Beyond Abyss 63

Chapter 63 Interlude Twenty One – Fragment Of Memories

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 ”Wow… What’s with this amount!?”

 Hano-san (the friendly) paled as she looked at the handwritten purchase amount presented along with the item list. Everyone furrowed their brows and stared intently at the amount in silence.

 After returning to the school, we requested an Appraisal of the items obtained in the Abandoned Floor and the dive before that at the purchase counter. After a while, a staff member came and led us to a separate room at the back.

 ”What happened? I want to know about this. What’s the deal with the fact that on the 2nd and upcoming 3rd floors where you plan to explore, there are tons of high-value decorative items, weapons with a guaranteed +2 bonus, and magic items that are impossible to find elsewhere?”

 Lugia-san, who entered the room with the sharp-eyed glasses-wearing staff members from before, was massaging her forehead.

 ”Lugia-san, aren’t you busy right now?”

 ”It can’t be helped! As the on-site supervisor, I can’t ignore the blatantly abnormal Appraisal items! I had to come and confirm it myself. And just as I suspected, it was you, 2D17!”

 ”Well, please calm down. This is a gift.”

 ”Uh… thank you…”

 I handed Lugia-san a pack of cup noodles in a plastic bag prepared for her. Lugia-san discreetly accepted it, mindful of the staff’s gaze.

 ”It would take time to explain, right? Tsuchimiya-kun, you have something to do, right? Maybe the Appraisal would be better off tomorrow?”

 Maekawa-san looked apologetic as she glanced at me. Maekawa-san and the others needed money quickly to secure the special room on the top floor of the girls’ dormitory.

 ”It’s okay. Lugia-san is weak to bribes.”

 ”Don’t say such rude things!”

 Lugia-san desperately shouted, her face turning red.

 ”Anyway, I still have some items I want to sell, can we discuss the details including that tomorrow?”

 ”Items you want to sell? Can’t you do it now?”

 ”There were over 20 natural monsters, and they were quite large, so I couldn’t just take them to the purchase counter.”

 ”Natural monsters!? And over 20 of them… Where were you guys!?”

 ”We were actually sent to the abandoned floor due to a teleportation Magic Circle accident. It seems monsters like Bloodthorn have a hypnotic effect even in death, so it wouldn’t be good to take them to the purchase counter, right?”

 ”Wait a minute! Those are monsters from the 10th floor or higher, right!? And on the abandoned floor…! Even so, why are you hunting them like crazy and coming back unharmed!? You’re still at level 1 as usual!”

 ”Well, it was quite tough, you know.”

 It’s better not to mention the encounter with players from another school until tomorrow. This time, they didn’t intrude into the school’s territory like with Himeno, but there’s a possibility of being restrained heavily like before.

 ”Facility Manager, when it comes to natural monsters, we need to gather specialized staff and make preparations. I thought it was something that would happen later on. I didn’t expect there to be more than 20 monsters at once. It’s best to wait until tomorrow afternoon to start appraising the monsters’ carcasses.”

 A sharp-eyed staff member with glasses whispers to Lugia-san.

 ”Ugh, it’s concerning, but there’s no helping it. Even now, I can’t take a break due to the rush of returns… Alright, Taker… 2D17. Can you come back again at 2:30 after the peak of tomorrow’s dive rush?”

 ”Understood. Is everyone okay with that?”

 ”Yeah, we’re fine.”

 ”No problem.”

 Maekawa-san and Satou-san (the lockpicker) nodded.

 ”Well then, that’s it for now. I’m going back to the Teleportation Room.”

 Lugia-san said that and cheerfully left the room with the staff.

 ”For now, about the distribution of this result…”

 Maekawa-san opened her mouth while looking at me.

 ”Ah, if it were me, I’ll divide the magic stones based on a headcount──”

 ”Yes, rejected.”

 As I was about to speak, Satou-san promptly vetoed.

 ”While Tsuchimiya-kun has helped us a lot, this time, I feel like we were able to support Tsuchimiya-kun not just by receiving help but by being able to support Tsuchimiya-kun in our own way. Maybe we should treat you as an equal party member?”


