3. Daily life
“Jjaro, what happened last week?”
The weekend where I thoroughly experienced how an alienated and lonely head of household felt like ended and Monday had arrived. Nanda was waiting for me the instant I entered the classroom.
“Not to mention the fact that you didn’t come to school with Saeyeon and Jaim today.”
“······Well, this and that happened.”
This was something that I couldn’t talk about. Once I let out a sigh, Nanda tilted his head quizzically before he let out an ‘Ah’ and grinned as he nodded his head.
“Something happened between you and that girl who was wearing a maid uniform, right?”
“······Well, I guess you could say that.”
It wasn’t that he could say that, but rather, he was completely on the money, but there was probably no need for me to tell him that.
Nanda’s chuckling expression that looked as if he expected this was annoying.
“So, who is she? When I called your place and asked if I could talk to you, both Saeyeon and Jaim refused to give you the phone, so I’ve been curious all weekend.”
“Something like that happened as well, huh?”
“Don’t leave anything out and tell us everything.”
“Everyone wants to know. Huh, Jaro?”
“······Fine, I expected this sort of development.”
After seeing my classmates gather behind Nanda, I let out a deep sigh. Seriously, these untaught masses were already being pushy this early in the morning. Well, whatever.
“Taemin said it before, but it’s that sort of business, right?”
“Say something that makes sense. There’s no way that that sort of place which overflows with men’s hopes and dreams would be established in this neighborhood or even this country.”
“Isn’t it like a maid cafe? If they’re hiring part-time workers, then I might be a bit interested······.”
“Sooah, even you······. Well, I do admit that her clothes were pretty.”
“Seeing that Saeyeon and Jaim didn’t come to school with him, I feel like something more happened. An illicit love?”
“Involving this guy? Do you think that kind of girl could exist?”
“No. If she’s weird enough to go around wearing a maid uniform, then she might match Jaro like Saeyeon does, but in a different meaning.”
“Isn’t it just Jaro’s delusions? He’s been saying weird things since a long time ago.”
“So what exactly is a maid cafe?”
“If you guys have no intention of listening to me, then I’m going to stop.”
“All right, all right. Calm down, everyone. Please tell us what happened, Jjaro.”
The noisy untaught masses stopped talking the instant Nanda spoke up. This guy, his leadership skill was impressive. Are popular people all like this?
I let out a small sigh in response to my classmates’ curiosity-filled gazes and spoke.
“Eh······. To give you guys a simple explanation, she’s an employee that was sent here by those people who threw me away and are currently living comfortably overseas so that they could take Jaim back. After she told me this, I brought her back to my place and I’m now trying to convince her to give up.”
As I expected, this story sounded the most plausible. I gave them this explanation after smacking my lips in a way that made it seem like I was really troubled. Albeit, I actually was troubled.
After the previous incident, because our homeroom teacher had arbitrarily told my classmates about my family situation, they all reacted in their own way and turned away since they knew about my circumstances.
“Isn’t that going too far······? They didn’t even take any responsibility.”
“That employee is also rather impressive. She should know that they don’t care, but for her to try and take Jaim back anyway. Should I say that she’s that dedicated to her job······?”
“You have it rough as well, Jaro.”
As heads and cheeks were being scratched, sympathetic gazes were sent towards me. There were even fellows who went as far as to pat my shoulders as if they were wishing me luck. If it were a while back, then I would have unquestionably been annoyed by this, but I was able to, at the very least, genuinely accept this right now. I planned to take advantage of this, after all. Well, I also got used to this.
“But why did you bring her to your place?”
However, everyone immediately turned their heads the instant a single person asked that question.
“Now that I think about it, he’s right. If she was sent here on a job, then she should have a place to stay.”
“The rumor about her going around looking for someone has been circulating for a while, so she should have been staying somewhere.”
“Jaro, that’s not right. You were finally able to make a home for newlyweds, but do you think Saeyeon would like it if you let the person who’s trying to take your daughter away stay in your home?”
“Yeah. Even if you’re trying to make her give up, if you bring someone like that over to your place, then even Jaim would get upset.”
“······Sure, thank you for your concern in that regard.”
I was also used to these gazes. They’ll probably nag at me for a while now. Once I smiled bitterly, everyone started to leave by ones and twos.
What’s up with them? Normally, these guys would harass me for things like this until morning assembly started. I blinked a couple of times before Nanda grinned and spoke.
“Everyone’s probably acting like that since they don’t think that it’d be right for them to force themselves into your family circumstances.”
“······What vague consideration.”
“They’re good classmates, aren’t they? Of course, then even Saeyeon wouldn’t have received this sort of attention if they weren’t.”
Certainly, people like Saeyeon would normally be······. How should I say it? Usually, when there’s a kid who has flowers in their head in a class, then rather than being protected and the target of attention, they’re isolated. In truth, Saeyeon was also the target of bullying once. However,
“I sometimes feel like these guys act like this because of Saeyeon.”
I occasionally wonder whether they were doting on Saeyeon because they were kind, or because they had no other choice but to do so since it was Saeyeon. Well, it didn’t matter either way. More importantly.
“······Nevertheless, Nanda, I need you to be a bit more concerned as well. You’re the one person who Jaim is the most comfortable with.”
Nanda shrugged in response to my words which I had said while averting my gaze before speaking.
“I wonder about that. In any case, I see you’re also having a hard time, Jjaro.”
“By the way, did you come all the way here in the morning just to ask me that?”
“Oh, right. I almost forgot. Jjaro, did you see today’s lunch menu?”
Nanda seemed to have just now remembered his original reason for having come here.
“Do I look like someone who’d pay attention to something like that?”
“I figured. Look here.”
I received the folded piece of paper which had this month’s lunch menu printed on it from Nanda and looked at it. I then smacked my lips. I didn’t do this because today’s menu appeared appetizing.
“······Certainly, this is a bit······.”
“All the other kids are also trying to think up of a plan. So how about it?”
I looked around the classroom in response to Nanda’s words and noticed that my classmates were definitely gathered in groups of twos and threes and plotting something while looking at the lunch menu. I see. So this is why he’s here.
“You’re prepared, right? Shall we give it a go today as well?”
I passed the lunch menu back to Nanda and pushed my glasses up.
“All right. I’ll see you at lunch.”
Shall I talk about the location and layout of this school for a moment?
