Unlimited Fafnir:Volume 5 Chapter 1
Chapter 1 - Unreturned Memories
"Nii-san, wake up! Nii-san!"
Calling me loudly, someone was shaking my body, rousing my consciousness from deep sleep.
When I woke to a start, before my eyes was a familiar face.
A beautiful girl with gorgeous long black hair. Currently, she was pouting childishly. Rather than beautiful, cute would probably be a better description.
She—Mononobe Mitsuki—was my younger sister. Despite having no blood relations, we apparently lived together since childhood as family.
The reason why this sounded so vague was because it was purely knowledge. I lack the basis to support this knowledge... Memories.
I had now lost my memories from when Mitsuki and I were family in the past. To download data on the lost weapon for fighting Hraesvelgr, the price I paid was overwriting all memories prior to three years ago.
Hence, right in front of my face, glaring at me, she was nothing more than just a beautiful girl.
My heart raced. Unable to stare at her eyes directly from up close, I avoided eye contact.
"G-Good morning, Mitsuki."
I greeted her hoarsely.
"Do not give me 'good morning'! It is past 7am, you know? Hurry, get changed and come to the dining hall."
I found the alarm clock next to my pillow by touch and checked the time.
"Oh... I'm so sorry."
Normally, I got up at 6:30am but I seemed to have forgotten to set my alarm.
I frantically tried to get up but I felt a sharp pain when I applied force on my left hand.
I frowned and drew out my left hand from under the covers, only to see a new swelling near the dragon mark on the back of my left hand.
I remember something similar happening before. Not long after defeating "White" Leviathan, a scar had appeared next to my dragon mark, then after that—I became able to create antigravitational matter.
"Nii-san, what is with that wound?"
However, Mitsuki peered at my left hand, purely worried about me.
"I probably scratched it on something while I was asleep. This isn't anything serious, so don't worry. It'll heal up soon on its own."
Perhaps I might be able to perform new transmutations. Although this was possible, since there was no proof, I simply glossed over it randomly for now. First, I should confer with Principal Charlotte B. Lord since she had suspected a causal link between scars on the dragon mark and obtaining powers.
"No! What if it gets infected? I will bring the first aid kit. Please wait, Nii-san."
Saying that, Mitsuki frantically rushed out of the room without waiting for my answer, apparently forgetting that she was still angry a moment ago.
Left alone in the room, I exhaled.
It was the third day after returning from the Principality of Erlia with the intense showdown against "Yellow" Hraesvelgr.
Finally free of battle fatigue and jet lag, my body had returned to normal.
But I was still unused to playing the role of Mitsuki's older brother properly.
I had not lost my memories at Midgard, so I knew how to get along with Mitsuki. But even so, my acting was still poor.
Mitsuki treated me as family and would interact with me at this kind of distance, but it troubled me and made me involuntarily nervous.
I had considered coming clean to her.
Seeing as I did not consider Mitsuki family on an emotional level, I should not be feeling excessive fear towards hurting her with the truth.
But in actual fact, I could not say it no matter what. Whenever I wanted to bring it up to her, I found myself unable to make a sound.
It was almost like the real me was holding me by the throat, telling me "don't hurt Mitsuki."
Hence, I was still playing the role of Mitsuki's older brother—while simultaneously tormented with the guilt of continued deceit.
Soon after, Mitsuki returned to the room and placed the first aid kit on the bed.
"Then I shall treat it for you, Nii-san. Please hold out your left hand."
As soon as I extended my left hand, Mitsuki grabbed it without hesitation. The feeling of her hand, a size smaller than mine, was making my heart race. Nervousness froze my body.
"It might sting a little, so please endure it."
I made a small groan reflexively when the antiseptic was applied to the wound. Mitsuki immediately held my hand firmly and smiled gently at me.
"Do not worry, it will be done in a second."
As though coaxing a child, Mitsuki then wiped the antiseptic with cotton and applied a large band-aid to the wound.
Mitsuki released my hand and ended the treatment.
"Not at all, you are welcome."
Mitsuki answered with a delighted smile.
"It feels like... you're very happy."
Feeling strange, I asked her. Mitsuki widened her eyes and showed surprise on her face.
"Is that how I look?"
"Then perhaps it is because—It has been a while since I finally got the chance to look after you, Nii-san. Because lately, you seem to be helping me all the time."
Mitsuki scratched her face, seemingly quite embarrassed and turned her back to me.
"Well then, Nii-san, get changed quickly and come to the dining hall, because I would like to eat breakfast together with you."
Saying that, Mitsuki left the room without looking back.
"Got it, I'm freshen up and get changed as fast as I can."
Touching the band-aid Mitsuki had applied for me, playing the role of her older brother, I replied.
Twenty-five years ago, the first dragon suddenly appeared in the sky above Japan—"Black" Vritra.
Causing massive calamity while moving across the world, Vritra had vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.
And starting from that point in time, children possessing the same ability as Vritra's began to be born among humans.
These children were known as Ds.
Just by thinking silently, these Ds were able to generate dark matter that could be transmuted into all kinds of substances. Currently, they were gathered to live at Midgard, an island far south of Japan with a diameter of several kilometers.
But three years ago, instead of Midgard, it was the military organization NIFL, in charge of handling dragon-related matters, that took me in.
I went through combat training at NIFL to become a member of the special forces team Sleipnir. Then for the next three years, I fought as a soldier on various battlefields. One day, I was suddenly reassigned to Midgard, and now, I was studying at the Academy like all the other Ds.
Indeed—Midgard was the self-governed educational institute of the Ds. Since Ds lost their powers after getting pregnant or reaching the age of twenty or so, all Ds at Midgard were at an age meant to attend school.
Life was very fulfilling and full of fun, going to school with people of the same generation. However, if there was one thing I felt unaccustomed to, it was the fact that there were no boys apart from me.
Although the reason was unknown, all Ds were born female. Currently I was the lone exception as a male D with the power to generate dark matter.
Hence, after Mitsuki and I left the dorm and started on our way to school, we became surrounded by school girls when reached the intersection where the road forked off to the girls dormitories.
When I first arrived in Midgard, the girls would stare at me from afar, making me feel very uncomfortable. But after returning from the Principality of Erlia, the situation got uncomfortable in a different sense.
When Mitsuki and I appeared before the commuting school girls, they instantly screamed and cheered.
I jumped in fright instantly while Mitsuki calmly greeted them "Good morning, everyone."
Immediately the surrounding girls replied in unison.
Everyone stopped and gazed intently at us. Walking side by side with Mitsuki, I felt uncomfortable all over.
"What's with this situation..."
Hearing my quiet mutterings, Mitsuki looked up and said to me:
"This is the way things are. Because Brynhildr Class is currently regarded as the equivalent of heroes in Midgard."
"What heroes? That's way too exaggerated."
Hearing my answer, Mitsuki exhaled in exasperation.