 ”If you’re still hesitant, then I’ll have to express my gratitude in a different way like before. To make up for the 5 million yen that Tsuchimiya-kun was supposed to receive, I’ll have to show my gratitude individually in abundance. Is that okay with you? It will be more than a million yen per person.”

 Satou-san smiled mysteriously. A chill ran down my spine as I felt Satou-san’s seriousness.

 ”Great! That sounds great!”

 Hano-san (the friendly) leaned forward in excitement.

 ”S-showing gratitude individually…”

 Nishina-san gulped and tightly grabbed my arm.

 ”I-I understand! I got it! I’ll also receive rewards equally as a party member!”

 Just dealing with Evold properly feels like I’m going to die, but if Satou-san and the others get serious, my life is seriously in danger.

 ”Oh, I see. Well, then there’s no helping it.”


 Hano-san is looking at me with a disappointed expression.

 ”There are quite a few items that I don’t want to sell but keep. What should I do?”

 Maekawa-san asks while scanning the list. The items that stand out with high prices are the weapons that Sagara (the blond hair) and Shimaki (the black hair) were equipped with. Especially the plate mail, despite having holes in it, fetched a considerable price.

 ”There are various ways to approach this, but one clear method is to divide the total amount and then have each person buy the items they want. However, this can lead to disputes later on, such as who will use the potions or the issue of individuals not being able to afford expensive items. While this also prevents outsiders from taking advantage of the situation. Therefore, it’s best to present the divided total to the party members, decide on shared items within the party, and flexibly handle the purchases within the party.”

 ”I see… that’s enlightening.”

 Maekawa-san is taking notes in her notebook.

 ”Tsuchimiya-kun’s share is 5.12 million yen, is there anything you want?”

 ”Well… if I had to choose, maybe shin guards. They wouldn’t hinder my movements. That’s probably all I need.”

 The Shin Guards +2 that Sagara (the blond hair) was equipped with defend from the ankles to the knees without hindering joint movement. As for the vambraces, they are connected to gauntlets and cover up to the fingertips, so they don’t suit my style.

 ”Then, buying the Shin Guards +2 leaves 3.32 million yen.”

 It seems Maekawa-san and the others have decided to share the cost of potions and equipment among the party. The most expensive equipment was the Fire Resistance Ring that Satou-san obtained in the ruins, which was bought for 7.5 million yen. Even after securing the 550,000 yen needed for the contract of the special room on the top floor of the girls’ dormitory, each person still had nearly 2 million yen left. By the way, the Staff of Nectar is too conspicuous, so it’s being stored using Valeria’s storage magic.

 ”What’s this! Suddenly acting all fancy! Should we have a party in the special zone? Since alcohol isn’t prohibited, should we let loose?”

 ”The cafeteria is already closed, and we can’t relax in the dorms. It might be okay to indulge a little.”

 ”Let’s not overdo it with the alcohol. How about we wait until we secure the special room for a proper party, including Valeria’s welcome party?”

 Valeria, wrapped around Maekawa-san’s wrist, wags her tail excitedly. It’s clear that Valeria is happy. It’s like her emotions are being conveyed. Valeria and I are connected through Spell Arc, and while Valeria mentioned that my strong emotions flow to her, it seems the reverse is also true.

 After distributing the items, we had the remaining amount bought back and transferred to each player’s card.

 When we left the teleportation facility and arrived at the entrance hall, Nishina-san approached me.

 ”Tsuchimiya-kun… Thank you so much this time. If Tsuchimiya-kun wasn’t here, we surely wouldn’t have been able to come back.”

 ”I feel the same way. This time, everyone helped me, and having Nishina-san here was reassuring.”

 ”Yeah… you know, I like Tsuchimiya-kun.”

 A sudden confession. I was surprised at the timing, but this time, I somehow noticed Nishina-san’s feelings.

 ”Thank you… I’m really happy about Nishina-san’s feelings. But, I have already decided who my number one girl is.”

 I thought of not hurting her as much as possible, but Nishina-san smiled without getting flustered.

 ”Yeah… I understand. You mentioned you’re dating Asagiri-san. I’m glad I came to this world now.”


