Hidan no Aria:Volume9 Chapter3
3rd Ammo: Secret Rehabilitation -Boy Meets Girl-
The following dawn after the two continuous battles with Watson and Hilda--
I woke up from a long bench in front of Butei Hospital's ICU.
Seeing the clear blue skies outside the window, the rain seems to have stopped.
(My whole body... hurts like hell...)
When in Hysteria mode, I am able to perform tasks that far exceeds the limits of my body. Especially since I used Ouka, Slash and Mirror Shot, 3 skills in all last night. So it's pretty much expected that my entire body will be aching.
I slowly sat up, and noticed that the light was still on for the "In Operation" sign above the ICU door.
Feeling worried, I felt the urge to barge in to see...
"Meow-chuu!" Sleeping on the long bench beside mine, Aria woke up like a kitten which had just sneezed.
"Erm... Kinji... Where's Ri.. Riko?"
Sitting up suddenly, Aria noticed the "In Operation" sign lit up in red light, and stopped talking.
When Riko got to the First Observation Deck, her heart had already stopped beating.
Leaving the resuscitation to Aria, I hurriedly took the now-functioning elevator down to the ground level... Using a public phone, I managed to get a helicopter from Logi, and help arrived 20 minutes later.
Since there was a precedent case of someone being revived after the heart had stopped beating for 4 minutes, I cannot give up as well--using the phrases I learn in Assault to encourage myself as I made my way back to the observation deck--
--Watson was giving medical aid to Riko.
Being a doctor, Watson made Riko consume a drug which she uses to fake "death" in order to escape, causing Riko to temporarily slip into a state of apparent death... She seems to have done the same for Hilda, who, had fallen from the Second Observation Deck to the First Observation Deck. Hilda had suffered extensive burn injuries, fallen from a height of over 100 meters... but she was still alive. She wasn't moving at all, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if she died at any moment.
Watson suggested sending both of them, whom are on the brink of death, back to Butei Hospital--
We borrowed Watson's Porsche, and sped back to Butei High in the dead of the night.
Claiming to have gotten an International Driving Licence, Aria's driving was terrible. Maybe it was because she was worried about Riko, and the anxiety had affected her....
Just as I was recalling the events from the previous night--the light went out from the "In Operation" sign,
In a fluster, Aria and myself entered the ICU which was filled with countless drugs and medical equipment.
Aria spoke as she ran to Riko's hospital bed--
Riko was half sitting up on the bed.
She seemed to be in a bit of a stupor... This is really great. Riko has been saved!
"Riko! Riko! ...I thought you really died!"
Wanting to pounce onto Riko, Aria was stopped by Watson.
Looking around me, I discovered that there was no one else in the ICU besides our group.
".....So did you remove the poison in her body, Watson."
"I couldn't have done it alone, but thanks to the assistance from Ambulace's Yatsuro-sensei, it was a success. She's really a genius. The deadly poison didn't even make her break a sweat."
"Erin Yatsuro-sensei, she doesn't seem to be here....?"
"I've asked her to leave for a moment. I have to speak with all of you about something."
"Fuhhh--" Exhausted from working overnight, Watson took off the surgical mask and let out a deep breath.
I walked to the side of the bed, trying to look at Riko's condition....
But Riko lowered her head, as if trying to avoid me.
I thought she would be happy to have survived this... What's going on.
We stayed silent like this for a while--
"Kinji... Aria... I'm... very ashamed."
Riko was talking softly, using the "Dark Riko" way of speaking.
"I obeyed Hilda's orders to trick Kinji. And I even stood by and almost did nothing when Aria was in peril. But both of you pushovers still.... forgave me. That time, I wanted to repay my debt of gratitude. So, during the explosive bubble attack.... I was determined to use my life to repay this debt. I really wanted to use my death as payment--but in the end I still shamelessly prolonged my feeble existence and survived..."
Riko's voice was trembling from remorse.
Hey.... Hey hey...
Seriously, no matter when, her sense of pride is always so strong.
"....Riko, you've been very brave."
After hearing what Riko said, Aria... replied with a serious expression on her face.
"I thought you would have definitely said something like 'I'm saved, thanks--', and then become evasive about matters concerning Hilda. But now, you've honestly told us what you were really thinking, you really are very brave."
Aria's camellia eyes were looking straight at Riko--
Having slightly withdrawn back into herself, Riko looked back at Aria.... then with a bit of shyness shifted her gaze away.
"Aria, Kinji.... I will definitely repay your kindness..."
Her voice was still trembling... but this time, her words felt like it carried tears of joy.
Hearing what Riko said, Aria suddenly felt embarrassed, and with a awkward look on her face, she whispered to me "Hey, you should say something too!"....
"Ahhh--ermm... Yesterday's.... I was only concerned about fighting. As for something like repaying us or not, don't worry about it."
"Is that all!" Aria angrily told me as I finished what I wanted to say.
It, it can't be helped. I'm not in Hysteria mode now.
I have no way of coming up with honeyed words to comfort girls on the verge of tears.
The atmosphere was becoming awkward.... Because Aria kept staring at me, I had no choice but to say something.
"Ahh--just to be prudent, I need to ask you something. Those guys.... do they have any more vampire comrades?"
".....Vlad's wife has died from an illness. They aren't like what you see in comics where they can bite people to increase their numbers, there's only the two of them."
"I see, Then... you can breath a sigh of relief now. That's really great."
The normal me can only talk about normal things like these.
Listening to me, Riko slightly nodded her head as if agreeing.
"Yes.... up till now, somewhere in my heart, Vlad and Hilda has always been confining me. Because I wanted to break free, I have always been fighting. But, when they were gone.... I became free.... But yet, I feel uneasy now...."
"I was referring to what I should do from now on...."
