Several days had passed since the mock battle with Victoria.
On a holiday in Diaspell Royal Academy. Even with a lot time having passed since sunrise, Hayate kept dozing on the floor, wrapped in a blanket.
He had recovered from the fatigue of the mock battle a long time ago, but the battle had only been one part of the lesson. One time block among several of a day, and once he had been over with that one part, the academy life was long from over. On top of that, he also had to help with Sherry’s part time job after school, and one way or the other, Hayate’s life had turned into a tight schedule daily.
Today, the academy had a holiday, and on top of that, she hadn’t been assigned a working shift either.
When Hayate kept sleeping on the only day that he could indulge in indolence—— he suddenly got trampled on his stomach pit.
“Won’t you get up already, you manservant…”
Leaking a muffled scream, Hayate was literally wide awake in not even a second.
Waking someone up in such an awful way first thing in the morning… Well, that was expected from Sherry. She was penetrating a critical spot with her long legs. The angle was good enough to even see her panties, but he couldn’t thanks to the hem of the skirt perfectly guarding the contents. Was it all calculated?
Well, rather than whether her panties could or could not be seen, being disturbed from his slumber was more unforgivable.
“…I still haven’t had enough sleep.”
“I’ll trample on you, you know?”
“You already have.”
“I’ll step on you even more.”
“…Yeah, yeah. I’ll get up, I’ll get up!”
A girl that’s merciless first thing in the morning…
He had intended to give off a tone that was somewhat filled with resentment, but because of Sherry’s composed expression he gave a greeting back.
When he stood up, stretched, and his half-asleep mind gradually woke up—— Hayate’s gaze was naturally drawn to her lips for some reason.
He was reminded of their tenderness.
Recalling a sensation that he couldn’t forget even after a few days had passed, his face burned in the early morning already.
Calm down, me…! Haven’t I been hearing that it was just for the sake of the contract?!
That time Sherry had kissed him, he heard that she put a book on ‘Special Summoning Combinations’ to use, in which was mentioned that, ‘To perfect the contract, they had to overlap the lips’. That’s why he was able to use [Seele] immediately after they had kissed.
But at the time she hadn’t said that it was about the contract, but had called it ‘reward’… He still hadn’t asked what she meant.
“Hey, if you’re up, hurry and get dressed!”
Saying that, Sherry had already changed into her uniform.
“…Isn’t it a day off from the academy?”
“We’ll be going out, you know? Even on holidays students of the academy are obliged to wear the uniform.”
“You saying we’re going somewhere?”
Normally, they’d be pending between the ‘Berry-in Café’ and the academy, but this was the first time that they’d go where they please. He got nervous all of a sudden.
“Aren’t you noticing anything when you look at me?”
Being urged by her suggestive question, he strained his eyes to look if there was something about her that had changed and… noticing the ‘change’, he instinctively pinched his nose.
With his whole face blushing, Hayate trembled and pointed at the daring opening in Sherry’s uniform.
Had she left the button open on purpose? No, it wasn’t that kind of story. It wasn’t anything like the slit in the chest area like her homeroom teacher Lela had. The upper part of her clothes that had somewhat covered her breasts had been completely removed, her white, round, and standing out ‘northern hemisphere’ was completely exposed.
“I asked the chairman to remodel the uniform, you know? It looks good, right?”
“W-What’s with the underwear?!”
“Today’s panties have black lace.”
“I meant the top!”
“I’m wearing a corset.”
Sherry pressed her crossed arms tightly and lifted up her breasts. Thereupon, her breasts seemed ready to spill out of her clothes any time, and Hayate grew increasingly nervous.
“When I do this, the contract mark is easy to see, right? Look…”
In her cleavage was—— Now he understood, the sword crest certainly was visible. It was well visible, and if push came to shove, it’d probably be easy to overlap with Hayate’s right hand. That’s why…
“Isn’t that embarrassing?”
“I’m not showing it to anyone but you. Plus, it’s necessary anyway. Your [Wand]… No, it was a [Seele], no? To draw it out, the contract marks on your right hand and on my chest have to cover each other, right?”
It was something that he knew because of the knowledge that had flown into him at the time he drew out the [Seele] during the mock battle.
Originally, [Wand]s were weapons that were created inside the bodies of contract beasts by the magical power that the hexenritter distributed through the thread. If the bond between hexenritter and contract beast was good enough, the hexenritter could bring the [Wand] forth to their hand by a single [Cast] yell, even if they were a bit apart.
On the other hand, when Hayate drew out [Seele], both contract marks had to overlap.
He didn’t know the detailed theory behind it, as merely a ‘That’s the way it is’-knowledge had flown into him. However, the academy’s opinion – or namely – Lela’s opinion was:
“Between Hayate and Sherry, there is no magical power thread which normally ties together hexenritter and contract beast. Therefore, by overlapping both marks, a special circle is created and the weapon can be taken out directly – that’s what I consider it to be.”
Furthermore, the black-clothed teacher added this:
“Since the olden days they say that on the occasion when a hexenritter lets the magical power spread throughout the thread and transfers it to the contract beast, a considerable loss occurs on the way. The sword that that person used was probably so powerful, because he had taken it out directly from Scharlachrot without transferring anything over a thread.”
