“Sounds good to me.”
I said after hearing Aika’s idea.
“I know, right?!”
While grasping my mobile, Aika was hyped to the heavens.
When I had let her tamper with my phone for club activities, she suddenly proclaimed ‘THIS IS IT!’ and started babbling down on me like some oral waterfall.
“I call it the ‘Party to Make Me Become Popular in Class’ Plan!”
She said, thrusting her both hands up to the sky.
“With this I’ll conquer the world! I’ll make that riajuu sad and bitter! Ufufu!”
I had taught her about the word ‘riajuu’ recently, she had taken it as it pleased her own conveniences and used it to badmouth Arisugawa-san.
At least she had acknowledged herself to be below her.
“But it won’t work like this.”
I didn’t really wanna put a damper on her, but…
“You’ll need to get everyone to have a phone for that, right? We’re lacking the requirements.”
“…! Then do something about that triviality?!”
“Even if you tell me that…”
Getting that kind of quantity when there were neither manufacturers nor shops around…
Actually, the hope to produce and supply this place with enough devices…
It did exist after all.
Haqua immediately replied.
It wasn’t just ‘possible’, she had taken part in mobile phone development and various samples from that development had been sent to her lab.
“So she says. Ain’t you glad?”
“That’s fine and all, but…”
Aika said with a somewhat grim expression on her face while watching Haqua and me.
“What’s with that pose?!”
Haqua was sitting on my lap leaning onto me while I was sitting there cross-legged. It was a pose grandpa and granddaughter or couples would be in.
“She’s not budging, so I can’t help it.”
“Don’t give me that! She’s a middle schooler, you know?! You can’t do that!”
That was certainly right, but she did look like this, it completely felt like hugging a child. Hence, I wasn’t worried in the slightest. But Aika was, obviously.
“C’mon, errr, Haqua-sama? Let’s sit down properly on a zabuton, okay?”
Aika tried to move her with a forced smile.
Haqua stared back at her wordlessly. They faced each other for a short while, then——
Haqua took my both arms and crossed them around her hips.
“What are you so angry about?”
“I’M NOT ANGRY!”
The door suddenly opened.
It was Karen.
“Got some business with me?”
“As I said befo—”
The second she caught sight of Haqua—— she stopped in her tracks.
“…Kagurazaka. What’s with that little girl?”
She said, walking towards me. Then she got on her knees and slowly drew closer.
Haqua kept staring with her unfazed gaze.
She tightly hugged her.
“Stupid. Really completely stupid—”
Hugging Haqua even stronger, she started rubbing her cheeks on hers.
*rubrub*… *rubrub*, *rubrub*—!
While her brows wrinkled seemingly in hardship, she got deep red up to the nape,
“Stupid. This is really just… stupid…”
Thereupon, Haqua wordlessly forced Karen back and fled to my side.
She hid behind my back and tightly clung to me. Her temperature felt high, kind of hot.
Karen’s eyes teared up, and as she was panting, she glared at me with killing intent.
“……So? What did you come for?”
“I said it before. I’m yours.”
Aika voiced her wonder grandly.
“I’ll by your side be as much as I can from now on.”
“No, it’s fine. No need to—”
“And like this, I can cut you down the the second I’m convinced that I can beat you.”
“Ah, so that’s the point, huh? ——Wait, please don’t?!”
“F-For you to have forced that dirty thing onto my face—!”
“I DIDN’T FORCE ANYTHING NOWHERE!”
It couldn’t be helped, so I brought tea.
“Here, have some cookies.”
When I pulled the plate towards me and tried to hand Haqua a cookie, she started munching on it directly out of my hand.
Couldn’t be helped, so when I brought the cup of black tea near after I had fed her like this, she drank it directly out of my hand all the same.
With an expression fit for a shoot-out, Karen held out a cookie to Haqua too.
And was utterly ignored.
“Why glare at me now?”
While Karen muttered something that you wouldn’t be allowed to broadcast, she nipped on the black tea that I’d prepared.
“……Such a stupid tea.”
I get that your expression isn’t saying that.
“I’m pretty confident in the way I brew it. You want seconds?”
She handed me the cup.
“Don’t get me wrong! I just happen to be thirsty!”
Aika cleared her throat in a forced manner.
“Since when have you been here?”
“I’VE BEEN HERE SINCE THE BEGINNING, RIGHT?! Aren’t you pretty much only treating me so harshly?!”
“Tsunpure-san has quite the strong persecution complex, huh…”
“I’M NOT TSUNPURE-SAN!”
“We were in the middle of club activities.”
“So… those two should head back.”
I thought that she’d been discontent since earlier, but———— could she just be shy?
Is this a chance to break her out of her loneliness?
“Isn’t it fine to do club activities with them?”
I said while feeding Haqua a cookie.
“…? What’s so much to hate about it?”
I handed Karen the plate while wiping Haqua’s mouth.
“What’s to hate?! To those two, you’re being all——”
BWU! BWUUU! Being energetic like that, she left the room.
With her footsteps fading away, I could faintly hear her voice shouting something.
And soon enough, she returned.
Saying that to me—— she had a cardboard box in her hands.
“A maid handed me that!”
“——Mobile phones. I told her to bring them.”
Haqua said. She had gotten in touch with her maid before I knew it.
“Yeah, they’re working, right?”
There were also smartphones among them, but in this case simple was best, so I decided to rule those out.
“Currently, they’re unable to connect calls or use the internet. Should I enable them?”
I had being called upon as the commoner sample and had several privileges and prohibitions coming with it. Among those was, ‘the students must not have access to the internet’. Well, some graduates had become useless MMO addicts, they were bound to be wary.
“Can you make it so that they can get in touch with only the phones ’round here?”
When I said, ‘Please do then,’ Haqua nodded deeply.
“Aika, wanna pick one?”
“Eh—? Ah, okay.”
With an excited face, she peered into the box.
And then—— awkwardly looked to Haqua.
“T-Thank you very much…”
And quickly shifted her glance back to the box. She’s someone who’s honest by looking so dishonest.
“Hee? There are all kinds of phones, aren’t there? Kimito, what’s this?”
“That’s a slider. Hand it to me for a sec. You slide it like this.”
“Haqua, got any recommendations?”
“This type’s camera outdoes the others.”
“Which one? Which?”
When I casted a sidelong glance to Karen by chance, she was drinking tea seemingly unfazed.
“What about you?”
“Hmph. I’ve no interest in such toys.”
“Wai—, Kimito! Something popped up!”
“Hee, seems like a photo frame. It’s cute, isn’t it?”
“…………” ← Karen
“Hey, hey, take one of me!”
“Yeah, yeah. Here it goes.”
“Waah! So cute! I’m that cute after all!”
“Want one taken too, Haqua?”
“If together with Kimito.”
“Yeah, fine with me. Let’s take one.”
“…………” ← Karen
“Aika, would you?”
“Eh—— T-Then with me too!”
“We won’t fit with three people, you know?”
“If we do it like this, we will!”
“Wai— Don’t push me! You’re clinging too much!”
“Then let go already?!”
“What’s with you?! Then say this to Haqua too!”
“Well—— O-Oi, Haqua, you’re on my lap again…”
“It’s the adequate measure to deal with the situation at hand.”
“Aah— Let’s just take it, alright?!”
“…………” ← Karen
“We’ll be totally cut off, you know?”
——Ah, right. Karen can take the picture for us.
Before I knew it, Karen was already right in front of me.
With teary eyes, she said,
“I………… I want to be in it too…………”
Ah, she’s gotten lonely.
Translator notes and references