect guy exist in this world? Ed could only beat him in studying, but there were many students who had better grades than him. And male students with excellent grades who stood out more than Ed were similarly numerous.

Such as the one who represented the greatest mind of the male students - the student council president, Karian Loss. Intellect, power, wealth, appearance, he had all four. God, please quickly let these kinds of people disappear!

After cursing all males in the world who were more excellent than he was, he finally managed to face Layfon ordinarily.

If this was the way of the world, then he wanted to cry. Ed already lost track of what he wanted to say.

"Oh ho? How rare! Are you fighting?"

After politely saying those words, he should quickly return.

"No, it's really not that sort of situation..."

Vague, so it couldn't be told whether they were truly fighting. Ed conceived a kind of "You deserved it!" mentality.

"Anyway, you aren't eating?"

For some reason, Layfon's sight stayed on Ed's bento.

"Could it be that you want this?"

"Ah, this month there's a bit of a financial crisis, and I've always been thinking of saving."

The majority of Military Artists had a large appetite, and even female Military Artists could relaxedly finish this type of bento. If one thought about this fact it was a bit annoying, why don't they occasionally gain a bit of fat too!

No, it was because they were Military Artists that they were this robust - as expected of a Military Artist!

Ed imagined a Layfon covered in fat, it was a very interesting appearance.

Wait, wasn't he usually always eating Meishen's hand-made cuisine? Today, since he wasn't eating, didn't that mean they were fighting?

(Maybe, this is a good opportunity!)

Opportunity... once he thought of this the atmosphere grew much darker. Even if he succeeded in the end, Ed thought it wouldn't be a good thing.

But, if he didn't act now, things would become worse.

"You want to buy it?"

"How much?"

Baited! He really was hungry!

"Five hundred yen."

"So expensive, that's the cafeteria's selling price! It doesn't have to be that expensive, right? One hundred!"

Unexpectedly tough - Military artists were all misers!

"Three hundred!"

"One fifty!"

"You know the original price of this bento, two hundred fifty!"

"Two hundred!"

Deal!

After completing the transaction, Ed started a new topic.

"Do you think you could listen to my request..."

Suddenly, Layfon's hands stopped.

"What is it?"

Ed decided to explain the situation to him.

The scene shifted to the roof. From this place, one could clearly see the surrounding school building.

"Do you see that girl over there?"

"Hair like this?"

Layfon used his hand holding his fork to draw curls on his head.

"Right, right."

Truthfully, Ed who was nodding couldn't really see clearly from here. Other than the fact that they looked like a group of female students from the same class talking, he didn't know anything.

Even so, he could imagine that curly hair, gently moving body, and eyes and even more tender lips that loved to laugh.

"She's called Amy Cook."

"Oh."

Layfon's reaction was only this.

"Don't recognize her?"

"Nope."

Eating the bento while shaking his head, even after reconfirming the girl he hadn't the slightest interest. Should he be relieved at Layfon's reaction, or should he be restless? Ed's feelings were very mysterious.

"She's a member of the seventeenth platoon's fan club!"

"......Eh?"

Layfon's busily dining hands instantly stopped.

"What is that?"

"What is that!? You don't know? Fan club?"

"I don't know, though I've heard of it once, what is it?"

"What is it... a fan club is just a fan club!"

It seemed that he could only teach from the beginning, as Ed let out a sigh.


"Pretty much every platoon has its own fan club! Even if it's just a city platoon match, to them it's the most important matter! They give everything to be at the platoon match cheering for the platoon!"

"Ah."

"'Ah'... Is that it!?"

"Even if you say that, I still don't really understand the meaning of 'fan club'. On the other hand, what are those girls doing?"

Feeling that this language was difficult to understand, Layfon changed the topic.

"What do you think?"

"......?"

Layfon shook his head, making a serious expression.

Seeing this made Ed very unhappy. Are you doing this on purpose? Are you purposely making a man show his innocence? This guy!

"Popular guy."

"You said that before too, why am I a popular guy?"

"Your expression is the expression of a popular guy!"

Even if people called him a popular guy, he didn't show the slightest sign of being shy or indecisive. Wearing an expression of innocence as if holding doubt towards this was also just a standard that the popular guy department used!

"You super popular enemy! You monstrously constructed person! Anyhow, if you want other men to reconsider a bit, first gain some weight!"

"Seems like you said something absurd."

Layfon let himself look at the bento with a discontent face. For now, shouldn't satisfying his appetite be the most important?

"......First clearly figure out what kind of work she's doing!"