"You are lacking in self-awareness, Nii-san. In anti-dragon combat so far, Brynhildr Class has always served as the mainstay of our forces. Apart from that, last time, we even defeated Hraesvelgr which was thought to be 'impossible to defeat by group tactics alone,' so being the center of attention is only natural."
"Hmm... Is that the way it works?"
Hraesvelgr was recognized as the hardest foe to deal with. For people to rejoice and feel particularly relieved after finding out that such a dragon had been vanquished, that I could sympathize. When Basilisk was defeated, everyone was ecstatic too.
But I got the feeling that this type of attention was different from last time's.
"But in your case, Nii-san, rather than a hero, it would be better to say you are seen as a prince."
Hearing this term that suited me poorly, I felt quite troubled.
"This stems mostly from your relationship with Firill-san. Ever since returning to Midgard, rumor has it that she talked to many people about you, Nii-san, saying that you are like her Prince Charming—"
For some reason, Mitsuki's tone of voice was somewhat displeased.
Firill was my classmate who got targeted by Hraesvelgr. She was also a princess from the Principality of Erlia. I paid a heavy price to obtain victory in the fight to protect her.
"What Prince Charming, that's even more embarrassing than a hero..."
"However, Nii-san, you look very happy despite your claims on the contrary."
Mitsuki glared coldly and me then murmured quietly:
"...At this rate, someone might violate the rule against inappropriate interactions between the genders. I must pay more attention."
"Huh? Did you say something?"
"—Please pay it no mind. I was simply talking to myself."
Mitsuki replied coldly then quickened her pace.
I tried to ignore the surrounding gazes as much as possible and followed Mitsuki.
"Umm! G-Good morning!"
Along the way, several school girls greeted me. Seeing their eyes flash with excitement, I replied despite feeling troubled.
"Oh, good morning."
Immediately, the girls blushed intensely and ran away. This situation repeated itself many times, but for some reason, Mitsuki's mood got increasingly worse.
"Nii-san, surely you must be happy to be so popular, but do not get carried away and disrupt public morals, okay?"
Mitsuki looked up to glare at me and warned.
Oppressed by her inexplicably intimidating vigor, I nodded involuntarily. Perhaps feeling the tense atmosphere exuded by Mitsuki, fewer students came to talk to me after that.
However, there were also people who would not need to worry about that, namely, our classmates who belonged to Brynhildr Class.
"Oh, it's Yuu and Mitsuki!"
A joyful voice sounded from ahead.
Coming into view in front of us were some of our classmates. Since Mitsuki and I were walking rapidly, we soon caught up to them.
"Good morning, Yuu! Mitsuki!"
The first to notice us was a young girl. She greeted us energetically. Between the strands of her pale hair, which looked pink under the light, two red horns protruded.
This girl was named Tia Lightning. Roughly two months ago, she had gotten out of the dragon-worshiping cult, the Sons of Muspell, taken into custody and sent to Midgard here. Her horns were not decorations but real horns conferred to her through the biogenic transmutation of dark matter by Kili Surtr Muspelheim, the leader of the Sons of Muspell.
Then the other girls in Tia's company greeted us too.
"Good morning, both of you."
Turning around with fluttering long blonde hair was Lisa Highwalker.
Despite her strict attitude towards me, she was a girl who helped others generously and was very considerate for her friends. It would not be a stretch to say that Brynhildr Class was united with her as the center.
"Good morning, Mitsuki, Mononobe-kun."
Next to greet us were the tomboyish Ariella Lu and the reticent redhaired Ren Miyazawa.
"Good morning, everyone."
Mitsuki and I waved our hands in response.
However, there was one last person present—Firill Crest—holding a paperback in her hand. Instead of greeting us, she silently approached me.
I looked at Firill doubtfully, only to see her close up her paperback, spread her arms and approach me with a hug.
Hidden under her uniform, two massive bulges pressed against me. That soft sensation was making my face heat up.
Watching from a distance, there was a commotion among girls.
"...Good morning, Mononobe-kun."
Standing on tiptoe, Firill whispered in my ear. Feeling her breath against my ear, my heart jumped intensely.
"Wait, Firill-san! What are you doing suddenly!?"
"I'm not doing anything. This is just a hug. An ordinary method of greeting, filled with love."
However, Firill answered nonchalantly in a calm tone of voice.
Despite hearing noisy screams and cheering in the surroundings, she seemed completely unfazed.
Intimidated by her forcefulness, Mitsuki could not help but falter.
"It's so unfair that Firill gets a hug! Tia wanna hug too!"
Tia circled around behind me and hugged me from behind. Sandwiched between the two girls, I could not move.
Despite her young age, Tia's body still had feminine curves, no matter how small, and the softness unique to girls. Surrounded by the two girls' body warmth and fragrance, I could not help but feel dizzy.
"Even Tia-san too! Even if it is a greeting, this excessive intimacy is forbidden in public. It is detrimental to public morals!"
Red in the face, Mitsuki forced the two girls to separate from me.
"Mitsuki so stingy!"
Tia grumbled unhappily while Firill backed away obediently.
"Sorry, then I'll pick somewhere without people next time."
However, Firill left behind those words when she returned to Lisa's side.
"That is even more unacceptable!"
Mitsuki yelled angrily, glaring at me with her face blushing to her ears.
"Nii-san, stop letting others have their way with you. Fewer problems would arise if only you could pay more attention."
"I-I'll be more careful."
Intimidated by Mitsuki, I could only nod.
"—Putting that aside, I wonder what's up with Iris? Why hasn't she appeared..."
To change the subject, I looked for the girl who was not here. Including me, Brynhildr Class had a total of eight students. One person was still missing—Iris Freyja.
"Speaking of Iris-san, she overslept. We decided to leave for school first because she did not leave her room and it was getting late."
Lisa sighed while answering me.
"I see... But anyway, I guess she's always like this."
Iris was a bit airheaded, often oversleeping or forgetting things.
"Had I not roused you from bed, Nii-san, you would have overslept too."
Hearing Mitsuki murmur that softly, Lisa looked at me in amazement.
"Don't tell me that you require Mitsuki-san to rouse you from bed every day?"
"N-Not every day. It's just once in a while when I oversleep."
"If you rely on Mitsuki-san to wake you up, that means the same thing. Goodness gracious... If you are still dependent on your younger sister, that means you are not a full-fledged man, got that? Look, your hair is sticking up a bit."
Saying that, Lisa smoothed my hair in a natural motion.
Seeing me and Lisa close together, surrounding girls screamed "kyah!" instantly again. Hearing the screams, Lisa instantly became self-aware and rapidly left me with her face bright red.
"W-What did you make me do!?"
"You're asking me? ...Lisa, you touched my hair on your own."
Feeling a bit shaken inside, I gave a matter-of-fact counterargument.
Watching our interactions, Firill smiled warmly and placed her hand on Lisa's shoulder.
"I understand how you feel, Lisa. Mononobe-kun is clearly so handsome, but he doesn't put up his guard against others. It makes you want to look after him, right?"
