Sherry provided Hayate with a simple explanation of the Diaspell Royal Academy.
First of all, this academy had been established to train hexenritter.
There were only a few countries on the Frühling continent, most of them were operating National Hexenritter Training Academies.
Those so-called ‘princess knights’, the aforementioned hexenritter, certainly were mankind’s greatest force. Only they were able to stand up against the demonic beasts that were running rampant across the continent.
The power which the hexenritter provided had become indispensable to guard people, country, and virtually everything.
And so, many countries invested in the cultivation of hexenritter.
The Diaspell Royal Academy itself was administered by the Starfarm country. Its personnel, equipment, and location counted as the continent’s most famous.
That kind of high-end academy, of course, was attended by high-end students—— girls of nobility that held a high aptitude as hexenritter.
“I get it… Well, the gist of it at least. What I don’t quite get is what those ‘nobels’ are.”
“Not knowing about nobels… What period are you from?”
She said with her typical direct approach. Still, she was completely shocked.
The nobility system had been rooted into society for a long time already. Times in which people hadn’t been distinguished by either being a noble or a commoner were hundreds of years in the past, it seemed.
Well, nobles, commoners, or whatever, either’s fine…
I’ve got a bigger problem than that… With the exception of Hayate there was not a single man to be seen in this academy.
Hayate heaved a big sigh.
The sigh carried various meanings… ‘I want to get my memories back as fast as I can…’, or ‘I want to see my parents (though I can’t remember their faces)…’, or ‘I want to see my friends (that I probably had (?))…’ Really, a lot of meanings.
And on top of that… he had been put into this kind of situation right now.
“So basically… it’s like that? Sherry Scharlachrot…”
An anger-concealing voice resounded inside the room.
He was in a room with the plate ‘Chairman Office’ on its door. Standing next to Sherry, he was in an alerted stance. A woman past her middle age had called out Sherry’s name and she was—— Diaspell Royal Academy’s Chairman, Shanse Snipenir – owner of this room.
Having put her elbow on top of the office desk, she hid her mouth behind her clasped hands – they were shaking slightly.
“You didn’t use the summoning circles prepared by the teachers, without permission you drew your own in your room, conducted the ceremony, and summoned that boy over there by mistake?”
The chairman said and glared at Hayate.
Why does she have to glare at me…
In his opinion, he was the victim here.
Anyway, because of the summoning ceremony that Sherry had performed, he had suddenly been summoned under her as her contract beast, causing the memory loss.
Sherry said that Hayate was probably a human-type contract beast. Hayate himself, of course, had insisted with a loud voice that, ‘I am a human!’, but when she asked him, ‘Couldn’t it be that you’re just under the impression of being a human?’, he didn’t have any evidence to just brush it off. He lacked the memories, after all.
Was Hayate just an ordinary human who had been summoned by accident? Or was he a human-type contract beast? Both of those possibilities had been thoroughly discussed between them, but they had yet to come to a conclusion.
Be that as it may, even if a conclusion was still lacking, one thing had remained.
Namely, the pressing question of how to deal with Hayate.
Sherry had suggested, ‘Let’s ask the academy’s chairman for her judgement first’—— And thus, the two of them had visited the chairman office the next morning and now they were receiving a rebuke in there.
“I don’t make mistakes most of the time, chairman.”
Sherry nodded to the words of the chief with a voice as cold as ever.
When she was showing a grand attitude like that, Hayate felt like misapprehending it as ‘Are you an idiot or what?’ while dwarfing next to her.
“I must apologize regarding that summon ritual I performed, however…”
“…What is it?”
The chairman briefly said, the intimidating sense of her voice increased.
Contrary to earlier, her angry gauge was clearly filling up… Sherry and the chairman seemed to have some kind of history together, but Hayate himself was very tense while listening to the conversation from the sideline.
Sherry kept talking in a composed manner nonetheless.
“I think you as the chairman might have heard about it already, but I’ve failed several contract beast summonings while generic summoning circles of this academy were being used.”
“As far as I know, ‘if a Hexenritter doesn’t have a contract beast, they may not perform duties of hexenritter’.”
If a hexenritter doesn’t have a contract beast…?
What does that mean?
He couldn’t afford to interrupt the conversation of those two at this point, even if it was just to ask a quick question.
It was a crucial moment which determined how they’d deal with him from now on.
He gulped down the questions that were boiling up inside him and decided to wait for another opportunity.
“I understand that you’re worrying about the summoning blunders. Certainly, if a hexenritter hasn’t got a contract beast, they must not pursue the duties of hexenritter… Still…”
The chairman heaved a long sigh and rubbed her temples as if to hold back her distress.
“…That’s the result? Primarily, the summoning ceremony’s sacred. Using a summoning circle of your own just like that and furthermore, out of all things, you summon a man. Were you perhaps accused to be a disgrace to all hexenritter? Even at the best of times, you’re…”
“I’ve gotten used to all the slander going on behind my back.”
That moment, the young girl said with a stubborn resolution whilst facing the elderly woman, who was sending her an anxious glance:
“——For the sake of my dream, I will become the strongest hexenritter by all means necessary. To not be able to summon a contract beast – not passing even that requirement – that wouldn’t even be funny.”
“I understand your pain…”
However, the chairman continued:
“Already one month has passed since you’ve enrolled in this academy. I’m trying to protect you in my own way after you’ve acted on your own this time, but… if you’re still unable to get a contract beast now, then sooner or later the higher-ups will order me to kick you out of this academy. If you don’t want to bear an unheard-of shame like that, or possibly before that…”
“Thank you very much for you concern, Chairman Shanse. However, if you would refrain from using ‘still’, that’d be wonderful. You see——”
Suddenly, *pull*, Hayate was being pulled on his right arm.
His elbow touched her breasts.
“——It’s not yet decided that I’ve failed that contract beast summoning.”
The academy chairman raised her eyebrows at Sherry’s rebuttal.
“What do you mean?”
“That here’s proof.”
She picked up Hayate’s right hand and presented it to the chairman.
Just then, the eyes of the elderly woman opened wide.
“That’s… a contract mark?!”
Tempted by the her voice, Hayate looked at his right hand too—— and then raised his voice in similar astonishment:
“Wh-What is this?!”
A blood-red crest had emerged on Hayate’s right hand.
It appeared that it represented a sword.
He hadn’t noticed it at all… Or more like, he seemed to not have noticed it with all the other abnormal circumstances around him.
“That’s a contract mark. It’s proof that we have a contract as hexenritter and contract beast.”
Sherry briefly whispered that the sword crest—— the contract mark was a proof.
He didn’t care whether it was a mark, a decoration, or whatever. What Hayate knew was that it was just too real that unusual phenomena were happening to his own ordinary body.
Neglecting the shaking Hayate, Sherry faced the chairman once more:
“There certainly is no precedent of a human-type contract beast being summoned. However, as a contract mark has emerged, he is my contract beast. Won’t you please let me observe this situation for a bit longer?”
“Oi, wait a sec. I’m humaaahaaa—!”
Towards the willfully continuing Sherry, Hayate attempted to object and was consequently pinched on his behind. Of course the chairman wasn’t able to see it from her angle.
After hearing Sherry’s request, the chairman was seemingly troubled and kept silent for a short while… but soon she nodded with a sigh:
“…Let’s see. I cannot bear the thought of having to have you, the granddaughter of Gloria-sama, drop out of school either. Well then, for the time being… temporarily, I’ll allow it, but… please treat that boy as your contract beast then.”
“Thank you very much, Chairman Shanse.”
Sherry elegantly bowed in thanks.
While she was at it, she forced Hayate to bow his head too.
“C’mon, you too!”
“Ouch, ouch, ouch!”
You’re ripping my hair out!
Seeing that sort of two-man skit, the chairman was still giving off an anxious look.
“Did you really understand? Treating him as your contract beast means that you as the summoner will bear the responsibilities of looking after and controlling him.”
“I’m aware of that, of course.”
She answered without a moment’s hesitation.