This story had spread throughout the academy like wildfire, and Hayate and Sherry had once again drawn attention in a different way.
“…Is it really okay to remodel the uniform like that?”
“Originally, it was approved to tailor uniforms to match the [Wand]s’ characteristics. Well, without caring about that, everyone remodels it for fashion’s sake.”
“So? I’d like to hear your impression on it.”
Sherry inquired Hayate.
Of course she meant his impression on the new uniform.
But even if he was told that…
Remaining silent was the most painful thing right now. But he hadn’t been able to think of anything besides that!
Sherry unfolded her crossed arms.
“Well then, shall we head out now?”
“…Understood. So where are we going?”
Hayate, whose sleepiness had been completely blown away, casually asked.
He had been interested in going out from the start, but… in the meantime his energy had been thoroughly drained away by the little events that he had been caught in. He already had the feeling that anywhere would be fine.
“Let’s go and have a look at the first milestone to reach my dream.”
The academy city Avunir. A prospering place of trade, which played a central part regarding the Diaspell Royal Academy, and the biggest city after the royal capital Sunblest.
It had many shops that welcomed the sons and daughters of nobility as their guests and gave the impression that the whole town was a shining beacon of society.
Especially for Hayate it was the first time witnessing the liveliness during the daytime, as it had always been late when he arrived after classes finished. With the many stands and things that appeared, he got distracted left and right. All of the displeasure that he had been feeling before their departure, had been blown to oblivion.
In any case, the establishment Sherry brought him to was a somewhat mature-looking one. It was like a restaurant, but in contrast to the ‘Berry-in Café’ it also seemed to serve alcohol and the like. However, different from an ordinary bar, the tables and glasses which held the drinks gave off an impression of good taste all the way.
It was dim inside the bar, and the reason being that when one looked around, there wasn’t just one window. Instead, all the walls except for the one with the entrance had been filled out with something like glass. The glass wasn’t transparent, it felt like it was semi-transparent, and so it wasn’t possible to be seen from outside the establishment.
“What is this place? I take it isn’t just an ordinary bar…?”
“It’s also a bar, but in truth, it’s something else.”
After saying that, Sherry asked an employee for an open seat.
When it became apparent that Sherry was a student of Diaspell Royal Academy, the waiter went out of his way to get a new table and chairs from the other side of the establishment and seated them at a spot near the center.
Sherry asked the employee to pick drinks for two.
“By the way, when does the match begin?”
“Yes, it will commence at one o’clock.”
“Is that so? Thank you.”
After that, the waiter left smiling.
She gazed at the clock that was hung on the wall.
“It’ll be one o’clock in five minutes. Geez, we would’ve almost been too late because of this useless manservant.”
“Say, what match is this?”
It appeared that that was the reason she had taken Hayate to this establishment.
“You’ll understand in a bit. Wait quietly until our drinks arrive. Or keep looking at me.”
“I for one will be looking at you.”
Unintentionally, he had been about to respond with ‘What the heck’, but before he knew it, he had shut his mouth as Sherry really fixated her gaze at him.
Again… Recently, it looks like she’s taking on that attitude from time to time.
I’m still pretty troubled by this. Why am I troubled… I’ve thought about it many times already, but Sherry is an outrageous beauty. If only she kept her mouth shut, she could match the beauty of a goddess. I can’t calm down when I’m being stared at by such a girl.
“What is it?”
“How about we call each other by our names already? Hayate.”
“—! T-That should be alright, as long as it’s just the name.”
“Wouldn’t it be somewhat strange if you’re just branding me with ‘you’, while I’m calling you by your name?”
When it got pointed out to him like that, it really did appear strange to him.
“Does the manservant intend to go against his master?”
“…I’ve got it already…”
Being glared at by those sharp eyes made him raise the white flag rather than the serpent he had been fighting recently.
“Well then… Sh-Sherry…”
“What is it, I wonder?”
Being called by her name, she expressed a faint smile.
“~~What did you do the year before you came to the academy? Where have you been?”
“I’ve saved up money for the school expenses to enter the academy. It’s an academy for nobles mostly, so the school expenses and entry fee are manyfold of those of a commoner school, you know? Because I held three or five jobs at the same time, it took a terrible amount of stamina.”
It was no wonder that the exhausting work at ‘Berry-in Café’ seemed to be easy for her.
“Well, it was nonetheless necessary that I received a lot of help from the chairman at the time of the immatriculation, you see? To cause her as little trouble as possible, I keep on working even now, you know?”
“Which reminds me, the chairman does protect you as much as she can, doesn’t she? What kind of relationship do you have?”
“I myself don’t have any special relationship with her, but the chairman seems to have been saved by my late grandmother. They seem to have been close friends, you know? Being her grandchild seems to come with various privileges.”
“Ah, I see.”
Once Hayate had given an appropriate response, the waiter came with drinks and sandwiches with dried meat and vegetables for two.
“Oh, just in case it worries you, I’ve got no experience with working in any indecent establishments, you know?”
“U-Uh-huh, I see.”
