It was around ten days since Koutarou’s apartment had been invaded by the girls. During that time, they had stayed around room 106 and tried to get the right to ownership from Koutarou, and to remove their rivals, the other girls. The relationships between them all were extremely poor.
“I apologise, Satomi-sama! I had no idea that you would be sleeping in such a place!”
“…So it was you, Ruth-san. My sleeping habits are pretty bad, so don’t worry about it.”
“Thank you for saying that, I’ll take care that it doesn’t happen again.”
But as an exception to that rule, Koutarou and Ruth’s relationship had been good from the start. Because of this, Koutarou wasn’t angry at her for treading on him when she came to room 106 from the Blue Knight.
“You don’t need to worry about treading on an unintelligent Neanderthal like that.”
“What!? Do you want to try saying that again, Tulip!!”
“I’ll say it as many times as I like, it doesn’t matter how many times you tread on a Neanderthal!”
“You bastard, is that supposed to be a princess’ attitude!?”
“Please wait, both of you! You can’t just fight! Please calm down!”
“Ruth, but he-“
“Your highness!! You can’t really think true loyalty will come from yelling at each other!?”
“Satomi-sama, please! If we cause trouble in this room, we’ll invoke Shizuka-sama’s wrath again! I’m sure you don’t want that either!”
“Please, listen to my selfish wish and leave your anger behind.”
“I understand, Ruth, I’ll do as you say.”
“If you’ve gone so far, there’s nothing else I can do, Ruth-san.”
“Thank you, Satomi-sama.”
“But, I won’t forgive you, Tulip.”
“That’s my line!”
Koutarou and Theia’s relationship not having broken down completely yet was certainly thanks to Ruth. Their relationship was nearly as bad as it could be, just opening their mouth would cause an argument that would soon develop to a fist fight. They were both stubborn people so the conflict would escalate in the blink of an eye. However, because Ruth, who they both had a trusting relationship with was there, they were able to barely avoid a total breakdown between them, she was like a safety device for the two.
“Wait Koutarou, isn’t this unfair!?”
Seeing the resolution between Koutarou and Theia, Sanae was dissatisfied. She was drifting in front of Koutarou with he cheeks puffed out and a pout on her lips.
“If I wake you up, you keep complaining about how I’m too rough and everything, but you don’t complain at all when Ruth steps on you!?”
“In Ruth-san’s case it was a simple accident, wasn’t it?”
“Are you saying you’re dissatisfied with I, the beautiful ghost girl Sanae’s Angel Voice!?”
“Oi, listen to what I’m telling you!”
When Sanae woke Koutarou up, it was generally roughly. Her spiritual powers weren’t precise in the first place and she didn’t pay much attention to how she treated him when waking him.
“It’s rather noisy today.”
Kiriha was cooking in the kitchen, but she separated the dividing curtain and poked her head into the room, looking over the situation with her head tilted in puzzlement.
“It’s got nothing to do with you.”
She’d been treated rather bluntly by Sanae, but she didn’t pay it any mind. She could mostly guess what had gone on in the room from looking over it, the one who understood the antagonism between them all the most was Kiriha, the most adult of all of them.
“Satomi Koutarou, breakfast will be done soon. Could you put your futon away and prepare the table?”
“Sure, I’ll do it now.”
After Kiriha’s appearance, the argument between Koutarou and Sanae naturally died out. That wasn’t necessarily her aim, but she was another factor that kept the situation in room 106 from escalating any further.
At that point, Kiriha and Ruth were already preparing breakfast for room 106. More accurately, since Ruth had only just came from Forthorthe, she was helping, and the majority of the cooking was up to Kiriha. Kiriha’s cooking was basically centred around Japanese cuisine, with the occasional things that were popular with children like Hamburg steak and curry. The meals intended for children were thanks to Sanae’s request, for breakfast too, meals from Sanae’s requests were frequent, octopus shaped sausages and similar were the biggest example.
“Koutarou, Koutarou, eat an octopus next!”
“No, it’s a vegetable next.”
“Eating just the tasty things is bad for you.”
“But I’m a ghost.”
“Aren’t you still a child because you keep saying things like that?”
“Bleh, I’m in my growth period so I need my octopus sausages!”
“You don’t, not at all.”
Sanae was still childish, not just in her likes, but with her personality too. Her request to share senses with Koutarou was one sided, and he thought it was better to teach her, so when appropriate, he would ignore her requests and make sure to eat balanced meals.
