Chapter 1: Part 4
Haruna’s quest to find Nessie soon entered its climax.
“Ah, is that thing Nessie!” She bought two hot dogs on sticks.
“Ah, it’s that, isn’t it?!” She bought some vanilla ice cream.
She would arbitrarily decide that Nessie was somewhere in the stuff she bought and then bring those things to us.
It seemed like Haruna still had no idea what Nessie was, nor why she was called Nessie.
We decided to take a break for lunch, and so we gathered next to the flowing pool.
“Ugh, which one is it?!”
Haruna beat her hot dog sticks on the table like she was playing the drums. She licked the bit of ice cream that had been left on the side of her lips.
“You know, Nessie is a pretty rare creature, right? So why in the world would they be selling her at a concession stand?”
I stuffed my cheeks with the shrimp mayo hand roll I had bought at a convenience store before coming while I dealt with Haruna.
“Ayumu, you’re making fun of me, aren’t you?”
“Ahh, so you finally realized.”
“Idiot! Ayumu, go get kicked by van Nistelrooy or something!”
Getting kicked by a world-class soccer player like van Nistelrooy would be an honor!
Haruna’s ahoge stood up on end in a clear sign of her anger, but then she took off dashing somewhere with long strides.
“Ugh, I really can never understand that girl. There’s no way Nessie is around here.”
I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around, to see Yuu sitting there staring with lonely eyes at her yakisoba.
There was a mountain of red pickled ginger heaped on her yakisoba, but she didn’t touch it and instead looked up to me with her usual expressionless gaze. I was about to say something, but at that moment Haruna came leaping back with such force that I almost thought she was going to crash into the table.
“I found her! Ayumu, she’s over there! Let’s go!”
How many times has she already said that? She probably just mistook something else for Nessie again.
“Just go by yourself, ugh.”
“Don’t underestimate Nessie! She’s really huge! She’s a really rare monster!”
“… But didn’t you just say that your hot dog was Nessie a few minutes ago?”
“That was… I just wanted to eat that!”
As I thought. It’s interesting how she could admit that like it was the most natural thing in the world. In other words, she said the waterslide was Nessie just because she wanted to go down it, right?
“Come on, let’s go! Hey… gloomy necromancer, you wanna come too?”
“Why are you trying so hard to get Yuu wrapped up in your schemes? Just go by yourself.”
“Ayumu, you idiot! You chicken teriyaki idiot!”
Haruna dashed off nimbly like a feline who had just locked eyes with her prey. When I saw her getting all worked up like that, it really reminded me of those pretend adventures I’d often set off on as a child. But, still, she really seemed a bit more short-tempered today than usual. Was there something she really was angry about?
“Yuu, you’re not going to eat your yakisoba?”
But Yuu worried me more than Haruna. She just seemed strange today.
And no, I wasn’t talking about the fact that she was wearing gauntlets over her school swimsuit. Something was off about her expression.
Haruna and Yuu were stark opposites, but they did have a few things in common. They both weren’t very tall, they both hated to lose, and… they were both huge gluttons.
So seeing Yuu not touch her yakisoba really was strange. And look at how much red ginger was on there too! Even the shopkeeper was pretty weirded out by it.
But, Yuu just sat there without expression, looking like a doll. She might feel a bit responsible for Haruna’s situation, but this was still strange. It almost felt like she was restless about something.
“What’s wrong? Looks like something is on your mind.”
Tap tap. Yuu tapped the table and left a memo there.
Haruna hates me.
That’s not true… is what I wanted to say. But, I didn’t really have the full confidence to say that.
“Hey, Yuu. What do you think of Haruna?”
It didn’t seem like Yuu was expecting me to ask her that, so she just stiffened with her ballpoint pen still in her hand. After a bit of time…
I am not sure how to express this feeling. But I do not want to be hated.
“Does Yuu want to become friends with Haruna?”
