It was when Yuuki and Arina were in grade school.
For Arina, who is often bullied and cried, Yuuki was the only one she could call a friend.
Yuuki spent his days worrying about her.
……. One day, after school.
Yuuki witnessed Arina walking intimately with several classmates.
He felt something out of place, but…
“So she found some friends other than me. Good for you, Arina”
Yuuki muttered and went back home alone.
The giant slug whose length passed three meters long wriggled its vertical body forward.
I grabbed the E:ID phone and shouted.
“[Item], ‘Knights’ Sword’!”
Mist let out another yell seeing the lower half of me who suddenly stood up.
“….. fine, ‘Shorts’! Equip that one first!!”
I equipped the sword and shorts and faced the monster.
The slug started moving immediately afterwards.
The tentacles on its head flexed like a whip and thrusted towards Mist.
I swung the sword and lopped the tentacle off.
It was aiming for Mist.
That thing, could it probably be trying to get back inside Mist’s body…?
“Mist, take those two and get away!”
I gave out orders to Mist who stood stock still from the confusion.
She nodded her head several times.
“Haibo, Twys! Let’s get out of here!!”
She prompted the two girls to escape.
“Why? What for?”
“You can’t leave the bath you know?”
They were just like when Mist started feeling ill.
In other words, their priorities had turned completely upside down.
Despite the fact that the slug had occupied half the bathtub, those two still wouldn’t leave it.
They weren’t minding being taking a bath together with a monster.
“What are you saying, you two!?”
—— In all likelihood, there are things like that slug inside those two, controlling them with hypnotic suggestions or something like that.
I feel like I want to hit myself for not noticing that and was having fun with their state.
But that’s one for later.
“Mist, never mind them! You run away on your own!”
Either way, the monster’s target is Mist.
I should let the normalized Mist run away.
“But, the girls!”
“I’ll protect those two! I promise!”
I had nothing to base that promise on, but I don’t have the time to persuade her.
While I was doing that the feelers wriggled and I beat them back with my batting skills.
Honestly, my arms are going numb from swinging the heavy sword. My untrained muscles are nearing their limits.
In addition, the E:ID phone’s MP is unreliable. Its natural regeneration doesn’t look like it has caught up with the battles it had.
I’m not confident I can protect her.
“Hurry!” I yelled to the indecisive Mist, and she finally resolved herself and started towards the exit.
“What are you doing!?”
But then Haibo and Twys changed their attitude.
They leaped out of the bathtub as if that is an emergency and snapped at Mist who was planning to escape.
“NOOOO! LET GO!”
“You have to! Get in the bath with Yuuki!!”
“You’re not allowed to go out on your own! We haven’t pleasured Yuuki yet!!”
“You two are acting weird!!”
Mist became unable to move, being restrained by Haibo and Twys.
The tentacles wriggled to capture Mist.
I can’t deal with it with the sword anymore!
“[Skill]! ‘Strike Bubble‘!!”
I stretched the bubble as big as it can, covering the three girls.
SCREEEE, there was a shrill warning tone.
[There was a sudden decrease in remaining mana quantity. The system’s running duration might be affected]
The smartphone is complaining that I’m using too much MP, the barrier was probably too big.
But the enemy’s attacks won’t stop.
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“…. Yuuki, these two are acting weird”
I heard Mist’s sad voice from behind me.
“They won’t listen to what I’m saying… *sob*”
The biggest shock for her isn’t the monster but her friends’ behavior.
Finally she let out a sob and burst into tears.
“Yuuki, we caught Mist♪”
“The three of us belong to Yuuki, right!”
The three’s flirtations now seemed somehow hollow and eerie.
Why didn’t I realise this strangeness sooner!
The smartphone’s warning sound and Mist’s crying tormented me.
Just like that time.
That time when I was a kid, when Arina’s bullying escalated and she almost died.
I should have realised that as well that time.
And yet I would always be too late and regret it!
[Remaining Mana 20%]
The E:ID phone’s MP is running out….
Am I done for….
As I was becoming pessimistic, Mist said to me.