If changing Layfon's awareness was made the first priority, the matter would not progress at all. Not to mention just now he himself had indeed been a little anxious. Well, if he were to explain it himself, he was a bit shy, but with things as they were, he could only patiently say it.

This kind of tiny shop welcomed Amy.

"Although it is for us to get to know each other, we two haven't really had any particular contact. Of course, she hasn't come here to get close to me.

Originally they were working at the same place, but there had been almost no exchanges between them. Though this was not anything new. He had been like this in his previous school, and after coming to Zuellni there had been no change. Ed's class was more than half comprised by girls, but other than during work he had not talked with anyone.

Ah, he already understood. He had almost no skill at talking to the opposite sex. But even if this were the case, it couldn't be said that he didn't have people that he liked.

"Me, I like her."

He had never spoken these words to any other person. Not only did this refer to confessing, but even in the company of his fellow male students he had never said a word in this direction.

Ed was too embarrassed to look at Layfon, fixedly staring at his feet.

Layfon didn't respond, and the fork in his hands also stopped.

With no other option, Ed raised his head.

Subsequently, the red-faced red-eared Layfon greeted his eyes.

"You, why is your face red!?"

"H, How would I know!! Anyway, why would you tell me about this?"

"So annoying! Isn't it because if I didn't tell you that, there wouldn't be any progress?"

"Huh!?"

"Because what I want to ask of you is related to this!"

"Why!?"

Ed's shame was wiped away without a trace by Layfon's loud yelling, and he raised his voice as well.

"All you do is ask why! It's because there are no other options!"

He had only recently learned that Amy was a member of the seventeenth platoon's fan club. Because Amy would only go work after the platoon matches were finished. At work, she didn't say anything in particular about it. Usually she would just chat about ordinary topics.

He had only recently learned about this situation from her mouth.

The Military Arts competition, the war between cities. One week after the war with the Academy City Myath had finished. It was right as the city returned from its festive atmosphere after the war to its normal state.

"Ah~~, I want to see it too! Layfon's heroic battle."

That was during break time, as Ed was arranging merchandise on the shelves, and Amy was next to him helping. The rest of the workers weren't there, and the boss was in the business office immersing himself in something.

A world of only two people, not a bad opportunity. Only because of this, he had said what he did.

It was good that Amy's classroom was in the nearby school building. Most students were only able to have exchanges with students from neighboring schools. Students who worked like this were very numerous, those who for their own livelihood had to go work after teaching had finished. In this regard, students prioritized activities with their classmates and working over chatting, and if they had free time they would participate in club activities or other social activities.

The Military Artist Layfon was very busy, and also worked the legendary hardest job of cleaning the Mechanical Department. His daily routine had no intersection with Amy's. And as he had intelligence that Amy was in the fan club, this time he could only make a bet.

So... he said this.

"Actually, I'm a classmate of Layfon! And our relationship isn't bad!"

He did not consider the problem that this exposed until after his boasting.

In order to make himself look reliable, all the problems that he should have considered beforehand were postponed till later.

He thought that he had done something exceedingly foolish.

"Why!?"

"Ah, come on, is asking why all you can do...... Didn't I say that there was no other choice! I was forced by the situation!"

Ed threw out his reply to the lost Layfon. He still had not mentioned his claim that he and Layfon were good friends. Anyway, how would Layfon react? Ed felt a bit of a heartache.

"......Okay, what happened after that?"

Layfon's face was a bit stiff. Maybe he already had some bad premonition of the following words, he was that shocked.

If it was like this, even if there wasn't such an uncomfortable atmosphere, he still shouldn't go there.

"Ah, well, I promised to get us three together to hang out."

"Ah, huh......"

"That's what I said, but the other party definitely wants to date you."

"Well......"

As he thought about how Amy had been so happy her eyes became moist, Ed ground his teeth. Amy had even acted like that, so what should be made of the embarrassed look in front of him?

Everything had been for the sake of those two eyes.

Because the one who had let her reveal those eyes was himself.

Ed could not betray that pair of eyes, even if it was a lie he had to turn it into reality.

"Listen up, Layfon."

Ed grabbed Layfon's shoulders. Layfon, however, kept his posture of carrying his bento.

CSR vol11 021.jpg

They seemed so slim, but once you touched them you could feel the hard muscles, they really were a pair of hard and heavy shoulders.

This was a Military Artist...... Ed thought this, as this was perhaps the first time he actually touched the body of a Military Artist.

"Personally, I like Amy."

"Ah, er, yeah."