Shortly after that, both of them had received permission to take their leave.
“…Hey, looking after and controlling me, what does that mean?”
On the way to the dorm, Hayate asked about the last words the chairman had said.
In front of him, Sherry stopped and turned around.
“From today on, you and I will be living together in my room.”
It took him a few seconds to understand the significance of those words.
What the heck is happening to my body?
Since last night—— or more precisely since dawn, that had been the only question on Hayate’s mind. He wanted an answer, it was a serious problem, after all.
For now, Hayate took it out on her while they were heading back to the dorm.
“I’ve had enough already! No more! How the hell did this even happen?!”
“You’re in high spirits, huh?”
“I’M IN LOW SPIRITS, ALRIGHT?!”
“Well, since you’ll be breathing the air of a room filled with my fragrance, it can’t be helped, I guess.”
“You think your body odor gets me going?!”
“Please don’t call it body odor. That’s unpleasant.”
“Then you stop spouting things as if I was some kind of hentai who gets off of a girl’s scent!”
“Don’t tilt your head! Or rather, I don’t care about your scent! Why do I have to live together with you?!”
By catching up to her pace, he forcefully put the totally derailed conversation back on track.
“…*sigh*, yare, yare.”
“See, why wouldn’t I be shocked by that?”
Be it memory loss or contract beasts… strange things like this and that kept happening to him, but living with a girl all of a sudden? How did that happen?
Sherry remained silent for a moment and watched the ranting Hayate, but suddenly she approached a chest of drawers as if remembering something and—— started to undress.
In front of the dumbfounded Hayate, she dropped her skirt.
When she put her slender, long fingers on the strings of her panties, he panicked and turned his back to her.
“Why are you suddenly stripping?! And even starting from the bottom!”
“I want to change into a fresh uniform before we go to the dining hall. I was up all night yesterday and broke a sweat there. If there was more time, I’d also take a morning bath…”
“B-But I’m saying doing that in front of me…”
“It can’t be helped, right? This place is one-roomed and if you waited in the corridor alone in this girls-only dorm, I can’t even imagine what kind of uproar you’d cause.”
Certainly, he had been by Sherry’s side all the time during the walk to the chairman office earlier. Besides, because of Hayate’s presence, they had been flooded with impolite questions and subjected to inquisitive gazes. Perhaps he had been misunderstood as some kind of insolent intruder who trespassed upon the sanctum of women?
Still, if he went outside alone… he surely couldn’t tell what would happen.
Even though he had wanted to to say something, Hayate swallowed deeply because of the sound of rustling clothes coming from behind while he thought various things.
“Well then, let’s get to your question of why you’ll be living together with me from now on. It’s just as you heard from the chairman’s explanation earlier. Hexenritter have the responsibility to look after and control their contract beasts.”
“And that’s… I’ve been wanting to ask you this since yesterday already, but please teach me about this hexenritter and contract beast thing.”
“You really don’t know anything at all, do you? Or should I rather ask whether you just can’t remember anything?”
He knew the words and letters—— or rather remembered them—— but when it came to hexenritter, contract beasts, and these kinds of things, then he couldn’t remember. If she was asked, then it seemed to be the most ordinary thing in this world.
Was he just unable to recall those things? Or did he never know them to begin with? For Hayate, someone without any memories, this was something impossible to judge.
“It could probably also be amnesia, but… whatever. I’ll give you a crash course while I’m changing, so be grateful.”
“Right, right, thank you very much.”
“I can’t feel any sincerity here. Why don’t you at least kneel down on the ground?”
“Why does every last person have to kneel down to you?!”
“If that’s too much, how about you show your gratitude and face this way?”
Such a troublesome woman!
Thinking that, he reluctantly turned his head—— As she was still in her underwear, he got flustered again and shut his eyes.
“Why are you still changing?!”
“I wonder, did I say I was done?”
Sherry had told him to look her way. Hayate had assumed that since she had told him to, she’d already be done changing – no one could blame him.
They were black…
It’s not my fault that I saw the very adult-like design and that a whiff of her butt was shining through… Even if it there’s a continuous loop of that in my head, it’s not my fault at all. Right, absolutely not!
“Well, the dining hall’s closed at this hour anyway, so I’ll give you some brief instruction… I wonder if I should go with different underwear after all. Which do you like better, plain or patterned?”
“I don’t wanna hear that—!”
“White or black, which do you prefer?”
“As if I’d know!”
“You won’t look and on top of that I can’t even ask you what color you like?”
“How are you answering my question with that?!”
Satisfied with ridiculing Hayate, Sherry finally started to talk about hexenritter and contract beasts.
“We already talked a bit before we went to the chairman office, but the ones called ‘hexenritter’ are the only existences in this world whose power can compare to those of demonic beasts.”
“If I remember correctly, demonic beasts are man-eating monsters that frequently appear on the Frühling continent, right?”
“That’s correct. Nobody knows where they’ve been born or came from. But demonic beasts do appear on the continent. The strength necessary to protect people’s daily lives—— that are the hexenritter.”
“Hmph. But why girls?”
“Because only girls can become hexenritter.”
“Why? Men aren’t allowed to?”
“You’re saying strange things again. How could men become hexenritter, they can’t even become witches.”
“What are witches?”
“Women who’ve studied the art of magic. You asked before I got to explain it, but magic is the art of using energy, the magical power that exists within one’s body, needed to perform various phenomena. Furthermore, only girls hold this power.”
“Men don’t have magical power so they can’t use magic?”
“Basically, as long as it’s a girl, they’re holding magical power, so if they study magic, any of them can become a witch. From there on, those that have an even higher aptitude—— In other words, witches that carry a sufficient amount of magical power, are able to bind a contract with a contract beast. A witch with said contract is called a hexenritter.”
“To add onto things, the witches who’re endowed with enough magical power to form a contract are restricted to those born of nobility. That’s due to the fact that those who had strong magical power were married into the same families for generations.”
To become a hexenritter, one had to form a contract with a contract beast.
And to be able to form said contract, one had to be a daughter of nobility that already carried lots of magical power.
“Only noble daughters are skilled as hexenritter and with the exception of hexenritter, there’s no one who can protect people and country from demonic beasts… I see, is that why it’s so important to be a noble?”
“That isn’t always the case but that seems to be the official stance on it.”
It had been a bit of a long talk, but now he understood the main points of this country’s concepts and hexenritter.
“So then, what is the purpose of this essential contract beasts?”
…A single word.
“Can you please elaborate a bit more?”
“I guess it can’t be helped… Which reminds me, do you like them black or white now?”
“Are you still pulling off that joke?! Or wait, you still haven’t decided on your underwear?!”
“Yeah, soon I’ll grow cold down there.”
“Then put on some clothes already!”
“Don’t wanna. There’s no way I can compromise on something like this. A girl’s beauty is decided upon her ideals.”
“Aren’t you just deciding about what to wear under your skirt here?!”
And why did what she said almost sound cool there?
“That’s right, yep. Let’s go with white then.”
In the end, it seemed like she took the black ones from earlier off and then dressed herself again.
The sound of smooth cloth sliding over skin could be heard.
…Don’t picture it, me! Nothing must cross my mind…!
“So… I wonder, what did you say again?”
“Please tell me what contract beasts are. In detail.”
“Oh, that’s true, isn’t it? I think I just told you about the amount of magical power, but the truth is even if one has a lot of magical power inside their bodies, humans can’t use the biggest part effectively.”
“It’s due to output ability… Alright, would it be easier to understand if I compared the relationship between magical power and output to that between a reservoir and a flood gate?”
So the magical power within one’s body would be like the reservoir’s water and the human’s output ability would be the flood gate.
Assuming the amount of water the reservoir collected was 100 units, if the size of the flood gate would only allow five to pass through, then only those five could flow down the waterway at a time.
“The size of a human’s flood gate averages from five to eight, sine even have ten. But it’s not possible to use magic that could bring a demonic beast to its knees with this kind of output. Even if one’s magical power was 1000 or 10000, that alone doesn’t hold any meaning.”
