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  72. 1 | P a g e
  73.  
  74.  
  75. Table of Contents
  76.  
  77.  
  78.  
  79.  
  80. Cover
  81.  
  82. JK Haru’s Job Hunt
  83.  
  84. Operation Meat
  85.  
  86. Strum the Night
  87.  
  88. No Endless Rain Lasts Forever
  89.  
  90. Operation Nyan-Nyan
  91.  
  92. Woof-Woof (Cat)
  93.  
  94. Kickin’ the Can to the Beat: Put on Donna Summer X ← The man with a face like
  95.  
  96. Endless Rain (Not Chiba)
  97.  
  98. In the Classroom
  99.  
  100. A Prostitute’s Love
  101.  
  102. Scream
  103.  
  104. JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World Spring Kiyori: An Afterstory Special Short Story: Status List
  105.  
  106. About J-Novel Club
  107.  
  108. Copyright
  109.  
  110.  
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  118. 2 | P a g e
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  130.  
  131. Download all your Fav Light Novels from
  132.  
  133. Just Light Novels
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  184. 3 | P a g e
  185.  
  186.  
  187. JK Haru’s Job Hunt
  188.  
  189.  
  190.  
  191.  
  192. The funniest thing that happened when I came to this world was the time I burst out laughing about how they use grass for contraception here and said, “Yikes, do you get high?”, and Madam replied, “You do not,” with a completely straight face.
  193.  
  194. “You’ve never heard of luvya grass?” she said. “Every herbalist around here carries it. You must be from awfully far out in the country.”
  195.  
  196. I can’t believe I got called a bumpkin by someone from a world in which not only are there no internet or phones, much less smartphones, but also no electricity or cars. To all my Tokyo peeps, I am seriously sorry. She totally dissed our metropolis.
  197.  
  198. But in this world, apparently this place is urban. Just a bit ago an orc kidnapped some kids, but I guess this is a big city even with things like that going on just outside it. I’ve never heard of that sort of thing except on The World’s Astonishing News, but okay.
  199.  
  200. Still, I have to get along with these fantasy people from now on.
  201.  
  202. Otherwise I’m orc chow.
  203.  
  204. This is no time to crack jokes—I have to pay attention to what she’s saying.
  205.  
  206. “Before you sleep with a customer, take some of the gooey paste made by crushing this grass and stick it way up inside you. A fingerful is enough. When you’re done, scrape it out along with the cum, clean up, and reapply before the next customer.”
  207.  
  208. Madam was a lady beautiful and mature enough that it made sense to call her Madam, and so elegant you’d never guess she was
  209.  
  210.  
  211.  
  212.  
  213.  
  214.  
  215.  
  216. 4 | P a g e
  217.  
  218.  
  219. the owner of a brothel. It was sexy how she said “cum” like it was nothing.
  220.  
  221. This goes without saying, but she was so used to explaining the process that she didn’t blush or anything.
  222.  
  223. That’s when it sunk in: Man, I’m really gonna be working as a prostitute.
  224.  
  225. “If you don’t know about contraception, have you ever even slept with a man before?”
  226.  
  227. “Yeah, uh, about ten of them.”
  228.  
  229. “Oh, so you’ve been around quite a bit for someone so young. How old are you?”
  230.  
  231. “Nnnineteen...? Just about 20.”
  232.  
  233. “You don’t have to lie, you know. We have girls as young as fourteen working here.”
  234.  
  235. “Oh, I see. Sorry, where I’m from this sort of work is prohibited for people under eighteen.”
  236.  
  237. Madam’s eyes grew large. “And you managed to sleep with ten people despite that! Well, well,” she chuckled.
  238.  
  239. Actually, I was an escort for a little while during middle school. But I quit right away because my friend, who I trusted, tricked me— or I guess I should say, “used me.”
  240.  
  241. Aside from that I only did it with boyfriends, and I was never the type to cheat.
  242.  
  243. Even so, I’ve probably slept with more than ten guys, but eh, it’s a pain to try to remember them all, so ten’s fine.
  244.  
  245. Anyhow, as such, the only job I felt like I could maybe do when I got thrown into this unfamiliar world was sell sex.
  246.  
  247.  
  248.  
  249.  
  250.  
  251.  
  252. 5 | P a g e
  253.  
  254.  
  255. I never thought I’d do this kind of thing again, and I seriously want to tell my mom and dad I’m sorry. But this time it’s to make a living; I don’t have a choice.
  256.  
  257. “Okay. You’re hired. You seem like you’ll be popular. Welcome to Blue Cat Nocturne, Haru.”
  258.  
  259. “Happy to be here!”
  260.  
  261. “I’ll introduce you to everybody, so for today just help out at the pub downstairs. You can start taking customers once you learn our rules.”
  262.  
  263. “Okay!”
  264.  
  265. And so, I became a sex worker in another world.
  266.  
  267. I totally miss the high school life I used to have, but I died and got sent to this world. I didn’t hear anything about a way to get back, so for now I just have to do my best to survive.
  268.  
  269. The high school girl Haru Koyama’s life restarted in a world like a dumb otaku phone game, and she quietly transformed into a working girl.
  270.  
  271.  
  272. That’s the kinda sad way my life at the brothel started, but I got used to it pretty much right away.
  273.  
  274. Every day I waitress at the pub, flirt with and occasionally flash my panties at the customers, sleep with the ones who ask, wash up quick, and get back to the pub. We’re open ’till late.
  275.  
  276. I thought it would be like a soapland back in Japan, so maybe I could just wait around in bed ’till someone showed up, but in this world a brothel is practically the same thing as a pub. Of course, they have normal bars too, but usually drinks and girls come as a set. I mean, I suppose it’s a logical way to get your kicks.
  277.  
  278.  
  279.  
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  281.  
  282. 6 | P a g e
  283.  
  284.  
  285. This world is the middle of fucking nowhere, and there’s a rampaging demon lord, monsters, and whatnot. The city we work in is right on the front line of this war against the demon lord’s army, so there are lots of soldiers and stray fighters, as well as business owners targeting said soldiers and fighters. We’re never hard up for customers.
  286.  
  287. Booze, girls, and the sloppy laughter of men—yes, it’s hopping tonight as usual.
  288.  
  289. “I’m tellin’ ya, there’s no monster my two-handed axe can’t cut. You can ask anyone—they all know it’s true.”
  290.  
  291. “Reallyyy? Wowww! And your muscles are so biiig! Can I touch them?”
  292.  
  293. Even that kind of pointless table chatter earns me some change.
  294.  
  295. And actually, I have my fair share of regulars. Sometimes they take me out for something good to eat. I’m even financially stable enough now that I can buy new underwear with my tips.
  296.  
  297. This month I’m number seven in the sales ranking.
  298.  
  299. Pretty good for a newbie considering there are eighteen girls, right? Well, one is a housewife who only comes in twice a week, and some have day jobs, but still, not too shabby.
  300.  
  301. “Oh, time’s almost up! What should we do? Wanna keep going upstairs?”
  302.  
  303. “Already that time, huh? You’re an interesting kid, but too young for my cock. Later. Gah-ha-ha!”
  304.  
  305. Lately, though, it’s been bugging me that I can’t seem to break through the number five wall.
  306.  
  307. The month I went on sale I did gangbusters, but after reaching five, I’ve been floating around six or seven forever, even on good days.
  308.  
  309.  
  310.  
  311.  
  312. 7 | P a g e
  313.  
  314.  
  315. I’m still new, and I have room to grow, but I was pretty popular in school and have some confidence in my looks. I secretly thought I’d be the one to surpass the five goddesses, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself.
  316.  
  317. ...I guess it’s my boobs?
  318.  
  319. They must be too small.
  320.  
  321. That’s what I was thinking with a frown on my face, wiping down tables, when someone called me by my last name, “Koyama.”
  322.  
  323. In this world, commoners don’t have surnames, unless you count mentioning where you’re from, so there’s only one person who knows my last name.
  324.  
  325. Seiji Chiba.
  326.  
  327. He was in the same class as me until we got transported to this world together.
  328.  
  329. “Chiba, I told you. I’m ‘Haru’ at the shop. Say it right!”
  330.  
  331. “Uh, oh yeah. H-Haru...right. If that’s what you want me to call you, I’ll try.”
  332.  
  333. “So what’ll it be? Is the bar fine?”
  334.  
  335. “Uh, sure. My usual seat.”
  336.  
  337. “Where’s that again?”
  338.  
  339. “I-In the corner.”
  340.  
  341. “Okay. Party of one!”
  342.  
  343. Chiba was his usual nervous self with a weird smile on his face.
  344.  
  345. This city was full of adventurers—people who exterminated monsters and went exploring for a living—and Chiba was one of them. Every time I saw him his face gradually looked more manly,
  346.  
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  350.  
  351.  
  352.  
  353. 8 | P a g e
  354.  
  355.  
  356. but the fact that he was a weirdo and you could never tell what he was thinking didn’t change. I’ve never liked weirdos.
  357.  
  358. According to someone who went to the same junior high as him, there was a period of time when he was famous for his preteen delusions—I guess he was a real loser. Lately, since we got here, he’s dyed his hair red and styles it rock hard, but it really doesn’t look good on him, or more like, I can only see the bizarrely flipped-up bangs as a Carp cap—ugh. He wears a red breastplate and shoulder armor, but they just make him look like an anatomy model.
  359.  
  360. Maybe he looks cool according to otaku standards? But I don’t really get it. Or more like, I don’t think he realizes he’s still got a face full of pimples.
  361.  
  362. Until we came to this world, I never gave this guy the time of day. To be blunt, he was basically part of the classroom’s furniture.
  363.  
  364. While prepping for the school festival, we were in the same shopping group, and he was the one who noticed the runaway truck first.
  365.  
  366. If he would have just warned me, maybe I could have dodged it, but instead he ran the hell over and tackled me. As a result we both died and got sent to this other world.
  367.  
  368. Of course, there’s no point in saying that now. I might have gotten run over no matter who noticed first, so I didn’t bring it up.
  369.  
  370. “H-Haru, did you get a haircut?”
  371.  
  372. “Ahh, yeah. It was getting in the way, so I cut it off. Looks weird, right?”
  373.  
  374. I’m pretty sure I explained that I wanted it about chin-length and shaggy, but apparently that didn’t get through to the stylist, so I ended up with something like an old-school bob. Well, as long as it’s short.
  375.  
  376.  
  377.  
  378.  
  379.  
  380. 9 | P a g e
  381.  
  382.  
  383. I dunno if it’s because people ride horses here or what, but there are lots of dumbasses who grab girls’ hair and pull it like reins when they’re doing it from behind. Isn’t that stupid barbaric?
  384.  
  385. Anyhow, that’s why I chopped off my long hair even though I liked it.
  386.  
  387. Chiba looked at my head, then my face, and all the way down to my feet with a smirk.
  388.  
  389. That day I was wearing my short black dress. The only other one I have is orange and a bit longer, so Chiba should have been used to seeing it...
  390.  
  391. “It’s not weird... It’s like Yufumin from SoraDan. Kinda cool.” “Huh?”
  392.  
  393. “She’s a sub-heroine from one of last year’s biggest anime. Despite being a lesser protagonist, I’m pretty sure she was the most popular. She’s a maid who serves the main heroine...”
  394.  
  395. “Hmm. Do you like maids, Chiba?”
  396.  
  397. “N-No, I don’t mean me, I mean like on the net. She’s a loli, so of course she’s popular online. I’m not really into that, I mean, I don’t really get it, but I guess in terms of, like, her personality, I appreciate her bravery? Not that I hate the way she looks or anything, but there are lots of other cool characters.”
  398.  
  399. “Uh, okay...”
  400.  
  401. “But Yufumin has blue hair, so if you dyed yours, you’d look more like her. Also, she usually speaks really politely, but every once in a while she scolds the protagonist like, ‘You can’t do that!’ revealing what she really thinks. They say online that in those moments she’s acting like a ‘mommy,’ and then the comments are full of babies—it’s hilarious, and—”
  402.  
  403.  
  404.  
  405.  
  406.  
  407.  
  408. 10 | P a g e
  409.  
  410.  
  411. I only started talking to Chiba since we came to this world, and I still don’t really understand his topics of choice, or like, he only rambles about boring stuff.
  412.  
  413. All he brings up are anime I’ve never heard of, and when I try to adapt to his tastes by mentioning Conan, he only makes fun of me. So I don’t think he really wants to be my friend at all.
  414.  
  415. Why did he have to jump on me back then? There was a weirdo princess right there.
  416.  
  417. “What’s the plan for today? Wanna go upstairs?”
  418.  
  419. “Oh, uh, yeah. If you want, I guess...”
  420.  
  421. “Or do you want to try a different girl?”
  422.  
  423. “N-No, I’m not that kind of guy!”
  424.  
  425. Chiba got all bewildered and waved his hands, blushing.
  426.  
  427. Honestly, I think it’s way stranger to come to this kind of shop and pay money to sleep with your former classmate all the time, but whatever.
  428.  
  429. Well, I need to take good care of my regulars, and in the beginning it was me who asked him to buy me, so I took him upstairs.
  430.  
  431. He looked up my skirt the entire way.
  432.  
  433. “Chiba, you undress, too.”
  434.  
  435. “Huh? You won’t take my clothes off for me? Aren’t you guys here to provide that sort of service?”
  436.  
  437. “Sure... Then put your arms up.”
  438.  
  439. After I stripped my panties off, I took off all of Chiba’s weird, putzy clothes. Meanwhile he was ogling my boobs and pussy to get his uncut baby cock hard.
  440.  
  441.  
  442.  
  443.  
  444.  
  445. 11 | P a g e
  446.  
  447. I laid him down on the bed and sat next to him. When I started
  448.  
  449. rubbing him, he said, “Do it with your mouth...” in the quietest voice,
  450.  
  451. ha.
  452.  
  453. When I pretended I hadn’t heard, he begged, “With your mouth, with your mouth,” in a voice like an old geezer about to kick the bucket, so I gave him a little lick.
  454.  
  455. “Ahh, nnn...” He moaned like a girl and arched his back, squirming.
  456.  
  457. He’s the type who will suddenly cum in my mouth if I lick him too much, so I stuck a finger in the jar of boiled and cooled yog nectar (it’s like lube), got my lovely pink pussy all wet, and shoved the luvya grass contraceptive herb paste up inside.
  458.  
  459. “Hey, can I put it in...? I can’t wait any longer.”
  460.  
  461. Chiba’s eyes relaxed with his smile and he nodded. “Sure, I guess.”
  462.  
  463. If I said that sort of thing to any other customer, they’d get pissed and be like, “Don’t cut corners with me!” I love amateurs— they’re so easy!
  464.  
  465. “How do you want to do it? Me on top again?” “Yeah. However you like to do it.”
  466.  
  467. This is what’s annoying about Chiba. When I’m on top I get worn out; I don’t like it, but he always wants me up there.
  468.  
  469. He doesn’t even drink, but I guess he intoxicates himself, ’cause he said with these spacey eyes, “When you’re with me, it doesn’t have to be work. We can have real sex.”
  470.  
  471. The first time we did it he didn’t know how to thrust, so I took pity and showed him. In his mind that means I was really getting off on him.
  472.  
  473.  
  474.  
  475.  
  476.  
  477.  
  478. 12 | P a g e
  479.  
  480.  
  481. Apparently he was so inexperienced that he had to come here and pay 70 rubers (that’s the money here) to buy me.
  482.  
  483. He had mumbled something about having a girlfriend in junior high, but that had to be a lie. He was a virgin, and even now that he’s not, he still has no interest in learning how to fuck a woman. He just clams up and lets it happen.
  484.  
  485. Guys can be dead lays, too. He doesn’t want to have sex—he
  486.  
  487. wants to jerk off. He comes here for masturbation, not the real thing.
  488.  
  489. Of course, we sex workers have to give these sorts of customers proper service, too.
  490.  
  491. I spread my legs wide and showed him my pussy. In this world, shaving your pubes is good manners for both guys and girls, but even though Chiba’s always staring at my smoothness, he thinks shaving is a pain, so he doesn’t do it.
  492.  
  493. That’s annoying to me, so I just get it in as fast as possible.
  494.  
  495. “Ah, nnn, you’re so big...!”
  496.  
  497. “Ooh...”
  498.  
  499. I   gave his foreskinned elementary-schooler peepee a squeeze. When everything is on point he’ll cum just from that, but I guess I didn’t give him enough oral, because he just bit his lip and took it.
  500.  
  501. “Can I move? Hey, can I move?”
  502.  
  503. I didn’t wait for his reply and started rocking my hips. I thrust out my breasts to be all, Hey, I’m being sexy. Chiba grabbed the sheets and pointed his toes, stiff as a corpse in deep-freeze, and started mumbling dirty talk.
  504.  
  505. “Oh man, I’m, doing it with Koyama... Wish I could tell Sekiguchi and the guys...” he panted.
  506.  
  507.  
  508.  
  509.  
  510.  
  511.  
  512.  
  513.  
  514. 13 | P a g e
  515.  
  516.  
  517. Apparently he really wanted to go back to our world and tell his otaku friends he had sex with me.
  518.  
  519. Conversely, if it ever got out to my friends that I slept with Chiba, I’d probably get kicked out of our LINE group. When I remembered school, I got hella sad. I had friends and a boyfriend, and it was so much fun, so why do I gotta be in this old-timey fairytale world fucking this weirdo?
  520.  
  521. “Koyama, you’re making such a sexy face... Ah, my cock is getting you off...”
  522.  
  523. This guy even knows that until I came to this world I was going out with a hot J-Soul-type soccer player from the class next door.
  524.  
  525. He was getting off on that fact. Like he stole me from him or something. You really think I would let that happen, dumbass?
  526.  
  527. But I bit my lip and made a sexy face.
  528.  
  529. “Yeah, feels sooo good. You’re the one who feels the best!”
  530.  
  531. “Koyama,” he panted, “that’s good. Keep feeling it. Forget about work—show me your true self!”
  532.  
  533. Oh, if only I could. I want to forget all of this, including you, and go home.
  534.  
  535. But this is Haru Koyama’s job now. Gotta make a living, so I have no choice.
  536.  
  537. I put a finger in my mouth and, with unfocused eyes, told him, “I’m gonna cum.”
  538.  
  539. “Ooh, yeah, cum for me! O-Ohh, I’m—I can’t—!”
  540.  
  541. Annnnnd he came.
  542.  
  543. Seventy rubers’ worth of semen paid straight to my pussy.
  544.  
  545. “How was it, Haru?” he panted. “Was it good?”
  546.  
  547.  
  548.  
  549.  
  550.  
  551.  
  552. 14 | P a g e
  553.  
  554. “Uh, yeah. Suuuper good. How was it for you?”
  555.  
  556. “Mm, okay.”
  557.  
  558. “Really? I’m so glad!”
  559.  
  560. This little shithead.
  561.  
  562. “So, it doesn’t have to be now, but...” he said, eyeing my boobs as I mentally clicked my tongue, “...wouldn’t you want to quit this and do a different job?”
  563.  
  564. “Like what?”
  565.  
  566. “For example, like, be a slave?”
  567.  
  568. “The fuck? What are you talking about?”
  569.  
  570. “Err, no, I mean, I guess they don’t have a word for it here. I mean more like a maid.”
  571.  
  572. “Why would I do that? Besides, who would hire me?”
  573.  
  574. “Nah, I mean, if you wanted to quit this job, I could hire you.”
  575.  
  576. Huh? I mean, of course I wanted to quit, but this just sounded like Chiba wanted to hear me call him “Master.”
  577.  
  578. If he’s being serious, he’s a sicko. But I do kinda smell money. “Do you really make that much as an adventurer?”
  579.  
  580. “Well, as an adventurer...I’m kind of a special case. I told you before, didn’t I? About my cheat abilities?”
  581.  
  582. Maybe I had heard it before, but I forgot.
  583.  
  584. When I told him that honestly, he was like, “What? C’mon!” and poked my boobs, which pissed me off.
  585.  
  586. “If people found out, they’d get jealous, so don’t tell anybody,” he said, all pleased with himself, and started to explain.
  587.  
  588.  
  589.  
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  594.  
  595. 15 | P a g e
  596.  
  597.  
  598. In this world, there are invisible levels, skills, stats, and whatnot, and those are values that describe a person’s abilities and strength.
  599.  
  600. Skills are inborn and specific to an individual. They’re really important. Even a higher-level fighter can lose to someone lower depending on their skills. Most people only have one of these precious abilities, and very few people put it to good use. Why? Like I said before, levels and skills are invisible—even the person who has a skill doesn’t know it.
  601.  
  602. I should have remembered that much. After the runaway truck brought us here, we did get a lecture from an easy-going god.
  603.  
  604. But Chiba was so hyped and getting all buddy-buddy with the god even though it was our first time meeting him that the mood was too corny and weird for me, so I let it go in one ear and out the other. That’s why I didn’t really remember.
  605.  
  606. I guess the god liked Chiba and gave him a good skill.
  607.  
  608. “Actually, I have three. 16x Experience Points, Immunity to Status Effects, and Immunity to Attack Magic. In other words, I level up way faster than other people, and nothing besides physical attacks work on me. Frankly, I’m the strongest.”
  609.  
  610. “Cool...”
  611.  
  612. Basically, the cheat is that he got those really good terms right off the bat. He’s a prodigy or whatever thanks to that god. There is something pretty sneaky about that, yeah.
  613.  
  614. “But that’s kind of the template for ‘other world’ stories. The protagonist, like me, gets summoned from another world and is unbeatable thanks to a cheat ability and contemporary knowledge. There are tons of anime and light novels like that, you know? Hilarious, right?”
  615.  
  616.  
  617.  
  618.  
  619.  
  620.  
  621.  
  622.  
  623. 16 | P a g e
  624.  
  625.  
  626. Like I said, I don’t know anything about anime, so I didn’t get what was so funny.
  627.  
  628. Chiba’s definition of common sense is too different from mine.
  629.  
  630. I’ve slept with him so many times, yet we still live in different worlds.
  631.  
  632. “Well, eventually you’ll start hearing rumors about me, so then you’ll understand. Lately I’ve started appearing at the arena. You can brag that you know me if you want, Haru.”
  633.  
  634. Sigh.
  635.  
  636. “I haven’t caught up to the higher-level guys yet, but I level up 16 times faster than normal, so I’ll pass them up pretty soon. And I’m hunting monsters in a pretty deep area, so I have a decent income outside of prize money, too.”
  637.  
  638. “Huh? So you’re rich?”
  639.  
  640. “Well, a bit.”
  641.  
  642. I did not expect that. Say that stuff up front!
  643.  
  644. “Does that mean you want to add time?” “Huh?”
  645.  
  646. “If you extend, I’ll throw in something special for free. How about it?”
  647.  
  648. “Uh, will you kiss me, then?”
  649.  
  650. Blorgh, kiss?
  651.  
  652. He’s so persistent. But...
  653.  
  654. “Sure, I’ll kiss you.”
  655.  
  656. This is for my sales numbers.
  657.  
  658. I’m a sex worker who takes it like a pro when her shitty weirdo former classmate kisses her lips so hard it seems like they might swell up.
  659.  
  660.  
  661.  
  662.  
  663. 17 | P a g e
  664.  
  665. That’s my new lifestyle in this world.
  666.  
  667. “Mm,” smooch, “Haru, mm, even if I...defeat the demon
  668.  
  669. lord...and become a national hero,” ker-smooch, “I’ll never abandon
  670.  
  671. you, mm,” he panted.
  672.  
  673. Well, with this, maybe I’m getting closer to number six.
  674.  
  675. I hid a yawn between kisses and decided that the next day I would go eat something tasty.
  676.  
  677.  
  678.  
  679.  
  680.  
  681.  
  682.  
  683.  
  684.  
  685.  
  686.  
  687.  
  688.  
  689.  
  690.  
  691.  
  692.  
  693.  
  694.  
  695.  
  696.  
  697.  
  698.  
  699.  
  700.  
  701.  
  702.  
  703.  
  704.  
  705.  
  706.  
  707.  
  708.  
  709.  
  710.  
  711.  
  712.  
  713.  
  714.  
  715.  
  716.  
  717.  
  718.  
  719.  
  720.  
  721.  
  722.  
  723.  
  724.  
  725.  
  726.  
  727.  
  728.  
  729.  
  730.  
  731.  
  732.  
  733. 18 | P a g e
  734.  
  735.  
  736. Operation Meat
  737.  
  738.  
  739.  
  740.  
  741. The food in this world is usually super salty and oily—the kind of stuff guys like to eat—so it’s not really my thing.
  742.  
  743. And when I go out to eat, all the customers are adventurer dudes. There aren’t any groups of girls chatting over lunch or anything like that.
  744.  
  745. Well if the clientele are all guys, then it makes sense that the menu is all man food, I thought, biting into a leg of meat like you’d see in a manga.
  746.  
  747. “So I had the idea that I could probably rake in the cash if I opened a classy restaurant with a menu that would work for girls.”
  748.  
  749. “Right. But Haru, it must take guts to eat out alone, huh?” “What?”
  750.  
  751. When I told my work friend Lupe about my idea as we were folding hand towels, she replied in exasperation, “Madam will scold you and say a woman eating out alone is disgraceful. You should only eat out when you have a man to escort you.”
  752.  
  753. This world that Chiba and I were forced to hitch a ride to by that runaway truck—it’s super misogynistic. I was born in the Heisei period, so I knew from just a taste of it that this society was not for me. There are lots of times I’ll be doing my normal thing and then— surprise—I’m in trouble.
  754.  
  755. Apparently a woman eating out alone should be ashamed. It’s improper. Well, then there’s no point in opening a cute restaurant girls would like. And, ugh, it’s embarrassing that I’d been eating out alone all that time.
  756.  
  757.  
  758.  
  759.  
  760.  
  761.  
  762. 19 | P a g e
  763.  
  764.  
  765. “But I like that about you, Haru. You seem like you might start something cool.”
  766.  
  767. “You can tell? I was always a rebel at school, too.”
  768.  
  769. “Wow, you went to school? So how did you end up in this line of work?”
  770.  
  771. “Ah, well, a lot of things happened...”
  772.  
  773. “Oh, sorry. I shouldn’t have asked. Sorry, sorry.”
  774.  
  775. “Mm, how to explain...I guess I can’t go home, so I have to get by on my own. But there’s no real reason, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
  776.  
  777. Lupe is only a year older than me, but she has three more years of work experience; she teaches me a lot. Sometimes my lack of common sense astounds her, but we get along well.
  778.  
  779. She’s a cute girl with fluffy pink hair.
  780.  
  781. “I see. My parents sold me. I had two big sisters and a little brother, so I was kind of in the way.”
  782.  
  783. “What? That’s way more tragic than my story.”
  784.  
  785. “It happens all the time.”
  786.  
  787. This world is awfully hard to live in as a woman.
  788.  
  789. Chiba’s stoked about cheat abilities or whatever like an idiot, all, “This world is the best!” but I wonder what he thinks about his classmate who has come down this far. I mean, I’m on the dead-last rung of the social ladder.
  790.  
  791. He was saying that stuff about being his slave or maid or whatever, not even thinking about how I’d feel—and I’d rather die. I just know he would get a big head and start making ridiculous demands.
  792.  
  793.  
  794.  
  795.  
  796.  
  797.  
  798. 20 | P a g e
  799.  
  800.  
  801. “You guys, don’t just stand there gabbing—finish up with those towels. Then when you’re done, please clean up the kitchen.”
  802.  
  803. “Okay!”
  804.  
  805. But maybe it would be better to work for a dude I know, meowing in a maid uniform, than running my body into the ground with this lifestyle. I do wonder.
  806.  
  807. Ahh.
  808.  
  809. Well, for now my goal is to make number three in monthly sales!
  810.  
  811. I’ll think about the rest after I hit that.
  812.  
  813. “Haru, take the trash out.”
  814.  
  815. “Kay-kay.”
  816.  
  817. When I took the huge can out, I noticed someone watching me.
  818.  
  819. It was a super fat guy. He hightailed it out of there, blushing. There aren’t many people walking around the nightlife district during daylight hours, so he stood out with his hulking figure.
  820.  
  821. The shop isn’t even open yet. What did he want...? “Haru, what are you doing? Rehearsal’s about to start!” “Oh, coming!”
  822.  
  823. But I was busy, so I didn’t have time to play Detective Conan over a guy who wasn’t even a customer. We have a lot of things to do even before the shop opens.
  824.  
  825. “A sweet flower that blooms only at night ♪”
  826.  
  827. So, sometimes we put on stage shows at the shop. They feature the girls who can sing or play instruments, but pretty much everyone does something.
  828.  
  829. “Sōre! Tiger! Fire! Cyber! Fiber!”
  830.  
  831.  
  832.  
  833.  
  834.  
  835.  
  836. 21 | P a g e
  837.  
  838.  
  839. Incidentally, I was notorious in our school for being tone-deaf, and when we went to karaoke I was always in charge of dancing like a maniac, so I begged off singing duty.
  840.  
  841. Luckily, I had planned to be in charge of wotagei for the performances at our school festival, so I took on livening up the stage with the moves I had learned. Wotagei has substantially contributed to my livelihood.
  842.  
  843. Speaking of the festival, it must have happened ages ago. I wonder if our class managed to have a good time right after two of us died. I would feel bad if we killed the mood.
  844.  
  845. Of course, I’d be kinda pissed if they had fun without us, too.
  846.  
  847. “Haru, you’re looking sharp as usual. We’ll be counting on you for the performance.”
  848.  
  849. “Thanks!”
  850.  
  851. It was such an honor to have our singing princess Shequraso (number three in sales) talk to me. But I’m still going to take your rank someday.
  852.  
  853. “All right, we’re going to open up, everyone.” “Come on in!”
  854.  
  855. The sun went down, and the shop opened. The pub and brothel Blue Cat Nocturne is located sort of deeper within the nightlife district, but thanks to its rich atmosphere and reputation for high-quality girls, the tables start filling up as soon as it opens.
  856.  
  857. “Hiya, Haru. Still no ass on you, huh?”
  858.  
  859. “Gimme a break! If you wanna touch it, that’s 70 rubers!”
  860.  
  861. “Sorry, I only have money for drinks today.”
  862.  
  863.  
  864.  
  865.  
  866.  
  867.  
  868.  
  869.  
  870.  
  871. 22 | P a g e
  872.  
  873.  
  874. The regulars gathered, and I did my waitressing despite the guys grabbing my butt. Honestly, where does he get off saying I have no ass if he has no money?
  875.  
  876. And then he was staring at Shequraso’s butt all like, “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”
  877.  
  878. Fuck. I’m still growing.
  879.  
  880. I cut across the hall with four beer mugs in each hand, stepping a bit higher than usual. I’m gonna get that gorgeous ass, just you wait!
  881.  
  882. Pretty much the only guy so unrefined he would say “Let’s go
  883.  
  884. upstairs” the minute he walks through the door is Chiba. Manly
  885.  
  886. manners dictated eating and drinking one’s fill—spending properly at
  887.  
  888. the pub—beforehand.
  889.  
  890. Most of what I do at the pub is waiting tables, but I’d like to try working in the kitchen eventually. I should probably learn how to cook—after all, it feels shitty to eat out now.
  891.  
  892. “Come on in!” I welcomed a customer with a fawning pose. But I’d seen that fatty somewhere before. Huh?
  893.  
  894.  
  895. Is this the chubby dude who was outside the shop before we opened?
  896.  
  897. “Ah...umm...”
  898.  
  899. He used a handkerchief to wipe a stream of sweat away. He was all red, with a face just like a sumo wrestler.
  900.  
  901. For the time being I smiled politely and led him to a seat. “Party of one?”
  902.  
  903. He was too big to put at the bar. It was a waste, but I gave him a window table. That’s a place where only cool guys should be sitting.
  904.  
  905. “Let me know when you’ve decided what you’d like.”
  906.  
  907.  
  908.  
  909.  
  910. 23 | P a g e
  911.  
  912.  
  913. That day I was wearing my orange dress, so I was extra cute even though I couldn’t give as many free panty flashes. To leave an impression, I rocked my hips to make my skirt swish as I walked back to the bar. When I checked on Sumo in the mirror on the back of the restroom door, sure enough, he was fixated on my ass. Heh-heh. Not too shabby after all.
  914.  
  915. I had the feeling he kept glancing at me, but I had to wait on other customers too, so I didn’t have time to flirt. He seemed to have a hard time talking to girls, though—he still hadn’t ordered anything. Since he was so helpless, I decided to go over to him when I had a free moment.
  916.  
  917. “What can I get for you?”
  918.  
  919. “U-Uh...I...umm...”
  920.  
  921. Hakkeyoi!
  922.  
  923. “Wh-What’s your name?”
  924.  
  925. “Huh?”
  926.  
  927. “Please tell me your name.”
  928.  
  929. From what I could tell, he was still pretty young. Maybe around my age. He looked to be 18 or 19 at the oldest.
  930.  
  931. He was fat, but he was wearing nice clothes. He didn’t look like he was earning his own money, so his parents were probably rich. He must have been getting an allowance big enough to come to this sort of place on his own.
  932.  
  933. “O-ho.” I pulled up a chair and sat across from him. “Ten rubers.” “Huh?”
  934.  
  935. “Happy Fun Talking Time. If you want me to sit with you, it’s 10 rubers for 30 minutes.”
  936.  
  937. “Oh, I-I see.”
  938.  
  939.  
  940.  
  941.  
  942. 24 | P a g e
  943.  
  944.  
  945. As Sumo hesitantly took out some money, I made sure to get a peek inside his wallet.
  946.  
  947. Ohh.
  948.  
  949. Oh-hooo.
  950.  
  951. “Lupe, an ice-cold beett for this gentleman. I’ll have an oohaa.”
  952.  
  953. “Coming right up!”
  954.  
  955. “Uh, umm...”
  956.  
  957. “By the way, the girl’s drink is on you, too. That’s okay, right?”
  958.  
  959. “Uh, yes. That’s fine...”
  960.  
  961. “I’m Haru!”
  962.  
  963. I jauntily held out my right hand, and Sumo eyed it nervously. He seemed to want to hold back as he extended his baseball glov— hand; I caught it in both of mine. “Uegh!” he made a strange noise, and I softly caressed that mitt, smiling up at him.
  964.  
  965. “Nice to meet you, Sumo.” “U-Uh, my name is Jaysohlbrother...”
  966.  
  967. “What? Don’t mess with me. Sumo works, doesn’t it? Sumo is perfect for you! C’mon, let me call you Sumo.”
  968.  
  969. “Uh, all right, I don’t really...”
  970.  
  971. Sumo’s hand started to get all sweaty. I nonchalantly let go and dried both hands by pretending to wipe off the table.
  972.  
  973. Then I fixed my hair, propped myself up on my elbows, and looked him in the eyes.
  974.  
  975. “Ah...”
  976.  
  977. He nervously looked away.
  978.  
  979. Give up already, virgin? I am cute, aren’t I?
  980.  
  981.  
  982.  
  983.  
  984.  
  985. 25 | P a g e
  986.  
  987. “Hey, weren’t you watching me this afternoon, too?”
  988.  
  989. “Err, uh, that was, I mean...y-yes. I’m sorry.”
  990.  
  991. He was dripping with sweat, and his face was bright red.
  992.  
  993. I haven’t experienced this in a long time. Pure love. Maybe in junior high? I used to have guys like this confessing their feelings for me.
  994.  
  995. By the way, this world is so misogynistic that women come practically as a given with drinks, and we sex workers are basically on the dead-last rung of the social ladder. Well, you can think of us as ladies in the nightlife industry.
  996.  
  997. Of course, some people talk about us like we’re trash, but to virgins we can sometimes seem like the mature women they yearn for.
  998.  
  999. I swept my hair back and put on a suggestive smile. Sumo got overwhelmed and hung his head. Heh-heh. How do you like my adult sex appeal? “So, how did you find me?”
  1000.  
  1001. “I-I saw you eating mangameat at our cafe, and I’d never seen a woman wolf down meat like that, not to mention all alone...”
  1002.  
  1003. “Who cares how I was eating, you dummy!”
  1004.  
  1005. Really? That’s what caught your eye? You like ’em savage or something?
  1006.  
  1007. Then I’m done putting on the sophisticated charm.
  1008.  
  1009. “Huh, so your family owns a cafe, then? That big one on the main drag, right? That’s your parents’ place? It was really good!”
  1010.  
  1011. “Y-Yes. Thank you.” Sumo smiled and wiped the sweat off his face.
  1012.  
  1013.  
  1014.  
  1015.  
  1016.  
  1017.  
  1018. 26 | P a g e
  1019.  
  1020.  
  1021. I had gone around with no regard for appearances and eaten a lot of stuff, but that was the place with the thickest cuts of meat. And it was jam-packed with meat-loving guys.
  1022.  
  1023. So that’s why the son’s wallet was so fat.
  1024.  
  1025. I casually asked questions that amounted to a background check and satisfied myself that he wasn’t lying. He was a chubby rich dude—a delectable customer.
  1026.  
  1027. I nonchalantly curled my leg around his.
  1028.  
  1029. “Err, uh, umm?”
  1030.  
  1031. “So what do you wanna do? Is talking enough? Time’s almost up.”
  1032.  
  1033. Talking Time can’t be extended. We’re not a hostess bar. Our policy is to prioritize selling our bodies.
  1034.  
  1035. “By the way, I’m 70 rubers a shot—one of the more affordable girls at our shop. But I give my body and soul to serve every customer, so I’m confident my cost-performance is at the highest level. And if you stick with me, I add extra services.”
  1036.  
  1037. “Err, uh, umm...”
  1038.  
  1039. Lupe told me later that at that moment, I was like an eagle eyeing its prey.
  1040.  
  1041. Sumo hastily took his wallet out. But just then, another girl called my name.
  1042.  
  1043. “Haru, someone’s asking for you!”
  1044.  
  1045. Apparently the guy who’d touched my butt earlier had won a bet with another customer. He was holding up 70 rubers with a sneer.
  1046.  
  1047. Sumo clenched his wallet and looked down.
  1048.  
  1049.  
  1050.  
  1051.  
  1052.  
  1053.  
  1054.  
  1055.  
  1056. 27 | P a g e
  1057.  
  1058.  
  1059. “...You can bid until I go upstairs. If you’ll give me 75, I’ll turn him down.”
  1060.  
  1061. But Sumo seemed embarrassed and shook his head. His knees were shaking so badly I felt sorry for him.
  1062.  
  1063. “If you want to, you can buy me next.” I gave him a glimpse of my cleavage and whispered in his ear: “I call dibs on your virginity.”
  1064.  
  1065. Sumo, red as a plump daruma doll, nodded like a bobble head.
  1066.  
  1067. I turned toward the grimy-faced dude with a smile and opened my arms, “Aw, I’m so happy you picked me!”
  1068.  
  1069.  
  1070. The instant the door to my room on the second floor was shut, he shoved me down on the bed.
  1071.  
  1072. Then he got on top of me and grabbed my dress with both hands.
  1073.  
  1074. “I only have two dresses, so if you rip it you have to pay me back.”
  1075.  
  1076. The dude laughed at me, grinning. “Oh, my bad.” He let go and sat cross-legged on the bed. “Hurry up and take it off then.”
  1077.  
  1078. This guy likes to be rough with women. The first time we did it, I thought he was going to strangle me to death.
  1079.  
  1080. But that’s not so rare in this world, or more like, in this line of work. I had underestimated it a bit as a newbie.
  1081.  
  1082. “No choking, either. If you wanna do that sort of thing, it’ll be 20 rubers extra. Madam okayed that price, by the way.”
  1083.  
  1084. “All right, all right.”
  1085.  
  1086.  
  1087.  
  1088.  
  1089.  
  1090.  
  1091.  
  1092.  
  1093.  
  1094.  
  1095. 28 | P a g e
  1096.  
  1097.  
  1098. He gave a noncommittal reply while he took off his socks, so I couldn’t tell if he was listening or not. A musky man smell spread throughout the room.
  1099.  
  1100. “Show me your ass.”
  1101.  
  1102. Oh, and he’s an ass man.
  1103.  
  1104. His favorite, Shequraso’s, costs 150 rubers per shot, so when he can’t afford hers, he picks up my green one.
  1105.  
  1106. I got up on all fours and stuck my butt out at him. He ogled from my asshole all the way to my lovely pink pussy, then slapped my butt with a heh.
  1107.  
  1108. “You got no ass.”
  1109.  
  1110. We’re told to put up with it if it’s just slapping. That it’ll get better soon.
  1111.  
  1112. Sex workers are tools.
  1113.  
  1114. Some guys, like Chiba, make us do all the work, while rough ones do whatever they want. I’d say there are more of the latter kind.
  1115.  
  1116. In the other world, I did a similar kind of job. But during my loli years, even if there were weird guys who doted on me, or just used me as a toy, there weren’t any who were so brutal I thought I was going to die. Even my sort of sadistic boyfriend was pretty vanilla when it came to messing around.
  1117.  
  1118. In this world, women don’t have much value. I’m infinitely replaceable; you could break me and I’d make change.
  1119.  
  1120. “Eep!”
  1121.  
  1122. He slapped my butt again. This guy’s foreplay is spanking. Real pros might get wet from just that, but it’s seriously impossible for me. I just wasn’t brought up that way.
  1123.  
  1124. “Sir, sorry, I’m gonna yog (lube) up, so wait just a sec.”
  1125.  
  1126.  
  1127.  
  1128.  
  1129. 29 | P a g e
  1130.  
  1131. “Get wet from the mood, dumb bitch!”
  1132.  
  1133. “Sorry, it’ll really hurt if I don’t, so please let me put it on first.”
  1134.  
  1135. Still on all fours, I lubed up my pussy. My ass stung.
  1136.  
  1137. I stopped him from sticking it in before I inserted the luvya grass and used a little extra just in case.
  1138.  
  1139. This guy’s huge cock scares me.
  1140.  
  1141. “Here we go!”
  1142.  
  1143. As he if wanted to boast about it, he ruthlessly shoved the whole thing in.
  1144.  
  1145. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. When it started to move, I could hardly breathe.
  1146.  
  1147. And he was still spanking me. He’d spanked me so much I’d gone numb and couldn’t tell if it hurt or not.
  1148.  
  1149. “Ah, nn, nn.” I spaced out, and my own voice began to sound like someone else’s.
  1150.  
  1151. Wait a sec, why am I moaning so cutely? It’s like I’m actually getting off or something. Why am I letting this old dude hear my good noises?
  1152.  
  1153. He got even more carried away and put his hands on my neck.
  1154.  
  1155. “...Choking is 20 rubers...” I managed to remind him.
  1156.  
  1157. He smiled and tossed two big coins onto the bed.
  1158.  
  1159. Twenty rubers. Don’t splurge just ’cause you won that bet, you fucker!
  1160.  
  1161. Unreserved pressure clenched around my neck, and my tongue popped out on its own.
  1162.  
  1163. “S-Sto...”
  1164.  
  1165. “You set the price! Quit whining and squeeze that pussy!”
  1166.  
  1167.  
  1168.  
  1169.  
  1170. 30 | P a g e
  1171.  
  1172.  
  1173. The terror and pain of being strangled from behind sent tears rolling down my cheeks. Then his cock got even bigger, or maybe I was tight, but it started to hurt.
  1174.  
  1175. Hearing me wheezing, barely able to breathe, he laughed right in my ear. “This is what you get for underestimating men, you dumb bitch. Make sure you don’t die, now!”
  1176.  
  1177. He got all the way on top of me and started thrusting like crazy, still wringing my neck.
  1178.  
  1179. My head went blank, and I frantically gasped for air.
  1180.  
  1181. “That’s right!”
  1182.  
  1183. He strangled me incredibly hard, and just when I thought I might be in trouble, he started to ejaculate. I gritted my teeth and just barely maintained consciousness. When he was done orgasming, he tossed me away.
  1184.  
  1185. “Hey, sorry.”
  1186.  
  1187. He smiled at the end and smacked my butt.
  1188.  
  1189. I took a shower, tied a ribbon around my neck where his hand marks were, and went back to the pub.
  1190.  
  1191. Sumo was still there by himself, nursing a drink. He looked at me and seemed like he wanted to talk, but I ignored him and entertained other customers.
  1192.  
  1193. Our Talking Time had ended, so if he wasn’t going to buy me, there wasn’t any other service I could offer him.
  1194.  
  1195. So I spread my charms throughout the pub in search of my next customer.
  1196.  
  1197.  
  1198.  
  1199.  
  1200.  
  1201.  
  1202.  
  1203.  
  1204.  
  1205.  
  1206.  
  1207.  
  1208. 31 | P a g e
  1209.  
  1210.  
  1211. Strum the Night
  1212.  
  1213.  
  1214.  
  1215.  
  1216. “Ha-Haru...!”
  1217.  
  1218. “What?”
  1219.  
  1220. “D-Does it feel good?”
  1221.  
  1222. “Oh, yeah. Super good. Nn!”
  1223.  
  1224. Bringing my hips down on Chiba, I was thinking of something entirely different.
  1225.  
  1226. Maybe what I need is some soul-searching.
  1227.  
  1228. It’s been six months since I became a sex worker. I would have been a third-year in high school. There would have been less than a year before graduation. All my friends are probably worried about going to college, club stuff, plastic surgery—moving toward their futures.
  1229.  
  1230. Yeah, I need to change too.
  1231.  
  1232. Transformation every day. A fresh way of life. I can’t keep doing the same old thing forever. Gotta try something new.
  1233.  
  1234. After scraping Chiba’s cum out of my pussy and throwing it away, I went over to where he was lying like a lump.
  1235.  
  1236. “Hey, Chiba, I wanted to ask you something.”
  1237.  
  1238. “Hm?” For some reason he sat up in a hurry and gulped. “About you being my slave, perhaps?”
  1239.  
  1240. “Huh? Dream on. No, something else.” He poked my boob, and I leaned over him.
  1241.  
  1242.  
  1243.  
  1244.  
  1245.  
  1246.  
  1247.  
  1248.  
  1249. 32 | P a g e
  1250.  
  1251.  
  1252. “Would you teach me how to adventure or whatever? You can make money exterminating monsters and fighting in the arena, right? Maybe I could do it while I’m free during the day.”
  1253.  
  1254. Chiba took his time, letting out a long sigh and frowning. “Koyama, you’re not taking us Innovators seriously.”
  1255.  
  1256. Apparently this guy, who had been an “adventurer” just the other day, now called himself by some pretentious class name. It sounded like he was getting carried away, so I glared at him.
  1257.  
  1258. “What?”
  1259.  
  1260. “W-Well, it makes sense, since you just don’t know what it’s like, but...”
  1261.  
  1262. This guy is basically a chicken-shit loser, so when I get aggressive he backs off immediately.
  1263.  
  1264. No matter how strong he gets, he’s scared to be glared at by a girl his age. It’s just a conditioned reflex at this point.
  1265.  
  1266. “Monsters are super dangerous, though! An amateur can’t just waltz in and fight them.”
  1267.  
  1268. “Eh, I’d be fine, wouldn’t I? Even I’ve played Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter before. I borrowed them from my boyfriend.”
  1269.  
  1270. “It doesn’t even compare, though. And you can’t even get past the army’s line without registering with the guild and buying a travel pass. And really, only guys can register with the guild.”
  1271.  
  1272. “Seriously?”
  1273.  
  1274. Male-dominated society.
  1275.  
  1276. These assholes are always standing in my way.
  1277.  
  1278. “It seems like you forgot how this world works, Haru, so I’ll explain it one more time.” Chiba crossed his arms and got all pedantic.
  1279.  
  1280.  
  1281.  
  1282.  
  1283. 33 | P a g e
  1284.  
  1285.  
  1286. There’s been a war on for the past few hundred years with the demon lord’s army. They come from Demon Lord Forest, which is near this city. Supposedly the demon lord’s castle, which appears only at night, is located deep in those woods.
  1287.  
  1288. The humans have been dispatching troops to subjugate him, but the forest is vast and the monsters come popping out all over the place, so it’s practically impossible to reach the castle; they only ever make it about half-way. Since it’s too hard to get through the boggy forest with its gigantic monsters, traps, and poison, they’ve been fighting a defensive battle for hundreds of years.
  1289.  
  1290. Monsters all have their own personalities. Some operate in packs with leaders; other immensely powerful ones wreak solo havoc. Their intelligence levels are all over the place, too. Some are essentially wild animals, while others can speak human language and use magic.
  1291.  
  1292. No one knows the demon lord’s aims, but what the monsters have in common is their hostility toward people. They’re enemies of the human race.
  1293.  
  1294. The human army generally fights units of the organized monster army, while the adventurers handle the stray ones that cross the line, subjugate the ones that act on instinct (to abduct, rape, and kill people), and venture past the line themselves, into the forest.
  1295.  
  1296. It’s a dangerous job, but apparently you can make quite a bit of money by taking on requests to kill certain monsters. Selling the treasures and valuable historical documents found in the mysterious ruins and labyrinths slumbering in Demon Lord Forest can be lucrative, too.
  1297.  
  1298. “But sometimes there are women adventurers, right?”
  1299.  
  1300. “Those are priestesses with blessings—they’re called ‘Sisters.’ They can use white healing magic.”
  1301.  
  1302.  
  1303.  
  1304.  
  1305.  
  1306. 34 | P a g e
  1307.  
  1308. “Huh?”
  1309.  
  1310. “I guess in this world, for some religious reason or whatever, only women can use healing skills. But just because they can heal doesn’t mean they can fight, so they can’t cross the line unless they pair up with an adventurer, and only women with a partner can register at the guild.”
  1311.  
  1312. “So all I have to do is become one of those healer girls, then.”
  1313.  
  1314. “Like I said, you’re not taking this seriously. All the girls train from a young age, and only the skilled ones get to be Sisters. Even if you started now, unless you happened to have the perfect skill for it, it’d probably be impossible. Plus, Haru, you didn’t even get a skill, did you?”
  1315.  
  1316. “Well, no...but...”
  1317.  
  1318. “You’re being too naive. It isn’t that easy to get by in this world. There aren’t very many instances where knowledge from the other world comes in handy, either. You hear lots of stories like that, right? Some common-sense notion or product from the other world doesn’t exist in the new one yet, so the hero makes a killing. Like making soap, or cooking something totally normal that tastes really exotic there.”
  1319.  
  1320. “They have way better soap here. The food is good, too.”
  1321.  
  1322. In this world they use organic, plant-based soap. It smells super nice and doesn’t leave my hair all coarse. Meat and fish are expensive, but vegetables are insanely cheap and really tasty. You can eat even if you’re poor.
  1323.  
  1324. “Yeah, plants are unbeatable here. And thanks to some kind of magic called like alphytemy or something, biotechnology is bizarrely advanced. They use grass for everything from daily necessities to energy. There might be an opening in engineering, but because they’re so behind they’ve kind of come up with their own hacks, so
  1325.  
  1326.  
  1327.  
  1328.  
  1329. 35 | P a g e
  1330.  
  1331.  
  1332. it’s hard to know where to start. On the whole, it’s pretty tricky.” Chiba clicked his tongue and grumbled, “We got sent all the way to this other world; I wish the people here were the kind of idiots who would be more easily amazed.”
  1333.  
  1334. Honestly, I was stunned to learn that Chiba, who was so cocky about his cheat abilities, had been considering all different angles.
  1335.  
  1336. He was using his head more than me. I was astounded.
  1337.  
  1338. “No matter what business you get into, there’s a guild system, so there’s no such thing as industrial secrets. All you can really do is find a trade that works for you and learn it. That’s how the labor market functions in this world. I have cheat skills, so I can just keep being an adventurer and conquer the world. You’re only doing this job because you don’t have a skill, right, Haru? If you want to quit, your only real option is to rely on someone...”
  1339.  
  1340. Chiba was staring at my boobs and seemed to want to say something else, but I ignored him and went to take my shower.
  1341.  
  1342. What the fuck.
  1343.  
  1344. Who gives a shit about skills or being unbeatable?
  1345.  
  1346. Stupid.
  1347.  
  1348.  
  1349. “Ohhh-kay! Here we go! Baa-ba-ba-baa-baa! Fibo, wiper, bye-bye—Shequraso and Haru! Whooo! Fuwafuwa, hoo-hoooo!”
  1350.  
  1351. I performed with all my might on stage next to Shequraso, the main singer, and we got the usual result of the front row getting bizarrely excited and the back row doing its best to ignore us.
  1352.  
  1353. I still wonder if I should really be doing this job, but I have the feeling anyone who can’t do what they’re doing with all their might will fail no matter what they do.
  1354.  
  1355.  
  1356.  
  1357.  
  1358.  
  1359. 36 | P a g e
  1360.  
  1361. Just kidding! I’m not thinking about anything so serious as that.
  1362.  
  1363. “Haru, your boyfriend’s here!”
  1364.  
  1365. “Coming!”
  1366.  
  1367. Sumo came again that day for Talking Time with me.
  1368.  
  1369. He’s as much of a virgin as ever, because he only ever pays the 10 rubers for chatting, but for whatever reason there is a very high probability someone else will ask for me while I’m talking with him.
  1370.  
  1371. Apparently if I’m sitting at the window table with a chubby guy, I appear tiny and cute. If there weren’t a one-session limit on Talking Time, I would want to keep a fat guy across from me forever.
  1372.  
  1373. I say “chatting,” but really it’s just me talking and Sumo bashfully looking down with a smile on his face. If I so much as give him a peek at my cleavage or touch his arm, he gets so embarrassed he shrinks, and I feel kind of bad for him.
  1374.  
  1375. Despite that, he wants to make me happy and always brings me meat or some other present.
  1376.  
  1377. I guess it’s like... Ahh, love. He seems so happy I get jealous.
  1378.  
  1379. Before, if a guy on the level of No woman will ever date you! liked me, I would just turn it into a joke and laugh, but now, watching Sumo, instead I start to think, Don’t give up!
  1380.  
  1381. When I think that that’s how desperate I am, or like, that’s how far I’ve fallen, it stings, but well, good things are good. I would never go out with Chiba or Sumo, but you gotta fall in love while you’re young.
  1382.  
  1383. Of course, the longer I do this job, the less likely it seems like I’ll experience real love.
  1384.  
  1385. Ahhh, you sure age fast in this line of work.
  1386.  
  1387. “Haru, someone’s calling fo—”
  1388.  
  1389.  
  1390.  
  1391.  
  1392. 37 | P a g e
  1393.  
  1394. “Righty-ho!”
  1395.  
  1396. Partway through our chat (mainly me complaining), another man asked for me. Sumo is a brilliant lure.
  1397.  
  1398. “What do you wanna do? If you offer 75 rubers, I’ll refuse him. Do you want to fight for me?”
  1399.  
  1400. “Uh...nah...”
  1401.  
  1402. His wallet definitely had a hundred or two to spare, but Sumo clenched his hand around it and hesitated.
  1403.  
  1404. Clamming up in this situation is what keeps a virgin a virgin.
  1405.  
  1406. “Come again, okay?”
  1407.  
  1408. I pat his head and went over to the guy who asked for me.
  1409.  
  1410. If Sumo ever buys me, I’ll give him a little extra service, I decided.
  1411.  
  1412. “You’re even more beautiful than I thought you would be. You’re glorious in the moonlight.”
  1413.  
  1414. The young, cute buyer whistled at me with a nihilistic smile.
  1415.  
  1416. He was a bard, and he started by having me get naked and stand by the window while he looked me up and down and plucked his guitar-like instrument.
  1417.  
  1418. Lots of people come to this city to earn money in monster-related ways, so there are lots of sadistic, or conversely, kind of masochistic, guys, but different strokes for different folks, I guess.
  1419.  
  1420. “Miss Shequraso’s voice is sublime, of course, but your performance this evening was so novel. Full of passion, and so creative. Indeed, you were just like Muselusso ♪” (I asked around later, and apparently that’s the goddess of music.)
  1421.  
  1422. I wanted to be like, Are you seriously singing? But I held back and bowed instead. “Thanks.”
  1423.  
  1424.  
  1425.  
  1426.  
  1427.  
  1428. 38 | P a g e
  1429.  
  1430.  
  1431. “Oh, stay bent like that. Like that, and now lift only your face. Put your hands on your knees. Yeah, like that. Good. That’s a supremely inventive pose. Yesss.”
  1432.  
  1433. The bard guy kept making me strike poses and picking his guitar thing.
  1434.  
  1435. With his long hair, big hat, and pointed boots, he looked like some kind of producer. He gave me detailed instructions and got hard in his pants.
  1436.  
  1437. Ah, so he’s that kind of perv. The business corner of my mind understood.
  1438.  
  1439. “That’s so good. Yes, just like that. Look at me with those icy eyes. Yes, that’s so good. You’re amazingly similar to Muselusso!”
  1440.  
  1441. He started rubbing his instrument on his crotch and leaned forward. I changed my pose as he asked.
  1442.  
  1443. “More! I need a more imaginative pose!”
  1444.  
  1445. I imitated a bunch of poses I saw models do in fashion magazines. The idol DVDs I watched to prep for my event at the school festival also came in pretty handy.
  1446.  
  1447. I turned elegantly like a runway model, bouncing my butt and boobs before posing.
  1448.  
  1449. “Ohh... Good, that’s good.”
  1450.  
  1451. I turned my back to him, put my hands on my butt, looked over my shoulder and winked.
  1452.  
  1453. “Muselungel!”
  1454.  
  1455. I’m pretty sure he liked that. He started saying even weirder things and thrusting his hips with his instrument clamped between his thighs.
  1456.  
  1457. This is another world. I’ve stepped into another world of sex.
  1458.  
  1459.  
  1460.  
  1461.  
  1462. 39 | P a g e
  1463.  
  1464. “Ahh, I can’t... I’m Muselu, too!”
  1465.  
  1466. The bard finally took his cock out and started rubbing it against his instrument—despite the female form right in front of him.
  1467.  
  1468. Though I wondered what the hell I was doing, I even bent over and revealed my asshole to him.
  1469.  
  1470. “There it is! The Grand Muselussobeu! Fantastic! You’re a goddess of revolution from the realm beyond the senses!”
  1471.  
  1472. Actually, I’m a high-schooler from Tokyo, but okay.
  1473.  
  1474. Now I really had no idea what he was talking about. He writhed, toes pointing and twitching.
  1475.  
  1476. Then he pressed his weird guitar thing into my hands.
  1477.  
  1478. “Your natural inspiration and audacious flesh are so lovely. Here, take this and serenade me. Go wherever your senses take you. Let me hear your fingertips sing!”
  1479.  
  1480. This thing is basically a guitar, right?
  1481.  
  1482. My boyfriend before my last boyfriend was in a shitty band, and I had wanted to sing Kane Nishioka’s “Toritetsu,” so I learned just that one song and could play a little guitar.
