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The partic.i.p.ation in the joint operation was over and the calendar reached August.
The general education curriculum of elementary school, middle school and senior high school of Little Garden have already entered the summer vacation from the latter half of July, but the Martial Arts Department was the exception.
Although they are in the summer vacation period, they stand as preparatory-department students of Warslan Company and as such, aside of guarding Little Garden, there's the possibility that they have to be dispatched for special missions, in case the Savages have appeared in a neighboring area, etcetera.
Therefore, they have 1 week off.
It doesn't mean that this goes simultaneously to everybody of Martial Arts Department. They will be divided into three teams by《LiZA》, the main computer of Little Garden and will take turns. The members of Selections are the same.
Fritz and Latia, members of Selections and who are first-years of the Martial Arts Department like Hayato and co., were given vacations in the beginning of August.
They said that they are going to enjoy summer vacation in their hometown of Liberia.
The reason why Hayato and Emile were given vacations is because Fritz returned to Little Garden.
In Yamato it's exactly the time of the Bon Festival.
Then Hayato, along with his younger sister Karen, went and visited the grave of their parents who had died during the Second Attack that occurred during their stay in the Kingdom of Gudenburg, Federation of Britannia and went to make an appearance to the companions who lived together with them in the orphanage where they spent many years.
However, and as a result of that, a total of 5 people was heading to Yamato from Little Garden.
It was around the evening of the day when the date of summer vacation was settled.
– I don't want to go back to Gudenburg and there are no other places where I want to travel, so I wonder if it's impossible to accompany Hayato and the rest?
Emile began to talk after visiting the room of Hayato.
– Does that mean that you are going to spend your summer vacation in Yamato with us or something like that?
– Previously, you told me that if we had the chance, you'll show me around Yamato, don't you? So, I thought that this was such opportunity… or you can't?
– It's not that, I can't, but…
Saying that she's coming to his birthplace is expected to be somewhat embarra.s.sing as she's going to see the places where he hid his everyday clothes and underwear.
However, there's a memory such as showing her around Yamato.
That's, if he's not mistaken, when they entered the large public bath of the dorm.
– But, what are we going to do about the place to stay at? Because it's the countryside, there are no hotels, you know.
– What are Hayato and the others going to do?
– Regarding us, the inst.i.tution has prepared some rooms… but I don't think that there are any rooms available…
– In that case, is it no good if I stay with you?
– Karen's with me too. It's very probable that "you being a woman" will be completely exposed, don't you agree?
– Ah, true…
They haven't told Karen that Emile's true form is the one of a woman——moreover, that she's not Emilia Hermit, but Emilia Gudenburg, the hidden princes of Gudenburg.
– Err, what shall I do…
– For the time being, and after talking to Karen, I'll ask Ryōko-obasan.
– She's inst.i.tution head of the orphanage where I was raised. As long as they have futons, we can cope with it and sleep in the lobby.
As a result of the consultation, both Karen and Ryōko-obasan, the inst.i.tution head, gave their OK.
However, the problems increased by one.
Kirishima Sakura, who was visiting the hospital room of Karen, came up with「I want to go if Emile-san goes」.
– Is that true, Sakursan!?
Karen asks gladly.
– This is also a good opportunity, thinking that it's also nice to return to my hometown in a long time♪.
– In a long time, you say… you do live concerts frequently in Yamato, don't you…?
The other person is the Idol who travels all over the world, she's Kirishima Sakura.
The current Hayato, unlike the one of the past, knew that she's performing once or twice per month, especially around the world.
The popularity of Kirishima Sakura in Yamato, which is her country of origin, is high and the number of times of live concerts is large.
She should be performing live concerts there at least twice a year.
– But this and that are different stories!
– When I returned because of work I don't have much free time and I can't look around Yamato, and also I want to see the place where Hayato-kun and Karen-chan spent their time. Besides, there is a fan of mine in the hospital near the inst.i.tution, don't you think?
– A fan? You sure about it…?
– Well, I told Sakursan some time ago, however——
Saying, Karen starts talking.
The name of the girl seems to be Kay, and like Karen, she seems to be suffering from the same disease of cause unknown that prevailed after the First Attack.
She and Karen got acquainted by going to the same hospital and became close friends as they are "fans" of the same Kirishima Sakura and seems they are keeping in touch even now.
– Although Kay-chan's condition wasn't as bad as Karen's, I heard a conversation that she was kind of getting hospitalized as her recent physical condition was becoming considerably worse these days. Because of that, I was feeling sad…
– For this reason, I think that I plan to go and visit her to cheer up that child. Fan service must be properly done ♪ In addition, by seeing provincial cities of Yamato, inspiration will be surging which will also be source of future musical activities, it'll be like killing two birds with one stone. So, it's fine, right?
Souffle Clearrail, her manager and who's also the company president of the production where she belongs to, was forcibly persuaded by the almost fervent speech of Sakura——in the end, it was decided that she's accompanying them to Yamato.