Layfon dumbly nodded his head. The light coming from Ed's eyes actually made the out of battle seventeenth platoon's ace swallow.

"So I definitely, definitely want to make this date a success. It must become the best date! For that I need your cooperation, so please!"

Ed desperately conveyed these words. Continuing to grab Layfon's shoulders, he lowered his head.

"Eh, uh, ah, I get it."

Layfon agreed, so this problem had been solved.

Therefore, the next problem began.

"Ah, er, Layfon!"

"Huh?"

"What do you think would make the best date?"

"Hah?"

"I've never done that kind of thing, but Layfon definitely has, right? What makes a good date?"

"I, I don't know!"

From the roof came Layfon's cry.

Question: In times when one is challenged by what they do not understand, what should be done?

Answer: Seek instruction from those who do understand.

For this purpose, two people skipped class to come here. Right now was not the time to attend class, moreover, after class ended Layfon had platoon training - something which absolutely could not be skipped, or else things unknown might happen.

It wasn't that skipping class was their original target. But they could not go to where they wanted in the time remaining in the lunch break. So as a result, the two ended up skipping class.

"Yo-"

The person they were looking for was leisurely lying on the level grass.

"It's rare to see you Layfon-san, did you always have the class-skipping attribute?"

"I came looking for you, Sharnid-sempai."

Because of the blessings brought by summer, even lying on the grass didn't make one feel cold. The place under the shade of the trees was very cool and comfortable. However, for what reason was he staying alone in this park by the road next to the artificial forests?

Before Layfon had spoken, he had not known what this person called Sharnid was here for.

"Are you here to practice Kei?"

"Ah? I wouldn't do that kind of thing, I'm just here to sleep! My, what kind of rumors have you heard...... Though it's because my talent is difficult to suppress."

The male who was called sempai put his hand under his chin, laughing slightly - even this kind of simple action made Ed annoyed. The seventeenth platoon's sniper Sharnid Elipton, a man who was even more outstanding than Layfon. The gap between the two was visible at a glance.

"Ah, for what are you looking for me?"

"I kind of have something to discuss with you."

"Ah~~?"

Sharnid looked at Layfon, then looked at Ed behind Layfon. Afterwards, he immediately realized that the one who wanted to find him to discuss was not Layfon but rather Ed, and revealed a knowing expression.

"What kind of thing?"

Since he was being stared at, he couldn't keep relying on Layfon to explain.

Ed honestly explained the situation. Although he had earlier spoken with Layfon with great momentum, his voice was like a mosquito's buzz.

This was his original self, though it was uncomfortable to admit it. Some people could fudge their words through ordinary methods, but if it were the words of a seasoned individual it would be difficult. In the first place, Amy didn't have any reason to talk to him, as Ed wasn't even in her field of vision, moreover Ed didn't dare to speak with her.

"Okay, I understand."

After introducing the situation. Sharnid deeply nodded his head - his head practically touched his knee. When had he sat up with his legs crossed?

The three men naturally formed a circle.

"The main point of that date isn't Layfon but rather you, who wants to shine brightly, correct?"

"Eh, that's...... right, but, no, I haven't thought about that yet!"

"Huh? If you don't start thinking about success or failure, you'll definitely have no chance to speak of!"

"Eh, ahhhh!?"

"Then, for now just follow this. Ah, when does it start?"

"Eh, the time starts now...... According to Layfon, his work rotation starts today......"

"Ehhh, so you're telling us to just listen to everything you say?"

In short, the words that they were not able to express well were all correctly received by Sharnid.

CSR vol11 027.jpg

"So, what place would be good in three days? We don't have to wait too long, exactly three days later is exam day, and we'll be free in the afternoon. Layfon, don't sweat too much during your exams! The smell of sweat can't be covered up, and after exams finish you won't have time to take a shower."

"Uh......"

"Hmm, as for clothing it would be appropriate to pick something loose, nothing too tight."

"I don't have that kind of clothing!"

"Ah, that's right! What you're wearing should be fine. So Ed, what about you? Remember that you're the main focus!"

He unconsciously sat straight up.

"What are your thoughts about your own apparel?"

"......I, I don't have any."

In the first place he didn't think there were any clothes that were proper for his body type. Handsome clothes were all made for slim men.

"So you're saying, there aren't any clothes that you consider handsome? Ah, that's also hopeless, hopeless."

"Haah......"

"How about this, we'll go pick clothing now."

"Eh?"

"Isn't that obvious? You want to be remembered in that girl's heart, right? So then you should hurry up and get pumped up, or else you'll end up in a disadvantageous position. Quickly begin taking steps, okay."