"Indeed, perhaps there is that side to him... Wrong, I am simply agreeing with what you said about him lacking vigilance! I don't find him handsome at all!"
Pointing at me with her finger, Lisa spoke in rapid fire.
Then as though trying to hide her reddened face, she turned her back to me and strode off to school.
"Time to go, everyone. If we keep chatting here, all of us will be late."
"Oh, wait for me, Lisa."
Firill ran after Lisa and we followed.
Watching us from afar, the other girls cheered and screamed noisily while resuming on their way.
Looking around, I found that the bystander crowd had increased a lot without me noticing.
I normally only had contact with my classmates, but whenever I was surrounded by girls from other homerooms like this, I got overwhelmed by the totally one-sided gender ratio.
Fortunately, class sizes were less than ten people in Midgard's system. I could not help but feel thankful for this bit of good luck.
"Iris... is so late."
I arrived at school with Lisa and the others but Iris still did not appear when the bell rang for homeroom to begin.
The seat to my left remained empty. Sitting to my right, Mitsuki also had a worried expression.
"Shinomiya-sensei is already here."
After Mitsuki spoke, the classroom door immediately opened and our homeroom teacher, Shinomiya-sensei, entered.
This woman was Midgard's commander and also held the rank of colonel.
Shinomiya-sensei's black ponytail swayed behind her as she stood at the lectern.
Hence, Mitsuki commanded the class.
After confirming everyone had bowed and sat down, Shinomiya-sensei spoke.
"There are several important announcements today. Before that, let me inform you of Iris Freyja's condition. She is absent with a fever today, probably due to long-distance travel fatigue. If anyone else feels unwell, please report immediately to me and don't strain yourself."
After listening to the teacher, the students began to whisper to one another.
"...So she overslept because of a fever. If only I had checked carefully."
I heard Lisa murmuring in regret.
I worried about Iris too while thinking back to what had happened at the Principality of Erlia.
Iris had tried her hardest to recount to me my shared memories with Mitsuki that I had told her before I lost them, then comforted me, declaring she would definitely help me recover my memories.
Probably due to this psychological burden, she was much more exhausted than the others. Perhaps I was partly to blame for Iris' fever.
"Shinomiya-sensei, can I visit her after school?"
I raised my hand and asked the teacher.
"It's fine for the others, but since you are male... Entering a girls dormitory is rather inconvenient."
However, Shinomiya-sensei showed hesitation.
"Back when I was hospitalized from the battle against Kili, Iris came to visit me, so I'd like to cheer her up a bit."
Even so, I still pleaded with Shinomiya-sensei and did not give up. Arms crossed, she contemplated silently for a while.
"Hmm... Considering your merits during the battle against Hraesvelgr, I suppose a small wish of this sort ought to be indulged. So long as you adhere to my conditions, I can authorize you to visit her."
"Yes. Firstly, you must obtain Iris Freyja's consent. Secondly, a student of that dorm must accompany you. Thirdly, you are not allowed to enter unnecessary places. Finally, you must leave the dorm before curfew."
Shinomiya-sensei raised four fingers and spoke.
"Very well. If you obtain Iris Freyja's consent and find someone to accompany you, report back to me during homeroom after sixth period."
After saying that, Shinomiya-sensei swept her gaze around the room once.
"—Any other questions? Then I will begin the announcements."
Shinomiya-sensei cleared her throat, paused for a moment then informed us solemnly.
"First of all, some not so good news. Hekatonkheir seems to have reappeared."
"In the end, it still appeared!?"
Mitsuki remarked with worry.
"Yes, it seems that Hekatonkheir still can't be killed permanently. Although it is not showing any signs of advancing here, we cannot rule out the possibility of it suddenly appearing in Midgard like last time, so please be prepared at all times, everyone."
Shinomiya-sensei demanded everyone's attention with a solemn expression then relaxed her demeanor.
"Then let's talk about the next item, which is not so serious a topic, although it might be a bit laborious for you..."
Shinomiya-sensei looked at us as though enjoying our misfortune.
"By laborious, do you mean we have another mission?"
Lisa asked Shinomiya-sensei.
"Well, in a certain sense, it does count as a special mission. Suggested by the principal—A school festival will be held one month later."
Lisa spoke in puzzlement. The rest of us were equally surprised.
"When Midgard first started operating as a school, the number of Ds was quite small. The only event held was probably just the Christmas party at the end of the year. But now that the number of students and homerooms has increased, it should be possible to hold a relatively lively event—That's what the principal thinks."
After reaching this point in her explanation, Shinomiya-sensei lowered her voice slightly.
"This event was proposed not only for the students but also includes the significance of external promotion. I hope you will treat this school festival as a chance to make up for our mission failure last time."
I frowned, not knowing what this was about.
The last mission was heading to Firill's homeland, the Principality of Erlia, to protect Kili Surtr Muspelheim and transport her to Midgard.
However, Hraesvelgr attacked during the mission. Although we managed to defeat the dragon, Kili went missing.
But what did that have to do with holding a school festival?
"Kili Surtr Muspelheim publicly stated that NIFL has been eliminating anti-social Ds all this time. The influence of that statement still persists. And our inability to protect her has also marred Midgard's credibility. Thus, we are forced to prove to the outside world that Midgard is an educational institute, composed of Ds and founded for Ds."
"Speaking of which, will many external visitors come to attend the school festival?"
After hearing the explanation, Lisa asked.
Indeed, if we had to make a statement to the outside world, there would be no point unless we entertained external visitors.
"Yes, we plan to invite VIPs from various countries, major sponsors, and relatives of students. Naturally, all of them will go through strict background checks."
Hearing this word, I felt my heart jump violently. Having lost my memories from before I was taken to NIFL, I could not even recall the faces of my parents. How was I supposed to face them if they came?
"Nii-san—We might be able to see Father and Mother."
But in contrast to my internal panic, Mitsuki said happily to me.
I smiled clumsily and nodded.
"Every homeroom will be required to prepare an activity for the school festival. Since Iris Freyja is absent today, we will delay the decision for now. I will find another time for you to discuss but before that, please plan your proposals. Also, Mononobe Yuu—"
Shinomiya-sensei called my name at the end.
Wondering what it was about, I raised my hand and responded.
"The principal apparently wishes to speak to you regarding the school festival. Please report to the principal's office during lunch."
Although I had no idea why she wanted to see me, this was perfect, because I wanted to discuss with the principal about the wound that had appeared next to my dragon mark.
Feeling the band-aid on my left hand that Mitsuki had applied for me, I wondered what the principal wanted to talk to me about—
When the lunch break arrived, I went to the principal's office as instructed.
The clock tower was where the Academy's important facilities were gathered. Destroyed by Hekatonkheir at one point, it had been rebuilt during our expedition to take down Basilisk. It was only now that I finally stepped into the restored clock tower for the first time.
I originally thought the principal's office might have been relocated, but the internal layout seemed almost identical to before. The principal's office was still on the clock tower's top level.
"—You came at the right time, Mononobe Yuu."