The explanation was easy to understand.
“Whether you’re a noble or a commoner, regardless of which, the size of the flood gate stays limited. Hence, the contract beast’s are important.”
*pam*, she closed the drawer.
To make sure, he secretly took a glimpse over his shoulder and was relieved that Sherry was wearing the crisp uniform of Diaspell Royal Academy that lived up to its reputation, and so he finally turned around.
“Contract beasts are a special kind of beast that lives by using the magical power of young ladies as their nourishment.”
“I don’t intend to live off of something like magical power…”
“It’s not as if the ordinary contract beast just stabs their hexenritter with a straw and suck it out of them or anything. The hexenritter and contract beasts are bound together by an invisible thread, and magical power is transferred through that.”
And then Sherry suddenly compared her body with his…
“…When I think about it, I wonder whether you and I are one right now…”
“Stop inviting misunderstandings.”
“You’re looking at young and tempting body and don’t have any desires?”
Young and tempting… I certainly did have a look at her butt. It was so firm that… stop that!
“Listen up, please continue the story. Contract Beasts feed on the magical power within hexenritter and in exchange for that they fight demonic beasts?”
“You’re dodging the question, aren’t you? Well, it’s fine. I’ve got a generous heart so I. Will. Forgive. You.”
Even if he was told that in a sexy voice, he wasn’t happy at all.
“I’ll return to the story, but a contract beast’s duty isn’t to kill the demonic beasts. It’s not like they’d never fight, but their main role is to assist the hexenritter until the last. They’re supporting them with their superior physical and special abilities. Furthermore, they’re absolutely obedient. Exactly like a manservant.”
“…Even if you say that, something like that is impossible for me, okay?”
I’m neither a contract beast nor a manservant. I’m just a human.
I don’t have the power to fight monsters or demonic beasts.
However, Sherry had said ‘assist’ just now.
In other words, the lead who’d fight until the end would be the hexenritter.
“Huh? Even if hexenritter… Even if they’re holding powerful magical power, can’t they only use weak magic? If a contract beast is just support, how could they even fight?”
“That’s related to the ‘certain ability’ a contract beast holds. They give form to the magical power, which they receive from hexenritter, within their bodies and——”
When Sherry tried to talk about that ‘certain ability’—— gigantic chimes resounded within the academy and made her fall silent.
“…The dining hall will close up if we don’t hurry. We’ll talk later.”
“Oi, oi, you’ve gotten to that point, postponing it now would be a bit…”
“You’re saying you want me to miss out on breakfast?”
Being told that in an almost pouting voice, he could only remain silent.
Well, I’ll have as many chances as I want to ask her about it.
Besides, it’s her problem too that there’s no proof of me being her contract beast and that I also don’t know a thing about what to do.
So because of the memory loss, I have to handle being a manservant and also gotta survive somehow?
He had to regain his memories fast and prove that he was just an ordinary human. If only his memories would return, he’d be able to remember his hometown and with that could go back home.
At that moment his eyes met the contract mark that had suddenly emerged on his right hand—— the sword crest.
Sherry had told the chairman that this was a contract mark, but… was she surely not mistaken?
“What are you doing? Hurry up and come, please.”
Hayate had already been completely settled with seeing her off and was surprised that she told him to follow.
“Don’t you want to act as my contract beast? If you do, you’ll have to do as many things with your master as possible.”
“Shut up already. At any rate, it’s not like you have anywhere to go, so just be obedient and listen to what I’m saying.”
She takes advantage of people’s weaknesses without mercy.
I don’t really want to enter this all-girls academy…
Hayate was flustered and before long Sherry heaved a sigh.
“…Well, if it’s just something like food, I’d be fine with bringing it to my room, but the amount I could take out would be limited, you know? Besides, every room in the dorm gets cleaned by a maid on a daily basis.”
He had a hard time imagining how it would feel to be watched as the only man in an all-girls dorm.
There were plenty of reasons to raise the white flag.
“…I’ll come with you.”
The desks inside Diaspell Royal Academy were set up like a staircase, and the desk from which the teacher taught was the lowest.
Behind said desk was a blackboard so large, no adult seemed to be able to reach its top. How could they write on it then, you might ask. With magic, of course.
Well, putting the classroom’s structure and height of the blackboard aside…
The problem had started after they finished their meal in the dining hall and Hayate had entered the Rivaldi classroom that Sherry belonged to.
The noble girls were refined and high class ojousamas just as he had heard of. Their chatter before classes started was just as elegant. Without loud voices, they put their hands up to their mouths and laughed sophisticatedly.
Then it got terribly noisy the second Hayate followed Sherry through the classroom door.
“Oh my, a boy!”
“Eh? That’s a man? Don’t they grow beards like my father does…?”
“Why is there a male here?”
“He’s together with Scharlachrot-san, but I wonder what relationship they might have?”
“Isn’t he a servant?”
“He doesn’t seem to have an educated face… but I think I like this wild type as well.”
“Oh my! How improper that is!”
“Could he perhaps be Scharlachrot-san’s lover…?”
“And yet I haven’t even held hands with a gentleman.”
Shriek after shriek.
They had also drawn a fair amount of attention when they went into the dining hall, but that was when it was almost closing, so there hadn’t been a significant number of people in there and they only bore with a few whispers. However, in this classroom were 20 people—— all girls of course. The gazes and pressure in the dining hall was nothing compared to this, it was so much that it almost made him turn and run.
Still, he somehow mustered some willpower and put strength in his steps. Together with Sherry, he went to the bottom-most desk and sat himself beside her at the window seat.
“Is it really okay for a contract beast to be seated here?”
“So you want to be alone in this completely foreign world?”
Her reply came fast and he broke into a cold sweat.
…This is harder than I had imagined.
The thing that exceeded his imagination was the attention they were drawing.
When he thought about how everyone in the classroom was staring at him, he couldn’t help but to be overly self-conscious of himself.
The girls’ guessing of his true identity and their gazes piercing his back, they carried various thoughts from favorable comments, simple questions, up to subtle hate.
The pressure sitting on him was horrible and he unconsciously turned his gaze downwards… Thenhe came back to himself as a deep-black dog began sniffing his leg.
“Hey, who’s this fellow?”
“It’s called ‘Black Beast’. If you touch it tactlessly, you’ll get shocked, you know?”
He unintentionally drew back his leg. At that moment, small sparks scattered from the black dog’s fur.
A Black Beast was a contract beast from whose body lightning sprang forth.
Hayate got nervous, but before long the Black Beast left, seemingly having lost interest in him.
“Was that one of the so-called usual contract beasts?”
“Well, kind of.”
“…So, to you… that and I are the same?”
As a matter of course, he didn’t have anything one could call naturally given abilities.
And when he looked around in the classroom again, he saw swarms of the most outrageous animals, like serpents with wings and lizards bursting into flames.
“You were summoned under me, right?”
“It was an accident, wasn’t it?”
“The contract mark also came forth.”
“That’s why I’m telling you that this must also be some kind of mistake.”
“To make sure of that we have to observe the situation, right?”
Sherry really wanted to treat Hayate as a contract beast… Speaking of that, the chairman had also mentioned that she’d have to drop out of the academy if she didn’t get one.
Wouldn’t it be troubling for her if I wasn’t her contract beast…?
“Could you please not look at my face and sigh? It’s unpleasant.”
And whose fault is that? He thought.
When Hayate was going to sigh once more, the classroom door opened and the teacher entered.
“That’s the homeroom teacher. Her name’s Lela Schwartz-sensei.”
Lela stood on the podium. She was a beautiful person covered in black clothes.
“Originally, she belonged to the country’s chivalric order and was lured to the academy when they were looking for and bought skillful people. She’s in charge of the subjects ‘Magic’ and ‘Practical Battle’. She’s rumored to do many secret things in private, but it’s a riddle among riddles. A fan of hers stalked her up to her home once, but… she never spoke again after that.”
“I don’t even want to imagine what has happened there.”