  1483.  
  1484. D, A, G, and B Minor? I only know those four, but it’s something.
  1485.  
  1486. Anyhow, it was the customer’s request, and I happened to have a bone on my table from the dried meat I had for lunch courtesy of Sumo, so I grabbed that as a pick and decided to give it a shot. I strummed.
  1487.  
  1488. “What is that innovative playing style? It’s like a round-trip slap from a goddess!” He flipped and flopped like a piece squid on the grill. “You’re plucking all the strings at once with a bone? But those beautifully layered sounds are like lightning striking a snow field!
  1489.  
  1490.  
  1491.  
  1492.  
  1493.  
  1494.  
  1495.  
  1496. 40 | P a g e
  1497.  
  1498.  
  1499. What is this? It’s so novel my brain can’t keep up! But it really gets me in the groin!”
  1500.  
  1501. What’s so novel that my brain can’t keep up is your fetish, but okay.
  1502.  
  1503. Can I keep playing? Can I sing a song I like for the first time in forever?
  1504.  
  1505. “I’m gonna go take a pic of the 7:52 DeHa 1000 ♪”
  1506.  
  1507. “Oh, you don’t have to sing. I don’t need your voice. Just give me more of that sound.”
  1508.  
  1509. Well excuse me for being so tone-deaf! Fuck!
  1510.  
  1511. But this was work, so I did as I was told and continued playing the “Toritetsu” chords in silence. The bard continued getting himself all worked up and finally started masturbating.
  1512.  
  1513. Even in a different world, there are still perverts. No matter what remote corner of the universe you go to, humans stay the same. That’s what I was thinking while I strummed his guitar, butt-naked.
  1514.  
  1515. Mom, Dad.
  1516.  
  1517. I’m doing my best.
  1518.  
  1519. “Oh no, I see it! The door to heaven! I’m gonna knock on it! Knock-knock!”
  1520.  
  1521. As the song was heading to its finish, the bard pointed his toes straight out.
  1522.  
  1523. “Huh? Wait a second, sir! You can’t yet!”
  1524.  
  1525. We get paid by the shot. A shot to the mouth or pussy. We’re not such lukewarm hookers that we take money just ’cause the guy jerks himself off.
  1526.  
  1527. “Move your hand! Please shoot it into my pussy!”
  1528.  
  1529. “Ahh, no! You must let me hear more of your angelic voice!”
  1530.  
  1531.  
  1532.  
  1533.  
  1534. 41 | P a g e
  1535.  
  1536.  
  1537. “If you want to hear it, listen all you want. Just, when you shoot, do it inside me!”
  1538.  
  1539. I mounted the bard guy, got his cock into my lubed and luvya-grassed pussy, and strummed the guitar.
  1540.  
  1541. “Haaaaannnnngh!”
  1542.  
  1543. The bard rocked his body up and down like a bass drum pedal below me.
  1544.  
  1545. Then right as I ended the song—jaggajang—with a squeeze, he came inside me.
  1546.  
  1547. Phew, glad I made it in time.
  1548.  
  1549.  
  1550. There was a little while before the shop would open, so I had an early dinner with Shequraso and Lupe.
  1551.  
  1552. A group of women eating out is shameful or whatever—this society is so stupidly closed-minded and misogynistic that we can’t have a proper girls-only hang-out—but we put a bench outside the shop, and it feels almost like a lunch break.
  1553.  
  1554. “You had that old bald customer yesterday, right Haru? Did he lick your entire body?”
  1555.  
  1556. “Yeah, his tongue was all over. So gross.”
  1557.  
  1558. “I really hate that guy, too. I always take an extra-long shower after him.”
  1559.  
  1560. “I mean, he even puts his tongue in your butt. That’s plain scary.”
  1561.  
  1562. “What? He never did that to me.”
  1563.  
  1564. “Me neither.”
  1565.  
  1566. “Huh? Really? Eww, just me?”
  1567.  
  1568.  
  1569.  
  1570.  
  1571.  
  1572.  
  1573. 42 | P a g e
  1574.  
  1575. “What does that feel like, anyway?”
  1576.  
  1577. “Nooo, I don’t wanna talk about it.”
  1578.  
  1579. “C’mon Shequraso, tell us. How did it feel? How did it feel to have a man’s tongue up your butt?”
  1580.  
  1581. “Haru, don’t be nasty...”
  1582.  
  1583. “Save me, Lupe. I can say anything to Haru.”
  1584.  
  1585. Shequraso was nervous at first, but maybe because there wasn’t much foot traffic at that time of day, and we felt so liberated, she gradually got more talkative, dissing customers and complaining about issues at the shop.
  1586.  
  1587. Then things got supremely fun.
  1588.  
  1589. “This kind of thing is nice once in a while.”
  1590.  
  1591. Right? Every girl loves girl time.
  1592.  
  1593. Shequraso let her long, plentifully accessorized orange hair flutter in the wind and said, “The food is good, too,” with a cheerful grin.
  1594.  
  1595. Once the shop opens up she gives off this intense artist aura, but stretching her back under the blue sky, she looks like a regular college girl.
  1596.  
  1597. I’m pretty sure she’s 21. She’s a hella good singer, number three in the sales rankings, got nice boobs, a tight butt, and she’s super pretty, and she gets 150 rubers per shot. I’m forever in awe.
  1598.  
  1599. That glorious goddess smiled a bit sheepishly, but with a bit of pride, and said, “This weekend I’m taking time off.”
  1600.  
  1601. “Oh, you mean...really?!”
  1602.  
  1603. “Huh? What, Haru? What is it?”
  1604.  
  1605.  
  1606.  
  1607.  
  1608.  
  1609.  
  1610.  
  1611.  
  1612. 43 | P a g e
  1613.  
  1614.  
  1615. “Going on vacation during our busiest time of the week can only mean one thing. A man, right?”
  1616.  
  1617. “Whaaat?”
  1618.  
  1619. “Heh-heh. Don’t tell anybody.”
  1620.  
  1621. “Is it that one guy? The guild master’s son?”
  1622.  
  1623. Shequraso has a rich, young regular—the son of the owner of the referral service, who runs the guild that covers all the brothels in the nightlife district.
  1624.  
  1625. In name, he’s the guild master, but as seems to often be the case in this industry, he’s more like a ya**za boss, and his son is a huge prick.
  1626.  
  1627. But they’re one of the neighborhood’s more powerful families, so naturally Madam can’t oppose them. The guy seems to be a fan of Shequraso’s singing and butt, so he comes around pretty often with his posse.
  1628.  
  1629. “No, no. I would never go with that guy,” she laughed.
  1630.  
  1631. Of course not.
  1632.  
  1633. “Huh? Then who?”
  1634.  
  1635. “You really can’t tell anybody. It’s...a soldier.”
  1636.  
  1637. “Seriously?”
  1638.  
  1639. “Wow!”
  1640.  
  1641. Because this city is on the front lines of the war with the demon lord’s army, there are lots of people dispatched from the capital with the royal army, and they come to the shop pretty often.
  1642.  
  1643. They’re the elites of this world. Young soldiers are usually pretty nice, too, so more than a few girls pine after them.
  1644.  
  1645.  
  1646.  
  1647.  
  1648.  
  1649.  
  1650.  
  1651.  
  1652. 44 | P a g e
  1653.  
  1654.  
  1655. But to soldiers, we’re just sex workers they met on a temporary deployment, so you have to be careful about getting serious.
  1656.  
  1657. “He doesn’t go upstairs, you know. Apparently he comes to hear me sing. Then we went on a date outside the shop once, and all of the sudden he wanted me to come to his room.”
  1658.  
  1659. “Whoa, did you go?!”
  1660.  
  1661. We do have a date system. It depends on the price of the girl, but for me, one date is 30 rubers. It’s usually something like hanging out a couple hours before the shop opens. Taking a girl home is prohibited, and if you sleep together, the shop’s normal rates apply, but of course some girls go with the flow and end up at the guy’s house.
  1662.  
  1663. Supposedly, at that point, whether you take money or make it a personal relationship depends on the atmosphere and how you feel about each other. I went on a date with Sumo once, but we just ate some meat.
  1664.  
  1665. “What? I wouldn’t do that so fast. But then he asked me out again. And I felt kinda bad since he treats me to a meal every time and always comes to hear me sing. He seems pretty serious...”
  1666.  
  1667. “So did you sleep with him?”
  1668.  
  1669. “Well.”
  1670.  
  1671. “And?” Lupe leaned in.
  1672.  
  1673. “He asked me if I wanted to be his special one,” Shequraso replied with a smile, blushing.
  1674.  
  1675. “Eeeep!”
  1676.  
  1677. “Ahh, you’re so lucky.”
  1678.  
  1679. To be honest, I wondered if he could really be trusted, but Shequraso was a veteran, so I didn’t need to tell her what was what.
  1680.  
  1681.  
  1682.  
  1683.  
  1684.  
  1685. 45 | P a g e
  1686.  
  1687.  
  1688. I was sure she could judge for herself. And I didn’t want to ruin the gushy mood.
  1689.  
  1690. “So we must know what he looks like at least, right?” “Is he cute? Is he cute?”
  1691.  
  1692. “Nah, he has a normal face. You guys definitely wouldn’t remember him.”
  1693.  
  1694. “Ahh, I wanna fall in love, too.”
  1695.  
  1696. “I want a guy besides Sumo...”
  1697.  
  1698. “Haru, what about that adventurer who always comes around? You seem to get along with him.”
  1699.  
  1700. “Mm, that guy? I just can’t get rid of him, is all. We’re more like fellow zombies than anything.”
  1701.  
  1702. We just died together, that’s all.
  1703.  
  1704. “Zombies?”
  1705.  
  1706. “Never mind. Just, there’s no way I’m going out with him.”
  1707.  
  1708. “But I heard about him from other customers. Endless Crimson Rain, right? He’s famous at the arena.”
  1709.  
  1710. “Huh? Endless what...?”
  1711.  
  1712. “Your friend! That Endless Crimson Rain guy!”
  1713.  
  1714. “Bwa-ha! He’s delusional! His dark past must go on for pages and pages!”
  1715.  
  1716. “Huh? What’s so funny?!”
  1717.  
  1718. “Isn’t he strong?”
  1719.  
  1720. “Mm, it’s hard to explain. But in any case, he’s an idiot, totally stupid. He’s definitely nothing special to me, so don’t misunderstand.”
  1721.  
  1722.  
  1723.  
  1724.  
  1725.  
  1726. 46 | P a g e
  1727.  
  1728.  
  1729. “Hmmm? I seeee.” Lupe nodded as if she had grasped something.
  1730.  
  1731. “Wait a sec. Lupe, you don’t...?”
  1732.  
  1733. “Huh? N-No! It’s not like that!”
  1734.  
  1735. “Out with it! I’ll definitely introduce you. If that sort of guy’s your type, I’m more than happy to.”
  1736.  
  1737. “Do I detect romance? Is Lupe’s love story up next?” “No, I already told you!”
  1738.  
  1739. I really love goofing around like this. It’s seriously true that girl talk gives you essential nutrients.
  1740.  
  1741. Even when the sunlight started to slant and the foot traffic picked up, we went on chatting and chatting.
  1742.  
  1743. From somewhere came a sound like a guitar.
  1744.  
  1745. “Oh, this is that song that’s been popular around the bard guild lately. It’s so cool!”
  1746.  
  1747. “Right? It’s great. I want to sing a song like this sometime, but I’d need someone who could play it.”
  1748.  
  1749. Apparently a musician was performing somewhere.
  1750.  
  1751. To me it just sounded like normal strumming, but okay.
  1752.  
  1753. “It’s called, ‘Round-Trip Slap from a Goddess,’ right? That playing style is just so original. You can hear multiple notes at once!”
  1754.  
  1755. “Whoever wrote this song will get filthy rich. And with a patent on the technique, they’ll make even more. I’m jealous! Wonder what kind of person it is.”
  1756.  
  1757. “Hmm.”
  1758.  
  1759. I have no idea who this person is, but I’m envious of anyone who gets to live off royalties.
  1760.  
  1761.  
  1762.  
  1763.  
  1764. 47 | P a g e
  1765.  
  1766.  
  1767. Still, though, it doesn’t sound like such an amazing song to me. Actually, it’s almost a total rip-off of “Toritetsu.” Laaaaame. “Okay, it’s almost time to open the shop.”
  1768.  
  1769. “This was fun. Let’s eat together again sometime.” “Yeah. All right, let’s get in there and work hard!” It was another day of diligently sleeping with men.
  1770.  
  1771.  
  1772.  
  1773.  
  1774.  
  1775.  
  1776.  
  1777.  
  1778.  
  1779.  
  1780.  
  1781.  
  1782.  
  1783.  
  1784.  
  1785.  
  1786.  
  1787.  
  1788.  
  1789.  
  1790.  
  1791.  
  1792.  
  1793.  
  1794.  
  1795.  
  1796.  
  1797.  
  1798.  
  1799.  
  1800.  
  1801.  
  1802.  
  1803.  
  1804.  
  1805.  
  1806.  
  1807.  
  1808.  
  1809.  
  1810.  
  1811.  
  1812.  
  1813.  
  1814.  
  1815.  
  1816.  
  1817.  
  1818.  
  1819.  
  1820.  
  1821.  
  1822.  
  1823.  
  1824.  
  1825.  
  1826. 48 | P a g e
  1827.  
  1828.  
  1829. No Endless Rain Lasts Forever
  1830.  
  1831.  
  1832.  
  1833.  
  1834. Chiba, Solo X Japan—I mean Endless Crimson Rain, wouldn’t shut up about how I had to go see the arena at least once, so one day during my free time, I wandered over.
  1835.  
  1836. Apparently he was getting up there in rank, and in fact, it was a first for someone who had debuted barely six months ago; he bragged about how he’d zoomed onto the scene like a comet.
  1837.  
  1838. I don’t really remember much about it because lately when he starts on that topic I open up a smartphone game in my head.
  1839.  
  1840. But Lupe was saying he was popular, so maybe he really is. And I caught a whiff of cash.
  1841.  
  1842. So I finally moved my beautiful ass to see for myself.
  1843.  
  1844. Still, I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t left the nightlife district since I started working at the brothel.
  1845.  
  1846. There were more people than I imagined at the arena at the edge of town. I thought the only leisure activities in this middle-of-nowhere other world were booze and women, but there were so many people that it felt like Shibuya. There were tents selling food, and it looked like everyone was having fun. What the heck? I should have come sooner!
  1847.  
  1848. I thought it would be just watching a couple of people duke it out in a boxing match or something, but you can bet money on the results, like in horse racing.
  1849.  
  1850. So that’s why it’s dirt cheap to get in—only two rubers. This place is for gambling. Seriously, though, this is so great. I’ve never been somewhere like this before!
  1851.  
  1852.  
  1853.  
  1854.  
  1855.  
  1856.  
  1857. 49 | P a g e
  1858.  
  1859.  
  1860. I thought I would bet on Chiba, but the payout was so low, I changed my mind. His opponent’s was higher, so I bet on him, but then Chiba won like it was nothing.
  1861.  
  1862. The fuck? I thought, but when I met up with Chiba, he actually got mad at me.
  1863.  
  1864. “Do you seriously think I would lose to an old dude like that? Or like, why not just bet on me in the first place?”
  1865.  
  1866. As long as you’re with a guy, you can go out for tea and no one will tell you you’re “shameful.” After savoring my tea in the first proper cafe I’d been to in a while, I told him, “Would you lose on purpose next time? Then I’d really clean up. I’ll give you a cut, so how about it?”
  1867.  
  1868. “Huh? Are you stupid?”
  1869.  
  1870. “Say that again?”
  1871.  
  1872. “N-No, not that you’re stupid...just, if I did that, my rank would go down, so you wouldn’t be able to make money anymore.”
  1873.  
  1874. “Is that how it works?”
  1875.  
  1876. “Yeah. But really, you can just bet on me and you’ll be fine. You can bet every ruber you’re worth. I’m not planning on losing.”
  1877.  
  1878. “Did you really get that strong? You’re invincible?”
  1879.  
  1880. “Well, I can’t win against the guys at the top of my rank yet, but I spent all yesterday and the day before hunting monsters for experience points, and my level went up about 15. Frankly, I’m level 78 now. For the time being I’m fighting at C Rank, but if I actually tried, I’d be B.”
  1881.  
  1882. Each rank has their own skill patterns and magic levels, so Chiba was studying up on them as he fought. Once you hit C Rank, some fighters start to have unique skills, and he said he wanted to study those, too.
  1883.  
  1884.  
  1885.  
  1886.  
  1887. 50 | P a g e
  1888.  
  1889.  
  1890. “I’ll always be higher-level, so I want to get as much knowledge—or you know, experience—as I can so I don’t have to panic when I get to the next rank. You can only learn this kind of stuff in real fights, so I’m just going at a slower speed.”
  1891.  
  1892. He had talked before about how important skills are.
  1893.  
  1894. Even though he’s a cheater.
  1895.  
  1896. “I don’t really get it, but it sounds like you’re taking it easy because you got stronger than all the guys you’re fighting?”
  1897.  
  1898. “Yeah, yeah. Like, I could all of the sudden hit level 200 and become the top fighter in the arena. But instead I’m strategically controlling my level. Each time I fight, I have to be way stronger than the other guy, but the price for the fame of jumping to the top all at once would be inconvenience.”
  1899.  
  1900. If you become one of the four A-ranked fighters and protect your rank fifty times, you advance to S Rank, as well as receive a title and become a noble. But then you become an important figure and can’t move around so freely.
  1901.  
  1902. Before that happened, he wanted to find rare gear, get the record for farthest solo trip into the woods, and visit another town, so he was pretty busy.
  1903.  
  1904. He had a lot of things he wanted to do, so he was in no hurry to reach the finish line.
  1905.  
  1906. “Pretty soon I’ll advance to B Rank, but I want to get my level up to 100 first. I think the current top is 150. He doesn’t want to go S Rank, so he’s only participated in a single fight since the year started.”
  1907.  
  1908. Apparently, the top A-Ranker is a dual-wielding old guy.
  1909.  
  1910. He debuted in his forties and still hasn’t lost to anyone, or something.
  1911.  
  1912.  
  1913.  
  1914.  
  1915. 51 | P a g e
  1916.  
  1917.  
  1918. “Well, someday I’ll beat that dude and be the top-ranker, but if he’s not even coming out to fight, then there’s no reason for me to rush. First I want to experience things that only commoners can.”
  1919.  
  1920. I didn’t really get it, but Chiba smiled with a face I never saw on him back in the classroom.
  1921.  
  1922. I’m going for top three sales rank at the shop, but all I get for that is a monthly salary of 1,000 rubers and a room that’s a little more spacious so I can service high-class customers.
  1923.  
  1924. Man, if I were a guy, I’d probably have fun in this other world,
  1925.  
  1926. too.
  1927.  
  1928. “But now you understand what I meant when I said I was famous at the arena, right?”
  1929.  
  1930. Chiba, aka Crimson, really was strong. He’d let his opponent do as they liked, take their attack with ease, and win with a single blow. Plus, he was a good bit younger than the other guys his rank.
  1931.  
  1932. Apparently 16x wasn’t just for show. I don’t know the rules, but the reason Chiba’s payout was so low was probably because so many people were betting on him. Everyone seemed to take it for granted that he would win.
  1933.  
  1934. And at the cafeteria near the arena, there were lots of people glancing at him—not because his weird Carp-cap hairstyle was unusual, but probably because he was famous.
  1935.  
  1936. Chiba leaned back in his chair and grinned arrogantly. I took out my mental phone game. “Uh, umm. Mr. Endless Crimson Rain?”
  1937.  
  1938. A cute voice said his name, but we weren’t really sure who she was talking to, so we both ignored it, but when it happened again, I turned around—“Chiba, doesn’t she mean you?”—and a girl dressed all in white was standing there.
  1939.  
  1940.  
  1941.  
  1942.  
  1943. 52 | P a g e
  1944.  
  1945.  
  1946. A white hat (?) over perfectly straight, long, black hair. Wide eyes. White skin. A one-in-a-million knock-out, the type that any boy would go for, was nervously playing with her fingers.
  1947.  
  1948. “M-My name is Kiyori. I’m a Sister of the church. I always go to see your fights, Mr. Endless Crimson Rain. I have a lot of respect for your amazing strength. So, um, if it suits you...please let me be your partner!”
  1949.  
  1950. Chiba stared at the Sister girl, stunned, and then looked at me.
  1951.  
  1952. Pff, I have no idea.
  1953.  
  1954. “Huh? Huh? You mean me?”
  1955.  
  1956. “You’re the only one with a name like Solo X Japan.”
  1957.  
  1958. He must have found something amusing, because he laughed with his dopey face and dismissed the idea, “I’m not like X Japan,” but then did a double take and said, “Wait, maybe I am! Wow, I totally missed it. So there was someone just lining up cool-sounding words before me...”
  1959.  
  1960. He leaned back and smacked his forehead.
  1961.  
  1962. You mean you didn’t copy them because you were a fan?! Did you forget your brain in the other world?
  1963.  
  1964. “Chiba. More importantly, you’re kinda leaving this girl hanging...”
  1965.  
  1966. Sister Kiyori, was it? She seemed confused to be ignored as he got all excited and depressed by turns.
  1967.  
  1968. I thought a girl this cute approaching him would make him so happy he’d get a nose bleed, but...
  1969.  
  1970. “Sorry, I already have a partner.”
  1971.  
  1972. ...contrary to my expectations, he rejected her like that.
  1973.  
  1974.  
  1975.  
  1976.  
  1977.  
  1978.  
  1979.  
  1980. 53 | P a g e
  1981.  
  1982.  
  1983. I figured he’d be a loner in this world, too, so it surprised me that he already had a sidekick.
  1984.  
  1985. He forced his fingers through his rock-hard bangs, shrugged his shoulders at the surprised Sister, and jerked his thumb at me.
  1986.  
  1987. “A life partner, that is.”
  1988.  
  1989. I was seriously pissed, so I told him, “You pay,” made him treat me to tea, and got the hell out of there.
  1990.  
  1991. You shithead. Don’t get cocky. You’re just Chiba.
  1992.  
  1993. No matter how reversed our positions get, no matter how many times you buy me, I’ll never go out with an otaku like you, and there’s no way in hell I’d ever be your maid.
  1994.  
  1995. Never!
  1996.  
  1997. “W-Wait a sec!”
  1998.  
  1999. But Chiba, who must have been convinced a Monday night soap opera starring him was premiering, ran after me with a determined look on his face (realism). Can it get more obnoxious?
  2000.  
  2001. “I don’t have any feelings for her, so don’t misunderstand.”
  2002.  
  2003. “Misunderstand? Why would I care? You can turn her down or go with her if you want. I’m just mad ’cause you’re using me!”
  2004.  
  2005. “Hey, calm down. I just met her! Did you really think I would have an affair just because she’s a tad cute?”
  2006.  
  2007. “It wouldn’t be an affair in any case, and actually, I wish you would go out with her. Wait, I left so fast I must have given her the wrong idea, sorry. I’m annoyed because you were treating me like your girlfriend.”
  2008.  
  2009. “Yeah... If you were my slave, we wouldn’t be equals. But I’m not the kind of petty guy who would care about something like that. You can show me your true self once in a while.”
  2010.  
  2011.  
  2012.  
  2013.  
  2014.  
  2015. 54 | P a g e
  2016.  
  2017. “What?”
  2018.  
  2019. “Uh, err, why are you angry? I mean, I think the order you do the harem routes is important, and I already picked you, my former classmate and future slave maid, as my first woman, so...”
  2020.  
  2021. “I have no idea what you’re talking about! You really think I’m just gonna go along with whatever nasty story you have in your head?”
  2022.  
  2023. Just as I thought I was going to explode with rage, the white girl screamed.
  2024.  
  2025. “Please stop it!”
  2026.  
  2027. Her wide eyes were full of tears, and her fairly big chest bounced—she seemed just like a typical female lead.
  2028.  
  2029. “I beg you, please stop. Please don’t fight on account of me.” Somebody save meeeeee.
  2030.  
  2031.  
  2032. Before things got any crazier, I called, “Annnd break!” and went back to the shop.
  2033.  
  2034. I have a pretty good idea what kind of life Chiba is living, but I’m me, so I’m going to save up bit by bit.
  2035.  
  2036. “And so, since that guy won, I ended up losing five rubers.” “O-Ohh. That’s too bad.”
  2037.  
  2038. Sumo, sweating in his earnest efforts to hang on my every word, has started to seem kind of cute lately.
  2039.  
  2040. He gives me meat, and when he’s around, I get requested more often. Maybe I should make him my little brother.
  2041.  
  2042. “Haru, someone’s asking for you!”
  2043.  
  2044.  
  2045.  
  2046.  
  2047.  
  2048.  
  2049. 55 | P a g e
  2050.  
  2051. See? Just like that. The Sumo Effect got me a request.
  2052.  
  2053. “Thank you so much!”
  2054.  
  2055. But the blue-bearded man looked familiar.
  2056.  
  2057. It was the guy who made me lose five rubers today, the guy Chiba beat up.
  2058.  
  2059. “Put your hands on the wall and point your ass this way.” He didn’t see me having tea with Chiba, did he?
  2060.  
  2061. I couldn’t very well ask him, and if I was wrong, it would just make things worse, so I didn’t say anything. But the blue-bearded man didn’t seem like he was going to do any unnecessary chatting either. He briskly prepared to violate me and then thrust his cock in.
  2062.  
  2063. I had lube on, but getting it shoved all the way to the back like that in one go kind of hurt.
  2064.  
  2065. He grabbed my butt with his huge hands and pumped his thick hips against me. The muscles on his arms bulged. His palms were hard like baseball gloves. If he were standing across from me holding a spear, I’d be freaked out.
  2066.  
  2067. Chiba can beat a guy like this without breaking a sweat. I guess that does make him pretty strong.
  2068.  
  2069. As I was admiring him, the man put his mouth to my ear and spoke in a low voice.
  2070.  
  2071. “You Crimson’s woman?”
  2072.  
  2073. Ohhhh snap.
  2074.  
  2075. “...Ah! Nnn!”
  2076.  
  2077. “You can’t play dumb with me. You were out together. You must be Endless Crimson Rain’s woman.”
  2078.  
  2079.  
  2080.  
  2081.  
  2082.  
  2083.  
  2084.  
  2085.  
  2086. 56 | P a g e
  2087.  
  2088.  
  2089. “Eek!” He grabbed my faking-it butt so hard with his bear-paw hand that I accidentally yelped.
  2090.  
  2091. “H-He’s just a friend.”
  2092.  
  2093. “Don’t lie to me. Crimson said you were his woman, didn’t he? I saw you having your little lover’s quarrel.”
  2094.  
  2095. “It wasn’t a lover’s quarrel. He’s really just a friend.”
  2096.  
  2097. “I said not to play dumb!”
  2098.  
  2099. “Agh!”
  2100.  
  2101. He grabbed my hair and pulled. I hate when guys do that. It always feels like it’s gonna rip right off.
  2102.  
  2103. “What a joke—I’m fucking Crimson’s woman at a brothel. Maybe I’ll tell the other guys. There are a shit-ton of fighters with a grudge against that little turd.”
  2104.  
  2105. Crap, this is bad... What should I do?
  2106.  
  2107. “Say something, c’mon!”
  2108.  
  2109. He snorted in my ear.
  2110.  
  2111. His cock got harder and harder inside me.
  2112.  
  2113. “That impudent little, brat, making a fool of, an adult. Hmph! Rragh!”
  2114.  
  2115. “Nn!”
  2116.  
  2117. He walked me over to the window, still stuck in my pussy, and forced my face against the glass.
  2118.  
  2119. “I know your face now. Don’t think you can just go walking around the city! My friends will be ready to rape you anytime!”
  2120.  
  2121. I’m pretty sure that could actually happen.
  2122.  
  2123.  
  2124.  
  2125.  
  2126.  
  2127.  
  2128.  
  2129.  
  2130. 57 | P a g e
  2131.  
  2132.  
  2133. I know firsthand how low the status of sex workers is in this misogynistic world. Even if one was getting assaulted on a street corner, the soldiers wouldn’t protect her.
  2134.  
  2135. What should I do...?
  2136.  
  2137. Pressed up against the window, my face and chest squished rhythmically.
  2138.  
  2139. Incidentally, I think it would pretty hot to see this from the other side of the glass, but I didn’t feel like the dude and I were really getting anything out of it.
  2140.  
  2141. “That brat! I’m gonna fuck you! I’m gonna fuck you ’till you’re dead!”
  2142.  
  2143. He pulled out, and a moment later I was thrown down on the bed.
  2144.  
  2145. Guys in this world just love rape. I get thrown around like this at least two or three times a night.
  2146.  
  2147. I’ve gotten used to being treated as a toy, but getting raped anytime 24/7, that would kind of suck.
  2148.  
  2149. Dude spread my legs and thrust his cock back in.
  2150.  
  2151. At the same time, I made my sexiest face and moaned. “Ahh, you’re amazing. You’re so big. I’ve never had a man so big before. I think I’m gonna go insane.”
  2152.  
  2153. “O-Oh. I’m that good, huh, she-brat? You like my massive hammer better than Crimson’s little wee-wee?”
  2154.  
  2155. “Yeah, I love it. I’m totally in love with your massive hammer. It’s way deeper red than Crimson’s uncut thingie.”
  2156.  
  2157. I gave bluebeard a smooch on the lips. When I stuck my tongue in and noodled around, he let it go to his head and reached his out, too.
  2158.  
  2159.  
  2160.  
  2161.  
  2162.  
  2163. 58 | P a g e
  2164.  
  2165.  
  2166. I’m unbeatable when it comes to French kissing. Dude’s movements grew sluggish. Eventually, with a dazed look on his face, he started drooling all over.
  2167.  
  2168. Phew. My kisses are level 100, ya C-Ranker.
  2169.  
  2170. “I love it... I love your cock, mister. Can I be your woman?”
  2171.  
  2172. Sometimes I really think men are dumb, and they are definitely at their dumbest when they’re having sex.
  2173.  
  2174. “Sure. Starting today, you’re my woman. I’ll put you in such a trance, you’ll forget all about Crimson!”
  2175.  
  2176. All I can think is that their cocks are their brains.
  2177.  
  2178. It’s not girls who are obsessed with the D, but guys.
  2179.  
  2180. I rocked my hips to match his from where he had me on his lap. I gave him a ton of free service, like, Fall for my pussy, bitch! Then I smooched him again and whispered, “Take me,” in his ear.
  2181.  
  2182. “Oh, I will. I’ll kill that asshole. So be my wife!” “Yay! I’m so happy. Hurry up and kill him!” And that’s how our feelings became mutual.
  2183.  
  2184. His big butt tensed and I had the feeling he was going to shoot soon, so I squeezed my pussy, too.
  2185.  
  2186. “Ah, I can’t! I can’t hold back anymore! Mister, I’m gonna cum! I’m gonna cum!”
  2187.  
  2188. “Yeah, cum for me! I’ll take you to heaven! Yaaargh! Nnngh!” Annnnd he’s off.
  2189.  
  2190. I quickly assumed the O-face and pretended to be out of my senses.
  2191.  
  2192.  
  2193.  
  2194.  
  2195.  
  2196.  
  2197.  
  2198.  
  2199.  
  2200. 59 | P a g e
  2201.  
  2202.  
  2203. After making sure the man was satisfied and seeing him out, I took a shower, rushed back to the pub, and hid in the kitchen waiting for that idiot.
  2204.  
  2205. “Umm, is Haru here?”
  2206.  
  2207. “So the idiot has come!”
  2208.  
  2209. Well, I guess I kind of pity him getting a hit put on him even if he is an unfair, cheat-skilled bastard.
  2210.  
  2211. I thought I’d punch him in the face and then tell him what was going on, but when I saw him, I was totally shocked.
  2212.  
  2213. “You’re covered in blood! What the hell?”
  2214.  
  2215. “Yeah, it’s splatter. I suddenly got attacked out there in the dark. Oh, you remember the guy I fought this afternoon, right?”
  2216.  
  2217. “What? No, stop it. Seriously, stop it. I don’t want to hear this! That majorly creeps me out! You didn’t have to kill him, you idiot!”
  2218.  
  2219. “Huh? Nah, I didn’t kill him. Though I did make it so he’ll probably never hold a weapon again. Apparently you’re innocent in the case of revenge or counterattack here, though, so killing would have actually been within my rights.”
  2220.  
  2221. “Ugh, I can’t believe you! What is this crazy savanna world? This is so scary! Terrifying! How can you be so cruel?!”
  2222.  
  2223. “Who cares? I’m fine. More importantly, let’s shower together. We didn’t get to talk properly this afterno—”
  2224.  
  2225. “No! Stay away from me! You’re like literal endless crimson rain right now!”
  2226.  
  2227. Up until a bit ago I felt partially responsible too, but actually, no, this was entirely Chiba’s fault.
  2228.  
  2229. “I’m absolutely not sleeping with you tonight,” I told him, turning down a customer for the first time.
  2230.  
  2231.  
  2232.  
  2233.  
  2234. 60 | P a g e
  2235.  
  2236.  
  2237. Chiba said, “Then I’ll do the event with the girl from this afternoon, then,” whatever that means.
  2238.  
  2239. Lupe looked on in disapproval, “Another lover’s quarrel.” No, it’s not. It’s really not.
  2240.  
  2241. I’m not so adapted to this other world that I’d start a romantic comedy with a gross otaku covered in blood!
  2242.  
  2243.  
  2244.  
  2245.  
  2246.  
  2247.  
  2248.  
  2249.  
  2250.  
  2251.  
  2252.  
  2253.  
  2254.  
  2255.  
  2256.  
  2257.  
  2258.  
  2259.  
  2260.  
  2261.  
  2262.  
  2263.  
  2264.  
  2265.  
  2266.  
  2267.  
  2268.  
  2269.  
  2270.  
  2271.  
  2272.  
  2273.  
  2274.  
  2275.  
  2276.  
  2277.  
  2278.  
  2279.  
  2280.  
  2281.  
  2282.  
  2283.  
  2284.  
  2285.  
  2286.  
  2287.  
  2288.  
  2289.  
  2290.  
  2291.  
  2292.  
  2293.  
  2294.  
  2295.  
  2296.  
  2297.  
  2298.  
  2299.  
  2300.  
  2301. 61 | P a g e
  2302.  
  2303.  
  2304. Operation Nyan-Nyan
  2305.  
  2306.  
  2307.  
  2308.  
  2309. I don’t know how this happened, but I was sitting on a bench having tea with the Sister girl who hit on Chiba the Crimson Carp Fan the other day.
  2310.  
  2311. The spot where I usually had fun lunch breaks with Shequraso and Lupe was now enveloped in this awkward atmosphere. More people had started passing by. The women wore short skirts like me, always on the arm of a man.
  2312.  
  2313. This was a back street in the nightlife district, and there were lots of sex workers.
  2314.  
  2315. Kiyori furrowed her brow and put a hand over her mouth. “I’ve never been to a place like this before.”
  2316.  
  2317. She looked almost like a sheltered princess in profile. Her pretty face blushed.
  2318.  
  2319. “Oh, you must hang out by the church usually, huh?”
  2320.  
  2321. I kept thinking she must have come to talk about Chiba—after all he’s the only one who would have told her where I work—but I suppressed my urge to kill him ASAP and brought up a benign topic.
  2322.  
  2323. “No, I’ve already received my angel name, so I work outside the church now, like at the hospital. I hope I’ll be able to register at the adventurer guild and be of some use on the front lines,” she mumbled quickly in a tiny voice.
  2324.  
  2325. All I could say was, “Hmm.”
  2326.  
  2327. She was probably referencing something to do with religious groups in this world, but I have no common sense here.
  2328.  
  2329.  
  2330.  
  2331.  
  2332.  
  2333.  
  2334.  
  2335. 62 | P a g e
  2336.  
  2337.  
  2338. “When I was little, an adventurer saved me from a monster once. Ever since then I’ve wanted to help them protect people from the demons. I studied hard, got my license, and since I wanted to partner with someone strong so I would be able to save as many people as I could, I started going to the arena. That’s how I met Mr. Endless Crimson Rain.”
  2339.  
  2340. “That’s sure a funny thing to do when you need to start thinking about the rest of your life.”
  2341.  
  2342. “He really is strong. He’s so young, yet he fights so boldly, and with so much respect for his opponents. He’s someone I can admire.”
  2343.  
  2344. Respect? I’m pretty sure he’s just having his opponent do a move so he can watch for research.
  2345.  
  2346. She doesn’t know about hidden skills and levels, so she has no idea how easy Chiba has it in his fights.
  2347.  
  2348. He totally looks down on everyone with his sneaky cheat skills. “Well, but he rejected me.”
  2349.  
  2350. “Oh, nahhh. He wasn’t talking about an adventure partner. Unpopular guys take any invitation from a girl as romance.”
  2351.  
  2352. “...But I’m in love.”
  2353.  
  2354. “What?”
  2355.  
  2356. “I like Mr. Endless Crimson Rain. I want to go adventuring with someone I like, which is why I took the liberty of approaching him,” Kiyori blurted, her cheeks bright red. She was looking straight at me.
  2357.  
  2358. Oh geez, this is nuts. Just a big pile of misunderstandings.
  2359.  
  2360. “I understand the relationship between you and Mr. Endless Crimson Rain, Miss Haru. Please excuse me for the sudden interruption the other day. But allow me to say one more thing, even
  2361.  
  2362.  
  2363.  
  2364.  
  2365.  
  2366. 63 | P a g e
  2367.  
  2368.  
  2369. if it’s adding rudeness on top of rudeness: I’m not sure what I think about this attitude of yours, where you do th-this sort of work while being a companion to Mr. Endless Crimson Rain.”
  2370.  
  2371. “No, so that’s the thing. It’s a misunderstanding, or like, really, the Crimson guy is completely misinterpreting the situation in the first place, but I’m only friendly with him when I’m getting paid for it. In the end, we’re just acquaintances, nothing more, nothing less.”
  2372.  
  2373. “B-But I heard you had carnal relations. Beyond the scope of your work, he said.”
  2374.  
  2375. “Even that I’ve only done as work. He’s the only guy I know in this place, so at first I asked him to come by, and I gave him a little bit extra to thank him. And I mean, I even act sometimes.”
  2376.  
  2377. “What’s ‘a little bit extra’? Act? Like in a play?”
  2378.  
  2379. “Uhh, like giving him a bit of head after he blows his load? And acting is pretending to cum even if he sucks. Just the kind of stuff anybody does.”
  2380.  
  2381. “...What’s ‘head’? And where do you pretend to go?” “I knew you would say that. You’re just that type.” “Wh-What? Please don’t make fun of me.” I’m not making fun of you.
  2382.  
  2383. Honestly, I feel kind of like you’re making fun of me. How can I help it?
  2384.  
  2385. “All I mean is that he’s a dummy who hears what he wants and gets excited about it all on his own. Probably he’s having fun in this world, so he’s just wilding out a bit. But I know what kind of person he is, so I’ll never go out with him. Don’t worry about that.”
  2386.  
  2387. “...Then what exactly is the relationship between you two?” “Like I said—”
  2388.  
  2389.  
  2390.  
  2391.  
  2392. 64 | P a g e
  2393.  
  2394.  
  2395. “He says things like ‘this world’ or ‘Haru’s the only one who knows the old me’ sometimes. It’s almost as if there’s a whole other world only you two know about. And you just said, ‘this world.’”
  2396.  
  2397. “D-Did I?”
  2398.  
  2399. “Yes, you did. You both talk like you came from another world. And sometimes you use words I don’t know.”
  2400.  
  2401. Kiyori was still mumbling in her tiny voice, grilling me with her eyes glued to my face.
  2402.  
  2403. Crap.
  2404.  
  2405. “Ohhh, we’re just from the same area.”
  2406.  
  2407. “Oh? I get the same feeling from you that I get from Mr. Endless Crimson Rain. I can’t quite describe it, but you have this air about you that people around here don’t. You’re not like people from the capital, either... I sense a bigger cultural difference.”
  2408.  
  2409. It’s the Tokyo air.
  2410.  
  2411. But I knew she wouldn’t understand that even if I said it. Madam didn’t believe one word of my story.
  2412.  
  2413. None of the people here have such an anime brain that they’d accept such a ridiculous story and become an adventurer like Chiba.
  2414.  
  2415. “We just ended up in this city together by chance and don’t know anyone else. That’s the only reason we meet up. He’s not my type to begin with, so I think we’ll grow apart eventually.”
  2416.  
  2417. Knowing him, he won’t come around anymore once he starts dating someone like Kiyori.
  2418.  
  2419. And I have enough regulars that I’m fine without Chiba now.
  2420.  
  2421. I’m sure that after a while we’ll settle into just waving if we happen to see each other.
  2422.  
  2423. “...So what should I do?”
  2424.  
  2425.  
  2426.  
  2427.  
  2428. 65 | P a g e
  2429.  
  2430. Isn’t it weird to ask me that?
  2431.  
  2432. It would be easy to cut her off like that, but if you leave these poor helpless people to their own devices, they spin their wheels forever.
  2433.  
  2434. “I think the Crimson guy’s type is actually girls like you. He’s only attached to me because I’m his first, so just go for it.”
  2435.  
  2436. “But I’m not cute like you, Miss Haru...”
  2437.  
  2438. Oh my gawd, how obnoxious. She’s such a pain in the ass.
  2439.  
  2440. “Whaaat? No way, you’re definitely cuter than me. You have the kind of face he likes, too.”
  2441.  
  2442. “Th-That’s not true. Please don’t tease me.”
  2443.  
  2444. As I was saying whatever she wanted to hear, I managed to make some desperate eye contact with Lupe who had popped her head out to see what was going on.
  2445.  
  2446. “Oh, Haru. We have to prep for that thing soon.”
  2447.  
  2448. “Oh yeah, gotta prep for that thing. Okay, you got this. I’m rooting for you!”
  2449.  
  2450. “Huh? Umm!”
  2451.  
  2452. I hurried off to prep for that thing.
  2453.  
  2454. Geez, these losers just need to pair off already. What does it have to do with me?
  2455.  
  2456. For my part, I was busy working on getting my sales rank up.
  2457.  
  2458. I kinda stopped caring about appearances and decided it was time to hit this foreign world with some foreign culture.
  2459.  
  2460. “Nyan-nyan♪”
  2461.  
  2462. I put on a handmade cat ear headband and went to the shop.
  2463.  
  2464.  
  2465.  
  2466.  
  2467.  
  2468.  
  2469. 66 | P a g e
  2470.  
  2471. I looked so damn good in my black dress and black cat ears.
  2472.  
  2473. Smokin’. Believe in yourself.
  2474.  
  2475. “Haru, that’s so original. How cute!”
  2476.  
  2477. I caused a sensation in the shop, too. Yes, I am a goddess of revolution from the realm beyond the senses. I’ll exhibit unrivaled cuteness from another world.
  2478.  
  2479. “Whoa!”
  2480.  
  2481. From the entrance came the sound of someone dropping a huge sword.
  2482.  
  2483. “No way. Haru, don’t tell me you put those cat ears on for me...?”
  2484.  
  2485. Ugh, here he comes, Mr. Annoying.
  2486.  
  2487. “So, Haru. Kiyori is pretty cute, but in terms of who puts in more effort, it’s definitely you, so—”
  2488.  
  2489. “Shut up, Pizza-Face Japan. I had another pain-in-the-ass day ’cause of you, so I’m not sleeping with you. Lupe, do some Talking Time with this guy.”
  2490.  
  2491. “Huh? M-Me?”
  2492.  
  2493. I practically forced Lupe and Chiba together and proceeded to work the room with my sales smile. I buttered everyone up with my kitty face.
  2494.  
  2495. Instead of buying Lupe after their Talking Time ended, Chiba purposely came up to me a few times to say, “Well, I’m going,” but I pretended to be busy and ignored him.
  2496.  
  2497. He’d been all about my cat ears, but in the end, he trudged home. I asked Lupe what he was like and she said, “Well, at first it was as awkward as you’d expect, given the situation,” but apparently she’d gotten him hooked. I’d expect nothing less from Lupe-senpai.
  2498.  
  2499.  
  2500.  
  2501.  
  2502.  
  2503. 67 | P a g e
  2504.  
  2505.  
  2506. Actually, I really was busy. For my part, I was sensing people getting hooked on my cat ears.
  2507.  
  2508. A bunch of customers there to drink wanted to mess with me, and Sumo turned bright red at just the sight of my face.
  2509.  
  2510. I thought I would chat with Sumo in cat language, but then the blacksmith said I reminded him of a cat he used to have and bought me for upstairs.
  2511.  
  2512. I decided to give him full-on cat play.
  2513.  
  2514. “Nyaaaa.”
  2515.  
  2516. “H-Hey, that tickles.”
  2517.  
  2518. I licked his hairy nipples.
  2519.  
  2520. I was naked with cat ears, but I ventured to wear socks. If I had made a tail, I would have been even more cat-like, but I wasn’t sure what to use.
  2521.  
  2522. “You really are cute.”
  2523.  
  2524. He pet my head. He must have really loved his cat.
  2525.  
  2526. I went to put his cock in my mouth. It was still all floppy. Once I had it in, I kneaded his balls like a cat might do.
  2527.  
  2528. “Ha-ha, okay, cut it out. That’s enough being a cat.”
  2529.  
  2530. Oh, c’mon, you like it.
  2531.  
  2532. His thighs shivered.
  2533.  
  2534. Inside my mouth, his cock was hardening up.
  2535.  
  2536. “Nya?”
  2537.  
  2538. He shyly looked away.
  2539.  
  2540. I stared at him from up close, like a cat, then turned around on all fours and stuck my butt way up in the air.
  2541.  
  2542.  
  2543.  
  2544.  
  2545.  
  2546. 68 | P a g e
  2547.  
  2548. “Nyan?”
  2549.  
  2550. My freshly lubed and luvya-grassed pussy glistened.
  2551.  
  2552. Mister, I know you. You don’t buy girls very often, but you like ogling butts.
  2553.  
  2554. There are more ass guys than tit guys in this world.
  2555.  
  2556. “...”
  2557.  
  2558. The man silently brought his cock closer. I wiggled my butt and purposely moved away.
  2559.  
  2560. “Hey!” he said, like he was scolding a cat. Still blushing, he grabbed my butt.
  2561.  
  2562. In came the cock.
  2563.  
  2564. “I haven’t done it with my wife in so many years, I’m probably awful.”
  2565.  
  2566. After making an embarrassed excuse, he slowly started to move his hips.
  2567.  
  2568. So you wouldn’t guess from his face, but he’s the easily embarrassed type. It had been a long time since I’d done it at that pace, so it sort of tickled and felt kind of good.
  2569.  
  2570. “Nyaaaa.”
  2571.  
  2572. “I told you, you can stop that.”
  2573.  
  2574. “Nya, nyaa.”
  2575.  
  2576. “...Geez.”
  2577.  
  2578. I started moving my hips along with his. He was blushing bright red, but he seemed to feel good.
  2579.  
  2580. “You really are a cute cat.”
  2581.  
  2582. I’m glad I can make him happy.
  2583.  
  2584.  
  2585.  
  2586.  
  2587.  
  2588. 69 | P a g e
  2589.  
  2590. This makes me feel kind of good. I’m providing the right service.
  2591.  
  2592. Operation Cat Ears is a huge success.
  2593.  
  2594. He started to pick up the pace. It seemed like he had regained his confidence.
  2595.  
  2596. “Nyaan, nya, nyan, nyaa!”
  2597.  
  2598. “Yeah, that’s good. I think I’m gonna cum soon. I’m gonna—I’m gonna cum!”
  2599.  
  2600. Yeah, I do want a tail. It would be cute if I could stick it straight out at times like this.
  2601.  
  2602. He came a lot, all inside me.
  2603.  
  2604. Then he awkwardly put his clothes back on and asked, “Can I request you again some time?”
  2605.  
  2606. “Of course, nyan♪”
  2607.  
  2608. He laughed bashfully and tipped me five rubers.
  2609.  
  2610. Yay!
  2611.  
  2612. I took my time in the shower and then put my cat ears back on.
  2613.  
  2614. I’m gonna make a haul today.
  2615.  
  2616. But when—tra-la-la—I got downstairs, there was some kind of commotion.
  2617.  
  2618. The guild master’s snob of a son and his posse were shouting. “Hey, where’s Shequraso? She’s usually here today, isn’t she?”
  2619.  
  2620. “The young master has arrived. Shouldn’t she at least come out and say hi?”
  2621.  
  2622. “A little bird told me she was out meeting a man, but that can’t be true, can it? I’m pretty sure we told her she couldn’t make plans without the young master’s permission!”
  2623.  
  2624.  
  2625.  
  2626.  
  2627.  
  2628.  
  2629.  
  2630. 70 | P a g e
  2631.  
  2632.  
  2633. What were they using to make their hair that hard, glue? They could wear side parts and fancy clothes to pretend to be high-class people, but they couldn’t hide their vulgar personalities.
  2634.  
  2635. The persistent man with the snake-like face, who featured most often in Shequraso’s backbiting, was bothering Madam with two of his lackies.
  2636.  
  2637. “I’m sorry, but Shequraso has the day off.”
  2638.  
  2639. “What? So she is with a man, then?”
  2640.  
  2641. “No, she said she was going to visit family.”
  2642.  
  2643. It was the weekend date she’d been so excited about. Madam didn’t want this guy bothering them. She wants her girls to be happy.
  2644.  
  2645. But the guild master’s son curled his mouth into a smile.
  2646.  
  2647. “Family? Prostitutes don’t have family. Is she gonna come back with a little mutt in tow?”
  2648.  
  2649. Only his lackies laughed. All the other customers were put off. Madam managed a smile, but I, in my cat ears, sure couldn’t. “Young Master, our most popular girl is open at the moment.”
  2650.  
  2651. “Not interested. I’m here to listen to Shequraso sing. And I’ve got some business with her ass. Get her over here.”
  2652.  
  2653. “...I’ll get you a drink. Please enjoy yourself.”
  2654.  
  2655. Madam’s face didn’t so much as flinch, but dealing with the guild master’s son was tricky, even for her.
  2656.  
  2657. She got him a drink and recommended other girls, but he wouldn’t calm down.
  2658.  
  2659. Shequraso’s a hero for putting up with this guy all the time. Of course, she gets paid a fair amount, but I really hate guys like him, so I respect her for it.
  2660.  
  2661.  
  2662.  
  2663.  
  2664.  
  2665. 71 | P a g e
  2666.  
  2667.  
  2668. And I get why she would want to talk about him behind his back. “Oh, hey, there’s a little mutt here already.”
  2669.  
  2670. He turned my way and started saying something. About a puppy? Where?
  2671.  
  2672. “You, the little one in black. Are you Shequraso’s dog?” “N-No, no, I’m a c...c-c-cat.” I was so shaken I stuttered.
  2673.  
  2674. Are you serious? Please don’t mess with me right now. It’ll be too tragic.
  2675.  
  2676. “Do you know where Shequraso went? If you’re her dog, you should know, right?”
  2677.  
  2678. I had an idea. She talks a surprising amount about her secrets.
  2679.  
  2680. But I would die before telling him.
  2681.  
  2682. “Or will you serve us in her place? Hmm?”
  2683.  
  2684. Lupe was approaching with drinks, but I stopped her with eye contact. Thanks, bestie, but I’m prepared to put my body on the line for my friend, too.
  2685.  
  2686. “It will be my pleasure to serve you! Woof-woof!” I’m a cat, but whatever.
  2687.  
  2688. They laughed mockingly and one of the lackies took out his fat wallet with a wink.
  2689.  
  2690. “Then first we’ll have Talking Time.” He stacked 40 rubers on the table.
  2691.  
  2692. That was Shequraso’s rate, but I had no reservations about taking it. When I went to sit down, though, the rich jerk yelled at me. “Really? Not there! Why would a dog sit in a chair? That’s where you sit.” He pointed at his feet and grinned a nasty grin.
  2693.  
  2694.  
  2695.  
  2696.  
  2697. 72 | P a g e
  2698.  
  2699.  
  2700. The other customers pretended not to see. Sumo was the only one getting upset.
  2701.  
  2702. Chiba, why did you leave? This is the kind of situation where you’re actually useful. I’ll give you head, so come back, dumbass.
  2703.  
  2704. I let out a dog whine.
  2705.  
  2706. But of course he couldn’t take a hint, so I sat on the floor with perfect posture. Operation Cat Ears is a huge failure.
  2707.  
  2708.  
  2709.  
  2710.  
  2711.  
  2712.  
  2713.  
  2714.  
  2715.  
  2716.  
  2717.  
  2718.  
  2719.  
  2720.  
  2721.  
  2722.  
  2723.  
  2724.  
  2725.  
  2726.  
  2727.  
  2728.  
  2729.  
  2730.  
  2731.  
  2732.  
  2733.  
  2734.  
  2735.  
  2736.  
  2737.  
  2738.  
  2739.  
  2740.  
  2741.  
  2742.  
  2743.  
  2744.  
  2745.  
  2746.  
  2747.  
  2748.  
  2749.  
  2750.  
  2751.  
  2752.  
  2753.  
  2754.  
  2755.  
  2756.  
  2757.  
  2758.  
  2759.  
  2760.  
  2761.  
  2762.  
  2763.  
  2764. 73 | P a g e
  2765.  
  2766.  
  2767. Woof-Woof (Cat)
  2768.  
  2769.  
  2770.  
  2771.  
  2772. “Say something. We paid, didn’t we?”
  2773.  
  2774. The rich jerk and his posse looked down at me coldly.
  2775.  
  2776. “Uhh, I know this dude who calls himself Crimson-something-or-other and works at the arena. He’s a total idiot—it’s really hilarious. The other day—”
  2777.  
  2778. “Dog.”
  2779.  
  2780. “Yes?”
  2781.  
  2782. “A dog doesn’t speak fluent human, does it? Bark.”
  2783.  
  2784. “...Woof-woof. Waoooo.”
  2785.  
  2786. He and his posse laughed loudly, but the rest of the pub was unenthused.
  2787.  
  2788. Is this abuse? Is it? Maybe this was a bad idea... I’m not used to this kind of bullying.
  2789.  
  2790. “Dog, how much are you per shot?” “Seventy rubers—woof.”
  2791.  
  2792. “Okay, I’ll buy you.” He stacked 70 rubers on the table and said, “First, suck it.” Without moving. He just sat there.
  2793.  
  2794. He was looking down at me with icy eyes that said, Start right here. The pub fell silent. A chill was in the air, and I wished I could take the cat ears off.
  2795.  
  2796. “Wa-waoo?”
  2797.  
  2798. “I said, ‘Suck it,’ dog. You must know at least that trick.”
  2799.  
  2800.  
  2801.  
  2802.  
  2803.  
  2804.  
  2805.  
  2806.  
  2807. 74 | P a g e
  2808.  
  2809.  
  2810. I looked at the posse, thinking he couldn’t possibly be serious, but they were also glaring at me with these looks on their faces— down at the pitiful puppy-kitten-whatever creature.
  2811.  
  2812. Madam approached, clearing her throat. “Young Master, we’ll prepare a special room for you, so—”
  2813.  
  2814. “My father played around like this here when he was young. He said he and his friends would drink and pass girls around all night. Madam, you were here back then, right?”
  2815.  
  2816. Madam’s expression didn’t change, but she did hesitate a minute before saying, “Was I?” with a faint smile.
  2817.  
  2818. But she couldn’t say anything else back. It was probably true. There are piles and piles of guys here who would have no issues doing something like that.
  2819.  
  2820. I read the room and said, “Please allow me to suck you—woof!”
  2821.  
  2822. Seeing the ripple that went through the room, the rich jerk laughed again. “What a clever dog!”
  2823.  
  2824. “Woof-woof!”
  2825.  
  2826. I undid the buttons of his clothes, something like a fitted suit, and out came a surprisingly big cock.
  2827.  
  2828. I grabbed it and started licking like a dog. Even though I was wearing cat ears.
  2829.  
  2830. He had the gall to have one fantastic cock. Dark with a nice curve. It was so nice I wanted to take a picture and show it to my friends.
  2831.  
  2832. Maybe he wants to flaunt it. I made sure the other customers could see and licked slowly from the base up to help him show off how big it was.
  2833.  
  2834.  
  2835.  
  2836.  
  2837.  
  2838.  
  2839.  
  2840.  
  2841. 75 | P a g e
  2842.  
  2843.  
  2844. “So how is it, little mutt? How does the Young Master’s cock taste?” one of guys with him said like a moron.
  2845.  
  2846. I answered like a moron right back, “Totally yummy—woof!”
  2847.  
  2848. He laughed his ass off and then said, “Then put it in!” and shoved my head down to force the dark cock into my mouth.
  2849.  
  2850. From there he got a tight grip on my hair and started moving my head. The tip of dude’s cock hit the back of my throat, and it hurt so bad I got tears in my eyes, but that must have been funny to them, because he sped up. They really went to town on my mouth.
  2851.  
  2852. “Nnn, nnnn, ngh, ngh.”
  2853.  
  2854. “Hey, no teeth!”
  2855.  
  2856. “You know what’ll happen to you if you leave a mark on the Young Master’s cock, don’t you?”
  2857.  
  2858. No one in the pub was talking anymore. Some customers started to leave. I was mostly praying the idiot would just cum already—as one of the girls, I felt responsible for the ruined atmosphere.
  2859.  
  2860. There were probably some creeps getting horny watching me get abused. Guys like that probably love this sort of thing.
  2861.  
  2862. Go ahead and watch. I’m a pro, you know. I got a bunch of spit together so it would be noisier. I put my hand up my dress and pretended to masturbate.
  2863.  
  2864. “Ha-ha! Look at that. This dog’s getting off.”
  2865.  
  2866. “She’s not even on the level of a dog.”
  2867.  
  2868. “C’mon, take it deeper.”
  2869.  
  2870. “Nnnn, ngh,”—schlurp—“Nn, nn.”
  2871.  
  2872. As the customers grew more transfixed, the rich jerk and his friends went even further.
  2873.  
  2874.  
  2875.  
  2876.  
  2877.  
  2878. 76 | P a g e
  2879.  
  2880. “Haru...”
  2881.  
  2882. Someone murmured my name, sounding concerned.
  2883.  
  2884. But I didn’t have the bandwidth to pay attention. It hurt and I could hardly breathe. That dark cock was starting to piss me off.
  2885.  
  2886. Then, with no heads-up, he suddenly ejaculated, the asshole.
  2887.  
  2888. The moron pulling my hair pressed my head down with all his might, so the dark cock smacked my throat thingie, and to top it off, semen started pouring down the wrong tube.