I said this before, but our school is in the center of an apartment complex. The schoolyard is in an area where the path goes into the complex, and the school building is stretched out into an L-shape behind the schoolyard. On the left side of the school gate, there is a gym-cum-assembly hall which isn’t used very often, and there’s also a parking lot, a kitchen which distributes all of the food to the classrooms, and storage sheds behind the schoolyard and the school building. Behind those facilities, there is a flower garden and a wall that’s about the height of the average person and more apartment complexes beyond that.
“Hey, hurry up. We’ll get caught at this rate!”
“Then give me a better boost! Ack, why’d they put a barbed-wire fence down in a place like this?!”
In other words, if you can get over the wall, then you’ll immediately be within an apartment complex, which means that you’ll also be within a short walking distance from one of the shopping districts that are usually in every apartment complex. People who live close by could also just go home, and those who don’t could go to a snack bar or a Chinese restaurant.
“You brats, I knew you kids would be here!”
“Damn it, a teacher is here! Run!”
“Wait! Let me down first······. Ah!”
“I’m sorry, comrade! Run!”
“How could you abandon your comrade and run away?! You cold-blooded bastards!”
“Yeah, you shouldn’t let those sort of fellows get away so easily. I’ll give you a deal that you can’t refuse. If you go to the teachers’ room and sell out the names of the guys that betrayed you, then I’ll buy you a bowl of jjajangmyeon.”
Therefore, since people were aware of this, the wall is obviously tall and harsh. Even though students don’t jump the wall often during lunch and break time, it is constantly being watched by the teachers. However, despite that, there is no other particular way to escape from the school. The school gate is in plain sight from the teachers’ room, and the left and right sides are blocked by the gym and school building.
The wall behind the school. Point Delta-Bravo-Romeo. The wall that’s popularly known as the Wall of Wailing and the Barricade of the Cafeteria. The insurmountable wall of reality. I feel like I should mention that I’m the one who uses those three points when talking about the wall.
“······It hasn’t even been 10 minutes since lunch break started and four teams have already been caught.”
“The teachers are also cruel. Even though they’ve been concealing themselves from the start, they come out acting as if they passed by just then and end up deceiving a bunch of the students.”
Nanda closed the curtain after peaking through the window a bit before turning to face me.
“How’re the preparations going?”
“I’m almost done. How’s the business?”
“The Really Exciting Delivery Service is attending to six teams as our customers today. We’re going to be busy.”
(TL note: They’re using their names as a pun for their ‘business’ name. Jin Jaro = Really, Shin Nanda = Exciting)
“Not bad. All right then, I’m ready.”
And since the ‘Creative Science’ club is using an unused storage shed as its clubroom, it is located right next to that Barricade of the Cafeteria. In other words, a blind spot in the surveillance. By using this fact, Nanda and I have a business where we receive a slight labor fee and distribute delivery food within school grounds on days where the cafeteria food is bad. Please refer to me as a smuggler.
“Jjaro, the same mistake that happened last time won’t happen again, right?”
I sincerely admitted my mistake in response to Nanda’s doubt-filled gaze.
“The ‘Helibon Express’ that I used last time was defective. This, I admit.”
Making something fly over the wall wasn’t a good idea. It stuck out like a sore thumb and the food got caught on the barbed-wire fence last time while flying back over the wall, resulting in the food spilling and leaving behind undeniable evidence, and thanks to that, my contraption was taken apart by the teachers and we had to refund our customers. I can’t allow something like that to happen again.
“More than anything else, I have to make money······. I’m running low on funds······.”
In my current situation, even a few bucks are appreciated.
“I see you’ve completely become the head of a household now, Jjaro.”
I decided to ignore the chuckling Nanda.
“So, what kind of improvements did you make?”
“Even if the wall is tall, it’s still a wall. All we have to do is dig underneath it.”
I let out a ‘tadah’ and displayed my invention.
“It’s called ‘The Great Escape Special’! If it digs through the dirt with this drill and comes out the other side, then making deliveries through this device or even making hand deliveries will become possible through the hole that’s been dug!”
“Oh, it sounds like something that could work this time.”
“Of course. I’m the one who created it. Ah, don’t touch it. For some reason, the devices that you touch end up breaking easily.”
Nanda retracted his hand once he heard my words. I wonder if it’s because this guy is still a part of the analog era, but I feel like there’s some sort of magnetic field flowing around him.
“Isn’t that mean? Ah, but Jjaro, if it’s Jjaro, then you probably considered this already, but I want to ask you something anyway.”
“What is it?”
Nanda pointing out a fault in one of my inventions was a rare sight to see. Nanda then asked a question while looking at ‘The Great Escape Special’.
“Even if it may be easy to get through the dirt on our side since there’s a flower garden, there’s asphalt on the other side, isn’t there? This drill can get through that, right?”
Now that I think about it, I didn’t consider that. Jjaro’s mistake☆!
“It can, right?”
“O-Of course it can.”
But I can’t show my weak side here. It’d do me more harm than good if I had to start compensating people. Yeah, if it’s my invention, then it should be possible. I have no other choice but to believe in it. Putting my hopes in it should be fine. I’m putting my faith in it.
Creak. The door opened.
“T-This is nothing! I simply made something to prepare the flower garden! F-Flowers are the symbol of peace!”
“What sort of boys love are the two of you performing in this dark and out-of-the-way clubroom?”
“Ah, what, it’s just Upperclassman Nabom······.”
Fortunately, the one to open the door and enter the clubroom was Upperclassman Nabom who looked more tired than usual. That scared me.
“Isn’t that reaction a bit rude, Underclassman Jin Jaro? Ah, Underclassman Shin Nanda is here too. Have you been doing well?”
As if she had just now noticed that he was also here, Upperclassman Nabom turned to look at Nanda and greeted him. Even though she exhibited a super fan-like personality to the point of crying last time, not only was she acting like usual, but she even appeared indifferent. As expected of a trained agent. Nanda responded with a grin.
“I’m taking the liberty of using your clubroom. How about you, Upperclassman Nabom? Since we’re acquaintances, we could offer you a cheaper price on our Really Exciting Smuggling Service.”
“I already had something to eat before coming here, so I’m fine. More importantly······.”
“Ah, Miss Ha Nabom! Is this where Master is?”
Once Upperclassman Nabom saw Jihye walk into the room as if it were the most obvious thing to do, she let out a small sigh and the corners of her tired eyes drooped down further.
