16 – End of the Tutorial
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7 AM. Because I woke up late today due to all the BS the other night, I didn't have time to do my full workout. But I did have time to do a light jog before cram school at 9 AM.

So, I changed into a loose shirt, a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and then mixed a glass of the protein powder Ren dropped off before leaving the house.

A nice relaxing jog along my usual route through the Kichijoji nature reserve to get my mind off of things... is what I'd like to do. But considering the person coming with me...

"So Sen-sama is diligent as well! Truly, my life savior is one worthy of my faith and adoration!"

Celes let out a bright smile as she jogged beside me.

Right. Since I couldn't just leave her alone inside my house, I invited Celes to come with me. She didn't have any exercise clothes, but we were around the same height so it worked out. Though I noticed that my loose shirt wasn't quite so loose on her... Fortunately, she had a bra so it wasn't too distracting.

Even so, the fact that she was extremely beautiful and had braided her long golden hair into an intricate ponytail meant that I couldn't help glancing at her. Especially since she was the first girl that wasn't either weirded out by me or acted weird around me.

...Well, Celes was still fairly weird, but she wasn't weird in the yandere way like a good number of my classmates.

Although...

I gave up trying to avoid looking at Celes and said, "I don't mean to be rude, but I didn't expect you to be this fit Celes."

"Hm?" Celes blinked and looked at me. "What do you mean? All princesses are expected to at least be able to conduct a day's march. Even the last in line like myself can do this much, Sen-sama."

I frowned. "...The UK is weird, huh?"

Was that a recent thing? It had to be. Or maybe the royal family was just on a health craze after all the illnesses in the past.

"Still." Celes tucked a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear and said, "I am just as surprised about you, Sen-sama. I could understand your previous form being able to exert such strength, but your current form does not seem that impressive."

I huffed. "Well excuse me for not being a macho man! I can't help looking like this, okay?!"

Damned stupid genetics... My dad looked like a freaking Korean web novel protag come to life! When did I get to look like that?!

"Ah!" Celes shook her head. "My apologies. I just simply meant that I am impressed by the strength in your dainty form." She gave me a gentle smile and said, "You are really amazing, Sen-sama."

I tripped and tumbled to the ground.

"Sen-sama!" Celes stopped running and quickly ran over.

"I'm fine!" I waved her off and stood up, brushing off my clothes. "It's fine."

But dammit. A direct attack like that this early in the morning... No, seeing that sincere praise and affection...

"...Maybe this life isn't half bad."

"Hm?"

I smiled. "Nothing, Celes." I brushed off my clothes one last time and started jogging again.

Celes kept up with me and said, "If you say so, Sen-sama... But if there is anything I can do..."

"It's fine. You're making my day better just by being here."

Sure, Celes was a bit weird. And I'd have to do a lot of creative explaining to Ren and Sensei later. And Dad would definitely roast me when he found out... but it was nice.

Was this what it was like to have a girlfriend? Was this the dream finally coming true?

Celes blushed and then nodded. "...You make mine brighter as well, Sen-sama."

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. Why is she so *cute*?!

Was this karma? Another part of the compensation from that administrator for putting up with the BS system?! I didn't know, but dammit I was going to enjoy every last minute of this while I could-

"Mommy." A young voice from off to the side. A young boy walking with his mother. "Why do those two girls look so happy together?"

His mother stared at me and Celes and then blushed before stammering. "T-That's... They're just really good friends, sweetie."

"Oh! you mean like me and Akira-kun?"

"...I hope you and Akira-kun don't get that close, but if that's how things end up..."

With those words trailing behind them, the mother and child pair walked off along the path behind us.

Celes watched them leave and let out a gentle smile. "How lovely."

I rigidly turned back and nodded. "Yes... lovely..."

Deep breaths, Sen. Even if people think you're a chick, you're a guy. Besides, you've got a beautiful blonde princess who is crushing on you hardcore. Endure it. Right, you can endure it.

"Ah." Celes looked back at me and said, "The sun is rising quickly. We should return to your home if you wish to head to your academy, should we not?"

I pulled out my phone to check the time. "...Yeah. We probably should." It was already eight o'clock. An hour left before cram school... and I should probably be there before it was time to leave since my dear friend would break down my door if I wasn't.

"Then..." Celes held out her hand. "Let us depart, Sen-sama."

I stared at her delicate hand. And then I looked at my own hand, which was even daintier than hers.

"Hah..."

"Sen-sama?"

"Nothing, Celes." I grabbed her hand and started jogging. "Let's hurry back."

"Yes!"

Celes gave me a bright smile and jogged in front of me.

From a distance, it was probably a beautiful sight. Like an anime, a beautiful princess was running, leading her precious comrade by the hand.

But dammit! When do I get to take her by the hand instead?! When do I get to live out my cool MC protag manga events?

-VI|IV-

Far from Japan, in a foreign land where the main language was English.

An impossibly handsome man received a message on his phone. Frowning, he picked it up and glanced at the screen. After reading the message and seeing a picture of two beautiful young girls... No, a beautiful young girl and a beautiful young man that just looked like a girl, he clicked his tongue. "Dammit, Kid. I thought I told you to stay out of trouble."

Silence. And then the man shrugged and slipped his phone back in his pocket. "Eh. Should be fine. It'll be a while before anything happens anyway."

An explosion erupted in front of the man, followed by machine gun fire.

The man... No, Hajime Kimura shook his head and walked forward through the flames. Sparks flew through the air as the bullets struck his clothes and bounced off.  He sighed and said, "I keep telling you guys, guns and your weapons don't work on me. Now." He narrowed his eyes and said, "Where is she?"

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