Being told something he hadn’t even asked, Hayate faltered with his response.
Sherry sent him a meaningful glance.
“Anxious about what?”
“Whether my body’s still pure.”
He spat out the drink, he had just started with, with all his might.
What’s this girl spouting out all of a sudden?!
‘How about I say I did worry?’… If I tsukkomi’ed to that extent, I won’t be able to turn back afterwards, so I shouldn’t press on any further.
Towards that attitude, Sherry shrugged her shoulders.
Simultaneously, the illumination inside the establishment suddenly went out.
“Calm down. The match is about to start.”
When he was about to ask back, the walls in the establishment’s interior suddenly casted light.
The three walls apart from the entrance—— reflected something strange.
It was outside. But it certainly wasn’t the landscape outside the establishment.
It looked like a fairly vast location. There was gravel on the ground, weeds beneath the trees, large and small rocks, and a streamlet.
As Hayate was surprised by this sudden event, Sherry leaned herself forward from the other side of the table and explained:
“This establishment, you see, has three walls that are covered with smoothly manufactured materia—— we call it monitors—— the materia is charged with [Clairvoyance] magic. Just now, the broadcast of a match that’s being carried out in a far away country has started.”
In other words, this was an establishment that made it possible to watch a match that wasn’t carried out close by, but in a place far away place – a live broadcast.
Hayate heaved an admiring sigh at the large-scale device.
“And? What match is this now?”
“The [Herfiötur Cup]. The first tournament of the [Eighth Big Walpurgis Night] which determines the strongest hexenritter.”
The strongest hexenritter—— the first milestone on the way to Sherry’s dream.
The festival that determined the strongest hexenritter, called [Walpurgis Night], lasted for about a year and meant a fighting tournament between mutual hexenritter which was carried out by each nation of the continent.
The [Herfiötur Cup] that was broadcasted today was the first tournament of the [Eighth Big Walpurgis Night], and organized by the Starfarm’s neighboring country, the Klemond Empire. This place was an arena inside the Klemond Empire too, and the participation rules required one to hold the Empire’s nationality.
In short, the [Herfiötur Cup] was a tournament to decide who the strongest hexenritter in the Klemond Empire was.
Similarly to this, the other seven countries also had tournaments, and picked out their strongest hexenritter—— And as for the [Brynhildr Cup], held at the end of the year, the champion hexenritter of each nation would fight with each other, to decide on the strongest hexenritter, both in name and reality.
The date of each country’s tournament was different, because the tournaments were staggered by the coordinating countries. The [Eighth Walpurgis Night] acted as a war substitute, but it was also a festival that boosted the whole continents economy. The economical effect was significant. Fortunate Houses even migrated the continent to watch all of the tournaments, and merchants were eager not to let a business opportunity such as that slip through their fingers. If the dates completely overlapped, they’d consequently steal profit from one another and everyone would lose.
For that reason, the Starfarm Kingdom’s [Walpurgis Night] was still months ahead, while the Klemond Empire’s had already started. Thus it wasn’t a problem at all to watch the match through [Clairvoyance].
And as for Hayate’s impression, who was witnessing his first [Walpurgis Night]…
“What… is that?”
He didn’t have words for this masterpiece.
It wasn’t just swords or whips… It was an abnormal battle between hexenritter who utilised: bows and arrows, battle-axes, war hammers, needless-to-say swords and spears, and even as far as natural phenomenon like thunderstorms as weapons.
Slashing attacks and thrusting that he couldn’t perceive with his eyes, fluttered about. The ground arose by the yell of a certain hexenritter. When he thought that the earth would suppress everything, the layer was blown away by a fiery explosion and a mud-covered princess knight suddenly appeared, brandishing her blazing spear.
Furthermore, there were various contract beasts fighting in the fray: a Steller’s sea eagle clad in lightning; a horned, white horse that flew in the sky; and many others.
The [Walpurgis Night] had a battle royal system, but it wasn’t something like several hundred participants fighting simultaneously. Generally, eight to ten were placed per group for the first round, from round two onwards the participants would decrease, and in the end the last eight people that were left participated in the final. In that fight, the victorious hexenritter would be the champion.
This was likely the final that was being broadcast right now, and the eight people fighting were surely the closest to being called the strongest of the Klemond Empire. It’d be reasonable to call this fight something that exceeded common sense.
The current number of hexenritter displayed on all monitors totalled five, and the strength of everyone seemed to be on an equally high level.
It’ll become a drawn-out contest… is what Hayate thought as a layman.
That prediction was quickly thrown out—— by the appearance of no more than one more hexenritter.
“There she is, huh…”
Sherry muttered besides him in a small voice.
“Who’s that? For some reason all three monitors are displaying her.”
As the arena was a considerably vast outdoor field, fights had broken out here and there.
Naturally, the spectators wanted to see as many of those fights as possible. That’s why each monitor had shown a different spot, but now all of them projected that one hexenritter.
“The champion of last year’s [Herfiötur Cup] and the year before that – the [Silver Moon Knight] Oltria Altair. Obtaining a third consecutive championship is unheard of, and if she does, she will be recognized as the strongest hexenritter in the present age.”
