"——Do you people have no sense of crisis?!"
As the members of the Small Fry Platoon were drinking afternoon tea in the platoon's room, Ouka suddenly put a hand on the desk and yelled.
Because of the suddenness, startled, Saionji Usagi spilled piping hot tea over Kusanagi Takeru. Unable to let out any voice, Takeru held down his groin, his body convulsing.
"K-Kusanagii, I-I am s-sorry! I-I'll go get ice!"
Panicking, Usagi took out ice from the freezer and mercilessly, she ground it against Takeru's pants. This time, Takeru let screamed "hyaogh" before rolling around on the floor.
Seeing that, Suginami Ikaruga started to let out cackling laughter.
Anger had started boiling in Ouka as no one listened to what she has to say.
On top of that,
"——Heellloo, Small Fry Platooneeers〜! Since you're looking bored like always, Mari-chan has come to play for your sakes〜!"
Nikaido Mari opened the platoon room's door with a bright smile and entered, her both arms full of bags with sweets.
"Eh, what's up Takeru? No way, peed yourself?"
Pfft, Mari exploded into laughter.
"......ghh, you can't understand a man's suffering, can you... please, don't talk to me for now."
Takeru glared at Mari with tears in his eyes.
Beside him there was Usagi continued to apologize and Ikaruga who continued to laugh more and more loudly.
Like this, the usual noisy everyday spectacle unfolded.
But, today was different. The only honor student among the members took action in order to force the always-idle Small Fry Platoon to act.
A loud rumbling of a fist striking the desk resounded and the platoon's members turned towards Ouka again. What they have seen, was Ouka who broke the desk in half in a manner similar to karate's brick breaking.
As expected, seeing this even the Small Fry Platoon could only look at it agape.
Retaining her posture after swinging down her fist, Ouka glared at Takeru and the others.
"If you didn't heart it, I'll say it again... I asked, do you have no sense of crisis? Answer me, Kusanagi."
"You're the captain, so obviously!"
"T-that's true... um, what is 'sense of crisis'?"
Ouka glared at Takeru with her eyes saying "sit in seiza".
Although he wasn't told to, Takeru sat on the floor in seiza.
"You're asleep during lessons... you always act careless, drinking tea until the time for platoon activities is over... on top of that, an outsider is coming in to get in the way of platoon activities, what is this lack of sense of crisis, is what I ask!"
She pointed at Mari as she said that.
"Wha... don't you ostracize everyone's soul friend, Mari-chan!"
While Mari snapped on the side, Ikaruga look at Ouka while resting her chin on her hand.
"I know what is it that you want to say, but it can't be helped, right? Kusanagi has a part time job until late at night and we have no information on Magical Heritages and witches we can use for platoon activities. Even if we try〜, there's no way for us to move, right〜?"
Hearing Ikaruga say that as she curled her hair with her fingertips, the corners of Ouka's mouth started convulsing.
"That's no reason for slacking! If we have no information then try obtaining some! Also, Kusanagi, sleep properly!"
"No, um... I'm doing my best to do so... but I always fall asleep during class."
Takeru scratched his cheek with a finger and smiled bitterly. Ouka put her hand on her hip and raised her eyebrows.
"I understand you are a self-supporting student, but neglecting your studies is putting cart before the horse."
Having that pointed out sharply, Takeru grew smaller and smaller.
Seeing Ouka's preachy attitude, Ikaruga pursed her lips.
"It's fine isn't it. Its unknown whether operative procedures class or history of magic will be of any use to us, I think it's more efficient to sleep."
Ikaruga held out an empty cup to Usagi as she said so. After brewing fresh tea, Usagi poured a cup of it for Ikaruga.
"Well, Kusanagi's house has a debt, it is unreasonable to ask him to stop his part-time job. Also, it is just like Suginami said, the results in class do not affect the course and the promotion. I do think that it is not a bad thing to devote that time for sleeping."
Said Usagi and poured tea for Mari who was sitting on the sofa.
Mari said thanks to Usagi and stared intently at Ouka as she raised the cup to her mouth.
"What, you think you can preach just because you're a honor student and related to Chairman?"
In response to Mari's provocation, Ouka put a hand on her chest and furrowed her eyebrows.
