June 7th. Saturday.
At last, the day of the Saegusa festival has come.
What will be the impact of yesterday’s sudden evening shower?
Today’s temperature is 21ºC1. Under the shade to protect from the heat of these last days, dressed in casual T-shirt and jeans, it feels a bit unpleasantly chilly.
“Mister. One try, please.”
“Thanks for your patronage.”
Receiving in payment two 100 yen coins, I was handed in return two paper fishing rods with a W-shaped hook.
I wonder, why are we blessed with this cool weather.
In the usual yearly hubbub of the Saegusa festival, Youhei’s yo-yo fishing booth seems to be unexpectedly popular.
Customers are mainly elementary schoolers accompanied by their parents, but surprisingly there are lots of female middle school customers of age no different from ours.
Despite that. At first glance it seems there aren’t any that fit our desired stats―
We have yet to fulfill our original purpose.
“Ugaaah!? There hasn’t been even one customer with a skirt!?”
At midday, when no customers came.
Having reached the peak of his anger, Youhei, beside me, vented his dissatisfaction.
“Well, the temperature has dropped eight degrees2 since yesterday. Isn’t it obvious that miniskirts-wearing customers won’t come?”
“Ku… Why, if yesterday it was awfully hot, how did today became cooleeeeer!”
“I wonder about that too…”
“Girls are girls! They had to come, all of them in trousers just because temperatures have slightly dropped! Don’t you lot have any pride!?”
“… What pride.”
Not being able to follow the nonsensical contents of his speech, though I still could understand Youhei’s feelings.
The carefully planned plot to see pantyshots was obstructed by the uncertainty of the luck factor from the weather― On that, I have to agree.
“Chiharu… I will take revenge!”
“Why so sudden.”
“I’ll smash all those girls that raise the set temperature on the classroom’s air conditioner on a whim without reading the mood!”
Oh, Lord. Forgive Youhei, who has somehow strayed.
I dare say, under extreme circumstances where he doesn’t know if he’s angry or mad at someone, his feelings are in disarray.
The talk steadily progressed on a totally unrelated direction.
“Darn it. Why do girls overcome boy’s opposition to rise the temperature of the air conditioner, I wonder.”
“Don’t you know!? Don’t girls and boys feel temperature differently?”
“Moreover, what’s with that girl-oriented fashion that adamantly makes them dress scantily? By dressing scantily, not saying how can they protect against cold with that minimal blankets, isn’t there something called etiquette?”
“What you’re saying, well… I don’t really get it, but…”
At least, that doesn’t have any relation?
“And you say that being very hot is not enough reason for boys to attend classes naked!!”
“How much more will you stretch that topic?!”
“… That’s all. My bad. I got carried away.”
“Yep. No problem.”
“Let’s cool our heads by changing the mood. Chiharu… While I’m away buying some drinks, I’ll leave the stall in your hands.”
“… Are you sure? While I’m manning the booth, couldn't a girl wearing a skirt come here?”
Youhei, with his hands on his hips, let out a magnificent laugh,
“Gahahaha! Don’t worry about it. Chiharu… Without regard for all the pretty girls around you, you decided to stick with me. That made me really glad.”
“That’s why… Even if you hog all the pantyshots from pretty girls, I won’t resent you.”
I unconsciously let out filled with admiration.
As I thought, this guy is unshakable, I feel a mysterious sense of security when I’m with him.
In truth, I only came with him because I had nothing better to do…
But since it’s gotten this far, it’s too late to tell him.
× × ×
Right when Youhei left me on charge of the booth.
“Ah. Onii-chan found!!”
When I looked in reaction of that familiar sounding voice, I found the yukata-clad figure of my sister with her eyelids closed in a >< fashion.
“He-hey. Isn’t it Manami?…”
Being greeted by my sister, realizing myself the stiffness of my unnatural greeting, I felt somewhat uneasy.
“Hee. Onii-chan is selling yo-yos in his booth.”
“I’ve told you… Ain’t I helping with a friend’s shop?”
“I know. Ehehe. But, haven’t you done something bad to that friend? I’ve brought the promised friend♪”
Could it be? Not that can’t…
“… Darn, you should stop telling jokes from time to time. It can’t be you’ve conveniently made a friend on such short a―”
As I stopped on my tracks, I noticed the existence of that girl right behind Manami.
… Could it be she’s a foreigner?
She was a striking girl with long straight blond hair dressed in a cute pink yukata. Judging from her height, she didn’t seem to be the same age as Manami.
At that height, I’d even say she’s still in elementary school.
Even lined up with my sister, she gave no feeling of being out of place, she gave off an adult-like impression.
“Eeerm. The… Who’s that child?”