With this, the total is of four people.
The remaining person is Mihal, the nurse in charge of Karen.
Although she'll go back to her parent's house the first few days, the last night during their vacation she scheduled to spend it with Hayato and Karen.
And thus, the night before the summer vacation came along. Hayato and the others boarded the transport aircraft of Little Garden and arrived in the imperial capital of Yamato the next morning.
After half a day of sightseeing temples, tempura shops, the imperial capital sky tree and so forth, they parted with Mihal who returns to her parent's house and boarded the Shinkansen* for two hours.
From the station of the provincial town in the mountainous region where they arrived, they headed further north for an hour or so by electric train and they finally arrive at the nearest unmanned station.
When they leave the station building, an eight-seater minivan comes into view. In front of that, an elderly woman who was about to meet her sixties was standing up.
She's Kizaki Ryōko, the inst.i.tution chief of the children's home where Hayato and Karen were raised.
– Welcome back, you came back nicely.
She welcomed Hayato and co. with a tender smile that remains the same from half a year ago.
– Ryōko-obasan, it's been a long time.
To begin with, the wheelchaired Karen bows her head.
Subsequently, Hayato also lowered his head.
– Thank you very much for receiving us.
– Are these people your school friends?
It was Sakura who bowed her head first and turned her eyes to Ryōko
– Ah, yes. My name is Kirishima Sakura.
– Oh, that Idol!
*Clap*, Ryōko strikes the palm of both hands in front of her chest.
– You knew me? I've been indebted to Hayato-kun for a long time, he saved my life during my work.
Her voice is slightly higher than usual.
It's the response of Kirishima Sakura as an Idol.
Subsequently, Emile also saluted her.
– I'm Emile Crossford. I'm a cla.s.smate of Hayato and his childhood friend.
– … childhood friend?
Ryōko inclines her head to the side, looking curious.
– Uhh, we were seeing us when he was staying in Gudenburg. I've been recovering my memories recently…
– Is that so? That makes me glad. I heard that Karen-chan's body is getting better, but how better is she?
– Karen-chan is already able to stand by herself from the wheelchair!
It was Sakura and not Karen who answered with confidence.
Ryōko smiled, turning her eyes to Karen again,
– Karen-chan, can you get in the car by yourself?
– Yes, don't worry.
Karen nodded firmly.
– Then, let's move promptly.
Ryōko opens the door of the minivan.
Showing that she was fine, Karen comes down from the wheelchair with the receiving help of Sakura and got in the minivan by herself.
Next, Hayato and the rest also get in the minivan, one after another.
– When we get to the inst.i.tution, I think that Hayato will surely be surprised.
Then she got into the driver's seat and turned on the engine.
– Eh, this is——
He was shaken enough by the minivan.
Hayato who arrived at the inst.i.tution where he spent his childhood reacts as Ryōko was saying.
Speaking of the inst.i.tution of half a year ago, it was a wooden building that was worn out for more than 50 years.
In the last few months, however, its appearance was of a concrete building, similar to the dorm of Little Garden, it has been transformed into a beautiful building.
– No way, it became something like this…
He heard that the subsidy from Warslan was going towards the inst.i.tution, but he didn't know about it until it was rebuilt.
– Karen knew about this?
– Of course.
Karen wasn't surprised, as he was thinking that she possibly heard it from the kids living in the inst.i.tution with whom she was in contact almost every day, it was that in the end.
Ryōko says, being apologetic.
– I told her to keep it a secret from Hayato-kun, thinking that this would surprise you.
– I was really surprised.
Hayato looks up at the inst.i.tution again.
It was already pitch dark and he couldn't see it entirety, but it turned out that only a light was leaking out from the inst.i.tution, he grasped its very beautiful outward appearance.
– Ah, it's Hayato!
– Karen too, welcome back!
The door of the inst.i.tution opens and the children rushed out.
It seems they were hearing the sound of the vehicle.
– Hey! I told you to not go outside at this hour, isn't it?
Ryōko is saying so as they called out Hayato who's looking up at the building, stupefied.
– But Hayato and Karen have returned! Hayato, it's been a while!
An elementary school student girl twisted around the leg of Hayato.
– Yeah, it's been a while.
Hayato pats her head.
– Say, Hayato. What kind of place is Little Garden? Is it great?
– I want to hear that story too!
– Umm, that's…
Ryōko calls out to Hayato who tried to start talking.
– If the story is long, then let's get inside first. Everyone will come out if we stay here forever.
The inside of the inst.i.tution that they set foot into was as beautiful as the outward appearance.
There's a living room in the large lobby, as well as rooms for the children that can live in groups of four people and there are cla.s.srooms that look similar to the ones in the schools. A shelter prepared for raids of the Savages is said to have been established underground.
There seems to be 3 rooms for visitors.
