“Why these four people?” (Wendelin)
“Umu, the monster this time is slightly troublesome.” (Armstrong)
“Monster? I am a minor!” (Wendelin)
“Although it is categorized as monster, this 『Pink Hippo-san』 doesn’t inhabit a domain.” (Armstrong)
It was several months since we started to study as adventurer apprentices following the instruction given by His Majesty.
Today it wasn’t the usual special training by the strict Armstrong-doushi either. I was delightfully hoping it would turn into a day off.
For some reason I ended up keeping them company until we reached the forest in the suburbs of the capital.
The members are the likewise forcefully recruited Burkhart-san and Erwin, making it a total amount of four people.
Ina was practicing her spearmanship as usual. Luise was ordered by Armstrong-doushi to stay behind doing special training causing her to a facial expression of disappointment.
However, I wanted her to feel relieved.
It didn’t particularly mean that Armstrong-doushi and I planned to play around.
Despite still being a minor I followed his lead doing work that was related to monsters.
“『Pink Hippo-san』?! It’s fine for me to go back, right?” (Burkhart)
Although Burkhart-san is a former veteran adventurer, it seems he wants to excuse himself from this 『Pink Hippo-san』.
Going by its name, even though I can’t say that it got the impression of feeling like some fancy hippopotamus, maybe it possessed some earth-shattering killing technique?
Or rather, why does its official name have a 『-san』 attached anyway?
I have an intense urge to ask the person who named it.
“I hear that every adventurer guild has completely refused the task. Thus the pot has been passed on to us.” (Armstrong)
Why do the adventurer apprentices, Erwin and I, have to participate in such a request?
As if seeing through my thinking, Armstrong-doushi began to explain.
“It isn’t a subjugation request. This is a protection request.” (Armstrong)
The explanation continues further on.
This monster called 『Pink Hippo-san』 apparently doesn’t live in a monster domain but in areas such as clean springs in regular forests.
Its size is around the size of a Pony. The color if its entire body is pink as indicated by its name.
Only females exist, who breed by laying an egg by themselves.
It also has a record of having a life span comparable to that of a dragon. Or to put it simply, it has an extremely long life.
Naturally, in proportion to that, it only rarely lays an egg.
There are very few of them alive as well. I was told that they are currently specified as protected animal in the kingdom.
“Protected animal? Not protected monster?” (Wendelin)
“It doesn’t really matter which way you classify it. Differentiating it is a bother.” (Armstrong)
I certainly didn’t expect this world to have a concept of animal protection.
Furthermore, that protection is a troublesome task.
It must be very troublesome if a person of Burkhart-san’s degree dislikes it.
“The eggshell is an immensely precious ingredient for medicine!” (Armstrong)
“It’s a wonder drug capable of curing the incurable!” (Armstrong)
It is said that the royalty and titled nobles unanimously guaranteed the protection of the 『Pink Hippo-san』 for that reason.
They want it to feel good so that it lays its eggs so that they can receive the eggshell after the hatching.
“This time, the specimen we are expected to protect has ended up laying its egg prematurely.” (Armstrong)
“It has laid its egg, huh? Is that alright?” (Burkhart)
“Isn’t that dangerous?” (Wendelin)
“The only danger is the timing.” (Armstrong)
Usually the 『Pink Hippo-san』 is a very docile monster.
Although it is placed within the category of monsters, it is a lot more docile than something like a wild boar.
It eats the grass growing closing close to the forest spring.
If it isn’t attacked, it seems that there is no way that it will come and attack the other party.
But it is also said that it turns ferocious after laying its egg in order to protect it.
Which reminds me, I happened to hear that in reality the hippopotamus was unexpectedly ferocious in my previous life too.
“Even if you say it’s ferocious, that doesn’t particularly mean that it will come charging at us.” (Armstrong)
“Only if you threaten it, right?” (Wendelin)
“That’s why everyone refuses to do this request.” (Burkhart)
The hint is that the ingredient necessary for wonder drug is the eggshell.
“The 『Pink Hippo-san』 uses an unique magic on its enemies that try to hurt the egg or itself.” (Armstrong)
It seems to use a mind attack which is almost as if combining hypnotism and illusion together.
