The chaotic electronic noises envelop us once more as we exited the restroom, signifying the mundaneness of peaceful life ringing in stark contrast to the mortal combat we had just gone through. This gap between peace and chaos is something I still couldn’t wrap my head around. So is the gap between having to say meaningless pleasantries in between complete silence between the parties involved. If anything, opening up during those times would make the awkwardness evolve.
"Suffocating, isn’t it?" said Rio, standing still next to me as our gazes met.
Just like me, she too was also standing frozen from the shock, clinging tightly to my sleeves.
"We’re going home" I said, but I received no response, and it took her a second call before my words ring inside her head and she responded with relief in her face. With a slow nod, she locks her gaze onto mine, as if wanting to say something.
"There’s still…more of those monsters around, right?"
I responded, "yeah, I guess."
At least that’s what Agil the goblin had said.
"Would I be fine living normally and going to school like usual…? Just thinking of running into another one of them just…scares me."
Of course she would. She doesn’t have the capacity to deal with them as she is.
"True. Who knows who they’ll be disguising as, so it’s probably better if you don’t go out as much for now. For now, you should stay home. You and your brother."
"So it’s finally my time to finally skip school entirely" Rio said, sighing. "Wouldn’t it be misunderstood as me running away from getting bullied though?"
What matters the most should be how it affects her academic performance, so I thought I should probably begin taking care of it ASAP.
Of course, I’m not as heartless as to send her home alone in the face of dangerous demi-humans, so I said "I’ll send you home today."
With Rio continuing to cling on me, we both left the arcade.
The smartphone on my hand tells me it’s just past 11 AM. The Saitou house should be around 30 minutes away on foot, so we should arrive just after lunchtime.
"Get some food and…I don’t know, just laze around if you want. I’ll take care of everything in the meantime."
For once, she is required to simply laze about. How long she needs to hold the fort would depend on how long it requires me to take care of this mess.
"So…what should I do while being a shut-in?"
"Watch the TV or play some games in your phone, there should be a lot to do."
"But I’d be so bored…and if there’s a monster around my neighborhood, then I won’t feel safe in my own house. I wonder if I can even sleep tonight" said Rio with a somewhat feminine, frail tone.
"Don’t think too much of it. Those guys hijacked some high schoolers’ bodies, so they need to actually go to school and follow their schedules, so they are following our society standard. There’s almost no way they’d start breaking into your house just to get after you.
Rio bit her lower lip, perhaps left unsatisfied by my answer.
"You should really let me stay over at your house."
"You should really understand when I said I can’t. My place is cramped, and there’s already someone living with me."
"I can’t feel safe without a strong guy next to me. I won’t be able to get any sleep and I’d suffer from insomnia."
"Then call me before going to bed. If you call me, it should give you some peace at least."
"Mm…" while fiddling with her hair, Rio said, without hesitation, "then do you mind if I play with myself while listening to your voice tonight? Should be the best way to forget about things, right?"
"Play? What do you mean play?"
"Oh you know what I meant."
Maybe some pushups or sit-ups or something?
"Playing in the bed at night…I can’t think of anything but some muscle training."
"Well, you can consider it that if you want. Just be sure to pick up the call. I’ll do it as much as I can."
…This is awkward. Totally, painfully awkward. All of her face down to even her neck was dyed red as she thought "you’re SO shameless". Keep in mind, I have warned her not to do something that would embarrass herself.
"B-but…after saying something so embarrassing in front of you, I feel good…from thinking that you thought of me as a sleazy woman…!"
Aren’t you supposed to be a mentally tough woman?
…wait, I think I’ve seen that most people tasked with tanking in my previous world had just about the same personality…
After sending Rio home safely, I quickly head home by bus. Quickly because I was starving, and by bus because I’ve gotten tired of walking. Even the strongest hero would wither from lack of nourishment.
Patting my stomach still rioting for food, I opened the front door.
"I’m back," I said as a delightful aroma enters my nose. Seems like Ayako-chan is cooking lunch.
"Welcome back, Nakamoto-san" she said, glancing at me from the side as I put the chain on my door.
"Sorry, looks like you’ve found yourself having to cook for us. Leave the dishes to me later, alright?"
"It’s alright, I’ll do it for you."
"It hurts me to make the girl do all the work though."
"But I…at least I have to do the chores…" she said, her face turning serious as she keeps holding the kitchen knife aloft.
"Do you feel bad for not doing anything around the house? I won’t mind, trust me. You can relax after the meal, okay?"
"…not that…aren’t I still 17?" she said seriously.
"Um…what about it?"
"I’m not in employment, education or training…so if I don’t do the chores, I’d literally be a NEET."