Therefore, Karen and Sakura used one room, and Hayato and the others used each of the rooms, one by one.
Emile said that it was fine for her to be in the same as Hayato, but Sakura strongly opposed to that and that she should be the one to do it.
– Those two are somewhat suspicious.
That's the speech of Sakura.
Speaking of why she's suspicious, is that when going back in time, when Hayato defeated the dragon type Savage that they encountered during the《Operation: Bird in Cage》, Hayato used up his sense energy and lost consciousness.
Hayato woke up after a day and a half had pa.s.sed since returning to Little Garden in a personal airplane.
He was in a standard hospital.
Emile, who was on the side there, kissed him to try to speed up the recovery of sense energy of Hayato.
Unlucky for her, Karen and Sakura turned up there.
Denying franticly that Emile was kissing Hayato, she made every possible excuse and although deceived her on the spot, it looks like Sakura doesn't fully believe him (her).
Like a silver lining of a dark cloud, Emilia was posing as a man,
Even though it's harsh to suspect of love between men, like 「Hayato accepts my love and he's not going to marry me because he likes men?」and so forth, then it would have been even more troublesome if she was appearing as a woman. The fact that Emile is a woman is a secret to Sakura and Karen.
Putting the luggage in the room and going to the lobby, there were lots of deep-fried food, fried prawns, fried potatoes, etc. on the table, the food that children seemed to like were lined up.
– It's a welcome party that served as dinner.
Ryōko-obasan said, and continued her words.
– However, this is cooking that it's only intended for kids, so I'm sorry.
– Does Ryōko-obasan know that I also like cooking like this?
– But I'm not talking to Hayato-kun. I'm talking to Sakursan and Emile-san.
– Ah, is that so…?
*hahaha,*, laughter comes up from the children. The ones remaining in the inst.i.tution now are children who are 5 years old away from Hayato.
4 males and 3 females, a total of 7 people.
They were a little nervous regarding Sakura and Emile, but the atmosphere has calmed a little now.
He wonders if Ryōko has noticed it.
She tries to shorten the distance between Emile, Sakura and the children.
– Well, enough about Hayato-kun and the others, would Emile-san and Sakursan please introduce yourself?
– Okay then, me first.
It was Sakura who stood up striving to be first.
– I am Kirishima Sakura. Do you all know about me?
– I know!
– The Idol, right!?
And, voices from the young boys are raised.
– Give me an autograph, please!
And voices like that were raised too.
– If it's autographs, then I'll write as much as you like afterwards. By the way, I got acquainted with Hayato-kun since he accepted to be my bodyguard and——
– Yes, this is taking too long, can we finish it? Next is my introduction.
Emile stands up, clapping with *clap* *clap*.
– Hey, why are you stopping me midway!?
– Everyone is hungry, and I'm also hungry. I already told you, it's my introduction. I'm Emile Crossford. I'm a cla.s.smate of Hayato in Little Garden.
– A cla.s.smate? That means you are a Slayer, huh?
Have you fought the Savage!?
– Yup, I fought them. Together with Hayato!
– Wow, amazing!
– The Savages are ztrong too, righte?**TN: this kid had a weird way of talking.
– Yup, they're strong. But, Hayato and I are stronger though!
Turning towards the looks of envy from the boys, Emile isn't as annoyed as she would have others believe.
Looking at it, Ryōko noticed the uninterested expression of Sakura.
As Emile did some time ago, she claps with *clap* *clap*.
– Alright then, as their self-introductions have ended, let's eat.
They start eating, expressing their grat.i.tude before meals at the same time.
Welcoming songs from the children were transmitted to Hayato and the others; the party was at its peak.
Trying to return the favor, Sakura sings children's songs with Karen.
Along with them, the children also began to sing.
– Come on Hayato, you sing too.
– You sure know children's songs of Yamato, huh.
– This is also a song that it's in my country. Rather, wasn't it originated from this?
– Oh, you are right.
– Come on, sing.
Prompted by Emile, Hayato also begins to sing.
However, he's not able to get the rhythm very well.
Then, one of the boys knitted his brows and said.
– Hayato is, as usual, poor at singing, huh.
Subsequently, Sakura said.
– Hayato, hasn't changed from the older days…
– Sh-shut up!
The lobby was full of laughter.
– Sakura, Karen, let's play!
In the morning of the next day, Sakura loosened up the tension with the children of the inst.i.tution and played games in the lobby together with Karen and the children. That's the same for Emile. She plays with little girls of 4 and 5 years old with building blocks and go out to the nearby lake together.
– Hayato, this is really a nice place, isn't it?
It was their third day in Yamato when Emile expressed so. Sakura and Karen went out to shop in the city together with the children and while they are doing that they will be visiting the place of the girl named Kay who's hospitalized in the hospital, she's the aforementioned fan of Sakura.
– … you think?