 ”Well, in the previous world, if Asagiri-san was told she was your girlfriend, I would have had no choice but to give up and step back. It’s okay if I’m not your number one. But my number one is Tsuchimiya-kun… So, as long as I can be by Tsuchimiya-kun’s side, that’s enough for me. As long as Tsuchimiya-kun doesn’t dislike me, it’s fine, right?”

 ”Well, of course, I don’t dislike you! But, it’s just that it seems too convenient for me alone…”

 ”No, it’s too convenient for me too. In this world, it’s allowed for me to rely on Tsuchimiya-kun, who has a girlfriend. I’m really happy when Tsuchimiya-kun feels good with me. So, please let me stay by your side, even if it’s just while I’m here.”

 ”Uh… yeah…”

 Even though I’m not Evold, there’s still something I can’t quite come to terms with, but refusing would be like asking someone else I don’t particularly like to help me resolve my impulses. Regardless of how it happened, I bear the responsibility of taking Nishina-san’s first time.

 As I hesitated, Nishina-san happily embraced me.

 ”Thank you! Let’s work together again starting tomorrow, Tsuchimiya-kun.”

 ”Yeah, let’s do that.”

 I should probably get used to the new rules quickly. Not understanding the unique impulses of Evold, and with little physical and mental change, I feel like I’m being left behind in that regard.

 As I pondered over this, Maekawa-san called out to me.

 ”Tsuchimiya-kun, I think it would be good for us to greet the girls, do you think today’s matter is a serious one?”

 ”Huh? Greet who?”

 ”Hey, because of us this time, Tsuchimiya-kun almost died. Maybe we should apologize after all.”

 ”Oh, the thing is, I said I’ve been invited to a dinner with everyone’s homemade dishes. It’s not a big deal. But, it’s not Maekawa-san’s fault, so there’s no need for apologies.”

 ”Hmm… Even if Tsuchimiya-kun says that, it might not be that simple for your girlfriend and the others. I feel like it’s understandable if they get mad.”

 ”That was just bad luck. I think everyone understands, so it’s not something to worry about.”


 Maekawa-san still doesn’t seem convinced, but that was a genuine accident. Nobody’s to blame.

 ”Everyone must be tired, so let’s take it easy today. We have classes again starting tomorrow.”

 ”That’s true… Tsuchimiya-kun, make sure to rest well. See you tomorrow.”

 After that, we exchanged parting words and started on our way home.

 GC: Tsuchimiya x Higurashi

 Tsuchimiya: I’m back now. Moving towards the school building.

 Higurashi: Got it. Just come all the way to the girls’ dormitory. I’ll come to pick you up.

 As we passed through the schoolyard and entered a long, narrow park, Higurashi was standing by a small gate in front of me.

 ”Welcome back, Tsuchimiya-senpai!”

 ”Ah, I’m back, Higurashi.”

 Seeing Higurashi’s face after a long time made me feel somehow relieved.

 ”Huh? Tsuchimiya-senpai, did something about you change a bit?”

 Higurashi stared at me intently.

 ”Is that so? Well, quite a few things happened. There are some things I need to report to you. It’s just the two of us now, so it’s a good time.”

* * *

 ”I see… the all-purpose spirit medicine ‘Elixir’ and the Lost Magic ‘Wish’…”

 ”It’s almost like a legend, but it seems to have actually existed in the past. I’ve already secured the Nectar fruit, which is the raw material for the Elixir. I’ll distribute one to everyone later, so make sure to eat it. This seems to be an amazing item itself, so it might have some effects.”

 ”Eh!? Where did you get something like that?”

 ”Well, it’s a long story. I’ll tell everyone later.”

 ”Haha… Tsuchimiya-senpai is amazing. I thought it would be much further in the future before we could get any leads.”

 ”This time, it really feels like it was just a lucky coincidence.”

 ”No, it’s still amazing. I can really see hope now. …By the way, did you see the image?”

 ”The image? Oh, that one…”

 It was an image of three people in provocative underwear sent to me from a dungeon.

 ”How was it?”

 Higurashi peered at my face with a smirk. It was frustrating, but it also made me excited.

 ”W-Well, it was good.”

 ”Be more specific.”


 Higurashi approached with a mischievous look on her face.

 ”W-Well… more like alluring… or maybe mature?”

 ”Anything else?”

