The Kurosaki family had deep roots in the political world, but they lost almost all influence overnight with the head of the family dead and the heir, Kurosaki Shuntarou, missing. However, several powerful people (ones who could not allow the full picture of the family’s deeds to come to light) had the family split up, so the truth was sealed away, never to be found.
FeTUS knew Kurosaki owned a few remote islands in the Seto Inland Sea, but it was unclear if those were being used.
In the current age, it was never known who owned what. It could be a politician, a corporate executive, or an unknown individual. The investigation would never reach those islands even in a hundred years.
No one would ever learn that one of them contained a villa equipped with a cruiser dock and a lodge.
“Hey, we’re out of syrup. Are we heading to the mainland to shop again, or what?”
That said, life in a remote island villa came with plenty of inconveniences.
The redheaded girl named Enju stepped out of the lodge. She had been preparing some yogurt as a snack, but she had panicked up finding they had nothing sweet to flavor it with.
The island was warm and comfortable enough to live on, but shopping was still an issue. The shortest route was to Okayama or Ehime, but even that was 40 minutes. And with how long it took the cruiser to get going, they had to plan for at least an hour. The gold bars they had taken with them were enough to live comfortably for 100 years, but converting that into cash that could be used at a supermarket was not easy.
The Bioroid Enjus who had defended the mansion could cover that 40 minutes with ease, but the Enju that had left the mansion with them was the original, not one of the Bioroids. She was the same unmodified demon that Lilith had created her as, so she lacked that athletic ability.
But she needed syrup. Hoping to send the cruiser out, she called over to the two beach chairs out on the sand.
A man and a girl in swimsuits were lying on those two chairs.
“We have cookies and other sweet things, so just use those instead.”
Using the cruiser was a pain, so Shuntarou, who was lying on the right, responded without even removing his sunglasses.
He looked like a giant blob of fat lying on top of the chair and he was reluctant to get up anytime soon.
That man never did anything once he decided it was too much effort. Enju shrugged in exasperation and went back inside to search for the cookies he had mentioned.
Shuntarou looked to his left.
“So we’re out of syrup, are we? Riselle-chan, do you want anything sweet?”
Riselle, who was wearing a very skimpy micro bikini, must have dozed off because she mumbled a bit before answering.
“No, I’m good.”
She rested her weight in the chair like she was mimicking Shuntarou to her right.
It was hard to tell in her usual loose-fitting clothing covered in lace and frills, but the lines of her stomach were left exposed in the micro bikini.
She was not as round as Shuntarou, but she was showing a bit of a belly there.
“Then would you prefer something sour?”
Shuntarou lovingly rubbed that belly.
He rubbed it as gently as could be with his expression hidden by his large sunglasses.
“I wonder what that Adam boy – Fujita Mutsuki-kun – will do from now on.”
“Ha ha. It wasn’t that long ago that I honestly didn’t care at all if the world was destroyed, but as soon as I found out about this, I found I care an awful lot about the future. Humans sure are selfish.”
He removed his hand from her belly.
“Pretty sure you’re way more selfish than most people,” said Riselle.
“You have a point.”
Riselle then reached gently down to her stomach like he had done.
“I really don’t think his decisions are going to make that much of a difference,” she said.
“Yes. Whatever happens to the world, you can always find happiness just about anywhere.”
She looked toward the sky in the direction of the mainland.
“Isn’t that right, sister?”
In the sanctuary at the deepest depths of FeTUS, the grassy field hologram was off today, leaving the room in darkness. Ren, aka Lavriel Baran, sat alone at the white wooden table.
The 12 monoliths modeled after playing cards seemed unhappy.
“Is Miss A out today?”
“My teach-…Miss A has decided to retire,” replied Ren. “I have been chosen to replace her. From now on, you will be dealing with FeTUS Witch Miss B, Lavriel Baran.”
An uproar ran through the monoliths.
The volume of their voices was kept low, but she could tell they were shouting complaints into their microphones.
“You’re just a child!” “We already had one traitor from the Baran family!” “Why didn’t Miss A inform us of this decision!” She could imagine what they were saying without even having to listen.
“Try to calm down. This will have no effect on our business. Miss D and I are enough to keep FeTUS running,” Ren said calmly.
“But you can’t spring such an important change on us like this,” said one.
“Can we even trust you? I want to hear this from Miss A herself,” said another.
“First she demands all our countries suppress that information and then she leaves without even a ‘thank you’?” said a third.
Once dissatisfaction erupted like this, only time could calm them back down. That was as true of elementary school students as it was for a collection of well-known corporate executives.
Miss D was standing behind Ren to support her and the woman gestured to ask if she should cut off the connection for now. Miss A had always cut the connection to forcibly calm them.
As their new leader, Miss B tried to figure out what she should do.
A few seconds passed.
And then she slammed her fist against the table.
Young Miss A never would have made such a violent act, but it silenced the monoliths well enough.
“Silence, the lot of you. If you don’t like it, then leave.” She had always made sure to speak in the dignified fashion of a knight, but now she let her tone drop to a low growl. “I didn’t call you here because I wanted your advice. I’m letting you know what the deal is. I’ve done that now and I don’t recall asking for any questions.”
