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Infinite Stratos Volume 4 Chapter 1: Welcome in the Summer

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Chapter 1: Welcome in the SummerEdit

It's August. Such hot weather must be unreal. From long ago, I've hated this country's summers. I've detested them.

I'm not this country's citizen to begin with. I'm here at first due to circumstances regarding my parents, then later due to circumstances regarding my native country.

Huang Lingyin is my name.

The exclusive pilot of the IS ShenLong and a representative cadet.

And now I'm a first-year student attending the IS Academy.

"So...hot..."

It's August, and the IS Academy enters the late summer vacation. Because of this, roughly half of the students that came from all throughout the world returned home. I also truly thought about returning to my country, but––

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

But, it's better to forget it.

Even if I return home, my parents won't be there together; and I don't want to receive the annoying training of the military. Besides, there is another reason why I don't want to return.

(That guy, he should still be here. Good grief; why should I invite him. He really is the same guy from before.)

Walking down the dormitory corridor (geez, why is there no air conditioner!), I gradually became angrier.

––Oh yeah, I'll just have to let that guy come invite me. Thinking that, I made a U-Turn –– and at that moment, I unexpectedly ran into him.

"Oh, if it isn't Rin? What´s up?"

"I-I-Ichika!? W-Why are you here, weren't you in your room?"

"Ah, it's because I forgot to turn in my report... Hm? What are you holding?"

"N-Nothing!"

Reflexively, I hid the ticket that I was holding in my hand, behind my back.

......Ah, not good!

"Hum, you noticed? Actually––"

Even though I could obviously go on like this! Even though I could've said it!

"......?"

Gu...... he's giving me a "what's she doing" face......

Aah, ahem ahem!

"T-Today sure was hot."

"Hm? Is it? I feel like it's still cool."

"It's very hot. This country's summers have always been like this."

"Ah, so you´ve still got something against hot weather."

Uuuuhh...

He, remembering the past, made me a little happy.

––Ah, no no! He's forgotten the important promise!

"Well, whatever. If that's the case, then do you wanna come to my room? There's an AC."

Hm? Perhaps this is a chance......?

"W-Well, is that so. Then let's go to your room. And give me a drink?"

"Yeah, yeah. Is barley tea[4A 1] OK?"

"If it's cold, then anything is fine."

As I said that, I walked side by side with Ichika.

It's quiet in the dorms now, giving a bit of a "Just the two of us in the world" feeling.

(Come to think of it, I don't smell of sweat, do I......?)

Suddenly bothered by such a thing, I took half a step away from Ichika.

Don't worry. Don't worry...... Even though I was thinking that, because of this heat, I can't help but sweat a bit. ––Yes, I can't help it!

"Rin, hey."

"!? W-What!?"

Without hesitation, Ichika brought his face near me. ––Woah, too close, too close! I reflexively forced that face away.

"......Say, even though I called you a lot of times, you didn't respond!"

"H-Hmm? O-Oh! Sorry about that! I was thinking about something."

"Rin was thinking about something? Hmm."

"W-What......"

"Ah, nothing in particular. Well, it's that, if you can consult with someone, do it as much as possible. If you take it upon yourself alone, nothing good will become of it."

"H-Hum...... I know already......"

Ah, not good...... My heart's beating very fast. What, idiot. My height has alas grown over a long period of time, I've become an IS pilot, and moreover...... I'm improving my manners and whatnot......

As I was thinking about those things, Ichika once again began to stare at my face like someone that has been silenced.

"Rin?"

"W-What is it!"

"What do you mean? We've arrived to my room. Let's go in."

"I-I know, stupid."

As I said this, I entered the room behind Ichika. I've been here many times before, and yet my heart was beating nonstop?

(Ah...... Uu...... What, still......)

Shit. After entering the room and sitting on the bed, it immediately turned bad.

(Ichika......smelled good......)

And given that this is Ichika's room, naturally, that "good smell" feels even stronger.

Ahhh, not good, I'm not calming down.

(Aa...... Uu......)

I wanted to wriggle my legs about, but I didn't want to be seen moving like that by Ichika, so in the end I shook my body restlessly.

After a while, I noticed a book that was placed on the table.

But rather than a book, it was a photo album.

"Ahh, you still keep commemorative photos?"

"Hm? I guess. But these last few years was because Chifuyu-nee wasn't at home. ––Ah. This one we took of the three of us with you, Rin, was the last one. Do you remember it? It was during the 2nd year of Middle School, just before you moved out."

"I do somehow or another."

––That's a lie.

It wasn't "somehow or another". I firmly remember it.

"But, I don't quite get it. Wasn't this something Chifuyu-san started? She would occasionally take photos. Even though it's quite splendid, I can't see her as the fixated type."

"Hm, well. Perhaps, photos that weren't just of the two of us were essential. She already said that we should properly remember those who were with us in the past. ––Here, it's tea. It has been cooled."

"Thanks."

As I drank the barley tea that I received, I casually checked my wallet from the surface of my uniform. ......Hm, all right. It's still there.

"Can I see this?"

"Ah, OK. I just finished sorting it out."

I, while trying my best to pretend that, "I only paid attention to it because it was opened nearby," turn the pages of the album. Come to think of it, it was actually my first time seeing this.

The first page was indeed a photo of Ichika and Chifuyu-san. I wonder how old these pictures were. Chifuyu-nee was wearing her middle school uniform, and Ichika was much smaller than he is right now.

"That one was in the first year of elementary school."

"Heh? This one was the very first?"

"Hm, it seems so. I think that there were no photos before this one."

Looking at Ichika who seemed to not know the reason, I also thought about it. Why would Chifuyu-san, who loves her brother so much, have only the pictures of Ichika from the first grade on?

--Ah.

(Perhaps, in the pictures before this one, both of their parents were also photographed......)

I don't know the details about Ichika's parents' disappearance. But I heard that when Ichika became aware of his surroundings, they weren't there anymore.

"Well, the things of the past are fine, I guess."

While saying that, Ichika turns to the next page.

(Ah, a shy face.)

As I thought, when even Ichika looks at the photos of when he was young, he would also get embarrassed, it would seem.

This kind of situation is kinda cute, so I naturally got a happy feeling.

(Recently, there hasn't been an event in which the two of us would be alone like this.)

--Ah.

(T-The two of us alone......? Uh, crap......crap...... My heart's started to beat fast......)