“I guess there’s no choice… you’ll eat an octopus last, right?”
Sanae wasn’t satisfied, but if she kept being too selfish, she’d eventually lose Koutarou’s co-operation, so she’d have to put up with it and be satisfied with salad for now.
Just as they finished their conversation, the cooking timer in Yurika’s hand went off. Yurika’s eyes began to sparkle and she abandoned the timer.
Yurika happily tore the lid off of the cup noodles in front of her. Her breakfast were these noodles, in room 106, she was the one with the worst eating habits. Her meals were sweet bread of cup noodles and she ate sweets as snacks. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that her body was made of junk food.
With that, Yurika began slurping her noodles with gusto and the smell of artificial flavourings spread throughout the room. The high class smell of miso soup and pickled vegetables was drowned out by the scent of artificial flavourings with moments.
“…D-damn you, Yurika, you’ve ruined my elegant breakfast…”
“Calm down, your highness.”
“Geez, this is why even your spirit smells of ramen!”
“We really need to get rid of her quickly.”
Theia, Sanae and Koutarou’s resolve to get rid of Yurika strengthened.
“…My my… this makes it hard to keep the balance…”
Gazing at all of them, Kiriha alone continued with a wry smile.
Yurika herself didn’t know that she was in a dangerous situation, after tilting her head at the strange tension within the room she began slurping her noodles again. The girl who’s very spiritual presence smelled of artificial flavourings was completely clueless to both the smell hanging in the air, and the mood. Seeing her carefree acts, the three of them lost their motivation and dejectedly continued eating.
“There’s no helping it…”
“Koutarou, definitely eat an octopus now!”
With the room filled with the smell of artificial flavourings, they wanted something which smelled stronger, so the group’s hands naturally reached for the octopus sausages. Kiriha favoured nutritious food that was good for the body, so the sausages were made with all natural ingredients and they had a strong flavour.
“That’s good, it’s the last one- Ahhhhh!?”
But in the instant Koutarou was about to eat it, Theia had grabbed it with her chopsticks from the side and eaten it first.
“You bastard, you stole my octopus!”
“That was mine!!”
This had angered Koutarou and Sanae, Koutarou was angry because Theia had snatched it when she knew he was going to eat it, and Sanae was angry simply because she couldn’t eat it.
“It’s your own fault, if you don’t take things like that quickly, of course that would happen.”
Theia smirked and ridiculed the two of them. The sausages were put on plates in the centre of the table with the salad, so Theia was right, but just because that was logical, it added more fuel to the fire.
“Damn you Tulip… It looks like I really do need to finish things with you!”
“Awww, I was looking forward to finally eating an octopus!!”
“Ho ho ho ho, that’s why you’re a Neanderthal and a commoner. Hurry up and admit your loss and surrender to me as your leader! Ho ho ho ho ho ho!”
“Y-your highness, you’re going too far!”
Ruth was frantic but too late to stop it and the fissure between Koutarou and Theia grew larger.
To get back at her for her arrogance, Koutarou watched Theia like a hawk, looking for an opening. But Theia was intelligent, and aware of her surroundings, so he couldn’t find a useable opening.
“Then… how about you, Theiamillis-san?”
“The battle of Nagashino.”
“That’s correct, even though you were born abroad, you’ve really studied.”
“But miss, if Takeda’s cavalry really could have been wiped out by the three stage volley, what actually happened?”
“Oh, that’s a good question, Theiamillis-san. Actually, opinions on that…”
Theia had noticed Koutarou watching her and continued to show off her abilities. This was one of those occasions, she faced Koutarou and grinned at him before sitting back down in her seat.
“She just keeps getting worse and worse…”
In the end, it became showing Koutarou her superiority, and that just served to further increase his dislike. Koutarou couldn’t find a weak point on Theia, and Theia couldn’t win Koutarou’s respect. On the surface it was a disagreeable situation for Koutarou, but both of them were far from their goals. After all, the two of them were childish.
“Your highness… Satomi-sama…”
Ruth had noticed this, but she also knew it wasn’t a problem she could easily solve. It was one of those problems which needed time to be solved.
“Just a little more, if they can compromise…”
Both of them were fundamentally honest and kind, but neither of them would give in. That’s why this had happened. For Ruth, who understood both of them, it was a vexing wait.