The strongest hexenritter in the present age!
Hayate was surprised at this terrific career and strongly observed the appearance of the young lady on the monitor.
Oltria Altair was a princess knight whose beautiful face was bested only by her shining silver hair. She guarded her body with minimal armor, such as a chest protector and shin guards. With a sharp gaze, she glared down at the other hexenritter from a somewhat high place.
When the other hexenritter noticed Oltria’s figure, a giant shadow moved at her side.
It… could possibly be described as a giant lizard that had grown wings? If one went only by the appearance, that would probably suffice. However, the strong, intimidating presence that could be felt even through the screen, couldn’t be described with words alone.
“What… is that?”
“It’s a Dragon.”
Or rather—— A giant dragon, and as the Dragon waited next to Oltria, it loosed a roar as if to intimidate the other hexenritter. A tremendous roar that caused the ground to shake.
“Oltria’s contract beast Tiamat. He’s even special among the Dragon types, an existence that bears the superiority of the Five Great Dragon Kings.”
“Dragon… Five Great Dragon Kings…”
The lindworm he had fought recently could probably be called a subspecies of Dragons, but this was the real deal. And she said that he was even something special among that species. When one witnessed the majestic appearance of Tiamat, they’d understand that too.
Beneath Tiamat’s throat—— Oltria touched the contract mark on a place called ‘reverse scale’.
Through the monitor, her voice was somewhat muffled. Nonetheless, Oltria’s quiet voice clearly rang in Hayate’s ears.
A long sword with a giant silver edge came forth from Tiamat’s contract mark.
However, as it was a [Wand], there was no way that it could be an ordinary sword.
The sword cried. It was a piercing wailing.
That instant, when one thought that the edge of [Mushnahhu Espada] melted into something gooey, the form completely changed. The sword blade, which was beautifully double-edged, changed into a single-edged one with a great curve, and on that sword serrations emerged, which could tear off flesh like the fangs of a beast.
“That’s one of the [Wand]s Oltria operates, the long sword that manifests intent – [Mushnahhu Espada]. The wielder’s intentions cause the sword to change its form to suit the situation, and thus it deals extremely effective damage to the opponent. Incidentally, following its name, the blade has seven forms in total.”
“…Wait a sec, what do you mean by one of the [Wand]s?”
“Just as I said. Inside high-level contract beasts, occasionally several [Wand]s can be evolved… There, Oltria is making her move, isn’t she?”
With a sidelong glance at Hayate, who still had his mouth wide open, Sherry observed the monitor closely.
In the monitor, Oltria, holding [Mushnahhu Espada] in her hand, jumped together with Tiamat down from the top of the hill and started to overrun the hexenritter, who had fought a fierce battle until now.
The battle now resembled a one-sided match between an adult and children.
Oltria wielded [Mushnahhu Espada] and crushed the hexenritter one by one. The arena also had the [Divine Protection of Valhalla] to prevent any physical wounds, but the people cut by [Mushnahhu Espada] still screamed in blood-curling agony and fainted.
“Speaking of which, I haven’t told you about the [Wand] grades, have I?”
Sherry said while staring at the massacre in the far away country:
“To put it simple, it’s a way to divide the strength of [Wand]s into classes. Starting from the top they are divided into [Inferno], [Diabolus], and [Grimoire]. In this connection, Oltria’s [Wand]s, including [Mushnahhu Espada], are all classified as [Inferno].”
Even during the explanation, the girl continued to blow down hexenritter on the screen.
Earlier Hayate had evaluated the fight between the other hexenritter to be the highlight, but Oltria’s battle was even above that. The difference in level compared to the other hexenritter was so huge, that it could be called heroic.
“——That’s the first milestone to achieve my dream. If I don’t kick Oltria from the throne, if I don’t get the title of the strongest, I can’t get the peerage of [Glanzweisen] either.”
In the end, the curtain fell on the [Herfiötur Cup] with Oltria as the winner, as expected.
After they left the establishment and seated themselves on a park bench, a short walk away from the establishment, Sherry wanted to hear Hayate’s impressions on the match.
“And? What do you think?”
“That’s… it’s like… hexenritter sure are something…”
Basically, he had felt like this in the mock battle with Victoria too, but after he had seen the [Herfiötur Cup], he realized that his battle had only been ‘school level’.
Frankly speaking, Hayate had probably gotten a bit cocky when he had gotten hold of something like [Seele] and with it triumphed over Victoria.
He felt as if that pride had been completely smashed.
“It’s important to realize one’s own place, you know?”
He couldn’t object at all.
After she had said that, she stood up from the bench.
“Well then, we’ll proceed to the next.”
“…The next? Where do you intend to go now?”
You’re not satisfied until my pride’s crushed into the smallest pieces, are you?
However, the words that left her mouth were surprising.
“Hayate couldn’t possible want to end a date with me when it isn’t even dark, right?”
“D-Date?! This is a date?!”
“If a man and a woman go out together on a holiday, it’s enough to call it a date, right? Watching the match was just an opening act.”
“Opening act, you say…”
Hayate had thought that it had been the main act and was dumbfounded.