– Ryōko-obasan is also a nice person. When I was a child, I spent most of the time alone, so I'm really envious of such a life. I feel that I understood the meaning of Hayato who was saying "I would do my best for everyone in the inst.i.tution".
Saying so, Emile smiled.
Thus 5 days pa.s.sed and the last event in Yamato, the festival of the Shinto shrine of the neighborhood, came along.
– Muu, I also wanted to wear a yukata.
Before going to the festival, Emile who visited the room of Hayato leaked so.
– If there were for men you'll still be wearing them, huh.
– I'd be wearing that instead of a uniform like this.
– You want to wear women's clothes? But, as expected, it's way too conspicuous to have the appearance of a woman.
– Yup, I know.
Regarding the rural towns of Yamato, most of the people come from Yamato.
Although they stand out even if they are ordinary, if she's appearing as a woman, she will stand out even more.
It would be extremely easy to identify Emile as Emilia as they are the same person.
– Well, a festival is a festival no matter what appearance you have. It's your first time going to a Shinto shrine. I hope you enjoy it.
By the way, Sakura and Karen decided to wear yukata.
The ones who aren't wearing one are Hayato and Emile.
However, when they went to the Shinto shrine in the center of the festival venue, there were a lot of people dressed in casual clothes.
To begin with, they visit the shrine first.
– Is it fine if I pray here?
Standing before the front shrine, Emile called on Hayato.
– Yes, that's right. And by throwing a money offering, ring that bell.
– What are you going to wish, Hayato?
– Well, I wonder what I should wish… For the time being, I hope to spend time with everyone safely.
– *Annoyed*, that's somewhat usual, typical of Hayato.
It's Sakura who said so.
– If so, shall I wish for world peace?
– What about Emile?
– Nope, it's a secret.
– What's with that?
– It's a secret.
In the end, Emile didn't tell him what she prayed for.
After that, they enjoyed the festival by eating yakisoba that they bought at a stall, playing "scoop the fish", playing target practice and partic.i.p.ated in the Bon Festival dance.
In the last event, the Bon Festival dance, Sakura climbed the watchtower and started singing folk songs, so it became a serious thing.
Many people recognized her, and they got quite excited.
– Although it was my first time partic.i.p.ating in the Bon Festival dance, it was really fun!
– You really like singing, don't you…?
Sakura, who was coming back, was pretty satisfied.
And in the last night in Yamato, along with Mihal who came from her parent's house, Hayato and co. decided to do toy fireworks in the backyard of the inst.i.tution.
– Ah, mine has already fallen.
It's been 10 seconds since the beginning and the sphere fall from the firework of Hayato.
– Nii-san, Karen is still there.
– Mine to… fell down.
– Mine also fell….
– Mine has fallen as well.
The sphere of Karen is the one that lasted the most.
Next is Sakura.
Mihal, then Emile and Hayato, that was the order.
Nonetheless, even if a minute was just a little longer——they feel like the pleasant days in Yamato pa.s.sed approximately the same.
In this way, the last night in Yamato went on.
And, the early morning of the day when they return to Little Garden will come in the blink of an eye.※※※
– Hayato, Hayato, wake up…
In response to the voice he heard close to his ear, Kisaragi Hayato raised his body while rubbing his eyes and identifies the figure of Emile.
——wha, why did you come into my room!?
– Shh! Be quiet. It would be bad if we are heard by someone.
– Certainly that's correct, but…
Karen and Sakura are in the next room——
And Mihal who joined last night is also sleeping.
– So, what the heck are you doing?
Hayato asks with a small voice.
– Why don't we go to a hot spring now?
– Huh? And why at this hour?
Hayato stares in wonder?
– We'll leave Yamato today at noon, this'll be the last memory that we'll be making, you know.
Saying that, Emile continued.
– Because I couldn't get in with Karen-chan, Sakursan and co. and when Hayato and the others went to a hot spring, I couldn't go. But, if it's now, we can go, walking stealthily. Besides, the hot spring of this time seems to be a little special(ish).
– … special? What does that mean…?
– It means than that's going to be fun. So, let's go.※※※
Tagging with Emile, Hayato moved to the hot spring.
It's 20 minutes on foot.
There's a hot spring on the mountainside behind the inst.i.tution.
– Two people walking in this way is enjoyable.
– Hey, don't link arms with me!
Shaking and untangling his arm, Hayato takes a distance of 50 centimeters.
– Then let's link our hands.
– No, that's the same… What if we are caught by someone?
– This isn't Little Garden, it's Yamato, you know. Furthermore, at this hour, it's safe.
While saying that, Emile took the hand of Hayato.
Feeling the thinness of her fingertips and the warmth of her hand, the face of Hayato gets red.
– Ehehe, I'm happy.
– … is that so?
– Yup. I'm happy——ah, look, Hayato. The sun has started to rise.
When Emile turns her eyes to the direction indicated by her finger, the light of the sun is beginning to overflow from the ridgeline of the mountain that is visible in the distance.