"What a rude woman you are...! How many times do I have to tell you I became a Dullahan thanks to my own skills and effort!!"
"I wonder about that〜? I think you're someone who's all pleased with results but are actually useless in actual combat y'knoow? Is this woman really strong?"
As Mari asked the platoon members, Ikaruga put a hand on her chin.
"Speaking of which, Kusanagi is the only one who actually fought against Ootori. Well, I've heard she's quite strong."
"But we're talking about middle school here, right? We don't know how is it now, right? I mean, you all have poor grades but can do quite well. Unexpectedly, you might be able to win now?"
Seeing Mari grin broadly, Takeru made a cramped expression.
During the middle school era Takeru was inspired to change the Inquisition, then during the second year's deathmatch against classmates he fought against Ouka and was completely defeated. Back then he couldn't see even a slight chance in defeating her.
Honestly speaking, it was no different now.
That's what Takeru thought.
"So you're doubting my abilities... fine, I get it."
Suddenly, a shadow appeared on Ouka's face and she glared at Takeru with narrowed eyes.
"If that's what you say, fine by me. In fact, there's a plan I wanted to propose to you all... let's change the atmosphere a little and carry it out."
Exuding a crimson aura behind herself, Ouka looked down on everyone.
Seeing her smile fearlessly Takeru cowered with fear.
"Whaat? ...just think of it as of a bit of entertainment. It's all for your sakes... fufu, fufufufufufu."
Ouka sounded her fists loudly and smiled coldly. Back then, the only one who felt fear was Takeru.
Two days later. The Small Fry Platoon had welcomed the Saturday and Sunday by giving up on holidays in order to come to a mountain villa. The villa was managed by the Inquisition and could be used only by inquisitors with permission.
So early in the morning there wasn't too much light, the platoon's members were standing in the middle of the forest, wearing camouflage clothing.
In order, Takeru, Usagi, Ikaruga and Mari, the four stood in front of Ouka who wore the same camouflage clothing and a tank top, making an imposing stance.
"...so, you brought us to such a place, what do you intend to do?"
Mari looked at Ouka with dissatisfaction. Usagi and Ikaruga too, have had unconvinced expressions.
Looking dignified, Ouka spoke to everyone.
"——For two days from now on, all of us will hold a training camp."
Everyone was taken aback by what she said so suddenly.
"Training camp you say... we already have basic training which is a compulsory subject, even without coming to a place like this we can use the school's facilities, isn't that right?"
When Usagi said so, Ouka quietly closed her eyes.
"You familiarized your bodies with the environment inside the school. For a change of mood, a training camp is required."
"What about Kusanagi's part time job?"
"I'll pay for the days he has to take leave. I intend to burden the individual costs here. It's perfect since I've been troubled on how to spend the salary from when I was a Dullahan."
Mari stared at her intently and "damn bragging", she muttered.
"There won't be just bad things on the camp. These facilities also have hot springs and you can rest well at night."
Hearing about the hot spring, women's complexion changed. Even if the platoon members' personalities were distorted, it didn't change the fact that girls love baths.
"——But, whether we get to rest at night or not, is up to how you do during the day."
Ouka grinned, then suddenly, she took away Mari's trademark hat and put it on her own head.
"If you're unable to steal this hat away from me until nine o'clock in the evening——you'll be training all night together with me. Fu, fufu... don't think you'll get to sleep... now, I'll have you carry thirty kilos on your back as you cross this mountain."
Hearing this disturbing suggestion, Usagi and Takeru paled.
Ikaruga alone had her usual, absent-minded expression.
"Why are you turning this into a competition?"
"You doubted my abilities... it was humiliating. That's why, I'm going to show you the difference between our abilities for once, I thought. What, it also works as a training so it's killing two birds with one stone."
Fufun, Ouka puffed up her chest. She's just a sore loser, everyone thought.
Languid, Ikaruga shrugged and raised both hands.
"I don't mind doing it, but there's nothing in it for us. I can't get motivated without any bait."
"Hm... you're right. Then, if you're by some chance to take this hat from me, I'll do anything the person who takes it asks me to."