  2889.  
  2890. “Urk, gack, guh!”
  2891.  
  2892. “Ow, what the fuck!”
  2893.  
  2894. When I choked, my teeth touched him, so he slapped me.
  2895.  
  2896. “Gimme a break, you shitty mutt. Fuck, that hurt... Hey, hold her down.”
  2897.  
  2898. Semen dribbled out of my mouth as he flipped me over. Next, the posse bro got me lying face-down on the table.
  2899.  
  2900. Then they flipped my dress up to reveal my white underwear.
  2901.  
  2902. The shop had started buzzing, and I heard someone shout an excited, “Ooh!” One guy even whistled when they uncovered my smooth bottom.
  2903.  
  2904. “This dumb dog needs to be trained.”
  2905.  
  2906. The rich jerk took his belt off. The belts here are made of tanned bark, so they’re rougher than leather and hard. He took it and whipped my bottom as hard as he could.
  2907.  
  2908. “That hurts!”
  2909.  
  2910. When I screamed, he hit me again.
  2911.  
  2912. “Dogs don’t talk!”
  2913.  
  2914.  
  2915.  
  2916.  
  2917.  
  2918.  
  2919. 77 | P a g e
  2920.  
  2921. It hurt so bad I thought the skin had to be broken.
  2922.  
  2923. But I kept it together and pretended to cry like a dog. “Awooo, awoo!”
  2924.  
  2925. “Ha-ha-ha! Stupid dog!”
  2926.  
  2927. He may very well have let me off with three strikes because of my good dog impression.
  2928.  
  2929. But the rich jerk’s training didn’t end there—his rock-hard cock approached.
  2930.  
  2931. Someone whistled again. I made a dog whine, “Aoo-wao,” like, Do whatever you want.
  2932.  
  2933. “One moment, Young Master. I’ll prepare her for you without delay.”
  2934.  
  2935. Madam came over with lube and a towel.
  2936.  
  2937. It stung a bit when she put lube on my bottom where he’d beaten me, but yog lube is good for wounds, too; it melted into my irritated skin right away.
  2938.  
  2939. “It’ll be over soon, so please stick it out,” Madam whispered as she lubed up my pussy. “They descend on the shop like this, but once they get what they want, they should be satisfied and leave. I’ll give you paid time off, so please hang on just a little longer.”
  2940.  
  2941. I whined like a dog as she shoved luvya grass up inside me.
  2942.  
  2943. This sort of thing isn’t even uncommon in this world. It could happen anytime.
  2944.  
  2945. I had decided I would make my living as a sex worker, so dealing with perverts like this is no big deal.
  2946.  
  2947. “Hey, bitch. Can’t you beg?”
  2948.  
  2949. Coming right up, asshole.
  2950.  
  2951.  
  2952.  
  2953.  
  2954.  
  2955. 78 | P a g e
  2956.  
  2957. “I-I want your cock, sir—woof-woof.”
  2958.  
  2959. “You can do better than that.”
  2960.  
  2961. “I want your dark, hard cock right now—woof-woof.”
  2962.  
  2963. “More.”
  2964.  
  2965. “I want you to punish this dumb bitch with your magnificent, powerful, darkly gleaming cock—woof-woof!”
  2966.  
  2967. “Ah-ha-ha! This dog is seriously messed up in the head.”
  2968.  
  2969. Even the other customers laughed, and I just zoned out, half mad, half embarrassed.
  2970.  
  2971. Everyone was watching me, and I was a laughingstock, about to be raped, but I just didn’t care anymore.
  2972.  
  2973. Ahh, am I turning stupid?
  2974.  
  2975. “I...I’ll pay 80 rubers!”
  2976.  
  2977. That’s when someone pounded a table.
  2978.  
  2979. Sumo was standing there, blushing furiously.
  2980.  
  2981. “Eighty rubers. I’m paying more than your 70. I’m...buying Haru.”
  2982.  
  2983. At the end, he hung his head weakly, but he was buying me for the first time.
  2984.  
  2985. “Huh? What’re you talkin’ about, Fatty?”
  2986.  
  2987. “The young master bought this girl. You go make do with another one.”
  2988.  
  2989. Frightened by the threat, Sumo nonetheless shouted, “There should still be time! In this shop, you’re allowed to steal a girl until she’s taken upstairs. The second floor is where the rooms for making love are. Haru doesn’t belong to you yet.”
  2990.  
  2991. Sumo was right. I was the one who had explained it to him.
  2992.  
  2993.  
  2994.  
  2995.  
  2996.  
  2997. 79 | P a g e
  2998.  
  2999.  
  3000. “I win because I put up more money than you. I’m buying Haru!”
  3001.  
  3002. Sumo’s hands and knees were both shaking. The rich jerk laughed at him and, exchanging glances with his posse, stacked 100 rubers on the table.
  3003.  
  3004. “Now are you happy? Get outta here, Fatt—”
  3005.  
  3006. “One hundred fifty!”
  3007.  
  3008. More money came out of Sumo’s surprisingly thick wallet.
  3009.  
  3010. Rich Jerk raised an eyebrow and made his pile into 200. But Sumo just pounded the table again with 300.
  3011.  
  3012. “I’ll pay a th-thousand, or even two! I’m buying Haru. You can’t mistreat her anymore!” Sumo screamed, breathing roughly and in tears, his whole face bright red.
  3013.  
  3014. The shop had gone silent, so I could hear when one of the posse dudes leaned in to whisper in Rich Jerk’s ear, “Young Master, this chubster’s the son of the owner of Jay’s Cafe on South Street. That’s the food services guild master, so please don’t pick a fight with this guy.”
  3015.  
  3016. Rich Jerk clicked his tongue—“This is ridiculous”—and put away his cock. “Three hundred for one dog? Are you crazy? Well, pigs and dogs go together. Have fun, chef,” he spat, bumping into Sumo’s shoulder on his way out. Once he was gone, the other customers started bad-mouthing him as if to patch things up, Lupe and the others wrapped me in a blanket and comforted me, and Sumo sheepishly held up his beett mug to all the people who wanted to give him cheers.
  3017.  
  3018. “This is my room. It’s your first time here, huh?”
  3019.  
  3020. The room we take our customers to is the same room we always sleep in. I don’t have much stuff, but with Sumo inside, it suddenly felt cramped.
  3021.  
  3022.  
  3023.  
  3024.  
  3025. 80 | P a g e
  3026.  
  3027.  
  3028. I think he actually waited, standing there stiffly, the whole time I was taking my shower.
  3029.  
  3030. “You can sit there.”
  3031.  
  3032. When I had him sit on the bed, it made a horrendous squeaking racket.
  3033.  
  3034. There goes my mattress. I wonder if I can get the shop to pay to fix it.
  3035.  
  3036. Sumo was too nervous and sweating bullets. His handkerchief could never handle it, so I lent him a bath towel.
  3037.  
  3038. After what happened, he had tried to take back the 300 and pull out—“Maybe I won’t do this after all”—but Madam took it and told him, “Rules are rules.”
  3039.  
  3040. He seemed to regret buying me on the spur of the moment and kept apologizing. Since he liked me in a pure way, he must have had some resistance to the idea of paying money for me.
  3041.  
  3042. Sure, but I’m still a sex worker, dude. Virgins are such weird creatures.
  3043.  
  3044. Tonight, though, I would have him cast off his virginity. That’s what I decided.
  3045.  
  3046. “You really don’t like this sort of thing?”
  3047.  
  3048. I sat down next to him and he shook his head without even looking at me, then cocked it.
  3049.  
  3050. What’s that supposed to mean?
  3051.  
  3052. “...You might not like it, but...” I stood up and took his face in my hands. He got scorching-hot and trembled nervously. I caressed those pitiable cheeks and looked him in the eye. “...tonight I want you to make love to me, Sumo.”
  3053.  
  3054. I kissed him on the lips.
  3055.  
  3056.  
  3057.  
  3058.  
  3059.  
  3060. 81 | P a g e
  3061.  
  3062.  
  3063. Usually that would cost extra, but I had been thinking that if he ever bought me I would give him a freebie like this.
  3064.  
  3065. Well, considering we took 300, he still comes out with a major loss, but anyway.
  3066.  
  3067. I felt more like I was going to be buried alive in his chin and nose than like I was kissing him. When it was over, he burst into tears.
  3068.  
  3069. “Huh? S-Sorry. You really don’t like it, huh? I’m seriously sorry!” “N-No. I’m just...so happy.”
  3070.  
  3071. He wiped his tears with the bath towel and told me how happy he was to kiss me.
  3072.  
  3073. “Sorry, it’s pretty lame for a man to make a scene like this...” Having sobbed and gotten all snot-faced from a simple kiss, Sumo bowed his head.
  3074.  
  3075. It kinda cracked me up.
  3076.  
  3077. “It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
  3078.  
  3079. I gave him a new towel and wiped his face off.
  3080.  
  3081. “You were way too cool back there, so this balances things out.”
  3082.  
  3083. Men are really mysterious. Where had he been keeping that courage all this time?
  3084.  
  3085. “Sorry,” he apologized again and continued sweating.
  3086.  
  3087. When I started stripping, he hurriedly averted his eyes.
  3088.  
  3089. “You can look. See? Boobs. It’s your first time seeing my boobs, right?”
  3090.  
  3091. He glanced up, but clamped his eyes shut and looked away again right away.
  3092.  
  3093. It’s not like they bite. Actually, these poor things are the ones getting bitten most of the time.
  3094.  
  3095.  
  3096.  
  3097.  
  3098. 82 | P a g e
  3099.  
  3100. I finished taking my dress off and dropped my underwear, too.
  3101.  
  3102. “Sumo, you’re not gonna look?”
  3103.  
  3104. “Uh, um, no, I...”
  3105.  
  3106. “Touch me.”
  3107.  
  3108. “...I can’t.”
  3109.  
  3110. “Do it. If you don’t touch me, I’ll get sold to that guy from before.”
  3111.  
  3112. When I said that, he finally reached out a hand.
  3113.  
  3114. It was so chubby that it would probably have been tasty grilled. He pet my breasts super gently, like he was touching glass ornaments.
  3115.  
  3116. “Hee. That tickles.”
  3117.  
  3118. “S-Sorry.”
  3119.  
  3120. “You can put a little more muscle into it. A little bit of fondling won’t break a girl.”
  3121.  
  3122. But he shook his head and said, “I don’t want to hurt you, Haru.”
  3123.  
  3124. So I stopped talking and let him touch me with his cautious hand.
  3125.  
  3126. When I told him it made me happy that he was being so gentle, he laughed sheepishly.
  3127.  
  3128. “But hey, Sumo, you should probably take your clothes off.” “Nah, um, I’m really...”
  3129.  
  3130. He mumbled and ultimately trailed off, but I took his shirt off for him. But his lower body was like an ox, so I really couldn’t handle it by myself.
  3131.  
  3132. “Sumo, stand up.”
  3133.  
  3134. “...I think I’ll...”
  3135.  
  3136.  
  3137.  
  3138.  
  3139. 83 | P a g e
  3140.  
  3141. “No. You bought me.”
  3142.  
  3143. This is a brothel, and I’m a prostitute.
  3144.  
  3145. I don’t know what your intentions were when you fell for me, but if it’s just about romance, you should cut it out or else I’ll use it to make money off of you.
  3146.  
  3147. Let’s just do what we’re here for and clear your head. Understand what kind of girl I am. I’m only worth 70 rubers. Make tonight the last time you treat that kind of girl like a treasure and pay 300.
  3148.  
  3149. “I’m going to teach you about the work I do.”
  3150.  
  3151. The floor creaked as Sumo stood up and I took his pants off. I didn’t really want to, but I dropped his underwear, too. His cock peeked out from beneath his ginormous stomach.
  3152.  
  3153. “Sorry, but can you hold your stomach up?” I had him lift up his flab.
  3154.  
  3155. I could finally see his whole cock. It was pale and feeble-looking. Even if it looked small in the same way a large body makes a face look small, this thing didn’t stand a chance against the rich jerk’s dark cock.
  3156.  
  3157. Well, that was fine.
  3158.  
  3159. “Okay, keep holding it right there.”
  3160.  
  3161. I gave Sumo the same style of head I gave the rich jerk. The kind where you lick from the base up. I’m pretty sure he got excited just watching it before.
  3162.  
  3163. “Ah, ah, ah!”
  3164.  
  3165. Sumo’s thighs vibrated, jiggling, and he moaned like a girl.
  3166.  
  3167. And then my head got bombed by his excess meat.
  3168.  
  3169. “Ow!”
  3170.  
  3171.  
  3172.  
  3173.  
  3174.  
  3175.  
  3176. 84 | P a g e
  3177.  
  3178. “Ah! S-Sorry!”
  3179.  
  3180. I thought my neck was going to get whacked into my chest. Nah, I’m fine. If your cock had been in my mouth, though, you would be dying.
  3181.  
  3182. “You gotta hold it up like I said, geez.”
  3183.  
  3184. “Uh, it’s okay, I mean—”
  3185.  
  3186. “Hold it.”
  3187.  
  3188. “...Yes, ma’am.”
  3189.  
  3190. Let the licking recommence.
  3191.  
  3192. This time he squeezed his stomach and endured my juicy fellatio.
  3193.  
  3194. It was funny how when I flicked the tip with my tongue, he’d go up on his tiptoes and squirm. I did it over and over.
  3195.  
  3196. When I jerked him with my hands while sucking, he let out a big moan, and I’m not sure if this was conscious or not, but he started moving his hips.
  3197.  
  3198. But he was a virgin, so I couldn’t let him cum in my mouth, right? I stopped when it seemed like a good time.
  3199.  
  3200. Sumo seemed a bit disappointed, and then awkwardly looked down when I saw the look on his face.
  3201.  
  3202. I know. You’re a boy. You wanna do it with the girl you like.
  3203.  
  3204. And I had asked some of the more experienced girls how to do it with a chubby guy in advance so he could buy me anytime and I’d be ready.
  3205.  
  3206. I lay down on the bed and spread my legs. To make it easy for him, I spread really wide and showed him my pussy.
  3207.  
  3208. But of course, he had his eyes closed.
  3209.  
  3210.  
  3211.  
  3212.  
  3213.  
  3214.  
  3215.  
  3216. 85 | P a g e
  3217.  
  3218.  
  3219. “If you don’t look, you won’t be able to get in. It’s okay. Just do what I say, and you’ll manage. You know where to put it, right? Can you see your wee-wee? Hold up your stomach and come over here.”
  3220.  
  3221. The bed squeaked like crazy as Sumo brought his cock closer.
  3222.  
  3223. The other girls said that a fat guy’s stomach meat isn’t all that heavy, that it’s a bit scary when they get on top of you, but that there aren’t many who actively try to crush you.
  3224.  
  3225. Sumo moved slowly, careful not to break me, and stuck his hips against mine.
  3226.  
  3227. But the second his cock touched my skin, it wiggled a bunch, and by the time I thought, Crap! he had already blown his load.
  3228.  
  3229. “Ah, ahhh...”
  3230.  
  3231. I was covered in it. He came a shit-ton. My stomach was all slimy.
  3232.  
  3233. I figured, What else could I expect? and smiled. “It’s all right. This happens to lots of customers. You’ll be able to go again really soon, so don’t worry about it at all.”
  3234.  
  3235. Actually as of right now, it’s only Chiba and you, but whatever, I thought as I cleaned off his cock and licked him a bit.
  3236.  
  3237. He recovered almost immediately with his virgin powers and I spread my legs for round two. When he moved closer to put his cock in, I lifted up my hips for him.
  3238.  
  3239. “Yep, you can just go straight in like that.”
  3240.  
  3241. I wonder if I made a face this serious during my first time. I don’t really remember.
  3242.  
  3243. He was making this crazy face like he was about to die or something. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t see anything at that moment besides my pussy.
  3244.  
  3245. He was only thinking of me.
  3246.  
  3247.  
  3248.  
  3249.  
  3250.  
  3251. 86 | P a g e
  3252.  
  3253.  
  3254. “There is good. Nice and easy. Straight in.” “Hahh, haahh, ahhh...” he panted.
  3255.  
  3256. “Yep, you’re getting there. Nice, just like that. Keep going, you can get farther in.”
  3257.  
  3258. “Nnngh...ahh!”
  3259.  
  3260. Somehow he managed to get all the way in. Sure enough, he started to cry as he panted.
  3261.  
  3262. I wonder how many virginities I’ve stolen. I don’t remember, but this guy is the only one who’s cried.
  3263.  
  3264. Do you like me that much? You dummy. “You don’t have to cry at every little thing.”
  3265.  
  3266. “Y-Yes, ma’am.”
  3267.  
  3268. “You can let go of your stomach.”
  3269.  
  3270. “B-But—”
  3271.  
  3272. “I told you, it’s fine.”
  3273.  
  3274. According to the more experienced girls, once a guy is in, his stomach won’t get in the way.
  3275.  
  3276. The part about it not being heavy was true, and a pillow of flub covered the connection between us. It felt weird, all warm and jiggly.
  3277.  
  3278. “Do you know how to move?”
  3279.  
  3280. “Um...”
  3281.  
  3282. “You pull your hips out and then put them back. Don’t push against me, but pull away first, then come back.”
  3283.  
  3284. “Nn, ahh.”
  3285.  
  3286.  
  3287.  
  3288.  
  3289.  
  3290.  
  3291.  
  3292.  
  3293.  
  3294.  
  3295. 87 | P a g e
  3296.  
  3297.  
  3298. “You don’t have to go fast. Women like it slow just fine. Actually, it’s even better to take your time than jerk us back and forth. Try rubbing on me in a way that feels good to you.”
  3299.  
  3300. It seemed more like his flub was moving than his cock.
  3301.  
  3302. My wide-open legs were completely hidden by his stomach.
  3303.  
  3304. So this is fatty sex. How novel.
  3305.  
  3306. But it was warm. Actually, I kind of liked it, maybe. The fact that it felt like being swallowed up in his meat cracked me up though.
  3307.  
  3308. Sex with Sumo wasn’t half bad.
  3309.  
  3310. “Hahh, hahh, hahh...”
  3311.  
  3312. “Does it feel good?”
  3313.  
  3314. “Y-Ye-ahh, ahh, yes.”
  3315.  
  3316. “Then take it a little slower. If you get tired you can take a rest. Enjoy me at your own pace.”
  3317.  
  3318. “U-Umm...”
  3319.  
  3320. “Hm?”
  3321.  
  3322. “Wh-What can I do to make you feel good, too, Miss Haru?” he asked, covered in sweat and with a distressed look on his face. Pretty cheeky for a virgin.
  3323.  
  3324. “It feels plenty good for me, too.”
  3325.  
  3326. You’re paying for this, so you don’t have to worry about that.
  3327.  
  3328. But that’s just the kind of guy Sumo is.
  3329.  
  3330. I breathed a little harder and moaned for him, “Ngh...”
  3331.  
  3332. I closed my eyes, bit my lip, and pretended to be getting off. “Nn, ahn, feels so good, Sumo. You’re really getting good at this.”
  3333.  
  3334. “M-M-Miss Haru! Nnnngh!”
  3335.  
  3336.  
  3337.  
  3338.  
  3339.  
  3340. 88 | P a g e
  3341.  
  3342. “Ahn, Sumo, ahhhnn!”
  3343.  
  3344. I was over-acting a bit, but it really did feel good.
  3345.  
  3346. Sex with this clumsy body wrapped around me wasn’t too bad.
  3347.  
  3348. He even started to seem cute.
  3349.  
  3350. “You can cum whenever you want. Anytime!”
  3351.  
  3352. “Hahh, hahh, Miss Haru!”
  3353.  
  3354. “Oh no, I don’t think I can hold back any longer!”
  3355.  
  3356. When I squeezed him, he made a ringside grunt, “Guhah!” and ejaculated.
  3357.  
  3358. He came so much I was like, Are you serious? It got all over my sheets. Then his eyes rolled back in his head and he flopped backwards. I was scared he would fall through the floor.
  3359.  
  3360. “Hey, if you’re going to sleep, sleep up here.”
  3361.  
  3362. “Uuugh...okay.”
  3363.  
  3364. He lay down on the bed, still catching his breath.
  3365.  
  3366. There was no room left for me to lie down, so I hopped up on his stomach.
  3367.  
  3368. “So how does it feel to not be a virgin anymore? Did you have fun?”
  3369.  
  3370. Sumo nodded happily. Seeing that look on your face makes me happy, too.
  3371.  
  3372. “What do you wanna do after this? You paid 300, so if you want to go again, we can.”
  3373.  
  3374. He had enough left for two or three more shots.
  3375.  
  3376. Before that I was definitely going to have him take a shower, but I would have been fine with letting him keep me all night.
  3377.  
  3378.  
  3379.  
  3380.  
  3381.  
  3382.  
  3383. 89 | P a g e
  3384.  
  3385.  
  3386. Instead, though, Sumo said, “This was more than enough. I can’t handle any more.”
  3387.  
  3388. He was still breathing heavily. Being fat must be tough.
  3389.  
  3390. “Thank you. That was the best.”
  3391.  
  3392. If he was going to talk like that, even I had to blush. But really?
  3393.  
  3394. Isn’t “the best” a bit overkill?
  3395.  
  3396. Sumo smiled, panting. All you did was have sex with a prostitute—don’t get so giddy. Geez, you’re so dumb.
  3397.  
  3398. “So, is there anything else you want me to do? Anything.”
  3399.  
  3400. If he wanted, I would have even spoiled him by resurrecting those horrible ears I’d sealed away—just this once.
  3401.  
  3402. For him, I figured I would do it.
  3403.  
  3404. But...
  3405.  
  3406. “Uh...well, then...” After turning away with embarrassment on the first try, he got a determined look on his face and said, “I-I want you to call me by my real name! It’s Jaysohlbroth—”
  3407.  
  3408. “Nah, Sumo’s fine, isn’t it?”
  3409.  
  3410. “Uh, o-okay...”
  3411.  
  3412. He didn’t seem to have any requests in particular, so I decided to play with his stomach pillow until the shop closed up.
  3413.  
  3414. What the heck, this is so fun!
  3415.  
  3416.  
  3417. “Sorry!”
  3418.  
  3419. The next day, after hearing what had happened to me the night before, Shequraso came over to me looking ultra-apologetic.
  3420.  
  3421.  
  3422.  
  3423.  
  3424.  
  3425.  
  3426.  
  3427. 90 | P a g e
  3428.  
  3429.  
  3430. “I’m sooo sorry. That rich jerk always has to show off in front of the guys. He’s not even like that in bed. I heard he spanked you. Must have hurt...”
  3431.  
  3432. “Nah, I was fine. You might be in more trouble, Shequraso. He was pretty pissed.”
  3433.  
  3434. “Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. My boyfriend’s a soldier, you know. Those rich guys can’t do a thing when it comes to the army.”
  3435.  
  3436. Is that how it works? I hope so...
  3437.  
  3438. “I’m really sorry. I’ll bring you a souvenir next time.”
  3439.  
  3440. Shequraso makes the cutest face when she laughs.
  3441.  
  3442. So she wants to keep going on weekend dates... That’s fine, I
  3443.  
  3444. suppose, but...
  3445.  
  3446. “Okay, guess we should clean up around here.”
  3447.  
  3448. Well, eventually something good’ll happen to me, too.
  3449.  
  3450. Madam said she would give me time off, but I can’t make money if I’m not working, so I saved my vacation for another day and decided to work again today.
  3451.  
  3452. But then she was staring at my butt.
  3453.  
  3454. Just as I was thinking, Oh yeah, my lovely, freshly polished ass caught your eye? I’m a little freaked out if that’s what you’re into, but—she spoke.
  3455.  
  3456. “Haru.”
  3457.  
  3458. “Yes?”
  3459.  
  3460. “Starting tonight, you’re 80 rubers.”
  3461.  
  3462. I twirled the rag I was using around and curtsied. “Yes, ma’am!”
  3463.  
  3464.  
  3465.  
  3466.  
  3467.  
  3468.  
  3469.  
  3470.  
  3471. 91 | P a g e
  3472.  
  3473.  
  3474.  
  3475. Kickin’ the Can to the Beat: Put on Donna Summer
  3476.  
  3477.  
  3478.  
  3479.  
  3480. It was just recently that I realized he only comes on rainy days.
  3481.  
  3482. He sits at a window table alone sipping a stiff drink. He’s never had a girl sit with him or taken anyone upstairs.
  3483.  
  3484. He doesn’t talk to anyone, just looks around the shop or out the window.
  3485.  
  3486. “Lupe, do you know that guy?”
  3487.  
  3488. I wanted to know if this super-hot older guy with stubble and slicked-back silver hair had been coming for a long time. When I whispered to her, she frowned.
  3489.  
  3490. “I’ve definitely seen him around. He’s kinda creepy, right? Even if I’m totally friendly, his expression stays the same, and all he says is, ‘I’ll have a drink.’”
  3491.  
  3492. She didn’t seem to like him—on the contrary, she was scared and had a hard time trying to talk him.
  3493.  
  3494. Really? But he’s so hot. He’s like the hottest guy in this other world.
  3495.  
  3496. “When our eyes meet, I get freaked out, like I’m being glared at by a hawk or something.”
  3497.  
  3498. To me, though, in this shop full of grimy, barbaric dudes, he was the only one who gleamed. He was less like a hawk, and more like a crane surrounded by trash—a jewel in the dump. I wanted him to call me “Princess.”
  3499.  
  3500. “Would you like a refill?”
  3501.  
  3502.  
  3503.  
  3504.  
  3505.  
  3506. 92 | P a g e
  3507.  
  3508.  
  3509. I made up my mind to talk to him. He raised his head quietly and looked at me.
  3510.  
  3511. Sharp eyes. It seemed like they might be able to see right inside my head. But far from a chill, I got more of a gush. I want these eyes to look at me naked.
  3512.  
  3513. “No thanks.”
  3514.  
  3515. He put down the money for a single drink and left.
  3516.  
  3517. Well, he’s a tough egg. Maybe he’s not coming for the girls.
  3518.  
  3519. But he was the first one.
  3520.  
  3521. The first customer here I thought I would like to sleep with.
  3522.  
  3523. “So yeah, I finally bought it. A house. My home. My castle. Mi casa. But it’s so huge and I don’t have a woman to look after things, so it’s actually pretty inconvenient. Maybe I’ll get myself a slave...”
  3524.  
  3525. Lately I’ve gotten pretty good at cooking, so I can even handle one of those pans for frying rice, like a wok, no sweat.
  3526.  
  3527. When I got here I had never even cracked an egg before, but now I’m sometimes even trusted to decide the menu.
  3528.  
  3529. I’ve grown in this world.
  3530.  
  3531. Last month I was number six in sales, which is incredibly close to number five, and now that I’m 80 rubers, I figure this month I’ll hit it or maybe even four. My ass has gotten lovelier to the point that even that chokey dude lusts after me, and I learned some service techniques from more experienced girls so that in the last customer satisfaction survey* I was near the top.
  3532.  
  3533. *This happened after the cat ears incident. I actually proposed it to help improve the shop’s image.
  3534.  
  3535. Lately I’ve been obsessed with getting to like my job.
  3536.  
  3537.  
  3538.  
  3539.  
  3540.  
  3541. 93 | P a g e
  3542.  
  3543. “Hey, Haru. Are you listening?”
  3544.  
  3545. “Yep. Here’s your fried rice.”
  3546.  
  3547. “Whoa, what the heck? It tastes just like the cafeteria’s!”
  3548.  
  3549. “Eww, don’t cry.”
  3550.  
  3551. As for Chiba, he’s been getting even more carried away with himself, grumbling about slaves and his house, and even wearing these jangly gold accessories that don’t even match his vibe. There is nothing harder to look at than an otaku who suddenly thinks he’s the cock of the block.
  3552.  
  3553. “I have no intention of being your maid.”
  3554.  
  3555. “So you’re gonna be a prostitute forever? I thought you wanted to quit.”
  3556.  
  3557. “Not forever, but...”
  3558.  
  3559. I don’t even know how long I’ll be in this world.
  3560.  
  3561. I mean, if it starts looking like I might be here ’till I die, then I
  3562.  
  3563. guess I gotta think about my future, but...
  3564.  
  3565. “Oh yeah, I heard something interesting. If there was a way to get back to the other world, what would you do?”
  3566.  
  3567. “Huh? Is there?”
  3568.  
  3569. “There’s a legend in this world. Apparently at some point the demon lord appeared with a sudden black rain, said he was taking revenge on humanity, and started a war. The people were in trouble, so they asked God to summon a hero from another world. And that’s me, but anyways, once the demon lord is gone, some people say the hero gets to go back, and some people say he doesn’t.”
  3570.  
  3571. “What are you talking about? Of course you could go back. Chiba, go beat that demon lord’s ass right now!”
  3572.  
  3573.  
  3574.  
  3575.  
  3576.  
  3577.  
  3578. 94 | P a g e
  3579.  
  3580.  
  3581. “Nah, there’s no way. I haven’t even leveled up lately. Besides, I don’t really feel like defeating the demon lord. What would I even do if I went back to the other world?” He twisted his piece-of-shit pimple face into a frown and whined about how we would have been studying for entrance exams.
  3582.  
  3583. “Here I’m already gaining renown as an innodiator”—which is apparently a word he made up, a mix between innovator and gladiator. I don’t even know anymore—“and I’m making a stable living. To be frank, I don’t have any reason to go back to our world except anime. If that’s how it is, then it’s way better to stay here and be the protagonist of one, right? I mean, what would you do if you went back?”
  3584.  
  3585. “I’d be a high-schooler again, duh.”
  3586.  
  3587. “You’re assuming that we get to go back as we are, though, right? But we got hit by a truck! It could be that if we go back, we just die.”
  3588.  
  3589. “...Our bodies and minds came here in one piece, didn’t they? It must be the same when we go back. Don’t freak me out like that.”
  3590.  
  3591. “Even so, we’re dead. It’s already been eight months without us back there.”
  3592.  
  3593. Our funerals are over, our graves are made, and everyone probably got sick of being sad and returned to life as usual. My boyfriend is probably getting tons of pity sex; my friends probably deleted my name from their LINE list; the flowers on my desk at school are long gone. I bet the only people still feeling sad are my parents and my big sister.
  3594.  
  3595. The only space left for me is the size of a picture frame. I wonder if Chiba gets even that much.
  3596.  
  3597.  
  3598.  
  3599.  
  3600.  
  3601.  
  3602.  
  3603.  
  3604.  
  3605. 95 | P a g e
  3606.  
  3607.  
  3608. If that’s all that’s waiting for us when we go back, then I see how you might rather stay in a world where you already have a life, not that I want to admit it.
  3609.  
  3610. “Haru. I’m not going to defeat the demon lord, but I am going to become the strongest man in this world.”
  3611.  
  3612. Chiba’s confident about his ability to survive because of his cheat skills, so he’s optimistic lately.
  3613.  
  3614. Even though he’s an otaku, even though he’s a loser, every time I meet him he’s getting more manly. He’s cheeky enough to come try to win me over.
  3615.  
  3616. “I promise I’ll protect you, so...will you come live with me?”
  3617.  
  3618. I took a breath and then told him, “Ya know, Lupe told me she saw you holding hands with Kiyori.”
  3619.  
  3620. “Oh, shit. The routes got crossed. I gotta disarm this love bomb!”
  3621.  
  3622. “Seriously, what is with you lately? Have you ever heard of self-control? Not like I care who you date—it has nothing to do with me.”
  3623.  
  3624. “I love a woman who can take that attitude.”
  3625.  
  3626. “‘Nothing to do with me’ means that you and I have nothing to do with each other, got it? Don’t interpret it some weird way.”
  3627.  
  3628. Apparently this guy actually wants a harem of girls to wait on him. I thought he was kidding, but Lupe said he was telling her about his grand plans the other day.
  3629.  
  3630. I really admire her for dealing with this dipshit. Of course, I’m the one who introduced them, but ya know.
  3631.  
  3632. “Eh, just come over to my house for a visit. I even made a room for you.”
  3633.  
  3634. Chiba came closer with an earnest look in his eyes—something rare for him.
  3635.  
  3636.  
  3637.  
  3638.  
  3639. 96 | P a g e
  3640.  
  3641.  
  3642. The confidence he’s gained in this world causes bizarre misunderstandings and makes him pushy.
  3643.  
  3644. “I’m telling you, I’ve been thinking about your future too, Haru. Take a look at the room, and if you like it...quit your job and come live at my place.”
  3645.  
  3646. For all that, though, the way he made his move like he was hot shit got to me, which made me mad. My face heated up.
  3647.  
  3648. “Let’s meet in front of the arena tomorrow. I’ll wait there until you come.”
  3649.  
  3650. I had had it up to here with him, so I figured I would go take a look at his house and diss it.
  3651.  
  3652.  
  3653. The next day, I headed to the arena.
  3654.  
  3655. I was only going to his house, and, well, I didn’t really think anything would happen, but just in case, I put on a new pair of underwear.
  3656.  
  3657. Nah, it’s really not gonna happen. Seems like he’s going out with Kiyori, anyway.
  3658.  
  3659. But Chiba’s been attached to me this whole time. Seems like he really wants to make me his woman.
  3660.  
  3661. Like, why would you pick a girl who’s sleeping with a different guy every day?
  3662.  
  3663. It must be because I’m the only one who knows he’s from another world, right? Yeah. That’s the only possibility. And I mean, the only reason I meet up with Chiba is that, and I don’t feel the need to outside of that.
  3664.  
  3665. Would we live together...? Nah.
  3666.  
  3667.  
  3668.  
  3669.  
  3670.  
  3671.  
  3672. 97 | P a g e
  3673.  
  3674.  
  3675. A raindrop fell on my shoulder. It had been sunny, but the sky had abruptly darkened.
  3676.  
  3677. Aw man, I thought, and looked for some eaves to stand under. But everyone was in a panic over the sudden shower, so there wasn’t anywhere I could find shelter.
  3678.  
  3679. Then I caught sight of someone slowly walking through the rain, someone who seemed to have chosen to get wet on purpose.
  3680.  
  3681. Silver hair, a head taller than everyone else.
  3682.  
  3683. It was him.
  3684.  
  3685. Huh? What? What? Really, it’s him?
  3686.  
  3687. Does he live near here?
  3688.  
  3689. I went after him through the rain in spite of myself, taking care not to get noticed.
  3690.  
  3691. I had the feeling it would be fine to say hi, but I didn’t want him to think I was easy, or—wait a second, I work at a brothel, of course I’m easy, but maybe more like I didn’t want to come on too strong. In any case, it was impossible for me to call out to him on the street in the middle of the day, so I decided to follow him.
  3692.  
  3693. But when we reached the square, I lost sight of him.
  3694.  
  3695. The rain that had been falling suddenly stopped. It was so sunny the whole thing seemed like a lie, and he had disappeared.
  3696.  
  3697. It was like he had melted away into the sky with the rain clouds.
  3698.  
  3699. Just kidding.
  3700.  
  3701. Ahhhh. What the heck. I got my brand-spankin’ new panties all wet for nothing.
  3702.  
  3703. How stupid. Seriously, what am I even doing? Fled from by the guy I liked, going to hang out at that loser’s house, none of it seemed like me.
  3704.  
  3705.  
  3706.  
  3707.  
  3708. 98 | P a g e
  3709.  
  3710.  
  3711. I suddenly really wanted to see everybody. Not the people from this world, but my high-school friends. I wanted to be in that same old classroom talking stupid shit so bad I was ready to die.
  3712.  
  3713. This other world sucks. It rains and there’s not even anywhere for a girl to take shelter? Are they in their right minds? There’s no McD’s, no convenience stores, no PokeStops—what the hell are the politicians even doing? Where is my place here?
  3714.  
  3715. “Ready? Go!”
  3716.  
  3717. Once the rain let up, some kids ran out into the square to play Kickin’ the Can. It was goofy how seriously they took it.
  3718.  
  3719. What a racket. But it seemed like fun.
  3720.  
  3721. Children shine in any world. I want to shine, too. I want to get strong enough that I can say I’m me no matter where I am.
  3722.  
  3723. It’s not like me to mope just because I got rained on.
  3724.  
  3725. “Hey!” I wrung the skirt of my dress out and jumped into the boys’ game. “Let me play too!”
  3726.  
  3727. “Huh? What’s with this lady?”
  3728.  
  3729. “Don’t bug us!”
  3730.  
  3731. “Eh, it’s fine, isn’t it? C’mon, run!”
  3732.  
  3733. The beat-up can flew straight into the freshly rinsed sky.
  3734.  
  3735.  
  3736. “Haru, why didn’t you come tod—”
  3737.  
  3738. “Uh-huh, I’m busy, so outta my way! Move!”
  3739.  
  3740. I hurried around the pub carrying mugs of beett.
  3741.  
  3742. Yep, I was busy that night. I didn’t have any time to lose.
  3743.  
  3744. “Haru, someone’s calling fo—”
  3745.  
  3746.  
  3747.  
  3748.  
  3749. 99 | P a g e
  3750.  
  3751. “Hey there, great to see you again!”
  3752.  
  3753. I clapped my hands to welcome the regular and took him upstairs.
  3754.  
  3755. I grabbed his cock like a fast-fingered sushi chef grabs the tuna. “H-Hey, you’re sure in a hurry tonight.” “I’m just a tad short on time, sorry!” “Err, it’s fine, but...ooh.”
  3756.  
  3757.  
  3758. I sucked so hard my cheeks inverted, making a ton of noise, and right when he was about to cum, I pushed him down on the bed and put him in.
  3759.  
  3760. “Whoa, whoa, I haven’t even done any—”
  3761.  
  3762. “Oh, did you wanna grab my boobs? Or is doggy-style better for you? Anything you want, as long as you ask in the next three seconds!”
  3763.  
  3764. “I mean, it’s fine, but you’re really rushing through thi—kgh, oh shit, I’m gonna cum, oh man!”
  3765.  
  3766. All right, one down.
  3767.  
  3768. I   saw off my less-than-satisfied customer, hopped in the shower, and went back downstairs. While I was at it, I did five sprints up and down. Gotta get stronger.
  3769.  
  3770. Madam seemed puzzled by my behavior. Oh, right. There was something I had to ask her. Please let me off at ten tonight!
  3771.  
  3772. Sumo showed up, and I flat-out refused him—“I don’t have time to talk today.” His big balloon of a body seemed to deflate. After handling a few more customers, I went straight back to my room and put in ear plugs.
  3773.  
  3774. What was I doing, you ask? Sleeping, duh.
  3775.  
  3776.  
  3777.  
  3778.  
  3779.  
  3780.  
  3781. 100 | P a g e
  3782.  
  3783.  
  3784. Paying no mind to the gasps from neighboring rooms that seemed to proclaim the night was still young, I slept with a single-minded determination, rose with the sun, and headed to the square from the day before.
  3785.  
  3786. The gang was already there.
  3787.  
  3788. “You’re late, Haru!”
  3789.  
  3790. “We come half an hour early. If you can make it, come by then.”
  3791.  
  3792. “Okay!”
  3793.  
  3794. The other day I discovered Kickin’ the Can.
  3795.  
  3796. In this world, Kickin’ the Can is a sport. It has complicated rules, positions, and etiquette. At first the team was mad that I barged in and kicked their can, but then they scouted me for my power kick.
  3797.  
  3798. “Listen up, from now on we’re going to play with Haru as our first kicker. But we’ll switch positions according to the situation, so watch for my sign. Keep the lines of communication open. Got it?” said our playmaker, Pokyamaz, looking everyone in the eyes.
  3799.  
  3800. He’s a cool boy with an intelligent face, but inside he’s got a burning passion for sports.
  3801.  
  3802. When we’re on offense, he hides in the spot farthest away from the circle, giving instructions; when we’re on defense, he’s the “It” of this world, taking on the difficult searcher position and hunting the other players.
  3803.  
  3804. “Haru, use all your might. Just don’t break any windows or you could get sent off the field. Think about what direction you’re kicking.”
  3805.  
  3806. That was Gnace, the old first kicker. He’s the mischievous type, and he’s got spiky hair, but he’s a manly, reliable kid. He gave me advice even though I took his spot.
  3807.  
  3808.  
  3809.  
  3810.  
  3811.  
  3812.  
  3813. 101 | P a g e
  3814.  
  3815.  
  3816. Now he’s a border, the vanguard position—they hide the closest to the circle and do things like go for the can or cause a distraction.
  3817.  
  3818. “Let’s take it nice and easy. Haru, just start by learning to kick.”
  3819.  
  3820. That’s the moodmaker, Relamap, who operates at his own pace. He’s a cute, smiley kid, as well as nimble and full of ideas—our tricksy second kicker who never lets you guess what direction he’ll come darting out from.
  3821.  
  3822. A second kicker is the only one to accompany the search when the team is on defense; they can give advice about which direction to go in.
  3823.  
  3824. “Okay, here I go!”
  3825.  
  3826. And I was entrusted with being the big gun, the first kicker.
  3827.  
  3828. The first kicker is a kicking specialist who, during the offense phase, kicks the can, and then hides so the other team doesn’t find them ’till the end, sometimes using the border and second kicker as distractions so they can focus on kicking.
  3829.  
  3830. This team, the Happy Friends Squad, had nearly given up on entering the tournament because the kid who used to be their border moved away. But with me on the roster, they were off and aiming for the championship again.
  3831.  
  3832. Apparently a girl being on a Kickin’ the Can team was unheard of, but not against the rules. Of course, I felt bad hiding the fact that I was a sex worker, but I wasn’t really sure how to explain it to these elementary-schoolers, and it would have been a serious pain to educate them about pussies and sex and so on, so that was that.
  3833.  
  3834. Anyhow, it was decided that I would play in the tournament!
  3835.  
  3836. Seems fun!
  3837.  
  3838. “Nice kick!”
  3839.  
  3840.  
  3841.  
  3842.  
  3843.  
  3844.  
  3845.  
  3846. 102 | P a g e
  3847.  
  3848.  
  3849. “Hide as fast as you can. Haru, the basic idea for you is to hide somewhere with the same radius as Relamap, but make sure you can see what Gnace is doing!”
  3850.  
  3851. “Haru, your butt’s sticking out. You’re not all the way hidden!”
  3852.  
  3853. “Pokyamaz is giving the sign. He always does it right after the enemy sets up the can, so if you miss it, look for a nearby teammate!”
  3854.  
  3855. “Haru, your butt! I can see your entire butt!”
  3856.  
  3857. “Change your hiding spot. The enemy is moving on Relamap! Relamap, fall back. Gnace, get around their back. Haru, go forward from where you are, around the right side. In a real game, try to cut the search line when you move!”
  3858.  
  3859. “Haru! Your butt!”
  3860.  
  3861. We practiced ’till we were dead-tired, drank from the fountain at the square, and had a meeting. Gnace’s family owns a storehouse nearby, so they’d been using it like a club room.
  3862.  
  3863. Gnace is the one who was so mad about my useless butt that he wanted to cut it off, but anyhow...
  3864.  
  3865. “Knock it off, Gnace. You can’t talk like that to a girl.”
  3866.  
  3867. Pokyamaz is so mature.
  3868.  
  3869. “Tch!” Gnace clicked his tongue and sulked.
  3870.  
  3871. “It’s because Haru joined that we get to play in the tournament, so let’s all get along.” Lelamap grinned.
  3872.  
  3873. I want to protect that smile.
  3874.  
  3875. “...I know how hard Haru’s working,” Gnace murmured, sheepishly scratching his buzzed head.
  3876.  
  3877. Why does it feel so good here? Are boys kinder than I remembered? Or are the guys who show up at the brothel just trash?
  3878.  
  3879.  
  3880.  
  3881.  
  3882. 103 | P a g e
  3883.  
  3884.  
  3885. “We absolutely cannot lose this tournament.” Pokyamaz held up the can we’d been using for practice. “This is a can of shelled aube that Relamap’s family makes.”
  3886.  
  3887. “What? Really?”
  3888.  
  3889. “Pokyamaz, I told you not to worry about that. We’re fine.”
  3890.  
  3891. “Nah, I think we should tell Haru. She’s one of us.”
  3892.  
  3893. Most of the Kickin’ the Can team sponsors are makers of canned products.
  3894.  
  3895. That’s because the can of the team that wins the tournament is used as the official can in all Kickin’ the Can games for the year. And with all the Kickin’ the Can fans in this city, it also leads to a bump in sales.
  3896.  
  3897. The Happy Friends Squad always loses in the first round, so
  3898.  
  3899. Relamap’s family’s can has never been the official can. Sales hadn’t been very good, either, and his parents were saying that if the slump lasted much longer, they would have to move back to the country.
  3900.  
  3901. Which is why Pokyamaz declared that we would win this year’s tournament.
  3902.  
  3903. “I don’t want us to be separated from any more friends. We have to win with Relamap’s can.”
  3904.  
  3905. “Yeah, ’cause our whole thing is being happy friends.”
  3906.  
  3907. “Bleh, I can’t believe this is all my family’s fault. How lame... But I do want to keep kickin’ the can with you guys forever. Including Haru, of course.”
  3908.  
  3909. “You guys...”
  3910.  
  3911. This is too great. The passion! This is what I’ve been missing in my life.
  3912.  
  3913.  
  3914.  
  3915.  
  3916.  
  3917.  
  3918.  
  3919. 104 | P a g e
  3920.  
  3921.  
  3922. “Okay! There’s no way I’m losing, either! The Happy Friends Squad is eternal! Rraaagh!”
  3923.  
  3924. “Rraaagh!”
  3925.  
  3926. I’ve reclaimed my youth.
  3927.  
  3928. On the first day of the tournament...we were already in a pinch.
  3929.  
  3930. A match goes to the first team to reach three wins, and we’d gotten off to a good start with two, but then our opponent beat us twice in a row. They had all the momentum.
  3931.  
  3932. Gnace twisted his ankle. We didn’t have any subs, so if we reported an injury and he left the field, we would immediately be disqualified as a team.
  3933.  
  3934. It must have hurt a ton, but Gnace hid it and hung in there. I didn’t whine about anything, either. We couldn’t lose this game.
  3935.  
  3936. It was time for offense. At the end of the defense phase, we were up against a seven-point lead.
  3937.  
  3938. Pulling off two kicks in a row without anyone getting caught was the quickest way to eight points and a win. Gnace could no longer run, much less act as a border. The longer this lasted, the worse our disadvantage would become.
  3939.  
  3940. “We’re counting on you, Haru. I want to hide Gnace as far away as possible. Give us either a long kick, or one that will throw their searchers into confusion,” Pokyamaz instructed me in the circle.
  3941.  
  3942. We were playing at City West. It was similar to the square we usually practiced on, but with no sense of the lay of the land, I wasn’t confident I could nail a long kick. I felt like I might break someone’s window.
  3943.  
  3944. But this is our time to attack. We have to win no matter what.
  3945.  
  3946.  
  3947.  
  3948.  
  3949.  
  3950.  
  3951. 105 | P a g e
  3952.  
  3953.  
  3954. I made up my mind and bent over. I pretended I was calculating the direction of the can, but I bent over, even though I was wearing a skirt.
  3955.  
  3956. “Wha...?”
  3957.  
  3958. The sudden panty flash threw the other team off, but I was only playing some serious Kickin’ the Can. The ref couldn’t say anything, either.
  3959.  
  3960. The enemy team was flustered, and their defense was full of holes, so that was my chance to Kickin’ the Can way over their heads.
  3961.  
  3962. “Yes! Gnace, over here!”
  3963.  
  3964. “Okay! Haru, hurry up and hide. Whatever you do, don’t let them find you!”
  3965.  
  3966. “I’ll be border. Haru, get back!”
  3967.  
  3968. The boys were getting all pumped.
  3969.  
  3970. But that wasn’t the answer. The girl would seize our shot at victory.
  3971.  
  3972. “Relamap, be first kicker! I’ll be border. I’ll give you an opening, so don’t miss your chance to kick!”
  3973.  
  3974. I would distract the enemies to give him a chance. After giving him those instructions, I intentionally hid near the circle—making sure only my butt was visible.
  3975.  
  3976. “Now!”
  3977.  
  3978. Relamap leaped out of hiding and got his kick in while the other team was stunned by my adorable curves.
  3979.  
  3980. Gnace was able to evacuate himself even farther away. I went out again as border to lure the enemy.
  3981.  
  3982.  
  3983.  
  3984.  
  3985.  
  3986.  
  3987.  
  3988.  
  3989. 106 | P a g e
  3990.  
  3991.  
  3992. All I did was show them my slim thighs, and their faces got so red I felt bad for them.
  3993.  
  3994. “Go, Relamap!”
  3995.  
  3996. With a satisfying clang, the winning can flew through the air. Boys this age are so easy to fluster it’s hilaaarious. Thanks to that, we were able to splendidly fight our way through this seesaw game.
  3997.  
  3998. “You did it, Haru! ...Ah.” In a rare event, normally cool Pokyamaz got so excited he hugged me, but my soft body threw him off, and he backed away. So you’re easy to fluster, too?!
  3999.  
  4000. Then Gnace came hopping over and squeezed both Pokyamaz and me at once.
  4001.  
  4002. “Mrrf!” Pokyamaz groaned painfully, blushing even harder as his face got buried in my boobs. Relamap burst out laughing.
  4003.  
  4004. Ah, geez. They’re all so cute!
  4005.  
  4006. “Get in here, Relamap!”
  4007.  
  4008. “Uh, I’m okay. H-Haru, mrrf!”
  4009.  
  4010. I hugged all three of them at once and nuzzled their sun-kissed hair.
  4011.  
  4012. I love you guys!
  4013.  
  4014. The tournament progressed, and we remained as one of the four teams in the semi-finals.
  4015.  
  4016. Pulling off such a brilliant feat after losing in the first match forever made us a team to watch, and our spectators kept multiplying. I got particular attention as their ace. People asked for my autograph when I walked around town; I was a bit of a star.
  4017.  
  4018. Frankly, we were winning entirely thanks to my panty flashes, so it makes sense. But there were so many guy fans, and it seemed like with every day that went by, there were more coming just for those.
  4019.  
  4020.  
  4021.  
  4022.  
  4023. 107 | P a g e
  4024.  
  4025.  
  4026. In this world female athletes are still rare, so I just did whatever I could to win.
  4027.  
  4028. I shortened my skirt. I bought some kinda sexy underwear. It seemed like we were on our way to a championship win—but that’s when the trouble started.
  4029.  
  4030. Tournament Rule Change Notice
  4031.  
  4032. Article 14. Players are prohibited from wearing skirts on the field. This is a new rule. Anyone who feels this may apply to them must summarily comply.
  4033.  
  4034. Kickin’ the Can Association
  4035.  
  4036. “Huh? Wait a sec. Is this about me...?”
  4037.  
  4038. “Well there’s no one else. You’ve been showing off your panties too much.”
  4039.  
  4040. “Tch. And we were finally winning, too...”
  4041.  
  4042. A dark cloud formed over the massively popular Happy Friends Squad. But Pokyamaz was quick to offer encouragement.
  4043.  
  4044. “It’s okay. All we have to do is think of another plan.”
  4045.  
  4046. “Right! We haven’t lost yet.”
  4047.  
  4048. “Yeah, we just gotta get out there and do it!”
  4049.  
  4050. At times like these, they look ahead and psyche themselves up.
  4051.  
  4052. I really love that. I should try to take after them.
  4053.  
  4054. And we’re all right. No need to worry. I’m a high-schooler born and bred in Tokyo, after all.
  4055.  
  4056. The day of the semi-finals...pretending to have a meeting in the circle, I bent over with my back to the enemy team. Pink panties peeked out at my waist.
  4057.  
  4058.  
  4059.  
  4060.  
  4061.  
  4062.  
  4063.  
  4064.  
  4065. 108 | P a g e
  4066.  
  4067.  
  4068. After gathering their attention like that, I faced forward and bent over at the free kick position.
  4069.  
  4070. I had lopped off the legs of some old pants Lupe gave me to make booty shorts. Now I hit them with an angle that just barely showed off the pink undies I primed them with earlier.
  4071.  
  4072. Someone gulped. I transfixed the boys of the enemy team and then slightly opened my tasty, white thighs. Their heads moved in sync. The spectators’ moved, too.
  4073.  
  4074. Then Gnace raced out and kicked the can as hard as he could. The boys were so absorbed in my panty-flashing that it was a total surprise.
  4075.  
  4076. “You’re a hundred years too late!”
  4077.  
  4078. This other world is too dopey. How often do you think a high-school girl has to deal with people peeking at her panties? I’m so familiar with the various ways they might be seen I could vomit!
  4079.  
  4080. Assuming that it’s the skirt that’s sexy is such an old-man take!
  4081.  
  4082. “You did it, Haru!”
  4083.  
  4084. Another landslide win. We hugged and shared our happiness.
  4085.  
  4086. Time for the final match. We’ve come so far!
  4087.  
  4088. Dear Haru the Prostitute,
  4089.  
  4090. If you don’t want everyone to know what you are, come to the association office alone.
  4091.  
  4092. Kickin’ the Can Association
  4093.  
  4094. A threat was delivered to the brothel, stamped firmly with the president’s seal.
  4095.  
  4096. It seemed like the association didn’t like me very much, even though I was making major contributions to the thrill factor of the tournament.
  4097.  
  4098.  
  4099.  
  4100.  
  4101.  
  4102. 109 | P a g e
  4103.  
  4104.  
  4105. But if they were going to out me as a sex worker, I had no choice but to go.
  4106.  
  4107. Waiting for me at the office was a skeevy geezer with a beard.
  4108.  
  4109. “How good of you to come. I am the president of the Kickin’ the Can Association, Nechinative. Hee-hee-hee-hee.”
  4110.  
  4111. Whoa, he’s a total villain...far beyond what I imagined.
  4112.  
  4113. “Haru of the Happy Friends Squad...I was so surprised to find out you were a prostitute. So that’s why you’re such an incurable pervert! How dare you sully my beloved Kickin’ the Can with base eroticism!”
  4114.  
  4115. “I-I didn’t do anything against the rules.”
  4116.  
  4117. “Indeed, it’s true. You didn’t break any rules. But the rules change according to my whim. For instance, if I said, ‘Showing excessive skin is prohibited,’ you wouldn’t be able to do anything!”
  4118.  
  4119. “What? That’s no fair!”
  4120.  
  4121. “Oh? I think it’s a pretty reasonable amendment... If you don’t like it, do as I say.”
  4122.  
  4123. “Huh? What are you doing? Stop it!” He forced me down onto his desk.
  4124.  
  4125. What the hell? How did this guy get to be president? The Kickin’ the Can Association must be nuts.
  4126.  
  4127. “So this is the body of the much-buzzed-about Haru... The body of the she-demon who bewitches all the Kickin’ the Can-loving young men. Ooh, your skin feels so nice against my hand.”
  4128.  
  4129. He muscled open the front of my dress and groped me with his wrinkly hands.
  4130.  
  4131. When he licked the nape of my neck, I got goosebumps.
  4132.  
  4133.  
  4134.  
  4135.  
  4136.  
  4137.  
  4138. 110 | P a g e
  4139.  
  4140.  
  4141. “P-Please stop. Aren’t you an important Kickin’ the Can official? I’m a player—please, you can’t do this to me.”
  4142.  
  4143. “Are you sure? Do your teammates know your true nature? Will they still be your friends once they know you’re a prostitute? If so, then they’re accomplices. I’d have to disband the team. Right? Heeee-hee-hee-hee.”
  4144.  
  4145. Their faces came to mind one after another. The boys who shine so bright, lovers of can-kicking—the boys who called me one of them.
  4146.  
  4147. A prostitute should have never gone anywhere near them. It was only going to harm their futures.
  4148.  
  4149. “...Please.”
  4150.  
  4151. “Hmm?”
  4152.  
  4153. “Please, don’t tell the boys. I’ll do whatever you say. I’ll quit the team after this tournament...just let me play in the championship match.”
  4154.  
  4155. “That’s fine, if you’ll listen to what I say now. Make a show of yourself at the final, too. I’ll be bragging behind the scenes that you’re my woman. Hee-hee-hee!”
  4156.  
  4157. Sorry, everyone. This match will be my last. I hope you guys will keep playing.
  4158.  
  4159. Let’s make tomorrow’s final a great game...
  4160.  
  4161. “Hold it right there!”
  4162.  
  4163. Just then the door flew open and Gnace rushed in brandishing a stick. Pokyamaz and Relamap were there, too.
  4164.  
  4165. “We saw Haru and wondered where she was going, so we followed her!”
  4166.  
  4167. “What are you doing to our friend?”
  4168.  
  4169.  
  4170.  
  4171.  
  4172.  
  4173. 111 | P a g e
  4174.  
  4175. “We won’t let this happen, evil boss man!”
  4176.  
  4177. Those are my boys, all right. They showed up with perfect timing to call the top of the association an evil boss man and swing sticks around.
  4178.  
  4179. “Rragh!”
  4180.  
  4181. “Guhhhhh!” The president sent up a horrible shriek and fell. By the way, the one who did it was me. Gnace and the others had their whole lives ahead of them; I didn’t think it would be good for them to get involved in violence, so on behalf of the whole team, I kneed the association president in the balls.
  4182.  
  4183. “Y-You little bitch, what the hell...!” “H-He’s right, Haru. That was an awful thing to do.” “Just watching that is enough to give a guy cold sweats.”
  4184.  
  4185. They had been all about beating him up until a moment ago, but now they instinctively lowered their sticks to protect their crotches.
  4186.  
  4187. What’s that got to do with me? I’m a girl.
  4188.  
  4189. “Mr. President, if you learned your lesson, then don’t mess with us anymore.”
  4190.  
  4191. “We saw you threaten our friend and push her around. We’re ready to accuse you at any time.”
  4192.  
  4193. “It’ll be best for you to pipe down until this tournament is over.”
  4194.  
  4195. With a nervous sweat and tears streaming down his face, the president wheezed and nodded a bunch of times.
  4196.  
  4197. It’s just a knee in the balls. The way guys overreact is so funny. “...Let’s get outta here. Any more and I’ll just feel sorry for him.”
  4198.  
  4199. “Haru, you went a bit overboard. You better think about what you’ve done.”
  4200.  
  4201.  
  4202.  
  4203.  
  4204.  
  4205. 112 | P a g e
  4206.  
  4207.  
  4208. “How about you promise us men that you’ll never do anything like this ever again?”
  4209.  
  4210. Even after we left the boys still ganged up to criticize me.
  4211.  
  4212. I’m the victim here—why are they mad at me? This is why I hate this misogynistic world.
  4213.  
  4214. Then it was the morning of the final match.
  4215.  
  4216. There was no one changing the rules or otherwise getting in the way of our can-kicking. An invigorating breeze blew across the field. Only those qualified to be tested on how much of their life they had devoted to Kickin’ the Can could set foot here.
