I will quote a famous person’s words with a slight modification.
⎯⎯⎯Midterms are over. I am free.
“You all did a good job on the midterms. Get some well-deserved rest over the weekend and I’ll see you all next week.”
Once our homeroom teacher finished giving his final words announcing the end of the midterms, our class, which had reached a critical point, erupted in an instant.
“Hey, the exams are over, let’s go to a PC room.”
“Let’s go to a karaoke room first. I want to scream.”
“We’re meeting in front of the station at 2pm, just as we promised, right?”
“Hey, did you hear that rumor? Yeah, that one.”
Mutter mutter. The classroom’s atmosphere instantly became rowdy. While my classmates were gathered here and there throughout the classroom sharing with each other how joyful they were about the end of the exams and their exciting plans for Spring, I slammed my head on my desk, bang. Once I spoke with my mouth against my desk, the desk vibrated.
“Hey, Ja Saeyeon, are you alive?”
“······Yup, I’m······. Alive······.”
There was no strength in her voice. Well, this was expected.
The past week······. No, Since the exam period was squeezed in, it was about two weeks. Saeyeon, who was worn out due to the 1:1 mentoring sessions she had with me during that time, had been in this groggy state since yesterday.
“It’s now, over······.”
And I’ve been groggy since the day before yesterday. Since I didn’t have the strength to lift my head up, I spoke while enduring the annoying vibration that resonated from my desk whenever I talked.
“This is why, next time, do some studying beforehand. Now you understand that trying to learn about everything that was covered during half a semester is nearly impossible, right?”
“Yeah······. It was hard······.”
Well, we actually had to cover everything from middle school and not only half a semester, so my head felt like it was going to explode thanks to that. Because the teaching side needs to know a lot more than the learning side. Furthermore, she was like this for every single subject.
Regardless of whether I’m the greatest scientist of this era or not, that was only within the field of engineering, so even I had a hard time when it came to areas that were unrelated to engineering. I don’t know who this Jeong Cheol person is, but with my current feelings, I want to kill him. If you’re a high school student, then you most likely feel the same way.
(TL note: Jeong Cheol is a politician who was alive during the Joseon Dynasty. Most Korean high school students who are in their last year of high school know him for his famous work which is so complex and difficult to figure out that he has become notorious for it. There are people who even say that if they could go back in time, then they would go deal with him first.)
“Ah, but I think my grades went up a bit because Jjaro helped me.”
Nevertheless, it seems she had regained a bit of her strength as Saeyeon turned her head while still collapsed on top of her desk. I turned to look at her as well and did my best to grin.
“Of course. The great me was the one who taught you through both day and night.”
Nonetheless, teaching her was somewhat fruitful.
Well, once we went home and checked her results, her grades really did only go up by a small amount, but considering Saeyeon’s usual grades, this was a splendid achievement. On the other hand, my grades went down a bit, but I was already in the upper ranks. Is that surprising? Why do you think the school tolerates my behavior?
“Hm? Do you have something you want to say?”
I wonder if it was because she was tired, but her eyes were half-open. Her hesitance was apparent, but it seems she was able to muster enough courage as her once twitching lips were now moving.
“Until now, I avoided studying with you because I didn’t want to show you how bad I was at it, Jjaro······.”
No, I already knew this. Did you think I didn’t know? The instant I was about to tell her that, Saeyeon, who had strangely been avoiding my eyes, met my gaze and giggled.
“······Studying together, was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I was happy, being able to study together with Jjaro.”
“······And I was only having a hard time trying to teach you.”
Her expression looked as if happiness itself was about to start oozing out from it. Her slightly red cheeks relaxed and the corners of her mouth went up, creating a rainbow-like curve. It was my turn to have a hard time trying to make eye contact with her, so I averted my gaze.
“Teach me next time as well, okay?”
“······I’ll consider it.”
Albeit, if possible, I’m hoping that she’ll be able to do it by herself without my assistance.
My face also became red in spite of myself so I turned away.
“Oh, what’s this? Are you being shy, Jaro?”
“As I expected, you became a bit different ever since the two of you started living together~.”
“Isn’t it because they have a daughter?”
“But to have taught her all day and night······. Jaro is treacherous~.”
“······Why are you all eavesdropping like it’s a completely natural thing to do, you untaught masses?”
Thanks to that, I met their gazes instead. Really, these uneducated people.
The group of three of mixed genders, who were looking this way and chatting with each other, grinned in response to my curt words and answered.
“What’s wrong? Don’t worry about us and continue.”
“Yeah, yeah. This is simply on the level of a local radio.”
“Go over there and do your local broadcast. Eavesdropping isn’t a good thing.”
“Eavesdropping? All we’re doing is naturally listening to our surroundings. Right?”
“We couldn’t hear properly because the class is too loud. Right?”
They’re trying to feign ignorance. The group moved ever so slightly to the side and started chatting with each other again as if they seriously intended to pretend as if they didn’t hear anything. Of course, while frequently stealing glances at us. So that’s how they’re going to play?
“Now that I think about it, Saeyeon. Taemin asked me to repair his laptop, but his hard drive got fried while I was fixing it. How do you think I should break the news to him?”
“Hey! How could you fry my hard drive?! Do you know how many MILF videos, which you can’t get anymore, were in there?!”
“Can’t hear us my ass! I’m really going to fry it now!”
Once I shouted back at Taemin who had immediately turned his head in order to yell at me, he realized he was tricked and panicked slightly. What an idiot.
“······MILF? What do you mean by MILF?”
Furthermore, there was a girl right next to him. I do understand his feelings, but. Taemin, who was panicking while receiving Sooah’s cold gaze, gnashed his teeth.
“Jin Jaro······. I’ll get you for this······.”
“Pay me for the repair cost before that. I’ve been short on my living expenses lately.”
While I was retorting back at him with a smirk, Jiseon picked at my side.
“Rather, Jaro, how far did the two of you go?”
“······Really, your jokes.”
“You’re not that impressive either considering you’re a girl who just asked something like that so bluntly.”
What exactly is she asking me? Kids these days. However, I heard some groans and laughs in reaction to my answer. What?
“See. I told you nothing would happen.”
“But it’s been a month since they started living together, so I thought they would eventually.”
“As I expected, wouldn’t it be faster if Saeyeon jumped Jaro while he’s asleep?”
“In any case, one thousand won. Pay up. Now then, the side that voted ‘they won’t do anything’, come and receive your winnings!”
“You bastards, what do you think you’re betting on?!”
Also, nearly the entire class took part in it! In response to my shout, the rest of my classmates gave their own respective response.
“Jaro, the fact that nothing has happened even though you’ve been living together for a month is seriously bad. You went and did a shotgun wedding a short while ago, but what’s up with you nowadays?”
“Isn’t it because he got too used to it?”
“As I thought, that’s the biggest problem······. It definitely feels like Jaro can’t get it to stand. I wonder if he’s a eunuch or asexual?”
“Hey, Jaro, are you unable to get it to stand? Do you want me to lend you something good? There are actresses who look like Saeyeon in my collection.”
“All of you shut up!”
Seriously, these untaught masses······. Once I turned my head while gritting my teeth, I saw Saeyeon slightly covering her mouth as she laughed. How are you able to laugh in a situation like this?
“No, it feels like you’ve been getting along with the other kids lately, Jjaro.”
“Saeyeon, does this look like getting along to you?”
“But Jjaro, you remember our classmates’ names now, don’t you? Even though you didn’t remember anyone besides me and Nanda last year.”
······She’s good at noticing things like this. Only weird things, though.
“The not-able-to-stand Jin Jaro! You have a guest!”
“Can you please shut up?”
Once I shouted and turned to face whoever called out to me by the door, I saw Nanda waving at me with a grin on his face. Nanda entered our class with big strides and spoke.
“Yo, Jjaro. Did you do well on your test? And how about you, Saeyeon?”
“Ah, Nanda, welcome!”
“Nanda, why exactly do you not hang out with your own classmates? You always play around in our class. Are you perhaps being bullied?”
We were in the same class last year, but even though we were in separate classes and also respectively separated by our liberal arts and natural science courses this year, he would always come to our class whenever he had the opportunity to do so. Considering his network of friends, there should be a lot of people who want to hang out with him. Nanda chuckled.
“That’s harsh, Jjaro. Just earlier, I came here after declining an invitation to hang out with some girls.”
I probably wasn’t seeing things when I noticed a couple of the guys click their tongues in response to Nanda’s words. He is cheesy, but this fairly handsome guy isn’t that unpopular. Although he usually refuses them himself. Or is it that? Am I in danger? Should I not pick up the soap for this guy?
“Don’t look at me like that. Hey, that’s rude. I’m merely saying that I’m not interested since I have a dream right now. Well, it would be different if there’s a girl who’s willing to understand my situation and wait for me.”
“Do you think such a convenient girl like that exists in the world? For a girl to love you sincerely even though you didn’t do anything, does that make sense?”
“Ow! Ow! Why are you all throwing stuff at me all of a sudden?!”
“Shut up! You of all people shouldn’t be saying something like that!”
Nanda let out a big sigh at the sight of my classmates throwing a bunch of items and insults at me the instant I had spoken those words. What’s up with him now?
“In any case, Jjaro, Saeyeon, do you two have any plans now that the exams are over?”
In response to his question, which he had asked while looking at me and Saeyeon, Saeyeon and I looked at each other, nodded our heads, and answered.
“We’re going to sleep.”
“······Was the exam period that hard on you two?”
Saeyeon answered Nanda’s question with a tired expression on her face.
“Because Jjaro didn’t let me sleep and kept making me study······. It was hard······.”
“I’m the one who had it rough. I had to start from the multiplication table again when I taught her math.”
“I wonder who made mathematics. Even though it isn’t helpful at all······.”
“······For Saeyeon to say such a normal line, it must have really been tough. I was going to ask if you guys wanted to go to a karaoke room since the exams were over······.”
Nanda nodded at Saeyeon who quickly turned her head.
“Yup. It must have been tough for the two of you since it was the exam period, but Jaim must have been bored as well since she had no one to play with, right? I thought we could all go to a karaoke room and relieve some stress. Ah, we could invite Upperclassman Nabom as well.”
“There’s no way you could relieve stress just by screaming in a karaoke room. We’d simply be using up the stamina which we already lack.”
More than anything else, it’s too tiresome. Saeyeon’s head snapped towards me the instant I said that.
“Jjaro······. Are you not going to the karaoke room······?”
“Yup. I’m not.”
In the first place, it’s a place I don’t like and it’s a playground for those untaught masses. If I had the energy to go there, then I’d rather fix Multi-chan at home and research more about robot maids.
“Really······. Are you really, not going to go······?”
Saeyeon looked as if she was really bummed out.
“If you want to go that much, then you can go.”
“······Mm, no. I’ll go home with you, Jaro.”
Without getting rid of her disappointed look, Saeyeon shook her head. Nanda furtively whispered into my ear.
“Hey, don’t be like that and just come with us. You know, don’t you? Saeyeon absolutely won’t go anywhere with another guy if you aren’t with her.”
······Yeah, that’s true. That’s why, even though there are a lot of guys who are interested in Saeyeon, none of them ask her to hang out.
Once I glanced at her slightly, Saeyeon was tossing glances at me while half-heartedly packing her backpack. Her gaze was filled to the brim with the desire to go play together. I honestly felt pressured.
“Don’t be like that and let’s go together, Dad. Let’s all go play together! Okay?”
