Chapter 98: Grouping
It is said that each dragon carriage can hold up to ten people and a dragon has more power and stamina than a horse.
There were twenty-one saints in total, including Ran. The saints thought that if they could squeeze in two cars they could do it, but they were told that it would be difficult.
With the loss of the Absolute Creation, the number of items to be transported, such as daily necessities and food, has increased more than expected, so the luggage space is not enough, and the seats have also been eroded.
The result was seven to eight people per car. The Saints will be divided into three groups and set off.
An unfamiliar journey. Their first time in the outside world. All of the saints were on the edge of their seats, but the knights didn’t want to put them through any more inconvenience.
“It’s nice to be able to afford it. To be honest, I’d rather not be crammed into an over-capacity dragon-truck if I can’t put in more supplies.”
“It would have been a lot easier if we could have teleported in the Joougaoka’s space manipulation Dimension the World.”
“Don’t be absurd. My skills are limited to a short distance transfer.”
Reika responds to Niigaki’s light-hearted comment with a cumbersome smile, covering her mouth with a fan.
Now, the students who were in the main group of the class - Takeo Niigaki, the substitute for the still heartbroken class president Shigenobu Torao, Reika Joougaoka, the class vice president, Kanami Inugami, the public morals committee, and for some reason, Kanami Inugami, Subaru Kiryuin and Aya Mikoshiba gathered together to discuss something.
The story, in a nutshell, was, how to group the dragon cars, which is a very student-like question.
The current situation reminded Ran of field trips and residential courses. It is often said that the best way to kill a lonely person is to make a group of two people, but it is also very difficult for a lonely person to make a group of people who are close to each other.
Last year, however, Ran had friends who were somewhat close to him. In his current class, he was a complete loner, so when he was divided into groups, he was passed around between different groups at different times.
Ran was not the only one who was treated as a burden, though, as Takeyama Jaimi, a truant from school, and Mikoshiba Aya, who at the time was perceived as a difficult loner, were also in a similar situation.
“Takeyama-san didn’t get transferred and Aya is good friends with me. It looks like we won’t be the only ones with problems in this grouping”
Ran mutters to himself as he scrapes the sand from the ground with the tip of his shoe.
This time there is no need to harbor any heartache.
For Ran, who has increased his number of friends with the help of his underling training skills, being a loner is a derogatory term for the past. It’s a shameful name, but it’s not appropriate for him now.
This, in turn, made the grouping in the dragon car even more difficult.
“……Kirishima can’t be with Joougaoka because of his skills in underling training. All of the girls said they didn’t want to be separated from Kirishima, so inevitably Kirishima would be with all of the girls except Joougaoka. There are nine girls in the school, not including Joougaoka. Including Kirishima, there are ten people. The capacity of the dragon car is eight people. It’s …… impossible.”
“Why don’t you make Kirishima-san go to a dragon carriage like the boys? Kirishima-san’s training skills are for females only - isn’t it a problem for males?”
“No, no, no. I would never allow Kirishima to be alone among the boys. It’s a secret room. It’s hard for anyone outside to know what’s going on inside.”
“Oi, Mikoshiba! I know how you feel, but don’t lump all the boys together and make fun of them. Don’t think all men are bloodthirsty, savages.”
The stinging words were exchanged, and a wicked mood arose between Niigaki and Mikoshiba.
The two of them are not very compatible to begin with. In addition, this time, Aya is more stubborn and does not give in, so the atmosphere is becoming more and more difficult.
“In the end, it’s always Kirishima who gets in the way of grouping. I’m sorry to say it, but isn’t that guy cursed?”
“-Wha?! Say that again, Niigaki!”
Kirishima Ran is an obstacle to the grouping of people in both modern Japan, where he was a loner, and in the new world, where he is famous with the girls.
He is a man who, as in the case of the alchemy and the training of the girls, shows a troublesome irregularity in important situations.
“Calm down a bit, both of you! You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you can’t compromise with each other, that’s just narrow-mindedness. There are more than eight boys and eight girls, so it’s only natural that there should be a mixed dragon carriage!”
“You’re right, Inugami-san. It might be better to make all the dragons’ carriages mixed with men and women, so that there will be a better balance and no disputes!”
“That’s a peaceful blanket statement, Subaru. If Kirishima-san had come to this day without causing any problems, the proposal would have been wonderful. I don’t think that’s a very good idea in the circumstances.”
As they debated, the five of them glared at Ran.