I knocked and entered the room. Originally doing paperwork at her desk, the young blue-eyed blonde instantly looked up. At first glance, she seemed to be a girl the same age or slightly younger than me, but in fact, she was Midgard's chief administrator, Principal Charlotte B. Lord. The woman standing next to her, dressed as a maid, was the principal's secretary, Mica Stuart-san.
This room was the same as when I visited before. The curtains were tightly shut with a dim interior.
"Umm, I heard you wanted to talk to me about the school festival..."
I brought up the subject while feeling slightly nervous.
"Yes, there is one problem regarding the matter of inviting external visitors to take part in the school festival, but before that—"
The principal narrowed her eyes, stood up from her seat and approached me.
"Show me your left hand."
She turned her gaze to the back of my left hand where a band-aid had been applied, then ordered me.
Impressed by how observant she was, I obediently extended my left hand.
"Is there any change in the dragon mark?"
"Actually, just like last time, a swelling appeared—Oh, hold on, I'll peel it myself."
I stopped the principal who was about to tear it off, and removed the band-aid carefully. To avoid causing Mitsuki unnecessary worry, I intended to put it back on later.
The principal stared at the exposed wound on my left hand then as before, extended her little red tongue and licked my wound.
"...I-I was curious since last time. What do you learn by licking like this?"
I felt a bit of a sting from the wound along with a tickling sense of pleasure, forcing me to shudder.
"This is my personal method of diagnosis, don't mind it."
"Method of diagnosis..."
Ignoring my puzzlement, the principal stared at the wound, moistened by saliva.
"—Just as expected, it doesn't disappear. Perhaps the fundamental properties themselves changed. Looks like it's a wound of the same nature as last time."
The principal muttered words which I could not quite understand. Despite merely licking with her tongue, the principal seemed to have conducted many analyses.
I called to her, hoping she could explain and help me understand. She looked up and glared at me.
"So—Have you tried it?"
"Tried it? Tried what?"
I asked in puzzlement, but the principal went "how dense" and sighed.
"Of course I'm asking if you tried to see whether you can perform new transmutations."
"...No, not yet."
Because I thought trying randomly might be dangerous, I wanted to confer with the principal first.
"Really? Then try it here."
"Eh? Are you sure? Shouldn't I go to a training site..."
"Don't worry, as long as you control the dark matter generated to a very small amount, even if there's an accident, effects will be minor."
I nodded then generated a sphere of dark matter on my left hand with a radius of one centimeter.
"—Great, what will it be this time? Speaking of which, so-called Ds are the rare people who wield the same ability as 'Black' Vritra. And among them, Mononobe Mitsuki even obtained the antimatter controlled by 'Purple' Kraken' whereas you have reproduced 'White' Leviathan's ability through antigravitational matter..."
The principal stared at the small sphere of dark matter hovering over my palm, then continued with excitement on her face:
"Although I did not receive any report when Mononobe Mitsuki gained a new ability, your dragon mark went through an unusual change before you created antigravitational matter. If the current wound near the dragon mark has a causal link to obtaining new abilities, then you should have obtained a dragon's power. Come, try it out quickly and show me."
Like a child, the principal tugged my clothing and urged.
"Uh... Now that I think about it closely, how do I test it?"
Generated dark matter was transmuted according to transmitted thoughts, hence I could not create something I did not know about.
"First try recalling the powers exhibited by the dragons you fought and defeated. Either 'Red' Basilisk or 'Yellow' Hraesvelgr. Considering past precedents, these two dragon's powers might very well have been inherited by Ds."
I listened to the principal's instructions and started to concentrate.
I first pictured the red light fired from "Red" Basilisk's eyes. The terrifying ability known as "Catastrophe," capable of speeding up time.
However, the dark matter on my left hand did not change
I recalled the appearance of "Yellow" Hraesvelgr that I had fought in the Principality of Erlia.
Hraesvelgr used golden particles as a medium and possessed a power known as "Ether Wind," capable of manifesting souls.
Then just as I pictured the particles enveloping Hraesvelgr's body, shining with golden light, instantly, the dark matter on my palm changed into tiny glittering particles.
The particles shone with golden radiance. Flying up lightly into the air, they faded then finally disappeared.
"Wow, so you succeeded! What was that just now? Which dragon's power were you thinking of?"
With reddened cheeks, the principal asked me.
"Uh, just now, that was probably... the particles hanging around Hraesvelgr, capable of manifesting souls."
Amidst the delightful surprise of succeeding in a new transmutation, I answered the principal excitedly.
"Yes, Hraesvelgr's power, that's truly wonderful. Let's run through examinations and tests more concretely in a few days. Please cooperate when the time comes."
I was grateful too for a more definite check. After antigravitational matter, I seemed to have gained the ability to use Hraesvelgr's power, but this further baffled me right now.
Because speaking of which, I still had no idea what was the root reason why I became able to use the powers of dragons. To be honest, I did not feel happy about becoming stronger.
"However, if that was Hraesvelgr's ability just now, then there's a problem."
Seeing the principal's worried expression, I cocked my head in puzzlement.
"Indeed, you tried to reproduce Basilisk's ability, right?"
"Yeah, but nothing happened."
"In that case, where exactly did Basilisk's ability go? Basilisk was defeated before Hraesvelgr, right?"
Hearing what the principal said, I understood what worried her.
"You mean that someone else apart from me has already inherited Basilisk's power?"
I asked cautiously and the principal nodded solemnly.
"That's the only natural conclusion. Perhaps she has not noticed or is deliberately hiding it... There are many possibilities. But leave it to me to think about how to handle this."
Saying that, the principal left me and walked to her desk.
After sitting down forcefully on her grand chair, resting her elbows on the desk, she clasped her hands together, fingers crossed, looking extremely impressive. No—In fact, she really was quite impressive.
"Mononobe Yuu, please do not use Hraesvelgr's power lightly before you are examined. I will notify you of the examination time later."
"Got it, then I'll be on my way."
"Okay—No wait, wait! We didn't get to the main point!"
Just as I turned around to leave, the principal called to me frantically.
"Oh right, I was called here about the school festival."
I originally thought the conversation had ended, but scratched my head.
"That's right. Mica, hurry and get it done."
Mica had been waiting on standby in a corner of the room. Receiving the principal's order, she approached me.
"W-What's going on?"
Seeing me get nervous and wary involuntarily, Mica-san smiled sweetly.
"Don't worry, it will be over in an instant if you stay still."
Saying that, Mica-san knelt down and suddenly rolled my pants up.
"Uwah, hold on..."
"You have good-looking legs."
Ignoring my distress, Mica-san then rolled up my sleeves as well, staring at me as though confirming something. Then taking out a measuring tape from a pocket in her maid uniform, she started taking various measurements of my body. Due to being so close, Mica-san's massive bust was touching me through our clothing.
Troubled because I had no idea what she was doing to me, combined with repeated contact with that soft bosom, my mind was already blank.
"My apologies, please endure a while longer, next is here and there...... Done, thank you for your cooperation."
