“What happened to the mall?”
“FeTUS is cleaning up there, so it would be difficult for me to act.”
With a cellphone in hand, Micha boarded the elevator and hit the button for the top floor. A convenience store bag full of beer dangled from her elbow.
“They’re better at manipulating information than us, so you should probably just leave.”
“Yes, I already have.”
She was receiving a report on the cleanup of the mall and highway caught in the chaos.
“What about Black Cat?” she asked. “Do you know anything about her?”
“No. I thought I could manage given her injury, but she managed to escape my pursuit.”
“I see. …Well, that doesn’t matter. We have some information at least.” Her tone of voice dropped. “She set up an accurate ambush, so she had to have had information on Mutsuki-kun and Ange. She almost certainly-…”
“Yes, I believe she has already contacted Fujita Mutsuki-kun in his personal life. …She most likely has some connection to him at school.”
“Agreed. …I just hope it isn’t one of his friends.”
“I will look into it immediately.”
She let out a quiet sigh.
With a ding, the elevator door opened. The top floor of the high-rise apartment building was always exposed to powerful winds and it was chilly now that the sun had gone down.
“Micha. Try not to view this too optimistically. Now that FeTUS has become a threat, the higher ups are hinting that they might use Metatron if it comes to it.”
Micha narrowed her eyes in the cold wind.
She always acted the cheerful young woman around Mutsuki, so she would never have let him see this expression.
“By the way…how is Ange doing?”
Her conversational partner must have picked up on her mood because their tone of voice quickly changed.
It changed from a deep tone to a light one. The androgynous voice was an elegant boy’s soprano just as high as Micha’s alto which was a little deep for a woman.
“I haven’t seen my adorable little sister in a while. And I’d also like to meet the legendary Adam…Fujita Mutsuki-kun.”
Her expression was not noticeable over the phone, but Micha was clearly displeased.
“I’ll think about it. More importantly, continue your investigation of Black Cat.”
Mutsuki had been attacked at the shopping mall, chased along the highway, and ultimately captured by Black Cat.
But what had happened after that? His memories of everything afterwards were gone. He could only scratch at his head in confusion.
By the time he had come to, Micha had already rescued him and he was on the way home in a taxi. Micha had smiled bitterly and avoided giving him a straight answer and Ange had only kicked him without saying a word, so he had never learned what had happened.
Regardless, they had managed to escape, so he decided to find satisfaction in that.
They had returned to their original apartment rather than the rundown house. They ended up moving that day, just as planned. They had no TV or anything like that since their shopping trip had been interrupted, but it at least had the bare minimum of furniture like tables and beds. The miscellaneous items they had arranged to have delivered had arrived, so they could spend a night there without issue.
They had no time to make dinner, so they ended up buying a few ready-made things at the supermarket.
“Okay, it’s all done.”
They had grilled chicken skewers, fried pork skewers, fried chicken, salad, gobo rolls, chicken stew, and the oden that Micha had bought.
They did not have a microwave, but they heated it all over the portable stove they had.
Ready-made dishes had become quite convenient. The supermarket had even sold cooked rice, so they could put together a decent meal even without a rice cooker.
They bought enough for five, divided each dish into five bowls, and prepared five pairs of chopsticks.
“Here, Ibekusa-san and Lucia-kun.”
“Thanks. Wa ha? Mine’s the same as Mutsuki-kun’s!”
He handed two bowls to the other two sitting around the table. Machina and Lucia were sitting amiably next to each other.
He did not know exactly why, but they too had been in the taxi when he had woken. They had apparently helped rescue him from Black Cat.
Since they were there, he had invited them to dinner. That would also help build their friendship.
“Sorry it’s all ready-made.”
“Don’t be. I’m just glad I can eat dinner with you?”
“Not a problem.”
They both entered the angels’ residence without much issue.
Micha showed no real caution as she sat at the head of the table.
“You both helped us out today, so feel free to go nuts?”
In fact, she seemed in a good mood. She was already making up for the alcohol she had worked off in her battle against the Springloaded and her fire extinguisher shower.
Mutsuki breathed a sigh of relief that the two guests and Micha did not have a problem.
“Ange, it’s ready.”
Then he called to his other roommate who was leaning against the wall a short distance away.
She remained sullen and refused to leave the corner.
She was the greatest enemy to his plan to make friends out of all three classmates. She had decided Machina and Lucia were enemies, so she refused to approach them.
(What am I supposed to do about this?)
The boy let out a sigh, which was becoming a habit these days.
The past month had taught him all too well that she was not honest enough to simply be persuaded, but ignoring the problem would strain the atmosphere of the gathering.
He tried to think of some way to draw her over, but…
“Leave her alone, Mutsuki-kun.”
Lucia elbowed him.
“She probably doesn’t want to sit down. I bet it hurts if she does.”
“Th-that is not why I’m over here, you idiot!”
Mutsuki did not understand, but Ange herself flared up.
“Oh? It isn’t? Well, I just assumed that was the case after taking that thick thing in there.”
“Uuh… It’s true it throbs when I sit down, but that’s not the point! I have no intention of getting along with a human and a demon!”
“I could turn your cushion into a Springloaded and transform it into a shape with negligible pressure on the center. Should I?”
“I don’t need your help! …Kwah…”
Simply yelling caused her to grimace, go a little bowlegged, and rub at her hip. (Or was it her butt?)
Mutsuki had no idea what they were talking about and could not join in.