However, as far as he could tell from Sherry’s attitude, there’d really be more after watching the [Herfiötur Cup].
“We’ll go shopping next. Fun, isn’t it?”
“I-I don’t have any money on me, you know.”
He had nothing on him when he was summoned and still hadn’t gotten his work wages.
“Stupid, of course men don’t pay on dates, right? It’s my treat.”
Which reminded him that the society of this continent believed that women were the stronger sex. Women naturally took the initiative on everything.
Hmm, that kinda feels strange to me too for some reason…
Thanks to the amnesia, Hayate didn’t know common things like his own birthday, the history of this country, about hexenritter, servants, and so on; but it seemed he had not forgotten everything. He understood words and phrases, knew his name, and fundamental manners.
However, somehow Hayate had a subconscious feeling that, ‘Men should protect women’ – something improbable for this society’s common sense. For that reason he unintentionally thought in such a scene that, ‘As a man, I’ve got to pay’.
Could this strange feeling also be a clue to his forgotten memories?
“By the way, have you already decided on what you want to buy?”
“Yeah. Let’s buy a collar.”
At the time Hayate and Sherry went on their shopping date, Victoria was in the bath with her own contract beast.
“Does it feel good, Lindis?”
Gently having the joints of his wings washed, Lindis gave a delightful cry.
It appeared somewhat cramped with its long body wriggled inside the bathtub that was meant for humans, but she didn’t like the idea of taking her servant into the large public bath, so it couldn’t be helped.
Victoria was washing its body in her room’s bath in her birthday suit. The water drops that splashed around wetted and ran down her cleavage and buttocks. Lately, it had become a custom to shower together with her contract beast like this.
While the sponge glided over its smooth scales, she unconsciously looked for burns.
She knew about the effect of the [Divine Protection of Valhalla], but it had been the first time that she had seen her own contract beast suffering in such a way. ‘Maybe…’, she had gotten anxious. Luckily, she couldn’t find any such traces.
She was relieved, but someone kept being on her mind—— that man.
“Hayate… Mitsurugi… was it? That commoner…”
She muttered the name of the man who had easily defeated her in a mock battle.
The results were one win, one loss, because she had won the first round hands down. However, the taste of defeat, that she had been forced down, didn’t cease in its bitterness at all.
Someone like me… that one-sided… never suffered a wound… to something like a man…
When she remembered the time that he thrusted his flame sword, her skin seemed to burn from the heat of the edge which had been thrusted at the nape of her neck even now.
The ‘values regarding men’ inside of Victoria had almost solely been built on hearsay to begin with. And so the values were the same as society’s – men must have good parentage and be cultivated.
However, the first one of the opposite sex that she had touched apart from her family, had neither a good parentage, let alone was cultivated, nor had he any memories—— and yet he was stronger than her.
Men were weak creatures. That was a given in this world. Victoria, who knew nothing of men but hearsay, believed it to be only natural.
In line with that, they were something to look down upon… and yet.
To suffer damage like that…
The heat on the nape of her neck.
When she was thinking about nothing but Hayate, the heat climbed to every corner of her body and the inside of her chest began to burn just like the sword.
He, who had uprooted her value system turned it upside down, and his gaze – remembering the scene from that time made her shiver all over and her chest to throb.
It was the first time that that kind of feeling sprouted inside her.
However… she had heard stories about it from girls of her age when they had met lovely gentlemen at a ball, and now Victoria had probably fallen into a similar state. And it was commonly known as love——
“——Th—! Impossible! Someone like me with the likes of such a rude commoner!”
At any rate, he was a man who had come and suddenly rubbed her breasts on their first meeting.
However, when she thought about Hayate like that, the sensation when he had rubbed them at the time returned…
Victoria chanted a short spell and booted the bathroom materia up.
The materia had been stored with magic which made hot water come out, and it was possible to regulate the temperature by the way one chanted, but…
“Lindis?! That’s— the heat?!”
Victoria had gotten too worked up about her emotions and messed up the water temperature.
The lindworm had been surprised by the sudden boiling water, rushed out of the bathtub, and twined around her body as if he wanted to protest.
“Wai—! Lindis, that’s too tight… Aah…! …Cut… it out already! Ah, there’s… don’t!”
——That day, the girl living next to Victoria’s room had thought she heard unladylike screams from the opposite side of the wall, but she knew that the girl next door couldn’t possibly raise such shrieks and dismissed it as a figment of her imagination.
After their shopping was done, Hayate and Sherry went into a café inside the city. It wasn’t something like the ‘Berry-in Café’ – just a normal one. It had outdoor seats, so both of them seated themselves on a white round table, opposite each other, where they could feel a nice breeze on their cheeks.
However, currently something like the fresh breeze didn’t concern Hayate at all. Too many other things were on his mind and so he didn’t have the time to enjoy the scenery of the city on a holiday.
Reason being, a little while back Sherry had entered that kind of specialist shop and in front of his eyes was that ‘thing’ she had bought.
She had placed two collars on the table.
“I really bought them, huh?”
“The collars were a bit expensive as they’re made of dragon scales, so we have to spend conservatively for a while, okay? Maybe we should increase our work shifts? If we worked on holidays, it’d bring more income.”