Mica-san put away her measuring tape, bowed to me and walked away. Only after the soft sensation left me did I finally come to my senses.
"W-What the heck was that?"
I turned my gaze to the principal and demanded an explanation.
"Hmm, actually—No, I'd better not say for now. I'll tell you once preparations are complete. After all, it'd be a pain if you fled."
"I have a very bad feeling about this... Please tell me clearly."
Seeing the principal make an evil smile, I felt a chill along my back.
"Fufufu, it's best that you don't ask. Because if you found out, you probably won't be able to focus on preparing for the school festival."
"What... the heck are you planning—"
"Secret. Very well, we're done here. Get lost. Mica, show him the way out."
"Yes, thank you for your efforts."
Pushing my back, Mica-san drove me out of the principal's office.
"What the heck was that..."
Although the possibility that someone had inherited Basilisk's dangerous ability was quite unsettling, what gave me an ominous feeling was the principal's smile instead.
Hence, I walked to the classroom while not knowing what the future had in store for me.
"So this is the girls dorm..."
After school, after emailing Iris to get permission to visit, I came with my classmates to the girls dorm where they lived.
Although the original condition was to ask someone to accompany me, since my classmates wanted to visit Iris too, everyone came with me except for Mitsuki who had student council work to do. Instead, Mitsuki prepared concise and easily-understood notes on today's lessons for me to take along.
"Please don't snoop around. It's very vulgar."
I looked up at the curved architectural design of the dorm but Lisa glared at me coldly.
"Come on... No matter what, it's not like I'll have lustful intentions from looking at a building."
I sighed and responded. Immediately, Firill peered at my face from the side and said:
"Really? I read in a book once that all men are perverts without exceptions."
"What the heck kind of book is that...? At least I'm not the kind of pervert that gets aroused by architecture."
"Then you're a different kind of pervert?"
"Stop nitpicking at my words."
Feeling that anything I said would be taken the wrong way, I slumped my shoulders dejectedly.
"Even if Yuu is a pervert, Tia doesn't mind at all!"
Although Tia tried her hardest to comfort me, my feelings were quite complicated.
"Tia, be careful what you say. If Mononobe-kun really is a pervert, he might do nasty things to you."
Hearing Ariella warn Tia in this manner, I became even more depressed.
"What are nasty things?"
"Huh? T-That's, umm..."
Questioned by Tia, Ariella went red in embarrassment. What the heck was she imagining?
Listening to such a conversation, Ren swiftly distanced herself from me.
I called to her but she glared at me with her face red. Now that the unfair label of pervert was imposed on me, Ren seemed to be guarding against me.
To avoid further provoking them, I decided to walk silently.
—Speaking of which, the person who had inherited Basilisk's power was possibly among these girls.
Rather, since the members of Brynhildr Class were the one who defeated Basilisk, the probability should be very high.
But as far as I knew, no one had reported an unusual symptoms after defeating Basilisk. Still, the principal said she would handle it, so I guess I should leave it to her for now.
Switching my thoughts, I passed through the dorm entrance.
The instant I entered the entrance hall, I felt cool air brush against my cheek.
The air conditioning was set at a suitable temperature and very comfortable. I saw the noticeboard in the entrance hall with all kinds of colored notices stuck there. Things seemed more vibrant here than Mitsuki's dorm. Due to the faint scent of girls indoors, I felt my heart rate rise inexplicably.
"Come this way."
I followed Lisa's guidance to head to Iris' room. Along the way, although I ran into girls from other classes several times, Lisa explained things for me each time.
Every room had a nameplate on the door. Judging from that, some students seemed to have roommates while others lived alone.
Walking along the second floor corridor, I reached Iris' room where the nameplate only had "Iris Freyja." It looked like Iris did not have a roommate.
"I shall enter first to tidy up the room. I expect it to be very messy still."
Saying that, Lisa knocked on the door.
"Iris-san, I'm coming in."
After confirming a muffled "Oh... Sure" response coming from inside, Lisa swiftly entered the room. Then we waited for roughly three minutes and the door opened from inside. Lisa waved to us.
"Please enter, it's now tidied up."
"...Pardon the intrusion."
I stepped into Iris' room nervously. During the trips to the volcanic island and the Principality of Erlia, I had entered rooms that were assigned to Iris at the time, but this was still my first time seeing her real bedroom, of course.
The floor was laid with a carpet with a calming color. A calendar hung on the wall. Unused spaces on furniture were decorated with photos and pretty shells, probably found on a Midgard beach.
Perhaps due to Lisa's tidying up, I did not find the place particularly messy.
Lying in bed, Iris smiled at us as we entered.
"Mononobe... Everyone... Thanks for coming to see me."
Iris thanked us in a feeble voice. I approached her and examined her face that was red from a fever.
"You look like you've got it rough... Are you okay?"
I brushed away her silver hair that was sticking to her forehead due to sweat. I touched her forehand with my palm to find that it really was quite hot.
"Hmm... Although it's rough, I've already taken my medicine... I'll get well soon enough, so don't worry."
I was slightly relieved to hear Iris' answer. Since she was allowed to rest in her own room after being diagnosed, it was probably not a severe flu. Since Midgard had a fully equipped medical building, a serious illness would have required her to be forcibly admitted to the medical building.
"These are the notes Mitsuki asked me to bring. It includes today's announcements and lesson content. Also, she asked me to tell you to take care."
I took out the notes from my school bag and placed them on the sideboard next to the bed.
"...Thanks, help me thank Mitsuki-chan."
I nodded. Then as though waiting for our conversation to wind down, Firill and the others instantly gathered around Iris' mattress and started talking to her.
"I bought jelly and sports drinks. I'll put them in the fridge."
Firill raised the plastic bag in her hand.
"I brought fruit. If you're hungry, let me peel an apple for you?"
Ariella held up a red apple and asked Iris
"Tia and Ren bought snacks together!"
Tia and Ren presented a gift box of snacks.
"Iris-san, get well soon."
After wiping off Iris' sweat, Lisa applied a cold sheet to her forehead.
"I'm so happy... everyone, thank you so much."
Perhaps feeling too touched, Iris had tears in the corners of her eyes while she thanked everyone.
Hence, after we encouraged Iris and did everything we could to look after her, Lisa said to Firill, Ariella, Ren and Tia:
"I think having so many of us here is too noisy and Iris-san will not be able to relax. Let us leave the rest to Mononobe Yuu."
"I agree. That way, Iris will cheer up more. Since she has a flu, I'll let her have special treatment just for today."
Firill smiled suggestively and nodded to concur.
"Eh? But is okay to let Mononobe-kun and Iris to be alone? It's because that's not too appropriate that Shinomiya-sensei added a condition to require someone to accompany them..."
However, Ariella objected with a slightly troubled expression.
"I will wait outside the door, so there won't be any problems. If Mononobe Yuu shows any signs of making an indecent move, I will rush into the room immediately and punish him."
