PHASE 11 - THIS MEAL IS SO YUMMY THAT I WANT TO EAT YOU TOO
Heushac’s house can only accommodate four people, and there’s five of us who are supposed to stay in that house: Rikkun, Heushac, Eliseo, Key, and I.
So I decided to give way and that I will spend the nights in my condo from now on, together with adorable white-haired Key~. Those two and a half men can have their private time at their house and we the girls can have our own here. Case solved.
But for some reason, the air between us girls is awkward. I mean, Key is never talkative and all I can spout is nonsense. Key-chan is a 500-IQ genius and I’m brick stupid. I don’t know if we can have a synergy at all!
She’s just sitting on the sofa, playing games on her tablet all day, all night long. And I’m trying hard to formulate a topic for us to talk about. I can’t handle this kind of silent atmosphere after all…
“U-Um… Key-chan? W-Would you like some tea?”
“That’s the fifth time you asked me that. I don’t enjoy tea. Don’t stress yourself too much, Tiara.”
“...Auu…” I silently cried. “How about playing chess?... O-Or word puzzles?”
Key didn’t look at me, but I can see that she just frowned. It’s like she’s telling me to screw off and leave her alone.
I’ve made a lot of friends out of my classmates, shrine maidens and the Idol Club but I can’t seem to get a grip with this girl...
“How about we talk about your failed love story with Alaric?” Key suddenly spoke.
Slowly, blood pressure went up to my head that made my face red. I didn’t expect her to be so interested in my romantic affairs!
“Y-You don’t have to bring that kind of topic…”
Suddenly there were three gentle knocks on the door.
“Tiaraaaa. It’s me!” It was Rikkun’s voice.
“Oh. Speak of the devil.” Key commented in a monotone. “I think this is fate…”
I hurriedly opened the door and accommodated Rikkun.
He’s holding lunch boxes that contain our dinner. “I bet you girls are hungry. I cooked for you two.”
“C-Come inside, Rikkun. You’ll get cold… Ahahaha…”
I’m glad that he’s here with our food, and now I can’t remove the blush and the smirk on my face. It makes it a lot obvious that I’ve been longing to see him like a loyal dog waiting for his master to come home!
As Rikkun sat beside the busy-gaming Key, the white-haired girl made a comment. “How sweet of you to give Tiara some dinner.”
“I have food for you too. I came here because I’m just concerned about the wellbeing of you guys. Tiara may know how to cook, but she might eat your share of the food too.” Then Rikkun looked at me with his concerned eyes. “I also know that Key will be leaving an odd atmosphere so I went here to wipe that contaminated air off.”
Rikkun doesn’t need to have his <Presage> active to be a good fortune teller. He hits all the points as if he already foresaw this.
I opened the bento box and discovered the real treasure. Baked macaroni with bacon toppings and lots of cheese! This is heaven~
“Mmmmm~” I held my blushing warm cheeks as I enjoy this excellent meal. “...To be able to cook such a yummy dish… It makes me want to also eat you up~”
“What?” Rikkun tilted his head.
“Wha-! N-Nothing! I-I-I said the food is delicious! Ahahaha…” I bit my tongue so that it won’t slip again.
There was an awkward silence between us. On the background, Key is having this uninterested gaze between us too. It’s as if she’s silently yelling ‘Why don't you two kiss already!’
“...Tiara…” Rikkun turned away, attempting to hide his blushing face. He’s even scratching his scalp. “I need your help.”
His tone is serious. I tried to match his aura as I reply with a stuttering voice.
“S-Sure… W-What is it?”
“The Aether Crusade is growing members. There’s currently ten of us, and there have been a lot of Gate Guardians filing their application form. And there is the Gate Guardians Tournament, and also the investigation about a Cursed Guardian stealing the God Core of Mars. I… I think I can’t do it all alone… So I need your help… I need you… to become my secretary…”
The way Rikkun said it, it feels like an engagement proposal. It’s music to my ears that he chose me to be her personal assistant even though there are a lot of people who are a lot more reliable than me…
“A-Are you sure?... I’m a klutz and I can give you some headache sometimes if I failed to do something right…”
“O-Of course I’m sure that it has to be you! There’s nobody else I can think of!” Rikkun said in full tsundere. It brings a smile to my face.
“...I accept.” I said with a blushing smile as I held both of his warm hands.
“T-Thanks! I couldn’t be happier!” Rikkun smiled. Sparks fly in my mind, and my stomach is full of butterflies. I would give up eating for two months just to see his smile for a second.
I suddenly remembered something that I have been longing to tell him…
“Ummm… Rikkun… I also have a favor to ask you too…”
Rikkun’s face became serious and his attention was now focused on the words that will come out of my lips at any second.
I think it’s embarrassing to say it when he’s having that glare at me, so I looked on the ground to evade his gaze.
“I… I want to join the Gate Guardians Tournament. Because I want to see my father. Diadem told me that my father is watching me. I want to gain exposure so that I can have a chance to speak my feelings out loud. I wanted to tell him that I’ve been longing to see him. So please…” I bowed with full respect to Rikkun not as a close friend, but as the leader of Aether Crusade. “Please let me join the Gate Guardians Tournament!”
Suddenly, a gentle warm pat slide unto my head.
“I’ll support you for whatever you wanted to do. So stop overreacting. If you want to kick some Gate Guardian ass, just do it.”
“I-I didn’t mean it like that!” I shrieked with my strawberry cheeks. “I don’t like fighting that much. It’s just that… I can’t think of any way to find my father.”
“I told you before, remember? I will help you reunite with your family. I won't deprive you of your liberty to join the tournament.” Rikkun continued to smile like an innocent kid.
“...Rikkun…” I held my throbbing chest. “Thank you…”
After Rikkun left, I washed the dishes and then prepared my bed. There’s only one bedroom in this condo unit, but the bed is quite spacey. Key is just watching me prepare it like an obedient puppy. She looks so adorable that I want to hug her on her sleep~
“Key-chan… Is it okay for you if we sleep together?”
“Fine by me.” She said with a poker face. Then she jumped to the bouncy foam.
For some reason, a picture that has been hidden inside my pillow got ejected and flew to Key’s lap. I was about to shift to adrenaline mode to snatch that photo away, but I’m too late!
“...Is this from your Idol Club concert last year?” Key tilted her head as he stared at the picture.
“Y-Yes.” I bowed.
That photo contains me on my pink maid idol dress and Rikkun on his casual blue hoodie. We have this hand-heart gesture together that makes it so sweet.
Every time I gaze at it, those sufferings I got from seven million timelines fade away from my memories and be replaced by the happy ones. In fact, that photo holds the memory of the happiest event of my whole life.
Well, that happened a year ago, back when everything is well and everyone is alive and happy.
“Rikkun had the same copy of this photo on his wallet.” Key commented.
Did Macho Steel- I mean, Mr. Kent printed two copies and sent one to Rikkun? If Rikkun is keeping a copy back then… Does that mean… He already loved me from the start?
“If you love him back, I think you have to confess sooner. I heard him and Heushac talking something about joining some kind of priesthood…”
That’s the only word I muttered before fainting.
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