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Infinite Stratos Volume 2 Chapter 2: My Roommate is a Blond Gentleman

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Chapter 2: My Roommate is... a Blond GentlemanEdit

"I'm Charles Dunois from France. I'm not too familiar with this country, so please take care of me."

One of the transfer students--Charles, smiles and bows to everyone after saying that.

Including me, everyone in the class is stunned.

File:IS02 055.jpg

"A, a guy...?"

Someone muttered.

"Yes. I heard that there's someone in the same situation as me here. So I transferred here from my country--"

He has a face that's easily approachable, courteous, a fine and proper body, bright blond hair on his head--that's neatly tied behind. His body is also so thin that one may feel that it's too skinny, a pair of straight legs, and he sure looks cool.

The image he gives is of 'some royal prince', and that's not an exaggeration. Most notably, that smile which isn't irritating at all is really shiny.

"No..."

"What?"

"NO WAY--!"

Is this the so-called supersonic? Nope, I'm not kidding, a squeal started in the middle of the classroom and spread out just like that.

"A MALE STUDENT! A SECOND MALE STUDENT AT THAT!"

"AND HE'S IN OUR CLASS!"

"AND HE'S HANDSOME! THE TYPE THAT YOU WANT TO PROTECT!"

"I'M SO GRATEFUL TO BE ABLE TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD~!"

Our class girls are really energetic. On a side note, the reason the other classes haven't run out is most likely because it's Homeroom period, right? To all the teaching staff, it's been tough on you.

"THAT'S ENOUGH, SETTLE DOWN AND SHUT UP!"

Chifuyu-nee seems to feel rather irritated as she grumbled. Though it's work, it may seem irritating to hear such girly screams. Besides, she never really got along with ordinary girls when she was still studying.

"Ev-Everyone please be quiet. We haven't ended the self-introduction~!"

Actually, no one actually did forget about the other transfer student--or rather, it's rather difficult to forget about her. That's because she looks like a unique radical.

She has shiny silver hair that's almost white, and the hair's almost reaching her waist. It's pretty, but she didn't tidy it, so it just seems like it's naturally long. Also, she has an eyepatch on her left eye; not a surgical one, but a real black eyepatch like what those colonels in those 20th Century war films would wear. Though the other opened eye is red, hidden in it is a seemingly endless zero degrees Celsius.

The impression she gives with her attire doesn't need much description. She's a 'soldier'. Though her height is obviously shorter than Charles, the chilly presence she gives seems to make her as tall as she is.

Let me add on, Charles is rather short for a guy, so the other transfer student is considered rather short amongst the girls.

"..."

The person involved still hasn't said anything as she maintains her folded arm stance, looking uninterested as she stares at the girls in the class--and that's for just a moment. Right now, she's staring only at one person...Chifuyu-nee.

"...Hurry up and greet them, Laura."

"Yes, instructor."

Facing the transfer student who's standing straight and answering honestly--Laura, everyone's stunned by her. In contrast, Chifuyu-nee, who got a greeting by a foreigner, reveals a troubled look even though it's different from before.

"Don't call me that here, I'm no longer an instructor. And you're an ordinary student here, so you must call me Orimura-sensei."

"Roger that."

Having answered that, Laura puts her straightened arms to the side and stands straight with her ankles put together--no matter how I look at it, even if she's not related to the military, she did call Chifuyu-nee 'instructor', so she's definitely a German.

--For some reasons, Chifuyu-nee was an Army instructor in Germany for one year, and after a year of absence, she became an IS Academy instructor, or so I heard.

The reason why I said that is because I'm not too certain myself. I heard that from the other people related to the Academy like Yamada-sensei. She herself didn't tell me anything, probably because a lot of things were involved in that...

(But she should've at least told me what she was doing, right?)

What should I say? Am I feeling unsettled? Nope, this isn't a feeling of loneliness.

"I'm Laura Bodewig."

"..."

The students remain silent, waiting for her to continue, but after she said her name, she shut her mouth up like a clam.

"Is, is that...all?"

"That's all."

Unable to stand this atmosphere, Yamada-sensei tries to force a smile as she asked Laura, but got an unrelenting answer. Hey, Hey, stop bullying the teacher! Look, she's about to cry! Really.

For some reason, maybe because of this, Laura and I exchanged looks.

"So it's you--"

Hm? What? She just closed in without hesitation.

*PA!*

"..."

"Wh?"

I got hit suddenly, and it was a vicious slap--Wha?

"I won't accept it. You're actually that person's little brother. Who would accept it!?"

While I straightened my thoughts, my face started to ache--what? What's this? Why did you hit me?

See? Everyone's looking over, stunned--no wait, now's not the time to be thinking about this!

"What are you doing?"

"Humph..."

As quickly as she came over, Laura quickly backed away and sits down on the empty seat, folding her hands in front of her chest, shutting her eyes and not giving any reaction at all.

Uwa, I got ignored. I got ignored? What's this? What's this person intending to do? Is she an alien from an uncivilized culture? Is this a show of friendship when people meet for the first time in Germany? I don't want to live in that country at all.

"Ah...ahem! Homeroom lesson will end now. Everyone has to change up, as we'll be doing IS practice together with Class 2. Dismissed!"

Chifuyu-nee clapped her hands to prompt everyone into action. As for me, I'm more angry than unable to accept it, but there's no time to grumble about it now.

The reason is that, if I'm going to stay in the classroom, I will have to change clothes with the girls--once that happens, there will be trouble, big trouble.

So I have to get out of the classroom...huh, I remember the changing room of the 2nd arena's empty today.

"Hey, Orimura. Take care of Dunois. You're both guys, right?"

Oh yeah, almost forgot about him. So it ended up like this.

"Are you Orimura-kun. We've met for the first time, I'm--"

"Ah, save that for later. Let's get out first. The girls are starting to change clothes."

While explaining, I leapt into action. I pulled Charles's hand and walked out of the classroom.

"We'll change in the changing room at the arena, and we have to do that for every practical session in future, so better get used to it."

"O-Okay..."

What's wrong now? He's looking rather anxious, different from just now.

"Do you need to go to the bathroom?"

"It, it's not like that!"

"Really? Then that's good."

Anyway, got to get down the stairs to the first level. We can't slow down. If we do--

"Ahh! Rumored transfer student detected!"

"And he's together with Orimura-kun!"

That's right. Once homeroom period is over, all the students from all classes and all years will send out their elite troops. If we get caught in the flood, we'll be questioned until we're late for lessons. And finally, what awaits us is a hellish special training--I won't allow that to happen, ever.

"Found them! They're here!"

"Everyone who heard them! Hurry up and surround them!"

Hold on, since when has this place become a samurai's house? Now the entire atmosphere feels like someone just used a trumpet shell to blow and alert everyone!

"Orimura-kun's black hair is great, but blond hair's great as well."

"And his eyes are green!"

"Ah! Looky look! They're holding hands!"

"It's great that I can live in Japan! Thank you okaa-san[2B 1]! I promise that for this Mother's Day, I will give you something other than seaside flowers!"

No, you should give a proper gift in other years as well.

"Wha-What's going on? Why is everyone like this?"

It seems that Charles hasn't got what's going on as he asked me, looking really puzzled.

"That's because we're the only two guys here."

"...?"

What's with that 'I don't understand' look?

"No, it should be rather weird, but that's because we're the only two guys in the world who can pilot an IS, right?"

"Ah--ahh, okay. I see."

"Also...the girls in this school don't seem to interact much with guys, so they became some sort of Uupaaruupaa (Axolotl)!"

"Uu...what's that?"

"Some mysterious monster that was endangered during the 20th century, and was a popular trend in Japan for a while."

"I see."

Oh well, that's not really important anyway. Right now, the most important thing is to break through this line. Before I reach my destination, I shall not die, even if I have to cut a bloody path out!

"But that's great."

"What's great about it?"

"It's really hard to be the only guy in school, so I had to be careful. Even if only one person is added, I feel relieved that it's a guy."

"Is that so?"

Asking me that...isn't he like this? Hm, I really can't understand him.

Or rather, are there IS related schools outside this country? Logically, there shouldn't be any other IS related educational institutes other than this place. Huh, that's weird.

"Oh well. Anyway, nice to meet you! I'm Orimura Ichika, so just call me Ichika!"

"Hm, nice to meet you, Ichika-san. You can just call me Charles."

"Got it, Charles."

Alright! We managed to get out before the crowd got us! Now there's even more reason for us not to stop. Got to run forward.

"Alright! We made it!"

With the ordinary sound of the air lock being removed, the door slides aside, and we managed to reach the second arena's changing room unscathed.

"Oh no! Not much time left! Let's change!"

I look at the time and found the situation to be critical. Speaking of which, this IS suit's really hard to wear!

Anyway, as it's urgent, I said that as I removed all the buttons on my uniform and threw it onto the bench, and then took off my T-shirt as well.

"UWA!"

"?"