"What an extravagant worry. All you have to do is just be carefree like the Riko we always know."
To me, discussing with girls about their worries is more challenging than taking the entrance exams to Tokyo University.
Hence, the words I said were very neutral. But Riko seemed to like what I said... she started to chuckle.
"Yeah. Like Riko... right."
"Ah. That's to say 'Riko must be the real Riko'. This is the true meaning for you."
"Uhn Uhn" Riko nodded her head, acknowledging the matter-of-fact words from the normal me.
Her head was still lowered... although her cheeks seemed to be reddening.
It's probably the after-effects of the poison, or it could be due to fever.
It will be too pitiful if Riko has to continue listening to my poor speeches.
Aria was telling me with her expression "Well done", so now is the time to retreat.
"Well... take good care of yourself now."
Just as we were about to move out of the room, Watson stopped us--
"Well, taking this opportunity while you all are re-establishing your close relationships, I have one thing to say."
"It's concerning Hilda."
Ah, there were so many things going on, I forgot about this one.
Hilda... What is it about?
"I'll say this upfront, I'm both a Butei and a Doctor. Even if it's the enemy, once the battle is over, I do not make any discrimination among the wounded. I won't continue to harass them for beatings, and I do not differentiate between personalities, nationalities or types of humans when rendering medical aid.
Types of humans.....
Are vampires considered types of humans?
Forget it. Hilda does have the appearance of a human anyway.
"Anyway, I removed the shotgun pellets in Hilda's body just now--107 in all. Although her Demon Entrails were not functioning, but because of her amazing vitality, she has made it through the operation. Her body cannot move, there is no consciousness, and she requires a breathing apparatus to help her breathe.... But her life seems determined to live on. Although this is offensive for her, but I took a photo of her current condition."
Saying this, Watson showed us the image of Hilda taken with a digital camera.
Having her entire body burnt by flames, you can say Hilda got what she deserved from her own actions... She was bandaged like a mummy, and there was casts on her arms and legs which appeared to have suffered broken bones. It was really a pitiful sight.
...Then again, she's actually still alive while in this condition, no wonder she's a vampire.
A Rosario was placed on her chest, and on closer inspection, I discovered that a seal "Anti Ki-Barai-Kekkai area", was written on the surface. I'm not too sure of the details, but it seems the item was used to keep Hilda safe while she was in the magical barrier set up by Tamamo.
"Just to add on, this is my first time stitching up Demon Entrails, so I was unable to perform it flawlessly... plus, I was forced to cut out several tissues within. But I won't be performing this surgery in vain, I swear to use them as research material to create a drug to inhibit the functions of Demon Entrails--a serum to hinder vampires!"
Doctor Watson, you talk too much.
What were you trying to tell us from the start.
"However... since daybreak, her physical appearance has started to worsen. The main reason is due to insufficient blood. When I arrived here I ran some checks on Hilda's blood type. She has the Rhesus--River B blood type, a rare blood type which only 1 person in 1,700,000 people have. The only place in the world which stocks this blood type is the Blood Bank in Singapore, but getting it here will take 2 days. So.... I'm afraid Hilda might not live past today."
....Is that so....
Knowing that such a troublesome adversary is about to die... I had a sudden urge to save her.
Thinking like this, maybe I'm really a pushover like Hilda said.
"Can't we do anything about it?"
Aria, an even greater pushover than me, asked Watson.
"If there is someone with the same blood type here, she can still be saved..."
Saying this, Watson, for some reason, looked over at Riko.
"Her blood type is the same as mine. And because we have the same blood type, Vlad refuses to give me up."
After a moment of silence, Riko closed her eyes and said without any expression on her face.
(So that's how it is. This explains why Vlad was so stubbornly after Riko.)
Actually, I have been puzzled by this for quite some time. If you are looking for humans who possesses superior genes, there's plenty of such people throughout the world. If you want the DNA, all you require is simply a strand of hair.
But all Vlad wants to do is simply have Riko at his side--this mystery has finally been solved.
To Vlad, Riko--possesses both superior genes and the same rare blood type as the vampires. Hence, having Riko equates to killing two birds with one stone.
But Hilda seems to be unaware of this.
"Actually... Riko Mine, I know your blood type. It was Yatsuro-sensei who told me. --As a doctor, no matter what kinds of villain, I cannot stand by idly and watch a person die. Life is precious."
You've got some cheek saying that, Watson.
You tried to kill me just yesterday.
"But I won't force you to donate your blood, Riko. Winner takes all, and the loser submits... Although it is an unwritten rule that the defeated party in a war is to follow the wishes of the victor, but I hope Hilda doesn't have to obey this rule."
Is there such a rule in war...
Turning the topic aside, when Hilda recovers, will she be forcibly shoved to me?
That violent Ojou-sama is extremely troublesome. She has already created problems for someone (me) once.
"And, Hilda has been in E.U. to study for a period of time, perhaps if we can talk to her, she might be willing to testify in court for Kanae Kanzaki-san."
Watson was nervously observing Riko's reactions...
Staying silent for a while, Riko suddenly looked at Aria...
Then, she extended her arm towards Watson.
"--Ok. Will you draw my blood now?" As Aria was about to praise Riko, Riko blushed and averted her gaze.
"This... this is nothing--it's not because I want to repay my debt of gratitude towards Aria. This, that's.... because there's no reason to let that person die. Riko will only kill those who must be killed. Since Ki-kun said 'there's no need to repay anything', then I'm really not going to do anything. I'll just be an affectionate thief!"
Saying this, Riko swished her head to one side.
That's good. It looks like the usual Riko now.
"That's right. You're a great thief. Thanks for everything, Miss Phantom Thief." (This is spoken in french)
Aria chuckled as she replied in french. Leaving instructions on other matters for Watson to carry out, she left the ICU with me.