“······Something troublesome followed me.”
My words weren’t cut off mid-sentence because I didn’t have anything more to say. It was because I had so many things to say that my throat became blocked like morning traffic.
Why was she here? Moreover, why did Upperclassman Nabom bring her here so easily? More than that, why do they look so close?
“Uhm, and she is······?”
Additionally, Nanda, who obviously had no way of knowing the situation, simply opened his eyes wide and stood up slowly. This was a natural reaction. Since a girl wearing a maid uniform, the same girl whom he previously heard was a real maid and was trying to take Jaim away, had personally come to see me in the clubroom.
“Ah, Master! You were here. Do you know how much I’ve been looking for you? No one seemed to know where you had gone, so if it weren’t for Miss Ha Nabom, I wouldn’t have been able to find you.”
However, since Jihye was a robot that was devoted to her goal, she completely ignored Nanda and walked straight towards me.
“You, why······? Rather, what is that?”
I was going to hesitantly take a step back, but I felt more curious about the large box in her hands. As expected, I’m definitely a scientist. Rather than trying to figure out the situation first, my curiosity had a higher priority.
Jihye seemed to have become either delighted or confident because of my question as she raised the ends of her brows and smiled. There was an audible ‘thud’ as she placed the box on the table.
“It’s your packed lunch!”
Jihye let out a proud snort and continued.
“I heard from the Missus that Master eats ‘school meals’ which are not only lacking in nutritional value but also mass cooked and distributed in unsanitary hallways. Therefore, I cannot allow Master to eat such fodder-like food! On my way here, I saw that the expressions on the other students’ faces looked as if they were inmates receiving their rations in a prison.”
We have a proper dietitian. Apologize to the dietitian lady. The food is distributed hygienically as well. Apologize to the uncles who distribute the food. Well, I won’t deny the fact that it seems like fodder and prison rations, though.
“Thus, I personally prepared a packed lunch that’s nutritional, sanitary, and capable of satisfying Master’s splendid taste buds based off of saved data.”
A confident and proud expression. As far as I could tell, that expression meant that she wanted to be praised, so I ignored it and asked the most reasonable question that could be deducted from what I could currently see.
“Did no one say anything when you came here? No one tried to stop you?”
“Yes. I got lost on my way here, so when I asked the other students around me for directions, they answered me kindly, and when I explained my situation at the school gate, the security guard let me in. Although I was overflowing with the desire to chat with the students within the school grounds, I explained myself to them and came here immediately for Master’s sake. Ah, now that I think about it, a certain teacher who looked like a gorilla told me to tell Master to come to the teachers’ room after you finish eating. Something about wanting to talk to Master about something.”
My migraine which was a chronic disease that I had developed recently made me grab my head. It wasn’t only because of the last thing she had said.
This is really annoying. Doesn’t this mean that the entire school body knows? Saeyeon and Jaim misunderstand already as well. Moreover, I even made up that excuse. I can’t go around and give the same excuse to each and every student and teacher.
While I was gripping my head in pain as my brain cells performed Luddite Movement due to excessive stress, Nanda, who still had no way of knowing the situation, turned to look at me and asked a question.
“Uhm, Jjaro. She’s definitely the person whom you said was trying to take Jaim away, right? Then why is she calling you Master and bringing you a packed lunch?”
“······Sorry, give me a moment to organize my thoughts.”
I tried to quickly make up an excuse, but my headache was making it too difficult for me right now. While I was doing whatever I could to calm my brain cells, Jihye, while still completely oblivious, smiled towards Upperclassman Nabom.
“Still, it’s a relief that Miss Ha Nabom was here! Thanks to her, I was able to find Master like this and she even explained everything to the other students for me! I was already grateful when she told me that the young lady had gone back in time when I initially filed the missing person report, but Miss Ha Nabom even volunteered to take the role of observer and keep an eye on the young lady this close!”
“······I simply carried out what I had to do. So please let go of my hands.”
Before we knew it, Jihye was holding both of Upperclassman Nabom’s hands and shaking them up and down. There were a lot of things that bothered me, but most importantly.
Just now, she definitely confessed that she traveled back in time, didn’t she?
“······Jihye, you, I told you to not······.”
“Ah, Mr. Shin Nanda? Are you really Mr. Shin Nanda? Master, I didn’t know Mr. Shin Nanda was your acquaintance!”
However, before I could say anything more, Jihye turned away from Upperclassman Nabom as she released her hands before approaching Nanda this time. I didn’t even have the chance to stop her. Jihye smiled brightly as she grabbed Nanda’s hands and spoke.
“Miss Jaim is Mr. Shin Nanda’s biggest fan! She has every single one of your albums, and she even went to your concert that was held in celebration of your 1 billionth sale and download of your new album! I went with her as well! Ah, that’s right! Do you think that I could get your autograph? The young lady would be delighted.”
“······I ordered you to not tell anyone yesterday!”
Jaim was startled by my shout, which I had cried out before my brain could judge that it was already too late, and turned to look at me with an incredibly surprised look on her face.
“Eh?! W-Why? M-Master only said to not tell the Missus yesterday, didn’t you?!”
“Of course, I did say it like that, but do you have no flexibility?!”
“I’m a robot.”
“Don’t bring up the fact that you’re a robot whenever it’s convenient for you!”
“Uhm, Underclassman Jin Jaro, I don’t think it’s the time to be worrying about that.”
I was able to collect myself thanks to Upperclassman Nabom’s words. Ah, that’s right. This wasn’t the time to be contemplating about good methods for disassembling this tin can.
Once I turned my head, I saw that Nanda had his fist against his mouth and appeared as if he was thinking about something.
“Eh, well, Nanda, what she’s trying to say is······.”
However, Nanda smiled lightly in response to my cautious prodding.
“No, I already had a rough grasp of things. It was just surprising to hear it directly.”
My words involuntarily stopped and my mouth froze in place because of Nanda’s comment. Nanda nodded with a serious expression on his face before continuing.
“I had this hunch since a long time ago. That Jaim was your and Saeyeon’s daughter who came from the future, and that person······. Is it a bit iffy to call you that? She’s the robot maid that you said you were going to build, right, Jjaro?”
“······You had a hunch since a long time ago?”
“Wasn’t that the first thing you told me, Jjaro? That she’s your daughter who came here from the future.”