  4217.  
  4218. It was the free kick of our first game.
  4219.  
  4220. On our defense turn, they had suddenly scored seven points. Our opponents were fairly formidable, as they should be in a championship match.
  4221.  
  4222. Next was our time to show them what we could do.
  4223.  
  4224. The only ones in the circle were Pokyamaz, Gnace, and Relamap.
  4225.  
  4226. I hadn’t gone out yet. I was waiting for them to finish prepping.
  4227.  
  4228. The previous day, I asked everyone at the shop to help us out. The Blue Cat Nocturne band lined up on the side of the field began to play.
  4229.  
  4230. To me, the 80s disco vibes were super old-school, but in this world, the rhythms echoing across the field were utterly new.
  4231.  
  4232. I gave everyone plenty of time to listen to my intro and finally made my appearance. The buzz turned into a commotion.
  4233.  
  4234. I made my shoes at the last minute, so I’m glad they got done in time. To the people of this world who only know flats, eight-inch heels were even more shocking than I expected.
  4235.  
  4236.  
  4237.  
  4238.  
  4239.  
  4240.  
  4241.  
  4242.  
  4243. 113 | P a g e
  4244.  
  4245.  
  4246. I had put even more slits into the booty shorts from the semi-final match and cut up a t-shirt to make it look like a bra.
  4247.  
  4248. Over the top of that I had thrown on a blouse with the sleeves taken off. Treating the circle, where the can was waiting, like the end of runway, I pushed my hair back and made a leisurely approach. All eyes were on me.
  4249.  
  4250. When I reached the middle of the circle, I cast off the blouse and struck a pose. Shequraso’s powerful vocals soared, getting everyone even more worked up.
  4251.  
  4252. Pokyamaz and the guys did a dance. I sexily provoked the other team and teased the men in the audience, too. The president of the association had a pained look on his face, and I blew him a kiss.
  4253.  
  4254. I slowly squatted down in front of the can and then popped my thighs wide-open.
  4255.  
  4256. I   used Relamap’s family’s abalone-esque can to conceal my crotch and rocked my hips. The men watching leaned in so far they fell all over themselves.
  4257.  
  4258. I took my time standing up and then kicked the can.
  4259.  
  4260. It traced a beautiful arc over the heads of the other team, who were all bent over holding the front of their pants.
  4261.  
  4262. Having lost the will to fight, they forfeited, so we won by default.
  4263.  
  4264. The boys were all ecstatic, and we proposed a zillion toasts with water from the square.
  4265.  
  4266. Gnace jumped into the fountain and got scolded by some random old guy, and it was so funny we all laughed ’till our bellies hurt and then hugged each other more times than I could count.
  4267.  
  4268. Relamap raised the can and shouted, “We did it!” over and over. Pokyamaz was surreptitiously wiping away tears. We shared our
  4269.  
  4270.  
  4271.  
  4272.  
  4273.  
  4274.  
  4275. 114 | P a g e
  4276.  
  4277.  
  4278. happiness until dark and excitedly proclaimed that we would win again next year. We promised we’d practice the next day as usual.
  4279.  
  4280. It was three days later that I told them I was quitting the team.
  4281.  
  4282. “...Wait. We’ll figure out a way to make it work.”
  4283.  
  4284. “That’s impossible. It’s the rules.”
  4285.  
  4286. “We’ll protest to the president. We can blackmail him!”
  4287.  
  4288. But I shook my head at Pokyamaz’s suggestion. We had no proof, and anyone who heard the story would surely side with the president. I mean, I’m a sex worker.
  4289.  
  4290. Only boys can play in the tournament.
  4291.  
  4292. The new rule made perfect sense to these misogynistic people; in other words, it was only common sense in this world. It was so taken for granted it simply hadn’t been written down. Girls on sports teams was simply a foreign concept to them.
  4293.  
  4294. Plus, the whole city knew I was a sex worker now. After the craziness at the championship game, the rumors spread, so now everyone involved had found out, and trying to explain was pointless.
  4295.  
  4296. The team found out, too. They didn’t say anything, but I’m sure their parents told them not to play with me anymore.
  4297.  
  4298. “No...this sucks. You’re our precious friend, Haru. If we’re not ‘happy’ and ‘friends,’ this team is finished.”
  4299.  
  4300. “I agree. We’re only the Happy Friends Squad as long as you’re here. This team’s not changing.”
  4301.  
  4302. “Yeah, we don’t need to play in the tournament anymore. I wouldn’t even if they asked. Let’s just keep playing together forever, okay, Haru?”
  4303.  
  4304.  
  4305.  
  4306.  
  4307.  
  4308.  
  4309.  
  4310. 115 | P a g e
  4311.  
  4312.  
  4313. It was really hard not to cry. Are these guys actually princes from some twinkling star?
  4314.  
  4315. But I couldn’t keep taking advantage of their kindness. Besides, I didn’t have the heart to say it when they looked so solemn, but what we were doing could hardly be called Kickin’ the Can, anyhow. Time to start playing the actual game, guys.
  4316.  
  4317. “You dummies. I can’t be out here doing this all the time. I’m busy at work.”
  4318.  
  4319. I meant that; it was something I really needed to fix. In order to make it to early morning practice on time I had been serving my customers pretty carelessly and came in dead last in the satisfaction survey. Who started that thing, anyway?
  4320.  
  4321. “I’m done playing around with you kids. You little punks find some new little punk friends and play with them. I’m sick of this, anyhow. Bye!”
  4322.  
  4323. I hopped up and yawned. I’ll stop intruding on the world of boys now. I’m sure they want to get back to playing real Kickin’ the Can, anyhow.
  4324.  
  4325. I’m graduating from this kid stuff!
  4326.  
  4327. “...Haru, you’re a horrible actress.”
  4328.  
  4329. “You really think you can fool us like that?”
  4330.  
  4331. “We know you don’t want to quit. Who’s the real little punk, Haru?”
  4332.  
  4333. Shaddup.
  4334.  
  4335. Whatever, just don’t look at me right now. I don’t wanna cry.
  4336.  
  4337. “Take care, you guys. When you grow up, come to the shop. I’ll teach you something fun.”
  4338.  
  4339. I waved goodbye without turning around. I really love you guys.
  4340.  
  4341.  
  4342.  
  4343.  
  4344.  
  4345. 116 | P a g e
  4346.  
  4347.  
  4348. “Really?” Pokyamaz shouted, and I stopped and turned around in spite of myself. Their faces were surprisingly eager.
  4349.  
  4350. “That’s a promise, Haru!”
  4351.  
  4352. “When we grow up, teach us something fun!”
  4353.  
  4354. “Because we’ve got our hearts set on you!”
  4355.  
  4356. Bright-red faces, snotty noses, and gleaming moist eyes.
  4357.  
  4358. “...Okay, it’s a promise!”
  4359.  
  4360. I managed to hide the fact that I was about to become a sobbing mess, smiled, and ran off.
  4361.  
  4362. Idiots. Men really are idiots.
  4363.  
  4364. Grow up to be three great guys. You can’t be caring about me.
  4365.  
  4366.  
  4367. “Hee-hee-hee-hee! How does it feel, you little devil? Do you understand what will happen to you if you disobey me, now?”
  4368.  
  4369. “O...h? Please forgive me.”
  4370.  
  4371. The guys who get attached to me are all weirdos like this.
  4372.  
  4373. The president of the Kickin’ the Can Association’s balls survived, and he kept coming around.
  4374.  
  4375. But as long as he’s coming to the shop and paying money, all I can really do is quietly let him violate me.
  4376.  
  4377. He took out his Kickin’ the Can president’s seal and pushed it into my butt cheek. “Look, you’re mine!” the geezer shouted with glee.
  4378.  
  4379. “I’ll do whatever you say!” I replied, wiggling my backside.
  4380.  
  4381. “So toned, such a gorgeous ass. Kickin’ the Can really is wonderful—it makes the players beautiful,” he panted.
  4382.  
  4383.  
  4384.  
  4385.  
  4386.  
  4387. 117 | P a g e
  4388.  
  4389. “Uh, so will you let girls play, then...?”
  4390.  
  4391. “Don’t get saucy with me. Women shouldn’t so much as speak of Kickin’ the Can,” he said with a satisfied grin, pumping away with his little cock inside my pussy.
  4392.  
  4393. Well, yeah.
  4394.  
  4395. I’m me wherever I go, but this world is this world. The shop is the only place I have to go home to.
  4396.  
  4397. “I’m gonna cum, ohhh, you little devil. Hahh, I’m gonna jizz all over your pervy backside. Your ass belongs to me!”
  4398.  
  4399. For the president of the Kickin’ the Can association, the way he ejaculated into my pussy was pretty lacking in kick.
  4400.  
  4401. “Ahhn, Mr. President, you’re amazing! Never again will I disobey your magnificent cock!”
  4402.  
  4403. “Hee-hee-hee-hee. If that’s how you feel, then let’s go another round.”
  4404.  
  4405. “Oh, it’s 85 rubers to extend.”
  4406.  
  4407. Well, I have more customers now, I got to experience something like a club here, and the boys were cute.
  4408.  
  4409. That was fun!
  4410.  
  4411.  
  4412. “I’m going out with Kiyori now.”
  4413.  
  4414. A guy with Carp cap-shaped hair said in the voice of a loser, propping himself up on his elbows at the bar.
  4415.  
  4416. “...?”
  4417.  
  4418. “It’s me, for fuck’s sake!”
  4419.  
  4420. “Ohh, Chiba! Long time no see! Where have you been?”
  4421.  
  4422.  
  4423.  
  4424.  
  4425.  
  4426. 118 | P a g e
  4427.  
  4428.  
  4429. “I come to the shop every day, and wait outside the arena, too!” Representative of the saddest dudes of all worlds, Chiba.
  4430.  
  4431. Apparently while we weren’t seeing each other he learned how to speak up when delivering a comeback. He seemed to be doing well.
  4432.  
  4433. “You’re so uncertain, so I’ve progressed really far along Kiyori’s route.”
  4434.  
  4435. “I still don’t really know what all that ‘route’ stuff is about, but you’re going out with her? Nice. She’s cute, right?”
  4436.  
  4437. “Yeah, she’s cute, I guess. And she was a virgin. Which is great and all, but there’s one problem.”
  4438.  
  4439. “What?”
  4440.  
  4441. “She’s a dead lay.”
  4442.  
  4443. “You’re one to talk, zombie brains.” “Well you have sex like a frozen corpse!” I came up with so many comebacks I couldn’t say anything.
  4444.  
  4445. Crap, my comeback game is getting rusty. I had been spoiled by the chill environment.
  4446.  
  4447. “I guess you’re really the only girl for me, Haru.”
  4448.  
  4449. He grabbed my hand without asking. He was finally able to get a girlfriend like normal and all—he was really getting carried away.
  4450.  
  4451. “Will you be my maid and teach Kiyori a bunch of stuff? At least to get her to the point where she’ll give head without me ask—”
  4452.  
  4453. “Want some coffee?”
  4454.  
  4455. “Oww! My head’s not a cup—or a carp for that matter! What the hell?!”
  4456.  
  4457. “Sorry, Gunma.”
  4458.  
  4459.  
  4460.  
  4461.  
  4462.  
  4463. 119 | P a g e
  4464.  
  4465. “It’s Chiba!”
  4466.  
  4467. There are truly no good guys anywhere.
  4468.  
  4469.  
  4470.  
  4471.  
  4472.  
  4473.  
  4474.  
  4475.  
  4476.  
  4477.  
  4478.  
  4479.  
  4480.  
  4481.  
  4482.  
  4483.  
  4484.  
  4485.  
  4486.  
  4487.  
  4488.  
  4489.  
  4490.  
  4491.  
  4492.  
  4493.  
  4494.  
  4495.  
  4496.  
  4497.  
  4498.  
  4499.  
  4500.  
  4501.  
  4502.  
  4503.  
  4504.  
  4505.  
  4506.  
  4507.  
  4508.  
  4509.  
  4510.  
  4511.  
  4512.  
  4513.  
  4514.  
  4515.  
  4516.  
  4517.  
  4518.  
  4519.  
  4520.  
  4521.  
  4522.  
  4523.  
  4524.  
  4525.  
  4526.  
  4527.  
  4528.  
  4529.  
  4530.  
  4531.  
  4532.  
  4533.  
  4534.  
  4535.  
  4536.  
  4537. 120 | P a g e
  4538.  
  4539.  
  4540. X ← The man with a face like
  4541.  
  4542.  
  4543.  
  4544.  
  4545. He was the only one who seemed special to me.
  4546.  
  4547. With the rain-pounded window as a backdrop, he gazed around the pub with those green eyes set in his chiseled features and then brought his drink to his mouth.
  4548.  
  4549. Silver hair and stubble. He didn’t eat anything, didn’t talk to anyone. His eyes were sharp like hawk’s, and the other girls said he was “scary.”
  4550.  
  4551. To me, it seemed like he was saying, “I’m lonely.”
  4552.  
  4553. “Hey, Sumo.”
  4554.  
  4555. “Yes?”
  4556.  
  4557. “What’s up for tonight? Wanna go upstairs?”
  4558.  
  4559. “Uh, nah, tonight I...”
  4560.  
  4561. Sumo still comes around every night, but he only buys me once every three times or so.
  4562.  
  4563. He’s probably used to having sex by now, but he’s a weird customer who contents himself with listening to my complaints and Kickin’ the Can stories.
  4564.  
  4565. When I told him we should chat again soon, he smiled and said, “Okay.”
  4566.  
  4567. After seeing him off at the door, I went over to where that guy was sitting.
  4568.  
  4569. “How would you like someone to talk with? 20 rubers for 30 minutes.”
  4570.  
  4571. “I’m okay.”
  4572.  
  4573.  
  4574.  
  4575.  
  4576. 121 | P a g e
  4577.  
  4578. No, you’re definitely not. That’s why I’m talking to you.
  4579.  
  4580. That night I refused to leave the cold man with the silver hair alone.
  4581.  
  4582. “By the way, I saw you over by the arena the other day, sir. Do you live near there?”
  4583.  
  4584. “...”
  4585.  
  4586. “I used to play Kickin’ the Can, and that was actually the fateful day I met my team. I was a pretty famous player. Did you ever see me anywhere?”
  4587.  
  4588. “...”
  4589.  
  4590. “Well then, if you’ll excuse me...”
  4591.  
  4592. Tch. He won’t even consider me.
  4593.  
  4594. What is it, I wonder? Does he just like drinking alone? Then why come to our shop?
  4595.  
  4596. I wish he would talk to me, even just a little... I was about to miserably withdraw when it happened.
  4597.  
  4598. “Wait.”
  4599.  
  4600. The man with the silver hair stopped me for the first time.
  4601.  
  4602. “What’s ‘Kickin’ the Can’?”
  4603.  
  4604. The gap between his mature voice and the dropped g in “kickin’” really hit me down there.
  4605.  
  4606. And when I saw the 20 rubers on the table, I nearly jumped up and down.
  4607.  
  4608. “I’m Haru! Nice to meet you!”
  4609.  
  4610. “Oh. So, what’s Kickin’ the Can?”
  4611.  
  4612.  
  4613.  
  4614.  
  4615.  
  4616.  
  4617.  
  4618.  
  4619. 122 | P a g e
  4620.  
  4621.  
  4622. Wow, so you’re more interested in Kickin’ the Can than me? That’s how I felt, but it was the first time he let me sit with him, and I was still so excited about that that I started to explain it.
  4623.  
  4624. “—and even if three of your teammates get caught, if someone kicks the can, you get a point. But for every teammate who is caught, you lose a point, so the real fun of the game, I think, is strategizing about how much loss you can take, and then for the defense to see how well they can read the plan and find the other players.”
  4625.  
  4626. “Strategy? So children’s games teach how to fight a war. That’s such a human idea.”
  4627.  
  4628. I couldn’t tell from his face whether he thought what I said was interesting or boring, but he nodded.
  4629.  
  4630. His hawk eyes were looking at me with hawk-like intensity. I found myself wishing he would peck me.
  4631.  
  4632. “Kickin’ the Can seems like a national pastime, or sport, or whatever—it seems like everyone plays it when they’re kids. You’ve never seen it before?”
  4633.  
  4634. “Do they play it in the rain?”
  4635.  
  4636. “No, it gets canceled in the rain.”
  4637.  
  4638. “Then I haven’t seen it,” he said, as if that were perfectly natural, and looked out the window.
  4639.  
  4640. This guy must just bring the rain with him wherever he goes.
  4641.  
  4642. Maybe somewhere, they treat him like a god.
  4643.  
  4644. “You didn’t play games like that when you were little?” “There aren’t any games where I was born.”
  4645.  
  4646. Hmm? He must have meant he’s from a different city, but for whatever reason I felt like we had something in common.
  4647.  
  4648. Like maybe he’s from another world, too. Just kidding.
  4649.  
  4650.  
  4651.  
  4652.  
  4653. 123 | P a g e
  4654.  
  4655. “Where I was born all we had were games.”
  4656.  
  4657. Tokyo and friends and my smartphone. I can still remember what it felt like—so nostalgic.
  4658.  
  4659. The man stared at me intently and then cracked a smile for the first time.
  4660.  
  4661. My heart felt squeezed in his talons. But although he was looking at me, he was seeing someone else.
  4662.  
  4663. “My son likes to play. He used to go out without telling me and play with other people’s kids. I don’t know if there was Kickin’ the Can back then or not, but...”
  4664.  
  4665. The man spoke about himself for the first time. You have kids?! It was a pretty big shock, actually, but well, a guy this hot couldn’t be single at his age. It totally made sense.
  4666.  
  4667. I waited, ready to hang on his next words, but he just sipped his drink like he wasn’t going to say any more.
  4668.  
  4669. “So, you’re married, huh? You have just the one child?” I probed a little more.
  4670.  
  4671. He abruptly stopped talking like, Damn, I said too much! He really had his walls up. Maybe he’d been out in the rain too long?
  4672.  
  4673. I started to feel kind of heartbroken. Why do you reject people so much? Will I ever find out? Or maybe he wouldn’t open his heart up to a sex worker.
  4674.  
  4675. He pushed back his silver hair with his long, sexy fingers, and I was so jealous of the woman I’d never seen who’d been held in his arms.
  4676.  
  4677. “Are you in town on business?”
  4678.  
  4679. I thought maybe he would talk to me about his work. That tends to be a topic guys will go for.
  4680.  
  4681.  
  4682.  
  4683.  
  4684. 124 | P a g e
  4685.  
  4686.  
  4687. “Hmm. Work. Yeah, maybe what I’m doing is work.” Maybe he noticed that I changed the topic and felt like he should hold up his end of the convo. After thinking for a little while, he said, “Sometimes I come here to see people.”
  4688.  
  4689. Still expressionless.
  4690.  
  4691. People-watching? Oh my god, that’s the most boring thing ever. Guys who think it’s fun to stare at people in secret are some of the most boring damn people.
  4692.  
  4693. “Sounds interesting! I like people-watching, too.”
  4694.  
  4695. But you can change your hobbies to suit the man.
  4696.  
  4697. I drew closer to him, but for some reason his expression clouded over.
  4698.  
  4699. “Boring hobby, huh?”
  4700.  
  4701. Not at all☆
  4702.  
  4703. “Humans are boring. I can only see them as a crowd of lives. But...”
  4704.  
  4705. He stopped abruptly and took a sidelong look at the room.
  4706.  
  4707. The idiotic men, the women spreading their charms...
  4708.  
  4709. It was the usual scene at my workplace. Our job is to make sure the customers are having a good time, so tons of smiles, gripes, brags, and sex transform into money before your eyes.
  4710.  
  4711. Does he think this is boring?
  4712.  
  4713. Before I came here, I was the kind of person who was always just having fun, so I didn’t realize, but I bet everything fun in every world, if you look behind the scenes, is full of money, labor, and hardship.
  4714.  
  4715. But if I start thinking like that, none of this will be worth the effort. Making money and spending it to have fun is valid. And this is
  4716.  
  4717.  
  4718.  
  4719.  
  4720.  
  4721.  
  4722. 125 | P a g e
  4723.  
  4724.  
  4725. a place for people who want to enjoy themselves. You should have fun, too!
  4726.  
  4727. Looking at his profile, I still couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but I wanted to put my cat ears on for him. How is he so cool?
  4728.  
  4729. “...Guess time’s almost up.”
  4730.  
  4731. “Hmm?”
  4732.  
  4733. “Thirty minutes, right?”
  4734.  
  4735. Oh, exactly 30 minutes had passed. That’s some amazing internal clock action.
  4736.  
  4737. “...For 85 rubers, I can take you upstairs to my room...” I said, glancing up at him.
  4738.  
  4739. I knew it was a lost cause when I said it, and sure enough, he didn’t go for it.
  4740.  
  4741. He stood up briskly and headed for the exit. I said, “Thank you,” and watched him go. He didn’t turn around.
  4742.  
  4743. I wonder when it will rain again.
  4744.  
  4745.  
  4746. I was thinking it was awfully lively in the pub, and sure enough, it was a group of soldiers.
  4747.  
  4748. Shequraso was at their table entertaining them. One of them was her boyfriend.
  4749.  
  4750. “This is Mr. Bisque.”
  4751.  
  4752. When I brought their mugs over, Shequraso bashfully introduced him.
  4753.  
  4754. He had heavy, light-blue bangs that he wore to one side. They nearly covered his eyes. He had been to the shop before, so I recognized him, but this was the first time I was properly introduced.
  4755.  
  4756.  
  4757.  
  4758.  
  4759. 126 | P a g e
  4760.  
  4761.  
  4762. Well, he does have a pretty plain face, but his smile is nice enough.
  4763.  
  4764. “Thanks for being so kind to Shequraso all the time!” “Oh, hey, here’s a cutie.”
  4765.  
  4766. Soldiers are good customers, so the shop values them. They come in a big group to eat and drink, and they’re young, so they’re quick to buy girls. They’re perverts in proportion to how pent up they are normally, but they’re usually pretty cheerful, so even just drinking with them is fun.
  4767.  
  4768. The other nice thing is that when they’re around, the ruder customers settle down. Chiba doesn’t like that more wholesome atmosphere, so he leaves right away. It’s all good things when the soldiers are here.
  4769.  
  4770. Sometimes soldiers buy me, too. I’ve even been on some dates.
  4771.  
  4772. Apparently some of the guys deployed from the capital or volunteering from the countryside left girlfriends or wives at home, so sometimes they just want a taste of that date feeling.
  4773.  
  4774. Some girls get invited to the barracks for sex, but I don’t take that kind of work. Not that I haven’t been asked!
  4775.  
  4776. It’s not that I don’t like their goofy college bro vibes, or that there weren’t any I found cool, but just, I don’t think it’s a good idea to sleep around so easily when it’s not for work.
  4777.  
  4778. At least lately, I’ve been feeling that way. “Okay, who ordered the oohaa?” “Oh, that’s me.”
  4779.  
  4780. Making drinks, chatting, imbibing, switching up seats ‘cause it’s more fun that way—the soldiers’ table keeps you busy.
  4781.  
  4782.  
  4783.  
  4784.  
  4785.  
  4786.  
  4787.  
  4788. 127 | P a g e
  4789.  
  4790.  
  4791. Is Mr. Bisque a dekasquad commander? At least that’s what it seemed like, like he was drinking with his subordinates. Everyone was nice and interesting. It was a good atmosphere.
  4792.  
  4793. “Have you been doing this long, Haru?” Mr. Bisque asked while Shequraso was talking to a different soldier.
  4794.  
  4795. “It hasn’t even been a year yet.”
  4796.  
  4797. “Oh, but you seem so used to it. You must be popular, huh?”
  4798.  
  4799. “No, no. I’m nothing compared to Shequraso.”
  4800.  
  4801. “Your legs are so pretty. You’re cute, you know.”
  4802.  
  4803. He touched my thigh.
  4804.  
  4805. Shequraso hasn’t noticed.
  4806.  
  4807. “What? Nah, that’s not true. Oh, does anyone need a refill?”
  4808.  
  4809. I casually stood up and moved. Wow, that was a surprise. So he’s that kind of guy.
  4810.  
  4811. You didn’t see, right, Shequraso?
  4812.  
  4813. “I heard the hectosquad commander who’s coming is pretty scary.”
  4814.  
  4815. “Oh, how he caused that uproar at Central? But I guess he’s related to a minister or something?”
  4816.  
  4817. “I heard he’s sent guys to the hospital just because he didn’t like them. And that he forced himself on some noble’s daughter out in the country.”
  4818.  
  4819. “That’s nuts.”
  4820.  
  4821. “If he’s being sent to this front, they’re probably just getting rid of him ‘cause he causes problems. Are we screwed?”
  4822.  
  4823. “Commander Bisque won’t let him have his way, will you, Commander?”
  4824.  
  4825.  
  4826.  
  4827.  
  4828. 128 | P a g e
  4829.  
  4830.  
  4831. Mr. Bisque’s expression stiffened up for a second, but then he grinned. “Sure, I’ll protect you guys. Never fear.”
  4832.  
  4833. “Ahh, you’re so cool!”
  4834.  
  4835. “Yeah, protect me!”
  4836.  
  4837. This sports team-like world of the soldiers seems to include all types. Well, I’m part-way through my first year as a working person and have seen a lot of different ways to live. None of them are easy.
  4838.  
  4839. “Hey, I might want to go up to your room, Haru.”
  4840.  
  4841. A young soldier with fluffy hair propositioned me. My talking time was just about up.
  4842.  
  4843. “Oh? Sounds good. Let’s go.”
  4844.  
  4845. “Hold up. I want Haru!”
  4846.  
  4847. A short-haired soldier cut in. Times like this, the girl goes to the one who puts up more cash, but they’re friends and all, so I decided I would do them both. “Who wants to go first?”
  4848.  
  4849. “I asked first.”
  4850.  
  4851. “But I’m older than you!”
  4852.  
  4853. “Aw man, you’re right.”
  4854.  
  4855. So the soldier with the cropped hair bought me. I like how easy-going they are.
  4856.  
  4857. When we got to my room, he suddenly took me in his arms and kissed me. Kisses are 15 rubers. The girls get to set their own price for that.
  4858.  
  4859. “The girl from last time was only 10.”
  4860.  
  4861. “Sorry, I’m expensive. But lots of people tell me I’m worth it.” “Oh, is that how it is? Well, fine. Here’s your 15 rubers.”
  4862.  
  4863.  
  4864.  
  4865.  
  4866.  
  4867.  
  4868. 129 | P a g e
  4869.  
  4870.  
  4871. He kept kissing me and then pushed me down on the bed. He fondled my breasts through my clothes and undressed me bit by bit. It was the typical way young guys had sex. Soldiers are nice.
  4872.  
  4873. I licked his chest. His nipples stood right up. He had big, broad shoulders, too—a tasty body.
  4874.  
  4875. “You must work out a lot.”
  4876.  
  4877. “Yeah. I do push-ups and stuff every day.”
  4878.  
  4879. “To look good?”
  4880.  
  4881. “Of course.”
  4882.  
  4883. He laughed and said he had the best body in the squad. I thought he was kinda cute.
  4884.  
  4885. “Ahn, ah...”
  4886.  
  4887. He got on top of me with his stacked body, and inserted his rock-hard cock.
  4888.  
  4889. I put my arms around his neck and wrapped my legs around his waist. Statistically speaking, guys with nice bodies like it when girls cling to them like this. That’s firsthand research, ’natch.
  4890.  
  4891. “Haru, you’re so good. Ngh,” he panted.
  4892.  
  4893. “It’s good for me, too. Amazing. Feels so good!”
  4894.  
  4895. He thrust his hips, almost like he was doing push-ups, for quite a while, like Wow, he’s strong. Then, after enjoying me enough, Mr. Short Hair ejaculated and went back downstairs.
  4896.  
  4897. After I took a shower, I went back to the pub, too.
  4898.  
  4899. “Haru, did you make sure to clean up right? It would suck if any of him was left over, seriously.”
  4900.  
  4901. “Dude, shaddup.”
  4902.  
  4903.  
  4904.  
  4905.  
  4906.  
  4907.  
  4908.  
  4909. 130 | P a g e
  4910.  
  4911.  
  4912. Apparently the fluffy-haired guy had waited for me, so he bought me right away, getting knuckled by Short Hair.
  4913.  
  4914. I took him upstairs and undressed him. He wasn’t as muscly as Short Hair, but still pretty fit. Ottermode.
  4915.  
  4916. The best thing about the soldiers is that they’re all a bunch of snacks.
  4917.  
  4918. “Ahh...oh man, you’re really good at this...”
  4919.  
  4920. I went down on him, and Fluffy Hair pet my head in a trance.
  4921.  
  4922. His long, thin cock had a cool bend to it.
  4923.  
  4924. “Hey, I want to do you, too. I like it. That’s okay, right?”
  4925.  
  4926. Is that why he wanted me to wash up well? I spread my legs up on the bed. Fluffy Hair moved his face in close and said, “Such a pretty color,” and kissed me.
  4927.  
  4928. “Mm...”
  4929.  
  4930. Shit, I moaned for real. I hadn’t been licked down there in seriously forever, and he even knew what he was doing—like, his soft tongue got me all sticky and buzzing.
  4931.  
  4932. He spread my opening with his tongue. Then he smeared the wetness with a quick motion, and I moaned again.
  4933.  
  4934. “Ahh...”
  4935.  
  4936. Dang, he’s really good. I dunno if anyone ever got me like this just with their tongue.
  4937.  
  4938. Fluffy Hair grabbed my thighs and slurped. The feeling was electric, and my back arched.
  4939.  
  4940. “...Can I go from behind?”
  4941.  
  4942. I nodded—”Yep”—and flipped over on all fours, spreading my legs.
  4943.  
  4944.  
  4945.  
  4946.  
  4947.  
  4948. 131 | P a g e
  4949.  
  4950. “You’re crazy tight.”
  4951.  
  4952. Fluffy Hair trembled inside me. It seemed like he felt good.
  4953.  
  4954. I was really happy he made me feel good, too, so now it was my turn. Showing off my butt, which had improved its reputation lately, I ground up and down his cock.
  4955.  
  4956. But then he started to match me. He really knew how to use his hips.
  4957.  
  4958. “I’m the best in my squad on horseback. Riding women is kind of like riding a horse, you know.”
  4959.  
  4960. Are you for real?
  4961.  
  4962. But I did feel like he was an expert rider. We were having perfectly in-sync sex.
  4963.  
  4964. And apparently he liked the ride, because he was really nice, caressing my back, kissing my head.
  4965.  
  4966. “Haru, this is so good. You’re so cute.”
  4967.  
  4968. He squeezed my hands, and we had sex like lovers. I squeezed back and pushed my bottom into him. This is good. It’s been a while since I did it like this.
  4969.  
  4970. “Haru, I’m gonna cum...!”
  4971.  
  4972. His hot mess hit the back of my insides.
  4973.  
  4974. It was a little embarrassing, but even I got off a bit.
  4975.  
  4976. “I’ll buy you again next time.”
  4977.  
  4978. “Thanks!”
  4979.  
  4980. I gave him a special freebie kiss on the cheek.
  4981.  
  4982. When I took my shower and went back downstairs, there were still lots of cheerful soldiers waving me over.
  4983.  
  4984.  
  4985.  
  4986.  
  4987.  
  4988.  
  4989. 132 | P a g e
  4990.  
  4991. I’m gonna make a fortune tonight!
  4992.  
  4993.  
  4994. I drank too much, so the next day my head felt a bit like dead weight. I was cleaning up around the shop when I heard a gloomy voice.
  4995.  
  4996. “...Is Miss Haru here?”
  4997.  
  4998. Ugh, it’s Kiyori.
  4999.  
  5000. The pretty girl, dressed in that weird, all-white outfit as usual, stood cheerlessly outside.
  5001.  
  5002. “There’s something I wanted to ask you about...”
  5003.  
  5004. “Uh, umm, err, then, should we go somewhere?”
  5005.  
  5006. The other girls were eating lunch on the bench outside, and I thought maybe it would be better to get out of the neighborhood, so we headed toward the area Sumo’s cafe was in.
  5007.  
  5008. When I asked if she wanted to go in somewhere, she gave the standard response in this world, “I don’t want to go if it’s just us girls,” so we bought some frankfurter-like meat and sat down on some grass.
  5009.  
  5010. When I went to spread a handkerchief for under my butt, Kiyori said, “If you do that your handkerchief will get dirty!” and let me sit on her cape.
  5011.  
  5012. She’s feminine, and she seems like a good girl. She’s just a bit oppressive.
  5013.  
  5014. Nibbling the frank with her little mouth, she looked sort of like a squirrel. She wouldn’t even have to open her mouth for men to be attracted to her. If she went out with a guy who would develop her personality a bit more, she’d probably get cuter and more cheerful.
  5015.  
  5016.  
  5017.  
  5018.  
  5019.  
  5020.  
  5021. 133 | P a g e
  5022.  
  5023. I’ll be friends with her after that.
  5024.  
  5025. “So what did you want to ask me about?” I asked reluctantly. I knew it had to be about Chiba.
  5026.  
  5027. “It’s about Mr. Innodiator of Roaring Flames, Endless Crimson Rain: The Next Innovation...”
  5028.  
  5029. “Who?” It was so convoluted that his amazing X Japan name got buried. Idiot. “You can just call him Chiba. His real name’s Chiba.”
  5030.  
  5031. “Chiba...? I didn’t know that.”
  5032.  
  5033. “If you call him ‘Gunma’ or ‘Ibaraki,’ he’ll say, ‘It’s Chiba,’ back at you super fast. You should try it sometime.”
  5034.  
  5035. Honestly, I don’t even remember Chiba’s first name anymore.
  5036.  
  5037. I’m pretty sure I still knew it when we got here, but now...
  5038.  
  5039. I guess it’s ‘cause I’m using my brain on all the new people I have to remember... It’s not like I forgot everyone in Tokyo, but the number of people who don’t pop right into my mind seems to be going up...
  5040.  
  5041. “Oh yeah, I heard you’re going out with him now. So have you been past the front lines yet?”
  5042.  
  5043. Kiyori blushed. “We are dating.” She nodded. “Although he hasn’t taken me past the front lines yet. I thought maybe I should get your permission...”
  5044.  
  5045. “I told you before—it’s got nothing to do with me!”
  5046.  
  5047. “But Mr. Chiba seems to think differently.”
  5048.  
  5049. “He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t understand other people’s feelings. He’s just convinced he’s popular with girls and doesn’t really think very hard about how you or I feel. It’s like he only thinks about himself.”
  5050.  
  5051. Well, I’m probably pretty similar sometimes, but still.
  5052.  
  5053.  
  5054.  
  5055.  
  5056. 134 | P a g e
  5057.  
  5058.  
  5059. But one thing I’ve learned since starting this job and not being able to use my phone anymore is that having no way to communicate besides face-to-face is really inconvenient. It makes you think.
  5060.  
  5061. You have to look at the person’s face, ask right away if you don’t understand something, make your opinion heard, correct yourself or change the direction of the conversation if you’re wrong—and you have to get it all done in one shot, so unless you’re really using your head, a conversation just can’t happen.
  5062.  
  5063. You feel like every meeting is a miracle, and if you want to complain or get comforted by someone later, it’s not so easy. If you have regrets or something, you have to reflect on them all by yourself. If I don’t put in that much work, I can’t get along with these people, because I have no common sense in this world. But thanks to all the effort, I’m starting to feel more confident about my ability to survive here.
  5064.  
  5065. Chiba’s using his cheat skills and living a different lifestyle than most, so he’s probably still that high-schooler from Tokyo.
  5066.  
  5067. “...I think I understand what you mean. Even when I tell him what I want, I feel he misunderstands a lot,” said Kiyori.
  5068.  
  5069. These guys probably aren’t going to last very long as a couple.
  5070.  
  5071. “Wasn’t the whole reason you started talking to Chiba that you wanted to go adventuring in the forest? Why haven’t you gone yet? Shouldn’t you bring that up ASAP?”
  5072.  
  5073. “Well...I asked him, but he says he only does hunting where he doesn’t take any damage. He says there’s no work for a healer to do, so I’m still serving at the hospital.”
  5074.  
  5075. That sounds like something Chiba would say.
  5076.  
  5077.  
  5078.  
  5079.  
  5080.  
  5081.  
  5082.  
  5083.  
  5084. 135 | P a g e
  5085.  
  5086.  
  5087. Since he gains experience points at 16x the normal rate, he can level up even on weak monsters.
  5088.  
  5089. So there’s no point in going purposely into danger. He doesn’t want to get hurt. And even more than that, he doesn’t want anyone finding out about his cheat skills, so he probably doesn’t want her to see him racking up the XP like it’s nothing. How can he say shit like, I’m gonna be the strongest when he’s like that?
  5090.  
  5091. “So there’s no reason for you to be going out with him, then, right?”
  5092.  
  5093. Kiyori said she reached out to him because she wanted to challenge herself.
  5094.  
  5095. Even if she was a fan of his, her discontent is only going to grow.
  5096.  
  5097. “Honestly, part of me is disappointed. But I don’t know very much about men, and it’s true that his strength attracts me, so I’d like to do what I can to keep this connection.”
  5098.  
  5099. “Hmm. Well, he’s your first one, right? You might feel like he’s important, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with him.”
  5100.  
  5101. “Y-You’re pretty candid, Miss Haru. M-My first... It’s true that I’ve never gone out with a man before, but how did you know...?”
  5102.  
  5103. “Chiba told me, of course. He’s the type of blabs about stuff like that to other girls. You might want to be careful.”
  5104.  
  5105. Kiyori turned so red I felt bad for her.
  5106.  
  5107. Maybe I said too much.
  5108.  
  5109. But I felt like she’d been seeing him without really understanding the type of guy he was, so of course I would want to say something.
  5110.  
  5111. “Frankly, he probably makes all kinds of obnoxious sexual demands, too, right? That’s what you’re here to talk to me about, isn’t it?”
  5112.  
  5113.  
  5114.  
  5115.  
  5116.  
  5117. 136 | P a g e
  5118.  
  5119.  
  5120. Apparently I hit the bull’s-eye. She clenched her frankfurter and hung her head.
  5121.  
  5122. Man, I feel bad for her. I didn’t really get the church or the Sister thing, but it seemed like she’d been pretty sheltered from all of this.
  5123.  
  5124. “Mr. Chiba seems dissatisfied with me. He’s always saying, ‘This is how Haru did it.’”
  5125.  
  5126. Ugh, he’s the worst.
  5127.  
  5128. He has no idea how much a thing like that can grind down a girl’s self-esteem. Even if he’s just unaware, it’s too cruel.
  5129.  
  5130. Well, I guess I should lecture him, as someone he knows from the other world.
  5131.  
  5132. But Kiyori’s too insecure, too.
  5133.  
  5134. I thought she had started chatting with Chiba because she knew how cute she was, but apparently for her it was really an act of courage. She’s lived in such a small world.
  5135.  
  5136. I guess she just has to consider her first guy bad luck and work on upping her pride and her skill at picking guys. Yeah. This kind of thing comes down to feelings and experience.
  5137.  
  5138. “I know I’m probably being a nuisance, Miss Haru, but my feelings for Mr. Chiba haven’t changed, and I want to do the work to improve myself as much as I can. I’ll figure out a way to thank you, s-so could you please teach me?”
  5139.  
  5140. “You don’t have to worry about thanking me. This is one of those times where it’s inconvenient to not have the net.”
  5141.  
  5142. “A net...?
  5143.  
  5144. “Never mind. Ready? I’m going to start, so watch and copy me.”
  5145.  
  5146. I figured something like this would happen, hence the wieners.
  5147.  
  5148.  
  5149.  
  5150.  
  5151.  
  5152.  
  5153.  
  5154. 137 | P a g e
  5155.  
  5156.  
  5157.  
  5158. When I went downstairs after sex with Sumo for the first time in a while, the pub was hopping.
  5159.  
  5160. I figured it must be the soldiers, and it was Mr. Bisque’s squad with a man I didn’t recognize.
  5161.  
  5162. “Haru, over here.”
  5163.  
  5164. Fluffy Hair from the other day waved 20 rubers.
  5165.  
  5166. “Coming!” I said, grabbing their drinks. When I got to the table, the man was glaring at me with a crabby face.
  5167.  
  5168. “Is this place all country bumpkin girls or what? Do you guys really have fun drinking in this dump?”
  5169.  
  5170. The other soldiers put on placating smiles.
  5171.  
  5172. This guy had a mustache that screamed “military man,” and there were weird medals pinned to his chest.
  5173.  
  5174. Oh, is this the guy they were talking about last time? The hectosquad commander from the capital?
  5175.  
  5176. Well excuse me for being such a bumpkin. I dunno what counts as hip in this world. And anyhow, I’m sure in your world even the capital is stuck in the ancient times with horses in the streets. Go step in some shit, asshole.
  5177.  
  5178. “My, you’re quite the dandy, sir. Are you newly stationed here?”
  5179.  
  5180. Even though I was thinking about horseshit, I could still put on a smile. Don’t underestimate my sales talk.
  5181.  
  5182. The hectosquad commander just hmph’d at me and stroked his mustache. Mr. Bisque explained in his place, “This is Commander Buffness. He’s just been assigned to our hectosquad.”
  5183.  
  5184. “Well, I guess you can’t be picky about where you drink out in the sticks. Hey, you. I’ll pay. Give this man his money back.”
  5185.  
  5186.  
  5187.  
  5188. 138 | P a g e
  5189.  
  5190.  
  5191. He took the 20 rubers Fluffy Hair gave me and put 500 on the table.
  5192.  
  5193. “If there are other girls you want, call them over. Drink your fill.”
  5194.  
  5195. Then he furnished his men with women. The soldiers got so happy it was smarmy, and they named the girls they wanted.
  5196.  
  5197. The Buffness guy’s face had an oddly huge cross-shaped scar on it. His eyes were so dark you couldn’t tell what he was looking at.
  5198.  
  5199. “Lady. You don’t need to flatter me. If you have time to do that, make my men happy.”
  5200.  
  5201. Mr. Bisque sitting next to him nodded and said, “Our hectosquad commander is so nice.” His smile seemed fine at first, but then I noticed that it actually looked fake, like a sticker he’d plastered on.
  5202.  
  5203. “And don’t talk back in bed. Let them do whatever they want.” This guy scared me.
  5204.  
  5205. He was the kind who just used people up. He’d grind them down and make them his property.
  5206.  
  5207. “Of course!”
  5208.  
  5209. But I still smiled. I’m a pro, so I smiled.
  5210.  
  5211. The hectosquad commander twisted his mouth into a sneer. I’ve never seen such a sinister smile in my whole life.
  5212.  
  5213.  
  5214.  
  5215.  
  5216.  
  5217.  
  5218.  
  5219.  
  5220.  
  5221.  
  5222.  
  5223.  
  5224.  
  5225.  
  5226.  
  5227.  
  5228.  
  5229.  
  5230.  
  5231.  
  5232.  
  5233.  
  5234.  
  5235. 139 | P a g e
  5236.  
  5237.  
  5238. Endless Rain (Not Chiba)
  5239.  
  5240.  
  5241.  
  5242.  
  5243. Hectosquad Commander Buffness brought his subordinates around for drinks often after that.
  5244.  
  5245. And the soldiers changed more and more each time. They had more wounds on their bodies and complained about the harsh training.
  5246.  
  5247. But every one of them said, “Hectosquad Commander Buffness is a wonderful person. He’s easy to misunderstand, but he’s putting serious thought into how we can get stronger.”
  5248.  
  5249. The sex changed, too. They used to be more polite, but soon they were rough like any old dude off the street and treated sex workers like tools to satisfy their sexual appetites.
  5250.  
  5251. “Men exist to fight.”
  5252.  
  5253. I stopped caring about flashy stuff like the beauty of their muscles or the softness of their hair.
  5254.  
  5255. Rather than enjoy chatting with the girls, they crowded around the hectosquad commander with shining faces, as if they didn’t want to miss a single word.
  5256.  
  5257. And then between drinks, they got permission from their commander and slept with girls.
  5258.  
  5259. They fucked us so casually, like they were going for a bathroom break.
  5260.  
  5261. “Women are...cum dumpsters...ngh!”
  5262.  
  5263. A man with a sandpapery shaved head, who was once Fluffy Hair, violently ejaculated into me.
  5264.  
  5265.  
  5266.  
  5267.  
  5268.  
  5269.  
  5270. 140 | P a g e
  5271.  
  5272.  
  5273.  
  5274. “They’ve gotten a bit too savage lately. How about your boyfriend, Shequraso? Is sex with him shitty now?”
  5275.  
  5276. We were outside on the bench before the shop opened, and I was full of complaints. Shequraso just sighed and said nothing. Before, she would have bragged about how many times they did it.
  5277.  
  5278. When Lupe and I peered at her face from either side, she hugged her knees and said, “It’s nothing.”
  5279.  
  5280. “Doesn’t seem like you’ve done it lately.”
  5281.  
  5282. “You probably aren’t getting enough of that sweet, sweet protein.”
  5283.  
  5284. “Shut up. Who cares? I wasn’t serious about him, anyway. How could I be?”
  5285.  
  5286. “Huh? You broke up?”
  5287.  
  5288. “Well, it’s not like he said anything like that... But he doesn’t invite me out anymore. And even when he comes to the shop, he doesn’t ask for me anymore.”
  5289.  
  5290. “Couldn’t you go to him? He even introduced you to his men.”
  5291.  
  5292. “Mm, that would be kinda...I dunno... How to put it...? It’s kinda hard to go if I’m not invited. You understand, right?”
  5293.  
  5294. “But you’re dating!”
  5295.  
  5296. “I can’t. But it’s fine. I knew it would end quickly, so I wasn’t taking it seriously from the beginning.”
  5297.  
  5298. Not taking it seriously? I don’t buy it.
  5299.  
  5300. But our position is so weak. I mean, we’re sleeping with different guys every night.
  5301.  
  5302.  
  5303.  
  5304.  
  5305.  
  5306.  
  5307. 141 | P a g e
  5308.  
  5309.  
  5310. So even if you want attention, you can’t say anything so selfish as that. You aren’t even sure if you’re an item. You give yourself insurance, like, It won’t last, anyhow, but all you can do is hold on to a faint hope along with your knees—But you never know.
  5311.  
  5312. That’s a prostitute’s love.
  5313.  
  5314. “Guess it’s almost winter...” Shequraso curled her shapely lips into a frown and sighed again, tugging and twirling her heavily accessorized orange bangs. “Guess it’ll be another winter alone...”
  5315.  
  5316. Lupe and I could only sit there in silence. “Want to make hot pot together sometime?” “Nice. I can’t cook, so I’ll just eat, but it sounds fun.”
  5317.  
  5318. “Shequraso, you should really learn how to do something besides sing.”
  5319.  
  5320. “Just eating is fine.”
  5321.  
  5322. “Okay, then it’s settled: We’re having a hot pot party!”
  5323.  
  5324. “Yay!”
  5325.  
  5326.  
  5327. Well, since big groups kept showing up, the hectosquad commander was a plus for the shop, and Madam told us to make sure we were serving the customers with respect, so we were still getting along okay with the soldiers.
  5328.  
  5329. Just, they’d been cultivated into such an army you wondered where the hell they came from.
  5330.  
  5331. “Hey, you!”
  5332.  
  5333. “Eek!”
  5334.  
  5335. A   short-haired soldier grabbed Lupe’s fluffy pink hair.
  5336.  
  5337.  
  5338.  
  5339.  
  5340.  
  5341.  
  5342. 142 | P a g e
  5343.  
  5344.  
  5345. I stood up in a panic, but Mr. Bisque clamped a hand on my shoulder and pulled me back down.
  5346.  
  5347. Lupe had been in the middle of pouring a drink for Commander Buffness. Apparently she spilled a bit on his pants. (I’m sure it was because one of the soldiers horsing around bumped into her.)
  5348.  
  5349. “What an affront to our hectosquad commander! Apologize immediately!”
  5350.  
  5351. How could she apologize, or do anything else, when she was suddenly getting her hair pulled so roughly? Still, she bowed and said, “I’m sorry.”
  5352.  
  5353. The commander was sipping a drink like the scene had nothing to do with him, completing ignoring his wet thigh.
  5354.  
  5355. “I’ll clean it up right away...”
  5356.  
  5357. “Hey!”
  5358.  
  5359. “O-Oww!”
  5360.  
  5361. “Did you think a bow would be enough to pay for what you did to the commander? A woman should perform womanly service as an apology!”
  5362.  
  5363. He kicked the back of her knees and forced her to kneel at the hectosquad commander’s feet.
  5364.  
  5365. His wet thigh was right in front of her. The soldiers’ vulgar stares gathered on Lupe.
  5366.  
  5367. “Oh, if that’s what you want, then leave it to me!” I had experience with that kind of thing, getting called a cat or a dog or whatever, and that time the atmosphere was even more messed up, so I could totally handle this.
  5368.  
  5369. But when I tried to stand up, another soldier punched me in the stomach. What the fuck. Violence is fucked up.
  5370.  
  5371.  
  5372.  
  5373.  
  5374.  
  5375. 143 | P a g e
  5376.  
  5377. Lupe made eye contact that said, I’m all right. Let me handle it.
  5378.  
  5379. She stretched out her cute, pink tongue and lapped at the commander’s thigh.
  5380.  
  5381. The commander, for his part, continued to look as if he had nothing to do with any of it, sipping his drink and ignoring her. Then he remembered something and laughed. “I should have brought that goblinork’s head. It would have been amusing to have her lick that!”
  5382.  
  5383. “Ha-ha-ha-ha! That’s hilarious!”
  5384.  
  5385. “Thanks to you, they’re practically wiped out, huh, sir?”
  5386.  
  5387. “I’ll make sure to get 14 next time!”
  5388.  
  5389. “You said it, ha-ha-ha-ha!”
  5390.  
  5391. Lupe kept working her tongue like a puppy.
  5392.  
  5393. The soldiers seemed to forget they were making her do something so humiliating and laughed at their pointless jokes.
  5394.  
  5395. What the hell. This is abuse. I was so mad, but I couldn’t do anything, so I just bit my lip.
  5396.  
  5397. Lupe... I see you. You’re so sexy. That’s some nice tongue work.
  5398.  
  5399. Eventually, the hectosquad command shifted his hips and undid his fly.
  5400.  
  5401. He flopped out his big cock. Even the soldiers were surprised for a second, and the whole atmosphere paused.
  5402.  
  5403. “...Sure am lookin’ forward to the next expedition.”
  5404.  
  5405. “Yeah. Our squad will get the most heads again!”
  5406.  
  5407. But they changed the subject and averted their eyes right away.
  5408.  
  5409. Not only that, but they shifted their seats around to hide what was happening from the staff and other customers.
  5410.  
  5411.  
  5412.  
  5413.  
  5414.  
  5415.  
  5416. 144 | P a g e
  5417.  
  5418.  
  5419. “If you wanna do that sort of thing, you can pay money and go ups—” I was pissed, but when I tried to say something, Mr. Bisque pressed down on my thigh and put 200 rubers on the table.
  5420.  
  5421. Lupe glanced at me with a look in her eyes that said, I’m fine, and stretched her tongue out.
  5422.  
  5423. “Nnn,” lum, lum, smooch.
  5424.  
  5425. Lupe licked the hectosquad commander’s hectocock, making all kinds of dirty noises.
  5426.  
  5427. She tangled her tongue around him all gooey. Amazing as usual, Lupe. I’m taking hella notes. You’re doing great.
  5428.  
  5429. “Ah, I wanna go slaughter some demons ASAP!” “Don’t get turned on about it, ha-ha!’
  5430.  
  5431. But these guys are the worst. I had actually kind of liked them, the bastards.
  5432.  
  5433. “Commander Bisque,” the hectosquad commander said, with Lupe still sucking him off. “I heard you’re keeping one of the girls here?”
  5434.  
  5435. His eyes were black and expressionless. His pupils were so dark they looked like they were painted on with ink.
  5436.  
  5437. “Yes. I don’t see her here today, though,” Mr. Bisque smiled faintly—another one of those fake ones, just plastered on—and answered without looking at Shequraso, who was singing up on stage.
  5438.  
  5439. “Hm, I see.”
  5440.  
  5441. Commander Buffness leaned back in his chair, stroking his mustache; Lupe was still on her knees.
  5442.  
  5443. “You can bring her over to the barracks sometime, if you want.” For a split-second, Mr. Bisque’s smile nearly crumbled.
  5444.  
  5445.  
  5446.  
  5447. 145 | P a g e
  5448.  
  5449.  
  5450. But I only noticed it because I was so close to him, and almost immediately he had a slight, innocent grin on.
  5451.  
  5452. “Sure, I’d love to introduce her to you.”
  5453.  
  5454. Mr. Bisque kept stroking my thigh and chatting with the other soldiers, even after that, while Lupe was still giving the hectosquad commander head.
  5455.  
  5456. What the heck is going on? These guys are having such cruel conversations. And I don’t want to be touched.
  5457.  
  5458. After the 30 minutes are over, I’ll get up right away and save Lupe.
  5459.  
  5460. “Urk!”
  5461.  
  5462. Just as I thought that, the commander grabbed her hair and jerked her head up.
  5463.  
  5464. He stared at her up-close, face-to-face, and even though the very sight of him was gross enough to give you goosebumps, Lupe put on her customer-facing lusty face and licked her lip.
  5465.  
  5466. The hectosquad commander wrinkled his mouth into a smile. “Heh.”
  5467.  
  5468. “Someone can go sleep with this woman.” “Oh! Yes, sir, then I will.”
  5469.  
  5470. The man next to the commander watching longingly as she fellated him happily took her away.
  5471.  
  5472. Should I be relieved or not? With Lupe gone I felt a bit nervous.
  5473.  
  5474. I had forgotten, but Mr. Bisque had been stroking my thigh the whole time, and I realized he was fingering my underwear.
  5475.  
  5476. “Hey, please don’t do that!” Without thinking I loudly denied him.
  5477.  
  5478.  
  5479.  
  5480.  
  5481.  
  5482. 146 | P a g e
  5483.  
  5484.  
  5485. I was so annoyed by so many things that I did something you were never supposed to do with a customer.
  5486.  
  5487. And to a soldier.
  5488.  
  5489. “Hey, you. What kind of tone is that to take with a dekasquad commander?”
  5490.  
  5491. Short Hair balled up a fist and stood. Mr. Bisque seemed to have lost interest in me and sat with his legs crossed, drinking.
  5492.  
  5493. It was the army’s way to have subordinates mete out punishment for offenses against their superiors. The way this guy was now, he would definitely hit a girl. I clamped my eyes shut and tensed my whole body...
  5494.  
  5495. Just then, rain started pounding on the windows.
  5496.  
  5497. The sudden downpour even came with thunder, startling the band so much they stopped playing, and the shop grew quiet.
  5498.  
  5499. That’s when the door opened and a single customer came in.
  5500.  
  5501. The silver-haired man.
  5502.  
  5503. Naturally, he didn’t pay any attention to all the eyes on him. He walked at his own pace straight over to the window seat that was open as if waiting for him. His heavy steps rang out and his wet coat dragged over the floor.
  5504.  
  5505. For some reason, when he reached his seat, the sound of the rain receded a little. In a low voice like the growl of a wolf, he made his usual order. “Raz wine.”
  5506.  
  5507. As the whole shop was dumbstruck by the silver-haired man’s cool, ultra-sophisticated vibes, the hectosquad commander murmured, “...My horse is going to get wet.”
  5508.  
  5509. The soldiers all leaped to their feet and ran out the door.
  5510.  
  5511.  
  5512.  
  5513.  
  5514.  
  5515.  
  5516.  
  5517. 147 | P a g e
  5518.  
  5519.  
  5520. Mr. Bisque rose a moment later. He didn’t look at me or Shequraso before leaving.
  5521.  
  5522. Finally, the hectosquad commander glared at the silver-haired man, then me, and said, “I’ll be back,” as he left.
  5523.  
  5524. Don’t bother.
  5525.  
  5526. “Did he do something to you?” Shequraso approached in concern.
  5527.  
  5528. I smiled and said, “It was nothing,” then asked some of the other girls to clean up the table. I went over to the silver-haired man.
  5529.  
  5530. “Mister.”
  5531.  
  5532. I knew he didn’t have the slightest intention of saving me or making a point or whatever. And I knew it was only a coincidence that he really did always bring the rain with him. And I knew I shouldn’t bother a customer who just wanted to have a drink.
  5533.  
  5534. “Thank you.” I bowed.
  5535.  
  5536. The man didn’t seem surprised, but asked, “For what?”
  5537.  
  5538. I just wanted to thank you, that’s all.
  5539.  
  5540. When I told him that, he said, “I see,” and sipped his drink.
  5541.  
  5542. “...Sorry to bother youuu.”
  5543.  
  5544. I pinched the edge of my skirt and curtsied.
  5545.  
  5546. Ah, how embarrassing. What a mortifying thing to do.
  5547.  
  5548. I’m so stupid.
  5549.  
  5550. “Wait.”
  5551.  
  5552. But as I was about to scuttle away with my bright-red face, he stopped me.
  5553.  
  5554. Is there something else you need? I’d rather you didn’t corner me at the moment.
  5555.  
  5556.  
  5557.  
  5558.  
  5559. 148 | P a g e
  5560.  
  5561.  
  5562. But he had put that which is beloved by all sex workers— rubers—on the table.
  5563.  
  5564. Twenty rubers. The price to chat with me.
  5565.  
  5566. “While you’re at it, give me another 30 minutes of your goofy stories.”
  5567.  
  5568. You bastard. You damned sadist.
  5569.  
  5570. Fine! If you want to humiliate me even more, let’s do it. I suppressed a giddy grin as I sat down, took a breath, and looked up.
  5571.  
  5572. “So, hot pot. Guys say it’s an easy dish because all you have to do is toss the ingredients in the pot, but actually the diversity of world views that can be expressed through a single pot are practically infinite. Above all is the darkness of the style I’m going to unleash on my friends at the shop: dark hot pot. It’s this prank that basically involves sidling up to death—”
  5573.  
  5574. Thirty minutes isn’t enough time for me to run out of goofy stories!
  5575.  
  5576. ...is the momentum with which I chattered on.
  5577.  
  5578. “—and like, who sticks chocolate-covered potato chips into fishcake? Right? But the thing is, they go together better and better the longer they simmer. My big sister sometimes works miracles like that—she’s a dark hot pot angel—”
  5579.  
  5580. “What are ‘chocolate-covered potato chips’?”
  5581.  
  5582. “Sorry, could you say ‘chocolate-covered potato chips’ in that sophisticated voice of yours one more time?”