Seeing Ouka's confident attitude, the look in Ikaruga's eyes changed.
"...just now, you said "anything", right?"
"Yeah, anything. Well, there's no way you all are going to make me taste defeat."
Mari, having her hat stolen had started to stomp on the ground furiously and tried to take away the hat from Ouka.
Ouka avoided Mari's hands easily and made a puzzled expression.
"What are you deciding on your own here! Give me my hat backk!"
"I'm only borrowing it, it's just a hat, right?"
"It's not 'just a hat'! It's something bought for me by everyone in the orphanage with the little money they had!"
"Hm... is that so."
Knowing Mari's circumstances, Ouka couldn't respond too strongly. Ikaruga beside them too, had looked at Ouka with a critical expression.
"I'll prepare something in exchange so give it back to her. If you take away the hat and the scarf from Nikaido, all that will be left is her flat chest, right? That's too much."
"That's right, indeed! My flat chest is my only merit——heck, damn you and your huge tits!"
At first going along with the joke, Mari retorted and caught onto Ikaruga.
Ouka heaved a sigh appalled and received the replacement from Ikaruga.
After equipping the replacement Ouka squeezed her fist with humiliation.
All the other members suppressed their laughter as they cast sideway glances at Ouka.
For some reason, Ouka had dog ears on her head. Incidentally, she also had a tail attached.
"T-that unexpectedly... suits her..."
"Ahahahaha! Certainly, Ootori Ouka does feel like a dog! Suits her way too much!"
"I made it so that it moves accordingly to changes in body temperature. Rather than a hat, this will make us more motivated, right? I'll cuddle all I want before snatching it away."
Seeing reactions of others, Ouka's face reddened and she glared at Takeru embarrassed.
"Wait, I don't get why you're glaring at me... but, isn't it fine? It suits you, it's cute, there's no problem is there?"
When Takeru said that with a wry smile, Ouka's face turned red like an apple.
Unable to endure everyone's gazes, she raised her shoulders angrily and turned around on her heel.
"Y-you all start moving after fifteen minutes! I'll definitely repay you for this humiliation... I'll have no mercy, so prepare yourselves!"
Leaving what sounded like a villain's line, Ouka disappeared in the forest all alone.
Fifteen minutes later. The Small Fry Platoon started moving.
The rules were simple. All members are to find Ouka and snatch away the dog ears from her, or rather, hit her with a paint bullet.
However, if any of them was to be hit by Ouka's paint bullet or plastic knife, they receive a penalty and have to stay unmoving for ten minutes.
Each member held a weapon they were familiar with as they walked into the woods. Of course, Mari who wasn't the member of the platoon also joined sneakily.
"The weapon Nikaido is holding looks kind of dangerous..."
Usagi who walked in front holding an assault rifle continued to cast glances restlessly at Mari who walked behind her, then spoke with unease.
Mari grinned broadly as she swung around the submachine guns she held in both hands.
"I hate guns, but it felt really good when I fired with one during the mock battle tournament a while ago〜. I feel like I'll get addicted!"
"Would you please not aim the muzzle my way?! Ahh, come on, the bushes are annoying and there are hordes of mosquitoes! Ukyah?! There is a spider web sticking to my face!"
"Ahaha, Usagi-chaan〜 you're so clumsy〜——hey, something soft fell on top of me! Eh, a leech?! Gyahh, it's stuck to my clothes! T-Takeru, take it offf!"
While the two had absolutely no intention of concealing their voices and presence, Takeru removed the leech off Mari by using a lighter.
"You all, try keeping quiet... I know its cruel to ask girls to do guerilla warfare, but its a marathon over the mountain, y'know?"
"T-Takeru you're fine with this? These are leeches! They suck your blood y'know?!"
"Yeah, I... in the past, I've been trained by my swordsmanship's master to get used to this kind of environment. I'm fine with insects and beasts."
Certainly, the way Takeru walked in the woods was skilful.
"Get used to... what kind of practice did your master have you do...?!"
Asked so, Takeru thought of the past.
Recalling the practice with his master, full of scenes where he vomited blood, the nauseating painful memories caused him to pale.
"............do you really want to know?"
"...no, I'm fine. It feels like I'll get traumatized as well."