Ran, who had been watching from a distance, shuddered as if he had felt a chill as he came under a barrage of aggressive stares.
It was expected, though, that the boys, such as Niigaki and Kiryuin, would look at him with avoidance. Why are Kanami and even Aya looking at him with half-lidded eyes?
“The most realistic way to do this is to have one dragon-wheel for boys only and one for girls only and one mixed-gender group. It would be something like this.”
“That would be the best way. I agree with you, Inugami.If that is the case, Reika-sama and I will inevitably be riding in a mixed gender dragon carriage, is that okay?”
Looking at Ran with the eyes of a girlfriend who has just witnessed her boyfriend’s faults, Kanami meditates and sums up, folding her arms under her chest.
To this, Kiryuin Subaru expresses his agreement. His question may have been asked to all five people who had gathered in the rigging but Reika assured him in a tone of consensus that she was fine with it.
Kanami nodded her head strongly to Reika’s reply and picked up a piece of stick, which she had picked up before she knew it. She twirled it around like a teacher’s whip and meditated on it with pride.
“Let’s sort it out again. Joougaoka and Kiryuin are tentatively confirmed as mixed gender groups. And, respecting Mikoshiba’s opinion, I’d like you to refrain from putting Ran in the boys’ dragon car.”
“Joougaoka and Kirishima cannot belong to the same group.So, naturally, Kirishima is going to be working with a group of girls.”
‘It’s like a puzzle game,’ Niigaki muttered sarcastically. ‘It’s a good way to exercise your mind,’ Reika replied in a tone that was either sarcastic or natural.
“Once we’ve decided on Kirishima-san, we don’t need to worry about the rest. Let’s make a quick decision.”
Reika opens her fan and covers her mouth in a meaningful way.
Both Niigaki and Subaru rolled their shoulders as if to say they had finished their work. Kanami, who had a difficult look on her face, put her hand on her chin and said.
“The problem is how to decide which girls will ride in the mixed gender dragon carriage. It’s not that I don’t trust the boys - but I have to make sure that Ran is convinced.”
Niigaki made a blatantly uncomfortable face. Kanami is going with the roundabout wording, but the point still is that she’s worried about going with a boy.
Niigaki understood what she was trying to say, but somehow he didn’t feel very good about it.
The reality. As long as Ran didn’t do anything unnecessary, he could easily make a mixed group of eight by adding two or three students he thought would be a good match to the group of Niigaki, Torao, Misuzu, Kanami and Saki.
It’s just a grouping of students. There is a bit of a mix-up between the girls, but in the end it all seems to come together quite nicely.
“It’s a bit of a pain in the ass, so why don’t we put all the girls and Kirishima together in an eight-seater dragon car? I’m sure it will be packed to the brim, but I’m sure Kirishima will be delighted with his harem.”
It was Niigaki who spilled with a throwing tone. For some reason, Kanami and Aya looked at each other and shook their bodies in a shy manner.
There is no way that outsiders, including Niigaki, could have known that a few days ago, Ran enjoyed a nighttime paradise that was almost as good as the proposal. Niigaki, Kiryuin, and Reika looked at Kanami and Aya, who suddenly began to shy, with suspicious faces.
“…… Yeah, that’s a good idea, too.”
“That’s not good. What if we are over capacity and we have to leave and there is a problem on the way?”
Aya’s comments were met with a sharp rebuke by Reika. Niigaki scratched the back of his head and kicked a stone that was lying on the ground roughly.
“We’re not going to get anywhere. It seems like we’re making progress, but we’re not - we’re going in circles.”
“It’s not good to have ‘Kirishima-san, Kirishima-san’ in every decision. Whatever happens, someone will have to go through it, so we should make it quick!”
Reika who utters with a slightly stronger tone than before and turns the tip of the fan toward Kanami and Aya.
Kanami was troubled for a while. However, she still had the courage of her convictions and the sincerity of her heart, which hates to cause trouble to others.
Kanami took one look at Ran with a sad look in her eyes and then nodded emphatically.
“Shirayuki! Can you come here for a minute?”
In a clear voice, Kanami called out to Shirayuki and beckoned her to come over.
Shirayuki, who had been listening to Misuzu’s story, turned at Kanami’s call and ran to her.
“What’s the matter, Kana?”
“We were dividing up the groups, but we had to make one mixed gender dragon carriage. We’ve decided that Joougaoka and Kiryuin will be in it, but we just can’t decide on the rest of the crew.”
