Entering the eatery, it came off as nothing special and resembled a simple cafeteria. Soldiers, maids, healers and other unimportant figures gathered here for a meal.
Off to one side, Kazuki could see Asuna eating a meal with a small group of people. After a few seconds, Kazuki also saw Sam’s face pop up from a plate. Their eyes met one another and Sam, who was clearly still mad at Kazuki, looked back down and dove headfirst back into his plate.
Asuna noticed Sam’s eyes wondering for a moment and looked over. However, instead of the expected anger, she smiled brightly at Kazuki and waved him over.
Kazuki and Shin came over and Asuna stood up and introduced him to the table.
“This is Ryuta. Ryuta, this is Kimi, Hanako, and Tera.”
The three girls looked at Ryuta and then at each other before giggling. Ryuta and Shin wondered why the three were laughing and Shin asked.
“Are you ladies ok?”
The three girls just giggled even harder before the one called Kimi said.
“You’re Ryuta, huh? Asuna was right; you do look like an idiot, hehehe.”
The three girls once more broke out into laughter as Asuna’s face was suddenly dyed red in embarrassment. She turned on the girls and began yelling.
“Kimi, why would you say that. Ah, Ryuta, I’m so…”
Kazuki had already turned and left headed straight for the line for food. Close behind was Shin with his hands tucked behind his head, laughing at Kazuki all the way. Asuna grew even angrier at the chuckling hyenas beside her.
“What the hell, Kimi, I thought we were becoming friends. Why would you do something like that?”
Kimi snickered lightly.
“What do you mean? Your the one who told me all about the dumb stuff he was doing. Saying things like [“I’ll go Super Saiyan.”] Hahaha, how old is he exactly?”
Asuna felt guilty for telling these people she just met something embarrassing about her friend and so she ignored the girls and ran after Kazuki with a worried expression.
“Ryuta! Ryuta, wait!”
Asuna ran up to Kazuki but seeing it was her he simply turned and kept walking towards his only goal at the moment, a full stomach. Asuna though was determined and jumped in front of him.
“Wait a minute, Ryuta, don’t ignore me.”
A few people overheard Asuna shout and gathered around intrigued by what the situation looked like, a couple’s quarrel.
“What is it, I’m hungry.”
Asuna stood silent for a moment not expecting him to immediately respond.
“I…I’m sorry about just now. Those three aren’t actually mean, I think they’re just handling this overall situation with an ill taste in humor.”
Kazuki just stood there silently wondering how Ryuta would respond in this situation. Truthfully he wasn’t even mad, he just found that timing to be perfect and it allowed him to make a quick exit so he could get some grub. Anything else at the moment didn’t really concern him. Still, if he started acting differently now and didn’t act like how the real Ryuta would then maybe Sam or Asuna might start suspecting something.
Maybe not that Kazuki wasn’t the real Ryuta but that he was acting weird or different from what they knew and if Garn or someone else found out about this and started questioning his identity, things could easily end badly from there.
The whole point of studying Ryuta and the others were so that Kazuki could blend in with them and use Ryuta’s identity as camouflage. If Asuna and Sam didn’t question who he was then no one else would have reason to do so either.
Standing there silently for several seconds, Asuna thought that Ryuta was really angry at her but a few seconds later…
Kazuki held his stomach in laughter and lightly flicked Asuna on the forehead, inflicting a tiny amount of pain. Asuna, as well as the gathered crowd, looked on in confusion.
“Don’t worry, I’m not angry. I know you could never be cruel to me. Truthfully, I’m actually glad.”
Asuna tilted her head questioningly.
“Earlier I couldn’t do anything for your sadness or how lonely you felt. I thought that if I made you mad at me it would make you feel better but in the end, it only kept you feeling upset. Now though, those girls put a smile on your face. Although briefly, you don’t seem to feel lonely or hopeless anymore, so for that I’m actually grateful to those three.”
The crowd, as well as Asuna, Shin, and even those three girls were stunned. This was one of the determining factors that caused Kazuki to heavily consider using Ryuta’s identity. Everything Kazuki just now said, although it was not something he actually believed, it was 100% something Ryuta would say.
It was a rarity you don’t find in most people but that’s just how Ryuta was. He could be goofy and foolish plenty of times and maybe he liked anime a little too much but when it came to his sincerity towards his friends, not many could match him. Because of these factors, looking from the outside in, Ryuta could be seen as having a hard to identify personality and was all over the place.
So acting out of place might even seem to be Ryuta’s norm. How do you suspect someone if you can never figure out what they’re thinking and everything they do seems to be random or weird? This is what made Ryuta the absolute perfect pick to trade places with.
This was also one of the reasons Asuna liked Ryuta and why she would start to blush when he grabbed her hand and spoke seriously for a moment. At the same time, because of this randomness, this was also one of Ryuta’s worst features and that weirdness decided now was the perfect time to rear its weird ugly head.
A loud rumbling echoed out perfectly within this large dining hall.
At first, everyone thought a dog or something had just gotten in but then a second rumble followed the first.
Everyone’s eyes followed the sound all the way to its source. With a few pats on his stomach, Kazuki rubbed the back of his head shyly and said.
