42 Future Plans
I still felt the gazes of the three weighing down on me. Whenever I had turned around within the last few hours, I had been greeted by smiles, some more or less hidden, others open and wide. They all were enjoying my so-called 'intimacy' with Ofris.
«Stop shipping us! It was nothing! He just pet my head!»
「And embraced you, and held your body while you slept with the sound of his heartbeat faintly echoing in your ears, and-」
«You don't have to say it like that!»
「But isn't it the truth?」
«Who cares?! There is nothing between us!»
«It was you who made me lie to him! It was always you!»
「What is he to you, then?」
「But didn't you say you like him?」
«I like him as a friend!»
「You don't sleep with friends.」
«Don't make it sound so wrong!»
「And what about the embraces?」
«Nothing is wrong with hugging a bro!»
「A bro, you say...」
«Yes, a bro! He is the best bro I have!»
「We have a long way before us ...」
«A long way?! What are you planning to do? Things are fine the way they are!»
「They are not. You cannot abuse Ofris like that!」
«How am I abusing him?!»
「Look at what he does for you! He protected you, he gave you a place to sleep, carried you home when you were crying, he soothed you when you were sad, he bought you food and something to drink, he helped register you as an adventurer and he even-」
«I get it,» I cut her off, «I get it!»
「So what are you going to do?」
Even though I really wanted to, I couldn't answer this question. It wasn't that I didn't want to, but because there was nothing I could say in the first place! I wanted to pay Ofris back, that much went without saying, but I didn't know any way that would not result in my loosing even my last bit of self-esteem.
«I won't marry him just to pay off this debt!»
「Nobody asks you to marry him.」
«Kissing is off limits, too! I will work to pay him back!»
「You cannot just go and work.」
«I can do something I do not need to be strong for!»
「What would that be?」 The vixen asked in disbelief. 「Can you cook?」
「Do you want to work in a restaurant or inn?」
«I could do that!»
「As a waitress?」
「So you will wear a nice outfit and carry around trays of beverage and food?」
「With random dudes hitting on you whenever you work?」
«I WOULD HIT THEM!»
「You would lose your job on your first day ...」
«I will be an adventurer, then!»
「You are too weak to be one.」
«I just need a good party!»
「Do you think anybody else but Ofris would be willing to drag your weight? Without having any ulterior motives?」
«He is too good of a guy ...»
「He really is. That's why he is best for you!」
«Somehow it sounds as if he had paid you to tell me all of this.»
「Why would he? He still can't decide on what you are to him.」
「It rather dithers between you being a 'daughter' and you being a 'lover' of his.」
"I'M NOT HIS LOVER!"
Surprised by my sudden outcry, Ofris turned around, confusion written all over his face. "Lover?" He asked, "What have you been thinking about all this time?"
"It is nothing!"
He saw right through my lie. Before I even realized what he was planning, he already stood in front of me, with as little as a hand's width separating our bodies. I felt his warm warmth breath in my ears as he whispered directly into them.
"Are you talking to her again?"
"Don't let them find out."
When Ofris separated from me, I couldn't help but turn around to face Miriam, Sophia and Jack, who had been 'guarding the rear' how they did put it. In truth, it was them walking behind me and Ofris so they wouldn't miss a single moment of our alleged shows of affection and love. This time, too, I was greeted with wide grins and a gleeful expression on Miriam's slightly blushed face.
«Give me a break ...»
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Shiro: Believers, believers, believers ...
Rika: What are you up to?
Shiro: I need more believers! A few thousand at least!
Rika: Thousands? What for?
Shiro: They will all try to please me
Rika: ... yeah?
Shiro: And there is only one thing that will be able to please me!
Rika: A temple? Large statues of you? Large festivals with food stands and dancers?
Shiro: A large celebration!
Rika: Celebration? For what?
Shiro: Your marriage, of course!
Rika: Marri- I WILL NEVER MARRY!
Shiro: I already prepared the dress. It is beautiful! You will love it!
Rika: Beautiful ...
Shiro: You will be the most beautiful bride there ever was!
Rika: You really think so?
Shiro: Of course! Trust me!
Rika: Can... can I see it?
Shiro: I will show you later when we are alone
Rika: I will never forgive you if you lied to me!
Shiro: I would never lie to my cute Rika!
Shiro: Hook, line and sinker~
Rika: Did you say something?
Shiro: Just talking to myself!
Rika: If you say so..