“······Kid, when did you get here?”
Once I turned my head towards the voice and slight feeling of someone pulling at my sleeve, Jaim, who had appeared before I knew it, was grinning widely.
“Ah, Jaim, it’s good to see you!”
“Hi, Jaim! Seems like you’re getting along well with your dad today as well, huh?”
“Yup! Hi, big sis!”
I simply clicked my tongue at the sight of her hiding her true nature and innocently waving back at the others while beaming happily. Seriously, this kid, acting all innocent in front of other people······.
After the previous incident, this brat started to commute to our school.
Originally, I intended to at least enjoy my freedom at school by properly creating her family register and throwing her in an elementary school in order to make sure she properly received her compulsory education, but the custody officers must have eaten something bad as they submitted a note saying ‘This child requires affection. It would be best if she was with her guardian.’ so this became a special case.
Well, she doesn’t do anything when she comes to school, and normally, she either sits obediently in the corner of the classroom or goes to play with the old nurse in the school infirmary. Nevertheless, since a cute child has been wandering around the school, a lot of people became interested in her and some of them even treat her like a mascot.
“More than that, Dad, the exams are over so let’s go play, okay? I’ve been bored since I’ve been playing by myself because of the exams. Look at how much Mom wants to go as well. Hm? Hm?”
“······Your true intention?”
“Of course, it’s because I want to go to a karaoke room with Nanda Oppa!”
An immediate answer without any care for her surroundings. Well, it’s not like I was incapable of understanding.
Honestly, she barely has any credibility, but according to this kid, Nanda will become a global, top-star singer in the future. The kid was apparently his fan as well. Even now, her eyes were sparkling with the hope that she would be able to go to a karaoke room with Nanda.
“Haha, there aren’t a lot of people these days who like aspiring trot artists this much. Thanks, little lady.”
That’s the reason why it feels like there’s no credibility. For trot to be booming in the future. Trends may be a thing that changes constantly, but isn’t that too ridiculous?
“Aren’t you popular, Nanda? How do you feel, Jaro? Are you not going to shout something like ‘So long as I live!’?”
“Rather, Jaim has quite the old preference······. To like trot······.”
While the untaught masses said things that bothered me, Jaim must have not been paying attention to them as she pulled at Saeyeon’s sleeve.
“Mom, you want to go to a karaoke room, too, right?”
“Of course······. Mm······. If it’s with Jjaro, I want to go a bit······. It’s been a really long time, since we last went to a karaoke room together······.”
Hesitantly, while peaking at me constantly, Saeyeon moved her mouth carefully. No matter how much you looked at her, she wanted to go a lot, but if I said that I didn’t want to go, then she wouldn’t be able to go as well. Well, it seems like this was worrying her.
“······It can’t be helped. We just have to go, right?”
That’s why I let out a small sigh and answered as if I were mumbling.
“R-Really? You’ll go, Jjaro?”
Seriously, you revive way too quickly, Saeyeon. While averting my gaze away from Saeyeon whose eyes were sparkling so much that I had no idea where her hesitance from earlier had disappeared off to, I continued.
“Well, if everyone wants to go, then we can sleep at home afterward. I also feel like I’ll be able to sleep better if I discharge the rest of my remaining energy.”
I’m not going because it’s unavoidable or anything. It’s sensible thinking. I’m not averting my gaze because I’m embarrassed. I merely wanted to look further away.
“But we’re only going to be there for one hour. Once that hour is up, we’ll immediately go⎯⎯⎯”
“I’m telling you that it was a real maid! I’m not lying!”
I definitely heard something incredibly concerning just now.
“Oh, as expected of Jjaro, you react to stuff like that.”
Nanda chuckled once he saw me turn my head fiercely.
“Rather, if this rumor is going around in your class as well, then it might not be simply a rumor.”
“What do you mean?”
“Hey! What were you guys talking about just now?”
While I was questioning Nanda who sounded as if he knew what was going on, Saeyeon stood up and shouted at the kids on the other side of the classroom. Gah, don’t do that. Now it looks like you’re asking for me since it seemed like I was interested.
“Hm? You’re interested in this as well, Saeyeon?”
“No, but Jjaro······.”
“I-I’m not interested at all! So, what were you guys talking about?”
Once I asked that amazingly naturally, in a tone that didn’t sound interested at all but also sounded a bit curious, our classmates looked at each for a moment before answering.
“It’s not something impressive, it’s only a rumor······.”
“No it isn’t, I actually saw her!”
“People have been saying that a girl wearing a maid uniform has been going around the neighborhood lately.”
“Not a uniform that you’d normally see in a manga, but a proper maid uniform with frills and all. Furthermore, they say that she’s really pretty.”
“Some people in my class have been saying that they saw her as well. Don’t you like these types of stories, Jjaro?”
And here I got excited. I snorted at Nanda’s words which he had said while poking at my side with his elbow before speaking.
“I’m not that enraptured by my dream to fall for such an uncredible story. Things like that are simply delusions in the first place.”
“No, I seriously saw her!”
“Think about it logically. There’s no way that things like maids could exist in today’s society. If you perceive your delusions as reality, then you’re going to get thrown into a mental asylum. The only reasonable explanations would either be a maid cafe doing a grand opening event nearby or a store that sells those sort of things doing a cosplay event.”
Thinking about it now, there’s no way that the former would ever happen in a neighborhood like this, so there’s a higher possibility that it’s the latter. I suddenly felt sad about still being a minor.
“You have no passion.”
“No, if you consider his idea about a maid cafe, then he has a lot of passion.”
“But what’s a maid cafe?”
“In any case, Jjaro, your idea is lewd······.”
“‘Sells those sort of things’, I never saw you like that······.”
“Shut up! The great me has yet to succeed at creating a robot maid, so there’s no way that a maid would already be wandering around the streets!”
······That last reaction hit me the hardest. The feeling that the gap between me and my classmates, which had become smaller as of late, growing apart once more must just be my imagination. Although seeing as how they’re taking a step back, the physical gap between us is growing bigger.
However, something felt out of place because the kid was keeping her mouth shut. Was she pretending? There’s no way that she would forget about teasing me in a situation like this.
“Ah, now that I think about it, Jaim, is she your acquaintance?”
“Hm? What are you saying all of a sudden?”
Once I asked that to the boy who inquired that of Jaim as if he had remembered something a second ago, the delusional guy who claimed to have personally seen the maid answered.
“No, it’s just that, now that I think about it, that maid said that she was looking for a little girl with a clothespin in her hair······”
Jaim quickly looked away in response. When I leaned in close to read her expression, Jaim squirmed and did her best to hide her face by moving her body.
“······Kid, what did you do now?”
“W-What are you saying, Dad? I-I don’t know anything.”
Even though I forcefully held her head in place and stared at her, Jaim tactfully moved only her eyes and avoided my gaze. Despite that, I could still see the edge of her eyes and the corner of her mouth twitch. While pulling at the smooth cheeks which were trying to whistle, I forcefully made her meet my gaze.
“If you tell me now, then I’ll forgive you.”
“I-I really don’t know. I didn’t do anything.”
“R-Really. S-Seriously, it’s true.”
This brat, making a pun with our names.
Hesitantly, she watched for my reaction and averted her gaze whenever she knew that I was still looking at her. Her mouth squirmed as if it were debating whether to let out an excuse or not. The fact that she wasn’t reacting even though I was pulling on her cheeks, and the fact that she was speaking formally to me, all of these things were honestly suspicious······. It definitely feels like something is up, but······.”
“All right. I’ll trust you this time.”
But well, all things considered, there’s no way that this girl could know a maid outfit-wearing person whose sanity is questionable. There are no reasons for that side to know about Jaim and take interest in her either.
More than that, for a maid to exist in today’s society, I’d like to see one at least once. Even if it’s a delusion. It’s honestly a bit regrettable.
“All right, let’s go, then.”
“······You’re being surprisingly docile.”
Nanda went to go get his bag and I told Saeyeon and Jaim to wait for us by the school gate while I went to go invite Upperclassman Nabom since I was the closest person to her, but I didn’t expect her to agree so readily. I expected her to decline the invitation, so I had come here simply out of courtesy.
Upperclassman Nabom smiled gently at my words with her constantly sleepy-looking gaze, the lacrimal point of which being one of her distinct characteristics.
Ha Nabom. The one and only other member of the ‘Creative Science Club’.
“Did I not tell you before that I have a lot of interest in the culture and products of the past? I want to go to all sorts of places, but Underclassman Jin Jaro has yet to take me anywhere, so I can only be grateful towards an opportunity like this.”
And she was also an expat agent who had traveled here from the future in order to keep an eye on Jaim.
“Furthermore, I had no plans for after the midterms. But for Underclassman Jin Jaro to have come to me first and suggest something. Does this mean that you finally wish to reveal the DLC content which I had mentioned previously? Could this be an affair?”
“There’s no reason for Dad to go to a karaoke room with a weird woman, right?”
Thank you for the quick retort. Before I could give any sort of remark, Jaim, who seemed to have caught wind of my conversation with Upperclassman Nabom, had appeared before I knew it and was looking askance at Upperclassman Nabom while holding my arm.
“Oh dear, are you jealous, child? Are you trembling simply at the thought of this big sis going out to play with your dad?”
“Shut up, you old hag! Stop trying to flirt with my dad!”
As I thought, the two of them didn’t get along. Well, it couldn’t be helped. It was because of Upperclassman Nabom’s plan that Jaim was nearly sent back to the future last time. Before I knew it, Saeyeon slipped between Nabom who was retorting leisurely and the growling Jaim and spoke after linking her arm with mine.
“Big Sis Nabom, if it’s fine with you, then you can go to a karaoke room with me whenever you want!”
“I see. There was also that method. Then I’ll contact you when the next opportunity presents itself.”
Saeyeon smiled brightly. Personally, it felt a bit weird since I would say ‘I’ll contact you later’ whenever I had trouble flat-out rejecting someone.
In any case, we walked together with that mood lingering over us.
Our school was in the center of an apartment complex. If you walk for about 5 minutes from the school, then a large road with another building complex surrounding it would appear. And there was a shopping district on that street. Well, it wasn’t anything impressive as it was just a normal neighborhood shopping street.
“······As I expected, it’s already bustling.”
Of course, it wasn’t only one or two people who rushed out of school the instant the exams were over.
Since it was a Friday afternoon, normally it wouldn’t be busy, but due to the fact that the exams ended today, there were a bunch of groups faithfully playing around due to their feeling of freedom.
“So where do we have to go to see that maid?”
“Is there really a maid? You sure it wasn’t a lie?”
That rumor really did spread a lot. Usually, simply mentioning the word ‘maid’ would earn you sad responses like ‘So that’s what you’re interested in······.’, but even fellows who looked like they had absolutely no connection with that sort of stuff were going past us talking about it. Did that sort of store really open up nearby? If I find it, should I secretly go there using my old eye?
“Still, it’s a relief that there’s an empty room. I thought that we would have to ride the bus and go to another neighborhood.”
I was brought out of my thoughts by Saeyeon’s words. More importantly, you really did want to go to a karaoke room, huh? You were even planning to ride a bus to another neighborhood.
Well, it was thanks to Nanda that we were able to get a room.
While we were searching for an empty place since the karaoke rooms on the side of the street were all occupied by the students who had entered since the exam period was over, Nanda told us that there was a place he knew and dragged us to an alley.