When I noticed, it was too late. My face became flaring red, and the heat rose.

"Umm, is this in the second grade? If I remember correctly, this should be when I went grape picking during an excursion."

Suddenly.

Suddenly, Ichika sat next to me.

After my heart jumped with shock, an oddly loud sound was heard from the bed.

(Huh, ah, uh......? U-Umm, there shouldn't be any sweat scent, right? I mean, the bed......the meaning of sitting side by side on a bed is in other words, umm......umm......)

I awfully miss the me that heard the phrase 'keep your train of thought short' from an old song that one time, and immediately thought, 'Huh? How can it be like that. Isn't that foolish.' --What, can a train of thought simply be made short like that? Isn't that low quality rubbish. The one who made this, show yourself.

"Rin."

"Fueey!?"

---Where did that voice come from, the one just now? Isn't that unattractive. The worst......

"Do you want it?"

--.

Huh? Huh? Huh? What, what is it, what's the situation? I want an explanation of the circumstances.

What was that, wait a moment. Huh? Ichika--huh?

(What's with the 'want'......what's with this staggering straightforwardness......)

I mean, he's making me answer; how sadistic he is. Does he want to bully the girl he likes? --Huh, likes? Likes? Ichika, likes me?

"You don't need it?"

"Huh, ah, well, ple--please wait a bit."

"Oh."

No way, what's with this development!? How'd this happen!?

Furthermore, my heart is pounding greatly, and seems like it could explode at any time.

My face has become hot to the extent that it already hurts, and suddenly, sweat came spurting out.

(Uuh! Not good, not good, not gooood, I say......!)

I panicked at the smell of the sweat that I suddenly felt.

Uh...... As I thought, taking a shower before coming here would have been good.

(--But if I'm thinking like that......it's like I was expecting something from the start. Something like, something like this...... Right?)

"You don't have to be so reserved."

Whaaaat!?

I sensed Ichika's voice even more closely than a moment ago, and my body hopped several centimeters.

*Thump Thump*

*Thump Thump*

My heart can't stop beating.

Unsatisfied, like a downpour.

"Ichi...ka......"

I timidly look at Ichika and, straight...he was merely looking straight at me.

Not good.

This will, draw......me......in.........

"So, what do you want to do?"

"I......want........."

"Hm"

Ichika nodded, reached his hand towards me, and then--

"So I'll pour you another cup."

"--Huh?"

What did he say?

"Another......cup......?"

"What I said, the barley tea."

"Barley tea......"

"Rin, you said that you wanted it."

"I said that I wanted it......"

After a few seconds of me parroting him, I thought my heart would stop from Ichika's words.

"Hm? Ah, could it be that you misunderstood it for something else--"

"Hm, wha!? What, could possibly-- Y-Y-You idioooooot!!"

*Smack*

A dry sound of a slap magnificently reverberates.

"That huurts........."

"Hum!!"

Up to ten minutes had passed after that, yet Ichika was still rubbing the cheek that I had slapped.

Somehow, it seems that it was pain befitting of the situation. Ichika's mouth is deformed in pain like the shock still remains.

(You deserved it, idiot!)

Saying such a thing, letting people misunderstand......of course there would be a consequence!

(Yeah, that--)

That......

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

If, like that, I had been kissed......

(No, no, no! NO! That kind of thing won't happen! Because that Ichika, "that" Ichika, that guy's dead brain surely won't change until he dies.)

After thinking this, the me who misunderstood was embarrassed to death.

My own cheeks were different than the warm feeling before, becoming pain.

(Wuuu.....should I give him another...)

Having thought this on impulse, I glanced at Ichika.

"......"

Even though it was a misunderstanding, the throbbing in my chest wasn't fake. For this reason, this kind of misunderstanding without any harm causes even more anger.

(Although we've been friends all these years, this guy's thickheadness is still surprising...)

Also, it was the same when we reunited.

When I had just become a representative contender student, I heard in the news that there was a guy that was able to pilot IS. I was more shaken by Ichika, whom I hadn't see for a year, even if it was only on the screen.

After that, because of my age and my past time spent living in Japan, I got accepted at IS academy. Once that happened, I returned to this country.

In short, I was very happy when I reunited with Ichika, but at the same time, I was very anxious.

In the past, when I said: "You'll have to eat my cooking every day", the meaning of that was, like, having the intention of getting married.

In middle school the opportunity wasn't very good, so I wasn't able show a high level of cooking abilities, but if there was another meeting right now---

(Actually, he was thinking like that...)

In the end, he interpreted it like "Feeding me for free, Rin is really a good person"...again fooling me completely, really. Haa...

My stiffened shoulders start to feel the exhaustion, so I force myself to relax my mood.

(Anyways! The me today is different from usual! Hm!)

I searched in my wallet, and held the two tickets. Calm down, calm down......No worries, I've practiced so much, it should be alright.

"Ichika."

"Hmm?"

"You, are you going anywhere during the summer vacation?" (¡)

"Hmm...Now that you mention it, I think I would like to go somewhere."

......not bad, not bad, everything is going as expected.

"That's too bad, so let me give you a convenient solution."

"Convenient solutions coming from Rin... in the end, it's gonna cost."

Again, it's about costs...I restrained myself before I said it. If it has always cost money but now it's free, there would definitively be a misunderstanding. By the way, that......the fact that I love Ichika might also get exposed.

"Of course! Say, who would even think that amusement parks don't cost money? How dumb are you, really!"

In the end, again, I recovered with the previous voice tone. I just thought that in the past I always collected money from Ichika like this. After all, in the very beginning my opportunity was when Ichika came to my family's Chinese restaurant to eat dinner.

At that time I was really happy, and thought about letting him come for free. In the end he said: "No, no, it cannot be free, don't we say that there aren't free meals on earth? And after all, uncle's cooking is too good. That's why, let me pay." After that, I accepted his meals' fees.

My family's cooking is good for sure, and even I've always known, being said by someone else...hm, I was very happy.

(But that day my real thoughts were instantly known by my parents......huuuu...)

- - - - -.

Every time I remember the moments with my parents, my heart hurts badly. This is also the reason why I can't return to my mother country.

(Don't think about these things right now...)

For now it's better to forget the pain in my heart. Or else that wood-headed Ichika, who is abnormally sensitive to the bad mood of others, will immediately sense it.