“By the way, her three sizes starting from top are 91 – 63 – 89.”
“Why did that kind of information leak?!”
“She must certainly be self-confident with that, right?”
Lela truly did have a magnificent body.
In her jet black clothes two big bulges were rising, twice as big as Sherry’s.
Furthermore, there was a slit in the cloth around the breast area from which one could peek at her cleavage.
I totally don’t get why someone would put a gap in that place…
I wonder whether I should call someone who deliberately wears something like that incredible or not…
Hayate was in awe in front of that unusual design.
Then—— Lela’s gaze turned into their direction.
“Scharlachrot. Who’s that person?”
With an unexpected low tone, Lela inquired Sherry about Hayate.
“That’s my manservant.”
everyone in the classroom caused a commotion at the extreme words that Sherry had readily said.
“M-Manservant, how is that different from a normal servant?”
“If one lives in the dorm, the academy maids do everything for them, right? A male servant isn’t necessary, correct?”
“So a manservant does things that can’t be done by someone not being a man?”
Even more girls caused a horrible commotion.
“…Sherry Scharlachrot. I’ll ask once more. What’s that person?”
Only Lela kept calm, asking the same ordinary question once again.
“I made a slip. He’s not my manservant. He’s my contract beast.”
And Sherry returned an answer again.
“A contract beast?”
The classroom got even noisier.
Lela struck the teacher’s desk once and calmed the noise down, then she asked something again:
“Sherry Scharlachrot. How long have you been enrolled in this academy?”
“About a month, Schwartz-sensei.”
“And, how often have I been present at your summoning rituals?”
“It takes three to four days to retry a messed-up summoning, so… About eight times, right?”
Lela corrected her flat-out.
“And you ought to recall that the tenth try was arranged to be today after school, correct?”
“That’s how it was arranged.”
“And yet you called that man your contract beast.”
“Though he appears to be human?”
“We’re still investigating whether he’s a person or a human-type contract beast.”
“What about the ceremony?”
“I’ve retried it myself.”
“Without my permission?”
“Please excuse my arbitrary behavior.”
“Do you have proof that this man is your contract beast?”
“The contract mark has emerged on his right hand. And I’ve already got the chairman’s approval to treat him as my contract beast. If you need to validate it, I could accompany you to the chairman office.”
“No. That’d be too bothersome. If the chairman approved of it, it’s fine.”
The black-clothed teacher declared readily.
“If that person’s your contract beast, control him properly. Like other contract beasts, if that man disturbs the lessons, he’ll have to bear with the punishment.”
“Of course, Schwartz-sensei.”
“Well then, we’ll begin the lesson.”
With that, Lela started the lesson as if she had lost interest in Hayate.
However, only she could take on that dry attitude.
The great majority of girls in this room handled it differently. Even now they were watching Hayate and Sherry with eyes full of curiosity.
“Is that even possible? A human and on top of that a man being summoned as a contract beast?”
“A human-type contract beast? I’ve never heard such a story.”
“I wonder whether she’ll treat that man as her contract beast?”
“Will he be put into the stables? Or… could he possibly be in her room?!”
“In other words, those two in a confined room?! Totally filthy!”
Yep, that feels creepy.
Being showered with all the girls’ attention made him feel embarrassed.
While he had felt uncomfortable in all sorts of places, Lela’s lesson ended.
The black-clothed teacher quickly left the classroom—— Simultaneously with her vanishing through the door, the girls rushed to Hayate all at once.
“Is it true that you’re Sherry Scharlachrot’s contract beast?”
“You look like an ordinary human… though you’re a bit harder.”
“KYAA! That’s the first time I’ve touched a boy’s body!”
“Young men don’t have breasts, right? My father has really imposing breasts, but…”
“Isn’t your father just… considerably well-rounded?”
To the oncoming flood of questions, Hayate did nothing more than to simply recoil back into his chair. I wonder if those ridiculously absurd questions about men are caused by all the girls being ojousamas?
There were also girls among them that touched him all over the body.
He was almost treated like a rare animal.
And speaking of Sherry, ought to be his sole ally, she was forcefully pushed away by the crowd and by the time Hayate realized it, she had already been standing against a wall far away from him. She seemed to be pouting.
As you might expect, Hayate was also starting to get fed up by being jostled… At that time…
“Seriously! That you’re even lying about a man being your contract beast, what an utter scandal!”
As he was wondering where that high voice came from all of a sudden, the classmates around Hayate divided.
Someone inside the divided crowd called the name of the girl that had appeared.
Victoria had vivid-blonde ringlet curls and was a bishoujo who could be proud of a body which rivaled Sherry’s. Her unyielding, almond-shaped eyes indicated a haughty character. Judging from the reaction of the surrounding people, she probably was this class’ leader.
Ringlet curls are quite the amazing hair style, huh…
Her hairstyle was amazing, but so was the serpent that twined around her body. A big one. A big serpent. With wings even. It was probably her contract beast.
Victoria drew closer and said with a high-handed attitude:
“What’s your name?”
“Mitsurugi? I’ve never heard of such an family of nobility. Where were you born?”
“…Sorry, but I don’t have any memories that date back…”
He honestly answered and Victoria laughed scornfully as if to make fun of him.
“I’ve already heard that commoner men were shameless good-for-nothings, but it’s absolutely true, isn’t it? If everyone keeps touching him so much, they’ll be infected with the commoner bacillus.”
Some people drew their distance from Hayate after Victoria’s comment.
Even if he hadn’t liked being touched all over, that it stopped because of this… A bacillus…
Victoria got more and more talkative, maybe because she saw Hayate dropping his shoulders, thus she moved into gear:
“In the current period, desired men are profoundly cultivated and gentlemen… However, commoners lack both, so I’ve heard. And your face definitely proves that you’re a commoner.”
Hayate, who had felt down at first, was, of course, offended by what had been said up until now and stood up from his seat without hesitation.
“W-What is it?”
Due to Hayate’s sudden movement, Victoria stopped the bad-mouthing.
“If you’re treating a person like a bacillus… I might as well really touch and infect you!”
He said something without thinking only a child would say.
Not caring about the reaction of the rest, Hayate tried to touch Victoria up and extended both hands—— but forgot about the stairs.
He enveloped Victoria before he fell down and fell on top of her.
That hu—— didn’t hurt?
On the contrary, something felt good.
Wondering about the reason, he moved his face, and felt a soft sensation on both cheeks.
And on top of that, there was the voice of an embarrassed girl.
Wh-What’s going on?!
He stood up to confirm the situation and—— when he put strength into his hands, his fingers sunk deeper into something that had an unexpected good feel to it.
More and more lovely shrieks leaked from the girl.
And while we’re at it, there was an unpleasant hunch that was expanding inversely proportional to the comfort felt by his face and hands inside him as well.
He timidly raised his face… and confirmed his current location.
“Wh… Wh… Wh—!”
Victoria’s face was in front of his own—— The moment Hayate had fallen, he had plunged his face into the valley of her breasts. Furthermore, he had grabbed those two summits with all his strength.
The classmates had been watching the whole matter and raised numerous girly screams.
Surprised by the uproar around her, Victoria came back to herself.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!”
With all of her might, she kicked hayate off her while complaining.
He leaked a muffled shriek as the kick landed in his solar plexus.
However, as one might expect, he didn’t complain as he felt bad about the whole matter himself.
He held his stomach to bear with the pain and Victoria sat up in a girlish posture hugging her own body and began to quiver.
“You pervert… You pervert…!”
Her face turned pale for some reason.
Hayate, either from that unforeseeable turn of events or something else, forgot about his anger right away, panicked, and instead worried about her.
“O-Oi, are you alright?”
The shivering Victoria raised her voice and stern eyes at him. Her expression was filled with serious hatred. However, there were also some tears in the corner of her eyes…
Hayate readied himself for whatever kind of abusive words would come flying.
“What are you going to do if I got pregnant?!”
——The words Victoria threw at him greatly differed from his expectations.
Hayate and the noisy girls around him were speechless.