Despite answering Ariella's question, Lisa glared sharply at me. I felt cold sweat slide down my cheek but this was probably her method of being considerate for me.
"I promise I won't do anything requiring punishment from you, Lisa."
Hearing me swear seriously, Lisa nodded with satisfaction.
"Please keep that promise no matter what. Then I shall leave Iris-san in your hands. I will escort you to exit the dorm when you're leaving."
Thus, the girls left the room one after another and the room suddenly felt spacious with a silent atmosphere.
"Why... is everyone being so nice?"
Lying in bed, Iris looked at the door and murmured.
"That's because they all love you, Iris."
Lisa would probably reply "because classmates in the same homeroom are family" but the way I saw it, everyone's actions stemmed from simple affection.
"Then... Is it the same for you, Mononobe?"
Blushing, Iris looked up at me and asked.
"W-Well—Yeah, compared to the others, I love you more, Iris. More than anyone, I worry more about you. That's why, for my sake, you have to get well soon."
Enduring my embarrassment, I answered her.
"For... you, Mononobe."
But for some reason, Iris' expression became gloomy.
Hearing her suddenly apologize to me, I was baffled.
"Right now, you're clearly the one suffering the most... Mononobe, you lost your memories with Mitsuki-chan and I clearly have to support you... I clearly promised to help you regain your memories... But I haven't done anything."
Iris showed chagrin in her face and forced these words out.
Only after hearing her say that did I understood how heavy a psychological burden Iris was bearing.
Since I had entrusted my memories with Mitsuki to Iris before I lost them, Iris was giving herself too much pressure, feeling that she must help me.
Furthermore, Iris had declared that she would help me recover my memories even if it meant defeating Yggdrasil.
Iris was sincerely angry and sad on my behalf about the theft of my memories.
Putting aside whether it was actually possible to regain my memories, Iris' thoughts and feelings were already giving me sufficient salvation.
However, Iris was seriously searching all this time for a way to recover my memories. Relentlessly challenging a question that had no answer would bring a lot of mental stress.
"Iris, you've already helped me enough. I'm the one who should apologize. Sorry for making you overexert yourself."
It was all because I relied too much on Iris. I was responsible for this.
"N-Not at all, Mononobe, you did nothing wrong."
"No, in my mind, I probably gave up on getting my memories back already. Earlier, I think I was shoving everything on you because I thought it's impossible to recover the memories. But doing that is wrong."
I spoke regretfully then chose to correct my mistake.
"From now on, I'll think carefully to see how I can get my memories back... I'll search for that method together with you, Iris, rather than have you shoulder everything alone."
I placed my hand on Iris' cheek and vowed while staring into her eyes.
Irisi' face was hot and her eyes moistened.
My heart was pounding loudly.
We were gazing at each other up close. Our faces naturally leaned in.
My mind was blanked out. All I could think about was Iris.
My heart rate increased. Our breaths mixed together.
Iris' lips, exhaling hot breath, was drawing me to them—
"Oh... N-No, you'll get my flu."
But just before our lips touched, Iris blocked her mouth with her hand.
Brought back to my senses, I frantically separated from her.
Although it was a bit embarrassing, amidst a silence that tugged at our heartstrings, Iris and I peered at each other's face.
"Mononobe, your face is so red."
"Because I've got a flu."
At the end of this exchange, we both laughed at the same time.
After our laughter resounded in the room and vanished—The room returned to silence, but it was a comforting kind of serenity.
"—Mononobe, thank you. I'm very happy that you're saying we'll find a way together."
After a while, Iris said calmly.
"You don't need to thank me. It's something that logically I'm supposed to do, but it's just that I haven't."
"Even so, I'm still very happy. To be honest, the only method I thought of is defeating Yggdrasil... But that doesn't necessarily mean your memories will recover for sure..."
Iris smiled wryly and confessed that she had run into a wall.
"Yeah, we know too little right now. It's not a good idea to blame Yggdrasil for everything."
"...Mononobe, do you really think Yggdrasil is standing on our side?"
Hearing me speak in support of Yggdrasil, Iris watched me with worry.
"I don't trust it completely. But thanks to Yggdrasil, I was able to save you and the others. That's the truth too. I'm very grateful to it about this and I'd like to uphold my contract with it."
"I obtained data on powerful weapons on the condition that I exterminate all dragons apart from Yggdrasil Excluding Vritra which has gone missing, the revived Hekatonkheir is the only dragon left. If that thing could be killed off completely... Yggdrasil's goal might be accomplished."
I thought of the dragons that had been vanquished so far while I spoke. Two years ago, "Purple" Kraken was taken out. In the last three months, we defeated "White" Leviathan, "Red" Basilisk and "Yellow" Hraesvelgr. Of the original seven dragons, only three remained, of which "Black" Vritra had never surfaced again after disappearing twenty-five years ago.
"Yeah—Shinomiya-sensei mentioned it this morning."
"I see... But won't it be dangerous to fulfill Yggdrasil's wish? We don't know what it plans to do once the other dragons are gone, right?"
I found myself at a loss for words.
I used to think that exterminating all dragons apart from Yggdrasil was close to impossible, so I never thought that deeply about it.
But in fact, Yggdrasil's objective might be after that.
"I still cannot forgive Yggdrasil for making you go through so much suffering, Mononobe... And I believe we mustn't lower our guard. If we don't all possible precautions ahead of time, we might end up being exploited for nothing."
Despite her state of fever, Iris' gaze was still very serious.
"That's why, although you might not want to, Mononobe—How about asking someone else for advice?"
It troubled me to hear Iris' suggestion. I could not help but exclaim in surprise.
"I've been thinking about this the whole day. As much as I want to help you, Mononobe... At this rate, I might not be able to do anything and end up wasting time pointlessly. So, I'm wondering if we should get more assistance?"
"I know, Mononobe, you don't want Mitsuki-chan to know, right? Also, it could be troublesome if the higher-ups heard about it, right?"
If Midgard's superior organization Asgard learned about this, I would undoubtedly be placed under strict surveillance. I would be quarantined as a traitor or even executed.
"However, I think there are people who'll keep the secret and help us. So let's try finding someone trustworthy to discuss."
"Someone trustworthy huh..."
My classmates' faces flashed in my mind.
Considering the girls who had fought alongside me many times, surviving many crises, gradually getting to know each other, I could trust them but—
"You're worried about getting them involved and causing trouble for them, right?"
Lying on the bed, Iris stared at my face and smiled wryly.
"That... goes without saying."
She had guessed what was on my mind. I avoided eye contact and nodded.
"Mononobe, you're so kind, but you have to cherish yourself more..."
Perhaps her fever was getting worse, Iris spoke with some suffering.
I held her hands as though covering them up.
"Please, Mononobe. You don't have to decide now, but could you think over it?"
Although this was not a conclusion that could be reached so easily, I promised Iris would consider her suggestion.
Perhaps relieve to hear my answer, Iris relaxed her body and closed her eyes.
Before long, I heard quiet breathing noises.