We started heading back to the Dorms under the brilliant sunrise.
As both Aria and myself kept yawning non-stop due to lack of sleep, we occasionally bumped into each other while walking somewhat unsteadily.
"I say, Riko... may be petite but she has a big heart. She did save Hilda in the end."
"That kid is gentle by nature, and fragile when dealing with emotions. Although she very strict with herself, but she's gentle to other people."
Aria, if you can notice such things, then you should learn something out of it.
Especially the part on being "gentle to other people"!
"Regardless, we've won our first battle. Even though not all our members were involved in the fight, it's still a victory for Team Baskerville."
"You're right. Even though there were some heated friction within our team during the battle."
"It's fine, even if there's friction, even if there's some displeasure within the team, but we will still fight as one when the situation calls for it. This the meaning of the team. With all that, the unity of our team will become even closer."
Saying all these, Aria placed both hands on her hips, and looked up at me accusingly.
"But we can never be too careless, Kinji. You fall prey very easily to Riko's charms. Riko still sees us as her opponents, and may still confront us with raised guns."
Fall prey easily to her charms... Aria mentioned this out of the blue. But due to my past track records, I have no way refuting her words.
What Aria said has some truth in it.
Riko is a person who acts based on her feelings.
She may have helped us last night, but who knows when she will start a fight with us again.
"Ahh... Riko has been turning into our enemy and our friend for twice now. If there's a second time, then there will be a third. Although she may have helped us this time, once the third time comes... she'll be fighting us again."
I said, as I walked and yawn at the same time.
"If there's a fourth time, she'll be helping us then. Riko and the two of us are probably the type of people who get along better the more we fight."
"Uhn. Maybe. So, can you do it? We'll be teammates with her from now on--"
"Ah, of course I can. Even if there's someone we have to be cautious about among our companions, it isn't too bad. I can still tolerate this kind of things. Frenemies... I guess every high school student will have this kind of relationship with at least one person."
"Uhn, maybe. That's remarkable, Kinji. Well done."
"It's nothing, but usually, as long as the opponent doesn't have a gun, it's still safe even if it's an enemy."
I patted on the Beretta at the waist with my hand. But my elbow collided with the shoulder of Aria who was so tired she was basically staggering ... Bump.
Some cloth-like thing fell out from within Aria's blouse.
Both of us looked besides our feet.....
It was something cloth-like, or something made of cloth that had dropped on the ground.
The cloth was full of holes, old and worn, with childish poker-card patterns printed on it.
There were even a few strands of something like silk threads on the cloth.
.......This, this is......!
The thing destroyed by Hilda's chainsaw, Aria, Aria's br... bra!!
Already torn and tattered into pieces, the bra was still forcibly being worn. And unfortunately due to my elbow, finally--
The bra resting on the flat chest could no longer persevere, dropping out of the blouse, resting in pieces (pun intended).
A killing intent comparable to Hilda's electric shock was directed at me from Aria.
".....Kin....ji.....!! You, you, you....., pervert......!!!"
I felt as if my mortified expression can already be used for my funeral's black and white portrait.
With her face as red as a baboon's bottom, Aria was in a state of fury.
"On this, this kind of road! In public! You still do such things to me!!"
Swiftly and suddenly, like an eagle hunting a rabbit, Aria clutched the ragged bra, of which the padding could be clearly seen, in her hands....
She's 10,000 times more terrifying than Hilda's lightning orb, with a killing intent super-heated like flowing magma.
"No, no....! This, that.... you can't blame me! It should be Hilda's fault!"
"It's useless to say anything now! --Windhole Cannon! Prepare for launch!"
'Guru'--'da da da'--!
Aria ran in a reverse direction from me.
The windhole this time... ah.... it's a new one!
She still has some hidden "goods"!
Once Aria reached a sufficient distance for her run-up, she turned around, looking extremely frightening.
Then, 'da da da da da da', she charged towards me at a speed faster than the current World Record for sprinting--'Pa'!!
5 meters away from me, she twisted her body and jumped up.
This is the windhole cannon--turning one's own body into a cannon ball, and then using your head to smash into the body of your opponent.....!
And right now I'm simply a normal person.
With no way of using 'Slingshot' to make Aria perform a U-turn, I simply stood there rooted to the spot.
Like a real cannonball, Aria flew towards me in a spiraling fashion, with her head already right before my eyes.
I could see the slow-motion replay of my death scene.... behind Aria, the Sky Tree which looked very small due to the distance, was hidden from view by her spiraling twin-tails.
--To everyone in Ambulace.
When Riko is discharged from ICU.... can I make the reservations to be next?
Perhaps due to the effects of global warming, the typhoon season came and ended much earlier for this year.
Thanks to this phenomenon, there were clear skies almost everyday for autumn this year, giving rise to a fair weather season with bountiful harvests of fruits.
Several days later, I went to the cafeteria. It was stocked with melons, pears, peaches and all kinds of fruits.
(What I'm missing now is money....)
But right now, I get to to eat a big beef steak.
When lessons ended, Watson invited me to the cafeteria and gave me a treat.
She seemed to want to apologize for all the nasty things she said to me at the Sky Tree. What an honest guy.
This is my first time having beef steak... and the ones prepared in the cafeteria were really good.
Not having my lunch turned out to be a good thing.
Well, like somebody said, a meal tastes best when you're starving.
It's already 3pm, and there were hardly any students in the cafeteria. So it was very quiet, and the place had a relaxed atmosphere.
"...You should eat something as well."
I said to Watson who was sitting opposite myself, drinking only red tea.
"I've already eaten during lunch."
"As long as you feel fine.... It feels like I'm ill-treating you, having you drink only tea in front of such delicious food."