Compared to Theia’s offensive approach, the other three girls had a much more amicable approach to their invasions. The one being most proactive about appearing friendly was Kiriha.
“Satomi-kun, would you eat lunch with me? I’ve made food for you too.”
Kiriha perfectly hid her true intentions of invasion behind a smile and the behaviour of a high school girl. Her tone wasn’t her usual formal way of speaking, but that of a normal high school student speaking to their friend.
“Whoa, seriously, Kurano-san!?”
“Satomi-kun of all people!? Not Matsudaira-kun!?”
From the natural way she asked, Koutarou was about to agree, but as their classmates started making an uproar, he remembered just who she was.
“Careful, careful. You were taken in by her words again…”
Koutarou mentally breathed a large sigh of relief and shook his head at Kiriha.
“I’m grateful you’d invite me, but I already have plans today.”
Koutarou didn’t have any plans, but it was clear that she was trying to get in to Koutarou’s heart to take room 106. He had no intention of walking into a trap, so he declined her invitation.
“I see… that’s a shame…”
Kiriha didn’t push the matter and easily withdrew. Koutarou thought it was strange, but Kiriha’s ingenuity was shown here. With her head slightly bowed in apparent disappointment, she returned to her own seat and sat down without a word. Then, looking at the two lunch boxes on her desk she let out a miserable sigh, setting off another uproar.
“You’re awful, Satomi-kun! She went through all that effort to work up the courage and approach you!”
“That’s right Satomi! Refusing Kurano-san’s invitation is too much of a waste don’t you think!?”
Kiriha’s act as a girl that was depressed because she’d worked up the courage to go and talk to the boy she liked but was immediately shot down was perfect. Giving everyone around a bad impression of Koutarou.
“Y-you lot, you don’t know what she’s really like so-“
“Aaaahhh!? Are you trying to say it’s Kurano-san’s fault!?”
“Koutarou, what the girl’s really like doesn’t matter! Youth is all about beautiful girls right in front of you! That’s what men are really like, right!?”
Koutarou was surrounded by his classmates in the blink of an eye and receiving waves of criticisms. He finally understood Kiriha’s aim.
“I see, whether I accepted or not didn’t matter! This is why she came to school!”
If Koutarou had agreed to the invitation, that would have been fine, being able to get a good relationship like that would be the best, and even if she couldn’t, she could give the impression they did to the other invaders.
If Koutarou refused however, she could guide their classmates like this and herd Koutarou in that way. If this happened multiple times, it would become even more effective, Koutarou would become less comfortable at school and may hand the room over, or if not, may start eating with Kiriha.
Koutarou had refused the invitation, but it still played into her hands. Moving to Kitsushouharukaze high school was for this terrifying and elaborate plan from the start.
Seeing Koutarou surrounded by his classmates, Sanae made a disappointed face. She was the only one among the invaders that had a truce with Koutarou. Kiriha winning him over wasn’t a good development.
“She definitely is the one to watch out for the most.”
“Who is ‘she’?”
Yurika responded to Sanae’s murmur after slurping down some noodles and then turning to face her, floating in the air nearby.
“It’s Kiriha, obviously.”
“She’s a good person, isn’t she!”
“You moron… That’s her trap.”
Yurika’s surprise made her flinch, sloshing the noodles around in the cup.
“She’s acting as a good person first, but her final aim is to invade the surface. Don’t get taken in, Yurika!”
“Really… I thought she was a good person…”
“I need to tell Koutarou later too. He can’t show any openings.”
From Sanae’s viewpoint, Kiriha was aiming for Koutarou first to make him cut ties with Sanae. Sanae and Koutarou had a truce so would cooperate, giving them a numerical advantage over the other three invaders. To remove that advantage, that would be the natural selection for Kiriha to make.
“Honestly, what would he do if I weren’t here.”
Looking at Koutarou’s classmates, taken in by Kiriha’s scheme, Sanae puffed her cheeks out. In her gaze, friendliness towards Koutarou had started to mix in, but she herself hadn’t noticed that yet. Sanae still called them enemies, in the end they should only have a truce because she wanted to taste food.
“Aah… If this keeps up, I’ll be the only one having a bad time… what should I do… Aaaaahh, I can’t think of anything!”
Finally noticing her own sense of impending doom, Yurika couldn’t think of a plan and just dropped her head into her hands. But ironically, Koutarou and the other invaders had no sense of danger about Yurika.