Kanami explained to Saki the arguments that had been going on between the five of them.
The quick-witted Saki seemed to grasp the situation at once and muttered, “I see”.
“It’s not an appropriate role for students like Otomezaki and Sadogashima, who are not used to boys. I’m sure Ran would not approve of being separated from them.”
“Now, Misuzu, too, right?”
When Kanami is sure that Torao is not around, she whispers to her.
Saki understood what Kanami was trying to say.
To put it bluntly, this means that it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of a boy using his strength of arms. For example, by getting carried away in a locked room, to rough up a defenceless girl. It is not possible, Saki nodded to herself.
But Saki and Kanami were afraid to say it.
It’s quite rude to say no in front of Niigaki and Subaru, and it could mark a rupture in the relationship that can’t be repaired in the future.
So Kanami was probably muddying the waters with words that didn’t quite get the point across.
“We have to divide the crew so that we can intercept any demons that might attack us. If you have a group like Misuzu, Sadogashima-san, Fujiyoshi-san, Megane-kun and Yamashiro-kun,we might not be able to defend ourselves in case of an emergency.”
Saki will only proceed on the assumption that the threat is external.
In fact, it is also an important guideline. There is always the possibility that a demon, or even a bandit with bad intentions, will attack them.
A few students with specialised combat skills must also be left in the dragon carriage for the group of girls on board with Ran.
“In my opinion - I would like to have me, Shirayuki, and Mikoshiba in the mixed gender dragon carriage. What do you think?”
“I think I agree with Kana’s suggestion. If I were Kana-chan and Mikoshiba-san, I would be able to intercept both monsters and bandits.”
In contrast to Saki’s agreement, Aya’s face is somewhat dissatisfied.
Judging from the gesture of looking at Ran, it seems that she doesn’t want to be separated from him.
Aya looks at him thoughtfully. As she watches, Niigaki walks up to Kanami and Sahime.
“If the girls are Inugami and Shirayuki, why don’t the boys be me and Torao? It would be less intimidating to have a familiar group.”
“Aaa, I don’t mind, It’s just-”
“I don’t like it”
Aya says it with a short but definite note of defiance.
“I’m not a good friend of yours. In addition to that, it’s important to note that if you’re going to be using a vehicle that has Kiryuin and Joougaoka on it, you’ll need to make sure that the other vehicles are able to defend themselves.”
Niigaki muttered, “You’ve been in denial for a while now.” Kanami and Saki looked at each other anxiously, feeling the air turn sour.
“It is true that Mikoshiba-san has a point.But we mustn’t always argue. As Niigaki-san said, we need you to come up with an alternative plan or something”
“I think I prefer the guys in the otaku group. Megane doesn’t have attack skills, and Mitagawa also has strong space disconnection skills, but he’s timid and can’t stand on the front line at all. They seem harmless enough, and I’m used to talking to them.”
It must have been an unexpected suggestion. The other students looked at her in surprise.
She may or may not have realised the true meaning behind the word ‘harmless’. Niigaki put his hand to his chin and whispered, “I see”.
“Is that alright with you, Inugami and Shirayuki?”
“I’m fine with it.”
“I don’t mind it either.”
Both Kanami and Saki agree with Aya’s idea.
Niigaki sniffs sadly as he looks over at Kanami’s face from the side.
In addition to Eiichi Megane, Kenjiro Mitagawa, and Shinzo Kawasaki, Tsubasa Ryuzaki appeared before Aya and the others a little later.
Is it uncomfortable to be surrounded by the top caste group? All of them were wandering in the sky with a delicate expression on their face, neither nervous nor dissatisfied.
Aya guesses they are too busy. It’s interesting to see them all posing with their shoulders and elbows gripped by their other hand, swaying from side to side.
Aya is in charge of explaining the situation to the otaku group.
Her high-handed, delinquent tone would be an object of awe for any gloomy nerd boy.
As the reigning princess of the otakus, it was no problem for her to win over the Otaku boys.
They looked at her suspiciously, but as soon as she was in front of them, they changed their attitude and let their guard down.
They seemed to take Aya’s words, which had been enshrined as a princess, in stride.
“We understand the situation, but isn’t it inappropriate for us to do that?…… No, it’s not that I disagree with Mikorin’s opinion!”
As he pushed up the rim of his glasses several times, Eiichi Megane coughed to make up for it.