"Hum."

"That is?"

Ichika is constantly looking at the tickets I took out...he took the bait.

"You don't know, do you? It's the newly built 'water world'. Oh, let me say that first, tickets for this month are already gone. To buy a ticket for a day without being lined up for two hours is impossible."

"Is that so?"

Anger. He really is insensitive. He doesn't know how much effort I put into buying these.

"So, when will we go?"

"G-go?"

"? Isn't it because of that you came here?"

"You're right."

Waah, success! The most difficult thing was how to invite him, to make it so simply. ---Oh, calm down, calm down, even though the victory is in my reach I need to control myself, didn't I learn this in my training.

"Well, after all, only I would invite you, so be thankful for my good heart."

I said this while knocking Ichika's face with the tickets.

(Even though it's like this, my heart is beating as if it will break.)

"How much does it cost?"

"2500 yen." [4A 2]

"...not expensive?"

"If you don't want it, it doesn't matter. After all, if Ichika doesn't want it, there are others who would."

Though there could be others who would buy it, to be honest I don't want to sell it to anybody if it isn't Ichika. Because it was for the sake of inviting Ichika that I prepared them, so it is obvious that I wouldn't do that.

"Well, OK. I'll buy it. When's the date."

"This Saturday."

"It's really sudden."

To Ichika, it's a very common reply.

(It can't be helped; it is because my friends don't want them so I got them.)

"Well, I don't have any problems, what about Rin?"

"Ah, me too!"

Ah, I messed up again...this response without afterthoughts is obviously indecisive. My inner thoughts have been beautifully exposed.

"Where do we meet? If it's inside the academy we can only wear uniforms, so wouldn't it be better outside?"

"Hm, hm! Yes! Let's meet at the park gates to make the most of the opportunity!"

---Success! It really, really has the impression of a date!

(By the way, this is a date!) In my heart I quietly clenched my right fist. Recently, because of the increasing opponents, I've been pushed aside, but this time it is me who is ahead.

"When will we meet up? It should be in the morning."

"You're right, so how about 10 o'clock?"

"OK."

Great! Great! In my heart I don't stop making the winning pose. I drank in one gulp the barley tea that has just been brought to me, put the cup on the table with a *Dang*, then stood up. ––Huu, it's decided.

"Why are you acting so strange?"

"That's very rude! Anyway, don't be late tomorrow!"

I closed the door with a *Dang*, then immediately went to the corridor. After I got out from there I did an arm-stretching pose, not in my heart but in reality.

(SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!! Success! Success!)[4A 3]

Since I couldn't make any sound, this joy has already enlivened my body.

(I need to hurry to my room to prepare myself!)

I returned to my own room in large steps. The hot temperature of summer, when I noticed that everything has already gone alright. Usually, the walk to my room feels long, but it felt shorter today. I'm sure that wings grew on both of my legs, without a doubt.

In the passage my shoulders may have touched a few students, ------hmm, it should be an illusion.

"I~have~returned!"

With a *Pa*, I opened the door as if I wanted to blow up it up, and my roommate lying on the bed widely opened her eyes. The fry sticking out of her mouth made a clear sound after a half-beat pause.

"You, you have returned."

My golden haired and jade-colored eye roommate, Tina Hamilton, blinked mysteriously, holding a magazine in her hands while gazing foolishly at me. [4A 4]

"Fu, Fuu, fufufu......"

"Wha-? Hey, Rin? Did you short circuit because of the heat?

"Yeah."

Ah, really, everything between Tina and I goes well. I couldn't hide my joy and submerged myself on the bed, holding tightly my blankets...

"...Wh-what's that? Do you want to strangle your blankets?"

"Yeah~"

"Rin, are you seriously answering?"

"Yeah~"

Yeah, is it, huuhuu~~

Showing an unbearable altitude, Tina's sight returned to her magazines. After that she tended her arm to reach the French fries which she was about to eat.

Well, after all everything goes well! Ahahaha...

Not good, I can't be like that forever. If I don't prepare for tomorrow right now......

(Swimming suit, OK, the clothes are all newly bought, after that is...)

---there's also things like underwear.

(......)

Wait, hmm, don't we say that a very high impression of pressure would influence the people's heart, so if something happens, is it, is it? Yeah, this is for a preparation just in case. Preparation! Didn't the ancestors say that you can be in peace if you have prepared everything, that's right, the one who said that sentence is really mighty.

"Tina, very mighty, isn't it?"

"Yes yes, yeah."

*Pa!* The sound of a fry being bitten resounded. Tina, really, from the beginning she was the one talking about gaining weight, there's really nothing to do about her.

(And I don't have that issue!)

I already knew my free time last month during the sea school, so I started adjusting my consumption of snacks since June.

And the efforts I have made has a result, now I have a slender body. Yeah, there won't be a problem for when my body will be seen---

(But, there will maybe be the time when my body gets looked at.)

Not being covered by a swimsuit but the body directly.

.........

"That, Tina."

"Wh-what?"

"Summer is really hot, isn't it?"

"Yeah."

*Pa!* The sound of a fry being separated resounds again.

"Fuuu. It's finally finished."

I, Yamada Maya, am sitting in the indoor training room tasting hot tea. In that hot weather, drinking hot tea with the AC in the room running, it is sumptuous as expected.

In this academy's funds there is a part in which you need to pay taxes, so there's a bit of guilt in my chest.

(But for now I'll allow myself. Finally......finally I finished a term of work.)

Though there are too many incidents this year.

With the 'male IS pilot' as center, abnormal numbers of personal machine pilots, frequent incidents, and the IS committee ordering the transfer of Orimura Ichika...

My head hurts each time I think about that.

Finally I finished a little more than a half of work, so I think I can rest a little bit.

(But, it's very difficult)

I looked at the two documents again and again, and then sighed. The document is about two students, but the problem is the names on them.

Orimura Ichika, Shinonono Houki.

These two---they are clearly not representatives, but they still have their personal machines, and it's the source of the problem. Orimura-kun is relatively OK, but Shinonono's IS doesn't have the national ownership rights---which is also the nationality register.

To say it in another form, every other country is recruiting its own exclusive pilots, so the IS became the other countries' accessories. Every country would even take an IS by stretching an arm from the mouth. Even if it's only one, it would greatly affect the country's military force.