– It's a beautiful sight. This is the dawn of Yamato, huh.
Being 5 minutes away from the hot spring, Hayato and Emilia kept watching the scene of the morning glow side-by-side for a short while.
– ——ah, let's go to the hot spring soon. It's very convenient before a lot of people arrive.
– What's with that, huh? How's that convenient?
– You'll know it when we get there.
And, he was told that by Emile but, Hayato didn't understand anything, even standing before the hot spring.
– Well then, I'll go this way.
Saying that, Emile loosened her hair.
Emile was transforming into Emilia.
Although she looks like a man in shirt and trousers, it looks like she won't be stopped at the changing room for women.
– Okay then, see you later.
Partin with Emilia who enters the changing room for women, Hayato entered the changing room for men.
As he got naked and stepped into the hot spring, Hayato felt something out of place.
(This hot spring, was this big?)
But I came here last night, right?
Although the steam is rising and the visibility is bad, and because of the illumination being nonexistent, the whole can be surveyed, so maybe that's what he felt.
While thinking about it, Hayato picked up a wooden chair and washed his head lightly with a shower and decided to soak himself in the white muddied hot water.
– Aah, it feels good…
If the temperature isn't that high yet, then the sunlight of the sun isn't strong and the wind isn't sticky either.
When thinking about the comfortable feeling of entering in a hot spring in the morning is really good——, footsteps were heard from afar.
(There are people who come to the hot springs at this hour, huh)
Turning his eyes and wondering who's the person who will come in, the figure of Emilia meet's his eyes, her body was covered with a towel.
– Wha…! What are you doing here!
Without thinking, Hayato ended up shouting.
There's no doubt that Emilia should have entered the changing room for women.
Despite this, why is she in the men's bath?
– The fact that you are having such reaction means that you haven't realized yet.
– Haven't realized? What do you…
– As a matter of fact, this time is when there are no part.i.tion intervals, so it becomes a mixed bath.
– In this way I can enter in the hot spring with Hayato that's why we came to the hot spring at this hour.
*Ehehe*, and sticking out her tongue, Emile soaked her body in the hot water and brought her shoulders closer.
– H-hey… don't get too close.
Even when saying so, Emilia doesn't go away.
She gets closer until the distance was enough to make the warmth touch each other and smiled happily.
– Ehehe, my dearest wish has finally come true.
– Why are you saying that…?
– "To enter in a real hot spring with Hayato like this". I told you when we took a bath in the dorm together, isn't it? That I wanted to get in a mixed bath.
– Now that you mention it, I remember that you were saying that kind of thing…
– There are still some things that I left undone in Yamato, but I'm satisfied to some extent with this.
– There are still some things, you say? You ate tempura, you saw Mt. Fuji and the imperial capital sky tree, you even partic.i.p.ated in the festival, you did a lot of things, don't you? Did you have anything else you wanted to do?
– The most disappointing thing is that we couldn't see the fireworks.
– The fireworks? If that's the case didn't we do that yesterday in the garden of the inst.i.tution?
– Not those, but the "*BOOM*" of huge skyrocket fireworks, you know. I wanted to see them once.
– Is it possible that you haven't seen skyrocket fireworks?
– Although there are a lot of fireworks going up in the beginning of the year ceremony in Gudenburg as well, I heard that the ones in Yamato are more amazing than those. Besides, I was spending most of my time in Gudenburg. I remember seeing the skyrocket fireworks only on the screen of a PDA or TV… hmm, we had this conversation before, do you remember?
– Is that so? When was it?
– I knew it, you don't remember.
Pouting her lips as she became sulky, Emilia continued.
– It was ten years ago, in Gudenburg. We were talking about the same skyrocket fireworks and that if I come to Yamato, you promised me that you'll show me the real fireworks, don't you remember?
– It's inevitable. I still have memory problems remaining. And you, I mean, you remembered it now, don't you?
– That's not it. I always remember.
– If that's the case, then you should have said it early. You could have stretched your legs to the place where the fireworks were being done, you know.
– Nope, I was waiting for Hayato to remember it. But, since you aren't remembering it… How about now?
– I'm sorry, but I can't remember that time…
– But, I have remembered something.
– What what?
– Alphonse said it before, but the port city of Sangria where the founding festival is held seems to be a sister city of Yokohama, the port city of Yamato, and at the finale of the festival, fireworks are likely to be launched grandly in the same way as Yamato.
– What, such a thing…
Emile sighed with a dejected look.
– But, if that's the case, we can see the fireworks of Yamato together, what do you think?
– You are saying, that you are going to see them together with me!?
Emilia clings to his back tightly.
– H-hey… Stop, now both of us are naked.
– Don't be so conscious of each other, because I'm embracing you from behind, okay?
– You may not be conscious about this, but I am!
– Eh, what am I doing? Will you tell me?
Loosening her mouth as if she's enjoying it, Emilia asked with a mischievous tone.