However, Victoria, the only person with teary eyes, raised her eyebrows and said with a shaking voice and blushed face:
“W-When a girl gets touched by a male commoner, they get pregnant, you know?! How on Earth do you plan to make up for that kind of responsibility?! No… something like making up for it would——”
She kept talking on and on.
It appeared that she was serious.
Of course, no matter whether they were commoner or noble men and women, touching alone wouldn’t get anyone pregnant.
When I’ve been bombarded with questions earlier… These quaint ojousamas seemed to more or less have a very narrow view of how men work too. Victoria’s thinking is also excessive… Is this here a case where people just talk about preconceptions without even having experienced the real thing themselves?
——In reality, Victoria had never seen any men except for her family, let alone touched or talked to. Even for the Diaspell Royal Academy she was an unusually sheltered, super-naive lady. She seemed to have been convinced that all her knowledge of men was fact, even though it was completely based on exaggerated rumors she had heard.
However, even though she was under the wrong impression, anybody would give up when faced with such a continuously shouting and sobbing appearance. Hayate was utterly perplexed…
“——Victoria-san. Could you please refrain from tormenting my contract beast?”
Before he knew it, Sherry, who should’ve been along the wall, was next to him and calmly talked to Victoria.
“Sherry Scharlachrot-san! It’s the fault of that commoner you took as your companion that my chastity has been soiled! How do you intend to take responsibility?!”
“Well, scolding him for groping some breasts might already be fine, but… is it alright if I told you something?”
“What is it?!”
“Just getting your breasts touched by a man doesn’t get you pregnant.”
For a short time, Victoria, who had thrown a tantrum seconds ago, was motionless, then she surveyed the faces of the classmates around her.
…After a short time, she got arrived at the realization that she might’ve been wrong, stood up in a totally awkward and slow manner, and cleared her throat with a cough.
“A-Ahem… T-To begin with, Scharlachrot-san, this commoner is worthless as a contract beast and companion! You’re always involved with the commoners in this town, something a noble must not do! This time, you got hold of a companion by paying him, right?!”
Victoria intended to make Sherry responsible for her awkward mistake just now. This gave off the feeling that she just took diversion to the extreme.
“What are you trying to say? He’s my contract beast. Chairman Shanse also approved of him as such. Do you intend to defy the chairman’s decision?”
Sherry didn’t care about Victoria’s intentions and flatly flicked the facts at her.
Victoria felt ashamed as the chairman’s name came up… Her eyes teared up again.
“YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A LOW-CLASS NOBLE AND YET YOU’RE SO INSOLEEEENT!”
Victoria gave up and ran right out of the classroom shouting. After she disappeared, the girls’ crowd around Hayate broke up too for some reason.
“Yare, yare. She left at last, didn’t she?”
Sherry shrugged and sat down.
Hayate also heaved a totally exhausted sigh and sat down next to her.
Victoria ended up being absent for two periods but before the third period started, she returned with slightly red eyes.
When she entered the classroom, she gave them a stern glare, but Hayate as well as Sherry ignored it.
Because of that, the attitude of those two seemed to irritate Victoria even more, but when she returned to her seat, several people, seemingly her friends, went to and consoled her. When Victoria heard their voices, her expression softened up and she started to talk to them with a smiling face.
Which reminds me…
Suddenly he realized something.
Even though the third period was already about to start, nobody had come to Sherry and nobody had sat down by her. When Hayate had been bombarded with questions, she was also literally driven into a corner…
“Hey… could you perhaps be hated here?”
He had been stabbed into the flank with a sharp pen.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
“You’ve hurt my feelings just now. Learn to be more delicate.”
Certainly, the way he asked that just now had lacked a bit of consideration.
“Then… why’s this treated as a deadzone?”
“Do you plan to poke my delicate heart full of holes?”
“Is that delicate thing taking revenge by poking holes into me?!”
Eventually, the lessons for the day ended and Hayate was woken up by the sound of the bell which signaled that school was over.
“Faa… It’s finally over, huh?”
“You slept quite well, didn’t you?”
“I’m not a student here, so it doesn’t really matter, right?”
“Well, today was all theory. There weren’t any practical lessons, so I don’t really mind. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t continue muttering perverted nonsense in your sleep while next to me, though.”
What’s she going on about? I can’t remember doing that. Well, I was sleeping, it’s only natural I can’t.
“It was a joke.”
I take back the feelings of shame and guilt I almost had.
“Now then, let’s go, shall we?”
He chased after Sherry who was walking off and brought himself beside her.
“You’re a bit close, aren’t you?”
“I’m not that close.”
“Can you please be a bit further away from me?”
“Would you be so kind as to separate yourself from me a little more?”
“You just said the same thing more politely!”
Does she dislike me that that much?! Am I really such a bother to be around?! I’m walking with a woman who’s taking advantage of someone’s shortcomings just to abuse them here! But I’ve got no other choice, do I…
In this sanctum of women, called Diaspell Royal Academy, a man had appeared. And to top it off, the rumor that he had been called here as a contract beast had already spread throughout the academy like a wildfire.
There was what had happened between Victoria and him, and although he had been making sure to keep his distance from her, no matter where he went, he always became the center of attention – just as if he was some rare species.
He absolutely didn’t want to wander around this place by himself.
“Are we going back to the dorm?”
He asked her such an obvious thing to break the ice.
“Yes, for now. I’ll be going out later, though.”
Going by what he had heard, the next day was a weekday too, so there’d be normal lessons.
Now that I think about it, didn’t Victoria say something like Sherry’d always be in town doing stuff…?
I also recall that something like associating with commoners wouldn’t fit a noble…
“You’re coming as well.”
“You need me to carry stuff?”
Sherry quickly rejected Hayate’s guess.
“It’s a part time job.”
——A somewhat unexpected answer had appeared.
A part time job. In short, working for money.
This was Hayate’s first experience doing part time, though he didn’t know why he could recall that.
Sherry led him to a certain place named ‘Bury-In Café’, about twenty minutes by foot away from the academy.
He had been fine before arriving there. Although, to be honest, he did feel a little bit excited.
“If you’ve got time to complain, then you might as well keep your hands moving, greenhorn!”
He was currently in the middle of regretting his excitement.
As soon as he got there, he was thrown into the café’s kitchen.
In there, he was being subject to a storm of orders that swept across him minute after minute.
“Still haven’t got that parfait ready?!”
“You prepared that drink?!”
“The spaghetti’s late, what are you doing in there?!”
The manager of the cafe gave off an ‘Ane-san’ kind of impression, like what one would get from a beautiful, energetic woman who had her sleeves rolled all the way up to her shoulders. That being said, just as her appearance indicated, her tone was stern. She wasn’t even trying to go easy on the cooking of the newcomer who had only just started in the kitchen.
Hayate was holding a book with instructions on how to cook each dish in one hand and was frantically said cooking with the other. But the pile of order slips seemed to rather multiply than decrease.
They say that the kitchen’s a chef’s battlefield, evidently, that was the case exactly.
“Get to work already!”
“I’M ON IIIIT!”
On the surface it was reputed for its fanciness, and yet behind the scenes it was almost like a hectic, living hell.
Eventually, the number of new customers that came in decreased and Hayate was able to take a break for the first time since he had started six hours ago.
I should be thankful just for being given a break, but somehow this feels…
When the manager informed him that he could take a break, she’d said, ‘Well, today’s your first, so I think I can forgive this much.’ If so, what would happen from tomorrow onwards?
“If this keeps up I might collapse…”
He let out a sigh while he had his meal in the corner of the kitchen.
Mixing spices in with some of the leftover meat and then cooking it all together like crazy – something like that turned out to taste unreasonably good. He finally realized the reason for the success of this place.
It was honestly more suited to his tastes than the refined dishes which he had tried in the cafeteria of the ojousama school.
After finishing up the bonus dessert that came with his meal, he finally let out a sigh.
He still had some free time left.
Now that I think of it, I wonder what Sherry has been up to the entire time?
She should’ve been waiting tables.
