238 – A Redhead’s Assertiveness
Editor: Thor’s Stone
I also thought I was acting really funny, so I tried my best to obediently stay put for two days. But even so, why is there always one or two of my crew members hanging around me wherever I go? Is it that? Are they worried I was gonna pull something off so they were keeping an eye on me? I’m not a child, guys. You don’t really need to go this far, you know? Uh, okay. I’m definitely gonna mess up if you don’t watch over me? I see.
“Well, no matter the reason, it kinda makes me happy that you guys are paying attention to me, so it’s okay!”
“It feels like forever since we were able to spend time with Hiro-sama like this.”
“We’ve been really busy recently after all.”
It was now evening and it was our second day on stand-by in the colony. After finishing our dinner in the dining room, we proceeded to spend time relaxing there as well.
“We sisters didn’t have a lot of opportunities to relax these past two days though.”
“We did manage to finish everything somehow.”
The worn-out dwarven sisters were still wearing their work overalls. Right after finishing work, they immediately headed to the dining hall to eat.
In the end, the jobs Mimi, Elma, and Mei were in charge of had a lot more free time available compared to Tina and Whisker’s job. So basically, I spent time relaxing with the former three, and on occasion, all five of them whenever an opportunity presents itself.
“I’ll give you nice bonuses to make up for all the trouble, okay.”
“A bonus is okay, but I wanna spend more time with you instead, Boss.”
“And if you’re going to make it up to us like that, you better do so equally, big brother.”
“Eh……? You wanna piece of it too, Whisker?”
Tina and Whisker were kinda getting a lot more assertive after we had that dinner a few days ago. In the past, they either always took a step back or appealed to me in ways that made it difficult to tell if they were just joking or not. But now, they were coming on to me straight more and more.
“We finally realized it you see.”
“It’s counterproductive to come on to you in a roundabout way, big brother.”
“So you’ve realized that as well, huh.”
Mimi and Elma nodded and grinned in acknowledgment. Sorry, but I’m feeling really awkward here guys, see?
“And so, from here on out, we’ll come at ya straight whenever we have a chance. We’re gonna crush your defenses Boss.”
“But you can’t literally crush him, okay, big sis?”
“We’ll gladly welcome you, Tina-san, Whisker-san.”
“Yeah. These two don’t have a lot of troublesome ties anyway, so there’s no reason not to welcome them, right?”
“Okay, but could you stop pressuring me please.”
If I said OK here, it’s possible that I might find the two dwarven ladies barging into my room unannounced. Maybe they’d even do so tonight. I still have to prepare my heart and stuff, so please don’t corner me like this, ladies.
“How about you, Mei-han¹?”
“Me? I don’t think it’s something I need to meddle in. I’ll leave the decision to Master.”
“But Mei-san, don’t you always……”
“It’s true that I’m constantly monitoring you two. But it has nothing to do with that. I’m doing it purely as a precaution since the two of you are still affiliated with Space Dwerg.”
“I see. So what if we quit Space Dwerg altogether and officially join the crew then?”
“Just like I said earlier, I also don’t think that’s something I need to meddle in. However, from an objective point of view, there would be a lot more positive points than negative ones should you decide to do so.”
After hearing Mei’s answer, Whisker turned her gaze to me. Tina also looked at me intently. Ok, ok. I get it already. I’m already well aware of your feelings guys. So please stop staring at me like that.
“Ok. I understand your feelings, you two. But please remember that you only changed your attitudes after that dinner with Tinia. I want you to examine yourselves and make sure that you’re not just being impulsive. If your feelings are still the same afterward, then I’ll resolve myself to accept your feelings properly, okay?”
The gazes of everyone else all gathered on me.
“You sure are wishy-washy sometimes.”
“Oh c’mon, Boss. Shouldn’t you just accept us already after hearing all that?”
Elma and Tina admonished me, and Whisker stayed quiet but gave me a reproachful stare. I’m not sure about Mei’s reaction, but Mimi’s gaze was a little ambiguous.
“What’s wrong, Mimi?”
“No, um…… I was just thinking, you were a lot more direct when you accepted Elma-san, but why are you so hesitant when it comes to Tina-san and Whisker-san?”
“Well, that’s, uh… y’know.”
I turned toward Tina and Whisker while rubbing my chin in thought. Why do I keep brushing off their advances huh? I’m not your typical late-bloomer anyway, and it’s not like I’d land myself into any trouble if I did lay my hands on them. They aren’t nobles anyway. So why aren’t I willing to take the next step with the two of them?
