There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 6: This Is a Blatant Swimsuit Episode
Volume 4: The Newly-Built Ancient Ruins
Of the Amaterasu roster, Shouta-kun, Touka-chan, Ig, Kaburagi-san, and I arrived in the Principality of Marineland on the first day of Golden Week. We planned on staying at the Kaburagi ducal residence, as it had enough rooms and was large enough to host an entire ballroom party, much less the five of us.
The students mainly slept the first day away due to the fatigue of plane travel and jet lag. The entirety of the second day was spent focusing solely on powering through their vacation homework under Kaburagi-san’s tutelage. Both Shouta-kun and Touka-chan were in the gifted students program, which meant they had quite a bit of homework. Now, we couldn’t very well leave them in a “we didn’t finish our homework because we were busy exploring ancient ruins in search of an Artifact that can seal the World Shadows” kind of situation. That would be putting the cart before the horse.
The third day — since we had come all the way to this tourist location — we decided to spend playing on the private beach directly accessible from the back exit of Kaburagi-san’s residence. The Marineland Ruins had been sleeping this whole time. It was a ticking time bomb, but not one that was going to go off anytime soon. There wasn’t much problem in delaying its exploration by a day.
The more meta reason, however, was that Miyama and Chris’s arrival had been delayed by a day, as their flight had gotten cancelled due to bad weather. Consequently, Amaterasu’s approach to the ruins also had to be pushed back a day. This time, the theme was “the scramble for the Artifact in the ancient ruins.” To keep things fun and interesting, we couldn’t let any one side have too great an advantage. An entire day was just too much. Each player’s arrival on stage had to be carefully adjusted.
“Whoa, it’s pretty warm here. Isn’t Marineland further north than Hokkaido? It’s May now,” said Shouta-kun in a surprised tone as he felt the sea breeze on his skin.
We had a clear sky today. There wasn’t a single cloud in the blue expanse that continued all the way to the horizon, and the sun shone brilliant and bright. It was the perfect day for sea bathing. The high school boy stood in his surfing pants with a beach ball under his arms. He had his short, red hair swept back and was wearing sunglasses. His pants were, of course, decorated with flames.
I also walked out of the back exit on his heels, a surfboard under my arm. Seeing him in a pair of shorts made me realize that he had actually put in quite a bit of training. All of his muscles looked sleek and well-defined.
I mean, as a second year in high school, of course he would look good. Of course he would have a good body. Seems like Kuma-san’s been given him one-on-one instruction too. At this point, I think I would lose to him in arm wrestling if I didn’t use telekinesis. I should probably hit the gym more myself.
“Due to the westerlies and warm ocean currents, Marineland’s climate is quite a bit warmer than its latitude would otherwise suggest. Even though it’s May here, the temperature is similar to Tokyo’s in July.”
The next one to come out after me turned out to be the idol of the gifted students program, Touka-chan. Her shoulders were bare in her blue bikini with fluttery things at her chest. In her hands was a bottle of sunscreen and a beach sheet with a Buddha pattern.
Now that she was in a bikini, it was clear to see that in spite of her shorter height, her body had developed quite a lot. Little wonder those at her school consider her an idol.
From the snippets I caught, apparently Kaburagi-san was even giving her instructions regarding how to manage her weight and her nutritional intake. I was quite worried about weird pervy uncles approaching her. It wasn’t as if they could do anything to her, but she just might accidentally use her flames while chasing them off. Accidentally… her flames…
…Right, Touka-chan was a pyrokinetic.
This demure-looking girl wearing a blue bikini was a pyrokinetic.
And the delinquent-looking Shouta-kun, who was wearing surfing pants and had his hair dyed red, was a cryokinetic.
I’ve thought this for quite a while now, but you two, your powers definitely got switched somewhere. Going by appearances, it’s Touka-chan who should be using ice and Shouta-kun who should be using fire. It’s a complete scam. Though I know there’s no guarantee for someone’s powers to match up with their personality, but still.
“Ig is sleeping, so I left her be.”
The last person to come out, locking the door behind her, was Kaburagi-san. Her long, luscious black hair was tied up, and she was wearing a modest white bikini paired with a green pareo.
As the pareo fluttered in the sea breeze, Kaburagi-san turned to look at meet my eyes, the summer sun illuminating the soft, gentle smile on her shapely, goddess-like face.
