The weather was good, just as we had wished for.
Well, even if it started to thunder or hail, it wouldn’t matter to the place that we were going to today.
A waterproof leisure facility.
An indoor facility that had a great attractive power. It housed numerous pools and attractions completely inside of a greenhouse dome.
A tropical paradise created by humans.
No matter if it’s spring or winter, it will be an endless summer inside.
An oasis built right in the middle of the city!
“…Nii-san. You are drooling too much.”
After passing through the ticket gate of the last station before our destination, Kureha told me that with a shocked voice.
“I know that you are looking forward to it, but if you make this face, you will probably get scouted by the Russian Army Parachute troops.”
“I won’t. Besides, there’s no scout from the Russian army around here.”
While I said that, I touched my face for confirmation. Just like my little sister had pointed out, I felt myself drooling.
Well, there’s no helping it.
Because, it’s a date, you see?
Even though it’s a fake, it’s a date with a girlfriend during the holiday. Even though it’s to heal my gynophobia, it’s still a date. If you look only at Suzutsuki’s external appearance, she is quite a beautiful girl.
It’s normal for a high schooler to be high-strung. But for this to happen to me, who thought that I would never be able to experience such a thing thanks to my phobia, my tension is currently higher than Mount Fuji. If there was a record of my stress, it would surely be put in the Guinness Book of World Records. Ahahaha!
“Geez, did you get it? The aim of today’s date is for me and Konoe-senpai to get closer. I hope that you are willing to help with that.”
“I know that, I know.”
“I wonder if you are saying the truth.”
Kureha puffed out her cheeks as if she was in a bad mood.
“Ah, right. It looks like you talked to Suzutsuki through the phone yesterday night, what were you talking about?”
“What? That was obviously a strategy meeting.”
Why is she saying such an ominous thing?
My tension that was at the highest possible point suddenly dropped. Rather, since that event on the rooftop, the two of them have had such a good relationship. It was not at the level of a deepened relationship, but more to point that I started to feel really disgusted.
“To tell the truth, we already have a lot of preparations done.”
“By the way, Nii-san, there’s also a trick prepared inside the bag, so you can’t open it carelessly.”
“Nyahaha,” my little sister laughed.
At mach speed, I opened the bag that was on my shoulder.
I was careless.
I thought that it could contain a plastic bomb.
“Ahaha! You can’t, Nii-san! There’s no meaning in that if you don’t open it in a place with Konoe-senpai!”
I searched inside the bag while ignoring the noisy Kureha. When I did that, I noticed an object that I didn’t remember putting inside the bag. What is that? Its size was just like of a magazine. Or rather, it was a magazine. When I pulled it out of the bag to take a better look at it…
An erotic magazine.
And moreover, it was one from my treasured hidden collection.
Immediately, I threw the object that I had in my hands into a nearby trash can.
“Uwa! This is cruel, Nii-san! I even went to the trouble of preparing it.”
“Shut up! What kind of stuff are you putting into my bag?”
She went to my room and took it on her own. This is violation of privacy. My sister finding my porn magazines is so embarrassing that I want to die.
“Eeh. Then what would be good for you? The one with maids?”
“Stop! Don’t just go spreading your big brother’s tastes so easily.”
“Even though I was planning to take the opportunity and scream [Look! My Nii-san is a pervert! Please look at this book! These are cat ears, cat ears, you see?] to Konoe-senpai.”
“Do you want to bring an end to my life?”
“Uuh… I thought that with this, Konoe-senpai would understand that Nii-san liked women… I even worked so hard to think about it together with Onee-sama.”
Kureha lowered her head, heartbroken.
…I was naïve. Now that I think about it, Kureha and Suzutsuki had joined forces. It would not be strange if nitro was produced from the chemical reaction of this combination.
“But don’t think this is over yet. I still have a lot of tricks.”
Kureha had a hot and evil fighting spirit burning inside her.
When I think about Kureha’s physical strength being combined with Suzutsuki’s brain power, I start to feel that I would go mad.
This seriously needs a countermeasure. To think that those two would make such a combination while I was spacing out. Even if I try to solve it with sarcasm, I won’t be able to compete with those two. It’s like trying to challenge a stealth bomber with a bamboo spear.
Then, let’s join forces here as well.
At least two against two will compensate for the one person lacking on my side.
After a few minutes of walking from the station, upon reaching the specified meeting place, I could see the backs of two girls looking at the entrance of the leisure land.
They were Konoe and Suzutsuki.
Looks like they were talking and hadn’t noticed us.
Okay, mission start.
For the time being, let’s start with an intimate greeting. To who? Konoe, of course. I don’t expect her to side with me, but if I play dumb with her too, it will be three against one. This would be a situation that would make Suzutsuki glad… basically, it would be like facing hell.