Wha-What's going on?

"Did you forget anything...no wait, why aren't you changing? You'll be late if you don't do so! You might not know this Charles, but our homeroom teacher's really strict about being punctual and all--"

"O-Okay, I, I'll change. But, erm, can you please look at the other side...please?"

"Huh, I won't look at you when you change...but Charles, why are you looking at me?"

"I-I'm not! I'm not looking at you!"

Charles raises his hands out to block his face and hurriedly turns to look at the floor. Why is he looking like this? Unbelievable chap.

"But really, let's hurry. It's not good to be late on the first day--or rather, that person won't be laughing."

But then again, I feel that what the burning red-flamed teacher from hell, Orimura Chifuyu-sensei just needs is a heart that's willing to listen to jokes. Even if it's just a lame one, she can just laugh at others and forgive others, saying 'Hahah, you big idiot!'. Can't she become someone like that?...maybe not. That kind of Chifuyu-nee would be rather weird.

"..."

That's strange. I seem to feel a gaze.

"Charles?"

"Wha-What?"

Just as I looked around, seemingly bothered, I found Charles frantically looking at me and turning back to look at the wall while pulling his IS suit up.

"Wow, you're really fast at changing! Is there a trick to it?"

"I-It's nothing. Sort of normal, I guess...you still haven't finished changing yet, Ichika-san?"

I already took over my pants and underwear, and my IS suit's already at the waist. What can I say? It's a pathetic state now.

"This clothing's really hard to wear, I have to strip myself just to wear it, and I'll get tangled easily."

"Ta-Tangled?"

"Yeah."

I don't know whether it's just me, but Charles blushes. Such a strange fellow.

"Heyo--okay, let's go."

"O-Okay."

Once both of us were suited up, we left the changing room. While heading to the arena, I turned to look at Charles again.

"The suit you're wearing really looks good. Where's it made in?"

"Ah, um, this is a suit created by Dunois Enterprise! Though it was developed through the basic Greek design, it seems to be a thoroughly customized version."

"Dunois? I seem to have heard of that before..."

"Yup, that's my family. My dad's the President, I guess it should be the largest IS related enterprise in France."

"Ohh! So Charles is the son of the President. No wonder."

"Hm? No wonder what?"

"Yup. Well, how should I put it? You have an aura like you're grew up in some great environment. Now I understand."

"Great environment...huh?"

Charles suddenly looked away. Did I say something I shouldn't have said? He's showing a complicated look right now.

"Well, compared to me, Ichika-san's even more impressive, right? That you're Orimura Chifuyu-san's little brother."

"Hahaha, you idiot."

"Wha?"

"--It's nothing. It seemed like we stepped onto landmines and blew up a fighter jet on each side."

"??? I don't really understand..."

There are some situations in the world that are hard to understand. Situations, circumstances, toppo[2B 2]--

"No no no, this thought process is bad. It's weird in all aspects."

"?"

Huh, he's looking at me strangely...I already took caution not to be stared at. To think that I made a fool of myself! Ten thousand deaths aren't enough for me! I'm dead!

"...Ahem, Charles-kun, let me ask you a physics question."

"Why must you suddenly add a -kun suffix?"

"That's not important. How do you calculate the resistance force when a high speed object moves under force A?"

"Huh, the resistant force is -A."

"That's the case."

Nice going. That's an intelligent question. Now my 'intelligence value' should be rated at 50, right? I'm certain of it.

"..."

Wha? That's strange. He's silent now, what? 'The Silent Frigade'[2B 3]? But maybe Charles like the lamb[2B 4], right? But the lamb's not in the 'Silent' series?

"Wh...ahhahaha! What was that? Fu, fufufu, you're weird, Ichika!"

I got laughed at. To think that I made a fool of myself here...I'll omit the rest. Read what happened above!

"Since I'm going to be laughed at either way, I actually would prefer it if you used 'Haha, you idiot!' again..."

"Well--that's not it! I was praising Ichika's talent in joking."

Huh? Is that so? Well, that's that."

"YOU'RE TOO SLOW!"

We just got to the second arena successfully. Ahh, the devil's folding her arms and waiting for me...'Do you need a mace'? Oh yeah, though it's not important, if I write it as canabow, it feels like some brand, canabow!

"Since you have time to think about such useless things, hurry up and get in line!"

*Passu-n!* Thanks for your sermon.

Charles and I got to the side of class 1.

"You really took your time."

Oh, what coincidence. Cecilia's standing beside me. Ever since the representative battle in April, she would say some stuff to me--I'm sorry, but my sister already took up that space.

"Why did you need so much time just to change clothes?"

On a side note, as IS suits were designed for females, it looks like some kind of swimwear or tight-fitting clothing. As for why some skin would be revealed, it seems like they considered the need for mobility. Well, there are the IS shields, so the area covered by the IS suit doesn't really matter much.

But Charles and I are different. We're covered entirely up to the neck. That's because only the neck, hands and legs are exposed, so it feels like a diving suit. I remember they said that some data is required or something.

Well, that makes sense, I guess. If we were to wear something that's like swimsuits, the guys would have to go naked on top. The school must have considered this right? I guess.

"We got caught in a jam."

"Stop lying, you could have made it."

Wha? Why is Cecilia sounding so vexed? Is she fulfilling the saying that a pretty rose has it's thorns? I seem to have said it before, but at that time, Rin angrily scolded me, saying 'Wow, don't you even feel embarrassed at all?'

"I got it, I got it. Ichika-san's really popular with girls, right? Or else you wouldn't have gotten hit twice within 2 months."

Wah! I got mocked! She reminded me of the fact that I got hit by the transfer student, and now my face is swelling in pain again.

"What? What did you do?"

I could only hear the voice--damn it, is that a highly-skilled ninja? Where are the guards!?

"I'm behind, you idiot!"

Ohh, yes yes yes, class 2's behind us. So it's Rin. Wait, hold on, is Rin the only class 2 girl who'll call me that? Like idiot, big idiot, moron, or something like that?

"This Ichika-san just got slapped in the face by a transfer student today."

"What? Ichika, why are you so dumb?"

--Relax, I have two more in front of me.

*Kekekeke*...Cecilia and Rin turn their necks with creaking sounds.

And waiting for them in front is the administrator of the hellish practical lesson, the instructor from hell. Accepting anyone, not caring about the age, nationality, gender, the gates of hell have opened.

*PA--!*

Under the azure sky, the smack of the attendance book is still loud and clear today.

"First, we'll be watching a practical battle that involves close range and shooting."

"Yes ma'am!"

As it's a combined practical between class 1 and class 2, there's double the number of people as per usual, and even the replies sound a lot louder.

"Kuu...how could you just hit my head like that..."

"...It's all Ichika's fault. It's all Ichika's fault. It's all Ichika's fault..."

Teary-eyed, Cecilia and Rin stroke their heads, maybe because it's painful.

Speaking of which, don't you feel that it's wrong? It's alright if it's just me thinking too much, but if that's the case, I want my lawyer!

*DONK!*

"I can tell what you're thinking..."

Wah! She kicked me! I got kicked in the back by a girl! Sensei! Sense-I~!

"Today, I would like to let everyone see a real battle, and there just so happen to be lively girls here present--Huang! Alcott!"

"Wh-Why me too?"

Ohh, so you got dragged in. Give up, Cecilia, most common sense doesn't work on Chifuyu-nee. But while we back away, she will make up some random sense[2B 5] to deal with us, and that's even more irritating. But then again, she mostly uses physical attacks.

"Since you two have personal suits, you can start battle immediately. Okay, get out here."

"Why me..."

"It's definitely Ichika's fault, so why..."

Ahh, I heard nothing, I heard nothing.

"You two better buck up--and show that guy what you two are made of!"

Hm? What's wrong? Seems Chifuyu-nee whispered something to them. What did she say?

"This is the stage for me, the representative candidate for England, Cecilia Alcott!"

"That's right. It's a great chance to show everyone the difference in ability as a personal IS pilot!"

For some reason, both their motivation values just shot up. What? They can get a free meal if they win? Ah, as they're girls, it's likely it's for desserts.

"Then who's my opponent? I'm alright even if it's against Rin-san."

"Fufu, that's my line. I'll slaughter you."

"No need to rush, idiots. Your opponent will be--"

*Kiiiiinnn...*

Hm? What's that sound? Sounds like air being split. Don't tell me--

"AHHH--! PL-PLEASE GET OUT OF THE WAY~!"

Huh? What, she's referring to me? --Ack, WAA!!"

*DONK!*

Just as I wanted to turn to look at the source of the voice, it's too late. After being hit by one UFO, I got sent flying several meters away and tumble onto the floor.

"Ho...good thing I barely managed to deploy [Byakushiki], but what was that--"

Something soft.

"What?"

What's with this feeling in my hand? Is the ground that soft? Did they patch up some pudding or something? Ah, so that's what they mean by purine, right? (TL Note: Both pudding and purine are written in the same manner:プリン, purin)

"That, that, Orimura-kun...kya!"

