“… I see.”
Continuing to peak into the telescope, Shino moved both his hands boldly but sensitively enough to feel everything he needed to feel. Using his skill, Utsuhami, he was able to touch Maihime just by looking at her. However, she did look a bit blurry through the telescope, so Shino had no choice but to feel around her body.
“Umm… Shino, what are you doing?” said Hotaru.
“I’m touching her,” he responded without batting an eye. “… Now I’m going to get a feel of her breasts.”
Hotaru stayed silent for a few moments before speaking up. “… Aren’t you just molesting her…?” she said, disgusted.
Shino was unfazed as he responded with, “I’m just doing my research.”
“Well, I feel like touching a girl’s breasts without her permission is kind of shady…”
“Isn’t our assassination shady already?”
“… Yeah, I guess so. Sorry,” said Hotaru. She was unexpectedly honest with the situation, and she bowed her head apologetically. “But, even if you say it’s for research, what do you gain out of touching her breasts?”
“The breast itself is a lump of fat,” explained Shino. “When people begin to develop more and more muscles, they start losing some fat, and as a result, their breasts become smaller. You’ll notice this in a lot of female athletes, even though it is obviously differs by person.”
“Ah… I see.”
“But the thing is, how can Maihime Tenkawa’s breasts be this soft?”
“Uhhh… How would I know?”
“I’m feeling it through her shirt, but if I had to guess, she has a D cup… around 80 centimeters.”
Hotaru was surprised. “Woah really? She has those?” she said while looking at her own breasts. “How do you even know that anyway?”
“Everything begins with observation.”
“That sounds deep, but you still haven’t answered my question.”
“Anyways,” said Shino as he tried to get back on topic. “Her breasts still have a lot of fat, which means she probably doesn’t have the athletic type body. Which means that her monster strength comes solely from her aura. If we can somehow get rid of that aura, then it may be possible to kill her.”
“I see…” said Hotaru. Her face made it difficult to tell whether or not she really understood what Shino just said.
It was then that Maihime, still wiggling around uncontrollably, shut her window and closed the curtains. Shino was unable to feel her any more after her body disappeared from his line of sight.
Maihime’s faint silhouette could be seen through the curtain, and she looked to be in a hurry while she quickly dressed herself. Perhaps she wanted to leave the room for a bit after experiencing all the weird things Shino did to her.
“She’s probably gonna go outside. Let’s go.”
Hotaru was baffled once again. “Huh? Go where?”
He didn’t give a reply to her question, but instead, he shut the window and curtain the same way Maihime did earlier, put on some clothes, and quickly left the room.
A few minutes later, Shino and Hotaru were secretly tailing Maihime around some blocks in the city.
“Hey, Shino…” said Hotaru.
“Umm… What are we doing?”
“We’re obviously tailing her,” he replied. He was taking pictures of Maihime with the digital camera he had brought out with him.
Hotaru’s face twitched as she watched Shino do his thing, but soon she said, “Hey… isn’t this just stalking?”
“It’s called tailing,” objected Shino. “I said it earlier, didn’t I? We’re going to research everything about Maihime Tenkawa. What I did in that room was but one part of the overall plan. Everything I do here is so we can carry out our mission.”
“I-I see,” she said, despite looking relatively unconvinced.
Shino, however, didn’t seem to care. He continued to creep behind Maihime while taking her picture every so often.
Maihime, in her usual outfit with her school uniform and big outercoat, nonchalantly walked around town. There were various shops set up on both sides of the well-maintained street. From where she was at, she could see a café, bread shop, and even some clothes and other miscellaneous shops lined up on the sidewalk. The Administration Bureau set up some shops of its own as well, but most of them dealt with management and other specialized fields managed by students well versed in those majors. Students needed the student council’s permission to set up the shops, and once those shops passed inspections, they would also get some money to help with the costs.
“Ah, Hime-sama! Are you on break today?”
“We got some new stuff that just came in, please try it out!”
“Hime-sama, come here too!”
The varying shopkeepers all noticed Maihime walking down the street, so they tried to get her attention. She was as popular as always.
“Oh? Which one, which one?” she said, rolling up her sleeves. She began to talk with the shopkeepers around her.
Shino was hiding in the shadows of a nearby building. He went up to take another picture, but he heard a shutter sound before he even pressed the camera button. With a dubious look, he turned towards the noise, and was shocked to see a little girl squatting next to him. She was holding the same type of camera as him, and she too was also taking pictures of Maihime.
“Woah?! W-Who is this,” he said, wondering when she came up next to him.
A moment later, Hotaru noticed the little girl as well and cried out in surprise, frightening her. Now trembling, she turned to look at the two. They clearly didn’t notice each other until now.
