Unlimited Fafnir:Volume 11 Chapter 2
Chapter 2 - White Knight of Elegance
"—Well then, allow me to introduce our newest students to everyone."
Presiding over the assembly proceedings, Mitsuki's voice resounded within the dimmed hall.
Standing on the stage with Mitsuki under the spotlight were ten-odd girls dressed in Midgard's uniform.
Including mine, all eyes of the students in the audience were directed at the stage in anticipation.
"This brings back memories, Mononobe."
Sitting on my right, Iris commented quietly.
"Yeah... They're the first batch of new students since Tia."
I kept my voice low and answered while looking at Tia, who was sitting on my left. Tia averted eye contact in embarrassment.
"Please don't recall what happened then. Tia caused so much trouble for everyone..."
"Yeah—But no one minds anymore."
Stroking Tia's head, I replied.
Back then, Tia considered herself a dragon and had impulsively used transmutation against Mitsuki when she denied Tia's identity as a dragon.
As a result, the majority of the students feared Tia and she was not placed into a homeroom with other girls of her age. Instead, she was assigned to Brynhildr Class where me and the others belonged. But after the Basilisk battle, Tia's interactions expanded and during the school festival, she demonstrated to me that she had made close friends.
"Hmm... Thanks. But Tia is very worried whether they'll mess up like Tia."
Tia cast a gaze of worry at the girls on the stage.
They had started introducing themselves in sequence from right to left. It was now a southeast Asian girl's turn. Since she was unable to use Midgard's lingua franca of Japanese, Mitsuki spoke on her behalf.
Including this girl, more than half of the new students were new to me.
However, I already knew the four on the left. These four stood out in many ways, attracting attention from the students as soon as they got on stage.
—Very conspicuous, as one would expect.
Like Tia, I was very worried about them.
It could very well turn into even worse chaos than Tia's time.
To prevent these four from standing out too much, Principal Charlotte had enrolled them together with the other new students whose arrival to Midgard had been delayed by NIFL's imposed inspection.
—Please, don't say anything weird.
Seeing it was her turn next, I prayed in my heart.
"—Next is Kili-san."
The instant Mitsuki spoke this name, a clamor rose up in the hall.
"Everyone must have seen it on television previously—She had sought Midgard's protection in order to defy NIFL's intervention. Due to many things happening in the Principality of Erlia, it took plenty of effort... However, I am extremely pleased for the fact that she could finally come to Midgard."
While presenting the official story for why Kili transferred, Mitsuki grimaced slightly. Well, this was only a subtle change only I could see. The other students most likely missed it.
As the student council president, she was obliged to deliver diplomatic statements to suit occasions, but this time, the "lie" was a bit big.
Kili had transferred into Midgard before under the identity of Tachikawa Honoka. The fact that Honoka and Kili were the same person was not disclosed and ordinary students probably would not question it... But to Mitsuki, she was probably having quite mixed feelings.
Refraining from reading out the full name of Kili Surtr Muspelheim was probably to prevent the audience from associating her with the dragon-worshiping cult, the Sons of Muspell.
From the perspective of ordinary students, Kili was an activist against NIFL's unfair treatment of Ds.
As long as Kili maintained it, this cover story would be perfect.
"Nice to meet you, everyone. My name is Kili. I am very happy to be here at Midgard and would like to get along with all of you. However—"
Kili started with an ordinary self-introduction, but halfway through, she suddenly altered her tone.
Her exuded aura changed. After narrowing her eyes to gaze sharply at the students, she declared in an ice-cold voice:
"—You all know Mononobe Yuu, right? He is mine. If anyone dares make a move on him, I won't forgive her, got that? Please remember this well, everyone."
After issuing this warning, Kili produced a business-like smile.
The entire hall fell silent. Recovering first, Mitsuki coughed.
"Umm... Kili-san has just made some inappropriate and easily misconstrued statements and she will be properly educated afterwards. Until her twisted mindset is corrected, I shall have her write repentance essays nonstop, so please do not worry, everyone."
Mitsuki stared at Kili while speaking in a commanding tone of voice.
"Oh no... even more repentance essays!?"
Kili grumbled anxiously but Mitsuki ignored her and started to introduce the next new student.
"Next is Ritra-san. She is Kili-san's cousin. Due to the discovery of Ds, the ability to transmute matter, in the family, she has transferred in as well."
The one being introduced was the girl two sizes smaller than Kili—Vritra.
Of course, she was not a D and Ritra was an alias. However, there was no way in hell we could call her the black dragon—"Black" Vritra.
To be honest, we also had the option of keeping her in confinement, but Iris said "I'd feel so sorry for Vritra-chan if she had to watch the house alone!"
—Hence, enrolling her as a student made it easier to keep her under supervision. Thus, we transferred her into the school according to the procedure for Ds.
Bored, Vritra stretched and said:
"Yawn... Oh, hmm, I am Ritra. That is all."
As though saying that was enough of a self-introduction, she looked at Mitsuki. The students were looking at the unmotivated Vritra in puzzlement. They most likely pegged her as a different kind of weirdo compared to Kili.
Mitsuki sighed lightly and moved on to introducing the remaining two.
"Then next is the youngest student ever in Midgard's history, Shion Zwei Shinomiya-san!"
As soon as she spoke, everyone's gaze gathered on the tiny girl. This was followed by cheers of "so cute!" resounding all over the hall.
Trembling, Shion held the hand of the unintroduced girl beside her.
From appearance, Shion looked even younger than Tia, pretty much early elementary school age. However, her actual age was not so. Counting from the time when she had awakened at the Asgard lab, less than a month had passed. Although her apparent age was what was recorded in the family registry, I was pretty certain that students younger than Shion were not going to show up again.