“From what you’ve just told me, there are three people in the mixed gender dragon carriage, Mikorin, Inugami and Shirayuki. And I believe it has already been decided that Joougaoka-san and Kiryuin-kun will be on board.”
“I intend to, but what’s the problem?”
Aya crosses her arms under her chest and glares at him sullenly. Unperturbed by her attitude, Megane plays with the ends of his hair with his fingers.
“Eight people is the limit for a dragon car, so we can’t ride four people…Hey, Ryuzaki?”
Megane called out to Tatsuzaki, who was standing a little away from the three of them. When his name was called, Ryuzaki looked horrified for a moment, but then quickly turned his face down.
Aya raises her eyebrows in displeasure in the face of the behavioral gesture.
Since that time when it was suspected that Megane and Aya were dating, Ryuzaki has kept his distance from the three members of the otaku group.
Not at meals, not at training. Aya never saw Ryuzaki try to go back to the way he was.
Aya thought she was getting along with Hirokatsu Yamashiro and his group. The decision to call him up to the squad was based on a disregard for him.
The otaku group consisted of Megane, Mitagawa and Kawasaki. It was a proposal born as a result of that conclusion.
“And two of them, Kiryuin and Joougaoka, are confirmed……But to reduce the number of girls any further is not……If I’m out of the picture, there’s no point in having these guys in a mixed gender dragon car……”
Aya shows a thoughtful face.
Ryuzaki probably felt that he was being treated as an obstacle. He clenched his lower lip while standing down, clenching his fist on his elbow.
In a place where he can’t raise his voice, denied his existence. Tormented by a sense of helplessness, Ryuzaki could not look up.
Did Aya see him and think of him?
Or was it just a whim?
He sniffed, rolled his shoulders languidly, and raised his thick arms to the sky.
“It’s no use, fatty. I’ll ride in the boys’ car and you three can have a nice chat with Mikorin”
Aya’s eyes were narrowed and lit up with a powerful will.
In the guise of casualness,He pointed a little bit to the name of his skill - physical attack reflex modification Accel Lolita.
The expression on his face is that of a man who knows everything. ‘You’re a fat boy who wouldn’t feel comfortable around me with my reflexes, are you?’
Aya nodded her head in agreement to the manly look in his eyes.
Despite his dull appearance, he is a very perceptive boy.
It’s not what Aya had in mind, but it’s all good.
“Are you sure you don’t want to be with me? Kawasaki, kun!”
“Don’t worry, it’s Fatty. I’m a bit sad that I can’t talk about anime, but…… is a good place to start. If you want to talk about food, I’m sure I can keep up with you.”
“You even have a topic of conversation with the rear group, you are the quintessential Kawasaki……”
Mitagawa and Megane greeted Kawasaki with a look of respect, as if to praise his graceful decision.
The matter is settled. When Aya looked over at Ryuzaki, he was staring at the three geeks with a complicated expression on his face.
An elusive, sullen expression quickly turns into the picture of a grumpy face.
The next step is a blatantly loud sigh.A faint click of the tongue was followed by a pebble lying at Ryuzaki’s feet.It flew through the air with a popping arc.
All the students who had gathered for the group consultation focused their attention on Ryuzaki.
The atmosphere, which had almost eased, froze again. In the silence, there was a silent pressure on him to do something unnecessary.
He was under a barrage of cold stares, but instead of acting suspicious, he scratched the back of his head with obvious displeasure.
He tried to shout something and moaned, holding his hand around his collarbone.
He was trying to get his thoughts out, but decided against it
For a while, Ryuzaki was staring at the surroundings with a face as if biting down on a bitter bug, but eventually he calmed down, took a deep breath and opened his mouth in a cumbersome manner.
“Kawasaki is fine with Mikorin and the others. …… I’m out.”
“No, it’s been decided that Kawasaki is out……”
“I told you, I’m leaving……There’s nothing to talk about with you guys!”
When Megane tries to reject Ryuzaki’s offer, Ryuzaki continues to be stubborn.
Just when we were about to wrap things up nicely, he made a sudden KY comment.Aya almost tempted to complain about his selfishness and lack of consideration for others.
(Note:KY means an expression that japanese used to point people who cannot ‘read the mood/air)
Aya and the others saw the painful expression on Ryuzaki’s face, which could not be taken as regret or embarrassment. There was nothing she could say.
There was an uncomfortable silence.
Ryuzaki, his breath catching in his throat as if he had just said it all, turned away and went back to the rest of his classmates.
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