Hence, I released her hands gently, left the bedside and walked to the room's entrance.
I exited the room as quietly as possible, only to see Lisa, leaning against the wall in the corridor, turn her head to look at me.
Everyone else had probably returned to their own rooms. They were not in sight.
"Already done? There is still some time until curfew."
"I'm done, Iris is sleeping now so I decided to leave."
Hearing my answer, Lisa left the wall and walked over.
"Then I shall see you off to the entrance."
"Thanks for your help."
I thanked Lisa then walked with her side by side.
—Find someone trustworthy to discuss huh...
Recalling what Iris said to me, I stared at the side of Lisa's face.
Although I trusted every classmate, if I had to pick someone as the most reliable, Lisa would be the first to come to mind.
For the sake of Mitsuki who was tormented from guilt for killing her own best friend, Lisa could play the role of "the character who condemned Mitsuki's crime" persistently for as long as two years. That was the kind of girl she was, considerate for her friends and possessing great mental strength.
She had openly declared that classmates were equivalent to family, supporting all of us with strictness sometimes and gentleness on other occasions. If it was her, she would probably help me.
Hmm... Hold on. On further thought, Lisa still considered me a "probationary classmate," right?
Thinking I was still not acknowledged as a member of Brynhildr Class, I felt a bit unconfident.
"Is there something on my face?"
Noticing I was staring at her, Lisa asked me with a surprised look.
"No, I suddenly remembered something. Thinking back, I'm still a 'probationary classmate,' right?"
Lisa cocked her head, evidently not understanding what I was talking about.
"After defeating Leviathan, Lisa, you mentioned promoting me to 'probationary classmate,' didn't you? But after that, you never promoted me again."
"And I was wondering what on earth you were talking about... I've long forgotten something so far back."
Looking at me, Lisa looked totally exasperated.
"Come to think of it, Lisa, have you already acknowledged me as a classmate?"
"Huh? W-Well, umm..."
Confronted with my question, Lisa blushed and reacted with awkwardness.
"—Who cares! Decide for yourself!"
Lisa turned her face away fiercely and replied in anger, but this answer was equivalent to saying she acknowledged me.
She quickened her pace and kept moving forward, almost leaving me behind.
I frantically chased Lisa. Because we walked so hastily, we reached the dorm entrance within the blink of an eye.
"Well then, off you go."
Sending me to the door, Lisa bid me farewell coldly, turned around and was about to return to the dorm.
"Oh, Lisa, one last thing. Can I ask a question?"
Watching Lisa's back as she receded away, I asked her.
"...What is it?"
Despite making a displeased look, she still stopped and looked back candidly.
"Suppose I said I needed your advice on something, Lisa, will you hear me out?"
"—If you are truly in trouble, I will help you. But if you're just trying to push trouble onto me, then I will rectify your character flaw."
Hearing Lisa answer so readily, I was quite surprised.
"Even if what I want to discuss is a very tricky affair?"
"Tricky or not is irrelevant. The key point is whether help is necessary. So—What would you like to discuss with me?"
Lisa stood arms akimbo and urged me to speak.
"N-No, I said 'suppose,' didn't I? I just wanted to check, that's all."
Because it was not something to discuss at this location and I had not yet prepared myself to talk to her either.
Hence, I frantically swept it under the rug.
"—Is that so? Then I shall take my leave."
Although Lisa should have noticed the wavering in my heart, she departed without pursuing the matter.
"Okay, see you tomorrow."
After saying goodbye to Lisa as she left, I turned around and departed too.
Whether to discuss with her or not, I'd better leave the decision a bit later.
While praying for Iris to come to school in good health the next day, I started walking back to Mitsuki's dorm.
Perhaps the heavens heard my wish—The next day, Iris greeted me energetically then entered the classroom together with Lisa and the other residents of the girls dorm.
"Good morning. I'm glad you recovered from your flu."
Iris approached and I greeted her in turn.
"Yeah, I'm fully recovered."
Iris made a victory hand sign to emphasize her recovery.
I originally worried that she was forcing herself, but she really seemed to be well.
I sensed someone's gaze vaguely, so I looked back, only to meet Lisa's eyes.
However, Lisa instantly looked away in panic.
She was probably curious after I mentioned yesterday about having something to discuss.
While everyone was exchanging pleasantries and getting seated, Iris stopped walking to talk to Mitsuki.
"By the way, Mitsuki-chan, the notes I received yesterday talked about holding a school festival. Is that for real?"
"Yes, it was the principal's suggestion, to be held a month later. Since you are here today, Iris-san, I think we should discuss and decide what we will present as a class."
"Wow~ I'm looking forward to it! Mitsuki-chan, do you have something you want to do?"
"I have basically picked out several orthodox projects... But I do not plan on pushing any individual choice in particular."
Mitsuki answered solemnly. It seemed like she had set her boundaries clearly. Her responsibility was to provide choices to the class.
"How about you, Mononobe?"
Iris raised the same topic with me.
"Hmm... I don't really have an opinion either way."
To be honest, the term school festival did not evoke any feeling in me at all.
Due to losing all my memories beyond three years ago, I did not have any concrete impressions of school festivals.
"Come on~! You need to think about it more seriously!"
"If many suggestions are made, I'll choose among them seriously. What about you, Iris? Is there any activity you'd like to do?"
"Of course! I—"
Just as Iris was about to answer, the warning bell rang.
When the noisy clanging stopped, Iris smiled mischievously.
"—I'd better keep it secret for now. I'll propose it later."
Saying that, Iris returned to her seat.
Her excitement made it feel as though she did not just recover from illness. I could see how happy she was at the prospects of holding a school festival.
Next, just as Mitsuki said, during morning homeroom, Shinomiya-sensei announced a change to first period, to use that time to decide what our class was going to present at the school festival.
"—Thus ends the announcements. Mononobe Mitsuki will now chair the proceedings."
Mitsuki took Shinomiya-sensei's place at the lectern. After looking at everyone, she spoke:
"Then to begin, I would like all of you to nominate candidate activities. Does anyone have suggestions?"
The first to raise her hand in response to Mitsuki's question was Iris.
"Please tell us, Iris-san."
"I want to do goldfish scooping!"
After a period of silence, Mitsuki showed a shocked expression.
"It's one of those stalls that always show up in Japanese festivals, right? I saw it frequently in the manga Firill-chan lent me."
"Uh, although school festivals are festivals, the meaning is a little different from that kind of festival..."
"It's no good?"
Iris asked sorrowfully.
"No, I am not saying it is no good, just that on a practical level, I believe that preparing goldfish will not be easy. This is because Midgard has strict regulations on bringing live animals into the Academy."
"I see... What a shame."
Iris put her hand down, disappointed from the bottom of her heart. It looked like she really looked forward to scooping goldfish.
"Any other suggestions?"
Mitsuki sought ideas again. This time, Firill put her hand up and spoke:
"How about a haunted house? We could do a Japanese-style haunted house."
"An excellent suggestion. In Japan, it is featured in every school festival."