······Now that I think about it, I did say that, but he disregarded it back then.
“I also heard rumors about what the little lady had said in the teachers’ room. That she had come here to do something because Jjaro and Saeyeon fight in the future. Wait a second, doesn’t this mean that my dream of becoming a trot singer comes true? The scale of it doesn’t seem realistic, though.”
Yeah, when I was called to the teachers’ room with Jaim after that fight, she definitely said something like that. However, everyone thought that was simply nonsense and since I led everyone to believe that it really was, I thought that everyone would have forgotten it by now. Furthermore, even though this guy knows now,
“I see······. Although reaching 1 billion album sales throughout the globe seems like a lie, the little lady admiring me was true······.”
Why was he acting so nonchalantly, as if he only felt a bit pleased?
“I have to do my best now, don’t I?”
I’m not sure how he had interpreted my gaze, but Nanda came out of his thoughts, met my gaze, and nodded his head.
“Ah, don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. If I tell anyone, then it would definitely make things difficult for you, Saeyeon, and the little lady.”
“No, that’s not······. Nevermind.”
I decided to simply let out a small sigh.
“Putting that aside, the future, huh? Isn’t that amazing? Like a time machine?”
“······Well, that seems to be the case. I don’t know the exact details either.”
“And this person here, is a robot?”
“Ah, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I am the robot maid that’s currently attending to Miss Jin Jaim, XMR-MK.XXI ‘Eureka’. I would be grateful if you referred to me as ‘Jin Jihye’.”
Jihye courteously responded to Nanda’s question which he had asked while turning towards her.
“If it’s a robot maid, then isn’t that the thing that Jjaro said he was going to make?”
“Yes. Master created me.”
“Wow, you’re amazing as well, Jjaro. You achieve your dream as well, huh, Jjaro?”
Nanda grinned cheerfully in response to Jihye’s proud answer.
“Then doesn’t that mean you, Saeyeon, and I all achieve our dreams? Jjaro wanted to create robot maids, Jaim is here so that means Saeyeon becomes your wife, and I become a trot star. Wow, that’s great. Isn’t that a happy future?”
Without any deeper thought, Nanda was simply in awe by the thought of everyone living happily in the future. He was grinning as if he were truly happy.
“······Uhm, Upperclassman Nabom, is this all right?”
So, furtively, while Jihye was approaching the marveling Nanda for an autograph, I moved closer to Upperclassman Nabom and prodded her. Upperclassman Nabom looked at me with tired eyes and let out a small sigh.
“Well, honestly speaking, I expected this to happen the instant I found her on school grounds. I have to make sure information about the future isn’t disclosed since I’m a secret agent, so this isn’t really a direction that I particularly wanted, though. In any case, that robot is tiring. I wonder if she’s malfunctioning somewhere.”
“You sound genuinely upset.”
“Things have become bothersome for me, so of course I would be.”
That doesn’t seem like the only reason. More importantly, how did a secret agent get found out by me so easily anyway? I didn’t say that out loud, but once I turned to look at Upperclassman Nabom, she looked as if she were pondering about something for a moment before noticing my gaze.
“Hm? What’s the matter, Underclassman Jin Jaro?”
“I was curious as to what you intended to do.”
“What do you mean?”
Do I really have to spell it out for her?
“Nanda isn’t the type of person to go around telling people, but not only did he find out about where Jaim came from, but he also found out about his future career. ······Also, I’m reporting this late, but she blabbered in front of Saeyeon yesterday as well.”
“Oh dear, does she also know that you two broke up?”
“I prevented her from going that far.”
“I see. The situation is gradually becoming more annoying.”
Upperclassman Nabom nodded. However, that’s all she did.
“······So hurry up and do something about it.”
“Pardon? Why are you telling me to do something?”
Upperclassman Nabom’s attitude of tilting her head while blinking her tired eyes made me feel stifled, but I was interrupted the instant I opened my mouth.
“Upperclassman Nabom, did you already know?”
It seems his conversation with Jihye must have been over as Nanda approached with a smile on his face. Behind him, Jihye was happily holding up an A4 sheet of paper that had Nanda’s autograph on it. Upperclassman Nabom smiled nonchalantly at Nanda, completely shifting over from our conversation.
“Well, I’m Underclassman Jin Jaro’s one and only upperclassman. I heard about it a long time ago. I even gave him some pieces of advice.”
I have no recollection of hearing any sort of proper advice from you. While I was grumbling to myself in my mind, Nanda turned to Jihye and asked.
“Uhm, what happens to Upperclassman Nabom in the future?”
He’s talking more casually since he found out that she’s a robot. Jihye smiled and answered.
“Huh? Ah, Miss Ha Nabom is a······. H-Hiik······.”
I was the one who let out that last sound. It’s because it’s been a while since I last saw this. Killing intent that didn’t seem possible with those half-closed and tired eyes.
“In the future, I’m?”
The smile that followed after those words made her appear three times more terrifying. Jihye, who was frightened by that gaze and trembling in fear, hesitantly avoided the gaze and spoke carefully.
“Uhm······. S-She’s a business, woman······.”
“Oh, a businesswoman, huh? I’m the only one who’s normal. That’s a bit vexing.”
Fortunately, that seemed to be the right answer as Upperclassman Nabom went back to her normal mood and smiled.
“Yeah. It would have been great if Upperclassman Nabom made it big, too.”
“That’s life. Not everyone can achieve their dreams. I’d be satisfied as long as I’m not unhappy.”
Upperclassman Nabom responded maturely as if it didn’t bother her too much.
So instead of saying something, I simply clutched my forehead. My migraine has been getting rather bad lately. At the sight of me even letting out a small groan, Jihye, who had been panicking since earlier, approached me carefully.
“Master, do you perhaps have a chronic disease? Do you have a bad headache? Are you all right? Should I call a doctor?”
A short while ago, she panicked and trembled when I threatened to disassemble her, so now she paid attention and reacted to trivial actions like this.
More importantly, her somewhat ditzy, “my pace”, and reckless attitude made her similar to that girl.
“Jjaro, is it true that Jihye made a packed lunch and brought it to you at school?”
Lunch break was over and I was back in class. That was the only response I could muster towards Saeyeon who had been pouting all weekend, including today, and had asked me that while being weirdly worked up.