Perhaps. At that point, Yuu looked me straight in the eyes and stopped writing.
Perhaps. I would like to become friends with her.
There was a fiery determination burning in those clear blue eyes of hers.
“If you think that way, then I’m sure you can become friends. She might act that way, but she really just doesn’t want to be lonely.”
I gave Yuu a chuckle. But she just looked down and didn’t seem to cheer up at all.
“Is there something else on your mind?”
If I do not have my armor, I cannot suppress the flow of my magical energy.
And if she couldn’t suppress that, then she could change fate itself, was it? Yuu always remained expressionless also because her magical energy would move with her emotions, and she would end up changing the fates of all the people around her.
The fact that I had become a zombie… the fact that I then also met Haruna and became a masou shoujo… all that was because Yuu couldn’t suppress her magical energy.
So, Yuu could never show any emotion.
But if she didn’t have her armor and was just wearing a swimsuit, then it didn’t even matter. Fate would move either way. In that case…
“Well, then you should make the best of this situation and have some fun!”
I gave Yuu a fully fledged smile.
If I do that, the damage may spread.
“Do not worry. We are here with you… please have faith in us.”
Sera glanced at me. Ah, Sera was probably the one who convinced Yuu to take off her armor, wasn’t she? Good job. I gave Sera a thumbs up.
Sera’s words seemed to finally break through Yuu’s gloom, because like magic, the entire pile of yakisoba on Yuu’s plate disappeared in an instant. And when I saw that Yuu was chewing something, I surmised that that pile of yakisoba had indeed teleported into her mouth.
How wonderful. = “That was yummy!”
Yuu wiped her mouth and nodded. She had clearly cheered up, and when I looked down at her memo, I couldn’t help but change her voice into a cute version inside my head.
“Well, we’re done eating, so shall we swim?”
“If you try to move too soon you’ll get a stomachache.”
Yeah, that’s true. Should we wait a bit then? Yuu took me by the hand and pointed while giving me a strong nod.
That one which flows like the tides. = “I want to relax in the flowing pool~~.”
I saw that she was pointing at the flowing pool. Ah, I see. If we went into the flowing pool, we wouldn’t have to exert ourselves too much.
“Ahh, right Sera. You really shouldn’t get so angry over just getting your picture taken.”
I stood up and relaxed as I spoke up to Sera. But she glared at me and replied, her words freezing me to the bone.
“Even if the picture was peeking up my skirt?”
“Well, you’re wearing a swimsuit, at any rate.”
“So, you’re saying I shouldn’t be embarrassed as long as it’s not a picture of my underwear…?”
Ahh, she was pretty persuasive. So she was embarrassed, and that’s why she didn’t even say a word when she smacked Orito?
“Sorry. You’re right.”
Sorry, Orito. I can’t hope to beat Sera.
… Oh, right… where was Orito exactly?
I looked all around me, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I also saw the camera he had been using a bit ago set down in the area where we had all put our belongings.
Did he go off somewhere? Knowing Orito, was he trying to pick up girls somewhere or something?
Nah, there were plenty of pretty girls here. Orito was not the type of person who would ever let a chance to eat lunch with a pretty girl go!
So… did he actually get caught up into something bad?
Maybe Yuu taking off her armor had changed his fate in some way, and something had happened to him?
“I’m going to look for Orito for a bit. You go on ahead.”
When I saw Yuu nod back at me, I ran off after giving her a wave.
I had a bad feeling about this. Had something attacked him…?
I ran around the poolside with a serious look on my face.
But, I really couldn’t find anybody who even looked like Orito. Maybe I was getting a bit too panicked and had missed him? Maybe he had gone home early?
Nothing seemed to really be out of the ordinary here, so if he had sunk to the bottom of the pool somewhere, he would be impossible to find.
Finding no other option, I ended up going to the information center and submitting a lost child report.
Well, I’m sure he’ll turn up all of a sudden at some point.