– About what, you say? That's…
Of course, it's the two bulges on his back.
In fact, they are pressing even more tighter.
– Hey, stop…
– Come on Hayato, tell me.
– I'm telling you to stop!
As things are, it's a flexible and soft sensation.
And thus, it's positive to consider that she wants him to feel the warmth of her skin.
A sweet aroma is hanging in the air that makes his heart accelerate, he ends up swallowing saliva.
– You don't really want me to stop, do you?
– Well, it's just that such a thing…
Nonetheless, what Emilia was saying might be correct since he doesn't feel like separating too much.
Of course, he can't say that aloud.
(I guess we look like we were flirting if we were seen by other people…)
While thinking such a thing, sounds resounded abruptly.
– Hey, it seems that someone comes!
While impatient, Hayato points out with a loud voice.
– But I want to be next to Hayato.
– Hey, what's wrong with you!?
Getting a portion of himself away from Emilia who had narrowed the distance even more, Hayato shouted.
Thereupon, Emilia is pouting her lips,
– Still, if it was a man who came in, it's probable that he'll be staring at us with ecchi eyes, isn't it? If we appeal to him that "I'm a proper man", then he's not going to look at us with those eyes, don't you think?
– But, what if it's someone that we know? That'd be dangerous!
– I don't think that we'll be unlucky so as to have an acquaintance to come to the hot spring at this hour…. This place isn't Little Garden, but Yamato, you know.
Emilia said so, but it wasn't such a thing.
– Wow, the steam is rising up immensely. Karen-chan, can you stand by yourself?
– Yes, I'm fine, somehow.
The voices of two people reached their ears.
Those are voices they have heard somewhere…
In a flash, the expression of Emilia hardened.
Hayato's the same.
– It's a joke, right…?
With the rising up steam, they can't confirm their appearances properly, but there's no doubt that that was the voice of Sakura just now.
From inside the steam, it can be inferred that she's Sakura, even from the silhouette of her body that came and they were seeing vaguely.
There's another person next to her.
There's a silhouette of a girl who has long hair and is shorter than Sakura.
A slim body and a slow walk.
Even from the previous conversation, she's definitely Karen.
– Those girls, why do they come to the hot spring at an hour like this?
– Awawa…. Hayato, what shall we do…?
– Even if you say what should we do…
They look around inside the hot spring.
There's a lot of steam rising up, the visibility is unclear.
If they take distance from the two of them at once and get out from the hot spring stealthily without making a sound, then it's possible that they won't be found by those two girls.
Hayato thought so, and addressed Emilia with a small voice, pointing out with his finger the shade of a rock.
– Escape stealthily, getting out from that place.
– Only me? And Hayato?
– We'll stand out of we are together, isn't it?
– But then, Hayato will be soaked in the hot spring together with Sakursan and Karen-chan…
Saying that as if she didn't like it, she swells her cheeks, being sullen.
However, this shouldn't be the moment to quarrel here.
– This is not the moment to say such things. Go fast!
– Uu, fine…
When Hayato continues his words without hesitation, Emilia goes away showing a vexing look.
After a while, he heard slight noises coming from the hot water.
Confirming the direction he pointed out with this finger a while ago, the appearance of a person can only be seen vaguely.
(That feeling, I wonder if it's fine already…)
Immediately after Hayato felt relieved.
What he heard consecutively were the sounds of the water of the bathtub springing up.
– Oh my, we thought there was n.o.body here, but it seems there's a previous guest.
– You are right, hmm…?
Closing her eyes partly and staring at the direction of Hayato, it was Karen who raised her voice.
– Eh? Nii-san?
– Eh, is that Hayato-kun!?
Getting closer to Hayato, they kept hidding their chests with a towel.
– It really is Hayato-kun. Why are you here?
– Well, that…. I'll return to Little Garden today and I was thinking that I wanted to soak in an authentic hot spring in the end.
– I see, that's the same for us.
– But, why is Hayato-kun here? This is the women's bath…
– I also noticed that a while ago, however——
On that premise, Hayato continues.
– This time, it's like a mixed bath.
Karen and Sakura gathered their voices.
Like Hayato, it seems that they didn't know that it was a mixed bath.
– That means that it's fine to soak in the hot spring together with Nii-san!
– That means that it's fine to soak in the hot spring together with Hayato-kun!
The two gather their voices again.
They enter full of motivation.
– No, I was already thinking of leaving this place so…
He's been soaking in the hot spring for more than what's enough already. He's feeling dizzy.
– Say, Hayato-kun. Be patient for only a little more. Let's make memories of the summer by the three of us.
– I think so too, Nii-san. Because this is something valuable, let's make some memories!
*Splash*, *Splash*, Sakura and Karen who entered in the hot water from their legs shorten the distance as they wrapped the towel on their bodies.
– Hey, you…. You are getting too close.
– It's fine, isn't it? This is a rare chance.