It was a dark karaoke room that had a slightly shabby atmosphere. The machine was by the entrance of the room, and a sofa in the shape of half a square was lined up on the back wall with a table in the center. This was quite the standard room. Shabby.
“Upperclassman Nabom, now that I think about it, did you say that it was your first time going to a karaoke room?”
Once I turned to ask that of Upperclassman Nabom just in case I had to explain things to her, Upperclassman Nabom lightly shook her head.
“I remember coming to one when I was little. I’m not accustomed to it.”
“No, you can shake that once the music starts.”
Seeing as to how she was shaking the tambourine with sleepy but intrigued eyes, she must be excited. That makes her look cute. The fact that her current behavior strangely didn’t fit her normal appearance.
“Jjaro, what should I sing? Hm?”
“Choose something yourself. And if possible, not a children’s song.”
“In times like this, you should have just chosen a duet song to sing together, Dad.”
Jaim was the one who replied to my words which I had said to Saeyeon as she brought her body close to me and held the song number book out to me. Do I look like that sort of person, brat? Right when I was about to scold her, the door opened.
“Sorry if this place looks a bit shabby. I use this place often as a substitute for a practice room, so I thought that I could get us a spot if I talked with the owner. Albeit, this is a small place in an alley so there are no other customers right now anyway.”
Nanda entered the room holding some drinks in his arms while grinning. The fact that Nanda bought only sports drinks and water since Saeyeon couldn’t handle the sensation of carbonated drinks showed how much of a good person he was, but······.
“It’s all good, but can you move over?”
Once I said that to Nanda who sat down between Saeyeon and Jaim, Nanda shrugged. It’d be troublesome even if Saeyeon sat in between.
“Ei, don’t be like that, Jjaro. We were able to find this place thanks to me, right? The other karaoke rooms are filled with customers.”
“No, that’s not what I······.”
“That’s right, Dad! We were able to get a room thanks to Nanda Oppa! Thank you very much, Nanda Oppa. We wouldn’t have found this place if it weren’t for you.”
“I’m talking about Nanda’s sense of fashion!”
“Hm? What about my outfit?”
“Go to the bathroom right this instant and look in a mirror. If you still don’t understand, then go outside and ask anyone on the street. If none of them run away, that is.”
I may also live however I please, but you’re going too far, you know?
Nanda blinked a couple of times before looking down at his outfit and speaking.
“Is it that weird? What’s so bad about this?”
His hair was all combed back and he was wearing large dark sunglasses that had stopped trending a very long time ago over his eyes. They weren’t black sunglasses. Those were ‘dark sunglasses’. If you want to know how they’re different, then refer to a 7080 picture. He was wearing his school uniform underneath, but he had taken his blazer off and was wearing the same embarrassing, sparkling night outfit which we saw last time. Well, just this much was extremely embarrassing, but······.
(TL note: A ‘dark sunglass’ looks something like this LINK)
“Who goes around holding a stereo on their shoulder in this modern day?”
Is this Harlem? Are you going to Harlem? Not harem, this is different from a harem. Harlem is a place where those cool black bros go around with those sort of sunglasses and cassette players, in other words, boomboxes. Now that I mention it, this really does seem like Harlem.
Instead of pulling out a pistol from his pocket, Nanda took out a comb and combed his hair which was already embarrassingly combed back even further and spoke.
“No, should I say that it doesn’t feel right to play trot on an mp3 player, or should I say that analog suits it more? It’s just that sort of pride?”
Why was that a question at the end? Do you not see that even the kind Saeyeon has a troubled smile on her face?
I reached my hand out and messed up his hair, returning it back to normal.
“I thought I’d put some effort into this since we were all going to a karaoke room together.”
“I can confidently declare that your method of ‘putting in some effort’ is extremely wrong.”
“It’s okay, Nanda Oppa! It really looks good on you! Dad just doesn’t understand because he has no sense of fashion!”
And you need to get glasses, brat. Instead of telling her that, I simply let out a sigh.
“Jjaro really does lack any fashion sense. He always has that toolbelt on.”
“I don’t want to hear that from you.”
The toolbelt is much more rational! Well, relatively.
“There’s also a reason why I brought this.”
Nanda spoke while placing his audio system on top of the table.
“This fellow is going to handle my accompaniment.”
“Did you bring your own music?”
“As someone who dreams to become a professional trot singer, no matter how impressive Sunhyeon’s songs are, I can’t just sing them.”
He at least has the mindset of a professional. Once Nanda clapped his hands in order to gain everyone’s attention, Saeyeon and Upperclassman Nabom lifted their gazes from the number book.
“Ehem, I apologize for doing this before anyone could put in any songs, but I would like to sing first. Would that be fine? We can’t pause once we start putting in songs after all.”
“That’s all right. It’ll take some time to find some songs anyway.”
“It’s fine, Nanda. It’s been a long time since we last heard you sing, so I want to hear it again.”
“Aaah······. To be able to listen to Nanda Oppa’s singing, up close······.”
It seems Nanda believed that he had received everyone’s approval as he grinned and nodded. Hey, wait. I didn’t give you my okay. I also have songs I want to sing. Are you going to ignore me cooly? Hey, you.
Well, seeing the little kid’s eyes sparkle so brightly made it hard to say this out loud so I only muttered it to myself in my head. I’ve become way too kind lately.
Ah, now that I think about it.
I turned towards Upperclassman Nabom who was still shaking the tambourine and spoke.
“Thinking about it now, if trot is a big trend in the future, then are you also Nanda’s fan, Upperclassman Nabom?”
If he had a rough total of one billion fans around the world, then there was the possibility that she was one of them. However, this girl doesn’t really display such interests openly. Once I asked her that in a quiet voice so that Saeyeon, who was sitting beside her, couldn’t hear me, my breath must have tickled Upperclassman Nabom as she shivered slightly before speaking while raising a brow. Thanks to that, her chest shook much more than it did while she was shaking the tambourine. As expected of the trigger systems of universal gravitation. I wonder if it’s because I’m close to her, but she has a nice scent.
“What are you saying, Underclassman Jin Jaro? Trot is something which only little girls or enthusiasts enjoy. A mature female such as myself prefers to listen to a more aged and dignified melody such as idol music.”
The future is truly a mysterious place. Trends do come and go, but in any case, Nanda tapped the mic as if he wanted our attention before striking an elegant pose and speaking.
“Everyone, from this point forth, I hope that you all enjoy my, Shin Nanda’s, singing.”
“Wow! You’re amazing, Nanda Oppa!”
I see. Is it going to be that kind of atmosphere? I was able to understand thanks to the example which this little girl-cum-super enthusiast was displaying. Nanda spoke happily as he saw Jaim and Saeyeon give him an applause.
“Now then, real man Shin Nanda shall now sing with all his heart.”
Seriously, he likes to exaggerate things. Without forgetting to grin at the excited Jaim and Saeyeon, and also Upperclassman Nabom who was sitting beside them with her arms folded, Nanda pressed the play button.
At that moment, Upperclassman Nabom poked my side so I turned to look at her.
“But Underclassman Jin Jaro, from what you’ve heard, Underclassman Jin Jaro, what do you think about Underclassman Shin Nanda’s singing ability?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, whether Underclassman Shin Nanda will truly become a top star in the future, as his friend, Underclassman Jin Jaro, what do you think about this? There’s no evidence either.”
Of course, it probably would be hard to believe that a famous star is so close to me. Despite that, I don’t believe that there could be multiple singers who have that name, but if she wanted my opinion.
“Who knows? I’m not sure if it’s enough to be a top star in the future, but······.”
I was interrupted as Nanda began singing.
Moreover, once you heard this, anyone would understand what I was about to say.
⎯⎯⎯Well, this fellow’s singing ability was definitely the best.
“Yoouu~ don’t knoooow~!”
Although the slightly vigorous accompaniment and the strong, snapping singing method unique to trot were a bit unsettling, his talent that allowed him to sing powerfully and his ability to put all of his emotions into his singing were contained within them.
Occasionally merrily, occasionally piteously, and occasionally passionately, he was letting out every last emotion he had with only this one song. Even I found myself drawn into his singing by the time I had come to my senses back when I went to a karaoke room with him a long time ago even though I had mocked him at first.
I shook my head and forcefully took myself out from being drawn into his singing again. I know that it’s not polite to look somewhere else when the person with the microphone is singing so diligently, but I was curious as to how the brat was reacting.
“Kyaa! Nanda Oppa! Kya kya! Take me! Nanda Oppaaaa!”
······Wow, I was expecting this, but this is a bit too much.
Sitting next to Saeyeon, who was clapping along with the rhythm and smiling as if she were in awe, Jaim, who was at her zenith of being moved, was cheering while waving both of her arms and bobbing her head. Hey, this is trot, you know?
She opened her sparkling eyes wide as if she didn’t want to miss even a single moment. The corners of her mouth nearly reached her ears. Has this girl ever smiled this brightly before? As she moved her arms back and forth along with her head, her hair that was being held by her clothespin bobbed around. Should I say that this was truly the peak of her happiness? She looked as if she were in Heaven.
After chuckling at the fan who was meeting the big star she looked up to and the guy who was meeting his number one fan who acknowledged him, I turned towards Upperclassman Nabom and spoke.
“So, what do you think······.”
However, in that instant, I was at a lost for words due to the unbelievable sight before me.
Upperclassman Nabom. Was in awe······?
As if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing, Upperclassman Nabom was opening her normally sleepy, half-closed eyes wide. The corners of her eyes were trembling along with her pupils and her trembling mouth gradually opened.
S-She’s crying? Upperclassman Nabom was in so much awe that she was crying?
Teardrops started to fall one drop at a time from the shaking corners of her eyes. Those weren’t tears of sadness. Eh, how should I say it? Should I say that they were sincerely moved tears······?
No sound came out from her opened mouth and, as if to block whatever sound could squeeze itself out, Upperclassman Nabom covered her mouth with both of her hands. Her shaking shoulders were most likely the result of her soundless awe.
“Uhm, Upperclassman Nabom?”
“Ah, hk, ah, it’s nothing······. Absolutely, it’s absolutely, uhk, not······.”
Upperclassman Nabom responded while shaking her head, but her gaze was still stuck on the singing Nanda.
“I-I’m absolutely, not moved······. By the fact that, I’m hearing, Shin Nanda Oppa’s singing, here, like this, so up close······. Hk, I-I’m not moved, to tears! Really!”
“······Uh, well, okay, I understand.”
More importantly, are you going to be like this as well?
At any rate, for Upperclassman Nabom to have hidden this sort of girlish side to her. It’s a bit surprising. The fact that this didn’t suit her normal persona made it a bit cute.
Nanda’s song came to an end while I was lost in my thoughts and we then officially turned on the karaoke machine. In other words, it meant that someone had started a song.
“Oh? Saeyeon, do you even know these kinds of songs?”
Once I asked Saeyeon that after I heard the melody of a popular song and noticed that she was the one standing up with the microphone in her hand, Saeyeon must have taken offense to that as she spoke while pouting.
“What? I don’t always sing children songs, hmph. I even know the songs of trending artists, hmph. I’m not always a kid, hmph.”
If she didn’t add those ‘hmphs’ three times, then she really wouldn’t seem like one. While this was happening, Upperclassman Nabom had also grabbed the mic and stood up. She’s fast at recovering as well. She’s behaving normally now.
“If it’s Miss Mary’s song, then even I know it. Can I sing this with you?”
“As a duet? Okay! Ehehe.”