"i am Shion Zwei Shinomiya... Nice to meet yoU all."
Nervously and politely, Shion introduced herself.
Although her Japanese lacked a little fluency and her motions were slightly stiff, this made her even more adorable to everyone. Cheers arose again. Frightened, Shion hid behind the girl next to her.
Seeing this, Mitsuki continued to explain Shion's situation.
"I believe all of you must be very curious about her family name. Shion-san is Shinomiya-sensei's relative, but due to her complicated family circumstances and the fact that her mental stability depends on staying close to her current guardian, there is some risk involved—"
Mitsuki finished slowly and came to the girl whom Shion was hugging tightly.
The hall went into a clamor again. After all, the girl on the left end was the most striking from the very beginning.
Normally speaking, Kili, who had appeared on television before, and Shion, the youngest, would attract the most attention. However, there was a great difference between this girl at the end compared to all the other girls standing on the stage.
She—was dressed in a male uniform.
"...Consequently, as a special exception, we have hired Shion-san's guardian as Midgard staff so that they can live together. But just as you can see, she is of the same age as we are and similarly entitled to the right of education. After careful consideration, I have authorized her enrollment in my capacity as student council president. Perhaps some of you might have doubts about a non-D becoming a student of this school, but please try to understand."
Mitsuki emphasized the word "her."
The clamor grew more and more intense, but when the introduced cross-dressing girl and Shion took a step forward, the hall quieted down.
Everyone was waiting for her to speak.
"I am Zwei's guardian—Jeanne Hortensia."
After she—Jeanne Hortensia—spoke in a dignified voice to introduce herself, the entire venue erupted with noise.
Rather than a commotion echoing throughout the hall, they were screams. However, these screams were not emitted out of fear or surprise.
I had heard such screams on television many times—Adolescent girls screaming from the bottom of their hearts at the sight of their idols.
In other words... This was what people called a fan scream.
"W-What's going on?"
I could not help but cover my ears and look around me. All the girls in the other homerooms were worked up in excitement with blushing cheeks.
Also feeling puzzled by this reaction, Jeanne hastily continued her self-introduction.
"U-Umm, I am a girl despite dressing like this! I wear a male uniform because it feels more reassuring—"
Jeanne emphasized her gender as a girl but the fan screaming grew even louder.
Yells of "so handsome!" could be heard all over the place.
"Jeanne-chan is so popular."
Seated on my right, Iris remarked poignantly.
"...Yeah. Dressed like that, Jeanne undoubtedly looks like a young and handsome man."
Platinum blonde hair, a prim and proper face, a slender physique—This appearance could easily rival that of idol celebrities.
Regardless of gender, Jeanne's "beauty" was very eye catching.
"Such a far cry from my debut."
Iris looked at me from the side while I was muttering to myself.
"Eh, Mononobe... Don't tell me you're jealous?"
"O-Of course not."
I frantically denied it. Back when I went up on the stage, the audience was eyeing me with a complicated mixture of curiosity and wariness. Fan screaming was nothing to be jealous of. Indeed, nothing to be jealous of at all.
Even so, Iris smiled and comforted me.
"Don't worry. To me, umm... You're the most handsome, Mononobe."
Seeing Iris blushing, my face turned red all at once.
Noticing that, Tia hugged my arm on the left.
"Tia thinks Yuu is the most handsome too! Tia is a good wife and will never be unfaithful! Yuu can rest assured!"
I thanked Tia but her words caused my chest to tighten.
Iris and Tia were being considerate to me on their own, but I was wavering from their words and behavior. Didn't that make me unfaithful to them? Still, they permitted it.
—This was no good.
I did not know what in particular was wrong or how to rectify it.
However, feeling guilty about this, I was definitely not properly confronting the girls' feelings for me.
I must take responsibility. I must do what I can and do it well.
But when facing mutually exclusive wishes, I became lost and unable to take any action.
Hence, as I was now, my resolve was incomplete.
In all sorts of ways, I probably—I must become even stronger.
"—Thus, these four will be the newest members of Brynhildr Class from now on. As mentioned before, but I will say it again, I hope everyone can get along."
Inside our classroom—Brynhildr Class' homeroom teacher, Shinomiya-sensei, was introducing the new students in front of the lectern.
Naturally, these new students were Kili, Vritra, Shion and Jeanne.
The seats in the classroom were increased to accommodate their transfer. Behind the third row in the back where Mitsuki, Iris and I were sitting, a new row was added—another three desks and chairs.
This was one less than the number of new students, but the middle seat in the front row was originally empty. With this, all the newcomers had a spot to themselves.
"Then regarding seating... It would be best for Shion to adjacent to Jeanne Hortensia, I suppose? You two should sit together in the back row."
Shion nodded very energetically. On the other hand, Jeanne nodded with a haggard expression.
Skipping past me, Shion smiled innocently.
"i siT, beHiNd Papa."
Shion took the middle seat in the back row—Behind me. At the lectern, Kili looked slightly displeased but did not say anything.
Seeing Shion's smile, Jeanne recovered somewhat.
"Captain... Everyone, I look forward to getting along with all of you from now on."
After walking unsteadily to the right seat in the back row—the one behind Mitsuki—Jeanne smiled feebly and greeted everyone.
"You seem so tired. Are you okay?"
I asked in concern and Jeanne shook her head lightly.
"...I haven't been this tired since quite a while. Ambushed by students outside the hall, I had to go all-out to shake them off."
For Jeanne, a former member of the special forces, to be this exhausted, the students ambushing her must have been very persistent and obsessive.
"Well, being popular is a good thing. The commotion should subside later."
"I hope so..."