– That's right. A rare chance it is.
Sakura from the right.
Karen from the left.
They approach until the distance of skin and skin touch each other.
Even if he tries to escape, he's in a shape where he's being hold between them, therefore he can't do so.
A sweet aroma hangs in the air.
That ends up reminding him of Emilia until some time ago.
– Stop, go away!
As things are, a part of his body will end up becoming serious.
Moreover, one of the partners is his little sister.
Although everything was Emilia's fault, it's not good that he's not sensing that as his older brother.
And yet, they didn't try to go away.
– That reminds me, that guy's not here?
Saying that, Sakura glared at Hayato.
– That guy…?
– Emile Crossford. Before coming to the hot spring, more or less, I called out that guy and Hayato-kun, of course. But, since we didn't get a reply, we just came by ourselves… Weren't you together?
– Well, err… I tried to invite him, but there was no answer from him. Maybe he was sleeping soundly?
– If so, Hayato came alone to the hot spring?
– That's the truth.
– Actually, until a while ago, weren't you flirting with that guy?
– I-I wasn't!
– Is that true, I wonder?
The reason why Sakura has been persistent so far is because of the uncertainty of the kiss after they returned from the《Operation: Bird in Cage》.
– … ah, wait a moment.
– Wh-what is it?
– It's the smell of a woman from Hayato-kun.
– Huh…? Ah, hey!
Sakura brings her nose to the shoulder of Hayato and begins to sniff.
– A woman? Is that true? What's the meaning of this, Nii-san!?
– Even if you say what does this mean…
– Ah, wait a minute. This, I recognize this smell…
Sakura brings her nose even more closer.
The soft swellings of her chest were touching his arm.
– Hey, stop! You are really too close!
– Hm? that's right. Sakursan, you are getting too close to Nii-san!
– Hey, Karen-chan, what are you doing!?
Panicking, Karen pushed the body of Sakura with both hands and kept her away from Hayato.
– I- I'm sorry…. But, even if it's Sakursan, it's too premature to touch Nii-san naked…. Th-that's why Karen, his little sister, will check the smell instead….
– H-hey… s-stop!
Hayato dodges the approaching Karen and tries to get out from the hot spring as he is and turned his back on Karen and Sakura.
– I'm leaving this moment!
The hands of Karen and Sakura who stretched them out to keep him in the hot spring cut off the air.
Hayato started to walk towards the changing room as he was, however,
– Ara, Hayato-kun.
In front of him, Kashiwagi Mihal was wrapping a towel around her body from the chest to the lower body.
Speaking of Hayato, who's naked…
– Ufufu, you are quite vigorous, don't you agree?
Looking at the lower half of the body of Hayato, Mihal slips out a smile.
– Uh, uwaaaaaa————!
The face of Hayato was dyed red instantaneously, hiding the lower half of his body with a towel while panicking and left the place with a dash.
(She saw it, and moreover, she laughed!)
It was truly the worst.
(This is also all due to her!)
What floated on the head of Hayato was, of course, the face of Emilia.※※※
– I know that you guys are reluctant to part, but if you don't move soon you won't be on time for the electric train. Because this is the countryside, electric trains are scarce, you know. If you miss getting on it, you won't be able to get on the airplane. Come on, get on the car.
– Bye-bye, Hayato!
– Sakura and Emile too, come again!
After having breakfast together, Hayato and the others decided to leave behind the inst.i.tution after being sent off by 7 children.
– Well then, good-bye.
– Goodbye, Sakura!
– Karen, when you return from Little Garden, let's play some games together again, okay?
– Yes, of course.
Hayato and co. get in the car, exchanging goodbyes with each of the children.
– Hayato, do your best to protect the Earth!
– I will.
– Okay then, let's go.
When Ryōko says so, the engine starts, and the minivan starts to move.
They arrived at the station building immediately.
– Thank you for playing with the children, really. I'd be happy if everyone comes again during winter vacation as well.
– We'll try to do so as much as we can.
As soon as the electric train came, everyone gave their goodbyes to Ryōko and boarded the electric train which is going to the imperial capital, the capital city of the Empire of Yamato.
When they arrived at the imperial capital a little after lunch time, where they had udon for lunch at the facility of Warslan, Hayato and co. boarded a transport plane.
– When we arrive to Little Garden, the Founding Festival will…
Hayato, who stopped his feet in the middle of the ramp was looking at the scenery of Yamato, he didn't want to leave from there. Emile, who was right behind him, calls out Hayato.
– Hayato, you remember the promise, right?
– Do you mean the fireworks?
– Yeah, if you remember, then it's all good.
– Hayato-kun! Emile-san too, what are you dribbling about!? The pilot old man is saying that he's ready to leave!
Sakura calls out them from inside the transport aircraft.
– Let's go, Hayato.
Hayato looks back just before getting on the transport plane and looks at the scenery of Yamato one more time, thinking form the bottom of his heart.