I clutched my chest as my heart threatened to stop from overdosing on Kaburagi-san-ium.
Ahhh holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit she’s just too cute she’s wearing a FREAKING BIKINI even though she normally never wears anything too exposing!
I’m so glad I’m alive.
I think I might die.
As I leaned against the surfboard that I had jammed into the sand to get my breathing back under control after the episode of Kaburagi shock, I noticed Touka-chan fidgeting with the edge of her swimsuit while shooting glances at Shouta-kun. However, my man was busy gathering sand to make a mountain.
After hesitating for several seconds, Touka-chan finally spoke out loud.
“…Do you have something you want to say to me?”
Shouta-kun lifted his face to look at the fidgeting Touka-chan from head to t— Nope, his gaze just stopped at her chest.
“Oh, that reminds me, I do have something I’ve been meaning to ask. What size is your chest? I think it’s grown even bigger, right? D? Has it reached E?”
“What was that? You want me to reduce you to cinders?”
Shouta-kun!! You serious, bro?! Why did you ask that at this time?! More like, that’s just not a question you should ever ask, no matter what time it is!
With Touka-chan’s absolute zero glare serving as the trigger, the two of them devolved into a lover’s quarrel.
As I watched on, thinking, Ahh, that’s adolescence all right, I felt my back being poked. I turned around to find Kaburagi-san smiling at me.
“I want you to praise me.”
“That swimsuit matches you wonderfully. I love how it’s the perfect balance between revealing and conservative. Kaburagi-san, you are the most beautiful woman in the entire world. I love you. You’re shining even more than the sun is. You’re a goddess. You’re as beautiful as a goddess.”
“Thank you. I think you look really dashing too, Sago-san.”
Aww, shucks. When she says it, then I really end up thinking I might actually be dashing. The fact that she didn’t lie and say “the most dashing in the world” meant that she was being earnest. Fuhehe~
Seeing the two of us smiling at each other caused Touka-chan to flare up even more.
“Look at that! Look at them, Shouta! Just like that! That… might be a bit too embarrassing, but still! Girls want to be praised when they put in the effort to dress up!”
“Ugh, so troublesome.”
Shouta-kun was fiddling with a beach ball while pulling an annoyed face.
I kind of got what he meant. When Kaburagi-san wanted to be praised, she would ask for it in a straightforward manner, which made it easy for me to respond. Most other girls, however, would only request it in a roundabout way and get huffy about not being praised as if they were entitled to it, and to be fair, that was troublesome. However, it’s when you find even that effort to be cute that you know you’ve really fallen in love with her. You hear that, Shouta-kun? (This being advice from a middle-aged man whose love life experience involves only a single girl.)
Eventually, Shouta-kun folded in the face of the sullen Touka-chan.
“All right, all right. Touka, you’re cute. I really do think that. C’mon, let’s get started playing volleyball already. Master and I will set the poles up, so you do the net.”
Bro, you just committed the sin of “off-handedly praise a cute girl who’s asking for compliments just to get her off your case.” Without being self-aware, to boot. If my high school self saw you, he would have tackled you down, mounted you, and gone apeshit on your face in a blind fury from jealousy.
In any case, I accompanied the sinful asshole to the storage room where we fetched the volleyball poles.
On our way back to the waterside, I decided to try engaging him in some small talk, since I had gone to all the trouble of developing my Master persona to be a bit less reticent than before.
“You like volleyball, Shouta?”
“Not particularly? Today’s gonna be my first time playing it on the beach.”
“Then why’re you so eager?”
A smirk came over Shouta-kun’s face, then he jerked his chin towards where Touka-chan and Kaburagi-san were spreading the volleyball net on the sand.
“Cus it’ll shake. It’ll shake a lot. And I wanna see that.”
“I get you.”
I nodded deeply. I resonated so much with what he said that I almost responded not as Master but as my own self.
It’s true that it’d shake. Beach volleyball is a sport that leads to a lot of shaking. Plus, there’s a lot of jumping, which naturally also leads to shaking. Though I won’t go so far as to say what it is that’d be shaking.
“You’re teaming with me, Master.”
“Hm? I’m planning on surfing, though.”
“Without you, we’d only have an odd number of players. Please, man. Let’s do it.”
“…Fine, then. Though I only have one arm. Don’t expect too much.”