“Mind attack?” (Wendelin)
“It is something that no magician is capable of defending against either…” (Armstrong)
In regards to the details, it also became clear that it caused an extremely disastrous effect.
I was told that the female camp implored to be excused from participation.
“In case of a man, is it fine to receive damage?” (Wendelin)
“You shouldn’t say that. Maybe you might be able to defend against its magic, boy.” (Burkhart)
“That’s right, last time my magic defense failed. I experienced various disasters due to that. If it were possible, I wouldn’t want to participate! But, lad, you are Alfred’s pupil! I will bet on that!” (Armstrong)
“… (I have a very bad premonition about this) …” (Wendelin)
The target 『Pink Hippo-san』 is deep within the forest close to the spring.
Having created a nest with collected grass, it is guarding the egg there.
“Will you take it along to another location for protection?” (Erwin)
“Indeed, we will take it to a special reserve prepared by the kingdom. Come now…” (Armstrong)
But now, before we were leaving, Armstrong-doushi, who is a stern muscled daruma, wasn’t pleased.
Did you plan to steal the egg?
Before confronting us the 『Pink Hippo-san』 obviously hid the egg away. Afterwards it started to stare our way with its small eyes.
“Huh? There isn’t even any intimidation?” (Wendelin)
But that was due to my lack of perception.
Also, in the meanwhile the gaze of the 『Pink Hippo-san』 didn’t move even a bit. Unconsciously I ended up matching my line of sight with its small eyes gradually facing in this direction.
“Poor … This is …” (Wendelin)
Somehow it seems we ended up falling into its trap.
Gradually I am not even able to avert my gaze from the 『Pink Hippo-san』. My mind becomes hazy. The last thing I could confirm was something like a pink fog entering my field of vision from the sides.
“The boy is no good either, after all!” (Burkhart)
In spite of invoking a magic defense against it to protect myself from such things as sleeping magic in advance, it obviously didn’t have any effect at all.
Slowly the freedom to move our bodies was stolen.
“Ku, I can’t move my body!” (Burkhart)
“It can’t be helped. We should resolve ourselves here and generously pray to all gods after the consequences.” (Armstrong)
“Such way of talking?!” (Burkhart)
While Burkhart-san was making such complaints towards the doushi, the quantity of pink color gradually increased in my field of vision. If it goes on like this, we will loose consciousness before long.
“Wake up, Shingo-kun.”
“Huh? This is?” (Wendelin)
Opening my eyes, this place wasn’t inside the forest.
It was the evening classroom of Heisei Japan, which I thought impossible to see ever again.
Furthermore, checking my own appearance I am wearing the uniform from my senior high school days. Even the appearance of my face follows that specification.
A mob character student with black hair, divided in the middle, a medium build and a common face wearing glasses.
This was me in my high school days.
“Is something wrong? Shingo-kun.”
Successively, I could see the woman, wearing the same uniform as me, who had woken me up. I clearly remembered her.
It was the woman I liked during my high school days.
She was the idol of the Prefectural Sakuragaoka (T/N: Cherry Tree Hill) Highschool, Ijuin Shizuka-san.
Accomplished in both arts, literary and martial, she was the Student Council President.
And yet she had a nice character as well. Likewise she was idolized by her kouhai and classmates.
Having received love letters by many males confessing their love, she completely rejected them.
If one were to speak of me then I was satisfied by just watching that unattainable girl.
Naturally, I didn’t expect to do such things as having a conversation with her either. But even so I was called by her.
“No, it’s nothing. Eeto, shouldn’t you go home soon? Ijuin-san.” (Wendelin)
“Call me Shizuka, Shingo-kun.” (Shizuka)
“Eh? Are you serious?” (Wendelin)
Currently I am not Wendelin. I truly don’t feel any sense of discomfort acting as Ichinomiya Shingo.
Although I should be about to leave towards the forest in order to protect the monster together with Erwin, Burkhart-san, and the muscled doushi, I don’t think that the current situation is strange at all.
“Eeto … Shizuka.” (Wendelin)
“Yes, Shingo-kun.” (Shizuka)
She was an idol I longed for without having had a proper conversation during my highschool days.