Jeanne smiled wryly and lay down on her desk.
After looking at the two remaining seats, Shinomiya-sensei gazed sharply at Kili.
"Kili Surtr Muspelheim. Taking into account your speech at the entrance ceremony, you very evidently a problem child. Consequently, I will place you in the front row where it is easiest to monitor you."
"No. That's too far away from Yuu. I want to sit behind Iris-chan."
Ignoring Shinomiya-sensei's instruction, Kili walked to the back row.
"—Are you sure? You are free to choose defiance, but in that case, I will have to restrict your freedom and pile on a greater number of repentance essays."
Shinomiya-sensei's warning caused Kili to halt and her face began to twitch.
"Do you know how many repentance essays I've written so far?"
"I do. Merely fifty, right?"
Seeing Shinomiya-sensei's fully serious expression, Kili could only sigh deeply.
"...Fine, be that way. I got it. I'll sit here, okay?"
Kili reluctantly sat down where Shinomiya-sensei had indicated. On her left and right respectively, Lisa and Firill smiled wryly. Behind her, Tia thumped her own chest and announced, "Tia will watch with widened eyes to stop Kili from doing bad things!"
"Then I shall sit there."
The last one remaining, Vritra took the left seat in the back row without waiting for Shinomiya-sensei's instructions—The spot behind Iris.
Vritra nodded generously at Iris who was showing a carefree smile.
"...Hmm. Although I have no interest in the knowledge of ye humans, I am very looking forward to 'school life' after reading some books. 'Twould serve well to kill time."
Turning her head back, Kili shrugged with exasperation.
"Mother is arrogant as ever."
"Kili, aren't you calling the kettle black?"
However, when Tia instantly retorted, Kili showed a complicated expression.
"Tia... Aren't you being too strict towards me?"
"Because Tia will be Kili's senior starting today. Tia must look after juniors properly."
Tia puffed out her chest and replied.
"Wow, Tia is amazing."
"Mm... Good job."
Ariella and Ren praised her too, deeply impressed.
It looked like Tia took seniority very seriously. Having never considered this, I was slightly surprised.
"...I enrolled together with Tia last time."
Kili grumbled unhappily. However, since Tia was telling Shion and the others "you can rely on Senpai from now on!", she did not catch Kili's words.
"Mononobe, we have to work hard too!"
I nodded in response to Iris, who was clenching her fist with heightened spirits.
Clearly, school life was going to become very lively with the addition of new classmates.
Midgard's underground facilities were severely damaged during NIFL's invasion and had yet to be fully restored.
Hence, due to repairs in progress for the underground training sites, the practical lessons for periods five and six were suspended for now.
Thus, classes ended before noon on the first day school resumed—However, the end of the day brought a problem with it.
"I never expected this..."
After school in the classroom, Mitsuki sighed deeply.
"I was planning to have lunch at the cafeteria before going back, but looks like that's out of the question."
Sitting at her desk, Iris commented while rubbing her stomach.
"Well, we'll just have to eat at Mitsuki's dorm today. Showing Shion the cafeteria will have to wait until next time."
I agreed and looked at Shion sitting behind me, looking very bored.
"Sorry, Zwei, it's all my fault..."
Hearing Shion, Jeanne apologized with apparent guilt.
"Yes. It's all your fault, Jeanne-chan, so find a solution."
Kili spoke in exasperation but Ariella and Ren defended Jeanne.
"—It can't be helped. Mitsuki already threatened them with the submission of so many repentance essays and it still turned out like this."
"Mm... The crowds grow every time break comes around. At this rate, maintaining order inside the school will be very hard."
Seeing the two of them so weary, I thought back to today's commotions.
It had happened after the first period ended. A whole crowd of Jeanne's fans rushed over.
Back then, they were only shouting "Jeanne-sama!" from the window, but when second period ended, the crowd had grown further, making it difficult even to go to the washroom.
Seeing this, Mitsuki reminded the girls that making noise in the school building would be detrimental to studies, hence the girls were driven away—However, things were still not resolved.
With the sound of the door opening, Lisa, Firill and Tia entered the classroom.
"—The situation outside turns out to be the same as predicted."
"Almost the entire student body has gathered together. Unable to cause trouble inside the school building, they are probably going to do it outside."
"There will surely be a big commotion as soon as you go out!"
Hearing our reports, Jeanne slumped her shoulders.
"Why did this happen...? Don't they believe I'm a girl?"
Jeanne murmured in puzzlement and Lisa looked at her with sympathy.
"No, I believe they should know that you are a girl—"
"...What do you mean?"
Jeanne asked Lisa with a frown. Curious about Lisa's viewpoint, I also paid attention and listened.
"This students at this school have reached an age when curiosity about romance has started to develop. In other words, they cannot resist the temptations of adolescence. However, here at Midgard where almost everyone is female, there are limited targets for their fantasies."
Saying that, Lisa looked at me.
"In other words, I'm not good enough?"
When I sighed, Lisa shrugged lightly.
"On the contrary, Mononobe Yuu. Well—it would be better to say that they have difficulty wrapping their minds around 'the correct usage of Mononobe Yuu.'"
"...What are you talking about?"
Completely unable to understand what she was saying, I tilted my had. Lisa raised an index finger and began to explain like a teacher.
"I am referring to the fact that your conquest is too challenging. This is objective fact—You are the sole male in the school and with such high achievements under your belt too. Y-You, umm, you look rather attractive as well. There is even a fan club for you in school."
Having lost a bit of confidence as a human being due to seeing Jeanne's popularity, I relaxed my expression after finding out I was validated.
"Yes... Which is why they are at a loss regarding what to do, right? Getting too involved with you could mean a dramatic change to the rest of their lives. For example—like us as we are right now."