I have to stop that, no matter what…!
I made a sociable smile with all my might and tapped Konoe’s shoulder from behind. I thought that receiving an answer like “Yo, Jirou. The weather is good today, isn’t it?” would be good.
The moment I thought that.
Suddenly something was shoved inside my mouth.
A black and solid metallic object. An exposed automatic.
No matter how you looked at it, this was a violation of the Swords and Firearms Control Law.
Err… What is this? A model gun? Konoe must have been surprised, but more importantly, she has such a serious face…
“Don’t move. If you move, I will fire mercilessly.”
Konoe had her finger on the trigger and wore a serious face. She looked at my face with sharpened eyes, and as she recognized it, “fuu” she let out a sigh.
“Jirou, don’t just go touching my back carelessly. I was about to shoot you full of holes.”
She took her gun back as if nothing had happened. I wasn’t able to move because of the shock and stood there like a fool with my mouth wide open.
“He— hey, Konoe-san.”
“This, this is…”
“Aah, did you think it was small as well? I am also a bit uneasy with such a small gun. As expected, I should have brought one with more penetration power.”
“Wrong! What I am asking is how you got your hands on such a dangerous object!”
As I got up, I retorted with all my might.
After twirling the gun several times like in a western movie, she put the handgun back in her bag. Aah, right. As expected, there’s no way she would be carrying such an exorbitant thing like a…
“But since it’s been through a remodeling, if you hit some key points, it can kill people.”
“You are blatantly breaking the Swords and Firearms Control Law! Why are you carrying such a thing!?”
“What are you saying? The essential items for going outside are a cell phone, a handkerchief, and a handgun. This is common knowledge for a butler.”
“As I expected, this has nothing to do with butlers.”
This is common knowledge from what army? From the way she talked, it seemed as if she was walking in a warzone.
“Moreover, Jirou… Be careful.”
“The enemy, you never know if he is around or not.”
“Enemy… You say…”
She took a glance around. Our surroundings in this leisure land were full of families and couples. It’s not like there was something strange about them. This was a heartwarming scene on a calm Sunday.
“If multiple armed enemies appear, I will have my hands full with protecting Ojou-sama. I feel sorry about it, but you will have to defend yourself.”
Subaru was looking alertly around our surroundings with eyes as sharp as a blade.
She spoke clearly. No matter how you looked, she did not have the face of someone who had come to the leisure land to play. She emanated a killing intent, just like a grenade without the pin.
I spoke in a very low tone so as not to let Konoe hear us.
“What do you want, Jirou-kun?”
“Isn’t she… A bit strange today?”
“Yeah. But it’s always like this.”
“Yes. Always, whenever just the two of us go out. She is very against me going to another place that is not the academy. She says that it’s dangerous.”
“…But that time, didn’t you go alone to the Manga Café?”
At that time, Konoe had been together with me at the Game Center. Suzutsuki should have been alone at that moment.
“During that time, I had another servant with me. Basically, I am prohibited to go out alone. It had been decided like that…”
I know I’ve heard this speech before.
Of course, it’s something her family decided. No matter how much you say that it is to protect Suzutsuki, isn’t this way of protecting her a bit strange? Killing every suspicious person that approaches.
“Well, leaving that aside, let’s have fun today. Since I finally managed to convince Subaru to come, if we don’t play it will be meaningless.”
Suzutsuki continued, trying to refocus the conversation.
“Isn’t that right, Kureha-chan? Hey, don’t be so nervous.”
“Ye— yeah, Onee-sama.”
She answered from behind me… Wait, isn’t she trembling a lot from nervousness?
“Ko, kokoko, Konoe-senpai. To… Today, well… I will be in your care.”
Uee, what a shock. Even though she used to perform lariats(1) on me while I was trying to rest, looking at her acting this way, even I thought she looked like a normal girl.
Like this, I can at least relax. I refreshed my heart with those words.
I feel bad for Kureha, but if she keeps being nervous like this, it will take a while until she can relax around Konoe. For the time being, I don’t have to worry about them getting into that kind of relationship.
But I can’t be careless.
After all, I am relying on Konoe, who is the most catastrophic. The situation was changing to the pattern I feared. Sarcasm wouldn’t work on these three. This is the worst. I feel like I just witnessed the Day of Birth of King Ghidorah(2). Help me, Godzilla.
“Then, let’s get going? If we stay here forever, we will waste our time.”
Suzutsuki led the way into the leisure land’s remarkably wide lobby. They said it was a just a reopening, but the interior was completely new.
After passing through the entrance, we exchanged our tickets for one-day entry marks that were stamped onto our arms, and like that, we went to the changing rooms.
Of course, the changing rooms were separated for boys and girls, so the regrouping was going to be after leaving the changing rooms.