“Hehehe, guess I’m a little hungry.”
The crowd of gathered people erupted into laughter. Asuna, on the other hand, became annoyed as her eye started to twitch.
“Eh, Asuna, what’s wrong? Why are you upset?”
Asuna just turned and walked back to her table while whispering under her breath.
“The mood is ruined…idiot.”
Shin slapped Kazuki on the back and laughed.
“Hahaha. If that’s the noise you make when your hungry, I’d hate to know what you sound like when you’ve got the shits, hahaha.”
Hearing this, the crowd’s laughter grew louder and louder until dozens of people were keeled over holding their sides and gasping for air. A few people though were not amused and stared at Kazuki and Shin in disgust, while they pushed their plate of food far away from them after visualizing Kazuki on the john.
Kazuki joined in on the laughter genuinely enjoying Shin’s joke.
(Hahaha, this Shin guy knows how to amp things up to an 11. Not bad.)
After a few minutes, Kazuki and Shin returned with some food and sat down in front of Sam. With Asuna ignoring him, Kazuki decided to see if he could appease Sam.
“Sam, when we return home I promise to buy you a few games as well so could you stop being mad at me already?”
Sam’s ears perked up hearing about games but then he looked back down at his food and whispered.
“7 Goddess Staff.”
Kazuki and Shin both leaned in closer.
“What was that? What did you say?”
Sam once again looked up but this time he put down the whole leg of a goat and gently pat his mouth clean with a napkin.
“I said I want your 7 Goddess Staff. You know the one, from Fire Emblem Awakening. Give it to me when we return or I’ll never forgive you for breaking my game.”
Kazuki couldn’t help but laugh within his mind.
(Haha, so simple.)
Of course, Kazuki couldn’t say that out loud. He still had to pretend to be Ryuta, so in Ryuta fashion, Kazuki suddenly jumped to his feet and shouted.
“What! You want my 7 Goddess Staff! there’s no way absolutely no way that item took me almost 20hrs to get. You’re insane, you’re in crazy town J.A.P.A.N if you think I’ll ever part with that.”
Shin and Sam stared at Kazuki, curious as to why he spelled Japan like that but all in all the two found it funny. Shin laughed while Sam simply stared Kazuki dead in the eyes with no emotion and no blinking. After a few moments of this, Kazuki began to sweat cold beads. A moment after that and he finally cracked. Rubbing his head in frustration he roared.
“Fine but that’s it. Anything more and your simply asking me to dive off from a bridge.”
Sam held out his hand and Kazuki shook it sealing the deal. Sam’s lip slightly curved up but no one could tell if it was a smile or if he was smelling something terrible. Shin, on the other hand, was cracking up witnessing all of these interactions between Kazuki and his friends. Shin held out his hand as well to Sam and introduced himself.
“Hehe, My names Miya Shinichi aka Shin, call me Shin and you’re Sam, right?”
“Tanku, like a tank, well you’ve certainly got the build for it, lol.”
Sam shook his head.
“My dad was a weird one. When he was younger he was in love with tanks and legally changed his last name to Tanku. I received this last name at birth, my figure has nothing to do with it.”
“Hmm, fascinating, and Ryuta, what is your girlfriend’s name?”
Asuna’s fist slammed into the table making causing her plate of food to levitate for half a second.
“My name is Asuna and there’s no way I would d…date him.”
The other three girls started giggling from this.
“Oh, is that so? So does that mean you’re available?”
The three girls started to ooh and awe before they started giggling once more.
“Hmph, I wouldn’t go out with you even if you offered me a palace.”
Shin dramatically put his hand over his heart as though he had just been shot with an arrow.
“So I guess this means our wedding is off then.”
Sam coughed and almost choked on his food and Kazuki couldn’t help but wonder.
(Was the emotionless machine about to laugh, no it couldn’t be.)
Kazuki had studied and watched Sam for around a year and he had only caught him laughing once. An old man had been walking down the sidewalk one day while Sam was on his way to school. The old man had miss stepped and accidentally kicked off one of his shoes. Right before the old man put his foot back into the shoe, a bird that had been flying by dropped a greyish white turd and it landed directly inside that shoe.
The old man hadn’t seen it and slipped his shoe back on before continuing on with his walk, all the while he was completely oblivious to the white nasty on his sole. Sam had witnessed this whole event by mere coincidence and Kazuki had witnessed him witness this. Sam then proceeded to lean against a wall and laugh his ass off for a solid five minutes straight until finally he calmed down and his face went blank again. As though nothing had ever happened, Sam headed to school and went about his day.
Sam had found the incident absolutely hilarious while Kazuki found it disgusting and bizarre. He couldn’t help but think of the chances of something so small falling from 35 feet up and landing perfectly inside of something else so small and then having someone not notice the feeling of a turd against their foot. Reality was questioned that day, that’s for sure.
After everyone introduced themselves, the group soon found they had a few things in common. While getting to know each other and Shin occasionally throwing in a joke or two, their mealtime passed pleasantly. Feeling both full and delighted, everyone headed back to their rooms to turn in for the night, for the next day would be busy, to say the least.