Volume 6 Chapter 17 Shirogane Aqua, Volunteer Exchange Meeting
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
After the joint music event with Mary ended, the next event was a volunteer exchange meeting with St. Claris on Saturday. Even though it’s called a volunteer exchange meeting, it’s mainly a tradition where a large group gathers to do cleaning work. Occasionally, they split into several groups to do various volunteer activities, and this time, it’s the unusual pattern. Thus, Mayuzumi, Toa and me are joining those St. Claris’ Lapis group to participate in volunteer activities at a large hospital in the city. However, I missed the meeting point and ended up getting lost on my way back from the restroom.
”Hmm, is this the place?”
I passed through the deserted male area and took the escalator to the second floor area. As I got off the escalator, there was a very familiar face. Bingo, it seems the meeting point is here. As a prank, I covered their eyes from behind.
”Heheh, who is it?”
Hmm, that voice sounds slightly higher than I remember, but it must be my imagination, right? Well, somehow their body temperature feels a bit warmer, and the skin I touched feels slightly softer than usual.
”…Aqua, what are you doing?”
When I turned to the voice I recognized, there was Toa, who I was supposed to cover his eyes. Huh? Then, who is the person I’m covering the eyes of? Looking closely, her hairstyle is different from Toa, and her uniform is the same as what Lapis is wearing. Yeah, I’ve completely messed up. I cautiously removed my hands from her eyes. As I did, the girl blushed and slowly turned towards me.
Her face is almost identical to Toa’s, but upon closer inspection, her gaze is sharper than Toa’s. Also, not to be rude, but her body is definitely that of a girl. In fact, her chest is even larger than Lapis’s, my little sister’s. As I observed the girl, Toa pinched my cheek.
”A—qu—a! My sister Subaru froze completely! Geez, this is why I didn’t want to introduce Subaru to Aqua.”
Toa puffed up hi9s cheeks in an easily understandable manner. Feeling sorry, I immediately apologized to Subaru-chan.
”Sorry, sorry, Subaru-chan. Even though you’re a girl, I mistook you for your brother.”
Suddenly, a shiver ran down my spine.
I turned my gaze to where the shiver originated, and Lapis was looking at me with eyes that seemed devoid of emotion.
”What are you doing?”
”Oh, well, I kind of mistook Subaru-chan for Toa and… well, I did what I usually do with Toa.”
The one who reacted to my words was the girl next to Lapis.
”Do boys usually do this kind of thing…?”
Does this girl know Lapis? Compared to Subaru-chan and Lapis, this girl is taller, and without specifying where, she has a well-developed body for a middle schooler. If I look closely, her face is innocent, but at first glance, I wouldn’t think she’s in middle school.
”Miyako-chan? Is something wrong?”
”N-No, it’s nothing… just, a little…”
Miyako-chan, Miyako-chan… Ah, I remember, she’s Toa’s computer mentor, Sabato Miyako-chan, who is a friend of Lapis and Subaru-chan! Actually, if I met Miyako-chan, I’ve been wanting to thank her for a long time.
”Ah, so you’re Miyako-chan? Toa told me about you, and I heard that you’re the reason Shiro was born. Shiro also said thank you.”
At that time, Toa explained that when he was creating Shiro, Miyako-chan helped him. In other words, without Miyako-chan, the character Hoshimiya Shiro wouldn’t have come into existence in this world. That’s not an exaggeration.
”Th…thank you so much. Actually, I should be the one thanking you… Oh, um… please tell Shiro-kun that I always watch his streams. Oh, and by the way, not to mention it casually, but I also support you, Onii-san.”
”Yeah, thanks. I’ll definitely let Shiro know.”
I extended my hand and lightly shook hands with Miyako-chan.
When I turned around, Subaru-chan seemed to have revived and was looking up at me.
”T-Thank you so much for always taking care of Oniii—I mean, Onii-chan. Um, well… thank you for everything!”
”It’s actually the other way around, Subaru-chan… Your big brother has been a great help, and I’m the one who worries if I’ve caused any trouble. So, thank you for everything.”
Toa’s joining Beryl was possible thanks to his family’s understanding. Especially Subaru-chan, I heard she convinced their mom about Toa’s entertainment activities. Because of Subaru-chan, I was able to become a Driver together with Toa. In that sense, everyone here today is undoubtedly connected to each other.
”Oh! Everyone’s here! Come this way!”
As we chatted, Sugita-sensei, our guide, appeared and motioned for us to come over.
”Thank you for today!”
Led to a room inside the hospital, we were given an explanation of today’s volunteer activities by the coordinator.