The pudding talked--wait, hold on, how's that possible?

Fearful, I looked down at my hand.

"Th-That, you see, in this situation, I'm really troubled...no, this isn't the only problem. No matter what, I still have a teacher-student relationship with Orimura-kun...but if it continues like this, Orimura-sensei will be my sister-in-law, and that's very tempting somehow--"

Yamada-sensei. It's Yamada-sensei! The pudding's Yamada-sensei! The pudding's not just a pudding, it's an elastic one--why am I like a dirty old man now...

File:IS02 073.jpg

She normally doesn't wear tight-fitting clothes, so I couldn't tell; but the IS suit she's wearing now is the the kind that's extremely voluptuous. Her hefty beautiful breast curves are exposed in front of everyone.

Hu, those breasts are huge...bigger than Chifuyu-nee's...

However, the problem is our positioning--I got knocked away, and she and I tumbled together, so right now, I'm pressing down on Yamada-sensei, and my hand's holding tightly onto Yamada-sensei's breast, grabbing it.

No, I understand that it's bad if I don't let go. But even so, I can't let go for some reason...no, I'm serious, serious! I know I have to let go soon, but my body's mysteriously frozen. Is this what they mean by being crushed by ghosts--

"--!?"

After my instincts detected danger, I got out of my frozen state and leapt away from Yamada-sensei. At that moment, the lasers shot past where I was just a second ago.

"Hohohohoho...what a pity, I missed."

She's smiling, but I can see veins on her forehead--she's the firmament of the sky, Cecilia Alcott (Large dragon buster mode). Wa...

"..."

I seem to hear the sound of something combining together. Wha? It's that thing right? That's Rin's 'Souten Gagetsu', right? The blades are separated at the beginning, and they can be combined to a create a double-bladed form. And in that situation, it's possible that she may throw it. That's right, that's right, she may throw it--

"WAAAAHHHH!!!"

SHE JUST THREW IT AT MY HEAD WITHOUT HESITATION!

At the last moment, I bent backwards to dodge the attack, but my momentum carried me further back. Then, I saw the sight of despair.

The 'Souten Gagetsu' that was thrown out spins back as its shaped like a boomerang.

"HAA!"

*PAM!* *PAM!*

As the two shots ring, the bullets accurately hit the two sides of the 'Souten Gagetsu' and change its trajectory.

While hearing the bullet shells drop, I turned around to look, and found that the sniper who saved me from such a crisis was actually Yamada-sensei.

Anchored sturdily in her hands is a 51 caliber assault rifle 'red bullet', the firearm and its ammunition made by an American company called Claus. As it's practical and extremely reliable, it became a main essential model that many countries have come to use.

However, what was most surprising was Yamada-sensei's image--she was still lying on the floor in a prone position, only lifting her body slightly to shoot. She looked extremely cool and poised, unlike the normally clumsy demeanor she shows.

Though it's not to the extent that it seemed like she switched personalities, I really can't imagine her being the one who crashed into the wall and couldn't move during the entrance exam.

"..."

It seems like I'm not the only one who's shocked--forget about Cecilia and Rin, even the other girls are speechless.

"Though Yamada-sensei doesn't look like it, she was a former representative candidate, so shooting like what she just did isn't much."

"Well, that was ages ago. And I never got past being a representative candidate..."

It's back to the normal Yamada-sensei presence. She turned around, stood up, placed her rifle into the weapon box on her shoulder, and then used both hands to adjust her glasses...ah, looking at the actions, this is the Yamada-sensei we know alright. It seems like she's shy about what she heard Chifuyu-nee say as she blushed.

"So then, little girls, let's start already."

"Wha? Erm, 2 vs 1 is..."

"No, this is too..."

"Relax, if it's you two, you'll definitely lose."

Maybe they felt unhappy after hearing that they would lose, as Cecilia and Rin's wills start to burn, especially Cecilia, since it's important for her to beat her opponent at least once, so her killing intent and power have risen.

"Then, let's start!"

Cecilia and Rin shouted out as they flew. Seeing this, Yamada-sensei flies up as well.

"I won't hold back!"

"I wasn't serious back then anyways!"

"H-Here I come!"

Yamada-sensei's talking as per normal, but her eyes are now as cool and sharp as they were before. Cecilia and Rin launched a preemptive attack, but Yamada-sensei easily dodged them.

"Then, during this time...Dunois, give a commentary on the IS Yamada-sensei's using."

"O-Okay."

Charles continued to watch the battle in the sky as he explained with a reliable voice,

"The IS Yamada-sensei's using is a [Raphael Revive] from Dunois Enterprise. It's a machine developed at the end of the 2nd generation phase, but the specifications rival that of the early 3rd generation machines. In terms of deployed mass production IS models, it was the last to be sold, but has the 3rd largest user-base in the world. Only 7 countries are permitted to create it, and 12 countries use it as a standard IS. Most notably, because of the controls it can allow pilots to fit what they want. By changing the equipment, it can be configured for all types of combat, including close ranged combat, sniping and defending types, so there are many partnering companies working on it."

"Mm, that's enough for now...it's ending!"

Engrossed in Charles's explanation, I forgot to look at how the battle is right now.

I turned back to look at the battle, and found that Yamada-sensei's shots were luring Cecilia and Rin to collide together. Yamada-sensei then threw a grenade at them, and once the explosion occurred, two figures crashed onto the ground in a puff of smoke just like that.

"Ku, uu...to think that I actually..."

"Ah, you...she predicted so much of your evasive maneuvers, it's so silly..."

"Is-Isn't it the same for you, Rin-san? We failed because you made too many meaningless mixed tactics and Impact Cannon attacks!"

"That's my line! Why did you release your BITs immediately? The power was depleted so fast!"

"Ggggrrr....!"

"Kkkkkkk...!"

Seems like this is a Battle Royale--anyway, it doesn't look like they have a good relationship anyway.

What should I say? Both of them have their own ideas that are pretty random. Anyway, I just can't watch this further. I can hear the 'representative candidates with their personal suits' stock drop drastically. However, the most heartless thing seems to be that there's doesn't seem to be a limit in the drop.

In the end, both of them continued to glare at each other until the girls of class one and class two started to chuckle.

"Okay now, everyone should understand the ability of the teachers now. From now onwards, please show some respect to the staff members."

Chifuyu-nee clapped twice to divert everyone's attention.

"The ones with personal frames are Orimura, Alcott, Dunois, Bodewig, and Rin. Then, we'll be dividing the class into groups of 8. Personal machine users will act as leaders, got that? Split up now."

The instant Chifuyu-nee finished, the 2 classes of girls rush over to Charles and me.

"Orimura-kun, let's work hard together!"

"Teach me what I don't know~"

"Dunois-kun, please show me your piloting skills."

"Hey, hey, can I join in too? Let me join you too!"

...What can I say? The reaction's a lot stronger than what I expected, and Charles and I don't know how to respond as we could only stand about.

Either because she couldn't stand this situation or 'cause she's angry that she didn't foresee this, Chifuyu-nee pressed onto her forehead with her fingers, feeling really bothered as she bellows,

"These idiots...EVERYONE SORT OUT ACCORDING TO SEATING ARRANGEMENTS! GROUP LEADER ORDER WILL BE AS DESCRIBED. IF YOU DON'T GET SORTED INTO GROUPS FAST, YOU PEOPLE WILL CARRY IS MACHINES AND RUN AROUND THE FIELD 100 TIMES!"

Is that an Authoritarian's roar? The girls who were surrounding us like ants all moved quickly and managed to get into their groups within 2 minutes.

"I should have done this from the beginning. Really, they're a bunch of idiots."

"...That's great. I'm in the same group as Orimura-kun! I'm really grateful for my own surname..."

"...Sigh--, it's Cecilia...she just lost so badly..."

"...I'll be in your care, Rin-san. Please tell me more about Orimura-kun..."

"...Dunois-kun! You can ask me about anything you don't know! Also, I'm still single!..."

"..."

On a side note, the group that isn't saying anything is the group of that German transfer student Laura Bodewig.

The tense atmosphere, the presence that refuses to work with others, the cold stare-down on the other students, and the mouth that never spoke since the beginning.

Facing such an iron wall, even those pure-hearted 10+ girls wouldn't even dare to talk to her. Everyone's just lowering their heads and forced to remain silent...ahh, I really feel sorry for them...

"Then, please listen up. Each group is to take one training suit. There are 3 Uchigane and 2 Revives, so each group, please decide on the type of frame you like the most. Ah, it's first comes first served--"

Yamada-sensei's even more reliable by 3 times--no, 5 times now. The mock battle just now got her confidence back, right? As her attitude's really proper, so just removing her glasses alone seem to make her a 'really capable woman'.