“What? How dare-”
She already knew they were going to take offense at being spoken to that way.
“I’ve said what I wanted to say. Leave.”
So she gave a command before they could.
The 12 monoliths were shocked into silence, but before long they started again with the complaints: “Is that any way to talk to us!?”, “No child talks to me like that!”, “The Baran family has no right to…”, and so on.
She silenced them again.
They continued muttering complaints, but one after another, all of the monoliths vanished.
Once the room was dark once more, the grassy field reappeared.
Miss A and Schwarze sat across the table from her. Machina had not been called back here since her move, but the other 4 Witches were gathered here.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so angry,” said Miss A.
“Are you sure you didn’t snap too quickly there?” said Schwarze with a piece of hard candy in one hand.
Schwarze’s comment was enough for Ren’s shoulders to droop.
“Waiting a beat longer would have been better, but that was still well done for a first try,” said Miss A. “Most of them were weighing us against Kurosaki, so now that Kurosaki has fallen, we can prove our strength by coming on a bit strong.”
She had Miss A’s approval, but…
“That wasn’t some calculated move on my part. They really did just piss me off.”
Ren felt like she had a lot of room for growth.
Those monoliths were actually some of the most powerful people around the world. Just like the Kurosaki family, most of them would be indulging in illegal forms of entertainment on their days off.
After the trauma Ren experienced at the hands of the Kurosaki family, she felt nothing but disgust for those people. Her outburst had been an emotional act.
“There is nothing wrong with that. You experienced something horrific, but you are using that to fuel your own strength instead just moping around. You will overcome it more quickly that way.”
“Although your sister Riselle is using that same sort of strength to escape us, so that is an amusing little irony.”
“…I suppose so.”
That made her feel a little better, so she managed a bitter smile.
“How long are you going to obsess over those five days?” asked Schwarze. “If you use birth control, sex is no more than a form of exercise. No one likes someone who’s stuck in the past.”
“Shut up! It’s not that simple!”
She even had enough energy to snap back at Schwarze like that.
“If you’re feeling traumatized about sex, why not just go ask Fujita to fuck you silly? He’s thorough, he takes his time, and he really knows what he’s doing, so ask for two or three days with him and he’s all you’ll be able to remember when someone mentions sex.”
“I-I can’t do that. He’s like a little brother to me.”
“Oh?” cut in Miss B. “But you sure seemed to enjoy it when he had sex with you before, Miss B.”
From there, it devolved into a three-way argument.
Miss A had left those three in charge of FeTUS, but this childish side of them worried her.
The stuffed rabbit sitting on her lap turned its red eyes toward the sky like it did not care.
The grassy field at the bottom of FeTUS was a recording of an especially pleasant day as seen on the surface, but not even that could compare to the blue sky as seen from above the clouds.
Between the blue sky and the vanilla-white clouds was a space wrapped in a never-ending light brighter than the sun yet also gentle.
After leaving the night sky, that light dazzled Micha, making her blink.
“I’m back, Dominion.”
“Don’t just leave like that. You were ordered into house arrest.”
“Yes, yes, I know.”
She brushed off that complaint while approaching her manager.
Dominion was a cocoon-like angel with 6 pure-white wings gathered around himself. He spread out one of his wings as requested. It contained a bright light similar to Metatron, but the wing seemed to serve the role of a physical hand.
A small wooden box sat atop it.
“Rapha, bring us some glasses.”
“They have been washed.”
Micha had the 6 cans of beer she had returned with as well as the two glasses Rapha had carried over.
Once she was ready, her body was dragged inside the wooden box.
It was small enough to rest on someone’s palm, but she still fit inside. Either it had grown or she had shrunk.
The interior was a dark space cut off from the divine light that filled heaven.
Lilith was floating in that space with one of her eyes shut, but then she noticed Micha’s arrival. A plain wooden table and chairs appeared from the darkness between them. Micha set the glasses down on the table.
“Lilith, I got my hands on something nice, so how about a drink?”
“Is it wine?”
“Nope, it’s beer.”
“Made from wheat? No, thank you. I only drink wine.”
“There’s nothing wrong with wheat. C’mon, drink it.”
Micha filled both glasses.
Lilith was not insensitive enough to refuse after it had been poured, so she reluctantly picked up one of the glasses of a foaming yellow liquid. They clinked their glasses together.
“Ahhh, that’s the stuff.”
“Ew. It’s so bitter.”
Micha chugged her drink, but a blatant grimace appeared on Lilith’s beautiful face.
“This wheat drink has such a foul flavor.”
“Hey, stop dissing my favorite drink.”
Micha started on a second drink right away. She opened the pull tab and drank directly from the can instead of using the glass.
“Didn’t Avalon like beer?”
“Avalon was perfect as a man, but there was something wrong with his taste buds. …I really thought I was going to die when he fed me his experimental dishes which he claimed were highly nutritious.”
“Ha ha. Well, I can’t imagine the beer back then was very good.”
Micha laughed bitterly and decided to stop teasing Lilith. She pulled out a brandy she had brought with the beers and poured it into Lilith’s glass.