This was a duo that was rather hard to see. Saeyeon and Upperclassman Nabom went forward to the slightly open area in front of the karaoke machine and started singing the idol song together. Saeyeon sang like an innocent artist while moving her body passionately and Upperclassman Nabom got so into the song that she started to show off her dance moves. I wonder if she was being swept up in the moment? She normally wouldn’t be like this. Although it was nice seeing certain things shake a lot.
Once the song, which was both pleasing to the eyes and ears, of the two beautiful girls was over, the intro for the next song started.
“Huh? Who’s song is this?”
“It’s a foreign song. The only person here who would sing this would be······.”
“That’s right. It’s me!”
I grabbed the microphone while striking a pose that shouted ‘YES! I AM!’ and stood up.
“All of your music is bland! Music is all about hard rock! Death metal! What’s the point of coming to a karaoke room if you aren’t going to shout!”
“No, but you definitely said that you didn’t want to come here, Dad······.”
“I don’t care. Listen to my song!”
I didn’t particularly want to come here, but since I was already here, I might as well put my all into singing! My favorite song, People=SHIT!
“······Dad, you’re loud.”
“This is hurting my ears, can you please stop?”
“More than that, the degree of how tone-deaf he is is rather severe.”
“J-Jjaro, do your best!”
······This is why you have to go to karaoke rooms with people who understand you.
While I was being depressed in the corner due to the harsh score and severe evaluations, the karaoke machine started to play an innocent and lively rhythm that was different to the previous song.
“Oh, are you going to sing a children’s song, little lady? That’s cute.”
Jaim smiled brightly in response to Nanda’s words before she started to sway her body according to the rhythm while holding the microphone in both of her hands. For her to sing a children’s song even though it doesn’t suit her. Of course, there’s probably no way that the songs this girl knows could exist in today’s karaoke rooms. Regardless, this song again? Saeyeon likes this one as well.
Jaim started to sing according to the lively rhythm.
“Three bears in a house~ Daddy bear~ Mommy bear~ Baby bear~.”
While doing her utmost to act in a cute way that didn’t fit her normal attitude, Jaim continued to sing. She’s a bit cute when she’s like this. I grinned.
“Daddy bear is bald~.”
“You trying to start a fight, you brat?!”
I grabbed the other microphone and shouted with all I had.
“My throat hurts~.”
“At most, all you sang were children’s songs and trot music.”
The stretching Jaim glared at me when I pointed that out. What do you want? I’m the one whose throat is sore for shouting so much.
“That was more enjoyable than I expected it would be. It would be great if we had the opportunity to do this next time as well.”
“Along with Nanda, right?”
“Underclassman Jin Jaro, please forget what you saw earlier. I absolutely did not do that due to Shin Nanda Opp-, Underclassman Shin Nanda’s singing······.”
“I didn’t know that Big Sis Nabom was so good at singing. Let’s go to a karaoke room together next time! Just the two of us! Please teach me a little!”
“It was nice that the owner gave us a lot of bonus time since it seems everyone was able to sing as much as they wanted to.”
He definitely gave us a lot. He gave us a bonus of 2 hours even though we only asked for one hour. Is that karaoke room okay financially?
“So Saeyeon, were you able to relieve some stress?”
In response to my question which I had asked like a passing remark, Saeyeon smiled brightly.
“Yup! I’m happy that I was able to sing with Jjaro!”
“No, you didn’t sing with me, you know?”
Don’t try to fabricate something so casually. My affection points for you didn’t go up that much.
“In any case, now that that’s over, we can go home and sleep, right?”
Saeyeon and Jaim immediately turned to look at me.
“Jjaro, do you want to go home right away even though we’re already outside?”
“Dad, don’t be like that and play some more with us, okay? The exams are over.”
“I’ve played along with you guys long enough, haven’t I? Let me go home and get some rest.”
At school, Saeyeon said that she was going to go home and sleep as well, but why was she so energetic now? I’m starting to reach my limit. While I let out a yawn and supplied oxygen to my brain, I noticed something in the corner of my vision.
I took my glasses off. I wiped the lenses with my shirt. Since they were already off, I decided to also massage the bridge of my nose. I put my glasses back on and looked once more. I did this because no matter how many times I looked, it didn’t seem like I was seeing things.
“Excuse me. Can you spare a moment of your time?”
On the other side of the street, someone was at the intersection and trying to call out to the people passing by with a frequently-heard line. The person was doing their best to find someone who would listen to them between all of the people who were casually ignoring them.
“I’m sorry. Please spare me some of your time.”
“Hey, Jjaro, that person······.”
“······No, our eyes are probably playing tricks on us.”
Although that felt sad in its own way.
“I’m not a suspicious person. Please, listen······.”
Was she about Saeyeon’s height? It felt like she was the same age as well. If she came up to me, then her head would probably reach my eyes. Her black hair was receiving the sunlight and emitting a golden tint while her earnest blue pupils looked at the people passing by pitifully.
The brat kept squirming. You really do know something, don’t you? But I’ll interrogate her later. Right now, I······. Ah, damn it, it’d be a waste.
But, she was a real maid. It felt insane, but she was real.
A traditional maid uniform with frills that had a black and white, cookie and cream color scheme. Her short skirt, garter belt, and the headband were a perfect representation of my preference. Across the street, there existed a girl who was wearing an outfit that was in the wrong era, no, the wrong dimension. An existence that was a summation of my fantasy. No, my dream is robot maids. Not just a maid. The two are similar, but they’re different.
While I was thinking about nonsensical things due to my shock and panic, I heard a clear voice in my ear.
“Ah, the students over there! Have you perhaps seen a little girl who’s this tall and has a clothespin in her hair?”
·····Don’t turn towards us and ask that. Albeit, I don’t know who you are.
I grabbed the kid and turned us around so I couldn’t see the maid, but the sound of footsteps was telling me that she was approaching us. I quickly took the clothespin off of Jaim’s hair. Thanks to that, her front hair came down. I furtively turned towards both Nanda and Upperclassman Nabom before raising my index finger to my mouth. Someone who doesn’t know what this mean probably doesn’t exist.
“Ah, yes! We have!”
I didn’t expect anything out of Saeyeon in the first place, but isn’t this going too far?
“Really?! Where did you see her?”
Jaim pulled at Saeyeon’s sleeve slightly. She was shaking her head fiercely. Even Saeyeon should be able to understand this.
“She’s right here. But did something happen?”
“M-Mom! I told you to not say it!”
“But she was searching so diligently. Mom told me that I have to help people who are in trouble!”
Even if you say that so gallantly······.
Before I knew it, the weird girl had come up next to the panicking Jaim and Saeyeon who was tilting her head as if she didn’t know what the problem was. Now that she was standing in front of us, she really was wearing a maid uniform. I see that the world is vast and filled with girls with flowers in their heads. Although this girl doesn’t have any flowers.
“Here······? Ah, do you mean······?”
“There’s nothing to see here. Yeah. I don’t know who you are and I don’t know about any kid with a clothespin in her hair, but this child absolutely isn’t······.”
However, before I could even make something up, the weird girl had already grabbed Jaim by the shoulders. Jaim squirmed and shrunk back.
I don’t know what was going on, but this wasn’t good. Before being wrapped up in something troubling, the kid disliked what was happening this much. I don’t know who this strange girl was in the first place. For starters, since I got rid of the evidence, I’ll interrogate the kid when we get home.
“Excuse me, I don’t know who you are, but······.”
“Are you perhaps, Miss Jin Jaim······?”
I ended up inadvertently turning to look down at Jaim because of those words. No, the title she was giving her bothered me as well, but more importantly, how did she know the brat’s name?
The maid girl was staring at Jaim’s face next to me. Her blue pupils that were as clear as camera lenses were filled with only Jaim’s face. Her eyelashes were long. In any case, why does her face, seem a bit familiar······?
“I was finally able to find you, Miss Jin Jaim!”
However, before I could even finish my sentence, the girl in the maid uniform pulled Jaim into a hug and shouted.
There’s no way that I could have misheard that loud voice. Saeyeon was looking at the maid with an utterly clueless expression on her face and Nanda’s eyes were wide open. I shouldn’t have to even mention my reaction. While I was at a loss for words due to the title she had given to Jaim and the fact that she knew Jaim’s exact name, the maid gave Jaim a powerful hug with a tearful look on her face as if she had just discovered the person she had been anxiously worrying about for a long time.
“Do you know how much I’ve been searching for you?! I was so worried because you left without saying a word······. It’s, really a relief, that I found you······!”
And the expression on Jaim’s face as she received that hug, rather than being delighted, it was closer to being troubled. After raising her hair back up and putting the clothespin on as if it couldn’t be helped anymore, Jaim, who had been smacking her lips and gazing only at the sky, seemed to have recalled something as she carefully peeked at my face.
“Uhm, I’m sorry, but who are you?”
Saeyeon asked that while she was still confused, but she did so as if she had to at least know the answer to that question. However, Upperclassman Nabom raised her hand and stopped Saeyeon from continuing before taking a glance around us and speaking.
“There are a lot of people watching.”
I became aware of our surroundings because of Upperclassman Nabom’s words. We had yet to reach an area with a lot of people, but people were passing by while shooting side-glances at the girl wearing a unique costume and the little girl who was being hugged and referred to as ‘Miss’. Some of them must have been trying to find the rumored maid girl as they even took their cameras out in order to take pictures.
What should we do in a situation like this? Once I turned to look at Upperclassman Nabom who I was able to communicate with the best here, Upperclassman Nabom turned to look at me as well. I’m starting to get used to that gaze. I nodded my head before grabbing both Jaim and the maid girl’s hand and pulling them up. Although the maid girl was startled by my action, I’m the one panicking right now.
“N-Now then, we’ll be going first!”
“Have a safe trip, Underclassman Jin Jaro.”
While ignoring Saeyeon’s question which she had asked while looking this way and Upperclassman Nabom’s voice which was relaxed even in a situation like this, I ran to the other side of an alley with the maid girl and Jaim.
A park-cum-playground within a residential area that was a slight distance away from the shopping area. It was a small place where the elephant slide was its main characteristic.
It was currently a time of day where all of the elementary school students who would normally play here were at school and there wasn’t anyone else in particular who would come here, so the playground was empty. If it’s here, then there shouldn’t be a problem even if we talked in a loud voice.
Therefore, I persuaded Jaim’s cheeks as painfully as possible this time.
“I, told you that, I would forgive you, if you answered honestly, didn’t I?!”
“What do you mean ‘I don’t know anything’?! What do you mean ‘Seriously, it’s true’?! I told you that I hate liars, right? I trusted you, you brat!”
“Iihurs iihurs iihurs iihurs iihurs iihurs, ad!”
Once I let go of her cheeks, Jaim rubbed her red cheeks which seemed to have stretched out a bit because I had pulled on them harder than usual this time. There were tears in her eyes.
“Tell me everything this time!”
“Excuse me, can you stop there?”
As soon as I had said that to Jaim while glaring intimidatingly at her with my hands on my hip, the maid girl, who had been watching us from a couple of steps away until now, approached us with a perplexed look on her face. Right, this girl was here as well.
“For starters, who exactly are you? How do you know this kid?”
“Uu······. D-Dad, uhe uuaiaa······.”
“You can talk after your cheeks stop hurting! Also, you aren’t allowed to touch the plastic models for a while!”
After roaring at Jaim who was mumbling incomprehensible words, I turned my gaze back towards the maid which made her flinch. She might be a bit cute.