Sometimes he could hear her voice when an order came, but as he was too busy working and moving around, he hadn’t even gotten a single glimpse of her.
For once, lets observe how Sherry works.
If only she had enjoyable work, he’d surely take the opportunity to complain.
Deciding this in his heart, Hayate went to the passage that lead from the kitchen to the hall.
Even if one could call it a path, it almost looked like a storage room. The utensils that were used in the hall and kitchen had been piled up here and there.
They were acting like a cushion by being piled up on either sides of the space between hall and kitchen, no sounds could leak through from either sides.
He secretly took a peek into the hall from the other side of the path.
It was like a battlefield in there—— a completely different world compared to the kitchen.
There were about twenty tables, all filled, but not a man could be seen. The target group was female commoners and there were no noble ojousamas like from the Diaspell Royal Academy.
——The dominance of women on this continent had been taking root since ancient times.
Only hexenritter were able to stand up to the demonic beasts that threatened mankind.
And only women held the magical power necessary to become one.
That alone was reason enough to judge women superior to men, but the ‘women above men’ tendency was also affecting the commoners. Even if they didn’t hold as much magical power as nobles, they could at least become witches as long as they properly studied magic.
Magic used by regular humans was weak and not suited for battle with a demonic beast, but it helped plenty with people’s daily lives. Be it either cultivating the fields or carrying heavy things, if one used magic, everything became a trivial matter.
Incidentally, magic-wielding women were much stronger than trained men.
Men or women, considering the duties of women, protecting the families they had been born into and bringing up the children, it was obvious which one had the upper hand in regards of social standing. One could say that it was only natural that men didn’t approach and even avoided a place like this café where women met up in.
——So, speaking of Sherry…
“Sherry-chaaan, please come heeere.”
This was a mature atmosphere.
When she was done taking orders from one table, she was immediately called from another. They were calling her with loud voices without caring about the distance. Even though some of them were closer to other employees, they went as far as to wait until she was free.
There were enough people coming and going that she certainly didn’t have the time to take a break now.
Or was she perhaps far more busier than he was a few moments ago and had just kept working?
But rather than her workload itself, the main reason that had drained the will to complain from Hayate was something else.
Ribbons in various colors were here and there on her body.
She was wearing a snow-white, thrilled Alice band.
And twintails that made the usual cool her look very childish.
All of that put together on a, in some areas dangerously short but nevertheless lovely, apron dress.
When one combined all the above mentioned factors, they’d get——
“——Just like a maid…”
Yes, currently Sherry totally looked like a maid.
I mean, she… she’s able to smile like that?
While Hayate was at a loss for words, he kept staring at her visiting table after table.
If one had to phrase it properly, then ‘fascinated’ would be the right word.
That Sherry… Even when she was threatened by the chairman or that ex-knight teacher, she didn’t falter. When she was bearing the slender, she stuck to arrogance. A girl with such a wicked tongue and nerves of steel, now her body was disguised like a waitress and he was touched to see her working bravely like this.
He heard afterwards that it was a ‘maid cafe’ that had been started by the manager. The waitresses here were only wearing maid outfits. However, they collected beautiful girls by paying good and picking strictly—— As a result, even though there were only a few other shops more expensive than them, they still managed to rake in the customers daily.
Hayate stood in the path staring blankly. Carrying orders that couldn’t be counted with two hands anymore, Sherry walked in his direction and came across him.
“What are you idling around for? I wonder if you’re asking for punishment?”
“I’m on break now.”
“Ara, is that so? Too bad.”
“What do you mean by ‘too bad’… Forget that, that’s some amazing dress you got.”
“This? I don’t like it too much, but I seem to have a good reputation in it. The manager also increases my pay for wearing it, you know?”
Without thinking, he started to voice his agreement but in the end, obediently agreeing to something like that was kind of vexing for him… He changed his mind and tried to change the topic.
“Or rather, aren’t all the people attending the academy rich ojousamas? Why are you doing this part time job?”
He had asked this without really thinking about it. He wanted to switch the topic after all, but it took her a few seconds to reply.
“…That’s not true.”
He didn’t understand too well and reflexively asked again.
Sherry heaved a sigh.
“My family’s not rich. Our property was seized and everything collapsed. So I’m earning an income here to pay the school’s expenses.”
Hayate didn’t know what to say.
She heaved another sigh, bigger than the last.
“That’s how it is, so you get to work right away too, please. Those who don’t work shall not eat, right?”
With perfect timing, the manager’s voice resounded and called Hayate from the kitchen.
It appeared that his break was over…
Hayate pictured the start of that hellish work again and sighed.
Hayate declared and fell flat.
It was the floor of Sherry’s bedroom. As expected, he couldn’t really bring himself to collapse onto a girl’s bed.
The master of this bedroom was currently in the middle of bathing.
By the way, this was situated on the third floor. You might be wondering how hot water was brought all the way up there, but it seemed that in this world something called materia existed which was composed of a ‘magic preservation stone’. By making use of the water magic inside the stone, it seemed that students were able to fill and take a bath even when there were circumstances that prevented them from using the dorm’s public bath.
Naturally, as there were only girls at this academy, there was no reason to have separate baths, so Hayate had planned to also use this room’s bathtub after her.
But… then again…
From across the wall, he could hear the sounds of water splashing in the bathtub and sherry moving her body around.
I mean… in the presence of a guy she’s able to just enter the bath like nothing…
I’ve thought from the start that I’m not even being seen as a man…
However, whether he should feel frustrated or sad, when he thought about how her naked body was exposed on the other side of the wall… his body didn’t want to move an inch, heavy from a mysterious power.
The sound of splashing water again.
Then the sigh of a young lady relaxing.
If Hayate stayed here any longer he’d probably go crazy, so he made an effort to creep away and escaped from her room.
Well then… I don’t have anywhere particular to go, but I need to kill time until she gets out of the bathtub. I’ve got a bad feeling about wandering this around girls-only place, but… if I were to pick between that room and this, I guess the latter would be better for my sanity.
Hayato tried to be sneaky enough not to be seen at all, and so he irresponsibly walked through the dorm without an idea of where he was going.
Perhaps one could call it lucky, but in the corridor, illuminated by the light magic the materia was charged with, were hardly any living beings. It was already late, perhaps everyone had gone to their respective rooms and passed their time in privacy.
And yet, from time to time, he caught sight of girls walking the corridor alone, but… the ladies in here probably didn’t have the courage to come and talk to a man face-to-face. As soon as they saw Hayate, each one turned their heel and left as if on the run.
I don’t like to be goggled at, but this hurts too…
It was a complicated feeling.
Well, walking around to kill time is just the right thing to divert myself with, Hayate had explored the dorm for a little while already.
Soon, he discovered the dining hall which was still open, he received a cold drink from the kitchen maid that was stocking up for tomorrow… When she handed over the glass, she made a very complicated expression.
Were the people in this girls-only academy that troubled over how to deal with the only man present…?
He gulped down the drink thinking about this and—— collided with a girl that appeared just around the corner.
Their shrieks overlapped.
Hayate only ended up staggering, but the other person seemed to have fallen down.
“Sorry. Are you alright…?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine…”
The girl had fallen on her behind, but she got up with a refreshing smile.
She gently dusted off her butt… and suddenly stared at Hayate’s face.
“Oya? Are you perhaps Sherry-kun’s contract beast-kun?”
He was fine with replying to something that still sounded unfamiliar, but he was somewhat opposed to the idea of being called a contract beast.
So he naturally hesitated to answer, when suddenly the other person shifted her gaze downwards.
He wondered what she was thinking and looked down on the clothes he was wearing—— and a big stain was spreading out on them. It seemed like he had spilled his drink when they had collided earlier.
He was lucky that the other person didn’t suffer the same fate, but… it was troubling nonetheless.
“Ah, what should I do now?”
He said as he didn’t have a change of clothes at hand. Neither did he have spare underwear.
So, if you were to ask what he intended to do once he’d have gotten out of the bath after Sherry, frankly, he hadn’t thought about that at all.