“Aaahh!? My luuunch!?”
She thought that leaving it alone would probably make it ruin itself, and that thought was probably correct.
Koutarou wasn’t comfortable being surrounded by his classmates so was going to the cafeteria. Koutarou wouldn’t budge even after the invaders appeared, but continuous criticism from his classmates wasn’t enjoyable.
“What an interesting development, Kou.”
“Well, I’m eating here, you can go to the cafeteria yourself.”
“Seriously, you’ve got no camaraderie, McKenzie.”
Koutarou had thought he’d go to the cafeteria with Kenji, but he’d already started eating the lunch the girl he was currently going out with had made him. With no other choice, Koutarou headed toward the classroom exit, but on the way, someone fell in to step next to him and met eyes with him.
“Hohohoho, Neanderthal, how pitiful, being done in by Kiriha and slinking away…”
It was Theia, holding a folding fan across her mouth delicately. Whilst she was waiting for Ruth to finish preparing the meal, she’d noticed Koutarou’s situation.
“Shut up, you worthless princess.”
“Whatever you say in these circumstances, all I hear is the howling of a beaten dog!”
“Damn it, get off your high horse…” Koutarou’s face twisted in displeasure and he walked past her. “Hmm…?”
But in that instant, he caught sight of the meal spread on her desk. It was food from Theia’s home, the Holy Forthorthean Empire. There was seasoned bird meat, bread that used fruit and a seafood soup. They’d all just been taken from their containers that kept them warm, so they still had their flavour.
And there, Koutarou noticed something, this was a once in a lifetime chance to get back at Theia.
Koutarou quickly reached out a hand and snatched the one piece of bird meat not set out and threw it into his mouth.
Because Theia wasn’t with Koutarou around the dinner table, she had completely let her guard down and couldn’t stop him. Koutarou was filled with both this fact and the meat’s flavour as he swallowed it.
“Ah, that was tasty, thanks for the food, Tulip.”
“D-damn you, Neanderthal! Do you understand just what a primitive stealing from the imperial family means!?”
Theia lost her composure in an instant and with clenched teeth stabbed at Koutarou with her fan.
“Y-your highness, calm down please, we’re at school!”
Ruth was troubled by this, Theia had lost her composure and wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings and was waving her status around. If this continued, her official status would be revealed, and interfering with an alien civilisation that there were no diplomatic relations with was prohibited by galactic treaties.
“I don’t… What I do know is that Ruth-san really can cook, well done Ruth-san, it was really tasty.”
“Damn you! It looks like I have to teach a primitive their place!”
“Go ahead and try! A worthless princess like you can’t do much!”
“I said, didn’t I!? I’ll teach you the difference in our status!”
With insults flying between them, the situation kept heating up, their faces were nearly together and they were having a shouting match, just like children. However, this was a dangerous child’s fight that couldn’t be left alone/
“Your highness, Satomi-sama, please, calm down! At this rate everyone will be unhappy!”
“I won’t even listen to Ruth! You really need a good beating, at least once!”
“Just try it, Tulip, I’ll plant you in the school flower beds!”
Ruth was frantic trying to calm the both of them but they wouldn’t listen, just antagonising each other further. It seemed like any second they’d grab hold of each other and start a brawl.
“It’s too late, I won’t forgive you even if you apologise, Neanderthal!”
“Who’d apologise to someone like you!?”
Ignoring Ruth’s attempts, the two finally swung their fists.
Full strength punches hit both of their cheeks, knocking them backwards.
“You can’t, both of you!”
A fist fight right in the middle of the classroom at lunch would cause a large amount of damage. Ruth had failed to calm them but was about to get in between them and separate them before there was any damage dealt to the surroundings. However, in the instant before she did, someone else separated them.
“What are you two doing!? Did you forget your promise with me!?”
Shizuka had separated the two of them and moved quickly to catch their right arms and stop their punches, turning a fierce gaze full of anger on the two. A strong desire to beat the two back in to line burned in her eyes.
“Shizuka, the Neanderthal stole my food!”
“If you’re going to use that as an excuse, then you stole my octopus sausage!”
Seeing the two wouldn’t stop fighting, Shizuka strengthened her grip and their bones creaked.
“Ow ow ow.”
The pain finally stopped their movements.