"Y, Yes sir!"

Sharnid's personal guidance gave Ed great hope.

Three days later, Layfon who arrived early to the meeting place was surpised.

"What...... What happened?"

"Eh~ Can't you tell at a glance?"

Ed's face...... but no wonder, the past three days had been incredibly busy. Sharnid had not only recommended clothes, but also taught him about dating and other related topics.

As Sharnid proposed to Ed, he had begun busily checking out nearby shops and making reservations. After rushing for some time, there were indeed some results. But it was still too early to meet, and no matter how you saw it this was only the first step. Did the shops really have no problems? The Ed who was not sure of his decisions had gone over each shop once again, and ended up getting no sleep. Ed had gone over the situations of every shop in his brain, including their contests, different dishes, and decorations. By the time he had finished, it was already morning.

So right now, Ed had a serious lack of sleep.

"Aren't you in trouble?"

"For this kind of situation, I prepared this!"

Ed took out an energy drink, drinking it in one gulp. On the bottle's tag were written the words "Military Artists' Energy Drink".

After digesting a mouth full of herbs, a concentrated aftertaste remained. This would definitely have an effect.

However, Layfon did not voice his feelings.

"......I've never seen anyone who drinks that kind of thing."

"Really!?"

"People who are able to enter platoons are able to fight for two or three days without rest."

"No, it has an effect! I'm full of energy!"

Ed said, ignoring Layfon's words.

There wasn't much time left before he was at a distance to reach Amy.

Ed looked over his clothes again from the beginning. To cover his somewhat fat body he had selected larger clothes (one size bigger), and denim pants (standard overalls). He had also cut his hair short.

Honestly, his current state was incomparable to the him before.

"You feel like they don't fit right now, but that's because you haven't gotten used to wearing them!"

Sharnid had said this.

"Listen up, the first priority should be a clean appearance. Appearance is the most important thing in life. In order to get you some progress, I've spent a lot of effort!"

He always thought he didn't really fit those words.

However, he only needed to think of those words, and his confidence would somehow emerge. How amazing!

Looking at Layfon again, his clothes were very tidy, but were also very old-fashioned.

(I might be able to do this!)

He had this kind of feeling in his heart. Even though this way of thinking did not have any basis, to the point where he couldn't really make sense of it. But he felt that he had a chance, that he could do something.

Just then, Amy arrived.

"Sorry for the wait!"

Amy trotted up, catching her breath while raising her head to look at Layfon.

"I'm Amy Cook."

"Ah...... Layfon Alseif."

"I know!"

A smile emerging on Amy's face, she radiated a kind of dazzling brilliance.

But this kind of scene only made Ed feel bad, as if someone had punched him in the nose.

The date began.

From the moment the date began...... No, even before the date had begun Ed had eagerly expected to see the things he had prepared reach maturity.

"So, what should we do?"

Amy held Layfon's arm, drawing close with a relaxed attitude.

"Uh......"

Layfon looked at Ed with a troubled expression.

Ed had prepared his words long before. For this stage, he had racked his brains.

"In that case! I know a pretty good place, we can go there!"

Clapping her hands as she proposed this, Amy looked very happy, enough that no one could deny it.

(Uh oh......)

Ed shook his head.

"T, today I already have a reservation somewhere, so we should go there."

"Awww-!?"

"Uh, sorry!"

Turning to the side with a dissatisfied expression, Ed immediately let out his anger.

"Since Ed bothered to prepare, I'll happily go."

Worthy Layfon, the tide has suddenly turned back around.

"Is that so? Then I'll go too!"

Amy's attitude abruptly changed. "Then let's go!" she said as she pulled Layfon's hand.

(This...... it's far from good)

He was aware that it wasn't reassuring. Somehow, it didn't seem like he was the protagonist of this scene.

The store that Ed had a reservation for was a moderately expensive restaurant. During the day, the lights were somewhat dim, and music very appropriate for the atmosphere was broadcast from inside the restaurant.

Truthfully, with regard to Ed's financial situation, this was not an easy expenditure.

Layfon wouldn't have brought much money, and originally it had been Ed who wanted to bring them to this sort of luxurious place. No need to even mention Amy, there was no way she would be allowed to pay.

So, Ed bore the full burden of the meals.

(Ugh......)

In his heart, Ed wept blood and tears. The clothes he had especially picked for today had also been expensive, and thanks to that he had entirely emptied his savings.