She was skinny, and her hair was braided into two long pigtails. Her eyes looked extremely gloomy with big bags under them. Those eyes, combined with her pale looking skin, made her look quite sickly. The uniform she had on indicated that she too was from Kanagawa Academy, but she wore a hoodie that covered most of it. Her hood was pulled all the way down to her eyes, almost as if she wanted to hide her face. For some reason, she was also wearing a panda plush on her back. Even the panda itself seemed to have an unpleasant look on its face.
“When’d you get up here…”
In an instant, Shino and the girl locked eyes, but the girl quickly averted hers and quickly ripped off the panda from her back. From the looks of it, it seemed that some Velcro straps held the entire plush on her shoulder.
She looked at the panda directly in the eyes and said, “What is this why are you guys here why are you guys hiding here actually?”
“Huh?” Shino was dumbfounded by the girl’s odd behavior. “What are you doing here?”
“Why don’t you answer my question first before asking yours who are you guys what are your names?”
“… I’m Akira Shinomiya.”
“And I’m Hotaru Rindou.”
Hearing their names, the girl got closer to her panda and said, “I see my name is Zakuro Otonashi so what are you doing here Shinomiya this is my area you know.” She took a moment to look at Shino’s camera before hastily reverting her eyes back to the panda. “That camera in your hands you aren’t taking pictures of Hime-sama are you?”
“Hmm, this? Ah, this is…” he stopped midsentence. There was no way he was going to tell her that he was looking for a way to kill Maihime Tenkawa.
Zakuro eyed Shino suspiciously at his sudden silence. Or rather, Zakuro made her panda eye Shino suspiciously.
“You couldn’t be planning on taking some sneak pics of Hime-sama you two don’t seem to be part of the newspaper club but why are you doing this depending on your answer I may or may not take you down right now.”
Zakuro rattled on, but she did sound a little indifferent to the situation.
“Calm down,” said Shino, shaking his head. “I’m just doing this out of interest and curiosity, nothing else.”
Hotaru chimed in, “Though it’s just having a stalker-like mindset doing stalker-like activities,” but the two didn’t pay any attention to her.
“So that’s it huh” Zakuro said after a short pause. She nodded her head. “Then that’s okay I guess not a lot I can do about that.”
“Huh? So it’s all good now?” said Hotaru.
“Yeah I don’t see the harm if you two are just fans of Hime-sama I mean she is like an angel descending down on this depressing world after all so I can’t fault you two for being her fans.”
Hotaru smiled bitterly. “Y-Yeah… that’s exactly it,” she said, troubled. Fortunately, Zakuro didn’t seem too suspicious.
“So Shinomiya how many pictures of Hime-sama did you take let me see please,” said Zakuro, reaching her hand out to Shino as she continued to stare at her panda.
“Err…” Shino handed her his camera. He didn’t like how the situation was getting a bit more complicated.
Zakuro took hold of the camera and began flipping through the images. Shino only started his investigation of Maihime today, so there weren’t a lot of pictures stored in the camera. In fact, it only took Zakuro a minute or so to see all of them.
“Hmm…” she said, grinning.
“You still got ways to go my friend,” she said. From her uniform pocket, she took out a bunch of photos and handed them to Shino.
“What’s this… woah!” said Shino. He was in shock the moment he saw the photos. They were also pictures of Maihime, but the quality on hers was on a whole new level. The photos were beautiful, vivid, and masterfully shot. She framed each shot to put maximum emphasis on Maihime’s body, calculated the angle beautifully, and perfectly incorporated everything else around her. If she had a logo on the pictures, they could instantly be on the cover of any magazine.
“Incredible.” Shino couldn’t say anything but praise about the picture quality. Of course, in his mind, he was thinking about it in terms of his research.
“Hehe… heh…” Zakuro’s started to blush a bit while trying to hide her grin. She was clearly happy that someone complimented her on her photography skills. “As fellow fans of Maihime I offer you good luck on your journey it may be long but stay true to your heart.”
“Thanks, but how do you take pictures like that?”
“First of all learn how to take pictures without using any of the camera’s features but the most important thing is your undying passion for whomever you want to take a picture of,” she said. Like always, she was staring at her panda as she spoke, but this time she raised her head cautiously.
She noticed that Maihime was walking away, so she said, “I miscalculated I have to chase her excuse me sorry.”
Without any emotion in her voice, she stuck the panda back onto herself , stood up straight, and was gone in an instant.
“…Wha—” Shino couldn’t finish his sentence.
Hotaru was just as surprised. “S-She disappeared?” she said in astonishment.
The two began to look around until Hotaru said, “Hey Shino… Look!”
He turned and saw that Maihime was now quite a distance away from them. On a closer look, he noticed that Zakuro was hiding behind a billboard near her.
“Woah, she covered that distance in an instant?” said Shino with his hand over his mouth. That wasn’t something any ordinary human could do. He didn’t know the details, but that was definitely some sort of <World>.
“H-Hey, what do you think that was?” asked Hotaru.
“I don’t know, but…”
“Using that speed for stalking… what a sad little girl.”
Hearing that, Hotaru just sneered at him without saying another word.