"Hmm... I get that. I'll be careful."
I hastily nodded with solemnity when reminded by Lisa, who smiled faintly in response.
"In that case—Excellent. Well, the girls also understand that half-baked resolve is not enough to build a relationship with you. Although the fact that you selected us has not been disclosed, there is still the great risk of losing their powers from pregnancy. Besides, Mitsuki-san, and... th-the rest of us too, have been keeping a close watch over you. Approaching you is physically difficult."
Lisa spoke with a blush. Next, Firill leaned towards me and whispered.
"...Lisa is very well respected and something like the master of the girls dorm. I think the girls running amok has got something to do with Lisa moving out."
"Hold it, Firill-san! Please do not apply a description like 'master' to me!"
After hearing Firill's comment, Lisa went red and complained.
"Ahem—Anyway, the difficulty level in Jeanne-san's conquest is not as high. Although she looks like a handsome youth, since she is not the opposite sex, there is no punishment for violating the rule against inappropriate interactions between genders. Even very intimate relations... w-will not have any risk of pregnancy."
Was she picturing something? Lisa averted eye contact in embarrassment.
Hearing this, Ariella chimed in.
"Although Mitsuki and Lisa are very popular among the girls, a cross-dressing beauty is special, after all. Supply and demand has never matched up this well."
"I-I am not some kind of cross-dressing beauty... Honestly, I just feel more at ease in male clothing—"
Shaken, Jeanne explained herself. Kili casually began to tease her.
"In that case, why don't you just wear a girl's uniform? I'm sure you'll look very cute in a skirt, Jeanne-chan."
Saying that, Kili picked up the hem of her skirt. Jeanne went red and shook her head.
"I-I can't accept that kind of disgraceful attire!"
"...You do realize your comment is an insult to every girl in the school?"
Kili's surprised question prompted Jeanne to frantically apologize to Lisa and the others.
"Oh... I-I am very sorry—I just mean when I'm the one wearing it... I don't think it suits me..."
Her voice grew softer and softer and she lowered her head.
"I think you're mistaken..."
"Eh!? C-Captain—Please don't make fun of me!"
I was simply offering my honest opinion but Jeanne went red to her ears and shouted at me.
Silently listening to our conversation, Mitsuki looked at Jeanne as though making a decision.
"—No other way. To prevent Jeanne-san from being followed, please exit from the back door. It is an entrance meant for accessing the staff dorms, but if you take a long detour along the coast, you will be able to return to my dorm."
"Ehhh!? I can't go home with the Captain?"
Jeanne asked Mitsuki with an expression of shock.
"—No. If you were to be discovered, Jeanne-san, it could cause chaos. In that case, Nii-san and me aside, that would be quite dangerous for Shion-san who is still young, would it not?"
"Hmm... T-True. I understand. Let's do that."
Jeanne nodded with difficulty once Shion was brought up.
"Mama... wE haVe to seParAte?"
Shion clutched Jeanne's clothing with unease.
"...Yes. But Captain—Papa—will accompany you. Captain, I am leaving Zwei in your hands."
"Yeah, no problem. Shion—go home with P-Papa, okay?"
Still slightly reluctant to call myself 'Papa,' I nodded stiffly and extended my hand to Shion.
After hesitating between me and Jeanne for a while, Shion held my hand.
Her tiny hand gripped stronger than I expected, causing an emotion I had never felt before to swell up within me.
An intense desire to protect her naturally filled my heart. I suppose this was what you would call paternal instinct.
However, Iris was staring at me without saying a word.
Iris put on a poker face and others reacted the same way except for Kili who leaned in and smiled mischievously at me.
"Fufu, Iris-chan and the others are jealous. You guys really look like a family."
"Of course, I'm jealous too, okay? Hurry and make a baby with me."
Her smooth fingertip slid over my cheek, causing my heart rate to quicken.
However, Mitsuki stepped in between us and drove Kili away.
"Kili-san! Please distance yourself from Nii-san! We are still students and inappropriate interactions between the genders are forbidden!"
"There is no why!"
While this battle of words was raging, Shion gripped my hand tightly.
"Yes, what is it?"
"Papa, hOw aRE baBieS maDe?"
My thoughts froze. I stood there, unable to say anything.
Next to us, Jeanne was also rendered speechless, but as soon as she regained her senses, she directed an angry outburst at Kili.
"Hey! Kili, you are being a bad influence on Zwei!"
"What are you talking about? Can't you just teach her properly?"
Amid the commotion, I heard a tiny rumble.
Following the sound, I saw Vritra, who had not participated in the dialogue so far, rubbing her stomach.
When our eyes met, Vritra spoke to hide her surprise.
"...I care not about any of this, but could ye all hasten the journey back? I am hungry."
The next day—
"Enough of this!"
Jeanne roared while dashing desperately on the road to school. A large group of rabid fan girls were chasing after her, creating rising dust clouds.
This scene was reminiscent of a certain television show I watched long ago.
Left at the dorm entrance, we watched with sympathy as Jeanne ran away.
"It must be tough for Jeanne-chan..."
Iris murmured emotionally and Mitsuki nodded.
"Yes—But we have no choice but to let Jeanne-san go first. We have no means of driving away the students blocking the dorm entrance. Yesterday, we made use of a back entrance... But a similar solution will not work for going to school."
Mitsuki deemed this the ideal solution but Ariella had doubts.
"Eh? But all of Midgard's important facilities are linked by underground passages, right? Can't we use them?"
"Underground passages are meant for emergency use. Furthermore, they are under repairs from the damage incurred during last time's battle, so none of them are open right now."