“You can run away”
I turned around and saw Mist thinly smiling.
“That thing’s aiming for me, right? I’m happy you worked your hardest to protect me. So, you should run. If you run, these two will surely follow you, I think”
That was probably the best plan she could think of.
—— Stop kidding me!
“Do you remember what I said earlier?”
“Eh? …. sorry, about what?”
“I see. Okay, I’ll say it one more time”
“There’s somebody I can’t betray”
There’s no way I can run.
How can I look the person waiting for me there in the face?
I brandished the sword again.
Is it no good?
No. Don’t give up, me!
Think, there has to be… something.
If I don’t hurry the bubble’s going to break.
I should use this somehow….
Even if there was a magical component in the bubble’s making, a bubble is still a bubble, right?
So…. that means….
I have confidence in this flash of insight, but there are risks with putting it into action.
“I’m sorry. I know that I’m the worst for asking a girl to do this. But, please”
I said to Mist.
“Will you be bait for just one moment?”
Mist wiped her tears and smiled.
“Definitely help me, okay?”
” ‘Break‘ !”
I held my sword and released the barrier.
A tentacle came.
I beat it off with the sword.
―― Mist, I’m sorry!
It ignored me and I ran through!
There’s only one chance, I have to reach it before the tentacle reaches Mist!
I made a reckless charge and stabbed the enemy’s gut with my sword.
I made it!
The slug screamed and bent backwards.
“Eat this! My last Bubble!!”
I pushed a large quantity of bubbles into its belly.
The slug writhed in suffering, then, large amounts of fluid started coming out of it.
Waiting for the end, I took out the sword and took some distance.
“….. what happened?”
Seeing that it’s safe, Mist came to me.
“I changed the osmotic pressure inside its body with the bubble’s surfactant. At least it’s going to return to its original size”
Mist and the girls never took chemistry lessons, so they obviously won’t understand.
“Ah, um… Have you ever used salt to kill slugs in the flower beds? It’s something like that”
Having given her a simple explanation, I took out a two-liter canteen from the E:ID phone.
I emptied its contents and replaced it with the twitching slug bastard that had been reduced to the size of a palm.
“Y, you’re not going to kill it?”
“No, not now”
I shuddered to think that something like this is nesting inside Haibo and Twys.
However, that’s exactly why I have to let this one live.
I have to examine it and find a way to extract it from the other two…..
But before that.
“Mist…. also Haibo and Twys!”
“I really really seriously….!! Am sorry…!!”
I vigorously kowtowed on the bathroom until my head hit the floor.
“W, what’s this all of a sudden. What’s with the pose!?”
Ah, I see.
They don’t know what a dogeza means.
Meh, that doesn’t matter!
“For looking at you girls’ bodies, for not noticing something’s strange with you, for making you see something scary, for making you cry! I’m really really sorry!!”
“Hey, what is Yuuki doing?”
I heard Haibo’s doubtful voice.
Mist who had regained her sanity answered.
“Did Yuuki do something bad?”
“….. He didn’t. Yuuki did nothing wrong”
I heard footsteps approach me.
They were probably Mist’s
“Stop with the weird pose, please? Raise your head”
I raised my head and Mist who had covered her body with a linen cloth smiled bitterly at me.
“You’re too honest. Was my naked body that pitiful?”
“N, no, you were beautiful, in a word, a real treat to see…”
“Your real intentions are showing, you perverted boy”
“Muguu! That’s mean of you, asking me a leading question!”
“But it’s true isn’t it. You saw and you showed, you pervert. I’m just saying, this is the first time any man but my dad saw it!”
My charges increased….
“But, you desperately protected me, and I need Yuuki’s strength to save these two. So let’s not say things like that, okay?”
This is not the time to be bowing down.
I have to save these two and then Lady Demy.
I stood back up.
“Thank you,”I said.
Mist smiled and then….
“Well. I am going to have you take responsibility, as a man to a woman”
She swiftly announced my death sentence and went behind the partition.
“Yuuki, what’s wrong?”
“Your face is pale?”
Now where should we go for the honeymoon….