However, what's proper isn't just her attitude. The breasts that girls who are in their teens don't have are now exposed. Yamada-sensei has a habit of adjusting her glasses, and every time she does this, the breasts that seem to be called out will touch her elbows--and the heavy sweet fruits will jingle.

"..."

*CRACK!*

"OW! WHA...WHAT WAS THAT?"

My foot got stamped on, and at the back of my ankles. It's one thing to be attacked on the back like that, it's another to be attacked at a perfect angle, causing me to cry out in pain.

Who, who did that? The only one who would do something like this is...

"What are you staring intently at? Hurry up and start!"

"Yes, Houki..."

"What?"

Wah. She's really angry now. This isn't good.

--Speaking of which, we're in the same group? If that's the case, I have to use this chance to repair our relationship. Due to many reasons, we haven't spoken to each other properly for a week. If this keeps up, I feel that we can't even call each other by our names.

(Okay, time to show my friendliness--)

"Orimura-kun, teach me how to pilot an IS!"

"Aa--n, this IS is really heavy. I never lifted anything heavier than chopsticks."

"I remember that the practical lessons require 2 people in a group. Orimura-kun, let's go."

"Hey, hey, it's great to have a personal IS, right? I'm so envious of you people--"

Just when I wanted to talk to Houki, the girls in my group took the opportunity to surround me, and besides, since I'm the group leader, I can't just say okay to everyone. Things have gotten a lot complicated.

"W-Well, everyone, please listen to m..."

"Every leader is to assist each group member in putting on the suit. As everyone needs to use it, we removed the optimizing and personalizing modes. Anyway, before lunch today, everyone please practice on the initializing."

On the IS broadcast channel, Yamada-sensei's voice can be heard. As it's already past the lesson phase, right now, I still have some aspects that I don't understand. And besides, I'm the group leader. It'll be bad if I mess up.

"So then, please queue up in order of your student number. Practice your walking. The first one--"

"Register no. 1! Aikawa Kiyoka of the Handball club! My hobbies are watching sports and jogging!"

"O-Okay, but you didn't need to do a self-introduction..."

"Nice to meet you!"

She bowed deeply and extends her right hand out. Hm? What? Does she want to shake hands with me?

"Aa, that's too sneaky!"

"I wanna do that as well!"

"Please make a choice based on your first impression!"

For some reason, all the other girls are lined up and bow politely like her, extending out their right hands.

"Wh-What's going on? I don't really understand--"

"""Please take care of us!"""

...At this moment, another few voices can be heard from behind.

Turning around to look, I see a row of people bowing in front of Charles, each waiting to shake hands with him. He sure looks troubled.

"Er, erm...?"

I can see him all confused here. That's a coincidence, I am too.

"""OW OW OW!!!"""

It's a chorus of perfectly timed cries. I guess it's easy to knock them on the heads as they're lined up, right? As Charles's girls are rubbing their heads and looking up, they all seem to realize who's the Asura in front of them.

"It's great that you people have that much enthusiasm. If that's the case, let me see your performance. Who's first?"

"Ah, no, that's..."

"We, we'll just have Dunois-kun teaching us~...that's all."

"How, how can we let sensei trouble herself..."

"Is there a problem? There's no need to be so polite. To all you prospects, I must give you a certain level of training...ahh, let's start by seating arrangement."

I seem to hear a gasp. Let me put my hands together, if you survive, we may meet one day.

Seeing the terrible state that befallen Charles's group of girls, the fear struck Orimura's group, and they naturally fell in line. Right now, Aikawa-san's opening the exterior of the IS controls to confirm the values. Let me add on, our group's training suit is [Uchigane].

"Oh well, let's begin. Aikawa-san, you should have taken an IS a few times, right?"

"Ah, yes, but only during lessons."

"Then there should be no problems. Anyway, please suit up and try to activate it. If we exceed the time, we have to stay behind after school."

"The-then that would be bad! Okay, I'll do this seriously!"

Though it does sound like she wasn't serious up till now, in this situation, I'll just close one eye. We hate sin, not humans, and our past mistakes aren't related to our future...huh, who said that?

Anyway, there's no problem with the suit up, initializing and walking, and the practice went by smoothly.

--Logically, that should be the case, but when the second person suited up, there was a small problem.

"I'm sorry, but, I can't reach the cockpit..."

"Ah! Aa~..."

Damn it, it's over. I forgot everything since I had my own personal machine--while using a training suit, we have to kneel down to get out. If we stand up to remove it, the IS will naturally be in a standing position.

"What's wrong?"

Ohh, Yamada-sensei appears! As she removed her IS already, she's wearing the busty IS suit--so naturally, I can only look away awkwardly.

"The, that, I forgot the instruct to leave the IS bent down..."

"Ah--so you mean that the cockpit is at a high position, right? If that's the case, it can't be helped; Orimura-kun, please escort her up there."

"...Huh?"

"Wh-What?"

"Huuh~ How lucky-!"

Let me add on, in order, the people who spoke that were me, Houki and the 2nd person (sorry, I forgot the name).

"Because that's the easiest way. Orimura-kun, please summon [Byakushiki]."

"Oh, okay..."

Like how she instructed, I deployed [Byakushiki] and suited up. The more-than-one month's training wasn't for show, as I could immediately summon it now.

"Then, please carry Kishisato-san up."

"Huh? No, that--"

"Wh-Why?"

Ohh! Houki jumped in! Nice going! Do your best! I don't know her personal reasons, but I'm a healthy male after all, so obviously I would try to avoid contact with girls. Besides, there would be trouble if something happens.

"Since the IS can fly, if he just needs to send her into the cockpit, this would be the most suitable method."

"There's no need to do that. Just let him be a stepping board!"

That's right, that's right--huh? A stepping board?

"A stepping board? Huh, may I ask who you want to act as one?"

"Of course it's Ichika!"

What's with that 'of course'?

"Hold, hold on a minute. If I have to become a stepping board, I rather send her up. That's safer."

"Yeah, it's a lot safer."

"Che--whatever!"

Ahh-...I seem to have made her angry. Houki just turned her back at me and walked away.

"Then Orimura-kun, please carry me up over there!"

Though I'm unwilling, it can't be helped. Since it's just this one time, I guess it's alright.

"Oh yes, Orimura-kun? You weren't looking at sensei just now. This won't do! We don't have to look at each other in the eyes all the time, but once you enter society, such a response can be seen as rude, so please take note of that."

"Ah, that's..."

"You see? You're doing it again! You must look at me straight on."

Maybe the battle just now increased her confidence, as Yamada-sensei grabbed my shoulder with an unimaginable force and turned me over.

And because she used both hands to pull me, the huge breasts that are stuck between the shoulders are even more ample.

"Ya-Yamada-sensei, please listen to me..."

Damn it, I can even tell that my body's heating up.

However, all my hopes in her to understand a boy's innocent feelings were crushed, as it seems like not even a third of those feelings were passed while Yamada-sensei pulled me even forcefully.

"Look over here, Orimura-kun!"

As she used force, the ample breasts that were crampled between her shoulders started to shake. To be honest, for this 15 year old healthy boy, it was really mesmerizing--or rather, I should say, one poisonous scene.

"Sensei, Orimura-kun doesn't know what to do~"

"Ya ya, that's a low blow, emphasizing on the breasts like that."

"Br-Breasts...!?"

At this moment, finally figuring out where the problem lies at last, Yamada-sensei stares at her own breasts, and then at my face.

"~~!?"

Yamada-sensei seems to back away from me quickly as she frantically covers her own body.

"Wha, that..."

I really want to change this invincibly awkward atmosphere, but I don't really know what to say--'your breasts are superb'...I'm an idiot. I'd get sued for sexual harassment.

"O-Orimura-kun."

With her back facing me, Yamada-sensei turned her face over at me. She sounds really shy as her face is blushing red.

"Th-That...you saw that?"

"Huh, about that...yes."

Even though I told myself not to look, not to look, not to look, I still more or less saw it. As lies will raise a few eyebrows, I honestly admitted it. However, on hearing my answer, Yamada-sensei's ears went red as well.

"Th-That, even though age and gender can't be helped, this isn't good. Besides, we have many problems in regards to age differences and standpoints...personally, I'm happy that I can make you aware of this, but it's still--"

"Yamada-sensei...would you mind telling me what you're doing..."

Chifuyu-nee has a hand supporting her head as she said that. Does she have a headache? That's tough on her.

"O-Orimura-sensei!? No, I-I'm, this...!"

"Sigh...I'll listen to your explanation. Right now, the main point is that Bodewig's group is extremely slow, so please go over to help them."

"O-Okay!"

Yamada-sensei stood up and ran towards Laura's group. On the way there, she glances back, just so happens to meet me in the eyes, and start to blush again.

"What..."

"Hurry up and practice, you idiot. The next slowest group will be yours, Orimura."

Ahh, I got scolded by the instructor from hell. Is that my fault...I guess so.

"Then let's hurry up!"

"Hiyaaa!!?"