"Hmm... Sorry for all kinds of things, I guess."
Ariella shrank away and apologized.
Durign the battle last time, Ariella had taken NIFL's side and invaded the school while destroying partitions along the underground passages.
"—Ariella-san, you have already written your repentance essays, so there is no need for further apologies. I really wish Kili-san could learn well from you."
Mitsuki looked at Kili with a wry smile.
"I have been staying up late every night writing them too! There are so many that I can't finish! At this rate, I won't ever be able to pay Yuu visits at night!"
Kili argued unhappily.
"Serves you right. Also, even once you are finished with your essays, you are not allowed to make night visits either."
Mitsuki warned solemnly then glared back sharply at Kili.
"Mama iSn't wAlkiNg wiTh mE agAin toDay..."
Holding my hand, Shion looked sadly in Jeanne's direction.
"Yeah... Well, I don't think this commotion will last too long. Just bear with it for a while."
I stroked Shion's head and said optimistically but someone tugged at my shirt hem from behind.
I looked back to see Ren looking up at me regretfully.
"Onii-chan, unfortunately—It's getting worse."
Saying that, Ren showed me the screen of her portable terminal, which had posts like "Jeanne-sama is the best!" or "Jeanne-sama is currently heading to school."
"What is this...?"
"It's an internal community site created by Midgard graduates back when they were students here. It's full of stuff about Jeanne."
Ren scrolled the screen, showing the content about Jeanne. Firill was also looking at the screen from behind us.
"—So it's true. So much activity. If this continues, rather than subsiding, things might get even more heated instead."
Hearing Firill's comment, Shion said with flowing tears, "tHIs wiLl kEeP goInG...?"
"Come on, stop saying things to make Shion worry!"
Having cared for Shion as her senior earlier, Tia scolded Firill with arms akimbo.
"Firill-san, you have been admonished," said Lisa while smiling wryly.
"—However, optimism isn't going to bring about a solution. We need to think of something."
Lisa spoke with a solemn expression but she simply repeated Kili's suggestion of "not wearing male clothes" from yesterday. However, Jeanne herself had resisted vehemently.
And unless a solution was found, things would probably worsen as Firill had predicted.
The net around Jeanne closed tighter day by day.
After school the second day, girls started to ambush the back door, leaving Jeanne no choice but to escape through the jungle. However, she was met by another ambush at the dorm entrance.
Jeanne's gallant escape attempts ended up increasing her popularity instead. Chasing her had turned into an event itself.
At some point, a rumor started spreading among the girls that the first person to catch her would be able to go out with her. Those who believed this started to use their D powers indiscriminately.
Against shared intel on the community site combined with the mobility of flight-capable Ds, Jeanne was definitely cornered.
Seeing the girls progress so rapidly, Mitsuki remarked with honest poignancy, "I might lose in anti-personnel combat in the future."
But for Jeanne, there was no time for poignant reactions.
On the fifth day of her transfer—Jeanne managed just barely to get home in time for dinner today.
Dragging her body, all covered with twigs and leaves, she looked rather haggard while eating dinner.
—I must do something. But... what?
Lying on my bed after dinner, I contemplated.
My room was on the far end of the corridor. Since the only adjacent room had turned into Firill's book storage, it was always quiet around this hour of the day.
Living in the floor above, Mitsuki never made any loud noises, so there was nothing to disrupt my thoughts.
—The problem was that Jeanne personally rejecting their advances had been completely futile.
Due to the collective mentality, the girls had gone out of control, ignoring Jeanne's own wishes. Persuading with logic and reason was probably out of the question.
In that case, a certain action was the only option left...
Just as my thoughts reached that point, I heard a knocking at my door.
"Who is it?"
I sat up and directed my voice at the door. Was it Vritra again?
"...Captain, it's me, Jeanne. I need to talk to you about something."
Unexpectedly, it was Jeanne's voice.
I had been thinking about her problem all this time. Since the person in question had showed up, there was no reason to reject her.
"Sure, no problem. I'll open the door for you."
I got off the bed and walked to the door. Back when it was just Mitsuki and I living in this dorm, I basically never locked the door. Since Mitsuki held the master key, locking was pointless.
However, now that the number of residents had increased all at once, with people among them whom I must be careful with—well, mainly Kili—I currently had the door locked.
"Sorry, it is already this late..."
After I opened the door, Jeanne bowed her head at me in apology. She was carefully holding a transparent plastic bag in her arms.
"No, I don't mind. But is it okay for you to leave Shion alone?"
"Zwei was already very sleepy, so I had her brush her teeth and go to bed."
"Then it should be fine. Come—please enter."
"P-Pardon the intrusion..."
Nervously, Jeanne stepped into the room.
I sat down on the edge of the bed in the back of the room. Jeanne looked around aimlessly.
"Sit over there."
I pointed at the chair by my desk.
"I-It's okay, I am fine standing here."
However, Jeanne shook her head and stood in front of me.
"Well, if that's your preference, Jeanne—What do you want to talk about? Does it have anythiing to do with what you're carrying?"
I pointed at the plastic bag that she seemed quite conscious of. Jeanne nodded.
"Yes, indeed! Actually—this was the school uniform issued to me initially."
Saying that, Jeanne took out the contents.
Indeed, it was Midgard's uniform. Furthermore, it was a female uniform.
"But I didn't wear it because it was too embarrassing... So I requested a male uniform like yours, Captain. However..."
"In order to change the current situation, you've made up your mind to wear a female uniform?"
When I asked that, Jeanne shook her head.
"Umm... No, I still haven't made up my mind, which is why I came to discuss with you, Captain... Last time when you said this uniform would look good on me... I denied it... Oh, no, I know you were joking at the time... But—"
"I wasn't joking, by the way... Why did you think I was joking?"