Moreover, it is still the IS inventor, Shinonono Tabane, who uses the fourth generation skills by herself, so there are plenty of countries fantasizing about her. [4A 5]

"Haa......"

Why are these issues concentrating in my class.

Especially the transfer students are weird. Normally, a class wouldn't have that many personal machine users.

(---there should be some thinking done)

Even if it doesn't belong to any country's organization, but wanting to block the countries' attention is very difficult.

(Well, I shouldn't think too deep in this topic.)

After all, these thoughts won't change anything.

(Later, I'll finish all the work that is still remaining at once.)

After I drank the tea, I took a rest and dug in the files stacked in the form of a mountain. Then, I took one document from the files. *Shlaa*---

(*Shlaa*......?)

It was a document.

A document became two, no; it seems that in the beginning it was two stacked together, and then the bottom one came off.

"It scared me. But this document is..."

In a second, my mind froze.

"That, that is......"

It was to keep such things from happening that I looked over all the files, or so I intended. Does it mean that I didn't see its circumstances and its priorities, and I only took care of the other files?

"Shit......this is a very bad situation."

In a classroom with the AC running, I panicked to the point that I had cold sweat. And that sweat is very cold...with the both meanings.

"Finally arrived."

In front of the IS academy door, I just got off from the white Roseloss , and a disturbing hot air came to me, but I'm still in high spirits.

(As expected, it's because I'm under the same sky as the people I missed.)

I, Cecilia Alcott finished the work in the United Kingdom, and finally returned to Japan.

Alcott family's job, representative contender student report, re-adjustment of my personal machine, participation at the violin competition, reunion with my old friends, and finally, paying respect to both of my parents' grave.

"........."

Every time I think about this, my chest faintly hurts.

---Why didn't they say anything before leaving.

---Why did they leave me alone.

---Why, at the end, these two were together.

(One day I'll understand too.)

"Milady!"

!!

After being called I turned my body around to face my personal maid and childhood friend Chelsea (?) who showed her usual smile.

"What is happening to you?"

"No, nothing."

Even if I'm somewhat in disarray, I forcefully tried to look calm. Chelsea's sight for a person's change of heart is still keen. She's always been like that, and her body shares a feeling that doesn't match the coolness of other 18 years old, and though I said she's my childhood friend, she's more like a big sister or something like that. That Chelsea is the one I yearn for, and also the goal for my efforts.

(After that, I want to---)

"Now, do you want to go see Orimura-sama right now?

"Chelsea! Didn't you go transport the suitcases?"

"Actually, there's something I need to confirm, so even though I'm a bit shy I returned just in case."

"It, is that right, so what do you need to confirm?"

"Is that white fabric underwear for Orimura-sama's personal use?"

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

"Milady, if it's too fancy, it might have a reverse effect."

"That, that is..."

"So, I'll go first."

Without giving her time to find an excuse, Chelsea politely curtsied. [4A 6]

No it's not, it is, it is---huh?

"Wha?"

That thing which I secretly bought online was hidden in a double pocket in the suitcase. How can it be?

Chelsea's gentle smile, suddenly burst in my mind. A sudden wave of embarrassment came from me.

Ahahahaha......

(The so-called 'there's a needle so it can penetrate' is like that.)

My cheeks start to burn, and sweat without any connection to the summer starts to spew. And especially the palm of my hands, which I need to wash immediately.

"Hmm? Cecilia?"

Huh---

Wha? Wha? WHAT-?

(This voice belongs to Ichika-san? Why would he be here? Does it mean that he came here to welcome me?)

My hand holding my chest beating unstoppably, I turned to him as if it's nothing.

"Oh!"

"Ichika-san, I haven't seen you for a week."

I greeted him by twisting a part of my dress, but my heart couldn't calm down.

---Ah, it's really Ichika-san! He was really thinking about me so he came here to welcome me......ah, Ichika-san, really!

"When I thought that Cecilia was going to return, I couldn't sit properly."

"Really, Ichika-san......you really sweet talk."

"I'm serious. The week in which Cecilia wasn't there, it seemed that the time was running in a infinite cycle."

"Ichika-san...... Ah."

"We won't be separated again, 'my princess'."

Aha, aha, no, you can't, in this place! Someone might see us.


"Cecilia?"

"What?!"

Summer daydream---no, it was a vain thought.

"Are you OK? You were dazed. Is it because you got a heat stroke? You need to be very careful, having a heat stroke in the summer is very dangerous."

"No. No problem! Sitting in the car, I felt only a bit dizzy!"

"If that's all, then okay."

"Hm hm, it's like that."

!?

"Hm? And she would be?"

"This is the first time we meet. I am the maid serving Cecilia-sama, Chelsea Blackett. I'll be in your care."

Chelsea, who after taking care the luggage returned I-don't-know-when, was introducing herself to Ichika-san.

(Ara, why is Chelsea alone?)

After thinking carefully, I immediately understood. Seeing Chelsea come alone, she was probably hiding herself to peek somewhere, and appear at the right moment.

She's really good at reading people's feelings!

"Ah, the one Cecilia mentioned before, it was you. First time we've met. My name is Orimura Ichika."

"Yes, Orimura-sama, please allow the presumptuous me to ask, what has milady said about me?"

"Hmm......, a very understanding, outstanding, tender beautiful woman."

"Ah—"

She warmly smiled. That kind of polite speech is very beautiful, and at the same time has a warm feeling without any harm wrapping the person.

This kind of thing is undoubtedly clear to me.

(Ichika-san really, he hasn't said that I am a beautiful woman.)

Chelsea seemed to have looked through my jealous thoughts.

(Wuwu......, Chelsea is Chelsea.)

I can't win against that smile. It's always been like that.

"I've also heard things concerning Ichika-sama from Cecilia-sama."

-- - - - -!?

"Huh, is that right. May I ask you what has she said about me?"

Aaaaaaaaah, please Chelsea, don't get into details!

"Uhuh, actually......"

This time after feeling that Cecilia shook, Chelsea made the smile which she makes when she wants to make fun of someone. After slightly putting her finger in front of her mouth---

"That's a woman's secret."

That smile was, even towards girls, fascinating.

File:IS v04 044.jpg

"Ah~, Chelsea-san really is the beautiful woman whom Cecilia has talked about."

"......Yeah"

The scene moved to the café near the school canteen.