Hearing a normal idea, Mitsuki seemed a little relieved while writing Firill's suggestion on the blackboard.
Sitting in front of me, Tia then looked back and asked me.
"Yuu, what's a haunted house?"
"It's a kind of entertainment venue where people dress up as scary monsters or ghosts to frighten visitors."
Although I had lost all memories more than three years ago, I had not lost any knowledge. Even without memories of visiting a haunted house, I still had that level of basic knowledge.
"Eh!? Tia hates being scared."
"It's okay. Even if we're doing a haunted house, we'll be the ones scaring others."
"But Tia is scared of becoming a monster too..."
Hearing her say that, I gasped.
—Becoming a monster.
Those words evoked the image of Ds targeted by dragons, turning into the same type of dragon.
Other people heard our conversation. Ariella smiled wryly.
"Looks like we'd better scrap the haunted house."
Ren concurred with Ariella.
"Yeah, because everyone having fun comes first."
Mitsuki exhaled lightly then wiped the words "haunted house" from the blackboard.
"No other ideas?"
Mitsuki sought opinions for the third time but no one raised their hand this time.
"Then to get some measure of direction, I will provide several examples."
Saying that, Mitsuki listed out what could be considered school festival cliches.
Drama performance, cafe, dancing, singing, music performance, planetarium, maze, movie, fortune telling, exhibition—
Fluently providing plenty of examples to the class, Mitsuki had evidently done prior research.
"I am not simply asking for you to pick from these. For example, there are many types of drama performances, such as plays, puppet shows, picture story shows, etc. I would appreciate it if everyone could use these as references to offer specific plans."
After listening to Mitsuki, everyone began to think seriously.
While I staring at the words on the blackboard, racking my brain, sitting to my left, Iris raised her hand again.
"Mitsuki-chan, can so-called cafes sell food?"
"Yes. Normally speaking, snacks are added to the menu."
"Then I think a cafe is best. Besides, I'd like to eat tasty food too."
Iris seemed to have voted for a cafe with food enjoyment as the priority.
"Hey, we're not opening a shop for gorging ourselves, you know?"
I confirmed with her from the side but Iris nodded as though she knew from the start.
"But we can taste test many dishes, right? Actually, if possible, I originally wanted to try eating goldfish once."
"—Hold on, Iris, what do you think goldfish scooping is about?"
"Eh? Don't you eat the goldfish after scooping them out?"
"Wrong, they're not for eating!"
Hearing this gigantic misconception on Iris' part, I could not help but scream.
"Then why do we scoop them out?"
"I think most people take them home to keep in an aquarium..."
"O-Oh I see, because Japan has sashimi, I was thinking they're for eating."
After knowing it was her misconception, Iris scratched her head rather embarrassedly.
This was typical Iris, so I could only smile wryly.
"Nii-san, Iris-san, please do not get too off-topic."
Mitsuki reminded us with exasperation.
After Iris and I apologized, Mitsuki circled "cafe" while sighing.
"—Iris-san wants to open a cafe. Any other opinions?"
"I agree with opening a cafe. All of us cooking together and serving customers, that sounds like fun."
Lisa supported Iris' idea. All the others nodded with no objections.
Since there were only eight students in the class, collecting opinions was very fast.
"So, let us brainstorm the cafe idea."
Mitsuki rubbed out the other suggestions and continued the discussion. Hearing her say that, Ariella asked incredulously:
"Since we picked the cafe, isn't what we're doing all decided now?"
"Even a cafe has many different types. For example, in Japanese school festivals, the majority are maid cafes or cosplay cafes, etc, namely, cafes accentuate themselves by adding in their own unique appeal."
After hearing Mitsuki's answer to Ariella, Lisa concurred "indeed."
"Deciding on our selling point is very important. However, I believe that maid cafes are not unique enough, because a maid's job is naturally to serve customers. There's nothing novel about that."
Firill concurred with Lisa.
Lisa and Firill apparently knew each other from high society before coming to Midgard. Having lived life at the top, they probably found maid cafes unrefreshing.
"I don't really know much about appeal, but since we're cooking anyway, I'd like to cook fish in Japanese style."
Iris offered her opinion again.
Although she was probably still thinking about goldfish, this suggestion itself was not bad. Mitsuki looked like she thought the same thing as me. Under "cafe," she wrote down "fish cuisine."
"If fish is the ingredient, it should be approved as long as we apply to Midgard. But ingredients go bad easily in Midgard where it is hot and humid, so they will not allow us to make sushi or sashimi. If we are doing Japanese cooking, I believe grilled fish will be the method."
"As long as it's Japanese, anything's fine! I'm happy as long as I learn to make one dish."
Iris' reply was inexplicably motivated. Then she glanced at me.
"Oh~ So Iris, you're interested in cooking."
I felt a little surprised and commented. Iris blushed red and answered quietly:
"Umm... Because I was thinking... If I could learn Japanese cooking, Mononobe, you'd probably be happy..."
Hearing Iris say something like that shyly, I felt my face instantly heat up.
But apart from me, other people apparently heard what Iris had said. Tia also joined in the conversation.
"If Yuu will be happy, Tia will learn cooking too!"
Then Firill also faced me and said:
"Although I've never cooked before... I'll try my best too."
Witnessing this scene, Lisa shook her head in exasperation.
"Then this is equivalent to a decision. If we are going to serve grilled fish, why not simply unify everything to Japanese style and switch to a Japanese teahouse instead?"
"Oh, that's great. In that case, we'll wear Japanese clothing to serve customers, how's that? I like wearing outfits that are like national clothing."
Ariella concurred with Lisa's suggestion.
There were no opposing opinions after that. Everyone began to discuss constructive ideas such as using green tea for drinks and the like.
"—Then we of Brynhildr Class will decide on a Japanese teahouse. Any objections?"
Mitsuki asked everyone for a final confirmation.
"Looks like there is no dissent, then it is decided. After school today, I would like everyone to start preparing. However, since I must direct the overall school festival, I will not be able to oversee our class."
As the student council president, Mitsuki's workload was quite heavy.
"Consequently, I would like to select two classmates to lead the class as members of the festival executive committee. Any volunteers?"
"—I shall do it."
Before Mitsuki had a chance to wait for people's reactions, Lisa raised her hand matter-of-factly.
How amazing of Lisa...
Precisely because she was well aware of her own position and competence, she could act without hesitation like that.
"Thank you, Lisa-san. Then the other spot will be filled by Nii-san."
"Huh? I didn't say anything, did I?"
Suddenly put on the spot, I frantically asked Mitsuki.
"Because you are the only boy in the Academy, Nii-san, it would be problematic if you did not work industriously. Also, there is plenty of physical labor, right?"
Hearing her say that, I could not refuse.
But seeing as I intended to work hard for everyone in the first place, I had no complaints.
"—Understood, I'll take on this job."
"Very well, I am counting on you, Nii-san."
Mitsuki smiled sweetly.
Thus, we started preparing for the school festival that was to be held a month later.
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