I frowned and asked Jeanne. I did not know the reason for her inferiority complex.
"Hmm—I've always dressed as a man and worked hard like a man... It must be very weird for someone like that to suddenly dress up as a girl, deserving of ridicule..."
Hearing that from Jeanne, I sighed deeply.
"What are you talking about? Jeanne, you're very pretty, so it won't be weird at all."
"Ah!? Very... pretty!?"
Jeanne exclaimed in surprise and her face turned bright red. Her massive reaction made me embarrassed too.
"How should I say this...? It's the objective truth. The girls like you so much."
Scratching my head, I replied apologetically.
"Ehhh!? Aren't they drawn to the manliness I've developed over the years...?"
"Uh, Jeanne... I'm sorry I have to tell you this, but—"
I told the truth to Jeanne who did not know herself.
"Back when we were working in the same team—You were a brave and intelligent subordinate. It might be okay to call this part as being like a man... But as for manliness, to be honest, you have none of that at all. You give off too strong a sense of purity."
Speechless, Jeanne dropped the uniform in her hands. Seeing her more shocked than I expected, I hastily continued.
"N-Not being manly isn't a bad thing, right? That sense of purity lacking in men is precisely the key that makes you a handsome youth. And this aspect definitely works just as well when dressing up as an attractive woman too. You need to be confident!"
Holding Jeanne's shoulders, I tried my best to convince her.
Next, light shone from her eyes.
"...Captain, you're saying that, the way I am now... and dressed up as a woman too, would be attractive...?"
I looked her in the eye and nodded vigorously.
"Th-Then... Is it okay for you to look at me in female uniform and tell me if I look weird or not?"
"Of course—Eh, right here?"
I nodded on reflex then gasped.
"Yes... I will change in the washroom..."
Picking up the uniform on the ground, Jeanne peered at me face with a blush.
The atmosphere in the room turned bittersweet.
While saying "oh sure," I nodded stiffly in response.
"Please wait, Captain."
Saying that, Jeanne went into the washroom. Inside the quiet room, I could hear faint sounds from the washroom.
—What am I getting nervous for?
Sitting on the bed's edge, I scratched my head anxiously.
After what felt like an extremely long time, the washroom door opened. I could not help but straighten my back, waiting for Jeanne to emerge.
However, despite the opened door, she was nowhere to be seen.
"S-Sorry, I am a bit nervous... I-I am coming out now!"
Despite the determination in her voice, time went by and she still had not turned her words into action.
"S-Sorry! U-Umm... Could you close your eyes?"
I could not refuse this request delivered in a trembling voice.
"Sure, I got it," I said and closed my eyes.
After roughly ten seconds, I heard soft footsteps and the sound of friction in clothing.
Jeanne had finally exited the washroom, I guess. The footsteps stopped in front of me. Feeble breathing sounds could be heard clearly.
Judging from her breathing, Jeanne had never been this nervous before.
"Can I open my eyes now?"
Noting to myself how much this resembled hide-and-seek, I confirmed with Jeanne. Well—since she was moving from a hidden state to enter my presence, it would be the opposite of hide-and-seek.
"Yes, please go ahead."
Hearing Jeanne's stiff reply, I slowly opened my eyes.
Since it was sitting on the bed's edge, my vantage point was quite low. The first thing I saw was her skirt and the pale thighs extending from underneath—
"I-I can't do this after all!"
However, my vision was blocked then. Lunging forward, Jeanne covered my eyes.
With that, I was pushed back onto the bed. Pinning me down, Jeanne continued to cover my eyes with her hands.
"Ah, wawawa, w-what am I doing to the Captain—S-Sorry! I am terribly sorry!"
"I-If you really mean it, hurry and back away!"
The soft sensations coming through her clothing was undoubtedly a woman's. I was well aware that my face must be bright red.
"I-I can't! If I back away, you will see me, Captain!"
"Like I said, it will be fine!"
I grabbed Jeanne's hands and forced them away from my face.
Jeanne screamed but since her hands were in my clutches, she could not escape.
My gaze settled on Jeanne in her female uniform.
This outfit emphasized what the male uniform could not—her ample bust, narrow waist and the pale thighs exposed beneath her skirt.
"Ah, wa, wa..."
With her mouth gaping open, Jeanne's face turned pink like the color of a fully ripened peach. With her usual ponytail untied and tears welling up in her eyes, she looked exceptionally adorable.
"—See, what a pretty girl as expected."
I looked up at the panicking Jeanne and told her in reassurance.
But under these circumstances, it seemed to have the opposite effect. Jeanne's face began to boil while her tears started to fall.
"S-Sorry! I didn't mean to make you cry—"
I frantically released her hands and apologized.
"...No, th-these are... tears of joy. I am relieved... Captain, that you don't find me weird... Also, umm, it is embarrassing after all... Oh, e-excuse me!"
Jeanne wiped her tears and seemed to recover. She hastily escaped from me.
Clutching the hem of her skirt shyly, she kept apologizing with her head bowed.
"Sorry, I am so sorry! I clearly came to seek your counsel, Captain, but ended up causing so much trouble... What could I ever do to make up..."
"Don't worry about that. We're no longer superior and subordinate."
I said that but Jeanne did not accept.
"I still mind even if you say that! Please punish me—Please impose punishment upon me!"
"By punishment... You mean like getting spanked?"
Out of ideas, I joked as a test.
However, Jeanne suddenly fell silent, turning around while holding her skirt down.
"My bottom... huh. A-As you wish."
Seeing Jeanne trembling while bending over and lifting her bottom, my mind blanked out.