The result was something that didn't resemble his expectations at all, what kind of joke was that?

However, the food was exceedingly delicious. Whether it was quality or quantity, there was absolutely nowhere that could rival this place. This was something he had learned from his classmates, as well as something he had asked of someone working for a cuisine magazine's editorial section.

"To think that Ed-san knew of a place like this!"

"Ah, yeah."

"So awesome!"

Amy looked at Ed with an admiring gaze while saying those words.

There was a kind of feeling of salvation. Even if 99% of Amy's words were spoken with Layfon, he still thought this didn't feel so bad.

......Although there was still no way to alleviate the pain of his wallet.

After eating, the party of three who had been completely fed left the restaurant feeling very content.

"I'm going to the bathroom."

Right after exiting, Layfon said this. Hence Ed and Amy began to wait at the entrance.

The alone time that he had been looking forward to had finally arrived!

(Quickly, quickly say something)

Amy played with her hair while looking into the distance. In order to not let her feel bored, Ed's mood turned urgent.

"Ah, um...... It's hot today, isn't it!"

Today, the sky was totally clear, without even a shadow of a cloud. The sun shone down with impunity. Since it was close to summer, the heat radiated by the sun made the temperature soar.

"Yeah."

Amy glanced at the sky, replying with a voice that sounded dull no matter what angle you listened from.

Ed watched her face from the side. To avoid heatstroke, the neckline of Amy's short-sleeved shirt was rather deep. On the tender skin peeking out, sporadic drops of sweat were sparkling under the shining sunlight.

Ed silently swallowed.

(Could it be...... this is my chance?)

Ed had a certain resolution in his heart, a resolution which he had not told Layfon or Sharnid.

-Today, I will confess!

This was truly what he had resolved.

However, the existence of Layfon was a great hindrance. Ed had been hoping from the beginning that a time for them two to be alone would come.

After waiting and waiting, the opportunity had finally come.

(Should I say it now? But, there are still plans for later that haven't happened yet......)

If he succeeded, he could say goodbye to Layfon - Ah, it would let the two of them truly begin the date!

But if he failed, the atmosphere would become abnormally terrible.

Ed thought that and acted as such. Deep in his heart there was a voice calling himself a wimp, but it was okay, he still wanted to experience this "time for two".

"Sorry for the wait."

Accompanying the sound of the door chime, Layfon walked out from the inside.

"Ah......"

Amy's calm expression returned to a smile, then suddenly became motionless.

Ed turned around, and also became motionless.

Layfon's expression was also motionless.

Because behind Layfon, could be seen the three girls who were always sticking to him.

Meishen Trinden cowering as always, Naruki Gelni revealing judging eyes, and Mifi Rotten's shining eyes full of expectation.

They had appeared here.

"How can this be!?"

Rapidly pulling over Layfon, he quietly asked.

"Um, I'm not too clear on the reasons either...... When I came out of the restroom I ran into them."

"Why don't you be a little more careful, you Military Artist!"

"Even if you say that with a murderous look, for me to knowingly avoid them, isn't that a bit too inconsiderate!"

"Hey, are you two finished talking?"

Mifi's face appeared between the two.

"Uwah!"

"If you're finished talking, hurry up and begin the next activity! You couldn't be planning on getting rid of us, hmm?"

"Eh? You want to come with us?"

Anyway, these three were also classmates. Because they had not really thoroughly talked before, Ed's speaking started becoming tense.

"N, no problem, we weren't thinking of losing you."

As Mifi looked at Ed, she let out a peculiar snicker. She understood; the situation that Meishen and Naruki didn't understand Mifi already fully comprehended.

(If you know, why do you still want to come with us!)

But Ed didn't have the courage to speak the words in his heart. So, it became a six-person activity.

Amy's mood worsened significantly.

(W-w-w-what should I do)

The atmosphere that had fallen apart made Ed feel very uncomfortable inside.

"Ah, how cool!"

"So pretty-"

"This kind of...... feeling of being surrounded, it's hard to describe......"

"I agree with Naruki's mysterious feeling!"

Completely unaware of Ed's mood, Meishen and Mifi began praising the exhibition's surrounding environment without restraint. Behind them, Layfon was discussing Military Arts topics with Naruki. And next to them was......

".................."

The completely silent Amy, without a trace of a smile on her face.

(Uh oh......)

Observing Amy by her side, Ed could only silently endure his discomfort.