  5583.  
  5584. “Chocolate, -covered, potato, chips.” “Ahh, that’s great. That’s the best.” I wish I were a chip.
  5585.  
  5586.  
  5587.  
  5588.  
  5589.  
  5590.  
  5591. 149 | P a g e
  5592.  
  5593.  
  5594. “You really are a weird one,” he said admiringly, still with a blank expression, as he set down his already empty glass. “Whenever I listen to you, I hear unfamiliar words and sounds. They’re not foreign words, yet neither are they new words. They come very naturally to you, as if the ones you’re accustomed to are just coming out as they are.” He narrowed his hawk-like eyes. “And you’re used to glossing over them.”
  5595.  
  5596. Did I get ahead of myself and say too much? As I was wondering how I would evade the situation, the man causally spoke again.
  5597.  
  5598. “Were you summoned from another world?”
  5599.  
  5600. He tapped his empty glass and ordered a refill from another girl with a practiced motion.
  5601.  
  5602. He looked at my face, which had probably gone pale, and then shifted his gaze to outside with a tired-sounding sigh.
  5603.  
  5604. “...God just doesn’t know when to give up.”
  5605.  
  5606. I remembered that easy-going god. He seemed like a real idiot.
  5607.  
  5608. So of course he didn’t bring just Chiba and me.
  5609.  
  5610. And of course he didn’t tell us how many others there were.
  5611.  
  5612. “You too?” I managed to choke out, thinking how handsome his silver hair was as it started to dry, falling across his forehead in clumps.
  5613.  
  5614. Thinking it would be great if us meeting in this world was fate.
  5615.  
  5616. “No. I was born in this world. I’ve just met humans from other ones before.”
  5617.  
  5618. I was a little disappointed. Fate, you gotta work in my favor once in a while!
  5619.  
  5620. No, more importantly...
  5621.  
  5622. “So there were others?”
  5623.  
  5624.  
  5625.  
  5626.  
  5627.  
  5628. 150 | P a g e
  5629.  
  5630. “Yeah. There were. The ones I knew all died, though.”
  5631.  
  5632. He brought his cup to his lips as indifferently as always. The word “death” suited him so well it kinda creeped me out.
  5633.  
  5634. Maybe he has a close relationship with God? “I want to know more about you.” My time was almost up.
  5635.  
  5636. How could I have used up 30 minutes talking about something as boring as dark hot pot? I’m an idiot.
  5637.  
  5638. I wanted to get to know him better. I shouldn’t have wasted so much as a second.
  5639.  
  5640. “Eighty rubers. Please pay them. I’ll definitely pay you back.”
  5641.  
  5642. That was the most I could promise in the shop. As for the rest I just needed him to trust me.
  5643.  
  5644. “What happens if I pay it?” he asked, watching my face closely.
  5645.  
  5646. For a second, I didn’t know what I was being asked and just blanked.
  5647.  
  5648. Huh?
  5649.  
  5650. “I take you upstairs to my room...”
  5651.  
  5652. “So we’ll talk in your room?”
  5653.  
  5654. “...Uh, no?”
  5655.  
  5656. Are you serious? I thought, but said in a low voice, “We have sex.”
  5657.  
  5658. I don’t think I had ever seen an expression quite like that before.
  5659.  
  5660. He raised his eyebrows a bit. He must have been surprised.
  5661.  
  5662. “So this is that kind of place?”
  5663.  
  5664. You didn’t know? Come on.
  5665.  
  5666.  
  5667.  
  5668.  
  5669.  
  5670. 151 | P a g e
  5671.  
  5672.  
  5673.  
  5674. “So you came all the way from another world...”
  5675.  
  5676. The man seemed completely uninterested in my room despite entering it for the first time, and just looked down at me.
  5677.  
  5678. “Why are you doing this sort of job?”
  5679.  
  5680. It’s not as if I’m satisfied either, but I would think someone from this world would understand.
  5681.  
  5682. “To make a living.”
  5683.  
  5684. Maybe he finally remembered to take some interest in a woman’s room—he scanned the drab scenery and said, “I see. Must be tough for women to get by in another world.”
  5685.  
  5686. That’s exactly right. As I was nodding in agreement, he put a hand on my chin.
  5687.  
  5688. “You’re still a child, yet you have to work in this business?”
  5689.  
  5690. Never mind being treated like a kid—the touch of his big, warm, craggy hand really knocked my socks off for the first time in a while.
  5691.  
  5692. In my head a bell was binging and bonging like I’d won the grand prize. My eyes grew moist and my face was so hot. My hips felt unsteady, and I ended up on tiptoe.
  5693.  
  5694. “...A JK isn’t a child...”
  5695.  
  5696. It’s more like being in heat. It’s when we wanna do it the most. It’s the age we want an older guy to sweep us off our feet. I’m such a high-school girl.
  5697.  
  5698. “What’s a ‘jay-kay’?”
  5699.  
  5700. My face must have been so red. He spoke dispassionately like he was looking at a baby monkey, even though I was already this
  5701.  
  5702.  
  5703.  
  5704.  
  5705.  
  5706.  
  5707. 152 | P a g e
  5708.  
  5709.  
  5710. worked up from just the thought that I was monopolizing his eyes at that moment.
  5711.  
  5712. “...It’s when we wanna do it the most...”
  5713.  
  5714. Well, more like get it done to us, and my pussy was so juicy wet it seemed busted, and I was beginning to worry my autonomic nervous system was screwed from working so many night shifts.
  5715.  
  5716. I think I’m done for. This guy’s pretty much got me. At some point, he’d stolen my heart.
  5717.  
  5718. He looked down at my shaking knees and observed me with no emotion.
  5719.  
  5720. “I’ve met a lot of other-worlders...”
  5721.  
  5722. Being looked at from head to toe with my clothes on was more embarrassing than undressing. His eyes aroused me more than any penis.
  5723.  
  5724. “...but you’re the first who ever wanted me to have sex with them.”
  5725.  
  5726. Let’s just do it, already.
  5727.  
  5728. I couldn’t wait anymore, so I got him out of his coat. Then I took off his shirt, too, and took the liberty of kissing his sturdy pecs. He had a body like a statue.
  5729.  
  5730. If you bring the rain wherever you go, then where do you work out? I’m gonna rain kisses on you.
  5731.  
  5732. My face was burning up, and my breath was rough. I was confident I was making a mega-thirsty face.
  5733.  
  5734. So it pissed me off that he had the same chill expression as ever, and I pushed him down on the bed.
  5735.  
  5736. At least he had a proper bulge in the front of his pants. I was so happy I rubbed my cheek on it. It was rock-hard. I was so stoked.
  5737.  
  5738.  
  5739.  
  5740.  
  5741.  
  5742. 153 | P a g e
  5743.  
  5744. I undid his fly and pulled it out.
  5745.  
  5746. Zucchini!
  5747.  
  5748. His thing was so nice it inspired admiration in Italian.
  5749.  
  5750. “You’re...so cool.”
  5751.  
  5752. That’s not what you say when you see someone’s cock, but seriously, every little thing about him was so cool, all I could do was compliment him.
  5753.  
  5754. He pushed his hair back and looked at me. He let me do what I liked.
  5755.  
  5756. I gently touched the base. It was so hard and hot it seemed like a teenager’s. Just imagining doing that with this in there was overwhelming. Maybe I can’t. I might be incapable.
  5757.  
  5758. But I’ll lick it. I used my tongue to tease all the way from his unexpectedly cute balls to the tip of his dignified elderly tree-like trunk.
  5759.  
  5760. Lupe did this thing before where she flicked her tongue from side to side as she went up. Don’t mind if I copy that.
  5761.  
  5762. “Mm.” Schmack, slurp.
  5763.  
  5764. I made his cock’s veins twitch and sent my sticky tongue all over, feeling his heat.
  5765.  
  5766. It had this crazy bend to it, and the tip was like candy apple-level gorgeous and hard. I swear, if I’d had a smartphone, I would have taken a selfie with it. It would have been my LINE icon.
  5767.  
  5768. When I put it in my mouth, the very presence of the thing was so overpowering, I drooled a ton.
  5769.  
  5770. “Nnk, nn,”—schlurp—“nn, nn.”
  5771.  
  5772.  
  5773.  
  5774.  
  5775.  
  5776.  
  5777.  
  5778.  
  5779.  
  5780. 154 | P a g e
  5781.  
  5782.  
  5783. I felt like I wanted to keep sucking on him forever, but also like before too long I wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. Like, I was so horny I felt kind of sick.
  5784.  
  5785. I took my dress off over my head and went up on his thighs.
  5786.  
  5787. I think it was obvious how wet my pussy was. My nipples were super hard, too. Maybe I’m already pregnant.
  5788.  
  5789. “Mister, can I, uh, put it in...?”
  5790.  
  5791. I was so spaced-out. I’m not even sure how I was staying upright.
  5792.  
  5793. “Yeah.”
  5794.  
  5795. Trembling at his mature voice, I dropped my hips all at once.
  5796.  
  5797. “Ahhhh!”
  5798.  
  5799. A voice that didn’t even seem like mine came out. It sounded super dirty.
  5800.  
  5801. But I couldn’t hold it back.
  5802.  
  5803. His cock filled me up all the way. My butt started moving on its own.
  5804.  
  5805. “Ah, ah, M...Mister...ahn!”
  5806.  
  5807. Just grinding so hard.
  5808.  
  5809. This was the kind that makes your whole body tingle. That thing that happens when you’re having sex with the guy you like the most.
  5810.  
  5811. My hips moved by instinct. I looked at his face as I pumped in a trance.
  5812.  
  5813. “Ahhh, ahh, ah, it’s so good... This—you’re amazing, Mister! You’re so good!”
  5814.  
  5815. He supported my back with his big hands.
  5816.  
  5817. Just being touched made me so happy I made a weird noise.
  5818.  
  5819.  
  5820.  
  5821.  
  5822.  
  5823. 155 | P a g e
  5824.  
  5825. “Mmm, Mister, Mister!”
  5826.  
  5827. I decided not to hold back anymore and just cling to him.
  5828.  
  5829. Burying my face in his chest was the best.
  5830.  
  5831. His hard zucchini hitting the pit of my stomach was also so amazing, it was just like, Do whatever you want.
  5832.  
  5833. “Ahh! Ahh!”
  5834.  
  5835. I might be going crazy. I can’t even tell what’s going on down there anymore.
  5836.  
  5837. “Mister...I...I can’t anymore! I’m gonna cum!”
  5838.  
  5839. I was hoping he would go with me, so I squeezed him tight and dug in my nails.
  5840.  
  5841. “All right. I’ll match you,” he said in that mature voice, lightly
  5842.  
  5843. grabbing my ass. He seemed so composed it made me wonder which one of us was the pro. I almost hated him, he was so cool.
  5844.  
  5845. I had totally fallen for him—I could feel it in my uterus. A huge wave came, numbing my head and hips, and my whole body shivered.
  5846.  
  5847. “Ahhhhhhhhn!”
  5848.  
  5849. My back arched hard, I screamed from the bottom of my stomach, and it felt like everything below my waist melted—it was the first time I ever came like that.
  5850.  
  5851. Even though my whole body was on pins and needles, I could feel his stuff come out. It made me dizzy.
  5852.  
  5853. I was knocked out, so he rolled me over onto the bed. Then he briskly began to dress himself.
  5854.  
  5855. I had no energy left and just kept frantically wriggling my hips, face down on the bed.
  5856.  
  5857.  
  5858.  
  5859.  
  5860.  
  5861.  
  5862. 156 | P a g e
  5863.  
  5864. “W-Wait...”
  5865.  
  5866. I didn’t want it to end like this. I wanted to get off on him longer.
  5867.  
  5868. “Please... Please extend. I’ll buy. It’s 80 rubers, but I’ll pay, so...
  5869.  
  5870. Please do me again...”
  5871.  
  5872. Welp, I’m disqualified as a sex worker. How pathetic.
  5873.  
  5874. But I wanted him so bad. I would have hated for it to be just that one time.
  5875.  
  5876. I dunno where he got it from, but he spread 80 rubers on my pillow.
  5877.  
  5878. “This is how you make your living, right? Don’t sell yourself short.”
  5879.  
  5880. And he took his cock, which hadn’t shrunk one bit, pushed past my ass against my opening and sunk it in all at once.
  5881.  
  5882. “Ahhhhngh!”
  5883.  
  5884. He caught me off guard so I screamed so loud.
  5885.  
  5886. “Mis...Mister, ah, ahn, Mister!”
  5887.  
  5888. His sweet, hard, pounding sex had me clenching the sheets and desperately gritting my teeth.
  5889.  
  5890. But I couldn’t hold back at all, and I came, tingling, over and over again.
  5891.  
  5892. I was so happy he bought me, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to pay. I wanted him to fuck me for every second I could get, but at the same time, I was scared I might just perish if it went on any longer.
  5893.  
  5894. My mind and body felt like they were going to break apart, and I held on to the sheets as tight as I could. Still moaning disgracefully, I just continued getting ravished.
  5895.  
  5896.  
  5897.  
  5898.  
  5899.  
  5900.  
  5901. 157 | P a g e
  5902.  
  5903. He was just silent on top, moving his hips for me.
  5904.  
  5905. Even though I was the sex worker, I forgot all about service and just prayed out the window.
  5906.  
  5907. Please don’t let the rain stop.
  5908.  
  5909.  
  5910.  
  5911.  
  5912.  
  5913.  
  5914.  
  5915.  
  5916.  
  5917.  
  5918.  
  5919.  
  5920.  
  5921.  
  5922.  
  5923.  
  5924.  
  5925.  
  5926.  
  5927.  
  5928.  
  5929.  
  5930.  
  5931.  
  5932.  
  5933.  
  5934.  
  5935.  
  5936.  
  5937.  
  5938.  
  5939.  
  5940.  
  5941.  
  5942.  
  5943.  
  5944.  
  5945.  
  5946.  
  5947.  
  5948.  
  5949.  
  5950.  
  5951.  
  5952.  
  5953.  
  5954.  
  5955.  
  5956.  
  5957.  
  5958.  
  5959.  
  5960.  
  5961.  
  5962.  
  5963.  
  5964.  
  5965.  
  5966.  
  5967.  
  5968.  
  5969.  
  5970.  
  5971.  
  5972. 158 | P a g e
  5973.  
  5974.  
  5975. In the Classroom
  5976.  
  5977.  
  5978.  
  5979.  
  5980. “I’m fucked!”
  5981.  
  5982. The Carp fan had his Carp head in his hands.
  5983.  
  5984. I was next to him in a dream. Any time I thought about the crazy sex I had with the silver-haired man, I got a dopey grin on my face.
  5985.  
  5986. Of course, it was only crazy for me. Tee-hee.
  5987.  
  5988. “Haru, are you listening?”
  5989.  
  5990. “Nope!”
  5991.  
  5992. “This concerns the fate of the entire world!”
  5993.  
  5994. Chiba looked kinda ill and had more pimples than usual.
  5995.  
  5996. Even though in my head I was thinking, Shaddup, child, I decided to lend him an ear. And I mean, he was paying me to talk to him.
  5997.  
  5998. “What’s wrong? More pennant race troubles?”
  5999.  
  6000. “I have never once talked to you about baseball! No, it’s this stupid world!” Chiba jabbed his finger onto the table and said, getting upset, “There’s a fucking level cap! That bastard god never explained that!”
  6001.  
  6002. “A cap? What’s that?”
  6003.  
  6004. “A limit. Like how in some games you can only get to level 99. In this world, the cap is different for everyone. Mine is 91, and I can’t get any higher. But to get to the more advanced B-Rank fights in the arena, I need level 100!”
  6005.  
  6006. “What happened to cheating? Your cheat abilities.”
  6007.  
  6008.  
  6009.  
  6010.  
  6011.  
  6012.  
  6013.  
  6014.  
  6015. 159 | P a g e
  6016.  
  6017.  
  6018. “Like, I said, I maxed out—too low. I mean, I’m still immune to attack magic and status effects, but if the gap in levels is too big, I won’t be able to do anything. I don’t have any arcane moves or specials, either!”
  6019.  
  6020. So basically, he thought he could get infinitely more powerful, but there’s a limit. And on an individual basis. Ohh? Is that so? But seriously? Is that what he’s sulking about? He was talking about how he would be the strongest man in the world, but mentally, he’s still that weirdo high-schooler.
  6021.  
  6022. “That’s okay. It’s when people come to know themselves that they attain true strength. Heh-heh.”
  6023.  
  6024. “What’s so funny, Haru? At this rate I’ll end up as ‘that guy who was kinda strong.’ And I can’t protect you if I don’t get stronger!”
  6025.  
  6026. “Have you ever once showed up when I was in trouble?”
  6027.  
  6028. I’ve been in quite a few tough situations, and I don’t recall this guy ever being there.
  6029.  
  6030. For real. He took the title of most useless guy in the world a long time ago.
  6031.  
  6032. “If you can’t get stronger by fighting, what about lifting weights?”
  6033.  
  6034. “Agh, Haru, you just don’t get it. Sure, if I train my stats will go up a tad. But that takes time, and it’s a lot of work!”
  6035.  
  6036. “Uh, sure, but that’s normal.”
  6037.  
  6038. “Yeah, normal! That’s why I hate it! You know I hate stuff like intensive training and putting in effort, Haru.”
  6039.  
  6040. I didn’t, but I do now. You’re the worst.
  6041.  
  6042.  
  6043.  
  6044.  
  6045.  
  6046.  
  6047.  
  6048.  
  6049.  
  6050.  
  6051. 160 | P a g e
  6052.  
  6053.  
  6054. “Ahhh, dammit. I wanted to defeat the demon lord! If you could just take this level cap taken, I could kill him!” he whined loudly up at the sky, as if he was talking to God.
  6055.  
  6056. You’re one to talk, considering you had no intention of laying a finger on the demon lord. That’s so incredibly Chiba. Sigh.
  6057.  
  6058. “Well, hang in there, Tochigi.”
  6059.  
  6060. “It’s ‘Chiba!’”
  6061.  
  6062. “The ‘tons ’o fun peninsula’?”
  6063.  
  6064. “That’s the tagline for Chiba Prefecture!”
  6065.  
  6066. “Oh, but time’s up. Now we say bye-bye.”
  6067.  
  6068. “What, already? I mean, you’re not going to console me?”
  6069.  
  6070. “You have Kiyori.”
  6071.  
  6072. “Oh, her... I don’t really get it, but lately she must be busy at the hospital or something. She hasn’t been coming around.”
  6073.  
  6074. So she’s initiating the dumping process?
  6075.  
  6076. Well, this is Kiyori, so maybe she’s actually busy, but if she’s trying to put some space between her and Chiba, it’s a good thing. She’s a serious girl. If she hangs out with Chiba, she’ll just go bad.
  6077.  
  6078. “Look, I’ll pay 80 rubers. Let’s go upstairs.”
  6079.  
  6080. He arrogantly stacked some coins on the table, but when I measured them with my eyes by height, I smirked.
  6081.  
  6082. “It’s not enough!”
  6083.  
  6084. “Huh?”
  6085.  
  6086. “Hoo-hoo. You can’t think of me as the girl you used to know forever! Starting yesterday I cost 100!”
  6087.  
  6088. “What? Are you serious? That’s a rip-off.”
  6089.  
  6090.  
  6091.  
  6092.  
  6093.  
  6094.  
  6095. 161 | P a g e
  6096.  
  6097. “I’m not ripping anybody off!”
  6098.  
  6099. Fucking rude fucking otaku. I finally made it to three figures! The big time!
  6100.  
  6101. And this month I’ll definitely rank in at number five. I’ll be one of the five goddesses.
  6102.  
  6103. I’m almost caught up to Shequraso at number three. The sales race is heating up!
  6104.  
  6105. My job is way more important to me right now than the demon lord or Chiba’s cheating. I even want the shop to do well.
  6106.  
  6107. I feel like I’ve started to understand what it means to feel responsible lately.
  6108.  
  6109. “So as one of the poster girls for the shop, I need to keep exploring new territory! Stop whining and go brush up your character with some of the older girls. The experience points you need in life aren’t just from battles! Lupe, hit this guy with some in-depth lecture time!”
  6110.  
  6111. “Huh? Haru—”
  6112.  
  6113. He’s a pain in the ass, but there are still some kind-hearted girls who care about him. Apparently he reminds them of their little brothers. I shoved Chiba off on Lupe and went to work the floor.
  6114.  
  6115. “Please listen to my troubles, Miss Lupeeee!”
  6116.  
  6117. “Sure, I’ll listen.”
  6118.  
  6119. Plus I’ve been feeling lately like they’re a better match.
  6120.  
  6121.  
  6122. “Comfort visit?”
  6123.  
  6124. Lupe and I frowned at the unfamiliar term.
  6125.  
  6126.  
  6127.  
  6128.  
  6129.  
  6130.  
  6131.  
  6132. 162 | P a g e
  6133.  
  6134.  
  6135. “Yeah. You go to the barracks and sing, drink with the soldiers. I guess it’s to cheer up the guys at the front who can’t go out for fun. Mr. Bisque asked if I would go,” Shequraso said happily, playing with her bangs.
  6136.  
  6137. “Apparently lots of the soldiers can play instruments, so I guess they sometimes want to hear a girl sing. But if it goes well, maybe it’ll lead to more work. I can’t do much else, but I’m pretty confident in my singing.”
  6138.  
  6139. “Did Madam okay it?”
  6140.  
  6141. “Yeah, she said to do my best. And the army will pay me and the shop. My take alone is 2,400 for two nights!”
  6142.  
  6143. “Wow, Shequraso. You’re like a real singer.” “Heh-heh. It’s just my boyfriend pulling strings.” “Sure, your boyfriend...”
  6144.  
  6145. “...And so”—she twirled her bangs even more and lowered her voice—“Mr. Bisque says he wants to introduce me to the hectosquad commander.”
  6146.  
  6147. “Huh? To that scary guy?”
  6148.  
  6149. Personally, that’s the kind of fellow I definitely don’t want to be introduced to.
  6150.  
  6151. And last time Mr. Bisque even avoided her...
  6152.  
  6153. But Lupe looked surprised. “Could that mean...”
  6154.  
  6155. Lupe’s face was red, but Shequraso’s was even redder.
  6156.  
  6157. Huh? Is that what this is about?
  6158.  
  6159. Is that what getting introduced to someone’s boss means? “...you’re getting married?”
  6160.  
  6161.  
  6162.  
  6163.  
  6164.  
  6165.  
  6166.  
  6167. 163 | P a g e
  6168.  
  6169.  
  6170. “N-No, he hasn’t said anything like that officially! Just that he’d take the opportunity to introduce me!”
  6171.  
  6172. “Eek! Congrats!”
  6173.  
  6174. “Nice! That’s great, Shequraso!”
  6175.  
  6176. “W-Wait, you guys! I don’t know for sure yet!”
  6177.  
  6178. That’s what she said, but she looked pretty damn happy. Even though just the other day she was all sad-faced and depressed.
  6179.  
  6180. Good for her.
  6181.  
  6182. “Then let’s have that hot pot party as a big welcome back!”
  6183.  
  6184. “Oh, let me pay. I’ll buy all the things you guys want to eat!”
  6185.  
  6186. “Sweet!”
  6187.  
  6188. Okay. While Shequraso is off making her dreams come true, I have to hold down the shop.
  6189.  
  6190.  
  6191. I was getting all fired up like that when...
  6192.  
  6193. “Miss Haru...” Kiyori showed up with a dreary face.
  6194.  
  6195. “Whoa, stop it, you’re bringing me down. What’s with that face?”
  6196.  
  6197. “Sorry... It’s the face I make when I’m not sure what to do...”
  6198.  
  6199. “No, you said something like that before, but I didn’t get the feeling your face was going to jinx me.”
  6200.  
  6201. She seemed more cheerless every time I saw her. And isn’t she a Sister? Starting out pure just makes you more likely to get cursed...
  6202.  
  6203. I had her sit down on the bench and got her a warm drink. Maybe that calmed her down, because she seemed to be regaining her spunk.
  6204.  
  6205.  
  6206.  
  6207.  
  6208.  
  6209. 164 | P a g e
  6210.  
  6211. “I guess I just feel so powerless...”
  6212.  
  6213. Apparently Chiba was depressed. She’d been busy, so she couldn’t see him as much, and his house was getting messy. But he wouldn’t tell her what he was upset about. When she encouraged him, he just said, “You don’t understand my feelings.”
  6214.  
  6215. “I feel so pathetic...”
  6216.  
  6217. Her shoulders slumped, and she sighed.
  6218.  
  6219. She’s just so serious.
  6220.  
  6221. There’s no need to ask a dude about worries he won’t even tell you if you’re his girlfriend. You can’t spoil men like that for no reason.
  6222.  
  6223. “So, I don’t know if I should say this or not, but honestly, doesn’t Chiba make you kinda mad? Isn’t it a pain watching over a guy like that so seriously? Maybe he seemed cool in the arena, but how has it been actually going out with him?”
  6224.  
  6225. “...”
  6226.  
  6227. “I can tell from listening to you that you’re doing your best. But Chiba won’t even take you into the forest, right? And then he’s always giving you obnoxious orders to do this or that, right? Kiyori, at times like that, you should get mad, not sad. He only throws his weight around because you don’t talk back to him.”
  6228.  
  6229. He’s the kind of guy who will dent if you jab him. With this sort of obedient, blind-follower girl, he could turn into a DV perp or a stalker, ugh.
  6230.  
  6231. But instead Kiyori got even more depressed.
  6232.  
  6233. “...So it’s my fault, huh?”
  6234.  
  6235. “No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying you don’t have to put up with his shit.”
  6236.  
  6237.  
  6238.  
  6239.  
  6240.  
  6241. 165 | P a g e
  6242.  
  6243. Gah, this is such a pain in the ass.
  6244.  
  6245. “Chiba’s upset because he found out his stupid success story was a lie. Of course no one else would understand. Even Lupe at the shop, who is a great listener, says he makes no sense. But he’s not saying anything complicated—he’s just throwing a fit because he hates hard work.”
  6246.  
  6247. Trying to explain cheating and skills to someone from this world seemed pointless. It would be impossible if they had never played a mobile game, and even I barely understood it all. In that sense, it is kind of sad that I’m the only one Chiba can talk to.
  6248.  
  6249. But that doesn’t mean he can be a heinous prick and take it out on his girlfriend.
  6250.  
  6251. “Why don’t you try breaking up with him? It might make him think. And your goal is to go out beyond the front, right? I’m sure there are other nice adventurer guys. Yeah, I think that would be much easier, and you’ll get better cost-performance than if you stick with a wishy-washy guy like Chiba. Kiyori, you’re cute, so that’s what I think you should do. Follow your dreams and get the guy!”
  6252.  
  6253. Of course, all the strong guys are older, but still.
  6254.  
  6255. Some of them are mature and cool!
  6256.  
  6257. “...I just can’t think that way,” Kiyori murmured. At some point she had raised her head and was looking at me with these eyes that just—I don’t even know. “I get the feeling you and Mr. Chiba really are different from the rest of us. The way you think, the way you talk—there are some things only the two of you understand. Like the term ‘cost-performance,’ you don’t hear that around here. It feels like you two share a world we know nothing about.”
  6258.  
  6259. Ahh, this is really such a pain. This world’s language is pretty handy in that I can use most wasei-eigo words fine, but sometimes proper nouns and slang trip me up. They’re just slightly off.
  6260.  
  6261.  
  6262.  
  6263.  
  6264. 166 | P a g e
  6265.  
  6266.  
  6267. Most people let it go in one ear and out the other, but the ones with keen intuitions latch on and don’t let go.
  6268.  
  6269. “Miss Haru, could you two be—?”
  6270.  
  6271. “Ahh, the shop is going to open soon! Anyhow, I’ll give Chiba a talking to for you. But more importantly, Kiyori!”
  6272.  
  6273. “Y-Yes?”
  6274.  
  6275. “You need to speak up more when you’re talking about your feelings, too. Boys in general have trouble hearing. And don’t lose to the misogynists! It’s men and women that make the world go ’round!”
  6276.  
  6277. “I-I have no idea what you’re talking about...” “That is all! Break!”
  6278.  
  6279. I chased her off and went back to work. I was busy. I had to make like Shequraso’s boyfriend and fill her hole. I had to work my butt off.
  6280.  
  6281. “Lupe, Haru and Kiyori just don’t understand how the protagonist feels during the sad part of the story. They don’t get naked or anything—they just start lecturing. They’re spergs, I swear, total spergs.”
  6282.  
  6283. “Hmm. I don’t really get it, but men and women don’t always have the easiest time understanding each other...”
  6284.  
  6285. But I couldn’t stand listening to Chiba grumble to Lupe, and I threw some water on him.
  6286.  
  6287. “Augh, that’s cold! And my head isn’t a koi or a Carp!”
  6288.  
  6289. “Shut it! I don’t need that crap—just get over here. Pay 100 rubers and follow me!”
  6290.  
  6291. “Geez, look at you, all in heat... Sorry, Lupe. I’ll see you later.”
  6292.  
  6293. “U-Uh, okay. But just so you know, I think Haru is actually mad? That’s kind of a big deal, so it could be fatal if you misunderstand.”
  6294.  
  6295.  
  6296.  
  6297.  
  6298. 167 | P a g e
  6299.  
  6300.  
  6301. I was already stomping up the stairs, and behind me Chiba was spouting his wrong ideas. The second we got into my room, I threw him over my shoulder.
  6302.  
  6303. “I may not look the type, but I was in judo club as an elementary-schooler!”
  6304.  
  6305. “Don’t go bringing up that backstory detail now!”
  6306.  
  6307. Chiba flew along a beautiful arc and landed on the bed. I jumped up and choked him.
  6308.  
  6309. “Stop causing everyone trouble, Chiba!”
  6310.  
  6311. The fuck is the ‘sad part of the story,’ you dumbass anime otaku.
  6312.  
  6313. You got strong so easily, but now because of one setback, you’re doomed? Every day is the sad part of the story for sex workers! Don’t take us so lightly, asshole! Don’t underestimate the bottom rung!
  6314.  
  6315. Live like your life depends on it, you idiot.
  6316.  
  6317. “Stop it, Haru.” He had no trouble peeling my hands off his throat and flipping me over to get on top. “I’m stronger, and I don’t want to hurt you.” Then he added, “I only let you throw me ‘cause it was you,” like a creep. “And I let you dump that water on me from behind, too. If it were anyone else, I would have cut their arm off.”
  6318.  
  6319. I dunno what kind of life an innodiator (is that right?) leads, but Chiba, like the other adventurers who make their living hunting demons, has this gory vibe about him now.
  6320.  
  6321. “Because my strength is for protecting you.”
  6322.  
  6323. “...But like I said, you’ve never once protected me.”
  6324.  
  6325. “The reason I protect this city from monsters is because you’re in
  6326.  
  6327. it.”
  6328.  
  6329. “You’re just racking up XP!”
  6330.  
  6331. “I’m forging my destiny. The protagonist has to get stronger.”
  6332.  
  6333.  
  6334.  
  6335.  
  6336. 168 | P a g e
  6337.  
  6338.  
  6339. He started going on about how we shared the fate of coming from another world and moved his lips closer to my neck.
  6340.  
  6341. He pinned my arms to the bed.
  6342.  
  6343. Roughly, as if I were his prey.
  6344.  
  6345. “Don’t get too cocky or I’ll murder you, otaku scum!”
  6346.  
  6347. But I slept with guys like that every night. It wasn’t about to faze
  6348.  
  6349. me.
  6350.  
  6351. I can survive without your protection. I have been! I’ve been surviving on my own in this world.
  6352.  
  6353. I can lay a guy flat any time just by kicking him in the balls. The only reason I don’t is because I made a promise to those kids! You’re the one who’s scared, weirdo!
  6354.  
  6355. “...I’m not getting cocky.” But Chiba didn’t chicken out like usual. He sighed and sat up. “I wasn’t getting cocky, dammit! You were, Haru! This isn’t school, and we’re not in class anymore. Don’t call me otaku scum ever again!”
  6356.  
  6357. He held me down and screamed with a serious face I’d never seen on him before.
  6358.  
  6359. “I know you used to call me and my friends that! I know you laughed at us. You looked at us like we were a different species, right? But that classroom wasn’t only for you guys! It was ours, too! But you were always the center of attention, surrounded by your friends, laughing your big dumb laugh about the stupidest shit, so popular and always having fun!”
  6360.  
  6361. It was the first time Chiba had mentioned the other world. I remembered that I had never talked to him in class.
  6362.  
  6363. “We weren’t being cocky at all! We weren’t even given the space to! Not that it matters anymore. In this world I’m the protagonist, I’m surrounded by cute girls, and you’re a sub-heroine now! But
  6364.  
  6365.  
  6366.  
  6367.  
  6368. 169 | P a g e
  6369.  
  6370.  
  6371. know this”—he pointed at me with tears in his eyes—“Why do you think I died protecting you? Shouldn’t you be more grateful to me? I...I just thought, wouldn’t it be great if instead of every day being so boring, this was a romantic comedy with you as the heroine? I was thinking that forever! So now why are you all pissy right when things suck for me? I don’t fucking get it! Why aren’t you consoling me like you should? Without me, how will you even make it in this world? Without me, you’re doomed!” Chiba screamed, crying with both hands over his face. More like “off the rails peninsula.”
  6372.  
  6373. That was the first time I heard this guy’s true feelings. But they were even worse than I had imagined.
  6374.  
  6375. “Move, Chiba.”
  6376.  
  6377. We’re done. I can’t take this anymore.
  6378.  
  6379. We’ve been weird ‘friends’ for a while, or maybe not long at all, huh?
  6380.  
  6381. “I’ve always thought you were kinda gross, but now you’re the biggest creep ever.”
  6382.  
  6383. “Heh,” his shoulders flinched as he laughed.
  6384.  
  6385. Then he dropped his pants.
  6386.  
  6387. “Oh, right. I see. You still think you’re Haru Koyama, member of the classroom’s highest caste. But you’re not. You’re just a whore. And I’m a customer, so...”
  6388.  
  6389. His pale cock stuck out. He shoved it toward me and said, “Suck
  6390.  
  6391. it.”
  6392.  
  6393. “Yes, sir!”
  6394.  
  6395. I did my job.
  6396.  
  6397. That’s business, so I did it like I’m supposed to.
  6398.  
  6399.  
  6400.  
  6401.  
  6402.  
  6403.  
  6404.  
  6405. 170 | P a g e
  6406.  
  6407.  
  6408. Chiba is sensitive, so when I touched the tip with my tongue, his hips shivered.
  6409.  
  6410. Watching me suck his cock on my hands and knees, he laughed as he cried. “Heh... Haru’s...sucking my cock....”
  6411.  
  6412. Yeah, I am.
  6413.  
  6414. I, apparently member of the classroom’s highest whatever, am sucking your weirdo cock.
  6415.  
  6416. Get as horny as you like.
  6417.  
  6418. “Nn, ahh...”
  6419.  
  6420. Chiba rolled up his shirt, and his hips squirmed.
  6421.  
  6422. I made slurping noises as I sucked. I flicked the tip of my tongue to service him.
  6423.  
  6424. “Haru...”
  6425.  
  6426. He got carried away and tried to touch my hair, but I swatted his hand away.
  6427.  
  6428. Then he thrust his hips and poked his cock down my throat, which was obnoxious, but I let him do what he wanted.
  6429.  
  6430. Right before he came, he pulled it out of my mouth.
  6431.  
  6432. Then he shot it all over my face, rubbing it in as he spasmed.
  6433.  
  6434. The sticky mess dripped down my bangs and cheeks. Seeing my face like that, he laughed again, “Heh,” put his cock away, and got ready to leave.
  6435.  
  6436. “...Chiba.” Wiping my face with a towel, I spoke without turning around. “Don’t ever come here again.”
  6437.  
  6438. Chiba snorted and said, “Who would wanna do that?”
  6439.  
  6440.  
  6441.  
  6442.  
  6443.  
  6444.  
  6445.  
  6446. 171 | P a g e
  6447.  
  6448. Well, who cares about that jerk—I’ve got work to do!
  6449.  
  6450. “And so, Shequraso got busy, so we can’t do the hot pot party yet. When we do, though, I wanna buy meat from your place. Can we make an order like that?”
  6451.  
  6452. “Oh, yes. That’s fine. I think it would be cheaper to get the rest of the ingredients through us, too, so I hope you’ll let me handle everything.”
  6453.  
  6454. “Really? Aw, thanks.”
  6455.  
  6456. Sumo’s a good guy. Nothing like that tons ’o fun peninsula jerk.
  6457.  
  6458. When I squeezed his hand, he blushed immediately. He’s still got a soft spot for girls.
  6459.  
  6460. “Oh, hey. What about training with a different girl now and then?”
  6461.  
  6462. “N-No. I’m okay.”
  6463.  
  6464. “A bunch of them have told me they think you’re cute, you know.”
  6465.  
  6466. “N-No, that’s not true.”
  6467.  
  6468. They have, though. Ever since the incident with the guild master’s son, Sumo has been quite the idol around here. His earnest stand that day won the hearts of quite a few girls.
  6469.  
  6470. Lately even I think he’s pretty cute.
  6471.  
  6472. There was a time when I thought you had to be hot and popular to be a man, but more recently I’ve realized there are all kinds of guys in the world and all kinds of ways to be with them.
  6473.  
  6474. Of course, my current type is mature, cool, and older. “Then do you want to go upstairs with me?” “...Yes.”
  6475.  
  6476.  
  6477.  
  6478.  
  6479. 172 | P a g e
  6480.  
  6481. I like Sumo, too. I think he can grow to be an even better guy.
  6482.  
  6483. Lately he’s gotten the hang of doing it from behind.
  6484.  
  6485. He’s the type who can do something if he tries.
  6486.  
  6487. My sales increased on track, and I looked forward to recording the previous night’s earnings on the ranking chart.
  6488.  
  6489. Along with the feeling that I was more valuable came more pressure closing in. I couldn’t make any humiliating mistakes on the job.
  6490.  
  6491. I didn’t neglect my prep for the shop or livening up the stage shows.
  6492.  
  6493. When I did a good job, guys would actually notice that and buy me. Finally, after spreading my charms around and doing even boring tasks with all my might, the customers fall for me. They like me as a person, and only then do they become regulars.
  6494.  
  6495. Before, my work was spotty. I think there were lots of complaints. If something is really bad you have to speak up, but you also have to smile in front of the customers as much as possible.
  6496.  
  6497. In this business it’d be an exaggeration to say we’re selling dreams, so I can’t, but it’s important to make customers happy.
  6498.  
  6499. And the one who makes the most people happy here gets ranked number one.
  6500.  
  6501. All right, I’m psyched. Sex Worker Haru is ready for action. Time to rock another day of work! “Haru.”
  6502.  
  6503.  
  6504. Madam waved me over from behind a pillar.
  6505.  
  6506. “What is it?”
  6507.  
  6508.  
  6509.  
  6510.  
  6511.  
  6512.  
  6513.  
  6514.  
  6515. 173 | P a g e
  6516.  
  6517.  
  6518. It was rare for her to try to avoid speaking in front of other people. When I approached, she grabbed my arm and lowered her voice even further.
  6519.  
  6520. “Shequraso went to do that job with the army and never came back. She was supposed to be back yesterday... Have you heard anything?”
  6521.  
  6522. In this line of work, good things and bad things take turns coming at you like day and night.
  6523.  
  6524. Then, gradually, the bad things start to take over.
  6525.  
  6526.  
  6527.  
  6528.  
  6529.  
  6530.  
  6531.  
  6532.  
  6533.  
  6534.  
  6535.  
  6536.  
  6537.  
  6538.  
  6539.  
  6540.  
  6541.  
  6542.  
  6543.  
  6544.  
  6545.  
  6546.  
  6547.  
  6548.  
  6549.  
  6550.  
  6551.  
  6552.  
  6553.  
  6554.  
  6555.  
  6556.  
  6557.  
  6558.  
  6559.  
  6560.  
  6561.  
  6562.  
  6563.  
  6564.  
  6565.  
  6566.  
  6567.  
  6568.  
  6569.  
  6570.  
  6571.  
  6572.  
  6573.  
  6574.  
  6575.  
  6576.  
  6577. 174 | P a g e
  6578.  
  6579.  
  6580. A Prostitute’s Love
  6581.  
  6582.  
  6583.  
  6584.  
  6585. Back when the army was still cheery and wholesome, I got invited by soldiers on outside dates, too, and I even went to just outside the barracks to meet them sometimes, so I knew where they were.
  6586.  
  6587. When I told Lupe I was going to see how Shequraso was because I was worried, she said she would come along.
  6588.  
  6589. “U-Umm...”
  6590.  
  6591. But unlike the previous times I had come, there was a soldier standing intimidatingly in front of the gate.
  6592.  
  6593. Yeah, they were an army, but the troops were there to fight monsters at a place called the front, to the north, so they used to be totally normal and friendly with the people of the city. But sure enough, ever since that hectosquad commander showed up, they’d been like this.
  6594.  
  6595. The guard even had this stern look on his face—he was kinda scary.
  6596.  
  6597. Lupe and I were so nervous that we clung together.
  6598.  
  6599. “Hm? What do you two want?”
  6600.  
  6601. “We’re from Blue Cat Nocturne, and a girl from our shop, Shequraso...”
  6602.  
  6603. “Who?”
  6604.  
  6605. “Sh-She’s here on a comfort visit, s-singing for you guys!”
  6606.  
  6607. “Ohh.”
  6608.  
  6609.  
  6610.  
  6611.  
  6612.  
  6613.  
  6614.  
  6615.  
  6616. 175 | P a g e
  6617.  
  6618.  
  6619. He finally seemed to get it, because he smirked, but he wouldn’t tell us anything about her, and instead just ogled Lupe and I from our cute faces to our young, fresh thighs and ankles, not to mention our boobs.
  6620.  
  6621. “They sent over more girls? How nice of them.”
  6622.  
  6623. “...What?”
  6624.  
  6625. “Hey, what’s going on here?”
  6626.  
  6627. “Oh, Dekasquad Commander.”
  6628.  
  6629. Just as we were getting confused, someone we knew came out of the compound. It was Mr. Bisque.
  6630.  
  6631. We said hello, feeling so relieved.
  6632.  
  6633. “U-Umm, is Shequraso here? We heard from Madam that the time she promised was already up, so...”
  6634.  
  6635. Mr. Bisque looked at us with one of his plastered-on smiles and then glared at the guard. “Didn’t you send a messenger?”
  6636.  
  6637. “Huh...? Sir! Very sorry, sir!”
  6638.  
  6639. At first the guard seemed out of the loop, but when Mr. Bisque glared at him harder he bowed and apologized.
  6640.  
  6641. “Sorry, guys. Can you tell Madam for us? Soon our hectosquad will go to the front. We asked Shequraso to extend her comfort visit and take care of us ’till then. She agreed, and I thought we already sent a message to the shop. I’m really sorry.”
  6642.  
  6643. “Oh...I-I see. E-Err, then I guess...are things fine, then?”
  6644.  
  6645. “Y-Yeah. Is Shequraso doing okay?”
  6646.  
  6647. “Yeah. We get to hear her sweet voice every day.”
  6648.  
  6649. I really want to see her. But I couldn’t really say it, and neither could Lupe, so we didn’t know what to do.
  6650.  
  6651.  
  6652.  
  6653.  
  6654.  
  6655. 176 | P a g e
  6656.  
  6657.  
  6658. “I’ll go to the shop tonight and explain to Madam. We can take our time and talk more then.”
  6659.  
  6660. “Uh, okay.”
  6661.  
  6662. Mr. Bisque offered to take us part of the way back by carriage, but we politely refused and decided to walk back.
  6663.  
  6664. I mean, the atmosphere at the barracks was freaky, and Lupe was looking tense.
  6665.  
  6666. “...I wonder if Shequraso is getting enough to eat.”
  6667.  
  6668. “Yeah, if you leave her alone she’ll try to live on greens and water. But don’t worry. I’m sure she’s chowing down if she’s with the soldiers.”
  6669.  
  6670. “I...can’t really imagine her living with those people.”
  6671.  
  6672. Shequraso is the absolute coolest when she’s singing, but in her personal daily life she’s a mess. She’s such a slob that if you don’t do your laundry with her, she’ll just let her clothes pile up. In other words, she’s an artist.
  6673.  
  6674. Honestly, I couldn’t really picture her chowing down with the soldiers, either...
  6675.  
  6676. “Mr. Bisque said he would come tonight, so let’s ask him.” “Yeah.”
  6677.  
  6678.  
  6679. Of course, while all this was going down, the weather was great.
  6680.  
  6681. I snuck in a sigh as I bustled around the crowded shop. I wonder how the silver-haired man is doing. I wonder if he’ll come have sex with me again. I could do with some warming up pretty soon.
  6682.  
  6683. “Haru.”
  6684.  
  6685.  
  6686.  
  6687.  
  6688.  
  6689.  
  6690.  
  6691. 177 | P a g e
  6692.  
  6693.  
  6694. Mr. Bisque showed up as promised and approached me as I was wiping down glasses at the bar.
  6695.  
  6696. “I got permission from Madam. And I paid the fees for the time so far.”
  6697.  
  6698. “Oh, I see. Thanks for taking the trouble.” “Do you have time to talk?” “Uh, yes, I guess so.”
  6699.  
  6700. He stacked the coins, and I sat down across from him. I wanted to call Lupe over, but he only paid enough for me.
  6701.  
  6702. Well, I can just fill her in after.
  6703.  
  6704. “Is Shequraso working hard? I was talking to Lupe after that and we wondered if she had enough clothes and things. I think she only took two days’ worth.”
  6705.  
  6706. And she would never come up with the idea to wash them on her own. I said to Lupe, Maybe she’s wearing a military uniform at this point, and she finally smiled.
  6707.  
  6708. “Yeah.” He smiled in a way where I couldn’t tell if he was listening or not.
  6709.  
  6710. This guy has this smile that at a glance makes him seem like a nice person—it’s kind of creepy. You can’t feel a shred of heart in it.
  6711.  
  6712. “Hmm. It’d be great if you could bring some for her.”
  6713.  
  6714. That seemed weird to me, and I hesitated, because I didn’t want to him to get annoyed at what could be considered nosiness, but I made up my mind and asked. “Umm, there’s no time for her to come back here quick herself?”
  6715.  
  6716. Do I really need to take her some clothes?
  6717.  
  6718. This seemed different than what we were told. Are comfort visits such a shady job? Even Madam knows what a paid vacation is!
  6719.  
  6720.  
  6721.  
  6722.  
  6723. 178 | P a g e
  6724.  
  6725.  
  6726. Mr. Bisque said, “It’s not going to be that long anyhow,” and smiled wider. “Haru, are you worried about Shequraso?”
  6727.  
  6728. “Huh? No, I mean, you’re with her, so I’m not worried per se. I just know she has periods where she doesn’t eat enough or eats a ton, which can cause trouble, and she leaves her clothes lying around, and even though she’s a singer, she doesn’t take care of her throat—like, she won’t even gargle unless you remind her. She’s seriously a handful, so—”
  6729.  
  6730. What? Am I Shequraso’s mom or something?
  6731.  
  6732. “If you’re so worried...”
  6733.  
  6734. Mr. Bisque took my hand. The coldness of it sent a chill up my spine.
  6735.  
  6736. “...would you like to come help out at the barracks, too? I’m sure it would be a big help to Shequraso.”
  6737.  
  6738. “But I can’t sing at all... Oh, but I’m a taiko drum master!”
  6739.  
  6740. “Ha-ha. Nice. Come and drum!”
  6741.  
  6742. He leaned in, saying they would pay, of course.
  6743.  
  6744. Then he put 100 rubers on the table.
  6745.  
  6746. “...Umm, I don’t think Shequraso...”
  6747.  
  6748. “What about Shequraso?”
  6749.  
  6750. “I mean, I’m in the business, but doing it with my friend’s boyfriend would be a bit... Sorry. Heh-heh.”
  6751.  
  6752. I added the laugh to smooth things over and tried to pull my hand away.
  6753.  
  6754. But he wouldn’t let me go. He leaned in even further.
  6755.  
  6756. “Shequraso sleeps with other guys.”
  6757.  
  6758.  
  6759.  
  6760.  
  6761.  
  6762.  
  6763.  
  6764. 179 | P a g e
  6765.  
  6766.  
  6767. Yeah. That’s the business. But you know that and you’re dating her anyhow, so be a bit chivalrous or like, more understanding—
  6768.  
  6769. “...Is she sleeping with them?” Without thinking, I blurted out the terrifying idea that came to mind. I shuddered. “Is Shequraso... Is she sleeping with the soldiers?”
  6770.  
  6771. Buffness’s unit, the one Mr. Bisque belonged to, was in those barracks. A hundred of those cold, violent soldiers.
  6772.  
  6773. She can’t be, right?
  6774.  
  6775. That’s what I thought, but Mr. Bisque had his usual smile stuck on his face.
  6776.  
  6777. “Our unit is going up to the front soon. The hectosquad commander prohibited us from going to town—to sharpen our senses, you know? I got permission to come to this brothel tonight to negotiate, though, about Shequraso.”
  6778.  
  6779. Mr. Bisque let go of my hand and switched to propping up his chin.
  6780.  
  6781. But the distance between us didn’t change. On the contrary, his voice got lower and lower.
  6782.  
  6783. “I think we’re asking too much of her, myself. But Commander Buffness says it’s for my sake, and to raise morale. You can’t disobey your superior officer in the army.”
  6784.  
  6785. “She...she’ll die!”
  6786.  
  6787. “I don’t think so. We soldiers exist to protect the people. We’re not that violent, and we’re letting her have a proper schedule. But you understand, right? We’re about to risk our lives on the front line. Some guys are going nuts from the fear. They need an outlet.”
  6788.  
  6789. “So come to the shop! That’s what we’re here for!”
  6790.  
  6791.  
  6792.  
  6793.  
  6794.  
  6795.  
  6796.  
  6797.  
  6798. 180 | P a g e
  6799.  
  6800.  
  6801. “A beast is the strongest the moment it’s let out of its cage. That’s Commander Buffness’s theory. It’s the same as building the front line to keep the monsters in the forest. We’re in a cage. But we need a bit of comfort. Shequraso is doing her best and working hard for us.”
  6802.  
  6803. “...Does Madam know about this?”
  6804.  
  6805. “Who knows? I told her we want her to sing. But I’m sure she gets it. She asked how she was doing several times. But it’s not like a brothel can disobey the army’s orders.”
  6806.  
  6807. I seriously couldn’t understand why he would make his own girlfriend do something like that. The way he explained it like it had nothing to do with him scared me.
  6808.  
  6809. People in this world use women like tools as if it’s a matter of course, and there are piles of things you have to endure here just for being a girl.
  6810.  
  6811. Me and this other world don’t get along at all. Everything about it just pisses me off.
  6812.  
  6813. “...I’ll trade places with her, so will you let Shequraso come home?”
  6814.  
  6815. I took Mr. Bisque’s hand.
  6816.  
  6817. I sent him my body heat in the hopes that he had a heart.
  6818.  
  6819. Mr. Bisque looked down at my hands. It was after a long silence, for him, that he said, “Sure...if you’re offering.”
  6820.  
  6821. He counted off three days on his fingers until they would go to the front.
  6822.  
  6823. “If you’ll keep us company for those three days, then I’ll make it so Shequraso can leave. I promise. But before that...”
  6824.  
  6825. He restacked the 100 rubers and put his other hand over mine.
  6826.  
  6827.  
  6828.  
  6829.  
  6830.  
  6831. 181 | P a g e
  6832.  
  6833.  
  6834. “If I’m going to introduce you, I’m going to need to know you better.”
  6835.  
  6836.  
  6837. I got to see Shequraso outside the barracks.
  6838.  
  6839. She was wearing the same clothes as when she had left, her hair was a mess, and she even had marks on her face from being hit.
  6840.  
  6841. “...Haru...?”
  6842.  
  6843. She ran over to me unsteadily, then clung to me, and I used all my strength to support and caress her.
  6844.  
  6845. “You’re all right now.”
  6846.  
  6847. You’re all right. I said it over and over as I pet her.
  6848.  
  6849. I hugged her and told her she did a good job hanging in there, that she could go home now. I consoled her for as long as it took her to calm down.
  6850.  
  6851. After going speechless as I was taken into the barracks in her place, she screamed, “No! Haru, don’t!”
  6852.  
  6853. I didn’t turn around. I shut down all my emotions and faced forward.
  6854.  
  6855. “Wait! I can still do it. Go back, Haru! Please, Mr. Bisque. Please let Haru go home! I’ll stay!”
  6856.  
  6857. Shequraso.
  6858.  
  6859. I love the way you sing.
  6860.  
  6861. Sing for people who will truly listen.
  6862.  
  6863.  
  6864. In the back of the barracks, there was a room for disciplining soldiers, and I was told that would be my room.
  6865.  
  6866.  
  6867.  
  6868.  
  6869.  
  6870. 182 | P a g e
  6871.  
  6872.  
  6873. “Sorry for the poor accommodations.” Mr. Bisque shrugged. He didn’t seem very sorry at all. “The room Shequraso was using is in no condition to be used at the moment.”
  6874.  
  6875. This scum. Imagining the things she must have had done to her made me furious.
  6876.  
  6877. Then I imagined the things that were going to be done to me and shivered.
  6878.  
  6879. But it was okay. I would be fine.
  6880.  
  6881. I was going to uphold the contract instead of Shequraso and protect the shop.
  6882.  
  6883. I would show them.
  6884.  
  6885.  
  6886. It’s only scary because you think it’s scary. It’s only rough because you think it’s rough. It’s only gross because you think it’s gross.
  6887.  
  6888. Shut down your emotions one by one. Doing that will make your body feel like just a tool.
  6889.  
  6890. Mr. Bisque taught me that.
  6891.  
  6892. “I guess she’s a replacement for that other girl. Supposedly she volunteered!”
  6893.  
  6894. “Aw, I’m gonna cry. So girls have such a thing as friendship, too?” Soldiers pumped their hips on top of me.
  6895.  
  6896. Soldiers made me the butt of their jokes. “Nah, that can’t be. It’s that cash money, man.”
  6897.  
  6898. “I heard the orange chick was super pissed at her, like, ‘Don’t steal all my work!’”
  6899.  
  6900.  
  6901.  
  6902.  
  6903.  
  6904.  
  6905. 183 | P a g e
  6906.  
  6907. “Must be great to not have all the juicy jobs monopolized, ’ey?”
  6908.  
  6909. Keeping track of what number guy I was on got ridiculous, so I quit. They would throng into my room in broad daylight and start fucking me. Like, Don’t you assholes have work to do?
  6910.  
  6911. “Well, ain’t she a peach!”
  6912.  
  6913. “Oh, Dekasquad Commander Subaya.”
  6914.  
  6915. A man with a goatee showed up in the afternoon and looked down at me, licking his lips.
  6916.  
  6917. “Still a teenager? The younger the better, when it comes to women.”
  6918.  
  6919. He lifted up my legs and spread them. Inspecting everything, he smirked.
  6920.  
  6921. “Nice legs. Seems like she could run fast.” He licked my calves.
  6922.  
  6923. I thought it was gross, but I shut down my emotions and let him do what he wanted.
  6924.  
  6925. “Young ladies are great. Their bodies respond so quickly.”
  6926.  
  6927. The guy pumping away inside me was also uncommonly fast, and it started to hurt.
  6928.  
  6929. But I was fine. He could spank me and I’d still be fine.
  6930.  
  6931. I’ve been a sex worker for so long. All my customers are like this.
  6932.  
  6933. My work had just begun.
  6934.  
  6935. Even on the second day, the soldiers started coming in the morning.
  6936.  
  6937. I dunno if they were on night watch or what, but some had barged in in the middle of the night, so I had barely gotten any sleep. When I dozed off while they were doing me, I got hit.
  6938.  
  6939.  
  6940.  
  6941.  
  6942. 184 | P a g e
  6943.  
  6944.  
  6945. And honestly, it put me to sleep. After 24 hours of boring sex for ejaculation purposes only, I was over it.
  6946.  
  6947. For food, I got the same as the soldiers. I was allowed to use the toilet and the shower.
  6948.  
  6949. But at all other times I was just constantly being fucked. Now and then a sadist showed up to beat me.
  6950.  
  6951. If this went on for too long even Shequraso, with her long career as a sex worker, would go crazy.
  6952.  
  6953. Couldn’t we do this in shifts? I wondered, but when I really thought about it, I remembered that even the shady massage parlors of this world have rules—dispatch services are completely prohibited.
  6954.  
  6955. That’s why dates outside the shop are called a “courtesy” of the girls, and why the ones who go to a customer’s room to fuck tell people it’s free love.
  6956.  
  6957. In other words, the army is breaking the rules. And that’s why they say it’s a “comfort visit” or whatever.
  6958.  
  6959. At that point, something else worried me.
  6960.  
  6961. Will I really be allowed to go home?
  6962.  
  6963. “Of course, when the duration of your agreement is over you’ll be sent back to the brothel,” Mr. Bisque said with a smile during sex.
  6964.  
  6965. He had a long, hard cock.
  6966.  
  6967. “You’re cute though, Haru, so I wish you’d stay forever.”
  6968.  
  6969. He touched my skin with care. That kind-at-a-glance smile and his practiced caresses.
  6970.  
  6971. He had sex with girls from a fuck house as if they were his lovers.
  6972.  
  6973.  
  6974.  
  6975.  
  6976.  
  6977.  
  6978.  
  6979.  
  6980. 185 | P a g e
  6981.  
  6982.  
  6983. “I liked you from the first time I saw you. Want to go somewhere sometime, just the two of us?”
  6984.  
  6985. This guy is just bonkers. What could I even say?
  6986.  
  6987. I have no allies here.
  6988.  
  6989.  
  6990. “...Oh, this one.”
  6991.  
  6992. Hectosquad Commander Buffness stroked his mustache and looked down at me where I lay on the floor, drenched in male bodily fluids.
  6993.  
  6994. “You’ve got some respectable guts. That’s quite something for a woman.”
  6995.  
  6996. He took off his jacket and handed it to a subordinate, then undid his belt.
  6997.  
  6998. It was that darkly gleaming ogre cock, the one that abused Lupe before.
  6999.  
  7000. “Get on all fours,” he ordered as he showed it to me. “I’m going to sleep with the same girl as all of you. We’re family!”
  7001.  
  7002. “Oh, Commander!” The soldiers saluted, moved by Commander Buffness’s kind words.
  7003.  
  7004. The idiots.
  7005.  
  7006. “Woman.” He grabbed my butt cheeks and pulled them apart. “Relax. It’ll rip if you resist.”