“What~!? Could it be that you’ve not noticed, onii-chan?”
“What should I notice?”
“Isn’t this girl someone you know very well?”
“Don’t be stupid. What blonde acquaintance have I… Other than Iris, there’s no one.”
Seeing my sister’s clear expression of ‘you’ve said it’, a single possibility crossed my mind.
“Could it be you are… Iris?”
Shining golden hair and glittering red eyes.
Now that you said it, she has some likenesses.
… But isn’t it normal not to notice?
She isn't wearing her usual robe, and she let her hair down.
With her eyes lowered, the blonde beauty nodded in embarrassment.
“Fu… Laugh if thou wantst, Tamer.”
She let out a self-torturing smile.
“… Why would I?”
“Someone like me that stems from the noble bloodline of the dragons, so lowly… I look like a human lass… Isn’t that what thou art thinking?”
With a glance of understanding, Iris looked far away.
It seems like Iris is not pleased by her appearance. But since to me it seemed like it suited her, I thought she looked cute.
“I don’t understand the circumstances very well, but… Unless you hate that look, isn’t it fine?”
“Si-since I like this kind of look…”
When asked, Iris, averting her gaze ended up speaking very softly.
Maybe there’s some reason she can’t tell people?
“About that, Manami will tell you♪”
Manami showed a devilish smile.
Iris, surprisingly losing her composure,
“Hu-human. Haven’t I instructed thee to keep silent about that in particular!?”
“Iris-chan, did you know?”
My sister’s face turned from devilish to demon-like.
“Humans, you know? They are treacherous beings. That’s why. Shouldn’t you not believe in them so much?”
“You really do as you please too much, sister of mine…”
That’s some daredevilry. Not only Zonmi, you even pick fights with Iris…
With this and that―
I found out what lead to Iris coming here.
× × ×
“―And, for that reason, since Iris-chan is too cute, I ended up unintentionally kidnapping her. Tehe.”
“Haah… Why have you…”
After listening to her story for a while―
Manami, heartbroken after the rejection of a date with her brother, in order to heal her heart, she headed to her usual sex toy store (there are several things to tsukkomi, but I spared them so as to let the story go on).
On the way.
It seems she found a girl in front of a stall for the festival looking intently at the baby castellas3 as if wanting some.
To tell you the truth, it is the case that that girl was none other than Iris.
It seems that to someone who has lived up till now in the Netherworld like Iris, food from human world stalls looks very charming.
Since she lacked human world currency, she could do nothing but to be at loss.
And then Manami jauntily appeared. In exchange for treating her to the food from stalls, she asked her to come together to the festival as friends.
Like that, that’s the reason for this situation.
“I see. You bribed her to become your friend.”
“Don’t say disgraceful things! Iris-chan and Manami as of recently do get along really well♪, right, Iris-chan?”
Iris, with scornful eyes, silently averted her glance.
Seems like she holds a grudge due to the recent betrayal.
Being unable to receive endorsement, Manami, becoming sullen, got close Iris and whispered into her ear.
“(… Wait! That’s troubling, Iris-chan! You’re not saying what we agreed on―)”
“(Is something the matter?)”
“(Ridiculous. Surely, dostn’t thee think thou hast tamed me to that degree? The nature of the beings known as dragons is that of superior beings that don’t get attached to humans. They don’t mingle with lasses like―)”
“(Understood. I understand. Then, let’s make a bargain.)”
Manami rummaged inside her bag and took out a beautifully wrapped candied apple.
“(Mmm. What’s this golden shining offering!?)”
“(… To tell the truth, I had reserved it to eat it later.)”
“Hey. What the heck are you two whispering about?”
“… Fu. I can’t but acknowledge it. I’ve spent an eternity together with this human beside me―we’ve been long-time friends4.”
“I have absolutely not bribed her, have I?”
And what was that short give and take interval?
… Be as it may, if I look how happy Iris is removing the wrap and stuffing her mouth with her recently received candied apple, I can guess.
“Witness it! Iris-chan and Manami had become friends before♪”
“No, no. Doesn't matter what you say… I can’t acknowledge it.”
“It wasn’t fraud.”
“Not matter how much I think…”
“How do I put it… If you had to ask someone, it did not have to be specifically Iris. Wouldn’t it have been faster if you had persuaded Zonmi, who lives at home?”
“That, are you being serious?”
“… It would help me a lot better if you lot got along better.”
“Absolutely not! Spending all day long beside that zombie girl! I could easily catch her zombie virus! It could cause a bio-hazard!”
Aah. It’s good that Zonmi is not here.
These snide remarks before the person in question… There’s no way I can tell her.
“… Fufu. What an interesting conversation. Mind if I join?”
A somewhat frigid tone that seemed wrapped in coldness.