Ed and the others were currently at the bottom of an aquaculture lake, in the middle of a wide walkway wrapped by pressure glass. This aquaculture lake was big enough to supply the entire city's aquatic resources, simultaneously containing many kinds of fish and other aquatic flora and fauna. This area that was open to the public was known as the Lake Cloister, and was very famous as a dating spot.

Not far from them, an Aquaculture Division student who had run up began scattering bait. Groups of fish that had come here began gathering.

There were also people wearing diving suits applying some kind of instrument to the backs of some small mammals, were they checking their health conditions?

This aquatic world was like a scene from a dream. To call it a positive area, a curative space full of alpha waves, wouldn't be too much.

But......

".................."

(Why!?)

There was a feeling of wanting to cry.

"So poweful, how long! How large! What kind of thing is that!?"

"Ummm...... it's a Piruru, it says here!"

That was Mifi, who was surprised by an extremely long fish swimming in a path nearby, and the reply was from Meishen, who was flipping through a small book to find an explanation.

"However, as for altering Kei......"

"If you can alter your Kei well, anything is possible. Naruki, you've practiced with our platoon before, right? It has to do with easily altering the appearance and character of your Kei."

On this side were Layfon and Naruki, only chatting about Military Arts.

The atmosphere had already been broken by these small groups. The soft atmosphere from their meal at the restaurant had long since disappeared without a trace.

".................."

The air emanating from Amy constantly irritated the speechless Ed, and would definitely be a warning to any male.

Could I be wrong? Um, I'm probably not wrong. No, my thoughts are definitely correct.

"Oy!" Ed pulled Layfon over to the side, "What are you doing, just say a few words and end this."

"Eh?"

"What are you 'Eh'-ing for!"

Ed softly yelled, believing that he still had some use.

"But, Mifi said I should chat with my acquaintances a bit......"

"What are you saying? Mifi wants to talk with you, huh! If you don't handle this right, what kind of a date would this be!"

"Ahhh......"

"Don't 'Ahhh' me!"

Ed really felt like he was going to cry.

"I sincerely beg of you!"

"Well, um..."

"However, is doing this really okay nya~?"

Mifi's face popped up between the two of them again.

"Uwah!"

Ed flinched, and on Mifi's face arose another suspicious smile.

"W, what are you doing!"

"If that girl and Layfon happily chat, is that really a good thing?"

"It, it's definitely a good thing, right?"

"But, that kind of thing would definitely be far from good, you know!"

"In what way?"

Seeing Mifi's attitude, Ed began feeling uncomfortable.

"With regards to a disturbed mentality, in the end it's still possible that a disturbed mentality ends up relatively lucky."

"Speak a bit clearly!"

"But you who is so perturbed, it could be that you have no chance!"

He had no idea what she was saying. But Ed was disturbed, and the reason for that he was quite clear on.

Mifi was inciting a sense of crisis in Ed's heart. After that, she very clearly realized that Ed had taken the bait.

"Mi-chan."

"Yes~~, sorry!"

The Layfon-trained Mifi withdrew and left, returning to her friends.

Holding a last stand frame of mind, Ed patted Layfon's back. This action was very slow, because if he did it too quickly perhaps Layfon might have gotten annoyed.

"Mifi always has people think strangely."

Layfon slowly smiled. Even if the smile was slow, it was very warm.

"You want to make that girl happy, right?"

"Ah, ahah. Um, yes!"

He thought of it. If it weren't for her, Ed wouldn't have let this sort of expression show. Slapping his cheeks, spirit slowly returned again to his face.

"Good luck!"

Layfon's encouragement reached him.

(This guy, he's a good person)

The impression of Layfon in Ed's heart was changed for the first time.

Later, Mifi's three-person group pursued a separate activity, departing at a fork in the road. It seemed that Mifi had learned of today's event from some source, and proposed that they go look at what kind of a person Amy was.

At the parting time, Mifi quietly apologized to Ed.

"Sorry!"

But her demeanor didn't contain a single bit of reflection.

Ed could only reply with a sigh, deciding that replying with words would be too troublesome.

Regardless, today definitely had to come up with results.

The realization that he had almost lost had been re-ignited by Mifi. Looking at it that way, perhaps he owed that girl some thanks.

But in this sort of atmosphere, it wasn't any time to say those kinds of words.

Amy who had flipped moods was currently speaking to Layfon with great momentum.

Ed who was behind the two saw all of this. She looked completely cheerful, completely happy.

Even though this should be good, Ed began to feel dazed.

Because deep in his heart he began to ache.

Regarding the reason for this pain, he had already clearly perceived it - it was jealousy.

However, his jealousy towards Layfon had already disappeared.