“Hm. It’s probably because I feel we haven’t gotten to know each other enough, I guess. I think there’s no need to hurry so much when it comes to things like this.”
“……In other words, you already have Mimi, Mei, and Big Sis Elma, so we’re not really all that appealing huh. And that’s why you can’t get serious with us.”
“No, no, that’s not it at all. If that really is the case, then I would have treated you two rougher. I wouldn’t have had Mei serve as an escort to you two, and I wouldn’t have let you guys handle the combat bots either. If the two of you ever get harassed or abducted by unruly nobles or pirates, I’d definitely risk my life to rescue you. I guarantee it.”
I swore such to Tina who gave me a harsh glare while facing her directly. I can’t help it if she still doesn’t get convinced with this though.
“Mou… What’s with that? You’re really serious. If you really feel that way, then why don’t you ever take the next step?”
“That is that and this is this. Please just give me a little more time to deepen our relationship. I’m also gonna do my part too.”
“Haah…… What do you think, Whee?”
“Un, let’s just do as big brother says. If big brother says he’s going to think about us seriously, then I guess there’s no need to be so impatient.”
“Mou, that’s no fair. Acting all goody-goody like that. Even though you feel just the same as me. Stupid Whee. Now it feels like I’m the only one making a big deal out of this.”
Tina puffed up her cheeks in frustration. Whisker giggled as she poked her pouting sister’s cheek. In any case, things seem to be settled for now, but I really have to take things more seriously regarding them from now on. I also don’t want to always leave them hanging after all. That’s not good, and I’m gonna feel really burdened if I ever let that happen.
But I only have two arms you know…… It looks like I really have to resolve myself in lots of ways this time.
And so, I passed the evening thinking about such things. It was now the next day. We finally left Refill Prime to descend to Refill IV, which the locals called Theta. We’re gonna enter the atmosphere with Black Lotus, so I and the rest of Krishna’s crew were now lounging around the Lotus’ break room. Mei was in charge of navigating the ship after all.
“So you guys are making a move right off the bat huh?”
“The best way to close the distance between our hearts is to close the distance between our bodies yeah?”
“D-Do you find it unpleasant?”
“Nah, I don’t hate it.”
Tina and Whisker sandwiched me in between them as we lounged around on the break room’s sofa. They were wearing ordinary and relatively thin clothing instead of their usual work overalls today, so I felt their body heat more directly than usual.
I glanced at my left and found Tina grinning happily at me. I glanced at my right and found Whisker looking a bit tense as she gazed back at me with upturned eyes and a bright red face. Yeah, both of them are really cute, but this no-holds-barred skinship is making me a bit antsy.
And a little distance away from us, Mimi was looking on with a soft smile on her lips while Elma had a bit of a sour look on her face.
“You look like you’re having fun, Mimi.”
“Ehehe, Hiro-sama looking all embarrassed is kind of cute.”
“I wonder. Isn’t he just ogling at them?”
“Elma-san is cute too!”
Mimi ended up hugging Elma in delight. It looks like they’re enjoying themselves over there as well. Well, it’s a hundred times better than not getting along. It’s also part of my job to manage the interpersonal relationships of my crew after all. I’m basically receiving my just desserts, so I have no choice but to bite the bullet and do my best.
“Boss is going to have a harder time from now on huh.”
“You’re one to talk. You’re part of the reason why remember?”
“U-Um, I’ll be alright as long as you pay attention to me from time to time……”
“That’s not good…… You tend to hold yourself back too much, Whisker. You have to be more honest. I’m also gonna do my best, but as you may have noticed, I can be a bit dull sometimes.”
“How about me?”
“I don’t need to encourage you. You’ll end up coming at me head-on regardless anyway Tina.”
After saying so, I used my left hand to stroke Tina’s hair and give her nice head pats. She was telling me to stop while obviously enjoying it. How cute. Whisker then began pushing her head toward me, so I also gave her lots of head pats.
“Like I said, he’s just ogling them.”
“But isn’t that fine? It’s nice that everyone’s getting along.”
“……Haah. You sure have a big heart, Mimi.”
Mimi tilted her head at Elma’s remark, but I feel the same as Elma too. For some reason, Mimi’s mentality and adaptability were really quite impressive. I mean, she did manage to quickly get used to mercenary life and even turned down the opportunity to become part of the imperial family. She’s probably the most tolerant among all of us. There’s no mistake.
As I thought about such things, Black Lotus finally entered Refill IV’s atmosphere.
1. Tina speaks in Kansai-ben, so instead of ‘san’, she uses ‘han’. She refers to the others with various terms of endearment and uses ‘han’ sparingly though.