“I don’t know what you’re fighting about, but the important thing is, you’re going to stop fighting right now, or I’ll stop you fighting for all eternity, whichever you prefer.”
Shizuka’s eyes shone. Koutarou and Theia understood what she was getting at all too well and started to shake. If they didn’t stop fighting they wouldn’t be able to fight again.
“Kuh… Neanderthal, I didn’t lose to you!”
Theia pursed her lips in distaste and opened her fist and looked away.
“Same to you!”
Koutarou also opened his fist and looked in the opposite direction. Finally, Shizuka released their arms.
“Listen, you two. Next time, I won’t ask questions.”
Koutarou and Theia were still looking away but they agreed to Shizuka’s words. The places were Shizuka had grabbed were red and swollen, and they were still painful. With this, Koutarou and Theia had the fact that direct fighting wasn’t an option engraved upon their hearts.
From the incident at lunch time, Koutarou and Theia realised that fighting individually not as part of a contest didn’t help any of them, but their competitiveness towards each other didn’t change. So since the incident had been resolved they waited for a chance to fight without Shizuka being able to blame them. That of course happened after dinner every night, with the games to gain control of the room.
“I thought we could use this game today.”
“Heart Pounding Land Development Fantasia? What’s that?”
“It looks like a game were you buy and develop land to raise your status.”
“Even though it’s aimed at children with the fantasy design, it’s a fairly dark game.”
“Everyone hasn’t played this yet, so it’ll break the pattern of just me being bad.”
“A good idea, Nijino Yurika.”
“But Yurika-chan, it’s impressive you have this, ho-.”
“I saved it from the rubbish.”
“That’s Yurika-chan for you, ho-!”
The game for tonight was a board game that Yurika had saved from the rubbish. The game was company management drawn with dark humour, focussing on the seedy side of company management. It was a game none of them had played, so none of them had any advantages or disadvantages so they all agreed to play it.
“Ha ha, the perfect game.”
“It appears we’re in agreement for once, Neanderthal. I’ll show you the difference between us!”
Koutarou and Theia welcomed a game that would let them have a clear contest. Both of them thought it a good way to settle what happened at lunch time.
“Separate from the points, how about whoever wins out of us kneels down in front of the other?”
“Sounds good! I can already see you crawling up to me now!”
Their competitiveness rose again, and they could only think of how to beat each other, the fight for ownership and the existence of the other invaders completely slipped their minds.
Tonight’s game, Heart Pounding Land Development Fantasia, was played with dice, it was a board game where you bought land and developed it over and over. There was no goal square, moving according to the dice you’d eventually return to the start square. The squares were primarily owner-less plots of land, if you stopped on one you could buy it. But if the plot already had an owner, you had to pay rent and couldn’t buy it. After buying a plot, you could allocate funds and develop it, increasing the rent. These were the basic rules of the game.
To win at this game, you had to roll and aim for squares without owners and not stop on squares that were already owned. Then, when someone couldn’t pay the entire rent and went bankrupt, the remaining players’ places would be decided by what assets they owned. This game required timing with purchasing and developing plots of land, preparing rent money for stopping on other players’ squares, luck with the dice and the player’s management sense. Its fantastic appearance disguised its actual complexity.
“U-uuh, if I knew it was this kind of game, I wouldn’t have got it.”
And when the rules were read out, it was just like everyone imagined, Yurika was awful at the game. By nature Yurika rushed into things, she didn’t have a personality suited for forethought and planning. That personality was demonstrated in how she played.
“It’s because you just bought things without thinking.”
“But if you don’t buy things when they’re cheap, you won’t be able to buy them later, will you?”
“…It’s not some special sale on cup noodles.”
In the opening game, Yurika went around buying all she could, spending all of her money. She couldn’t develop them so her income didn’t go up, but she still stopped on other people’s properties so she had to sell hers piece by piece to pay off her debts, it was a vicious circle.
“Is that why you’re doing well, Sanae-chan?”
“Look, I developed an accessory shop chain.”
Sanae had focussed her funds on industries related to her hobbies and gotten definite results, cornering the market. There was a rule that if you made a chain of similar properties you got a bonus, cutting the cost for Sanae to develop those properties so she maintained a balance between development and her remaining funds.
“I don’t know whether to keep focussed on accessories or also go into apparel, it’s not an easy decision!”
“You’re doing well, Sanae.”
“Fufufu, even you can’t keep up tonight Kiriha, with me, Sanae-chan!”