  7007.  
  7008. He was spreading a weird spot. Er, he was spreading my anus.
  7009.  
  7010. “Wait a second...!”
  7011.  
  7012. I never heard I’d have to take it there.
  7013.  
  7014. Uh no, I wouldn’t be down even if I’d heard about it.
  7015.  
  7016.  
  7017.  
  7018.  
  7019.  
  7020. 186 | P a g e
  7021.  
  7022. “Ah, ahhhh!”
  7023.  
  7024. My body felt like it was coming apart. I could feel my organs being shoved upward.
  7025.  
  7026. “Family”? What are you talking about? You’re doing anal as if it’s a business-class ticket just for you.
  7027.  
  7028. His grinding on my intestines made it hard to breathe. I started sweating in a weird way.
  7029.  
  7030. He smacked my butt with his belt and raped me like he was breaking a horse.
  7031.  
  7032. “O-Oww! That hurts!”
  7033.  
  7034. “Ha—you’re a woman, aren’t you? How about you make those screams sexier?”
  7035.  
  7036. “It hurrrrts!”
  7037.  
  7038. The hectosquad commander got even more carried away raping and beating me.
  7039.  
  7040. And his unit stood around watching.
  7041.  
  7042. How stupid. They’re all just stupid.
  7043.  
  7044. I shut down my emotions and bided my time.
  7045.  
  7046. I considered myself a doll and let the hundred soldiers do whatever they wanted.
  7047.  
  7048. At that point, it was actually tedious, and I started thinking uncharacteristically grim things like, Has my life even had any meaning?
  7049.  
  7050. “She’s so tight—it’s great.”
  7051.  
  7052. “She’s probably done it with everyone by now. Young chicks are so durable.”
  7053.  
  7054. In middle school, I was an escort for a while.
  7055.  
  7056.  
  7057.  
  7058.  
  7059. 187 | P a g e
  7060.  
  7061.  
  7062. I had just broken up with my second boyfriend, and my first ex was a pain in the ass who showed up again, and there was all this drama. Right in the middle of that, my big sister got pregnant.
  7063.  
  7064. My sister is pretty, but her head isn’t screwed on quite right, so I guess she got involved in this college sex club, and it wasn’t like she could tell our parents. Right then, one of her friends showed up and said he would lend her the money she needed.
  7065.  
  7066. It was so nice to have a dependable acquaintance supporting her that my sister trusted him completely, so I thought he was a super good person and trusted him, too.
  7067.  
  7068. We were really panicking at the time. My sister had no plan, and I couldn’t do anything for her on my own.
  7069.  
  7070. He seemed like a savior.
  7071.  
  7072. “Open your mouth. Drink it down and don’t spill any.”
  7073.  
  7074. “Dude, don’t do that. It smells weird when you go to kiss her then.”
  7075.  
  7076. “Uh, it’s weirder that you’d wanna kiss this kind of girl.”
  7077.  
  7078. So he lent us the money and got rid of my ex for me. Then all that was left was to figure out how to pay him back, and that’s when he said, “Let’s do some work together.” He invited me to be an escort.
  7079.  
  7080. Refusing didn’t seem like an option, and I trusted him—I liked him—so I did it.
  7081.  
  7082. I didn’t really know what the going rate was, so I just did as I was told and met the guys he introduced me to on LINE, slept with them, went out with them, and got paid several thousand yen.
  7083.  
  7084. I thought it was a pretty easy job, so I proactively arranged for the twice-a-week arrangement to go up to three times, and I thought I was paying back the debt with the money I earned.
  7085.  
  7086.  
  7087.  
  7088.  
  7089. 188 | P a g e
  7090.  
  7091.  
  7092. Then, when I found out how much he was taking off the top, I complained. But since the only evidence of the crime was on my end, they ended up threatening me.
  7093.  
  7094. I got scared and asked my parents what to do, and they got so mad at me. We had a relative who knew how to deal with legal stuff and the police, so it got sorted out, but I paid for it anyhow when weird rumors started going around. My parents let me go to a private high school that was pretty far outside our school district.
  7095.  
  7096. I restarted in a place where I didn’t have any friends. Surrounded by unfamiliar faces, I had to build relationships from scratch.
  7097.  
  7098. I felt like I was in another world back then, too. “Hahh, hahh, this girl’s great. Her skin’s so taut.”
  7099.  
  7100. “Isn’t it kinda weird? The commander whipped her ass so much, and it’s still so smooth!”
  7101.  
  7102. “She’s a country slut; they’re made to go the distance. We should fuck her too, let’s go!”
  7103.  
  7104. Some of the rumors from middle school followed me, but I just pretended I had no idea what all that was about and acted cute and cheerful.
  7105.  
  7106. And I was cute, so I started going out with a boy two years older than me almost right away. My girl friends and my boyfriend introduced me to their friends, so I expanded my social network and made more and more friends.
  7107.  
  7108. Positive, attentive, politically correct.
  7109.  
  7110. I thought only of how to make people like me and I took on the role of getting everyone going. I laughed at what other people laughed at and made fun of what other people made fun of. At the same time, I was careful with what I said IRL and on LINE so I wouldn’t make enemies.
  7111.  
  7112.  
  7113.  
  7114.  
  7115.  
  7116. 189 | P a g e
  7117.  
  7118.  
  7119. I had decided that I would definitely have fun in high school, so I didn’t want to mess up my relationships, and I took my cheerful-girl image seriously so no one would believe the few whispered rumors that were left.
  7120.  
  7121. Because if I turned around, my past frightened me. I didn’t want my friends to laugh at me for the stuff I did back then.
  7122.  
  7123. What was Chiba calling me? Something about a paste or something?
  7124.  
  7125. He’s really such an idiot.
  7126.  
  7127. “Hey, move your hips more! You’re doing this for your friend, aren’t you?”
  7128.  
  7129. A person’s worth is decided in ways that they can’t do anything about.
  7130.  
  7131. All you can do is decide how you’ll live your life regardless of your worth.
  7132.  
  7133. So, Chiba.
  7134.  
  7135. If you came here and told me again that you got strong to protect me, I’d never make fun of you ever again.
  7136.  
  7137. But that’s not going to happen.
  7138.  
  7139.  
  7140. On the third day, I was supposed to be able to go home, but as expected, that was a lie.
  7141.  
  7142. Still, it was less the army’s fault than the weather’s. It had been raining hard since morning, and up at the front a few kilometers to the north, the monsters were going wild, so the rotation was postponed.
  7143.  
  7144. Since it’s raining like this, maybe the silver-haired man will be at the shop tonight.
  7145.  
  7146.  
  7147.  
  7148.  
  7149. 190 | P a g e
  7150.  
  7151. The thought made me miss the brothel.
  7152.  
  7153. I was worked hard all day long there, but I liked working. There were a dizzying number of things to get done, but it was fun to see myself becoming capable of doing more.
  7154.  
  7155. Every day I thought this other world was the worst, and whenever anything horrible happened I thought of my old world, but now the memories that cheer me up the most are of that lively pub atmosphere.
  7156.  
  7157. I can’t believe it could be true, but did I get hooked on being a sex worker?
  7158.  
  7159. At least, I felt like working at that shop—where I’d drink with guys and listen to them brag about their exploits, generous guys would tip when I made them laugh, and I’d score a regular if the sex was good—I felt like it was worthwhile.
  7160.  
  7161. And yeah, if my parents found out, I’d get knocked into who knows what kind of other world, but I like that atmosphere of competing to provide quality service as a sex worker way better than endlessly doing these boring soldiers in this awful place.
  7162.  
  7163. Lupe with her warm smile was there, and Shequraso, who was so cool and messy and good at singing. Madam with her formal demeanor, Sumo’s kindness, the ultra-sophisticated silver-haired man, and the accidental Carp fan.
  7164.  
  7165. Even in this world, I’d found a place to go home to.
  7166.  
  7167. I dunno if I’m hooked on it or not, but at least I know there are people waiting for me.
  7168.  
  7169. This is no time to be getting ground down to nothing in a place like this!
  7170.  
  7171. “All riiight!”
  7172.  
  7173. “Whoa, what?”
  7174.  
  7175.  
  7176.  
  7177.  
  7178. 191 | P a g e
  7179.  
  7180.  
  7181. I hadn’t actually spoken properly in quite a while, so it sort of hurt my throat, but it perked me up.
  7182.  
  7183. I pushed over the soldier doing a horrible job bonking me and got on top.
  7184.  
  7185. “Sir, could it be you’re not accustomed to women? Perhaps you’re not confident in your thrusting technique? If you like, I can give you a lecture.”
  7186.  
  7187. “Uh, err, what are you...?”
  7188.  
  7189. “Okay, clap your hands, please! I’ll dance to the rhythm of your choosing.”
  7190.  
  7191. “Wait, no, why are you suddenly so—”
  7192.  
  7193. Just then, the door to my fuck room slid open and Dekasquad Commander Bisque declared, “Time’s up. The rotation orders came in. The monsters are temporarily withdrawing. We need to switch up to the front now and prepare for nightfall. Hurry up and get ready.”
  7194.  
  7195. “Yes, sir!”
  7196.  
  7197. The young soldier shoved me off of him and stood to salute.
  7198.  
  7199. Watching him scramble to pick up his clothes and rush off, Mr.
  7200.  
  7201. Bisque chuckled.
  7202.  
  7203. “What a pity. We have to let you go now.”
  7204.  
  7205. I wrapped my tattered dress around me and said, “Thank you,” with a smile.
  7206.  
  7207. I made it. I did the hell out of that sex work.
  7208.  
  7209. “...Haru, are you by any chance immortal?” Mr. Bisque grinned at me. As usual, his eyes weren’t smiling, though. “Three days, and there were probably a lot of pretty unreasonable guys, but you’re still kicking.”
  7210.  
  7211.  
  7212.  
  7213.  
  7214.  
  7215.  
  7216. 192 | P a g e
  7217.  
  7218. “I have my youth, after all.”
  7219.  
  7220. I wouldn’t lose to the likes of you.
  7221.  
  7222. Mr. Bisque leaned against the door, watching me get dressed. “I really don’t want to let you go,” he said playfully.
  7223.  
  7224. Shut up. I’m going home. To the pub.
  7225.  
  7226. “I’m saying this because my work here is done now. You’re the absolute worst. Please don’t go anywhere near Shequraso ever again.”
  7227.  
  7228. Mr. Bisque raised his eyebrows in surprise, which was rare for him, but then smiled the unconcerned smile I’d grown to expect.
  7229.  
  7230. “Okay. I won’t.”
  7231.  
  7232. He told me he would have liked to give me a ride back, but he didn’t have time.
  7233.  
  7234. Naturally, I didn’t want a ride, anyhow.
  7235.  
  7236. I was fine to walk back. So there.
  7237.  
  7238. “Oh, right, right.” Mr. Bisque made a show of stopping me like he’d remembered something.
  7239.  
  7240. A cold, smiling face. A face so emotionless it gave me the chills. Then he pointed in the opposite direction of the exit. “Take Shequraso with you when you go.”
  7241.  
  7242. I ran down the hall of the huge building, opening every door as I went.
  7243.  
  7244. I called her name. I searched, shouting over and over.
  7245.  
  7246. Outside the windows, the soldiers began their march. Raising their voices to proclaim their righteousness, stomping their boots.
  7247.  
  7248.  
  7249.  
  7250.  
  7251.  
  7252.  
  7253.  
  7254.  
  7255. 193 | P a g e
  7256.  
  7257.  
  7258. In a dimly lit room in the back, something moved. The little light there reflected off orange hair.
  7259.  
  7260. “...Shequraso?”
  7261.  
  7262. A swollen face. Fat lips.
  7263.  
  7264. When I said her name, she turned eyes that wouldn’t open toward me and murmured, “Haru?”
  7265.  
  7266. Her voice was hoarse when she asked, “What are you doing here?” and she started to cry.
  7267.  
  7268. “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”
  7269.  
  7270. I kicked through the window and screamed after the soldiers.
  7271.  
  7272. “I’m gonna fucking kill youuuuuuu!”
  7273.  
  7274.  
  7275. I put Shequraso on an old horse that had been left behind in the stable and looked around for a hospital.
  7276.  
  7277. I only had one friend to count on, but luckily she was at the first hospital I found.
  7278.  
  7279. “Miss Haru...?”
  7280.  
  7281. Kiyori was shocked to see me standing there sopping wet with Shequraso on my back, but when I said, “Please take a look at her— hurry,” she immediately nodded.
  7282.  
  7283. Her face went pale when I put Shequraso down on the bed.
  7284.  
  7285. “Sh-She’s gonna be okay, right? You can save her, right? She’s my friend!”
  7286.  
  7287. “...I’ll try.”
  7288.  
  7289. Kiyori pursed her lips and aimed her palms at Shequraso’s body.
  7290.  
  7291. Then she said a short spell, and her hands began to glow.
  7292.  
  7293.  
  7294.  
  7295.  
  7296.  
  7297. 194 | P a g e
  7298.  
  7299. Shequraso’s eyebrows twitched. She groaned softly.
  7300.  
  7301. “Shequraso...”
  7302.  
  7303. I was so relieved, my knees gave out and I dropped onto my butt on the floor.
  7304.  
  7305. Phew. She’s okay, now, right?
  7306.  
  7307. “Kiyori will have you fixed up in no time, so...hang in there, Shequraso...”
  7308.  
  7309. Kiyori’s glowing palms roamed over Shequraso’s body.
  7310.  
  7311. When she reached her chest, Kiyori furrowed her brow, and Shequraso bent her neck back and groaned.
  7312.  
  7313. “I’m going to clean up her face.”
  7314.  
  7315. She took her shining hands and made circles over Shequraso’s face, like she was caressing her. Little by little, the swelling went down, and her face went back to normal.
  7316.  
  7317. “It’s Shequraso’s face... She’s so pretty...”
  7318.  
  7319. High cheekbones, a slender nose—she was a true beauty. This was the face of my beloved Shequraso.
  7320.  
  7321. “Miss Haru...” Kiyori called out to me in a heavy voice...
  7322.  
  7323. ...as her hands moved over Shequraso’s chest.
  7324.  
  7325. “Please talk to her. Your voice should still be able to reach her now.”
  7326.  
  7327. “Huh?”
  7328.  
  7329. “This will be the last conversation she’ll have. Please chat with her in a kind, fun way so she’ll feel hopeful about going to Heaven. Relax and take your time.”
  7330.  
  7331. “W-Wait a minute. What are you saying?!”
  7332.  
  7333.  
  7334.  
  7335.  
  7336.  
  7337.  
  7338. 195 | P a g e
  7339.  
  7340. But her face is so gorgeous.
  7341.  
  7342. We’re finally somewhere we can feel safe.
  7343.  
  7344. “Fix her! I know you can! Even just fixing her injuries is fine!”
  7345.  
  7346. “Even with her injuries fixed, she’s too weak. Her heart has finished its role. Heaven is beckoning her now.”
  7347.  
  7348. “No! Fix her! Fix Shequraso!”
  7349.  
  7350. “Miss Haru, don’t shout. Please see her off in peace, so she can rest with a smile.”
  7351.  
  7352. “How could I possibly? Do you know what they did to her? She’s like this because those guys... How can I smile?!”
  7353.  
  7354. “Haru, listen!”
  7355.  
  7356. It made me gasp, her raising her voice at me like that. Then she explained.
  7357.  
  7358. “...This is what we do in this world. God gives those who smile a warm welcome. Talk to her about something fun, so she won’t be anxious about what’s to come. You need to make her laugh so she can show God a hopeful smile. So smile, Haru, please smile!”
  7359.  
  7360. My throat trembled, and I just couldn’t.
  7361.  
  7362. I was so disappointed and so sad, but I didn’t want to shut down those emotions.
  7363.  
  7364. Still, I smiled. I remembered my time with Shequraso and forced myself to.
  7365.  
  7366. “Uh, umm...Shequraso, do you remember how annoyed Madam was when we first put that bench out in front of the shop? Then once we were always eating our lunch there she would sometimes bring us little cakes and things, right? I think she wanted to hang out with us. But it was only a three-seater bench, you know? That was our spot. I feel kind of bad for her, but what could we do?”
  7367.  
  7368.  
  7369.  
  7370.  
  7371. 196 | P a g e
  7372.  
  7373.  
  7374. Shequraso’s hand was cold. Those lips she used to sing in that amazing voice of hers were dry.
  7375.  
  7376. But she was still so pretty. I wanted a face like hers.
  7377.  
  7378. “Hmm, maybe I’ll tell you about this. It was supposed to be a secret, so don’t tell Lupe. We said the three of us were going to have a hot pot party, right? I was going to have you guys try my home town’s famous dish, dark hot pot. And this hot pot, it’s a no-holds-barred death match. First you make the room totally dark, then everyone can put in whatever ingredients they want. The thing is, then, that whatever you grab, you have to eat. Hee-hee. I’m not telling you what I was planning on putting in!”
  7379.  
  7380. I only talked about the fun stuff—things the three of us had laughed about, things that would happen in the future.
  7381.  
  7382. We got along so well. I was so happy I made friends in this world.
  7383.  
  7384. I love you. And I’m so thankful, too.
  7385.  
  7386. So...
  7387.  
  7388. “...Haru.”
  7389.  
  7390. Shequraso murmured my name, her voice hoarse.
  7391.  
  7392. “Y-Yeah! It’s me. I’m here!”
  7393.  
  7394. Her lips moved so feebly. Her fingers lightly grasped my hand.
  7395.  
  7396. “...Come...to my wedding...”
  7397.  
  7398. I thought my heart would stop.
  7399.  
  7400. Bisque’s cold face and Shequraso’s tears overlapped in my mind, and I thought I was going to scream.
  7401.  
  7402. But I smiled. I smiled with all my heart.
  7403.  
  7404. “F-For sure! We’ll throw you a huge party!”
  7405.  
  7406. Shequraso smiled and then...she slipped into a quiet sleep.
  7407.  
  7408.  
  7409.  
  7410.  
  7411.  
  7412. 197 | P a g e
  7413.  
  7414.  
  7415. Kiyori held her light over Shequraso’s forehead and, in a soft voice, started to pray.
  7416.  
  7417. I buried my face and sobbed. I cried for the first time.
  7418.  
  7419. When I came to this world and got into this job, I knew I’d feel miserable if I cried, so I decided I wouldn’t, but this was too much.
  7420.  
  7421. “Ahhhhh! Shequraso! Shequrasooooo! I hate this! Nooooo!” We were miserable, and so, so pitiful.
  7422.  
  7423. So I couldn’t hide those feelings anymore. If things got hard, I would cry.
  7424.  
  7425. And I would get mad. I should have been furious. I wouldn’t put up with their shit anymore. I would never forgive them.
  7426.  
  7427. I thanked Kiyori, asked her to take care of things, and went outside. The rain had picked up even more, and the night was hazy. Even so, the horse I’d ridden over had waited for me.
  7428.  
  7429. Kiyori came after me. “M-Miss Haru! Where are you going?” “I’m going to find them.”
  7430.  
  7431. I didn’t want to show her my face the way it was, so I didn’t turn around.
  7432.  
  7433. “But why? What are you going to do?”
  7434.  
  7435. Then she looked at the reins in my hand, puzzled.
  7436.  
  7437. “...You can ride a horse?”
  7438.  
  7439. Yep.
  7440.  
  7441. Women in this world didn’t ride horses, but I could do it no problem.
  7442.  
  7443. I had never even touched one in my old world, but they warmed up to me right away and ran how I wanted them to.
  7444.  
  7445.  
  7446.  
  7447.  
  7448.  
  7449.  
  7450. 198 | P a g e
  7451.  
  7452. Now I’m capable of that much. And I can use a sword, too.
  7453.  
  7454. “It seems like you already figured it out, Kiyori, so I’ll just tell you. Chiba and I were brought here from another world, like you thought. Probably by this world’s God, to defeat the demon lord. That’s why Chiba is stronger than the average guy and why I’m still fine after going through the same thing Shequraso did.”
  7455.  
  7456. Not that that easy-going god actually told us what to do.
  7457.  
  7458. If he doesn’t take Shequraso to the best seat in Heaven, I’ll seriously kill him.
  7459.  
  7460. But today, for the first time, I had to be a little grateful to him— for making the goofy rules of this world.
  7461.  
  7462. “God gave Chiba and me cheat skills.”
  7463.  
  7464.  
  7465.  
  7466.  
  7467.  
  7468.  
  7469.  
  7470.  
  7471.  
  7472.  
  7473.  
  7474.  
  7475.  
  7476.  
  7477.  
  7478.  
  7479.  
  7480.  
  7481.  
  7482.  
  7483.  
  7484.  
  7485.  
  7486.  
  7487.  
  7488.  
  7489.  
  7490.  
  7491.  
  7492.  
  7493.  
  7494.  
  7495.  
  7496.  
  7497.  
  7498.  
  7499.  
  7500.  
  7501.  
  7502.  
  7503.  
  7504.  
  7505.  
  7506.  
  7507. 199 | P a g e
  7508.  
  7509.  
  7510. Scream
  7511.  
  7512.  
  7513.  
  7514.  
  7515. I headed straight north and arrived at a deep forest.
  7516.  
  7517. The horse was nice and walked quietly. Rocking along on its back, I couldn’t get Shequraso’s singing out of my head, and I cried the whole time.
  7518.  
  7519. It was still raining. So my tears didn’t stop, either.
  7520.  
  7521. I plodded along the trail of magic lights, until, “Halt!” A soldier stopped me.
  7522.  
  7523. “Huh...? What are you doing all the way out here?” he asked.
  7524.  
  7525. It was the one who used to have the fluffy hair. Now his head was shaved, and he gave me and my horse a dubious look.
  7526.  
  7527. Then he smirked. “You’re hilarious! Didn’t get enough, ’ey? Look at you, riding a horse even though you’re a chick.”
  7528.  
  7529. It’s thanks to your skill, Equestrian Ability +80.
  7530.  
  7531. Back when your hair was still soft and you were boasting about how good you are on horseback while we had sex, I had a little bit of a thing for you.
  7532.  
  7533. “What’s that?”
  7534.  
  7535. I got off the horse, drew the sword at his hip, and, before he could even react, stuck it into his chest.
  7536.  
  7537. The unpleasant sensation remained in my hand, but I shut down the discomfort in my mind.
  7538.  
  7539. Deactivate Level Bind.
  7540.  
  7541. I unleashed my true combat level and skills that I had been controlling with the skill the chokey dude had.
  7542.  
  7543.  
  7544.  
  7545.  
  7546.  
  7547. 200 | P a g e
  7548.  
  7549. The sword slipped easily through the Ex-Fluffy Hair’s back.
  7550.  
  7551. “Ahhhhhhgh!”
  7552.  
  7553. His life evaporated as a fountain of blood spurted out of his back.
  7554.  
  7555. When I pulled the blade out, blood flowed out of his chest, too, and Fluffy Hair sunk face-first into a puddle.
  7556.  
  7557. It was the first time I had killed someone. But I shut down that awful feeling, too.
  7558.  
  7559. “What’s going on...? What the hell are you doing?” Some other soldiers noticed me.
  7560.  
  7561. I adjusted my grip on the sword and learned its heft. I picked out which motions I could use and visualized them.
  7562.  
  7563. First I need to see how they approach me. Chiba said that’s how the high-level guys fight.
  7564.  
  7565. I parried the sword of the man who came to slash me and then split his armpit open.
  7566.  
  7567. The man fell with a shriek, and as I looked down at him, I used the skill Status List so I could view them all.
  7568.  
  7569. The skills and levels of the soldiers—men I had slept with—were displayed as tags stuck to them.
  7570.  
  7571. Sword Fighting +10 is a skill that loads of guys have. I have Sword Fighting +150. One glance at what the soldiers were doing and I could mimic them.
  7572.  
  7573. I remembered the adventurers I’d met at work. We’d get them drunk and they’d tell us stories of their exploits, brag about their moves—someone getting up to show off wasn’t rare either. Between those images, the feel of actually holding a sword in my hand, and what I was picking up from the soldiers, I could fight freely.
  7574.  
  7575.  
  7576.  
  7577.  
  7578.  
  7579.  
  7580. 201 | P a g e
  7581.  
  7582.  
  7583. Clashing steel and shrieks. Shouts of the men mixed with the sound of the rain echoing through the forest.
  7584.  
  7585. I could hear Shequraso singing, too.
  7586.  
  7587. “What’s with this chick...?”
  7588.  
  7589. When I stood before them spattered with blood, their eyes flashed.
  7590.  
  7591. They started to look like soldiers.
  7592.  
  7593. “Attack!”
  7594.  
  7595. They rushed me one after the other. But no one’s blade could touch me.
  7596.  
  7597. When my sword got heavy from all the blood clinging to it, I traded it out for one of the fallen men’s. I acclimated to it immediately, and it became mine. Stab, steal, slash. No matter how many came, the things I did were the same.
  7598.  
  7599. “I wondered who it was... The younger prostitute, right? Seems like you’ve got some skills.”
  7600.  
  7601. “Dekasquad Commander Subaya!”
  7602.  
  7603. The man with the goatee shoved younger soldiers aside to come forward.
  7604.  
  7605. He’s a lolicon and has a foot fetish, totally gross.
  7606.  
  7607. “But will they be enough to read my sword?”
  7608.  
  7609. Lolicon licked his lips with a smile.
  7610.  
  7611. He was focused on my feet, which were wet from the rain.
  7612.  
  7613. “Here it comes! Commander Subaya’s Godspeed Draw and Slash!”
  7614.  
  7615. He ran at me as the others spoiled his move.
  7616.  
  7617.  
  7618.  
  7619.  
  7620.  
  7621.  
  7622. 202 | P a g e
  7623.  
  7624. This guy has Speed +80.
  7625.  
  7626. Incidentally, I have Speed +140, Accuracy +100, Dynamic Visual Acuity: Divine, and Reaction Speed: Light.
  7627.  
  7628. I easily dodged his blade and wounded his thigh for good measure.
  7629.  
  7630. He turned around, about to come at me again, when he was surprised to find his movements had slowed.
  7631.  
  7632. Skill Killer.
  7633.  
  7634. It was a rare one, possessed by Nechinative, the president of the Kickin’ the Can Association, who had a reputation for nipping young talents in the bud.
  7635.  
  7636. It put a stop to your opponent’s special moves with zero ado. I cut down the man, who couldn’t even keep track of my movements anymore.
  7637.  
  7638. “...She’s a monster,” someone said in a trembling voice. I could tell the soldiers were scared.
  7639.  
  7640. “Get the units in the rear together and form up! This is a monster. She’s not human!”
  7641.  
  7642. You’re the ones who aren’t human.
  7643.  
  7644. We were just taking our work seriously.
  7645.  
  7646. We were just doing our job.
  7647.  
  7648. But you...
  7649.  
  7650. My first customer at the brothel was God.
  7651.  
  7652. “Are you surprised! It’s me?! Me!”
  7653.  
  7654. The hell is this scumbag here for?
  7655.  
  7656. I thought to punch him, so I did, but God just laughed and laughed.
  7657.  
  7658.  
  7659.  
  7660.  
  7661.  
  7662. 203 | P a g e
  7663.  
  7664.  
  7665. “Ahh, I’ve been so curious about you. Back then you seemed to be in a bad mood, so you didn’t say anything to me, but I wanted to be your friend. I was thinking we should have LINE in this world, too.”
  7666.  
  7667. God paid up and as he was fucking me, he said, “I thought, I should—ahhn—give you a—mm—a skill, but—hahh—to be frank, skills are like gacha, so I never know what people will get, but for you—ooh—for you, I think I can come up with something awesome—hahh. I’ll bust out, a special super rare gacha, and give you, a really, good skill. Ahh, it’s so good. Err, that was about your body. Amazing, JKs are great. Oooh...”
  7668.  
  7669. I wondered if it was very God-like to ejaculate prematurely, but along with the jizz, he gave me a skill—a super weird one.
  7670.  
  7671. “There you go. It’s a totally unique skill: Creation Pregnancy. When a man cums in you, you’ll receive his experience points and skills. Maybe you think the name doesn’t go with the ability, or maybe you think the name is lame, but I don’t think there’s a more useful skill for the job you’ve decided to do. Sleep with many men. Nourish yourself with their experience. Be the mother of our hope.”
  7672.  
  7673. I told him I’d rather he sent me back to my own world.
  7674.  
  7675. God just said, “The world is what you make of it...”
  7676.  
  7677. He kept coming around for a while, and I wondered if he had transported me to this world just because he wanted to do me, but after a while he stopped showing up. I thought, God is dead, and forgot about him.
  7678.  
  7679. And the skills, I mean, I knew that no matter how high of a level I reached, I wouldn’t be able to become an adventurer as a woman, so they were meaningless. And the only useful ones were the Sisters’ healing skills, but since only women had them, I had no options.
  7680.  
  7681.  
  7682.  
  7683.  
  7684.  
  7685.  
  7686.  
  7687. 204 | P a g e
  7688.  
  7689.  
  7690. Some of them I used a ton, though. Beautiful Skin and Gorgeous Ass, for instance, were extremely handy, and it cracked me up that the guild master’s son had Cooking, which I could use. Still, most skills were combat-related, so they weren’t very practical for a sex worker.
  7691.  
  7692. I couldn’t go monster hunting, and if I resisted a horrible customer and hurt him, it would cause trouble for the shop.
  7693.  
  7694. This world hates tomboys, so I thought I would never have the chance to use these violent cheat skills.
  7695.  
  7696. Plus, if I get stronger the more I fuck, what is that, like Fist of the Cum Drinker or something?
  7697.  
  7698. “Back up! Don’t rush her one at a time!”
  7699.  
  7700. But I was strong.
  7701.  
  7702. I was so strong, it made me shiver, and I knew no one could beat
  7703.  
  7704. me.
  7705.  
  7706. “Ugh, guh, ahhgh...ngh!”
  7707.  
  7708. I got used to cutting people, which meant I got more efficient.
  7709.  
  7710. It was like my technique had caught up to my level. The sword felt light, and I could manipulate it freely. My body moved better than I expected, too. My visualizations and reality synced up beautifully.
  7711.  
  7712. “G-Gotcha!”
  7713.  
  7714. I had knocked a short-haired soldier’s sword out of his hands, but he grabbed me from behind.
  7715.  
  7716. It was the confident grappling of a man with Martial Arts +50.
  7717.  
  7718. I jammed my thumbs into his sides, sent him flipping with a sweep of my leg, and when he fell to the ground, I slit his throat.
  7719.  
  7720.  
  7721.  
  7722.  
  7723.  
  7724.  
  7725. 205 | P a g e
  7726.  
  7727.  
  7728. Because my Martial Arts skill is +120. Of course, I’ve always been good at laying people out.
  7729.  
  7730. “How could you do this to my friends?!” a young soldier screamed.
  7731.  
  7732. What do you know about “friends” in your fuckboy brigade?
  7733.  
  7734. Revenge and counter-revenge is legal in this world, right?
  7735.  
  7736. This is revenge for me and Shequraso. If you don’t want to die, ya better counter me.
  7737.  
  7738. “Flame, five rounds, fire!”
  7739.  
  7740. Everything in front of me turned red, enveloped in flames.
  7741.  
  7742. But the spells ran into an invisible barrier in the air and were neutralized before hitting my body.
  7743.  
  7744. “It...didn’t work?”
  7745.  
  7746. Immunity to Attack Magic—that was Chiba’s skill.
  7747.  
  7748. And yeah, I have his 16x Experience Points and Immunity to Status Effects, too. No magic attacks work on me.
  7749.  
  7750. Cheating is unfair. I got the experience points everyone spent years grinding for off a dude in a single night. And I even got paid on top of it. It was really sneaky.
  7751.  
  7752. Plus, I don’t have that level cap restraint. Sumo’s insanely rare Unlimited Levels skill allowed me to level up infinitely.
  7753.  
  7754. At first I didn’t understand what “unlimited” meant, but when I heard that Chiba’s levels stopped at 91, I laughed so fucking hard.
  7755.  
  7756. I said a short spell that I heard a customer say once.
  7757.  
  7758. Cold light began to spread from my palms.
  7759.  
  7760. Ice Magic.
  7761.  
  7762. “What? No way...! She can use magic?!”
  7763.  
  7764.  
  7765.  
  7766.  
  7767. 206 | P a g e
  7768.  
  7769.  
  7770. I froze the water on the ground, trapping the soldiers’ feet. Then I used Wind Magic and hit them with the Koyama Cutter. “Don’t stand still! Spread out! If we bunch up, we’re done for!”
  7771.  
  7772. Even the professional army casters were no match for my magic. It’s not as if I ever learned it, but I had borrowed Dragon Quest from my boyfriend before, so it was easy for me to figure out.
  7773.  
  7774. After all, I had the skill Sage’s Wisdom, too.
  7775.  
  7776. One of the customers I’d fucked and tossed away while I was busy with Kickin’ the Can had it.
  7777.  
  7778. No matter how many soldiers came at me, I didn’t get so much as a scratch. It was a one-sided fight where I just kept knocking them down.
  7779.  
  7780. Chiba said skills were important in this world. That seemed right to me. It was important to be strong in order survive here.
  7781.  
  7782. “...I never would have guessed you were so strong, Haru. What a surprise.”
  7783.  
  7784. Bisque came slowly forward with a smile. He seemed so relaxed, like none of this had anything to with him.
  7785.  
  7786. “You’ve killed half of our squad now. Are you satisfied yet? We’ve experienced the same pain now. Shouldn’t we talk the rest out?”
  7787.  
  7788. He approached me with his sword in its sheath, saying we should talk.
  7789.  
  7790. I forced my sword hand not to tremble.
  7791.  
  7792. “I think what we did to Shequraso was horrible. And of course, what we did to you, too. But I want you to understand our position. As you can see, our work keeps us close to death. On the front, you can only rely on your squadmates. Your unit is your family. In our
  7793.  
  7794.  
  7795.  
  7796.  
  7797. 207 | P a g e
  7798.  
  7799.  
  7800. world, orders from the top are absolute, and as a mid-level member, I put solidarity first. Sometimes I have to sacrifice my personal happiness for the good of the unit. She understood that. Truly.”
  7801.  
  7802. He looked straight at me with a face that contained not a shred of guilt.
  7803.  
  7804. I used to not be able to believe this guy, that he was like this.
  7805.  
  7806. But now, I understood. After he had sex with me, I learned.
  7807.  
  7808. He meant it. He wasn’t at all frightened of this situation. He didn’t feel any guilt or regret for what he’d done. Those lines that seemed so superficial were his true feelings because he only lived in the superficial.
  7809.  
  7810. “We’re here because we genuinely want to protect the people of the city. But our enemies are horrifying monsters, and there is already tension and fear among us. We’re fighting at the very end of our wits. It’s the same for you sex workers, and Shequr—”
  7811.  
  7812. Without letting him finish, I stabbed him through the chest.
  7813.  
  7814. For just a moment, he frowned, but his usual smile reappeared almost immediately. “Too bad,” he said.
  7815.  
  7816. Emotion Killer.
  7817.  
  7818. From the beginning, Bisque never had human emotions like pain or sadness. If any unpleasant emotion did pop up, he would promptly shut it down. He could leave only the pleasurable ones.
  7819.  
  7820. It was a handy ability, but the worst. I swore I would never use it again.
  7821.  
  7822. And you’re going to die only after you lose it.
  7823.  
  7824. “Ngh...ahhh!”
  7825.  
  7826. Skill Killer.
  7827.  
  7828.  
  7829.  
  7830.  
  7831.  
  7832.  
  7833.  
  7834. 208 | P a g e
  7835.  
  7836.  
  7837. I wiped that creepy smile off Bisque’s face and pulled my sword out of him.
  7838.  
  7839. “Ahh, shit, the pain... Ah, ahhhh!”
  7840.  
  7841. He fell into a puddle, writhed around, suffered, and finally reached weakly toward the rain.
  7842.  
  7843. “...She...quraso...”
  7844.  
  7845. His hand fell into the mud, having grasped only air.
  7846.  
  7847. Shequraso’s singing in my head faded away at that point.
  7848.  
  7849. He was a bastard.
  7850.  
  7851. This whole world was nothing but stupid idiots.
  7852.  
  7853. “I hate you! I fucking hate you all!”
  7854.  
  7855. I pressed on through the rain crisscrossed with swords and spells.
  7856.  
  7857. I screamed and went on a rampage. If I wasn’t being angry, my chest hurt and I felt sick, like I was going to throw up. So I just went nuts on them.
  7858.  
  7859. Soon I realized what that sick feeling was.
  7860.  
  7861. I was already one of them—I belonged to this world.
  7862.  
  7863. “I hate this... I hate it!”
  7864.  
  7865. I would never have an “after school” ever again.
  7866.  
  7867. I would never again exchange stupid LINEs all night, either. Never again would I fight with my big sister over the hair dryer and be late. Never again would I get scolded by my mom and dad. I couldn’t cheer on my boyfriend at his soccer games, either.
  7868.  
  7869. Covered in blood, I went berserk. Drenched in sweat, I slept with men.
  7870.  
  7871.  
  7872.  
  7873.  
  7874.  
  7875.  
  7876. 209 | P a g e
  7877.  
  7878.  
  7879. Haru Koyama became just plain Haru, and she would live in this world.
  7880.  
  7881. “Heegh! Eeeeeeegh!” In the deepest part of the forest, the hectosquad commander was hiding in a tent right next to the front line.
  7882.  
  7883. When I set it on fire, he came stumbling out, shrieking just from the furious gaze of this little girl.
  7884.  
  7885. Yep. I know what you really are because you slept with me. I can see it.
  7886.  
  7887. You’re a level 15 wimp. That’s the truth of you. “S-Stop it! Anyone?! C-Come protect me! Eeegh!”
  7888.  
  7889. I formed magic eggs in my hands.
  7890.  
  7891. A blue one in my right and a red one in my left.
  7892.  
  7893. This was a dual cast of that Chiba-resenting blue-bearded man’s skill, Summon Ice Elemental: Sivyl Unico, plus that cat-person blacksmith’s skill, Summon Fire Elemental: Ganegudey Drago, using that kinky bard guy’s skill, Dual Spell.
  7894.  
  7895. The two magic eggs were like the Sun and the Moon as they expanded and grew brighter. As I froze and burned the surrounding area, relying on Immunity to Attack Magic, the hectosquad commander inched toward me.
  7896.  
  7897. He was so terrified he could hardly stand, and magic started cracking through the eggs right over his head.
  7898.  
  7899. “N-No! Yaaagh!”
  7900.  
  7901. “You’re a man, aren’t you?”
  7902.  
  7903. The magical creatures spread their wings, and their battle cries made the forest tremble. The sky widened as the trees melted away.
  7904.  
  7905. “Don’t scream in such a sexy way!”
  7906.  
  7907.  
  7908.  
  7909.  
  7910. 210 | P a g e
  7911.  
  7912. “Nooooooooo!”
  7913.  
  7914. The blue and red lights collided and blurred white. I swallowed the light, and scene after scene of my old world flashed before my eyes.
  7915.  
  7916. When the light disappeared, the hectosquad commander was gone, and I was the only one standing in the dark forest.
  7917.  
  7918. When I exhaled, I choked, it hurt so much. My whole body was in pain, and the sword I leaned on felt heavy.
  7919.  
  7920. But the rain was still falling.
  7921.  
  7922. There was a stirring in the forest, as if it were breathing, and a hateful presence lurked in the darkness.
  7923.  
  7924. This was the front line, where the monsters appeared, and I had wiped out the unit guarding it. I could smell the sour breath of hungry beasts.
  7925.  
  7926. But from farther back, I felt a sharp gaze.
  7927.  
  7928. Icy eyes stared right at me from way off in the darkness. In front of that gaze, I could sense countless creatures.
  7929.  
  7930. A cage the moment before it was opened.
  7931.  
  7932. They were all breathing hard, they wanted me so bad.
  7933.  
  7934. ...Fine. Come. You won’t be able to sleep like that, anyway, right?
  7935.  
  7936. I’ll fuck you. I’m a sex worker. I’ll stay with you ’till the morning comes.
  7937.  
  7938. But I won’t let you go to Heaven.
  7939.  
  7940. The only one who gets to rest in peace tonight is Shequraso.
  7941.  
  7942. The presence deep in the forest swelled up huge and then faded away. The piercing cold gaze softened.
  7943.  
  7944. The rain abruptly stopped.
  7945.  
  7946.  
  7947.  
  7948.  
  7949.  
  7950. 211 | P a g e
  7951.  
  7952.  
  7953. Suddenly, war cries and a stomping of feet—the horde of demons had been released.
  7954.  
  7955. Thunder in my left hand, a bloody sword in my right, I screamed too, at the top of my lungs.
  7956.  
  7957.  
  7958.  
  7959.  
  7960.  
  7961.  
  7962.  
  7963.  
  7964.  
  7965.  
  7966.  
  7967.  
  7968.  
  7969.  
  7970.  
  7971.  
  7972.  
  7973.  
  7974.  
  7975.  
  7976.  
  7977.  
  7978.  
  7979.  
  7980.  
  7981.  
  7982.  
  7983.  
  7984.  
  7985.  
  7986.  
  7987.  
  7988.  
  7989.  
  7990.  
  7991.  
  7992.  
  7993.  
  7994.  
  7995.  
  7996.  
  7997.  
  7998.  
  7999.  
  8000.  
  8001.  
  8002.  
  8003.  
  8004.  
  8005.  
  8006.  
  8007.  
  8008.  
  8009.  
  8010.  
  8011.  
  8012.  
  8013.  
  8014.  
  8015.  
  8016.  
  8017.  
  8018.  
  8019.  
  8020. 212 | P a g e
  8021.  
  8022.  
  8023. JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World
  8024.  
  8025.  
  8026.  
  8027.  
  8028. “She who has now been called to be with God, her name is...” Everyone from the shop was seeing Shequraso off at her funeral.
  8029.  
  8030. Under a blue sky, she was smiling. She had her same pretty face as always.
  8031.  
  8032. “...Shequraso...” Lupe sobbed.
  8033.  
  8034. I hugged her from behind.
  8035.  
  8036. Her fluffy hair felt nice, so soft, and I buried my face in it and cried too.
  8037.  
  8038. The official story was that Shequraso had died of illness.
  8039.  
  8040. No one at the shop was okay with that, and the guild master’s family even went to protest. But the hectosquad commander had been so big and important, not to mention commander of the unit that had been wiped out, so the matter was left unsettled.
  8041.  
  8042. The shop also stopped doing outside dates and “comfort visits” for a while. The one who felt most responsible was Madam. She was crying and apologizing the whole time even though no one was blaming her.
  8043.  
  8044. I told her it wasn’t her fault, too. She replied, “Thank you for coming back safe,” and cried again.
  8045.  
  8046. Sex work is a job full of sorrow. Everyone is weak. It’s no wonder that they get swept along when getting swept along is the only option.
  8047.  
  8048. When we can stand up, let’s stand up straight.
  8049.  
  8050. “Shequraso...”
  8051.  
  8052.  
  8053.  
  8054.  
  8055.  
  8056. 213 | P a g e
  8057.  
  8058. I love you.
  8059.  
  8060. We were friends ’till the end, weren’t we?
  8061.  
  8062. And from now on too, right?
  8063.  
  8064. Now then.
  8065.  
  8066. Even with all that going on, I still had to work.
  8067.  
  8068. We’re women in the service industry. We have to smile for the customers and keep our bodies pristine.
  8069.  
  8070. “Come on in!”
  8071.  
  8072. The shop was jam-packed just like any other week, so I was running around.
  8073.  
  8074. Tables, check. Drinks, check. Nothing wrong with the floors/walls/ceiling.
  8075.  
  8076. Recently I acquired Carpentry, of all things, so I can’t help but notice if something in the building needs maintenance.
  8077.  
  8078. What an obnoxious cheat skill I have. I wonder if God will ever come again. I’d like to punch him out.
  8079.  
  8080. “Haru, it’s almost time for the show!”
  8081.  
  8082. “O-Okay!”
  8083.  
  8084. But I have to put all my skills to work for this job.
  8085.  
  8086. I decided I would give it my all. I felt like I was the only one who could save the shop.
  8087.  
  8088. Even if that was reckless.
  8089.  
  8090. “U-Uhh, th-thanks for coming to Blue Cat Nocturne tonight, everyone.”
  8091.  
  8092. Nooobody is listening. The shop was full of chatter, and no one was paying attention to me up on the stage with my guitar-like instrument.
  8093.  
  8094.  
  8095.  
  8096.  
  8097. 214 | P a g e
  8098.  
  8099. It felt like such an away game. Isn’t this the shop where I work?
  8100.  
  8101. No? Aren’t I pretty popular here?
  8102.  
  8103. (“Haru.”)
  8104.  
  8105. Lupe gave me a stealthy You got this fist-clench as she waitressed.
  8106.  
  8107. When I took a closer look, I noticed Sumo crunched behind his usual table, looking nervous for some reason and wiping sweat away.
  8108.  
  8109. I took a deep breath and smiled.
  8110.  
  8111. Even if I couldn’t be as cool as her, I figured I would smile like I usually do.
  8112.  
  8113. “E-Err. Well, here’s a song from my hometown. It’s called, ‘Toritetsu.’”
  8114.  
  8115. Using a bone for a pick, I strummed.
  8116.  
  8117. I had been practicing, so my guitar sounded pretty good.
  8118.  
  8119. “I’m gonna go take a pic of the 7:52 DeHa 1000 ♪”
  8120.  
  8121. My voice used to be so out of tune it had startled karaoke box employees, but now it rang out beautifully. No one else was paying any attention, but Sumo and Lupe both looked a bit surprised.
  8122.  
  8123. Hell, I was surprised at first. I mean, Hectosquad Commander Buffness’s skill was Super Great Singing—that’s hilarious. I should have had him sing for me before killing him.
  8124.  
  8125. But now I was the one with the singing voice. I could be confident and let the customers hear it. My songs would bring in business.
  8126.  
  8127. Except I was so nervous I couldn’t really sing at all...
  8128.  
  8129. I thought once I got started things would work out, but I seriously couldn’t handle it. The pressure of a solo show is no joke.
  8130.  
  8131.  
  8132.  
  8133.  
  8134.  
  8135.  
  8136. 215 | P a g e
  8137.  
  8138.  
  8139. Without someone who knows what they’re doing beside me, I get super anxious. I couldn’t even tell if I was smiling properly or not. All I knew was that I was blushing.
  8140.  
  8141. I wanna go nuts. I wanted to be the hype girl like usual. But if I snapped, who would actually perform?
  8142.  
  8143. I sang, even though my voice was trembling.
  8144.  
  8145. “I wanna take a picture of you on your travels to a new world ♪”
  8146.  
  8147. Sumo even started clapping on the beat. (Who does that?) It’s actually harder to play now. This isn’t a sumo bout!
  8148.  
  8149. Then Lupe was trying to get the other customers to do it. This isn’t festival music!
  8150.  
  8151. Agh, this is so hard. Whyyyy.
  8152.  
  8153. Well, it’s definitely a new kind of show. It’s fun.
  8154.  
  8155. You must be smiling, Shequraso.
  8156.  
  8157.  
  8158. “Huh? No way! What? You’re giving this to me?”
  8159.  
  8160. I was thinking how nervous Sumo looked, and then the next minute he was giving me flowers to celebrate my singing debut.
  8161.  
  8162. A bouquet of little pink flowers.
  8163.  
  8164. I always thought the best stuff to get from guys was anything practical, like clothes or accessories, and from Sumo, of course, meat made the most sense. This was the first time in my life I’d ever gotten flowers.
  8165.  
  8166. “Oh my god...I’m...actually super happy...”
  8167.  
  8168. It was super out of character for me, but I really was super happy.
  8169.  
  8170.  
  8171.  
  8172.  
  8173.  
  8174. 216 | P a g e
  8175.  
  8176. I felt like I was going to cry. Or rather, I did cry.
  8177.  
  8178. I had just decided not to shut down or stay quiet about my emotions, so the tears caught me off guard. Unable to hold them back, I made Sumo all flustered.
  8179.  
  8180. For some reason even Lupe started crying, and it was like this total season-finale atmosphere even though our fight had just started, and the other customers started clapping even though they hadn’t even been listening.
  8181.  
  8182. Idiots. I love you all.
  8183.  
  8184. “Ahh, I never thought I’d hear you sing ‘Toritetsu.’ To be blunt, only girls listen to that guy, so I have no interest, but that song is nostalgic. Oh, can you sing that other one? ‘Okuhonzakura.’ My friends said I should do that one in one of those videos where you sing, so I did for a limited time only. I’m not sure how many subscribers I got, but I did get a bunch of likes. So you wanna sing it together?”
  8185.  
  8186. I thought my flowers might wilt. I nearly let the snot drip out of my nose.
  8187.  
  8188. “Why the hell are you here?”
  8189.  
  8190. “I’m here. Isn’t that enough? I thought maybe you had chilled out a bit by now. I mean, it’s not like this was the first time you said stuff that made no sense, so with that in mind I just felt like, I gotta protect you, ya know? Heh-heh.”
  8191.  
  8192. Chiba pushed his red helmet back (it didn’t actually go back, though) and blushed.
  8193.  
  8194. I can’t believe this guy. There is seriously no point to me having anything to do with him.
  8195.  
  8196. So why did I murmur his name so often when I was getting passed around between a hundred guys? That is some dark-past shit.
  8197.  
  8198.  
  8199.  
  8200.  
  8201.  
  8202. 217 | P a g e
  8203.  
  8204.  
  8205. I should deactivate Level Bind... I should take this idiot out... “Oh, it’s raining.”
  8206.  
  8207. Rain fell, as if to cool my heart’s rolling boil.
  8208.  
  8209. I remembered the icy look in that guy’s eyes.
  8210.  
  8211. Since we slept together, the silver-haired man hadn’t been to the shop even once.
  8212.  
  8213. I wondered why. Was I that bad? I might seriously lose confidence. Especially near the end, I was a total mess, a shame as a pro, but...
  8214.  
  8215. No.
  8216.  
  8217. He was outside the shop. My Woman skill, or rather, my nose, was telling me so.
  8218.  
  8219. I stuck my bouquet into Chiba’s helmet and ran out the door. That wet silver hair that stood out even at night. That height wrapped in that long coat. Those awfully sharp eyes.
  8220.  
  8221. It was him.
  8222.  
  8223. My heart was positively skipping.
  8224.  
  8225. “H-Hi, good evening. A-Aren’t you getting all wet in the rain? Come on inside the shop!”
  8226.  
  8227. He stared at my face and then, without changing his expression, said, “I don’t need a drink. I just came to see your face.”
  8228.  
  8229. ...
  8230.  
  8231. Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?
  8232.  
  8233. I was stunned for a second and turned the color of boiled octopus.
  8234.  
  8235. Uh, I can’t do this. I’m on the clock right now. B-But maybe I could talk to Madam and get time off starting now, and maybe, uh,
  8236.  
  8237.  
  8238.  
  8239.  
  8240. 218 | P a g e
  8241.  
  8242.  
  8243. would inviting him to my room work? Actually, it’d be the first time having a guy in my room not for work. W-Would he like, sleep over?
  8244.  
  8245. It was so sudden I wasn’t ready at all. Well, my body was! It’s my job, after all.
  8246.  
  8247. But man, this guy is always saying the most random stuff with a blank expression.
  8248.  
  8249. “...I knew someone like you would appear at some point. I just never thought it would be you.” He squinted. It was all like a riddle to me.
  8250.  
  8251. “I’m steeped in hatred. I don’t want your forgiveness or pity. I also know that you’re all from a different generation. Evolution, change, those are things humans do—they’re creatures that discard the past. For you lot, my hatred is just a story. Especially for you other-worlders.”
  8252.  
  8253. The rain poured down his hair and face.
  8254.  
  8255. Maybe he can’t survive outside the rain. It occurred to me that maybe he was incapable of crying.
  8256.  
  8257. “Someone will appear to end the story. Regardless of what sort of conclusion it is, I’m sure it will be bad luck for me. Maybe when it happens, I’ll be glad it was you. That’s what I thought, so I came to see your face”
  8258.  
  8259. He clammed up and just looked at me.
  8260.  
  8261. I felt like I should say something, but I really didn’t understand what he was talking about, so I couldn’t. I couldn’t even put on a polite smile, so I just stared back, blankly.
  8262.  
  8263. Then I had the feeling he smiled just a tiny bit. “Next time, you come to me.” Is that a proposition?
  8264.  
  8265.  
  8266.  
  8267.  
  8268.  
  8269. 219 | P a g e
  8270.  
  8271. But without even telling me his address, he turned his back to
  8272.  
  8273. me.
  8274.  
  8275. “I have no intention of being done yet. If you come, I won’t screw around. You better keep improving. As you are now, you’ll never reach me.”
  8276.  
  8277. He seemed to melt into the rain, and his back vanished.
  8278.  
  8279. Ultimately, I saw him off without understanding what he meant or my own feelings.
  8280.  
  8281. I had the feeling I’d been rejected.
  8282.  
  8283. But I also kind of felt like I’d practically been proposed to.
  8284.  
  8285. I was so dazed I wondered if I was okay.
  8286.  
  8287. Maybe it would be scary to learn any more about him. Maybe the closer I got to him, the less he’d like me. I had the feeling I’d clashed with some intense solitude.
  8288.  
  8289. But, I really do like him.
  8290.  
  8291. He was the only one of all the guys I’ve slept with who didn’t give me any experience or skills.
  8292.  
  8293. I have no idea why he was the only one like that, but it felt sort of nice, and I thought it would be cool if it ended up being a “miracle of love” or something.
  8294.  
  8295. That would make me so happy, I prayed to the rain.
  8296.  
  8297. As soon as he was gone, the rain stopped.
  8298.  
  8299. “Haru, what are you doing? You’re getting soaked!”
  8300.  
  8301. “What’s with that bright-red handkerchief? Are you that
  8302.  
  8303. magician from Ibaraki or something?”
  8304.  
  8305.  
  8306.  
  8307.  
  8308.  
  8309.  
  8310.  
  8311.  
  8312.  
  8313.  
  8314. 220 | P a g e
  8315.  
  8316.  
  8317. “I’m the magician from Chiba! Err, I’m not even a magician! And I wasn’t born in Chiba, either! I was born in Tokyo and raised in another world—”
  8318.  
  8319. “Haru, you can use this.”
  8320.  
  8321. “Thanks.”
  8322.  
  8323. Lupe handed me a fluffy towel, and I dried my hair.
  8324.  
  8325. Phew, I was cold. And Chiba was so lame.
  8326.  
  8327. “...Did something happen?”
  8328.  
  8329. Lupe looked worried, but I told her it was nothing.
  8330.  
  8331. What else could I say? I had no idea what would happen.
  8332.  
  8333. And it was a prostitute’s love.
  8334.  
  8335. “All riiiight! I’m warmed up!”
  8336.  
  8337. Don’t fret, me. Let’s get this night started!
  8338.  
  8339. “I am really in the mood to do it tonight! First guy gets freebies that will send you to Heaven! Who’s it gonna be?”
  8340.  
  8341. Did I just hear a pin drop? The whole place fell silent. Just as I thought I had screwed up again, everybody burst out laughing and guy after guy put his hand up.
  8342.  
  8343. I go for 100 rubers.
  8344.  
  8345. But the bidding started, and in the blink of an eye, the price broke 200. The losers got a toast and a hug to thank them for their hard fighting. Then everyone watched even more closely until finally there were only two left.
  8346.  
  8347. “I-I’ll pay 300 rubers!”
  8348.  
  8349. “Fine! Then I’ll pay 305!”
  8350.  
  8351. “310!”
  8352.  
  8353.  
  8354.  
  8355.  
  8356.  
  8357. 221 | P a g e
  8358.  
  8359. “Nrrrgh...315!”
  8360.  
  8361. It was Sumo and Chiba. What can I say? I guess these are the guys who will always be around, but the competition was pretty lacking in novelty.
  8362.  
  8363. But like, somebody teach Chiba how to bid. His turns were really anti-climactic.
  8364.  
  8365. Well, at this rate Sumo will win for sure.
  8366.  
  8367. That’s fine, I’ll make him want me so bad. I’ll force his sea of meat right out of the ring—hakkeyoi! ...is what I was thinking when a voice that was mature and quiet, but still carried, rang out.
  8368.  
  8369. “1,000 rubers!”
  8370.  
  8371. Outside the hubbub, a man was sitting at a table.
  8372.  
  8373. Who knew when he had showed up, but this grandpa with white hair and a white beard held up the announced money and narrowed his eyes in a challenge to Chiba and Sumo.
  8374.  
  8375. “...Hm? What’s wrong?”
  8376.  
  8377. More than the money, everyone was caught off guard by, I guess, his presence, so no one said anything. A beat-up ten-gallon hat, yet his leather jacket seemed well-made. Rugged boots. And he wore a sword on each hip, which was rare. I’d seen a lot of people, but he was the first dual-wielder.
  8378.  
  8379. A bit of a punkish old man? Nope, more like the confidence of a full-on active delinquent. The edges of his lips curled up.
  8380.  
  8381. “So, did I win, girlie?”
  8382.  
  8383. Sumo looked into his wallet and shook his head. Chiba was hilariously pale and trembling.
  8384.  
  8385. I opened my arms and welcomed the old man.
  8386.  
  8387. “Sold for 1,000 rubers! Thank you for your purchase!”
  8388.  
  8389.  
  8390.  
  8391.  
  8392. 222 | P a g e
  8393.  
  8394.  
  8395.  
  8396. The first thing the grandpa did when he entered my room was sit on the bed.
  8397.  
  8398. There aren’t any chairs, so sitting there is a matter of course, but he must have been pretty used to women if he could act like that going into someone’s room for the first time.
  8399.  
  8400. “There’s nothing in here.”
  8401.  
  8402. The way he didn’t take off his swords even when he took his hat off made it seem like he was used to all sorts of things.
  8403.  
  8404. He glanced around the room, then fixed his eyes on me and asked, “Been in this business long?”
  8405.  
  8406. “Mm, hasn’t been quite a year yet.”
  8407.  
  8408. I undid the buttons on my back and loosened my dress.
  8409.  
  8410. His gaze seemed to go right through my skin, but his eyes weren’t taking stock of a woman; it was more like a stabbing, they were so sharp. He was a little like my guy.
  8411.  
  8412. “So, girlie, do you know what a succubus is?” “I’ve ridden the Catbus, but...?”
  8413.  
  8414. Ignoring my excellent pun, the grandpa man put a finger to his temple and narrowed his eyes. “A succubus is, well, it’s a legendary monster. To put it simply, they eat men. Starting down there. They suck out their vitality ’till they’re bone-dry and take ownership of them. Awful, really, wouldn’t you say?”