 Higurashi wrapped her arm around my neck and leaned in closer. I could feel my face turning red with embarrassment. Normally, she wouldn’t show a hint of seductiveness in public, but changing modes so suddenly is unfair!

 ”A-Ah, darn it! My heart is racing! I’m getting excited!”

 I blurted out in frustration, and Higurashi smiled, lightly brushing her lips against mine.

 ”Hehe, Tsuchimiya-senpai, you’re surprisingly honest. I shouldn’t tease you too much, it’s a bit pitiful. Let’s stop here.”

 What’s with this embarrassing play?

 Higurashi turned around and started walking away. Come to think of it, it’s been too long since I went to meet them. I hurriedly followed after Higurashi.

 ”By the way, what happened to the scratch on your uniform?”

 ”Oh, this? I got into a fight with students from another school. I messed up a bit.”

 ”That’s more than just a little scratch! You didn’t do something reckless again for my sake, did you!?”


 Higurashi suddenly turned around and came closer with tears in her eyes.

 ”I-I didn’t mean it like that. I was casually exploring when I was attacked out of the blue. I almost died for a moment, but there was a recovery spring nearby, so I was totally fine. It seems like Maekawa-san and the others had a hard time giving me a heart massage and artificial respiration.”

 ”Good grief… that’s too intense of a story for Asagiri-san, huh?”

 ”R-Really? You think so?”

 ”Maybe it’s better to soften the details a bit.”

 This was quite an unexpected reaction. Is this what Maekawa-san was worried about?

 ”But in the end, I came back and got revenge on those level 17 guys.”

 ”…Wait, how did you manage to get revenge on them? And why did you even get involved with them in the first place?”

 Higurashi sighed and turned her back, walking towards the girls’ dormitory.

 As I entered the dormitory, I saw a woman who seemed to be the dorm manager sitting at the reception desk. Come to think of it, it’s the first time I’ve seen this dorm manager here. She had long silver hair, blue eyes, and an incredibly slender and beautiful figure. Her long pointed ears were distinctive, could she possibly be from one of those fantasy races that are so common?

 Higurashi waved at the dorm manager and approached the reception desk to talk.

 ”Lisphy-san, this is Tsuchimiya-senpai! I think he’ll be coming in and out frequently from now on, so please remember him.”

 Saying that, she introduced me to the dorm manager.

 ”I’m Tsuchimiya Takeru. Nice to meet you and best wishes.”

 As I nervously bowed my head, the dorm manager gave a gentle smile. Remembering Varniora’s lovely smile, I felt my heart race for a different reason. Oh no, if I keep seeing things like that, I might become distrustful of women.

 ”I’m the dorm manager, Lisphione. I’ve heard a lot about you from this Asuka-san and the others… Oh? You… are the guardian of spirits? …No way, the guardian of the Spirit King!?”

 The dorm manager stood up and leaned closer to me through the acrylic panel, looking surprised.

 ”Oh, now that you mention it, Varniora did say something like that.”

 She mentioned it casually on the way out, so I had completely forgotten about it.

 ”Oh, you met the Water Spirit King, Varniora-sama!?”

 ”Well, it just happened…”

 ”Wow! Even I, who only caught a glimpse of her from afar a long time ago, am proud of that! To have you directly speak to her and even receive the protection of a guardian!

 ”The Spirit King, you say?”

 For some reason, Higurashi turns back to look at me with sharp eyes.

 ”Yes! The Spirit King rules over the spirits of this world, a beautiful, noble, and sacred supreme being!”

 No, you guys are definitely being deceived.

 ”If you have the Spirit King’s approval, there’s no mistake! From now on, you are free to come and go in this dorm as you please!”

 ”Oh, okay. Thank you very much.”

 Lisphy-san excitedly raises her voice and, for some reason, gazes at me with a look of respect.

 ”You’re still as tactless as ever. Why does a simple dive to the 2nd floor turn into such a big adventure? I can’t afford to be careless or leave any openings.”

 ”I didn’t do anything wrong.”

 ”Well, fine. We’ll talk about that later. We’re in the middle of a big adventure here. From here on out, you better stay on high alert.”


 Higurashi ignored my protest and muttered something that caught my attention. A big adventure? Isn’t today supposed to be a relaxing dinner time?