“Maybe not… Incidentally, if you’re going into apparel I don’t mind selling you my excess at a set price.”
Sanae was playing well, and being able to take properties off of Kiriha made her eyes sparkle. In this game, players were allowed to trade and negotiate, negotiations like this one were an important skill for being able to win and advance,
“Ah, but you’ve probably got some sneaky conditions or something!?”
“I don’t… Just if I were to stop on one of them that you won’t charge me rent, paying rent on a property that was yours just seems stupid, doesn’t it?”
“Hmm, well just that would be fine. I’ll buy them, I’ll buy them! The Sanae-chan brand grows!”
“Then the negotiations are a success.”
Kiriha handed over the deed cards to Sanae and took the money in return, then using that money to develop her own properties. Kiriha didn’t have the luck with the dice that Sanae did, but she was managing her properties well.
Compared to the fairly stable developments of the other three, Koutarou and Theia had extremely unstable developments.
“Tulip will be coming through here soon… If I develop this I can beat her.”
“Neanderthal, just go ahead and try, if you think that much is enough to stop me you’re very much mistaken!”
Koutarou and Theia were focussed on each other, developing their properties around the other’s piece and buying properties near the other’s to get in the way of their developments/ They could only think of defeating the enemy in front of them. Thanks to this their money and properties fluctuated wildly and they walked a narrow tightrope managing them.
“Kukuku, don’t come crying to me later, Tulip!”
“That goes for you, I’ll have you on your knees!”
Koutarou and Theia’s fierce battle continued for a while, their antagonistic feelings towards each other only growing.
The first game ended with Sanae establishing a chain of clothes maker shops and winning. In second was Kiriha, Koutarou was third and Theia was fourth. In last place was Yurika. The three lowest placed had all stopped on one of Sanae’s properties and had a large amount of money taken, ending the game.
The game was played three more times, and the rankings in these games were put together to calculate the positions for tonight.
In first was Kiriha, keeping second in all the games. With her safe management policies and skilful negotiations Kiriha had increased the number of places she could stop safely to include some of her enemies’ squares. She used a play style which made it unlikely for her to lose from beginning to end.
“I lost because I let myself get taken in by your arguments, Kiriha.”
“Thanks to that it finished without you taking rent from me.”
“You were safe on your own and my spaces.”
“If I’d taken rent from you too I’d have won.”
Sanae was second. She had good luck from start to end and every game she built up a large conglomerate. However, her policies were too idealistic and she lost a lot of profit to Kiriha, so it wasn’t stable, putting her in second at the end.
“I used too much money in your places, Sanae-chan.”
“Well that’s your speciality.”
“I think I definitely bought all of the Sanae-chan brand products.”
“Actually, Yurika, you used money on my properties too.”
“You’re always wasting money, huh?”
And of course, a tear stained Yurika was in last place. Her hasty policies and inherent bad luck combined, making her money only decrease. She didn’t use money for developments and only had properties which didn’t bring in money. Eventually the other players’ developments made her have to sell off land and she finally went bankrupt. This happened three times before in the fourth game she finally realised that way didn’t work, but by that point it was too late, and her defeat was clear to see for all.
“Damn it, a draw…”
“And I thought I’d get you to kneel down today for sure… Mnngh.”
Unexpectedly, Koutarou and Theia had the same number of points and were in third place. In each of the four games they kept exchanging their rankings, so when they were combined they had the same number of points. Therefore, the talk of getting someone to kneel before the other went unfulfilled.
“Both of you could only think of the other, Koutarou, Theiamillis-dono.”
“You were in a world of your own, it’s creepy.”
“You still placed higher than me though…”
The others were slightly shocked and had bitter smiles. If Koutarou and Theia had paid more attention to their surroundings they might have placed higher. And that continued now.
“I’ll get you tomorrow!”
“You should prepare yourself, I’ll make you regret opposing a Forthorthean princess!”
The pair’s eyes burned with ill-will towards each other. Where they were, the fight for ownership of room 106 had nothing to do with it. Their feelings were aimed at the opponent in front of them. It looked like the childish fight would continue a little while longer.
At breakfast the next morning, a new conflict arose. It was between Sanae and Yurika, trying to push their carrots off to each other.
“You’re malnourished Yurika, so you can have my carrots.”