Anyway, I followed the instructions and carried Kishisato-san up. However, she let out a strange sound--hold on, hold on, I didn't touch her in anyplace weird.

"O-Orimura-kun's really forceful..."

No, that's because we have so little time left. Speaking of which, girls are really light! Why's that so? That was easy. It wasn't easy the last time I carried up the fainted Gotanda. He was so heavy that I almost thought of dumping him on the road. But of course, I did send him to the infirmary properly--oh well, that's not important.

"Hold on tight or you'll drop."

"O-Okay..."

After confirming that Kishisato-san's grabbing onto my shoulder with slightly trembling hands, I slowly raised her up. However, the height's about only 1m, so it's not that dangerous.

However, the IS training frames are basically maintained in deployed form. Thus, one has to lean back on top to seat in. Thus, it's still dangerous even if it's not too high.

I take care not to drop Kishisato-san as I carry her to the Uchigane's cockpit.

"Then, move your back in and raise your body up. Also, it's better to put your hand on the armor there. Do you understand?"

"I, I'm okay."

As I haven't let go of her yet, our conversation was held in a rather tight position. She's still mindful about being touched by guys, huh? Kishisato-san's eyes are wavering about uncomfortably.

"I'm letting go now. Is this okay?"

"Huh? Th-This..."

"Is there a problem?"

"It's more like I'm in dreamland..."

"?"

While we're talking, the other groups are starting to talk.

"AHHH! WH-WHAT'S THAT!?"

"THAT'S TOO SLY! I WANT TO BE HUGGED!"

"WHY! WHY'S MY REGISTER NUMBER 12? I HATE THE ANCESTOR WHO GAVE ME THIS FAMILY NAME, UNTIL THE END OF TIME!"

No, ancestors should be respected, right? Besides, the end of time would mean your children and grandchildren, so please don't involve them in some strange grudge.

"An-Anyway, I'm okay. Hurry back, Orimura-kun. If this keeps up, I don't know what will happen to me later..."

"Mn, I got it."

I don't know what's going on, but she has some hidden feelings, right? Should be that legend only girls know of. Though I don't know what it is, it's more or less that.

"Try activating it then."

With me prompting, the initiation starts. The opened armor locked up and secured the pilot inside. Then, with a silent initializing sound, the [Uchigane] stood upright.

"Then next--"

(Argh, this is infuriating me!)

Houki folded her arms and shut her eyes as she pretended to look calm. However, her heart was very unstable, and what happened just now was still on her mind.

(And what was that? Was there a need to be so close? Ichika could have just acted as a stepping board. Yes, a stepping board!)

That being said, in actuality, even if that other girl tramples down on Ichika, that wouldn't interest her.

That's because Houki herself is still ambiguous about her own feelings, so even if others are to ask her 'what do you want to do then', she isn't clear about what she wants. That's how the human heart is.

(And he was staring at Yamada-sensei...aahh, such a useless bum!)

To be honest, thanks to kendo training, Houki's still rather confident of her own figure.

Even though she feels burdened by her own breasts, it's good that they can become part of her charm. However--

(He didn't notice it when he was with me...!)

Until when they stopped living together with each other, Ichika's attitude hasn't really changed much, which made her really unhappy.

...However, it's not that Ichika didn't notice it. He just felt that if he showed that he was really troubled by it, Houki would be bothered, so he acted as if he didn't care... Of course, it's not that he would be bothered by everything.

It's also a characteristic of human nature to not be so straightforward.

"Alright, remove the suit now."

While Houki was pondering, the practical training seemed like it was a success, and the second girl finished activating the IS and walking.

"Ah, please remember to bend down and remove it, or else--"

Before Ichika managed to finish, the second girl seem like she just thought of something as she removed the IS while it was still in a standing position.

With that, the cockpit's stuck on top like how it was just now.

"Ahh! Wh, what were you doing!?"

"It's not that, the other girls are staring at me so strongly..."

"Wh-What?"

"Ahem...that's my personal problem."

Adding on, she was obviously referring to the other girls in her group when she said that, as everyone's giving her a 'do you think that you can just earn that benefit like that' look. Wow, that's really scary.

All the other girls in other groups are opening their mouths in envy, looking like chicks waiting for a mother to feed them.

However, what awaited them wasn't a reward, but a stern treatment by the instructor from hell.

"Oh, so you still have time to look at other places, right? To reward you of your boredom, I'll let you run 20 laps around the field. How is it? Are you satisfied?"

"Tha-Thank you sensei..."

The instructor from hell can also cry. No wait, those should be the reflection of other people's tears in the devil's eyes.

"Ahh--...so I have to send someone up again? Huh, who's next?"

Ichika looks really bothered as he scratched his head and looks around.

--Ahem, after clearing her throat to ready her feelings, Houki tries to act calm as she says,

"Me."

"O-Okay."

Seeing Ichika's shocked look, Houki wants to back away, but she knows that she has even more reason not to panic. Maybe it's due to the pride of practising kendo, as Houki's expression remains unchanged while she steps forward.

"Huh--, so."

"What? Hurry up and get me up! I don't really want this, but considering the safety reasons, this can't be helped."

Though Houki wants to emphasize that it can't be helped, Ichika still considered her feelings and thought that it's because of another thing altogether.

"Then, I'll be a stepping board--"

"Didn't I say that this can't be helped due to safety reasons?"

"--I'll send you over, I'll send you over."

Aah, really, what in the world. Though Ichika muttered so, Houki's not listening.

Because no matter what, he's going to carry her. And seeing how he carried the girl just now--

(Is-Isn't that the legendary 'princess carry'...!? But, what should I say...great...no! Logically speaking, boys and girls shouldn't be sticking that close together!... But forget about it, considering the safety reasons, this can't be helped...that's right, this can't be helped!)

"Ah, ahem!"

"What's wrong, Houki? Got a cold?"

"No, nothing."

Anyway, Houki, who was so happy that she wanted to laugh out is trying her best to hold her emotions back. Perhaps it's due to that strong emotion of holding back that strong emotion that her face's looking twice as serious as usual.

"I'm carrying you up then!"

Ichika wraps his arm around her waist, and it looks like it's happening in slow motion. As his hand reaches over, Houki's heart starts to beat faster, and her body temperature begins to increase.

"Heyo!"

"Kya--ahem ahem!"

She nearly shouted out, but she coughed even forcefully twice to hide this.

(I-Id-Idiot! Who in the world carries someone so suddenly like that!? Is, is he trying to scare me...speaking of which, it feels like he's so well-trained...)

Being mindful, she looks up at Ichika's face, and at that moment, Ichika seem to notice it as he looks around.

"What's wrong?"

"No-Nothing! Nothing at all!"

As their faces are even closer than what she thought, Houki frantically looks away.

What she was mindful about just now has been all forgotten. Right now, she's more bothered by Ichika.

The body warmth of those strong arm muscles, and the breathing and heartbeat of hers that she worries about showing to him if they get too close--those are feelings of expectations and anxiety.

"Houki."

"Wh-What?"

"Nothing. I'm telling you to hold tight, or you'll fall off!"

"O-Okay...that, that's right. It's over if I drop. I have no choice but to grab onto Ichika."

After repeating another 'have no choice', Houki timidly reaches out and slings her arms around Ichika. As the IS suit is a skintight design, once her fingers touch Ichika's skin, Houki's heart start to pound faster.

(It, it's like I just touched him directly--KYA! WHAT AM I THINKING!?)

Ichika stares at Houki with an incredulous look while she continues to shake her head violently, bringing her up near to the [Uchigane]'s cockpit.

"Houki."

"Wh-What?"

"Well, if you don't sit in onto the IS, we can't continue with the practical class. Do you mind if I bring you closer in?"

"No, no! If you bring me closer in, even I can't remain calm--"

"? What did you say?"

"No-Nothing! An-Anyway, I'm okay!"

Like what Houki said, she pushes her hand away from Ichika and quickly sits inside the Uchigane.

"Doesn't look like there's anything wrong. Then after you finish the activation and walking, please hand over to--"

"Ichika."

"Hm? What is it?"

"We-Well you see, do you have plans for lunch today?"

Though she's acting calm, her voice's obviously a bit louder than usual.

"No, not that I know of."

"Oh, really?"

Seemingly looking like she just randomly asked, Houki's expression immediately lit up, but only for a few seconds as she reverts back to her cool expression.

"If, if that's the case, how about we have lunch together once in a while! Hm, just like that."

"Hm? Ohh, I guess it's sounds nice."

Houki continues to say as she activates the [Uchigane] before making it walk. This process isn't draggy, and it feels like some kendo movement.

However, while Houki looks like a samurai who's trained before, she's actually overwhelmed with joy. She hid her feelings though, so of course Ichika doesn't know.

"There's no problem! As expected of Houki! Okay then, please bend over and come down--"

"..."

"HEY! WHY IS THE IS STANDING AGAIN!? ARRGHH! I'M GOING CRAZY!"