"N-No! That's not what I intended—!"
"Eh...!? Don't tell me you want me to roll up my skirt too!? Umm, actually, I forgot to bring female underwear... Oh no, that's wrong, I do have some prepared in my room—But right now, I'm not wearing any—"
After learning the reason why Jeanne was holding down her skirt, I could not help but look at the boundary between her skirt and those pale thighs. Under there was—
"Umm, if it's the Captain's orders, I shall...!"
Blushing intensely, Jeanne was about to roll up her skirt.
"Stop, stop, stop! It's fine, it's fine!"
I frantically reached out to stop her.
However, while pushing down her skirt, my hand also grabbed her bottom through the fabric at the same time.
The unimaginable softness was transmitted through my hand—At the same time, Jeanne's body kept shaking.
"Mmm—C-Captain—This is kind of sudden—"
I mobilized the entirety of my sanity to make my hand release Jeanne's skirt.
But looking back while holding her bottom, Jeanne shook her head with a blush.
"No, I don't mind, this is punishment, so I am fine with it. Umm... Is that all?"
Looking up at me, Jeanne's eyes seemed to be hoping for something, but surely, that must have been a delusion born from my lustful thoughts.
"...Oh, yeah, that's all. So, you have to do your best tomorrow."
To put Jeanne at ease, I played my captain role and encouraged her in a firm tone of voice.
Since Jeanne called what happened a punishment, there was no need for me to go out of my way to correct her.
"Very well—I understand! Thank you very much!"
Saluting to me, Jeanne fled to the washroom, picked up her male uniform in her arms and ran out of my room.
I exhaled deeply and lay down on my bed.
The soft sensation was still lingering clearly on my hand.
Despite my exhaustion, it looked like I was still going to have trouble falling asleep tonight.
While looking up at the familiar ceiling, I hoped that today's efforts could buy tomorrow's success in return.
"Wow! Jeanne-chan is so cute!"
"So surprised! Tia couldn't recognize you for a moment!"
The next morning—Seeing Jeanne at the dining hall dressed in the female uniform, Iris and Tia cheered.
"A dramatic makeover—Nevertheless, it is adorable and splendid indeed."
Lisa remarked with emotion while Firill kept staring at Jeanne's chest and narrowed her eyes suggestively.
Mitsuki nodded in acknowledgement and placed her hand on her own chest.
"Yes, definitely big, so envi—C-Cough, hmm, J-Jeanne-san, binding your chest forcibly is bad for your health, you know?"
Halfway through, Mitsuki came to her senses and reminded Jeanne solemnly.
"That's true. Maybe you shouldn't bind your chest when wearing male clothes in the future."
"Mm, I agree, otherwise it's a shame."
Ariella and Ren agreed with Mitsuki's viewpoint.
"—Understood, I will take your advice to heart. So I don't look weird, right?"
Jeanne sought the opinion of the girls and spun around on the spot. My heart raced when her skirt fluttered but I would expect her to be wearing underwear properly right now.
Forgetting to wear underwear to school was probably a mistake only Iris would make.
"Yes, no problem. But Jeanne-chan, what changed your mind? You were so embarrassed previously..."
Kili asked in surprise.
"Well—Naturally, it's because I want to commute to and from school together with Zwei and the Captain. Causing commotions like this the whole time, I can't even enter the cafeteria."
Jeanne smiled at Shion but she seemed quite conscious of the shortness of her skirt.
"I still feel a bit bashful... but since the Captain said it looked fine, I will surely step out and walk openly."
Jeanne looked at me with warm eyes.
"Oh? ...So Nii-san already saw Jeanne-san in this attire beforehand."
Mitsuki looked at me accusingly.
"Oh right, she showed it to me last night when we had a discussion."
With a bad feeling, I nodded stiffly. I looked at Jeanne, hoping to convey to her not to say anything unnecessary, but I had totally dug my own grave.
"Captain—Sorry for embarrassing myself before you last night."
Making eye contact with me, Jeanne apologized. Seeing this, Kili frowned lightly.
"Embarrassing yourself huh? So it appears you two were doing something together."
"It was a great failure of unspeakable proportions. However, instead of punishing me harshly, the Captain simply applied a gentle touch—or rather, a grab, before letting me off."
Blushing, Jeanne exhaled hot breath.
"What dost thou mean by 'a grab'?"
Next, Vritra, who had been eating breakfast quietly, questioned harshly.
I frantically tried to stop her but it was too late.
"He grabbed my bottom."
When Jeanne revealed the answer, I was bathed under the icy gazes from everyone.
"Wait, there were many reasons for that..."
"No matter what reasons you had, Nii-san, the quantity of repentance essays shall not change."
Despite my intention to explain, Mitsuki had already mercilessly ordered the submission of repentance essays.
Misunderstandings were definitely something that must be cleared up on the spot. I was made painfully aware of this lesson.
After breakfast, which felt as though I was sitting on a bed of nails, it was finally time for Jeanne to head off to school in her female uniform.
A great number of girls had gathered outside the entrance. Standing at the entrance hall, I could already hear the commotion outside.
"Well then, Captain, I will head out first to show everyone my current look."
Jeanne spoke with determination on her face
"Ah yes, good luck."
Having lost my standing completely in the earlier incident, I could only wave and see her out the door.
When the automatic door at the entrance opened, the girls' cheering flooded in.
However, the instant Jeanne stepped out the door, the cheering turned into the noise of confusion—then silence gradually spread.
Sure enough, Jeanne in female attire had delivered an intense shock to them.
Despite changing her clothing, Jeanne remained beautiful as always. Hence, she should not be mistaken for someone else. She was simply born with the requisite elements for handsome youths and beautiful maidens.