“Ah!? That’s not fair, you’re just pushing what you don’t like onto me. You won’t grow either if you don’t eat properly will you!?”
“Well I’m a ghost. I don’t need to eat.”
“That’s unfair, you only say that at times like this!”
Sanae and Yurika were both moving their carrots on to the other’s plate. Sanae’s powers were ill-suited to delicate work, and Yurika was clumsy to begin with so they moved the carrots at about the same rate, never reaching a conclusion.
“Ane-san, we want to eat something, ho-!”
“We want something other than spiritual power sometimes, ho-!”
“Then it looks like the food’s not popular over there.”
“Ho-! The fish is tasty, ho-!”
“A Japanese breakfast is fish then, ho-!”
The Haniwa had started to eat Yurika and Sanae’s untouched fish, clumsily using chopsticks to eat it.
“Aaaaahh!? My fish!”
“Damn it, I was caught up with Yurika!”
With their attention on the fight over carrots, by the time they noticed, the fish had been mostly eaten.
“Ah, sorry, I didn’t think you were going to eat it.”
“It’s Yurika’s fault, she wouldn’t eat the carrots!”
“Why’s it my fault!? You were just being unfair!”
“Well… I apologised but there’s canned tuna and fish cakes. You can have them.”
“Ah, I prefer those, they don’t have any bones.”
“…For being so greedy, you sure are picky.”
Before the conflict got out of hand, the two were calmed by the canned tuna and fish cakes. The two of them weren’t the kind of people to hold a grudge for a long time so the new accompaniment meant the argument fizzled out. The fact that the Haniwa had also eaten the carrots had an effect too.
“Damn you, you’re so persistent…”
“So you won’t give in, Neanderthal…”
On the other hand, Koutarou and Theia’s conflict was much more deeply routed, even now there were still signs of it. They had hold of each other’s chopsticks and were glaring across a plate at each other. On that plate there was an accompaniment, octopus shaped sausages, the majority had been eaten and there was one left. Both were after the final one.
“I won’t lose to you!”
“Primitive, you really don’t understand how foolish it is to stand against a princess!”
If the opponent had been anyone else, Koutarou and Theia would have been able to back down, but with the opponent being someone they held resentment against, they couldn’t simply back down. However, they were terrified of inviting Shizuka’s intervention so couldn’t use force, so they couldn’t attack or retreat, just continue glaring at each other.
“Your highness, Satomi-sama…”
Ruth had thought since yesterday that the two of them fighting wasn’t a good thing. As a servant, she couldn’t abandon the conflict, but whilst watching the two argue, a different thought sprouted in her chest. That maybe this conflict was needed to make a proper relationship between them.
“Has her highness ever argued so fervently with someone else before…?”
Taking Koutarou as a vassal and gaining control over room 106 was Theia’s trial to gain the right to ascend to the throne. If she just wanted the wording to be fulfilled, soothing the two and having the relationship appear to be that of lord and retainer and returning to Forthorthe would be fine. They wouldn’t have to return to Earth again, so there would be no issue.
But for Koutarou to be a vassal in the true meaning, and for Theia to gain the right to ascend to the throne in the true meaning of the trial, a facsimile of the relationship was meaningless. Knowing each others good and bad points, and still serving was a true lord and retainer’s relationship. Actually, Ruth had built that kind of relationship with Theia.
Rather than someone who spouted empty praises and only maintained a relationship on the surface, someone like Koutarou who would clash with their true feelings was more trustworthy. Moreover, Koutarou was from Earth, and clearly didn’t care about her background. It was hard to tell from a glance, but Koutarou had the qualities to be Theia and Ruth’s greatest ally.
From that point of view, it could be said that their first step was a step backwards, but it could also be said that it was necessary to show their emotions. A fight that was too severe would be a problem, it would be troubling if it was enough to ruin their relationship.
“Fufufu, I ate it before it got cold.”
Ruth began to think of it as her duty to stop things before it ruined their relationship, that would surely give the best result. Ruth lost her hesitation.
“I guess it’s fine if it’s you, Ruth-san. Hmph.”
“I’ll overlook it today. Hmph.”
Without knowing Ruth’s thoughts, Koutarou and Theia purposefully looked away from each other. Up until yesterday, it had concerned Ruth, but it didn’t anymore.
“Fufufu, I understand why Sanae-sama likes them.”
So even though it was slightly cold, the food in her mouth was exceedingly tasty.