This was jealousy towards his past self.

This jealousy was towards himself who had announced that his relationship with Layfon was quite good, the himself that had used this to try to attract Amy's attention. To say this feeling was jealousy was indeed rather strange, perhaps it was simply some sort of pure anger. Of course, the one next to the happily smiling Amy was not himself, which was another situation that made him jealous.

Jealousy, annoyance......

Indeed, that remark had attracted Amy's attention. Originally he had been unable to start a conversation with her. Outside of school and work, this was even less of a possibility.

But the current situation was even after Layfon had agreed to help Ed. If Layfon had refused to help, things would definitely have developed into the absolute worst scenario.

Ed had thought of using Layfon, and afterwards manufacture for himself time to be alone with Amy.

(Okay)

Clenching his fist, this time he had truly made up his mind.

Go confess!

Ah, it's decided! It's been decided decided decided!

(Definitely must be done)

Ed still expected that he would be able to straighten his back and accomplish something, and this feeling was very strong.

Now they had just left the Lake Cloister, the timing was just right. It was too early for dinner, but the sun had already began to tilt to the west.

It was almost time to disperse.

In the tram station of the aquaculture lake, Ed had already confirmed the arrival times of the trams. Right before the time Ed arrived, the tram had left.

This way, there would be more time to wait for the next tram.

Because of the time spent strolling through the Lake Cloister, Amy was already very tired. Ed was the same. But Layfon appeared still undisturbed.

Worthy of a Military Artist, Ed thought as he watched Amy sit down on one of the station's long benches.

"I'm a bit thirsty."

Amy looked at Ed while saying this.

If she had said "Today was so fun!" or that sort of lively tune, with a good expression, Ed would probably have responded with "Oh" or "Is that so", that kind of tone.

But that sentence "I'm a bit thirsty", and upon saying it, her eyes immediately turned towards Ed. Even if a smile was on her face, the more important eyes were not smiling.

"Ah, I'll go."

"No, I should go instead!"

Stopping Layfon, Ed left the station to look for a vending machine.

Bad bad bad bad...... Ed quickly started running. Since the time they left the Lake Cloister, he hadn't seen a vending machine. What kind of place would have one...... He might spend additional time searching. In order to reach his own most important target, Ed ran while carefully searching for vending machines.

Ed painfully understood inside his heart why Amy would purposefully send him away, so he needed to hurry. Luckily, he very quickly saw a vending machine, located in a dead end not far from the station. Ed quickly bought three cans of juice. As he had not asked them for their preferences, he selected 100% fruit juice.

Ed bolted back.

But, he still had not been fast enough.

There were no figures inside the windswept station other than Layfon and Amy. Amy who should have been sitting on the bench was standing in front of Layfon. Carrying out her confession with a serious, but also shy, expression.

Ed's footsteps stopped, unable to decide whether he could continue getting closer.

He finally realized the meaning of Mifi's words. Even if it was a guess, Sharnid has also forecasted this kind of situation. Even he himself had......

All this Ed had forgotten anyway, but he couldn't forget this situation that made him cringe.

If Ed hadn't done this, Amy could have stayed as one of Layfon's fans. She would have been the same as her surrounding girls, with a fan's likes and troubles. Perhaps some day she would also have shifted her interest to some other area.

But, she could be together with Layfon. The originally far away target had become so close......

In this area, Ed and Amy's situations were similar. If not for this opportunity, perhaps the thought of confessing would not have arisen. If Amy had quit that hourly work, Ed would have no choice but to accept that she had stopped working, sending away his thoughts of some day going on a date with her.

However, things had not progressed that way.

Therefore, his good mood had been destroyed by himself - this was true no matter how you looked at it.

"How disappointing!"

He heard Amy's voice.

"You and him aren't friends at all!"

Accompanying the blowing wind, that voice reached Ed. The secret was revealed. Amy faced Layfon with a flattering look.

"Look at it this way, how can he be good friends with Layfon! Because, Layfon-san is a Military Artist, as well as a platoon member, and is a very strong person. The people surrounding you are also very strong, so there's no reason for you to purposely get friendly with average people."

Amy's words were completely correct. Layfon's strength had spread from the event that happened during the opening ceremony. Ed and the other classmates all thought this way, so other than simple greetings they didn't interact with him at all.

Because Layfon was so amazing!

How could such an amazing person be a friend of Ed!

When he claimed to be friends with Layfon, what exactly had Ed been thinking? "I'm friends with such a strong person!" Had that kind of elated speech ever been said? It had sounded like deception from the start, only said to attract Amy's attention.