This shop has a good AC temperature, business all year, and even the drinks would eclipse the café in front of the station. Also, you can taste the four seasons' clothing, so during the summer vacations, the students were obviously flooding the place.

"Hey, isn't that the first-year Orimura-kun??"

"It's true! It's the first time I've seen him in person."

"Ayaa. He is really cute; I didn't think that the younger ones were bad either."

"But to me he has the first-year working hard attitude which makes people love him."

These kind of ridiculous comments were boiling around. Normally, everyone would fight to be in a picture with Ichika, and be happier and prouder than anyone. And now......

Cecilia is putting on a bad face, and boringly stirring her ice cream. The ice cube that has been in contact with the straw made a transparent crispy sound, and all that was non-important background noise to her ears.

(How can they be chatting so cheerfully when it's the first time that they meet each other......)

Thinking about the conversation that Ichika and Chelsea had, she again became irritated.

"Chelsea-san is great. And we can't see that you're in your teens."

"Orimura-sama, please call me Chelsea, and the way you speak to me, please consider me as a simple maid."

"No, how can I? To add –san to someone who's older is basic respect. Furthermore, even though it's not needed, to not add honorific suffixes is difficult. I would be nervous."

"Well, Orimura-sama can really speak. It seems that you really know how to please a woman."

"What? It's the first time that someone's said that to me."

"So it's like this, huhu..."

On one side, Ichika, who was a bit shy but joyful, and at the same time wouldn't expose that kind of behavior in front of herself, and on the other side Chelsea, who clearly knows her thoughts but is still getting close to Ichika, were making Cecilia even more disturbed.

(That rumor, is it true......)

At the end of the last month, she heard a rumor by chance. Until yesterday, it had not bothered her too much, but with things as they were now, she couldn't remain calm.

The rumor was --- 'Orimura Ichika likes older women'.

(I originally thought that it was a baseless rumor......)

But after seeing his attitude towards Chelsea, Cecilia started to wonder if it could be something more than just a 'rumor'.

(Becoming an older woman, that's impossible) (!)

Since the two of them were born in the same year, even if she gets older, the other one couldn't get younger. Making an effort to achieve this is like trying to climb to reach the sky.

Cecilia's mood oddly went down, feeling even worse.

"Ha..."

"Hey, Cecilia, why are you so down?......Is it because of me?"

"Indeed."

"Hey, that was fast!"

Looking at the dejected Ichika who seems to have taken a great blow, Cecilia's mood didn't get better. Even though he invited me to this café, I'm not that happy anymore.

(It's all Ichika san's fault.)

For the time being, pushing all this fury towards Ichika, Cecilia puts the straw in her mouth, and the usually tasty sugary milk pot now has also lost its taste. And because removing the straw from the side of her mouth would only make her sigh, Cecilia could only helplessly continue drinking.

"........."

"........."

Ten minutes later, or twenty was it, or just an instant. Anyway, after a silent moment, Ichika opened his mouth to talk.

"Cecilia."

"What is it?"

"Do you want to try coming to that place?"

"---Huh?"

"Hn~~, today's weather is awesome! How bright is the sun!"

It's the so-called great weather for a date. Rin tightly held her fist, and used all of her strength to make an encouragement pose. Though the background was still her own room, but with the clothes all prepared, specially all new bought for today.

(Hu, hu, hu, finally I took a step before that Houki and Charlotte, this is my entire victory!)

To Rin, winning against these cohabiting girls is a great thing, before transferring she couldn't help being frustrated when she heard that Ichika was living with girls.

(Humph, even though I was wearing a swimsuit, but this time is different from the seaside school, to say it in the most basic way. This is a real date! It's the so-called boy-girl intercourse.)

Boy-girl, after pondering this term, Rin's head was suddenly dyed of a peach color.

(Hm, today I chose the cutest underwear between all of them as backup, hm.)

Wasn't it sung in the old times: We don't know what'll happen in summer so we can't be careless.

(For example, the returning road or something like that.)

............

"It was very fun today."

"Hm. Because I was with Rin."

"Yeah, yeah, you can finally appreciate my thoughts. Good, good."

"......Rin."

"Wha? What is it? Why are you suddenly holding my hand?"

"I, have finally understood, to be separated from Rin and to be reunited again, how much is that important."

"I-Ichika."

"Rin, I love you."

"Huh, ah—no, not here."

"Do you hate me?"

"I don't really hate you......"

"So, it's OK."


"Idiot, to be so much of a fool..."

--It was a joke, A JOKE!

"Haha, isn't that right, Tina?"

"Yes, yes, you're right."

Tina, who buried her head while eating ramen, casually agreed with her. When she's serious, it also means that she looks stupid. After Rin's scandal from yesterday, the reason behind it, which is the same for today's excitement, became clear...... the reason for this could only be....

"Then, I'm off."

"Be careful on the road."

"Maybe I'll be late tonight!"

"Hm, is that right?"

"Then goodbye."

"Goodbye."

After the door closed behind her with a *Dang*, Rin made her encouraging pose again with her fist closed, and strode out of there.

"Hn?"

"Ara?"

In front of the Waterworld's gate, Rin stumbled upon a familiar face. Rin and Cecilia looked at each other, and in a strange atmosphere, the two of them greeted each other stiffly.

"It's really a coincidence to see you here, Rin-san."

"Hn, hn, hello, Cecilia."

Why is she here, is what both were thinking, while waiting for someone to arrive.

Both were astonished by the clothes the other had chosen to wear.

(Is Cecilia's friend coming too? Never mind, I'm only waiting for Ichika.)

Huhu...... Rin couldn't suppress her laugh, as she was waiting for Ichika's arrival with a dumb look on her face.

......

.........

............

(Aaah, he's late! What's he doing)


"What's going on?"

Cecilia mumbled as Rin was stomping with her feet. Her eyes were constantly checking the hour, making it seem as if the one she was waiting for was also late.

Rin still had Cecilia on her mind, but what concerned her the most was what Ichika was doing. It had already been more than 10 minutes since the appointed time, getting close to 20 minutes.

(That guy, since the time we met for the first time, has always been late when it matters the most)

Her phone then rang, and as she irritably took out her cellphone, she inmediately recognized the number highlighted on the screen. It was Ichika's.

"Hello? What the heck are you doing? Where are you now?"

"At school."

"Huh!?"