My basic motor reflexes weren’t particularly good. They weren’t terribly bad either, but definitely not so good that I could be of much help in beach volleyball using only a single hand.
“What if we allowed superpowers in the match… I guess telekinesis is a bit overkill for volleyball, huh. Then again, so is chronoprohiberis. Thinking about it that way, even if we allow superpowers, the girls team and guys team would still be pretty evenly matched, don’t you think?”
And so, once the poles and net were set up, our superpower beach volleyball began. Kaburagi-san’s private beach was surrounded by a forest and I whipped up a fog on the sea. Thanks to this, we no longer had to worry about being seen by non-espers and were free to use our powers as we liked.
The girls team got to have the ball first. Touka-chan served with a cute yell, then the ball — landed in our court the next thing we knew.
I KNEW it! Look at these goddamn time-users, every last one of them, they always do shit like this!
“Here, Touka-chan. Let’s high five. Yayy!”
After shooting the giggling girls a look, Shouta-kun picked up the sand-smeared ball with an enlightened face.
“I expected that. Master, go get them. Go ham.”
While passing me the ball, Shouta-kun casually requested the destruction of the planet. If I really “go ham,” then everything would become dispersed on the atomic level.
Well, let’s go so-so ham.
I used telekinesis to reinforce the ball to prevent it from exploding, then formed a telekinetic passage between where I would launch the ball and where I meant for it to land so as to prevent Kaburagi-san from messing with it even if she stopped time. Then, with a half-serious yell, I (telekinetically) served the ball, causing the girls’ court to explode. An enormous amount of sand flew up into the air, leaving a huge crater in the beach.
Oops, I shoulda protected the court with a barrier too.
“Nice serve, Master!”
Shouta-kun and I exchanged a high five as I telekinetically retrieved all the sand and restored the court.
Although the ball had landed with enough impact to easily kill any normal person, Kaburagi-san and Touka-chan merely made a wry comment while returning from where they had evacuated to through chronoprohiberis before promptly resuming the match. After that, the ball would catch on fire, the sand would freeze over, and generally things got more and more supernatural. It was around when Touka-chan got so heated up (physically) she started melting the sand to glass that we finally called an end to the match.
In the end, the girls won. The reason for our loss was because Shouta-kun’s eyes would be frequently focused not on the ball, but on Touka-chan’s shaking chest. This freaking high school boy, look at him with such a satisfied expression on his face even though we lost.
◇ ◇ ◇
Then we got in some proper rest in the afternoon, and the next day rolled along.
After I confirmed Miyama and Chris’s arrival on the first inbound flight of the day — false passports and disguises and all — all of us headed towards Canaria Castle, where Ruu-denka was waiting.
We walked straight in as accompaniment to Duchess Kaburagi and made a beeline for the reception parlor. After knocking, we stepped in, only to find a startled Ruu-denka who had been feeding bread crumbs to pigeons at her window quickly moving to her desk and spreading the parchment scroll on her table while clearing her throat.
Kaburagi-san kneeled gracefully, and I followed suit. Then the students imitated us in a fluster.
Ruu-denka read aloud from the parchment in a dignified, well-projected voice. Together with the gold crown atop her flaxen hair, she perfectly pulled off the image of ye olde royalty pronouncing an edict to subjects.
[Kaburagi Shiori. Sago Kinemitsu. Takahashi Shouta. Hasumi Touka.
As the Grand Duchess of the Principality of Marineland, I, Ermentrude Bates, order the four of you to retrieve the Artifact sleeping underneath our land.
Our country shall bear responsibility for any and all damages and, shall it be necessary, provide sufficient compensation, in addition to guaranteeing our greatest efforts in preserving the secrecy of this mission.
I pray for your smooth success.
Grand Duchess Ermentrude Bates of the Principality of Marineland]
[Yes, Your Majesty.]
All four of us lowered our heads in unison. It was my first time seeing Ruu-denka appear stately and dignified, and sure enough, it did not last long. She promptly sank into her chair while passing the parchment to Kaburagi-san.
[So, Kaburagi, what did all those words mean?]
[…It meant that you support what we’re doing and that you’re encouraging us to do our best.]
[Oh, really? Then you could have just written that. Oh, well. Everyone, do your best! Ah, hold on, are any of you feeling hungry? You want to eat something before heading off? We have plenty of muffins!]
After this, we ate a whole ton of muffins.
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.