Such girl asks me on her own accord to call her without honorifics.
Gradually I became aware of my face getting hot.
“Everybody has already gone home.” (Shizuka)
As the time is half past six in the evening, only those guys having their club activities on the sport grounds are left.
There is already no one but us two remaining in the classroom.
While she was saying this, she closed her eyes and turned towards my face.
“(This is! This is, possibly!)” (Wendelin)
She wanted to kiss me.
In the end I considered the possibility of some dust entering her eyes since I am unpopular after all.
Something like kissing in the classroom after school, I believed it to be an urban legend with the exception of stories.
“(However, panicking here can be considered as blunder! While taking a deep breath once …)” (Wendelin)
As expected of the unpopular me.
My mind was already engulfed in a great tumult of the same level as just before the outbreak of the World War.
But, a woman having gone as far as this, there was nothing left but to kiss her on my own accord.
“(I am glad to be alive!)” (Wendelin)
While thinking this, I also closed my eyes and put my lips on top of hers.
Continuing onwards, both of us embraced each other placing the hands on either back.
Only when you haven’t done this before, such unexperienced kiss is magnificent after all.
The nice fragrance characteristic to a female highschool student. The soft touch of her lips.
Besides, my mind was also exalted by the the likes of the soft feeling of her body.
I felt like staying like this for an eternity.
“(It’s the best feeling ever.)” (Wendelin)
However, my shoulders were shaken as I was at such height of happiness. It was an awfully boorish guy.
Bothering me like this during this wonderful time. Even for a gentle person like me it would be fine to be enraged.
You see, it’s fine to become a victim of high level magic.
I trembled in anger while I opened my eyes.
Thereupon, in front of my eyes a scene of hell was unfolding.
Despite of my anticipation of being in the classroom in the evening kissing my admired idol Shizuka-chan.
For some reason there was a face similar to a oblong rock in front of my eyes, somehow like a pineapple. After finishing uploading what was displayed, it was the face of the muscled doushi with his grown, imposing handlebar mustache under his nose.
“It seems you finally woke up!” (Armstrong)
“Eeto, doushi?” (Wendelin)
As I should be kissing with my unrequited love from my highschool days, the face of the muscled doushi was in front of my eyes when I woke up.
Furthermore, my hands were resting on the back of the muscled doushi and his hands were resting on my back. It was a situation of us embracing each other.
“I don’t accept this!” (Wendelin)
Although it was the best feeling ever, if a lie isn’t exposed it isn’t a lie.
The strength of the muscled doushi’s embrace gradually even caused my shoulders and back to make creaking sounds. That strength was so powerful to such an extent that the bones in my body got cracked.
I wish I didn’t wake up like this, remaining in my happiness.
“Although I understand how you feel, take a straight look at reality.” (Erwin)
As he was shaking my shoulders, it seems that Erwin was behind me.
Furthermore, he somehow makes sure to avoid matching Burkhart-san’s line of sight.
I don’t think it is necessary to mention the reason for that.
“The 『Pink Hippo-san』 uses something like an illusionary magic inducing the lustful desires of people like this! Do you now understand the reason why we didn’t bring along female company?” (Armstrong)
Certainly, it would become a bad rumor if Erwin, the doushi, and Burkhart-san were to kiss Elise, Ina, or Luise.
If things don’t go well, it also isn’t unlikely for the other nobles to say for instance something like 『Such loose girls, they aren’t suitable as fiancées of Baron Baumeister, don’t you think so? Instead, my daughter …』.
Therefore the doushi, without even explaining the circumstances to Burkhart-san, brought us along to here.
“Yes… By the way, doushi” (Wendelin)
“What is it?” (Armstrong)
“Excuse me!” (Wendelin)
Shaking off the still embracing, overbearing muscled doushi, I moved to a close by thicket.
And then …
“Ue~~~! A trauma for a lifetime~~~!” (Wendelin)
“Even I am fond of normal women…” (Armstrong)
Having ended up experiencing the trauma of kissing that muscled doushi, I kept on vomiting in the shadows of the thicket for quite a while.