If I could just escape now, the paradise of midsummer would be waiting for me. When I think about this, my mood starts to brighten again; my mental circuits are so simple. To tell the truth, I’ve never disliked swimming. Rather, I love it. Aah, let’s change quickly and go swimming.
When I tried to enter the dressing room, in high spirits—Suddenly, the cuff of my jacket was pulled.
When I looked back, Konoe was clinging to my jacket just like a young child clinging to his mother.
Is it just me, or was she blushing?
“? What? Did you forget something?”
“No, no… Err…”
I wonder why, but her ears were completely red and she was silent.
I wonder why. I was thinking that she could have been feeling unwell, but suddenly—I remembered something important.
Konoe. She is a girl.
I became speechless.
What… What do I do now?
Now that I remember, when we would change for Physical Education, Konoe was never in the class. I’m sure that during those times she would have hidden somewhere and changed, but here, there’s no place to hide. If we keep going straight, we will just end up leaving this changing room.
“I got it. I will take the lead, and you close your eyes. Like this, you can enter, right?”
She just slightly nodded to my improvised plan.
Thus, we stepped into the evil territory.
Of course, the inside was full of naked males, a tremendously hard to describe scene. If you put it on TV even late at night, there would be complaints against it.
Like a guide dog, I navigated Konoe into a shower inside the changing room. At least with this, if we close the shower curtain, she won’t be able to see what is happening outside. Making a changing room inside of the changing room, what a strange story.
But sadly, I won’t peek. No, seriously. My life is pitiful as always.
After a few minutes, Konoe opened the curtain after she had finished changing. Of course, the swimsuit was not a girlish one, but an orange hoodie top and a pair of half pants above the knees.
I had also finished changing. The only thing left to do was to leave the baggage in the locker and exit in the same manner as we had entered.
I took Konoe’s baggage for the sake of putting it in the locker, but it was unexpectedly heavy.
I wondered what was inside and took a little peek. There was the hand gun from before, a stun gun and cuffs… Even though I know it’s for defensive use… If they found out that you brought such things to this place, they will surely mistake you for a terrorist.
For some reason, I felt an unpleasant sensation from the contents of Konoe’s bag.
Well, from the start I already had such an unpleasant sensation… But how do I put it, I feel like it’s lacking something. Even in the middle of so many self-defense tools, there was something essential missing…
When I muttered that, the little unpleasant sensation faded away. It shouldn’t be a big thing. Even so, I think that an event where the contents of this bag will be necessary won’t occur.
Konoe and I pushed our bags into the locker and were finally able to escape from the changing room. I somehow felt very tired.
“You are late.”
Immediately after leaving the changing room, we heard Suzutsuki’s voice.
“You weren’t doing anything improper inside of the changing room, were you?”
“There’s no way. Even though we faced some tough situations.”
After saying that much, I was rendered speechless.
In front of my eyes was Suzutsuki in a swimsuit. A bikini. Colored black. I could say that it was just like I had imagined, but the destructive power was too high. A distinguished style. There’s volume in the right places, but her slender waist and thighs impressed me even more. What did she eat to become like this?
To her side was Kureha. For this one… I want to refrain from commenting. Well, it’s not like she is not cute. The swimsuit is a bright red bikini. But if I compare her to the monster to her side, I couldn’t help but look pitifully. Because the style is…
“Nii-sa~n. You were thinking dirty things just now, right?”
She was gazing fixatedly at me. She has good perception. I felt that if I commented clumsily, I would generate an event without even raising a flag, so I moved my vision to the pool.
Really, it’s enormous.
As expected from a weather-proof leisure facility.
The dome was a greenhouse and had a glass ceiling from where the sunlight poured in. There were a lot of pool types, from the ones with water slides to lazy rivers. There were even pools where waves flowed in to replicate the ocean. This is truly a tropical summer, a fully opened, southern country model.
Since it was not summer time yet, it was not crowded. It was the exact mood to have fun.
“Ah… Err, Konoe-senpai.”
Kureha talked to Konoe while fidgeting.
“This swimsuit fits you very well. Looks cool.”
“Aah. Yours is also cute.”
“Heh! N— no, such… Cute…”
She was blushing lightly from the shyness… I am somehow feeling complicated. How do I put it… Kureha really was a girl. I wanted her to be this feminine at our house too.
“Then… Would you like to swim with me? To tell the truth, I am not good at swimming… So I thought that you could teach me…”
Liar! Swimming is one of your strongest points! If I am not mistaken, you swam fifty meters easily while diving. Anyways, I don’t know if Suzutsuki’s hands are in the middle of this, but it’s a good strategy.
“Well, I don’t really mind…”
Konoe instantly glanced at Suzutsuki. Looks like she is bothered by the safety of her master.