“That’s going too far, Jin Jaro. How could you receive food from another woman?”
“Moreover, from the girl who’s trying to take away your daughter.”
“Don’t you think she’s doing that to curry your favor?”
“Do you like maids that much?”
And, in response to my answer, the untaught masses immediately sent in supporting fire while looking at me with amused eyes. When I got back after eating lunch, they were quiet, but they were holding back just for this moment, weren’t they?
Additionally, while this was happening, Saeyeon was contemplating with her hand over her mouth and with a serious gaze that didn’t suit her.
“Saeyeon, let me explain······.”
Saeyeon, who had turned her head so fiercely that I inadvertently used honorifics, with even more serious eyes, questioned me in a way that felt like she was interrogating me.
“Did it taste good?”
Wow, this is a terrifyingly hard question to answer······.
As I was aware that even Saeyeon harbored the emotion known as ‘jealousy’ after the previous incident, I knew that this was a situation that could incur a jealousy fiercer than before, but······.
After I was barely able to stop myself from scratching the back of my head because the untaught masses were all quiet and glaring at me as they waited for my answer, I cautiously did my best to decipher Saeyeon’s gaze and spoke.
“······Uhm, i-it did taste good······.”
Lying wasn’t a part of my style. It did taste good. It didn’t have the same feeling that restaurant food had, but how should I say it, a homely and motherly taste? I’ve never experienced a motherly taste before, so I’m not exactly sure, but it was tasty in that regard.
“Wow, how could you say that it was good so frankly······.”
“I thought Jaro matured a bit, but this is disappointing······.”
“Saeyeon, you’re allowed to get upset right now!”
“Stop fanning the flames! I’ll resolve things myself!”
“What do you mean ‘resolve’? It’s too late, Jaro.”
“Saeyeon, get mad! Bite him! This is where you should settle it!”
Even if watching a fight is known to be the most enjoyable spectacle in the world, aren’t you guys going too far? Do you guys want to see a domestic dispute that badly? No, we aren’t really a couple, you know?
While I was arguing with the untaught masses who were enthusiastically fanning the flames, Saeyeon simply stayed still and continued to ponder about something.
“Uhm, Saeyeon, it’s not what you think······.”
Honestly, I wanted to say ‘she did that because she’s a robot maid.’, but since I couldn’t say that in a place like this, I decided to persuade her quietly. However, I felt a chill go down my spine the instant Saeyeon muttered something under her breath.
“I see······. Then I can’t just sit around and do nothing······.”
“C-Can’t sit around?”
And then, after school was over, once we got home, Saeyeon threw her bag to the side and stood in front of Jihye before shouting boldly.
“Miss Jihye, please teach me how to cook!”
Honestly, I didn’t expect this at all, so my mouth was left agape.
As expected, Jihye also didn’t understand what was going on, so she paused for a moment before speaking.
“Uhm, Madam? Is something the matter?”
Saeyeon laughed faintly as if she were embarrassed.
“I mean, Mom and Jaim have been teaching me as well, but it’s really difficult······. Mom is usually busy, and learning from Jaim is a bit······. So I want to learn from Miss Jihye since you’re probably good at housework! I want to learn enough to at least be able to make a packed lunch for Jjaro!”
“Ah, so that’s the reason. I understand.”
You understood with only that much? More importantly, I see that Saeyeon is using formal speech. Even though the opposition is a robot.
“Then, since it’s about time to start preparing dinner, how about I start teaching you immediately, Madam?”
This girl adapts quickly. Should I say that her ability to nonchalantly agree to an abrupt request and suggest something immediately after is expected of a robot maid? Saeyeon smiled happily. No matter how much I looked at her, she didn’t seem to be jealous or have any emotions similar to it. I’m not sure if I should say that this was unexpected or expected.
“Ah, please wait a moment!”
And then Saeyeon stripped. I’m not joking.
“W-What are you doing?!”
“Hm? But Mom said that when you’re cooking for a boy, you have to be naked and have only an apron on······.”
What is that old lady teaching her daughter?
“You mustn’t do that, Madam!”
Jihye shouted towards Saeyeon who was still in the posture of taking off her school uniform and pointing towards an apron that had a cute drawing on the front side. With a resolute voice, at that.
“Substances such as oil and hot water could splash onto you while you’re cooking, and more importantly, it’s unsanitary due to the residual waste that exudes from the skin!”
Wow, so that’s what you’re going to nitpick. She wasn’t wrong, though. How thorough.
“I-I see······. But······.”
“Ah, was that a simple joke since Master is here?”
“Huh? A joke?”
Jihye tilted her head slightly. I think I can guess what’s on her mind······.
“In any case, aprons prevent your clothes from getting dirty, so that’s a good choice. Please tell me when you’re ready. Since I was planning to make curry for the young lady today, we’ll start by cleaning the vegetables.”
“······I don’t like vegetables.”
Saeyeon pouted. Jihye spoke sternly.
“In order to properly balance the nutrition you consume, it’s best to eat all sorts of ingredients without reserve.”
“Jjaro said the same thing as well······. I’m ready.”
After fastening the apron, Saeyeon had a confident expression on her face. Jihye also nodded when she saw that face. It seems they were about to begin in earnest now.
“······Uhm, by the way, are you going to keep watching, Jjaro?”
Saeyeon asked that while slightly turning her head towards me. I was watching them while folding my arms on top of the dining table between the living room and the kitchen, but it seems something about that was bothering her.
“Ah, if you’re worried that I’ll start teasing you because you’re bad at cooking, then you don’t have to worry. Even I won’t make fun of someone who’s trying to learn.”
If you consider the fact that she didn’t ask me to teach her, then that’s probably what she’s worried about. That must have been the right answer as Saeyeon pursed her lips and turned her head away while letting out an audible ‘Hmph!’. Were you that worried about what I’d say?
“No, I don’t think that’s the issue······.”
I’m ignoring the robot’s opinion. It’s not like Saeyeon would be embarrassed about me watching her while she’s learning how to cook, something she’s always been bad at.
At any rate, I decided to watch Jihye’s cooking class for Saeyeon since I had nothing better to do. I was also worried about leaving these two by themselves.
“Wow, it has a pretty shape······. How did you do that?”
“Give it a try as well, Madam. I’ll assist you.”
“Then I’ll also give it a go······. I’ll try to cut it into a star shape.”