  8415.  
  8416. I took off the wrap-thing that went around my breasts.
  8417.  
  8418. I’ve gotten pretty confident in my bust these days. It’s bigger now.
  8419.  
  8420. He ignored it, but anyhow.
  8421.  
  8422.  
  8423.  
  8424.  
  8425. 223 | P a g e
  8426.  
  8427.  
  8428. “I don’t know if it’s that or not, but there’s a monster in this town.”
  8429.  
  8430. I folded up the wrap and set it on my dress. Finally I reached for my final weapon, my panties.
  8431.  
  8432. “The army hasn’t even done a proper investigation, yet they’re
  8433.  
  8434. assuming it’s one of the demon lord’s henchmen. They heard the
  8435.  
  8436. rumors, but you know, it was that hectosquad commander’s unit. If
  8437.  
  8438. you go to the scene, though, you can tell right away. They weren’t up
  8439.  
  8440. against a demon. And it wasn’t the army who killed the demon
  8441.  
  8442. horde. It was a monster. There’s a single monster who did that all on
  8443.  
  8444. its own.”
  8445.  
  8446. I’m so proud of my beautiful ass, but when I showed it to him, he didn’t so much as flinch.
  8447.  
  8448. Did you come to the wrong shop? This isn’t a nursing home!
  8449.  
  8450. Grandpa was still absorbed in his own story, and explained it to me as if I was a kid, gesturing with his pointer fingers.
  8451.  
  8452. “If you count the corpse of the hectosquad commander, which disappeared, there were a hundred humans. There were also a hundred demons. The damn thing counted! Which side is this monster on? Humans or monsters? It had no sympathy for either and made an impartial ruling. It’s saying that both sides are shitty.”
  8453.  
  8454. He had his two fingers fight, but made the sole survivor neither of them and put up a pinky finger.
  8455.  
  8456. “The culprit is a kid. It’s a monster, but inside, it’s a child. It’s drunk on power and acting like God—a damned brat with its pubescent nonsense hanging out.”
  8457.  
  8458. He looked not at my naked body, but at my face as he spoke.
  8459.  
  8460.  
  8461.  
  8462.  
  8463.  
  8464.  
  8465.  
  8466.  
  8467.  
  8468.  
  8469. 224 | P a g e
  8470.  
  8471.  
  8472. “The rain had mainly wiped them out, but I found a woman’s footprints. She went on a horse and returned on a horse. To the barracks. But from there she returned to the city on foot.”
  8473.  
  8474. There were people who had seen sex workers entering the barracks a few days prior, he explained, his eyes sharpening even more—he was practically glaring at me, like he was tying me up, even though I was totally naked and unarmed.
  8475.  
  8476. “The thought of a monster brat living in my town like it owns the place makes me so mad I’m losin’ sleep. And it must have killed them all for some stupid reason. If I find it, I’ll have to chop it apart on behalf of the great human race.”
  8477.  
  8478. When I took a closer look at his swords, I saw they were tied with a weird string.
  8479.  
  8480. If I deactivated Level Bind and tried to steal them, I probably wouldn’t have been able to. It was probably designed so that only he can draw them.
  8481.  
  8482. I heard about something like that from a customer once.
  8483.  
  8484. That the really strong guys were cautious.
  8485.  
  8486. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything, would ya, girlie? If you have any ideas, please tell me.”
  8487.  
  8488. Echoes of the dumb hubbub downstairs reached my room, but the air between us was frozen stiff.
  8489.  
  8490. If he was going to call that night “stupid,” then I was the one who couldn’t forgive him.
  8491.  
  8492. But even I could tell he was trying to get a rise out of me, that it was a trap.
  8493.  
  8494. A brothel at night is the scene of arguments, fights, weird business deals—I’ve seen so much.
  8495.  
  8496.  
  8497.  
  8498.  
  8499.  
  8500.  
  8501. 225 | P a g e
  8502.  
  8503. I’d slept with this degree of danger lots of times.
  8504.  
  8505. A sex worker uses their whole body to fight, not just their biceps.
  8506.  
  8507. “Hey, Mister.” I swayed my hips as I approached, and crouched to peer into his face. “If you talk about such boring stuff in front of a naked lady, you’re never gonna get any.”
  8508.  
  8509. If you would just ask what my true form is, I’d tell you. Looking at my body is enough to know what I am.
  8510.  
  8511. He lifted the corners of his lips slightly. But the glint in his eyes didn’t soften at all.
  8512.  
  8513. I straightened up and showed him my full body in lieu of giving him a business card.
  8514.  
  8515. “I’m Haru. I’m a sex worker at Blue Cat Nocturne.”
  8516.  
  8517. The boobs and butt I’ve developed here are my pride and joy.
  8518.  
  8519. I haven’t had the body of a JK for a long time. This is a sex worker’s body.
  8520.  
  8521. “I may not look it, but I’m the fourth most popular girl here. It was really hard to get this far—seriously rough. Men don’t know how tough it is to live as a single woman in this city, huh? It’s super exhausting. Totally takes it out of you. You don’t get into this line of work because you want to.”
  8522.  
  8523. I’m shoving grass up my pussy every day! Is this airport security?!
  8524.  
  8525. “But I hung in there. And thanks to that, I learned a ton of things about this world. I thought a lot. And I reached a conclusion. This whole world is a brat, from my point of view—it’s got a lonnnnng way to go.”
  8526.  
  8527. The grandpa guy’s piercing blue eyes widened a bit as I talked about this new world.
  8528.  
  8529.  
  8530.  
  8531.  
  8532.  
  8533.  
  8534.  
  8535.  
  8536. 226 | P a g e
  8537.  
  8538.  
  8539. But he was flexible like a bow. He put his fingers to his temple and smiled like he was listening to his grandkid.
  8540.  
  8541. When he was young, he was probably a total stud. He was still pretty good-looking now.
  8542.  
  8543. “This is a place for boys to play, a world where boys and only boys get to live out their fantasies. They get all excited about rules convenient for them and hobbies that suit only their tastes, and if you say any little thing, they get pissed. But maybe it’s time they were conscious of girls. If they knew what girls were thinking, they could discover so much. Maybe they’re afraid that their world will be destroyed, but if they never go beyond their own giddy circles, then of course girls will think they’re gross. Open your hearts. Listen a little more to what girls have to say. Then this world would grow up and be more cheerful.”
  8544.  
  8545. I want affection, too. I want to be wrapped in the arms of that gentle world.
  8546.  
  8547. It’s seriously my dream to have sex with only the guy I like, and then sleep.
  8548.  
  8549. “But it’s not like I hate everything. Some stuff is interesting, and there are lots of good people, too. I even have friends. I don’t think the world is what you make it, and I think this place is in the fucking middle of nowhere, but I know that if I make an effort, people will actually open their hearts. Even so, there are so many times things don’t go very well and I want to cry. And there are times horrible things have been done to me, and I’ve snapped. But some of my efforts do pay off, and there are some fun things, and there are things to laugh about, too. I’m a sex worker, and just scraping by every day, but I feel alive here.”
  8550.  
  8551. And I turned 18 here.
  8552.  
  8553.  
  8554.  
  8555.  
  8556.  
  8557.  
  8558.  
  8559.  
  8560. 227 | P a g e
  8561.  
  8562.  
  8563. “Mister, you bought me, so how about you fuck me first? I’ll give you serious service worth the money you paid to the shop. Can’t you look for your culprit later?”
  8564.  
  8565. I put my hands on his shoulders and sat in his lap. His deeply wrinkled skin was rough and hard, and it had that man smell.
  8566.  
  8567. He let out a short laugh—“Maybe you’re right”—and scrunched up his face like a kid, speaking of kids.
  8568.  
  8569. Damn. I just felt my face go a little hot. This guy is pulling some sneaky man stuff.
  8570.  
  8571. “Nn.”
  8572.  
  8573. He caressed my back, and it gave me chills.
  8574.  
  8575. Before I knew it, he had picked me up and laid me down on the bed.
  8576.  
  8577. I was doing my best to radiate adult sexiness, and his legit adult hands had scooped me up like he was pacifying a baby. Even though they were hard and wrinkly, they were gentle when touching a woman.
  8578.  
  8579. He brushed his hand up my back, and I made a weird noise. I had been feeling kind of lonely, so these soft caresses were driving me nuts. If my tastes have broadened so far that I get the hots for old dudes like this, it will really start to affect my work.
  8580.  
  8581. I’ll be put in charge of grandpas!
  8582.  
  8583. “Mm!”
  8584.  
  8585. I stole a kiss.
  8586.  
  8587. Slipping my tongue in, I noodled around. I tickled the softest spot beneath his tongue, and he was so surprised he pulled his face away. I flicked my tongue at him.
  8588.  
  8589. “...Is that how they kiss in ‘the other world’?”
  8590.  
  8591.  
  8592.  
  8593.  
  8594.  
  8595. 228 | P a g e
  8596.  
  8597. I grinned as I replied, “No, I learned that working here.”
  8598.  
  8599. The grandpa raised an eyebrow. “You’re taking this job seriously?”
  8600.  
  8601. I told you! This is my job!
  8602.  
  8603. “Heh. Ha-ha. So that’s how it is. God pulled an actual prostitute? Well a guy can’t win against that.”
  8604.  
  8605. Grandpa chuckled and took off his swords.
  8606.  
  8607. He took off his clothes and revealed a chest covered in scars, but well-built. He went ahead and took off his pants, too.
  8608.  
  8609. Wow. Grandpa, I see you’re still in business.
  8610.  
  8611. “But sorry, I’m not about to let a youngster show me what’s what. I’m gonna fuck you, Haru!”
  8612.  
  8613. A long, hard cock, so virile it felt like wood or something, came
  8614.  
  8615. in.
  8616.  
  8617. It knocked my breath out. This thing was seriously a ladykiller. And he really knew how to get it in. Gentle and strong. He found a good spot right away.
  8618.  
  8619. “Nn, ah, ahn, ah!”
  8620.  
  8621. I was moaning for real, just from him rocking a little bit. He was letting me get to know the cock he was so proud of.
  8622.  
  8623. My body felt floaty and warm. My face was so hot. The tip of his cock grinding into me seemed to enjoy my reactions and moved around to stimulate different places.
  8624.  
  8625. My mouth opened and made sexy noises on its own.
  8626.  
  8627. “Haru.”
  8628.  
  8629. Grandpa was staring right into my face.
  8630.  
  8631.  
  8632.  
  8633.  
  8634.  
  8635.  
  8636.  
  8637. 229 | P a g e
  8638.  
  8639.  
  8640. “Do you want to quit the shop and be my woman? It would be more fun than staying here.”
  8641.  
  8642. You dirty old man. Don’t try to seduce a girl young enough to be your granddaughter.
  8643.  
  8644. Don’t sex me up so well that I would actually consider going along with it.
  8645.  
  8646. I grit my teeth and shook my head. Grandpa said, “I see,” and shoved his hips hard up against me.
  8647.  
  8648. He was really reaming my pussy, but not at all in a horrible pushy way. He was using his hips in that manly way that makes you glad. I could feel my uterus getting shoved up, and each time, my stomach tingled.
  8649.  
  8650. “Ahhh! Ah, Ah.”
  8651.  
  8652. He increased the pressure and built up my pleasure even more. My hips were lifted off the bed as if his cock alone was holding me up.
  8653.  
  8654. Ahh, this grandpa might actually be fantastic.
  8655.  
  8656. “Quit this brothel and be mine. I want to show you the wider world.” Then he brushed my hair back, gazed into my eyes, and said, “I want to make you the last woman of my life.”
  8657.  
  8658. Well this geezer certainly knows how to make a girl feel special.
  8659.  
  8660. Geez.
  8661.  
  8662. But don’t underestimate me just ’cause I’m sex worker! I squeezed my pussy tight and wrapped my legs around his back.
  8663.  
  8664. I hugged him close and kissed him as I moved my hips.
  8665.  
  8666. “Mm, Haru, you—”
  8667.  
  8668. Then I switched our places so I was on top. I looked down at him and exhaled once briskly.
  8669.  
  8670.  
  8671.  
  8672.  
  8673.  
  8674. 230 | P a g e
  8675.  
  8676. “That was a lie, right?”
  8677.  
  8678. “Hm?”
  8679.  
  8680. “You’ve told other women that line about being your last woman.”
  8681.  
  8682. Grandpa grinned and said, “If you’ll be mine, I’ll get rid of the other women.”
  8683.  
  8684. You old fucker. I’m tellin’ you that shit is obnoxious. Don’t think I’ll be so easy to get just ’cause I’m a sex worker!
  8685.  
  8686. I flicked my tongue and gave him a smacker. Then I put my hips into hyper mode, and squeezed him with motions I know make guys cum.
  8687.  
  8688. “Nn, kgh...!”
  8689.  
  8690. What’s wrong, Gramps? Your face is awfully red. Is it your blood pressure?
  8691.  
  8692. “You little...”
  8693.  
  8694. Grandpa sat up, so we ended up in that position where you’re both sitting facing each other.
  8695.  
  8696. He rammed up from below, rocking the whole area around my hips. His cock and my pussy ground on each other.
  8697.  
  8698. “Nn, ah—oh god, it’s so, amazing, but—I can keep going.”
  8699.  
  8700. “You’re, nn, pretty amazing, yourself. Nn, you’re a good woman.”
  8701.  
  8702. This old guy felt so good I did want him to take me away somewhere, but, no, no, I wasn’t about to be fooled by this lying geezer. Plus I already have my eyes set on an older man. This is business sex.
  8703.  
  8704. Grandpa put his hand in my hair and pulled me in for a kiss.
  8705.  
  8706.  
  8707.  
  8708.  
  8709.  
  8710.  
  8711. 231 | P a g e
  8712.  
  8713. I thought I was really going to melt, it was so soft.
  8714.  
  8715. “Right. Women, treasures, demon lords—none of those things are fun if you can get them too easily. I’ll put the time in to make you mine,” he said, petting my head. “’Cause we’re still young!”
  8716.  
  8717. He burst out laughing, kissed me, and pumped his hips.
  8718.  
  8719. The more affectionate I got, the more affection he gave me, and when I wanted to be aggressive, he let me.
  8720.  
  8721. When I couldn’t hold back any longer and said, “I’m gonna cum,” he whispered in my ear, “Me too.”
  8722.  
  8723. It was the first time I had sex that was so kind. He was super accepting.
  8724.  
  8725. “Haru. You’re the best woman out there.”
  8726.  
  8727. But he has to say this unnecessary crap, I thought as I came in his arms.
  8728.  
  8729. “The name’s Widgecraft,” he said with his back turned to me as he put his arms through the sleeves of his jacket. “I’m a jack of all trades. Sometimes I play at vigilante, other times I’m in the forest for months. Once in a long while I go wild at the arena. I’m usually at the pub near the square screwing around with my friends, and you’re welcome to come hang out any time. If you want, that is.” He turned only his head.
  8730.  
  8731. You can try to seduce me again, but it’s not going to work! I braced myself, but there was no weird look in Grandpa’s—Widge’s eyes.
  8732.  
  8733. “If you ever feel like going to defeat the demon lord, give me a call. We’ll get you there. But you know what’ll happen if you decide to lend him a hand, right?”
  8734.  
  8735. He waved with a casual “Later,” and left.
  8736.  
  8737.  
  8738.  
  8739.  
  8740.  
  8741.  
  8742.  
  8743. 232 | P a g e
  8744.  
  8745.  
  8746. The electrified atmosphere left with him and I exhaled. “Fwaaah.”
  8747.  
  8748. What the heck, geezer? Don’t threaten me. Plus, why should I have to go take out the demon lord, anyhow?
  8749.  
  8750. That’s a man’s job, isn’t it? It’s like the first rule of this world.
  8751.  
  8752. But it’s true that I do kind of want to dismantle that system, and I do wonder what’s on the other side of the forest.
  8753.  
  8754. Right now it would be impossible. I mean, I’m busy right now, anyhow.
  8755.  
  8756. I spread my pussy and scraped out the luvya grass along with the cum.
  8757.  
  8758. In my head, the usual fanfare played.
  8759.  
  8760. —Haru has reached level 387!
  8761.  
  8762. —Survival, Tracking, and Double Blade skills acquired!
  8763.  
  8764. “Hokay...”
  8765.  
  8766. I took a shower and went downstairs to the pub.
  8767.  
  8768. There were lots of customers there to see the girls that day.
  8769.  
  8770.  
  8771. After that things went on as usual. Things were so peaceful I got a bit bored.
  8772.  
  8773. Just kidding—how could that possibly be true?
  8774.  
  8775. It was another day of battle in the other world. Gathering the eyes of everyone around us, we were enjoying a cup of fragrant tea one afternoon in a busy place full of strong smells on a main shopping street.
  8776.  
  8777. We were having fun, but this was our battlefield.
  8778.  
  8779.  
  8780.  
  8781.  
  8782.  
  8783.  
  8784. 233 | P a g e
  8785.  
  8786.  
  8787. “Once you get used to it, it’s not that annoying.” “Right?”
  8788.  
  8789. Lupe’s initial nervousness had all but disappeared; she seemed relaxed as she savored her tea.
  8790.  
  8791. We had passed on the bench where we always used to have lunch and tea with Shequraso to some new girls.
  8792.  
  8793. We more experienced girls headed out into town in search of a new venue. Then we found it.
  8794.  
  8795. Sumo’s family’s place.
  8796.  
  8797. It was less like finding and more like remembering, but our plan to occupy Sumo’s cafe was well underway.
  8798.  
  8799. We created terrace seating and ate there. What did we care if someone told us that women eating out alone was disgraceful? We’d eat right in their faces. Girls have the right to have fun, too.
  8800.  
  8801. At first, Lupe was all hesitant, like, “Let’s not...” but it seemed like the proper restaurant cooking and talking openly with no regard for the men around us had freed her from the old conventions.
  8802.  
  8803. “It’s nice to be able to check out the young guys, too.”
  8804.  
  8805. Once we got used to being looked at, we could appraise the men who passed by or came into the cafe.
  8806.  
  8807. Unfortunately there were no cute staff, but once we started showing up, Sumo started to work in the kitchen. He would even take instructions to make us cute salads and desserts, so the idea of original menu items targeting girls didn’t seem so far away.
  8808.  
  8809. Since he can level up infinitely, I expect that before long he’ll be the top pâtissier in this world. I just know girls will love him making cute cakes with his chubby fingers, so I want more customers to come.
  8810.  
  8811.  
  8812.  
  8813.  
  8814.  
  8815. 234 | P a g e
  8816.  
  8817. And it’s not just Lupe and me.
  8818.  
  8819. There’s another girl in our group who seemed really impressed when I mentioned I wished society would change so girls could eat out as they pleased.
  8820.  
  8821. “Hello, Miss Haru, Miss Lupe.”
  8822.  
  8823. “Oh, hey, Kiyori.”
  8824.  
  8825. “Hi. On your way back from the arena?”
  8826.  
  8827. “Yes, but this morning I was working, so I only saw the B-Rank fights.”
  8828.  
  8829. She sat down and ordered tea and cake in a way that showed she was used to it.
  8830.  
  8831. With the arrival of the once-in-a-thousand-years beauty Sister Kiyori, the intensity of the looks from guys coming down the street bumped up—especially from young guys with virgin vibes. But it seemed like she didn’t even notice.
  8832.  
  8833. “Now and then I see someone who looks strong. But they’re all old guys like bears or tigers. There are almost never younger men.”
  8834.  
  8835. “No young guys, huh?”
  8836.  
  8837. “None. I’m hoping for someone my age or a little older.”
  8838.  
  8839. She had broken up with Chiba, so she was in the market for a partner.
  8840.  
  8841. She began to explain how it wasn’t just strength, but looks and personality that mattered as well.
  8842.  
  8843. To put it bluntly, she had started to think that she’d like her next guy to be better than Chiba.
  8844.  
  8845. “And I’m not interested in virgins.” “I’m with you.”
  8846.  
  8847.  
  8848.  
  8849.  
  8850. 235 | P a g e
  8851.  
  8852. I was kind of happy to see Kiyori so assertive about all this stuff.
  8853.  
  8854. She listened really intently to the advice Lupe and I gave her, and sometimes she got a good rib in. She was a key tea buddy for us, now.
  8855.  
  8856. “I want to go to the forest as soon as possible.”
  8857.  
  8858. “Ohh, I see. I don’t know that much about it, but it’s something like girls can’t go unless they have a partner, right?”
  8859.  
  8860. “Yes. It’s quite shitty, the way the Adventurers’ Guild works.”
  8861.  
  8862. But lately I get the feeling we’re influencing her a bit too much, and I worry it might affect her work at the hospital or her church activities.
  8863.  
  8864. “But I have a trump card I can use if it comes down to that.” She glanced at me.
  8865.  
  8866. I didn’t return her look and sipped my tea, playing dumb. I really shouldn’t have told her my secret. I don’t need her having all kinds of weird expectations. I’m a modern girl, so I’m not into all that savagery, anyhow.
  8867.  
  8868. “By the way, Lupe, how’s Kiyori’s ex?”
  8869.  
  8870. “Please don’t call him my ex. And please don’t pretend you don’t understand what I mean.”
  8871.  
  8872. “Okay, okay. Did you know, though? Chiba has been going upstairs with Lupe lately. How’s it actually going? Is he giving you trouble?”
  8873.  
  8874. “Uh, hmm.” Lupe thought for a moment, gulped down her tea, and said, “He still acts like a virgin, but I don’t think he’s such a bad guy. I just think that you and Kiyori didn’t have any intention of cultivating him, and he couldn’t figure things out on his own.”
  8875.  
  8876.  
  8877.  
  8878.  
  8879.  
  8880.  
  8881.  
  8882.  
  8883. 236 | P a g e
  8884.  
  8885.  
  8886. She talked in her usual easy-going tone, but what she was saying was right.
  8887.  
  8888. With a breezy smile, she continued. “First I taught him. I was kind, I scolded him, I gave him affection. Every now and then I slapped him, and then I would praise him ’till he cried. Then after sex I pretended to be upset and make him think of what might have gone wrong. He’s sincere at his core, and I know that once he’s hooked on something he’s very passionate. Now he even calls me ‘Mistress.’ He’s more docile now, so lately I’ve been putting some distance between us and seeing if he will figure out how to get my attention a little bit. He has money, and he seems to have time, so he gives me all kinds of stuff. But I’m the kind of person who wants love more than things. Once he can bow down and rub his head in the dirt before the shop, I’m thinking I’ll praise him. Tee-hee.”
  8889.  
  8890. Kiyori gaped as Lupe talked about training Chiba as if he were a puppy, laughing as she remembered different episodes.
  8891.  
  8892. Lupe had surprised me plenty of times, teaching me things about work and whatnot. She really has Mistress powers and a knack for training men.
  8893.  
  8894. But would you expect any less from the number-two seller of the year? I respect her for real.
  8895.  
  8896. “U-Um!”
  8897.  
  8898. My tea was getting cold, and just as I thought to drain it and leave, some girls suddenly approached our table.
  8899.  
  8900. One was a serious-looking girl with well-defined features and braided hair. A girl with short hair hid behind her. Judging from the books they carried, they must have been students. Their faces got redder by the second.
  8901.  
  8902. “C-Could we, uh, sit...with you...?”
  8903.  
  8904.  
  8905.  
  8906.  
  8907.  
  8908.  
  8909. 237 | P a g e
  8910.  
  8911.  
  8912. Lupe, Kiyori, and I exchanged glances, sharing our inner joy. “Sure. Let’s have tea together.”
  8913.  
  8914. It was another day of gracefully enjoying our tea in public, attracting the curious gazes of a misogynist society and fighting on.
  8915.  
  8916. We eat cake, we make more friends, sometimes we gossip about men, other times we have serious discussions, and every now and then we practically split our sides laughing at slightly dirty jokes. Any girls who want to chat are welcome to join us.
  8917.  
  8918.  
  8919.  
  8920.  
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  8924.  
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  8926.  
  8927.  
  8928.  
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  8930.  
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  8936.  
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  8939.  
  8940.  
  8941.  
  8942.  
  8943.  
  8944.  
  8945.  
  8946.  
  8947.  
  8948.  
  8949.  
  8950.  
  8951.  
  8952.  
  8953.  
  8954.  
  8955.  
  8956.  
  8957.  
  8958.  
  8959.  
  8960.  
  8961.  
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  8970.  
  8971. 238 | P a g e
  8972.  
  8973.  
  8974. Spring Kiyori: An Afterstory
  8975.  
  8976.  
  8977.  
  8978.  
  8979. Since then, well, not much has changed, but I guess, uh...
  8980.  
  8981. Starting with Chiba, who probably no one is terribly interested in, he’s become Lupe’s eighth servant and can often be seen groveling at her feet.
  8982.  
  8983. Lupe is still number two at the shop. Our two top sellers are seriously powerful—I don’t feel like I’ll ever beat them.
  8984.  
  8985. Also, Madam has been teaching Lupe stuff around the shop lately, so it seems like maybe she’s been selected as the next madam? (Of course she blushes and says, “Noooo, I haven’t,” but) I feel like pretty soon I’ll be calling her “Mistress” too.
  8986.  
  8987. Sumo is still fat.
  8988.  
  8989. A customer with a large body and wallet, he comes often, but lately we’ve become regulars at his cafe, so business-wise, it’s a win-win relationship.
  8990.  
  8991. It seems like he still has feelings for me, but even more than that, he’s apparently getting hooked on cooking, and he actually does look kind of cool when he’s making dainty cakes with such a serious face.
  8992.  
  8993. With Unlimited Levels, he can keep leveling up his cooking and sex skills the more he learns, so he’s becoming quite the technician and also seems to have gained some confidence.
  8994.  
  8995. Lately even Lupe has been saying, “If he would just lose some weight, he’d be so hot.”
  8996.  
  8997. If he lost weight, maybe he’d even look kind of like the real J Soul...?
  8998.  
  8999. Nah, he wouldn’t. Nope! Sumo is Sumo!
  9000.  
  9001.  
  9002.  
  9003.  
  9004.  
  9005. 239 | P a g e
  9006.  
  9007.  
  9008. The thing is, his selling point is how he makes tiny cakes with a chanko body type, so no dieting allowed, thanks!
  9009.  
  9010. Oh, Widge comes pretty often too.
  9011.  
  9012. It seems like he still wants to seduce me, so he whispers stuff like, “Come live with me,” and, “I’ll take you into the forest,” while doing the most kinktastic things. I’m always practically melting, so it’s always like, Crap! But that geezer is sleeping with other girls and saying the same shit, so I wish he’d just leave me alone.
  9013.  
  9014. I mean, he’s mature, generous, and has a sexy voice, so if he were 20 or 30 years younger, I might have fallen for him, but...
  9015.  
  9016. No, I can’t go there. If he were younger, he’d be even more of a playboy than he is now. The other day he took me to that pub he hangs out at, but like, all his friends are just as bizarre as he is, and he was flirting with all kinds of women.
  9017.  
  9018. Oh, right.
  9019.  
  9020. I still have tea with Kiyori all the time.
  9021.  
  9022. She has her eye on some B-Rank adventurer, but apparently she’s sounding him out more carefully this time. Well, she’s a once-in-a-thousand-years beauty, so it seems like he’s down, but she wants to be a bit more cautious, so they haven’t gotten very far yet.
  9023.  
  9024. Kiyori says, “I tripped on my first step in both love and adventuring,” so, “Next time I’m going in fully prepared.”
  9025.  
  9026. I keep telling her putting in too much effort can be dangerous, too. But I’m sure her dream will come true. I mean, she has a great face.
  9027.  
  9028. All I have to report is so same-old, it’s boring, huh?
  9029.  
  9030. Sometimes I feel like things have got to change, but nothing has, so what can I say?
  9031.  
  9032.  
  9033.  
  9034.  
  9035.  
  9036.  
  9037. 240 | P a g e
  9038.  
  9039.  
  9040. Since the silver-haired man stopped coming around, my feelings have been frozen in time.
  9041.  
  9042. On rainy nights, I always pay attention to the windows, looking for him in the light of the street lamps. I thought as long as I was at the shop I would be able to see him again, but maybe I can’t assume that.
  9043.  
  9044. He did tell me to come to him next time—although he never told me where he lived.
  9045.  
  9046. He might not even be in this city. I have this feeling I felt those sharp hawk eyes somewhere else.
  9047.  
  9048. It’s possible that, just maybe, he was there that time.
  9049.  
  9050. If when he said to come see him, that’s where he meant, then...
  9051.  
  9052. —Oh yeah, I made it to number three in sales!
  9053.  
  9054.  
  9055. By the way, Miss Haru has been acting strange lately. I can’t be the only one to have noticed. This is Kiyori.
  9056.  
  9057. Even when we’re having tea like this, it’s not uncommon for the conversation to suddenly trail off and all of us to just sit there absentmindedly. At those times, it was usually Miss Haru who would find something for us to talk about, but more often now she just stares off into space.
  9058.  
  9059. Looking at her melancholic face from the side, she seems sort of seductive and mature. Of course, she’s a sex worker, so if she tried, she would be far more seductive and mature than me. But the image I have of Miss Haru is more someone who tells off-color jokes, roars with laughter, and really knows how to eat, so she seems almost like a different girl.
  9060.  
  9061.  
  9062.  
  9063.  
  9064.  
  9065.  
  9066.  
  9067.  
  9068. 241 | P a g e
  9069.  
  9070.  
  9071. It’s like she’s seeing a place that isn’t here, so for the people actually with her, it feels lonely.
  9072.  
  9073. I tried sending Lupe a sign with my eyes. She smiled, charmingly traced the rim of her cup with a finger, and raised a hand to call for service. “Sumo! More tea, please!”
  9074.  
  9075. “C-Coming right up.”
  9076.  
  9077. Mr. Sumo, his big stomach jiggling, came over with a cute teapot.
  9078.  
  9079. I heard he took great pains to find one that Miss Haru would like.
  9080.  
  9081. Because he really loves her.
  9082.  
  9083. Perhaps the vibrations of the floor returned Miss Haru to herself, because she remembered her role and said, “This tea is so yummyyyy!” and touched Mr. Sumo’s arm with a smile.
  9084.  
  9085. Mr. Sumo smiled modestly, his face bright red, and mumbled, “Th-This one? You can have as much as you like.” And he was serious, because he gave us a free refill.
  9086.  
  9087. “Ee-hee-hee! Thanks!”
  9088.  
  9089. Miss Haru—no, that’s not a fair way to put it—we shrewdly took advantage of his kindness and had our third cup of free tea that day. Miss Haru says business goes both ways, but things come out pretty uneven in the end.
  9090.  
  9091. “Miss Haru, is something wrong?” I threw her a vague, open-ended question.
  9092.  
  9093. For just a second, she looked annoyed. But only for a second.
  9094.  
  9095. “Something? No, nothing, but it sucks. I want something good to happen, Lupeeee.”
  9096.  
  9097. “Huh? Didn’t you just get ranked number three in sales? I always knew you’d make it there.”
  9098.  
  9099. “Really? Thanks. It’s thanks to you, Lupe-senpai.”
  9100.  
  9101.  
  9102.  
  9103.  
  9104.  
  9105. 242 | P a g e
  9106.  
  9107. “It’s only a matter of time before you pass me up...”
  9108.  
  9109. “No! I’m going to do my best to tie you. Plus, you still make like double me, so there’s no way.”
  9110.  
  9111. “Hoo-hoo. You’ll just have to sell more, Haru.” “Here she is, the next madam.” “I am not!”
  9112.  
  9113. Miss Haru and Miss Lupe can take that sort of general topic and flesh it out into a whole conversation. It’s things like that that really make me admire night workers. When I have nothing wrong, I just say, “Nothing,” and that’s it.
  9114.  
  9115. But I’m used to her style of conversation now, so she can’t fool me so easily.
  9116.  
  9117. According to Miss Haru, there is something “annoying” about me. And I also know that she feels annoyed when someone tries to press her on something she doesn’t want to talk about.
  9118.  
  9119. And in that case, even I agree, I must be quite an annoying woman. But I want to know. Although, I’m also scared to find out.
  9120.  
  9121. “Are you by any chance thinking of going away somewhere?”
  9122.  
  9123. I feel like I heard something before about number three being her goal.
  9124.  
  9125. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but what does number three mean to her? Not number one, but right under Lupe. Doesn’t it seem like a reasonable goal?
  9126.  
  9127. Like a good stopping point.
  9128.  
  9129. “...Whaaat? Like where? This is the only place I have.”
  9130.  
  9131. After raising her eyebrows a bit, she smiled. Lupe looked outside, and I could tell she was disengaging.
  9132.  
  9133.  
  9134.  
  9135.  
  9136.  
  9137. 243 | P a g e
  9138.  
  9139.  
  9140. I think she meant, If you’re going to dig into it, you’re on your own. This was my responsibility.
  9141.  
  9142. I clenched my fists on the table.
  9143.  
  9144. “You can go anywhere you want, can’t you Miss Haru? There’s nothing tying you down. You’re free, strong, cheerful. You’re the kind of person who can survive anywhere. You’re probably sick of it here. You want to go somewhere new, right? Please tell me truthfully.”
  9145.  
  9146. Miss Haru sighed. Then she said, “You really say what you mean now, Kiyori, huh?” sounding half-exasperated, half-amused.
  9147.  
  9148. It’s thanks to you, Miss Haru.
  9149.  
  9150. “You know Widgecraft, right? That lewd old guy I introduced you to before. I tried going with him and his friends into the woods.”
  9151.  
  9152. Both my and Lupe’s eyes widened at the unexpected response.
  9153.  
  9154. She had also noticed that Miss Haru had been preoccupied, but she never would have imagined that it was occupied by the demon lair. Me neither.
  9155.  
  9156. Actually, why didn’t she take me along? I’ve been telling her over and over how much I want to go.
  9157.  
  9158. “It’s not like I want to go far away or anything. There’s just something that’s bugging me. So I want to take a little trip to confirm.”
  9159.  
  9160. “I’ll go with you.”
  9161.  
  9162. “No, I get that you want to go. But I’m not using the usual army-sanctioned route. ’Cause I’m not a Sister, right? So I can’t take you. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, though.”
  9163.  
  9164. “If that sort of route exists, I’m fine taking it. Please take me. I want to go with you.”
  9165.  
  9166. “No. It’s super dangerous. I can’t take you.”
  9167.  
  9168.  
  9169.  
  9170.  
  9171.  
  9172. 244 | P a g e
  9173.  
  9174.  
  9175. “Why not? I may not look very reliable, but even I’m a Sister with an angel name from the church. I may not be able to fight, but I can at least save everyone with my healing magic. And I can even put up holy barriers—”
  9176.  
  9177. “I don’t mean like that. It’s impossible on a way more basic level. There’s no time to use healing magic. Where I’m going, you die instantly if you get hit. It’s survival of the fittest out there, so I really can’t recommend it.”
  9178.  
  9179. “If I were scared to die, I wouldn’t want to be an adventurer in the first place. I want to go deeper into the woods than any other team and give the women of this world some courage. If possible, I want to be the number-one team with you, Miss Haru. I want to show everyone that girls can do it too!”
  9180.  
  9181. “Have you always been so ambitious, Kiyori...?”
  9182.  
  9183. It’s thanks to you, Miss Haru.
  9184.  
  9185. Watching you, I discovered what it means to want something.
  9186.  
  9187. And I’m pretty sure I’m brave, too.
  9188.  
  9189. “But you have to understand. There’s no glory for girls in the woods. It’s a slimier, muddier, creepier place than you think. How can I explain it...? It’s not like there’s anything to achieve in there. I think you’d have a much better life if you found a dream, or goal, or whatever on this side.”
  9190.  
  9191. “But you’re going, aren’t you? I can’t be so stupid as to give up before even seeing it.”
  9192.  
  9193. “I’m telling you, it’s different from what you think. It’s a place where demons are on the rampage, but first and foremost, it’s a place where the rules of this world don’t apply. Do you understand? There aren’t any soldiers or officials or townspeople. In other words, it’s a lawless land of men.” Miss Haru frowned.
  9194.  
  9195.  
  9196.  
  9197.  
  9198.  
  9199.  
  9200. 245 | P a g e
  9201.  
  9202. So? I pursed my lips and we glared at each other.
  9203.  
  9204. “U-Umm, can I ask you something, Haru? Why do you need to go to such a dangerous place so badly...?”
  9205.  
  9206. Without realizing it, I had gotten pretty absorbed in the conversation, to the point that I nearly gave away Miss Haru’s true nature in front of Miss Lupe.
  9207.  
  9208. Miss Haru said, “Ahh,” with a smile and put her hands together. “Lupe, sorry. I’m going on sort of a secret adventure. If it seems like it will take a while, I’ll take a proper vacation, so please don’t tell Madam.”
  9209.  
  9210. “Miss Haru, let’s—”
  9211.  
  9212. “Okay, this conversation is overrrr. I answered your questions, so please don’t bring up any more stuff that will cause me trouble.”
  9213.  
  9214. Miss Lupe seemed like she had more to say, but Miss Haru ignored both of our looks and gazed down the street.
  9215.  
  9216. Her face was a wall in profile.
  9217.  
  9218. When this girl from another world looks far into the distance, our eyes can’t follow.
  9219.  
  9220. It’s so lonely because she doesn’t understand how we feel.
  9221.  
  9222. “...Speaking of the forest, I heard from a customer that there are penis-shaped monsters in there.”
  9223.  
  9224. “What the hell? I never heard that! Are you serious?”
  9225.  
  9226. “They rub up against dakimaku trees and squirt white stuff from their heads. They’re virgin monsters.”
  9227.  
  9228. “Ee-hee-hee-hee-hee. What? That’s hilarious. If I find one, I’ll jerk it off!”
  9229.  
  9230.  
  9231.  
  9232.  
  9233.  
  9234.  
  9235.  
  9236.  
  9237. 246 | P a g e
  9238.  
  9239.  
  9240. She really does like to talk nonsense. I’m not like Miss Lupe, so I don’t have the wherewithal to react to Miss Haru’s moods. I just get confused.
  9241.  
  9242. When I ask Miss Haru about the other world, she won’t tell me, and she won’t tell me what sort of person God is, either. On top of that, she won’t tell me what she wants to do, so I get the feeling our friendship is pointless.
  9243.  
  9244. Maybe one day she just won’t come back. I end up imagining lonely things like that.
  9245.  
  9246. She must not understand that feeling. Or maybe I just don’t mean anything to Miss Haru.
  9247.  
  9248. “I’m going.”
  9249.  
  9250. I put the money for my tea on the table and left.
  9251.  
  9252. Mr. Sumo was about to bring us cake, but I had him cancel my order.
  9253.  
  9254. I feel like I’ve been irritated more often lately.
  9255.  
  9256.  
  9257. But Miss Lupe taught me that in front of a man, you have to be pleasant, so I’m forcing myself to smile even if I’m not in the mood. This is Kiyori.
  9258.  
  9259. “Everything tastes delicious when I’m with you.”
  9260.  
  9261. I can even come up with this kind of fawning line when he orders way too much greasy meat without even asking what I want.
  9262.  
  9263. Even if you can’t keep the conversation moving completely smoothly, the guys will be fine as long as you say something cute at key moments. That’s another thing Lupe taught me.
  9264.  
  9265.  
  9266.  
  9267.  
  9268.  
  9269.  
  9270.  
  9271.  
  9272. 247 | P a g e
  9273.  
  9274.  
  9275. He—his name is Killak—blushed with a smile. He’s a B-Rank adventurer, and five years older than me.
  9276.  
  9277. I can’t quite call him my boyfriend, but I cheer for him at his matches (although I don’t gamble), and sometimes we have tea and talk, so we’re friends.
  9278.  
  9279. For the past several days, I’m not sure why, but he’s been complimenting me, consoling me, and touching my head and shoulders a lot more. Judging from my experience with Mr. Endless Crimson Rain, he’ll probably want to get seriously physical soon.
  9280.  
  9281. But both Miss Lupe and Miss Haru are against it. “Don’t let him right away!” They say I don’t have to do it unless I want to.
  9282.  
  9283. They can say that, but I don’t really feel like I’ll ever want to do it, and I don’t think a man would hang around with a woman who refuses.
  9284.  
  9285. Mr. Killak has a plain face, but he’s B-Rank and dresses flashily, and women like him. I think other Sisters have been asking him to be their partner.
  9286.  
  9287. In other words, I have rivals. I’m being appraised.
  9288.  
  9289. So in order to get him to take me into the forest, I have to get him to be more interested in me than the other Sisters. If he wants my body, I’ll have to give it to him. Of course, if Miss Haru would take me, I wouldn’t have this problem, but...
  9290.  
  9291. People like Miss Haru with special powers don’t understand this, I guess. In order to stand at the entrance to the forest, we have to win this battle. Men always have their pick of the women.
  9292.  
  9293. But it’s not as if I dislike him, and I’m always saying I want a strong boyfriend who I’ll be able to count on when we’re adventuring, so I can’t go back now.
  9294.  
  9295.  
  9296.  
  9297.  
  9298.  
  9299.  
  9300.  
  9301. 248 | P a g e
  9302.  
  9303.  
  9304. “Uh, the weather seems like it’s going to go bad, so do you want to go to my room?” he mumbled under a blue sky.
  9305.  
  9306. Of course, I said, “Sure.”
  9307.  
  9308. I only do it because it’s necessary.
  9309.  
  9310. I certainly don’t have regrets.
  9311.  
  9312.  
  9313. All he does is suck my nipples, and it’s driving me crazy. This is Kiyori.
  9314.  
  9315. At first I could moan like it felt good, but as he was sucking away like a mosquito, it started to hurt, and I got annoyed. When I said, “Nnn,” half in protest, he thought for some reason that I was gasping and started grabbing my breasts and leaving kiss marks there, too.
  9316.  
  9317. “Nn, no.”
  9318.  
  9319. I accidentally said no. But maybe he couldn’t hear it, or he interpreted it in some other way, because he started breathing even harder and keep sucking on my skin.
  9320.  
  9321. “You’re getting off that much just from your chest? And it’s only your first time!”
  9322.  
  9323. Why do men and women have such a hard time understanding each other? When I said, “Please don’t say things like that,” he got even happier for some reason and starting going on about his technique.
  9324.  
  9325. “Ngh, nn!”
  9326.  
  9327. He had only just started touching me down there when suddenly he put a finger in. It hurt to be rubbed when it was dry, but he forced it all the way to the back and said, “Oh, you’re wet already.”
  9328.  
  9329.  
  9330.  
  9331.  
  9332.  
  9333.  
  9334.  
  9335.  
  9336. 249 | P a g e
  9337.  
  9338.  
  9339. I didn’t think so, but when I said, “I don’t know,” he said, “You can just leave it to me,” as he took out the luvya grass and put some on his finger.
  9340.  
  9341. “It might hurt at first, but it’ll feel better soon,” he said as he put two fingers in. That really hurt, but when I said so, and that I was sorry, he said, “Then do you wanna do it without the luvya?” That would have been even worse, so I just put up with it.
  9342.  
  9343. “They say that women get off more without luvya. Well, we can get there eventually.”
  9344.  
  9345. That has to be a lie.
  9346.  
  9347. But if this man chooses me as his partner, he might actually want me to do it without the luvya eventually. I’ll just have to get him to forgive me for not allowing that.
  9348.  
  9349. The other thing I was kind of thinking about, although it was probably rude, was how Mr. Endless Crimson Rain mainly lay around like a dead fish. I think that was actually easier because I was able to prepare myself.
  9350.  
  9351. Mr. Killak seemed to like playing with women’s bodies, but it didn’t feel good at all. I felt like I was being kneaded like some dough, and that was it. If we’re going to keep seeing each other I’ll have to find an opportunity to ask him to touch me a little more gently.
  9352.  
  9353. I understood how hard Miss Haru and Miss Lupe have it at work.
  9354.  
  9355. “Kiyori, I’m sure you’ll get addicted to my cock real soon. I can’t believe this is your first time when you’re so dirty... I’ll be gentle and teach you, though,” he panted.
  9356.  
  9357. Mr. Killak forced himself in. The luvya made things slide a little more easily, but it still rubbed in a way that hurt.
  9358.  
  9359. “Nn, ow...”
  9360.  
  9361.  
  9362.  
  9363.  
  9364. 250 | P a g e
  9365.  
  9366. “How is it? Does it hurt?”
  9367.  
  9368. “Uh, no, I’m all right...”
  9369.  
  9370. “You can tell me if it hurts. I’ll go slow.”
  9371.  
  9372. Oh, so you’re going to move, then. I spread my knees a bit to give him space.
  9373.  
  9374. He moved his hips in quivering little motions, grinding deep inside me. It wasn’t slow, but more like he was doing push-ups. His bumped his whole body into me.
  9375.  
  9376. Panting.
  9377.  
  9378. Yes, I’m sure that’ll wear you out. I remember what a hard time I had when Mr. Endless Crimson Rain told me to get on top.
  9379.  
  9380. “U-Umm, you don’t have to work so hard...”
  9381.  
  9382. “It’s okay. Like I said, you can, leave it to me. Ahhh. Does it hurt? Does it still hurt?”
  9383.  
  9384. Honestly, it hurts, and you’re crushing me. But I couldn’t say something like that to someone who was trying so hard.
  9385.  
  9386. So I told him it didn’t hurt. Then he asked, “Does it feel good?”
  9387.  
  9388. I don’t know why those are the only two options, but I said, “Yes, it feels good,” because I figured he’d be happier that way.
  9389.  
  9390. “Huh? Are you really a virgin?”
  9391.  
  9392. Then he got upset instead.
  9393.  
  9394. I had no idea what to do, so I said, “I’m sorry.”
  9395.  
  9396. “Whoa, wait a sec. Are you serious? This isn’t your first time?”
  9397.  
  9398. He had been saying things that seemed to imply that it was my first time, but I thought he meant my first time with him, so I didn’t feel like I needed to correct him. I did wonder why he kept confirming that point, though.
  9399.  
  9400.  
  9401.  
  9402.  
  9403. 251 | P a g e
  9404.  
  9405.  
  9406. Mr. Killak started moving his hips so fast the bed creaked. It felt like he was torturing me, and it hurt even more.
  9407.  
  9408. “Ah, ah, shit! What, the fuck. I didn’t know that! Oooh, ooh...!”
  9409.  
  9410. Then he suddenly ejaculated inside me and got all angry. “Why?! I had sex with you because I thought I was your first. And you’re a Sister, so usually you’d be a virgin!”
  9411.  
  9412. He put on his underwear in a huff. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started gathering up my Sister habit.
  9413.  
  9414. “U-Umm, why are you angry?”
  9415.  
  9416. “The question is, why aren’t you a virgin?!”
  9417.  
  9418. Why? All I could really say is that I had been living my life.
  9419.  
  9420. And it’s not as if I’d done anything so horrible.
  9421.  
  9422. “Anyone who gets tricked this badly would be mad! I’ve been swindled—swindled! How much money do you think I’ve spent on you? Fuck. Get out of here, you slut! I never want to see your face again!”
  9423.  
  9424. “What? Umm, please wait. I...!”
  9425.  
  9426. I had barely any clothes on, but he threw me out. I rushed into the shadows to finish dressing and cried a little bit.
  9427.  
  9428. I don’t know why such an awful thing should happen to me. I must still be making a mistake somewhere in there.
  9429.  
  9430. Like Miss Haru says, I’m an “annoying woman,” so I get on people’s nerves without realizing it.
  9431.  
  9432. Maybe it’s all my fault.
  9433.  
  9434.  
  9435. “...I see. Well, young guys can be pretty fastidious.”
  9436.  
  9437.  
  9438.  
  9439.  
  9440.  
  9441.  
  9442. 252 | P a g e
  9443.  
  9444. “Fastidious? His room was a mess, though.”
  9445.  
  9446. “Not like that. I mean they like virgins. There are a lot of guys who will refuse you just for having had sex with another guy.”
  9447.  
  9448. When I told Miss Lupe that I’d apparently been dumped, she explained the reason right away.
  9449.  
  9450. I guess men are happy to be a woman’s first. Especially young men and old men.
  9451.  
  9452. Apparently they get customers at the brothel who prefer virgins, too, so baby-faced Miss Lupe gets asked to pretend it’s her first time. Apparently they like Sisters, too.
  9453.  
  9454. This is Kiyori. I’m learning a lot today.
  9455.  
  9456. “You wear cute clothes and come off as earnest and naive, so I guess you give the impression that you’re a virgin.”
  9457.  
  9458. “Really? There are lots of Sisters with boyfriends, though. Plus many of them, even ones who seem good on the surface, are actually pretty catty.”
  9459.  
  9460. “But they’ll still be popular. The way you all dress and talk is so pure. They know how to sell themselves.”
  9461.  
  9462. I don’t get it.
  9463.  
  9464. If we’re so popular, wouldn’t people assume many of us have boyfriends?
  9465.  
  9466. “So it’s not your fault at all, Kiyori. That guy was just a baby. Ahhh. If he were my customer I’d have him so whipped he’d never say anything about the state of my virginity ever again,” Miss Lupe said with a cute, mischievous grin.
  9467.  
  9468. I gave her an awkward smile in return. I’m still not used to the gap between her baby-face and her training abilities.
  9469.  
  9470. But I’m happy.
  9471.  
  9472.  
  9473.  
  9474.  
  9475. 253 | P a g e
  9476.  
  9477.  
  9478. It’s great to have friends who will listen to my complaints at times like this.
  9479.  
  9480. Although one was missing.
  9481.  
  9482. “...Haru said she’s going to be taking some time off.” It seemed like it was hard for her to say, but she smiled.
  9483.  
  9484. I apologized for leaving in such a rude way the other day and asked her something that had been on my mind.
  9485.  
  9486. “Miss Lupe, do you ever wonder what you’d do if Miss Haru went away?’
  9487.  
  9488. I do.
  9489.  
  9490. I realize I expect too much from her, but she’s enlightened me about so many things, and to be frank, I respect her. After all, she’s God’s chosen hero.
  9491.  
  9492. If she went away, I have the feeling the world might even be in trouble. And even more than that, I think I’d be so lonely I’d want to die.
  9493.  
  9494. Miss Lupe probably found it strange that I asked her so seriously with such a pale face, but then she said, “Hmm,” with a smile. “I’d probably cry a ton. I’d sob and sob. But by later that day I think I’d be smiling at customers and having sex. And as I put on the act in front of the customers, I’d gradually forget I was sad. I know because I have a lot of experiences with that. I don’t even remember the face of the first guy I slept with anymore.”
  9495.  
  9496. ...I started to really hate how stupid I am.
  9497.  
  9498. I was only worried about my own feelings, like, “If this happened, I would be sad,” or “I’d hate it.”
  9499.  
  9500. It was insensitive of me to ask her something like that right after she lost her dear friend Miss Shequraso.
  9501.  
  9502.  
  9503.  
  9504.  
  9505.  
  9506.  
  9507. 254 | P a g e
  9508.  
  9509.  
  9510. “So if that day comes, I’ll hope you’ll get really sad and complain in my place. I’ll be in charge of consoling you and listening to your gripes.” Then, with her usual kind expression, she said, “You’re the only friend I have who will remember those things and say them straight out. Don’t you go anywhere, okay?”
  9511.  
  9512. I understood why Miss Haru respects her so much.
  9513.  
  9514. I wouldn’t mind being whipped if it was Miss Lupe doing the whipping.
  9515.  
  9516. “S-Sorry to keep you waiting.”
  9517.  
  9518. Mr. Sumo brought out our cute cakes.
  9519.  
  9520. He told us it was the new cake for spring. I remembered that I had canceled my portion the other day and apologized.
  9521.  
  9522. “I-It’s no problem.” Mr. Sumo didn’t get mad, but just smiled weakly as always.
  9523.  
  9524. I’ve heard the story of his bravery from Miss Haru and Miss Lupe, but he really doesn’t strike me as the type who could oppose the guild master’s son.
  9525.  
  9526. He makes great cake, though.
  9527.  
  9528.  
  9529. I stop by the church once a week to pray.
  9530.  
  9531. Lately I’m busy with all the work that gets shoved off on me at the hospital, and I have to start my search for a partner over from scratch, so I might not be able to come for a while. I decided to pray a little longer than usual.
  9532.  
  9533. Dear God, please give me luck with work.
  9534.  
  9535. Praying for yourself like that is against the rules, so I don’t say anything like that.
  9536.  
  9537.  
  9538.  
  9539.  
  9540.  
  9541. 255 | P a g e
  9542.  
  9543. “Kiyori, how’s it going lately?”
  9544.  
  9545. Another Sister, Miss Hasper, brought her friends over and said hi.
  9546.  
  9547. “It’s going,” I answered, almost carelessly.
  9548.  
  9549. Miss Hasper seemed to think that was a strange response and raised her eyebrows.
  9550.  
  9551. Honestly, I don’t know why she was talking to me. To be frank, I’m pretty sure she and her friends hate me.
  9552.  
  9553. So there’s no misunderstanding, I’ll add that for some reason most of the Sisters hate me, so it’s probably not them, but me. Because I’m an annoying woman.
  9554.  
  9555. “Hmmm? I thought you would mumble about work, but you’re a bit different now. Is it maybe because you slept with a guy?”
  9556.  
  9557. “So you’ve graduated from being so serious? You were always so popular, so you must have found a good catch, huh?”
  9558.  
  9559. “She’s probably doing them all. Ah-ha-ha. With that face and that chest, getting guys must be a piece of cake!”
  9560.  
  9561. What is all this about? It’s really uncomfortable.
  9562.  
  9563. I don’t recall ever doing anything to them. If they’re going to bother me so blatantly, I wish they would at least tell me why they don’t like me. I asked once before, but they just said, “Ask the mirror,” so I gave up.
  9564.  
  9565. “I’m sorry.”
  9566.  
  9567. I figured if I apologized that would make things better. Then I thought I would leave, but Miss Hasper called out to stop me.
  9568.  
  9569. “Kiyori, I heard you want to go into the forest.” I turned around without thinking.
  9570.  
  9571.  
  9572.  
  9573.  
  9574.  
  9575.  
  9576.  
  9577.  
  9578. 256 | P a g e
  9579.  
  9580.  
  9581. Miss Hasper is a more experienced Sister who has had a boyfriend and been going to the forest for a long time. That said, I know she doesn’t do it for peace or exploration.
  9582.  
  9583. She and her Sister friends go with their adventurer boyfriends in groups of couples to hang out. To let off steam. I don’t think I should have too much to do with them.
  9584.  
  9585. But Miss Hasper said something I didn’t expect. “Actually, Killak is one of our friends.” “He said he wanted to see you again.”
  9586.  
  9587. “Yeah, he asked us to give you a message. He said he would make you his partner and take you into the forest. What do you say?”
  9588.  
  9589. What do I say? Honestly, I didn’t trust Mr. Killak very much at that point.
  9590.  
  9591. But since I wasn’t a virgin anymore, it would only get harder for me to find a partner.
  9592.  
  9593. More than anything, if I didn’t find one soon, I wouldn’t be able to catch up to Miss Haru. It was a really pressing issue for me.
  9594.  
  9595. “I-I want to go. My friend went into the forest!”
  9596.  
  9597. I clenched my fists and told them my genuine feelings, and they nodded, grinning. “Oh? Okay, then.”
  9598.  
  9599. “Don’t worry. We’ll be there too.”
  9600.  
  9601. Going with them actually made me even more nervous, but I thought I should try to be optimistic since I was finally going to go on an adventure.
  9602.  
  9603. This has been Kiyori.
  9604.  
  9605.  
  9606.  
  9607.  
  9608.  
  9609.  
  9610. 257 | P a g e
  9611.  
  9612.  
  9613. Registering with the Adventurers’ Guild was far simpler than I expected.
  9614.  
  9615. Or rather, the old man at the window hardly looked at the paperwork. Mr. Killak and the others said, “Hurry up, old man,” rudely rushing him, so he just stamped the approval and handed it back.
  9616.  
  9617. What? It was this easy?
  9618.  
  9619. But my name was on the license. This is Kiyori.
  9620.  
  9621. I had wanted a license for so long, but they didn’t give me time to bask in those emotions. And I didn’t get to savor the moment of stepping over the adventurer line for the first time, either— they grabbed my hand and pulled me into the forest.
  9622.  
  9623. At the entrance there were several torches along the path, so it was bright, but deeper in it got dark and I was scared I would be swallowed up.
  9624.  
  9625. This is the demon forest. I’m sure Miss Haru is somewhere up ahead...
  9626.  
  9627. “Oh, that’s where the serious ones go.”
  9628.  
  9629. “We have girls with us today, so we’re going this way.”
  9630.  
  9631. But they tried to take me down a side path. That one was dark, too, but somehow it felt even worse.
  9632.  
  9633. “Please wait. I want to go this way. Don’t worry. I brought my holy objects and holy water, I’ve been purified, and I’m at full holy power.”
  9634.  
  9635. “Uh, are you serious? That’s hilarious.”
  9636.  
  9637. “You don’t need that stuff. We have drinks, so let’s just have fun today.”
  9638.  
  9639.  
  9640.  
  9641.  
  9642.  
  9643.  
  9644.  
  9645. 258 | P a g e
  9646.  
  9647.  
  9648. “I-I can’t. Sisters who serve God are prohibited from drinking alcohol.”
  9649.  
  9650. “Hey, hey, girls. This one’s got some issues.”
  9651.  
  9652. “Kiyori, get a clue. You’re just going to ruin the atmosphere if you start acting all serious now.”
  9653.  
  9654. “Let’s party, de-virgin’d Kiyori!”
  9655.  
  9656. “Please wait, what do you mean ‘party’? We Sisters are meant to use the power of God to assist adventurers in the fight against dangerous demons and—”
  9657.  
  9658. “Okay, okay. Assist, right. Let’s assist and unite!”
  9659.  
  9660. At the end of the narrow path was a more open area.
  9661.  
  9662. There were bottles and food remnants scattered around. For some reason there were even shoes and clothes abandoned there, and it smelled strange. They sat me down and tried to get me to drink. Miss Hasper and the others drank on their own.
  9663.  
  9664. I didn’t really care that the others were drinking, but for a Sister, drinking is a foolish act that weakens their powers and their faith.
  9665.  
  9666. “Miss Hasper, girls, you shouldn’t! We’re servants of God!” When I shouted, everyone was shocked into silence.
  9667.  
  9668. Then they sighed in an exaggerated way.
  9669.  
  9670. “Shut up, Kiyori.”
  9671.  
  9672. “Why do you always...gotta be such a goody two-shoes?”
  9673.  
  9674. “Don’t get on your high horse just because your face is a little prettier than the rest of ours.”