“I-I apologize······. I didn’t mean to surprise you······.”
“So, who are you? If you’re someone suspicious, then I’m going to report you immediately.”
Once I folded my arms and glared at her, the maid girl hesitated and lowered her head.
“I-I’m not a suspicious person. I’m sorry for the late introduction.”
In response to my urging, the maid girl raised the ends of her skirt gracefully and gave a slight, elegant bow before speaking.
“It’s nice to meet you. I am a robot maid, model name XMR-MK. XXI, ‘Eureka’, that has been tasked with the job of taking care of Miss Jin Jaim. I would be grateful if you referred to me as ‘Jin Jihye’.”
What is this person saying all of a sudden?
“······So, why did you come here?”
However, different from my blank reaction, Jaim scowled at the mysterious girl while rubbing her cheeks.
“That is what I want to say, Miss Jin Jaim.”
In contrast to the way she spoke to me, the maid girl spoke to Jaim while slighting raising her eyebrows making it clear that she was upset.
“Do you know how much I’ve been searching for you? I was so worried because you left without saying a single word or leaving a single note!”
“There was no need for me to even tell you.”
“You are my responsibility, Miss! I was so worried because I thought that you might have been kidnapped! It is a relief that you are safe like this, but······.”
“No, wait a second. What did you say just now?”
I wasn’t able to organize my thoughts completely, but once I asked that after having recovered enough to at least follow the conversation, Jaim let out a big sigh and spoke.
“It’s the robot maid that you like so much, Dad.”
“I am a robot maid.”
I tried to repeat my question in response to the maid’s polite remark, but instead of answering me, she turned back to face Jaim and spoke.
“Once you disappeared, I contacted the homes of all of your friends who were worried about you, went to every place that you could have possibly gone, and ended up contacting the police because I still couldn’t find you, but the instant they told me that they’ve been tracking you because you traveled time illegally, I collapsed and had to reboot my system entirely. Miss, why did you come here?”
“You already know why I came here. I came here to find my dad. More importantly, I asked you why you’re here.”
“I’m obviously here because I came looking for you, Miss! Now then, let us quickly return before Master starts to worry. I’ve already prepared everything.”
Jaim’s expression contorted in response to those words and she then turned her head away.
“······No. I’m not going back.”
“There’s no way that Dad would be worried!”
It seems that those words agitated the maid girl as she raised her eyebrows and narrowed her eyes.
“I’ll get mad if you keep behaving like this!”
“Mad? Go ahead. How are you going to get mad? Are you going to hit me? You can’t even do that! And try hitting me, if you do, then······!”
“Wait, wait a second! Let me in the conversation as well!”
Jaim and the maid girl whose noses were nearly touching, making it seem as if they were about to start fighting soon, turned towards me the instant I yelled.
“What is it, Dad? You still don’t understand?”
“······Kid, are you currently in a situation where you’re allowed to act that confident?”
The fact that there must have been something she was feeling guilty about, which was apparent because she had lowered her tail immediately, helped me comprehend the situation a bit.
“······One moment, Miss. The way you have been referring to this individual has been bothering me.”
While this was happening, the maid girl was looking back and forth between me and Jaim with a displeased look on her face.
“Don’t, don’t tell me······.”
The maid girl, who had been knitting her brows as if she were in deep thought, opened her eyes wide and shouted as if she had figured something out.
“Don’t tell me, Miss, are you dabbling your hands in statutory rape by referring to this individual as your dad? Y-You mustn’t, Miss! With what face am I supposed to face Master with?!”
“What nonsense are you saying, you piece of scrap metal! He’s my dad, my dad!”
Mm, this is definitely unpleasant. The maid girl narrowed her eyes and turned to look at me in response to Jaim’s raged-filled shout before asking a question.
“Now that I look at you, I feel like I’ve met you before, but······. If it’s fine by you, may I ask you what your name is?”
“Huhuhu······. It’s been quite a while since I last gave my name formally like this.”
“······Dad, don’t flip some strange switch and just introduce yourself properly······.”
The kid stared at me with a panicked look on her face. Don’t be like that. I’ve always wanted to do something like this since a long time ago. Rationally speaking, if it weren’t a person like this, then I would never have the opportunity to reveal my name like this!
“Yes! I am the greatest scientist of this era! The mad scientist who will one day conquer the world! I am the great Jin Jaro!”
“······He did it in the end.”
While striking an amazing pose, once I gave her an introduction that ranked at about 7 of the ‘Best 10 lines that a scientist would want to shout at least once in their life’, Jaim let out a deep sigh with a down-hearted look on her face. What, you brat? My principle is to do the things that I want to do. You know that as well.
“You’re Mr. Jin Jaro?”
“······Uh, yes. I apologize.”
And I ended up inadvertently apologizing because she had responded by sincerely adding a ‘Mr’ to my name. Responding to this sort of thing seriously naturally hurt the one who said it even more. Regardless, I didn’t expect this sort of response.
This was because the maid girl was opening her eyes wide and had an honestly surprised expression on her face.
“Then, are you truly······?”
“I told you. Seriously, it’s true.”
Kid, you really took a liking to that name pun, didn’t you? I’d be grateful if you stopped using it though. In response to Jaim’s strangely proud tone, the maid girl’s face became pale.
“I apologize, Master! There was a difference in the data, so I was discourteous······!”
What exactly has this girl been saying since earlier? Jaim let out another deep, deep sigh at my question.
“I kept telling you, Dad. That she’s the thing you like a lot.”
“A robot maid.”
I shook my head at the kid’s response which she had given to me as if it were obvious.
“No, there’s no way that could be true.”
Even if I refer to myself as a ‘mad’ scientist, I haven’t gone insane yet. I’m sane.
“······You normally, no, just earlier you gave that weird self-introduction, but why aren’t you able to believe this?”
I grabbed Jaim’s shoulders as she spoke in a baffled manner, lowered myself so I could reach her eye level, and reasoned with her with a serious tone.
“Kid, let’s think about this logically. Of course, it’s not normal. Obviously, for there to be a person striding around the streets wearing a maid costume in today’s society, honestly, that’s at the point where it’s a bit concerning. Nevertheless, be that as it may, claiming that someone is a robot maid is a statement that would make others doubt your mental health.”
“Like I said······.”
“Kid, no, Jaim. Please. Let’s think about this a little. Of course, it may be concerning, but it’s possible for people who go around wearing a maid uniform to exist. It’s just that the probability of that happening is low. However, someone being a robot maid is flat-out impossible. Something like that doesn’t exist. Moreover, a robot that’s capable of responding this human-like is impossible.”
Of course, technology is something that continues to develop by each passing day. It’s true that even if bipedalism was difficult to achieve for a number of reasons, data has been accumulating and developing day after day. If so, then creating a robot that at least looked human wasn’t impossible.
However, the development of artificial intelligence was incomparably slower. Last time I heard, they say an artificial intelligence with the intellect of a 3-year-old child was made, but an artificial intelligence that was capable of responding this human-like was impossible to achieve with today’s science, no, it was impossible to achieve even theoretically. Although it may be possible for computers to draw a reasonable conclusion using the data which they receive from a restricted situation as its foundation, that was simply calculations. Simply a logical conclusion.
“······I wonder why you can’t always think normally like this?”
“If you aren’t able to distinguish the difference between reality and role-playing, then you’re basically on the border of endangering yourself.”
I ignored Jaim as she shook her head while placing one hand on her forehead and raised my body back up before talking to the maid girl.
“In any case, I think I have a grasp of your situation now. Considering the fact that you know about Jaim’s circumstances, it appears that you’re also from the future and that you’re in the position of someone who’s taking care of Jaim.”
“Yes. It is exactly as you have said, Master.”
The maid girl bowed her head courteously. At this point, instead of a maid girl, she seemed like an actual maid.
“Since you’re referring to me as Master, it seems that I’m your employer in the future, but isn’t that concept of pretending to be a robot maid a bit too much? This thoroughly at that.”
What sort of person was I in the future? For me to make my employees act like robot maids. Do I perhaps have a lot of money?
“······Haah. All right. I’ll make her give you some service, then, Dad.”
“Hm? What are you saying, kid?”
“‘Eureka’, show him.”
Jaim ignored me and gave the maid an order. The maid started to visibly panic because of that order. Look, there’s no way that a robot could react like this.
“What are you being embarrassed about? You’re just some piece of scrap metal. Hurry up. It doesn’t seem like we’re going to get anywhere with our conversation if we leave things like this.”
“Oi, brat. You shouldn’t call someone scrap metal.”
“Uu······. B-Buuut······. A-As I thought, that’s······.”
“Hurry up. That’s an order.”
These two kept ignoring me. I feel like I’m going to start getting annoyed soon.
Jaim folded her arms and turned away as if she didn’t have anything more to say, but the maid still didn’t know what to do as she continued to squirm. However, she ended up dropping her shoulders in defeat before starting to move.
“I-If it’s an order, then I’ll obey······.”
“Wait, what are you doing right now······?”
The maid’s hands started to move towards the end of her skirt hesitantly. Her hands twitched bit by bit and, although she looked so embarrassed that she sincerely seemed troubled, she shut her eyes resolutely, and at that same instant, she started to slowly lift her skirt up.
“Uh, w-wait! Hey, brat! What are you making her do?!”
I thought she only acted like this because she wanted to incite Saeyeon? Was her personality always like this? I should have educated her properly beforehand! Jaim was still looking away, pretending to have not heard me. This isn’t good. If I don’t stop her······.
However, in that instant, something entered my field of vision.
The area between her skirt and garter belt, the area which a minority of people referred to as the ‘Absolute Territory’, was revealed further, and the maid’s skirt hesitantly went up gradually before it eventually reached her hips. Thanks to that, the area that was once hidden by her skirt entered my line of sight.
“Uu, uuu······. I-I did as you ordered······. So······.”
“Wait. Stay like that.”
“E-Eck? B-But······. U-uuh······!”
I grabbed her hand that was about to hastily lower her skirt in embarrassment. At the end of her laced black garter belt, black silk panties which emitted a mature and profound charm and her milky white skin were revealed. This was quite the exquisite arrangement of colors. In regards to being able to see the area which a minority of people referred to as the ‘Absolute Territory’, the maid was, no······. In any case, she was perplexed about what to do, but I had forcefully stopped her movements and closely examined the contents which were inside.
“······You’ve confirmed it, right?”
“A-A little bit longer······.”
I did hesitate a bit, but I carefully extended my left arm and reached my hand out towards the area beneath her skirt. I stroked the area where her leg met her body. I touched it.
I poked it and flicked it with my finger. No, this may definitely be weird, and I knew that I’ll probably be told a thing or two, but I couldn’t overstate this sensation.
This couldn’t be helped. This was my duty as a scientist. The driving force of every scientist until this moment, the curiosity that had been the driving force which developed mankind was ordering me to do this. It’s fine. There’s nothing weird about this.
What exactly was the layout, underneath those panties?
There was only one method of confirming this. With this hand, in that unknown territory······.
And in that instant, I was shoved and ended up falling backward.
“Scrap metal, you! The 1st law!”
“I-I apologize! B-But! But still!”
Jaim glared fiercely while the perplexed ‘Eureka’ shouted. Once I rubbed the back of my head after properly rolling on the ground and hitting the ground, the maid immediately ran up to me and knelt down.
“I-I’m really sorry! I didn’t mean to, it’s just that!”
However, I could only mumble absentmindedly because of what I had witnessed and the sensation I had felt.