Seeing Takeru's complexion, Mari uncomfortably turned towards the front.
Takeru heaved a sigh and this time, he looked towards Ikaruga behind them. He was worried because she was bad with outdoor activities like this one.
However, Ikaruga was working unusually hard to remain behind Takeru. Her face also showed motivation.
Although, her weapon was a two-shot Derringer and for some reason, she was wearing nurse outfit.
"Today, I'm in medic-style."
It's troubling if you tell me that with a straight face.
"...you, try acting serious for once."
"What? But I am very serious?"
"No matter how I think of it, your appearance doesn't look serious at all. Is there any meaning behind it?"
"Fool, obviously, it's a honey trap."
Told so with a strangely dignified expression, the corners of Takeru's eyes twitched.
"...Ootori is a woman, right?"
"? So? So am I?"
She made a genuinely mystified expression. The conversation just wouldn't connect.
"...the only ones who would get caught up in that is just me and you, I think."
"That's not true. Once she sees me like this, even Ootori's movements will stop for a moment. Using the opening in enemy's movements is the basics of combat. I read that in a manga from a long ago, 'commando' something? It's amazing, I'm going to knock Ootori out with this technique and rub her all over."
Even if she squeezes her fist and states it ferociously, nurse outfit is a nurse outfit. Takeru didn't think Ouka would be tricked with a fictional technique.
Takeru resumed his walking through the forest.
...well, we've been slacking lately so what Ootori says is reasonable. We can't really do such training with actual combat in jungle at school.
Even as he thought so under the early morning sky, Takeru squeezed the handle of a plastic sword.
...this atmosphere is really nostalgic.
Recalling the deathmatch from the middle school, he indulged in emotions.
Although there were mainly just lectures during the first year, during the second year they were to pretend killing each other with other classmates, among the confused students only Takeru and Ouka weren't disturbed.
With just a glance at Ouka, Takeru was convinced that "she's strong".
Still, back then he didn't feel like he could lose. Given an opportunity to display the results of his training, he got motivated instead.
And, that defeat was the result. It ended with him being unable to move his hands or legs.
I sure was young, Takeru thought and laughed quietly.
Honestly, I'm getting a little excited.
In the middle school age he couldn't win even if he used Soumatou, but it wasn't that he didn't think he might have a chance now.
Getting slightly serious, Takeru focused himself.
Before he realized, Usagi and Mari who were walking in front of him were gone.
"............damn, now I've done it."
Because he walked absent-mindedly, he lost sight of the two.
In front of him spread out dense bushes and trees. Wherever he looked, it was all same scenery.
A coniferous forest like this where light hardly reached inside had deprived a human of his sense of direction.
Takeru brought Ikaruga with him and hurriedly started to search for Usagi and Mari.
Usagi moving in the front held an assault rifle as she carefully moved through the forest.
Then, discovering a hollow from a hill, she made a stop sign with her hand in order to instruct comrades in the back.
"I see something. Let's spread to left and right and siege it."
She proposed, but there was no answer.
There was no one behind her.
Usagi's face paled rapidly.
When she had become aware she was left alone, she started to get wary of the surroundings, her rifle rattling in her hands. Overtly frightened, her gaze moved around restlessly.
To Usagi who had an anxiety disorder, this situation was the worst.
There was rustling and a sound of a branch being stepped on which have startled Usagi, the object she had discovered earlier was approaching.
When she looked through the scope to confirm what is that object, she opened her eyes with surprise.
In the middle of the hollow, there were unguarded dog ears.
N-no matter how I look at it, it's a trap...
Usagi hid behind a tree and remained vigilant. If the opponent shows any movement, she will be able to respond with her reflexes.
She quietened her breathing and hidden, waited for Ouka to move.
Maintaining vigilance in 360°, she continued to scout, which was a natural thing to do for a sniper, she excelled at finding signs of the enemy.
But, that's when.
——*pam*, a sound had come from behind her.
Although Usagi hurriedly turned around, her gun was struck out of her hands and a nelson hold was performed on her.
Finally, the hold had weakened and she was brought down to damp leaves below, then put a knife up to her throat.
"——Naive. How could you neglect vigilance above and bellow you."