It was not wine, but it was still made from grapes. Lilith seemed pleased with that because she obediently drank it.
The two of them enjoyed their drinks for a while.
But just as Micha reached for a third one, something occurred to her and she stopped.
She decided against a third can of beer and instead just swished around what remained of her second one.
“Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Mutsuki-kun didn’t choose us.”
“The boy has no eye for women. He might be a reincarnation, but he is still only a child.”
Micha’s expression brightened as they discussed the boy.
So did Lilith’s.
“I have not given up,” said Lilith.
“I can escape here at any time once the boy has a change of heart. And even if he does not, I can wait another thousand years and meet the new reincarnation. Avalon will be mine eventually.”
“Is that so?”
“You will not best me next time, Lucya.”
Micha chuckled at that familiar name.
She felt more comfortable with Michael now, but she had gone by that name a very long time ago.
“Well, I’m with you for another 1000 years.” She set the empty can down on the table. “We are friends, after all.”
Lilith set down her glass as well.
The can and glass bumped together, producing a terribly awkward sound.
It was 8:30 in the morning.
Mutsuki, Ange, Lucia, and Machina rushed up the hill as the bell rang. They walked through the school’s main gate for the first time in half a month.
“Pant, pant. I-I’m no good at running.”
“We’ve barely run at all. You’re pathetic.”
“Well, I’m not a wild boar like you are.”
“What did you say!?”
Lucia could pop in anywhere without warning, but he apparently had trouble with ordinary running. He was already out of breath and Ange’s breathing grew heavier as he provoked her.
Those two and Mutsuki were jogging toward school in a bit of a panic. They were very close to being late.
Machina alone walked calmly toward the gate in order to slip through one second before it shut.
“I-Ibekusa-san, I know this is kind of your ‘thing’, but could we maybe leave a little earlier starting tomorrow?”
“Hm? If you say so, Fujita-kun.”
She knew they would arrive just barely on time, but it was bad for his heart.
He had wanted to walk to school with her since they were living together now, but deferring to her schedule had been a mistake. He felt a cold sweat as he ran through the hallway and toward their classroom.
“Good morning, Fujita and Miss- no, I mean Ibekusa.”
“Good morning, Senpai.”
They happened across Ren along the way.
They only greeted each other, but it led to an uncomfortable silence. His relationship with Machina and Lucia had returned to normal, but things were still awkward with Ren.
He had ended up having sex with his first love and he had still not figured out where to go from there.
That awkwardness would probably continue for a while longer. In a way, that awkwardness was what made Shirohara Ren something special for him in a way that Ange and the others were not.
They said nothing more and went their separate ways since they were not in the same class.
Ange wrinkled her brow and gave her a threatening look as usual.
School was the same as always.
Once they arrived in their classroom…
“Hey! It’s Fujita-kun! And Ange-chan!”
“Satowa and Ibekusa too! Are you finally over that food poisoning!?”’
Saya, Sakae, and their other classmates were there to greet them.
When they had left school in mid-April, the class had been told they were being hospitalized for food poisoning.
“Are you okay, Mutsuki? Did you eat something bad at the cultural festival? I heard you went to the teahouse Kurikara was working at, so was it there?”
“Hold it! Let’s not make assumptions here!”
“Hey, I was only asking questions.”
“Everything we served there was coated in mayonnaise! And mayo is an incredible disinfectant, so he couldn’t have gotten food poisoning there.”
“Are you sure it was food poisoning, Mutsuki? And not – oh, I don’t know – really bad heartburn?”
“Ah ha ha.”
Saya and Sakae’s comedy routine seemed a lot more amusing when it had been a while.
That said, they had barely arrived on time, so they did not have time to enjoy this. Their homeroom teacher, Katsue-sensei, would arrive soon, so they quickly moved to their seats.
Machina sat next to Mutsuki, Lucia sat behind her, and Ange next to him.
The four of them were in their usual seats.
“We really are back, aren’t we?”
Saya and Sakae returned to their more distant seats, but they looked happy that those four desks were finally occupied again.
Sakae glanced over at Mutsuki.
During that half month, he had dreamed that Mutsuki turned into a girl.
“Everything really is back to normal now, huh?”
He spoke a little louder than necessary to shake off the awkwardness.
But Saya did not reply the way she usually did.
Puzzled, he looked over at her face.
“Oh, yeah, you’re right. Back to normal. But…”
She kept glancing over at Mutsuki too.
But she had completely forgotten what she had dreamed. She only remembered having a dream about sleeping with a wonderful person, but she had dreams like that all the time, so it had not stuck with her.
She was focused on something else.
“Something about those four seems off.”
“Well, I can’t really put my finger on it. Um.”
She could sense that something had changed in those four’s lives.
Especially when she looked at the girl poking at Mutsuki’s back from the seat behind him.
“Hey, Mutsuki, you made our lunches today, right?”
“Yeah, I made sure to include as many of your favorites as I could.”
She rarely smiled so widely in the classroom.
Seeing that, Saya could not help but think something had changed about Mutsuki and Ange’s relationship.
But no one could figure what exactly that change was.