Speak of the devil and it shall appear.
In the direction of the voice, there was Zonmi’s figure releasing such a silent pressure that at any time we’d hear a thundering sound effect.
Isn’t this what’s called awkward?
Why among all girls around me… there are lots of these ‘unexpected places at unexpected moments’ ones, I wonder.
“You… Didn’t you say you wouldn’t come to the festival?”
“… Change of schedule. Since today the weather is bearable in the human world.”
“… I see.”
Heavy clouds. Chilly temperature.
Today’s weather that a certain yo-yo balloon vendor called the worst condition, seems to be just fine for ghouls.
“Even so, how surprising.”
As Zonmi spoke with an indifferent tone, the atmosphere was filled with tension.
“Could it be that even the red dragon has come to this place―?”
“With an appearance like that… Judging from appearances, haven’t you got hooked to human world entertainment?”
Said Zonmi with a sarcastic tone.
That glance was filled with clear hostility.
… That’s right. Though those two are currently in a ceasefire, some time ago Zonmi and Iris engaged in battle to make a contract with me.
It may be that Zonmi keeps her guard up against Iris.
Being recognized, Iris hastily hid her candied apple behind her back,
“Kukkuku. Thou seest, thou dostn’t know nothing.”
She dodged it while her forehead was covered in sweat.
However, isn’t it somewhat sad to dodge it with such a clichéd expression!
… Since candied apples are difficult to eat, there’s no other way, though.
“About that, Chiharu… Is the proposition from before still valid?”
“Why so sudden?”
“To tell the truth, since earlier, what kind of thing are those so-called human world ‘festivals’―I’ve developed an unusual interest. ―That’s why, when I was invited by Chiharu before, it made me very happy.”
“… Is that so?”
“Yes. For that reason, let’s promptly go around these booths. Show me around the area, please.”
Zonmi continued with a “… This place is dangerous” in a weak voice.
It seems this girl is worried about me.
“Aah. If you say that―”
“Wait a minute―――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――!!"
As I turned back while grabbed by Zonmi, Manami let out an ear-splitting shout.
“Wait a minute, what the heck!? I really don’t understand this!! Why has the flow gone to the late-comer Zonmi5 hogging a date with onii-chan!! It’s very weird!!”
“Aah. Yup. My bad… Since I’m sorry… Please stop taking out those knives in public.”
At worst, they could report us.
“Then, answer! Onii-chan, who do you want to go to the festival with!?”
“Just to be sure, is there no option of all of us going around together?”
“That is an absolute no!”
“Only that absolutely cannot be!”
These guys… They’ve said it in dubious harmony.
I don’t know if their relationship is that good or that bad.
Well, what do I do?
Speaking from my personal feelings, since going only with Manami is not an option, that only leaves going with Zonmi, but… No doubt, things are not going to be that easy.
If I choose Zonmi here, I feel that soon things will get messy.
No, I’ll affirm it. Things will absolutely get messy.
If I leave Iris and Manami alone with each other, I wouldn't feel at ease.
In some sense, they make the top one and two of the people more lacking in common sense on my surroundings.
Thinking about all of the annoyances around me, it may be better to keep them under watch lest they cause some kind of trouble.
As a result, I’m at a loss as to which option to choose.
“Understood. Then, let’s do this.”
The one who extended a helping hand (?) there was my sister.
“Let’s compete about who can catch the most yo-yo balloons and wager my brother!”
“Is that fair?”
“Wait a minute. Competing, you say… There’s no reason why Zonmi would agree to those ridiculous…”
“Understood. That match, I'll take it up.”
“Why are you so surprised?”
“You sure, Zonmi? Did you agree to those nonsensical terms?”
“No. This time I have to give credit to her. Little sister’s idea is very logical.”
“Where exactly does it have this logic?…”
“Since it’s impossible for the pathologically indecisive Chiharu to choose one of the two parts.”
“That’s right. If we wait for my good-for-nothing onii-chan to make a decision, it’d be tomorrow.”
If it’s about me, they agree magnificiently.
I see. When it comes down to what I’m thinking about, those two know it really well.
“Yosh. Then, we’ll start at the ‘reaaady, go’ signal.”
“The time limit is five minutes. How about making a rule that if the thread we are holding breaks, you can no longer fish any balloons?”
“I mostly accept, but… Isn’t it unfair that you’re on charge for the starting signal? Chiharu, Could you be in charge of the signal?”
“… I don’t mind.”
The moment I answered, they turned their glances into those of battle.
As soon as both of them held their fishing lines, they firstly looked around thinking what balloonstargets should they catch.
How should I say it, Those two were shamelessly excited playing for free…
… Should I ask them to pay their fares later?