"Y-you were on top of a tree?!"
"Your movements are too simple, Saionji. Since you knew I was going to attack from surprise, you should have considered withdrawing. You should have withdrawn and rejoined Kusanagi and others first."
"Since the side that has a surprise attack prepared knows your movements, trying to go in alone is a suicide. Saionji Usagi, ten minutes penalty."
Released from the restraint on her arms, Usagi stood up dejected.
However, when she finally got up, any signs of Ouka have already disappeared.
Admiring Ouka's finesse, Usagi heaved a quiet sigh.
It seemed like training in a forest was impossible for Mari right from the start because of her horrible reflexes.
Before she noticed, Mari wandered into muddy wetlands, there was a small stream flowing beneath her feet. Since there was a flood after the rain two days earlier, the footing was very poor.
"Uuh〜... it feels like there'd be lots of leeches and such〜... I shouldn't have come〜."
Mari walked forward unreliably, her feet being sucked into the mud.
And, the moment she staggered and put her hand on the mud.
Her hand felt something soft that was clearly different from mud.
When she looked towards what her hand caught, she saw two obviously unnatural bulges in the mud.
Immediately after, the mud moved and something attacked her from inside.
While she screamed, she was retrained by this something that came out of mud and had a plastic knife put against her neck.
Mari turned her pale face and saw Ouka, completely covered with mud.
She lied in wait for ambush in the mud.
"I didn't think you would fall over in here... but whatever. Nikaido Mari, ten minutes penalty."
"You're going that far?! Did you come back from Vietnam or something?!"
As Mari pointed out, Ouka opened her eyes wide. Her eyes were cloudy and it seemed as if she had seen hell on the battlefield. Then, she pressed the knife on Mari's neck even stronger.
"Hihh" a squeal came out of Mari's throat.
"I told you, prepare yourself since I'll show no mercy, that is."
"Just how much do you hate losing, seriously. Heck, hiding and attacking from surprise isn't fair!"
"It's one against many, so that's natural. I don't choose methods to win. Its your fault in the first place for spreading out."
"Ahh, c'mon, there's mud on my muffler! Let go! Are you really a woman?! Even if you've got big tits and pretty hair, dirty women are bound to be hated!"
What Mari said pierced through Ouka and she made an awkward expression.
"T-that doesn't matter. In combat a woman's pride means noth——"
"Dirty, dirty! I'll get infected!"
Wordlessly, Ouka grasped Mari's head and pushed it down towards mud.
"Hey! Stop, c'mon stop! I get it, it's my loss! Torturing prisoners is forbidden by law——gyahhhhh!!"
A heartbreaking cry echoed in the forest.
After hearing Mari's scream, Takeru and Ikaruga ran through the forest.
In the middle of a silent forest, Takeru stopped near a small stream.
"The scream from earlier came from around here..."
"It was Nikaido's wasn't it. After the scream, there was something like weeping."
Although they had no idea what happened to Mari, they could imagine what was the result.
Takeru took out binoculars and looked upstream.
By the stream, in a place sandwiched by two small hills, there was a human shape.
There was Mari whose face was forced into mud and——Ouka who walked slowly, holding two machine guns in her hands and having a bandolier over her shoulder.
Unconsciously, Takeru let out a panicked voice.
Her body was covered with mud. She had a tank top, camouflage pants and seemed like a member of special forces from some action movie. However, rather than a green hat on her head, she had dog ears. They moved vigorously in response to Ouka's body temperature.
Despite the distance, her eyes were turned in their direction.
So our position's been found out already...!
Her pupils harboring blue flame inside were locked straight onto Takeru and Ikaruga, Ouka was moving towards them with her ears twitching.
"L-let's withdraw for now...! This is bad seeing she's drawn machine guns!"
When Takeru tried to retreat, Ikaruga put a hand on his shoulder.
"Kusanagi, you circle around her, I'll be a decoy."
"It's fine, leave it to Ikaruga-oneesan."
As Ikaruga raised her thumb and winked, rather than hope, he could only feel anxiety.
Well, fine, Takeru thought and soundlessly hid in the bushes, then while checking up on Ouka's movements he circled around her.
