Chapter 71: Dress Up
Rikka firm is managing a speciality store targeting toward women.
「Uhm, Miharu-oneechan. This, I think this is too cute for me but……」
In the dressing room, a girl is standing bashfully in front of a full-length mirror.
In that place was the figure of Aki who wore a one piece dress.
「There’s no way that’s true you know. It’s really cute」
Miharu’s smiling happily while praising Aki.
It’s not a lie, her true feeling is transmitted, Aki’s blushed due to embarassment.
「I wonder if I really can’t go wearing this as it is ？」
Aki’s looking at Miharu face with upturned eyes.
「You can’t. Since it’s bought by Haruto-san. In addition, when walking outside, it seems that you need to wear a robe on top of it, right？ 」
Though it’s the request of someone who she considers as her cute little sister, Miharu’s shaking her head while chuckling herself.
After this, Miharu-tachi decided to eat lunch in the prominent restaurant in this city.
Preparing for the time when he’ll be visiting Almond bringing along Miharu-tachi today, Rio has booked a seat beforehand.
From the fact that they usually almost have no chance for a trip outside, he wants them to enjoy this moment even just for a bit.
From that kind of thinking, the quality of the meal is a must, the meal must be in a private room where they can enjoy the meal without being involved with boorish fellows during the meal so, he’s booking the private room seat.
Even so, the only problem was the dress code.
It’s not too harsh since there’s also the guests who is travelling incognito, though there’s no way Miharu-tachi will turn away if they’re wearing Rikka firm brand clothes, Miharu-tachi have nothing but everyday clothes with a mind to wear it every day.
It’ll feel mismatched if they wear those clothes when they’re going to such a high class restaurant.
Masato and Rio, the male team aside, it’s not Rio’s real intention to make Miharu-tachi feel embarrassed.
That’s why, due to that problem, in this occassion, somehow or another, Rio told them to looking for a little formal dress for Miharu-tachi.
Miharu-tachi is also a girl.
Though it’s not like they want to dress up more than necessary, they want to at least wear a dress suitable for their age.
in contrast to Rio who say that they can choose the dress they like when he considers their feelings, they’re not feeling guilty and instead they feel grateful and happily choosing their dress.
For that reason, while Miharu-tachi’s, choosing each one of the dresses that feels good for outing she while feels gratitude to Rio.
Beyond Miharu’s expectation found a white one piece that is to her liking, and was wearing it right after purchasing it.
Next to them is Aisia who’s standing absentmindedly while wearing a black one piece dress.
Though Aisia could knit her own dress to her liking in her favourite style, she’s also purchasing a dress for personal use.
Miharu’s the one who chose that dress.
To that Aisia who’s standing still absentmindedly in the store even when she told her to buy the dress, Miharu led her by the hand.
Incidentally, the cloth knitted by Aisia is made by knitting mana and odo, it will change into it’s spirit form along with Aisia when she’s entering her spirit form.
Though Aisia and Miharu quickly found the dress to their liking, Aki and Celia was having a difficult time in choosing their dress.
To be exact, though Celia’s losing her interest after finding several candidates, Aki’s having a difficult time in choosing the dress that she is not used to seeing, was the correct way to say their situation.
Celia aside, Aki had never even wore formal dress for this kind of occasion.
Unable to endure when she’s looking at that Aki, Miharu was helping Aki to choose her dress.
Naturally,though Miharu also have no experience in wearing this kind of dress, the image that is suited for Aki is known very well by her due to their longtime relationship.
When choosing what kind of dress that will be suited for Aki, she decided to get the help of the employee for changing clothes in the dressing room.
Thus they arrived in their current situation.
「But, does it really look good？」
Aki muttered as she’s looking at her dress that was dressed up.
「What’s the matter？」
Miharu’s asking as she guessed the slight change in Aki’s mood.
「This dress is quite expensive, right？ I already saw the clothes of the people who’s walking in the city, it seems that our dress is quite in high quality even for the level of everyday dress……」
Having coming to this city, Aki felt that the dress of the people who live in this city is way more crude than their own.
Fundamentally, the commoner’s rarely purchasing something like new clothes, they’re recycling the clothes that they can’t wear anymore, many of them wearing the clothes that is already used by someone.
To sum up, even the cloth material of Miharu-tachi’s isn’t more superior just because they buy it in Rikka, it’s because the cloth has been used several times.
Due to the mix and match for who know how many years with such few clothes, the traces of mending and fraying in all over the clothes stands out, that’s how there’s so many people wearing slightly dirty and ragged clothes.
Moreover, in comparison to everyday clothes of Miharu-tachi is refined by design and material, it’s appearance is also like a new item.
Though they learn to cover their whole body with a simple robe when walking outside, otherwise they’ll be mistaken as rich people when taking off their robe.
Though they’re wearing clothes that are casually supplied up till now, when arriving at this place, Aki understands how blessed their own lifestyle is.