"Ah! Let me explain; Yesterday, I heard from Yamada-sensei that today the Institute's researchers would come to begin a research on Byakushiki. And now, they are saying that they couldn't get the data on the Second Shift, as it took place so suddenly last month. They want to take the data again."

"......What did you say?"

"Well, that...... sorry, apparently I won't be able to come today."

"WH-!?"

In a second, Rin, who had just gone past her limit, got so angry that her face went white, all while Ichika's voice continued to reach her ears.

"It's not so simple; in fact, yesterday I tried to contact you, but you wouldn't answer your phone. I even went to your room, but someone said you were already asleep. You were, right?"

"......"

As a matter of fact, in order to be ready for today's date, Rin had decided to go to sleep at 8:00 pm that night, and in order to avoid any potential bother, she specially turned off her cellphone. Finally, she instructed Tina to not wake her up unless it was a great emergency.

(Aaah, stuuupiiiid! Wouldn't that be considered a great emergency!?)

"And that's the situation."

"Right."

She couldn't help but to answer discouragingly.

"——"

"I gave the ticket to Cecilia, so you two should play to your hearts content."

----------Huh?

"Huh? Cecili...wha? Wait a moment, what do you mean with that?"

"Huh? Cecilia isn't there? I have already said to her that we should meet each other at the front door."

"------------"

Th-that, that, that..........

"Can I kill this guy?"[4A 7]

"Why are you saying something that dangerous. Rin, you're fine, aren't you?"

Because of the carefree attitude from Ichika, Rin's 'trembling status' finally became unbearable.

"It isn't something like 'fine', what you did to me, you."

"Wah, don't get angry all of sudden. ------Ah, yes. That, do I need to go right now?"

On the other end of the phone, seems there is someone talking with Ichika, and the conversation between Rin and him was temporally interrupted by it.

"Sorry Rin, I need leave for now, sorry for bothering you. Also, apologize to Cecilia in my stead."

*Kacha*

The phone was hung up emotionlessly, with only the beeping sound remaining.

"Gh, Gh, Gh--"

Rin tightly held her mobile phone, emitting a *kk* friction sound, and had Cecilia engaged the conversation a second later, the cell phone would have, without a doubt, fallen on the ground, immolated.

"Hey, Rin-san? What happened?"

"Heh, Cecilia......listen to me......Ichika won't come."

"......"

After hearing this sentence, Cecilia froze. Rin repeated it to Cecilia who didn't understand what the other person had just said.

"Ichika won't come."

"Huh? That......why? By the way, why is Rin-san......"

"Today you will date me."

"Wha......WHAAAT? I have been invited here by Ichika..."

"Didn't I just say it? That ticket was prepared by me! Do you understand?"

*Pata!* *Pata!* After blinking two times, Cecilia finally, slowly said--------

"......Rin-san."

"What."

"Let's first enter and drink something. I don't understand the situation, and also-"

With blue veins on the surface of her face, Cecilia was slightly smiling.

"-and also please explain entirely what happened."

In front of the Waterworld's door, there was a naturally formed Shura's land encircling the two of them, disturbed by something else than the hot weather.

"You're saying that Ichika-san wanted someone to replace him, so he said words like 'Don't you want to try to go there'?"

"Right."

"Ha......I had a feeling that something wasn't right. From the beginning I thought that there was something weird."

"Liar. That outfit, didn't you prepare it wholeheartedly?"

"Wh-?! It's, this......is only an etiquette, yes, only an etiquette."

"Ah, I know, I know."

While making deaf ears to Cecilia's words, Rin let fly a paperplane she made with a napkin. And being so soft, it didn't fly much before it fell to the ground.

Right, just like the Rin right now.

"Hu......"

"Ha......"

In Waterworld's coffee shop, the heavy sighs from the two of them resounded at the same time.

"Then."

"Then what?"

"Should we go home?"

"You're right. I'm not in the mood for swimming now."

As the two of them decided to get up, the broadcast resounded inside.

"Ehem, next is today's main event! The steeplechase[4A 8] pair race begins at one o'clock in the evening, and every participant is requested to go to the square at noon~"

The two of them, who didn't have any interest to begin with, rose their ears to the contents in the back.

"The winning prize is a two tickets pack, for a six-days trip with all-expenses paid."

(That's it!)

(It's that.)

The Okinawa trip as prize. If what happened today was used as a reason, Ichika would be unable to refuse, and so, it's decided......

"Cecilia."

"Rin-san."

""WE OUGHT TO WIN THIS!""

The two of them hit each other's wrist, and just like that, the strongest pair in history was born.

"OK! The first Waterworld pair steeplechase in water starts now!!"

As the host onee-san announced with a loud voice,she performed a flying leap. Like that, she was wearing a boldly opened bikini with her vivid, voluminous chest. She may have done this to get the interest and attention from the audience right from the beginning. The public (mostly males) started cheering and clapping their hands, screaming 'Waaaahhhh'.

Also, because all the participants were female, the audience was in high spirits

A few troublemaking men trying to sneak into the event were told expressionlessly by the reception staff to 'Try to understand', and they couldn't help but to retreat.

Though it's a women-oriented society, this is different. As expected, the competitions on water are still non-female. The jury here is made by the owner of the facility, and the Koichiro Island's sponsor, though it's more for his personal interest.

"Everyone in the audience, please kindly applaud our contestants!"

In a storm-like applause sound, the participants waved towards the audience in their sight of view.

At that moment, there was a completely indifferent team. --------Rin and Cecilia. These two were both stretching their bodies, warming up for this contest.

"He, shu! By the way, Cecilia, your swimsuit is different than the one from before."

"Huh, ah. How can I put it, yes, it's because of emotional matters."

"Liar. After all, you were thinking of showing this new swimsuit to Ichika, didn't you! Aaah, that is why you bought something with that flowery pattern."

"No-noisy. Rin-san you too, how come your body is even more slender than when we were at the sea-side school."

File:IS v04 061.jpg

"It was because of that! It's because I wanted to have a vigorous life that I worked extremely hard."

"I know, I know. It's really difficult to obtain it for Rin-san who is interested in night life."

Even though the two of them were comrades, they were using weird ways to encourage each other. Like that, the two of them were still seriously doing their warm-up, since they knew very well the stake of this competition.

"The prize is six days travel to the southern paradise of -----------Okinawa. Do your best, everyone."