“However, this hippo. Because it is a protected animal, it got cocky…” (Wendelin)
“Listen, Wend. Since a hippo can’t get cocky…” (Erwin)
In the end, even though we attempted to protect the hippo several times after that, it resulted in all of the attempts failing.
I succeeded in planting the trauma three times within my mind in total.
Next I was taken to the clubroom of my baseball club in middle school.
I, who was an eternal bench warmer, liked it. When I expected a kiss from the cute manager, who also was my classmate, I was scowled at with a sour look by Burkhart-san.
“Thank you for the passionate kiss.” (Burkhart)
“Please, you have to have some experience how to defend against the magic of the hippo, Burkhart-san!” (Wendelin)
“I was reluctant to come here because it is impossible!” (Burkhart)
Now I understand why no one wanted to take this request.
Because even Burkhart-san was helpless in this situation.
“Let’s try it once more.” (Burkhart)
“Despite knowing it will be a failure… This isn’t Burkhart-san himself.” (Wendelin)
“It can’t be helped because it’s that kind of contract!” (Burkhart)
As feared, the third time was no good either.
The stage changed to the preparation room of the soccer club during my time in elementary school. There the lovely girl I had fallen in love with, who was also my classmate skilled in soccer, gently shut her eyes.
Or rather, why did I only fall in love with girls that were unattainable from the outset?
For sure it was because I chose to not take a straight look at reality, though that wasn’t something you said only while being unpopular.
“Wend, huh? …” (Erwin)
“You know…” (Wendelin)
“Don’t finish what you are saying…” (Erwin)
The one time I kissed the muscled doushi was the worst trauma.
The second time I felt the taste of alcohol from somewhere. Comparing it to Burkhart-san with his distinctive body odor of a middle-aged man from before, Erwin still entered the group of being less objectionable?
This guy hasn’t a poor-looking face either.
But, at the time of thinking like that it ended up becoming a feeling of having lost something.
Erwin told me to not say anything because he thought the same thing as well.
“And? What do we do about the fourth time?” (Wendelin)
“I tried it at the very least. I will go home now.” (Burkhart)
Having fulfilled no more than his obligation, Burkhart-san began to to prepare for returning home.
“But, will we leave the hippo as it is?” (Wendelin)
“Rather, if you think about it, it is impossible to accomplish this without injuring that thing.” (Burkhart)
Or more precisely, I don’t understand why it is necessary to expressly move the hippo to a reserve.
Any poacher won’t be able to move his hand in front of that illusionary magic.
“Actually, a watchman will come to see the state of affairs in the morning…” (Armstrong)
In case it is a single poacher, he will do such things as hugging and kissing a tree. Whereas in case it is more than two it wasn’t seldom for them to do some even more dreadful things.
The partner may be a man or it may be a woman.
Even regarding the task of protecting it, there are also many cases of adventurers being swallowed up in tragedies.
Coming to back to their senses, the male adventurers get stuck with marriages as they have to take responsibility for such sexual relations.
As it is, it seems many people end up awakening to their homosexual love, too.
“I won’t bring along Elise.” (Wendelin)
As far as the officials of the church are concerned, homosexual love is a heresy equal to a sin as well.
Likewise it is below the moral principles and unproductive.
Usually it was dealt with by severe punishment if it was discovered.
“She will faint if she sees such a thing like Wend and the doushi kissing.” (Erwin)
“The same for Erwin and Burkhart-san, too.” (Wendelin)
Although we finished the task with an extraordinary failure in the end, we won’t be charged with a penalty since all the other adventurers had declined the mission.
In addition, although the 『Pink Hippo-san』 was a problem, it appears that parent and child will voluntarily move to the reserve once the egg has hatched.
This one day of work was a complete loss.
“If I come back home, I will get Elise, Luise, and Ina to remove the aftertaste. Deducting the number of people, it will become zero, huh?” (Wendelin)
“No, you have to consider the impact of doushi’s portion…” (Erwin)
Even so, I will have Elise’s group get rid of the aftertaste.
And, I also plan to reach the point one day that I could say 『It is already fine to not return being Ichinomiya Shingo』.
(E: Just after kissing the doushi I would fear ever returning to my previous life!)