And then, perhaps due to this part, she’s suspecting that they’ll have an earth-shattering lunch than the usual lunch, her heart suddenly seethed with a regretful feeling.
「Uhmm…….. We’ve a comfortable lifestyle without lacking anything thanks to Haruto-san. Even I am feeling guilty when I’m receiving even more of this kind of luxury」
Miharu said that as if noticing Aki discomfort.
「I think so, Miharu-oneechan’s working for our part too right？」
「Uhn. Because I only do what I can do……」
Miharu shakes her head while smiling wryly.
Miharu’s assertively volunteering herself for cleaning the house, washing and, cooking.
The morning, she’s rising earlier than anyone, no one will do the housework if there’s no Miharu during Rio’s occasional absence.
Thus, though up till now she is somehow feeling due to the normal standard living when she’s still in Japan, it feels so vivid when she comes to another world, even Aki’s starting to think in this way when they come to this city.
「There’s no way that’s true you know. Me or Masato couldn’t do something at all. We feel relieved since Miharu-oneechan also came to this world」
「I really didn’t do anything at all you know. Everything is thanks to Haruto-san」
「Though I don’t think so, even so, I’m really trembling in fear whenever I think if we didn’t meet Haruto-san」
Aki’s slightly trembling in fear whenever she thinks about the time when she almost turned into a slave.
「Uhm…….. I wonder why Haruto-san’s going as far as this for us？」
Following that, Aki’s suddenly asked that question.
Miharu’s eyes flickering and then muttering「Eh？」 while looking at Aki. 」
「I mean, there’s no reason to go that far to help us. That’s why, I wonder why did……」
Aki explained her reason with a slightly bewildered voice.
「Isn’t that because Haruto-san is a kind person」
Miharu told her reason without hestitation.
「So Miharu-oneechan’s thinking like that about Haruto-san……」
「Yeah. Yeah but………. You also feel that way toward Haruto-san don’t you？ 」
Miharu’s asking with a slightly amazed expression.
「Uhn. I never thought in such a way, but. How should I say, somehow I just can’t understand Haruto-san……」
Aki’s hanging her head as if averting her eyes from Miharu and muttering the last part in a small voice as if hestitating.
That’s right, she knows for sure that Rio’s a kind person.
That’s alone is doubtless.
But, for some reason, she feels that she’s stubbornly drawing a line to Rio.
Maybe because she’s sensitive to distance between people, or his vast personal space, in some respect there’s an area that’s hard to invade.
Aki-tachi didn’t know about Rio’s previous life nor the past of his current self.
It’s because Rio never talked about that, for some reason, it also seems inexcusable if the question comes from Aki-tachi.
Maybe because of that, despite living together for more than one month, somehow or the other she didn’t feel that she’s being approached by Rio.
She feels some sort of discomfort with the current distance.
Aki felt an indescribable feeling to that action.
「I wonder if Aki-chan is anxious？ About the fact that you don’t know about Haruto-san very well」
Miharu’s muttering those lines while asking her.
When Aki’s looking at Miharu’s face.
「I’m……. anxious？ Miharu-oneechan, what do you think about Haruto-san？」
So she asked timidly.
「Me？ I……. Though tactless, I feel that he’s very kind person. Moreover……」
Miharu’s stopping in the middle of her sentence.
When Aki’s asking.
「Uhm, you know. I-I know it’s a bit strange for me to say this but, promise me that you won’t be angry okay？ 」
Miharu was talking timidly as if waiting for Aki’s reaction.
Aki’s tilting her head with confused face.
「Somehow, Haruto-san is similar to Haru-kun……」
Miharu’s muttering in a low voice.
When those words reach Aki’s ears, her expression turned to a surprised expression.
「W-What do you say？ That has nothing to do with this doesn’t it！ 」
Aki said that while raising her tone.
Maybe because something happening so suddenly, the surrounding people who noticing that was looking at Miharu-tachi, the flustering Aki was bowing her head as if apologizing.
The attention of the surrounding people is leaving Miharu-tachi.
「Hey, Miharu-oneechan. That person is someone who you don’t know whether you’ll meet again you know. Till how long will you remember that that person ？ I mean he might be not even remember you anymore, Miharu-oneechan」
Aki’s speaking in a talkative manner with a bit of a blaming tone.
It’s been extremely long time since Miharu’s talking about Haruto.
Though the reason is because of Aki, the topic about Haruto has become something like taboo.
Though recently Miharu was talking about Haruto.
Aki’s wondering what will make her[Miharu] to change her mental state.
But, Aki’s convinced about one thing.
The existence called Amakawa Haruto is still remaining in the heart of Ayase Miharu.
「You’re, right. I’m sorry. I’m just suddenly saying strange things」
Miharu’s apologizing as if deeply regretting it.
「No need to apologize please……」
Aki said that while averting her face.
And then, in that place.
「Haruto truly does care about both of you」
Aisia, who was maintaining her silence from the side was speaking to them.
Blinking her eyes, Miharu was calling Aisia’s name.
