“I’ve been waiting. Now, please come.”
Once we arrived at Aogasaki’s residence, she gave her greetings and guided us to a reception room.
Sitting on cushions surrounding a table, Aogasaki handed out cold barley tea. Outside the view of a balcony, there stood splendid pine trees and cherry trees within a yard, and a glimpse of the dojo could be seen behind them.
“I believe this is the first time everyone’s visited together. This house is old, but feel free to make yourselves at home.”
Unexpectedly, Aogasaki looked normal. She was wearing an overly serious uniform today and displayed her samurai attitude. Her ponytail that reached her back and her ripe G-cup were the same as ever.
(I thought that she would more gloomy, but…could it be that Aogasaki is welcoming the marriage?)
When I glanced around, Ryuuga and the others were confused too, as expected. They had originally walked here while bearing feelings of opposition, but now the situation had come to this.
“Rei. About this marriage…”
Not shrinking away from the subject, Ryuuga readied herself and got straight to the point.
As expected, the protagonist should be the one to lead, but before long, we were met with disappointment. Ryuuga’s courage had lead to nowhere.
…In the end, we were just needlessly worrying.
After hearing about it in detail from Aogasaki, it seems that it’s not actually marriage, but just a “formal marriage interview.” She didn’t intend for discussions to advance any further either.
“W, well…that gave me a shock. When Rei messaged me saying ‘I unexpectedly received a marriage proposal. I have to respond to it,” there’s no way I wouldn’t…”
While making a bitter smile, Aogasaki gave an apology to a relieved Ryuuga.
“Sorry for wording it poorly. It thought that it wasn’t a matter I needed to tell people, so I just sent a short message to you, Ryuuga…but on the contrary, that ended up blowing it out of proportion.”
Once she finished speaking, Aogasaki’s almond-shaped eyes glanced at me for just a moment.
──It’s fine, you’re my favorite, Kobayashi. You don’t need to be jealous. *kiss*──is what it seemed she was saying, causing me to feel overwhelmed.
“Though, that marriage interview is still going to happen, right? Who’s the guy?”
Elmira, fiddling with her wavy red hair using her fingers, asked that while sitting relaxed.
Aogasaki answered after taking a sip of barley tea.
“His name is──Yamanashi Asao. A third year student of Oumei High School, and the current president of the student council.”
“Huh, that King Arthur?”
Upon hearing his name, Kurogame’s eyes widened as she stared blankly.
King Arthur? What person gets that kind of name? Does he carry Excalibur as well?
It seemed that I was the only one who didn’t know, since Ryuuga and the others had the same reaction as the tortoise. Well, I suppose it isn’t strange for everyone to know about the student council president of their own school.
As I listened, it seemed that he’s an ikemen who excels in both literary and military arts, and is also the son of a swordsmanship dojo. “King Arthur” is the nickname that the schoolgirls gave “Asao.”
(Judging by that name, he doesn’t seem to be an ordinary person…perhaps a supernatural ability wielder.)
That name is important. It’s quite obvious after seeing Ryuuga’s and the heroines’ reactions to it.
In addition, he has the appealing position of being the student council president…In anime and light novels, the student council often holds some kind of power. Something that the teachers wouldn’t be able to oppose.
After wondering about what lies within my school…Yamanashi Asao had instantly piqued my interest.
“Can you tell me more about this King Arthur?”
When I made that request, Yukimiya explained this time.
“Yamanashi’s household has a dojo named Getsushiyoukan, which is famous throughout the country. He’s been called a prodigy at a young age, and could have participated in the national competition, representing Oumei High School’s kendo club.”
To think that such an outstanding talent would be in an ordinary school. I suppose that’s the reason why he isn’t taking part in the club. Like Aogasaki, perhaps he’s the kind of guy who would say “It wouldn’t be fair for me to be in the students’ kendo.”
Next, Aogasaki explained who he is. Judging form her disgruntled expression, it’s obvious that she’s not very fond of this King Arthur guy.
“Getsushiyoukan holds twenty branches within the nation with over three thousand pupils, making it a school on the rise. Asao is about to graduate high school next year, and has just become an instructor within the headquarters located in this town…At some point, he’ll probably lead Getsushiyoukan.”
“By the way, between you and King Arthur, who’s stronger?”
Kurogame asked a good question. That’s also something I’m worried about as well.
If he’s stronger than Aogasaki, then it will be a little difficult to take care of the situation. To start with, there’s no need for two sword-wielding characters. If he’s going to be a companion character, then he needs to switch to an axe or something.
…Though, such worries were needless.
“I’ve had matches with Asao countless times, but I’ve never lost.”
“I knew it, Rei!”
The tortoise made a triumphant pose. I also made a triumphant pose in my mind.
“There’s no way I would lose to the likes of Asao.”
“Aogasaki, do you mean to say that…a prominent figure like you can’t afford to lose to an emerging school?”
Elmira grinned as if to tease her. She and Aogasaki are bickering companions. They even ended up having a serious battle when they first met.
“It’s not something as laudable as that. It’s just that he demanded I ‘go out with him if I lose.'” Unfortunately, I have no desire to become Asao’s lover.”
So his attempts to be acquainted with her are through sword matches…It seems this guy is a sword-freak as well.
Everyone else seemed to have a similar impression of him and held pretty sour expressions. Indeed, from the viewpoint of the girls, such an approach probably wouldn’t be that graceful. However, I’d like you to stop giving such a sour expression, Ryuuga. You’re supposed to be guy right now.
“Because of that, I didn’t think he would take a direct approach like a formal marriage interview. Asao’s supposed to have pride as a swordsman, but…”
“Couldn’t it be that he’s come to the realization? That he can’t beat you in the sword, and he’s just a run-of-the-mill person trying to tackle an impossible challenge?”