From behind the plants he looked at the unusual state of both Ouka and Ikaruga.
Ikaruga jumped out of a bush right in front of Ouka. As if to say she had predicted that, Ouka raised her machine guns.
The two took stance and glared at each other in close range.
Then, the moment Ouka tried to squeeze the trigger.
Ikaruga slowly took out something from her breast pocket, which seemed like a piece of paper.
Then she showed it off forward, towards Ouka.
That piece of paper——was a photo of Ouka naked and in middle of changing.
"If you shoot me here and now——I'll spread this photo all over the school!"
——That has nothing to do with nurses!
Not just that, it was pure blackmail.
Ikaruga made a real smug face and fluttered the picture in the air.
"Now, now now, get on your knees if you don't want me to spread it! Worship me! C'mon, lick my shoes——"
The moment Ikaruga's excitement reached its peak, Ouka made appalled expression and pressed the trigger of her machine gun.
Ikaruga was covered in yellow paint, once her entire body turned yellow Ouka stole away the photo from her.
"Suginami Ikaruga... ten minutes penalty. Are you retarded?"
"Fu fu fu... unfortunately, that one photo isn't all I have!"
Suddenly out of nowhere, Ikaruga took out several dozen of photos. In response, Ouka ruthlessly fired paint bullets at Ikaruga' butt.
Although they were just paint bullets, it was still painful and made Ikaruga scream "hyan" and sink on the ground.
Staring at Ikaruga who raised her butt up as she breathed roughly, Ouka's face started to convulse.
"I'll come to recover the negatives later so just stay like this...!"
"Haa, haa... ahn, oh no, I'll get addicted to this."
Looking away from Ikaruga who swayed her butt back and forth, Ouka firmed her expression.
"Kusanagi, I know you're there! Come out!"
Hearing Ouka's voice, Takeru heaved a sigh as he hid behind a tree.
Even during the interaction with Ikaruga she didn't show any openings. It was one thing to aim at her with a gun, but Takeru could only use a sword. He had no chances to attack from surprise unless he was at nearly zero distance.
Takeru reluctantly exposed himself to Ouka, pulled out the sword and confronted her.
Ouka too, had discarded the machine guns and pulled out her favorite handgun from the holster.
Then, her mouth drew an arc.
"...it reminds me of the middle school times. Back then too, we were the last ones standing and faced each other like this."
"So you remember."
"I forgot at first... but I recalled it during the battle with 《Einherjar》. Compared to back then, your expression softened a lot."
However, she added and pointed her gun's muzzle at Takeru.
"——The light in your eyes is unchanged."
Told so, Takeru smiled lightly as well.
Ouka walked sideways slowly as she firmly pointed her muzzle at him. Takeru measured the distance and moving his feet without leaving the ground, he pointed the sword's tip at her.
"I don't mind if you use Soumatou. Let's both use all we've got."
"...no, if I cut you while using that, I'd injure you despite using a plastic sword."
Hearing these words, Ouka heaved a sigh disappointingly and shook her head.
"...Kusanagi, did you not understand what I meant?"
"Just now——I said that unless you use Soumatou, you stand no chance against me."
A sharp pain ran through Takeru's mind.
Still aiming the muzzle at him, Ouka continued.
"You should fix that persistence of yours to stick with swordsmanship. Won't you try learning to handle guns already?"
"There's no way——that a sword, can beat a gun."
Something snapped inside of Takeru. In no time, his expression was stained with anger.
"——Now you've said it...!"
And, he activated the technique allowing him to increase the brain processing speed to the limit, Soumatou. In the slow motion world Takeru alone moved quickly.
I won't cut her! I'll just cut down her gun!
He closed the distance at once and swung his sword down at the gun's barrel.
But, the next moment——Takeru's leg was caught by something.
His leg was lifted with strong momentum and before he noticed, he was suspended in the air.
Takeru released Soumatou and while dangling, he confirmed his status.
His right leg was pulled up by a rope.
Dumbfounded, Takeru looked at Ouka.
Ouka he had seen upside-down smiled wryly to him.
She tricked him. By having him use Soumatou and provoking him, she had him caught in the trap.
...so she moved to the side as she held the gun not in order to tweak the distance, but to lead me on the trap, huh...