“It’s okay, Subaru. If it is needed, Jirou-kun will protect me, so don’t bother with me and go.”
“…Understood. If Ojou-sama says so.”
The conversation ended before I could intervene. Err, what does she mean by “if it is needed”? Are there piranhas inhabiting these pools?
“I will leave it to you, Jirou. I believe in you.”
Konoe emphasized that, and then walked towards the pool with Kureha.
Even if you tell me that… I am a bit happy that you say that you believe in me, but what am I protecting her from?
“Fufu, it’s okay, you don’t need to have such a troubled face. She is just being a bit nervous.”
“A bit… that is a bit?”
It looked like she was protecting Suzutsuki from a kidnapping or something like it. It’s not like they received a crime notice from Lupin(3).
“It’s this place, after all…”
“Ha? What is this? Did you guys come here before?”
“Yes. Once, when we were children. But at that time, this place wasn’t so big.”
Suzutsuki closed her eyes a bit as she started reminiscing.
“This is so nostalgic. That time we had such big problems.”
“Big problems…? What? Were you really kidnapped?”
I said that with the intention of making a little joke, but for some reason Suzutsuki became silent.
Hey, what’s with that silence?
It is making me think that she really was kidnapped here once.
“Yeah. When we were kids, Subaru and I were kidnapped here.”
I thought that it was one of her lies, but it looked like this time was different. The proof was that Suzutsuki’s face had the most serious expression I’d seen until now.
“I wonder how many years ago it was. We were playing here, and we were thoughtlessly kidnapped.”
“Thoughtlessly, why such…?”
“Apparently their aim was the ransom, but the problem itself was solved quickly. All the criminals were caught, and the two of us were released without harm. But even though it was for a short period, it doesn’t change the fact that we were kidnapped. That incident was the reason that I am restricted from leaving home.
“Then, the reason that Konoe was so nervous was…”
“I’m sure that she is remembering the past experience here. And what’s more, after that event, Subaru suddenly changed.”
What’s with that? Wasn’t the event solved without problems?
“Subaru probably feels responsible for that incident. The fact that I was kidnapped was her own — fault. She couldn’t protect her master as a butler should—Something like that.”
“This is unreasonable.”
No, we are talking about that Konoe, who is so proud of being Suzutsuki’s butler. I’m sure that watching Suzutsuki being kidnapped in front of her eyes must have been a shock for her.
“After that event, the relationship between me and Subaru has been awkward. You saw how we act at the academy. Even at home, it’s always like that. She might still be carrying some of that burden. I think that’s why she still doesn’t want to talk much with me.”
“But I want to be on good terms with her, like we were a long time ago.”
Now that Suzutsuki mentioned it, a long time ago, Konoe used to call her [Kana-chan]. Looking at them normally you wouldn’t notice it, but before the incident, they had an even better relationship than now.
That way, they looked like real friends.
“Don’t tell me that you brought Konoe here today because you wanted her to remember the past.”
“Fufu, I wonder about that. But—”
‘This isn’t something so simple,’ Suzutsuki murmured as if she were clenching her teeth.
“Jirou-kun. Just like you have a weakness in your gynophobia, Subaru also has her own weakness. A deadly weakness that she carries along with being my butler.”
Now that I remember, she said before that Konoe’s cooking was fatal… But this has nothing to do with that. No matter how bad you are at cooking, it has nothing to do with protecting Suzutsuki.
“If we can overcome that, surely we will be able to give Subaru some room. And then, maybe she can revert to her previous self? Be on good terms with me, like in the past.”
“Okay. Then let’s finish this conversation here. We came here to swim, didn’t we? Our time is limited.”
Walking towards the pool, she reverted back to the usual Suzutsuki.
“Come on, don’t just stand there dumbfounded! You are my lover now, aren’t you?”
Suzutsuki naturally wrapped her arms around my own… Heh, gyaaa! Her breasts! I felt an elastic and soft weapon touching close to my upper arm.
“Are you okay? Your face suddenly turned a bright blue…”
Suzutsuki asked that while hugging my arms tightly.
This girl is enjoying watching me suffer from the bottom of her heart …
“Don’t make such a scary face. I will tell you this- that this is only the start. If we don’t take such drastic measures, your phobia won’t be healed. “
Suzutsuki was pushing my body while smiling.
I should have checked the location of the medical office.
Regretting that with all my might, I matched pace with my fake lover.
(1) A lariat is a professional wrestling move similar to a clothesline, except that the wrestler moves, wraps his arm around the neck of the opponent, and forces the opponent to the ground.
(2) King Ghidorah is a kaiju, a fictional Japanese monster featured in several of Toho Studios’ Godzilla films. It appears as an armless, three-headed dragon with large wings and two tails.
(3)Lupin the Third is a guy who is the grandson of the greatest thief in history. For more information here.