"And if I wanted to go to school, there’s that other me as well…"
That’s true. If I don’t prepare an ID for this Ayako-chan, she won’t even be able to take up part-time jobs.
"So me doing my chores is more of an assurance for me. It’s all about the dignity of my person."
"That’s…probably over the top, don’t you think?"
"Please let me do it. I don’t want to be one of the 3 Katakanas¹!"
With how much she’s desperately pleading for it, she convinced me to think that it’s best for me to let her do it.
On the contrary, there’s still the other teenage girl having a siesta on top of the bed without a care in the world, hugging the pillow tightly as one side of her camisole strap hangs loosely off her shoulder. She’s thoroughly enjoying the warm heating and superior spring bed while dressing so lightly, having her absolute fill of modern life.
So much for insisting she’d support me, while living her life like a pet cat all the time.
"You’re the one who should be helping with chores."
She’ll do it if I ask her to, but Angelica wasn’t the one to do it proactively. At the same time, she was a divine priestess from another world, so she perhaps was the type of person who’s too far disconnected from mundane things like chores.
I sat down on the bed and began to attempt waking her up, gently to start with.
"Ange," I called, shaking her body gently, but she’s showing an extraordinary lack of reactions. Only gentle, shallow breaths escape her slightly parted lips as I continue to try waking her up.
That, and a dash of drool.
I wanted her to scan for some goblins after we eat lunch though.
It dawns upon me once again that Angelica is the type to that wouldn’t be roused even by the greatest earthquake.
I really don’t want to use this method, but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose.
Approaching the girl’s ears, I used my acting skills tempered through time and whispered:
"W-wait, Ayako-chan…you can’t be serious! You can’t be a mother at that age…!"
I even went the extra step to add some weird panting noise that disgusts the man who made it in the first place.
The effect was exceptional. Her eyelids immediately flap open and her back springs up.
"Ayako! I trusted you!!" Her green eyes burned with rage, and the holy priestess turned around and scanned the room. That said, her current attitude betrays the image of a priestess, much less holiness. If anything, she looks like someone who’d show up in those drama series aimed at bored housewives.
"Morning. How’s your nap?"
"Quite some nightmare you had, huh" I said, concealing the truth like the bad adult I am.
"I-I see…my apologies for showing you my shameful side again…" she muttered, fixing her shoulder strap in place. "Um…did you just get back? Should I say, welcome back?"
"Yeah, I’m back. So, hey, I know you just woke up, but I’ve got a request for you."
"Do you wish to bathe with me? Or do you wish to take a wash with me?"
"They’re both the same thing! Besides, that’s your wish, not mine. Anyways,"
Before I continued, Angelica tossed the pillow over my lap and without hesitation put her head on top of it.
"…planning to sleep again?"
She extends her hand and strokes my chin. The rough texture of my stubble was something she apparently adores.
"A bunch of goblins appeared in the middle of the city earlier."
"Literally or figuratively?"
"Literally. Goblins, in the flesh, living as they disguised themselves as humans."
"Huh…where could they have come from?"
Angelica pulled the chest part of her camisole before abruptly thrusting her arm, unabashedly scratching her breasts right in front of her father figure.
Of course I turned my gaze away. No matter if it’s still covered in cloth, the changing shape of the rubbed breast is not something I should lay my eyes upon. Thus, I glanced towards Angelica’s face and continued.
"So anyways, I want you to go goblin searching with me in the afternoon. Can you do it? It should be easy-peasy for you and your Scan, right?"
"No problem! Demi-human enemies will still show up as red dots."
"Great…" I said amidst the sound of scratching. "By the way, when we were going around looking for ghosts last month, did these goblins show up in your search?"
How long is she planning to scratch?
"Yeah, some of them did show up, but…how should I say this. I heard about Elza-san and you, so I thought that you hated goblins so your opinion might change. Their alignment should be in the neutral, so they’re not really that malicious. Even if they’re exceptionally evil, they’ll show up as thin red dots in the search, just like a human baddie."
"I don’t mind. Go ahead."
"In the human society, baddies are a dime a dozen, and the impact with Ayako was exceptionally huge, so I ignored the really, really small and thin red dots, since back then what I was looking for were the white dots of the ghosts."
"Huh. I guess Gondou and his goons should show up as thin red dots as well." In conclusion, Angelica’s skill cannot distinguish between a demi-human and a twisted person. But that was enough. All I need to do is to confirm who they are with the status check. "I guess we really need to work together this time. Let’s flush those goblins out then."
"Working together…!" Angelica rose to a kneeling position. "That sounds awesome! Let’s do it!"
Above all, she was clasping her hands together as if praying while already in full support of the mission. Her sparkling emerald eyes finally turned to ones befit a true Holy Maiden.