Weakening the strain on his body, Takeru weakly let his body be pulled down by gravity.
"............looks like it's my loss."
"Your weakness is that you easily snap when someone insults swordsmanship. If you let such cheap provocations cause blood to rush into your head, you'll die at some point."
"Suginami aside, I wanted you and Saionji to feel some danger caused by your own shortcomings. I planned this camp just for that. Using this as a starting point, I thought of helping you find clues to overcome your weaknesses."
Takeru had no way to excuse himself. He no longer knew who is the captain here.
"In any case", Ouka added and walked right in front of Takeru.
And she spoke apologetically.
"Although it was for my plan... I've hurt your pride. Sorry, please forgive me."
"Haha, I don't mind. And in fact, just like you said, I did snap."
When Takeru replied with these words, Ouka shook her head with a serious expression and put her hand on his cheek.
"I am aware that your poor prowess with guns isn't something that can be overcome with effort... and more than anything, the sword isn't weak. Up until now, your swordsmanship saved my life many times."
"You are strong, I guarantee that. That's why, let me apologize properly. I'm really sorry."
Told something which made him happy, Takeru involuntarily stared at Ouka. Somehow, the atmosphere between the two turned strange, and that's when.
Feeling thirst for blood from behind, Ouka twisted her body around.
Cutting through the air, a paint bullet grazed her head.
Ahead of Ouka's line of sight, there was Usagi's figure standing on top of the hill and pointing rifle's muzzle at her.
"Ten minutes passed you see! Now, why are you flirting here all alone, I wonderrr!"
She must have seen the entirety of Takeru's and Ouka's exchange. Burning with jealousy, Usagi fired at Ouka.
Ouka barely avoided the paint bullets, but because of her movements the dog ears band slipped from her head.
Although she tried to catch them in panic, they bounced off her fingertips and, just like that.
Just like that——the band flew into Takeru's hands who was hanging upside-down.
Takeru caught the dog ears with a dazed expression, and stared at each other with Ouka.
The victory condition was to hit Ouka with an attack or take away her dog ears.
And the condition for the other members to receive penalty was to be hit by a paint bullet or receive attack with a knife.
Takeru was only caught in a trap, but wasn't shot with a paint bullet or touched by Ouka's knife.
In other words——
"...is this... my win?"
Ouka fell down to her knees right in front of Takeru, who smiled bitterly.
Nine p.m. after the dinner was over.
Takeru rested his body alone in the men's bath.
"Phew〜... I didn't hardly ever entered these, but large baths sure are nice."
He put a towel on his head and looked at the starry sky through the hazy steam. The hot spring's warmth spread throughout his tired body, it was an indescribable comfort.
In the end, Takeru alone had won the match during the day, but he was dissatisfied to see himself win despite being caught by a simple trap.
He gave up on the right to have Ouka do anything he says and all the members continued combat training in the forest during the daytime.
Since Ouka was leading the training it was quite difficult, but thanks to that the effect could be seen immediately.
As an ex-Dullahan, Ouka was good at teaching others.
"Makes me wonder even more who's the captain here."
While disappointed by his own inability, he was thankful to Ouka. Her overly-serious existence was a good stimulus for the Small Fry Platoon that was in a standstill.
Ouka is also more informal now than she was when she first joined, from here on it'll all definitely go in a good direction, Takeru thought.
"For that sake, I need to do something about how I snap easily... it settled down compared to the old days, but my feelings towards swordsmanship didn't change..."
He muttered to himself and then shook his head, stopping to think.
Let's just enjoy the hot spring. He thought and soaked up to his shoulders.
When he squinted and clenched his teeth, suddenly, he heard a sound of the sliding doors at the entrance opening.
The only ones using the facility now was the Small Fry Platoon, there should be no man other than him.
For a moment, Takeru stared at Ouka's body in daze.
"..................wait a second."
Because he completely immersed himself in enjoying the hot spring his thinking wouldn't resume quite well, but seeing Ouka embarrassed and with cheeks dyed red, he returned to himself.
"——T-this is men's bath Ootori! Or did I mistake them?!"
He tried to stand up in panic, but recalling that he's naked he sank back into the bath.