"This is a habit of mine. You don't have to mind me. English nobles always adhere to tea time, even in times of war."
"But Aria only drinks stuff when she feels like drinking."
"....Aria belongs to the Holmes family, she's probably not very receptive towards nobility training."
Watson was wearing the boy's uniform, elegantly sipping the red tea.
"I know that your arranged marriage with Aria has been... annulled. Also, I've basically heard some basic things about the situation in the Watson family."
"Wasn't she angry?"
"She said 'So I guess that's that.'. She seems very much relieved."
"That's really like Aria's style."
I rested while drinking tea that was provided for free.
"But, about that.... I'm a ...."
Although no one else was around, a blushing Watson still looked around for confirmation, before saying softly "girl".
"....I didn't say anything about this. I can't tell her. It's too embarrassing...."
"I think that's the correct thing to do. She might become overly-confused and start shooting if you told her."
After that, Watson started fidgeting and not saying anything..... So I changed the topic.
"I guess Riko is fine now. She came to school today just like usual."
"Sensei at Ambulace gave her a thorough examination. There were all sorts of detailed tests, so she has recovered completely. What's more worrying... is Hilda."
"What happened. Did her appearance worsen?"
"No. She has regained consciousness, and her body condition is slowly improving."
"Then she threw a tantrum?"
"Exactly the opposite. At first she got off the bed and tried to escape, and even bit the nurse, it was a real headache.... But after knowing she was saved because of Riko, she suddenly became obedient. She never speaks, and seems to be constantly thinking about something."
"....Anyway, let me know if she escapes. This time I'm going after her in a tank."
As I joked, I stood up from my seat.
The events on the Sky Tree--including the power outage caused by Hilda, was labelled as the 'Lightning Incident' by news reports. Although the details given by the media was vague, it was probably because Aria was involved, and the Foreign Affairs Department stepped in once again.
In preparation for the Cultural Festival, classes today were cut short.
Besides the "Cosplay Cafeteria", I didn't have anything else to do. So after finishing my late lunch, I asked Watson for a lift back to the dorm.
Having eaten my fill, I felt very energized.
But as I was going back, there's nothing for me to expend my energy on.
"Well.... Tohyama. Will a meal for lunch really be enough?"
Watson asked while driving the car.
"Well.... You didn't do anything to me to get your revenge. Before this I used all sorts of dirty and cunning tricks to make your life miserable. So will this be enough?"
"It's enough. You're a woman right. Exacting vengeance on women is not what a man does."
Once I finished talking, Watson's face inexplicably started turning red.
Did I answer wrongly?
I really have no clue as to what kind of answers will be the right one for women.
"But.... you still hate me right?"
"It's nothing. Using energy on hatred and pain is a waste of life."
I said as I yawned, adjusting the back of the passenger seat slightly down.
Honestly speaking, I feel that things like taking revenge is just too troublesome.
I'll leave to that the other me. This me will be taking a Hands Off policy.
"No..... No, Tohyama. You need to take some form of revenge. Or I won't be able to let go."
.....What a troublesome fellow.....
"Ahh--... I only remember grudges arising from food, but that has been resolved today, so it's ok now."
"No no! You have to make me pay for something else, until we can call it even!"
Watson's face went red again, shaking her head side to side like a wave drum.
Hmm. What a stubborn girl.
But, you should stop fooling around now. When you move, I can smell a cinnamon-like scent.
".....What should I do then."
I had no choice but to ask.
"You can do whatever you want. You can tie me up and give me a beating. Stuff like that."
"Ahh--.... You.... don't happen to have a fetish, so you...?"
"Fetish....? ......! You, you, what nonsense are you saying! You pervert! I, I, I have never thought of such shameless things! Never never!"
"Are you trying to get me killed, don't take your hands off the steering wheel!"
With the Porsche slightly weaving left and right, I felt that it was beginning to threaten my life.....
I finally got Watson, who was crying out in a weird manner, to focus on driving the car.
Watson stopped the car in a strange place.
"Get out of the car!" I obeyed and got off the car....
Opposite the yellow leaves fluttering across the sky, I could see the Selective Arts Building.
The building contained an art room, music room, calligraphy and such, all in one place. In a place like Butei High, where tastes for the arts have no connection whatsoever, there was no sign of anyone. It was a place almost perpetually free of human habitation.
It's the same today, despite Watson inviting me here to this place. The hall of the building was empty.
"What are we doing here."
"Well... Tohyama, I may be the type of person who has become shameless from doing bad things... But actually... I have a request for you."
"A request for me?"
After making sneak glances around the empty building again, Watson tilted her head and said--
"I hope you can keep it a secret."
Blushing, she brought her palms together, as if praying to me.
"I hope.... you won't tell anyone else about the fact that I'm a girl....!"
With some effort, Watson raised her head to look at me, her eyes wet.
So this is why she keeps forcing me to take revenge on her.
In any case, she wants to use that as a form of payment to keep my mouth sealed.
Then I should say it. After all, there's no civil agreement on 'calling it even'.
(Even though I never intended to spread the information around....)
But since she became so meek.... it made me felt like bullying her for a bit.
"Hmm, what to do."
The moment I struck a fake pose of thinking about it, Watson immediately straightened her back.
Clasping both hands and bringing them up and down, she said
"Please, please, please don't tell anyone! I will announce it to everyone in school eventually, but it's still too early for me now....! I'm not ready with my preparations to appear publicly as a girl."
The panicking Watson... even the normal me understood.
--Is really cute.
So far until now, she's a type of girl that has never appeared around me.
She looks just like a boy, and for a misogynist like me, is therefore a girl whom I can hold a proper conversation with.