It would be nice if I could return home with everyone once again——.※※※
– How about you? Did you recharge your batteries at ease in your hometown?
Charlotte Dimandius, the main technologist of Little Garden, met the returning Hayato and co. at the airport after their week of summer vacation came to an end.
– Yes, how about the side of Little Garden?
– There was no sortie in the past week, it's all tranquility and peace.
– Are the "three you-know-who" the same as usual?
– It was Emile who asked so all of a sudden.
The "three you-know-who" are probably those hunters who fought with them in the Zwei Islands and Mt. Kongur.
They were captured by Warslan mercenaries and now they are confined in a room in the bas.e.m.e.nt of Little Garden.
It's Judal Harvey, the older brother of the Student Council President of Little Garden, Claire Harvey, who ordered that.
– Absolutely no changes, just like before you headed to Yamato.
– In short, they aren't talking, correct?
– Exactly. But, as a result of the strategy department of Warslan led by Judal who were diligent in their intelligence activities, it was possible to identify the location where Vitaly Tynyanov is hiding. That's also thanks to Hayato-kun.
– … eh, me?
Shaking abruptly, Hayato was astonished.
– The matter of《sympathy》.
He remembered that, in the aforementioned Mt. Kongur, he was striking and locking his sword against the sword of Krovahn, one of the three hunters.
At that moment the energy that overflowed from each Hundred wrapped up their bodies, and a vision came up.
The figures of the very young Krovahn and Nesat, his older sister, are in front of his eyes.
The two were trying to escape from the orphanage that resembled a slave camp managed by the Middle East Private Military Company, Al-Salaam Company.
In the middle of that, Nesat ended up injuring her eye.
Eventually, they arrived at a village and met Vitaly Vitaly Tynyanov, a doctor who was introduced to treat her eye, and accepted to become artificial Variants.
That scene that he saw seemed to flow into his head for a moment.
Charlotte refers to that as《Sympathy》.
– There are research results where sense energy released from the human body is created by the strength of the human thought.
So to speak, that the Hundred will respond to your feelings.
– In other words, the source of his energy is the incident of his own past that I saw?
– Pretty much.
For this reason, then it's probable that what flowed into Hayato was the pa.s.sing energy.
Sakura was thinking that Vitaly should atone for her sins in a proper way if they catch Vitaly.
– No, unfortunately, we didn't find her.
Charlotte shook her head to the left and right and replied.
– When we sensed and noticed something in particular, and the moment we headed there, the place was completely empty. We are after her whereabouts, but her whereabouts are still unclear.
– Is that so…?
Looking like she's regretting it, Sakura hides the part of the eyebrow closest to the nose.
– But, it was very huge facility. Even if weren't originally scattered, or if she's searching for the next place, I think it'll be difficult to rebuild them.
– That is to say, that it's unlikely that she'll come to save those three, right?
– I'd be fine if that's the case.
Charlotte showed an ambiguous smile because she didn't know something like that.
– Lastly, about the dragon type Savage that Charlotte said she was going to investigate.
– As usual, there are a couple of things that I don't know. Speaking of what I've found, perhaps that Savage might have been on this Earth from days of the ancient times.
– Which means that it's not a lie to say that the Savages came to the Earth before the First Attack?
Emile narrows her eyes and gives voice to her doubt.
– But, since it's called the First Attack, that was the time when we, the human race, encountered the Savages, isn't it?
– Hayato-kun, I'm talking about the prehistory——before the creation of mankind.
It means that it's probable that the Savages came to the Earth before mankind was created on this planet.
– But, if that's the case, then what has been found before now is…
– That Savage appeared from the bottom of the lake in the mountain, yes? That might had been sleeping for thousands of years——no, for tens of thousands of years, that's why it wasn't spotted even by satellite photographs.
In other words, it's a place that is unknown to mankind, like the universe——it's the bottom of the deep sea, it looks like it's not weird to say that Savages are sleeping from ancient times in that place.
– From the geological formation of millions of years ago, we have also found fragments of meteorites whose composition closely resembles that of the Variable Stones. That seems to be not incredible, a.s.suming that the Savages came along with the meteorites to the Earth.
– Such a thing, I have never thought about it. Is that also the same for Karen-chan?
– … yes.
Karen nodded with a serious expression.
– Well, it must be remembered that it's no more than a possibility, okay? Even though science has developed so much, there are still many things that are unknown to mankind. That's why, this is no more than fun for me.
Charlotte smiled with a grin,
– There are still things that I'd like to talk about, but you might be tired from the long trip, so let's have this much for today, don't you think? I'll get in touch with you again.
As she was leaving those words with them.
– Alright then, we are going back to the dorm, right?
– I'm going to take Mihal-san and Karen-chan to the hospital room.
En ma.s.se, Hayato and co. step inside of Little Garden for the first time in a week.
The summer vacation was almost about to spell the end.