Stealing glances at Takeru, Ouka muttered.
"...K-Kusanagi, today... you're the one who won the match. You said you don't need it, but I won't be satisfied unless I do something."
"W-well... in any case, why are you in men's bath...?"
As Takeru asked Ouka lowered her face and looked up at him, then started mumbling.
"Suginami said... that I should at least wash your back. I wondered about that... but I couldn't think of anything else I can do for you."
No, there are definitely better choices... although that's what he thought, Takeru didn't refuse.
The biggest problem was that he wasn't against it at all.
"Does it itch anywhere...?"
Wearing just a towel and having his back scrubbed evenly, Takeru had a problem focusing his eyes.
He was told to absolutely not turn around, but since there was a mirror in front of him he's been stealing glances at and saw Ouka's body.
Ouka said that she's become muscular because of the life she leads, but it didn't look so at all.
Rather, he thought that she did have a very feminine body. Her breasts were large and her hips...
Damn, I shouldn't be thinking about that now...!
Takeru shook his head.
"A-aren't you forcing yourself? It's Suginami who told you to do this, right?"
"No, no such thing. T-this is, naked socialization right? Suginami said that it's a way of bonding. For me, who is bad with socializing, this is also a good practice."
...that's something done between members of the same sex, if one invites someone of other sex to do so there'll be a misunderstanding, it'll be especially bad for the man who's forced to endure various things.
"Also, I've had you carry a lot of burden, Kusanagi... if I don't reward you at least I won't be able to settle down."
Saying so, Ouka gently touched Takeru's back.
"When I touch it like this, it really seems big, your back that is."
Deeply Immersing herself in emotions, she washed his back.
It was a simple and pleasant sensation, but just by having his back washed Takeru's heart ended up throbbing strongly.
Once Ouka finished washing his back with a serious expression, she nodded lightly.
"All right, next is——"
"I'll do the front myself okay?!"
"——Obviously. I don't intend to throw away my womanhood to that extent either."
Relieved, Takeru relaxed his shoulders.
Surely, next she was going to use the shower to wash off the foam from his back.
While he thought so, suddenly, he felt something soft press onto his back.
What's this? He thought and the moment he looked into the mirror, his eyes turned into dots.
Ouka was pressing her body against his back. For a moment he thought she might have collapsed on him, but it wasn't so.
She started to wash Takeru's back using her own breasts and body.
"What are you doing?!"
"? T-this is what naked socializing is, right? Suginami said you wash the other person's body with your own to thank them..."
...she was inspired to do something outrageous.
Takeru tried to stop Ouka in a hurry, but he couldn't speak up.
No. It wasn't that he couldn't, he just didn't.
He was unable to deceive himself. Honestly speaking, Takeru didn't want Ouka to stop doing what she did because of a misunderstanding.
He was at a bliss feeling two soft bulges on his back.
Ouka whom he could see in the mirror was blushing as she did her best to wash Takeru with her chest. Her hair was wet, her cheeks flushed, her breasts slid up and down on his back.
It was a situation he couldn't comprehend but...
No, honestly, I can't get enough of this.
He really did not want her to stop. The man called Kusanagi Takeru was a surprisingly large, closet pervert.
Takeru enjoyed Ouka's sensations with a dreamy expression.
What, stopping her now would be a waste. While it doesn't go as far as the saying "it's a man's shame to refuse woman's advances" implies, since she does it consensually——.
When he thought so.
Once again, the sliding door at the entrance opened with a rattle and in it——
" "............" "
There were stark naked Usagi and Mari.
Behind the two, there was Ikaruga who – seeing Takeru's and Ouka's exchange, "bffft", burst out into laughter.
Usagi and Mari looked at Ouka as she pressed her chest against Takeru, breathing roughly, and at Takeru who made a lewd, blissful expression, then they froze.
Takeru paled at once and thought of what had happened.
That Ikaruga, she didn't intend to let this end with letting Takeru get just the delicious bits.
There was only one conclusion. Once again, Takeru fell into a trap.
In this situation he had no way to excuse himself.
——After that, it's needless to say that Usagi and Mari used wooden buckets to beat Takeru up plenty.