Sherry talked in a light-hearted mood about what worried her for a bit, but as far as Hayate was concerned, rather than working on holidays, he had a whole other problem in front of him.
“What is it?”
“Was are those?”
“I know that just from looking. But what did you buy them for?”
“To attach them, no?”
Sherry said and took a collar into her hand. She bent forward in Hayate’s direction.
He predicted what she was going to do with that collar and the corner of his mouth twitched.
Whispering that kindly near his ear, caused a sweet excitement to run down his spine, and Hayate’s body froze.
Her hands gently combed the back of his head, and then he heard a clicking sound near his neck…
“That’s it. With that you’re my manservant.”
As expected it was just a splurge and the collar made from dragon scales didn’t feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t painful, and even had belt holes to loosen it up.
…However, that didn’t change the fact that a collar had been attached to him.
This time, for sure, Hayate wanted to properly protest, but—— without hesitation another collar was held out in front of him. The one holding it was, of course, Sherry.
She smiled sweetly.
“Now then, next is your turn.”
“M-My turn… for what?”
The truth is that it was something obvious that he didn’t even need to ask.
Because the same thing had been done to him a moment ago.
“To put this collar around my neck with your hands, you know?”
Sherry gave the expected answer.
“If you do that, I’ll be your slave, right?”
She added those tempting words.
Those were exceptionally effective words to a healthy youth like Hayate.
His whole face reddened up in a flash and he became emotionally overwhelmed too. He had completely lost the strength to protest.
“That’s… What do you mean by this whole manservant/slave thing? If I remember correctly, you said it after the mock battle too…”
He barely managed to say that much.
Sherry started to reply in a smooth manner.
“A manservant is someone who works themselves to the bone for the sake of their master, you know? And a slave is someone who devotes their body to their master, right?”
“That doesn’t answer the question. Why have I become your manservant and… why do you… then become a s-slave?”
“That’s because Hayate will protect my dream, right? In other words, that means that as my contract beast—— No, as my familiar, we’ll be fighting together, no?”
He certainly did say that at the time.
By no means did he just carelessly utter that, but if it also meant being plainly called a ‘manservant’, he’d protest.
“You said that, right? I’m fighting for my own sake. Neither for a greater good, nor justice. It’s just my selfish wish to be reunited with my mother. If you’re fighting for the sake of such a dream, you must certainly be my manservant, right?”
“Wanted to save me, so you did? But that’s not what your heart says. You fought Victoria by yourself, was there something you got out of it? Isn’t there something you wish to get until you fight to the bitter end in the [Walpurgis Night]?”
At a loss for words, Hayate shut his mouth.
During his fight, Hayate had only gained the knowledge to control [Seele] and other relevant things. What he wanted was to regain his memories relating to his own roots and not some extra knowledge.
If he kept on fighting, maybe he would recall things other than that knowledge, but… there was no guarantee.
From fighting in the [Eighth Big Walpurgis Night] one gains peerage and a medal of honor. That’s what Sherry wants. I don’t really need that kinda thing… I certainly do lack a purpose to fight, huh?
If he fought nonetheless, he would have to leave the purpose for fighting to Sherry.
To protect her dream, to keep that promise, he would continue to fight to his last breath.
A manservant was a purpose-less laborer. But if instructed by their master, they were people who’d definitely act for the sake of their master’s desires.
Even though I don’t have any purpose myself, I keep fighting to fulfill the wish of my master… Certainly something a manservant would do, huh…
Even so… her way of thinking was as inflexible as ever.
To put it simply, because contract beasts could be called nothing but manservants as they have to absolutely obey the hexenritter, she couldn’t ignore the fact that she made Hayate fight for her own dream – even if it was something he was doing out of own good intentions and beliefs.
To not forget the fact that someone gets hurt because of her.
She called him ‘manservant’.
Unintentionally, he let out an astonished sigh.
“Haa… So, what’s with this slave thing or whatever?”
“I’ve said that before, too, haven’t I? It’s a reward.”
“There’s a compensation due for manual labor, right? I’m not a brute master who’d make their manservant work unpaid.”
Getting paid or not aside, he wanted to strongly object about the ‘not a brute’ part.
“You still don’t get it?”
Sherry came to peer directly into Hayate’s eyes.
“A slave devotes their all to their master—— I’m saying that I’m giving you my body, my heart, my everything, you know?”
With the talk continuing into an unforeseen direction, Hayate panicked.
“Don’t just thoughtlessly—”
“It’s not thoughtless or anything.”
Before he could even finish his rebuke, it had been flatly denied.
After that… she sighed.
“…That’s right. Hayate’s rather dense and it would be better to say it clearly, right?”
Sherry looked Hayate in the eyes as directly as ever.
Her gaze was so sharp that it, for the n-th time, startled him.
And then she literally confessed.
“To get straight to the point, I’ve fallen in love with you.”
This time Hayate completely panicked, reflexively stood up, and unintentionally kicked down the chair in the process.
From the surroundings came shocked stares.
Being showered with attention, he conversely regained his cool, and after apologizing to those around him, he picked up the chair and sat down again.