  9675.  
  9676. “You think you’re on the side of justice if you act all serious and modest with that face of yours. Our superiors and the men all like you and think you’re cute.”
  9677.  
  9678.  
  9679.  
  9680.  
  9681.  
  9682. 259 | P a g e
  9683.  
  9684.  
  9685. “You’re not a virgin, anyways! You’re having fun doing whatever, so don’t try to be all holy woman!”
  9686.  
  9687. I really don’t understand why Miss Hasper and the others got so angry. I didn’t say anything wrong. Watching all the girls fight, Mr. Killak and the other men smirked.
  9688.  
  9689. “Hey, Hasper. Ready to do it?”
  9690.  
  9691. Miss Hasper scowled at me for a moment and then said, “Do it.”
  9692.  
  9693. The men stood up and surrounded me.
  9694.  
  9695. I got the sense that I was really in danger, and I wanted to run away, but they knocked me down in the blink of an eye and a man got on top of me.
  9696.  
  9697. Mr. Killak looked down at me with a cruel glint in his eye.
  9698.  
  9699. “You reap what you sow, you ugly bitch. We’re gonna get you back on behalf of all the guys you’ve tricked.”
  9700.  
  9701. They forced a bottle into my mouth. I choked on the hot liquid that burned as it went down my throat.
  9702.  
  9703. “Yeah, drink up! Drink, Sister!”
  9704.  
  9705. But they held my head down and poured the alcohol into my mouth. I could barely breathe, so I coughed it up and they all laughed at me. They poured it on my face and hair.
  9706.  
  9707. My chest and throat felt hot. I thought I was going to die, it was so bad. But then my head got all fuzzy and my tongue got tangled. I couldn’t even beg for my life.
  9708.  
  9709. “Help... M-My chest...”
  9710.  
  9711. “Huh? You want me to grope your chest?”
  9712.  
  9713. “She’s a nasty one, all right. Strip her, strip her!”
  9714.  
  9715. The men violently ripped off my sacred Sister habit.
  9716.  
  9717.  
  9718.  
  9719.  
  9720.  
  9721. 260 | P a g e
  9722.  
  9723.  
  9724. I was so groggy I didn’t have the energy to resist even though I knew what they were about to do to me. They peeled off my underwear and spread my legs. Then they laughed and poured alcohol down there, too.
  9725.  
  9726. “Help me...Miss Hasperrr...”
  9727.  
  9728. The girls had turned their backs and were saying mean things about me amongst themselves. “This is divine punishment,” they kept saying. “This is her fault, so what does she expect?” They talked fast, repeating those sorts of things over and over.
  9729.  
  9730. What did I ever do to them? Did I really do something that would warrant this?
  9731.  
  9732. Someone’s hand groped my chest, and someone’s head moved toward down there. I squeezed the word “help” out of my throat, but maybe because I was so drunk, I couldn’t scream like I wanted to.
  9733.  
  9734. I cried and asked them to please at least use luvya grass. But they laughed at that, too.
  9735.  
  9736. “You already wanna do it? You’re so funny.”
  9737.  
  9738. “That’s Kiyori the Slut for ya!”
  9739.  
  9740. “Sorry, I forgot the luvya. Just for today it’s fine without, right?”
  9741.  
  9742. “I’ll cum a lot for you, so let’s have fun, Kiyori.”
  9743.  
  9744. In utter despair, I was losing hope.
  9745.  
  9746. This was the demon forest.
  9747.  
  9748. Only horrible monsters could survive here.
  9749.  
  9750. Miss Haru. Please come save me, Miss Haru.
  9751.  
  9752. “U-Uh? Oh shit. Is this some party zone for the popular kids? Am I interrupting?”
  9753.  
  9754. Just then, I heard a voice I recognized talking really fast.
  9755.  
  9756.  
  9757.  
  9758.  
  9759.  
  9760. 261 | P a g e
  9761.  
  9762.  
  9763. He surprised everyone coming out of the dark like that, but he was even more shocked than they were. He was totally awkward.
  9764.  
  9765. Yes, it was Mr. Endless Crimson Rain.
  9766.  
  9767. I didn’t even call him, but he came.
  9768.  
  9769. When he saw me and all the men holding me down—“Oh my god, it’s even a sex party”—he backed up and put his hands to the ground—he actually bowed down to apologize. He hadn’t even been there five seconds yet.
  9770.  
  9771. I shouldn’t have had the wherewithal to think such a thing, but it was such a gorgeous prostration that I couldn’t help but be impressed.
  9772.  
  9773. It’s the natural posture of someone who has made a study of how much other people will have to see him prostrate himself in daily life.
  9774.  
  9775. After performing that complete prostration, so perfect I wanted to put it in textbooks and teach it to children, Mr. Endless Crimson Rain apologized. “I’m very sorry for disturbing your sex party.”
  9776.  
  9777. “...Mr....Crimson... More importantly...”
  9778.  
  9779. “...Huh? Is that...Kiyori?”
  9780.  
  9781. Mr. Endless Crimson Rain was surprised when he finally noticed me. “Are you serious? Were you filming with that videolator guy? I heard a rumor he stole you.” He said some other things I didn’t understand. “No, hold up. I’m not the type who gets turned on by this kind of thing, so it’s really annoying for it to come out of nowhere. But, huh? Wait a sec. That’s one thing, but... Ah, I got an itch... No, that’s not right. I’m not about to get all excited by being forced to grovel at the scene of an orgy featuring my ex-girlfriend...
  9782.  
  9783. Huh? What the hell? What is up with me...?”
  9784.  
  9785. “P-Please save me... Help...!”
  9786.  
  9787.  
  9788.  
  9789.  
  9790. 262 | P a g e
  9791.  
  9792. “Huh? Nah, I’m the one who wants to be saved here.”
  9793.  
  9794. He is honestly so hopelessly dense and doesn’t listen, and it irritates me, but it occurred to me—with this awful timing—that maybe I was looking in a mirror, and it hurt. A lot.
  9795.  
  9796. “What’s with this guy? How lame. What’s he groveling for?”
  9797.  
  9798. “Ohh, I know that guy. That’s the C-Ranker Endless Crimson Rain something or other. He started off real strong, but hasn’t shown up lately.”
  9799.  
  9800. “Yeah, some guys are like that. Maybe they have a little talent, but they don’t put in the work, so they go nowhere.”
  9801.  
  9802. “They underestimate the sword-fighting world, so they get buried. Get outta here. We don’t have any use for pipsqueaks like you.”
  9803.  
  9804. “This is the B-Ranker Killak. I’m sure you know who he is. If you get it, then disappear. Quit hanging around.”
  9805.  
  9806. The men laughed at Mr. Endless Crimson Rain, too.
  9807.  
  9808. I was so frustrated I started to cry.
  9809.  
  9810. I don’t care anymore, so at least you should run away.
  9811.  
  9812. “What’s that?” Mr. Endless Crimson Rain said in a disappointed voice as he looked up. He stood and dusted off his knees. “Sheesh!” he laughed. “A B-Ranker pipsqueak boy? I mistook you for people with actual lives and bowed—my mistake! Agh. So what, now? What are you assholes doing to Legend Innodiator of Roaring Flames, THE Endless Crimson Rain @ Thousand Chiba P’s ex-girlfriend?”
  9813.  
  9814. Upon a sudden shift in attitude, Mr. Legend Innodi-something-or-other drew his sword and casually approached.
  9815.  
  9816.  
  9817.  
  9818.  
  9819.  
  9820.  
  9821.  
  9822.  
  9823.  
  9824.  
  9825. 263 | P a g e
  9826.  
  9827.  
  9828. I had seen all sorts of duels in the arena, but this was the first time I saw men fighting outside. They weren’t holding back. It was a fight for their lives.
  9829.  
  9830. I had seen Mr. Endless Crimson Rain in the arena, thought he was pretty strong for an amateur C-Ranker, and followed his progress.
  9831.  
  9832. But I learned that he hadn’t been taking it seriously.
  9833.  
  9834. The fight was over almost immediately.
  9835.  
  9836. But that wasn’t the end of it. Long after they could no longer hold their swords and had lost all will to fight, he was still harassing them.
  9837.  
  9838. Mr. Endless Crimson Rain was actually incredibly relentless. I learned that in the arena when he won so simply and shook his opponent’s hand, that was just his business face.
  9839.  
  9840. He was totally wicked and tormented them in cruel ways. He picked up bugs with an awful lot of legs and ordered the men to eat them.
  9841.  
  9842. Though I didn’t feel any sympathy for them, it wasn’t a scene I particularly wanted to see, either.
  9843.  
  9844. At Mr. Endless Crimson Rain’s orders, I borrowed one of the capes of the men who were forced to grovel naked on the ground, put it on, and went over by Miss Hasper and the other girls who were trembling in the corner of the clearing.
  9845.  
  9846. “Eek!”
  9847.  
  9848. They averted their eyes and looked down.
  9849.  
  9850. I asked them why they wouldn’t look at me. “Didn’t you say this was my divine punishment? Didn’t you want to watch?”
  9851.  
  9852.  
  9853.  
  9854.  
  9855.  
  9856.  
  9857.  
  9858.  
  9859. 264 | P a g e
  9860.  
  9861.  
  9862. Miss Hasper said in a shaking voice, her teeth chattering, “...Th-They said they wanted to do it...so we didn’t have a choice...”
  9863.  
  9864. I should be very ashamed of this as a Sister, but the next thing I did was raise my leg and kick her in the face.
  9865.  
  9866. “Your divine punishment is coming up next! You better watch out!”
  9867.  
  9868. I called out to Mr. Endless Crimson Rain and said we should go home.
  9869.  
  9870. He looked pretty smug with all those beat-up guys scattered at his feet.
  9871.  
  9872. “Huh? Oh no. When I snap, I have this tendency to black out and go nuts. Did I do something again?”
  9873.  
  9874. I told him that wasn’t necessary and that we should go, so we left together.
  9875.  
  9876. I cast a disparaging look at Mr. Killak and the boyfriends of Miss Hasper and the other girls. It was possible they had been injured in ways they couldn’t recover from, but if the Sisters, who had worked so hard without alcohol to perfect their holy powers, cast a healing spell on them, they would be fine. How handy to have a Sister for a girlfriend.
  9877.  
  9878. Miss Hasper and the others kept calling out to me, but I pretended I couldn’t hear them.
  9879.  
  9880. Mr. Endless Crimson Rain pushed back his hard, red bangs (they didn’t go back, though) and smiled. “Man, it’s been a while since I got that pissed. I know it was to save you and all, but I didn’t mean to show my true powers. Don’t go getting another crush on me!”
  9881.  
  9882. What I had seen was less him trying his hardest and more like his true nature. I really thought the peak of his coolness had been his
  9883.  
  9884.  
  9885.  
  9886.  
  9887.  
  9888.  
  9889.  
  9890. 265 | P a g e
  9891.  
  9892.  
  9893. bow all the way to the ground, but I lowered my head and thanked him.
  9894.  
  9895. “You saved me. Thank you very much.”
  9896.  
  9897. Mr. Endless Crimson Rain blushed and smiled.
  9898.  
  9899. I think that was the first time I’d ever seen him be bashful. His face looked very much his age.
  9900.  
  9901. “So you’re that strong if you actually try. Why did you quit the arena?”
  9902.  
  9903. “Hm? Did I quit? I guess it’s more like I saw my limit.” “Limit? You’re still young, so I’m sure you can get stronger.” “What? I mean, to get stronger I’d have to work.” “So what about trying to work...?”
  9904.  
  9905. “I would never do that. Why should I have to work if I have cheat abilities? No one needs to see that. Isn’t a fun, sexy life and battle events enough?”
  9906.  
  9907. I didn’t really get what he was saying, as usual. But even if I could never be his lover, I realized that as an adventure partner, he was the quickest route to going after Miss Haru—I had to have his cooperation.
  9908.  
  9909. “...I’ll have to ask Miss Lupe tomorrow.”
  9910.  
  9911. “Huh? Did you say something? I’m one of those hard-of-hearing protagonists, so you’ll have to speak up.”
  9912.  
  9913. “Nothing.”
  9914.  
  9915. “Ah, I’m sure you confessed your love for me. I just know it. I really didn’t hear you, so could you please say it one more time?”
  9916.  
  9917. I just accidentally said my plan to ask her to train you into a warrior, that’s all.
  9918.  
  9919.  
  9920.  
  9921.  
  9922.  
  9923. 266 | P a g e
  9924.  
  9925. Please don’t give it another thought.
  9926.  
  9927.  
  9928. Two weeks later, Miss Haru came back to Mr. Sumo’s restaurant.
  9929.  
  9930. I just glared at her.
  9931.  
  9932. “What? You’re still mad? I told you: I had to go into the woods, but I wasn’t going to take you, and it’s not because I’m trying to be mean or some—”
  9933.  
  9934. “I understand that. I would just get in the way, and you didn’t want me to be in danger, right? I understand very well that you can’t go in there without someone you can really trust.”
  9935.  
  9936. “Huh? Did something happen?”
  9937.  
  9938. “Don’t worry about it. But I’m definitely going after you, so don’t let your guard down.”
  9939.  
  9940. “What’s with the wild streak? That’s oddly off from the Kiyori I know. Who are you?”
  9941.  
  9942. “Kiyori.”
  9943.  
  9944. Just so you know, a bunch of stuff has happened to me while you were gone. But that had nothing to do with Miss Haru.
  9945.  
  9946. “Something must have happened. Tell me, tell me. It’s like you got all tough when I wasn’t looking, and Lupe’s driving around dragging Chiba by a nose hook. I have no idea what’s going on!”
  9947.  
  9948. I was wondering what was going on too, but I just said, “It’s nothing.”
  9949.  
  9950. Next time I see Mr. Endless Crimson Rain, his nose might be a different shape.
  9951.  
  9952. “You’re strong, huh, Kiyori?” Miss Haru murmured.
  9953.  
  9954.  
  9955.  
  9956.  
  9957.  
  9958.  
  9959.  
  9960. 267 | P a g e
  9961.  
  9962. Who was the one who pushed me away because I was weak?
  9963.  
  9964. Isn’t that a contradiction?
  9965.  
  9966. When I said that, Miss Haru said, “No, I didn’t say you were weak. You’re strong. To be blunt, you were a weirdo before, and so serious, always pushing valid arguments, not thinking about anyone’s feelings. At the same time, you have such a cute face, and huge boobs, and all the guys like you best, so I kind of hated you.”
  9967.  
  9968. “You’re the first person to say it so clearly...” Really, I want to snap and black out...
  9969.  
  9970. But I felt better, having found out the root of all my interpersonal problems. Going forward, I’ll do what I can to deal with it.
  9971.  
  9972. “But Kiyori, you seem hard, but you’re soft. Or like, you’re flexible, but then rigid. Whatever my expectations are, you’ll betray them, so you’re fun to watch.”
  9973.  
  9974. “I don’t really think that reaches compliment status, but should I put up with it and keep listening?”
  9975.  
  9976. “Huh? Wasn’t I just complimenting you?”
  9977.  
  9978. “No. You were saying you observe me like I’m a pet or something.”
  9979.  
  9980. “Oh. Hee-hee-hee,” she laughed and said, “Then I’ll try to come up with something by next time.”
  9981.  
  9982. It’s not as if I want to be complimented. But I would like it if she would tell me someday what it is about me that makes me strong.
  9983.  
  9984. “I just want to be like you, Miss Haru.” She cocked her head to ask why.
  9985.  
  9986. I got a little grouchy and said, “Because you’re strong. Seeing you with the strength to move forward on your own makes me jealous.”
  9987.  
  9988.  
  9989.  
  9990.  
  9991.  
  9992. 268 | P a g e
  9993.  
  9994. But Miss Haru clammed up and got absorbed in her thoughts.
  9995.  
  9996. “...I’m actually the indecisive type that hesitates.”
  9997.  
  9998. Then she told me what happened in the forest.
  9999.  
  10000. She wasn’t scared to fight the demons. Widgecraft and his
  10001.  
  10002. friends were used to it, and they were cautious, and everyone was strong. Even when they stepped past the farthest point they had ever gone, they didn’t panic, but just made their way toward the demon lord’s castle.
  10003.  
  10004. But Miss Haru had stopped. She refused to go any farther.
  10005.  
  10006. She said that once she got within view of the demon lord, she got scared.
  10007.  
  10008. “Of course that would be scary. It’s not your fault, Miss Haru.
  10009.  
  10010. The demon lord is a cold-hearted demon, the strongest and most evil being in this world, enemy of humanity and God—”
  10011.  
  10012. “No, he’s not. He’s not like that.”
  10013.  
  10014. “He?”
  10015.  
  10016. “Sorry. I can’t say any more. I really can’t. I’m scared...to know the truth.”
  10017.  
  10018. Miss Haru said, “It was raining,” and started to cry. “It was cold rain, super cold. It’s probably never stopped raining there for hundreds of years. It’s got to be his—”
  10019.  
  10020. After that I couldn’t tell what she was saying. Miss Haru just sobbed painfully.
  10021.  
  10022. I didn’t know what to do, so I hugged her. When I touched her slender back, I was seized with regret for the things I said, and I started crying too.
  10023.  
  10024. How could I have been so insensitive as to ask her if she was sick of this place?
  10025.  
  10026.  
  10027.  
  10028.  
  10029. 269 | P a g e
  10030.  
  10031. She’s living here so fiercely.
  10032.  
  10033.  
  10034. “Nah, nah, sorry.” With tears still in her eyes, Miss Haru went home.
  10035.  
  10036. I apologized, but Miss Haru wouldn’t have it, saying, “It’s nothing you have to say sorry for, Kiyori,” and we got tired of apologizing to each other, so we said goodbye.
  10037.  
  10038. But I didn’t have the energy to go to the church (oh, and Miss Hasper was excommunicated—how awful), so I moved to the counter and had Mr. Sumo make me some tea.
  10039.  
  10040. Miss Haru wasn’t there, so I had to pay for it, but lately I’ve had no problem drinking tea by myself, so sometimes I come to relax on my own.
  10041.  
  10042. From the seat I picked I could see Mr. Sumo up close as he experimented with dainty foods.
  10043.  
  10044. “You’re so passionate.” I waited until he took a break before saying anything so I wouldn’t be in his way while he thought up a new cake.
  10045.  
  10046. Mr. Sumo smiled bashfully. “It’s my job,” he said, and got back to work.
  10047.  
  10048. I heard he used to hate his family’s business and never helped out. He started working in the kitchen when Miss Haru started coming and only got into cooking because she was such a picky customer—everyone from his dad, the owner, to the regulars knew that.
  10049.  
  10050. He had probably seen her crying just now.
  10051.  
  10052. I’m pretty sure they were tears over some other guy neither of us know.
  10053.  
  10054.  
  10055.  
  10056.  
  10057.  
  10058. 270 | P a g e
  10059.  
  10060. “...Are you making that cake for Miss Haru?”
  10061.  
  10062. I realized it was maybe a dense thing to ask, but when I want to know something, I want to know, so I asked him.
  10063.  
  10064. “Y-Yes...” he mumbled, not pausing the work I was interrupting. “But if Miss Haru likes it, I know the other customers will like it, too. No one else has ever made food for women, so I could be the number-one chef... Well, that’s what Miss Haru said...”
  10065.  
  10066. Maybe as he was talking he got embarrassed, because his voice got so tiny I could barely hear him at the end.
  10067.  
  10068. Then I finally said it. Something unnecessary. “Are you okay not being Haru’s number one?” Mr. Sumo looked up.
  10069.  
  10070. He didn’t get angry about my rude question, didn’t answer, but just smiled awkwardly.
  10071.  
  10072. A pure-white finger left flour on his cheek. Without saying a word, he nodded vaguely and went back to work.
  10073.  
  10074. I drank my tea and watched him.
  10075.  
  10076. I watched his big, plump hands make delicate cake decorations. I watched him draw patterns with sauce on the plates.
  10077.  
  10078. Then I remembered those fingers had had sex with Miss Haru— and I shivered down there.
  10079.  
  10080.  
  10081. So that’s what’s been up with me lately.
  10082.  
  10083. Sometimes I get depressed, but I’m having sexy times every day.
  10084.  
  10085. Speaking of sexy, Kiyori has been spending a lot of time alone in Sumo’s cafe lately. Lupe and I have been watching her, and when she
  10086.  
  10087.  
  10088.  
  10089.  
  10090.  
  10091.  
  10092. 271 | P a g e
  10093.  
  10094.  
  10095. looks at him, her eyes get sort of lusty. That might turn into something interesting.
  10096.  
  10097. I haven’t been back into the woods since then.
  10098.  
  10099. Widge invites me sometimes, but, mm, I dunno.
  10100.  
  10101. I’ll go sometime, but my objective probably isn’t the same as Widge and his friends’, so I might get a new team together before I try it again. I’m looking for pals I can trust with my back.
  10102.  
  10103. I’m not in a hurry, though. I know I’m still too low level to meet the demon lord, anyhow. And I’m still just a kid.
  10104.  
  10105. Oh, also, God came by for the first time in a while.
  10106.  
  10107. While he was fucking me, he complained that my price had gone up, and when he was done he was going to just leave, so I walloped him.
  10108.  
  10109. “How is Shequraso? You’re taking 100 percent responsibility for making sure her next life, her next-next life, and her next-next-next life are perfectly happy, right?” I asked, wringing his neck.
  10110.  
  10111. “I don’t know about her next-next life, but she did already pick her mom for her next life.”
  10112.  
  10113. Oh.
  10114.  
  10115. When I pressed him for details like if she’s rich, nice, pretty, or has great motherly morals, education, and a sense of responsibility, he laughed at me.
  10116.  
  10117. “Uhhh, I think she’ll be poor her whole life, and her morals and education strike me as particularly suspect. But Shequraso seems sure she’ll be happy with her.”
  10118.  
  10119. Huh. Is that lady really okay?
  10120.  
  10121.  
  10122.  
  10123.  
  10124.  
  10125.  
  10126.  
  10127.  
  10128.  
  10129. 272 | P a g e
  10130.  
  10131.  
  10132. I was worried because Shequraso has a tendency to make these sorts of important decisions in an arbitrary way. I need her to be happy, for real.
  10133.  
  10134. So I ordered God to take responsibility and watch over Shequraso and that stupid mom of hers from now on. He did a nasty spit-take—“Boo-ha!”—and then said, “Sure, sure.” Then he laughed at me again and left.
  10135.  
  10136. “Well then, I’ll stop by once in a while to check up on you.” Don’t come here, you idiot. Drop dead, God.
  10137.  
  10138. I chased him out by throwing a meat bone at him and then wished upon a star that Shequraso’s next life would be happy.
  10139.  
  10140. While I was at it, I wished for everyone in this world to be happy.
  10141.  
  10142. And everyone in the other world.
  10143.  
  10144. And then I wished that my wishes would reach someone responsible and not God.
  10145.  
  10146. That’s it! This has been Haru from another world!
  10147.  
  10148.  
  10149.  
  10150.  
  10151.  
  10152.  
  10153.  
  10154.  
  10155.  
  10156.  
  10157.  
  10158.  
  10159.  
  10160.  
  10161.  
  10162.  
  10163.  
  10164.  
  10165.  
  10166.  
  10167.  
  10168.  
  10169.  
  10170.  
  10171.  
  10172.  
  10173.  
  10174.  
  10175.  
  10176.  
  10177.  
  10178.  
  10179.  
  10180.  
  10181. 273 | P a g e
  10182.  
  10183.  
  10184. Special Short Story: Status List
  10185.  
  10186.  
  10187.  
  10188.  
  10189. So I’m a high-schooler, but I came to this other world and ended up a prostitute—that’s my dumb life right now, but I guess I got used to the work, and right when I was getting bored...I came across this sport called Kickin’ the Can.
  10190.  
  10191. The days I spent with my team of adorable, gentle boys made me nostalgic for my younger days, and I got so hooked on the game that I let the quality of my work slip.
  10192.  
  10193. But once the Kickin’ the Can tournament ended and all I had left was my job at the pub and brothel, I’ve felt like a kid in normal classes after the hustle and bustle of the Sports Festival.
  10194.  
  10195. I can’t mope around forever, though, so I’ve been trying to boost my sales, but it’s just not going very well.
  10196.  
  10197. “Oh, it’s Mister Chokey Idiot. Long time no see!”
  10198.  
  10199. “Hmm? Oh, you’re still here, Haru. I hadn’t seen you in a while, so I thought you quit.”
  10200.  
  10201. “Would I ever quit? Hey, seems like you’ve been cleaning up gambling lately, so how about with that cash, you and I—”
  10202.  
  10203. “Heh, sorry. Tonight I’m set on Shequraso. I’ll do your flat ass another day, heh-heh-heh. Wait a sec, who’re you callin’ Mister Chokey Idiot?”
  10204.  
  10205. “Oh, it’s Mister Naked Guitar Perv! It’s me, Mu-so-and-so from somewhere about the senses or something. Would you like to strum a tune with me?”
  10206.  
  10207. “Oh, uh, right. Sorry, but I’m here to listen to Shequraso sing tonight, so if you’ll excuse me...”
  10208.  
  10209.  
  10210.  
  10211.  
  10212.  
  10213. 274 | P a g e
  10214.  
  10215.  
  10216. My eroticism, which had been so effective in awakening the innocent boys to their sexuality during the tournament, was treated like a childish game in the brothel full of pros, and the gap in customer attention pained me.
  10217.  
  10218. Or rather, I felt like my intuition around the shop had dulled.
  10219.  
  10220. That’s what I get for playing heroine to children.
  10221.  
  10222. I’ll never reach my sales goals at this rate...! “Haru, that dress is cute. It looks great on you.”
  10223.  
  10224. As I was fretting, our singing princess Shequraso complimented my new dress as she passed by the other side of the stage.
  10225.  
  10226. I bought it with the prize money from Kickin’ the Can. Another one of the girls, Lupe, complimented it earlier. I’m just so happy that people are noticing. It cheers me up.
  10227.  
  10228. It looks a bit like my high-school uniform. I’m really glad I bought
  10229.  
  10230. it.
  10231.  
  10232. Shequraso was up on stage, radiant as always. She has a truly beautiful voice, and she’s at peak cool when she’s singing like this. It’s hard to believe she’s the same one who got mad at me for sleeping in until right before the shop opened.
  10233.  
  10234. Yeah. Everyone fights using their own weapons. When the pressure is on, they come through.
  10235.  
  10236. And they still manage to look out for their friends. The atmosphere of the shop is important, you know. They’re great communicators who not only read the vibes, but can change them, too. I really admire that about the higher-ranking girls. The number-one girl is a bit unique, but everyone is amazing.
  10237.  
  10238. So what’s my weapon, then? Is it that I’m the stupidest of us all? Being depressed is definitely a bad look.
  10239.  
  10240.  
  10241.  
  10242.  
  10243.  
  10244. 275 | P a g e
  10245.  
  10246. “Okay, let’s go, you guys!”
  10247.  
  10248. I burst onto the stage to hype up the audience. Some people enjoy my wotagei and dancing from the other world, and I twirled around with the spectators who were into the music.
  10249.  
  10250. It was really fun and all, but sometimes I feel like my place to shine is pretty limited.
  10251.  
  10252.  
  10253. “Are you stupid?”
  10254.  
  10255. Later, a customer was lecturing me.
  10256.  
  10257. When I was twirling around like crazy with the Shequraso otaku, I spilled someone’s drink. That’s like the number-one thing you’re not supposed to do.
  10258.  
  10259. “I’m sorry, sir...”
  10260.  
  10261. “And you were so loud, making a ruckus in the middle of the song. Some people want to listen in silence!”
  10262.  
  10263. I had my defenses: I only shouted between singing parts, and the band decides which songs are for partying to. I wasn’t just going nuts at random.
  10264.  
  10265. But there definitely are some customers who just want to enjoy the music, and even though it was a hyper otaku who shoved me, it was true that I was the one who spilled the drink. I didn’t even realize the ring of dancers had reached the customers sitting down with their glasses, so that was my fault.
  10266.  
  10267. I’m embarrassed, as a Shequraso otaku, to have committed such an error...!
  10268.  
  10269. “A child like you jumping around without thinking degrades the shop. There aren’t many places you can listen to quality music like this, you know.”
  10270.  
  10271.  
  10272.  
  10273.  
  10274. 276 | P a g e
  10275.  
  10276. “Right...I’m sorry.”
  10277.  
  10278. I guess I’m really not on today. Madam will scold me about this again later. I have to brace myself.
  10279.  
  10280. The customer in front of me was still young, with well-defined features, but he seemed a bit neurotic. If he were a school teacher, some of the girls would probably like him.
  10281.  
  10282. I don’t usually get along with that type, though. In junior high, I had a teacher who looked just like him who was always chewing me out.
  10283.  
  10284. “Sheesh. And your skirt is so short.” “Ugh...sorry...”
  10285.  
  10286. “You’re young, but you prefer this vulgar appearance? Did you not realize you’ve been flashing your underwear this whole time?”
  10287.  
  10288. He really is just like my teacher. I used to get scolded for the same kinds of things.
  10289.  
  10290. As he had me standing there to lecture me, he downed one drink after another. He kept grumbling, all the while ogling different parts of my body—my thighs, my chest.
  10291.  
  10292. Then in a low voice, he gestured at me slightly with his jaw. “...How much?”
  10293.  
  10294. “Huh?”
  10295.  
  10296. “Don’t misunderstand. I didn’t come here to buy a woman. I only came to listen to Shequraso sing.”
  10297.  
  10298. “Uh, okay?”
  10299.  
  10300. “But then you bothered me and ruined my mood. And I have serious reservations about your capability as a working girl. I just happen to have time, and if I’m going to be disturbed in this manner in the future, I won’t be able to drink here in peace, so I thought I
  10301.  
  10302.  
  10303.  
  10304.  
  10305. 277 | P a g e
  10306.  
  10307.  
  10308. would give you an extended, private warning. How much to be shown to your room?”
  10309.  
  10310. “It’s 80 rubers, but...”
  10311.  
  10312. “Hmm. Well, that’s probably reasonable.”
  10313.  
  10314. He stacked the money on the table. Of course, I wasn’t happy about being bought, more like, Uuuugh. I felt like I’d been ordered to stay after school—by that teacher I hated.
  10315.  
  10316. “Thank you...”
  10317.  
  10318. I trudged up to the second floor, holding my hands against my butt so my panties wouldn’t show—I didn’t want him to get mad again.
  10319.  
  10320. He glared at my ass the whole time, grumbling, “Don’t get any crazy ideas.”
  10321.  
  10322.  
  10323. “...Don’t misunderstand. I just wanted to try something. I knew what would happen. It’s the same as before... It’s not your fault.”
  10324.  
  10325. I thought I was going to get a lecture, but instead he told me to strip, so I stripped. Oh, so we’re gonna do it after all, I thought, but then he just sat on the bed and hung his head in his hands.
  10326.  
  10327. “I bought Shequraso before, too. It was the same way then. I’m what you call impotent. Maybe I’m sick. But you better not tell anyone. If you tell anyone, I’ll sue you!”
  10328.  
  10329. “Uh, okay...”
  10330.  
  10331. I won’t spread it around, but probably I’ll tell Lupe and Shequraso over lunch. That’s about the only place I really could talk about it, anyhow.
  10332.  
  10333.  
  10334.  
  10335.  
  10336.  
  10337.  
  10338.  
  10339.  
  10340. 278 | P a g e
  10341.  
  10342.  
  10343. Customers like this aren’t actually so uncommon. I mean, it’s a pub downstairs, so there are definitely guys who get wasted and buy a girl but can’t get it up.
  10344.  
  10345. We call those guys “take ’n runs”—because we have to give them their money back. We have no value if we don’t satisfy the customer. It’s a laugh, right? The misogy-fucking-ny of this shitty male-dominated society.
  10346.  
  10347. What a day. First a lecture, then he’s a take ’n run? I got caught by the worst customer in history. As I put on my clothes, I sighed in my head and asked, “Did you drink too much?”
  10348.  
  10349. “Does that have anything to do with it?”
  10350.  
  10351. “It seems to. Also, do you ever do it yourself?”
  10352.  
  10353. “Wh-Why should I have to tell you something like that? But of course not! Do I seem like that kind of man to you?”
  10354.  
  10355. “Err, sorry. I just heard that if you can jerk yourself off, then you’re not a limp-di— err, impotent.”
  10356.  
  10357. “Is that so?”
  10358.  
  10359. He looked a bit surprised.
  10360.  
  10361. He’s totally jerkin’ it.
  10362.  
  10363. “Are you, by any chance, a virgin?”
  10364.  
  10365. I seized an opening and threw a fastball. He didn’t know what to say for a moment and averted his eyes.
  10366.  
  10367. “N-No, why would I be? I even had a lover before. But, the thing is, I was busy with my research, so we broke up right away!”
  10368.  
  10369. Aha. Gotcha.
  10370.  
  10371. Some virgins are like this. Their pride is so high, they’re incapable of shaming themselves in the course of either seducing women or having sex, so when things don’t go their way, they panic.
  10372.  
  10373.  
  10374.  
  10375.  
  10376. 279 | P a g e
  10377.  
  10378.  
  10379. They think too hard and then get limp when it’s go-time. Use your instincts, man—this is sex!
  10380.  
  10381. “So you’re a researcher, hmm? So that’s why you seem so smart. Well, take care on your way hoooome.”
  10382.  
  10383. And never come baaack.
  10384.  
  10385. I opened the door to my room and shooed him out with a wave.
  10386.  
  10387. “...Well, I have some degree of confidence in my area of study. I may not look it, but I have an associate doctorate of history. I teach at a school, too.”
  10388.  
  10389. Huh? Aren’t you leaving? All of a sudden he was chatting.
  10390.  
  10391. “My father and grandfather both had full doctorates. Of botany. So at first I thought to go that route, but I was also interested in magic and alphytemy. Then when I was thinking I’d like to gain a broader range of knowledge overall, one of my grandfather’s acquaintances, a doctor who is an authority in the field of history, reached out to me, so I joined his research office. Well, he’s a bit of a delinquent who’s not around much, but...”
  10392.  
  10393. I heaved a sigh.
  10394.  
  10395. “What we do is take a cross section of our colleagues in different disciplines and have them study the evolution of their fields. As you know, the verticals in the scholarly world are fairly well-established. Certainly, that makes it easy for incoming students to understand. But more than a few young scholars harbor a sense of crisis regarding the status quo. We need to preserve the structure of our learning, but if we don’t allow knowledge to flow, it will become rigid. The way things are now, people are just creating more and more meaningless walls. It’s because they’re all old people whose brains and bodies have gotten stiff. Ha-ha-ha.”
  10396.  
  10397. “Ah. Ha-haaaa.”
  10398.  
  10399.  
  10400.  
  10401.  
  10402.  
  10403. 280 | P a g e
  10404.  
  10405.  
  10406. Maybe “you seem smart” was the trigger? I guess it’s like when adventurers boast about how far into the forest they’ve been or what kind of monsters they’ve hunted.
  10407.  
  10408. But it was even more boring, and the laughter timing was really a mystery. Well, what he was even saying was a mystery.
  10409.  
  10410. “I’m sick of politics in the scholarly world. All everyone thinks about is protecting their authority. We young researchers want to create a free discipline where—”
  10411.  
  10412. All it sounded like to me is that he and people around his age got together to make fun of the old men at their office. The young craftsmen who come to the shop are the same way. I wonder if he studies stuff like that. I mean, the history of the culture of salarymen must be super long.
  10413.  
  10414. I’m blessed to have such great older coworkers.
  10415.  
  10416. “Of course, studying history is fun, but I also teach. For example, how much do you know about the history of prostitutes?”
  10417.  
  10418. “Huh? They have history?”
  10419.  
  10420. “Don’t be stupid. Obviously everything has history. I guess I’ll have to teach you. Even prostitutes need the bare minimum of an education. All right, take your seat.”
  10421.  
  10422. “Umm, I don’t really...”
  10423.  
  10424. For some reason he was suddenly full of enthusiasm, and he started scratching away on my wall with a piece of chalk.
  10425.  
  10426. I’m not interested in the history of prostitutes, though. Actually, I have no interest in this world’s history at all. I hate studying, and this guy seems like a college-level expert, so give me a fucking breeeeak.
  10427.  
  10428. “Once upon a time, there was a country where the gods lived.” “Is this kindergarten?!”
  10429.  
  10430.  
  10431.  
  10432.  
  10433.  
  10434. 281 | P a g e
  10435.  
  10436. I slipped off from where I was sitting on the bed.
  10437.  
  10438. Even I had to do a double-take at how ridiculous that was. I can’t believe even Tokyo JKs take pratfalls, I thought.
  10439.  
  10440. “What? What’s wrong?”
  10441.  
  10442. “N-Nothing. I’m fine. Please continue!”
  10443.  
  10444. Well, this is that God’s world. Even the history is half-assed.
  10445.  
  10446. Great! I’ll be able to follow fine at this level.
  10447.  
  10448. “These first gods didn’t have life spans, didn’t require food, and possessed knowledge of everything. In other words, there was nothing they wanted. Without ever working, they stopped progress, and went to sleep. To the omnipotent, perfect gods, only silence existed in that world, right? But then one day a rock fell from the sky and made a little noise.”
  10449.  
  10450. The gods all realized something.
  10451.  
  10452. This sleep is death. We’ll die out in our sleep.
  10453.  
  10454. “Fearing silence, the gods changed their eternal lives into all the things around us to create a world in constant motion. The god with strong arms became fire. The god with icy eyes became water. They decided on fire, water, wind, and earth as the elements, gave the world fluidity, and created spirits to supply and transport the four elements in order to stabilize it. Well, every child knows up to that point.”
  10455.  
  10456. “That’s the first time I’ve heard it!”
  10457.  
  10458. “Huh? Your parents didn’t even teach you this much? You were born into an uneducated household.”
  10459.  
  10460. My parents gave me an edumucation that included proper science!
  10461.  
  10462.  
  10463.  
  10464.  
  10465.  
  10466.  
  10467.  
  10468. 282 | P a g e
  10469.  
  10470.  
  10471. But this world is so far behind—I mean, and we’re out in the country where God shows up on earth whenever he feels like it—so I guess this is the level they would have to be at.
  10472.  
  10473. From what I heard, even in my world up until a while ago, no one believed that the Earth was revolving, and up until more recently, people thought the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter was three.
  10474.  
  10475. This felt less like a lecture and more like a fairy tale, so it was getting kind of interesting.
  10476.  
  10477. “Then the world began to move. But if you think the gods were satisfied with that, you’d be wrong. The gods, burning up with creative passions, decided to make living things besides themselves. They made birds in the skies, fish in the seas, and beasts on the land. The gods especially liked the beasts, so they made a big one and called him the beast king. The god with a beautiful voice became music, and the talkative god became writing; these gave the beasts education. That was when culture and individuality were born within them.”
  10478.  
  10479. Back then, beasts could talk and write.
  10480.  
  10481. The gods made plants for them to eat and the forest for them to live in.
  10482.  
  10483. “The number of gods was decreasing, but creating life was so fun they couldn’t stop. Seeing the surface so full of life and hope, the gods decided to make a creature in their own image. That was us humans.”
  10484.  
  10485. The first human was a boy. The gods were all men, so that was only natural.
  10486.  
  10487. The boy had been given intelligence, but he didn’t talk or make facial expressions, and he didn’t try to move around. At that rate, he
  10488.  
  10489.  
  10490.  
  10491.  
  10492.  
  10493.  
  10494. 283 | P a g e
  10495.  
  10496.  
  10497. would have been the same as the gods used to be, so they gave the boy’s mind curiosity, hunger, and other motivations.
  10498.  
  10499. Then the boy started to move on his own. But his expression still didn’t change.
  10500.  
  10501. They had him meet the beasts to see how he would react, but they couldn’t move the boy’s heart. The human declared the beast king a “boring animal.”
  10502.  
  10503. The gods fretted. They fretted for the first time ever. And the conclusion they came up with was their first and last mistake.
  10504.  
  10505. “The gods created a creature called a girl. They tried putting this creature that would pair with the creature based on them next to him. And when they did, the boy’s expression changed for the first time since he was born. He smiled at the girl and greeted her all on his own.”
  10506.  
  10507. Then the boy made so many different expression you could hardly recognize him.
  10508.  
  10509. He laughed, he sang, he wrote poems, he told jokes. He talked all day long, trying to get the girl’s attention. At first the girl didn’t have any expressions either, just like the boy, but little by little she started to show her emotions too.
  10510.  
  10511. The boy talked even more, and sometimes even cried about the
  10512.  
  10513. girl.
  10514.  
  10515. The girl thought that was amusing, so she treated him like a toy, playing with him and manipulating him.
  10516.  
  10517. Finally, as the result of a game the girl came up with, the world’s first great anomaly occurred.
  10518.  
  10519. The girl got pregnant.
  10520.  
  10521. “The gods were angry with the girl for creating life without their permission, so they took her away from the boy forever. She bore a
  10522.  
  10523.  
  10524.  
  10525.  
  10526. 284 | P a g e
  10527.  
  10528.  
  10529. set of twins, male and female, on her own. Those children had children, and the people of the earth multiplied. Then the birds, fish, and beasts copied the humans’ method and multiplied as well. Every time the number of lives increased, the number of gods decreased. And the more that were born, the duller their minds grew, and they began to forget their intelligence. The beast king vanished, and the gods, realizing it was too late for the surface, fell into an eternal slumber inside the earth. The lonely boy inherited a fragment of the gods’ intelligence and talent and became a young man and later, a god in heaven.”
  10530.  
  10531. Oh, that idiot?
  10532.  
  10533. And hey, don’t totally abandon the girl you knocked up so easily!
  10534. At least acknowledge what you did!
  10535.  
  10536. “Now then, after that came the era of humans, but having said this much, you understand, right? The one who seduced the boy who would be a god and brought ruin on the earth, humanity’s first woman, was a prostitute. After that, God’s grandchildren, the humans, were each given some of God’s power and intelligence at birth, and we were able to construct civilization fine. But only the women, shaped differently from the gods, have the ability to bear children. History shows that women are different creatures from men, born as prostitutes and—”
  10537.  
  10538. “Teacher, can I ask a question?”
  10539.  
  10540. “T-Teacher? Ahem. What is it?”
  10541.  
  10542. “What happened to the first girl?”
  10543.  
  10544. I thought it would be interesting, so I listened, but this guy wasn’t very good at storytelling. It didn’t really have an ending, and more than anything else, it was damn long, so I didn’t care anymore.
  10545.  
  10546. But there was one thing bugging me.
  10547.  
  10548.  
  10549.  
  10550.  
  10551.  
  10552.  
  10553. 285 | P a g e
  10554.  
  10555.  
  10556. Did that girl even do anything wrong? Why was she made into the villain?
  10557.  
  10558. All she did was invent love.
  10559.  
  10560. “There are a few theories. One says that after bearing her children, she wandered the earth looking for the boy until she exhausted herself and was finally eaten by beasts. Another says she married the beast king, had children, and died. The ideas have beasts as a common element, but we have no record of the details.”
  10561.  
  10562. “What? That sucks. No hope, no dreams.” Don’t stop at the good part, history!
  10563.  
  10564. “History is built up of facts. Hopes and dreams only exist in the world of stories. Well, but if you take that to mean there is no hope for women, you’d be wrong. God continues to think of the girl, so he allows some women, and only some women, to have the power of healing pain. Those are the Sisters—women’s redeemers. They’re also very important if you’re talking about magic from a historical point of view.”
  10565.  
  10566. Sisters. Kiyori is one of those.
  10567.  
  10568. So that’s why she’s always so servile. She’s saddled with that
  10569.  
  10570. incomprehensible history of women...
  10571.  
  10572. Oh, right.
  10573.  
  10574. “Teacher, I don’t really get magic. How come people can use it?”
  10575.  
  10576. “I told you before, didn’t I? There are spirits in each of the four elements that keep the world stable. As long as their power reaches us, we’ll be able to use magic as a blessing. Of course, you know that to be able to, you need talent, training, and the guild’s permission, right? For example, the reason blacksmiths can use Hellfire is not only generations of talent, but because by belonging to the guild,
  10577.  
  10578.  
  10579.  
  10580.  
  10581.  
  10582.  
  10583.  
  10584. 286 | P a g e
  10585.  
  10586.  
  10587. they were able to get permission to use it only in their workshops. And canners use the wind spell Vacuum.”
  10588.  
  10589. Relamap from the Kickin’ the Can team was from a family of canners.
  10590.  
  10591. I can totally get how he would be a child of the wind.
  10592.  
  10593. “It’s no wonder women don’t have a detailed knowledge of magic. There aren’t that many places of work that require it, and on top of that, the only examples of women who can use it are the Sisters I just mentioned. In the average household, alphytemized plants are enough to get by on.”
  10594.  
  10595. “That reminds me, in this world—err, in this area, people rely on grass. Every time I hear some other issue has been solved with grass I feel like I must be high. Why is grass so powerful?”
  10596.  
  10597. This world has more types of vegetables than the other one, too. They’re cheap and packed with nutrients. At first I couldn’t get used to the food here, and my stomach got messed up, but even the medicine was more grass, so I started to feel like I was being fed on a cow’s diet.
  10598.  
  10599. Soap, detergent—pretty much anything you use in daily life is all-natural plants. I might be living a healthier life here than in the other world.
  10600.  
  10601. “I’m pretty sure I gave you a hint earlier. Weren’t you listening?” “Sorryyy.”
  10602.  
  10603. “I told you the first gods went to sleep inside the earth, right? In other words, the nutrients in the soil are included in the four elements, so magic has powerful effects on plants. By adjusting the composition of the elements, you can get it to evolve in more peculiar ways. The first thing you do when you cook is use the shell
  10604.  
  10605.  
  10606.  
  10607.  
  10608.  
  10609.  
  10610.  
  10611. 287 | P a g e
  10612.  
  10613.  
  10614. of the corona nut, right? That will quietly burn all day long and give off a great amount of heat.”
  10615.  
  10616. “Oh, yeah.”
  10617.  
  10618. “And if you need even stronger flame, you put in a bundle of
  10619.  
  10620. eneo stems—because those have lots of the fire element and oil. We know this from botany and alphytemy.”
  10621.  
  10622. “I need that to make fried rice.”
  10623.  
  10624. “Fried rice?”
  10625.  
  10626. “Ack, nothing. So? What else?”
  10627.  
  10628. “In this city near Demon Lord Forest, botany and alphytemy research flourishes—because that forest is a treasure trove of unique plant evolution to study. But if you think that means our research proceeds smoothly, you’d be wrong. It’s very difficult to get our hands on the precious plants. In particular, there’s one type of mycelium that only grows deep in the forest. The only team that has been able to gather it is Widgecraft’s.”
  10629.  
  10630. “Teacher, what’s the demon lord?”
  10631.  
  10632. “The demon lord? You’re interested in the demon lord?”
  10633.  
  10634. “I dunno if I’m ‘interested,’ but...”
  10635.  
  10636. “It’s actually a very good question! The demon lord is history’s greatest mystery!”
  10637.  
  10638. The teacher’s eyes sparkled with delight as he basically said, I have no idea either!
  10639.  
  10640. “Since God can’t stop the demon lord, he must be some kind of mutation that has existed since the divine era. It’s estimated that he has power equal to God, but no one has ever seen him...”
  10641.  
  10642. “Teacher, what about the hero? What does it mean when the hero from another world defeats the demon lord?”
  10643.  
  10644.  
  10645.  
  10646.  
  10647. 288 | P a g e
  10648.  
  10649.  
  10650. “Mm, that’s a bad question. The story of the hero contains many mysteries, but it’s only word of mouth, so it can’t really be trusted. Besides, it’s a terrible story, so I can’t imagine it would be the word of God. We don’t know what the other world is, so this material is hardly worth verifying. I say ‘materials,’ but I mean ‘garbage.’”
  10651.  
  10652. But two high-schoolers actually came from another world!
  10653.  
  10654. Well, but neither of them are very heroic. I don’t feel like God is
  10655.  
  10656. thinking very hard about how to handle the demon lord...
  10657.  
  10658. “The demon lord is the far more important being in the study of history. Once you start talking about him, you can go on forever. I’ve written a number of papers on him, myself, including one published with illustrations, Even I Who Have Insisted All This Time That The Demon Lord’s True Form Is A Beautiful Little Girl May Not Be Wrong—abbreviated MaoZon. It came in 14th in last year’s Annual Journal Betsu and the other day, the much-anticipated second volume—”
  10659.  
  10660. I got the feeling that in this world, history was the simplest genre.
  10661.  
  10662. It’s all vague, and anything actually important is a mystery, and there’s no rap or dance to help you remember it, and there aren’t any anecdotes you’d want to give a Like to.
  10663.  
  10664. Come to think of it, why is history always just the worst stories? Take the people who have to learn it into consideration!
  10665.  
  10666. I did get out a pencil and paper to try to take notes, but all I ended up doing was drawing the teacher’s portrait. When I put “you’d be wrong” in a speech bubble, it looked so much like him, it cracked me up.
  10667.  
  10668. I gotta show this to Lupeeeee.
  10669.  
  10670. “Hey, are you listening?”
  10671.  
  10672.  
  10673.  
  10674.  
  10675.  
  10676.  
  10677. 289 | P a g e
  10678.  
  10679. “Sorryyy.”
  10680.  
  10681. “Pay attention. I’m explaining this for your benefit.”
  10682.  
  10683. Man, though, this is going on way too long. How are guys able to talk about this boring stuff with all their might? Seriously, why are guys at their most enthusiastic when they’re making fools of themselves?
  10684.  
  10685. If this were a guy I were interested in, I could have listened. But not for this one. If you think I’m interested in him, you’d be wrong. The only thing I think about him is how annoying he is.
  10686.  
  10687. But my sex-worker intuition suddenly clued me in that now, while he was so into running the class, was my chance.
  10688.  
  10689. He was hooked on playing school. At this moment, he was brimming with confidence.
  10690.  
  10691. “It’s really educational!”
  10692.  
  10693. As I leaned in and pretended to listen, I performed a panty flash I learned during my Kickin’ the Can days.
  10694.  
  10695. I stuck my knees out so that he could see into the back of my skirt from where he was in front of me.
  10696.  
  10697. “...In the paper I demonstrate several bases for believing the demon lord might be a gorgeous little girl...”
  10698.  
  10699. Then from that position, I casually crossed my legs.
  10700.  
  10701. By making my knee go diagonally, I gave him a good look at a different view of my thigh and panties, but I pretended to be so busy taking notes that I didn’t notice.
  10702.  
  10703. “For example, the figure of the lolihag has existed for ages. Though she looks like a little girl, she’s awfully arrogant, and has the power to overwhelm oth...”
  10704.  
  10705.  
  10706.  
  10707.  
  10708.  
  10709.  
  10710.  
  10711.  
  10712. 290 | P a g e
  10713.  
  10714.  
  10715. The virgin teacher trailed off, distracted by my panties, and gulped.
  10716.  
  10717. That’s the sound of my prey swallowing the hook.
  10718.  
  10719. “Hey, Teacher.”
  10720.  
  10721. “Wh-What?”
  10722.  
  10723. He averted his eyes in a rush, to pretend he hadn’t been looking, and I gestured for him to come closer. “I don’t understand this part.” When he approached, I showed him my notes.
  10724.  
  10725. I had turned the speech bubble on the portrait from before into a heart.
  10726.  
  10727. “Wh-What’s that supposed to mean...?”
  10728.  
  10729. “What I want to know, Teacher, is how. you. feel.”
  10730.  
  10731. “Ngh?!”
  10732.  
  10733. I brushed his lips with a kiss and lay down on the bed, where I lost no time in slowly beginning to remove my underwear.
  10734.  
  10735. The teacher’s gaze was totally fixated on them.
  10736.  
  10737. “I’d rather learn about you than this subject. Will you teach me something dirtier?”
  10738.  
  10739. “Y-You’re my student. I couldn’t possibly do something so...” he said, but sure enough, inside his pants, he was rock-hard.
  10740.  
  10741. You’re a serious, strait-laced teacher. I’m a goof-off student and, as you can see, a really cute girl.
  10742.  
  10743. This is so hot, right? You don’t want to give a lecture right now, do you? Don’t think so hard—just come to me as a teacher.
  10744.  
  10745. “Since I knew I had your class today, I came with yog and luvya already in.”
  10746.  
  10747. My plan was working perfectly.
  10748.  
  10749.  
  10750.  
  10751.  
  10752. 291 | P a g e
  10753.  
  10754.  
  10755. The lewd, limp-dick, virgin teacher charged at me, completely self-assured.
  10756.  
  10757. “Th-This is what a woman can...!”
  10758.  
  10759. Yep. We took the long route, but in the end, you really wanted to know a woman, didn’t you? I’m happy for you.
  10760.  
  10761. I ended up remembering that teacher from junior high I hated.
  10762.  
  10763. He used to always call me over and go on about my uniform or my hair, my lifestyle. He lectured me so persistently, way more than anyone else.
  10764.  
  10765. Well, now I have a pretty good idea why.
  10766.  
  10767. That doesn’t mean I forgive him one bit, and actually it pisses me off ’cause it makes him super gross, but I failed to reject him and just kept acting out. I was such a kid.
  10768.  
  10769. When I tried to imagine what Shequraso or Lupe would have done, I was sure they would have handled it in an entirely different way. And now, I would have my own way of dealing with it, too. I could give some tips to me back then for how to handle this type of obnoxious guy.
  10770.  
  10771. That’s what I’ve learned in this world; that’s my strength. “Women really are prostitutes from birth!”
  10772.  
  10773. That’s so wrong, and it irritated me so much I wanted to be like, We’re here improving our skills day by day for you jerks! But I just smiled and said, “Hope you enjoyed it.”
  10774.  
  10775. At least I managed to avoid a take ’n run!
  10776.  
  10777. But man, I’m beat.
  10778.  
  10779.  
  10780. “Come again!”
  10781.  
  10782.  
  10783.  
  10784.  
  10785.  
  10786. 292 | P a g e
  10787.  
  10788.  
  10789. After we finished up, I saw the teacher off insincerely, but for some reason he just stood there fidgeting and wouldn’t leave.
  10790.  
  10791. You wanna do a supplementary lesson?! Don’t get ahead of yourself! I clicked my tongue in my head, but the teacher said, “Put your hand out.”
  10792.  
  10793. Huh? Are you gonna tip me? Lucky me! I love you, Teacher!
  10794.  
  10795. But he grabbed my hand and flipped it over. I was wondering what was going on when he pressed chalk into the back of my hand. Um, that hurts.
  10796.  
  10797. “I have never praised a student before. Because neither my grandfather nor my father praised me.”
  10798.  
  10799. I don’t know what he was mad about, but his face got all red, and he drew some weird swirl on my hand.
  10800.  
  10801. Brusquely, swirly.
  10802.  
  10803. “But, though you certainly weren’t a good student, you did work hard for me, so I’ll give you this! Goodbye!”
  10804.  
  10805. It was a big paramecium.
  10806.  
  10807. The teacher ran clomping down the stairs, leaving a creepy picture on the valuable product that is my body.
  10808.  
  10809. But why a paramecium? Does he want to say that’s the level my brain is at? Can I just sue that limp-dick bastard already?
  10810.  
  10811. No, wait. Wait, wait.
  10812.  
  10813. Is this...a hanamaru? That symbol that means “good job”?
  10814.  
  10815. No way.
  10816.  
  10817. Teacher, omigod, you suck at drawing.
  10818.  
  10819. This sort of thing only makes elementary-schoolers happy. If you want to praise a grown woman, use money. Are you planning on being an amateur virgin ’till the day you die?
  10820.  
  10821.  
  10822.  
  10823.  
  10824. 293 | P a g e
  10825.  
  10826.  
  10827. I decided to hop into the shower, get clean, and take aim at my next customer. I had to make up for the delay.
  10828.  
  10829. But, well, I decided I didn’t need to wash the top of that hand.
  10830.  
  10831. Because I worked hard.
  10832.  
  10833.  
  10834. So that was how I regained my intuition, and work started to go more smoothly.
  10835.  
  10836. I’m getting customers every night like I should be, I chat with Sumo, I mess with Chiba, and I get ignored by the rain man. It’s like life is back to normal.
  10837.  
  10838. But smooth is smooth, and I have a bad habit of getting bored.
  10839.  
  10840. I remembered the lecture from the other day. At the time, it was super obnoxious, but it was also kind of nostalgic, so I sort of hoped the teacher would come again.
  10841.  
  10842. Next time I’ll listen more seriously. And I’ll ask a bunch of good questions.
  10843.  
  10844. Oh, and I’ll invite Lupe, too. She said she never went to school. I wonder if Shequraso would be interested. She’d probably fall asleep in two seconds.
  10845.  
  10846. That’s the sort of stuff I was thinking as I took the trash out, when on the way back, I happened to see the teacher passing by across the street. He was walking with a few friends.
  10847.  
  10848. “Teacher!” I was so happy that I waved like crazy.
  10849.  
  10850. He noticed me...and ignored me, speeding up. The others were saying something, but I saw him shake his head, and they walked away.
  10851.  
  10852. Ohhh.
  10853.  
  10854.  
  10855.  
  10856.  
  10857.  
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  10859. 294 | P a g e
  10860.  
  10861. Right.
  10862.  
  10863. It’ll make trouble for you if I say hi while you’re with your friends.
  10864.  
  10865. Sorry, sorry. My bad. I’m sorry I embarrassed you...sir.
  10866.  
  10867. “...Okay, gonna make bank like usual today.” It’s going to be a clear night?
  10868.  
  10869. That’s kind of a bummer.
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  10935.  
  10936.  
  10937.  
  10938. Sign up for our mailing list at J-Novel Club to hear about new releases!
  10939.  
  10940. Newsletter
  10941.  
  10942. And you can read the latest chapters of novels like this by becoming a J-Novel Club Member:
  10943.  
  10944. J-Novel Club Membership
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  10994.  
  10995.  
  10996. Copyright
  10997.  
  10998. JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World by Ko Hiratori
  10999.  
  11000. Translated by Emily Balistrieri
  11001.  
  11002. Edited by Aimee Zink
  11003.  
  11004. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
  11005.  
  11006. Copyright © 2017 Ko Hiratori
  11007.  
  11008. Cover illustration by shimano
  11009.  
  11010. First published in Japan in 2017 by Hayakawa Publishing Corporation
  11011.  
  11012. The book is published by arrangement with Hayakawa Publishing Corporation
  11013.  
  11014. All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property.
  11015.  
  11016. J-Novel Club LLC
  11017.  
  11018. j-novel.club
  11019.  
  11020. The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.
  11021.  
  11022. Ebook edition 1.0: September 2018
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