She’s looking at Aisia who just suddenly entered their conversation.
「But, Haruto’s scared. About what will happen when he exposes his true identity. He’s ashamed by his own unsightly self」
While Miharu-tachi’s perplexed, Aisia continued to talk with her seemingly indifferent tone.
Miharu-tachi was unable to grasp the true meaning of her words.
It’s kind like, What the hell are you talking about.
But, they feel as if she is saying a very important matter.
「It’s okay even if you didn’t like him. But, please don’t hate him. Because that’s what he fears the most」
For whatever the reason is, her way of speaking is resounding deep in Miharu-tachi’s heart.
After saying that, Aisia becomes silent again.
And just like that is staring at Miharu-tachi.
「Why do you say that……」
Aki’s trying to ask with a bewildered expression.
「Thank you for waiting. I’ve decided on this purple colored dress. Eh, what happened？ 」
Celia has returned after changing her clothes in that place.
She’s staring in wonder when noticing the atmosphere that was different from awkwardness in Miharu-tachi’s place.
「Ah, ehm, it’s nothing really」
Aki’s replying with clumsy words.
Aki still couldn’t skillfully use the Strahl region language, and still couldn’t skillfully comprehend by listening to the conversation.
Even so, somehow she can understand what Celia’s saying.
Even though, 「Is something wrong？」since she have not enough conversation skill to explain for Celia’s inquiry, she already answered that nothing happened right away though.
「Is that so？ It’s about time for Haruto to return. Since it’s the long awaited dress up, let’s surprise him」
Celia was talking delightfully.
Though she couldn’t catch the entire matter, she can roughly guess from that smile who Celia’s thinking about.
「Ah, Haruto！ What do you think, does this look good on me？ 」
When that person she’s aiming for appears to meet them, Celia’s smile is enhanced even further.
To the extent that even Aki from the same sex as her is unintentionally fascinated by her smile.
（Celia-san seems to love Haruto-san）
Aki’s vaguely sensing it when she’s looking at Celia’s delightful expression.
Rio’s looking at Celia figure, And said「It’s really suits you. It’s cute」.
Though it doesn’t seem enough for Celia.
（Maybe that’s what Haruto-san feels about Celia-san）
At first, when he brought Celia back to the house, Aki suspected that their relationship is close to that of a lover.
But, Rio seems to purely respect Celia as a sensei.
There might be romantic feeling inside right.
Somehow she came to think that way.
「It also fits you perfectly Aki-chan. Do you like it？ 」
Rio spoke to Aki.
「Ah, Yeah. Thank you very much！ For buying such nice clothes for us」
Aki replied with a faint voice when he suddenly talked to her when she’s in the middle of thinking absentmindedly.
「Don’t worry about it. After this, you can wear those clothes if you need to wear formal. We’ll buy different clothes if your height is growing」
Rio’s smiling as he says that.
Aki replied delightfully to that.
Following that, Aki released a short sigh when she saw Masato’s condition who’s watching with a fascinated face to the figure of Celia and Aisia in their dress from Rio’s side.
「Have you found a good sword for my stupid little brother？」
「Yeah, we found a good sword」
「I’m sorry. You even going as far as looking after my little brother to buy a good item」
Aki’s bowing deeply to show her gratitude.
「No need for that, we were just purchasing necessary items. I was also enjoying the shopping in various stores」
Rio’s shaking his head while smiling.
「Is, that so. I’m glad then」
Aki’s smiling gladly to Rio’s words.
At the same time, Miharu words from a while ago is crossing in her mind.
Rio’s similar to Amakawa Haruto.
Aki was frowning slightly as the vague appearance of her big brother that she saw when she was still a child.
「What’s the matter？」
Rio’s asking with a wondering expression when he notices the slight change in Aki’s face.
「Ah, it’s nothing！ It really is nothing！ 」
Aki shook her head as if being flustered.
「Is that so？ Well shall we leave soon since it seems we’re too conspicuous」
As he was saying that while smiling wryly, Rio’s looking at the inside of the store.
Miharu-tachi who finished changing their clothes since sometime ago was gathering the attention of the other guests and the employees.
There’s also the guest who come to the store with their couple, though it’s especially true to the men who is being charmed by Aisia’s appearance is showered with criticism right in their ears by the girls they’re coming with, it’s apparently showing no effect.
「The outside is cold, since you’ll be standing out, it’s better if you wore your robe」
Before she was aware of it, Rio has put the robe on Aki’s dress.
Aki felt that his worry is just like a real brother.
In that moment, something completely crumbled in Aki head.
While at the same time accompanied by a wild delusion.
But, Aki’s replying vigorously as if to immediately shake that off her head.
（I’m really, stupid）
Aki was smiling wryly.
It’s seems that she’s thinking about something.
Such as the figure of her older brother when she was still a child who she vaguely recalled is overlapping with Rio.
It’s must be because Miharu said that strange thing.
Definitely, it must be because of that.
Aki sighed as her mood slightly went down.