However, this ticked him off a little. Treating him that way was one thing, but he could not let her treat Lucia and Machina like that when they were trying to be nice.
He forcibly tugged on her hand.
She came with him surprisingly easily. And as soon as the force of the first step reached her hips, he thought he heard a somehow sweet moan.
He then forced her to sit on her cushion.
“Let’s eat together, okay?”
She seemed a little bit tearful, but he put on a powerful tone because did not want to lose this opportunity.
Her eyebrows drooped weakly for once as she looked up at the boy. When her heels dug into her butt, she fidgeted restlessly and finally moved her legs out from under herself.
She nodded with flushed cheeks.
Mutsuki was glad. His smile returned, he removed his apron, and he took his seat next to her. She seemed uncomfortable and like she wanted to keep her distance, but she could not drag her butt away and ended up staying put.
“Now, then. That seems to have settled that.”
Micha took the initiative and clapped her hands.
Ange still did not look satisfied, but the rest of the students repeated after the woman.
As they began eating their food, Mutsuki brought a fist to his palm.
The other four watched as he stood up and returned to the kitchen.
“I completely forget about this last dish.”
“What is it?”
“Our meal wasn’t the healthiest with only ready-made stuff.”
He lifted the lid of the pot on the stove, releasing a unique aroma that stimulated the hunger of anyone Japanese.
“So I made some miso soup.”
He prepared another five bowls and poured some in.
Machina was expressionless, Lucia’s eyes were sparkling, and Micha was grinning like usual.
Ange alone had gone pale.
“…You ‘made’ it?”
He carried the tray over and passed out the bowls.
“I even get to eat Mutsuki-kun’s cooking? Uuh~? I couldn’t be happier~?”
“Fried tofu, seaweed, onion. Perfectly normal ingredients.”
“Beer and miso soup go surprisingly well together~”
Three of them accepted the bowls quite normally while Ange remained silent.
“Since everyone’s here, I worked extra hard on it. Now, dig in.”
“Ha ha? Don’t mind if I do?”
The five of them all took a sip.
“What do you think?”
Ange erupted at the full table.
“Wah wah wah. Ange, you got it on the other food.”
“Don’t blame me! …Cough, cough! Pant, pant. Y-you really did work extra hard on this one, didn’t you?”
“Huh? You didn’t like this one either?”
“Of course not! You didn’t figure that out when I went ‘gbhahh’!?”
She grabbed a dishcloth and wiped off her mouth…as well as her tongue.
Worried about what the others thought, Mutsuki turned to them.
Micha was drinking it along with her beer like usual, but…
“That was a close one… I nearly came.”
Lucia almost fell over, but he managed to grab the table and stay upright.
“Was it not any good? You don’t have to drink the rest.”
“N-no, it’s fine. I’ll eat or drink whatever you make for me. I’m a bit of an M.”
He gave a bittersweet smile while breathing heavily. His smile was covered in sweat and tears, so it contained a masochistic beauty that made it even more adorable than usual.
Machina seemed to have frozen in time with the bowl at her lips, so Ange peered worriedly over at her, forgetting about the whole enemies issue.
“You can cough it up if you want.”
Machina remained frozen for about half a minute.
Finally, she set down the half-emptied bowl with her usual expressionless look.
“Noh a prohlehm.”
“Your tongue’s gone numb! Just cough it back up! It’s dangerous!”
“Huh? You too, Ibekusa-san? That’s strange.”
Since everyone but Micha was having trouble, the boy took a sip of his own cooking.
He could have sworn he had added some well-matched secret ingredients on top of the standard ingredients to flavor the dashi and miso.
“What the hell do you think you’re feeding us!? Are you trying to kill us!? Was this supposed to wipe out everyone targeting you and protecting you in one fell swoop!?”
“O-of course not. Hmm. How could this have happened? It’s full of nutrients.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s the reason right there!”
Ange shouted angrily at him while Machina and Lucia were still frozen from the shock of this new experience.
All the while, Micha watched over them all.
“Uuh… It’s sweet. This is miso soup, but it has a sweet aftertaste…”
“Are you okay, Ange?”
“Of course not! Honestly… The Springloaded and Black Cat were bad enough, but you’ve done the most damage today!”
“Th-that’s going too far.”
“No, it isn’t! Today alone, both my entrance and exit were-…gh! I-I can feel it…just by shouting.”
“Hm? Why are you holding your butt? Were you hurt?”
“Eeeee! Waaaaah! Don’t stare at my butt, you pervert!”
“I’m just worried you might be hurt. Where does it hurt? Your hips? Should I rub them?”
“Gyaaaaah! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! Don’t come up behind me, you butt devil!”
“C’mon. Being called that kind of hurts, so please stop. And that was a few days ago now.”
“It was today!”
“What a pain. And she looked so happy after taking it up the ass too.”
“Satowaaaa! I-I-I did not look happy!”
“Yeah, you did. Hey, Ibekusa. Wasn’t this angel’s face practically melting when we rescued her?”
“I-Ibekusa! Tell him it wasn’t! It wasn’t, right!?”
“I do recall the look on your face when we pulled you away from Fujita-kun, but I lack the lexical knowledge to determine whether ‘practically melting’ would be an appropriate description or not.”
“See! It wasn’t!”
“But I do recall you saying ‘don’t take it out’.”
“Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That settles it~?”
“Hm? What in the world are you three talking about?”
Micha took another drink of her beer.