“It’s real! She’s real!”
Although the surprised ‘Eureka’ tilted her head in confusion, I ended up hugging her. I could feel her squirming underneath my arms.
“What are you doing, Dad?!”
Jaim fumed and shouted, but the sound that I could hear beyond that, it was so close that rather than it being heard through my ears, I could hear it through the vibrations of the body······.
It was clearly not the sound of a beating heart that you’d normally hear from a human, but the sound of machinery.
Her outer appearance was definitely that of a human, but when the contents inside of her skirt, the areas of her pelvis that connected her legs to her body were revealed, I had no other choice but to doubt my eyes. There was no smooth skin in that place, but there was a mechanical joint instead.
It wasn’t a prosthetic leg. It wasn’t magic. It wasn’t a trick either.
“It’s a real, robot maid······!”
“Okay, stop right there and back away, you technophile!”
“I’m not a technophile! I’m simply a scientist!”
“You put your hand underneath a girl’s skirt and did this and that!”
“You’re the one who told me to do it, you pervert!”
“I only told you to look, I never said that you should go that far!”
Jaim dragged me away while I was being emotional and ‘Eureka’ quickly stood up as well. The way she dusted her knees was incredibly natural and her expression could only be seen as human, but······.
“In any case, you’ve confirmed it now, right?”
I was pulled back into reality by Jaim’s unsatisfied words which she had said while pouting. Jaim turned her narrowed eyes to look at ‘Eureka’ and spoke.
“I’ll question you about going against the 1st law later, but you confirmed it as well, right?”
“Y-Yes······. I-It seems that he’s definitely Master······.”
Jaim nodded in response to ‘Eureka’s’ stammering answer and spoke.
“That’s why I’m not going to go back right now. I’m not being held captive by weird people either. I came here because I wanted to and you’ve confirmed my safety now, haven’t you?”
“No, I cannot allow that.”
However, once she heard those words, ‘Eureka’ erased any sign of her perplexity and returned back to her previous, thorough maid attitude and shook her head.
“Even if you’re safe, Miss, my duty is to take care of you. I cannot allow you stay like this and be treated like a criminal. I was able to negotiate with them and we came to a deal that you will not be held responsible as long as you go back with me right this instant. Now then, let us go.”
“I. Told. You. I’m. Not. Going.”
“What will you do about school? And Master who is worried about you? Stop behaving like a stubborn child and let us go!”
“I absolutely will not go!”
Jaim yelled as loud as she could, make it clear that she sincerely didn’t want to go. ‘Eureka’ glanced at Jaim with a troubled look on her face before turning to face me.
“Master, please do something as well.”
“No, even if you tell me······.”
‘Eureka’ looked at me dolefully and desperately. I let out a small sigh because of those transparent pupils and turned to Jaim.
“What? Are you going to try and kick me out again, Dad?”
I tried to sound as attentive as possible, but Jaim cut me off and spoke angrily.
“No, I’m not trying to do that. I just think we should at least hear her out······”
“There’s nothing to hear. I’m not going back. Don’t you need me in order to do that family experiment? You aren’t going to tell me to go back as well, right?”
‘Eureka’ looked back and forth between me and Jaim as if she had no idea what we were talking about. However, instead of answering her, I let out a sigh and spoke.
“Like I said, I’m not telling you to go back. But, this per······. This person also has a point.”
“She doesn’t! Everything will be fine as long as this piece of scrap metal goes home!”
“Miss! If you keep behaving like this, then I also have a plan!”
In response to ‘Eureka’s’ strong-spoken words, Jaim raised her brows in a taunting manner and spoke.
“Plan? What do you intend to do?”
Without avoiding her gaze, ‘Eureka’ shouted confidently.
“I will also stay here until you go back, Miss!”
······Was that the extent of her plan?
It seems Jaim was dumbfounded by this as well as she snorted.
“Do what you want. That’s unrelated to me.”
Additionally, ‘Eureka’ didn’t show any sign of being daunted by Jaim’s words. ‘Eureka’ turned towards me and spoke.
“For that reason, I will be in your care from this day forth.”
Jaim was the first one to shout in response to ‘Eureka’s’ words which she had said while bowing courteously. ‘Eureka’ must have enjoyed that reaction as she smiled happily as she spoke.
“I am Master’s robot maid, and I am also your guardian, Miss. Even if we’re in the past now, these facts don’t change. Since this is the case, if I wish to satisfy both of these conditions, then wouldn’t it be obvious for me to carry out my duty faithfully in Master’s household? This is only natural.”
“Don’t make me laugh! Go home immediately!”
“I can’t do that! There is only one situation where I will go back, and that is if I’m bringing you with me, Miss!”
“Wait a second, the two of you! Why are you mixing me in this as well?!”
Jaim and ‘Eureka’ both turned to look at me at the same time the instant I let out that exclamation which I couldn’t hold back. Jaim looked upset while ‘Eureka’ looked sad.
“Dad, don’t tell me you intend to listen to this piece of scrap metal’s words. More importantly, what do you mean by mixing you in?! You’re my dad!”
“Master, don’t tell me you wish to throw me away. If you don’t take me in, Master, then I’ll have nowhere else to go.”
“Uhm, where did you stay until now······?”
Let’s answer this first. ‘Eureka’ answered my question with a troubled look on her face.
“I did stay here and there, but there was a problem in each one of those places so I was kicked out from all of them. At first, someone asked me if I knew what ‘spirits’ were, so I was able to pass a night listening to their explanation, but when I told them that I didn’t have any money on me, I was chased out in the middle of the night. I was taken in by a church and did volunteer work for them for around two days, but when I was changing clothes, they called me a Doll of Satan and chased me out. Even when I went to the trustworthy police station, they declined my request saying that ‘they couldn’t find a girl with a clothespin in her hair’. For the past two days, I did request if I could sleep between the old men in the subway station, but a worker kicked me out, so, today, I was considering whether I should sleep on the streets or, since I cannot violate the 3rd law of the Three Laws of Robotics, commit a misdemeanor and stay in a jail cell at a police station······.”
(TL note: The Three Laws of Robotics created by Isaac Asimov.
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.)
What could I say?
While I was smacking my lips, ‘Eureka’ grabbed both of my hands and looked straight at me. I wonder if there was some sort of heating system installed underneath her artificial skin as I could feel a slightly warm and smooth sensation.
“I beg of you, Master. I can’t go back by myself without the Miss. If you can’t take me under your wing, then at the very least, please persuade······.”
“I’m not going back! It doesn’t matter whether something happens to that piece of scrap metal or not, right?!”
A glint of sadness appeared on ‘Eureka’s face the instant Jaim shouted and cut her off mid-sentence. Ah, this was annoying. There were a lot of problems with bringing her home, but I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to persuade Jaim.
“······It can’t be helped.”
Jaim must have immediately realized what my intentions were the instant she saw me let out a sigh as Jaim spoke up. Nevertheless, it couldn’t be helped. I looked at ‘Eureka’ and spoke.
“All right. If it’s for only a couple of days, then it’s fine. But you’re going to have to do some chores in······.”
“Leave them to me! I will do all of the chores so that they don’t interfere with your research or livelihood, Master! That’s my purpose as a robot maid!”
This fellow also recovers really quickly. She had an incredibly elated expression on her face.
“Were you enticed by her just because she’s a robot maid? You backstabber!”
I spoke in a small voice towards Jaim who was glaring daggers at me.
“How am I backstabbing you? In a situation like this, it’d be a nuisance even if we just left her. What do you think will happen if she breaks somewhere or gets reported?”
Jaim seemed to have understood what I was getting at since she now looked displeased. After the previous incident, we had created all sorts of documents in order to show that Jaim existed in this period of time. She has a family register and there were also documents which declared that I was her guardian.
However, there were two issues. The first issue was the fact that all of these documents were forged, and the second issue was the fact that since this robot maid clearly knew about Jaim’s existence, if forced, the foundation of the documents could be questioned.
Both situations weren’t good for me and Jaim. If a problem arises, then Jaim will have to go back and I’ll also have to deal with a bunch of annoyances.
“For now, let’s hear about the details at home. Let’s talk about Saeyeon as well.”
“Saeyeon······. Who do you mean by that?”
“He’s talking about Mom.”
Once Jaim answered ‘Eureka’ who had asked that while tilting her head, ‘Eureka’ promptly understood as she nodded her head.
I let out another sigh as I looked up at the sky that had already become yellow. This was annoying.
The first problem was making an excuse to give to Saeyeon. The second problem was that there was going to be another freeloader who I was going to have to spend our already lacking funds on. Hopefully, she doesn’t have to eat. And finally, the third problem······.
Because at the very least, I knew why Jaim, who was making that forlorn expression right now, didn’t want to go back to the future.
“Okay? Don’t say anything weird.”
‘Eureka’ nodded in response to my words which I was saying as a final reminder before opening the front door.
“I know. You’ve been emphasizing it this much, Master.”
“······I wonder if it’ll work out.”
“Jaim, don’t say something that can jinx us.”
Simply coming all the way here from the playground caused a lot of problems.
On our way home, there were people who would stare at us and whisper among one another when they saw us walking together with a weird girl wearing a maid uniform, the guard in the security office of the apartment complex looked at us dubiously, and it would have been great if we at least rode the elevator by ourselves, but we ended up spending a painful amount of time in a box where we had no place to escape.
Once I made my resolve and opened the door, Saeyeon, who was sitting down with her school uniform still on, immediately stood up and ran up to us.
“Really, where did you guys go? I was surprised when the two of you disappeared all of a sudden! Who was that person earlier······?”
She sounded upset at first and then worried, but when Saeyeon’s quickly changing expression locked on to ‘the person’ following behind me and Jaim, she froze.
Even for Saeyeon, this must have been unexpected. I tried my best to not panic and spoke as naturally as I could······.
“Y-Yeah, something came up······.”
“Huh, I thought she was Jaim’s acquaintance, but was she actually a guest? You should have told me beforehand. I would have cleaned up the place.”
However, Saeyeon grinned brightly as if to make my previous concern completely pointless. Well, it’s Saeyeon. Saeyeon tidied her skirt and shirt, which had wrinkled a bit because she had been sitting down, and smiled at ‘Eureka’.
“Welcome. Make yourself at home. How do you know Jaim? This is the first time that one of Jaim’s friends came over.”
You settled on her being a friend even though you just asked her how she knows Jaim? However, instead of making a rebuttal, I remained silent because it was a question that we had already predicted.
‘Eureka’ bowed and gave her the answer which we had came up with earlier.
“It’s nice to meet you. My name is Jin Jihye and I’m in charge of taking care of Miss Jin Jaim.”
······Now that I think about it, who gave her that name?
(TL note: ‘Jin Jihye’ is also similar to Jaro and Jaim’s names as it can be read as “I’m serious”)
The plan was basically like this. At the very least, Saeyeon understood that Jaim wasn’t a child who was born after we slept while holding hands, and since I had established the setting that Jaim was my half-sibling, we matched ‘Eureka’s’ background with this and made her reveal herself as an employee of my parents and that she was the one who was originally taking care of Jaim as her nanny. This currently made the most sense after all.
“Ah, is that so? I’m Jjaro’s wife, Ja Saeyeon.”
And as I expected, Saeyeon simply introduced herself courteously in response to that setting. There was a part of Saeyeon’s self-introduction that I wanted to nitpick about, but this wasn’t the right time to make a rebuttal, so I’ll ignore it for now.