 Using her player card on the log crystal, we moved from the back elevator to the 4th floor. Upon opening the door to the special room at the end of the hallway, the room was covered in a thin mist and filled with a burnt smell.

 ”H-Himeno-san! The fish is burning again!”

 ”What!? W-why!?”

 ”Don’t pour water on it! The fire will spread again!”

 Loud screams could be heard from the kitchen on the left.

 ”It might be a good idea to ventilate. Should we leave the front door open?”

 Higurashi secured the front door and opened the window in the hallway.

 ”Hey, this smoke…”

 ”I had the fire alarm turned off earlier, so that side should be fine.”

 ”Oh, okay…”

 ”Let’s begin the raid. Are you ready, Tsuchimiya-senpai?”

 This is not what I was expecting!

 Higurashi stepped into the dimly lit room without waiting for my response. I cautiously followed to not lose sight of her back.

 ”Njorn-chan! Swallow this whole!”

 ’I can’t, nyururu! Don’t come near me, nyurun!’

 ”Balcony! Balcony! Which way is the window!?”

 Kanon, holding a frying pan spewing flames in the smoke-filled room, chased after Njorn, while a panicked Himeno ran around. It was utter chaos!

 ”Everyone, calm down! Stop where you are and take a deep breath!”



 At Higurashi’s command, the two stopped in their tracks.

 ”L-let’s calm down! Inhale… exhale… cough, cough, cough!”

 This is not going well at all.

 ”Tina, can that frying pan be stored away?”

 Upon asking, the flaming frying pan in Kanon’s hand vanished instantly.

 ”Ah… Tsuchimiya-senpai…!”

 ”Tsuchimiya-senpai! “

 The two who noticed me stared at me with sparkling eyes, as if I were a savior who had descended.

 ”Tsuchimiya-senpai, welcome back!”

 Himeno hugged me at an amazing speed. This speed is just as fast as Shimaki’s (the black hair). If I let my guard down, I won’t be able to react at all.

 ”I’m back, Hime!?”

 ”Oh, this is good…so direct…ah, Tsuchimiya-senpai, it’s so sexy…”

 Himeno slowly slid her hand into my torn clothes and began to play with my n**ples.

 ”Wait…wait, Himeno-san!? W-wait…!”

 My body was twitching in response to Himeno’s skillful fingers.

 ”Wait! Please wait!”

 Himeno suddenly looked up and swiftly wrapped her arms around me from behind, hugging me tightly. She restrained my arms with her left arm and slipped her right hand into the tear in my chest, teasing my n**ple.

 ”Ah… stop it, Himeno!”

 ”Ah… amazing. Attacking from behind really gets me excited!”

 It’s ‘not like’ I feel like I’m being attacked, I’m completely being overwhelmed.

 No matter how much I twist my body, I can’t break free from Evold’s power. Himeno’s rough breath tickled my ear, and as my strength left my body, I couldn’t support Himeno leaning on my back and ended up kneeling.

 ”Ahaha… Tsuchimiya-senpai…”

 ”Let’s ventilate the room now. It gets quite cold when the sun sets.”

 As Higurashi opened the window with a creak, Himeno suddenly stopped moving.

 ”Ah… I-I’m sorry, Tsuchimiya-senpai! I-I got a bit carried away…”

 Himeno hurriedly moved away from me, then stuck close to help me up.

 ”Oh, I’m fine…”

 Lately, I’ve been a little worried because Himeno’s thoughts have been leaning towards erotic things.

 ”Kanon, I’m back.”

 ”…Umm, yes! Welcome back, Tsuchimiya-senpai!”

 Kanon, who had been staring at us intently with a bright red face, snapped back to reality.

 ”Tsuchimiya-senpai, what happened to your clothes? They look really s*xy…”

 Himeno asked with a blush, looking concerned.

 ”Oh, I just got a little injured, but it’s not as bad as it looks. I’m already fully recovered.”

 ”Ugh… please be careful.”

 While Himeno was stroking the torn jacket, her gestures seemed oddly suggestive.

 ”More importantly, what’s all this commotion about?”

 ”Ah! W-well… you see, I was planning to do a trial run before the main event…”

 Himeno and Kanon awkwardly look at the table. There are many black objects lined up on top of plates. Some of them are still emitting white smoke. What were they trying to make?