”Today, students, you will be participating in activities that involve interacting with the children who are hospitalized. All the children here are long-term patients, so I believe they’ll be really happy to make so many new friends.”
I had been hospitalized for a short while when I first arrived in this world, but I think being in the hospital is boring for energetic children. Of course, it’s not just that; I wonder if there are children who are anxious about being in the hospital. So, I hope that our interaction with them will help alleviate some of their anxiety and boredom.
”Alright then, please take care of them.”
We followed the nurse who was guiding us. Of course, I didn’t miss any opportunities to greet the people we passed. When I greeted someone first, naturally everyone else followed suit. In the midst of that, we were led to a large entrance that was being used as the play area for the hospitalized children.
”Oh! It’s Kenzaki! Mom, Kenzaki is here!”
Perhaps because I was at the front, as soon as we entered the entrance, a girl noticed me. When I waved instinctively, the other children also cheered loudly.
”It’s really him! Kenzaki!”
”Wow! The real Kenzaki!”
”No, it’s not Kenzaki. It’s Aqua-sama!”
”Kenzaki-oniichan, where’s Kamishiro-oniichan…?”
Wow, truly a Masked Driver. It makes me happy to think that even such young children recognize me. And they even know about Kamishiro from episode 2! Impressive!
”Sorry, Kamishiro isn’t here today. But, instead of that, I brought many friends with me, so let’s all play together!”
Entering the circle of children, I kneeled down and made eye contact with each child, shaking hands with them. As a member of the Masked Driver cast, as Kenzaki Souji, and for the sake of Director Hongou and the staff, I can’t break character. With that thought in mind, I decided to continue being Kenzaki Souji until the end today! Just as I was thinking that, one of the children said something unexpected.
Ah… it’s hard to refuse such a cute request… but right now, I can’t transform.
”Sorry, not today. I didn’t bring my belt, so I can’t transform.”
It’s painful, but there’s nothing I can do. I gently pat the head of the disappointed girl.
”Oh, well, in that case, I have a belt!”
Saying that, the girl next to me offered me her belt.
Ah… that’s a tempting offer… but…
”Sorry, I can’t accept that. Because, that belt is something you need to transform, right? Just like I have my own belt, you have yours. So, I’m sorry.”
”I see. That’s right. Well, this is Mai’s, so Kenzaki-oniichan can only transform with Kenzaki-oniichan’s belt, huh?”
I struggled a bit to find the right words, but I managed to come up with something that sounded plausible. It feels like I’m deceiving the kids, and my conscience already hurts… But, I guess there’s no other choice. Not being able to transform would crush the kids’ dreams.
”…Huff, I thought I’d get to see Onii-chan’s nakedness, what a shame.”
Huh? Did she say something? I feel like she muttered something outrageous, but it’s probably just my imagination. Anyway, I divert the kids’ attention to another topic.
”How about we all play together? What were you all playing?”
”Hmm, a drawing game!”
”I see, then is it okay if big brothers and sisters join the drawing game too?”
Phew, I managed to steer the conversation in a different direction somehow. While thinking about this, Toa tugs at my sleeve.
”Hey, is drawing okay?”
Toa looks at me with an anxious expression. Mayuzumi, who’s behind him, nods repeatedly in agreement.
”Don’t worry! It’s fine…”
Hehehe, I may not have shown it, but I’ve actually been practicing a lot of drawing behind the scenes for this kind of event. So, I should be somewhat better now! Yes, there was a time when I thought that too.
”Kenzaki-oniichan… What’s this? Ro-Schutz-Marr?”
”Hey hey, Onii-chan! This is Kunka Kunker, right?”
The kids look at me with innocent, sparkling eyes. In this situation, I can’t muster the courage to say that the drawing is a cat. I nod silently, and the kids rejoice… I reassure myself that this is probably for the best.
Toa lightly taps my shoulder while giggling softly.
”Haha… Ro-Schutz-Marr… Kunka Kunker…”
Mayuzumi seems to have found it amusing, even though he’s holding back his laughter.
”Nii-sama, it’s alright. Even if you can’t draw, Nii-sama is the coolest!”
Lapis encourages me. But the more I’m encouraged, the more I feel like my wounds are being exposed. Is that just my imagination?
”Aqua-san, it’s fine. In fact, that kind of uniqueness is a big plus for female fans. I’m sure…”
Thank you, Subaru-chan. But I feel bad for making a younger girl worry about me.
”Onii-san, your drawings have their own originality and distinctiveness. I think they’re good. Yes…”
Ugh, Miyako-chan, stop it! My life is already at 0! And yet, the mothers who were with the kids, and even the hospital staff, comforted me. Damn it, I’ll keep practicing in secret and become even better to show them all! I vowed that to myself.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.