But.... this guy may turn out to be a surprisingly dangerous existence as well.
Becoming somewhat wrong-footed, I didn't say anything, so Watson's expression became even more grim.
She suddenly turned around and left the hall, walking towards the Porsche parked along the side of the road.
Then, after taking a large paper bag from the boot of the car, she ran back.
"Hey, hey. Where are we going?"
I asked, as Watson grabbed my wrist and forcefully dragged me to the Art Preparation Room on the 2nd floor in silence.
Pulling me in along, Watson went inside the preparation room. The preparation room was filled with plaster figures used as models for sketching, and painting canvases of all sizes. The actual art room was empty.
The curtains were drawn, so it was a bit dark... Click.
Watson locked the door.
What's, what's up?
Watson took off her jacket, removing her tie, she's taking off her clothes!
With her back facing me, she even removed her belt and took off her shoes.
"Look... look away!"
She pulled down her zip, and removed the pants in one breath!
Because all this time I had treated her as a boy, I had gotten careless. My reactions were delayed.
Although I swiftly turned away... but for an instant I saw it.
Pure, pure white bloomers.
Watson, why are you wearing bloomers there.
Ah, no, that--I understand, due to the structure of your lower body, that's more suitable. But if you're disguising yourself then you should be more thorough!
(Damn, Damn it....!)
The image of her bottom enveloped by the pure white bloomers became seared into my mind.
The smooth curves, symmetrical like a peach--the butt.
That's definitely a body curvature only girls have.
No no, Kinji--now isn't the time to be analyzing this!
(I must get out of here quickly....!)
Forcing myself to come back to my senses, I hurriedly ran towards the door. Whoosh!
A matte black knife flew out from behind me, piercing straight into the door lock. That's dangerous!
"--No running! The one who should.. should be running away is me!"
"Then you should escape quickly! Watson, what are you planning to do!"
'Ka-chik Ka-chik' Twisting the door knob only created noise. Even though it was damaged, but I couldn't open it.
Forming a prayer in my heart, I rested my forehead against the door, confirming my bloodflow.
Not... not good. Danger. It's at amber alert now.
The seared image was still playing in my mind, whatever it is, I have to forget about the underwear first--and force the beautiful thighs seen along with it out of my mind as well.
Those legs well and truly belong to a girl.
No wonder its a body with 27% body fat. Soft and tender, with a smooth and glossy feel, emitting the sparkle of moisture.... Her skin was sheer like silk, and smooth like milk.
Calm down Kinji. There's nothing extraordinary about thighs. If you think about it clearly, aren't the girls in Butei High always showing their thighs.
There's nothing to be afraid of, there's nothing to be afraid of. Yes... nothing to be afraid of.....
"Look at me, Tohyama!"
Just as I was trying very hard to perform self suggestion, Watson had to call out to me.
"--Don't be silly! I refuse!"
"I'll attack you if you don't look at me!"
Although I was on the verge of entering Hysteria mode--but I haven't changed yet.
If we were to fight now, I'll definitely collapse from the first blow.
I fearfully turned my head while standing in front of the door.
My back hit the door while trying to back away.
Although Watson told me to look at her, but her back was still facing me--
She has already taken off her white shirt, and have undone the bandage-like cloth binding around her chest. The soft and delicate frame of her back increased yet another image into my mind.
Her porcelain skin carried an air of nobility, vivid and brilliant like what you see in manga.
"My father--had me raised and nurtured as a boy. When I was little, if any of my actions were feminine in any slightest way, I'd be punished severely."
Watson described her past with her back facing me, while I had my mouth open and was tongue tied.
"So I had to forget that I am a woman. But... starting from around 13, 14 years old.... every time I see novels or movies describing romance, I would project my own feelings and emotions into the female characters... Indeed, I'm still aware that I'm a woman."
Watson turned towards me, and from the paper bag beside her feet...
Took out a pure white bra and placed it on her chest.
Perhaps being unaccustomed to this, she took quite long to secure the small hooks behind the bra.
"... I carried a yearning for women clothes, and occasionally will hide from my father the fact that I wanted to pose girl-like actions in front of mirrors. But... I couldn't do it. Every time I tried to do it, the shadows from my youth would surface. I'm still very afraid. As for appearing in front of people in women clothes..."
Finished wearing the bra, Watson "Sssss---", "Fuuu----"started taking in deep breaths--
She appeared to have her mind set on something as she walked towards me.
--A girl. --She's really a girl.
Watson adjusted her bra cup carelessly, and as if I was trying to verify something, I looked at her--within that thin piece of cloth were her slightly protruding breasts.
The shape was not too big and not too small, and well proportioned for both left and right breasts, the external appearance was a beautiful bowl shape.
They weren't flat like Aria's, nor were they huge like Shirayuki's.
It's a very suitable size for female high school students.
Looking at it was like looking at a dazzling display of precious gems.
From her breasts to her attractive navel, all the way down to the lower half of her body, there were no excess meat on her body. Her hands and legs were very long as well, and her body proportions were just right.
She was like one of the sketch models in the art room. Allowing people to feel a healthy kind of beauty, and absolutely not have anyone feel odd or disgusted.
Maybe because of this reason, even though I'm aware that I was dangerously on the verge of entering Hysteria mode, but it was nothing like the feeling of dread caused by Riko, Shirayuki and the others when they are forcing themselves on me. Furthermore, she had boyish short hair as well.
It feels--like I can still control it. I must work hard....!
"First time meeting you... I can say this right. This is the real me. I haven't stood in front of anyone as a girl. You're the first."
Watson was extremely nervous herself, her skin--was slowing turning pink.
But, even though you're very manly (but actually a woman) to show off your bra, but please don't come any closer.
Very good. Just stop there.