“L-Listen… What do you mean ‘fallen in love’?”
“Eh? What? Could you possibly not know what ‘fallen in love’ means? I thought that you remembered the words and their meaning, but… Right, you’ve lost your memory, so it can’t be helped, can it? If that’s the case, I’ll go with the overload strategy.”
“I’ve fallen in love with you. I love you. I like you. I really like you. I’m madly in love. I want to spend my whole life with you. I want to be with you no matter what. When I see you, my chest tightens. My body tightens here and there. My heart throbs. I want to be lovey-dovey. Please eat my cooking every day. Every night, on the bed, lo——”
“WAAA—! WAAA—! STOP! I GOT IT! I GOT IT ALREADY!”
Stopping her smooth, machinegun-like talk, Sherry sipped on her drink. Wait… wasn’t she about to blurt out something outrageous?!
“Well, if I was able to convey my feelings, then I’m glad. It’s a beautiful thing to tell one’s feelings, isn’t it?”
“Though, that now was as embarrassing as expected. There’s only one reason a woman would entrust her body and heart to a man, right? There shouldn’t be a need to make me say it, I wanted you to guess that much.”
It seemed like her composure hadn’t change from earlier, but…
Yeah, yeah, but… in other words, it’s like that, huh?
Remodelling the chest area as if showing them off to me, calling it a date when we’re about to leave, saying suggestive things, all of those were roundabout approaches?
Those had the significance of a straight ball. Or rather, a dead ball.
No, isn’t it worse to be someone who can’t even hit those?
“For now, would it be fine if I asked for the reason?”
“The reason? The reason why I fell in love?”
It was embarrassing to reply, so he nodded in silence.
“Well, the direct reason would be as you’d expect; the time when you became my ally and protected me, right?”
“You may say just that, but Hayate…”
Sherry sipped on her drink again.
“I don’t know how much Aria-san has told you, but in the end she probably knew nothing but rumors and hearsay, right?”
“That’s true, I guess.”
“My family fell to ruins when I was a child, we were driven out of our territory, and the whereabouts of both my parents are unknown. My mother was branded a traitor; we were discriminated and persecuted by those around us; my grandmother, who I loved dearly, died soon after; and finally, I was all alone. Like that, I had neither friends nor family, and I kept fighting the loneliness for my dream which will let me puff up my chest with pride towards my peers.”
“When I put it into words, the contents don’t even take up as many as 110 odd words, but for me it amounts to 16 years of my life… One day in front of someone like me, who continued living that way for 16 years, a gallant suddenly appears and happens to be a boy who comes to save me like a prince on a white steed, then I can’t help that something happens inside me, no?”
Prince on a white steed… Being told that face to face made a shiver run down my spine!
“That’s, well, I’m amazed myself that I’ve been deceived so easily. But I can’t help that either. There’s no real reason to feel that way. Humans can be quite simple when it comes to feelings of affection. When you were being nice to me, I easily fell for you. Sorry for being so simple.”
“But I’m in love for sure, so it’s fine. I love you, so as compensation for fighting as my manservant, I’ve no problem giving myself to you. That’s how I am, you see? So what’s your answer?”
He was urged on, but didn’t know what the right thing to say was.
It was just too sudden for Hayate.
Being told that he was loved by such a bishoujo, or that she’d be fine with becoming his slave… to that, he didn’t have a reply.
Noticing he was wavering, Sherry quietly crossed her arms and squinted a bit.
“You don’t want to become my master?”
“To understate it, I thought that it was the yearning desire of every boy to be able to do whatever one likes to the body of a bishoujo like myself.”
“Did you just call yourself a bishoujo…?”
“Ara, you want to object?”
He couldn’t object, how frustrating.
It was plain reality that Sherry was without a doubt a bishoujo of the highest class.
“Something like this part…”
Sherry crossed her arms under her breasts and moved them up and down.
They swayed with a *pyon*.
She alternated the way she crossed her legs.
His eyes were captivated by her charming thighs covered in white kneesocks.
“This could all be yours, you know…”
Even if I’m told that, what am I supposed to do…
I saved Sherry that time because I thought I wanted to and just did it, but I wasn’t after this kind of outcome at all.
Well, I did try to show off a little bit, but…
“…………Haa, it’s fine already. You don’t have to answer right away.”
“Eh… That’d be fine?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Actually, I didn’t really expect an immediate answer. You’re a good-for-nothing after all.”
“…Compared to all this ‘I like you’, ‘I love you’, and all, you’re not stingy with the abusive language anyway, huh?”
“Eh? But you are a good-for-nothing, right? Even though you’re sleeping next to a lightly dressed bishoujo like this night after night, you haven’t shown a single sign of making a move on me.”
He couldn’t object.
“…Could it be that you’re impotent?”
“THAT’S NOT THE CASE!”
Negated as expected!
“If I were like that, I wouldn’t have night after night troubles to… Ah.”
Uwaa, she’s got a terrific wide grin now.
She already looked like a cat that had found a mouse to play with.
“Every night you’re having troubles to what, I wonder?”
That’s so ridiculously shaming.