Before hearing Ichika's words, Houki quickly landed. Of course, she knew she has to let the IS bend down, but she still can't refuse the silent demand of the girls in her group.

However, a more accurate reason would be because she's feeling so happy that 'it doesn't matter even if she gives the other girls a little welfare'.

(Ev-Ever since that day, I never had a chance to talk to Ichika properly. I have to do whatever it takes to get it back!)

To be honest, she does have a secret plan.

Anyway, having gained an advantage over the other girls (or so she thought), Houki's mood is as great as ever.

"Then, that's it for morning practice. As we have to inspect the machines that're used in the morning, all groups please gather at the hangar. All people with personal machines please watch out for the training machines and their own. Then, class dismissed."

Our combined group of class 1 and 2 barely managed to complete the activation test. After everyone managed to hurriedly move the IS to the hangar, they returned back to the field. As time was really short, everyone's moving about crazily. At this moment, if we're late, I don't know what the instructor from hell will say.

And after we huffed and puffed till we finished all of that, Chifuyu-nee and Yamada-sensei quickly left the scene.

"Ah--...never expected it to be so heavy..."

Though the training machines were delivered by IS escort vehicles, there's nothing to move this. In other words, 'humans' are the moving forces, and in this group, obviously, I'm the main person pushing. All the girls think that manual work has to be done by guys, and even if there're some people who don't think that way, right now, the men have almost no right to say that. It's that kind of a culture now.

(But if I, a guy, don't push it and call the girls to do it, wouldn't it be too shameful instead of weird. I'll do it anyway.)

On a side note, Charles's group is having a situation when 'how can we let Dunois-kun do this!' as they have several sports-group girls transport it.--huh? Hold on? Why's the attitude different from my group...

"Sigh, forget about it Charles. Go change now! We still need to get to the changing room at the arena."

"Huh, erm...I'll go after I adjust the suit, so you go first. I may need to take some time, so it's okay not to wait for me."

"Hm? No, I'm okay with waiting for you, you know? I'm used to it--"

"No, no no non, there's no need! I have a problem! Is it alright? Can you head back to the classroom?"

"O-Okay, I got it."

Under his ridiculous pressure, I inadvertently nodded my head. But why's the chap so desperate?

Anyway, since he said so, there's no point waiting for him, so I quickly headed towards the changing room.

(The IS suit sweat absorbing function is working almost perfectly. Despite operating for quite a while, it is generally amazing that it is completely not sticky.)

I don't know whether it's because it's developed for space, but even if I'm not certain, I'll treat it as the case.

Alright, finished changing. It's 3 times easier to take it off than to wear it. I use my towel to rub my head and leave the changing room.

"...What is this."

"Hm?"

During lunchtime, all of us are at the roof.

Normally speaking, a high school's roof access will be sealed off due to many reasons, but this IS Academy has no such rules—on the garden that's decorated beautifully, as the seasonal flowers bloom, the floor's of a stone cold floor that makes people think that they're in Europe. As all the round tables have chairs, on a bright sunny afternoon like this, there would normally be many girls waiting around here to talk.

Maybe everyone ran to the cafeteria to look for Charles? There's no one here to occupy the space other than us! Yay, we have the entire place!

"Didn't I tell you that I want to come up here to eat since the weather's good?"

"That's not what I'm referring to...!"

Houki glances aside to look at Cecilia, Rin and Charles.

"Since we're having lunch, the more the merrier, isn't it? Besides, Charles just transferred in, so he doesn't even know where to eat."

"Th-That's true..."

Uu. Houki looks like she wants to say something as she clenches her raised fist. She's holding some home-made bento that's wrapped into a cloth.

As the IS Academy is a boarding school, it seems like they open the kitchen early for the students who want to prepare their own bentos. I went there to look, and found that there were all sorts of utensils that expert chefs would use. As expected of a specially designated school that's controlled directly by the government, the spending's on a completely different level.

--And then, Houki looks like she just made a bento today, and even had my share! Childhood friends are really wonderful.

"Here, Ichika. This is for you."

After saying that, Rin throws the container to me. Hey, don't throw food.

"Wow, it's sweet and sour pork!"

"Yup, I made it this morning! Didn't you say that you wanted to eat it?"

Let me repeat it again, childhood friends are the best! However, to have sweet and sour pork without white rice, that's a daring innovation! Let me add on, Rin did go to the cafeteria to buy the white rice she wanted to buy here. She's smart.

"Ahem—Ichika-san. For some reason, I woke up earlier as well, so I prepared some things as well. If you like, please try some."

Cecilia opens her basket. There's a stack of neatly arranged sandwiches, however...

"Th-Thanks, I'll eat it later."

I timidly responded. On a side note, Rin's giving a 'wow' expression. Che, this person is either thinking of eating it herself or watching a show.

"What's wrong?"

"No, nothing!"

...Let's just put it this way. This English representative candidate Cecilia Alcott just can't cook—though it looks tasty, the food's just bad. Why must she just add stuff that she doesn't know of? I really, really wanted to seriously ask her, but right now, I don't have any intention to do so. For some reason, I felt that things would get out of hand if I asked. Why?

Well, I guess, since she's from a prominent family, I guess all rich ojous[2B 6] are like this? She should more or less have a personal chef, so she probably never even tried to choose her ingredients, let alone touch a knife.

Even so, the appearance is great. She herself noted 'shouldn't it be done like how it's like on the book?'. Hm, Cecilia-san, that's not making it like 'how the book describes it', but 'how the photograph describes it'. I really think that it'll be great if you can make it as tasty as how it's described on the book.

"It's because you never said it clearly that the problem continued to persist. Id—iot."

And you dare to say that, Rin. I had the same feelings when you came up with those killer dishes for me. You even had that 'I'll kill you if you say it's not nice!' look!

Oh well, let's forget about that for now. Either way, she did personally prepare this for me, and if possible, I really don't want to say that it tastes bad. Besides, I'm really grateful for the intention. Besides, since I had to cook my own food before I entered IS Academy City, I'm already grateful that someone can cook for me. Ahh, it would be great if Chifuyu-nee had the same thoughts.

But even so, it still doesn't change the fact that I'm lying. Sigh...

"Huh? Can I really eat together with everyone?"

Sitting beside me, Charles said so. It was the same just now. I'm really bothered by the extent of politeness he's showing.

To be honest, a large number of girls gathered in front of class 1-1 in order to get the 2nd guy, but he managed to refuse them with an extremely polite attitude. Maybe Charles's polite rich boy demeanour caused the girls to feel really awkward if they push on with their self-introductions. Thus, everyone gave up with a happy yet bothered look. Besides, he said,

"I can't let you girls waste your bright sunny time for someone like me. That's because I'll get drunk from such a sweet aroma surrounding me."

And so that's the case.

What should I say? He's amazing. Really, that's what I think, because he's not even acting at all. That sincere attitude of his and the atmosphere that's shining even more brightly that the mysterious presence caused his words to seem even more shining. Besides that, he's really gentle, so it was all the more irresistible. The 3rd year sempai who shook hands with him immediately fainted!

Anyway, the girls gave up just like that, which was why I got him along to eat with us. Though Rin and Cecelia came along, I had no reason to refuse them. It's better to have more people together, right? Since they're both representative candidates, I'm sure they should be able to chat happily about it.

On a side note, strictly speaking, I'm not a representative candidate, I guess. As I'm a guy, I don't know whether this breaks the Alaska Treaty, as it looks like the international community's debating over it.

As for me, I don't really care whether I'm a representative candidate, but it's great to have a personal machine. I once accompanied Houki when she went to request one for loan, and the paperwork alone nearly made me faint. Those are like, maybe 10 or so pieces of A4 paper? What's the point of writing so much...

"Don't say that. We're guys, so let us get along well. I know there are many inconveniences, but I can help out as well! If you have any problems, just ask me...except for IS."

"You have to work hard."

"I am. There's too much to remember! You already practiced through before you enrolled in, right!?"

"That's true. Though one should have considered about the suitability test, even if there are those who start late, everyone did start studying during middle school."

That seems to be the case. On a side note, Rin started working hard after the 3rd year of Middle School before she had her own personal machine. I really can't imagine how hard she worked.

In terms of the mock battle winning percentage, Rin's 1st, Cecilia's 2nd, Houki's 3rd and I'm last.

"Thanks, Ichika's really kind."

*THOMP!* *THOMP!*

Though I know that he's a guy, I really have a strange feeling on seeing that defenseless smile of his.

"It, it's alright. Since we're roommates, that's just a formality, just a formality."

"Ichika-san, has he been assigned a room?"

"Well, no, but frankly speaking, he would definitely be assigned in my room. He's a guy anyway."

"Really? Well, I guess so, that makes sense."

We continue to eat lunch as we talk. Rin and I are eating sweet and sour pork, Charles is eating bread that he bought, and it seems like Cecilia bought her own share. This means that the sandwiches were meant to be eaten by me.