"If you want to tell everyone that I'm a woman--then I better become a woman as early as possible."
"The reason I am unable to show myself in front of people in women's clothes is due to psychological stress. So we can use shock therapy to overcome it. You'll have to do it. And I can repay you with these kinds of actions."
"Shock therapy...? What's that."
"It's... those.. things that you'll do to make me feel like I'm a woman. Those--things that will make me painfully aware that I'm a woman..... I, I'm a noble, so I can't show it directly.... You'll just have to do to me the things you usually do to girls.... do, do it!"
I don't get it....!
"This way, I will become aware. I will revert back to being a girl. For this.... I must personally experience that I'm a woman. So you... let me, become a woman!""
"You say become a woman.... but you have always been a woman!"
"Haven't you been listening to a single word I said!?"
"I heard! I've been listening, right in front of your eyes!"
Wanting a quick and early release, I spoke in a rage--
Watson pressed her raspberry colour lips tightly, her expression becoming serious.
"Tohyama.... Is it because you care about how I feel? It's.... all right. Although it's a bad time to say this now, but... that night, I felt... I, if it was you--I wouldn't mind. You can do it."
Suddenly, Watson's voice was mixed with something very feminine--I started to back away.
I... I can do what.
The both of us once fought tooth and nail against each other.
"Even if you don't know the details, I think you'll be able find out how relying on your natural instincts along the way. Leave the specific instructions to me, I've seen the medical books. Basic know-how is available there."
The shock therapy to turn Watson into a girl, actually includes compensation for me.
She seems to want me to do something which can kill two birds with one stone....
Judging from how she has been showing me so much skin and from her words--it seems to be some form of medical procedure--but am I a doctor?
"So what now. Tohyama. As a man, are you scared?"
"No, no. Rather than scared.... I don't get it. What is it you are trying to tell me?"
"You.. you don't understand?! I've already done all this....!"
Watson's indomitable eyes widened into circles from shock.
"I've only allowed you, because it's you... to see me like this. Even so, you still have no idea?"
Watson looked at the speechless me in shock, she then sighed deeply.
" 'Not eating meat already at the mouth is the shame of a man'. Japan seems to have this idiom as well.... But for you, not only do you not eat the meat already at your mouth, you're a man who doesn't even eat the meat being willingly fed to you by others. It seems that it's obvious your relationship with so many girls is in name only, and you've never made any progress with a single one of them."
What a busybody.
Is this guy sick?
Why must I go out with girls and achieve progress with them!
"If so, then we don't have to do shock therapy, let's switch to training."
While I was still in the state of confusion, Watson changed the topic.
"Yes. It's.... I'll use you for 'Woman Training'. I think you need 'Man Training' as well, so you can use me for the training. Fortunately we're friends of the opposite sex, so we can use each other for this training. That aside, until the training is over, you must keep the secret that I'm actually a girl. What do you say?"
Whatever. I have no intention of telling anyone anyway.... Watson started taking out the sailor uniform for the "Cosplay Cafeteria".
Excellent. She seems to be putting on the clothes.
Please continue doing so!
"Ye.. yeah. Let's begin the training."
Whatever it is I'll just nod my head in agreement first, so she will continue putting clothes back on.
"I brought the uniform along because I felt it could be of use during the shock therapy. Looks like my decision was correct."
She started putting on her skirt.
The biggest crisis of the day seems to be past me now.
"From now on I'll occasionally carry out the 'Woman Training' and your 'Man Training' here. Although we're of the opposite sex, but we'll probably get along fine. But this will be a secret between the both of us."
Watson suddenly extended her finger and pointed it at me....
As Watson is a bishoujo with an extremely boyish appearance, so once she wore her clothes properly--the urge to resist reduced substantially.
It's just like what she said, she isn't like a girl--this includes the way she talks and her mannerisms.
If this was a horse race to compare how womanly they are, then compared to Aria, who is at least 10 horses length behind Shirayuki and Riko, Watson is even further behind.
With her looking like a bishounen wearing a sailor uniform, it made me felt calm like I was in the presence of another male.
Maybe she's really the type among girls who I can best get along with--
In terms of safety for Hysteria mode.
"Ah, regardless--I understand when you say we can get along. But, what's your so-called training."
"Oh yes.... then Tohyama. Right now, this place shall be an open field in Spring time."
What... is she talking about?
"Look. The dandelions has bloomed. It's beautiful. Ah ha ha."
Watson pointed at the floor as if acting.
Was it me, or did her smile just now seemed very feminine. But it felt a bit childish though.
"Is.. is there something wrong with you, Watson."
I asked worriedly. BOP!!
Watson swung a short hook at my lower jaw.
"You're the one with a problem! This is character simulation! You should know this even if you're a Butei! Here I'm playing a girl, and you're supposed to be a boy interacting with the me playing a girl!"
"Girls don't unreservedly throw such perfect short hooks! Plus, since I'm a boy, then--what am I supposed to do. You teach me."
"Don't 'huh' me. I have no problems with the character simulation, you demonstrate first."
Character simulation--refers to having a few people act out different roles in a setting, of which the purpose is to be able to play out such scenarios when encountered in real life.
To put bluntly, it's like a game. However, it's able to unexpectedly yield positive results when put into use before any infiltration missions to obtain evidence.
As such, it has become a compulsory subject for Informa, CVR and so on in Butei High.
"It's, that's.... well, it's to be able to naturally get closer as a man and woman."
"I have no way of behaving naturally when alone with girls. How should we go about doing this? I can do the simulation, but you have to give me a direction."
"Well, I've already said--you be the man, and interact with the me as a girl, and... love me."
"Lo... love... this is insane..."
"If you don't love me, I'll get angry!"
Watson said with her face reddened. I can feel she's starting to get angry. What a hot-headed person.