“Arara, you alright?”
This time he was being worried about.
Then he suddenly noticed that the girl wasn’t very bashful towards her male dialog partner, and once again observed the other’s looks.
A girl with gender-neutral looks, wearing evenly cut, red hair that reached the top of her shoulders. Depending on how one looked at her, she could’ve been a handsome boy as well. Speaking of which, her tone was also kind of boy-ish.
If it weren’t for the bulges on her chest, one could easily be mislead.
Even though it was that late, she still hadn’t taken her bath, it seemed – the girl was still wearing the academy uniform. An owl with a metallic brilliance was perched on her shoulder.
“Hm? Ah, this young one here? That’s Miria—— A miming contract beast. My precious friend.”
“How’s it different from other contract beasts?”
“Because it’s a machine spirit, you see. It’s unique even among contract beasts. The body can be called mechanical too.”
Even if he was told that it was mechanical, he didn’t get it, but nodded nonetheless.
“Though, if we were to be talking about peculiarness, it’s nowhere near your level.”
“Oops, that reminds me that I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Aria Weisheit. The head of Rivaldi – the class of your master. You don’t remember me?”
That time he had been busy with bearing the gazes of everyone, so he hadn’t perceived his surroundings too much.
However, she didn’t appear to mind that he couldn’t recall her either.
“Well, it’s fine. Nice to meet you.”
She said and went for a handshake.
Handshake—— A kind of cultural act between people of equal standing. Unfortunately, Aria seemed to see Hayate as a contract beast, but he was deeply moved nonetheless. He almost fell in love there. Could love be that simple?
“My name’s Hayate. Likewise, nice to meet——”
“Oooh! I knew it, the structure of your palm’s kinda human just like your appearance! A little hard maybe!”
“Eh? Ah? Yes?”
He was bewildered from Aria. Out of the blue, her spirits had risen just when she had grasped his hand and so he had gulped down what he had been planned to say.
Her eyes were sparkling and she started to feel all over his body. The way she touched him, in contrast to Sherry or even the girls from the Rivaldi class, was much more… persistent.
“Sweeet, I’ve also tried to touch and talk to you in the classroom, you know?! But everyone besieged you back then and my hands just couldn’t reach!”
Her Servant seemed to agree with a high-pitched cry.
He tried to say something but only sneezed.
Now that he thought of it, his clothes were still soaking wet. His body seemed to have grown cold while he was standing around talking.
When she saw Hayate with his trembling shoulders, Aria went ‘Alright’ and beat her chest.
“You’ll catch a cold like that. Follow me!”
“It’s half my fault. I’d feel bad if you caught a cold.”
She said, caught his hand, and left the corridor with him like that.
Although the handshake from just a second ago had been similar to this, just by being held gently like this somehow made him happy regardless. And without thinking, Hayate ended up being dragged along by her.
Soon, they both arrived in front of a large double door.
Aria said and brought Hayate into that room.
It appeared to be considerably spacious In there. Easily 70 or 80 people could fit in here. Soft mats had been spread out on the smoothly coated floor.
Furthermore, there was a great number of shelves inside the room and numerous baskets out of bamboo had been set up in many of those shelves. From what he could see, most of them were empty, but… why? He felt like he had seen something like that before. Couldn’t he remember because of his amnesia?
He wracked his brain thinking such things, when——
“Alright, let’s strip.”
——Aria suddenly said something outrageous.
“If your clothes stay wet, you’ll probably catch a cold.”
“Don’t worry. There are no rules which state that contract beasts mustn’t enter here. If it wasn’t so late you’d shock the people around you of course, right?”
“Wait! I’m a human!”
“That’s still under investigation, or so Sherry says, right? Besides, a human-type contract beast might be rare, but a human himself being summoned as a contract beast, there’s not even a shred of information on a case like that. So you’re precious either way, you know?”
Please don’t talk about humans like they’re some kind of rare item.
“I love contract beasts. I want to socialize with you naked. And, if possible, from head to toe do all sorts of investigations.”
Thereupon, Hayate finally realized that he had been in the dressing room of a large bath house. There were large bamboo baskets placed in compartments on a shelf along the wall for people to put their clothes in. They were practically empty, so it seemed that not many people were inside, but at least the girl in front of his eyes had set her mind on entering the bathhouse together with him.
“Alright, hurry up.”
Aria was drawing near while her fingers moved around excitedly.
Hayate’s survival instinct was crying havoc.
“Eeehm… A-Ah… I just remembered there’s… something I must— Sorry, sometime else—”
He muttered in monotone and ran off in a dash.
“You’re trying to escape?! Miria!”
Following Aria’s order, the mechanical owl came attacking from the air.
“Owa—! That’s unexpectedly strong!”
That there was that kind of power hidden inside that small body… Quickly, Hayate was seized by the head and lifted into the air… Or rather… Ouch, ouch, ouch! You’re ripping my head off!
“Take it down!”
“Leave it to me…”
“NOT MY PANTS!”
Hayate kept struggling, but he couldn’t help it with both feet off the ground.
“It’s fine, just calm down. Once the clothes are put into the basket, they’ll be washed until tomorrow morning. There’s a spare bathrobe to change into as well.”
“That’s nothing to calm down about at all!”
Plus, as he was lifted into the air by Miria, he could look down from up high and there he noticed some girl’s clothes that had been put into the baskets. So someone was still in there—— Wasn’t Hayate being exposed in the dressing room already bad enough?!
“LET! ME! GO!”
“Hey, hey, it’s difficult to get your underwear off like that, alright!”
Hayate had put up some desperate resistance, but Aria had skillfully pulled his pants off and now she tried to lay her hands on the last stronghold.
This was no longer a case where he could hold back just because the other person was a girl. He mustered all his strength and put up his final struggle.
The instant Miria’s strength loosened, he managed to escape.
“Ah! You’re escaping again?!”
Aria was persistent.
“You want to see what’s in my pants so much?!”
“Don’t say that so brazenly!”
He was forced to run all around in the dressing room, but having his pants tangling his legs made it difficult to run, though he didn’t have the time to put his pants on.
Does she really plan to strip me all over?!
He dodged the claws of the owl that was swooping down from above and somehow managed to struggle his way up to the double doors.
If I can somehow get outside…!
Out of impatience Hayate didn’t check the label that was hung on top of the door and flung it open.
That moment, he stopped.
At least Hayate’s head felt like it stopped.
*splash*… The sound of a falling drop of water echoed awfully loud.
The door he had opened, of which he thought would lead to the corridor—— lead into the bath house instead.
Although there weren’t many people at this late hour… they weren’t nil.
As far as he could tell there were about five women of marriageable age in there—— of course all naked—— they suddenly broke out in a big ruckus and stared at the man who had invaded their bath.
One girl seemed to have been about to exit the bath house and thus extended her hand towards the door now, she had a particularly puzzled expression on her face.
Her build was fairly small and if one just went by what could be seen, she seemed to be two or three years younger.
Her amber-colored hair clung to her forehead, tingled with moisture.
It was probably just too unexpected for her that a man could appear in this kind of place… The only thing in her hand was the sponge that she had probably used to wash her body, but she didn’t have a single thing with which she could have covered her stark-naked white skin.
Nonetheless it would’ve been better if she had crouched down and covered her private matters with her hands and arms, but she was so dumbfounded that she didn’t move at all.
She wasn’t the only one who didn’t move an inch. Hayate was the same.
If I move just a bit, she’ll probably scream like hell…
Then again, he couldn’t stay like this forever.
He hesitated about what was the right thing to do now…
“Oya, Kiruru. You’re in here too?”
Aria peeked into the bath house from behind him and called the naked girl’s name.
The girl with the amber-colored hair—— Kiruru suddenly came back to herself from that voice.
Together with a shrill scream, Hayate was hit with a magnificent slap in the face.
“Just what on Earth were you doing at the time I got out of the bath and no one was in my room?”