 ”I’m sorry, Tsuchimiya-senpai!”

 Himeno jumps back and suddenly bows deeply.

 ”I thought I had watched my mom make French cuisine enough to learn, but when I actually tried it, it didn’t turn out well at all…! So, no matter what punishment──”

 ”No, no, it’s not that big of a deal.”

 Though, it’s a bit scary, as if it would cut me in the stomach.

 ”We still have plenty of time, and it looks like we have ingredients. Should I make something?”

 ”Huh!? Tsuchimiya-senpai, you can cook!?”

 For some reason, Himeno staggers back as if in shock.

 ”Oh, yeah. My stepmother was late coming home, so back when I was in middle school, I used to cook quite a bit. I could only make simple things though. With these ingredients, I can at least make a vegetable stir-fry.”

 ”A vegetable stir-fry? Oh, it’s a dish where you stir-fry vegetables, right?”

 Himeno shows a relieved expression.

 ”Even just with some barbecue sauce, it tastes good, but Chinese-style is nice too. It’s like the flavor that used to be served in elementary school lunches.”


 Himeno’s eyes widen in shock once again. She seems busy.

 ”I-I can’t even imagine how to make it…”

 ”N-No, it’s not that difficult. Just mix in some Chinese seasoning…”

 ”Ugh… It was presumptuous of me, a beginner like myself, to think of making homemade dishes for Tsuchimiya-senpai and making him happy…”

 ”T-That’s not true! Just your feelings alone make me happy enough!”

 ”But… My feelings alone don’t amount to anything for me…”

 I’m in trouble, Himeno looks exhausted. Is there anything I can do…

 When I tried to pick up the black object on the plate with my chopsticks, white flesh came out from inside. Is this a fish? I’m not sure what kind of fish it is, but since she baked it quickly at high temperature without removing the rough scales, the inside flesh seems to be safe. When I tried a bit, it was fluffy and had no fishy smell.

 ”This is delicious.”


 ”Maybe we can use this as a filling for onigiri.”

 ”Onigiri… you mean rice balls?”

 ”I’d like to try onigiri made by Himeno. Let’s make them together.”


 Alright, Himeno’s eyes have lit up.

 ”Tsuchimiya-senpai, how about making something like tuna mayo?”

 Higurashi skillfully flakes the flesh and starts gathering it on a small plate.

 ”Oh, that sounds good. We can probably make a soy sauce-flavored mixed rice too since we have a good amount. Do we have rice?”

 ”Yes, I prefer rice. It should be ready soon.”

 ”Oh, I’ll help too!”

 Kanon sat on a chair and began to stretch her body.

 ”I-I will too!”

 Then everyone gathered fish meat and started making fillings. The conversation flowed smoothly, and Himeno’s smile returned, putting everyone at ease.

 The rice was cooked, and it was finally time to make rice balls. I took out plastic gloves from the storage room. By the way, didn’t Nishina-san and the others make rice balls for me this morning?

 ”Ah… I-I want to eat the rice ball that Tsuchimiya-senpai made with his bare hands…”

 Himeno blushed as she confessed.

 ”I-Is that so?”

 ”I-I might be happier with that too.”

 ”I’m totally fine with it.”

 Kanon and Higurashi also agreed.

 ”W-Well, if everyone made the rice balls, I might be happier with that too…”

 In the end, we all ended up holding the onigiri with our bare hands instead of using plastic wrap. I understand why it’s nice when your crush makes you an onigiri. I don’t quite get why they would be happy when I, a guy, make an onigiri, but if everyone’s okay with it, then it’s fine. Let’s make sure to wash our hands thoroughly and sanitize with alcohol.

 ”Be careful, it’s hot. First, sprinkle a suitable amount of salt on your hands, then place the rice and fillings, shaping it like a wrap.”

 ”Ouch! Hot! Hot!”

 When showing the example, everyone started mimicking and making their own onigiri. Himeno is quite dynamic in how she puts rice and fillings on hers.

 ”If you squeeze too hard, it’ll become tough, so do it like this.”

 ”What! You’re done already!?”

 Kanon, who was carefully making small round onigiri, widened her eyes in surprise.