However, in the short time we've fought before, I could tell that she knows boxing.
And her boxing skills are far beyond amateur level competitors.
Even professional boxers can't let down their guard against her. In order not to infuriate her, I'll have to make up something on the spot.
"Well.... let's not set it at an open field. It's too unexpected. It's difficult to simulate outdoor actions while in an actual indoor setting."
"That's true. Then, then let's set this place as my room."
"This is more like it, but I don't know the layout of your room."
"A rough impression will do. There's a table here, and because there's only one dressing chair here, so when Grandmother comes over--it can't be helped, the two of us can only sit on the bed. This will be the bed. Tohyama, come, sit beside me."
Watson sat on a stack of canvas sheets about 60 cm thick.
You.... really were raised as a boy.
What setting is this.
Although it's a character simulation, but there's actually a girl bringing a boy to her room, and both of them are sitting on the bed.
She obviously hasn't realized the seriousness of the situation.
"Well, it should be ok like this."
But as I didn't want to be beaten up, I had no choice but to sit down.
The canvas sheets made a poof sound as it was pressed down, it was really like sitting on an actual bed.
Hearing the sound, Watson suddenly became somewhat alarmed.
Through the sound, she seemed to start thinking about the present situation, and instantly realized there was something wrong with the setting.
Sitting with her legs slightly open, Watson hurriedly closed up her legs, using her hands to defensively grip the ends of her skirt.
Holding on to the edge of the canvas sheet, she started becoming so rigid she couldn't speak...
Without an opportunity to speak I became silent as well.
This is getting bad again.
....It's too realistic.
Although I don't have any practical experience with this kind of things, but when actually in a girl's room--if the boy and girl are in this situation, both of them will become quiet.
"Toh... Tohyama. Say something! Something natural and manly."
Watson, who was directing just now, looked to me for help now that she's in a predicament.
I became very angry at her irresponsible way of acting.
"... If you want me to act like a man, then you must talk like a girl as well!"
I reminded Watson, who had not immersed herself fully into the character simulation since just now.
"Li.. like a girl? Then I'll start with addressing myself in the fir... first person. If I say 'Atashi'. it'll be a bit too much."
".... I think I'll use 'boku' to address myself, there are some girls who do this."
"Sit... sitting with a boy on... on a bed... just.. just like a girl...."
Watson was mumbling, like trying to give hints to herself.....
Even in the slight darkness of the room I could see she was completely red from head to toe. Drip, drip. She was starting to sweat.
".... Toh... Tohyama. You, you say something."
Watson was still somewhat afraid. She was trembling lightly as she spoke using a girl's manner of speech--
Maybe it was due to her manner of speech, but I suddenly felt a girl has appeared. No, she's a girl in actual fact.
I've said unnecessary things.
Just thinking that she's a girl, I felt that she has become unusually cute. This is getting bad.....
Even though I know we are doing character simulation, but now it seems that I'm really sitting on a bed with a girl.
".....Eve.. even if you ask me to say something, I don't really have much to talk about...."
"Then, why did you come here, to my room...."
"Why I came... you, you asked me to..."
"I.. I did not! Don't put it in such a vulgar manner! It's embarrassing."
Watson lowered her head, the fringe on her forehead moving slightly. I could smell a slight cinnamon scent from Watson whose eyes were now closed.
(Not.. not good.....!)
Regardless whether it's perfume or something else, it just smells too nice.
As it isn't like the fragrance of Aria's gardenia scent, Shirayuki's sandalwood scent, Riko's vanilla scent and Reki's mint scent, so I got careless for the moment. Now I have unexpectedly breathed in large amounts of this fragrant scent.
Ba-dum.... My blood flow was beginning to increase to dangerous levels.
However, it was until now that I noticed--I have very low immunity towards the scent of girls. Maybe it's because my sense of smell is better than most people. Don't tell me I'm a dog.
"It's.. it's still a bit early, no matter what... let's do it quickly!"
I--I'm really--a HUGE IDIOT!!
Why did I have to make a mistake here! Plus it's the lethal kind!
As Watson seem to be having a hard time, and this place was very secluded, so I wanted to end this character simulation as soon as possible. Originally I wanted to say 'Let's go quickly".... but I actually said "Let's do it quickly" instead!!
Raising her head with a questioning expression on her face, Watson's eyes just happened to meet my eyes while I was in a state of panic.
Due to the both of us shifting our bodies in a fluster, the canvas sheets which were already stacked unsteadily collapsed backwards.
Shocked, Watson emitted a girl-like scream.
Afraid that Watson will hit the large canvas sheets if she fell along with it, I extended my hand, to allow her to lower her body as I shielded her.
How did things turn out this way....!?
I was holding Watson's head, and she was hugging my body tightly.
We had finally put the "procedures to take when about to fall" lessons learned in Assault to actual use.
In the crook of my arm, Watson lifted her eyes and stared at me....
I suddenly laughed out.
You look so cute. Little kitten.
" 'Do to me the things you usually do to girls'--Watson, you definitely said that just now."
".....! It's, it's fine. Even if we switch to shock therapy now....! I was raised as a boy, so I have a high tolerance level. You can do whatever you want..."
"Then--so be it."
Facing me who had changed drastically in the look in my eyes and my manner of speaking--
Watson closed both eyes shut, and as if in a dream, was mumbling "Together with a man, becoming a woman with a man..."
Haha, you're really like a woman like this. Very womanly.
"Ah, ah, I'm so nervous, so excited, my heart is going to jump out of my throat....! I'm becoming.... a girl... becoming.... Tohyama's.... woman!"
I gently carried Watson up, whose words carried some fear in it.
"Elle Watson. Allow me to teach you one thing."