Surprised by this, the girls would soon come to realize Jeanne's true charm.
—Hmm? Uh... Was that really okay?
I discovered there was a problem in my logic somewhere.
I seemed to have missed something, but this answer was swiftly revealed too.
The unprecedented yelling echoed in the surroundings, shaking the air.
Frightened by the noise, Shion hugged me tightly at the waist.
Engulfed by overwhelming cheering, Jeanne was rooted to the spot in shock.
"Jeanne-sama! You changed into a girl's uniform today!"
"So beautiful! I've fallen in love with you all over again!"
"Umm, may I have a photo with you—"
"No matter which look, Jeanne-sama is always the best!"
Eyes bloodshot with excitement, the girls all pushed towards Jeanne.
"H-How did it turn out like this!?"
Kicking against the dorm wall, Jeanne jumped out, escaping the instant before the tide of girls devoured her.
"—Sorry Zwei, we can't go to school together today either!"
Yelling in despair, Jeanne ran at full speed.
"Jeanne-sama! Please wait for us—!"
Chasing after Jeanne, the girls looked completely the same as usual.
Just as I had told Jeanne last night, she was very attractive regardless which gender she dressed up as. Furthermore, the girls all knew she was female to begin with. Hence, they were not going to be disillusioned even if Jeanne were to wear female clothing. I should have thought of that.
On further thought, back when I was cross-dressing during the school festival, the girls were also inexplicably excited.
Iris murmured in disappointment.
"...Mama iS gOne."
Very looking forward to today, Shion now looked like she was about to cry.
Looking at Shion, I mustered my resolve.
It was too naive to expect this commotion to end once Jeanne stopped wearing male clothing.
Frankly speaking, I had thought of another solution but I made the call on my own that there was no need to go that far. However—
"Don't worry, Shion. Mama will definitely go to school with you tomorrow."
I stroked her soft hair and declared.
"Yes, I promise you."
I nodded firmly and committed myself to ending this commotion tomorrow.
Roughly twenty-four hours later...
A large crowd of girls were gathered in front of the dorm like yesterday.
"Captain, you really have a solution?"
Hearing the noisy clamor outside the entrance, Jeanne asked uneasily.
Since yesterday's solution had failed miserably, Jeanne had switched back to her male uniform today. However, following Mitsuki and the others' advice, she did not bind her chest. Nevertheless, coming from inside the male uniform, the bulge of her ample bust presented an unusual sense of allure. Still, now was not the time to be faltering.
"Yes, leave it to me."
I promised firmly and walked to the automatic door together with Jeanne.
"Do your best, Mononobe!"
"Take care, Nii-san."
Iris and the girls watched over us from the entrance hall.
"Don't worry, you'll definitely be able to go to school with Mama today."
I waved to the worried Shion and exited the dorm with Jeanne.
As usual, the cheering started.
However, to suppress the girls' cries of "Jeanne-sama!", I took a step forward and glared at them.
The girls suddenly stopped with hesitation on their faces.
"Oh, umm, Yuu-sama... What's the matter?"
One girl asked nervously.
Rather than fearing me, it looked more like they were unsure what to do. After making eye contact with me, all of them turned red and looked lost.
Like what Lisa had said—getting involved with me, a genuine man, required committed resolve from these girls. That was why they had pounced on Jeanne, a choice that needed neither resolve nor hesitation.
However, I had to put an end to this. Even if it brought resentment from the girls—
"Sorry, but could you stop this kind of excessive pursuit? You're really bothering Jeanne."
"N-No way... We're only—"
The girls complained but I interrupted them and announced in a forceful tone of voice.
"You have objections, right? But I will protect Jeanne from now on. Don't even think of touching even Jeanne's finger while I'm here."
Saying that, I held Jeanne's shoulder and pulled her towards me.
Turning red, Jeanne was very shaken, but she must endure right now.
I had to demonstrate for certain right here that approaching Jeanne meant getting involved with me. If I did that, most girls would feel afraid and that would reduce their pursuit of Jeanne.
Becoming an obstacle for them, I would be a target of contempt, right...? But it could not be avoided. Compared to my own reputation, Shion's smile was more important.
However, I noticed that the surrounding girls were acting strangely.
I expected them to direct hostility at me, but they were staring at Jeanne and me while blushing.
The girl directly in front of me suddenly started to murmur with a fervent expression.
Next, the other girls began to whisper with their neighbors with blushing faces.
"Yes, it's wonderful..."
"What is up with this kind of feeling...?"
"Seeing Yuu-sama and Jeanne-sama pressed together, why do I feel my chest tighten—"
"Don't you get it, everyone? This is..."
"Ehhh—No way! But definitely..."
"To be able to see this kind of scene in real life—"
The whispering gradually grew louder as the girls got excited on their own.
A subtle chill ran along my back. I called out in trepidation.
Next, the girls suddenly stopped. After saying "Excuse us! From now on, we'll watch over you two from afar!", they all took off together.
Left behind, Jeanne and I watched, rooted to the spot, while they departed.
"Captain, did we succeed?"
"I-I guess. But what's with this annoying premonition?"
"Hmm... I feel it too."
Then Firill, who had stayed inside the entrance hall to observe the situation, came over and patted me on the shoulder.
"You have opened a new door for everyone. Mononobe-kun plus cross-dressing Jeanne... This combination is a bit too stimulating."
Instead of answering, Firill smiled mysteriously.
However, Shion hugged me from behind so I left things at that for now.
With the excited Shion holding our hands, Jeanne and I walked to school together.
Incidentally, my question would be cleared up a week later—When I found out that a self-published work based on Jeanne and me, written in aesthetic style, had leaked out.
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