Right, this time the prize is the target. The two of them were having their own delusions, and couldn't help but laugh stupidly.

Suddenly their eyes met.

"Ehe."

"Aha!"

(I must find a way to take it out from Cecilia.)

(I would trade anything to Rin-san for it.)

Under their smiling mask, they were glaring at each other, preparing a plan and finishing their warm-up.

"So I'll repeat the rules! Everyone, please look at this huge 50m x 50m pool. The first team arriving at the middle and capturing the flag is the winner! Also, as you see, the path is a circle taking the form of the central island. The obstacles set in the path basically all need two people to get beyond them. It needs the two people cooperating together, it is a test for friendship between two people from the same gender."

While Rin and Cecilia were listening to the announcer's explanation, they look down again to the path below. The central island was floating in the air, which makes it troublesome. ......No, it's only because of the rope pulling it that it was floating, but that isn't the issue here.

(Hm~~It seems that it's impossible to swim through. Is there a shortcut------)

(It seems that it's impossible to take the shortest path. So it means that you must do it over again if you fall into the water.)

So it was like this, it's really well made. The two of them understood the situation in front of their eyes. However, they thought of the same.

((Of course the majority of the participants are relatively normal people------))

The two of them are both personal IS users, and representative candidates of their respective countries, and their strength is equal to that of an army from the old days, and added that, is the accumulated training they've had so that they could skillfully operate an IS. If they participated in a simple competition of pure fighting ability, even normal men could hardly win against them. Even if they were against military units, they would certainly be evenly matched. And the so-called IS are the same, their pilots naturally have some great talent.

"Then next! The competition finally starts! Everybody ready, set------"

Bang! The gun signal clearly resounds, and the 24 contestants, for a total of 12 pairs of 'fairies', wearing swimsuits, charged at the same time.

"Cecilia!"

"I know!"

Right after the start of the competition, the two of them dodged the kicks from the pair besides them and took the lead for landing on the island. In this competition, every interference is OK. However, to the representative cadets who have received a formal military training, it's no use.

"Let's go."

"Oooh!!"

They swiftly dodged a pair of participants' attacks, and at the same time the opponent's foot was in the air and then fell in the water. Thus the participants were completely separated into two categories; the conservative category 'charge forwards' and the radical 'hurt the others first' category.

However, there was a problem this time.

No matter what, this young pair were acting very active right from the beginning, and took all the public's attention. And because of this, Rin and Cecilia had become everyone's target.

"Aaaahh, it's really troublesome."

"It's blocking me!"

Though the pairs charging at them were constantly 'falling' into water, they were endlessly charging back. It looked like the radical and the conservative ones came to an understanding, so even though the attacked ones can be resurrected right away, they'll obstruct them with all their strength.

"Wuu...If this continues, we'll be taken down."

Rin, who became anxious of the first pair which already reached the second island, winked towards Cecilia.

"Though it's a bit early, we should use our secret weapon."

"Ha......, what happens won't be my fault."

"This is for victory!"

"Right, if it's for victory..."

After the two of them finished talking through private channels, Rin and Cecilia faced the enemy again.

""WOOOOAAAAAHHHH""

Changing the back of their hands to fiercely protect themselves from the other pair's elbow, the two of them ignored them. After they sighed, Cecilia and Rin flashed towards them with a movement that could cut the wind.

*Blam!* The obstructing group fell in the water each after another, though they were already used to it.

"No matter how many times, we'll come back again."

The two participants emerged from the water, though the thing that should be on their body is gone.

"Huhu, you cannot abandon your swimsuit and live on......"

"As Mary Theresa said, if you wanna fight naked, then bring it on."

""Aaaaaaahhhh""

Rin and Cecilia, who had quickly snatched the swimsuit upper part, looked briefly at the obstructing group, and threw the piece of cloth in their hands to the opposite side, right into the audience's hands.

As expected-----no, exceeding the expected result, in face of such a turn of events, the male audience members began a ruckus.

"It's good, now the hindrances are gone."

"Let's quickly catch up."

On the highest island, there should be someone who pulls the rope, while the other one should pass through to the other side with the rope supporting her.

"Well, we must make up for the wasted time together."

"Hn, we can't fall behind any further."

Rin flew swiftly to the unstable little island swinging left and right, followed by Cecilia who looked through its timing. Just before, the public was storming and boiling because of the swimsuits, but now, it's because of these two's dynamism that the crowd is bursting with cheers.

"That's, that's impressive for two high schoolers, did they receive some kind of training?"

After that, for the second island, the two of them broke away from the obstacles and charged towards it. This time it was one who stopped the water flow while the other one used this opportunity to get through the obstacle, though both of them charged together.

"Haha! It's so relaxing!"

"Compared to a minefield, it's way too easy."

And just like this, they continued through the third and the fourth island, and when they finally arrived at the fifth---an issue emerged.

"Let's end this here."

Maybe because they thought that if they continue on running seriously, they'll lose, the leading team turned towards Rin and Cecilia.

"Ahaha. How can normal people beat us, the representative cadets."

"Wait, in front of us is the Kazaki-Kishimoto team! They seem to want to bring the contest in their fighting expert field."

"Huh? Expert......what?"

"From what I know, these two are Wrestling and Judo gold-medalists at the Olympics. Though I heard that their relationship is very good, it means that they aren't in the same discipline but they are in good terms with each other."

"Huh...? What? Gold medalist? Does that mean that their body constitution is above average?"

The muscled girls pair who greatly match each other let out a roar and charged towards Rin's and Cecilia's side.

(This isn't good! We already used all our strength to run, so we're exhausted now, and if we fight these muscled girls---)

(It would be too much no matter what.)

Since they were so exhausted that they couldn't sense that the situation was getting tougher, they couldn't let themselves stop running. It's going to be bad.

"Sucesss!!!"

"Geh!"

Rin and Cecilia jumped backwards to distance themselves from them, but since it was a floating island, there wasn't any route for retreat.

"If it's like this......Cecilia!"

"What?"

"I have a countermeasure for that! Charge!"

"Wha!? Do you want me to be the herald?"

"Yes! There's no time to hesitate."

"Aaah I don't care anymore."

Cecilia single-handly faced the charging medalist pair.

"Cecilia, turn here."

"Wha?"

Being called by a loud voice, Cecilia turned her head by reflex, and ended up seeing Rin's----foot palm.