After that, he had almost been handed over to the dorm parent, but Sherry had heard the uproar and had, somehow, mediated with Aria. The situation had been subdued eventually.
There were no rules that forbid a Servant to enter the bath… Was what Aria had argued, although her reasoning was a bit coercive if one followed up on that. Well, he had been saved thanks to this.
However, from tomorrow onwards he’d certainly receive some dead looks.
Hayate heaved a very deep sigh.
By the way, Hayate wasn’t wearing his wet clothes anymore. Without him knowing, Sherry had asked the chairman to arrange a male uniform for him.
——Diaspell Royal Academy, a place where hexenritter were raised which only girls could become. In short, there was no possibility that men could study here, so originally there shouldn’t have been a male uniform, but… despite that, it seemed that the craftsman who designed the uniform for the academy had also created one set of a male uniform for fun.
That ‘phantom of a male uniform’ which had neither a person to wear it nor had been planned to be worn – the chairman had taken it out of the warehouse especially for Hayate.
“Don’t forget to say your thanks to the chairman later.”
The collar of the uniform was cramped, but it had been done inexpensively and was easy to move in. Even though he had been handed a fresh change of clothes, Hayate’s heart didn’t lighten up at all as he was picturing the depressing life that’d wait for him from tomorrow onwards.
Seeing him in low spirits, Sherry heaved a completely indifferent sigh.
“I seriously wonder… Did you want to see the girls naked so much?”
“That’s not it!”
“Even if you deny it, it hasn’t any credibility, you know?”
“Well, spending your time together with a flower on a high peak such as me, you seem to have unfortunately lost control over your manly desires, am I right? It’s not like I don’t understand that sort of feeling either. If you can’t reach the stars in the sky, try to be get by with substitutes around you, right?”
“Did you just go and compare yourself with high-peaked flowers and stars?”
If that’s so, then I think it’d be great if she’d also get some affection into her behavior.
“By the way, when I said that I knew that feeling, it was a lie. Peeking into the girl’s bath out of frustration, that’s the deed of a brute. If you’ve got any sense of shame, why would you do this? You pervert.”
“I won’t ask for something like love or extravagance, so at least show me some mercy!”
“Eh? You want to die without suffering?”
“That’s the kind of mercy you show a dying soldier on the battlefield! As you can see, I’m going hard!”
Her gaze turned to Hayate’s ‘section’.
“GOING! HARD! Seriously, those dirty jokes of yours as well as that salty mouth—?! They’re frightening!”
“That’s the taste of a lady.”
Sherry said with a prim expression and brushed the hair that had been hanging over her ear behind it with her fingers.
She had just gotten out of the bath and was properly sitting on a chair with her hair tied up behind her back. Hayate stood up because of his current position. Right now, he had seen her nape when she tilted her head a bit, and he could easily take a peek at her skin from the gap of the bathrobe – all this made his blood rush to the head.
…While Hayate’s face began the blush, he sat down on the floor cross-legged.
“Haa… Geez. If I had to be summoned, I’d rather have gone to Aria’s place.”
“Ara, why that?”
“She’s treating her contract beast with utmost care, right?”
She had showered him with much affection and, well, had been somewhat perverted, but that was still much more easygoing than his current environment with being forced to work, verbally abused, and whatnot.
“Well… that’s true. The chairman also spoke about the holiness of the summoning ritual. Similarly, contract beasts are important partners, a fragment of oneself, there are also many hexenritter who consider them matchless buddies in arms.”
“I’d certainly want to experience that kind of joy too.”
He said cynically, but Sherry answered with a composed expression.
“Ara? I wonder, weren’t you the one who went, ‘I’m a human!’?”
“Only nobles can acquire the necessities of life without doing at least a minimum of work, you know?”
“You’re also a noble, right?”
“All crumbled into ruins, everything closed down, remember?”
‘Well…’, Sherry made a brief pause.
“Putting aside whether you’re human or just a human-type contract beast… But… even if I summoned a normal one, I’d probably never become friends with them.”
Sherry didn’t reply right away, she corrected her posture and turned herself into Hayate’s direction.
Her white legs extended towards him from the fringe of her bathrobe, and he stared right back at her while he was being as cautious as possible to not let his attention be diverted in that direction.
“Certainly, it’s said that hexenritter should treat their contract beasts as something precious. And besides, I agree with that. However, I’ll absolutely never call them something like partners, not to mention friends—— that would be a deception.”
“Contract beasts must be absolutely obedient to a hexenritter’s commands, I already told you that before, right? But a contract beast has a mind of its own. It eats and sleeps. Even if they’re of the same race, because of their individuality, they slightly differ in character. They have their own life and personality—— and yet we completely disregard that.
“I don’t exactly know where contract beasts come from. There are people who claim that they’re being summoned from a parallel universe. At any rate, they’re summoned for us hexenritter, they’re forced to fight for our sake. At times, they lose their lives as a shield. They don’t have any right to deny. I wonder, can that really be seen as an equal relationship?”
“I don’t really have the intention to look down on how other hexenritter think. Aria-san treats her contract beast with great care and no one lets their contract beast die without regret… but I can’t do that.”
Sherry shook her head slightly.
“That’s why I would never call my contract beast a partner or a friend. It’s impossible for me to talk as if hexenritter and contract beast were on equal standing. I’ll call them manservants so that I don’t end up with some grandiose tale like, ‘he died to protect the hexenritter’. I don’t want to forget for a moment that I’m some unsightly creature that values my own intentions over those of the contract beasts and am trying to kill off their one life for the sake of my own goal.”
Hayate listened to her words until the end. At first he had simply thought that all was just willful talking.
As far as he could tell, either the students or Aria, all treated their contract beasts with great care. They were properly looking after them and even took them along to the bath. And the contract beasts which were being taken care of like that seemed to love that girls too. Eventually, just the two of them would set out together and they’d end up fighting demonic beasts. If the contract beasts died in battle with a demonic beast, they’d be entombed and even the hexenritter would surely grieve over their partner.
Sherry herself didn’t negate the idea to greatly care for contract beasts. She had even declared herself that she’d surely do that herself—— However, she couldn’t ignore the gap, the matter of absolute obedience, that existed between hexenritter and contract beasts.
They were willfully summoned, made to fight for the hexenritter’s own convenience, and therefore forced to risk their life in the matter… Certainly, in this world no one would dare to ignore those matters and use beautiful words to dress up a speech about the relationship between hexenritter and contract beasts, stare them directly in the eye, and deceive them.
Why are you trying to become a hexenritter then? Hayate stopped mid sentence.
What was her intention and goal for which she tried to become a hexenritter even though she declared herself that she’d become an unsightly creature? Before Hayate could finish saying that all——
“Well then, enough talking. Let’s go to bed soon.”
——Sherry said and threw off her bathrobe.
Hayate raised his voice without any consideration for his neighbor and threw himself face down to the floor.
But still, Hayate had perfectly seen it.
“Why are you shouting all of a sudden?”
“WHY ARE YOU STRIPPING ALL OF A SUDDEN?!”
“I can’t go to bed in a bathrobe, right?”
In other words, she stripped to change? If that’s the case, please tell me beforehand!
“Well, I’m done already.”
Hearing that gave Hayate peace of mind, he turned around, and what was there before him was… Sherry wearing a negligee that was somehow even more erotic than her being naked.
“What’s with that getup?!”
“I can’t sleep when I’m not lightly dressed.”
That was some intelligence he hadn’t heard before.
Sherry really went to bed in that getup.
“I’m turning off the lights.”
The room was illuminated by materia charged with light magic. She only recited a simple chant and surprisingly the room was wrapped in darkness.
“C-Can’t you wait a sec longer?”
Sherry quickly fell asleep, perhaps do to her tiredness her sleeping breath could be heard soon after.
Hayate was tired himself. He fumbled the uniform’s jacket off somehow and lay down on the floor with the borrowed blanket wrapped around him.
Thanks to the soft blanket and carpet, his body didn’t hurt too much, and so he was able to be fast asleep until the next morning.
Translator notes and references