Sitting back on the canvas sheets, Watson stared at me blankly with wide eyes.
"The things usually done to girls--is to be gentle."
Getting off the canvas sheets, I smiled as I told Watson.
Imitating the western etiquette seen in movies--I knelt on one knee.
"Although Elle has proposed an excellent invitation, but being rough on ladies whom are frightened is not allowed."
Suddenly being addressed by her first name, Watson had a startled expression. I could almost hear the sound of her heart beating.
Or to put it more accurately, I did hear it--using my ears in Hysteria mode.
"How, how rude! I, I wasn't scared!"
Being a bit rude, I looked at Watson's knees as she stood in front of me...
They were shaking. I gave a wry smile.
It's really too forced.
"We shall end here today. Training needs to be carried out in stages. If we progress too fast, it won't be good for the bodies of both parties."
"But, if it's like this, my compensation for you...."
"Elle. You have to be more beautiful than the sculptures of goddesses in the arts room."
"... You, you, all of a sudden, what... what are you saying....! Don't make fun of me...!"
"Did I look like I was making fun of you? Elle is very beautiful."
As I looked at Watson sincerely, her hands were pressing on her chest in shock.
"Me, me... beau.. beautiful....!? This is the first time in my life someone has said that to me...."
"Elle, you have let me seen your beautiful figure, so for my compensation--that alone will be sufficient."
As if by accident, I touched Watson's shoulder. To calm her down further, I gently caressed her head.
This--what's this beating sound coming from Watson's heart.
Even in Hysteria mode, there are still many things regarding the female body that I don't understand.
"And, I'm very happy you told me that 'I can do anything I want'--"
While narrating praises is a natural instinct of mine, but the statement just now, was astonishing even for myself.
"It's good... that.. you're hap.. happy. Then...."
Watson was finally ending the training as well....
As she held the boy's uniform which she took off just now in her hands, I silently back-faced her.
"To, today we shall end here. From now on when you have the desire, come look for me for practice. It doesn't matter if it's after school or during lessons. As long as it's a place with no one else around. If you feel up to it... we can proceed into shock therapy from training too."
"Ok, ok" I agreed wryly until Watson was done talking.
Once the mood started to ease slightly--
"Tohyama... in order not to ruin the mood just now, I've kept this matter towards the end.... The 'Far Eastern War'--"
The term made my gaze sharpened instantly.
--Far Eastern War
Proceeding behind the back of the entire world--the invisible war between "Deen" and "Grenada".
So this is what she wanted to talk about.
"The battles from now on will only intensify. Because you chose 'Deen', you have chosen a path with a tough road ahead.
Even if I want to go on the run.....
I have already joined the battle.
Because it's already a fact that I defeated Hilda who was in "Grenada".
".... I'm used to dealing with all sorts of problems."
I hardened my resolve and answered.
Hearing my words, Watson's hands, which were in the midst of putting the uniform back on, came to a pause. After a moment, she said:
"Liberty Mason will take the side of "Deen". This is the Council's--decision. From now on I will be on your side as well."
"It will be very dependable with you around."
For a very long time I have always hoped to have a Butei from the medical faculty as a companion.
That's because we get injured frequently.
--Butei in the medical faculty are split into Ambulace and Medica, Tokyo Butei High has set up separate departments for Ambulace and Medica to carry out their own separate training.
Ambulace focuses on coming up with treatments for wounded personnel admitted into Butei Hospital, and Medica carries out emergency aid and rescue at the scene of the incident... To make a comparison, students in Ambulace play the roles of doctors and nurses, while students in Medica play the roles of paramedics and first-aiders.
Once a companion has fallen, even in situations with gun battles playing out, a medical Butei must rush to that person's side. As such, they are required to have high levels of fighting techniques--that's definitely nothing to nitpick about with Watson.
It's just that....
"But the application for teams in Butei High has already ended. There will be some difficulties with Elle joining Team Baskerville. I guess you should know that the IADA follows their doctrine very strictly. Once a team has been formed, unless a member is KIA or resigns, resulting in a shortfall of numbers, we're not allowed to switch members. Although Elle can be employed as external support, but the fees for Medical Butei are quite substantial--"
"--I have already received my fee."
"I have collected Hilda's wings and tissues of Hilda's Demon Entrails. All first-rate materials in a demon's armament. As long as you give me these, I can sign a 1 year support contract with you.
Those things which are useless to me, well, if Watson feels that it's alright...
I can obtain invaluable strength.
"Then we are in your hands. From now on you'll be the Medical Butei for Team Baskerville."
"--It's a deal. Send me the Contract once it's marked with Baskerville's stamp. And.... while treating Hilda, I recovered an item. She was hiding it."
Saying this, Watson poked me in the shoulder, I turned around--
Watson, already dressed in the male uniform, was holding a small box.
She opened the box--inside was a small gemstone.
It looks like a ruby... except it's dark red.
"This is the crystallized 'Golden Shell'--one of the seven stars. Tamamo will be coming back very soon, so I think we can place this back in Aria's body then.
It's used to block all contact between the Hihiirokane and the human heart.
There's 2 in Aria's chest now, if we have 4 more.....
Aria will become what Tamamo had said, no longer an existence that will bring forth terror.
But, the 4 stars have been taken by "Grenada".
I must get them back. No matter how--
Translator's Notes and References
- 'Not eating meat already at the mouth is the shame of a man' (Lit. '到嘴肥肉不吃是男人的耻辱'). This is to describe that it's a shame+failure of a man not to make out with a willing female.
- Atashi (あたし) refers to 'myself'. Used by ladies, with the intention of acting in a cute manner.
- Boku (ボク or 僕) also refers to 'me or myself'. It's normally used by young little boys referring to themselves, in a cute and obedient sense.
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