In the midst of all these, Houki, who's sitting beside me, hasn't moved her chopsticks at all, or I should say, hasn't even opened the cloth that's wrapped around the bento as she remains silent.

"What's wrong? Is your stomach feeling weird?"

"That's not it..."

"Really? Oh yeah, Houki. If you could hurry up and give me that bento, I would be really happy--"

"..."

Houki silently passed the bento over, and I really don't know how to respond. In the end, even though we were on the same practical group, it doesn't look like the relationship improved. Or rather, it seems like she's still angry, is it...?

"Let's get to it. Oh!"

Opening the bento, I see many dishes with balanced nutrition--including salted grilled salmon, deep-fried chicken, chilli fried konjac burdock, spinach and sesame salad.

"That's amazing! Each dish looks like it took a lot of work."

"I, I just had other reasons. I spent time on it so that I could eat it myself anyway."

"Even so, I'm happy. Thank you, Houki."

"Heh, hehe..."

Even though she looks like she doesn't mind, Houki still looks rather happy as she opens her bento. Of course, her dishes are similar to mine...hold on.

"Houki, why doesn't your bento have any fried chicken?"

"That, that's because, huh..."

For some reason, her eyes seem to waver. What's wrong? Did I ask something I shouldn't have asked?"

"...It can't be helped that those are the only dishes that are nice..."

"Huh?"

"I-I'm on a diet! That's why there's a missing dish. You unhappy!?"

"Not really...but you're not fat anyway."

I don't know whether this declaration's really bad, but I got bombed by Rin and Cecilia who were glaring at me.

"Ah really--, why do people keep thinking that dieting = because she's getting fat."

"Really! That was inconsiderate of you!"

"No, it's just that she really doesn't look like she needs a diet--"

As she's just beside me, I turn to look at her--but with that action, she forcefully pushes my face aside.

"Wh-Where are you looking at!? Stop looking!?"

"What...isn't that the body?"

Obviously, I'm not looking at the face--ack!

"You're looking at a girl's breasts so brazenly!? You, bastard!"

Rin forcefully used her heel to knock onto my back, and four times at that! Stop hitting, stop hitting! It's super painful! Speaking of which, we definitely have a table between us! You're really nimble there...

"Ichika-san really lacks a gentleman's attitude."

Ahh, she's smiling and yet having veins popping out. It seems like Buddha (仏,hotoke) Cecilia's patience has a limit. That's really refreshing...however, to put the England-born her as Cecilia from France (仏,futsu), that's a little weird.

""ICHIKA!""

My two childhood friends erupted with anger again. How did they even see this little joke of mine? And why are they angry over it? Girls are really unbelievable creatures.

"?"

Unable to understand the situation, Charles reveals a puzzled look. Oh, speaking of which, Charles is born in France! Hm, that works.

"Ichika...what's with you? Your expression really looks rather weird."

"Weird? Oh, like how?"

"Even your tone changed...well, it sounds like a grandfather who's watching his married grandchildren gather for a reunion."

"Not some wise old scholar who loves coffee and history?"

"Hahaha, not like it at all! You're really interesting, Ichika."

Wah, I got denied with a smile. This is the first time I felt an angel's cruelty.

"Ahem! That's enough nonsense. Let's hurry up and eat! Lunchtime's not long enough for us to continue talking like this."

Houki sounded really serious. Hold on, what does that mean?

"Never mind, itadakimasu"

I stuffed a piece of fried chicken into my mouth.

"Woah, it's good!"

As it's a bento, it will naturally go cold if left for a long time. Even so, the fried chicken Houki made was still delicious--the skin was crispy, not soggy at all, and I don't know if she knew that the food would get cold, as there's still the juiciness of the meat in my mouth when I bit it. Even so, what's unbelievable is that it doesn't feel oily, and it does make one want to eat more.

"This had take a lot of work to prepare, right? Let me think. There's grated ginger, soy sauce, and uhm...hmm, what's that? I definitely tasted it before."

"It's garlic. I mixed in a bit of pepper before frying and then added some grated radish to improve the taste."

As it's really good, I was shocked. I really can't tell that this person is the one who made that bland fried rice last month.

But what should I say? This should be what they say. In cooking or housework, once girls remember the basics, they will improve greatly. Guys have to use a lot of time to gain experience before being able to get to an ordinary standard, so the basic nature is different from girls. I'm really envious and yet unhappy about that.

As for me, my cooking was atrocious at the beginning...but even so, Chifuyu-nee finished off the food even though she grumbled, so that's why I worked hard to learn how to cook better before having the skills I have now.

"But it's really good! Houki, is it really okay for you not to eat it?"

"...I ate all the failures myself, so..."

"Hm?"

"Ah, ahhh? No, it's nothing, nothing at all...anyway, I'm glad that you find it good."

Just now, her words did sound somewhat inaudible. Why did Houki try to cover her volume? Is she saying something that's meant to be left just as it is?

"It's really good. You should eat it, Houki! Here."

Then, I cut the fried chicken till it's large enough to feed a girl and grab it with my chopsticks. Of course, I placed my left hand underneath to prevent it from dropping.

"Wh-What?"

"Here, eat it."

File:IS02 002-003.jpg

"No, it's not, that, but..."

For some reason, Houki's stuttering. I don't know if I'm thinking too much, but her face does look like she's blushing.

"..."

Her normally razor sharp personality seem to have disappeared out of nowhere, and right now, Houki's just showing a puzzled look as she looks at her bento and my chopsticks.

"..."

"..."

On a side note, two glares are aimed here from beside Houki. It's Rin and Cecilia. What now? Why are you two glaring at me like that--ha! You want to have a piece of the chicken as well?

"Let me explain that. You're definitely thinking about the wrong thing."

"You're thinking about something a posh lady wouldn't do, and that's too rude."

I seem to have guessed wrong. Oh well, whatever.

"Hurry up, Houki! Have some."

"No, it's not, that...yeah, erm...ahem."

Just when I find her smile extremely mysterious, she suddenly clears her throat and frowns. What's with her psychological state?

"Oh, could this be considered what they call 'here, say ah`n' that couples do in Japan? You two are really on such good terms with each other."

The moment Charles finished saying, his face shows a smile that's easy to understand--that smile definitely belongs to an outstanding blond rich prince.

However, once the prince finished, Rin and Cecilia immediately become an immortal tiger and a war goddess.

"Wh-Who said so? How can you say that they're friendly!?"

"That, that's right! I request the right to correct that!"

Both of them continue to pester at Charles, but even in such a situation, his smile still hasn't disappeared. Is this the so-called 'duty of nobility'[2B 7]? Really amazing, France's really amazing.

"Hm, then how about this? Everyone, let's exchange food! If everyone feeds each other, there should be no problems, right?"

"Hm? Oh, I'm okay."

"I, I guess. Since Ichika said that it's alright, I can go along with you people."

"I wasn't intending on taking part in such a crude eating etiquette, but since today's a normal day and we're in Japan, I supposed this should be called 'going along'."

Thus, it seems like everyone's participating.

"Then, I'm starting now!"

After Rin said that, she quickly snatched the piece of fried chicken off my chopsticks.

"Hey, return it now!"

"Um, hm...o! I-It-It's good, it sure is decent."

"Ho, I can do it if I follow the customs."

Even though her fried chicken got taken away, Houki's still looking rather carefree, and Rin looks like she's fighting for something. Really, I don't know what they're thinking.

"Ah-...sorry Houki, but the only piece of chicken left is the one I ate."

"Is, is that so?"

"Yeah. I don't think you want to eat what a guy bit before, right? But if that's the case, I have nothing to give you now, since our other dishes are all the same."

"--It's okay even if it's bitten..."

"Houki?"

"Eve-Even if you...took a bite out of it, I don't mind."

"Hm? Is that so? Then here, ah--"

It seems like we are normally able to say 'here, ah--". Is this a right exclusive to Japanese?"

"Ah, ahh---umph..."

Even though it's somewhat unnaturally, Houki still opened her mouth after saying that as she ate the chicken. Seeing her face, I find that maybe she's somewhat embarrassed. Hm, is it really weird to be fed after becoming a high school student?

"It, it's good..."

"Isn't it? This chicken's delicious."

"Though I'm not referring to that...but, it's good."

I don't know what the reasons are, but it seems like she became happy. That's good.

"Here, Ichika! Have some of my sweet and sour pork. Hurry up and eat it!"

"Ichika-san! Please have some sandwiches! I'll give you all of it!"

Rin and Cecilia immediately squeezed over. What's going on!?

""HERE!!""

Both of them squeezed their food over that me, and they seem to have giving a similar 'here, ah--' action.

"Hold, hold on a minute. I have sweet and sour pork here, and it's weird to have it go along with sandwiches, so I think I'll have it--"

""...""