“Everything was resolved when I decided to take care of Jaim, but apparently, she came here because she was worried about how Jaim has been doing. She’s going to be staying with us for a couple of days.”
“Ah, I see. Thank you for taking care of Jaim.”
Jaim turned her head away and pouted. The two of them clearly didn’t get along. I have a rough guess as to why.
“Now then, please enter. Ah, Jjaro. Should I brew some tea in a situation like this? I don’t know how to brew tea, though······.”
“I’ll do it, so you can go sit down.”
In any case, it was a relief that things went well. The fabricated stories made by my gifted brain were amazing. I’ll give it something sweet as a reward in a second. After taking a glance at ‘Eureka’ and Jaim, I headed towards the kitchen. Some snacks and coffee mix should be good enough. Now that I think about it, is it fine for a robot to drink coffee? Can she sleep? While I was having those thoughts, I started to hear voices coming from the living room. It seems ‘Eureka’ and Saeyeon were having a conversation with Jaim as the main topic.
“How was Jaim like in the past?”
“Miss Jaim has always been a kind girl. I can only be grateful for how well she listened to me.”
······They definitely didn’t seem like they got along with each other that much. Moreover, I couldn’t even imagine Jaim being a ‘well-behaved and kind, little girl’.
After putting the kettle on the stove, I opened the cupboard and took out the cookies which I kept hidden from Saeyeon and Jaim. These were expensive. Well, I was going to give these out as snacks anyway, so it didn’t matter that much.
“Still, I was really worried when the Miss ran away from home all of a sudden. She must be in her rebellious period since she refused to listen to me and disappeared without a word······.”
“Jaim, did you come here without saying anything? That’s not good. Bad.”
“There was no particular need for me to say anything. No one would have worried about me anyway.”
“That’s bad, Jaim. She must have been really worried.”
“I also feel like I didn’t educate her enough in that regard. Even now, the Miss is refusing to return home.”
“I’m pretty sure I told you clearly that I’m not going back.”
“Bad! You shouldn’t talk like that to an adult! More importantly, you’re going to take Jaim back? But Jjaro said······.”
“No, I’m not going back, Mom, so you don’t have to worry. Scra······. Jihye, you’re not worried anymore since you’ve found me, right?”
······I should quickly boil this and go to them. No, should I just go out now? I can prepare everything once the water starts boiling. I moved towards the living room where the relatively risky conversation was being held. For now, I only brought the snacks with me.
Saeyeon noticed my approach in an instant.
“It’s going to take a while before the water starts boiling, so have these snacks for now.”
“Wow, aren’t these the expensive snacks?! Are we having these because we have a guest?”
“Well, something like that. Are you glad that Miss Jihye is here?”
After saying that to the delighted Saeyeon, I put the tray of snacks down on the table and whispered to ‘Eureka’ in a small voice.
“Are you able to eat snacks?”
“It’s fine. I also have a digestive system.”
They added a digestive system to a robot? How impressive, future technology. If snacks are fine, then some coffee should be okay as well.
“Then with pleasure.”
With completely natural movements, ‘Eureka’ brought a cookie to her mouth. Saeyeon and Jaim also grabbed a cookie of their own and munched on them. It must have been tasty as Saeyeon smiled and Jaim smiled because of Saeyeon’s happy expression. What a nice and warm scene. ‘Eureka’s’ mouth moved in a way that savored the taste of the snack while she was in an elegant pose that made it even more unbelievable that she was a robot.
“Certainly, simply knowing that the Miss is safe is enough to make me feel a bit relieved. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect her to come to the past, so I was really shocked when I found out about it.”
‘Eureka’ blinked her eyes in confusion when she noticed that Saeyeon and Jaim had stopped chewing on their cookies and were looking at her.
“Hm? What’s wrong?”
“No, uhm, Big Sis Jihye, what did you say just now?”
“I said that I’m relieved since I was able to confirm that the Miss is safe. Although her traveling through time illegally in order to come to the past was a bit unexpected.”
This girl, isn’t she completely unaware of what she’s saying right now?
“I-In other words, what Miss Jihya is saying is······.”
“Still, the fact that she came here in order to meet Master and his wife is rather adorable. It is a bit troublesome since she doesn’t want to go back to the future, though.”
I tried to somehow cover things up, but it seems ‘Eureka’ wasn’t able to grasp what the problem was as she continued to talk naturally.
“So Mrs. Ja Saeyeon as well, please······. Ueb!”
“Ha, hahahaha! R-Really, Jihye! You shouldn’t make jokes like that. Sorry, Mom. Jihye likes to go into her own dream world sometimes······. A-As you can see, she also goes around weird clothes, right?”
Jaim blocked ‘Eureka’s’ mouth before she could say anything more. But it’s too late, kid. With her eyes held wide open, Saeyeon lowered her cookie onto the tray.
“If you came from the future, and I’m the wife, then······.”
“Saeyeon, that’s just······.”
PSSSSSST⎯⎯⎯! With perfect timing, the kettle let out a shrill sound and cut me off.
“Jjaro, the water, is boiling······.”
“I-It’s fine, so······.”
“Uah, Dad, the water! The water is overflowing!”
CHSSSSK⎯⎯⎯! The overflowing water let out a sizzling sound as it touched the stove. What do I do? However, before I could even think of an idea, my body was already running towards the kitchen in order to turn the stove off. I could hear Saeyeon’s calm voice behind me.
“······Then, is Jaim, really Jjaro and my······?”
“M-Mom, that’s just Jihye’s······.”
“Jaim, let Big Sis Jihye go.”
A serious tone that wasn’t like the normal Saeyeon. I stuck my head out in order to look at the living room. Jaim hesitated at first, but in the end, it seems she couldn’t win as she removed her hands from ‘Eureka’s’ mouth. ‘Eureka’ nodded and continued.
“Yes. Miss Jin Jaim is your and Master’s daughter. Furthermore, I’m a robot maid that’s taking care of the Miss.”
I forgot about the heat of the overflowing water and tossed the dishcloth which I was using half-heartedly and ran out to the living room. It didn’t even take me more than three steps, but Saeyeon had already lowered her head before then.
What should I do? Do I have to keep making excuses? But.
“S-Saeyeon, we weren’t trying to hide it from you, we just······.”
I no longer had the time to calculate things as I grabbed Saeyeon’s shoulders while I tried to talk. However, Saeyeon didn’t raise her head and simply trembled slightly.
So right when I was about to pull her up, Saeyeon threw her body forward and wrapped her arms around my neck, making both of us fall over. The same spot of my head that hit the ground of the playground earlier collided with the floor again so I started to see stars.
I shook my head in order to shake the pain away before opening my eyes.
Right in front of me, Saeyeon’s large, clear, and transparent eyes were filling my entire field of view.
“Jjaro! She said Jaim is our daughter! We’re, going to get married!”
Saeyeon was grabbing both of my hands. While leaning her weight on my hands, Saeyeon was smiling brightly as if she were at the peak of her happiness.
“We’re, really, going to get married!”
“······Yeah. It seems so. So can you get off of me now?”
Well, there’s no way that Saeyeon would have been shocked by this news.
She’d probably be elated. It’s Saeyeon after all.
Saeyeon finally moved so I was able to raise my upper body, but she threw herself into my arms again. Her arms hugged my body powerfully.
“I knew that was a confession! I knew it, it really meant, that Jjaro likes me!”
“I-I can’t breathe······.”
“Ah, s-sorry! I was just so happy!”
Once I let out that grunt, Saeyeon released me from her embrace and instead grabbed both of my hands again and shook them up and down.
“My dream is going to come true! I’m going to actually get married to Jjaro and become Jjaro’s wife!”
“I get it. I get it, so can we do this later?”
“Jjaro are you not happy? Hm? Your dream comes true as well! You always said that you’re going to invent a robot maid thing!”
This girl, she’s getting thrilled about that as well.
It was hard trying to say something to Saeyeon who was smiling so cheerfully, so I simply turned away. My face felt a bit warm. Not a lot. Only a little.
“Now then, ma’am. I have a request.”
“What is it? Ask me anything!”
Saeyeon turned around and answered ‘Eureka’ who had carefully asked that behind Saeyeon. As if she truly felt sorry, ‘Eureka’ spoke while marginally lowering her large blue eyes.
“Uhm······. I’m sorry to say this while you’re so elated, but I wish to take the Miss back to the future before Master starts to worry.”
And, in response to those words, Saeyeon’s shoulders dropped.
“Scrap metal, in a situation like this, you······!”
Jaim was angered by that and approached ‘Eureka’, but Saeyeon shook her head and poke.
“No, it’s okay, Jaim. It’s natural.”
Jaim instantly became disheartened. Saeyeon pulled Jaim into a hug with a sad look on her face and spoke.
“I’m only sad because I don’t have an adorable Jaim like this yet. I don’t want Jaim to go back either.”
After saying that, Saeyeon released Jaim from her embrace and looked at her.
“But as much as I like Jaim, future Jjaro and future me must be that worried about Jaim as well, right? If Jaim disappeared one day without saying a word to me, then I’d be really sad.”
Jaim averted her gaze and dropped her head. Saeyeon, who had no way of knowing what the meaning behind that reaction was, must have thought that Jaim was thinking about how her future self would react as she smiled gently.
“Unlike Jjaro, your mom isn’t good at science or technology, but if you’re here because time machines actually exist, then you can come back whenever you want to, right? If so, then you can come visit us whenever you want to see the younger version of your mom. So I was wondering if it would be fine for you to go back before future me starts to worry.”
“······Mom, so you really do want me to go back home?”
“Of course not! But still······ Future me must love Jaim as much as I do, right?”
Saeyeon smiled sadly as if she were trying her best to reassure Jaim.
Those words made Jaim look like she was about to cry even more.
Saeyeon didn’t know.
The fact that Saeyeon wasn’t in the future that Jaim came from. The fact that she left after getting into a fight with me while Jaim was little and never came back.
The fact that she fell into sorrow and despair because she heard words that she had never expected to hear from me, the person that she liked so much, and left my side.
“Uhm, Mrs. Ja Saeyeon, I sincerely apologize, but······.”
“In the future, you······.”
“I told you to stop!!”
Everyone turned to look at me the instant I yelled loudly in order to cut ‘Eureka’ off.
My fists shook. I must have been digging my nails into my skin as my palms hurt. My teeth which I was clenching audibly hurt as well.
Saeyeon was looking at me with wide eyes.
‘Eureka’ silently lowered her head.
Jaim simply looked at me without a word.
There was a moment of silence. Only the sound of the clock ticking could be heard.
I had to change the mood and as someone who always roleplayed, this was an easy task. I forced myself to grin stupidly like I always did in the past and fixed my glasses.
“No, telling Jaim to go back in a situation like this would be mean, wouldn’t it? Don’t say things like that. Oh, right. You said that you were here to take Jaim back to the future, right?”
“Then wouldn’t things be fine if you just confirm one thing? Do you have a device that lets you communicate with the future?”
“Yes. It’s possible. Why do you ask?”
In response to that answer, I spoke towards Saeyeon who still didn’t understand what was going on.
“Well, if that’s the case, then can’t you call the people in the future and tell them ‘We’re taking proper care of Jaim, so you don’t have to worry’? If you do that, then wouldn’t it be fine for Jaim to stay with us for a while longer? Right, Saeyeon?”
“Huh? Ah, yeah! If I got a phone call telling me that, then even I would stop worrying.”