After that, as I unmotivately yelled ‘reaaaaady, go’, both of them started their battle fuses.
“Tamer… By the way, can I inquire thee something?”
“Yeah. What is it?”
“I have been curious about it for a while, but… what the heck are those trinkets called yo-yo balloons?”
“Eeeeerm. Could it be that there are no yo-yo balloons at the Netherworld?”
“… Well. At least in my colony they are unheard of.”
The one who answered in place of Iris, was Zonmi, who was fishing balloons with terrific handling.
“However… Speaking from the conclusion, it depends on the area. Since what’s called the Netherworld is pretty big.
Saying it differently, there are cultural differences similar to those in the human world.
Though around the central areas, one’s lifestyle is no different from that of the human world, there are still people who adhere to traditional lifestyles.”
“… I see.”
“By the way, there were where I lived. In my childhood, I played like this.”
While giving that fluid explanation, Zonmi got her fourth balloon of the day.
That manual ability has been polished without waste, it’s not something that comes in a day.
I see. It sure seems that yo-yo balloon fishing does exist at Netherworld.
On the other hand, Manami was slightly behind having just caught her third.
Against Zonmi, who shows a surprising skill on an unexpected field, it seems she’s up to a hard fight.
“There’s no way. If possible, I didn’t want to employ this technique, but… Handing onii-chan to that zombie, as if!…”
“Fufu. What a sore loser. Do you think you can still turn the tables with this difference in balloons caught?”
“That… We won’t know until I try! I absolutely won’t give up till the very end! Ey!”
“!? That technique, could it be…”
Suddenly, Zonmi showed astonishment in front of the unleashed master technique.
Be that as it may, those two are very lively.
“It cannot be. Something like fishing two balloons at the same time… The fishing paper cannot possibly support the weight of the balloons…”
“Fufu. She can’t be catching two at a time! Come on! This little zombie doesn’t understand!”
“… Ku. Don’t talk in a grown-up fashion.”
“Come on. The true showdown starts now! I haven’t been playing with onii-chan’s balls since five just for show♪”
“… Won’t those words raise many misunderstandings?”
Like mistaking it for ‘I’ve been playing ball games with onii-chan since I was five’6.
“Fufu. It seems I have no room to go easy. Should I really go at full strength, little sister?”
“… Mu. What do you mean?”
“Even so, it’s not easy to be a march to me when balls are involved!”
“Th-that technique, could it be―!?”
From here on―I think both of them will engage in a great showdown without giving up an inch.
Perhaps. Surely. I feel.
Why can’t I say it with certainty―
That way. As a result of their absurdly heated up showdown, surely it would be a critical hit if Youhei returned with that timing.
If I told I didn’t expect it, it’d be a lie―
A rose-colored scenery unfolded before my eyes―the defenseless figures of two pretty girls.
Hey, hey. Are you lying?
That usually ridiculously on guard Zonmi that doesn’t even show the p in pantyflash… I’d say, the showdown in front of me may be dulling her awareness.
Her cautiousness had vanished like smoke.
The color was light blue.
Personally, when you talk to me about light blue what crosses my head are panties with light-blue and white horizontal stripes―the so-called striped panties, but of course the straight-laced Zonmi won’t wear that kind of underwear fully aimed to moe.
Better than striped panties, I find these more charming.
The panties that Zonmi is wearing are rare jewels arranged with the orthodox white lace, but here they had an elegant yet oriental―irresistible charm.
If I had to liken Zonmi’s panties to something… I know.
An oasis in the middle of the desert!
For starters, the raw material is outstandingly good, but Zonmi’s pants that don’t forget tidiness as a standard, have something that strikes to the heart of the people of this generation of societal stress.
And then, let’s try looking at Manami.
Though Manami usually is totally erotic and gives off a smell that would draw away a narcotic inspection dog, being like Zonmi before absorbed on the showdown, she doesn’t look like she notices anything this way.
Let’s confess it.
Being rude, I shouldn’t be especially glad to see my sister’s panties when she would show them to me anytime I asked, but… Today is different.
For some reason… In this situation where I can take a peep without the other party noticing, it awakes a tremendously pleasant sensation in me.
Now that I think about it, before, when I ogled Kyouko’s panties in the girl’s toilet, it didn’t arouse such excitement in me.
I’m grateful to you, Manami.
Thanks to you… I could take a step closer to the psychology of eros.
You’ve made me keenly realize that immorality is eroticism’s best spice .
The color was black.
As expected, you may think.
Probably… No absolutely. My little sister, unlike Zonmi, isn’t suited to innocent underwear. On the contrary, attacking me while wearing innocent underwear―the so-called gap-moe is a possibility, but naturally the risk is high.