 ”Huh…? Wait, you can make triangular onigiri by hand? I thought those were made in bulk by machines…”

 Himeno, who was squeezing an onigiri like a bomb, looked bewildered. It seems like it would be better to give her some guidance before she gets too down.

 ”You’re quite skilled. Even better than me.”

 Higurashi is experienced. She’s skillfully finishing up triangular onigiri.

 ”You overlap your right hand like this to create the top point of the triangle. Your left hand smooths out the base and sides. It’s more like fitting the rice into a mold made by both hands and rotating it a few times until it naturally takes shape. Once you get used to it, you can even make cylindrical shapes, see?”


 ”I-It’s amazing, Tsuchimiya-senpai!”

 I never thought I’d be looked at with such admiration for making onigiri.

 ”You’re really good. Who taught you?”

 ”Oh, this was when I was little…”

 Huh? When I was little?

 A scene of a kitchen shining with the morning sun appeared in my mind. A place that felt unfamiliar, yet strangely nostalgic.

 A long-haired woman in a white apron is smiling kindly at me. But I can’t see her face.

 ──Takeru-kun, you’re good. Are you a genius?

 The onigiri she’s holding looks perfect, while mine is a bit lumpy, which bothers me, but being praised makes me happy.

 Huh? Is this person… my mom?

 But wait, my mom passed away before I can even remember…

 What’s with this memory?

 ──Takeru-kun, you’re such a scaredy-cat. It’s okay, Mom will protect you.

 When is this memory from?

 I feel safe being embraced by my mom’s large breast.

 Suddenly, the scene is engulfed in pitch-black darkness. An indescribable anxiety wells up within me.

 The darkness is painted over with blazing orange flames.

 What is this? It’s scary!

 Then, a woman’s voice, fierce like a demon, echoes.


 A white hand reaches out from the flames and grabs me.



 ”What’s wrong, Tsuchimiya-senpai!?”


 Before I knew it, I had jumped away instinctively from the white hand and ended up sitting down hard.

 ”A-Are you okay!?”


 Everyone rushed over looking concerned.

 ”Sorry about that. It’s nothing. Seems like I startled you.”

 What was that just now? Was that my mom? What about the last one!?

 I tried to stand up, but my vision was blurry and I felt sick.

 ”You look really pale. You should lie down and rest.”

 Higurashi gently lifted me up and laid me down on the sofa.


 A water bag appeared in Himeno’s hand. Seems like Tina’s worried about me too.

 Himeno took some water from the recovery spring and gently fed it to me mouth-to-mouth.

 Don’t worry about Himeno’s body temperature.

 I wrapped my arms around Himeno’s soft body that was covered by me.


 ”Please, just a little longer like this.”


 Himeno entrusted herself to my body. After closing my eyes for a while, the dizziness disappeared and I started to calm down. Before I knew it, Higurashi and Kanon were cleaning my hands with wet tissues.

 ”Sorry, I’m fine now.”

 I’m feeling much better now.

 ”Well, your complexion looks better now…”

 The three of them are still clinging to me anxiously.

 ”I’m sorry for making you worry.”

 ”Yeah… don’t push yourself, Tsuchimiya-senpai.”

 ”Are you really okay?”

 ”Yeah, I’m fine now.”

 As I sat up on the sofa, Kanon climbed onto my lap and hugged me. Himeno and Higurashi also clung to me from both sides. Seems like I really made them worried.

 ”Let’s continue, come on. You must be getting hungry soon.”

 ”Uh, yeah… well, I guess…”

 ”Tsuchimiya-senpai, take a break. Go outside to the rooftop and get some fresh air. Watarase-san, please stay with Tsuchimiya-senpai.”


 ”Really, it’s okay now.”

 ”Just rest, please.”

 ”I’ll take care of the rest!”

 I’m a bit more worried about that side, though.

 ”Tsuchimiya-senpai, this way. Shall I help you up?”

 Led by Kanon, we passed through the door and entered a hallway lined with guest rooms. It feels like a noble’s villa here.

 Opening the front door reveals a staircase leading upstairs. I climbed the stairs alongside Kanon, and upon entering a small room, I opened the door that led to the rooftop.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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