"Huh? Ugh!!"

Entirely, perfectly.

Her own face has been entirely and perfectly trampled on.

"Great!"

Stepping on Cecilia as a board, Rin swiftly flies towards the terminal point, taking the flag.

"Victory!!"

After that, the little island where Rin was seconds ago and Cecilia with the other medalist pair, who lost balance, fell together into the few meters deep water.

*Ping!!*

The highly splashing water column was especially shining in Rin's eyes

"Thank you, Cecilia, you were indispensable."

And at that point, Cecilia's smiling face seemed to emerge from the sky. ......her expression was the same as if she was looking at her past comrade.

"He, he, he......"

From beneath the ground a sheer laugh came. Immediately after that a two times greater water column rose up.

"I cannot forgive you today! My face, by a foot, ------Rin-san!"

Dressed with her swimsuit, Cecilia summoned Blue-Tears and full of anger, charged towards Rin.

"Huh, do you really wanna do it? ------Shenlong!"

Rin swiftly summoned Shenlong, posing as if to to express that she accepts the challenge.

"What? Are these two people students from the IS Academy? I didn't know that there would be two IS machines in this competition. Huh, but what do the rules state......"

The big sister host, crossed by confusion and excitement at the same time, starts to rattle on, her body and her arms waving wildly, and her voluminous chest bouncing out again.

"Aaaaaahhhhh!!"

"Yyyyyyyyyaaaaaaa!!!!!"

*DONG!!!!!!!*

The crossing of their blades made fire sparkles.

"Tears!!"

"It's too much to be true!"

Facing Cecilia's bullets coming straight at her, Rin used the boosters from her legs to maintain distance. When the enemy came closer, she increased the distance between them, and when she retreated, Rin caught up to her.

"Geh!! Is it the anti-sniper brake? It's as powerful as always."

Cecilia couldn't lock her target up precisely and could only repetitively move her muzzle. However, Rin didn't let go of this opportunity.

"My Impact Cannon is way quicker than you! Take this! and this!"

Immediately after three consecutive attacks, Rin closed up the distance. However, it was all within Cecilia's calculations, and the sword that was about to cut her stopped.

"If only I could lock your movements, then I would get the edge."

After saying that, she aimed at Rin's back and shot twice.

"At this distance, my Impact Cannon is even quicker!"

Both of them let out all their weapons' powers respectively at a fingertip of each other, and none of them wanted to retreat, then--------------

"Ah."

"Huh?"

"Uuu......"

*Bang.......!*

Waterworld ended up crumbling because of the explosion.

"In short! Such a thing! No matter what! Please do not do it ever again."

""Yes....""

Rin and Cecilia were being lectured by the big sister host, who was wearing a swimsuit just before, in her office. The two of them had shrunk a little.

Even though not getting anyone injured was a miracle, the arena's pool got half-destroyed, and the skylights had been shattered.

"Ah, I really can't stand it."

"Th-that."

"What is it?"

"Nothing, I don't know how to say it but the prize........."

"Do you think that we can have it?"

The big sister's eyes were full of killing intent.

""Sorry, it's nothing.""

Like this, Rin and Cecilia IS match made a mess at the competition place, and the competition was obviously invalidated. Which means that the winners don't get the prize. The two of them who bore a tiny hope by asking, were even more miserable after it was formally announced. In front of their eyes was pitch black.

"Anyways, it seems that the Academy will send someone here take you back, so behave for the time being."

""Yes...""

Though she said that, it's already past 5:00, and the landscape is getting painted by the orange color of the sunset, and the cicadas' noise outside is getting more clear.

*Drriiinng*...., the internal telephone rang loudly, and the big sister took it.

"Yes, this is the office. ......Aaaah, yes, I got it."

The big sister put down the telephone in a *klang*, and waved her hand to drive away Rin and Cecilia.

"The one getting you guys has arrived. Get out quickly."

"Sorry..."

*Badang!* At that time even if the two of them heard the noise of the door closing, they still stood there stupidly staring the floor while walking.

"You two look really down, you were just lectured miserably, weren't you?"

""Huh?""

The two of them lift their heads at the same time.

"Yo!"

In front of them was standing the one who was supposed to accompany them today, Ichika.

"Yamada-sensei was the one supposed to come here, but due to some urgent issues she couldn't come. And since I just finished the data collecting, I took her place and----Waah!"

Before Ichika could finish up his sentence, Rin and Cecilia took a step towards him, got right in front of his face and grabbed his chest.

"You......"

"It's all Ichika's fault! Ichika's fault!"

After catching just a glimpse of those two 100% resentful sights, even Ichika couldn't help but say something quickly.

"Wa-wait a moment. I'm at fault, though I don't know what did. ----------OK, I'll invite you to eat something, how about a desert?"

"........."

Rin and Cecilia took a few seconds thinking before saying it in a little voice.

".......@cruise."

"......The most expensive limited ice cream ."

"Gwaa."

Each was worth 2500 yen. This amount was higher than what Ichika thought and made him press his head.

"What, are you backing down?"

"Do you think you have the right to refuse?"

"I know it... Ah......"

After Ichika's decision, the pair of girls immediately reversed the switch, and the depression of just before disappeared beyond the clouds, put on large smiles and rolled their arms around Ichika's.

"Then let's go."

"Ah! Cecilia, why are you pulling his arm! Ichika! I also want to pull yours!"

"What is it? By the way-----"

""It's painful to walk.""

Rin and Cecilia's voices merged together.

"Yeah!"

"It's like that."

"........."

Ichika sighed after the pair said it in simultaneously, and stepped while bearing the inconvenience of walking towards the families@cruise.

"Meh, I'll let you go this time."

"Though there isn't a next time."

"Yes, yes......"

Under the sunset there were three people's slender shadows, and the above was an anecdote which happened one day during the falling heat month of August.

Translation Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. Barley Tea
  2. Around 30 US$
  3. Original text is:Yattaaaa! Yatta, Yattaa!
  4. After checking with the Japanese version, it's 'hekigan', or 'blue eyes'
  5. Fantasizing could be replaced by salivating
  6. T\N : You know, holding a part of the dress and bow down...
  7. Rin voices her wish to kill Ichika. But in the next line, it seems Ichika thought she was talking about someone on her end of the phone.
  8. T/L: The name of an obstacle race

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