Anyway, I was worried that they wouldn’t get along since Saeyeon was still upset this morning, but they get along surprisingly well. The two prepared the curry for today’s dinner while matching each other’s pace fairly well. Well, for a beginner it’s an appropriate choice, but it really doesn’t suit a maid. Although it’s Jaim and Saeyeon’s favorite.
“By the way, Miss Jihye.”
“It’s fine if you don’t add an honorific. I’m a robot maid, after all. What is it?”
“No, but······. Am I doing well in the future?”
“Well, even I don’t······. Hiik?!”
Jihye, who was smiling brightly, froze in place.
“I mean, I’m just curious about how I’m doing in the future, whether I’m Jjaro’s wife and acting as a housewife, as I expected, working like Mom does, or doing something else. So?”
“Uhm, well, that’s, uhh······.”
Jihye’s body had stiffened because I had pulled out a wrench from my tool belt and was tapping my hand with it while shaking my head. I spoke by only moving my lips.
I’ll break you apart, if you say anything.
“N-Needless to say, you’re doing well! Y-You’re living happily as a housewife while doing housework! Yup!”
“Is that so? Then that means I become good at doing housework in the future, huh?”
“N-Naturally! Yup! It goes without saying! You’re super great at it!”
“Then why did we get a robot maid?”
Saeyeon waved her hands once Jihye froze up.
“N-No! I’m not saying that Miss Jihye isn’t needed, I’m simply curious because you said that I’m good at housework in the future.”
“That’s······. Ah, b-because Master created me!”
“Ah, I see. Then I must be bored in the future. It wouldn’t seem right to take Miss Jihye’s work when it’s your job after all.”
Saeyeon nodded her head as if she understood with that. It didn’t seem like she was particularly jealous or anything. Saeyeon pondered deeply for a moment before speaking while pressing her chin up with her fingers.
“Then does that mean I do night activities with Jjaro every day?”
“Kah, hu, cough, cough!”
My hasty shout got caught in my throat. As expected, Jihye must not have expected that question either as she froze up again.
“Uuh······. Eh? Pardon?”
“Mom told me before that she’s unable to do night activities because she’s busy. That she wants to hurry up and retire in order to do night activities, because if she does, then she might be able to make me a sibling even if there’s a large age gap. Ah, then does that mean Jjaro and I only had Jaim? It would be nice if Jaim also had a sibling······.”
Saeyeon’s mother, I see you’ve said these sort of things to your daughter. More importantly, as I thought, you wanted another child, huh? While I was clutching my aching head because I had no idea who to blame, Jihye laughed awkwardly as she furtively backed away before pulling at my collar.
“Uhm, M-Master. Is the Missus perhaps frustrated?”
“······That’s troubling in its own way, but it’s probably closer to the thing that’s pinned to her hair.”
“It is a pretty flower pin, but what about it?”
“······Well, it’s becoming a dead language even now.”
“In any case, what should I do? That······. I-I’m gradually losing things to say!”
Yeah, I understand that feeling. It can’t be helped. I let out a determined sigh and approached Saeyeon.
“Saeyeon, should I help with the cooking as well?”
“H-Huh? N-No, you don’t have to! I’m good at cooking now!”
“······You’ve only been learning for 30 minutes.”
“S-Still, I’m good at cooking! It’s okay! Just stay there and look forward to it, Jjaro!”
It seems Jihye decided to give me supporting fire as well.
“I-I also believe that learning from more people would help a lot more for things like this! Master is also good at cooking! T-There’s nothing to be embarrassed about! No one is good from the start!”
“Yeah······. That might be the case, but······.”
Saeyeon was glancing at me hesitantly, so I simply rolled up my sleeves and stood next to her.
“Now then, it’s almost time for dinner, so let’s finish up here. While we’re at it, I’ll teach you how to properly make fried eggs since that’s what Jaim likes. It’d also go well on top of the curry as well.”
The situation must have made it hard for her to refuse since Saeyeon simply nodded her head carefully. Regardless of what the reason was, being taught how to cook by me must really be concerning for her, so she shouldn’t be able to say something weird if I’m here.
······Incidentally, this girl is seriously bad at cooking.
“Wait, don’t pour cooking oil in like that! Do you intend to make fried eggs?”
“But I don’t know how much adequate is, ow that’s hot!”
“Madam, are you all right? Ah, the fire!”
“Uah, it caught on fire! Lid! Where’s the lid!”
“T-There’s water here, Jjaro! Ei!”
“Don’t pour it! Uah hot hot hot hot!”
Well, even if you consider everything up till this point as trivial mistakes······.
“Oi, Ja Saeyeon. Why are you holding the sugar?”
“Because it feels like it might be tasty if it’s sweet?”
“Put down the sugar, that’s an order. Pick up the salt, that’s an order. Put some in, that······. Don’t dump it in!”
“T-Then, instead of sugar······.”
“I told you to stop putting things in!”
Why does this girl like pouring things? More importantly, sugar and salt don’t have an additive relationship, you know?
Like that, time went by.
“Finished! Jjaro, look look! The fried eggs are done!”
“······Yeah, that’s great.”
“······Master, what should I say in this sort of situation······?”
While Saeyeon was smiling brightly and holding out the plate, I barely succeeded in displaying a tired smile.
The yolk was popped, eggshells could be seen here and there, and it was ‘deep-fried’ to the point that it befitted being called ‘fried’, its outer appearance looked really high on cholesterol. It was surprising how there were some places that were burnt black even though she had poured so much oil in.
“Jjaro, have a taste!”
With eyes overflowing with expectations, Saeyeon held it out towards me.
“······N-No, you should taste it yourself······.”
“But, I want Jjaro to be the first person to try my cooking······.”
Saeyeon pouted in response to my hesitant reply and continued. But, this······. I mean······.
“Now then, aaah~♡”
What could I do? I shut my eyes and ate the piece that Saeyeon was holding out with her chopsticks.
“So? Is it good?”
I was barely able to muster enough strength to nod my head at Saeyeon whose face was filled with hope. Tears fell down my cheek. A sticky sweetness and a tongue-piercing saltiness frolicked around in my mouth harmoniously. It was a taste that made every lingering attachment I had in the world disappear and forced me to look back at my life. What exactly have I done to Saeyeon?
“Thank you, Miss Jihye! It’s so tasty that it’s moved Jjaro to tears!”