Ahh, what the heck, using silence to make me unable to make a comeback (or rather, ending up causing a breakdown in the dialogue). If these two are to live in the Three Kingdoms, they should be able to become military strategists, and then there'll be a fantasy Five Kingdoms...or maybe not.

"I-Itadakimasu..."

Sigh, really, why can't guys lift their heads in front of girls? Ever since year 2000, it's been the same, so it's mostly due to history? I guess that's right.

Anyway, let's start from Rin's sweet and sour pork.

"Hm, it's nice...but Rin, why's your food warm?"

"I used a microwave to heat it up when I bought rice."

Couldn't you have heated up mine...but anyway, it's still nice even when it's cold.

"Ahem! Then, please try my hand-made sandwiches."

"Um...I-itadakimasu."

I really can't say no to Cecilia when she's showing me a shy look of friendship, and can only take a bite off her sandwich.

WAHH...it's ridiculously sweet! What the heck? What's in there? She definitely put vanilla extract inside. That's right. I can't even taste anything else. But it's abnormally sweet. Why is a tomato and bacon sandwich so sweet? I could think of 120 explanations if it were just an egg sandwich...

"How is it?"

Ugh, it's best that I answer...

"It's better if you say the truth earlier."

Rin said so casually and continues to eat her own sweet and sour pork. What she said does make sense, and it's correct after all. But, that, what should I say? Doesn't she feel that it's hard to tell a girl that her cooking's lousy?

"Oh, ohh yeah, it's good...I, I kind of liked it."

Sigh--I just chose to say something nice. Really, I'm really sad that I don't have the guts to say my true thoughts.

"Is that so! Then, please have the rest!"

Cecilia's eyes immediately brightened as she quickly passes the entire basket to me. Well, if I treat it as dessert, I should be able to eat it down.

"Id--iot."

Rin continues to drink the packaged oolong tea that she most likely bought together with the white rice as she criticized me. Ah, whatever, I'm just an idiot, I'm an idiot...

"But, really, I feel similar to that. Like a growing bird."

Good thing there's no other students on the roof other than us--speaking of which, if there were other people around, I definitely wouldn't do this. Besides, it's really embarrassing to be fed like this when I'm so old.

But Houki doesn't look like she minds. Perhaps it's just a guy's thing?

"Ya, yeah, I guess, but it's not bad to be like this once in a while."

"That, that's right. Hm, that's not bad at all."

Rin and Cecilia nod their heads. Maybe I'm thinking too much, but both of them are blushing somewhat. Hey, don't tell me now that you find it embarrassing! I'll feel even worse as I was the one being fed!

"I-Ichika, is there anything you like to eat?"

Houki suddenly said such a thing.

"I-It can't be helped. Let me feed you something."

"Th-There's no need. Besides, we have similar dishes other than the fried chicken. If you give your share to me, Houki, wouldn't you have none left?"

"Mu...you're right..."

"Speaking of which, everyone, hurry up and finish eating! I don't want to run after eating, since Charles and I still have to head to the changing room at the arena."

Though the hangar's closer to the arena, I remember we can use the changing room of the first arena, and the hangar's at the 4th arena, so in the end, we have to run twice. So if we end up spending too much time eating, we have to run quite some distance after that. Please spare me the agony.

"Hm, Ichika? Don't tell me you take off your IS suit after a practical?"

"What? Can't I?"

Hearing Rin say that, I asked back. Don't tell me--

"Half of the girls keep them on, you know? It's really troublesome."

Che, I see...well, it's sweat-absorbent and doesn't obstruct movement, so it's okay to wear it.

"If that's the case."

Not just Rin, even Houki and Cecilia are wearing it? I can't really tell with their clothes on. Hm, I really feel that the girls have it easy. My IS suit will wrap my ankles, so I really don't want to have another pair of pants over it. It'll feel stiff...I don't think that will happen, but it'll be hot.

"Di-Didn't I tell you not to continue staring at a girl's body like that!? You pervert!!"

"Huh? No, I don't mean that--"

"Who, who cares about what you mean, that's not gentlemanly at all!"

"I was just observing--"

"Wh-What's with you saying that you're 'observing' a girl's body? That's inconsiderate!"

...What's inconsiderate about it here...

Speaking of which, why I am ganged up by them?

Sigh...after sighing, I gave up on trying to make a comeback. Anyway, right now, I just want to focus on eating the bento. As every dish's delicious (my bad, except for Cecilia's), once I start tucking in, I would naturally continue to eat.

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

"What's wrong, Ichika?"

Without any reason at all, I turn to look at Charles, who's sitting opposite the girls.

Of course, Charles didn't lecture me. Even when I'm staring at him, he's not angry at me. He's even concerned about me.

"It's great to have guys."

I'm dead serious. From today onwards, I will have a strong partner of the same gender! That's awesome. Maybe the school will even give us time to let us use the giant bath.

Right now, it seems that due to several reasons, as a guy, I can't use the giant onsen. Even though the school mentioned that I can use it as long as they separate the bathroom, this seemed to have caused a large number of protests from the students. They said 'if there's a guy who'll come in after we go out, we wouldn't know how to go in anymore!' or something like that...huh, can't you just do it like in a normal giant bath?

On a side note, if I'm to start before the girls, it seems like there will be a lot more problems, and there's even more protests. 'if we're to bath after a guy, how are we going to use it!' or at least that's what they said...like bathing in a large onsen, I'll omit the rest. Please read the above.

Anyway, it's really too wasteful to come up with a divide just for one person, so I never had a chance to use the dorm's onsen. To a person who likes to take baths, it's not much different from being interrogated.

"Is, is that so? I don't know what you mean, but it's great that Ichika feels that it's alright."

Maybe he's just shy, as Charles just sounded really stiff.

"...What's good about having guys..."

"...How unhealthy..."

"...An idiot who hasn't even realised what's going on..."

The three girls seem to mutter softly. I don't know what's going on, but I guess it's best not to ask.

After that, for some reason, I got blank white eyes from this trio of girls. Why's that? I really don't understand how girls think.

"Then, please let me repeat this again. It's nice to meet you."

"Yeah, nice to meet you too, Ichika."

It's night. After finishing dinner, Charles and I return back to our room. As he's the second boy, while we were in the cafeteria, we were surrounded and assaulted with questions. It looked like it was going to continue on like that, but luckily it ended just in time.

And I really don't know whether it's obvious, but Charles and I are in the same room. As we're resting after dinner, we're drinking the Japanese tea I just brewed.

"This tastes really different from red tea. It's weird, but nice."

"It's great that you like it. If we have a chance next time, let's go drink some matcha."

On a side note, it seems that Cecilia can't take Japanese tea, so she doesn't drink it at all. It seems like she's repulsed by the color. Is green really that strange?

"Matcha's the thing that's to be drunk on tatami mats, right? I heard that it needs a special skill. Do you know how to brew it, Ichika?"

"Matcha has to be 'set up', not brewed. But I've only drunk a simple sample of it. Right now, they're selling some matcha coffee in front of a station, and it does taste like coffee."

"Oh I see. I want to go along next time to try it once."

"Alright, I'll bring you along then. Besides, it's a rare chance, so let's go out for a Sunday trip, okay?"

"Really? I'm really excited. Thank you Ichika."

I know that this gentle smiling Charles is a guy, but my heart started to pound. Maybe it is because he feels so mature? I don't really know how to respond once he shows a straightforward smile.

"It, it's nothing. I haven't drunk matcha for a long time, so I'll bring you along."

"Oh ho, thank you."

Maybe he's seeing me blush now? There's a gentle presence in Charles's smile. As my impression of a family was always living together with Chifuyu-nee, I don't really know how it feels, but perhaps this is what they call 'a family-style smile'.

Normally speaking, that smile can calm anyone down, but it's making me jumpy for some reason. Anyway, let's talk about something else.

"Yeah--then how should we shower? We can go by how the day proceeds."

"Ah? I'll shower later. You can use it first, Ichika."

"U? Huh, now that you mention it, I'll feel rather apologetic...after a practical, you would most likely have a day when you want to rush to the shower, right Charles?"

"No, I'm okay, I don't really sweat, so I don't really mind even if I don't get to rush into the shower."

"Really? Then I'll accept that then. But you don't really have to worry too much about me. We're both guys anyway."

"Erm, thanks."

After saying that, he smiles again. Ahh I get it. As Charles's method of thanking is too natural, anyone's heart will race on seeing that smile.

"Speaking of which, I heard that Ichika always has special IS training after school. Is that true?"

"Yeah, I started off later than the rest, so I can only train to make up for it."

As Charles is moving in today (but he didn't bring his luggage), I stopped training for one day. However, I have to start training from tomorrow onwards, since there's still the indiviudal division tournament this month.

"Can I join in? I want to thank you, and I have my personal machine, so I should be able to help out."

"Oh, that'll be great! Sorry to bother you then."

"Mn, leave it to me."

Just like that, having obtained a partner in public and in private, I managed to sleep comfortably with a sense of relaxation.


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