Layfon was silent, silent throughout. What was he thinking? From where Ed was, he could only see Layfon's back.

"Also, why him? That kind of exaggerated appearance doesn't fit him at all! Does he just want to appear similar to Layfon-san?"

His previous thoughts that Sharnid had been playing around taking him to buy clothes disappeared completely.

But, he didn't let himself interrupt Amy, nor did he even think of it. He couldn't entrust himself to his anger, and stand in front of Amy. Other than standing here, he couldn't do anything.

Enough, I should just escape! - Ed thought this - Escape, it doesn't matter if I'm called a wimp, I should just hurry up and escape!

However, Layfon, who had been silent until now, opened his mouth. As soon as his voice reached Ed's ears, Ed stopped.

"So, why do you want to tell me this?"

"Eh?"

"Did you think I would agree with what you said? That I would say 'Yeah, that's right'?"

Layfon's voice did not have any sullenness, none at all. Only plain words.

"Layfon-san?"

"Indeed, what he said before about us being friends, might not have been real. We were only classmates. Truthfully, I wouldn't have come here today. I was truly stunned speechless when we met Meishen and the others. They have been good friends with me since my admission. So, I felt very happy."

Hearing Layfon say this, Ed's mood was still sorrowful.

"However, if it were really bothersome, I would have refused. But I didn't refuse. I'm not an expert in dating, Even though I heard Sharnid-sempai's recommendations, I couldn't put them to use. However, I still accepted Ed's request. Do you know why?"

Amy couldn't respond, and was a little frightened. Because it seemed like her words had touched upon a deep anger.

Ed also felt this.

"Ed desperately did this for you. Only because I knew this, did I accept his request. So, from that time on, Ed and I already became friends. My friend has been regarded as a fool by others, who would feel happy after this!"

Amy seemed to say something, but Layfon had no intention of listening. He quickly turned his back to the station and left.

Amy's eyes chased Layfon's figure from behind. In order to keep himself from entering her vision, Ed quickly hid himself.

Layfon walked by Ed.

"Sorry."

He said this, but didn't stop his steps.

Without taking note of whether Amy noticed that he was hiding here, or taking note of whether she was still looking in this direction - Ed chased after Layfon.

"Thank you!"

Facing that back, Ed let out words from his heart.

Not to say that one's mood can be restored instantly.

(Ahhh, I've worked hard)

This kind of feeling finally returned. From the second day, Amy stopped coming to the store to work. Even whether she was still in the seventeenth platoon's fan club was unclear.

He was very grateful that he could not see Amy's expression. He felt that the fact that they were in different school buildings was quite a good thing.

But he had only really felt this was a good thing since after that day when he heard Layfon's words. It was his first time being called a friend in front of others, as in the first place no one who would say those kinds of things about him existed.

(As expected, I've worked hard)

Ed's mood had swayed back and forth for two days, and now it was the lunch break of a new day.

As a result he welcomed this fateful meeting.

Ed had expected the usual high-grade bento.

"Welcome!"

From deep in the kitchen walked a girl, whose beautiful face startled Ed. This was a girl who had a different kind of style. The apron that replaced the uniform naturally blended with her body, letting one feel a sort of family atmosphere, and her behavior was also very mature. Just from looking at her, Ed's heart beat incessantly.

Come to think of it, recently the arrival of a cute new worker in the bento store had caused a big commotion.

Certainly, that was this girl.

"Have you decided what meal you want?"

To her crisp inquiry, Ed couldn't utter a reply.

This, this is...... love!

Ed felt this intuitively.

This is my love, this is my fate!

The Ed who had just become so confident was downright betrayed in the next moment.

As if Ed were being chased, the bento store's doors opened again. As the girl looked at the entrance, her expression immediately became even more gorgeous.

But the words she spoke, they were not words that a store worker would receive someone with.

CSR vol11 055.jpg

"Layfon, did you properly bring money today?"

"I brought it. Because yesterday was payday!"

"Nnn, if you don't deposit some savings you won't make it!"

"I made deposits, it's just that since I used it till now, the money I was carrying ran out!"

"Really?"

"I promise, Leerin - aren't we childhood friends!"

"Of course, but Layfon and I are different, I have sufficient ability to adapt!"

The conversation between the two was very cordial, carried out very naturally. And it seemed like her expression was very happy......

"Ah, Ed!"

Turning around, Layfon finally noticed Ed.

"You... Popular man------!!"

Containing all of his loathing, Ed yelled that out.


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