“Y-Yes. T-That’s great, Madam!”
For her to be capable of smiling even with that troubled look on her face, this girl is rather impressive. Saeyeon, who giggled happily since it seems she took Jihye’s words as a compliment, spoke.
“Then, Miss Jihye, please continue to give me bride lessons!”
“You said that your specialty is housework, didn’t you, Miss Jihye? I want to also be good at cleaning and doing laundry, not just cooking! I’ll become a good wife in the future and help Jjaro by training now!”
Jihye turned to look at me with a face that looked like it was about to cry. I don’t have the energy to worry about your side at the moment. In the end, Jihye turned back towards Saeyeon and spoke.
“A-All right! If I can help, then I’ll do my best to teach you! For Master’s sake!”
“Okay! I’ll work hard so I can be helpful to Jjaro!”
······Even though it’d be more helpful if the two of you just stayed still.
“······So something like that happened.”
Jaim’s face was filled with complaints as she said that.
“Mom should stop being embarrassed and just learn from me······.”
“Yeah. You could have taught her sooner.”
I seriously did my best not to throw everything back up in the bathroom. Even though I drank several glasses of water and brushed my teeth several times, the taste still remained in my mouth, so I constantly felt like puking.
During the nights when Saeyeon was already asleep, Jaim and I would occasionally spend time alone together. Don’t misunderstand this in some weird direction. I’m talking about Multi.
“While I was playing with Nanda Oppa, towards that piece of scrap metal, mom had······.”
Jaim, who had played with Nanda after school since he found out about everything, glared at me once I told her what happened and spoke.
“More importantly, even though you happily ate the lunch that that piece of scrap metal made, how could you show such a reaction to the cooking that mom did her best to make?”
“You’re only able to say that thanks to the fact that I ate everything.”
“The issue isn’t the taste! Haa, this is why mechanophiliacs are······.”
“I explained it to you several times already! I only intended to disassemble her and examine her structure, I didn’t have any ulterior motives. I do get excited about robots, but not in that sense! Furthermore, if you’re going to quibble over that, then you also made Jihye raise her skirt.”
“No. Your eyes were completely wicked at that moment, Dad. No matter how much I think about it, you had a gaze that looked like you were about to commit something. If the other person were a girl, then they would have been impregnated by your gaze alone.”
“Choose your words nicely, I beg of you. Ah, hand me the screwdriver over there.”
Without turning my head, I received the screwdriver held out by Jaim without even having to look at it. Although some people could see this as me ignoring her, more than that, it was because we got used to each other.
“In any case, since it seems like the misunderstanding with Saeyeon has been cleared and she’s going to get along with Jihye, you should stop being upset as well. She isn’t threatening us to take you back immediately, is she?
“That isn’t the problem. The very fact that that piece of scrap metal came looking for me is the thing that’s annoying me.”
As if the very thought of it made her more upset, Jaim forcefully pulled out the circuitry. You’re going to break it like that, kid.
“Moreover, you straightforwardly call her ‘Jihye’.”
“You have to properly call people by their names. Even if they’re a machine.”
“Even though you don’t say my name and only call me ‘kid’ and ‘brat’.”
She was definitely sulking. This wasn’t what I wanted.
“Dad, if you have the time to strip that sort of machine, then think more about uniting with Mom. How long do you intend to back away?”
I was wondering when she would bring this up again. It’s been a while.
“That’s not my concern. More importantly, have you still not given up on that whole uniting thing?”
“Obviously. If I do this part with certainty, then you and Mom won’t be able to split apart, right?”
Jaim looked at me with pitying eyes and continued.
“Of course, it might be fine if things continued like this since you’ve already been acknowledged as a family, but wouldn’t Mom be able to give birth to me faster if you and Mom properly unite together by even a day sooner? Let’s go with the fast family planning.”
“What are you saying so easily like pouring water into cup ramen?”
“You’ll probably be done in 3 minutes anyway, Dad. If you pour the water in, unite, and then eat the ramen together afterward, wouldn’t that be just the right amount of time for the noodles to cook?”
“Can you not choose your words better?”
Seriously, this cheeky kid. Where did she learn this from?
Once I let go of her stretched out cheeks, Jaim rubbed her red cheeks and spoke.
“Uu······. You’re going to do it one day anyway, so can’t you do it faster? Lines are meant to be crossed. You’re starting to become conscious of Mom as well, aren’t you, Dad?”
“Shut up! I’m not conscious of her! Why are you in such a rush anyway?”
“Oh, this is like you’re saying ‘I’m going to do it anyway, so why the hurry?’, right? Like when you’re about to study, but the instant you hear someone tell you to study, you don’t want to do it? I understand! I’ll be watching warmly, so······.”
“That’s right, I forgot that you enjoy being tormented by me! Let’s try dying once, you brat! You brat!”
If someone doesn’t understand even though they’ve already been warned, then punishment follows after.
After stretching her cheeks with more strength than before, I released them and let out a sigh as I watched Jaim groan in pain.
“More importantly, why don’t you want to go home?”
Jaim’s expression contorted the instant I said those words.
“······Why? Are you going to chase me out again?”
“No, I’m not trying to chase you out or anything.”
Well, I can’t say that that idea is completely absent, but I didn’t mean it like that.
“That, how should I say it? Certainly, there’s the fact that Jihye came looking for you, there’s your school, and there’s also the fact that you have to be captured because you’re here illegally, but she said they might let you go if you go back now, didn’t she?”
“Hm, so you’re worried about me?”
I turned my head away because I didn’t like the way she was laughing slyly. I-I’m not particularly worried! I’m saying this because these things happened because of you!
“But I can’t right now.”
However, Jaim shook her head.
“Why not? You said so before, didn’t you? That we’ll be fine from now······.”
“And on the same night when I started to believe that, ‘that’ happened.”
I couldn’t make any sort of retort, so I closed my mouth. It also felt like I was trying to chase her away. Jaim looked straight at me with her large eyes and spoke.
“Dad, be honest. You don’t like Mom yet, do you?”
I didn’t want to lie, so I nodded.
I still didn’t see Saeyeon entirely as a girl, and I didn’t intend to do what Jaim wanted and unite with her. I’m not a eunuch. I simply don’t have that much interest in that field.
I don’t hate Saeyeon anymore. Regardless, if someone were to ask if I liked her, then that didn’t seem right either. At the very least, it’s probably different from the ‘like’ that Jaim wants.