Considering that he kept losing against Aogasaki, it seems that King Arthur isn’t a supernatural ability wielder.
My interest in Yamanashi Asao rapidly declined. It seems that he’s not an important person. It’s likely that he’s just a guest character.
“Rei. So, couldn’t you have turned down the marriage interview…?
Everyone nodded their head towards what Yukimiya said. The shishi-odoshi in the garden made a clank, as if agreeing too. (TLN: A shishi-odoshi is a tube of bamboo that collects water from a running stream, causing it to topple and create a clanking sound against a solid surface until rising back up to repeat the process)
In the end, the discussions could have ended if Aogasaki had refused. However, since she accepted the marriage interview, we ended up with this extra volume.
“My father──arbitrarily accepted it. He allowed the marriage interview with Asao.”
Aogasaki’s father. To put it plainly, he’s the head of the dojo. A talented instructor and owner of the “Aogasaki Swordsmanship Dojo,” a place with three hundred years of history.
“My father’s been thinking about retiring since his lower back is getting worse…and he seems to be uneasy about the future of the dojo and of his daughter. He said ‘Speak with Asao just once,’ to me.”
“You mean that the dojo might close?! And that it might merge with Getsushiyoukan?!”
Kurogame leaned forward, letting out a high-pitched shriek. Since she’s similarly the only daughter of a dojo, she’s probably more sensitive to these kinds of things than the others.
“I don’t want that! Stop him, Rei!”
“No, my father doesn’t intending for that to happen either. Though he’s worried, he’s decided that I would inherit the dojo. Though…it’s embarrassing to say this but, our dojo isn’t that large by any standard. We currently have only twenty pupils. Furthermore, they’re all children. I understand why my father’s worried about what would happen after he retires.”
“I never would have thought that all of the pupils would be children…”
I unintentionally muttered as such.
I’ve haven’t seen the Aogasaki dojo during lesson periods, so I had thought there were only brawny adult men there. I also thought that they would cross swords as if they were partaking in a bloodbath.
To think that it’s actually just a cozy classroom full of kids…but the fact that there are even twenty pupils goes to show how popular the Aogasaki’s are in terms of ability.
“Though there are only children, I’m not dissatisfied. They’re all upright kids. They’ve inherited the Aogasaki spirit.”
“Someone in my class said that their younger brother goes there! He still seems to be a small kid, but he said that he will marry Rei in the future!”
“Rina, your classmate’s brother is…Keita, right? I suppose that’s another reason not get married with Asao.”
Though she had a bitter smile, Aogasaki seemed cheerful.
Perhaps as someone with huge breasts, her maternal instinct is strong. Thinking about it like that, I guess that Mion makes for a good rival. After all, she’s quite like a mother as well.
There, Yukimiya slowly raised a hand. It was as if she was in school.
“Um, Rei. You said that the only pupils are children, but…when I was there before, I saw someone that seemed like a high schooler.”
As soon as Aogasaki said that, her expression clouded.
I instantly recalled the face Aogasaki made right after the final battle of part two ended.
Even though an “Evil Spirit” had just been defeated, she had an awfully depressed expression while staring at the ground…and I feel that she’s making the same expression right now.
“The only pupil here who had been the same age as me, Tanaka Kazuhiko. A childhood friend of mine, and was a promising figure who led the neighboring town’s Tamahachi company to the national championship.
“I thought so, Aogasaki! Is he stronger than King Arthur?”
“No, unfortunately, he falls short of him. Asao’s ability is far beyond that of a high school level, after all.”
Tanaka Kazuhiko…he’s probably just a mob. No doubt about it, judging by the name.
He’s even in a different school, so he’ll probably be forgotten by tomorrow. The only thing that caught my attention was that Aogasaki spoke in past tense. “Tanaka Kazuhiko was a pupil,” and “he was a promising figure.”
“But unfortunately…he resigned the other day.”
“He’s entering Getsushiyoukan from today.”
“What a traitor that Tanaka is!”
Kurogame made an angry roar while pounding the table.
In response to the tortoise getting mad as if the matter concerned her, Aogasaki calmly shook her head, though there seemed to be a hint of loneliness in it.
“He’s free to study in whichever dojo he wants. Of course, I tried to hold him back, but I couldn’t change his mind. That being the case, I can only respect his decision.”
“Rei…are you fine with that?”
When Ryuuga asked in worry, Aogasaki replied with “Of course.” She then looked at us once more and courteously bowed her head.
“Anyways, don’t worry about the marriage proposal. It’s just a one-time date under the label of a marriage interview. Sorry for causing such a fuss.”
“The battle with the ‘Apostles of Hell’ isn’t over yet. As the successor of the ‘Azure Dragon’ and as a swordswoman of the Aogasaki style, I plan to continue fighting alongside you all.”
──Thus, the matter of Aogasaki’s marriage had quickly settled.
However, this substory probably isn’t over yet.
Yamanashi Asao likely won’t give up so easily after going as far as to arrange a formal marriage interview. Perhaps this matter won’t be resolved until he completely lets go of Aogasaki.
(I’m going to assume that that some turmoil will ensue on this blind date with King Arthur. I’d like to follow them if possible, but as expected, such conduct would be pushing it too far…)
Even if there is a need for someone to intervene, that role should probably go to Ryuuga or one of the heroines.
I’ve devoted myself to playing just a minor role. If they ask me to cooperate, I’ll just show up for a bit and do nothing else.
That’s the extent of what Kobayashi Ichirou should be allowed to do, after all.