“Errr… I’ll be more obedient, so please forgive me!”
He prostrated himself vigorously.
“That so? Well, it’s the truth that the reply doesn’t urge, so do as you like.”
“Aah, by the way…”—— Sherry recalled something.
From her shawl bag, Sherry took out a horse-riding whip.
“I tried buying a whip with the collar.”
It appeared like she had bought it in the middle of shopping without Hayate noticing.
“When one talks about disciplining a manservant or slave, it comes to a whip, right? Though I got worried about your body and chose something normal.”
“You should first of all look up the meaning of ‘normal’ in a dictionary!”
“By the way, I bought two of them. Here, this is yours.”
She took out another leather whip from her bag.
Sherry placed the whip’s handle in Hayate’s direction.
‘That’s yours’—— She said.
In other words…
To Sherry? With that whip? I’m supposed to…?
He started to picture cracking the whip in his imagination.
[WAHAHAHA! YOU LIKE IT LIKE THAT? HUH?]
In his ears Sherry’s voice echoed in a more unladylike way than the time he took out the flame sword.
——It seemed as if he’d get a nosebleed from picturing too much, so he hurriedly drove away his delusions.
“I don’t need it! That kinda thing!”
“Ara, that so? Well, it’s not absolutely necessary, so it’s fine. But I intend to use it very much.
“Very much, you say…”
“You’ve already become my manservant after all.”
“That’s already a decided fact, huh…”
Even though she said she’d wait for his answer, it seemed to be decided that Hayate was now her manservant.
“Ara, that’s only natural, right?”
When she said that, she uncrossed her arms and legs, and leaned her body over the table in the same way she did when she attached the collar to him previously.
And then she inserted her finger in the gap between the collar and his skin, and strangled him tightly.
With the other hand she supported his cheek.
Her face drew close.
“You know, I want to obtain you, no matter what.”
“I said that I’d wait for your reply earlier, but, you see, this doesn’t mean that I’d just withdraw obediently if you said you didn’t want to. Even if I have to mobilize all kinds of means, I’d definitely get my hands on you. You’re bound to my purpose, to appease me. Whatever might happen, I will never be separated from you. I definitely won’t hand you over to anyone or anything. I want to own you, your all—— Because I love you.”
She suddenly breathed on his ear.
Her long breath was hot, and moist, and made him shiver.
“On the other hand, I’m giving you my everything. I’m offering you my body and heart. I’ll accept your every de-si-re…”
…Her tone is way too erotic! She’s saying it erotically, but it’s plain scary!
Up until now, it seemed that being loved was one of the blessings to be born a man, but he saw now that too much love seemed to endanger one’s life.
“I intend to satisfy any play you desire, no matter where, no matter when, you know?”
“Don’t talk about plays while we’re in broad daylight!”
After the two of them had finished their tea, the sun had started to set and so they headed back to Diaspell Royal Academy.
On the way from the gate to the dorm, Sherry talked to him in a mood that was a bit more cheerful than usual.
“Well then, the midterms will take place soon, won’t they? We’ve got to perform well and cut into the top of the [Internal School Ranking]. That’s our first goal.”
“What are those midterms?”
“They’re similar to the practical test, you know? Test periods are like that, I wonder whether there’ll also be an explanation from Schwartz-sensei tomorrow?”
Well, is it okay to wait until tomorrow… huh?
At that time, Hayate discovered the familiar figure of a person and slowly stopped.
“Yoo, Sherry-kun, Hayate-kun.”
Leaning with her back on a pillar of the dorm, Aria waved her hand in a friendly manner.
Sherry’s expression promptly clouded.
“…You seem to be awfully close with Aria-san.”
Do I feel intent to kill?!
Cold sweat began to run down Hayate’s forehead.
Hayate was trembling with fear, but a bright smile floated on Aria’s face while she didn’t notice anything and drew closer.
“You’ve been gone for the longest time, was it a date?”
“Yeah, that’s correct.”
Sherry answered without a change in her countenance, in contrast to the shocked Hayate.
“How enviable. Would you go on a date with me next, Hayate-kun?”
“I totally want to check every corner of your body.”
He didn’t know what was happening anymore.
“So? What business could Aria-san have with us, I wonder?”
“Hm… Well, it’s like this, you see. Oooi, Kiruru!”
Aria said and turned around.
Following her gaze, the small figure of a bashful girl came out from the other side of the pillar.
Hm? Haven’t I seen her somewhere…?
Hayate remembered this girl called Kiruru, but he couldn’t quite remember where he had seen her.
When he tilted his head, Aria dragged Kiruru by her hand and marched her over to him.
“C’mon, Kiruru has some business with Hayate-kun, right?”
Although he remembered her, there shouldn’t have been too much interaction between him and her.
While Hayate wondered what it could be, he waited for the words of the girl whose back was being pushed by Aria, until she was in front of him.
Kiruru faltered many, many times over, casted down her eyes, and was gently stopped by Aria when she was tried to run away… She shut her eyes tightly as if trying to find her resolve and then opened them.
“Ha—… Hayate-san! P-Please maaahaaarry meeeee!”
Translator notes and references