“That’s why I can’t.”
However, it didn’t sound like Jaim was berating me.
“All you’ve done, Dad, is reconcile with Mom, there’s still the chance that you’ll either become twisted again, fight with her again, or start getting interested in another girl that’s like a strange girl.”
“What is ‘another girl that’s like a strange girl’ supposed to be?”
“In any case, the ‘Happy Family Planning’ that I want is for Mom and Dad to love each other properly, become a family, give birth to me, and live happily together.”
Jaim grinned as she saw me react to her words by smacking my lips.
“So, while properly helping you with your family experiment, I have to teach you that families are good and that you’ll even get an adorable daughter like me as a bonus.”
“Adorable daughter, my ass.”
Jaim’s brow drooped when she heard my grumbling, but I ignored it.
“At any rate, since Jihye is already here out of concern······.”
Knock knock. My words were cut short by the knocking on the door.
“Is something the matter?”
It seems she took my words as permission to enter as Jihye opened the door and bowed courteously.
“Master, Miss, I’ve brought some late-night snacks.”
There were two sandwich slices cut into an appealing shape placed on top of the platter that was held in Jihye’s hand. A warm air and a scent of coffee emanated from the cups.
“Oh, thanks. I was starting to feel peckish. Let’s continue after this.”
Once I stopped what I was doing and cleared up some space, Jihye, with skilled movements, put down the sandwich and the cups.
“It’s good that you’re helping Master with his work, but don’t stay up for too long, Miss. You’re still growing.”
Jaim simply turned away quickly in response to the smiling Jihye’s comment. She really doesn’t get along with her. She doesn’t look like she intends to get along with her either.
The nice and warm atmosphere instantly turned cold the moment Jihye entered the room. I don’t like this kind of atmosphere. What should I do?
“Then, if you will excuse me.”
“All right. You can leave now.”
I lightly waved my hand at Jihye who was bowing her head politely.
“Uhm, by the way, Master, may I ask a single question?”
“Hm? What is it now?”
Once I looked back at her, Jihye asked a question while looking at Multi’s parts that were spread across the table.
“Is this the famous Miss ‘Robot Maid MK.III Multi’?”
Once I asked back about the unexpected modifier, Jihye spoke as if she were in awe.
“Yes. The very first robot maid that Master ever invented. This is my first time seeing it myself. Wow, so I originally looked like this, huh······.”
What was she saying? Jihye looked at each and every part with a mystic gaze.
“I’m the prototype that Master created during the middle of your research. In other words, I heard that I’m the result of you continuously improving on Miss Multi.”
“······You’re saying that this, becomes you?”
“That’s what I heard.”
Jihye nodded. I inadvertently ended up looking at Multi’s remains. You’re telling me that this robot vacuum cleaner with a head attached to it, becomes this absolutely perfect robot maid? Of course, I’m using the method of improving a little bit at a time and only copying and pasting the numbers, but this is just······.
“Scrap metal, you’re disturbing us, so can you leave?”
Both Jihye and I turned our heads towards the cold voice.
Jaim, who didn’t even touch the sandwich or the cup and was focusing solely on working on Multi, had said that. Jihye’s expression of awe slowly turned into a sad one once she heard those words.
“Hey, no matter how much you dislike her, isn’t that going too far?”
“······She’s a robot anyway.”
No, she’s right, but······.
Jaim didn’t turn her head and simply focused on her work even when I scolded her.
“Ah, I-I’m sorry for the disturbance. I’ll take my leave.”
Jihye backed away with a vague smile on her face. It was probably because of this clear refusal. Mm. It’s hard to say anything. If I take Jihye’s side, then Jaim will get upset, and if I take Jaim’s side, then that would also make me rude. But this girl, I knew she had a bad personality, but isn’t she too outspoken of her hatred when it comes to Jihye? She isn’t like this towards Upperclassman Nabom.
“But, is the Miss also helping in the creation of Miss Multi?”
Jihye hesitantly asked right before she left the room. I then suddenly thought of something. That’s right, wouldn’t she grow an attachment if Jaim also had a hand in creating her?
“Y-Yeah! Jaim is my assistant, after all! She’s like the co-developer!”
I glanced at Jaim while speaking, but she didn’t seem interested at all. A failure, huh?
However, instead of Jaim, Jihye was the one who nodded and showed a reaction.
“Then, since the Miss is also involved in creating me, does that mean the Miss is also my master?”
Even Jaim reacted to that question by twitching. Although it was only for an instant. That’s right, isn’t it? If I’m the creator since I made her, then Jaim as well······.
But now that I think about it, isn’t this a time paradox in its own way?
Jihye spoke while smiling with a strangely warm atmosphere wrapped around her.
“Then does that mean I’m like Master and the Miss’ daughter?”
“W-What are you saying, you piece of scrap metal?!”
And it seems this wasn’t something that she could let slide as Jaim put down the wrench and shouted. Her face was red.
I get where she’s coming from. If she’s the result of Jaim and my joint-research, then I understand that she could think that way, but how should I say it······? An immorality that I can’t possibly utter······.
“Stop saying weird things and get out!”
“Y-Yeah. It’s not like that! It’s just an invention, an invention!”
“That’s right, huh?”
Jihye chuckled and scratched her cheek in response to my correction. I seriously have no idea what’s going through this robot’s head. Was this perhaps revenge against Jaim who’s been ignoring her?
“Then, I’ll be taking my leave. Please create Miss Multi well.”
Returning back to her usual atmosphere, Jihye bowed politely and closed the door behind her as she left.
“Really, what is that piece of scrap metal thinking······?”
Jaim shook her head as if she were annoyed. I also let out a similar sigh. In any case, this was troubling. The fact that she would say things like that without any thought. I sort of understand why Jaim doesn’t like her.
But, that girl’s smile, it felt lonely for some reason.
TL note: Long time no see. I’m going to keep this TL note short since I’ll be putting up an update post immediately after this to give a brief explanation on my absence and what not. In any case, this was more of a casual chapter, as you can obviously tell by the chapter title “Daily life”, so it didn’t take me too long to translate. I don’t know why, but the first few chapters were super long. This is only the third chapter and it nearly reaches the half-point of the volume.
Ah, I really hope my schedule frees up more. At any rate, I’ll see you guys in the update post or the next chapter.