Saeyeon finally understood what I was trying to say as she started to beam.
“Still, I feel like it would be weird······. Calling my future self.”
“No, I’ll handle the phone call. That’s the dad’s job.”
Ack, don’t look at me with such sparkling eyes as if you’ve been moved. I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t, but I had to appear like I did on the outside.
I turned towards ‘Eureka’ and spoke.
“So, contact the people in the future and tell them that we’ll be taking care of Jaim for a bit longer. That’s fine, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I understand. However, please allow me to stay here until the day I have to take the Miss back. Would that be all right, Master, Ma’am?”
“That’s fine by me. Jaim as well, you like that Big Sis Jihye is here as well, right?”
“······She’s not a big sis, though.”
Jaim pouted, clearly still displeased, but since she knew that this was the best conclusion we could reach in this situation, she didn’t say anything more. I exchanged glances with Jaim before turning towards ‘Eureka’ and speaking.
“Then, let’s go to my room for a second so we can contact the future. Jaim. I boiled the water, so the coffee······. Nevermind, get some juice from the fridge and drink that with the snacks. Saeyeon, you as well.”
“Ah, if it’s that much, then I’ll do it! Jaim, you wait here, okay?”
Saeyeon smiled as she nodded and headed towards the kitchen while ‘Eureka’ and I headed towards my room. Jaim glanced at me for a moment before turning away and mumbling.
“······Dad, that stuck out.”
That’s why I intend to educate this girl right now.
“Don’t ever say anything about the future near Saeyeon again. Especially the breaking up part.”
“The breaking up······. Part?”
“Especially that part, but don’t mention anything else either. If you manage this, then I’ll forgive you for going on and on about the future even though we specifically told you not to.”
‘Eureka’ tilted her head. She looked as if she didn’t know what I was talking about. So this is why the brat kept calling her a piece of scrap metal.
“Seriously, we clearly told you not to! Saeyeon didn’t know what Jaim was and that she was from the future, so I told you to just go along with my story!”
‘Eureka’ flinched because of my loud voice.
“I-I’m sorry! I-I enjoy talking, so there are times where I unintentionally······. Uu.”
“In other words, you’re saying that there’s a chance that something like this could happen again?”
Once I said that while pressing a large wrench underneath her neck, ‘Eureka’ shook her head both frantically and desperately.
“No, of course not! This will never happen again!”
“Do you understand? If you do this one more time, then I’m going to take you apart! If it’s my ability, then regardless of whether it’s technology from the future or not, I can disassemble something until it’s nothing more than nuts and bolts in less than a minute!”
“I-I absolutely won’t do it again!”
She’s good at answering. Her answer didn’t feel that credible, but since I’ve threatened her, it should probably be okay for now.
But why does she look so serious this time? She’s mumbling ‘Don’t, I have to stop myself. I mustn’t.’ to herself. Did I go too far with my threat? Well, the fact that she was taking my words to heart was a good sign.
“······Now that I think about it, ‘Eureka’, you gave up surprisingly easily.”
“Pardon? What do you mean?”
“Earlier you said that you’ll bring Jaim back at all cost, but it feels like you gave up rather meekly. Will it really be fine if we just contact the future?”
“No, but it was Master’s order.”
‘Eureka’ answered while brimming with confidence. She appeared strangely proud.
“Well, I guess you would listen to your Master’s orders······. You’re a robot after all.”
“No, that’s not the only reason.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
When I turned around to ask her that, I was surprised. She wasn’t there. When I looked down, ‘Eureka’ was on her knees and pressing her lips slightly on my foot. What, why was she doing this?
“W-What are you doing, this is embarrassing.”
“You’re this sort of existence to us robot maids, Master.”
No, I have no idea what you’re saying. What does this have to do with kissing my foot? Wait, but this was definitely the symbol that represented the relationship between master and servant, wasn’t it?
“Since you’re our creator, Master. If you give us an order, then we have to fulfill it no matter what and we’ll obey you happily.”
Her expression looked as if she were looking at a king, no, a god.
“Yes. Since you’re our creator. Master Jin Jaro.”
‘Eureka’ nodded her head and confirmed it once more while even saying my name this time. Wait, does this mean, in other words······.
“······I’m, seriously the one who invented and built robot maids?”
“Correct. Master Jin Jaro is the creator of all robot maids.”
With a tone that sounded bizarrely lofty, ‘Eureka’ spoke reverently.
“In the future, Master creates the first version of robot maids, XMR-Mk. X ‘Prophet’, before even entering university, and using that as your foundation, you advanced your ability even further before establishing a business called ‘The Millenium’ and distributing us throughout the world. This is a great honor to be able to tell you this.”
······But it seems my sickness wasn’t cured by that time either. This was a bit sad.
In any case, was it true? Was she serious? Of course, I did have that sort of dream and ideal, but hearing it like this made it seem silly.
“Do I look like someone who would lie?”
“Sorry, but my trust in you is currently at rock bottom.”
“Uu······. L-Let’s call what happened earlier my unique trait······.”
You’re already chapfallen? More important, there’s another part that was bothering me now that I thought about it.
“In the first place, Jaim didn’t even know that I invented robot maids. If what you’re saying is true, then why didn’t she know?”
“Because Master ordered us to not tell her.”
“······Considering my personality, I feel like there’s no way that I wouldn’t tell her.”
Well, Jaim did say that her relationship with the future me wasn’t good. Although that was a statement that lacked credibility in itself······.
“Still······. If that’s true, then doesn’t that mean I’m amazing?”
“Yes. Master is amazing.”
“I see······. Of course I am. There’s no way that I would be a self-addressed genius who was only all talk······. I’m the greatest scientist of this era, mad scientist Jin Jaro!”
“Yes. Master is the greatest scientist of this era.”
“I see······. It was like that······. Fu-uahahahahahaha!”
“Although you were fired from your company in the end.”
So that was also true? Now I suddenly feel depressed.
“Your aggressive management became a problem, so by the decision of the board of directors, the 7 disciples, you were fired. But don’t worry. Those scoundrels will one day pay for their crimes at Master’s hands!”
“So I didn’t forget about that even then······.”
This was starting to go beyond being sad and was simply embarrassing now. Well, I’ll forget about it for now.
“Thus, Master, if possible, please call me ‘Jihye’.”
What was she saying now? ‘Eureka’ answered hesitantly.
“Uhm······. To us robot maids, Master referring to us by our proper names is the greatest honor that we could possibly receive. I’m just asking, if possible······. Could you, call me that······?”
“Well, all right. I just have to call you Jihye, right?”
It wasn’t particularly difficult either. Once I gave her that answer, Jihye’s expression lit up incredibly and her eyes sparkled as she brought her hands together.
“Yes! Please call me that! Thank you very much, Master!”
She was getting so excited despite being a robot. This was a bit embarrassing. It must have really been an honor. I cleared my throat and calmed myself down before asking her a question.
“In any case, so you’re saying that I created every robot maid?”
“That is correct.”
“All right. Strip.”
Jihye’s elated face immediately stiffened because of my words.
“I told you to strip.”
“Uhm, Master, I don’t know what the undertone behind your words is······.”
“I said strip. It’s not going to hurt.”
I took my utility belt off and placed it on top of my worktable. It might get in my way. I took my coat off as well. This was for the same reason.
“M-Master? Yes, receiving Master’s grace is something to be happy about, but shouldn’t something like this be done with someone you love, and if possible, a person······.”
“Don’t worry. This isn’t something like that.”
I opened my drawer and took out all of my tools that seemed roughly useable. Mm, would I need a welding machine as well?
“B-But, no matter how I look at it, you look like you’re contemplating on what size would fit the hole······. W-Why are you taking out a welding machine?!”
“Obviously it’s so that I can get rid of everything the instant you strip. Now stop wasting time and strip. How do you expect me to take you apart?”
Jihye’s expression froze in a shocked state.
“If I’m going to look at your contents and get a grasp of your structure by dismantling you, then you have to take your clothes off. My research is still lacking, so there are a couple of parts that I’m curious about.”
Honestly, I wanted to do this the instant she raised her skirt earlier, but as I expected, this was better to do at home where I had access to all sorts of tools.
“D-Does that mean, you intend to dispose of me······? I-I’m sorry! I-I won’t talk needlessly ever again! Please forgive me! S-Spare me!”
“It’s fine. After I dismantle you, I’ll put you back together properly. So don’t worry about that and strip.”
“B-But, the current Master is still······.”
“This is an order as your creator, strip!”
“Uuu······. I-If it’s an order, I have to obey, but······.”
Jihye twisted her body peculiarly and still appeared to be hesitating.
“A-Are you serious? I-Is this an order that I absolutely have to follow······?”
“You’re the one who said that you’ll happily listen to any of my orders earlier.”
“Well, I did say that, but······.”
“What’s the problem? Do you think that I won’t be able to put you back together properly?”
“That’s also an issue, but more than that······.”
As if she couldn’t endure it any longer, Jihye covered her face with her hands and spoke in a small voice.
“I-It’s embarrassing······. T-To take off my clothes in front of a boy······.”
“What are you getting embarrassed about when you’re a robot?”
“I-I believe that you shouldn’t do lewd things!”
“Where did you learn that nonsense from? If you don’t strip, then I’ll strip you myself, you know?”
In the end, I couldn’t hold back any longer and grabbed Jihye’s clothes as she hesitated. However, Jihye grabbed my hand and her clothes and shouted.
“Y-You mustn’t, Master! Master has a wife and daughter······!”
“The two of them aren’t here right now! Now then, stop saying unnecessary things and strip!”
“Jjaro, are you still on the phon······.”
“Dad, the coffee is going to get col······.”
Click, ‘Eureka’ and my head slowly turned towards the door as it opened audibly.
I could see Saeyeon’s face that had frozen while smiling and Saeyeon’s sour face which was gradually becoming blank through the crevice of the door.
“······Uh, t-this is······.”
Those faces, were impressive. A chill went down my spine.
“I-I see······. J-Jaro, really isn’t······, in humans······.”
Saeyeon looked as if she were about to cry. Jaim’s expression went beyond being blank and now she appeared as if she were looking at a drain that hadn’t been cleaned for a month during the middle of the summer.
“No, this isn’t anything like that!”
I shouted while waving my arms and Jihye fixed her clothes which I had creased.
Creak, click. The door closed.
It took exactly 3 hours, 35 minutes, and 12 seconds to explain myself.
······Although it didn’t feel like the misunderstanding was resolved that much.
TL note: Thank you for reading the chapter. This chapter was much longer than I originally thought it would be, like a LOT longer. I sincerely apologize for the delay, but I had some personal matters I had to take care of first before I could focus on translating. The personal matter being my driver license test. It took me a solid 2 weeks to quickly practice/study for it and I finally received my license last Wednesday. I got back into my translation groove once I got my license, so I managed to translate about 13k words since Thursday.
In other news, I’ll be gone for another week because I received a letter from the government telling me that I have to participate in the reserved troops training starting next Monday. If I’m correct, this is something every male citizen has to go through annually, so I have to go no matter what or I’ll probably get arrested.
I’ll also make an announcement/update post once I’m back since something may or may not happen. It’s something that will most definitely take up a lot of my time, so I’ll probably end up going on a temporary hiatus. Don’t worry, I’m not going off to die somewhere. I’ll most definitely be back if the next volume of Dungeon Defense is released.
In any case, I hope to see you guys after my reserved troops training. Hope I don’t die.